Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Boston ‘Free Speech’ rally organizer presents its side – The Jerusalem Post

A large crowd of people gathers ahead of the Boston Free Speech Rally in Boston, Massachusetts, US, August 19, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Thousands of people in Boston protested a “Free Speech” rally featuring right-wing speakers Saturday, with hundreds of police mobilized to prevent a recurrence of violence that left a woman dead at a Virginia white-supremacist protest last week.

But who exactly was behind the controversial rally itself?

John Medlar, a 23-year-old Fitchburg State University student from Newton and self-proclaimed libertarian, sought to distance himself from the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and alt-right protestors who wreaked havoc in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12.

In an interview with CBS-affiliate WBZ-TV, Medlar, a spokesman for the Boston Free Speech Coalition, who organized the event, suggested racist groups were attempting to hijack the rally.

“The groups that are trying to instigate such violence groups like Identity Evropa, Vanguard [America], the KKK, neo-Nazis we completely condemn all of that,” he said.

Initial reports ranged from descriptions of the event as a “right-wing” rally to predictions of a “white nationalist event similar to the Unite the Right rally in Virginia.”

As many as 40,000 counter-protestors accepted the latter narrative dwarfing the Free Speech Coalition’s turnout. The counter-protesters were composed mostly of left-leaning groups and activists, such as Black Lives Matter.

In a Facebook post, the Boston Free Speech Coalition stressed that it would not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry.”

The group also singled out the Ku Klux Klan.

The rally and counter-demonstrations largely ended peacefully.

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Egypt, Jordan, Palestine say Israel seeks to ‘blur’ Jerusalem’s Islamic, Christian identities – Egypt Independent

Egypt, Jordan and Palestines foreign Ministries released a joint statement on Saturday, in which they called on Israel to respect the Islamic and Christian history of Jerusalem through suspending recent security measures established in the city.

The statement noted that the recent measures are an attempt to change the Islamic and Christian identity associated with the eastern part of Jerusalem.

The request followed a meeting between the three ministries, that took place in Cairo, organizedto discuss the peace process with Israel and ways in which to push it forward.

During the meeting, the ministries agreed to continueArab coordination, as to provide protection for their holy places.

Moreover, they noted that the coordination would continue under the sponsorship of the king of Jordan, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, who is the official supervisor and caretaker over both Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem city.

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Egypt, Jordan, Palestine say Israel seeks to ‘blur’ Jerusalem’s Islamic, Christian identities – Egypt Independent

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Former Jerusalem resident arrested by police for supporting ISIS – The Jerusalem Post

Youth walk under an Islamic State flag in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon January 19, 2016.. (photo credit:ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS)

The Israel Police arrested and questioned on Friday a 40-year-old West Bank resident who is suspected of incitement, encouraging violence and supporting a terrorist organization.

The suspect admitted in his questioning that he is a supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS), according to a police statement released on Sunday.

The investigation into the suspect started several months ago, when police detected his Facebook account, in which he openly expressed his support for ISIS.

The suspect distributed videos of the activities of the organization in different countries, including executions of those who oppose ISIS.

The police statement holds that the suspects social network activity has been going on for over two years, and that a large amount of people were exposed to the content he distributed.

The suspect is a former resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, recently moving to Hebron where he was arrested.

In light of the findings of the police investigation, the State Attorney’s Office decided to launch a criminal investigation against the suspect.

Police stressed that locating suspects online, arresting, investigating and indicting them is yet another move done by them to prevent incitement and violence.

The fact that we found an ISIS supporter inside Israel, and that he lived in Jerusalem until recently, is making his activities even more dangerous, said a police statement.

The main concern from these kinds of [social network] publications is that someone will be influenced from them, and decide to take action in light of them.

This kind of incitement can cost peoples lives, the statement added.

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New Labor leader seeks sweeping powers – The Jerusalem Post

Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel’s centre-left Labour party, delivers his victory speech after winning the Labour party primary runoff, at an event in Tel Aviv, Israel July 10, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

New Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay announced Sunday morning that he intends to seek increased power for his post ahead of the next general election, including the right to choose four of the party’s candidates for the next Knesset.

Gabbay, who was elected July 10, realized that the post does not give him the power to make key decisions and allocate funds for initiatives that he believes are essential to prepare the party for the next race. At the next Labor convention, the date of which has not yet been set, he will ask to receive some of the authority currently given to the party’s secretary-general, Eran Hermoni.

“To win the next election, Labor must update the tools at its disposal and give its leadership the ability, the resources, and the authority necessary for the party,” Gabbay said. “These changes would give the party a significant boost in its goals of reaching out to the wider public and present a proper alternative.”

The most controversial change Gabbay intends to request is the right to select four candidates in realistic slots for the next Knesset, two of which would be placed in the top 10 on the list. Possible candidates for those slots include former prime minister Ehud Barak, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and MK Tzipi Livni, who formed a joint list with Labor ahead of the last election called the Zionist Union. Channel 10 reported Sunday night that Barak would turn down a reserved slot.

