Newsletter : 19fx0227.txt
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Netanyahu: There won't be Another Mosque on the Temple Mount
By Israel Hayom
Tensions continued to bubble Monday on the Temple Mount after the Gate of Mercy
structure near Al-Aqsa mosque was certified as another mosque, with silent agreement from
Israel despite official denials issued by Israeli authorities. Government officials
said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued an order to remove equipment from the site
and disallow prayer there.
The structure was recently fitted with rugs and other furnishings along with renovations.
Eran Tzidkiyahu of the Forum for Regional Thinking visited the site on Monday and assessed
that it would soon be used as a permanent prayer area for Muslims.
Meanwhile, the Islamic authority that oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, known as
the Waqf, announced it has already appointed an imam for the Gate of Mercy structure and
that its status would be identical to other sites of worship on the Temple Mount.
Israeli police on Sunday arrested the head of waqf authority, Sheikh Abdelazeem Salhab,
and other waqf leaders, following violent protests last week on the Temple Mount. Salhab,
who was released shortly after his arrest and barred from the area for one week, was
appointed by neighboring Jordan.
If Israel does not act to reverse the trend, the number of mosques at the Temple Mount
compound will stand at five. Some 52 years ago, immediately following the Six-Day War,
there was only one mosque, Al-Aqsa mosque. Over time, the Dome of the Rock was also
certified as a mosque and mostly served Muslim women on Fridays. In the 1990s, two other
mosques were certified, but underground: the Gate of Mercy area, which some Muslims in
recent days have hailed as the "fifth mosque," was shut down by Israel in 2005 after a
Hamas-linked group carried out activities there.
The new waqf leadership, comprising officials from Fatah, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas
and the Muslim Brotherhood, breached the site around two weeks ago, and last Friday
thousands of worshippers prayed there. The waqf leaders arrested by Israel, as stated,
were released a short while later on shaky legal grounds, as the aforementioned
Hamas-affiliated group that had operated there, and which served as the pretext for
shutting the site down, no longer exists, and doubts emerged over the legality of the most
recent closure order.
It should be noted that before 2005, although the compound was controlled by the Muslims,
it didn't function as a mosque and people normally didn't use it for worship. Senior
Arab-Israeli figures, among them the head of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab
citizens of Israel, former MK Mohammad Barakeh, together with representatives of the Balad
and Ra'am parties, visited the structure on Monday and met with waqf leaders.
"It is the right of every Muslim to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque. The actions of the Israeli
government to Judaize Jerusalem and erode the status quo at Al-Aqsa will be met with
strong resistance," they threatened.
An Israeli government official said: "The prime minister gave instructions to enforce the
court's order without compromise. The political echelon won't allow the site to become a
mosque. This directive was passed to the police, and this message was delivered to certain
authorities and Jordan as well. The prime minister has instructed the public security
minister [Gilad Erdan] to remove the rugs and other equipment from the site."
Stars Not Aligned? Israel's Lunar Lander Hits Snag
By IsraelNationalNews.com, World Israel News & Inverse
Israel's Beresheet spacecraft, an unmanned vehicle slated to land on the moon, missed a
scheduled maneuver Monday night, after the spacecraft's computer system suffered an
apparent glitch, resetting itself unexpectedly.
In a statement Tuesday morning, SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineers
said they were investigating the malfunction, but said that other than a known problem
with the navigation system's star tracker, the Beresheet's systems were all functioning
The maneuver was scheduled to take place Monday night, as the spacecraft passed near the
Earth in an area where the Ramat Gan-based SpaceIL ground crew would not be in direct
communication with the craft. During the pre-maneuver phase, the spacecraft computer reset
unexpectedly, and the maneuver was automatically canceled.
"The engineering teams of SpaceIL and IAI are examining the data and analyzing the
situation," the control team said in a statement Tuesday. "At this time, the spacecraft's
systems are working well, except for the known problem in the star tracker. The control
center has contact with the spacecraft according to plan and it continues its previous
orbit until the next maneuver. We will update the planned schedule later."
