Thursday, August 30, 2007

IDF foils 15-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber

Israeli radio reported that the IDF foiled a 15-year-old Palestinian who tried to attack Israeli soldiers near the northern Gaza Strip. The bomber, who was strapped with explosives, was stopped on Tuesday night as he approached the soldiers. Details were not provided on how the army persuaded the teenager to surrender rather than detonate his bomb.

The incident, officials said, demonstrated the growing use of children by Gaza-based terror groups.

For further information on the criminal indoctrination and abuse of Palestinian children by Palestinian authorities and culture, see earlier published article here on Tel-Aviv Vistas titled: Palestinian abuse of Palestinian Children

Monday, August 27, 2007

Shin Bet Warns:'Hamas in Damascus Ordered a Mega Terrorist Attack'

JTA News reports that the Hamas leadership abroad has ordered the group to carry out a major terrorist attack in Israel, the Shin Bet said. The deputy chief of Israel's domestic intelligence service told the Cabinet in a briefing Sunday that Hamas, since it seized control of the Gaza Strip in June, has smuggled in 40 tons of weaponry from nearby Egypt, a radical hike in quantities.

Editorial Commentary
Yet another news item that one is unlikely to come across on CNN. They of course would rather ignore inconvenient facts that conflict with their news narrative of Israel as the perpetrator. So facts that present Israel as a victim of relentless pursuit of indiscriminate violence by Palestinian terrorist organizations is simply censored.

Furthermore no one’s mentioning the fact that the order came out of Damascus Syria, a ruthless dictatorship harboring this internationally recognized terrorist group. For more “delightful” facts about Syria see: Syrian Minister Compares US & Israel to a Snake

All of this is yet another example of the alarming specter of the real-life grotesque rendition of 1984 that Jews and Israel find themselves confronting .

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Taglit-birthright Israel: Touching Videos and a $30 million donation

Touching video compilations from the Taglit-birthright Israel experience

In a related item from YNET
American billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Dr Miriam Adelson, donated on Sunday $30 million to the Taglit-Birthright Israel project, during an event sponsored by President Shimon Peres and held at his Jerusalem Residence.

"The gift by The Adelson Family Charitable Foundation (ADCF) will significantly contribute to fulfilling Taglit-birthright israel’s mission to provide every young Jew with the opportunity to visit Israel for the first time," Taglit said in a statement.
The first major gift of $5 million to Taglit-birthright israel by the Adelsons in December 2006 enabled those on waiting lists to participate in the winter trips to Israel. In total, ADCF has given $60 million to Taglit-birthright Israel in the last twelve months, the single largest calendar year gift to a Jewish continuity program in history.

Dr Miriam Adelson, a physician and native Israeli said, “A number of participants had told us that they had been on waiting lists for these trips, and only because of the increased trip capacity this summer, were able to participate in the program. I am so proud to share my beautiful country with so many young people and welcome ‘home’ our big, extended family.

"As we look forward to celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary next year, we are honored to help ensure that any young Jew who wants to visit the wonderful nation of Israel has this opportunity of a lifetime,” she said.

Israeli satellite company employed in tracking human rights crisis in Darfur

The Israeli commercial satellite company ImageSat, is being employed by Amnesty International in order to track the worst human rights abuse crisis of this century in Darfur. ImageSat along with a few other international commercial satellite companies are providing many sizable discounts and donations of satellite imagery in order to help locate refugee camps and provide an indelible record of the unimaginable magnitude of this human rights abuse crisis.

These images along with explanations can be found on the site:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Profile of an Immigrant Family from Albania in Israel

Ha’aretz in its weekend magazine every week profiles one family living in Israel as part of an on going series that’s been going on for years and adds up to an amazing and fascinating mosaic of the Israeli landscape. This week the profile was of a family that immigrated from Albania in 1991
The full article on Ha’aretz website can be found here:
Family Affair / The Chilis
By Avner and Reli Avrahami Or Akiva

Chili: Means a lock of light hair on a dark head (in Albanian).

The cast: Agim (59), Anna (54), Daniella (29).