Gabbay has repeatedly said he wants Livni to stay with Labor. But he has never said he would permit her to choose additional Knesset candidates as former Labor chairman Isaac Herzog did ahead of the last election.

The new Labor leader also wants the right to choose Labor’s faction head, Knesset committee chairmen and which MKs will serve on each committee. Because he is not an MK, Gabbay has not had a role in how the faction is run in parliament.

Other proposals by Gabbay include adding transparency over the party’s finances and extending the tenure of the party’s institutions.

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Qatar’s Al Jazeera echoes terrorism – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

The Al-Jazeera Media Network logo is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

When I accepted a job as Cairo bureau chief for the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera English television news channel in September 2013 I demanded and was assured that my team would remain independent from the networks Arabic channels.

Those assurances went out the window as management breached its contract, dubbing our English material into Arabic reports behind our backs and rebroadcasting them on the networks Arabic Mubasher a channel that an Egyptian court had shut for its national security threat and bias to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group once banned as a terrorist organization.

Unknown to our team at the time, Qatar the tiny Arab state backed by the worlds third-largest natural gas reserves and oil treasuries also later breached the secret Riyadh Agreement, which required that Qatar stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

That accord was reached two months after our team started working out of the Al Jazeera English makeshift office at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.

According to the recent CNN exclusive release of the unpublished handwritten accords, Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim Al Thani joined the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the same nations that since June 5 have spearheaded a boycott of his country in vowing not to support the Brotherhood terrorist franchise in the region and antagonistic media. The latter is a clear reference to Al Jazeera, which was accused during the negotiations on the Riyadh Agreement of becoming a voice for the Brotherhood and radicals such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian preacher convicted of terrorism while residing in Qatar a man who encouraged suicide bombings and the slaying of Jews and Christians on his weekly show on Al Jazeera, once watched by 60 million people.

Al Jazeera chairman Hamad Al Thani, a cousin of Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, knew about those restrictions in the accords. Yet, he failed to warn my colleagues and me even though Egyptian authorities were indiscriminately going after anyone even slightly suspected of sympathizing with the Brotherhood an environment similar to 1950s American- style McCarthyism.

Huddled in the Cairo Marriott, we a proven team of journalists who did not conspire with Brotherhood terrorists were arrested in December 2013 and referred to court in a case dubbed the Marriott Cell.

Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and I spent more than 400 days incarcerated and maintained our innocence during an excruciating trial that veteran reporter Robert Fisk described on the day we were unjustly sentenced to seven years in prison as a proxy in the war between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

We three journalists committed no crime Al Jazeera did.

In Egypts prisons I interviewed Brotherhood members and non-journalists of the opposition who told me Al Jazeera had supplied them with transmission equipment, cameras and money, a technique I later learned the network applied in conflict zones such as Syria, Libya and Iraq. In a recent interview, Adel Iskandar, an assistant professor of global communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, described to me Al Jazeeras unethical and illegal newsgathering tactics including the distribution of technical equipment that would allow for satellite uplinks for distribution of footage.

This gave Al Jazeera an advantage over their competitors as they were essentially recruiting protesters and fighters to become journalists and information gatherers for their news programming. And since the Syrian opposition (particularly those aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups) was ideologically harmonized with the Qatari policy in the Levantine country, the coverage often went straight to air without verification, clarification, or corroboration.

If citizen journalism was meant to help the Davids triumph against the Goliaths of pro-government media, Al Jazeeras all-out investment in the Islamic output brought back a Goliath on steroids.

A year into the Syrian revolt Al Jazeeras Beirut correspondent Ali Hashem quit and told Russia Today that Al Jazeera smuggled $50,000 worth of satellite communication tools to Syrian rebels (considered terrorists by some) to ensure telephone and Internet connection to get an inside picture information he verified to me.

I believe Al Jazeeras irresponsible approach to newsgathering contributed to the killing and jailing of the networks journalists by repressive governments and extremist groups.

Farag Fathi, the Al Jazeera lawyer defending my two colleagues, quit in court a month before the verdict in 2014 and objected to what he called the networks treachery. He later shared an eye-opening email sent from Al Jazeeras legal counsel in Qatar who shamelessly asked Fathi to defend Gamal Nassar, a Brotherhood spokesman who was being tried in absentia by the same judge presiding over our case but in a separate terrorism trial.

The email also noted that Al Jazeera had just hired Nassar a wanted terrorist.

Egypt should free journalists like Ismael Iskandarani, photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, among others unjustly jailed. Qatars Al Jazeera, now banned in numerous nations, can survive calls for its closure only by giving a voice to voiceless Qataris yearning for democracy and refraining from conspiring with groups designated as terrorists such as Hamas, the Brotherhood and Al Nusra Front, the former al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

The author is an award winning journalist and war correspondent. He is the author of The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairos Scorpion Prison to Freedom.

