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Newsletter : 19fx0107.txt

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Two Israeli Air Strikes against Hamas for Incendiary Balloons

By World Israel News & JTA

Israeli fighters struck two Hamas positions in northern and southern Gaza Sunday night after a cluster of balloons carried an explosive device onto a field in the Sedot Negev Regional Council. It exploded while being dismantled by a police robot. Local sources report that Hamas has begun evacuating its military compounds. The explosives detonated early Sunday afternoon as a military bomb disposal robot inspected the model airplane, which bore the name of a Gazan engineering college on its side. The bomb was flown into Israel using a large cluster of balloons and a drone-like glider device, landing in a carrot field in the Sedot Negev region of southern Israel shortly before noon. In retaliation for the cross-border attack from Gaza, Israeli military helicopters struck two Hamas positions east of the city of Khan Younis, according to the IDF. Palestinian media reported that Israel also attacked targets near Jabalia, in northern Gaza, and in the Zeitoun area of Gaza City, in the center of the strip. The IDF refused to comment on the Palestinian reports. There was no clear charge that Hamas had launched the balloons into Israel, but the longstanding Israeli policy is that because Hamas rules in the coastal enclave, it bears ultimate responsibility for any such attack. The bouquet of dozens of colorful balloons was reminiscent of a birthday celebration, the IDF noted in a tweet. It said that they were "flown from Gaza into Israel by Hamas, with the intention of killing innocent Israelis."

Bolton: US to Stay in Syria, Warns Assad against Using Chemical Weapons

By Israel Hayom & the Jerusalem Post

National Security Adviser John Bolton raised US concerns on Sunday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over China's creeping role in Israel's critical infrastructure, particularly its upcoming management of Haifa Port, a frequent dock for the US Sixth Fleet. White House officials confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that Bolton raised the Haifa matter. The Post exclusively reported last month that the US Navy might change its longstanding operations there once the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) – a company in which the Chinese government has a majority stake – takes over the city's civilian port in 2021. Senior Israeli officials have recently told the Post that they are aware of Washington's concerns and are working to address them. "The State of Israel is dealing with all aspects connected to the establishment and management of infrastructure by foreign companies in Israel," Intelligence and Transportation Minister Israel Katz, who pioneered the project and is also a member of the security cabinet, said. Israeli officials have also confirmed that the government is reviewing how to ensure that Chinese construction and management of the port does not adversely impact ties with the US. The Americans are said to be concerned that China will use the port to improve its standing in the Middle East and potentially gather intelligence on US interests. The Israeli security cabinet recently convened to discuss friction with the Trump administration over the port and agreed to set up a mechanism to prevent possible problems with the Americans. Israeli officials did not immediately confirm whether Netanyahu presented this mechanism to Bolton on Sunday, or whether it would assuage US concerns. Commander Kyle Raines from the Sixth Fleet said last month there were currently no changes to operations in Israel. But "I can't speculate on what might or might not occur in 2021," he added, asked whether China's coming presence might affect fleet operations in the Mediterranean city. SIPG operated the largest port in the world in Shanghai and was the sole bidder for the Haifa project. It plans on growing the bay terminal into Israel's largest harbor over the life of its 25-year contract with the government. The two also discussed the fight against Iran and their countries' respective new footing ahead of the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. A senior U.S. official in Bolton's team told NBC News over the weekend that despite Trump's declaration that the withdrawal would be total, an American contingent could stay behind in Syria in the months following the pullout. The official also said the U.S. did not have a specific timetable for the planned withdrawal, despite reports last week that it would take place throughout four months. Similar comments were also made by U.S. State Department officials, who said the pullout would be implemented in a manner that we and our partners "continue the pressure on ISIS and don't leave behind a vacuum for the terrorists." Regardless of a timeline for the removal of U.S. forces, the official in Bolton's delegation added that some of the troops leaving Syria would be sent to Iraq. As for the forces that will perhaps stay behind, it's highly likely those will include the several hundred soldiers stationed at Al-Tanf, located on the strategic highway connecting Tehran with Baghdad and Damascus. Netanyahu also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday night. The two leaders discussed the situation in Syria and the airstrike attributed to Israel almost two weeks ago. According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu and Putin "agreed on the continuation of security coordination between their armies, and the prime minister said Israel was determined to continue its efforts to prevent Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria." Bolton, for his part, warned the Syrian government on Saturday that it should not see the impending U.S. military withdrawal as an invitation to use chemical weapons. "There is absolutely no change in the U.S. position against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and absolutely no change in our position that any use of chemical weapons would be met by a very strong response, as we've done twice before," Bolton told reporters on his plane shortly before landing in Tel Aviv. "So the regime, the Assad regime, should be under no illusions on that question," said Bolton. He said he was not suggesting Syria appeared ready to use chemical weapons. "As we elaborate how the [U.S. troop] withdrawal is going to occur and the circumstances, we don't want the Assad regime to see what we do as representing any diminution in our opposition to the use of weapons of mass destruction," he said. If chemical weapons were to be used, "a lot of options would be on the table ... if they don't heed the lessons of those two strikes the next one will be more telling," Bolton said.