The home: Third floor (on the right), apartment building, 70 square meters, with a living room, three other rooms and a mall (Orot), visible from the window. They have been here since 1993 ("We were the first family"), paying the shekel equivalent of $67,000 ("All of it a mortgage"). They pay back NIS 1,430 a month and are pleased. "Our city is Or Akiva - we don't go to Hadera" (Agim).
the apartment is full of embroidered pictures (done by Anna), statuettes (from around the world), decorative objects and small red-and-black flags (Albanian). The large flatscreen TV is broadcasting Top Channel (an Albanian station), and resting in the narrow bureau is Skenderbeu, an Albanian brandy ("five star"), named for an Albanian hero who defeated the Turks in the 15th century. The tour begins.
Livelihoods and occupations: Agim has worked for Amnir, a Hadera-based plant that recycles plastics and paper, for 14 years. He is a shift manager ("from shredding to granulation"). He works in weekly rotating shifts - a week in the morning, a week in the afternoon, a week at night ("I prefer night") - and travels back and forth in a privately owned 2002 Fiat Punto.

Anna: Retired. She worked for Hogla, a paper products plant (in Hadera), and took early retirement in January of this year due to back problems ("I had an operation"). Until then she was in charge of the toilet paper machine. As a pensioner, she receives 70 percent of her former salary and is pleased with the arrangement ("I was smart when I worked out the contract"). At the same time, she is sad at having had to conclude a career as a gifted bowler.
Daniella: Almost a B.A. in English language and literature, which she studied at Seminar Hakibbutzim Teachers College ("I had two exams left"). She works a five-day week as a technical writer for Newstar, a firm that develops platforms for immediate messages on cellular phones in the high-tech area of Haifa. She travels to and from work by bus and receives traveling expenses. Her work consists of documenting (in English) every product made by the company and ascertaining that the texts are readable.

Agim's bio: Born in Tirana, Albania, in 1948. His father owned a printing press, which the government nationalized; it then made him work in it as a laborer ("We were considered capitalists"); his mother was a housewife. After graduating in economics from the University of Tirana (1969), he worked in a trucking company as director of wages and transports planner. In 1991, a year after the communist regime collapsed, he and Anna immigrated to Israel with the family. Six years earlier, Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albanian for 41 years and made the life of the population hell ("He was worse than Stalin"), died.

The Hoxha years: Fear ("The first lesson of education was to keep quiet") and hunger ("We received 600 grams of cheese a week"). Agim relates that two of his uncles were executed and an aunt was tortured so brutally that she became barren. The collapse of the regime was like a dream for him ("Until I actually boarded the plane, I didn't believe it would happen").

Anna's bio: Born 1953 to the Matityahu family in Vlore, a port city in southwestern Albania, the eldest of three children (she has a brother who is a violin maker in England and a sister who lives in the United States). Her family is originally from Greece. Her father and mother worked as accountants for collective farms. Her elementary school was on a kolkhoz for which her father worked (near Tirana), and she spent her high-school years at a teacher-training boarding school ("I did a lot of crying there"). After graduating (1971), she was sent to teach in a poor village in the north of the country. It was in this period that she met Agim.

The meeting: 1972, on a train to Tirana. She, a teacher, was on her way home from the village where she worked; he, an economist, was on the way home from the transportation cooperative, where he worked. They sat opposite each other, and not by chance. Anna knew a woman who was engaged to a friend of his. When they parted on the station platform, they knew their story was just beginning.

The wedding: 1977, at home ("There was no banquet hall). Before the party they went to the interior ministry with two witnesses ("Every neighborhood had an interior ministry"). Her mother made the wedding dress, his suit was made by a tailor whom Agim invited to his home. The party lasted two days: Saturday in the bride's home, Sunday in the groom's. They ate a lot of meat, drank "Tirana" ("a better beer than [the Israeli brew] Maccabi") and raki, a homemade arak (which is kept in their home in Israeli mineral-water bottles), and then went on honeymoon.

Honeymoon: Two weeks in the "Workers' House" of Vlore ("free").

Immigration to Israel: March 1991 ("We waited for the Gulf War to end"). Agim encountered the first pizza of his life at the airport in Rome ("We ate nonstop"), and they spent the entire sum that they received from the Jewish Agency on sweets. They arrived in the Galilee town of Carmiel at midnight and found the apartment they were housed in depressing, but a visit to the supermarket the next day raised their spirits ("We filled up a cart without knowing what we had taken"). Carmiel was filled with Albanians, and Daniella had no integration problems.
Dreams: Agim - "A trip to Europe"; "I have a dream that I don't want to reveal now," says Anna, looking at Daniella; "Mom - enough!" Daniella says.

