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Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

Rabbi Rescues Torah Scrolls as California Fires Reach Synagogue

2 hours 3 min ago

A rabbi from California risked his life to save the Torah scrolls in his synagogue in Thousand Oaks, snatching them before they were burned in two massive wildfires that have claimed more than 6,800 homes and killed more than 40 people.

According to a report, Rabbi Barry Diamond was awakened at 3 a.m. on Friday by a neighbor who warned him that their Southern California neighborhood was under a voluntary evacuation order.

Instead of putting his personal effects together to escape, Diamond drove 20 minutes to Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks — one of the areas most threatened by the fires.

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According to the rabbi, fire had already begun to engulf the hill next to the synagogue as he ran inside, setting off the alarm and grabbing the congregation’s two Torah scrolls — one that survived the Holocaust and another that was just six months old.

Along with synagogue president Sandy Greenstein, he then evacuated another two Torah scrolls and a Megillat Esther, the scroll used to tell the story of Esther and Mordechai on Purim.

Diamond said the vegetation behind the synagogue caught fire just as he loaded the Torahs into his car and fled the scene.

He noted that he would work to support the larger community, whose property sustained damage during the fire, and also to provide counseling to those members of his congregation who survived the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill, also in Thousand Oaks, just two days prior to the eruption of the fire.

Lt. Col. ‘Mem’ Laid to Rest

2 hours 19 min ago

The IDF special forces officer who was killed in a raid in the Gaza Strip on Sunday was laid to rest yesterday. The 41-year-old soldier has been identified in the media only by his Hebrew initial, ‘mem.’ He was from a community in northern Israel. President Reuven Rivlin attended the funeral at which he gave a eulogy.

Heal O’Israel, Treating Scabies, Flea Bites and Adult Acne

2 hours 42 min ago

I am a 75-year-old white South African woman. I have been extremely ill for the past five weeks. This sickness/experience has left me extremely tired.

My back, buttocks and abdominal area are badly bitten (it looks like two small bites close together and then space before the next bite. Each time I went to the doctor in desperation, she said that the markings or bites seemed to change. Doctor said that she thought that I had scabies.

I told my doctor the following two stories to help her diagnose my flaming sores (extreme itching – scarred from scratching after five weeks). She put me on to cortisone tablets, plus a special soap for washing my skin, as well as a cream mixing cortisone and a rich moisturizer.


I went up north with friends (where it is extremely hot). We slept in a house that had been closed for a few weeks. We went for many walks along the river bank also through thick bus and often came back with their dog covered with very small black ticks that walked on the floor of the house when the dog lay down. Their 4 x 4 vehicle that we used also had ticks in it. Because we were going home the next day, my hosts didn’t do much about it. We packed up the next morning and rode home.

My new hairdresser works from home. She has a small white dog who looked terribly ill. I picked her up and she sat on my lap while my hair was being done. A day or two later and before I packed up to go up  north with my friends, I found that I was very itchy, also had a rash where the little dog lay on my lap.

All this time, I have scratched my skin so badly that I drew blood and bruised myself all over with the force I used. Some of the sores have healed, but there are still areas (or bites) that look pink, as if starting up again. The itching has subsided, but new areas (rash with occasional itchy-type pimple) seem to flare up here and there at times. 
In some places, the bites are raised, in other places flat with healed scabs. What can I do? A.M., Cape Town, South Africa

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Dr. Julian Schamroth, a veteran dermatologist in Jerusalem, also comments on this:

Scabies is caused by a small mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. It is transmitted by contact with another infected individual. It is not transmitted by dogs or cats.

The mite burrows under the most superficial layer of the skin, where it lays its eggs. It is extremely itchy, especially at night. It is not uncommon for several members of a family to be infected. The diagnosis can be made by scraping the skin and looking for the scabies mite under a microscope.

However, the treatment of scabies is so simple that many dermatologists will treat the condition even if there is just a suspicion, and no proof, of an actual scabies infection. For severe infections, an oral drug –invermectin – can be taken. If left untreated, the condition can persist for a long period. The treatment involves applying a scabicide cream (which contains permethrin) to the entire body; from the neck down, leaving it on overnight, and then washing it off in the morning. A second treatment may be required a week later.

Dogs and cats may be infested with fleas. These bites have a different clinical appearance: they look more like small mosquito bites, and are more likely to occur on areas that are accessible to the fleas, for example the wrists, arms and ankles. They also tend to resolve quickly. Treatment involves finding and eliminating the source of the fleas. A mild anti-histamine cream will reduce the itching.