CBS Refuses to Pull Pro-Israel Interview with Egyptian Leader

By Israel Hayom

CBS News rejected a request from the Egyptian government to pull an interview with the country's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Although the network declined to say what exactly drew opposition from Cairo, the government is believed to be concerned by el-Sissi's comments on Israel. Asked in the interview with the "60 Minutes" program whether cooperation between Egypt and Israel was the closest it had ever been, el-Sissi responded, "That is correct. … We have a wide range of cooperation with the Israelis." Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula for several years, battling an estimated 1,000 Islamic State-affiliated terrorists that Cairo has allowed the Israelis to attack by air. In February, Egypt launched "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018" to rid the peninsula of terrorists. In recent years Israel has allowed the Egyptian military to boost its presence in the peninsula several times as part of the country's war on terror. Other than on security issues, Israel and Egypt maintain close diplomatic ties, as Egypt is the chief mediator between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip. The interview, which was recorded when el-Sissi was in New York to attend a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in late September, was set to air Sunday evening. CBS said in a statement the Egyptian embassy contacted the news show "shortly after" the interview and requested that it not be aired.

Report: Iraqi Delegations Visit Israel, Meet Jewish-Iraqi Experts

By the Jerusalem Post

Three Iraqi delegations composed of 15 local leaders visited Israel in recent weeks, Hadashot news reported on Sunday evening, the Iraqis visited Yad VaShem, discussed Jewish-Iraqi history with academics and met Israeli government officials. The under-wraps visit is highly uncommon as, under the late Saddam Hussein Iraq fired missiles on Israel during the first Gulf War and many of its citizens were taught to view Israel and Israelis in a negative light, despite the important presence of Jews in Iraq since the Babylonian captivity. The secret visit focused on issues of culture and heritage and included Sunni and Shiite members, the report claimed that these were not Iraqi-Kurdish visitors. In June, Iraqi representative at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant Sarah Idan visited Israel and reunited with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, after a shared photo of the two women caused an uproar in Iraq, forcing her family to relocate.

