Friday, 31 July 2009

An Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the Nazi Holocaust

An Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the Nazi Holocaust

Obama slammed as racist at Jerusalem rally

Obama slammed as racist at Jerusalem rally

The 9th of Avs new tears - Los Angeles Times

The 9th of Avs new tears - Los Angeles Times

New service lets Jews tweet a prayer to God - Tech & gadgets- msnbc.com

New service lets Jews tweet a prayer to God - Tech & gadgets- msnbc.com

John Bolton: It’s Crunch Time for Israel on Iran - WSJ.com

John Bolton: It’s Crunch Time for Israel on Iran - WSJ.com

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu freezes construction in Jerusalem?

Netanyahu freezes construction in Jerusalem?

Haaretz reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu has frozen construction on a 900-unit apartment project in Pisgat Zev. Pisgat Zev is in Jerusalem, but across the 'green line.' It is no more than a few minutes up the road from me. It is also a neighborhood in which Arabs have purchased apartments. This was done late Wednesday night, when most Israelis were busy with the Tisha b'Av fast day and not paying attention to the media (Hat Tip: Racquel R.).
Read All at :
Israel Matzav: Netanyahu freezes construction in Jerusalem?

Israel Matzav: Obama takes the military option off the table

Obama takes the military option off the table

I was asked to post this letter from De-nuke Iran.








Dear ,

Watching the news and reading the headlines this past week has been an exercise in frustration and anger.

The Obama administration continues to expend considerable energy to "reassure" Americans and Israelis that they consider the prospect of an impending nuclear-armed Iran to be unacceptable --
but I'm not buying it and I doubt you are either.

My husband and DeNuke Iran co-founder Michael Fenenbock and I are getting angrier and angrier as it is becoming clearer and clearer that Israel is going to be left to deal with what is rightfully a threat to the entire world.

As Ambassador John Bolton wrote in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, it will soon be "crunch time" for Israel.

"Crunch time" is approaching for DeNuke Iran as well.

Michael and I continue to draw on our political experience and our personal resources to develop DeNuke Iran as a viable and effective voice for those who want to collectively take a stand against the non-action of the political leadership around the world, particularly in the United States.

I want to thank you for your continued support. These are indeed dark days, but I am confident we will soon grow to the tens and hundreds of thousands, and then together - collectively - we will make an impact. Please continue to "watch this space" for some exciting announcements in the very near future on how we intend to that. We are not being idle, and we are counting on you to help us successfully execute our plans.

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Israel Matzav: Why Israel must control the Mount of Olives

Why Israel must control the Mount of Olives

In the summer of 2000, a meeting took place at the home of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef in the Har Nof section of Jerusalem. Those who attended the meeting were other Haredi Rabbis who opposed Ehud Barak's plan to go to Camp David and offer the 'Palestinians' everything they wanted. The leader of those Rabbis was Rabbi Levi I. Horowitz, the Bostonner Rebbe, someone my family has known for many years (as far as I am aware, he is currently quite ill - HaRav Levi Yitzchak ben Sarah Sasha for those who wish to say a prayer). The delegation succeeded in convincing Rabbi Yosef to pull his Shas party out of Barak's government.

The way Rabbi Horowitz and his cohorts convinced Rabbi Yosef to oppose Barak's trip to Camp David was to show him how turning over the Arab villages around the Mount of Olives (Har HaZeitim) cemetery to the 'Palestinians' would endanger Jewish burials in one of the most important Jewish cemeteries (possibly the most important) in the world. Nadav Shragai explains why Israel must continue to control the Mount of Olives cemetery.

* The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, that the Palestinians demand to transfer to their control, is the most important Jewish cemetery in the world. The area has constituted a religious and national pantheon for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, containing the tombs of the illustrious dead of the nation over the course of 3,000 years and serving as a site for Jewish gathering and prayer at the time of the ancient Temple and even prior to it.

* Under Jordanian rule, Jewish access and the continued burial of Jews on the mount was prohibited, despite Jordan's explicit commitment in the Israeli-Jordanian Armistice Agreement of 1949. During the period of Jordanian rule, the cemetery was destroyed and desecrated, and 38,000 of its tombstones and graves were smashed to smithereens. [Many of its gravestones were used to construct a walkway to the Intercontinental Hotel which sits atop the Mount, and which was built under the Jordanians' rule. CiJ].

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Israel Matzav: Why Israel must control the Mount of Olives

Israel Matzav: Karine A financer convicted

Karine A financer convicted

How many of you remember the Karine A? The Karine A was a ship that was sent from Iran to the 'Palestinians' in 2002 that was carrying over 50 tons of armaments. The IDF captured the ship some 500 nautical miles from Israel's coast. The Arafat aide who arranged that ship, Fuad Shubaki, was captured in Israel's raid on the Jericho 'prison' in 2006. On Wednesday, A military court convicted Shubaki of illegal arms dealing and of organizing and financing the Karine A.
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Israel Matzav: Karine A financer convicted

Israel Matzav: US may back expansion of UNIFIL powers

US may back expansion of UNIFIL powers

Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, told the US House Foreign Affairs Committee this week that the United States does not have the power to expand UNIFIL's mandate in southern Lebanon. However she believes that the Security Council might be willing to expand the mandate.

Addressing the recent explosion at an arms cache in south Lebanon, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told the House of Representative's Foreign Affairs Committee that while UNIFIL enjoys limited power in the Arab country, its presence still has some value.

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Israel Matzav: US may back expansion of UNIFIL powers

Israel Matzav: Israel allowing cement, metal pipes into Gaza

Israel allowing cement, metal pipes into Gaza

For the first time since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Israel will allow cement and metal pipes into Gaza. The cement and metal pipes are to be turned over to UNRWA for specific construction projects and allegedly will be kept away from Hamas.

The transfer of materials is part of the implementation of a United Nations plan devised by UN envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, who has submitted to Israel a list of 10 UN-sponsored construction projects in Gaza.

