Israel in the News Jul/Aug 2016
UNESCO Tries to Erase Jewishness of Temple Mount
An online petition has been launched calling on UNESCO to reverse its recent “insulting” resolutions that deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or Western Wall.
In April the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “provoked outrage,” reported Ari Soffer of Israel National News, “when it adopted an Arab-sponsored resolution in which the holiest sites in Judaism—the Temple Mount and Western Wall—were labeled as Muslim sites. . . . The Temple Mount was referred to as ‘Al Aqsa,’ while the Western Wall was labeled the ‘Al-Buraq Wall,’ the latter a reference to a relatively recent Muslim legend that claims Mohammed once tethered his mythical winged horse at the wall.”
“The shocking decision,” wrote Soffer, “followed a similar move to deny Jewish heritage at two other holy Jewish sites—the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.”
Soffer reported that the International Legal Forum and StandWithUs “are asking people throughout the world to sign an online petition in protest of the latest move to erase Jewish heritage in Israel.” Within days, the petition had garnered more than 1,700 signatures. It can be found on the change.org website at tinyurl.com/unpetitionTM.
“The petition” said Soffer, “notes that the UNESCO decision goes directly against the organization’s own self-proclaimed role as a guardian of world heritage sites.” The UNESCO resolution also condemns Israel for a number of things, including its plans to build a prayer space for women by Robinson’s Arch.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed UNESCO’s move “as another ‘absurd’ UN resolution,” wrote Tovah Lazaroff in The Jerusalem Post.
Netanyahu said, “UNESCO ignores the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the site of two temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years,” the Post reported. He said the UN “is rewriting a basic part of human history and proving that there is no low to which it will not reach.”
Israeli leader Yair Lapid declared, “This resolution was an utterly irresponsible intervention in one of the most complex places in the Middle East. UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, yet it passes resolutions which erase the Jewish people from the historical narrative,” the Post reported.
New Name for Mideast Reporter
For those of you who have been trying to log on to mideastreporter.com because you read about the new website in our January/February issue, we have good news. The nonprofit, newsgathering organization is indeed online but with a different name: mideastdig.com.
Investigative journalist Richard Behar, a founder of the endeavor, told us, “For various reasons, the enterprise rebranded very recently and legally changed its name to Mideast Dig. We are growing, and we will be even stronger in the future as a result of the changes.”
So if you’re looking for fair and professional journalism concerning Israel, the Middle East, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, try mideastdig.com.
Israel Treats Thousands of Syrians
Israel is continuing to provide medical assistance to thousands of Syrians injured in the Syrian civil war since December 2013. Dov Lieber of The Times of Israel reported that, as of April, Israel has treated more than 2,000 Syrians, many of whom are women and children.
Lieber said most arrive at Israeli hospitals with severe orthopedic trauma, costing Israeli taxpayers $15,000 per patient. Because Israel offers them quick, quality care, Lieber said most Syrians choose Israel over receiving treatment in Jordan.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) treat all Syrians in need of medical care equally. Lieber reported that IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told journalists, “We follow a medical professional policy. We do not screen. We will treat anybody in dire need. If someone comes to the border with no legs, you cannot just leave him there.”
IDF Discovers New Terror Tunnel
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have discovered a Hamas-built terror tunnel that extends from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Military assessments indicate Hamas probably dug the 98-foot-deep tunnel after the IDF destroyed many similar tunnels during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
“The challenge is very big. The tunnels are very deep,” a senior security source told The Jerusalem Post. The IDF, explained the source, is “always operating under the severe assumption that there are more intrusive tunnels out there. If we can . . . detect and destroy them, and achieve it without reaching an escalation, that is our set mission. If this does lead to an escalation, it will not deter us either.”
Poll: Israel Losing Young Americans
Support for Palestinians has tripled among young Americans, and Republicans are four times more likely to be pro-Israel today than Democrats, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Of Republicans surveyed, 75 percent sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, while only 43 percent of Democrats do so.
Among young people, sympathy for the Palestinians has tripled. Some 27 percent say they favor the Palestinians over Israel, up from 9 percent in 2006; 43 percent say they favor Israel.
Liberal Democrats are the least pro-Israel group, according to the survey, while older Americans are the most pro-Israel, favoring the Jewish state 4 to 1.
The new data came from a telephone survey of more than 4,000 American adults in April. Overall, 54 percent say they sympathize more with Israel; 19 percent sympathize more with the Palestinians.
From news reports
Motorola Opens New Center in Israel
American technology giant Motorola Solutions has announced it will establish an innovation center in Israel that will deal with cyber, analytics, mobile, and the Internet of Things. The move will boost Israel’s economy, providing jobs and helping to encourage future investments in the Jewish state.
Motorola Solutions views its Israeli branch as “a strategic asset” and said the establishment of the center expresses its continued long-term commitment to Israel and Israeli industry.
Motorola Solutions Chairman and CEO Greg Brown told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “When we think about additional PhDs, data scientists, hi-tech resources around analytics and cyber, Motorola wants to put more resources here in Israel. This is an outstanding area for innovation, technology incubation, [and] joint venture investment.”
ISIS May Attack Israel From South
The Israeli military is concerned the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group is planning a large-scale attack against Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Germany’s Bild newspaper reported recently, citing an Israel Defense Forces officer.
The Sinai has become an Islamic State stronghold in recent years. According to the Bild report, there could be hundreds of ISIS operatives training in the Sinai and awaiting an order to strike Israel. The IDF officer quoted by Bild said that while it is not clear what a future Islamic State attack against Israel would look like, it could include the terrorists’ use of tanks and artillery.
Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org
Girl Finds Ancient Egyptian Amulet
A 12-year-old Jewish girl discovered a 3,200-year-old Egyptian amulet while volunteering at the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem.
“While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen, and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special. It’s amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem!” said Neshama Spielman.
The amulet displays the name of Thutmose III, the pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th dynasty, who reigned from 1479 to 1425 BC. Professor Gabriel Barkay, cofounder of the sifting project, said the pharaoh “is credited with establishing the Egyptian imperial province in Canaan, conducting 17 military campaigns to Canaan and Syria, and defeating a coalition of Canaanite kings at the city of Megiddo in 1457 BCE.”
Egypt ruled Canaan during the late Bronze Age, which explains why the amulet was found in Jerusalem.