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Netanyahu: 'Israel Stands Shoulder to Shoulder with the US'

By Israel Hayom & Reuters

"On behalf of the people and government of Israel, I extend our deepest condolences to the American people following last night's horrific attack on the LGBT community in Orlando," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, referring to the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in which at least 50 people were killed by a gunman who had pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group.

The prime minister went on to say, "Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with the United States at this moment of tragic loss. We send our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and wish a full and speedy recovery to the wounded."

At the start of Monday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said, "We are all shocked by the terrible massacre in Orlando ... Terrorism threatens the entire world and the first thing that must be done is for enlightened nations to vigorously unite to fight it."

President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter of condolence to President Barack Obama on Sunday. "Once again we feel the pain of terrible loss as we see the blood spilled of young and innocent people," Rivlin wrote. "There is no comfort for those who have had their loved ones torn away from them. This attack against the LGBT community in Orlando is as cowardly as it is abhorrent. The Israeli people stand shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters in the moral and just fight against all forms of violence and hatred."

In a show of solidarity, the Tel Aviv Municipality building was lit up on Sunday night in the colors of LGBT and U.S. flags. Solidarity rallies were held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Sunday. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said the Orlando massacre was a "painful reminder" that terrorism continues to threaten the entire world.

Sarah Kalah, the executive director of the Jerusalem Open House, said the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Israel was "shocked and pained by this grave act of hatred, which proved once again that our community faces an existential threat throughout the world."

Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said, "The people of Israel are bowing their heads and sharing in America's grief. The free world must fight [against terrorism] together and win. This is a struggle between the sons of light and sons of darkness."

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) blamed the attack on radical Islam. "We will not surrender [in the fight against terrorism]," she vowed. Habayit Hayehudi leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, "Our hearts are with the American people and the entire LGBT community. We will fight together against Islamic terror, which attacks all of us."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) said, "I called the U.S. ambassador to Israel this evening and expressed my condolences about this horrible massacre. We are committed to joining forces to fight an all-out war against murderous terrorism."

In the wake of the terrorist, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed U.S. President Barack Obama for refusing to use the words "radical Islam" when referring to the attack. "In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'radical Islam,'" Trump said. "For that reason alone, he should step down."

The Republican presidential candidate also criticized his likely Democratic opponent in the general election. "If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words 'radical Islam' she should get out of this race for the presidency," Trump said.

Trump called the Orlando attack "horrific" and said he was praying for the victims and their families. "When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?" Trump asked in a tweet. He later tweeted, "What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban [on Muslims entering the U.S.]. Must be tough."

In her initial reaction to the attack, Clinton tweeted, "Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act." Clinton later issued a statement in which she called the attack both "an act of terror" and an "act of hate." Like Obama, she ignored the Islamic background of the attacker.

Netanyahu Lifts Ban on MKs Ascending Temple Mount

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday lifted the ban on Knesset Members and cabinet ministers visiting the Temple Mount. The Likud's newest MK, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, praised the Prime Minister's decision, adding that he hopes Arab Knesset Members from the Joint List party won't take advantage of the lifting of the ban to spread anti-Israel invective on the Mount.

The ban had been in place for eight months, and applied to both Jewish and Arab Knesset Members. Netanyahu had instituted the ban on advice of then-Police Chief Yohanan Danino, in an attempt to reduce tensions at the beginning of the terror wave last year. The Knesset's Ethics Committee is expected to end its own ban on Temple Mount visits on Tuesday, which it had instituted following the Prime Minister's directive eight months ago.

Last month, MKs of the Joint List party pledged to violate the prohibition and ascend the Mount during the Islamic month of Ramadan. "In the name of the Knesset Members of the Islamic Movement – the United Arab List – we announce our intentions to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque during the Ramadan month of fasting to pray there," wrote Masud Ganaim.

Dutch Teens Sing 'We'll Burn Jews, the Jews Burn Best'

By JTA

Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs called on authorities to identify and punish high school pupils who during their graduation ceremony sang about burning Jews. The incident happened last week during the graduation gala of the Elde College in the town of Schijndel, 70 miles southeast of Amsterdam, the Brabants Dagblad daily reported.

As they approached the party, several graduates sang: "Together we'll burn Jews, because Jews burn the best." The phrase is part of a chant heard several times in recent years during soccer matches connected to the Amsterdam's Ajax football team, whose players and supporters are often dubbed "Jews" because of the historic Jewish presence in the city, which is sometimes colloquially called "Mokum" after the Yiddish word for "place." But the gala incident had nothing to do with soccer.

The student body and organizing committee of the Elde College gala expressed their sincere apologies for the incident, but Jacobs said the guilty parties "must be prosecuted for hate speech."

The frequency of anti-Semitic chants and other hate crimes "means Dutch Jews are less inclined to report hate crimes, when they occur around them all the time," Jacobs told JTA. His home in Amersfoort has been attacked five times in recent years, especially during periods of unrest in Israel.

