Israel in the News Mar/Apr 2010

Does NY Times Hate Israel?
While the world marveled at the speed and efficiency with which Israel responded to January’s Haitian disaster, The New York Times found fault.

The tiny Jewish state launched such a massive humanitarian relief effort in Haiti that even ABC News, NBC, and CNN offered praise. The Israel Defense Forces’ medical and rescue teams spent 13 days in the country devastated by earthquakes and treated more than 960 patients, conducted 294 successful surgeries, delivered 16 babies (including three caesarean sections), and pulled many from the ruins. It sent two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, engineers, and other personnel; and its field hospital was the first and finest in operation.

Yet The New York Times reported, “The left has complained that there is no reason to travel thousands of miles to help those in need—Gaza is an hour away….The government has been trying to figure out how to make the most of the relatively rare positive news coverage, especially after the severe criticism it has faced over its Gaza offensive a year ago.”

In his article “The NYT can’t run anything positive about Israel,” Leo Rennert wrote in the online American Thinker, “Likening Haiti to Gaza is a totally irrelevant apples-and-oranges ploy.” Besides, he said, even when Israel imposed an economic blockade of Gaza, it still sent in 100 truckloads daily of food, medicine, and other basics. Plus it “admitted hundreds of injured and sick Gazans into Israel where they receive the same dedicated, advanced medical care that Haitians receive in Israel’s field hospital at Port-au-Prince.”

But apparently nothing Israel does will satisfy The New York Times, which has been owned since 1896 by the Jewish Ochs-Sulzberger family.

Oil in the Negev?
ARUTZ-7—A joint venture near the Negev city of Arad has produced “preliminary indications” of an oil reserve. The three companies involved in drilling notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that they found oil west of the Dead Sea but do not yet know if the quantities are commercial.

In December the Givot Olam Oil Exploration company announced it had found a very large amount of oil and gas below the city of Rosh HaAyin in central Israel. Recently, Noble Energy said it had discovered more than 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, about 90 kilometers from Haifa.

JNF Donates 3,000 Trees to PA
ARUTZ-7—A member of the board of the Jewish National Fund said “the system has gone haywire” after hearing reports that the venerable Zionist organization is donating 3,000 trees to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) for a new city near Ramallah.

Benny Kashriel, mayor of Maaleh Adumim—which, along with the rest of Judea and Samaria, has been slapped with a freeze on new construction with the threat of arrest for breaking the ban—said, “The country has gone crazy when it plants trees for the PA in Judea and Samaria at the same time that it forbids Jews to build. The system does not know who it is representing—us, the Palestinian Authority or the Americans.”

New Security at Ben Gurion
ARUTZ-7—Israel has upgraded its international travel security with a new biometric screening system that is expected to significantly speed up security processing and check-ins at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

The Unipass Airport Management System scans passports through a machine at the registration desk, where fingerprints and facial imaging samples are also recorded in order to create a biometric signature. A personal “smart card” created from the one-time process is then issued to the passenger.

The information stored on Unipass computers will be “fully secure” and inaccessible to outsiders, according to an official.

Each passenger will swipe his or her card and passport through a machine, which will then confirm the biometric match. A companion touch-screen panel will present a series of questions that will confirm the passenger’s identity and security status, a process that until now was carried out by human security personnel.

Staff members will be standing by to assist in case passengers run into difficulties with the machines—or fail the test. Those who fail, said an official, “will be taken aside by a guard for an in-depth check before being allowed to proceed.”

Passengers who pass will proceed as usual to luggage security, where they will again swipe their Unipass cards and send their bags through the X-ray machine.

The third layer of security will come at the check-in counter, where again the Unipass will be swiped. At this point, passengers will have passed all initial security checks, hand luggage will be accepted for scanning, and travelers will swipe the Unipass for their fourth and final screening before heading for the duty-free shopping area, border control, and terminal gates.

Eventually, Unipass machines are expected to replace passport inspectors at the border control area. At present, biometric fingerprint scanners are available only for frequent flyers.

Time to ‘Go Biblical’ With Arabs
ARUTZ-7—A delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met with U.S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and told him it was time to try the biblical approach to the dispute over the land of Israel.

“The past 17 years have proven without a shadow of a doubt that every square inch ceded by Israel to the Palestinians was transformed into a platform of hatred and terrorism,” RCP Director Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin told the ambassador. “In other words, the ‘land for peace’ formula in the Israel-Palestinian context, besides being a formula that goes against the Divine will, is ineffective, obsolete, and an exercise in futility. Most of all it is a dangerous policy that only leads to bloodshed and instability in the region and harms vital American interests in the region as well,” Lewin said.

The delegation was headed by RCP chairman, Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, who presented the ambassador with the Halachic (Jewish legal) ruling signed by over 350 prominent rabbis in Israel that it is forbidden to give up even one inch of territory controlled by Israel today because it will bring bloodshed and instability to the region.

“In the name of the overwhelming majority of rabbis in Israel,” he said, “we request of you Mr. Ambassador, to convey our Halachic message to President Barack Obama that it is time for a complete reversal and reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The ‘land for peace’ policy never worked and harms U.S. interests in the region and the world at large.”

The ambassador was visibly moved by Rabbi Sholom Gold, a leading rabbi in Jerusalem, who described the suffering the Jewish people have endured ever since the implementation of the Oslo Accords and the agreements that followed. “It’s all a play of words, there is no peace process,” he said. “From the day that we started conceding and withdrawing we did not have one day of rest and peace. Why should our enemies want to make peace with us when they see that with terrorism they get what they want? Even the U.S., Israel’s supposedly best friend, sides with them in demanding a freeze and evacuation of settlements. Is the triumph of Arab terror one of American interests?” Gold asked.

Rabbi Dov Lior said, “God gave the U.S. the power and influence to affect the rest of the world and supporting Israel is the key to America’s success.”

“You must switch the entire approach to the situation,” said Rabbi Gerlitzky. “We all believe in the Holy Bible and up until now we tried every formula except for that which is delineated in the Bible. Let’s try it and who knows, Mr. Ambassador, maybe this is your defining moment, that God Almighty has placed you in this capacity in order to precipitate a new course which will bring a true peace to the entire region.”

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