Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Bannon ‘unchained’: Jewish staffers in crosshairs – The Jerusalem Post

Senior staff at the White House Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon (L-R) applaud before being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

WASHINGTON Unceremoniously fired from the White House, Steve Bannon returned to Breitbart News over the weekend full of rage and vengeance, vowing war on a long list of enemies across media and government he believes obstructed him from enacting a nationalist agenda in the Trump administration.

Bannon hopes to expand Breitbart his launching pad into national politics last year, which he has characterized as the platform for the alt-right white supremacist movement into television and video to compete with the right-wing Fox News Channel and target Republican and news establishment figures, US media reported on Monday.

He refers to his foes within the Trump administration as globalists, New Yorkers and secret Democrats. Three of the most prominent and high-ranking of those enemies are Jewish: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the presidents daughter and son-in-law turned senior adviser; and Gary Cohn, head of Trumps National Economic Council.

A Vanity Fair article published on Monday anonymously cites one Bannon ally claiming the former White House chief strategist believes Kushner is a dope.

That piece, along with several others published in the US press on Monday, claim deep animosity remains between Bannon and Kushner.

Trumps daughter Ivanka pushed out Bannon because of his far-right views clashing with her Jewish faith, Breitbart wrote over the weekend, quoting a UK Daily Mail report. The website later updated its story with its own sourcing characterizing the British outlet story as totally false.

Bannon is apparently personally offended by the suggestion he is antisemitic, and often cites his support for Israel as evidence to the contrary. He lobbied hard to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and refused to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who he refers to as a terrorist.

Yet, Bannons final battle with Ivanka, Kushner and Cohn as a White House staffer revolved around Trumps response to a white-power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which prominently featured thousands of neo-Nazis targeting Jewish influence in American power centers. The three Jewish staffers encouraged the president to unequivocally denounce the marchers and distance himself from their cause, but Bannon pushed back, lobbying the president against giving an inch to the opponents criticizing his crisis response.A New York Times report says Bannon has openly referred to Javanka as a pair of politically naive Manhattanites disconnected from the heartland by their New York roots. Breitbart also has marked Cohn in recent days with globe emojis around his name denoting him as a globalist, but to many Jewish groups evoking classic antisemitic tropes of Jewish power.

You can take Gary Cohn out of Wall Street but you cannot take the Wall Street out of Gary Cohn, reads another Breitbart piece on the NEC head. Earlier this month, it reported on his attendance at an elite party in the ultra-expensive Hamptons.

If theres any confusion out there, let me clear it up: Im leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents on Capitol Hill, in the media and in corporate America, Bannon told Bloomberg News on Friday.

Steve is now unchained, a source close to Bannon told the Atlantic on Friday. Fully unchained.

Bannon joins Breitbart armed with seven months of knowledge from inside the halls of the White House. He is only able to weaponize a portion of that information, however; given Top Secret security clearance while in government, much of the material he might otherwise disseminate in his war against Trumps family will be protected legally.

Bannon had been under fire from American Jewish organizations since he first joined the Trump campaign last year. Several of those groups praised his departure on Friday, including the Anti-Defamation League

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Ankara, Amman discuss efforts to protect Jerusalem – Daily Sabah

Ongoing issues regarding Palestine and the status of Jerusalem were expected to be discussed during President Recep Tayyip Erdoan’s one-day visit to Jordan yesterday. Ahead of his departure from Istanbul, Erdoan said at a press conference that Turkey attaches importance to Jordan’s role in protecting holy sites in Jerusalem. “We have established importance of dialogue and coordination regarding the crisis with Jordan regading the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. We do not want similar incidents of harassment, attacks or the violations of civil rights to happen again. For this, Muslims must be in full cooperation on the issue of Jerusalem,” Erdoan said.

Turkey’s president was welcomed by Jordanian King Abdullah II with an official ceremony in Amman, later attending closed-door meetings with delegations in the Al-Husseiniya Palace.

Jordan is the custodian of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in east Jerusalem, the third holiest site for Muslims, which sits on top of the Temple Mount, a hill that is considered the most sacred site in Judaism.

Last month, Israel imposed security measures on Al-Aqsa after two police officers were killed at the site. The measures, which included the installation of metal detectors and cameras, led to renewed violence between Palestinians and security forces and led to outrage across the Muslim world.

The visit is of special importance in that it coincides with the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Jordan, a country that enjoys deeply rooted historical, humanitarian and cultural ties with Turkey.

President Erdoan is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlt avuolu, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak and Transportation, Maritime and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan during the visit.

In addition to addressing the situation in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories during the meeting with King Abdullah, President Erdoan aims to boost trade and discuss Syria and Iraq amid concerns regarding the territorial integrity of both countries.

Turkey and Jordan are the two countries that have taken in the largest number of refugees since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, and both share borders with the war-torn country.

According to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the total value of Turkish exports to Jordan amounted to $300 million in the first five months of this year, while imports were around $50 million. The main exported goods include textiles, jewelry, home appliances, machines and machinery products, motor vehicles and chemicals.Turkey and Jordan signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2009 to increase economic, technical and industrial cooperation and the installation of an appropriate competition environment. The agreement also encourages reciprocal investments and the removal of trade restrictions. The deal took effect in 2011.

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Nobody’s lady – The Jerusalem Post

SHIRI BERZACK and Nahum Hackett star in J-Town Playhouses production of Pygmalion.. (photo credit:ITA ARBIT)

George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion first appeared on stage in 1913. Named after the Greek mythological figure who fell in love with one of his sculptures that subsequently comes to life, the play was a biting critique of the British class system of the time. Pygmalion was adapted many times, but most famously as the musical My Fair Lady, with notable characters Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins. Pygmalion comes to Jerusalem at AACIs J-Town Playhouse theater this month, opening on August 23 and running until September 4. Director Yardena Buxner sat down with The Jerusalem Post to discuss directing for the first time, the challenges and triumphs of community theater, and humanizing Higgins.

How did you become involved with Pygmalion as director?