Daniella's dream: "What Mom said."
Romance: Coffee among the archaeological ruins at Caesarea (Anna and Agim).

God: "There is no God," Agim states. Daniella agrees. Anna can't say that.

Quarrels: Plenty. Agim says there are fights of a minute and a half ("Daniella is the referee"). Their wish for her is that she finds someone who understands that "family is sacred."

Politics: "I am for peace and against occupation," Agim says. In the big picture, he thinks highly of Shimon Peres ("the best"). Anna agrees. Both of them are in favor of equality in the country (Agim: "Everyone should either do army or two years of national service"). Daniella did her military service in the Israel Air Force as a secretary ("I had a terrific time").

Israeli-born friends: They have none ("Only Nehemiah and Aada from Nir Zvi") and don't understand why.

Happiness quotient (scale of 1-10): Everyone - 10. Agim: "Believe me, it is not my country, but I'm happy."

Albania: "My country" (Agim); "I won't forget Albania, either" (Anna).

Granddaughter of former chief rabbi of Israel writes a best-seller about her tempestuous life

From this past weekend’s Ha’aretz Magazine. Click on following title for the full article:
Between cocaine and commandments
By Dalia Karpel
Granddaughter of former chief rabbi of Israel writes a best-seller about her tempestuous life including sex on the synagogue floor

So what if she's the granddaughter of the second Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the State of Israel? Maybe just for that reason she rushed to have sexual relations at the age of 15, on the floor of the synagogue in London, of all places, where her father served as the rabbi? Today, at the age of 50, Reva Mann is convinced that the reason for her journey of self-destruction was that she was lonely and miserable. Lonely and miserable enough to produce an autobiographical novel full of good and bad deeds - about doing it on your wedding night through a hole in a sheet, about the husband who runs to the rabbi with his wife's panties to receive the approval that she is indeed "kosher," and about why, in the name of God, he shouts "Gevalt!" even when he has it so good in bed.

On Sunday in the wee hours of the morning, Reva Mann flew to London from Israel on the occasion of the recent publication of her book: "The Rabbi's Daughter: Sex, Drugs and Orthodoxy" (Hodder & Stoughton). A few hours before the flight she spoke excitedly about the busy week awaiting her in London: interviews for the British editions of Time and Elle magazines, as well as The Evening Standard, Sky News, the BBC, etc.

This week the book landed on the shelves of the bookstores. "The entire edition was almost sold out after the interview I gave to the The Sunday Times (London) supplement at the end of July," said Mann excitedly. "People bought copies by phone. The publisher has started to print a second edition."

Mann, a divorced mother of three, is enjoying this PR campaign: She was photographed twice for the article in The Sunday Times supplement: once disguised as a righteous ultra-Orthodox woman, and once wearing a suggestive outfit, sitting with her legs apart on a chair, with a glass of wine in her hand. It seems that from now on there is no more need to explain anything, and the book will sell itself. First in Britain, and soon in France and the United States as well. Mann, a person who was cured of her drug addiction and has become addicted to shopping, will be happy to pack her bags.

Unconditional love
Mann does not mention in her book the name of her famous grandfather, Isser Yehuda Unterman, because she worries that it will cause harm to her children. Her grandfather came to Israel from Liverpool and served as the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv before being appointed the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel in 1964. He served in that senior position for 26 years, until his death in 1973.

Unterman is described in the book as having soft blue eyes, and wearing a silk robe during prayers in the synagogue. She says he loved her unconditionally - the opposite of her strict and restrained parents. Even when she did not demonstrate expert knowledge of religious texts, he was forgiving, and spoiled her. Every summer vacation, he visited her in her apartment in Rehavia, opposite the Heichal Shlomo synagogue in Jerusalem.

From the mid-1980s Mann has been living in a house in the German Colony, purchased for her by her late father Morris Unterman, rabbi of the West End Marble Arch Synagogue in London. He also left her an inheritance on which she is living. In recent years she has been writing a kind of personal column for two Jewish newspapers: The London Jewish News and the Boston Jewish Advocate. She dreams of a literary career and is now writing her second book, a comedy on the End of Days - "fiction for a change, and not a book about myself," she says.

