Newsletter : 19fx0328.txt
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Hamas' Anniversary Approaches: No Pre-emptive IDF Action, Security Declines
Nothing will stop Hamas' drive to celebrate the first anniversary of its violent "March
of Return against Israel at the end of this week neither Egyptian mediation,
generous Qatari- nor Israel economic largesse, which the United Arab Emirates recently
offered to join, or even the massing of an Israel war army on the Gaza border.
The Palestinian terrorist group is determined come what may to mark the event with
hundreds of thousands of rampaging mobs hurling IEDs at IDF forces and forcing their way
across the border into Israel. Hamas leaders view this peak event as a kind of victory
march. It was presaged Wednesday night, March 27, by attacks by hundreds of Palestinians
tossing explosive devices and hand grenades at Israeli troops along the border and
floating more explosive balloons over Israeli farms.
The Egyptian officers who sat down Wednesday in Gaza city with Hamas leaders knew the
score: they had no hope of talking those leaders around to exercising self-restraint and
curbing the demonstration of arrogant violence planned to mark their anniversary. Neither
were the Egyptian officers able to sell Israel the well-worn line that by turning the
other way when the Palestinian terrorists went on the rampage, calm would follow.
This gambit has proved too often in the past to be a reward for terror. The claims that
Israel has laid down tough terms for Hamas are deliberately misleading. For months now,
Israel has lost its deterrent strength against the Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza
Strip, and it is now Hamas which is dictating terms.
The only way to break out of this ill-fated pattern was for the IDF to go into the Gaza
Strip on Wednesday and conducted a pre-emptive offensive to spoil Hamas' victory march.
Since this was not decided at the drawn-out deliberations taking place between Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who holds the defense portfolio, chief of staff, Lt. Gen.
Aviv Kochavi, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Shin Bet security service
director Nadav Argaman, the initiative remains in the hands of Hamas. Failing resolute
Israeli counter-action, the security situation centering on Gaza will, therefore, continue
to decline in the coming days.
Poll: Israel's Response to Gaza attacks Was Too Soft
A majority of Israelis say the IDF's response to rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Gaza
Strip was insufficient, a new poll shows, even as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu touted
Israel's "powerful" response to the attacks.
On Monday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed deep in Israeli territory, striking a
home in the town of Mishmeret in central Israel, 50 miles from the Gaza Strip and 75 miles
from the rocket's launch site in Rafah in the southern Strip. The attack, which left seven
Israelis injured, marked a major escalation in the long-simmering conflict between Israel
and the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Washington DC following the
attack and ordered the IDF to respond with a series of airstrikes on Hamas targets across
the Gaza Strip. AFP reported Tuesday that seven Gazans were injured in the Israeli
retaliatory strikes. As Gaza-based terrorists continued to fire rockets at Israel, the IDF
struck again in Gaza late Tuesday night, hitting Hamas targets in Rafah.
While the prime minister touted Israel's "very, very strong response", a poll released
Wednesday morning finds that a majority of Israelis believe the IDF's response to the
attacks was insufficient. According to the poll, which was conducted by Direct Polls and
published by Kan, 53% of respondents said Israel's response was too weak, compared to just
3% who said it was excessive. Just 29% said Israel's response was sufficient without being
Also, the poll found less than a quarter (24%) of Israeli adults characterizing
Netanyahu's performance over the past few days as "good," with 33% who said it was poor,
and 33% who gave the premier a `moderate' rating.
Jewish Leader to Germany: Cancel Payments to Ex-SS Members
The head of Germany's Jewish umbrella organization is calling on Germany to review
and possibly cancel pension payments to former SS members who were injured
during World War II, and who are living abroad.
Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the payments of
pensions to people who might have committed war crimes was "intolerable." Schuster spoke
with the newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, which reported that more than 2,000
former SS soldiers outside Germany receive state pensions averaging about $370 a month,
plus special health care allowances. Some recipients are non-German collaborators, who
were injured while serving with the Nazi forces. They reportedly had been promised
pensions by the Nazi authorities.
The benefits come through the Federal Pension Act, which was passed in 1950 to support war
victims, whether civilians or veterans of the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS.
Germany is already checking on the cases of four retirees living in the Netherlands.
According to German law, membership in the SS alone is not a reason for denying a pension
or compensation claim. The individual must be found to have participated in crimes against
humanity or the rule of law, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reported.
Germany's Ministry of Labor indicated that there are 18 recipients of such pensions in
Belgium and 49 in Switzerland. The ministry said none of the recipients in Belgium are
former SS members, but a historian and three members of the Belgian parliament demanded
three years ago that Germany reveal the names of the pension recipients.
A ministry spokesperson told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung that the payments
are not made for service in the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS per se, but rather as compensation
for injuries received while serving. Meanwhile, the number of recipients is dwindling;
reportedly, 33 died in the past month.
Decorated Air France pilot from Entebbe Hijacking Dies at 95
By Israel Hayom and IsraelNationalNews.com
Captain Michel Bacos, the pilot of the Air France flight that was hijacked to Entebbe
in 1976 who refused to leave behind his captive Israeli passengers, passed away at 95 on
Tuesday. He died in the south of France where he had been living with his wife for the
last 30 years, their son Eric Bacos told AFP.