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Jerusalem gets smart with new digital gadget library – ISRAEL21c

Israels startup community has inaugurated its first gadget library. The Jerusalem venue, called The Device Lab, has cutting-edge technologies and devices on loan for entrepreneurs and students to try out their ideas.

US colleges have long offered their academic communities the opportunity to come try out new and old technologies on an array of gadgets and computers at so-called gadget libraries.

Now, Israeli developers new and veteran have a library of their own in which to tinker about.

Intel Israel, the government, the Jerusalem municipality and a group of young Jerusalemites known as Tzeirim Bamerkaz are backing the new project at 22 Shivtey Israel Street.

On loan are smartwatches and laptops, 3D cameras, smart computer chips, gaming computers, tablets, and Android and iOS smartphones by top brands such as Lenovo, Intel, Asus, Apple, Tag Heuer, RealSense and Edison. The librarys collection will constantly evolve.

Jerusalems gadget lab is a place for exploration without breaking the bank. Photo courtesy of Intel Israel

The new gadget library provides an international starting point for the young and innovative entrepreneurs in Jerusalem. Whoever succeeds in Jerusalem will succeed in the world, Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement.

Jerusalems startup ecosystem is growing all the time. In 2012, there were no accelerators in the city, according to Made in Jerusalem organization for the citys entrepreneurs. To date, there are 15 startup hubs and accelerators in Jerusalem, according to Made in Jerusalem.

With the new gadget library now open, students and early-stage entrepreneurs no longer need to break the bank to try their ideas on new devices.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, center, and other dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting for The Device Lab. Photo courtesy of Intel Israel

An annual subscription costs $212 and devices are loaned out for different amounts of time depending on demand.

Organizers say the library lab will also be a venue for demos, workshops and lectures.

We are very pleased that we have the chance to promote technology and entrepreneurship in Jerusalem, said Shahaf Kiselstein, Intels Vice President for Platform Engineering. A vibrant entrepreneurial community is an important asset for Jerusalem.

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Unraveling Cape Verde’s flip-flop on Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Flag of Cape Verde. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

The back story behind the Cape Verde volte-face this month on whether it will or will not continue to vote against Israel at the UN shines an instructive light on the challenges and sensitivities Israel faces as it tries to move back into Africa in a significant way.

On August 2, the Prime Ministers Office put out a statement saying that Cape Verde, an archipelago of 10 islands off the coast of West Africa, had announced it would no longer vote against Israel at the UN.

The statement attributed this to two reasons: intensive diplomatic efforts and a meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had with the countrys President Jorge Carlos Fonseca in June at a summit meeting of the Economic Community of West African States African States in Monrovia, Liberia.

Netanyahu took the additional step of highlighting the Cape Verde development at the cabinet meeting the following Sunday, saying it was very important and an indication of the success of his policy of prioritizing relations with Africa.

While some may question the importance of a state of just over half a million people voting for Israel at the UN, it is not of negligible impact, one diplomatic official said, because it is a small step that added up with other small steps in Africa over the last year and planned ones in the coming months creates a critical mass that significantly changes the situation for Israel in Africa.

Other small steps include Netanyahus visit to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia in July 2016; his visit to the ECOWAS summit in Liberia in June; the constant parade of African prime ministers and foreign ministers coming to Jerusalem and even the quickness with which Israel dispatched aid to Sierra Leone following the devastating mudslide there last Monday.

Taken individually, each of these steps seems relatively unimportant. Put together, however, they represent a bigger trend of vastly improved ties with Africa that has significant implications for Israel diplomatically.

This trend has also been identified by Israels adversaries, which is why there is starting to be significant push-back, such as opposition by the Palestinian Authority and Morocco to a planned Israel-Africa summit in Togo in October.

The only problem with the Prime Ministers Offices announcement that Cape Verde has decided to change its voting pattern on Israel was that a week later, Fonseca seemed to walk it back in a convoluted Facebook post in which he said he never talked about this with Netanyahu in Liberia.

So what really happened? Inquiries into the matter revealed the following developments: Israel, well aware of the sensitivity of these types of issues, generally does not trumpet decisions such as the Cape Verde one, knowing that once they are announced there will be all kinds of counter-pressure to cancel them.

The Cape Verde decision to change its voting pattern was relayed to Israeli diplomats in March, following intensive consultations. Neither country announced the move.

Someone, however, got wind of the change and leaked it to local paper in Cape Verde which reported it on August 1. Israeli diplomatic sources believed it was leaked in an attempt to torpedo the change.

Once the story was out in Cape Verde, however, the feeling in Jerusalem was that there was a need to acknowledge it and thank the Cape Verde president. As a result, the Prime Ministers Office issued its statement.

But the statement was not entirely accurate. Yes, the country did decide to change its voting patterns, but it did not come about as a result of the meeting between Netanyahu and Fonseca in Monrovia.