Ive been involved with J-Town Playhouse for a while now. My husband and I kind of solidified our relationship when I was assistant directing The Importance of Being Earnest and he was one of my actors. So Ive been involved with English theater here. My sister also does makeup and costumes sometimes. I acted in Pride and Prejudice last year and was also the assistant director. I got involved because its one of my biggest passions and Ive always wanted to direct. The wonderful crew knew this. They gave me my chance and Im so grateful.

So this is your first time directing a stage production?

Yes, its my debut.

What have the challenges been for you, both expected and unexpected?

Most of them were expected because I knew it would be hard to get peoples schedules together. An unexpected challenge was having difficulty finding the cast because Im a new director. Its not like when they hear the name Layla or Aviella and they start running down the line. Its summer vacation and a lot of people go to the States to visit their families. So scheduling was the hardest thing. But eventually I was blessed with one of the most amazing casts ever. No matter how hard the search for them was, it was totally worth it. They are phenomenal, dedicated, talented and passionate. They bring so much and Im really proud of them. In that respect, they make my life easier.

How would you summarize the play for those who are unfamiliar with it?

Its an intriguing human piece about society. Its about getting a chance to figure out what our strengths and abilities are beyond our labels, the economical situation we were born in, or gender. Thats why I think its relevant to any time. For instance, I have dyslexia. There were times that I came across a teacher who took a chance on me, showed interest, and then I started blossoming in that subject because I saw someone had faith in me. We see something similar in the play. There is a girl who is restricted, despite her talents, which are mentioned numerous times through the play. Shes restricted by society, by the fate of the stars, and by who her parents were. I thought that this was a very worthy piece and relatable. Even if you dont know British history, or understand the different in status between upper and lower class, you understand what its like to be limited by the situation youre in.

What do you hope that the audience will take away from the play?

Ive always seen myself as a storyteller. I was one of those kids in shul who would have my friends around me and be telling stories. If it was funny, or moving, or interesting, I would consider it to be a success. My modest answer would be that I hope people have a good time and that we create characters that they can identify with, feel sorry for and triumph with. I hope that I prove that no man is a villain and no person is a hero. My main goal is to tell a good story and for people to enjoy themselves. But what would I like them to take away from it? That Im a genius (laughs). I would like them to think about the story afterwards and understand more about who Eliza is because I hope that Ive humanized her. I hope that they also see Higgins and that hes broken. Even though he was born into riches, hes also confined by society and his gender. I really just want to put on a good show and have people say that that was fun.

Can you give some insight into what rehearsals have been like?

The biggest highlight came yesterday. We didnt have a rehearsal scheduled because I couldnt make it. They decided to rehearse anyway on their own. They wanted to put in more time and more effort because they love it as much as I do and are as dedicated to it as I am. Ive never met a group that wanted to rehearse more. These people are totally volunteers. There is this amazing camaraderie that has happened that Ive never seen before in community theater.

Have you ever seen the play put on elsewhere?

I saw it years ago here in Israel. The BBC also did a stage adaption that they filmed, which I saw. But I decided to approach the text with a clear mind and to try to be as objective as possible towards it. I didnt want to base it on what Id seen, but rather on what are the characters thinking and feeling? I wanted to make it my own. For tickets and more information please visit aaci.org.il.

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Jerusalem steps up plastic-recycling bid – The Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem has stepped up its recycling of plastic waste in the past three years, finding alternative uses for about a third of the materials, compared with as little as 12% of it in 2014, the citys director of sanitation services, Sharon Shifrit, told The Jerusalem Post.

About 1,200 tons of waste are produced in Jerusalem every day, which adds up to more than 400,000 tons a year, Shifrit said in a recent interview.

Shifrit attributed, in part, the 28% of plastic now recycled to the recycling and waste facility opened in Atarot. Built in 2015, the Greennet Recycling and Waste Treatment Facility receives all of the waste from homes in the Jerusalem Municipality and separates out the recyclable and reusable material. This means that even when people fail to recycle their plastic bottles, paper goods, or other packaging, it can still be saved, with dramatic results.

In the space of a year, from 2015 to 2016, Jerusalem saw a 10% rise in recycled material, Greennet CEO Ofer Bugin said.

Machines separate the metal, plastic, paper, cardboard and organic material in the garbage that it treats. From these piles, the recyclable items are sold to plants all over the world that will reuse the material, the organic matter is brought to compost piles, and the rest is dumped into landfills, although future plans indicate it will be incinerated.

While this new program is helping to increase recycling in Jerusalem, is it enough to make a significant difference in the long run? And is turning to machinery to separate recyclables a better approach than relying on people themselves?

Nehama Ronen, chairwoman of ELA Recycling, the Beverage Containers Collective Corporation, said while Greennet saves a lot of recyclable material from being buried in a landfill, the material is better quality when it is kept separated from the beginning that is, when people take it upon themselves to recycle.

Atarot takes mixed-up garbage and separates the wet [organic matter] and dry [plastic, paper, etc.], but its not as good as when its separated before its thrown out, because the dry becomes wet, she said. Its harder to reuse the dry material this way, and, if contaminated, it can be more difficult for the organic matter to compost, she added.

ELA Recycling focuses on plastic-bottle recycling, which is the most successful sort of recycling in Israel, because it has become ingrained in society, with its collection cages dispersed in neighborhoods throughout Israel and return deposit laws.

Thanks to the deposit law, which is similar to those in other countries, people can bring their plastic bottles, cans and even glass wine bottles to deposit centers and receive 30 agorot for each container.

Ronen believes educational initiatives have been one of the most effective ways in making recycling a sustainable part of life in Israel, ranging from running persistent, long-term ad campaigns to programs in public schools to educate children.

We let young children bring their bottles and cans to school, and we collect them and give them the money from the deposit, she said. Children are now able to educate their parents and bring their stuff at home to cages. According to research, we found that in houses where the children learn about recycling in school, the parents also feel more responsible to recycle.

Encouraging people to separate their waste products and recycle may be an uphill battle, but in the long run it brings results.

It takes a long time to educate people to change their way of life and adopt natural habits, Ronen said.

Education and legislation are prominent forces in changing peoples habits, but the prevalence of infrastructure may be the most crucial aspect in continuing to increase recycling efforts in Israel.