Last Thursday night, the Beresheet was launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral, kicking off
Israel's first lunar landing mission. The Beresheet, built and operated by the private
Israeli firm SpaceIL, is the first Israeli-built spacecraft.
A landing will make Israel only the fourth country, behind superpowers the U.S., Russia
and China, to successfully reach the moon. The project started out as an attempt to win
the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP). The competition required a privately funded effort to land
a robotic spacecraft on the Moon, travel 500 meters on the surface, and transmit back to
Earth high-definition video and images. No country won the prize but Israel decided to
continue with the effort on its own.
Beresheet is carrying precious cultural cargo: a 30-million-page backup disc of humanity's
collective knowledge, including the contents of one very important website. Dubbed "The
Lunar Library" by its creator, the Arch Mission Foundation, the solid-state nanotechnology
storage device looks like a standard-sized DVD, much like one that might play the film
Step Brothers. But instead of Step Brothers, it contains an exhaustive archive of science
The mission itself will be quite short, possibly only lasting a few days while the lander
uses its propulsion system to "hop" to a second landing site. But the AMF backup disc for
humanity could easily remain on the moon long after all humans on Earth have gone extinct.
The Lunar Library, which superficially resembles a standard 120-millimeter DVD, actually
comprises 25 nickel discs, each of which is only 40 microns thick, stacked on top of each
other. (A human hair is between 60 and 120 microns thick). Needless to say, AMF packed a
ton of information onto the 100-gram less than a quarter pound disc:
The first four layers contain more than 60,000 analog images of pages of books,
photographs, illustrations, and documents etched as 150 to 200 dpi, at increasing
levels of magnification, by optical nanolithography.
The first analog layer is the Front Cover and is visible to the naked eye. It contains
1500 pages of text and images, as well as holographic diffractive logos and text, and can
be easily read with a 100X magnification optical microscope, or even a lower power
The next three analog layers each contain 20,000 images of pages of text and photos at
1000X magnification and require a slightly more powerful microscope to read. Each letter
on these layers is the size of a Bacillus bacterium.
Below the increasingly tiny images on the analog layers lie the digital layers, which
contain about 200 gigabytes of data, compressed down to 100. And for any alien life-form
fortunate or unfortunate enough to stumble upon The Lunar Library, the
analog layers include the world's longest homework assignment in the form of a "Primer,"
which describes millions of concepts in multiple languages. The analog layers also include
"a series of documents that teach the technical specifications, file formats, and
scientific and engineering knowledge necessary to access, decode and understand, the
digital information encoded in deeper layers of the Library."
Importantly, these deeper layers contain the entire contents of Wikipedia, as well as
25,000 books, ranging from fiction novels and non-fiction books to technical science and
engineering textbooks. The AMF describes The Lunar Library as an attempt to preserve human
knowledge in the event of a catastrophe, as well as a way to possibly communicate with
aliens who come across it. And while the Library is ostensibly a comprehensive accounting
of human history and knowledge, it admittedly comes from a particular perspective:
Also in the analog layers, are several private archives, including an Israeli time-capsule
for SpaceIL, containing the culture and history of Israel, songs, and drawings by
Aerial Drones to Map out Jewish Burial Sites Across Europe
By the Jerusalem Post
The European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (EJCI) plans to use aerial drones to survey
1,500 Jewish cemeteries spanning countries where the Holocaust significantly impacted the
attrition of the Jewish population throughout Europe - including Ukraine, Greece, Moldova,
Slovakia and Lithuania.
The EJCI, a German-based NGO, is responsible for protecting Jewish burial sites throughout
Europe, especially in places where the German-Nazi army attempted to wipe-out existing
populations of Jews. Once discovered, the EJCI will not only map out the burial site
locations but will also erect fences around the locations "so people know there's a Jewish
cemetery [there]," according to EJCI Chief Executive Philip Carmel.
