JNS news briefs: October 5, 2012
Evangelicals march in Jerusalem to support Israel
(JNS.org) Thousands of evangelical Christians marched through the streets of Jerusalem Oct. 4 to show support for Israel. The annual march organized by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem drew more than 5,000 people from nearly 90 countries, as well as 25 international politicians.
“This is the real United Nations…Israelis are our brothers and sisters, so we must protect them from Iran and evil,” Sheila Hakes, 41, of Alabama, told the Associated Press.
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who participated in this year’s Jerusalem march, said it “breaks my heart” to see President Barack Obama “reserve more criticism for Israel for building homes in their capital city than he does for [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad for building nuclear weapons with which to threaten the peace and security of the entire free world.”
U.S. cracks down on Lebanese charities tied to Hamas
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The United States on Oct. 4 imposed financial penalties on two Lebanese charities that fundraise for Hamas, an effort by the Obama administration to disrupt the Islamist group’s activities. The U.S. Treasury added the two Beruit-based charities, Al-Waqfiya and Al-Quds International Foundation, to its list of entities hit with asset freezes.
It is not known whether the two charities hold U.S. assets. The Treasury Department did not provide details on any assets under U.S. jurisdiction and declined to comment when asked. The Treasury Department said Al-Waqfiya and Al-Quds “exist to support the families of Hamas fighters” as well as financing projects in the Palestinian territories “intended to spread Hamas’ influence and control.”
Four years ago, the U.S. Treasury imposed economic sanctions on the Union of Good, of which Al-Waqfiya is a central component, the department said. The Union of Good was accused of fundraising for Hamas-based groups in the West Bank and Gaza, of which some of those funds were used to compensate the families of suicide bombers.
Hamas has run Gaza unopposed since it seized control in 2007, suppressing rivals and launching sporadic attacks against Israel, which maintains a partial blockade of the coastal strip to prevent the entry of arms. Hamas refuses to accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel and is considered a terrorist group by the West.
Muslims attack policemen with rocks at Temple Mount
(JNS.org) The Temple Mount was closed off to Jewish visitors on Oct. 4 after policemen were attacked with rocks by Muslim worshippers, Israel Hayom reported.
The incident occurred when a group of Jews came to the Temple Mount as part of an organized visit. The group drew the attention of the Muslims praying at the site who began chanting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) at the visitors. A group of Muslims later attempted to approach the group but were distanced by police.
Organized visits to the Temple Mount continued after the incident, but in the afternoon police were notified of a plan by a Muslim group to accost the next group of Jewish visitors and to throw rocks at them. Following the notification, police conducted searches throughout the Temple Mount, putting visits on hold in the meanwhile.
While conducting their search, police came under a barrage of rocks thrown at them by angry Muslims, leading Jerusalem Police District Commander Maj. Gen. Yossi Pariente to order the site closed to Jewish visitors. During the altercation, five Muslims were arrested as well as four Jews, who according to police scuffled with officers trying to enter the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City is holy both to Jews and Muslims. The site is managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, with Israeli police in charge of its security. According to Israeli rules set for the site, Jews are permitted to visit but not pray there.
U.S. man kills one in Eilat hotel, is then killed by police
(JNS.org) Israeli anti-terrorism police shot and killed an American Jewish man Oct. 5 after he stole a gun from a security guard at an Eilat hotel and shot dead another hotel employee, Israel Hayom reported.
The gunman, 23, is originally from New York and arrived in Israel two months ago. He was reportedly a chef employed by the hotel. According to Army Radio the man was fired by the kitchen’s manager on Thursday. According to press reports, the gunman killed the man who had fired him the day before.
The gunman’s full identity was not initially revealed. According to eyewitness accounts, the gunman got into a heated argument with another employee in the kitchen of the Leonardo Club Hotel in Eilat, after which he stormed into the lobby and managed to disarm the hotel’s security guard.
The shooting at the hotel came as the southern beach resort was packed with Israelis and tourists enjoying the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Jewish Dems, GOPers react to first presidential debate
(JNS.org) Jewish Republicans reacted to the Oct. 3 presidential debate in Denver by touting the aggressive performance of challenger Mitt Romney, while Jewish Democrats criticized what they called myths promoted by the former Massachusetts governor.
Following the first of what will be three debates between Romney and President Barack Obama, 67 percent of registered voters surveyed in a CNN/ORC snap poll said Romney won the debate, and 25 percent said Obama won. The debate centered on the economy and health care.
Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement that Romney was “in command of the facts” and “secure in his principles” during the debate.
“Romney made his case effectively on taxes, jobs, protecting the middle class, and health care,” Brooks said. “But he also gave voice to the enduring values of America, showed how far we have strayed from them under the Obama administration, and pledged to turn America back onto the path of economic growth and opportunity for all.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), however, said Romney “used the night to continue peddling Republican policies—including on health care and other important domestic issues—that most Jewish voters simply do not support.” NJDC disputed Romney’s statements that Obama is cutting $716 billion from Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and that Obamacare adds to existing health care costs per family.