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Israel Matzav: Israel allowing cement, metal pipes into Gaza

Israel Matzav: Israelis had Boyd figured out

Israel Matzav: Israelis had Boyd figured out

Israel Matzav: Franklin: FBI AIPAC probe anti-Semitic

Franklin: FBI AIPAC probe anti-Semitic

In an exclusive interview with the Washington Times, former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin (pictured) charges the FBI with anti-Semitism in its probe of AIPAC - the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States - earlier this decade. Even though he was used as an informant, Franklin was originally sentenced to 13 years in jail as part of the probe, but that sentence was reduced to probation earlier this year after charges against two former AIPAC employees were dropped.
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Israel Matzav: Franklin: FBI AIPAC probe anti-Semitic

Israel Matzav: Only in Israel: UK funding 'political activity'

Israel Matzav: Only in Israel: UK funding 'political activity'

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian refugees' benefited from Israel more than anyone

'Palestinian refugees' benefited from Israel more than anyone

From an interview with George Gilder, the author of The Israel Test.

LOPEZ: Can evangelicals save Israel?

GILDER: I believe that facing the most critical Israel Test are my fellow evangelicals, who are inclined to support Israel as the heart of their religion but who also can be gullible about the so-called oppression of the Palestinian Arabs. This is just stupid, because the Palestinian Arabs have benefited more from Israel than any other people — by far.

LOPEZ: What do you mean these wretched refugees benefited from Israel?

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Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian refugees' benefited from Israel more than anyone

Israel Matzav: Self-hating Jews

Israel Matzav: Self-hating Jews

Israel Matzav: WaPo slams Obama on Israel

WaPo slams Obama on Israel

A flying pigs moment?

In an editorial in Thursday's editions, the Washington Post slams the Obumbler for spoiling US relations with only one country in the last six months: Israel.

Rather than pocketing Mr. Netanyahu's initial concessions -- he gave a speech on Palestinian statehood and suggested parameters for curtailing settlements accepted by previous U.S. administrations -- Mr. Obama chose to insist on an absolutist demand for a settlement "freeze." Palestinian and Arab leaders who had accepted previous compromises immediately hardened their positions; they also balked at delivering the "confidence-building" concessions to Israel that the administration seeks. Israeli public opinion, which normally leans against the settler movement, has rallied behind Mr. Netanyahu. And Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which were active during the Bush administration's final year, have yet to resume.

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Israel Matzav: WaPo slams Obama on Israel

Israel Matzav: Former commander of Israel's ground forces: Gaza expulsion was 'nonsense'

Former commander of Israel's ground forces: Gaza expulsion was 'nonsense'

For those of you who are fasting today, I hope that you are having an easy and meaningful fast. We have a little more than two hours to go here. I also apologize for not being online sooner. I don't fast well (given that I am a constantly sleep-deprived caffeine addict, that should not be surprising), and because of that, no one in this house will wake me up on a fast day unless it's 10 minutes or less until I have to be in synagogue.
Former IDF ground forces commander Yiftach Ron-Tal told army radio today that the expulsion of Gaza's Jews four years ago this week was 'nonsense' from a security perspective, and that although he opposed it, he could not disobey orders.
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Israel Matzav: Former commander of Israel's ground forces: Gaza expulsion was 'nonsense'

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

The Torah Revolution: Jewish Woodstock Music Concert: Come to Tapuah this Motze Shabbat

The Torah Revolution: Jewish Woodstock Music Concert: Come to Tapuah this Motze Shabbat

The Torah Revolution: Jewish Woodstock Music Concert: Come to Tapuah this Motze Shabbat

The Torah Revolution: Jewish Woodstock Music Concert: Come to Tapuah this Motze Shabbat

Life in Israel: The People of the Kotel... The Kotel of the People.

Life in Israel: The People of the Kotel... The Kotel of the People.

An Open Letter to Diaspora Jewry

An Open Letter to Diaspora Jewry

Av 8, 5769, 29 July 09 06:42
by Rabbi Zev M. Shandalov

(Israelnationalnews.com)

While I have only made Aliyah less than a month ago, my dream of Aliyah, and all that comes along with it, has been burning in me for decades. I say this at the outset, so that you should not think I am writing this from the perspective of a three-week-old dream, but rather from a 30-year-old dream.

Tomorrow, world Jewry will collectively mourn for the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, which were destroyed on the ninth of Av thousands of years ago. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? Why, indeed, do we sit on the floor, abstain from food and drink, and cry over the loss of the Beit HaMikdash? Invariably, it turns out to be the hottest day of the year and a very unpleasant one at that. So, why do we fast?

Read All at :



Arutz Sheva - IsraelNationalNews.com -An Open Letter to Diaspora Jewry

Temple Altar Construction Begins on Day of Destruction - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Temple Altar Construction Begins on Day of Destruction - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Temple Institute to Build Sacrificial Altar on Tisha B'av - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Temple Institute to Build Sacrificial Altar on Tisha B'av - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Mini-Scale Model of Temple Amazes Experts - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Mini-Scale Model of Temple Amazes Experts


by Hillel Fendel
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.



(IsraelNN.com) In a small town in eastern England lies a 1,800-square foot project that is still a well-guarded secret from most of the world: possibly the most accurate model of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in existence.

Its builder is a retired property-developer named Alec Garrard, who has been working on it for nearly 30 years – and expects to continue to do so until his dying day. “It’s not me who says it’s the most accurate model of the Temple in the world,” he told Israel National Radio’s Walter Bingham. “It’s the experts who come and say so!”

Read it All at :

UNIVERSAL TORAH: VO-ESCHANAN

UNIVERSAL TORAH: VO-ESCHANAN


By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: VO-ESCHANAN, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11.
Haftara: Isaiah 40:1-26.

"AND I TRIED TO INGRATIATE MYSELF."

