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Israeli hikers attacked in Samaria; Palestinian shot dead

Parent accompanying group of children on bar mitzvah hike says large number of Palestinians surrounded them, threw rocks and snatched his gun - Parent says fired warning shots before firing at assailants, killing one - "We were caught off guard," he says. Efrat Forsher, Daniel Siryoti, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff

A group of children fled to a cave after being attacked by Palestinians Thursday | Photo: TPS

A Jewish hiker shot and killed a Palestinian in a grave incident on Thursday, as the shooter accompanied a group of children on a hike in Samaria marking one of the hikers' bar mitzvah celebration.

A large number of Palestinians surrounded the group of hikers, approaching them and throwing rocks. Three boys sustained minor injuries in the altercation.

A parent of one of the hikers, who accompanied the group and was carrying a weapon for safety reasons, felt threatened and fired. One of the Palestinian assailants was critically wounded in the incident, and was ultimately declared dead after failed resuscitation efforts.

The children fled to a nearby cave and waited to be rescued by Israeli security forces. When the troops arrived, they administered first aid to the wounded and dispersed the Palestinians. Finally, the hikers were rescued and evacuated.

"The hike was coordinated with the Samaria Brigade in advance," said one area official. "It was approved by security forces on the terms that two parents accompanied the group and were armed. The moment they were surrounded by Palestinians, they quickly called for help, but before the forces arrived they felt they were in mortal danger and one of the guards had to fire warning shots, followed by fire at the aggressors."

One of the parents described the incident, saying, "We are parents to children. We were caught off guard in the open area by dozens of Arabs who were hurling rocks and boulders at us. We had to fire into the air in self-defense. During the incident, my gun was snatched by one of the Arabs. Our lives were completely in danger, and the children fled to the cave. We did everything we could to protect ourselves and the children."

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Rock-throwing assault on Jewish children hiking ends in shooting death of Palestinian November 30, 2017 9:12am

Palestinians clashing with Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank, Nov. 30, 2017. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian man was shot dead amid a rock-throwing assault on Jewish children hiking in the West Bank.

During the hike, which was celebrating the bar mitzvah of one of the children, the group walked near the Palestinian village of Qusra, located near Nablus, according to reports.

Parents escorting the children reportedly said at least 30 Palestinian men surrounded them and started throwing rocks. An Israeli father escorting the hike, one of two carrying a gun, fired into the crowd to break it up.

Palestinian sources identified the dead man as Mahmoud Odeh, 48, a farmer from Qusra. Two Jewish fathers escorting the hikers were injured.

The parent escorts ushered the boys into a cave to keep them safe until Israeli security forces arrived, according to reports. Security forces reportedly used riot dispersal methods, including tear gas, on both sides to stop the clashes.

The Israel Defense Forces said the father shot at Odeh in "self-defense."

Palestinian reports said Odeh was working in his field when the hikers arrived. Get JTA's Daily Briefing in your inbox
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Soldier killed in terror attack in southern Israel

Soldier killed in stabbing in Arad. Police say murder appears to have been terror. Killer still at large. Contact Editor
David Rosenberg, 30/11/17 22:17 | updated: 00:51 Share

An Israeli soldier was stabbed to death at a bus stop in southern Israel Thursday night, in what authorities believe may have been a terror attack.

The incident occurred at 9:26 p.m. in the southern Israeli town of Arad, east of Beer Sheva.

MDA emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene of the stabbing, but were forced to declare the victim after attempting to resuscitate him.

Police say the stabbing took place at a bus station near a local mall, and that they are still investigating the circumstances of the incident.

The assailant fled the scene shortly after the stabbing and remains at large. Police units are searching the surrounding area for the suspect.

MDA paramedic Ziv Shapira described the scene of the stabbing: "When we arrived, we saw a young man, roughly 20 years old, who was lying on the ground unconscious and with no vital signs, and with stab wounds across his upper torso."

"We provided life-saving medical care and performed advanced resuscitation techniques, but we were ultimately forced to declare him dead at the scene."


New bill would permit Israeli travel to Kurdish-controlled areas

A new bill would remove the 'enemy territory' definition applied to Kurdish areas. Contact Editor
Tzvi Lev, 30/11/17 20:24

Kurds in Iraq
Kurds in IraqReuters

A new bill proposed by MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) would enable Israelis to travel to Kurdish-controlled areas. As the Kurds live in areas spread across Iran, Iraq, and Syria, Kurdish-controlled areas are defined as enemy territory and are off limits to Israelis.

Svetlova, who was an Arab affairs reporter before entering the Knesset, told the Times of Israel that she initiated the bill in order to strengthen the ties between Israel and the Kurds. "It's important for Israeli citizens who are interested in pursuing ties with the Kurds to know that when they come back from Kurdistan they won't be persecuted by a variety of security agencies, and this is unfortunately what happens now," she said.