Lastly, some forms of eczema (dermatitis) can be misdiagnosed as scabies, but usually respond to topical cortisone creams. Your dermatologist should be able to help you with the diagnosis as well as treatment.

I am a 45-year-old woman of good health. I had acne as a teenager, as did most of my friends, but it cleared up by the time I was 17. Suddenly, I have developed acne as an adult. I have not changed my diet in any way. What causes it and how should it be treated? B.N., Los Angeles, California

Dr. Schamroth answers this question as well:

Acne is a common skin disorder in teenagers, but it can continue into adulthood. In adul- onset acne, it is important to exclude genetic factors, underlying diseases or acne-genic (acne-causing) drugs. The role of diet or stress is minimal, if at all. Fortunately, there are many effective drugs – both topical and oral – that should help your condition. I would suggest a quick visit to your dermatologist.

If you want an Israeli expert to answer your medical questions, write to Breaking Israel News health and science senior reporter Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at judy@israel365.com with your initials, age, gender and place of residence and details of the medical condition, if any.

Persian Nights

3 hours 57 min ago

Well, things aren’t so fun in Iran these days, only a few years after Obama’s diabolical aid to Iran. A new president is getting in the way. That’s just one obstacle for the mullahs.

The U.S. just imposed a second round of tight sanctions on Tehran. Iran, of course, is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism. The menacing group leading the country to ruin had enjoyed a green light from the West, until Trump showed up.

Now Israel has done it again.

Years after Iran’s leadership promised to wipe Israel off the map, the Jewish state continues thwarting the Iranian goal of having operational nuclear weapons.

“Iran’s telecommunications minister accused Israel of a new cyberattack on the Islamic Republic, the same day that US sanctions (which were lifted by the 2015 nuclear deal ) were reimposed.

“This comes days after Iran said it had neutralized a new version of the Stuxnet virus.”

Israel, which does not take official credit for these cyber attacks on Iran, has gotten under the mullahs’ skin.

“In a series of tweets, Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azeri Jahromi blamed Israel for the attack, saying it targeted Iran’s communications infrastructure and that Iran would sue for the cyberattack via international bodies.

“’The Zionist regime, with its dark record of using cyber weapons such as Stuxnet computer virus, launched a cyberattack on Iran on Monday to harm the country’s communication infrastructures,’ Jahromi said in a tweet on Monday, adding that ‘thanks to the vigilance of [Iranian] technical teams, it [Israel] returned empty-handed.’”

Really? Doubtful. Israel is always three or 30 steps ahead of her enemies. And notice this final hilarious tidbit:

“According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Jahromi’s deputy Hamid Fattahi said that more details of the alleged Israeli cyber strikes would be made public in the coming days. Last week, General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of the military unit in charge of combating sabotage, said that President Hassan Rouhani’s cell phone had been tapped, and would be replaced with a more secure device.”

Rouhani’s personal cell phone was tapped! Genius.

There are other disturbing signs that Iran continues to make mischief, and one in particular is worrisome:

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“In a meeting with families of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fighters killed in Syria and Iraq, the Supreme Leader of Iran once again justified Iran’s military involvement in the region. He declared that if it were not for the Iranian fighters who enthusiastically joined the campaign, Iran’s enemies would have reached locations only a few kilometers away from the holy Shi’ite sites in Iraq.

“Following the establishment of the new government in Baghdad [of incoming Prime Minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi], senior Iranian officials congratulated the incoming Iraqi leadership and called for deepening of ties between the two countries. Last week, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in pilgrimage to Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq held forty days after the Ashoura’ fast (Arbayeen).”

Iran has had designs on taking over Iraq ever since Saddam was swinging from the end of a rope. Sometimes unintended consequences create real problems. Decimating Saddam’s regime left Iraq greatly weakened with regard to her neighbor, Iran.

It isn’t inconceivable that the two countries will one day team up to present a lethal threat on Israel’s doorstep. I’ve never believed Iraq would join the community of freedom-loving countries.

But in the meantime, Israel is keeping its promise to never allow another Holocaust.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Rapture Ready

World Diabetes Day Marked on November 14

4 hours 52 min ago

Everybody wants to live a sweet life – but to do this, remember that sugar is deadly! Go to any supermarket or kiosk and see piles of candies, soft drinks, cookies, cakes, starchy snacks and other inexpensive but tantalizing simple-carbohydrate junk foods waiting for you – and your children – to pounce on them.