We cannot judge if the cages are a success or not: at least two-thirds of Israel is not covered with orange collectors [for packaging material], Ronen said. You cant ask people to recycle if they dont have the infrastructure near their homes.

Give them the tools and then start to educate them.

Nahlaot, in downtown Jerusalem, is a perfect example: While they have containers for plastic bottle recycling, they are missing containers for other recyclable materials, apparently due to lack of space, according to Shifrit.

But where there are collectors present, people are using them. There are 24,000 collection cages across the country for plastic bottles alone, according to Ronen.

While fewer in number, there are also brown bins for organic matter, purple for glass, blue for paper and cardboard, gray for heavy-duty cardboard, and green for all other recyclable materials.

Naomi Tsur, the founder and chairwoman of the Jerusalem Green Fund and former deputy mayor of Jerusalem (2008- 2013), said these cages have succeeded because people have grown accustomed to them.

Most people really change their habits and get used to bringing bags from home, Ronen said, referring to a new fee when it comes to using plastic bags.

The recent law requires people to pay 10 agorot for each plastic bag they take at the grocery store. Ten agorot is hardly going to break the bank, but it impacts the way people act.

There was huge discussion and criticism against this legislation, Ronen said.

Knesset members thought it would cause more damage and that people would prefer to buy the bags but no, most people bring their bags. Its insulting; why should I pay 10 agorot if I can bring from home? Its about values and how to save the environment and keep it for the next generation.

The next step is to encourage people to compost their organic waste, which makes up roughly 45% of our garbage, according to Tsur.

It doesnt need to go anywhere, it just needs to be separated and distributed to our parks and gardens, she said. Its started in Beit Hakerem and has had a positive effect both economically and as a fertilizer. And the amount of reduction in garbage is amazing.

If people composted their own organic waste, towns could spend less money collecting garbage and separating it at facilities like the one Greennet is operating, and they could keep their public parks and gardens healthy and fertile at no additional cost. People could also have their own fertile gardens with their compostable waste. Its just a matter of changing perspective and habits, according to Ronen and Tsur.

But for cities to progress in their recycling initiatives, Tsur said, people have to play more active roles in setting up infrastructure in their cities. In her opinion, compared to other issues Israel and the Middle East are dealing with, recycling should be an easy accomplishment.

Its all very well to blame the municipality, but the public doesnt vote about it, she said. People vote right or left, but transportation, education and garbage issues these are the issues we have to vote about. If you look at the platforms of the candidates, you wont find recycling listed [unless] our candidates know we care about them.

But facilities like Greennet present a secure backup solution, a way to clean up after the people who remain unaware of the importance of recycling.

If we cannot educate the people, we as a country, a municipality, a government have to clean up these places, Ronen said.

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Palestinian woman indicted for Jerusalem stabbing attack – The Times of Israel

Jerusalem prosecutors filed indictments Monday against an East Jerusalem woman accused of injuring two people in a terror attack in the capital that they allege she carried out in the hope of dying as a martyr.

Fadwa Hamada, 29, was indicted at the Jerusalem District Court on two counts of committing a terror act, attempted murder, and being in possession of a knife.

Prosecutors say Hamada, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, decided to kill Israeli citizens in a terror attack during which she would die as a martyr.

In the wake of the stabbing earlier this month, Hebrew and Arabic media reported Hamada is a mother of five children.

According to the indictments, on August 12 Hamada told her husband she wasnt feeling well and took a cab to the area of the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, bringing a 12 centimeters (5 inch) knife with her in order to carry out the attack.

After exiting the vehicle she saw an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walking back from prayers at the Western Wall. Hamada rushed at the man and tried to stab him.

The accused, with the intention of carrying out her murder plan, pulled the knife out of her bag, approached the plaintiff, and attacked himwith the aim of killing him, the indictment said.

The intended victim, raising his hands over his head to protect himself, was cut on his left arm. He started to run away with Hamada in pursuit, the knife still in her hand.

After a few meters she stopped and headed off in the other direction to pick up the bag she had dropped, and then ran off. As she did so she passed another man whom she approached and tried to stab. The second victim, who was in training to become a security guard on the Jerusalem Light Rail, suffered two deep cuts to his left hand.

He then pulled out his gun and shouted at Hamada to stop while also alerting security forces in the area. Hamada was restrained and then arrested. The second victim was taken to hospital for treatment to his wounds.

Police later released security video of the attack.

The attack occurred on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate, the same street where Border Police officer Hadas Malka was stabbed to death in June.

Hebrew-language media reported at the time that the womans husband was arrested following the attack and that police raided the couples home in Sur Baher.

Over the past two years, the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in two cases by Jordanian nationals.

Since September 2015, mainly Palestinian assailants have killed 48 Israelis, two visiting Americans, a Palestinian man and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 259 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.

Israeli security officials believe that aside from the ostensible ideological motive, many of these attacks particularly those carried out by women or young girls are a form of suicide by cop or suicide by soldier.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Long-awaited Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway edges closer to maiden journey – The Jerusalem Post

An Israel Railways train passes through Ein Yael in Jerusalem. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

28 minutes. That’s the time it took for a passengerless train to make the journey from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Sunday in the first test run of the new high-speed rail link connecting two of Israel’s major cities, according to Channel 2.

A nation of commuters will be delighted by news of the successful test. The route, set to open in April 2018, will significantly cut the time currently required to travel from Tel Aviv to central Jerusalem by road or train.

The high-speed railway has been under construction since 2001 and will complement the existing, slower Jaffa-Jerusalem railway. Trains traveling on the 19th century Ottoman-built railway, which winds between picturesque hills, take approximately 80 minutes to arrive at their final destination. Many commuters opt to travel by car or bus.

Praising the test, Israel’s Transportation Minister Israel Katz said: “The high-speed train… will ensure the status of Jerusalem and the ability for people to live there and to open businesses. It will completely change the relationship between Jerusalem and the rest of the country.”

Trains will service all four of Tel Aviv’s railway stations, pick up passengers at Ben-Gurion Airport and conclude their journey at Jerusalem’s new railway station near the city’s central bus station. During peak times, three trains per hour are expected to travel in each direction.