Kurdish affairs analyst Zach Daniel praised the move, telling Arutz Sheva that the Kurdish people were natural allies for Israel. "Time and again, the Kurds proved their dedication to defeat terrorism and promote human rights" he said.

"They've built semi-autonomous areas, safe for tourism, business — and with ethnic and religious pluralism," he added. "Their reward begins with being treated differently from the arbitrarily-defined, failed states adjacent to them. t's not only about Israel. Every country should revise their policies to reflect this reality. "

"MK Svetlova's bill does just that, and all parties should back her common-sense efforts."

The proposed bill came as the Knesset held a conference devoted to ties between the Kurdish people and Israel. Svetlova, who chairs the Lobby for Strengthening the Relationship between the State of Israel and the Kurdish People, repeatedly called on Israelis to increase their cooperation with the Kurds.

There are similarities in our destinies," she told the conference.

Israel had been the only country to openly support Kurdish independence after the Kurdish declaration of independence in October, with Netanyahu backing "the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own."

Jewish leader says anti-Semitism growing in Germany

Recent surveys indicate that 90% of Germany's Jews perceive growing anti-Semitism as a very big problem, head of Germany's Central Council of Jews Josef Schuster says - Far-right nationalists, Muslim immigrants pose the biggest threat, Schuster says. Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

Some 70% of German Jews avoid carrying any Jewish symbols in public, community leader says | Illustration: Reuters

The head of Germany's Central Council of Jews says that anti-Semitism is growing in the country, causing concern for a community that is otherwise blossoming more than seven decades after the Holocaust.

Josef Schuster said at a reception of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin on Wednesday that Jews in Germany fear the increased anti-Semitism of far-right nationalists, Muslim immigrants and leftists, who often disguise their anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel.

Schuster said that recent surveys have found that "90% of Jews perceive anti-Semitism as a very big problem and 70% avoid carrying any Jewish symbols in public."

He also called out the nationalist Alternative for Germany, which he said tolerates Holocaust deniers in their party and does not distance itself clearly from anti-Semitic sentiment.

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Researchers date discovery of Christ's tomb in Jerusalem to Roman era


Thousands gather to see restored site of Jesus's tomb in Jerusalem >
Church leaders protest `attempt to weaken Christian presence' in Jerusalem

November 30, 2017 19:20
Analyzing gypsum mortar connecting that slab to the bedrock allowed them to determine its age, dating it to 335-345 AD. 1 minute read.

Worshippers stand nearby as a priest peers out from the Edicule, the burial place housing the purpor

Worshippers stand nearby as a priest peers out from the Edicule, the burial place housing the purported tomb of Jesus, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City November 3, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

ATHENS - Mortar under a slab at the heart of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre dates to the era of Roman Emperor Constantine, confirming historical accounts of the discovery of the place where Christians believe Jesus was entombed, researchers say.

According to historical accounts, Constantine - who was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity - discovered the rocky tomb with assistance from his mother Helena between 325 and 326 AD, buried beneath a temple to the Roman goddess Venus.

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Today it is visited regularly by millions of pilgrims and tended by priests from several Christian denominations under strict rules still in place from the Ottoman era.

Virtually razed to the ground in 1009, the Holy Sepulchre complex was rebuilt over the centuries by various Christian groups, including the Byzantines and the Crusaders from the 12th century onward.

But a team of scientists and restorers who completed almost nine months of work on the tomb last March said they were able to determine that a slab at the heart of the compound dated from Constantine's time.

"That was a great moment to validate," said Professor Antonia Moropoulou, Chief Scientific Supervisor from the National Technical University of Athens who directed the restoration project.

The researchers restored a structure inside the church called the Edicule, which is believed to house the tomb itself. Their work included removing a marble slab which covers a ledge where Christ, according to Christian scriptures, was lain after crucifixion and resurrected on the third day.

A second fractured slab was found beneath the top slab, attached to the bedrock and engraved with a cross. Analyzing gypsum mortar connecting that slab to the bedrock allowed them to determine its age, dating it to 335-345 AD.

"When we opened the tomb and saw this broken gray slab with an engraved cross we didn't know from which era it was," Moropoulou told Reuters. "We concluded, according to concrete results, that the slab which was adjoined to the bedrock of the tomb of Christ was of the Constantinean era."

Moropoulou said she herself had half expected to find that the slab, like the church around it, dated from a later era.