They are responsible for the worldwide obesity and type-2 diabetics epidemic that has been diagnosed in more than 450 million people. And one in every two individuals with diabetes – some 220 million – has not yet been diagnosed. Unfortunately, many of them already have complications by the time they are diagnosed, including damage to their feet, eyes, kidneys and heart.

The US Sugar Research Foundation – an American sugar industry trade group – apparently withheld a study nearly half a century ago that found evidence in animals that the consumption of sucrose (common sugar) caused disease. This manipulation of science was disclosed in a research article just published in the prestigious open-access journal PLoS Biology. Highly sweet corn syrup and processed white sugar are integral parts of a huge amount of processed food products around the globe.

If nothing changes, the current younger generation in the US – the first expected to live shorter lives than their parents – will be in trouble. A third of young Americans are projected to develop diabetes in their lifetimes.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day, this year and the next with the “The Family and Diabetes.” A two-year time frame has been chosen to facilitate planning, development, promotion and participation and raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected.

Type-2 diabetes is largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet, and the promotion of healthy living environments. Families have a key role to play in addressing the modifiable risk factors for type-2 diabetes and must be provided with the education, resources and environments to live a healthful lifestyle, according to the International Diabetes Federation, which first introduced it in 1991.

November 14, chosen because it was the birthday of Frederick Banting, whose work with Charles Best led to the discovery of insulin in 1921, is set aside to spread awareness about the chronic and potentially debilitating and fatal disease, its causes, prevention and devastating effects on human lives.

 Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas cannot make insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar — or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it makes. It is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults. Chronic exposure to high levels of glucose in the blood affects various key organs and tissues – the eyes, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, feet, heart and gums. Diabetics (and everybody else) should not smoke, as the habit reduces blood circulation to the limbs.

Type-1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin to metabolize sugar and starches and requires ongoing blood-sugar monitoring and regular insulin injections, represents the minority of cases. Type-2 diabetes, usually the result of unhealthful diets, overweight and lack of physical exercise, accounts for the vast majority of cases. Type 1 used to be confined to children and type-2 to adults, but more and more overweight children and teens are contracting it as well.

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevent the complications of diabetes and enable people to live healthy lives. As patients’ families are potentially affected by the disease, the signs, symptoms and risk factors for all types of diabetes are vital to helping to detect it early.

Diabetes can be costly for the individual and family who don’t enjoy national health insurance or decent private health insurance. In many countries, the cost of insulin injection and daily monitoring alone can consume half of a family’s average disposable income, and regular and affordable access to essential diabetes medicines are out of reach for too many.

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But even if there is national health insurance, the cost of caring for patients – their medications, medical specialists, nurses and hospitalization – is huge and threatens to wreck countries’ economies. For example, the overall direct and indirect cost of diabetes in Israel – treatment as well as low employment and productivity – is nearly $3 billion a year according to Clalit Health Services (Israel’s largest health maintenance organization) and its National Insurance Institute.

The overall annual damage to Israel’s Gross Domestic Product due to diabetes is almost $2 billion: The rate of non-working people with diabetes who were of working age (up to 65) was 45% compared to only 35% among non-diabetics of the same age, causing significant losses to the economy.

Although Israel is blessed as the “land flowing with milk and honey” and has an excellent health system – with National Health Insurance that entitles all citizens to a basic basket of healthcare and medications – it has nearly 500,000 diagnosed diabetics and a few hundred thousand more who are unaware of it. Israel holds second place among OECD countries in the rate of amputations due to diabetes. Complications of the disease are the fourth leading cause of death in Israel.

Almost 800 amputations caused by lack of blood circulation to the limbs and the breakdown of blood vessels can be prevented if patients are helped to keep their blood sugar in check and to monitor their feet to prevent sores. Of an estimated 1,000 cases in which feet are amputated each year, some 80% are due to the neglect of diabetes and its symptoms, according to Prof. Itamar Raz, a senior diabetologist and head of the Health Ministry’s National Diabetes Council. Shockingly, Israel holds second place among OECD countries in the rate of amputations due to diabetes.

Diabetics in Israel are routinely invited to community health fund clinics and hospital outpatient clinics to undergo a foot examination at least once a year. However, not all patients go for the exam or know about proper footwear to prevent ulcers. Many are also ignorant about the need to contact a doctor urgently if there is any change in the appearance of the leg or foot.

