Israel in the News May/Jun 2012

Delta Calls Israel Occupied Territory
Legal activists gave Delta Airlines a recent lesson in geography—and law—after its frequent-flyer program website referred to Ben Gurion airport in Lod outside Tel Aviv as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

“Effectively Delta says that if you want to fly from Occupied Palestinian Territory to another place, you need a certain number of miles,” a reader told Arutz-7. Ben Gurion Airport is within the 1949 Armistice lines. The civil rights group Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) called Delta and said the airline “removed the inaccurate language from its website.”

Terrorist on Tour
A Hamas terrorist who helped bomb the Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem returned to cheering crowds in Gaza recently after an “apartheid week” tour in South Africa. Abd al-Azziz Muhammad Moussa Amr, released as a part of the deal to free Gilad Shalit, went to South Africa to use his story in the propaganda war against Israel.

Al-Azziz was born in 1960 in Jerusalem. Blind from the age of 20, he completed his undergraduate studies at Bir Zeit University and obtained a Ph.D. in English literature at Hebrew University. At Bir Zeit he fell in with a suicide bomber who killed nine and wounded 50 when he blew himself up in Cafe Hillel in September 2003.

Both were part of a Hamas terror cell that planned and orchestrated the attack. Al-Azziz was sentenced to seven life sentences plus 30 years but was released in October 2011 and exiled to Hamas-ruled Gaza.

In interviews, he refused to answer questions about his conviction in the bombing. His trip was underwritten by two Hamas affiliates, the al-Quds Foundation and Muslim Judicial Council.

PA Declares Church Illegal
One week after Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told an audience of evangelical Protestants his government respects the rights of its Christian minorities, the PA declared a Baptist Church in Bethlehem unlawful and said the church will no longer receive rights as a religious institution.

“They said they will not recognize any legal paperwork from our church. That includes birth certificates, wedding certificates, and death certificates. Children are not even considered to be legitimate if they don’t have recognized paper-work,” said an assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church.

Pastor Naim Khoury said animosity toward the Christian minority in PA-controlled areas continues to get worse.

War Threat Scares Investors
Talk of war with Iran is scaring investors away from Israel even though the country’s growing economy and hi-tech industry are considered a gold mine, reported Calcalist, a business newspaper published in Israel.

“We Israelis do not recognize the concept of risk. We live here and raise our children here. But the situation with Iran is a top priority for every investor today,” Yuval Cohen, head of a top investment in Israel, told Calcalist. “We are all optimistic here. But at dinner, when you sit with investors, you hear their doubts. We look not good.”

Despite fears, many agree Israel is a good bet for foreign investors. Israel boasts more companies on New York’s NASDAQ exchange than any other country outside the United States and Canada. American hi-tech companies have gobbled up Israeli companies at a startling rate, and the New Jersey-based Avaya video conferencing company is set to snap up Israel’s Radvision for $225 million, Globes reported.

Terrorist Gets TV Talk Show
Hamas has shown its pride in terrorist Ahlam Tamimi by giving her a weekly talk show focusing on terrorists imprisoned in Israel. It is broadcast on al-Quds TV and is heavily promoted.

Tamimi took part in bombing the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, killing 15 people—seven of them children. She has expressed pride in her role, telling a Jordanian interviewer, “I dedicated myself to the path of jihad for the sake of Allah….I would do it again.”

She was freed in 2011 as part of the mass prisoner release in exchange for captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

Jobless Rate Drops in Israel
Looking for work? Come to Israel!The jobless rate dropped to 5.4 percent in the last quarter, one of the lowest in the world and the lowest in Israel in 30 years.

By contrast, the unemployment rate in the United States is 8.5 percent and is actually estimated to be twice as high because millions of people have given up looking for work. Statistics are based on those looking for employment.

Hi-tech employees make up slightly more than 10 percent of the Israeli work force. Expansion of American-based firms’ Israeli operations has opened up hundreds of jobs, led by Intel. Microsoft and Google also have invested heavily in new tech centers in Israel.

Israel Passes Anorexia Law
The Knesset has passed a law banning the use of underweight models for commercial advertising. MK Rachel Adatto said, “This law shatters the ideal of anorexic beauty, which has served as a model for the country’s young people who have tried to imitate this impossible illusion and have suffered from eating disorders as a result….There is such a thing as being too thin.”

Models with a body mass index lower than 18.5 will not qualify to appear in advertisements in Israel.

All reports by Arutz-7 (IsraelNationalNews.com).

FOI Day June 23 at Franklin Institute’s Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit
The largest collection of Holy Land artifacts ever seen outside Israel, including 10 Dead Sea Scrolls and a three-ton stone from the Western Wall, will be on exhibit at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute from May 12 through October 14.

