Monday, 2 March 2009


Dutch authorities turn other cheek to anti-Semitic slurs

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

Tags: Israel News, Netherlands

Dutch soccer fans who last week called Rotterdam's mayor "a dirty Jew" and urged him to "go to the gas chambers" must be prosecuted, a Jewish group has told the city. But Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a practicing Muslim of Moroccan descent, disagrees.

The dozens of soccer fans shouted the anti-Semitic slurs during a demonstration in Rotterdam last Saturday, in which they protested a ban on fan attendance at games between the city's Feyenoord team and Amsterdam's Ajax.

"We fear that not prosecuting serves as a carte blanche for others elsewhere in Holland to shout offensive slogans against Jews," the head of the Hague-based pro-Zionist CIDI organization, Dr. Ronny Naftaniel, wrote to Rotterdam Public Prosecutor Henk Korvinus.
Aboutaleb and his Amsterdam counterpart, Job Cohen, who is Jewish, imposed the five-year ban on fan attendance last week following violent clashes between fans that also featured anti-Semitic tones. Amsterdam is perceived as a heavily-Jewish city, and Ajax supporters are often dubbed "Jews" by jeering Feyenoord fans.

"I have thick skin," Aboutaleb, a former Amsterdam resident and Ajax fan, told the Dutch newspaper AD. "If insults are the worst of it, then I can live with that," he said, adding he did not intend to press charges.

"For CIDI, the issue goes beyond the personal element," Naftaniel said. "Jews were referred to in the most derogatory terms possible, and in a way deeply seated in hate."

Calls to "put Jews in the gas" have become increasingly common in the Netherlands, especially at anti-Israel demonstrations during and following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The Feyenoord demonstration was recorded on police cameras, but Dutch police are saying it is impossible to determine who shouted the offensive calls.

On Wednesday, Rotterdam police detained a 21-year-old Feyenoord fan suspected of threatening to physically harm Aboutaleb because of the ban.


Venezuela Jewish community center hit by explosive, causing damage

By The Associated Press

Tags: Venezuela, Israel News

Assailants threw an explosive at a Jewish community center on Thursday, but nobody was hurt in the blast - the second assault against Venezuela's Jewish community this year.

Abraham Garzon, president of the Jewish Community Center, told the local Globovision television news channel that a small explosive resembling a pipe-bomb was lobbed at the building in Caracas before dawn on Thursday. The explosion damaged the doors to the center.

"It seems there are people in the country dedicated to sowing terrorism," Garzon said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which immediately reignited fears of rising anti-Semitism in Venezuela.

It was the second attack against a Jewish institution this year.

A Caracas synagogue was ransacked and vandalized last month. The assailants shattered religious objects, spray-painted "Jews, get out" on the temple's walls and stole a computer database containing names and addresses of Jews living in Venezuela.

Authorities have arrested 11 people, including eight police officers, suspected of participating in the attack. Investigators believe the assailants forced their way into the temple to steal a large amount of cash they believed was inside. The vandalism, authorities say, could have been aimed at turning attention away from the true motive behind the crime.

On Thursday, Sergio Widder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for failing to take steps aimed at curbing anti-Semitism.

Chavez should strongly criticize pro-government Web sites and newspapers that have carried articles and columns that many Venezuelan Jews perceive as anti-Semitic, he said.

"This is outrageous, it's turning into an escalation," said Widder, the center's representative for Latin America. "It's the government's responsibility to stop this."

During Israel's offensive in Gaza, Chavez fiercely criticized the Jewish state and ordered the Israeli ambassador out of Venezuela. Protests against the military incursion were held in Caracas and demonstrators hurled shoes at and sprayed graffiti on the Israeli embassy.

Chavez, who has repeatedly condemned the Jan. 30 attack on the synagogue, denies being anti-Semitic. The socialist leader says he simply opposes Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. He accuses the Israeli government of acting as an arm of Washington. Venezuela's Jewish community numbers nearly 15,000.


ADL slams Swedish city's 'anti-Israel bias' in tennis fan ban

By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press

Tags: Malmo, Israel News, Davis Cup

The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday criticized Swedish authorities for banning spectators from a Davis Cup tennis match between Sweden and Israel.