Jewish immigrants from underdeveloped countries who are not used to Western diets usually fall into the trap of eating cheap, simple carbohydrates like white flour and sugar without being aware of their dangers. For example, Ethiopian immigrants to Israel and their children are twice as likely to develop diabetes than other Israelis. The Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee, headed by Knesset Member (and former Ethiopian immigrant) Avraham Neguise held a discussion this week on the need for new immigrants to learn about dangers of diabetes.

In Ethiopia, the Jews exerted themselves without going to gyms. Once they come here, they take buses and elevators and eat too few vegetables and protein, leading to overweight and a sharp increase in the prevalence of diabetes among them. Educating them is complicated by the fact that older Ethiopian newcomers are not yet fluent in Hebrew so they can be taught.

Still, there is hope. New diabetes drugs and medical technologies – some of them developed in Israel – offer the promise of a better future. For example, Oramed Pharmaceuticals, located on a Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew University, hopes to revolutionize the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes with an oral insulin capsule that it is currently developing and testing. Currently, insulin must be injected.

Another Israeli company named Dario makes a pocket-sized, personalized glucose meter combined with a real-time mobile application to track, monitor and manage diabetes from a smartphone.

A third Israeli firm named Betalin is developing an implantable micro-pancreas using a natural micro-scaffold and all the cellular components that is meant to be implanted in the body and function like a natural pancreas. Several local companies have developed electronic devices that provide improved, automatic monitoring devices that display blood glucose levels; these help patients know when and how much insulin to inject and others to eat properly, without raising the levels too high.

So, as in other medical fields, Israeli researchers are leading the way to better health around the world.

Guardian of the Gulf

4 hours 58 min ago

The Guardian of the Gulf

The parade of visitors to the Arab Gulf States (note that this term is being used because the Arabs are insulted when “their” gulf is called “Persian”) in recent weeks is quite remarkable: The Prime Minister, two Cabinet ministers – Miri Regev and Yisrael Katz – the head of Israel’s Mossad and a Judo delegation.  The Israeli flag was flown at a judo competition in Abu Dhabi, the Israeli national anthem was played there twice and the Israeli Culture Minister sang “the Jewish soul yearns…to be a free nation in our land…” while wiping away tears of emotion. The skies, it should be noted, did not fall down. And to top it all off, their host took them to visit the Sheikh Zaid Mosque – and all of the above happened in the space of one month.

The question that arises of its own is does this signal something new? Is this a real change?  A strategic earthquake? Or is it simply that what was going on behind the scenes has been revealed all of a sudden. It is worth remembering as well, though, that while Israelis have visited the Gulf, there has been no public reciprocal visit to Israel of anyone from the Gulf States.

Bearing that in mind, we will proceed cautiously in our analysis of what occurred this past October.

As far as the Sultanate of Oman is concerned, there were visits of Israeli prime ministers to Oman in the past: The late Yitzchak Rabin visited there in 1994, Oman’s Foreign Minister visited Israel in 1995, and the late Prime Minister Shimon Peres was there in 1996. The second Intifada of 2000 caused a rupture in those developing relations, with contact being made mainly behind the scenes and in secret.

In 2008, then foreign minister Tzipi Livni met Oman’s foreign minister, but no publicized meetings between the two country’s decision makers have taken place since. In addition, a high level delegation from Oman took part in the funeral of former President Shimon Peres in 2016. Earlier this year, Oman’s foreign minister visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The Sultanate of Oman is not exactly a central player in the Arab political landscape, despite its important geo-strategic location on the Straits of Hormuz through which all the oil produced in the Gulf is exported by both the Gulf States and Iran. Accordingly, the contact between Israel and Oman does not elicit much attention either worldwide or in the Middle East, and I have the impression that most Israelis don’t know exactly where Oman is.

Israelis have a connection with the United Emirates as well. Israeli sportsmen flew to the Emirates in 2008, 2010 and 2013 to take part in international tournaments. In 2010 Uzi Landau, then minister of national infrastructure, flew to Abu Dhabi to take part in an international conference on renewable energy.

An official Israeli delegation dealing with energy was opened in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, in 2015. Since this branch is part of the International Energy Agency, whose main base is in Abu Dhabi, the United Emirates do not view it as a diplomatic representation of Israel in the Emirates.  In 2016, Yuval Steinetz, Israel’s energy minister, visited Abu Dhabi as delegate to the International Conference on Energy taking place there.

In 2017, Israeli Air Force pilots took part in military exercises in Greece, along with pilots from the United Emirates, Greece and Italy. This year Israeli contestants took part in the international judo competition in Abu Dhabi and were joined by Culture Minister Miri Regev, as described above.