The effort will be funded by the European Union amid a time of worrying rises in
anti-Semitism across the continent, with many of the recent acts targeting Jewish
cemeteries in particular. In the latest incident of a series of anti-Semitic attacks in
European Union, a Jewish cemetery close to Strasbourg was vandalized and some 100
gravestones desecrated and spray-painted with Swastikas.
One of the gravestones was daubed with the words "Black Wolves," a militant far-right
separatist group from the Alsace region, where Quatzenheim is located, which was active in
the 1970s and 1980s. In one attack in 1976, the Black Wolves group set fire to and
destroyed the Natzweiler-Struthof Nazi concentration camp located in Alsace. In December,
a Jewish cemetery in the nearby town of Herrlisheim was also desecrated with 37
gravestones spray-painted with Swastikas and other graffiti.
Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog denounced the desecration of the graves, describing it
as "another severe incident that underlines the anti-Semitism virus attacking Europe and
threatening Jews in the streets," adding "Governments, wake up."
Last Friday evening, teenagers shot a Jewish man with an air-rifle outside a synagogue in
the Paris suburb of Saracelle, lightly injuring him. A couple weeks ago, "Yellow Vest"
protesters hurled anti-Semitic abuse at French-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut,
while a tree planted in memorial of Ilan Halimi, who was brutally murdered in 2006, was
chopped down ahead of a memorial event for him in Paris.
And a government report released last week found that anti-Semitic attacks had spiked by
74% in 2018 over the previous year. To complete the initiative, the EJCI will be
requesting volunteers from each of the designated countries to assist in the effort to
fully map out Jewish burial sites across Europe throughout the year and will employ
separate volunteers to help maintain the sites after the survey initiative is
What if There Were No Birthright Israel?
By Lisa Brown, the Jerusalem Post (Commentary).
What if this generation of young Jews never had the chance to put a note in the Western
never climbed Masada to watch the sunrise
never got to celebrate
Shabbat in the heart of Jerusalem? What if they never took a journey with Birthright
Israel? This would be catastrophic for the future of the Jewish people.
During these challenging times, it is critical that to ensure the longevity and
stability of our people each of our young adults develops a lifelong love of being
Jewish. According to extensive studies by Brandeis University, 74% of participants feel
closer to Israel after a transformative experience with Birthright Israel. They also
discover a personal, heartfelt, and important relationship with our heritage. This is not
something we can afford to lose.
Birthright Israel gives young Jewish adults the chance to walk the cobblestone streets of
our ancestors in Jerusalem, explore the deserts they have read about in the Torah, and
embrace a profound kinship with the people of Israel. The gift of Birthright Israel is
irreplaceable: It provides young Jews with a powerful connection to their Jewish identity
and allows them to nurture an enduring passion for their heritage.
It is the birthright of every Jew to travel to Israel. It is the foundation for raising a
generation that is full of Jewish pride. And it is the mission of Birthright Israel
About one-quarter of American Jews are currently eligible to take a journey with
Birthright Israel. That means that there are 1.4 million eligible young Jews between 18
and 32 who may never otherwise set foot in the land of our ancestors without Birthright
Studies from Brandeis University show that Birthright Israel participants feel an
increased level of commitment to marrying a Jewish partner, celebrating Jewish holidays,
raising a family in the Jewish tradition, and nurturing a stronger relationship with the
State of Israel. Now more than ever, we are counting on young Jews to embolden the Jewish
tomorrow with their commitment to our heritage today.
Our very survival as a people is dependent on one thing: The next generation's
relationship with their Jewish identity. It is our responsibility to nurture this
relationship to ensure a strong and secure future for the Jewish people.
(Lisa Brown is a writer and a mom to a young child. She looks forward to her son taking a
journey with Birthright Israel when he is of age.)
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)