Regarding Romney’s comment that he is “not going to cut education funding,” NJDC noted that the proposed budget of his running mate—Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan—“calls for a $115 billion cut to the Department of Education.
While RJC’s Brooks said Romney “took control” of the debate and “won it handily on both substance and style,” NJDC’s statement did not explicitly claim a debate victory for Obama. Both statements evaluated Romney’s debate, rather than Obama’s.
Gaza Flotilla sponsor blames Jews for Holocaust
(JNS.org) The Free Gaza Movement, an American-based anti-Israel activist group, has come under fire for an anti-Semitic message posted to its Twitter account.
The tweet posted by @freegazaorg reads, “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews,” and included a link to video by conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins claiming that the word Nazi is an amalgam of the words “National socialism” and “Zionist,” according to the National Post.
The group, which was founded in 2006 to break the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, includes notable anti-Israel critics Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and Bishop Desmond Tutu on its board of advisors. It later became prominent during the May 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident, which it co-sponsored along with the terrorist-linked charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).
While the tweet was quickly deleted, Avi Mayer—head of social media for the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)—later picked it up and posted a screenshot of the tweet on his blog.
Responding to the tweet, the founder of the group, Greta Berlin, said that she had intended for the message and link to only be posted to a private Facebook group. “I shared it without watching it,” read a tweet from the Free Gaza Movement account. “I am sorry that I just sent it forward without looking at it. It won’t happen again.”
German government set to pass bill legalizing ritual circumcision
(JNS.org) The German government is in the final stages of passing legislation that will legalize ritual circumcision if performed by a trained medical professional, the Times of Israel reported.
The bill comes three months after a German court in Cologne issued a ruling that banned circumcision, including religious circumcisions. Jewish and Muslim leaders at the time called the ban “an outrageous and insensitive act,” and both Israel’s president and chief rabbi also urged Germany to lift the ban. Charges were even brought against two Jewish rabbis who continued practicing circumcision.
Jewish leaders praised the pending legislation, which allows for traditional Jewish circumcisers, or mohelim, to be able to perform circumcisions if they possess the necessary medical training.
“It is a clear political signal that Jews and Muslim are still welcome in Germany,” said Dieter Graumann, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. “We are happy that Jewish commandments and Jewish life are not being pushed into illegality.”
Human Rights Watch condemns Hamas abuses
(JNS.org) Human Rights Watch has released a 43-page report titled “Abusive System” in which it accuses Hamas, the internationally labeled terrorist group which governs the Gaza Strip, of corruption and human rights abuses such as arbitrary arrests, torture and unfair trials.
Gaza’s “criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services…Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end,” said Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, according to the New York Times.
The report detailed seven alleged abuse cases. In one case, Abdel Karim Shrair was arrested in July 2008 and executed by firing squad in May 2011. Shrair’s lawyers say he was tortured for three weeks. The Human Rights Watch report finished with a call to cease all capital punishment in Gaza and all prosecutions of civilians in military courts.
Hamas representatives called the report politically charged and said the group has fired or disciplined 120 employees for abusing prisoners. They also transferred the blame to Israel. The report ignores “the siege and the crimes” of the Jewish state, said Islam Shahwan, a spokesman for Hamas’s Interior Ministry.
France endorses agreement with East Jerusalem without consulting Israel
(JNS.org) The administrative zone encompassing the city of Paris, France’s most populous, has signed to cooperate with East Jerusalem in a move to send a “political message” of solidarity to the Palestinians.
According to the website of the Regional Council of Île-de-France, that body voted Sept. 28 in favor of a “decentralized cooperation agreement” with East Jerusalem. This is “the first French community to sign an agreement of cooperation with the Arab part of the holy city,” a statement said, and the agreement will be officially signed this month.
Israeli government officials said France reached the agreement without consulting them. Île-de-France has earmarked 300,000 euros to support the building of institutions, as well as vocational training, entrepreneurship, culture, health and social action in this area of Jerusalem.
“There is very high sensitivity to the Palestinian cause in France… This symbolic move is certainly intended to send a political message,” said French Green Party councilman Jacques Picard, one of the politicians behind the agreement, according to the Times of Israel. “If such regional exchanges can contribute to peace, all the better.”
However, the agreement has been criticized by the Israeli government, which views all of Jerusalem as its capital and does not view East Jerusalem, where predominantly Palestinians live, as a separate civic entity. Paul Hirschon, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said that the French council “seems intent on ignoring reality and living in a make-believe world.” Ultimately, such initiatives may have the effect of discouraging Palestinians from negotiating with Israel, he said.
Preceding provided by JNS.org and reprinted with permission
Short URL: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/?p=31599