Qatar also hosted an official Israeli economic delegation starting from the year 1996 and then prime minister Shimon Peres visited Qatar and discussed the supply of gas to Israel. This Israeli delegation was shut down in 2009 as a result of Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza. During the years 2011 and 2013, Israeli sportsmen took part in international sports events in Qatar, minus the Israeli flag and anthem.

The Saudis have never allowed Israeli visits to be publicized, although behind the scenes there is quite a bit of contact between Israel and the monarchy.  A well known Israeli urologist took care of the royal family for years, with the blessing of Israel’s prime ministers.

The ice separating Israel from the Saudis began cracking in 2015 when the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany signed the nuclear agreement with Iran, an event which caused the Saudis great concern and was much more worrying than the Israelis. The Saudis do not express this concern in public because Bedouin tradition mandates that men hide their emotions and do not display them publicly.

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In 2016 , then Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, was seen at an international conference in Germany shaking the hand of Turki el Faisal, a most influential Saudi prince who once served as head of Saudi Intelligence. Anwar A-Shaki, a Saudi General (ret.) came to Israel in 2016 at the head of a business and academic delegation and was severely criticized by the PA for doing so.

The relations between the Gulf States and Israel can be summed up as a two-time blossoming: once in the nineties and one going on now. Although Israel has neither a common border nor territorial issues with the Gulf states, they avoided any connection with Israel out of a feeling of loyalty and obligation towards the Palestinian cause. The development of relations in the nineties was based on the Oslo Accords at a period when it seemed as though there was real progress in solving the “Palestinian problem.”

As the years passed, the negotiations between Israel and the PA came to a standstill, and then the second Intifada exploded in 2000, leading to many fatalities on the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and changing the atmosphere surrounding any connection with Israel to a totally negative one. Relations between Israel and the Gulf States were severed.

Things began to change when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. The Hamas Movement is the Palestinian Arab branch of the International Muslim Brotherhood, abhorred beyond description by the Saudis and the United Emirates because of disputes over the role of Islam in society and state. The similarity between the viewpoints of Israel and the Gulf grew stronger in 2015 when the Iran Agreement was signed, and last year’s rapprochement is a direct result of both the Emirate and House of Saud’s fear of the Iranians and their inability to withstand Iranian pressure, let alone the thought of a military conflict with Iran.

Relations during the nineties were based on interests, and those were set aside when in 2000, the second Intifada exacerbated the Palestinian Arab problem. Today’s relations are based on fear, and the Palestinian Arab issue has a hard time trumping that.

Add to that the fact that the Gulf States – and many other countries – see no light at the end of the tunnel regarding the Hamas-Fatah split, and therefore see no end in sight for the Israel-Palestinian conflict that once prevented any progress in developing relations with Israel.

Accordingly, they have decided to skirt the Palestinian issue and improve relations with Israel without tying them to the progress of negotiations between the Israelis and the PA or those between Hamas and the PLO.

The magnitude of the Palestinian Arab issue, when seen from the Gulf, seems miniscule in comparison with the looming Iranian threat endangering the Gulf States’ survival. They have, therefore, decided to simply ignore the Palestinian problem. Israel can provide them with defense systems such as the Iron Dome, share intelligence about Iran’s intentions and plans with them, and perhaps even become part of a coalition backed by the USA that will face off against the Iranian coalition that includes, at present, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah’s Lebanon, Turkey, Hamas – and has Russian backing.

When the geo-strategic players are the “big” guys, a small problem like that of the Palestinian Arabs gets pushed to the outskirts of the political arena, and the Palestinian Arabs, once again, are going to pay for their stubborn refusal to go forward on the road to a peaceful settlement with Israel.

Add to that the fact that the Gulf States have not forgotten Palestinian Arab support for Saddam Hussein when Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and conquered it in 1990. In the Middle East, people neither forget nor forgive and the old Bedouin adage says that a Bedouin who avenged his father’s blood after a span of forty years, said “I rushed.”

Any progress in relations between Israel and the Gulf States is based on the Iranian threat growing stronger while the Palestinian problem gets pushed aside. When this is the way the situation looks, Israel stops being the problem and turns, instead, into part of the solution, becoming the “Guardian of the Gulf.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News

The “Separate” Palestinian State

5 hours 58 min ago

To date, Hamas and Fatah have not been able to agree on the interpretation of the “reconciliation” agreements already signed. Fatah claims that the agreements are supposed to allow its Ramallah-based government to assume full responsibility over the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, remains vehemently opposed to relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s official news agency, Wafa, issued a strongly worded statement accusing Hamas of being part of a “Zionist-American conspiracy” to detach the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. According to the statement, Hamas is now cooperating with the US and Israel to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. “There will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip, and there will be no [separate Palestinian] state in the Gaza Strip,” the statement quoted Abbas as saying.