"The Rabbi's Daughter" took shape in her mind two months after her mother committed suicide in an old-age home in Jerusalem, in the summer of 2004. Mann contracted breast cancer at the time. "I underwent chemotherapy, it was hard, and I only wanted to return to life, but I didn't have anything to return to. Even though I had my three darling children who live with me in Jerusalem, cancer provokes the question: 'Why do I deserve this?' My oncologist told me that there is no proven reasons for cancer, but that didn't convince me, and I had to deal with the question of why I had fallen ill. I started to write my life story in order to understand what had happened. Writing was a kind of healing. Before this book I didn't write anything, and the moment I got started, writing became a challenge. I decided that I can write.

"I came to my writing teacher, Judy Labensohn, with 20 pages. I had no hair on my head and I was very weak from the radiation. Labensohn lives five minutes from my house and getting to her was like climbing the Everest. She marked all the pages in red. She simply erased almost everything. I was shocked, but I was happy because I knew that I was the outstanding pupil who had found a teacher."

A few months later Mann completed the first version of the book. She sent the draft to an agent in England who decided to represent her, and says he came back to her in two weeks with a contract from a British publisher and from Dial Press in America. For half a year she went over the manuscript with a literary editor from New York and prepared it for printing.

The result - how shall we put it? - shakes you up. The scene when she loses her virginity in the synagogue reaches its climax with a cry of pain on the royal-blue carpet, under the ner tamid (eternal light). Mann stands naked in front of the Holy Ark and shouts "Hallelujah!" She hears steps, and before she gets back into her dress, the doorman of the synagogue is standing in front of her and reprimanding her: "You'd better go home now." The doorman, a righteous person, never revealed her secret.
For rest of article click here

A branch of Germany’s left that is vehemently pro-Israel

From Ha'aretz's Magazine section from 2 weeks ago. Click on title for full article.

Letter from Berlin: The anti-anti-Zionists
By Benjamin Weinthal

The square in the former East Berlin named for Rosa Luxemburg, the Polish Jewish social revolutionary who was murdered by right-wing extremists in 1919, served as my introduction to the pro-Israel left in Germany. After moving to Berlin in 2002, I attended a May 1 demonstration at Rosa Luxemburg Square. There among maybe a thousand union members and other left-wing activists, I found myself pleasantly ambushed by a group of a dozen or more young people waving massive Israeli flags and buzzing around the demonstrators. This bizarre scene was a cause of cognitive dissonance: Was it possible for there to be left-wing, non-Jewish Germans who were also militant supporters of Israel?

The answer, apparently, is yes, as an astonishing thing has happened in the leftist political and intellectual culture of Germany. Though the left here, as in the rest of Western Europe, continues to be overwhelmingly anti-Israel, one can now point to a slice of the German left that identifies itself as pro-Israel and is creating a flourishing anti-anti-Zionist leftist culture.
The pro-Zionist Left in Germany is not made up of pro-Israel Evangelical Christians, but rather is a loose coalition of card-carrying leftists who fight to bring their camp back into the labor movement and advance the rights of gays and other sexual minorities.
There is no cookie-cutter approach to characterize the complex spectrum of groups and publications that promote active solidarity with Israel. In addition to the hardcore Anti-Germans, this colorful leftist mini-movement includes anti-nationalists (who argue that every national state should be abolished, but that Israel should be the last to go), pro-Zionists, moderate quasi-anarchists and anti-fascists. A sharp break with the majority leftist German culture, which is contaminated by an intense aversion to Israel - and a common left-wing anti-Semitism - unifies these diverse groups in their staunch support of Israel.

An ephemeral entity?
Members of the pro-Israel left have churned out an impressive number of books and journals addressing traditionally taboo topics on the left, with critiques of subjects ranging from political Islam to "respectable," liberal anti-Semitism. This curious development is not an expression of philo-Semitism; rather, it grounds its critique of social structures in the critical theory writings of the philosophers Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, as well as a flexible Marxist philosophy and Freudian psychoanalysis.

Is the pro-Israel German left simply an ephemeral entity, or does it constitute a sustainable new left capable of breathing fire and light into central Europe?

Andrei Markovits, a University of Michigan political scientist and professor of German studies, observes that there are "considerably more pockets of pro-Israel groups in Germany in comparison to the 1980s." The Romanian-born Markovits, who is Jewish, has the stature of a public intellectual in Germany and Austria. We spoke by phone when he toured Germany in late June publicizing his book "Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America," which examines the interplay between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Europe.