In the opening word of our PARSHAH of VO-ESCHANAN, Moses tells how "I tried to ingratiate myself" with G-d -- elicit His favor -- praying repeatedly to be allowed enter the land of Israel, "Eretz HaTzvi", the "Land of Beauty, the graceful gazelle", and come to the place of the Holy Temple. The Midrash teaches that in order to try to revoke the decree against his entry to the land, Moses prayed no less than 515 prayers -- corresponding to the gematria (numerical value) of the word VO-ESCHANAN. The root of this word is CHEN, meaning the "grace" that is bestowed by G-d as a gift of pure love and kindness. The grammatical form of the word is HISPA'EL - reflexive: the person praying must WORK on himself or herself in order to become open to that gift. The parshah is a call to us to the inner work that must be combined with our Torah study: the work in our heart and soul to open ourselves to G-d's grace -- through meditation, contemplation, prayer and refinement of our traits. We must try and try again and again!!!

(The meaning of CHEN, and how to receive the shine of G-d's wisdom and grace in our hearts, is fully explored in the opening teaching of Rabbi Nachman's Likutey Moharan. For an online audio class on this teaching with full translation and commentary, click here.)

Parshas VO-ESCHANAN, is always read on this, the Shabbat of comfort after the fast of Tisha B'Av -- SHABBOS NACHAMU (so-called after the opening words of the Haftara). Having mourned past destruction and ruin on Tisha Be'Av, it is now time to put the past behind us. We must bind up our wounds and embark on the work of rebuilding and reconstruction during the coming days of Teshuvah in the months of Av and Elul, leading up to the New Year and Days of Awe. To initiate this period, many Bnei Torah have the custom of taking trips away from the city in order to able to broaden their horizons, gaze at the sky, the hills, the sea and G-d's other wonders for the sake of physical and spiritual reinvigoration.

Parshas VO-ESCHANAN provides us with spiritual sustenance for this reinvigoration process, giving us the very foundations of our faith in the One, Unified, Incorporeal G-d. In some of the most sublime passages in the Bible, Moses evokes the awesome greatness of G-d, the greatness of Israel, His chosen people, the preciousness of the Land of Israel, and the love and fear of G-d. Moses takes us again through the fearsomeness of the Giving of the Torah, and teaches us our basic declaration of faith, repeated twice daily: SHEMA YISRAEL, HASHEM ELOKENU HASHEM ECHAD. Many other phrases from our present parshah are also incorporated into the regular set prayers in the Siddur.

* * *

REPAIR AND RECONSTRUCTION

At the center of the parshah are the second telling of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai and the Ten Commandments. In the annual cycle of the Torah reading, we read about the Giving of the Torah once in parshas YISRO close to 15th Shevat (January-February), and a second time half a year later in VO-ESCHANAN, which is always read close to 15th Av. The account in YISRO is also read on the anniversary of the Giving of the Torah, on the festival of Shavuot. In this way, we return at regular intervals to the birth experience of the soul of Israel. The mid-point of the months of Shevat and Av are times when our souls begin to ready themselves for actual rebirth forty-five days later in Nissan (Pesach, physical rebirth) and Tishri (High Holidays, Succot, spiritual rebirth).

The difference between the accounts of the Giving of the Torah in YISRO and VO-ESCHANAN is the difference between "before the sin" and "after the sin". The account in YISRO comes in the days of innocent exuberance after the Exodus from Egypt, before the fall -- the worship of the golden calf. The account in VO-ESCHANAN comes long after sin of the golden calf, after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu (SHEMINI, Leviticus 10), after the "Graves of Lust", the sin of the spies, the rebellion of Korach and the other sins and rebellions recounted in the book of Numbers. We are older in more ways than one. With the passage of time, we may have fallen into bad ways. In VO-ESCHANAN we come back to basics again, the Giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments -- this time with the purpose of learning how to RE-build and RE-construct, even after destruction and ruin.

* * *

STAY YOUNG

We cannot avoid getting older physically, but spiritually we must try to stay young -- for the wiser and more advanced we are spiritually, the closer we should be to G-d's endless, never-exhausted fountain of vitality and grace. "It is not good to be old," cried Rabbi Nachman. "There are pious and righteous elders, but to be old is not good. You must remain young, renewing yourself each day and making a fresh start" (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom #51).

The journey back to the basics and retelling of the Giving of the Torah in VO-ESCHANAN come to rectify the sin of becoming old spiritually, which is the main cause of destruction and exile. This sin is so serious that the analysis of its roots, given in our parshah (Deut. 4:25-40), forms the Torah Reading of reproof in the synagogue on Tisha B'Av. "When you give birth to children and children's children and YOU GROW OLD IN THE LAND and you CORRUPT."

New converts and returnees who have come to the Torah from far away, with all the excitement and enthusiasm of spiritual discovery, are often shocked and deeply disturbed to find old and seemingly tired communities whose observance of the commandments looks habitual, stale and devoid of inner meaning. Similarly, newcomers to present-day Israel who came in search of the Holy Land are often shocked by the rampant unholiness and corruption they encounter.

The Torah indeed gives us to understand that one of the main hazards of a tradition handed down from generation to generation is that the enthusiasm of the pioneers becomes ossified and encrusted in forms that often alienate people and drive them away. Corruption sets in, leading to the idolatry and evil that are the very opposite of the Torah. This is the root cause of the exile, leading to the scattering of Israel among the nations.

And yet -- "EVEN FROM THERE, IF YOU SEEK OUT HASHEM YOUR G-D, YOU WILL FIND, IF YOU SEARCH HIM OUT WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND ALL YOUR SOUL. In your time of trouble, when all these things find you at the end of days. And you will return to HaShem your G-d and listen to His voice" (Deuteronomy 4:29-30).

The voice we must listen to is the authentic voice of revival and regeneration emitting from outstanding Tzaddikim like the Baal Shem Tov and Rabbi Nachman, who broke free of the encrusted obfuscation of spiritual old-age in order to bring us back to the basics -- the love and awe of G-d that must fire our service.

New enthusiasts should try to judge long-time practitioners favorably. It is far from easy to maintain consistent, energetic service of G-d for years on end, day after day praying the set prayers and practicing the rituals while facing the endless pressures of making a living, bringing up families, etc. in a troubled world where we seem to see no clear sign of Redemption.

