Google Search

Newsletter : 20fx0923.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file

Massive Explosion Rocks `Stronghold' of Israel's Nemesis, Hizbullah

By United with Israel, Israel Hayom, VOA News, Reuters & YnetNews According to the Lebanese media, a huge blast tore through a building in a key Hizbullah-controlled town called Ain Qana, near the port of Sidon about 30 miles south of Beirut, an area in which the Lebanese military claimed Israeli aircraft had been operating since early on Tuesday. In a report on the explosion, the Associated Press referred to Ain Qana as a "stronghold" of Hizbullah, an Iran-backed Islamic terror group that is sworn to Israel's destruction. It has successfully hijacked large portions of the Lebanese government. According to the AP report, the cause of the explosion in Ain Qana remains unclear. A Lebanese security official quoted by the AP said the explosion took place in a Hizbullah arms depot. Israel has pounded Iranian positions in Syria with airstrikes in addition to assassinating Hizbullah terrorists operating there, but the IDF rarely confirms or denies such strikes. The blast in Ain Qana arrives on the heels of an August explosion in Beirut that killed 200 and wounded 6,500, as well as damaging thousands of Beirut buildings While no credible sources pointed fingers at Israel over that disaster, evidence continues to mount pointing to Hizbullah's role in the negligent handling of extremely volatile material that caused the near-nuclear level blast. Hizbullah operatives "imposed a security cordon around the blast area Tuesday," the AP reported, "barring journalists from reaching it." A security source said several people were injured and that the blast in the arms depot was caused by a "technical error." A witness near the village said they felt the ground shake. Footage from the area broadcast by Al-Jadeed showed men walking over scorched ground littered with debris. Damage was shown in an adjacent house where the floor was covered in glass and what appeared to be a pool of blood. At least one fire was still burning in the location, the footage showed. Footage broadcast by the local Al-Jadeed station showed men walking over scorched ground littered with debris. Damage was shown in an adjacent house where the floor was covered in glass and what appeared to be a pool of blood. At least one fire was still burning in the location, the footage showed. Since the Beirut blast on August 4, subsequent fires at the port and elsewhere in the capital have caused panic in Beirut and the country, whose economy is in meltdown.

Tougher COVID Restrictions Stalled by Tussle over Protest Demonstrations

By DEBKAfile

The coronavirus cabinet ministers' discussion of tougher lockdown measures boiled down on Tuesday, Sept. 22, to a debate over a demand to ban the mass anti-government demonstrations taking place weekly outside the prime minister's Jerusalem residence. They all acknowledged that there is no option but to impose tougher sanctions since the current lockdown imposed last Friday is inadequate and far from comprehensively upheld by the public. The hospitals are warning that if the number of seriously ill patients tops 900-100 by next week, as predicted by health experts, medical staffs will be unable to maintain their current excellence of treatment in any of the hospital departments. However, the plan for the next stage of the lockdown presented to the ministers by the Coronavirus Director Ronni Gamzu stands or falls over a major debate. His recommendations to close the synagogues or hold Yom Kippur prayers outdoors drew an angry ultimatum from the religious ministers and the rabbis: So long as thousands of protesters are allowed to rally at close quarters without masks week after week in Jerusalem, no limits on religious ritual will be accepted, they insisted. It was also argued that the demonstrations make a mockery of the health restrictions and are the root of widespread public disobedience. The Kahol Lavon ministers, backed by the attorney general, were equally adamant about keeping the demonstrations going at all costs in accordance with democratic principles. After long hours of debate, the ministers decided to reconvene on Wednesday to seek a format for demonstrations that meet health standards. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who stayed out of the argument until now, stepped in with these remarks: "We all understand, including the left that we are in a state of emergency. After hearing the experts expand on the immense danger presented by crowded gatherings, I must point out that the entire nation is being forced to accept hard restraints, excepting only a group of protesters who demand special privileges." He went on to say: "We are obliged to stay a kilometer from the Western Wall, but people from all over the country may gather close to the Balfour residence." Netanyahu stressed: "There must be one law for all – prayers and protests alike, otherwise the public will pay no heed to health directives and we'll see coronavirus infection spreading on a horrible scale." Ministry of Health figures for Tuesday night: a total of 193,374 infections including 3,858 new cases; 51,338 active cases, of which a rising 668 are active. Altogether 1,285 victims have lost their lives since the outbreak in March.