On Sunday, June 27, 1976, Air France Flight 139 departed from Tel Aviv carrying mainly
Jewish and Israeli passengers. The plane flew to Athens, where it picked up additional
passengers and then departed for Paris at 12:30 p.m.
Moments later it was hijacked by two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine - External Operations, and two German nationals, who demanded that
Israel and other countries release imprisoned terrorists. The hijackers diverted the
flight to Benghazi, Libya, where one passenger, who was thought to have suffered a
miscarriage, was freed, and then continued to Entebbe, where they were held in an old
Out of the total 248 passengers, more than 140 passengers who had non-Israeli passports
were released. Bacos and his 12-member crew were given the same option, but Bacos refused,
saying he would not leave without all passengers being freed. He and his team would go on
to stay with the remaining hostages, about 80 of whom were Israeli, expecting the worse.
Bacos was initially denied any interaction with the captive Israelis, but he did not
relent and was ultimately allowed to join them. He would ultimately become the
intermediary between the hostages and the hijackers. Less than a week later, on July 4,
Israeli commandos freed hostages in a daring raid that took the hijackers and the Ugandan
authorities off guard.
Three hostages Jean-Jacques Maimoni, Pasco Cohen, and Ida Borochovitch were
killed in the rescue, as was Yoni Netanyahu, the leader of the IDF's elite Sayeret Matkal
commando unit and brother to future Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. A fourth hostage,
Dora Bloch, who had been taken to a hospital in Kampala before the rescue mission, was
later dragged from her hospital bed and murdered by officers of the Ugandan army.
Bacos later recalled in an interview how he had asked one of the hijackers why he was
targeting a French airliner, to which he was told, "Because France sold arms to Israel."
Bacos said he dismissed this accusation. "This is rubbish, your claim was true 10 years
ago [in 1960s], but now only the U.S. sells arms to Israel," he told the hijacker.
Bacos refused to take more than two weeks off after being freed, and upon returning to the
cockpit, he insisted that his first flight would be to Israel. He remained in close
contact with the survivors and with the Netanyahu family in the following decades. Bacos
was awarded the Legion of Honour, France's highest civilian decoration, in appreciation of
his heroic actions. He was also given a special award from the Israeli government.
Rabbinate Judges Rush a Divorce Deal to Allow Husband's Marriage to Another Man
Rabbinical judges were baffled by a recent case they had to rule on, when a man asked
them to quickly grant him a divorce from his wife so he can go abroad and join his
new male partner. The religious man, a father of several children, walked into the Netanya
Rabbinate office in early March and asked for an urgent divorce "right this
When the Rabbinate's team inquired about the urgency of the matter, the man revealed he
had recently "came out of the closet" and found a male partner who lives in Italy
who now awaits him there.
The rabbis had fierce discussions and were torn whether their approval of the divorce
means they will be indirectly supporting a homosexual relationship, forbidden by religious
law. Finally, fearing that the man's wife will remain a "chained" women, bound in marriage
until granted a divorce document that according to Jewish law can only be given by the
husband, the Rabbinate approved the divorce.
"My lover is waiting for me there, and he said that if I don't get a divorce today
he'll leave me," said the man who sought to end his marriage. He added that he intends to
leave Israel for Italy to marry his new partner.
"I have to divorce my wife since I don't want to ruin her life. She's a very religious
woman and we have children," the man explained, referring to the consequence of him
leaving the country without a formal divorce leaving his wife unable to remarry.
The Rabbinical judges, fearing the man will leave the country if they don't act
immediately, quickly called in a scribe to write the divorce document. They even went as
far as postponing other discussions they had scheduled for that day. An hour after his
arrival, the man was already divorced from his wife by Jewish laws and customs and
was off to the airport, to be united with his new love.
Ancient Jewish Village from Temple Period Discovered in Eastern Jerusalem
By United With Israel
An excavation dig taking place in the Sharafat neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, where
an elementary school is to be built, has uncovered the remains of a Jewish village dating
back some 2,000 years to the Hasmonean period, says the Israel Antiquities Authority
The IAA says that the finds have included the remains of a large wine press containing
fragments of many storage jars, a large columbarium cave (rock-cut dovecote), an olive
press, a large ritual bath, a water cistern, and rock quarries.
"It seems that this burial estate served a wealthy or prominent family during the
Hasmonean period. The estate was in use for a few generations as was common in that era,"
according to Ya'akov Billig, who is directing the excavations for the IAA.
The most significant feature of the excavation is an extravagant burial estate, which
included a corridor leading to a large courtyard chiseled into the bedrock, says the IAA.
"Such quality craftsmanship of architectural elements is very rare, found mostly in
monumental buildings or burial estates in the Jerusalem area," it added.
The entrance into the multi-chambered burial cave was through its facade, behind which
oblong burial niches were carved into the stone walls. The earth covering the courtyard of
the burial estate contained some large building stones, some of which are elaborate
architectural elements associated with the Second Temple period.
The current excavation is said to have exposed only a small part of a larger village that
existed to its south. However, despite the limited exposure, the finds seem to indicate
that the village was agricultural, and among other things produced wine and olive oil, as
well as breeding doves. During the Temple eras, doves were needed for both a Temple
offering and for food.
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