Precisely because it is so easy to fall, Moses exhorts us again and again not to allow ourselves to grow old, not to forget, not to go astray. The regular return to the basics -- reading a second time about the Giving of the Torah from a new angle, re-reading the Ten Commandments -- comes to teach us that we must constantly strive to renew ourselves and keep things fresh. "And let these things that I am commanding you TODAY be on your heart" -- "They should not be in your eyes like an old edict that nobody minds, but like a new one that everyone runs to read" (Deut. 6:6 and Rashi ad loc.).

* * *

TEACH THEM TO YOUR CHILDREN

The greatest challenge for Israel is to hand on not only the outer forms of the Torah but its inner fire to the coming generations. Each of the three founding fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, strove to inculcate the knowledge of G-d in his children. VO-ESCHANAN returns repeatedly to the importance of teaching children and inculcating genuine faith in them -- another task that is far from easy. "And you shall teach them diligently to your children." (Deut. 6:7). "When you son asks you in the future, saying 'What are the testimonies, the statutes and the laws that HaShem our G-d has commanded you?' And you shall say to him." (Deut. 6:20).

The Torah's answer to the new generation, given in the ensuing verses, forms the foundation of the Haggadah recited at the Pesach Seder table. In essence, the answer is that there is such a thing as slavery, and that only G-d has the power to release us from it -- for our good -- through the observance of His unique commandments.

Slavery may not be only physical. Today, the most prevalent form of slavery is the mental slavery of those enmeshed and ensnared in secular "culture" which encourages the pursuit of everything except G-d and His truth. At the end of parshas VO-ESCHANAN, the Torah warns strongly that we must recognize idols for what they are and destroy them. (When we are powerless to destroy the idols of the outside world, we can at least destroy them in our own minds.) The Torah teaches the maintenance of strict separation from idol-worshippers. "For you are a holy people to HaShem your G-d, He chose YOU to be a treasured people from all the peoples on the face of the earth. And you shall know that HaShem your G-d is the G-d, the faithful Power, guarding the Covenant and kindness to those who love Him and observe His commandments to the thousandth generation." (Deut. 7:6 & 9).

Shabbat Shalom!!!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

--
AZAMRA INSTITUTE
PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel
Website: www.azamra.org

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The End of Israel?

The End of Israel?

Here are some ruminations for Tisha'a be'Av, the 9th day of Av, on which we mourn the destruction of the Temple, a long long time ago. Could it happen again?

Because of its length, I've put this post over here.
taken from Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Nastiness Inspired by Israel

Nastiness Inspired by Israel

Robert Mackey at the New York Times tells a troubling story about what he calls India's Wall of Death.

Well, sort of. Actually he tells a rambling tale that starts with Indian women who have joined the Border Security Force. Since most of us have never heard of the BSF, he helpfully sends us to a recruiting film they've posted on You-Tube, while smirking about its resemblance to Bollywood films. I assume such a film fits into a context its intended Indian audience recognize, and which the rest of us don't, so perhaps the smirk is unwarranted. The article then wanders on to tell how violent the BSF is - even their own website says so - and then it brings various people who tell that the violence is unjustified and wanton. Since they say so it must be true, apparently, because Mackey wastes no time on any attempt to figure out what's really going on. You might be interested to hear that while he cites a statistic from the BSF website about 4,814 people they've killed in 19 years, and sets this up so we think they were mostly innocent villagers, he fails to cite the number from the same webpage whereby 1,375 BSF men have also died. I guess the innocent villagers were armed and shot back. Or perhaps sometimes shot first. It's hard to know if you parachute into the story from the stratosphere and immedately begin pontificating.

The BSF link, by the way, is here. Mackey forgot to add it.

Having introduced us to an organization we'd never heard of, poked fun at its self image by choosing one item divorced from any context, convinced us it's an outfit of bloodthirsty gunslingers which routinely kills villagers, he then embeds a British Channel 4 film to prove the whole thing. If there are pictures in a film, it must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Finally, having convinced us this is an ugly story, he informs us the Indian fence was inspired by Israel, and he helpfully recommends we read what he calls a "fascinating article" published by an Indian we know nothing about in a UAE newspaper. UAE, in case you don't know and he doesn't tell, is United Arab Emirates. Just the place to learn about Israel. So I read the fascinating article. The author knows about India, though I have no way of telling how acceptable his analysis is; he certainly knows nothing about Israel beyond a clischee here and there.

Parting shot: If Israel hadn't inspired the Indians, none of this would be happening, we're led to understand. Of course, the fact that lots of people are dying along the Indian fence, while the Israeli one has played a demonstrable role in saving thousands of lives goes unmentioned. (Yes, over the years four or five people have also died along it, but they weren't villagers tending their fields). The source for this nasty allegation? Jonathan Rugman, at Channel 4. Except that even as he makes this unsubstantiated claim, he also demonstrates how false it is, by noting that the Indians began constructing their fence in 2000. The Israelis began constructing theirs, I remind you, in 2002. Perhaps they were inspired by the Indians?

Top notch journalism, 2009.
taken from Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Terminators: The Real NWO Killing Machines

Israel Matzav: Tisha b'Av

Tisha b'Av

Wednesday night and Thursday are Tisha b'Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

Five tragedies befell the Jewish people on Tisha b'Av in ancient times, the two most important of which were the destruction of the two Holy Temples:

- It was decreed that the generation which left Egypt would remain in the desert for 40 years and not enter the land of Israel, after believing the inaccurate report of 10 of the 12 spies in the year 2449 (the current Jewish year is 5769).

- The first Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9 B'Av in the year 3339.

- The second Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9 B'Av about 1948 years ago.

- The city of Betar was captured and tens of thousands of Jews were killed in the year 3893.

- The wicked Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Bet Hamikdash and its surroundings and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, also in the year 3893.

Since these tragedies occurred on 9 B'Av, it was decreed as a day of fasting and mourning.

