January 14, 2019

Israel has a new shopping mall and its location makes it unusual and noteworthy

The Atarot Mall sits on the edge of the Palestinian and Jewish sectors of Jerusalem, directly across from the security barrier, and on the same Route 60 that has seen deadly terrorist attacks. The developer, Rami Levi, explains that he chose the location to provide shopping for both Jews and Arabs. “People like to shop, and that’s what they’ll come to do here.”

Located in the industrial park of Atarot, it has taken 5 years and $54 million dollars for the construction of the mall, and it has 139,880 square feet of shopping space. Currently, about one-third of the space is occupied, and the mall officially opens on January 29.

Shoppers and store owners alike eagerly await the mall opening. It will provide opportunities of employment, convenience, and diversity. Concerning diversity Rami says, “I don’t care about the nationality of the people who shop here, work here. Let’s talk less about who’s who, and let’s just shop together, serve each other, and respect one another.” One Arab shopper agrees about the mall’s presence, “I like the idea that its Jewish and Arabs. Why shouldn’t we shop together?”

Here’s an answer from Israel to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. A shopping mall at the location of tension for Jews and Arabs to frequent, and both groups support and endorse its presence.

(Tim Munger, The Friends of Israel Staff Writer)

Family Denounces Muslim Arab Likud Candidate, Will Shun Her Until She Recants

The family of a Muslim Arab woman who is running as a candidate in the primaries of the ruling Likud party denounced her on Wednesday (9th) as disloyal to her people and said it would shun her until she recants.

Dima Tayeh, from the village of Kfar Manda in the Galilee, made headlines on Tuesday (8th) when she gave an interview on Hadashot TV news announcing she was running in the right wing party primaries, praising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defending the controversial  Nation-State Law, which critics see as discriminating against Israel’s Arab minority.

If elected, she would be the first Arab Muslim lawmaker in the Likud party.  On Wednesday (9th), her relatives released a statement saying they “denounce her” and her opinions do not represent them.

“Due to her statements, we will not make contact with her or give her any assistance until she retracts her words and declares loyalty to her people and her faith,” the statement read.

Tayeh, who was among a group of Arab Israelis who toured the US to campaign against the BDS movement that seeks to boycott Israel, said she has been a proud Likud member for six years.

“I believe that the Likud can provide security to the nation, a flourishing economy and can really include varied opinions and cultures,” she told Hadashot.

“There is no country in the Middle East that respects its citizens and gives them as much equality as possible and democracy for all, as Israel does.  I wish that all the Arab communities could live in a democracy like Israel,” she said.


Israel TV Interview:  Kuwaiti TV Host Calls For Ties, Shrugs Off Death Threats

A Kuwaiti media personality made a unique appearance on Israeli television on Tuesday (8th), and brushed off death threats that she received over tweets she made calling for normalization with the Jewish state.

“”I didn’t suddenly establish normalization,” the controversial Fajr al-Saeed, 52, said in a video interview from Kuwait with Israel’s Kan public broadcaster.  “It’s not like I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport and entered Israel and said to you, ‘Lets go, I’m normalizing relations with you.”

“I expressed a wish and a hope.  You can take it or leave it, but it’s my personal opinion.”

The founder of Kuwaiti satellite TV station Scope said she has never shied away from controversy.

Saeed, who marked the New Year by tweeting a call in Arabic and Hebrew for Arab-Israeli ties and trade relations, said her opinion of Israel started to change after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

“The turning point for me was the funeral of Rabin, when I saw world leaders present there.  If an Arab leader had died at the same time, only heads of state from the region would have attended and world leaders would have sufficed with condolence messages, said Saeed.

“I received threats because of what I said about Israel, like any threat I get on the ideas I raise,” she said in the interview.  “I’m used to getting threats – it’s not something new for me, nor for my opinions.”

Israel’s Foreign MInistry responded to her New Year’s tweets by tweeting back in Arabic, praising Saeed’s courage to “change the landscape” and saying cooperating with Israel would bring benefits to the citizens of Arab countries.

(walla.co.il; timesofisrael.com)

IRGC Spokesman: Lebanese, Palestinians Fully Ready To End Zionist Regime’s Life

TEHRAN – Head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Public Relations Department and Spokesman General Ramezan Sharif underlined that the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups have grown so much more powerful that they can confront any aggression by the Zionist regime and annihilate it in response.

“Friends and enemies admit that today Israel is in its worst condition and the fighters in Palestine and Lebanon are at the peak of their preparedness to confront any  aggression by the Zionists and end the disgraceful life of the fake and criminal regime,” General Sharif said, addressing a ceremony in the Northeastern city of Torbat-e Jam on Wednesday (9th).

“This is a full-scale reality and it is even admitted by the fronts which support the Zionists,” he added.

“In relevant remarks in September, an Israeli official stated that Hizbullah had become stronger despite any attacks on the movement’s positions, mainly in Syria where the resistance group was helping the army fight foreign-backed terrorists,” said Sharif.

“If we look backwards several months to what it was like before, Hizbullah is much stronger now,” Naftali Granot, former deputy of Israel’s spy agency Mossad said.

“Granot said that Hizbullah’s self-confidence was high due to being on the winning side in the Syrian war along with Iran, the Syrian government and Russia,” the general added.  “It won’t be long before the Zionist regime comes to an end.”


Gaza’s Public Servants Outraged At Hamas’ Recent Spending – Huda Baroud

On December 17, media sites circulated a leaked document from Hamas’ Popular Action Department detailing the movement’s expenses for the celebrations of its 31st anniversary in mid-December in Gaza City.  The expenditures, including travel and accommodation costs to bring the Al-Waad band from Beirut to Gaza to participate in the festivities, totaled $534,350 – a bill that angered many Hamas government employees in Gaza who have been paid only half their full salaries since 2013.

Bayan Bakr, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance in Gaza, said Hamas has been suffering a financial crisis since the fall of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s regime, when the new Egyptian government launched a campaign against the Hamas tunnels.  Hamas benefited from taxes imposed on products that entered Gaza through the tunnels. Bakr said Hamas government employees recently received 60% of their salaries after a Qatari payout.


Yes, Anti-Zionism Is The Same As Anti-Semitism – David Harsanyi

→In a recent New York Times op-ed titled “Anti-Zionism isn’t the same as Anti-Semitism,” columnist Michelle Goldberg defended Ilhan Omar, a newly elected House Representative who has claimed that Jews have hypnotized the world with their evil works.

→Anti-Zionism is the most significant and consequential form of anti-Semitism that exists in the world today.  Anti-Zionism has done more to undermine Jewish safety than all the ugly tweets, dog whistles, and white nationalist marches combined.

→It is the predominant justification for violence, murder, and hatred against Jews in Europe and the Middle East.  And it’s now infiltrating American politics.

→Merely being critical of the Israeli government isn’t anti-Semitic.  No serious person has ever argued otherwise. Israelis criticize their government every day.

→However, opposing “Zionism” itself – the movement for a Jewish homeland – is to deny the validity of a Jewish claim to a nation altogether.  It puts you in a league with Hamas and Hizbullah and the mullahs of Iran. To argue against Jewish nationalism – to argue against the ability of Jews to defend themselves in their own state – is substantively anti-Jewish.

→It is true that Israel is an “ethno-nationalist” state – like every nation in Europe and the Middle East – and primarily concerned with protecting Jews.  This is an especially important job because the rest of the world has repeatedly and dramatically failed at the task.