JNS news briefs: August 22, 2012
Editor’s Note: The following briefs were compiled by Jewish News – JNS.org and are reprinted with permission on San Diego Jewish World :
(JNS.org) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said a “series” of attacks on the Temple Mount “under the nose of the Israeli occupation authorities” seek “to rob Muslims and Christians of their holy shrines, destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and build the alleged Jewish Temple,” Israel Hayom reported.
In a statement issued to mark the 43rd anniversary of an arson attack on Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Abbas said that the third holiest shrine in Islam is still under threat. His statement will be seen by some in Israel as denying any Jewish claim to the Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism.
In February, Abbas said that for the past few years Israel had been waging a “final battle” aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of east Jerusalem. He charged that Israel intended to destroy Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, which sits atop the remains of the two biblical Jewish Temples. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the remarks as “harshly inflammatory” and “baseless.”
Abbas reiterated that there will be “no peace, no security and no stability unless the occupation, settlers and settlements are gone from Jerusalem.” He also stressed that the city will remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian state, according to the Palestine News Network news agency.
(JNS.org) A group of grandchildren of Nazis, along with Holocaust survivors and their descendants, will be taking part in a march across Poland with former Nazi death camps along their route, AFP reported.
The march was organized by the Protestant TOS Church in Tuebingen, Germany, after many in the church began looking into their family history and discovered Nazi family connections.
“We want to speak up for Israel and against anti-Semitism, but obviously as Germans you can’t do it without looking into your own families because of their involvement,” Heinz Reuss, an organizer with TOS, said.
Zbigniew Judasz, a local Polish organizer, further explained the church groups’ motivation.“ They would like to ask for forgiveness for what their grandparents did in order to break a kind of conspiracy of silence on these acts in Germany,” he said.
The symbolic march began on Aug. 20 at Auschwitz and will culminate Aug. 24 at Treblinka. On their journey, participants will also visit the Nazi death camps of Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Chelmno.
U.S. authorities have seized $150 million from a New York account of the Lebanon’s Banque Libano Francaise SAL (BLF), which authorities say is connected with a larger scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through U.S. banks for the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The latest seizure comes after federal prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit last year alleging that Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) was laundering funds for Hezbollah as part of a broader narcotics network. U.S. officials believe that Hezbollah has been cooperating with international narcotics smuggling networks for several years to fund its terrorist operations.
“Money is the lifeblood of terrorist and narcotics organizations, and while banks which launder money for terrorists and narco-traffickers may be located abroad, today’s announcement demonstrates that those banks and their assets are not beyond our reach,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan.
The U.S. government has increasingly voiced concerns over Lebanon’s financial system, especially after Hezbollah seized control of the Lebanese government last year. U.S. officials also believe Iran and Syria use Lebanese banks to evade international sanctions, the Journal reported.
(JNS.org) Israel, a country with a chronic shortage of water, has become a global leader in desalination technology. Now, the Jewish state’s desalination system may make that process possible and more affordable in Africa as well as other parts of the Middle East.
The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Central Arava R&D are using solar energy to desalinate water, a process that is much cheaper than a traditional desalination process, reported Yediot Achronot. Solar energy panels power the pumps of a desalination unit, generating clean water for crops, and farmers can select which minerals to keep in the water to feed various types of plants.
Testing the system near the Dead Sea, where the climate is dry, has shown that farmers can use up to 25 percent less water and fertilizer than what is usually needed. “The growing global demand for food and competition for resources among economic sectors compel future agricultural systems to be more efficient in the use of natural resources such as land and water,” said Andrea Ghermandi of the Zuckerberg Institute.
(JNS.org) Hundreds of Swedish Jews and non-Jews brought together by the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism marched on the southern city of Malmo on Aug. 18 to protest the rise of anti-Semitism in the country. Willy Silberstein, head of the organization, said that “there were many more people than we expected” at the march.
In June, the Swedish government’s Twitter account, which is controlled by rotating citizen users, was taken over bya woman who wrote offensive posts about Jews, including that “in Nazi Germany, they even had to sew stars on their sleeves. If they didn’t, they could never know who was a Jew and who was not a Jew.” The number of anti-Semitic hate crimes has risen in Sweden since Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009. Four hundred anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Malmo in 2009 alone, according to the European Jewish Press.
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