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Israel Matzav: Tisha b'Av

Israel Matzav: The Obama doctrine of 'engagement' is dead

The Obama doctrine of 'engagement' is dead

Writing in the Washington Post, Michael Gerson argues that at least with regard to North Korea and Iran, Obama's doctrine of 'engagement' is dead.

Six months on, how fares the Obama doctrine? Concerning North Korea and Iran, the doctrine is on its deathbed.

North Korea responded to administration outreach by testing a nuclear weapon, firing missiles toward U.S. allies, resuming plutonium reprocessing and threatening the United States with a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation." During congressional testimony, Clinton admitted, "At this point [it] seems implausible, if not impossible, the North Koreans will return to the six-party talks and begin to disable their nuclear capacity again."

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Israel Matzav: The Obama doctrine of 'engagement' is dead

Israel Matzav: The Marie Antoinette of the Middle East

Israel Matzav: The Marie Antoinette of the Middle East

Israel Matzav: US and Israel divided on Iran

US and Israel divided on Iran

When Defense Secretary Gates was here earlier in the week, an effort was made to downplay differences between the US and Israel over how to deal with Iran. True, there was that moment at the press conference when Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel was leaving 'all options' on the table, clearly implying that one option was a military one, but Gates pandered to Israel, saying that 'engagement' with Iran would not be open-ended and that Iran would not be allowed to 'run out the clock.' The Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen reports that the differences between the US and Israel on how to deal with Iran are still significant.
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Israel Matzav: US and Israel divided on Iran

Israel Matzav: Only in Israel: IDF to give 'Palestinians' better warnings

Israel Matzav: Only in Israel: IDF to give 'Palestinians' better warnings

Israel Matzav: 'Our friends the Saudis': Bowing down isn't enough

'Our friends the Saudis': Bowing down isn't enough

President Obumbler bowing down to King Abdullah is apparently not enough to keep the Saudis happy.

Experts argue that the roots of the disagreement with Saudi Arabia, considered a linchpin for progress, go deeper.

Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the Saudis are disappointed with many aspects of Obama's policy: His drive for ending America's dependency on foreign oil, the decision not to appoint a close confidant as ambassador to Saudi Arabia and choosing the route of diplomatic engagement with Iran.

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Israel Matzav: 'Our friends the Saudis': Bowing down isn't enough

Israel Matzav: Bolton: It's 'crunch time'

Bolton: It's 'crunch time'

Those of you who are basketball fans know that 'crunch time' is the last few minutes of a close game when all the exhausted starters are on the floor and every shot counts. If you're a coach, you want your best players on the floor during 'crunch time' and you want to have them control the game flow as much as possible.

Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton argues that it's 'crunch time' for Israel on Iran's development of nuclear weapons. According to Bolton, Israel is going to have to make a decision to go it alone in the next few months, or the world will be staring at a nuclear Iran.
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Israel Matzav: Bolton: It's 'crunch time'

Israel Matzav: Former Defense Secretary: Arabs more concerned about Iran than about Israel

Former Defense Secretary: Arabs more concerned about Iran than about Israel

William Cohen, a former Senator from Maine who served as Secretary of Defense in President Clinton's second administration, tells the Washington Times that fear of Iran has replaced animosity toward as Israel as the top concern of Arab governments in the Middle East.

Having made six trips to the Gulf in the past 18 months, Mr. Cohen came to a conclusion reached by other U.S. and foreign diplomats and analysts regarding Arab jitters about Iranian influence.

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Israel Matzav: Former Defense Secretary: Arabs more concerned about Iran than about Israel

Israel Matzav: Arab countries won't deliver 'normalization' gestures

Arab countries won't deliver 'normalization' gestures

The Jerusalem Post reports on Wednesday that the Netanyahu government expects that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell will have 'normalization gestures' in hand from the Arab countries by the time he returns to Israel in August.

The assessments in Jerusalem are that negotiations with the Palestinians would begin only after the US and Israel agreed on some kind of settlement construction freeze, and this freeze would be declared when the US had commitments for some normalization gestures from the Arab world.

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Israel Matzav: Arab countries won't deliver 'normalization' gestures

Israel Matzav: More than two third of Israeli Jews who supported Gaza expulsion are now sorry

More than two third of Israeli Jews who supported Gaza expulsion are now sorry

A poll by the Maagar Mochot polling agency indicates that more than two thirds of the Israeli Jews who supported the expulsion of Gaza's Jewish population in the summer of 2005 (known as 'disengagement') are now sorry that they did so.
These days, 4 years to the evacuation of Gush Katif is being marked. In the past did you support or oppose the evacuation of Gush Katif?
Oppose 24% Supported 48% Other replies 28%

Among those who supported: Are you sorry today that you supported the evacuation Gush Katif?
Yes 68% No 22% Other replies 10%

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Israel Matzav: More than two third of Israeli Jews who supported Gaza expulsion are now sorry

Israel Matzav: A beautiful and true story from the Holocaust

Israel Matzav: A beautiful and true story from the Holocaust

Israel Matzav: More details about Obama's letters to Arab countries

More details about Obama's letters to Arab countries

On Tuesday, I reported that President Obama had sent letters to Arab countries seeking 'reciprocal gestures' toward Israel in return for a 'settlement freeze.' Here are a few more details about those letters.

On Monday the White House confirmed a report, which first appeared in a foreign policy blog by Laura Rozen on Sunday, that Obama had sent letters to a handful of Arab and Gulf states within the last two months seeking confidence-building measures toward Israel

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Israel Matzav: More details about Obama's letters to Arab countries

Israel Matzav: Mark Steyn on Sacha Baron Cohen and Abu Ayta

Israel Matzav: Mark Steyn on Sacha Baron Cohen and Abu Ayta

Israel Matzav: There is a military solution to terror

There is a military solution to terror

In Commentary, Michael Totten argues that Operation Cast Lead shows that there is a military solution to terror (Hat Tip: Instapundit).