She felt "great. Very happy indeed. I did not expect it...but the monument talks, and it says its history." sign up to our newsletter

Magen David Adom prepares to establish Mother's Milk Bank

Association for Mother's Milk Donation and MDA to begin operating first National Mother's Milk Bank in Israel for Premature and Sick Babies. Contact Editor
Mordechai Sones, 27/11/17 18:46

Breast milk storage
Breast milk storageiStock

In April of 2018 the first national Mother's Milk Bank is set to open in Israel. The service will be established by Magen David Adom in collaboration with the Association for Mother's Milk Donation. The organization will allow nursing women to donate excess mother's milk to babies whose mothers are not available or able to nurse. The Bank will be established in the MDA Jerusalem station, and the facility's operation will be funded mostly by MDA and partially by the Health Ministry.

Mother's milk offers many benefits, including providing antibodies that defend babies against diseases and enable immune development, a process of utmost importance among premature and sick babies. Baby food formulas and substitutes do not offer the same advantages.

Breast milk, similar to blood units, is a human secretion containing stem cells and white blood cells – an irreplaceable composition. Research conducted in the field by Dr. Sharon Bransburg Zabary has affirmed this unique benefit. Bransburg Zabary is a member of the establishing committee of the Association of Mother's Milk Donation and was one of the activists who spearheaded this initiative to which MDA and relevant government offices enlisted.

According to medical statistics, only 30% of women nurse without using any substitutes or formula, and could act as potential donors to the Mother's Milk Bank. The average donation volume ranges from 100-200 cc per day during a time period ranging from 3-9 months post-partum. The expected demand for mother's milk is estimated to be hundreds of liters a month.

Potential donors include healthy nursing mothers with excess milk who fulfill Health Ministry requirements, live a healthy lifestyle and can provide a donation without hindering their ability to nurse their own babies. There are two types of milk:

Milk for premature babies from a mother who gave birth between the 34th week and through six weeks post-partum. Milk from a mother who gave birth on her planned due date.

The donation process ensures milk quality. Women who nurse and are interested in donating should approach the Mother's Milk Bank and will be invited for a medical interview, as well as undergo a set of tests to ensure safety and quality of the milk. Women who are found to be healthy and eligible will pump excess milk using a personal pump authorized according to global standards. They may do so either at home or at a hospital. The milk will be kept in a special bag at a cold temperature until it is collected by MDA. The donor will state the volume of each donation as appears on the pump, her name, date, and whether or not anything unusual occurred during pumping. MDA will then coordinate a convenient time to collect the donation.

Dr. Asher Moser, Deputy Director of MDA Blood Services and Expert in Pediatric Hemato-Oncology said: "As part of the process, the units will be stored in the Milk Bank, and will undergo additional tests for monitoring and elimination of infectious diseases, nutritional analysis, processing, rapid freezing, etc. Units will be stored at a temperature of minus-20 degrees Celsius and will be transferred to babies in need. According to Health Ministry policy, the milk will be distributed according to medical prioritization – firstly, to premature babies or other hospitalized babies. If there are any leftovers, they will be distributed to any babies in need."

VP Director of MDA Blood Services, Professor Eilat Shinar said: "Establishing the National Mother's Milk Bank will significantly enhance the resources required to treat premature babies and other newborns. This blessed collaboration between MDA, the Association for Mother's Milk Donation, and the Health Ministry enables unification of the experienced knowledge of each one of the bodies leading up to the establishment of this important project, to a single goal: Increasing the chances of survival and health of premature babies and newborns in Israel."

The new Mother's Milk Bank at MDA will be managed by Dr. Sharon Bransburg Zabary, a member of the establishing committee of the "Association for Mother's Milk Donation", established in 2015. She stated: "It is a natural connection to establish a project like this with the organization that operates the blood services of the State and is skilled at the required procedures."

Dr. Bransburg Zabari emphasized that in cases of premature and sick babies who suffer from a premature immune system, the requirement for mother's milk is a matter of life or death. "The immune system of a premature baby isn't developed and is vulnerable. Only breast milk provides all vital components – as opposed to substitute formulas that are costly and could hurt the intestine and cause severe infections in premature babies." It should also be noted that one of the risks of the current situation is that mothers of premature babies go through extreme lengths to acquire mother's milk, including doing so privately and without necessary medical inspection."

MDA Director General, Eli Bin said: "To this day, the need for a national mother's milk bank has been widely talked about in Israel and I am happy that the Health Ministry approached MDA to establish the first of a kind bank that would provide this milk in high quality and safety. We operate in order to ensure the safety and needs of all civilians of Israel with an emphasis on saving the lives of babies requiring mother's milk. I commend this new initiative and would like to thank everyone involved. I am proud that MDA, an organization that is based on donations and isn't funded by the government, is able to establish projects to the benefit and welfare of all residents of Israel."


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