In addition, The Franklin Institute has reserved a special booth on Saturday, June 23, from 10 AM to 2 PM, for The Friends of Israel (FOI) to welcome FOI constituents to this amazing exhibition. FOI ticket discounts are available by calling the FOI office, 800-257-7843, or The Franklin Institute, 215-448-1200.

The exhibit, put together by the Israel Antiquities Authority and brought to Philadelphia through a unique arrangement with The Franklin Institute, features the most comprehensive collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever organized—including one of the largest collections of the priceless 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.

The exhibition also will display hundreds of biblical-era artifacts, including remains of religious articles, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles, beautiful mosaics, and everyday household items like jewelry and ceramics. Included will be a scale re-creation of a section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, complete with a three-ton stone from the Wall in Israel. In the Jewish tradition, visitors can place their prayers there, as they do in Israel, and the papers will be transported to Israel and placed in the Wall in Jerusalem. The artifacts and Scrolls combine to provide a captivating, intriguing look at the births of Judaism and Christianity in the Holy Land.

When calling The Franklin Institute for tickets or ordering online, use the code FOID to receive a 25 percent discount, bringing the cost to $23.50 per adult and $18 per child. Tickets are good all day and for all continuing exhibits. The FOI discount will be good through September 28. The Franklin Institute is located at 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103; www.fi.edu/scrolls.

Dutch State-Funded TV Offers Anti-Semitic Game
A Dutch public-broadcasting net-work now offers viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank.

Organizations combating anti-Semitism have called on the Dutch government to persuade the network, VPRO, to halt the downloading of the board game. A VPRO representative claims the game is not anti-Semitic but, rather, a thought-provoking satire.

The game, “The Settlers of the West Bank,” is based on the multi-player hit “The Settlers of Catan,” first released in Germany in 1995. The Dutch variant appeared in 2010 on the VPRO website, a self-described liberal-Protestant network.

In the game, the user is a settler trying to expand his community and mine diamonds and Dead Sea mud while producing textiles and bulldozers. Players can use the “Jewish stinginess” card to force competitors to hand over resources. The instructions refer three times to the “nation’s typical mercantile spirit.”

Terrorist attacks are described as a natural result of settlement expansion. “Saw wood, and you get wood chips: Not everyone’s happy with the Israeli settlements. Least of all the terrorist,” the instructions explain. “Terrorist attacks” cost players resources.

The settler may also use the “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad card” to avoid losing resources to a terrorist and simultaneously draw resources from other players. The Anne Frank House is a “winning point” for the settler.

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl from Amsterdam who perished at age 15 at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. She is known around the world through her best-selling book, The Diary of Anne Frank, published after her death. Ahmadinejad, of course, is the president of Iran who has vowed to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has strongly condemned VPRO for publishing the “disturbing” game. “It would be more likely as a product of neo-Nazis or Ahmadinejad,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, told The Jerusalem Post.

References to Jewish stinginess, the exploitation of minerals, and the “contemptuous misuse” of Anne Frank’s House as a “winning point” were “anti-Semitic tropes,” Samuels said.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science provided 89 percent of VPRO’s budget of 51.9 million euros in 2010. “This funding makes the Netherlands the largest financier of hate incitement among youth in Europe,” Samuels said.

by The Jerusalem Post

Iranian Details Plans to Annihilate Israel
Alireza Forghani, a strategy specialist and staunch supporter of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has published a detailed military plan to destroy Israel, which he said can be done in less than nine minutes with Iranian missiles that are impossible to intercept.

According to a report published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in February, Forghani’s article “claims that Tehran is capable of annihilating Israel within less than nine minutes using its arsenal of missiles and by deploying operational combat units throughout the world. The article specifies targets to be hit inside Israel, including nuclear facilities, air force bases, and civilian infrastructure, as well as providing detailed profiles of the various missiles Iran will use, including Shahab 3, Sejjil, Ashura, and Ghadr missiles.”

MEMRI also said, “Forghani claims that Iran must take advantage of the Islamic awakening sweeping the region, which he says has paved the way for Israel’s destruction; of the passivity he says characterizes the U.S. and the West; and of the presidency of [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad in order ‘to destroy Israel,’ and therefore sets the deadline as 2014, which he says will be the end of Ahmadinejad’s presidency.”

Publication of the report coincided with a speech Khamenei made calling Israel a “cancerous tumor” and “corrupting material” that Islam is religiously and legally obligated to annihilate.

The independent news company WND, formerly WorldNetDaily, said Forghani believes “it is the duty for all Muslims to participate in this defensive jihad” and kill their enemies because Muslims must never be dominated by infidels.

It also said, “Forghani details the Islamic duty of jihad as laid out in the Qur’an for the sake of Allah and states that ‘primary jihad’…can only occur when the Hidden Imam, the Shiites’ 12th Imam Mahdi, returns. Shiites believe Mahdi’s return will usher in Armageddon.”

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