While to outsiders, that little fact does not make a big difference, in Cape Verde a country where there is a semi-presidential system of government and constant friction between the executive and legislative branches over who gets to determine policy that the president would unilaterally make this type of decision was a huge bone of contention.

This was evident in Fonsecas Facebook post, in which he said he recognizes that the government meaning the prime minister and legislative branch is the responsible entity for the implementation of the countrys foreign policy.

Fonseca clarified that during his meeting with Netanyahu in Monrovia the question of how his country would vote did not come up.

This was important for him to stress because it shows that he was not trying to usurp powers not his own.

This, he indicated in the post, was not his competency.

In other words, Fonsecas Facebook post was more a result of internal battles over who gets to decide what in Cape Verde than a denial that the country will no longer vote against Israel at the UN.

Nowhere in the Facebook post, one diplomatic official pointed out, did the president deny that there would be a change in Cape Verdes voting pattern.

Hopefully, he said, the West African country has not gone back on this, stressing that the importance is not necessarily that such a decision would have earth-shattering diplomatic significance, but rather because it represents another small step toward building a critical mass of support for Israel inside Africa.

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Watching Charlottesville From Jerusalem – New York Times

Amos Oz, one of Israels greatest living novelists, wrote in his autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness, about how his painfully distant father danced with him in the streets of Jerusalem on Nov. 29, 1947 the day that the United Nations voted to create a Jewish state. Later that night, still drenched with sweat and with his clothes still on, the young Amos got into bed. To his shock, his father got in with him.

The father told the young boy that night how Polish children had treated him in school, stealing his pants and ridiculing him for being a Jew. Then, in a rare nocturnal moment of intimacy, he said to his son: Bullies may well bother you in the street or at school someday … because you are a bit like me. But from now on, from the moment we have our own state, you will never be bullied just because you are a Jew. … Not that. Never again. From tonight thats finished here. Forever.

Israelis know well that Jew-hatred fuels much of the continuing Arab assault on the Jewish state. But worry about anti-Semitism outside the region and unrelated to the conflict is ballast we have long-since jettisoned.

This summer, I taught a course at Jerusalems Shalem College on foundational American texts. We read the Declaration of Independence; some Federalist Papers including James Madisons Federalist No. 10 on the danger of factions; Abraham Lincolns 1838 Lyceum Address on the rule of the mob; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s Letter From Birmingham Jail; Ta-Nehisi Coatess Between the World and Me; and more.

To illustrate how alive the issues raised in these texts remain, this week I had the students a highly knowledgeable group of undergraduates watch video footage of Charlottesville. They sat stunned as they watched the parade of the torches, an image they understood. When I explained that the men with flak jackets, helmets and semiautomatic weapons were the protesters, not the police, they were incredulous. When the Nazi flags appeared, the room was silent except for the sounds of the protesters onscreen.

Then the video cut to one of the marchers, who explained their republican principles. The first was the supremacy of white culture. The students listened, disgusted. The second was free-market capitalism. Still, they were quiet. Then, the third principle, the protester said, was killing Jews. The entire class burst into laughter.

Stunned, I paused the video. Even with the video stilled, they were chuckling. I asked them what they found so amusing. Finally, one student said: What, does this guy believe that in todays world you can just go out and kill Jews? Its funny, thats all.

It is, of course, not funny at all, but I chose to focus their attention on the history behind their laughter. You, I said, are actually the living embodiment of that new Jew of whom Nordau and Jabotinsky wrote. People say they hate blacks, and you watch in stunned, horrified silence. They say theyre going to kill Jews, and you laugh. Israel has normalized Jewish existence in ways of which the headlines rarely remind us.

Not everyone is equally complacent. The morning after Mr. Trumps Tuesday news conference in which he walked back the conciliatory tone of his Monday statement, I woke up to an email from our 27-year-old son Avi, studying law at Hebrew University after eight years in the army.

Has the day arrived? was the subject. I have a very clear memory from 7th grade of coming home from school after several hours of classes on the Holocaust, he wrote. I remember saying to you, Abba, I dont understand why we spend so much time learning about the Holocaust. It can never happen again and the U.S. will always be there to protect us. As the years went by, I wondered if I would live to see the day when America would no longer be there for us anymore. I thought about that a lot during my time in the army. Today, for the first time in my life, I asked myself if that day had arrived.

Has it? I pray not, though it is too early to tell. But here is what we do know. The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude. It is a debt that I dont believe we fully appreciated until Charlottesville and its disgraceful aftermath.

Daniel Gordis (@danielgordis) is the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. His latest book is Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn.