US, UAE Reportedly Finalizing Deal for Downgraded F-35 Aircraft

By Reuters and Israel Hayom

The United States and the United Arab Emirates hope to have an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Gulf state in place by December, as the Trump administration studies how to structure a deal without running afoul of Israel. Sources close to the negotiations said the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec. 2. Any deal must satisfy decades of agreement with Israel that states any US weapons sold to the region must not impair Israel's "qualitative military edge," guaranteeing US weapons furnished to Israel are "superior in capability" to those sold to its neighbors. With that in mind Washington is studying ways to make the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 more visible to Israeli radar systems, two sources said. Reuters could not determine if this would be done by changing the jet or providing Israel with better radar, among other possibilities. The UAE embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment. A Pentagon spokeswoman told Reuters, "As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress." Once a letter of agreement is signed, a fine may be levied against any party that terminates the deal. Several political and regulatory hurdles must be cleared before the sale may be completed and Capitol Hill aides cautioned a deal may not be possible this year. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, told reporters in August that in general, the United States aims to complete a letter of agreement for new F-35 sales in about six months. Because of the qualitative military edge restriction, the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 has been denied to Arab states, while Israel has about 24 jets. The United Arab Emirates, one of Washington's closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the stealthy jets and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal made when they agreed to normalize relations with Israel. Sources familiar with the negotiations said a working idea was for Israeli air defenses to be able to detect the UAE F-35s with technology that effectively defeats the stealth capabilities of the jets. F-35 fighter jets sold to the United Arab Emirates could also be built in a way that ensures the same planes owned by Israel outperform any others sold in the region, defense experts say. Washington already demands that any F-35 sold to foreign governments cannot match the performance of US jets, said both a congressional staffer and a source familiar with past sales. The F-35's technical sophistication is tied to its mission systems and processing power and "it's the computing power that allows you to sell a higher-tech jet to Israel than to the UAE," said Doug Birkey, executive director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Washington . said: "When foreign pilots are in training in the US they type a code into a user interface as they board the jet, the code will pull a different jet for each pilot based on legal permissions." Either way, actual delivery of new jets is years away. Poland, the most recent F-35 customer, purchased 32 of the jets in January, but will not receive its first delivery until 2024.

'I am a Pakistani Zionist,' Member of Tiny Jewish Community says in Rare Interview

By Israel Hayom

The Jewish community on the Indian subcontinent dates back many years, long before the Muslims in the former British colony sought independence. But only a small part of that relatively prosperous community lived in the five districts that in August 1947 became Pakistan. At the time, they numbered fewer than 3,000, and most of the community lived in Karachi, with a few dozen more in Peshawar. When Israel was founded, many members of the Jewish community left Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim country in the world, leaving only 200-300 members who remain despite growing anti-Semitism. They live in Karachi and Lahore. Some Jews in Pakistan converted to Islam, such as deputy head of Pakistan's mission to the UN in the 1950s, Mohammad Assad. But the ones who adhered to their original faith were forced to make due without a functioning synagogue. One of the remaining few Pakistani Jews is Fishel Khalid, 32, from Karachi. In a special interview to Israel Hayom in honor of Rosh Hashanah, Khaled discusses personal challenges and challenges facing the community; local anti-Semitism; and his historic visit to Israel. Khalid, a civil engineer by training and profession, says he also works as a kashruth supervisor for Pakistani food manufacturers and exporters. Q: Are you scared to live in Pakistan? "I don't disclose my identity to 99% of the people with whom I interact. And when I wear a kippah, I hide it under a baseball cap. But in general, I'm not that concerned, as long as I'm not open about being Jewish. Pakistan has its share of varying degrees of anti-Semitism," Khalid adds, noting that the synagogue in Karachi was burned down during riots that erupted after Israel was established in 1948. Karachi is the capital city of the Sindh province, considered the most demographically diverse in Pakistan. Some 94.8% of the population are Muslims, another 5% are Hindis, and 0.2% of the population belong to other groups, including Jews. "The culture of the Sindh province is a second mother to me and other minorities. People here are much more tolerant than in other provinces of Pakistan," he says. His attempts to keep his Jewish identity under wraps notwithstanding, all of Pakistan heard Khalid's story. He is the son of a Muslim father and a Jewish mother. He has four siblings, all of whom are Muslim. How did his story become common knowledge? The government allowed him to visit Israel. This was no minor gesture, as Pakistani passports are labeled valid anywhere in the world, "except for Israel." How did he find his way to Judaism? "It's complicated, but there was something that made it happen. I wanted spirituality and I found it in Judaism. I thank God for the good things that happen to me," Khalid tells Israel Hayom. "I'm openly a Zionist and a supporter of Israel. Most importantly, I love Pakistan, which is why as a Pakistani Zionist I want good relations between these sister countries," he says.

There's an 18-Mile-Long Wire Above Manhattan

By Mental Floss
It's hard to imagine that anything literally hanging from utility poles across Manhattan could be considered "hidden," but throughout the borough, about 18 miles of translucent wire stretches around the skyline, and most people have likely never noticed. It's called an eruv (plural eruvin), and its existence is thanks to the Jewish Sabbath. On the Sabbath, which is viewed as a day of rest, observant Jewish people aren't allowed to carry anything—books, groceries, even children—in public places (doing so is considered "work"). The eruv encircles much of Manhattan, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the very public streets of the city into a private space, much like one's own home. This allows people to freely communicate and socialize on the Sabbath—and carry whatever they please—without having to worry about breaking Jewish law. Along with everything else in New York City, the eruv isn't cheap. It costs a group of Orthodox synagogues $100,000 a year to maintain the wires, which are inspected by a rabbi every Thursday before dawn to confirm they are all still attached. While wires do occasionally fall, the overall eruv has survived events such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Hurricane Sandy. When eruv wires do break, it can cause enough of a stir to make news. Most notably, in 2011 a wire broke near the United Nations building, which caused a problem when repair crews couldn't get past security to fix it. The issue was eventually resolved, but not before a good deal of panic set in. Manhattan has had an eruv in one form or another since the early 20th century, but the present-day incarnation began on the Upper West Side in 1994. It has since expanded from 126th Street to Houston Street, and its exact locations can now be viewed on Google Maps (and an intermittently updated Twitter feed). The city does have some rules in place regarding the eruv: The wires can only be a quarter-inch thick, and they must be hung at least 15 feet off the ground.

Home Search

(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)

Read today's issue
Who is Don Canaan?
IsraelNewsFaxx's Zionism and the Middle East Resource Directory