The publisher of "Uncouth Nation" in Germany, Konkret Literatur Verlag, also recently published a German edition of "Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars," by the Israeli scholar Yaacov Lozowick, director of archives at Yad Vashem. That's a title sure to produce anxiety in Germany where, according to an opinion poll carried out by the influential weekly magazine Der Spiegel, a majority of Germans during the first week of the Second Lebanon War last year did not believe Israel had the right to defend itself against Hezbollah's rockets.
Call of the jungle
The magazine Bahamas is the leading publication of the hardcore pro-Israel, Anti-German communist movement, whose members advocate unconditional solidarity with Israel. Its founders chose the name Bahamas in 1992 as a sort of an ironic rejoinder to the Communist Alliance in Hamburg, whose majority faction urged the Anti-Germans to immigrate to the Atlantic island nation.

Karl Nele, a co-founder of the publication, said the development of Israel solidarity was a response to the German left's "strong support for the [second] intifida" and "an anti-Zionist consensus formed from the political left to the political right" that is deeply anchored in German society. The Holocaust also informs Bahamas' militant defense of Israel as "a place of refuge for Jews."

Bahamas carved out new territory on the German left in explicitly supporting the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In a 2003 conference, the magazine's co-founder Justus Wertmueller said that the removal of a "fascistic regime with strong National Socialistic features" represents "liberation for the population." The national security of Israel was also an overriding rationale for Bahamas' support of the Iraq war.

Wertmueller, whose remarks were reprinted in the magazine, went on to suggest that "the problem is still that German and Islamic resentments are identical: anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Semitic. German-Islamic friendship stems from the fact that the Germans recognize themselves in political Islam, because it is fascist and at the same time gives the impression of being an indigenous culture."

In contrast to the unqualified pro-war position of Bahamas, over at Konkret, Gremliza editorialized a month before the start of the allied invasion that "I would have no objections if it could be guaranteed that Saddam Hussein's regime could be removed and replaced by a humane one, without the collateral deaths of fifty or a hundred thousand or more Iraqis and without unleashing other monsters elsewhere." While the overwhelming majority of the German left remained painfully silent about the repressive Ba'ath regime, the anti-Germans highlighted Saddam's crimes.
Ivo Bozic, a founder and co-editor of Jungle World, says the publication is "explicitly anti-anti-Zionist, anti-anti-Semitic, and anti-anti-American." He also notes that the paper's writing is peppered with "self-irony." The Jungle World editorial staff traveled to Israel in 2004 to devote an entire issue to the politics and culture of Israeli society. They visited a training camp for Israeli tank drivers, conducted interviews with writer Etgar Keret and filmmaker Benny Barbash and got a taste of the club scene in Tel Aviv. They also had meetings with Palestinians, but did not come away with great sympathy for their struggle.
Jungle World is not bound by what it sees as a kind of rigid socially and politically correct style of journalism among the German left media, where a hyperactive sense of inhibition prevents criticism of political Islam, or coverage of the lack of women's rights, sexual minority freedoms, labor rights and parliamentary democracy in the Arab world.

The German Jewish journalist Henryk M. Broder divorced himself from the mainstream German left in 1981, when he published an open letter in the weekly Die Zeit ("The Times") critiquing the anti-Semitism of the left. He also writes occasionally for Jungle World. His first best-seller, "Hurray, We're Capitulating" (2006), is a fiercely combative indictment of Europe's soggy response to a growing and radicalized political Islam.

The book most identified with Broder, however, is his 1986 "The Eternal Anti-Semite," a critique of liberal and leftist anti-Semitism. He summed up his scathing indictment of the German left with the stinging line: "You're still your parents' children. Your Jew today is the State of Israel." Broder, and the Holocaust survivor Jean Amery, who wrote exhaustively about the interplay between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on the European left, both serve as kind of sine qua non of the criticism launched by the pro-Israel left against the majority liberal-left here.
Reconciling realities
... anti-Jewish sentiment is indeed on the rise. The Verfassungschutz, the country's domestic intelligence agency, claimed in its most recent annual report that there has been a dramatic increase over the past two years in criminal offenses and anti-Semitic slurs. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a German think tank with close ties to the Social Democratic Party, released findings of a 2006 study that revealed alarming levels of extreme right-wing attitudes, including among leftist and Green Party voters. A BBC poll conducted earlier this year determined that 77 percent of Germans have a pejorative view of Israel, the highest percentage in Europe, yet the opinion editor of die taz seems to feel the need to debunk the charge of anti-Semitism.