Jacobs referenced the incident during his speech earlier this week in Vught, at a ceremony for Jewish Holocaust victims at a former Nazi internment camp. "Only six years ago, we were profoundly shocked when two young men screamed `Heil Hitler' during a commemoration ceremony at Vught," he said. "But today, this wouldn't be so shocking anymore. It is happening all the time in the Netherlands, and we must face this change with honesty, and combat it with education and severe punishments for violators."

Approximately 100,000 people, or three-quarters of Dutch Jewry, were murdered in the Holocaust — the highest death rate in Nazi-occupied Western Europe. Many were turned in by the Dutch themselves.


Saving the Dead Sea Scrolls from Looters

By YnetNews.com & TPS

To save priceless as-yet undiscovered fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, from being looted, an extraordinary archaeological excavation has been going on with more than 500 volunteers from Israel and abroad sleeping and living in a camp in the desert.

The complex excavation kicks off a national plan to conduct comprehensive archaeological excavations in the Judean Desert caves to extract and preserve the scrolls from antiquities looters.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the most important archeological finds ever unearthed – a collection of hundreds of biblical and apocalyptic texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek discovered between the years 1946-1956 in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea. They were written and collected over 2,000 years ago by a mysterious Jewish separatist sect that, obsessed with purity and apocalyptic visions, moved into an outpost of desert caves overlooking the Dead Sea. The scrolls date back to the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE and are among the earliest extant texts written in the Hebrew language – including the oldest available copies of biblical books.

The excavation is taking place at the Cave of Skulls in the Tze'elim Stream located near the Masada fortress. Due the difficulty in reaching the site, an access trail requiring the use of rappelling equipment has been constructed after obtaining a special permit. The excavation is expected to end in two weeks, depending on its success.

"It is exciting to see the extraordinary work of the volunteers in complicated field conditions due to their desire to join this historic undertaking and discover findings that can provide priceless information about our past here," said Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). "After all, the Dead Sea scrolls are of religious, political, and historical importance to Jews, Christians and all of humanity."

Several attempts to plunder the contents of the Cave of Skulls have been thwarted in the past. The most recent case occurred when a group of Palestinian robbers were caught red handed in 2014. They were sentenced to a prison term after archaeological artifacts were found in their possession.

The excavation is conducted by archaeologists Dr. Eitan Klein, Dr. Uri Davidovich, Royee Porat and Amir Ganor, accompanied by researchers from the Hebrew University and hundreds of volunteers. "The excavation at the Tze'elim Stream is an operation of extraordinary complexity and scope, and one that has not occurred in the Judean Desert in the past thirty years," said Amir Ganor. "There are hundreds of caves in cliffs in the area, access to which is both dangerous and challenging. In almost every cave that we examined we found evidence of illicit intervention and it is simply heart-breaking."

The plan has been promoted by the IAA, in cooperation with the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and with Culture Minister Miri Regev. "The antiquity robbers are plundering the land's history and we cannot allow that," said Regev. "The Dead Sea scrolls are an exciting testament of paramount importance that bears witness to the existence of Israel in this land 2,000 years ago. It is our duty to protect these unique treasures, which belong to the Jewish people and to the entire world. I will work to increase the punishment against those that rob our country's antiquities."

Over the years, inspectors have arrested antiquities robbers who attempted to steal some of the scrolls. However, the IAA said in a statement that "only by excavating all of the scrolls in the ground and transferring them to the state will it be possible to ensure their preservation for future generations."


Fox Sports Reporter Fired After Anti-Semitic outburst

By YnetNews

Fox Sports journalist Emily Austen was fired from her job as a sideline reporter over the weekend after telling a story about "stingy Jews" to Barstool Sports.

Austen is seen sitting on a couch with three other men being interviewed. She opened up with racist comments against Mexicans saying that "they're not the smartest" and then added another comment about Chinese people.

The writer, who covered the Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Rays, finally added her anti-Semitic comments about "stingy Jews," saying "I just didn't care about the way I spoke to Jews in Boca (Raton, Florida)," she said, describing her time as a waitress. "They would complain about everything. I gave one guy a beer, and he complained that there was too much head on it. I knew that he was crazy stingy, and that he wouldn't leave me a tip," she said.

Fox Sports clarified that this is not the official position of the network, and that the reporter's statements were unacceptable. Meanwhile, the video has been deleted, but copies of the video still exist on YouTube.

However, Austen wrote an apology on her Facebook, saying "I made a terrible mistake. I was in an environment where I was trying to be funny and make a joke, and my comments were insensitive. You can trust this was absolutely not my intention. Anyone who knows me knows that it is not how I truly feel. I will continue to work hard and prove myself and make things right. I know I have some growing to do, and I sincerely apologize. Something like this will never happen again."


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