Officials cited security concerns for the closed-door policy in the city of Malmo because anti-Israeli demonstrations are expected during the best-of-five series on March 6-8.

Malmo, Sweden's third largest city, has a left-leaning local government and a large Muslim minority. Its leaders have strongly criticized Israel over the Gaza invasion, and some have called for the Davis Cup match to be dropped altogether.
The ADL slammed the move as a "blatant attempt to politically exploit an international sporting competition," accusing the Malmo city council of using the tennis matches "as a device to express anti-Israel bias."

Thd ADL cited Malmo's mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, who was quoted as saying "We shouldn't have any matches with Israel."

"Sports should not be politicized, and the eagerness of Malmo city officials to use this tennis match to demonstrate their anti-Israel prejudice is a blatant attempt to politically exploit an international sporting competition," said Abe Foxman, the ADL's national director.

"Barring Swedes from coming to support their own national team in the most prestigious international men's tennis team competition shows how far Malmo city officials are willing to go to express their hostility toward Israel," Foxman said.

Foxman added that the decision to bar fans was made despite police assessments that adequate security measures were in place to allow the event to be held as planned.


Electricity-generating road under development in Israel

December 20, 2008 in Mr Green Archive

By Justin Couture, Sympatico/MSN Autos

Could roads generate electricity as well? Here’s an interesting thought: What if roads could generate electricity?

Though it sounds like a farfetched idea, a small stretch of road in Israel capable of producing electricity will undergo testing next month.

Underneath the surface of asphalt, roadway engineers fitted a layer of piezoelectric crystals, which generate an electric current when pressure is applied to them. This would allow the road to capture the energy that a car or truck transfers to the ground when it drives by.

Its developers say that the one-kilometre stretch of road is capable of generating 400 kW of energy, enough to power eight small cars. Now, there aren’t any details about how this figure was calculated, but it’s a promising idea especially if multi-laned highways and traffic-plagued urban areas are considered.

The Environmental Transport Association (ETA) says that if these crystals were installed on every stretch of motorway in Britain, the output of electricity would be sufficient to run 34,500 small cars.

One neat tie-in with the electric road is that Israel will be starting an electric car program in conjunction with Nissan. As the project ramps up and vehicle sales increase, these roads could play an important part in developing the “fuel” for electric cars by contributing back to the main electric grid.

For many years scientists and engineers have tried to figure out a way to generate electricity from roads and passing cars. This could potentially be the most effective way of doing it. Other ideas include embedding solar cells into the road surface and installing small windmills by the roadside that harvest the wind produced by passing vehicles.


thanks to Nikon - Man for the tip

Israel Matzav: EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Moshe Feiglin#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Moshe Feiglin#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Olmert to be indicted in Talansky affair#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Olmert to be indicted in Talansky affair#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Radical new approaches' really nothing new#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Radical new approaches' really nothing new#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'An obvious political stunt'#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'An obvious political stunt'#links#links#links


Posted by Mordechai Friedfertig

There are many sources which highlight the importance of Torah learning without interruption. Torah learning should be lengthy and in depth.

1. The Gemara in Shabbat (11a) says that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his colleagues did not daven. They constantly learned Torah without any breaks. Since they never stopped, they were exempt from praying. We take all sorts of breaks to do this and that, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 106:2) therefore rules that we also stop to daven. Nonetheless, we see the ideal of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his colleagues.

2. The Gemara in Berachot (8a) relates that Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi davened in the place where they learned Torah, even if there was no minyan. The Rama in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 90:18) rules that we do not act this way so that the unknowledgeable do not follow this practice. They did not go to shul so that they would not take up the time to go back and forth. They could immediately return to learning after praying.

3. The Midrash (Ketubot 62b-63a) explains how Rabbi Akiva went to learn in yeshiva for 12 years. When he returned, he overheard someone saying to his wife, "How long will you be like a widow waiting for him?" She replied that she would prefer that he learn for another 12 years! Rabbi Akiva turned around and went back to the yeshiva for another 12 years. Ha-Rav Chaim Shmulevitz in "Sichot Musar" asks, why didn't Rabbi Akiva come in to say shalom or have a cup of coffee with his wife? Answer: Because 12 years plus 12 years of Torah learning is not the same as 24 continuous years.