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Jerusalem, Aug 18, 2017 (AFP) – – The Hindu

Israels Supreme Court froze implementation of a law legalising Jewish settlements built on private Palestinian land, which the UN labelled a thick red line. The decision was condemned by right-wing Israeli politicians, who accused the judiciary of overruling the will of Israels Parliament. The legalisation law was passed in February and it attracted global condemnation.AFP

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Jerusalem, Aug 18, 2017 (AFP) – – The Hindu

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Boston ‘Free Speech’ rally organizer presents its side – The Jerusalem Post

A large crowd of people gathers ahead of the Boston Free Speech Rally in Boston, Massachusetts, US, August 19, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS) Thousands of people in Boston protested a “Free Speech” rally featuring right-wing speakers Saturday, with hundreds of police mobilized to prevent a recurrence of violence that left a woman dead at a Virginia white-supremacist protest last week. But who exactly was behind the controversial rally itself? John Medlar, a 23-year-old Fitchburg State University student from Newton and self-proclaimed libertarian, sought to distance himself from the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and alt-right protestors who wreaked havoc in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12. In an interview with CBS-affiliate WBZ-TV, Medlar, a spokesman for the Boston Free Speech Coalition, who organized the event, suggested racist groups were attempting to hijack the rally. “The groups that are trying to instigate such violence groups like Identity Evropa, Vanguard [America], the KKK, neo-Nazis we completely condemn all of that,” he said. Initial reports ranged from descriptions of the event as a “right-wing” rally to predictions of a “white nationalist event similar to the Unite the Right rally in Virginia.” As many as 40,000 counter-protestors accepted the latter narrative dwarfing the Free Speech Coalition’s turnout. The counter-protesters were composed mostly of left-leaning groups and activists, such as Black Lives Matter. In a Facebook post, the Boston Free Speech Coalition stressed that it would not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry.” The group also singled out the Ku Klux Klan. The rally and counter-demonstrations largely ended peacefully. Share on facebook

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Egypt, Jordan, Palestine say Israel seeks to ‘blur’ Jerusalem’s Islamic, Christian identities – Egypt Independent

Egypt, Jordan and Palestines foreign Ministries released a joint statement on Saturday, in which they called on Israel to respect the Islamic and Christian history of Jerusalem through suspending recent security measures established in the city. The statement noted that the recent measures are an attempt to change the Islamic and Christian identity associated with the eastern part of Jerusalem. The request followed a meeting between the three ministries, that took place in Cairo, organizedto discuss the peace process with Israel and ways in which to push it forward. During the meeting, the ministries agreed to continueArab coordination, as to provide protection for their holy places. Moreover, they noted that the coordination would continue under the sponsorship of the king of Jordan, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, who is the official supervisor and caretaker over both Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem city.

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Former Jerusalem resident arrested by police for supporting ISIS – The Jerusalem Post

Youth walk under an Islamic State flag in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon January 19, 2016.. (photo credit:ALI HASHISHO/REUTERS) The Israel Police arrested and questioned on Friday a 40-year-old West Bank resident who is suspected of incitement, encouraging violence and supporting a terrorist organization. The suspect admitted in his questioning that he is a supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS), according to a police statement released on Sunday. The investigation into the suspect started several months ago, when police detected his Facebook account, in which he openly expressed his support for ISIS. The suspect distributed videos of the activities of the organization in different countries, including executions of those who oppose ISIS. The police statement holds that the suspects social network activity has been going on for over two years, and that a large amount of people were exposed to the content he distributed. The suspect is a former resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, recently moving to Hebron where he was arrested. In light of the findings of the police investigation, the State Attorney’s Office decided to launch a criminal investigation against the suspect. Police stressed that locating suspects online, arresting, investigating and indicting them is yet another move done by them to prevent incitement and violence. The fact that we found an ISIS supporter inside Israel, and that he lived in Jerusalem until recently, is making his activities even more dangerous, said a police statement. The main concern from these kinds of [social network] publications is that someone will be influenced from them, and decide to take action in light of them. This kind of incitement can cost peoples lives, the statement added. Share on facebook

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New Labor leader seeks sweeping powers – The Jerusalem Post

Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel’s centre-left Labour party, delivers his victory speech after winning the Labour party primary runoff, at an event in Tel Aviv, Israel July 10, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS) New Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay announced Sunday morning that he intends to seek increased power for his post ahead of the next general election, including the right to choose four of the party’s candidates for the next Knesset. Gabbay, who was elected July 10, realized that the post does not give him the power to make key decisions and allocate funds for initiatives that he believes are essential to prepare the party for the next race. At the next Labor convention, the date of which has not yet been set, he will ask to receive some of the authority currently given to the party’s secretary-general, Eran Hermoni. “To win the next election, Labor must update the tools at its disposal and give its leadership the ability, the resources, and the authority necessary for the party,” Gabbay said. “These changes would give the party a significant boost in its goals of reaching out to the wider public and present a proper alternative.” The most controversial change Gabbay intends to request is the right to select four candidates in realistic slots for the next Knesset, two of which would be placed in the top 10 on the list. Possible candidates for those slots include former prime minister Ehud Barak, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and MK Tzipi Livni, who formed a joint list with Labor ahead of the last election called the Zionist Union. Channel 10 reported Sunday night that Barak would turn down a reserved slot. Gabbay has repeatedly said he wants Livni to stay with Labor. But he has never said he would permit her to choose additional Knesset candidates as former Labor chairman Isaac Herzog did ahead of the last election. The new Labor leader also wants the right to choose Labor’s faction head, Knesset committee chairmen and which MKs will serve on each committee. Because he is not an MK, Gabbay has not had a role in how the faction is run in parliament. Other proposals by Gabbay include adding transparency over the party’s finances and extending the tenure of the party’s institutions. Share on facebook