An infrastructure project requiring nine bridges and four tunnels was never going to be cheap. When complete, the railway is expected to cost in the region of NIS 7 billion, over double its original estimate.

The new railway is expected to change Israel’s transport and work scene, effectively turning Tel Aviv and Jerusalem into commuter towns for each other.

For many Israelis, the end of the daily trauma of endless traffic jams and delays on Israel’s highways is now in sight. April 2018 promises to bring a quicker, stress-free alternative.

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Jerusalem Ordered to Release Data on Sara Netanyahu’s Work History – Haaretz

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Court enforces reporters freedom of information request concerning PMs wife

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Beer and music liven up Palestinian town – The Jerusalem Post

Some 4,500 Palestinians and foreigners danced to a mix of Arabic- and English-language music at a concert venue in the Bethlehem area on Saturday, while many firmly held on to a glass. Just meters from an IDF watchtower on the outskirts of Beit Sahur, a Christian-majority town, Shepherds, one of the largest Palestinian breweries, had kicked off its second annual beer festival.

The festival is something of a unique event in the Palestinian territories, where many people do not consume alcohol in accordance with Islamic law. It featured a number of popular Palestinian bands, including Ta3lelah thats not a typo and Apo and the Apostles, and popular Arabic foods, such as shwarma. And, of course, there was beer.

Twenty-nine-year-old Alaa Sayej, founder of Shepherds, feels that beer and the Middle East go hand in hand, as the beverage is believed to have been invented in the region.

Why not make beer in Palestine when it comes from the Middle East? Sayej asked, speaking on the sidelines of the festival.

Beer was first produced in Sumer and Babylonia, located in modern-day Iraq, some 8,000 years ago, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Sayej initially brewed beer as a hobby in his dorm room while pursuing a dual masters degree in finance and investment management in the United Kingdom in the early 2010s.

I was fascinated by all the beers and ales sold in English bars. Every month, there was a new brew, he remarked.

In November 2013, after completing his degree, he established Shepherds in Bir Zeit, a university town north of Ramallah, where he was born and raised. But he did not start selling his product until June 2015 according to Sayej, he faced a number of obstacles.

Israeli customs authorities did not process the import of his brewing equipment in a timely manner, incurring hefty storage charges, and each Israeli supplier demanded that he purchase all of his ingredients from them, he said.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authoritys Economy Ministry did not want to register his company because it said the logo a fully-bearded shepherd with the Christmas star off in the distance was the likeness of Jesus, according to Sayej.

I explained to them that it wasnt a picture of Jesus, Sayej stated, but rather a shepherd with the [Christmas] star, which is a reference to the story of the wise men. When that story took place, Jesus was a baby, and theres no baby in the logo.

Once he secured a meeting with then-economy minister Jawad Hirzallah, the PA approved the companys registration.

Today, the brewery employs 11 Palestinians on a permanent basis and produces hundreds of thousands of liters of beer each year. The product is delivered to outlets in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Shepherds previously sold its beers in Haifa, but following a disagreement with a distributor, it stopped. The company wants to renew its shipments to Israeli bars and is looking for a new distributor. It also plans to begin exporting to Italy, the United States and Chile in the coming weeks.

Sayej, who tasted his first beer at the age of 17, said the beer festival was a part of a broader effort to provide Palestinians with opportunities to enjoy a nightlife.

We have a nightlife that is better than Tel Aviv, he stated with a smile on his face. Not many Israelis know that.

While its unclear whether the West Banks nightlife compares to that of Tel Aviv, a robust bar and club scene has been emerging in the Palestinian territories, mostly in Ramallah and Bethlehem.

Back on stage, Apo and the Apostles took center stage. The crowd jumped up and down as the group sang many of its popular songs. It then performed Lina, its best known tune, as the crowd, overwhelmed with excitement, enthusiastically chanted out the name of the song.

Ayoub, a 25-year-old resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan who preferred not to give his last name, said he had experienced nightlife in Israel but enjoyed it more in the Palestinian territories.

I used to go to festivals in Tel Aviv, but I felt like I did not belong there, he said. Here, I feel like this is ours.

Twenty-five-year-old Wajd Abbas, from Kufr Aqab, a neighborhood in the northernmost part of Jerusalem, said that holding a beer festival in the territories showed that Palestinians were like people all over the world.

The outside sees the contradictions, problems and wars in our society, Abbas said. The beer festival is an opportunity for the outside to see we are normal people who love life and want to have fun.

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Group of Gazan children get first glimpse of Jerusalem – The Peninsula Qatar

20 Aug 2017 – 21:01

A Palestinian girl from the Gaza Strip takes a selfie outside the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city on August 20, 2017 as he visits the city for the first time as part of an exchange programme run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. AFP / Ahmad Gharabli

Jerusalem: Dozens of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip saw Jerusalem and two of its holy sites for the first time on Sunday as part of a UN-run exchange programme.

Ninety-one children aged between eight and 14 crossed from the blockaded Palestinian enclave into Israel before visiting Jerusalem, according to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

All but seven had never been out of Gaza, said UNRWA’s Scott Anderson.

The children visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, and the Al-Aqsa mosque compound nearby, he said.

Both sites are in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The children prayed and took pictures at the mosque compound, which also includes the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, an AFP journalist reported.

The compound is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

“They were over-the-moon excited,” Anderson said. “There’s really no other way to describe it.”

The children later travelled to Ramallah and will remain in the occupied West Bank, the other Palestinian territory separated from Gaza by Israeli territory, until Friday.

They will visit various West Bank cities throughout the week.

The Gaza Strip, run by Islamist movement Hamas, has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade.

Gazans need Israeli permission to visit the West Bank and Jerusalem, which requires them to enter Israeli territory.

The vast majority of the children on Sunday’s trip had never been to Jerusalem even though it is only some 75 kilometres (around 45 miles) from Gaza City.

Gaza’s crossing with Egypt — the only other country with which it shares a border — has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

UN officials have called for an end to the blockade, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the enclave of two million people.

Israel says it is needed to stop Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

The exchange programme, in its first year, included 38 Palestinian children from the West Bank visiting the Gaza Strip a few weeks ago.