The New York Times reports that Hamas has decided to wage a “culture war” instead of a rocket war because, as one leader put it, “the fighters needed a break and the people needed a break.”

Movies, plays, art exhibitions, and poems are Hamas’s new weapons. Hamas supporters, though, aren’t the only Palestinians in Gaza using art as a weapon. Said al-Bettar skewers Hamas every night at Gaza City’s Shawa cultural center in his popular play The Women of Gaza and the Patience of Job. “We were the victims of a big lie,” he says about the doctrine of armed “resistance.”

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Israel Matzav: There is a military solution to terror

Israel Matzav: Israel moving toward 'normal' relations with Obama

Israel Matzav: Israel moving toward 'normal' relations with Obama

Israel Matzav: Video: 'Palestinian' propaganda lies to the world about Operation Cast Lead

Israel Matzav: Video: 'Palestinian' propaganda lies to the world about Operation Cast Lead

Israel Matzav: Nasrallah taken down

Israel Matzav: Nasrallah taken down

No-One Really Cares About the Laws of War

No-One Really Cares About the Laws of War

The Guardian is an antisemitic bastion; the Mondoweiss people are beyond rational discussion. One reason why I return again and again to the Economist is that if they aren't rational, no-one is; if they can't get a story right, who will?

This week they've got two articles on the Pakistani war against the Taliban (in Pakistan). One, an editorial, mostly crows about how the Pakistani army seems to have won a round and must continue; the other, a descriptive article, is, well, descriptive.

Both tell how the army won, but in a most revealing way. Take the opening paragraph of the leader, for example:

LONG reviled for their reluctance to fight the Islamist militancy that they themselves helped unleash, Pakistan’s generals have a rare victory to boast of.
In a three-month offensive against the Taliban in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), the army has regained control of the lofty Malakand region, killing hundreds of militants. This has done less damage to civilian life and property than two previous, failed offensives in Malakand. The local Pushtuns, over 2m of whom were displaced by the fighting, are now returning home. They mostly support the army’s efforts. (My italics, of course).


This observation is then fleshed out, just a wee bit, in the second article:

SULTANWAS, a once-prosperous village in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), is now a bomb site. Its white concrete houses, gaudily decorated thanks to migrant wages sent back from Dubai, lie in heaps. Debris that had billowed in great clouds after army jets bombed the village in early May litters the surrounding fields. The Taliban, who had occupied Sultanwas a few weeks before, had no chance; 80 allegedly died in the rubble.
Involving some 40,000 troops, the army’s action has been devastating. Over
2m have been displaced, in what may be the biggest unplanned movement of people
since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Hundreds are reported to have been killed. Yet the army, which has received unprecedented public support for its attack on the Taliban, is claiming a great success.

Should we take a closer look? The Pakistani army bombed its own towns, millions of its own civilians became refugees, but no worry. There were fewer civilians killed than last time. How many fewer? Why dwell on such things. Were many towns pulverized - well, probably, since the article tells that billions will be needed for reconstruction efforts, but why allow such minutiae to bother us when a glorious victory over the Very Bad Guys has just been had.

The theory of Just War distinguishes between waging a just war (this one certainly is), and waging a war justly. Yet the more I follow the way we report to ourselves on the wars of the world, the more I become convinced this distinction is meaningless in the real world. Wars are judged bythe first criteria only. When going to war is justified, no-one cares about the way it's waged, if carefully or barbarically. When the decision to be at war is unjustified, no-one cares how careful the warriors are; they'll be damned. Though there's then a second twist, which is that if it's our country at war, we won't report on the full impact it's having; this would explain why to this very day it's basically impossible to find an honest reckoning of the two battles of Faluga, say, even tho most of the media really didn't like that war. But the "home team" effect over-rode their distatse.

If we're honest about it we must recongnize that Israel's wars are unacceptable to most of the rest of the world irrespective of the way they're waged, which is why no-matter what the reality is the reports about it are automatically the opposite from reports such as these about Pakistan (or Afghanistan, or Iraq, or have your pick). And the reason for this is profound and fundamental. It's not - as I used to think - that Israel insists on using military force in a post-military world. The world isn't post military. Just look at how the Economist eggs the pakistanis on: more! Keep on Going!

Where are the exhortations for peaceful engagement and seeking dialogue with the enemy since only that can ever succeed?
taken from Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Now They Tell Us

Now They Tell Us

Remember the article of faith across most of society from early 2003 at the latest, whereby George Bush was uniformly hated the world over, and his removal was an essential, urgent prerequisite for healing America's relations with humankind? I'll bet you've heard this line before, unless you spent the past six years in the Amazonian jungle, perhaps.

Well, it ain't necessarily so. People who preferred nuanced reality to articles of faith always knew that in Eastern Europe many people rather liked the American President, many in Africa likewise – and of course, those pesky Israelis demonstrated their general obnoxiousness by thinking him perfectly acceptable.

Now that the nightmare of his presidency is over and past, however, the Economist lets slip that actually, in the world's largest democracy and soon its largest country, Bush was much liked.

WHEN she landed in Mumbai on July 17th as the first front-rank visitor from Barack Obama’s administration, Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, faced an unfamiliar difficulty. India was uncommonly keen on his predecessor, George Bush. In the words of Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, its people “deeply loved” Mr Bush for his efforts to strengthen bilateral bonds between the world’s biggest democracies.
At the heart of this strengthening was a nuclear co-operation agreement that made India an exception to the global counter-proliferation regime and a more legitimate nuclear power. By contrast, many Indians have looked on Mr Obama nervously. On the campaign trail, he threatened protectionism against their outsourcing industry. In office his team has paid more attention to Pakistan. America has also been paying court to China—against which Mr Bush had wanted India as a counterweight.

taken from Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Carlo Strenger Proves his Point (Easily)

Carlo Strenger Proves his Point (Easily)

Carlo Strenger is a psychiatrist and professor at Tel Aviv University. I've known him, a bit, for more than 25 years, and have been following his rise the whole time. I've also started reading some of his books, though I don't think I ever read one all the way through. He's far to my left politically, but in a typical Israeli way, which means his life story is more complicated than that of many of his Western counterparts, and his positions often have more subtlety than theirs.