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Qatar’s Al Jazeera echoes terrorism – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

The Al-Jazeera Media Network logo is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar.. (photo credit:REUTERS) When I accepted a job as Cairo bureau chief for the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera English television news channel in September 2013 I demanded and was assured that my team would remain independent from the networks Arabic channels. Those assurances went out the window as management breached its contract, dubbing our English material into Arabic reports behind our backs and rebroadcasting them on the networks Arabic Mubasher a channel that an Egyptian court had shut for its national security threat and bias to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group once banned as a terrorist organization. Unknown to our team at the time, Qatar the tiny Arab state backed by the worlds third-largest natural gas reserves and oil treasuries also later breached the secret Riyadh Agreement, which required that Qatar stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. That accord was reached two months after our team started working out of the Al Jazeera English makeshift office at the Cairo Marriott Hotel. According to the recent CNN exclusive release of the unpublished handwritten accords, Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim Al Thani joined the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the same nations that since June 5 have spearheaded a boycott of his country in vowing not to support the Brotherhood terrorist franchise in the region and antagonistic media. The latter is a clear reference to Al Jazeera, which was accused during the negotiations on the Riyadh Agreement of becoming a voice for the Brotherhood and radicals such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian preacher convicted of terrorism while residing in Qatar a man who encouraged suicide bombings and the slaying of Jews and Christians on his weekly show on Al Jazeera, once watched by 60 million people. Al Jazeera chairman Hamad Al Thani, a cousin of Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, knew about those restrictions in the accords. Yet, he failed to warn my colleagues and me even though Egyptian authorities were indiscriminately going after anyone even slightly suspected of sympathizing with the Brotherhood an environment similar to 1950s American- style McCarthyism. Huddled in the Cairo Marriott, we a proven team of journalists who did not conspire with Brotherhood terrorists were arrested in December 2013 and referred to court in a case dubbed the Marriott Cell. Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and I spent more than 400 days incarcerated and maintained our innocence during an excruciating trial that veteran reporter Robert Fisk described on the day we were unjustly sentenced to seven years in prison as a proxy in the war between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We three journalists committed no crime Al Jazeera did. In Egypts prisons I interviewed Brotherhood members and non-journalists of the opposition who told me Al Jazeera had supplied them with transmission equipment, cameras and money, a technique I later learned the network applied in conflict zones such as Syria, Libya and Iraq. In a recent interview, Adel Iskandar, an assistant professor of global communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, described to me Al Jazeeras unethical and illegal newsgathering tactics including the distribution of technical equipment that would allow for satellite uplinks for distribution of footage. This gave Al Jazeera an advantage over their competitors as they were essentially recruiting protesters and fighters to become journalists and information gatherers for their news programming. And since the Syrian opposition (particularly those aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups) was ideologically harmonized with the Qatari policy in the Levantine country, the coverage often went straight to air without verification, clarification, or corroboration. If citizen journalism was meant to help the Davids triumph against the Goliaths of pro-government media, Al Jazeeras all-out investment in the Islamic output brought back a Goliath on steroids. A year into the Syrian revolt Al Jazeeras Beirut correspondent Ali Hashem quit and told Russia Today that Al Jazeera smuggled $50,000 worth of satellite communication tools to Syrian rebels (considered terrorists by some) to ensure telephone and Internet connection to get an inside picture information he verified to me. I believe Al Jazeeras irresponsible approach to newsgathering contributed to the killing and jailing of the networks journalists by repressive governments and extremist groups. Farag Fathi, the Al Jazeera lawyer defending my two colleagues, quit in court a month before the verdict in 2014 and objected to what he called the networks treachery. He later shared an eye-opening email sent from Al Jazeeras legal counsel in Qatar who shamelessly asked Fathi to defend Gamal Nassar, a Brotherhood spokesman who was being tried in absentia by the same judge presiding over our case but in a separate terrorism trial. The email also noted that Al Jazeera had just hired Nassar a wanted terrorist. Egypt should free journalists like Ismael Iskandarani, photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, among others unjustly jailed. Qatars Al Jazeera, now banned in numerous nations, can survive calls for its closure only by giving a voice to voiceless Qataris yearning for democracy and refraining from conspiring with groups designated as terrorists such as Hamas, the Brotherhood and Al Nusra Front, the former al-Qaida affiliate in Syria. The author is an award winning journalist and war correspondent. He is the author of The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairos Scorpion Prison to Freedom. Share on facebook

