Newsletter : 17fx1205.txt
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Syria: Another Israeli Air Strike Near Damascus
By DEBKAfile & YnetNews.com
Foreign media report that Monday night, Dec. 4, Israeli aircraft attacked a "scientific
research center" in Jamraya on the outskirts of Damascus. Lebanese sources say Israel
fired six missiles, three of which were intercepted by Syria's air defense system. This
would be the second Israeli air raid in three days of a military target in the Damascus
Last Saturday, Israeli aircraft attacked a secret conference of pro-Iranian Shiite
militia chiefs outside Al-Kiswah, 14km southwest of Damascus and 50km from Israel's Golan
border. Some Iranian and Hizbullah officers were killed in that attack as well.
Hizbullah's Al Mayadeen network reports that Israel attacked the same "scientific research
center" four years ago in May 2013. Witnesses attested to loud explosions and dense smoke
rising from this military facility.
Israel's ambassador to Washington Ron Lauder commented Monday, "The chances of military
confrontation are growing." Speaking in an interview with the local Politico, the
ambassador said: "I can't tell you by the year or by the month. I'd say even by the week.
Because the more they push, we have to enforce our red lines
So, in taking action to
defend ourselves, you don't know what could happen." Lauder concluded: "But I think it's
higher than people think."
According to Al Mayadeen, Israel fired six missiles, with three of them intercepted by
Syria's aerial defense systems. So far, there have been no reports of casualties or
damage. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported "violent explosions"
shaking Damascus and its surrounding area caused by missiles fired by Israeli warplane and
targeting places near Jamraya.
The Observatory, which cited unidentified sources, said there were also "flashes in the
shelling area believed to be caused regime's air defense launching its missiles to
intercept." The Jamraya area contains many military facilities as well as what is likely a
chemical weapons production and storage site.
NY Times: New Pro-Israeli Saudi Peace Plan
The New York Times reported Monday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presented a
plan to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that would be more tilted toward the Israelis
than any ever embraced by the American government
The Palestinians would get a state but only on noncontiguous parts of the West
Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli
settlements in the West Bank would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East
Jerusalem as their capital, only Abu Dis, and there would be no right of return for
Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The White House and Saudi government before
denied owning this plan, but it has gained enough currency in the Middle East to deeply
alarm the Palestinians.
Trump Delays Decision on Embassy Move
President Donald Trump's decision on whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will not come by a Monday deadline, the White House said, according
to AFP. "The president has been clear on this issue from the get-go: It's not a matter of
if, it's a matter of when," said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley hours before the
administration's decision was due.
Trump had been due to decide on Monday whether to sign a legal waiver delaying by six
months plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as successive administrations
have done at regular intervals for more than two decades. "No action though will be taken
on the waiver today and we will declare a decision on the waiver in the coming days,"
In 2016, then-candidate Trump vowed to implement the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which
calls for the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital city,
Jerusalem. Nevertheless, in June of 2017, Trump signed a six-month waiver allowing the
embassy to remain in Tel Aviv which was due to expire on Monday.
Sources in Washington and Jerusalem have claimed in recent weeks that the Trump
administration is preparing for a major change in American policy vis-à-vis the
Israeli capital city, with either an announcement on the relocation of the embassy planned
this week, or formal recognition of the city as Israel's capital.
While reports said that Trump could recognize Jerusalem as soon as Wednesday, his
son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner said on Sunday that the president has yet to
reach a final decision.
That 50-Shekel Bill with the Intermarried Poet's Picture? Don't Look at It, An Israeli
A prominent Haredi Orthodox Sephardi rabbi in Israel ruled that religious people should
not look at the 50-shekel banknote because the poet featured on its front was married to a
Rabbi Benzion Mutzafi reportedly made the ruling over the weekend concerning the bill
showing Shaul Tchernichovsky, a renowned Hebrew poet who was married to a non-Jewish
Russian woman named Melania Karlova. The ruling was first reported on the Haredi Orthodox
news website Kikar Hashabbat. The bill was unveiled in 2014.
"They say that at the time, (then-chief rabbi) Rabbi Avraham Kook begged, implored and
asked him to try to convince her to convert to Judaism. And he refused," Mutzafi
reportedly said of Tchernichovsky. The rabbi also said: "In our tradition, there are grave
things written about whoever (lives) with a Christian. Tied to him like a dog. (They) are
Mutzafi reportedly took out a 50-shekel banknote and told one of his students that he
was forbidden from looking at it. The rabbi said he keeps such banknotes folded with the
portrait on the inside, so he does not have to look at it.
London Orthodox Teacher Fired for Living with Her Boyfriend Wins Discrimination
A teacher at a Jewish nursery school in suburban London who said she was fired for
living with her boyfriend won her case of religious and sexual discrimination. Zelda de
Groen, 24, sued the Gan Menachem Nursery in Hendon after losing her job in July 2016. She
had worked there for four years.
On Friday, the Watford Employment Tribunal said that de Groen's experience with the
school was "undoubtedly humiliating, degrading and offensive." It dismissed the school's
claims that it was justified in firing her. The tribunal will hold an additional hearing
at an undetermined date to discuss compensation. In her lawsuit, de Groen had asked for
more than $26,000. The nursery for children under the age of 8 was described as
"ultra-Orthodox" in court.
De Groen grew up in a Haredi Orthodox home in Stamford Hill in London, but left "after
many years of significant discontent." She moved in with her boyfriend in April 2016. The
couple married in July.
In May 2016, they were guests at a barbecue along with some school trustees and parents
of pupils. During the event, it became known that the unmarried couple was living
together. Some parents spoke to the school about their objections to de Groen's living
situation afterward, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
De Groen told the tribunal that school managers subjected her to a "humiliating"
hourlong interview in which they said it was time for her to get married. She also
described their tone as "threatening. I was told that having kids outside of marriage is
wrong and will not be tolerated. Their comments, and the personal nature of the meeting,
were humiliating," she said.
De Groen told the tribunal that the nursery told her one solution to the issue would be
for her to lie about her living situation. Two days after the meeting, de Groen asked her
managers for an apology but instead was given a letter notifying her of disciplinary
proceedings. She was fired a month later.
Magen David Adom Prepares to Establish Mother's Milk Bank
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
Breast milk, like 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
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 period ranging from 3-9 months
post-partum. The expected demand for mother's milk is estimated to be hundreds of liters a
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 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 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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