UNRWA hopes to carry out more such exchanges in the future.

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Bannon ‘unchained’: Jewish staffers in crosshairs – The Jerusalem Post

Senior staff at the White House Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon (L-R) applaud before being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS) WASHINGTON Unceremoniously fired from the White House, Steve Bannon returned to Breitbart News over the weekend full of rage and vengeance, vowing war on a long list of enemies across media and government he believes obstructed him from enacting a nationalist agenda in the Trump administration. Bannon hopes to expand Breitbart his launching pad into national politics last year, which he has characterized as the platform for the alt-right white supremacist movement into television and video to compete with the right-wing Fox News Channel and target Republican and news establishment figures, US media reported on Monday. He refers to his foes within the Trump administration as globalists, New Yorkers and secret Democrats. Three of the most prominent and high-ranking of those enemies are Jewish: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the presidents daughter and son-in-law turned senior adviser; and Gary Cohn, head of Trumps National Economic Council. A Vanity Fair article published on Monday anonymously cites one Bannon ally claiming the former White House chief strategist believes Kushner is a dope. That piece, along with several others published in the US press on Monday, claim deep animosity remains between Bannon and Kushner. Trumps daughter Ivanka pushed out Bannon because of his far-right views clashing with her Jewish faith, Breitbart wrote over the weekend, quoting a UK Daily Mail report. The website later updated its story with its own sourcing characterizing the British outlet story as totally false. Bannon is apparently personally offended by the suggestion he is antisemitic, and often cites his support for Israel as evidence to the contrary. He lobbied hard to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and refused to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who he refers to as a terrorist. Yet, Bannons final battle with Ivanka, Kushner and Cohn as a White House staffer revolved around Trumps response to a white-power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which prominently featured thousands of neo-Nazis targeting Jewish influence in American power centers. The three Jewish staffers encouraged the president to unequivocally denounce the marchers and distance himself from their cause, but Bannon pushed back, lobbying the president against giving an inch to the opponents criticizing his crisis response.A New York Times report says Bannon has openly referred to Javanka as a pair of politically naive Manhattanites disconnected from the heartland by their New York roots. Breitbart also has marked Cohn in recent days with globe emojis around his name denoting him as a globalist, but to many Jewish groups evoking classic antisemitic tropes of Jewish power. You can take Gary Cohn out of Wall Street but you cannot take the Wall Street out of Gary Cohn, reads another Breitbart piece on the NEC head. Earlier this month, it reported on his attendance at an elite party in the ultra-expensive Hamptons. If theres any confusion out there, let me clear it up: Im leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents on Capitol Hill, in the media and in corporate America, Bannon told Bloomberg News on Friday. Steve is now unchained, a source close to Bannon told the Atlantic on Friday. Fully unchained. Bannon joins Breitbart armed with seven months of knowledge from inside the halls of the White House. He is only able to weaponize a portion of that information, however; given Top Secret security clearance while in government, much of the material he might otherwise disseminate in his war against Trumps family will be protected legally. Bannon had been under fire from American Jewish organizations since he first joined the Trump campaign last year. Several of those groups praised his departure on Friday, including the Anti-Defamation League Share on facebook

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Ankara, Amman discuss efforts to protect Jerusalem – Daily Sabah

Ongoing issues regarding Palestine and the status of Jerusalem were expected to be discussed during President Recep Tayyip Erdoan’s one-day visit to Jordan yesterday. Ahead of his departure from Istanbul, Erdoan said at a press conference that Turkey attaches importance to Jordan’s role in protecting holy sites in Jerusalem. “We have established importance of dialogue and coordination regarding the crisis with Jordan regading the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. We do not want similar incidents of harassment, attacks or the violations of civil rights to happen again. For this, Muslims must be in full cooperation on the issue of Jerusalem,” Erdoan said. Turkey’s president was welcomed by Jordanian King Abdullah II with an official ceremony in Amman, later attending closed-door meetings with delegations in the Al-Husseiniya Palace. Jordan is the custodian of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in east Jerusalem, the third holiest site for Muslims, which sits on top of the Temple Mount, a hill that is considered the most sacred site in Judaism. Last month, Israel imposed security measures on Al-Aqsa after two police officers were killed at the site. The measures, which included the installation of metal detectors and cameras, led to renewed violence between Palestinians and security forces and led to outrage across the Muslim world. The visit is of special importance in that it coincides with the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Jordan, a country that enjoys deeply rooted historical, humanitarian and cultural ties with Turkey. President Erdoan is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlt avuolu, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak and Transportation, Maritime and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan during the visit. In addition to addressing the situation in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories during the meeting with King Abdullah, President Erdoan aims to boost trade and discuss Syria and Iraq amid concerns regarding the territorial integrity of both countries. Turkey and Jordan are the two countries that have taken in the largest number of refugees since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, and both share borders with the war-torn country. According to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the total value of Turkish exports to Jordan amounted to $300 million in the first five months of this year, while imports were around $50 million. The main exported goods include textiles, jewelry, home appliances, machines and machinery products, motor vehicles and chemicals.Turkey and Jordan signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2009 to increase economic, technical and industrial cooperation and the installation of an appropriate competition environment. The agreement also encourages reciprocal investments and the removal of trade restrictions. The deal took effect in 2011.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Nobody’s lady – The Jerusalem Post