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Jerusalem gets smart with new digital gadget library – ISRAEL21c

Israels startup community has inaugurated its first gadget library. The Jerusalem venue, called The Device Lab, has cutting-edge technologies and devices on loan for entrepreneurs and students to try out their ideas. US colleges have long offered their academic communities the opportunity to come try out new and old technologies on an array of gadgets and computers at so-called gadget libraries. Now, Israeli developers new and veteran have a library of their own in which to tinker about. Intel Israel, the government, the Jerusalem municipality and a group of young Jerusalemites known as Tzeirim Bamerkaz are backing the new project at 22 Shivtey Israel Street. On loan are smartwatches and laptops, 3D cameras, smart computer chips, gaming computers, tablets, and Android and iOS smartphones by top brands such as Lenovo, Intel, Asus, Apple, Tag Heuer, RealSense and Edison. The librarys collection will constantly evolve. Jerusalems gadget lab is a place for exploration without breaking the bank. Photo courtesy of Intel Israel The new gadget library provides an international starting point for the young and innovative entrepreneurs in Jerusalem. Whoever succeeds in Jerusalem will succeed in the world, Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement. Jerusalems startup ecosystem is growing all the time. In 2012, there were no accelerators in the city, according to Made in Jerusalem organization for the citys entrepreneurs. To date, there are 15 startup hubs and accelerators in Jerusalem, according to Made in Jerusalem. With the new gadget library now open, students and early-stage entrepreneurs no longer need to break the bank to try their ideas on new devices. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, center, and other dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting for The Device Lab. Photo courtesy of Intel Israel An annual subscription costs $212 and devices are loaned out for different amounts of time depending on demand. Organizers say the library lab will also be a venue for demos, workshops and lectures. We are very pleased that we have the chance to promote technology and entrepreneurship in Jerusalem, said Shahaf Kiselstein, Intels Vice President for Platform Engineering. A vibrant entrepreneurial community is an important asset for Jerusalem.

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Unraveling Cape Verde’s flip-flop on Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Flag of Cape Verde. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons) The back story behind the Cape Verde volte-face this month on whether it will or will not continue to vote against Israel at the UN shines an instructive light on the challenges and sensitivities Israel faces as it tries to move back into Africa in a significant way. On August 2, the Prime Ministers Office put out a statement saying that Cape Verde, an archipelago of 10 islands off the coast of West Africa, had announced it would no longer vote against Israel at the UN. The statement attributed this to two reasons: intensive diplomatic efforts and a meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had with the countrys President Jorge Carlos Fonseca in June at a summit meeting of the Economic Community of West African States African States in Monrovia, Liberia. Netanyahu took the additional step of highlighting the Cape Verde development at the cabinet meeting the following Sunday, saying it was very important and an indication of the success of his policy of prioritizing relations with Africa. While some may question the importance of a state of just over half a million people voting for Israel at the UN, it is not of negligible impact, one diplomatic official said, because it is a small step that added up with other small steps in Africa over the last year and planned ones in the coming months creates a critical mass that significantly changes the situation for Israel in Africa. Other small steps include Netanyahus visit to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia in July 2016; his visit to the ECOWAS summit in Liberia in June; the constant parade of African prime ministers and foreign ministers coming to Jerusalem and even the quickness with which Israel dispatched aid to Sierra Leone following the devastating mudslide there last Monday. Taken individually, each of these steps seems relatively unimportant. Put together, however, they represent a bigger trend of vastly improved ties with Africa that has significant implications for Israel diplomatically. This trend has also been identified by Israels adversaries, which is why there is starting to be significant push-back, such as opposition by the Palestinian Authority and Morocco to a planned Israel-Africa summit in Togo in October. The only problem with the Prime Ministers Offices announcement that Cape Verde has decided to change its voting pattern on Israel was that a week later, Fonseca seemed to walk it back in a convoluted Facebook post in which he said he never talked about this with Netanyahu in Liberia. So what really happened? Inquiries into the matter revealed the following developments: Israel, well aware of the sensitivity of these types of issues, generally does not trumpet decisions such as the Cape Verde one, knowing that once they are announced there will be all kinds of counter-pressure to cancel them. The Cape Verde decision to change its voting pattern was relayed to Israeli diplomats in March, following intensive consultations. Neither country announced the move. Someone, however, got wind of the change and leaked it to local paper in Cape Verde which reported it on August 1. Israeli diplomatic sources believed it was leaked in an attempt to torpedo the change. Once the story was out in Cape Verde, however, the feeling in Jerusalem was that there was a need to acknowledge it and thank the Cape Verde president. As a result, the Prime Ministers Office issued its statement. But the statement was not entirely accurate. Yes, the country did decide to change its voting patterns, but it did not come about as a result of the meeting between Netanyahu and Fonseca in Monrovia. While to outsiders, that little fact does not make a big difference, in Cape Verde a country where there is a semi-presidential system of government and constant friction between the executive and legislative branches over who gets to determine policy that the president would unilaterally make this type of decision was a huge bone of contention. This was evident in Fonsecas Facebook post, in which he said he recognizes that the government meaning the prime minister and legislative branch is the responsible entity for the implementation of the countrys foreign policy. Fonseca clarified that during his meeting with Netanyahu in Monrovia the question of how his country would vote did not come up. This was important for him to stress because it shows that he was not trying to usurp powers not his own. This, he indicated in the post, was not his competency. In other words, Fonsecas Facebook post was more a result of internal battles over who gets to decide what in Cape Verde than a denial that the country will no longer vote against Israel at the UN. Nowhere in the Facebook post, one diplomatic official pointed out, did the president deny that there would be a change in Cape Verdes voting pattern. Hopefully, he said, the West African country has not gone back on this, stressing that the importance is not necessarily that such a decision would have earth-shattering diplomatic significance, but rather because it represents another small step toward building a critical mass of support for Israel inside Africa. Share on facebook