4. There was a secret society established in the Volozhin Yeshiva called "Nes Tziona," with the purpose of spreading the idea of settling the Land of Israel among the Nation. A group of students signed a document describing its activities. Maran Ha-Rav Kook's signature did not appear on it even though he was learning there at the time. Someone once asked our Rabbi, Rav Tzvi Yehudah, why Maran Ha-Rav Kook was not part of it? He asked, "He was learning Torah" (see Tal Ha-Re'eiyah, p. 68).
from : Torat HaRav Aviner (


I said I'd stop reading and reporting on Juan Cole, since by now his methodology is clear, he's becoming boring, and my observations of him even more so. I expect to stick to my commitment, at least for a while, but one of you in the comments sent me to his post last week where he complains about the Guardian allowing an Israeli to speak. So I had a peak. Actually, it wasn't Cole, it was an anonymous "guest blogger"; and it was neat to see that Georgina Henry herself, executive editor of CiF, felt she had to defend herself. Broad sections of the (saner part of the) blogosphere regularly castigate the Guardian without Ms. Henry responding; it makes one wonder what particular chord Cole struck.

Cole's unnamed guest uses a standard but false trope: If Uri Dromi thinks he can get away with explaining the behavior of the IDF, he's wrong, indeed, he must be lying, since his allegations don't make sense:

My reaction to the content is that the piece attempts to blame the victims-- which is a well known sophist technique. As for the misleading explanations of what seems to be the use of legitimate weapons in inappropriate ways and contexts, my reaction can be summarised as "what absolute bollocks!”

The pictures of airburst phosphorous being used to set areas on fire are conclusive evidence of misuse.

Smokescreens use ground burst. If I had ever wanted a smoke point to cover a flanking movement then I wanted the smoke as a dense cloud on the ground at a height that exceeded the height of my people. Armoured Fighting Vehicle also have small smoke dischargers on the turrets and hulls designed to put a cloud of smoke in front of the vehicle to give time to reverse out of danger or to debus and engage the enemy.

Cole also often uses this technique: if the Bad Guys make a factual claim, we'll refute it not with counter-facts, which we don't have, but by ridiculing it with logic. It's a fun technique, because it dosen't require real acquaintance with the facts; it casts the original reporter as a fool and a liar for concocting such an obviously false tale; and since it does, after all, have a ring of logic to it, it can be refuted only by someone who really has the facts and can explain why the reality trumped the logic, or rather, why the logic of the reality was stronger than the logic of the arm-chair critic. The people with these facts rarely read Cole's blog, obviously, since they're on the field of battle and have better things to do with their time, while Cole's audience, most of whom have never been and cannot imagine, can join him in feeling smug and righteous.

So I waited a few days, and then asked the soldier when he came home over the weekend. I didn't show him Cole's screed, rather I asked him about this whole "white phosphorus and flechette" business. He started with the flechette topic. As he and I both know, flechettes are useless against hard targets such as tanks, APCs, or buildings; they are however quite effective against people - and remember, wars are waged by and against people; they are about killing, which is why they're such unpleasant things, even when they're necessary. Given the specifics of flechette shells, he told, they were used quite sparingly, and only in very specific cases: when Hamas fighters had been identified in specific places which were otherwise empty of civilians as far as could be known. Given their rather precisely knowable range of damage, this isn't so hard to do. The scenario of

The only mass of humans I could see were the women children and old men taking shelter in schools and hospitals and UN premises.

never happened. Nor would it have made any sense: even if one wished to kill civilians in a school, flechettes wouldn't work, not if the school had walls. Criticizing Israel for things it never did is, how to put this gently, potentially antisemitic.

The white phosphorus claim was used more often since it's a more dramatic weapon, I suppose. Achikam was very clear on how it was used: as a smokescreen, never on residential neighborhoods (in his section. He can't say what happened elsewhere). Very often, when his unit moved from place to place during daylight, they did so behind an artillery-laid smokescreen of white phosphorus; when I asked about the height above the ground, he was momentarily puzzled by the question: often there were many-storied buildings beyond the area, and in order to be hidden from spotters you need a smokescreen high enough to cover them, he explained. Obvious, isn't it, the moment you glance up from your laptop screen and think about the terrain of reality.

taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (
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