SHIRI BERZACK and Nahum Hackett star in J-Town Playhouses production of Pygmalion.. (photo credit:ITA ARBIT) George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion first appeared on stage in 1913. Named after the Greek mythological figure who fell in love with one of his sculptures that subsequently comes to life, the play was a biting critique of the British class system of the time. Pygmalion was adapted many times, but most famously as the musical My Fair Lady, with notable characters Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins. Pygmalion comes to Jerusalem at AACIs J-Town Playhouse theater this month, opening on August 23 and running until September 4. Director Yardena Buxner sat down with The Jerusalem Post to discuss directing for the first time, the challenges and triumphs of community theater, and humanizing Higgins. How did you become involved with Pygmalion as director? Ive been involved with J-Town Playhouse for a while now. My husband and I kind of solidified our relationship when I was assistant directing The Importance of Being Earnest and he was one of my actors. So Ive been involved with English theater here. My sister also does makeup and costumes sometimes. I acted in Pride and Prejudice last year and was also the assistant director. I got involved because its one of my biggest passions and Ive always wanted to direct. The wonderful crew knew this. They gave me my chance and Im so grateful. So this is your first time directing a stage production? Yes, its my debut. What have the challenges been for you, both expected and unexpected? Most of them were expected because I knew it would be hard to get peoples schedules together. An unexpected challenge was having difficulty finding the cast because Im a new director. Its not like when they hear the name Layla or Aviella and they start running down the line. Its summer vacation and a lot of people go to the States to visit their families. So scheduling was the hardest thing. But eventually I was blessed with one of the most amazing casts ever. No matter how hard the search for them was, it was totally worth it. They are phenomenal, dedicated, talented and passionate. They bring so much and Im really proud of them. In that respect, they make my life easier. How would you summarize the play for those who are unfamiliar with it? Its an intriguing human piece about society. Its about getting a chance to figure out what our strengths and abilities are beyond our labels, the economical situation we were born in, or gender. Thats why I think its relevant to any time. For instance, I have dyslexia. There were times that I came across a teacher who took a chance on me, showed interest, and then I started blossoming in that subject because I saw someone had faith in me. We see something similar in the play. There is a girl who is restricted, despite her talents, which are mentioned numerous times through the play. Shes restricted by society, by the fate of the stars, and by who her parents were. I thought that this was a very worthy piece and relatable. Even if you dont know British history, or understand the different in status between upper and lower class, you understand what its like to be limited by the situation youre in. What do you hope that the audience will take away from the play? Ive always seen myself as a storyteller. I was one of those kids in shul who would have my friends around me and be telling stories. If it was funny, or moving, or interesting, I would consider it to be a success. My modest answer would be that I hope people have a good time and that we create characters that they can identify with, feel sorry for and triumph with. I hope that I prove that no man is a villain and no person is a hero. My main goal is to tell a good story and for people to enjoy themselves. But what would I like them to take away from it? That Im a genius (laughs). I would like them to think about the story afterwards and understand more about who Eliza is because I hope that Ive humanized her. I hope that they also see Higgins and that hes broken. Even though he was born into riches, hes also confined by society and his gender. I really just want to put on a good show and have people say that that was fun. Can you give some insight into what rehearsals have been like? The biggest highlight came yesterday. We didnt have a rehearsal scheduled because I couldnt make it. They decided to rehearse anyway on their own. They wanted to put in more time and more effort because they love it as much as I do and are as dedicated to it as I am. Ive never met a group that wanted to rehearse more. These people are totally volunteers. There is this amazing camaraderie that has happened that Ive never seen before in community theater. Have you ever seen the play put on elsewhere? I saw it years ago here in Israel. The BBC also did a stage adaption that they filmed, which I saw. But I decided to approach the text with a clear mind and to try to be as objective as possible towards it. I didnt want to base it on what Id seen, but rather on what are the characters thinking and feeling? I wanted to make it my own. For tickets and more information please visit aaci.org.il. Share on facebook

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Jerusalem steps up plastic-recycling bid – The Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem has stepped up its recycling of plastic waste in the past three years, finding alternative uses for about a third of the materials, compared with as little as 12% of it in 2014, the citys director of sanitation services, Sharon Shifrit, told The Jerusalem Post. About 1,200 tons of waste are produced in Jerusalem every day, which adds up to more than 400,000 tons a year, Shifrit said in a recent interview. Shifrit attributed, in part, the 28% of plastic now recycled to the recycling and waste facility opened in Atarot. Built in 2015, the Greennet Recycling and Waste Treatment Facility receives all of the waste from homes in the Jerusalem Municipality and separates out the recyclable and reusable material. This means that even when people fail to recycle their plastic bottles, paper goods, or other packaging, it can still be saved, with dramatic results. In the space of a year, from 2015 to 2016, Jerusalem saw a 10% rise in recycled material, Greennet CEO Ofer Bugin said. Machines separate the metal, plastic, paper, cardboard and organic material in the garbage that it treats. From these piles, the recyclable items are sold to plants all over the world that will reuse the material, the organic matter is brought to compost piles, and the rest is dumped into landfills, although future plans indicate it will be incinerated. While this new program is helping to increase recycling in Jerusalem, is it enough to make a significant difference in the long run? And is turning to machinery to separate recyclables a better approach than relying on people themselves? Nehama Ronen, chairwoman of ELA Recycling, the Beverage Containers Collective Corporation, said while Greennet saves a lot of recyclable material from being buried in a landfill, the material is better quality when it is kept separated from the beginning that is, when people take it upon themselves to recycle. Atarot takes mixed-up garbage and separates the wet [organic matter] and dry [plastic, paper, etc.], but its not as good as when its separated before its thrown out, because the dry becomes wet, she said. Its harder to reuse the dry material this way, and, if contaminated, it can be more difficult for the organic matter to compost, she added. ELA Recycling focuses on plastic-bottle recycling, which is the most successful sort of recycling in Israel, because it has become ingrained in society, with its collection cages dispersed in neighborhoods throughout Israel and return deposit laws. Thanks to the deposit law, which is similar to those in other countries, people can bring their plastic bottles, cans and even glass wine bottles to deposit centers and receive 30 agorot for each container. Ronen believes educational initiatives have been one of the most effective ways in making recycling a sustainable part of life in Israel, ranging from running persistent, long-term ad campaigns to programs in public schools to educate children. We let young children bring their bottles and cans to school, and we collect them and give them the money from the deposit, she said. Children are now able to educate their parents and bring their stuff at home to cages. According to research, we found that in houses where the children learn about recycling in school, the parents also feel more responsible to recycle. Encouraging people to separate their waste products and recycle may be an uphill battle, but in the long run it brings results. It takes a long time to educate people to change their way of life and adopt natural habits, Ronen said. Education and legislation are prominent forces in changing peoples habits, but the prevalence of infrastructure may be the most crucial aspect in continuing to increase recycling efforts in Israel. We cannot judge if the cages are a success or not: at least two-thirds of Israel is not covered with orange collectors [for packaging material], Ronen said. You cant ask people to recycle if they dont have the infrastructure near their homes. Give them the tools and then start to educate them. Nahlaot, in downtown Jerusalem, is a perfect example: While they have containers for plastic bottle recycling, they are missing containers for other recyclable materials, apparently due to lack of space, according to Shifrit. But where there are collectors present, people are using them. There are 24,000 collection cages across the country for plastic bottles alone, according to Ronen. While fewer in number, there are also brown bins for organic matter, purple for glass, blue for paper and cardboard, gray for heavy-duty cardboard, and green for all other recyclable materials. Naomi Tsur, the founder and chairwoman of the Jerusalem Green Fund and former deputy mayor of Jerusalem (2008- 2013), said these cages have succeeded because people have grown accustomed to them. Most people really change their habits and get used to bringing bags from home, Ronen said, referring to a new fee when it comes to using plastic bags. The recent law requires people to pay 10 agorot for each plastic bag they take at the grocery store. Ten agorot is hardly going to break the bank, but it impacts the way people act. There was huge discussion and criticism against this legislation, Ronen said. Knesset members thought it would cause more damage and that people would prefer to buy the bags but no, most people bring their bags. Its insulting; why should I pay 10 agorot if I can bring from home? Its about values and how to save the environment and keep it for the next generation. The next step is to encourage people to compost their organic waste, which makes up roughly 45% of our garbage, according to Tsur. It doesnt need to go anywhere, it just needs to be separated and distributed to our parks and gardens, she said. Its started in Beit Hakerem and has had a positive effect both economically and as a fertilizer. And the amount of reduction in garbage is amazing. If people composted their own organic waste, towns could spend less money collecting garbage and separating it at facilities like the one Greennet is operating, and they could keep their public parks and gardens healthy and fertile at no additional cost. People could also have their own fertile gardens with their compostable waste. Its just a matter of changing perspective and habits, according to Ronen and Tsur. But for cities to progress in their recycling initiatives, Tsur said, people have to play more active roles in setting up infrastructure in their cities. In her opinion, compared to other issues Israel and the Middle East are dealing with, recycling should be an easy accomplishment. Its all very well to blame the municipality, but the public doesnt vote about it, she said. People vote right or left, but transportation, education and garbage issues these are the issues we have to vote about. If you look at the platforms of the candidates, you wont find recycling listed [unless] our candidates know we care about them. But facilities like Greennet present a secure backup solution, a way to clean up after the people who remain unaware of the importance of recycling. If we cannot educate the people, we as a country, a municipality, a government have to clean up these places, Ronen said. Share on facebook