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Watching Charlottesville From Jerusalem – New York Times

Amos Oz, one of Israels greatest living novelists, wrote in his autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness, about how his painfully distant father danced with him in the streets of Jerusalem on Nov. 29, 1947 the day that the United Nations voted to create a Jewish state. Later that night, still drenched with sweat and with his clothes still on, the young Amos got into bed. To his shock, his father got in with him. The father told the young boy that night how Polish children had treated him in school, stealing his pants and ridiculing him for being a Jew. Then, in a rare nocturnal moment of intimacy, he said to his son: Bullies may well bother you in the street or at school someday … because you are a bit like me. But from now on, from the moment we have our own state, you will never be bullied just because you are a Jew. … Not that. Never again. From tonight thats finished here. Forever. Israelis know well that Jew-hatred fuels much of the continuing Arab assault on the Jewish state. But worry about anti-Semitism outside the region and unrelated to the conflict is ballast we have long-since jettisoned. This summer, I taught a course at Jerusalems Shalem College on foundational American texts. We read the Declaration of Independence; some Federalist Papers including James Madisons Federalist No. 10 on the danger of factions; Abraham Lincolns 1838 Lyceum Address on the rule of the mob; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s Letter From Birmingham Jail; Ta-Nehisi Coatess Between the World and Me; and more. To illustrate how alive the issues raised in these texts remain, this week I had the students a highly knowledgeable group of undergraduates watch video footage of Charlottesville. They sat stunned as they watched the parade of the torches, an image they understood. When I explained that the men with flak jackets, helmets and semiautomatic weapons were the protesters, not the police, they were incredulous. When the Nazi flags appeared, the room was silent except for the sounds of the protesters onscreen. Then the video cut to one of the marchers, who explained their republican principles. The first was the supremacy of white culture. The students listened, disgusted. The second was free-market capitalism. Still, they were quiet. Then, the third principle, the protester said, was killing Jews. The entire class burst into laughter. Stunned, I paused the video. Even with the video stilled, they were chuckling. I asked them what they found so amusing. Finally, one student said: What, does this guy believe that in todays world you can just go out and kill Jews? Its funny, thats all. It is, of course, not funny at all, but I chose to focus their attention on the history behind their laughter. You, I said, are actually the living embodiment of that new Jew of whom Nordau and Jabotinsky wrote. People say they hate blacks, and you watch in stunned, horrified silence. They say theyre going to kill Jews, and you laugh. Israel has normalized Jewish existence in ways of which the headlines rarely remind us. Not everyone is equally complacent. The morning after Mr. Trumps Tuesday news conference in which he walked back the conciliatory tone of his Monday statement, I woke up to an email from our 27-year-old son Avi, studying law at Hebrew University after eight years in the army. Has the day arrived? was the subject. I have a very clear memory from 7th grade of coming home from school after several hours of classes on the Holocaust, he wrote. I remember saying to you, Abba, I dont understand why we spend so much time learning about the Holocaust. It can never happen again and the U.S. will always be there to protect us. As the years went by, I wondered if I would live to see the day when America would no longer be there for us anymore. I thought about that a lot during my time in the army. Today, for the first time in my life, I asked myself if that day had arrived. Has it? I pray not, though it is too early to tell. But here is what we do know. The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude. It is a debt that I dont believe we fully appreciated until Charlottesville and its disgraceful aftermath. Daniel Gordis (@danielgordis) is the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. His latest book is Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn.

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Jerusalem, Aug 18, 2017 (AFP) – – The Hindu

Israels Supreme Court froze implementation of a law legalising Jewish settlements built on private Palestinian land, which the UN labelled a thick red line. The decision was condemned by right-wing Israeli politicians, who accused the judiciary of overruling the will of Israels Parliament. The legalisation law was passed in February and it attracted global condemnation.AFP

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed


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