Newsletter : 19fx0425.txt
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Lebanon's Defense Minister Threatens to Strike Ben-Gurion Airport in Future War
By the Jerusalem Post
Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab has warned that the Lebanese military would
strike Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport if Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport would be
struck in any future conflict. "If `Israel' bombards our airport, we will bombard its
airport; if it strikes our oil facilities, we will strike its oil facilities," he was
quoted as saying by Hizbullah's al-Manar news site.
Disagreement over Israel's ongoing construction of the border wall, and Lebanon's plans to
explore for offshore oil and gas in disputed maritime waters have elevated tensions
between the two countries, who are officially still at war.
Israel and Hizbullah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN
Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the disarmament of Hizbullah, for
withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon, for the deployment of the Lebanese army and
an enlarged UN force in the South.
But Hizbullah's influence in Lebanon has led senior officials in Israel's defense
establishment have warned that Lebanon's army has lost its independence and has become an
integral part of Hizbullah's network.
According to the IDF, cooperation between the LAF and Hizbullah has increased in the past
year and has warned that the next war will see Israel target not only military
infrastructure but civilian infrastructure used by Hizbullah.
The two countries have an unresolved maritime border dispute over a triangular area of sea
of around 860 sq.km, which extends along several blocks for exploratory offshore drilling
Lebanon put for tender two years ago. Beirut claims that Blocks 8 and 9 in the disputed
maritime waters are in Lebanon's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and parts of Block 9 run
through waters that Israel claims as its own EEZ.
Recently discovered oil and gas reserves off the shores of Lebanon and Israel are
predicted to generate up to $600 billion over the next few decades, and in December 2017,
Beirut signed contracts with three international companies to explore oil and gas in two
of the blocks. Lebanon and Russia also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate
on oil and gas in October 2013.
Israel also views its offshore oil and gas reserves as highly valuable, both economically
and strategically. Jerusalem has made agreements with Egypt to sell surplus gas and agreed
earlier this year to partake in an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which includes seven
members: Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Italy, and the Palestinian Authority.
In November. 2018, Israel reportedly signed an ambitious project to build a 2,000 km.
underwater gas pipeline from Israel to Cyprus to Crete to mainland Greece and Italy
to supply natural gas. The construction of the pipeline is expected to take five
years and cost some $8 billion. Due to the pipeline, Greece and Cyprus were reported by
al-Hayat to have offered their help in mediating the demarcation of the maritime border
New York Times Claims Jesus Was `Likely a Palestinian'
By Ira Stoll, The Algemeiner
A New York Times article is claiming that Jesus "was most likely a Palestinian man with
dark skin" is generating a fierce push-back from the Jewish community. The executive
director of Boston's Jewish Community Relations Council, Jeremy Burton, tweeted,
"Important to point out that no, Jesus did not identify as Palestinian. He was a Judean
Jew, and for him, the term Palestine was that of the Roman occupier."
A professor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University, Steven Fine, responded on the Times
comments page that "for sure" Jesus "was a youngish Jewish man" who "looked like other
Jews of his place and time."
Another Jewish Times reader responded in the comments section, "I am amazed that the
author of this article cannot simply state that Jesus was a Jew. He uses the anachronistic
term `Palestinian.' During Jesus' lifetime, the Romans called the province which they
controlled `Judea.' Later they renamed it `Syria Palestina.' Referring to Jesus as
`Palestinian' is simply misleading in the context of his era."
The editorial director of the Times reader center, Hanna Ingber, responded to the
complaint: "You are of course right that Jesus was Jewish. We never intended to imply that
he wasn't, and we didn't leave that detail out to make a point, as some readers wondered.
The article was focused on what he physically looked like. But again, we do hear your
A journalist with the Jewish Chronicle in London, Daniel Sugarman, has described the
"Jesus was a Palestinian" claim as "idiocy" and "deliberate historical revisionism
designed to deny the Jewish connection to the Holy Land."
An official at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, told The Jewish Journal
that the claim Jesus was a Palestinian is a "grotesque insult." The Journal observed this
claim was being made not only by the Times, but also by a Muslim-American Democratic
congresswoman who supports the movement to boycott, divest from, and impose economic
sanctions (BDS) on Israel Ilhan Omar.
Personally, I'm tempted to quip that if the Palestinians want him, they can have him. It's
a little unseemly, or at least somewhat ironic, for Jews to be scrambling to claim credit
for the founder of a non-Jewish religion. So far as the story can be discerned, though, he
does appear to have started as a Jew. As time went on, at least as told in the Christian
Bible, though, he seems to have been doing more of his own thing. His followers turned it
into something definitively different from Judaism.
Even so, using the term "Palestinian" to describe Jesus is indeed anachronistic, to the
point of being misleading. The Times using its columns to push that false claim is enough
to make readers wonder if the Times agenda here has less to do with the ancient history of
early Christianity, and more to do with taking sides in the present-day conflict between
Israel and Palestinian Arabs.
(Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem
Poll Finds Americans Love Israel, Not its Government
A majority of Americans have a negative opinion of the Israeli government, according to a
new Pew Research Center survey. Nearly two-thirds of Americans - 64% - view Israel
favorably. However, just 41% view Israel's government favorably, compared to 51% who view
the government unfavorably.
The survey, which was conducted from April 1-15 among 10,523 American adults, also found
large partisan difference in support for Israel between Republicans and Democrats. 77% of
Republicans responded that they had a favorable of the Israeli people, compared to 57% of
61% of Republicans said that they had a favorable view of the Israeli government, while
31% had an unfavorable view. Just 26% of Democrats have a favorable view of the Israeli
government, while a full two-thirds view the Israeli government unfavorably.