He has somehow worked his way onto the roster of contributors to the Guardian's Comment is Free (CiF), the paper's pseudo-blog platform for online discussion, and there he tends to write columns that would better fit into the local Hebrew-language discussion. (He also writes in Haaretz, but in an interesting twist many of us are familiar with, when writing in Hebrew his positions move even further from the center as he strives to ensure he's shocking us).

His most recent contribution to CiF is a classic case of setting up the yokels. He pokes fun at the knee-jerk fundamentals of too many on the Western Left (Israel/America always wrong; People of Color always right and so on), and tries to show why such positions might be unhelpful in explaining what's really going on in Israel and by implication, in the rest of the region.

Sure enough, the Loonies pile on in large numbers to prove his thesis by castigating him for being an Israeli.

I'm actually not suggesting you waste your time reading his column nor the responses to it. I'm just documenting the malaise, and reminding myself that it's virulence doesn't abate in the slightest merely because it's been a few months already since Israel was last capturing world headlines with some imagined atrocity.
taken from Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Reflections on Tisha B

destruction_temp_2_gallery

As we are quickly approaching Tisha B’av, one of the saddest days in Jewish history, I sit and reflect on current events and within the past couple years it is not difficult to be distressed. As we know on Tisha B’av we are mourning the destruction of both the holy temples and pray for our speedy redemption from exile. It is said that every generation that Moshiach hasn’t come it is as if the temple is being destroyed again. This is a very interesting statement and we can ask why this is the case. We understand that it is a great tragedy but is it that bad that it is as if we in our generation are destroying the temple? To try to explain this idea., we need to go back into history before the second temple was destroyed. The Gemara describes the story of Kamsa and Bar Kamsa and they explain that this was the cause of the destruction of the second temple. It is explained that there was a man named Kamsa who had a party and by accident an invitation was sent to Bar Kamsa, who was a man that Kamsa despised. When Bar Kamsa came to the party and even offered to pay towards his meal he was refused and Kamsa had him thrown out of his house. In his fury at the situation and that the rabbis who were there did not get involved to pacify the situation, he decided to get back at the rabbis by speaking slander against them to the Caesar. He told the emperor Caesar that the jews have rebelled against him and if he would give a Korban to the temple, he should see if they would accept it. In the meantime Bar Kamsa made a blemish on the animal and since a blemished animal could not be offered up as a korban, Caesar’s Korban was refused. As a result of this incident the temple was eventually destroyed.

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Reflections on Tisha B’av

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Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: TISHA B'AV: TRIANGULATION COMPLETE

TISHA B'AV: TRIANGULATION COMPLETE

By Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

2012 may indeed herald a year of cleansing for humanity as a whole. It may usher in a new era of radical awareness of our common humanity, a new era of recognition of the futility of an ethos of hatred and division, of separation from the heart of our Creator. Perhaps it may take a new world war to achieve this awareness. Or perhaps not. The messianic age, it is said, will be ushered in with kindness and ease, if we are deserving, or the opposite, if not.

The Mayan calendar said it. Nostradamus said it. Now, "Judaism," or if you prefer, the Jewish calendar, says it. The triangulation is complete. 2012. The year of the "big cleanse." Are you ready?

Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, is the most sorrowful day on the Jewish calendar, the culmination of three weeks of semi-mourning. A comprehensive list of national Jewish tragedies, from the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem to the expulsion from Spain, among many other expulsions and destructions- all took place on this date.
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Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: TISHA B'AV: TRIANGULATION COMPLETE

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Israel Matzav: Hizb ut-Tahrir conference displays anti-Semitic and anti-Christian materials

Hizb ut-Tahrir conference displays anti-Semitic and anti-Christian materials

Three weeks ago, I noted that Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist organization was coming to Judea and Samaria. This past week, the group held a convention in Chicago, where they were quite open about their goals.

More than a dozen issues of a Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) newsletter called The Shield were obtained from the conference by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The publication repeatedly condemns interfaith "outreach initiatives" and shows HT believes in the death penalty for Muslims who leave the faith.

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Israel Matzav: Hizb ut-Tahrir conference displays anti-Semitic and anti-Christian materials

Israel Matzav: What Iran thinks America is offering

What Iran thinks America is offering

Amir Taheri looks at the same editorial from Iran's Kayhan that I discussed on Monday night here, and explains what Iran thinks the Obama administration is offering.

In this theory, President Obama is trying to establish a linkage, whereby Israel would accept a nuclear-armed Iran while Iran would withdraw its opposition to a two-state solution for the Palestinian problem.

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Israel Matzav: What Iran thinks America is offering

Israel Matzav: Oh joy! Look who's coming to town!

Oh joy! Look who's coming to town!

Jimmy Carter's 'Elders' - a group of 'elder statesmen' - plans to send a delegation to visit Israel, including Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip in August. The delegation will include Carter himself and the anti-Semitic South African Bishop Desmond Tutu (pictured).

The Elders group says it wants to support Israelis and Palestinians seeking peace. The delegation, led by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, is set to arrive in late August to meet young Israelis and Palestinians, community organizers, business leaders and others "who are working hard for peaceful coexistence."

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Israel Matzav: Oh joy! Look who's coming to town!

Israel Matzav: Lebanese have had it with Hezbullah

Lebanese have had it with Hezbullah

During a United Nations Security Council special session on the Middle East on Monday night, Gabriela Shalev, Israel's ambassador to the UN, read a letter from Lebanese citizens to Lebanese President Suleiman in which the Lebanese demanded that their President take action against Hezbullah.

"The recent explosion (in Hezbollah's arms depot in south Lebanon) was very dangerous, and it prompted us to publicly say what everyone is trying to conceal: Illegal arms are being stored by Hezbollah within civilian population areas in basements near our children," the Lebanese citizens wrote in the letter, which was addressed to President Michel Suleiman and published by the Al Mustaqbal daily on July 16.