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Palestinian woman indicted for Jerusalem stabbing attack – The Times of Israel

Jerusalem prosecutors filed indictments Monday against an East Jerusalem woman accused of injuring two people in a terror attack in the capital that they allege she carried out in the hope of dying as a martyr. Fadwa Hamada, 29, was indicted at the Jerusalem District Court on two counts of committing a terror act, attempted murder, and being in possession of a knife. Prosecutors say Hamada, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, decided to kill Israeli citizens in a terror attack during which she would die as a martyr. In the wake of the stabbing earlier this month, Hebrew and Arabic media reported Hamada is a mother of five children. According to the indictments, on August 12 Hamada told her husband she wasnt feeling well and took a cab to the area of the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, bringing a 12 centimeters (5 inch) knife with her in order to carry out the attack. After exiting the vehicle she saw an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walking back from prayers at the Western Wall. Hamada rushed at the man and tried to stab him. The accused, with the intention of carrying out her murder plan, pulled the knife out of her bag, approached the plaintiff, and attacked himwith the aim of killing him, the indictment said. The intended victim, raising his hands over his head to protect himself, was cut on his left arm. He started to run away with Hamada in pursuit, the knife still in her hand. After a few meters she stopped and headed off in the other direction to pick up the bag she had dropped, and then ran off. As she did so she passed another man whom she approached and tried to stab. The second victim, who was in training to become a security guard on the Jerusalem Light Rail, suffered two deep cuts to his left hand. He then pulled out his gun and shouted at Hamada to stop while also alerting security forces in the area. Hamada was restrained and then arrested. The second victim was taken to hospital for treatment to his wounds. Police later released security video of the attack. The attack occurred on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate, the same street where Border Police officer Hadas Malka was stabbed to death in June. Hebrew-language media reported at the time that the womans husband was arrested following the attack and that police raided the couples home in Sur Baher. Over the past two years, the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in two cases by Jordanian nationals. Since September 2015, mainly Palestinian assailants have killed 48 Israelis, two visiting Americans, a Palestinian man and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 259 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities. Israeli security officials believe that aside from the ostensible ideological motive, many of these attacks particularly those carried out by women or young girls are a form of suicide by cop or suicide by soldier. Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Long-awaited Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway edges closer to maiden journey – The Jerusalem Post

An Israel Railways train passes through Ein Yael in Jerusalem. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) 28 minutes. That’s the time it took for a passengerless train to make the journey from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Sunday in the first test run of the new high-speed rail link connecting two of Israel’s major cities, according to Channel 2. A nation of commuters will be delighted by news of the successful test. The route, set to open in April 2018, will significantly cut the time currently required to travel from Tel Aviv to central Jerusalem by road or train. The high-speed railway has been under construction since 2001 and will complement the existing, slower Jaffa-Jerusalem railway. Trains traveling on the 19th century Ottoman-built railway, which winds between picturesque hills, take approximately 80 minutes to arrive at their final destination. Many commuters opt to travel by car or bus. Praising the test, Israel’s Transportation Minister Israel Katz said: “The high-speed train… will ensure the status of Jerusalem and the ability for people to live there and to open businesses. It will completely change the relationship between Jerusalem and the rest of the country.” Trains will service all four of Tel Aviv’s railway stations, pick up passengers at Ben-Gurion Airport and conclude their journey at Jerusalem’s new railway station near the city’s central bus station. During peak times, three trains per hour are expected to travel in each direction. An infrastructure project requiring nine bridges and four tunnels was never going to be cheap. When complete, the railway is expected to cost in the region of NIS 7 billion, over double its original estimate. The new railway is expected to change Israel’s transport and work scene, effectively turning Tel Aviv and Jerusalem into commuter towns for each other. For many Israelis, the end of the daily trauma of endless traffic jams and delays on Israel’s highways is now in sight. April 2018 promises to bring a quicker, stress-free alternative. Share on facebook

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Jerusalem Ordered to Release Data on Sara Netanyahu’s Work History – Haaretz

Home > Israel News Court enforces reporters freedom of information request concerning PMs wife Jerusalem must provide information about its employment of Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a… Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter.