Democrats also have a more favorable opinion of the Palestinian Arabs than Republicans.
58% of Democrats view Palestinian Arabs favorably while only 32% of Republicans have a
favorable view of Palestinian Arabs. 81% of Republicans have an unfavorable view of the
Palestinian Authority, as do 65% of Democrats.
According to the survey, half of Americans believe that President Donald Trump is taking
the right approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, while 34% believe he favors Israel too
much and 6% believe he favors the Palestinian Authority too much.
How Terrorists Smuggle Phones into Prison
The Israel Prisons Service revealed a method used by security detainees to smuggle mobile
phones to terrorists imprisoned in Israel. Security staff at the Ofer Prison began to
suspect Tuesday night, during the reception of an Arab man identified with Fatah suspected
of stealing, that the man was concealing items forbidden in prison on his person.
The detainee was taken for questioning, during which he admitted he tried to smuggle cell
phones inside the prison wall inside his body. During the interrogation, he produced
capsules containing four cell phones, two cell phone keypads and 8 SIM cards.
The interrogation did not end because the prison staff suspected that the detainee was
hiding additional prohibited items in his body and decided to evacuate him to a hospital.
An X-ray machine found several foreign bodies inside his body, including three additional
cell phones as well as two keypads for cell phones.
The investigation thus far showed that prisoners are systematically trying to smuggle cell
phones into the prisons to trade them or transfer them to terrorists. This incident
follows 11 attempts to smuggle dozens of mobile phones cumulatively into security prisons
since the beginning of 2018.
Hitler's 'Suicide Note' Going Up for Sale
A letter written by Adolf Hitler just days before he committed suicide in a Berlin bunker
is going on sale from April 30-May 1 and is expected to net at least $60,000 to $80,000.
The document, which is being auctioned off by the Maryland-based Alexander Historical
Auctions house, is a memo written by the Nazi German leader to Field Marshal Ferdinand
Schorner, informing the general that Hitler would not make any attempt to flee Berlin.
Hitler wrote the memo as Russian forces laid siege to the German capital, and approached
the bunker where Hitler was holed up. As the fall of Berlin appeared imminent, Field
Marshal Schorner pleaded with Hitler to abandon the capital and flee. In the memo, Hitler
refused the request, blaming his commanders for the failure to win the war, and vowing to
stay in Berlin until the end.
The memo, which was written six days before Hitler committed suicide, is often referred to
as the German leader's "suicide note." The document is separate from another paper,
Hitler's Last Will and Testament, which he signed the day before he and his new bride, Eva
Braun, killed themselves.
"This is essentially Hitler's suicide note," said Alexander Historical Auctions president
Bill Panagopulos. "In it, he tries to portray himself as a valiant leader of his men until
the end, when in actuality he shuffled into his bedroom and fired a bullet into his
Israel Tests an Incentive-Based Program to Fight Traffic Jams
The Israeli Ministry of Transportation is launching an incentive-based pilot program to
fight worsening traffic congestion in the country. The pilot will attempt to answer the
age-old question: in an effort to solve Israel's traffic problem, will the carrot prevail,
or will the government have to resort to the stick, levying congestion charges?
As part of the pilot, participating drivers will receive an annual budget of NIS 4,500
($1,250), from which money will be subtracted for certain actions, such as driving in peak
rush hours. Good behavior, such as carpooling, could top-up the budget by up to NIS 25 a
ride. A monitoring device will track participants' vehicles and driving habits. At the end
of the year, the participants will pocket whatever is left in their budgets, as long as it
doesn't exceed NIS 2,000 ($555), due to budgetary restrictions.
A similar program was tested in 2013. Back then, 400 out of 1,200 participants decreased
their rush-hour travels by 16.4% on average, netting a few thousand shekels in the
process. The next stage of the program was planned for 2015 but was frozen by
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who claimed it could result in a new tax on drivers.
Katz's decision drew much criticism from the Bank of Israel and various research agencies
due to the dire state of Israel's transportation. The program was greenlit again in 2018
following regulation passed by the Israeli parliament.
Israeli government company Ayalon Highways Co. is overseeing the pilot program, which is
being carried out by automotive resource management company Pointer Telocation Ltd. and
mobile parking service Pango Pay & Go Ltd. The pilot is fully funded by the
government. Pointer's vice president of marketing and business development Yaniv Baruch
told Calcalist in an interview held over the weekend that the pilot is set to take place
across the country, with 47% of participating drivers chosen from the greater Tel Aviv
The pilot is starting with a limited number of participants500 drivers recruited
from the 2013 experimentfor the first three months, mainly to give the operators
time to test the monitoring system and the financial models, Baruch said. After the system
will be proven to work the way it was intended, another 4,500 volunteers will be tapped,
and the pilot will progress to the next stage of testing, which will include monitoring
the routes people take and the hours they are on the road.
If all is successful, Pointer and Pango are expected to receive in August the go-ahead for
the final stage of the pilot, which will eventually include up to 100,000 participants,
added in groups of 5,000 every few months based on open calls.
Katz did not approve the pilot previously due to his demand that the state invest in
public transportation infrastructure instead of turning to congestion charges, a
spokesperson for the transportation ministry told Calcalist. The pilot is now being
performed alongside other public transportation reforms the minister has put in place, the
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