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Defense Minister: If Hamas Attacks, We will Destroy Them

By Israel Hayom

Speaking in a rare interview with Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman made it clear that Gaza Strip terrorist organization Hamas will not survive another attack on Israel. According to the defense minister, Hamas has spent at least half a billion dollars on military infrastructure in Gaza over the last few years. "Israel has no intention of conquering the Gaza Strip or beginning a new war, but if a war is forced upon it, the campaign will be destructive for Hamas."

He added that "Israel will be the first to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip and to invest in a seaport, an airport and in the Karni and Erez industrial zones -- if the tunnel digging, rocket launching and weapons smuggling are stopped," but he made it clear that "Israel will not hold any dialogue with Hamas."

In the interview, Lieberman also addressed the status of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, criticizing him sharply: "If there are elections in the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen [Abbas] will be defeated. Abbas is not capable of making tough decisions for the Palestinian people or of signing a permanent agreement that also includes the status of Jerusalem." He went on to say that Abbas leads a corrupt regime that violates human rights, women's rights and minorities' rights in the Palestinian territories.

Lieberman's remarks sparked criticism in Ramallah. Abbas' office released a statement saying, "Defense Minister Lieberman is deluding himself if he believes that he can find a Palestinian partner for peace who lines up with his stances."

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also rejected Lieberman's comments: "While the Israeli defense minister speaks about a two-state solution and says that Palestinian President Abbas is incapable of making tough decisions or signing a permanent agreement with Israel, he is sending occupation bulldozers to bury the remaining vestiges of a two-state solution."

The Palestinian Information Ministry took the criticism even further, saying in a statement, "He [Lieberman] who came here as an immigrant from Moldova, seems to have forgotten that the Palestinian refugees in Syria that he spoke about arrived there after they were forced to leave their homes and their land during the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Haganah, the Irgun and the Lehi in 1948."

Hamas' Information Ministry went as far as to hint that the issue of the newspaper featuring the Lieberman interview may be barred from distribution in the Gaza Strip. The ministry also released a statement saying, "The Palestinian people have the right to have a naval port and an airport without the exploitation of the occupation regime. The tunnels, the missiles and the other means of warfare are legitimate means of resisting the occupation and the repeated attacks from Israel."

The family of the late Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose body was taken by Hamas into a tunnel in Rafah on Aug. 1, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, spoke out in response to Lieberman's interview. "It is disappointing to see the minister responsible for bringing Hadar and Oron Shaul [a second IDF soldier whose remains are believed to be in Hamas' hands] back home is intentionally avoiding mentioning them in an interview with a major Palestinian media outlet," the Goldin family said in a statement.

"It is discouraging to see how much Lieberman has grown soft since beginning in this role -- the person who gave [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh 48 hours to return the kidnapped [soldiers] and civilians from the Gaza Strip now wants to turn Gaza into Singapore."

Another of Lieberman's comments in the interview that prompted reactions was his insistence that the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm be handed over to the Palestinian Authority. Lieberman said that he supports a two-state solution with land and population swaps, "because Israel does not need Umm al-Fahm." According to the defense minister, Israel must keep the settlement blocs, including Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Gush Etzion and Ariel, within its sovereign territory in any future agreement.

Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon responded to his remarks, saying, "This is a proposal for [population] transfer to revoke citizenship. Land swaps as part of an agreement are legitimate, but when Lieberman speaks about changing the state to which a citizen belongs without their consent, he is talking about [population] transfer; even if it is not geographic, it is the transfer of state and consciousness.

"Lieberman does not treat the Arab citizens of Israel like people, rather like merchandise being transferred to a merchant, their citizenship taken with a grain of salt. When he speaks of transferring them to another sovereign [state], he is essentially telling them that they are conditional citizens," adding "The revocation of citizenship, which Lieberman is proposing not for the first time, is illegal, immoral and goes against every principle of protecting basic human rights."

Joint Arab List MK and Umm al-Fahm resident Yousef Jabareen said, "Lieberman is continuing the incitement and delegitimization campaign against Umm al-Fahm residents and against the entire Arab population. I do not understand why we must be constantly threatened with the revocation of our citizenship, as if we owe it to Lieberman and not to our basic birthright. Everyone understands that Lieberman's motive is racist and his goal is to harm and weaken the Israeli Arab public."

Senior officials from the Umm al-Fahm Municipality released a statement, saying, "We understand that Mr. Lieberman has a fantasy of moving Umm al-Fahm and other towns in Wadi Ara to the territory of a Palestinian state. Lieberman can dream on because we belong to this land, and if he doesn't like that or it doesn't sit right with him, he can go back to Russia or Moldova or wherever he came from. We were here long before him and we will remain here long after him. Neither him nor any other racist politician like him will decide on our behalf."

At the same time, a senior official in the Islamic Movement's Northern Branch told Israel Hayom, "We would be happy to be a part of the independent Palestinian state and to be freed from the burden of the occupation and the racist laws of the State of Israel. Lieberman doesn't scare us."

The Muslim Prayer at Rome's Coliseum was a Declaration of War

By Giulio Meotti (Commentary)

Something dramatic happened last Friday in Rome and slowly, slowly we are starting to decipher it. A vast, silent mass of hundreds of Muslim faithful gathered to pray in front of Rome's Coliseum.

They chose a symbol of Western culture and did so under the wise guidance of political Imams. This was not an Islam respectful of the secular and democratic nature of Italian institutions. It was the political branch of an Islam that does not separate state and mosque, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose slogan has never changed since the time of Hassan al-Banna: "Allah is our goal, the Prophet our leader, the Koran our law, the jihad our way, dying for the way of Allah is our greatest hope."