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Israel Matzav: Lebanese have had it with Hezbullah

Israel Matzav: Confirmed: Obama sent letters to Arab heads of state... and they were ignored

Confirmed: Obama sent letters to Arab heads of state... and they were ignored

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed in Monday's press briefing that President Obumbler sent letters to Arab heads of state asking them to make confidence building measures toward Israel. As usual, the President is being ignored.

Q Thank you, Robert. The President is sending Secretary Gates and George Mitchell to the Middle East. Can you confirm that he also wrote letters to a series of heads of state in the Arab countries, to push them for confidence-building measures towards Israel?

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Israel Matzav: Confirmed: Obama sent letters to Arab heads of state... and they were ignored

Israel Matzav: Winning back Israeli trust

Winning back Israeli trust

Writing at The New Republic, Yossi Klein HaLevi discusses the current crisis in US-Israel relations and gives six suggestions for things President Obumbler can do to resolve the crisis.

Are we in the early stages of an American-Israeli crisis? Or are the growing and public disagreements between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government over settlements and Jerusalem merely arguments "within the family," as President Obama insisted in his recent meeting with American Jewish leaders?

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Israel Matzav: Winning back Israeli trust

Israel Matzav: Senators urge Obama to lean on Arab states

Senators urge Obama to lean on Arab states

Two Senators - Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and James Risch (R-Idaho) are circulating a letter among their colleagues that urges the Obama administration to pressure the Arab states to make peace overtures to Israel.
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Israel Matzav: Senators urge Obama to lean on Arab states

Israel Matzav: Israel, Honduras and Obama

Israel, Honduras and Obama

David Solway draws some uneasy parallels between Israel and Honduras, and how they are being treated by the United States in the Age of Obama.

We now know that deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was deeply implicated in acts attempting to overturn the Constitution governing the civil society of Honduras and replace it with a left-wing populist dictatorship in all but name. On July 17, 2009, the Honduran daily La Tribuna revealed that government computers containing results for an illegal referendum yet to be held had been confiscated in a building adjacent to the Presidential palace (Pajamas Media, July 21, 2009). There can be no disputing that Zelaya was plotting a coup d’etat that would have brought Honduras into the socialist camp of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

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Israel Matzav: Israel, Honduras and Obama

Israel Matzav: Clinton redefines 'going nuclear'

Clinton redefines 'going nuclear'

Picking up on comments that Secretary of State Clinton made about North Korea on Sunday's Meet the Press, the Washington Times suggests that Clinton may be re-defining what 'going nuclear' means in a way that will allow the Obama administration further leeway in pretending that Iran is not a nuclear power.

Asked by NBC's David Gregory if the effort to keep North Korea from going nuclear had failed, Mrs. Clinton answered, "No, I don't think so, because their program is still at the beginning stages." In other words, two nuclear tests and a stockpile of seven or eight nuclear weapons are no longer enough to join the club. Tough luck Pyongyang, you've been blackballed

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Israel Matzav: Clinton redefines 'going nuclear'

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians': US 'settlement freeze' demand unchanged

'Palestinians': US 'settlement freeze' demand unchanged

'Palestinian' chief bottle washer negotiator Saeb Erekat claims that Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell told moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen on Monday that, contrary to what's been reported in the media, the US demand for a complete 'settlement freeze' in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem remains unchanged.

"Mitchell told Abbas that contrary to what has been said in the mass media there is no agreement with the Israeli side on anything," Erekat told reporters.

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Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians': US 'settlement freeze' demand unchanged

Israel Matzav: Aluf Benn almost gets one right

Israel Matzav: Aluf Benn almost gets one right

Israel Matzav: Former al-Aqsa 'martyr' suing Sacha Baron Cohen

Israel Matzav: Former al-Aqsa 'martyr' suing Sacha Baron Cohen

Israel Matzav: Home Game - the movie

Israel Matzav: Home Game - the movie

Israel Matzav: Solow denies he had a falling out with Obama

Israel Matzav: Solow denies he had a falling out with Obama

Israel Matzav: Revenants construct 11 new outposts

Revenants construct 11 new outposts

The revenants have just about completed constructing 11 new 'outposts' in Judea and Samaria - just in time for Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

Activists on Sunday announced that they wished to "put an end to the White Papers," and called for assistance in constructing the 11 outposts, an allusion to the 11 settlements established in the Negev during the British Mandate.

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Israel Matzav: Revenants construct 11 new outposts

Israel Matzav: Your tax dollars at work: The Yasser Arafat Museum

Your tax dollars at work: The Yasser Arafat Museum

The 'Palestinian Authority,' which perpetually has no money except what it receives from 'international aid' (i.e. your tax dollars and my tax shekels) has decided to spend $2 million on a museum to memorialize terrorist leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah (the picture is of Arafat's mausoleum, which was constructed in 2007 at a cost of $1.5 million).
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Israel Matzav: Your tax dollars at work: The Yasser Arafat Museum

Israel Matzav: 8 US Representatives in Gaza Monday for 'low profile' visit

8 US Representatives in Gaza Monday for 'low profile' visit

Eight US members of Congress were in Gaza Monday for a 'low profile' visit. It's 'low profile' enough that I have not been able to find their identities online. They crossed into Gaza through the Erez crossing point in Israel.

After crossing from Israel into Gaza, the eight legislators headed for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)'s headquarters in the city and started a meeting with John Ging, the UNRWA operations director, the sources said.

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Israel Matzav: 8 US Representatives in Gaza Monday for 'low profile' visit

Israel Matzav: Obama won't present 'peace plan'?

Obama won't present 'peace plan'?

After months of anticipation that President Obumbler would pro impose a 'peace plan,' Israeli officials now believe that the Obama administration has dropped the idea.

Ever since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Obama in Washington in May, there have been persistent reports that Obama would give a speech in which he would outline his vision of a peace agreement, much in the way that president Bill Clinton did in 2001, just before leaving office.


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Israel Matzav: Obama won't present 'peace plan'?
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