How does one reconcile the fact that the mainstream left is developing a cottage industry dedicated to avoiding dealing with anti-Semitism and with the purported aim of the political left to abolish racism, which necessarily includes anti-Semitism?

Dr. Lars Rensmann, a political theorist who teaches at the University of Michigan and who has written extensively on the subject, says anti-Jewish bias is not confronted because of the faulty conception "that one is exonerated from the charge of anti-Semitism because one is left."
Andrei Markovits views the phenomenon of pro-Israeli German leftist publications as "a counterweight to the overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian tone of the German media." To this, Dr. Dieter Graumann, vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: "It is nice that they stand up for Israel, but unfortunately these groups are not a true political power."

Graumann points to a dangerous heavyweight on the political scene in Germany: the newly formed Left Party, which is already the third strongest political party in the country. In the fall of 2006, the party invited a Hamas minister to meet with its representatives in parliament, the only political party in Germany to commence high level diplomatic contact with the Palestinian party. And a faction within the party (Linksruck, which means, roughly, a "shift to the left") justifies terror as a method of resistance against the "oppressor state" of Israel.

To Graumann's thinking, the Left Party is little better than an extension of the Socialist Unity Party of the now-defunct East German government, which "supported the Black September group and issued money and munitions for the destruction of Israel." Graumann also cites the potency of the newspaper Neues Deutschland, the former party organ paper of the SED, which today attracts many of its readers from the Left Party, and published an anti-Israel cartoon that could have appeared in the anti-Semitic Nazi paper Der Stuermer.

The Left Party just secured its first election victory in a western German federal state, Bremen. Oskar Lafontaine, the party's co-chairman and a popular political writer, argues that Iran is entitled to nuclear weapons because Israel possesses nuclear capability. The pro-Israel left intelligentsia views Lafontaine as the embodiment of a fiery left-wing German nationalism that tends to spill over into raw nativism. This new political party is, according to Graumann, riddled with anti-Israelism. The pro-Zionist left argues Lafontaine is a phony leftist and cites his praise for the "interface between Islam and the German left" as proof for his reactionary outlook. The foreign policy spokesman of the party, Norman Paech, frequently employs Nazi terminology to describe Israel, and equates the Israeli campaign in Lebanon in 2006 with a "war of annihilation," a term otherwise reserved for the Nazi destruction of European Jewry.
Is it possible to cite other left-wing newspapers in Europe that meet the criteria of vehemently opposing anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism? The leftist journal "Dissent" is perhaps the only comparable reference point, but that is an American publication. And can one point to other clusters of non-Jewish, pro-Israel leftists on the continental European left? This radical minority of pro-Israel leftists in Germany and Austria might very well have jumped into the avant-garde leftist future. The pressing question is, is anyone paying attention?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Medal of Valor for Israeli Officer who Sacrificed His Life by Jumping on a Grenade

Israel radio reported that 142 soldiers who fought in the Second Lebanon War, last summer including an officer who sacrificed his life by jumping on a grenade to save his soldiers, were chosen by an IDF committee to receive medals of valor and citations of excellence for the courage they displayed during Israel's war against Hizbullah last summer.

Editorial Commentary
Compare this to the phenomenon one finds in the Arab/Moslem world where radical indoctrination causes people to kill themselves in order to take innocent lives rather than save lives (See article on this blog: Teaching Children Martyrdom).
It’s this stark contrast regarding the sanctity of life, from the horrors of 9-11, to suicide bombers blowing themselves up in Israeli cafes, and discotheques, to mosques in Iraq, which needs to be brought into focus by the media, politicians and people everywhere if one really want to address the core issues in the middle-east.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Syrian Minister Compares US & Israel to a Snake

Israel Radio reported today that Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal publicly attacked Israel and the United States, comparing both countries to a snake "ready to attack at any minute, even if it knows it will die." Bilal, speaking to the Persian Gulf newspaper Al-Hilaj, characterized Israel an "immoral" nation lacking in values.

Editorial Commentary
This coming from a country that wiped out the entire city of Hama (in Syria) back in 1982, killing 20,000 people as part of Hafez Assad’s systematic persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood. Occupied parts of Lebanon for close to 30 years, has been engaged in ongoing subversive activity against the Christian factions in the Lebanese government.