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Beer and music liven up Palestinian town – The Jerusalem Post

Some 4,500 Palestinians and foreigners danced to a mix of Arabic- and English-language music at a concert venue in the Bethlehem area on Saturday, while many firmly held on to a glass. Just meters from an IDF watchtower on the outskirts of Beit Sahur, a Christian-majority town, Shepherds, one of the largest Palestinian breweries, had kicked off its second annual beer festival. The festival is something of a unique event in the Palestinian territories, where many people do not consume alcohol in accordance with Islamic law. It featured a number of popular Palestinian bands, including Ta3lelah thats not a typo and Apo and the Apostles, and popular Arabic foods, such as shwarma. And, of course, there was beer. Twenty-nine-year-old Alaa Sayej, founder of Shepherds, feels that beer and the Middle East go hand in hand, as the beverage is believed to have been invented in the region. Why not make beer in Palestine when it comes from the Middle East? Sayej asked, speaking on the sidelines of the festival. Beer was first produced in Sumer and Babylonia, located in modern-day Iraq, some 8,000 years ago, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Sayej initially brewed beer as a hobby in his dorm room while pursuing a dual masters degree in finance and investment management in the United Kingdom in the early 2010s. I was fascinated by all the beers and ales sold in English bars. Every month, there was a new brew, he remarked. In November 2013, after completing his degree, he established Shepherds in Bir Zeit, a university town north of Ramallah, where he was born and raised. But he did not start selling his product until June 2015 according to Sayej, he faced a number of obstacles. Israeli customs authorities did not process the import of his brewing equipment in a timely manner, incurring hefty storage charges, and each Israeli supplier demanded that he purchase all of his ingredients from them, he said. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authoritys Economy Ministry did not want to register his company because it said the logo a fully-bearded shepherd with the Christmas star off in the distance was the likeness of Jesus, according to Sayej. I explained to them that it wasnt a picture of Jesus, Sayej stated, but rather a shepherd with the [Christmas] star, which is a reference to the story of the wise men. When that story took place, Jesus was a baby, and theres no baby in the logo. Once he secured a meeting with then-economy minister Jawad Hirzallah, the PA approved the companys registration. Today, the brewery employs 11 Palestinians on a permanent basis and produces hundreds of thousands of liters of beer each year. The product is delivered to outlets in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Shepherds previously sold its beers in Haifa, but following a disagreement with a distributor, it stopped. The company wants to renew its shipments to Israeli bars and is looking for a new distributor. It also plans to begin exporting to Italy, the United States and Chile in the coming weeks. Sayej, who tasted his first beer at the age of 17, said the beer festival was a part of a broader effort to provide Palestinians with opportunities to enjoy a nightlife. We have a nightlife that is better than Tel Aviv, he stated with a smile on his face. Not many Israelis know that. While its unclear whether the West Banks nightlife compares to that of Tel Aviv, a robust bar and club scene has been emerging in the Palestinian territories, mostly in Ramallah and Bethlehem. Back on stage, Apo and the Apostles took center stage. The crowd jumped up and down as the group sang many of its popular songs. It then performed Lina, its best known tune, as the crowd, overwhelmed with excitement, enthusiastically chanted out the name of the song. Ayoub, a 25-year-old resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan who preferred not to give his last name, said he had experienced nightlife in Israel but enjoyed it more in the Palestinian territories. I used to go to festivals in Tel Aviv, but I felt like I did not belong there, he said. Here, I feel like this is ours. Twenty-five-year-old Wajd Abbas, from Kufr Aqab, a neighborhood in the northernmost part of Jerusalem, said that holding a beer festival in the territories showed that Palestinians were like people all over the world. The outside sees the contradictions, problems and wars in our society, Abbas said. The beer festival is an opportunity for the outside to see we are normal people who love life and want to have fun. Share on facebook

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Group of Gazan children get first glimpse of Jerusalem – The Peninsula Qatar

20 Aug 2017 – 21:01 A Palestinian girl from the Gaza Strip takes a selfie outside the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city on August 20, 2017 as he visits the city for the first time as part of an exchange programme run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. AFP / Ahmad Gharabli Jerusalem: Dozens of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip saw Jerusalem and two of its holy sites for the first time on Sunday as part of a UN-run exchange programme. Ninety-one children aged between eight and 14 crossed from the blockaded Palestinian enclave into Israel before visiting Jerusalem, according to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA. All but seven had never been out of Gaza, said UNRWA’s Scott Anderson. The children visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, and the Al-Aqsa mosque compound nearby, he said. Both sites are in Jerusalem’s Old City. The children prayed and took pictures at the mosque compound, which also includes the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, an AFP journalist reported. The compound is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. “They were over-the-moon excited,” Anderson said. “There’s really no other way to describe it.” The children later travelled to Ramallah and will remain in the occupied West Bank, the other Palestinian territory separated from Gaza by Israeli territory, until Friday. They will visit various West Bank cities throughout the week. The Gaza Strip, run by Islamist movement Hamas, has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. Gazans need Israeli permission to visit the West Bank and Jerusalem, which requires them to enter Israeli territory. The vast majority of the children on Sunday’s trip had never been to Jerusalem even though it is only some 75 kilometres (around 45 miles) from Gaza City. Gaza’s crossing with Egypt — the only other country with which it shares a border — has also remained largely closed in recent years. Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel have fought three wars since 2008. UN officials have called for an end to the blockade, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the enclave of two million people. Israel says it is needed to stop Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them. The exchange programme, in its first year, included 38 Palestinian children from the West Bank visiting the Gaza Strip a few weeks ago. UNRWA hopes to carry out more such exchanges in the future.

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