Israel in the News Sep/Oct 2003

World mum when terrorists kill 7-year-old
Had she been Palestinian, the entire world would be up in arms. But she was Israeli, so no one even noticed when seven-year-old Noam Liebowitz was shot to death while riding in her family car, returning home from a bar mitzvah celebration in Jerusalem. Noam’s three-year-old sister, eleven-year-old brother, and seventy-year-old grandfather were wounded.

It was the first terrorist shooting on the brand-new Trans-Israel Highway, the finest road in Israel. The shooter managed to get under a cement wall separating the highway from the West Bank town of Kalkilya and opened fire at the Leibowitz car around 11:30 P.M.

The Voice of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority’s official radio, described the child’s death as “the death by shooting of a female Israeli settler,” even though the “female” was a child; the family did not live in the disputed territories; and the car was not in the territories when the murder occurred. The broadcast did not condemn the murder.

The Jerusalem Post wrote: “The cold-blooded, deliberate murder of seven-year-old Noam Leibowitz in the back seat of her family’s car on a spanking new toll road inside Israel, protected by a tall solid concrete wall, didn’t cause much of a stir. The foreign media reported it dispassionately and very briefly. They didn’t broadcast Noam’s picture or mention her name.”

However, “The claimed wounding of a Palestinian girl during the recent Rantisi [Hamas terrorist Abed Aziz el Rantisi] targeted killing attempt tugged hard at the heartstrings of anchors and commentators. Noam didn’t elicit the same compassion.

“Perhaps it’s time for collective resolve not to forget Noam and not sweep her murder under the rug. Our government must not be tempted to overlook it as another small sacrifice on the road to peace. That road isn’t sacrosanct if it exacts such an awful toll. It’s not a peace process if it demands, like Moloch, the sacrifice of a young child’s life.”

Rabbis plead to keep land
ARUTZ-7—Some four hundred rabbis from all over the country gathered in Jerusalem recently to protest the road map plan to give up parts of Israel to foreign rule.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu said, “No one, from the simplest person to even the prime minister, has the right to cede even one granule of the land of Israel! The Holy One, blessed be He, gave it to us! To us alone He gave it!”

Said Rabbi Dov Lior, “There is no such excuse as ‘the nations of the world are threatening or pressuring us.’ In times of war, the [religious-national] obligation upon the nation is to absorb the threats and not give in. As an example, let’s recall that in the 1930s, the British and the Arabs wanted the Jews to sign away their rights to pray at the Western Wall—and that if not, there would be attacks, etc.

“This was at the time when we had no army or security services, of course—yet Rabbi Avraham Kook, who is not suspected of lack of concern for Jewish lives, said, ‘Our security and safety is not to be made dependent on conceding our rights to the remnant of our Holy Temple.’ Today, we must say the same thing, but just slightly differently: Though we all want peace—and not just those that call themselves the peace camp—we want to ensure that it is true peace. We therefore say: ‘We will not make our security and safety dependent on conceding our rights to pieces of our Holy Land.’”

In English, Rabbi Sholom Gold told the crowd, “Nearly ten years ago, we gathered here to express our opposition to the new-born Oslo Accords. We said that Arafat cannot be trusted, and that the PA would never fight terrorism, and that we must not trust the PLO to protect our lives. We warned that the PLO had not given up its plan to defeat Israel in ‘stages,’ and we pleaded with the government not to give them guns, and we warned that Jewish blood would flow in the Holy Land.

“What was the reaction? ‘Rabbis, go back to your synagogues and yeshivas, and leave these issues to the people who really know—leave it to the military men, and the politicians, and the poets, and the talk-show hosts, and the other opinion-makers.’ But we all now see the truth! We know now how right we were, and how wrong they were! I say to the press: Read all the garbage that you wrote in the last ten years, and realize that the rabbis were right!

“We call on you [President Bush]: Don’t become the George Washington of a terrorist state alongside Israel! Please, listen to the words of the rabbis. Don’t repeat the same mistakes of the last ten years.

“Mr. Prime Minister [Sharon]: Don’t do it! We’re not occupiers—this is our very own land! Tell the world the land is ours! Open up a Bible and read it to them—they’ll respect you for it. No one has the right to give away this land, as it is ours in the past, present, and future.”

A little Disney in Herzliya?
ARUTZ-7—A unique new mall— the likes of which exist in only two places in the United States, according to the owners—has drawn much attention not only for its grandiose nature, but also because it is open on Shabbat.

The new Arena Mall on the Herzliya coast seems to have everything: game-halls, a rain forest, eight movie theaters, Disneyland-style rides and attractions, dozens of stores, public auctions, and much more.

“There’s something for everyone,” says Moti Zisser, one of the owners, and an observant Jew who says the mall will be open on the Sabbath, against his will.

Unfortunately, he said, non-Jews own the most stock and are not bound by the Sabbath laws. “Now, looking back,” he said, “I wish I had done what Lev Levayev did with his Achim Mall, and that is to specify that the stores would not be open on the Sabbath.”

Solar energy planned for Negev
Israel’s first solar power station, the world’s largest, is scheduled to be built in the Negev on a thousand acres near Ashalim, a 20-minute drive from Beersheba.

The plant is expected to supply 100 megawatts of power and grow to 500 megawatts, THE INTERNATIONAL JERUSALEM POST reported.

Currently the world’s two largest solar stations generate 80 megawatts of power each. The Negev plant will be built with technology developed in cooperation with the Ben-Gurion University’s National Solar Energy Center, part of the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research in Sde Boker.

Israeli rodeos? It could happen!
THE INTERNATIONAL JERUSALEM POST—The way ErezYardeni sees it, trees aren’t the only way to make the desert flourish. Yardeni, a member of Kibbutz SdeBoker and director-general of the Economic Development Company of Ramat Hanegev, wants to realize David Ben-Gurion’s dream of settling the Negev by making it the country’s recreational wonderland.

His vision includes an equestrian-centered entertainment facility just south of Beersheba that will bring jobs, tourists, and shekels to the region.

The $8 million plan calls for a racetrack, horse show center, American-style rodeo attractions, and stables from which visitors take horses for a ride through the desert.

The proposed site, which would cover 2,000 dunams, sits along Route 40 near the Negev junction. Yardeni says that English, Austrian, French, and Israeli investors have been lined up for the project, which has been in the works “on and off” for the last four years.

The plans are “on track” so far, he says without irony, though there are many hurdles to clear before construction begins. Ben-Gurion, he’s sure, would be proud.

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