A country that provided safe haven to Alois Brunner, who served during World War II as the personal secretary to Adolf Eichmann, and was condemned to death in absentia by two French courts in 1954. Brunner was responsible for the deportation of French and Greek Jewry to death camps.

Finally Syria is country with a litany of blatant and systematic human right abuses as documented in this U.S. Department of State report

Egyptians kill 4 Sudanese refugees at Israeli border

The report appeared on Israel TV on Channel 10 on Friday night. An account of the report was filed by Associated Press and appears on the Ynet site
See the full report here

Egyptian soldiers beat two refugees to death, shoot others, Israeli TV reports

Egyptian soldiers killed four Sudanese refugees, beating two to death in front of horrified Israeli soldiers, an Israeli TV station reported Thursday, screening what it said was army surveillance video and interviews with the soldiers.

Egyptian police said that authorities arrested two Sudanese refugees Thursday, seriously injuring one when he scuffled with police. But Egyptian police Capt. Mohammed Badr did not report any deaths.

Channel 10 TV said the incident happened late Wednesday night. In the video, the refugees are seen running toward the border with Israel. Then, according to one of the soldiers, who was not identified and whose voice was distorted, Egyptian soldiers opened fire, killing two.
Last month, Egyptian border guards shot and killed a Sudanese woman and wounded four others. She was the first Sudanese refugee to be killed

In an earlier report on this blog titled: Sudanese Mother and Child Reunion, I posted the story of Israelis who held no bars to reunite Sudanese refugees with their child who got stuck on the other side of the border when they smuggled across the Israeli--Egyptian border. That same blog posting also included a story of Sudanese refugees hosted by a Jewish Jerusalem family.

It went on to ponder about the silence of the so called enlightened-world to Egypt’s brutal dictatorship and its litany of human rights abuses. Finally it stated that though the status of the Sudanese refugees in Israel remains unclear, the story of Israelis providing shelter for African Moslems, fleeing Arab atrocities, for the most part goes untold and unnoticed...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Solel Solar inks huge solar power deal in California

by Merav Ankori
July 25, 2007
Solel Solar Systems Ltd. will sell 553 megawatts of electricity to California's PG & E Corp. (AMEX:PCG) (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) from a solar power plant that the company will build in the Mojave Desert at an investment of some $2 billion. PG & E's nine-square mile Mojave Solar Park is due to begin operating in 2011. PG&E said that the power, enough for 400,000 homes, will go to customers in northern and central California. The Mojave Solar Park project is now the world's largest single solar commitment.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New Ad Campaign Uses Everyday Israelis

From the Advertising section of Today's NYTs

(Read the full story here:

The North American office of the Israel Ministry of Tourism is running an $11 million ad campaign - the ministry’s largest ever - that suggests visitors will “love Israel from the first ‘Shalom.’ ”
Featuring a cross-section of welcoming Israelis who include an archeologist, chef, cowboy, dancer and high-tech executive, the ads are part of a plan to double North American tourism to Israel by 2010, said Arie Sommer, Israel’s Tourism Commissioner for North and South America. Approximately 600,000 North Americans traveled to Israel last year, 30 percent of the country’s total and its largest single group of visitors
Mal MacDougall, chief creative officer of Communications Plus in New York, the ministry’s ad agency, said these individuals “are a cross-section, real Israelis. They’re not models or famous, they’re real, everyday people.”

He also said they were chosen because they represent the “breadth Israelis have. For example, the dancer does studies in the animal world. We tried to get people who were not just a doctor, who do nothing but be a doctor.”

The campaign’s tagline, “You’ll love Israel from the first ‘Shalom’ ” was chosen, Mr. Sommer said, because it reflects the “warm feelings between American people and the people of Israel.”

Maya Weiser, the dancer in the campaign, is shown posing on a beach in Tel Aviv. The copy asks, “Who can say ‘Shalom’ more eloquently” than she, and explains that she has danced since she was 6 and been a member of the Batsheva Dance Company, and that she now studies animal science at Hebrew University.

Three Stories of Personal Change

From the Ha'aretz Gallery Magazine section Three stories of personal change: a doctor who used to weigh 100 kilos and is now a triathlete; a computer programmer who began running at age 44 and now completes marathons; and a lawyer who gave up law for yoga.