One-Quarter of all Jewish Holocaust Victims were Murdered in 100 days in 1942

By JNS.org

Almost a quarter of the Jews killed in the Holocaust were murdered during 100 days in 1942, making it the time frame with the highest killing pace in the 20th century, according to a new Israeli study. The mass murder between August and October 1942 included Jews exterminated in Auschwitz, in Ukraine and as part of "Operation Reinhard," an intense mass-slaughter campaign carried out by the Nazis between March 1942 and November 1943 in death camps Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor. The operation itself killed some 1.7 million Polish Jews. That rate during that operation has been "poorly quantified in the past," said Lewi Stone, a professor at Tel Aviv University, who published his study in the Science Advances academic journal. He mentioned that the Nazis destroyed most records of the killings. The estimated average of 15,000 deaths daily during the "extreme phase of hyper-intense killing" is nearly three times greater than previous approximations. Stone said that the murder pace declined in November 1942 due to "relatively few Jews left" in Nazi-controlled places in and around Poland, "so the rate of the killing likely subsided because of the difficulty of rounding up victims. Historians, social scientists, policy-makers and journalists have consistently relied on inaccurate assessments that greatly underestimated the Holocaust kill rate during `Operation Reinhard,'" wrote Stone.

Who Knew? Hebrew May be the Basis for Many English and European Words

By JNS

English and European words such as alphabet, earth, loco and habitat could come from Hebrew, according to an independent Israeli linguistics researcher who has written a number of unpublished dictionaries, articles and books. According to the English Oxford Dictionary, the word etymology refers to "the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history." Researchers can make inferences based on studying the roots of the words and their meanings and try to piece together the history of words, though it's far from an exact science. Modern works on the subject are lacking, and one Israeli—Tony Daccre Barat, 73, born in Romania and now living in Akko, Israel—has studied linguistics on his own as a hobby for the past four decades. He and his wife, who has a Ph.D. in architecture, live on a paltry stipend from the government of $1,200 a month. Barat is familiar with several languages, including Hebrew, Yiddish, Romanian, French and English. In 1951, he immigrated to Israel with his family and served in the army, studied political science at Haifa University, and later studied linguistics for one year in Paris. Barat noticed during his studies in Paris that nobody was making the links from European languages to Hebrew and that there was no desire to do so. "Hebrew is a much older language as well, so it makes sense the roots of words go back before Latin or Greek," he theorized. In 1990, Barat returned to Romania and started a consulting company with his wife, assisting Israeli investors. "Modern scholarship does not deal at all with the etymology of European or world languages from Hebrew," said Barat. "It seems crazy at first, as Hebrew is written from right to left. But if you look more closely, similarities can be discovered." Scholarship exists on the connection between Hebrew and European languages, noted Barat, adding that he has around 1,500 books in his personal library that touch on the subject, often indirectly. Barat has many theories regarding the Hebrew roots of certain European language words. Take the word "earth" in English, which in Hebrew is eretz, or the word more associated with land, adama. In Arabic, it is ard, German erde, and in Romanian tara. The ending of these words can have differing pronunciations weather ending with a "se," "te" or "de" sound. If you experiment with the different ending accent on these words, they sound quite similar. Or, for example, the word "phrase" (which is the same in French), which Barat concludes comes from the Hebrew three-letter root "paras" or "faras," from the word "lifrosh," meaning to interpret. In Spanish, the word is frase, in Romanian fraza as well, and the same sound in Russian. The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word comes from the Greek frasi, but Barat infers it originates in Hebrew. The word loco in Spanish means "crazy," "distraught" or "deranged," and according to dictionaries it comes from the Andalusian Arabic lawqa, signifying a foolish person. Barat theorizes that it comes from the Hebrew word laka, meaning to be defective, to become ill or to receive lashes. In Aramaic (a Semitic language that replaced Hebrew for local Jews and was displaced by Arabic in the seventh-century CE), laka means to be stricken with a disease. The Hebrew word likui means suffering from a deficiency. Another is the word habitat, which Barat thinks comes from the Hebrew word for house, bayit (???) or ha-bayit. The Online Etymology Dictionary puts it as originating in 1762 as a Latin term on English flora and fauna, literally "it inhabits." Also, "the word alphabet comes from Hebrew," claims Barat, noting that it is credited to having a Greek origin. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and bet is the second and the equivalent to the English "b." The letter "d" in English is usually attributed to the Greek delta, "but I think it refers to the fourth Hebrew letter, daled."

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