That spectacular Islamic mass was like a refusal of the illusion of a cultural "peace" slowly being strangled and punctuated with Koranic invocations. Something similar had already happened in front of Milan's main cathedral and Bologna's church of San Petronio, the target of Islamic fundamentalism because of a fresco by Giovanni da Modena that depicts Mohammed among the damned, in accordance with Dante's Divine Comedy.

Islamists aim at a pedagogy that is not afraid of using words based on strength honor, faith and war. That mass prayer means that it is not possible to turn Muslims into liberal secularists. That Muslims could be assimilated to a secular environment.

Rome's prayer was part of the acculturation of Europe's Muslims, understood as "dar al shaada," a land of religious mission by Islamist organizations. The purpose of prayer was to advance loyalty to the Prophet. It was pure Islamic, their concept of "the solution."

Rome's prayer was not a "peaceful" rally, although there was no violence. It was not a manifestation of freedom of conscience, it was not the modern exercise of religious freedom. It was a declaration of cultural war, the deadly encirclement of Western secularism.

The well-known preacher Yussuf al Qaradawi said that the day will come when Rome will be Islamized. It remains to decide whether it will "by the word or by the sword". Last Friday's prayer t was by the word, while ISIS released videos in which the Coliseum is burned and bombed.

The American philosopher Lee Harris said a most important thing: The glory of the West has been the eradication of the virus of fanaticism, but perhaps we have achieved it at the price of our defeat.

The multicultural paradox, of which Rome's mass prayer was another manifestation, looks like this: We are afraid of each other and we try to flatter, we do not know ourselves so we don't see our enemy's goals. The mass prayer in front of the Coliseum is a way of saying, "we are radically different and we say this in front of your historical nationalist monument". But is there someone who hears them?

Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.

Belzer Rebbe: Smartphone Owners are 'Hiding from the World'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Belzer Rebbe issued a scathing attack on smartphones and their owners during his annual post-Simchat Torah message to the Belz community, accusing smartphone users of attempting to "hide" and of suffering brain damage, according to the Kikar news site.

The Belz dynasty and its followers were almost totally decimated in World War II, but the one Rebbe who escaped Europe, Rabbi Aharon, re-established the Belzer hassidic court in Israel, where they grew to be one of the largest and most successful hassidic communities in the world, with congregations in the US, UK and Canada as well as Israel.

The Rebbe said that smartphones are "worse than television" because "they are so small, you can fit them in a pocket and they can put all sorts of impurities in the world, in the pocket, and in the brain. People like to hide with these devices and think that no one will notice they are using them, but the devices are not invisible."

The Rebbe's stance against smartphones applies even to those who need them for work. The Belzer Rabbi has banned his followers from using smartphones for years. Only phones with special kosher filters to block immodest content are permitted. Even the popular communication tool WhatsApp has been banned.

Other haredi sectors and leaders have banned the use of smartphones. The Belzer Rebbe's ban follows closely upon the Vizhnitzer Rebbe who told his hassidic court the same in his post-holiday message. Last month one of the leading poseks (halakhic decisors) of non-hassidic haredi Jewry, Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, who lives in Bnei Brak, ruled that a bride must cancel her wedding if the groom owns a smartphone.

The Rebbe of Vizhnitz called upon his followers to speak in Yiddish whenever possible, and eschew the use of other languages. Speaking at a gathering of Vizhnitz hasidim Monday evening, the Rebbe noted that while use of Yiddish is common in hasidic households both in Israel and America, it nevertheless "needs to be strengthened," urging followers to speak only in Yiddish while talking with family members and other hasidim.

The Rebbe, who heads the large Hungarian hasidic dynasty, also criticized the use of cellular devices, calling them a waste of time. He noted that his comments related to approved "Kosher" phones and not unfiltered, "non-Kosher" devices. "I'm not talking about non-Kosher devices. That's something that [obviously] no one should have. I want to speak about devices that are considered very Kosher. They eat up people's time."

Responding to the oft-cited exemption from restrictions on digital devices and internet connections – business concerns – he added that "I know lots of people who make a living without such devices."


Centuries-Old Ten Commandments Tablet heads to Auction in Texas

By Reuters and Israel Hayom

A stone tablet thought to be about 1,500 years old with a worn-down chiseled inscription of the Ten Commandments will be sold next month at auction, with a stipulation that the buyer must put it on public display, an auction house said on Friday.

The 2-foot square slab of white marble weighs about 200 pounds and is believed to be the oldest existing stone inscription of the commandments, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions said. Opening bid is $250,000 for the stone, which the current owner likes to point out is not the original.

The tablet is inscribed in Samaritan script with the principles that are fundamental to Judaism and Christianity. It was probably chiseled during the late Roman or Byzantine era, between 300 and 500 CE, and marked the entrance of an ancient synagogue that was likely destroyed by the Romans, Heritage said in a statement.

It was discovered in 1913 during an excavation for a railroad line in Israel, said Rabbi Shaul Deutsch, founder of the Living Torah Museum, in Brooklyn, New York, which obtained the tablet in 2005. An Arab man, possibly a construction worker, acquired it and set it in his courtyard, where it remained for three decades, Deutsch said.

The museum, which contains a large collection of artifacts of Jewish life and history dating back to antiquity, is shifting toward a more hands-on focus to attract younger visitors and decided it was time to sell the artifact. "The sale will provide us with the money to do what we need to do. It's all for the best," Deutsch said in a statement.

The tablet was acquired in 1943 by an archaeologist who owned it until his death in 2000. Deutsch was able to acquire the tablet temporarily through an agreement with the Israel Antiquities Authority and then purchased it outright after a legal settlement, Heritage officials said.

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