Abbas can continue to present himself to the world as the “President of the State of Palestine” as much as he wants. He is only living in an illusion: it is obvious by now that he does not represent the two million Palestinians who are living in a separate Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip. Abbas has not been able to set foot in the Gaza Strip for the past 11 years, and his chances of ever returning there now seem to be zero.

For the past 11 years, a number of Arab countries have tried to end the power struggle between Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, to no avail. Several “reconciliation” agreements previously signed between Fatah and Hamas have never been implemented. Pictured: Abbas (right) and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meet on November 24, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt, in one “reconciliation” attempt. (Photo by Mohammed al-Hams/Khaled Mashaal’s Office via Getty Images)

Last week, Hamas began paying salaries to thousands of its employees after Qatar sent a $15 million grant in cash to the Gaza Strip. The money was brought to the Gaza Strip by senior Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Amadi through the Erez border crossing with Israel.

The Qatari grant is in the context of efforts by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations to reach a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas.

The payment was the first of a total of $90 million that the emirate has pledged to send to the Gaza Strip in the next six months, according to Palestinian sources.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, however, remain opposed to an agreement; reports say that one of the reasons they are opposed to a truce accord between Israel and Hamas is because such a deal will pave the way for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.

On November 11, Abbas again accused Hamas of being part of a US and Israeli “conspiracy” to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. He also threatened to impose punitive measures against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on the pretext that the “conspiracy” was aimed at establishing a separate Palestinian state there.

The reality, after all, is that there already is a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, and It has been there since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the area and toppled Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

Abbas and the PA, all the same, have since been living in denial. They have even created an alternate reality in their head — one that continues to believe that it is still possible to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian state in the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

For the past 11 years, a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have tried to end the power struggle between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction, to no avail. Several “reconciliation” agreements previously signed between Fatah and Hamas have never been implemented.

To date, Hamas and Fatah have not been able to agree on the interpretation of the “reconciliation” agreements already signed. Fatah claims that the agreements are supposed to allow its Ramallah-based government to assume full responsibility over the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, remains vehemently opposed to relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip. The most Hamas is willing to offer Abbas’s government is limited civilian control, which means paying salaries and funding schools, hospitals and other public institutions in the Gaza Strip.

In the past few weeks, Abbas and some of his top officials in Ramallah have warned that any truce between Israel and Hamas will “consolidate” the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, thus paving the way for the establishment of an independent and separate Palestinian state in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Now that understandings appear to have been reached between Israel, Qatar, Egypt and Hamas to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Abbas and his PA officials are seething with rage.

As part of the purported understandings, Qatar sent millions of dollars in cash to the Gaza Strip on November 8. The money will be used to pay thousands of Hamas employees and needy Palestinian families. According to some reports, a senior Qatari official, Mohammed El Amadi, arrived in the Gaza Strip carrying three suitcases stuffed with $15 million.

In response, Abbas’s official news agency, Wafa, issued a strongly worded statement accusing Hamas of being part of a “Zionist-American conspiracy” to detach the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. According to the statement, Hamas is now cooperating with the US and Israel to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. “There will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip, and there will be no [separate Palestinian] state in the Gaza Strip,” the statement quoted Abbas as saying.

This claim, of course, is a total misrepresentation of both the reality and facts. If anyone is responsible for a separate Palestinian state that already exists in the Gaza Strip, it is Fatah and Hamas, not Israel and the US. Actually, the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah is completely unrelated to Israel, the US or any other third party. The dispute between the two Palestinian parties is the direct result of a power struggle over money and power.

Neither Israel nor the US helped or condoned Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Hamas managed to topple Abbas’s Palestinian Authority in Gaza mainly because his Western-funded security forces surrendered without putting up a fight.

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Since then, Hamas and its allies in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have turned the Gaza Strip into a separate and independent Palestinian state. Hamas and PIJ do not recognize Abbas as the legitimate president of the Palestinians. They have, in the Gaza Strip, their own de facto government, Hamas; their own parliament; their own security forces and militias, and even their own laws.

Abbas can continue to present himself to the world as the “President of the State of Palestine” as much as he wants.

He is only living in an illusion: it is obvious by now that he does not represent the two million Palestinians who are living in a separate Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip. Abbas has not been able to set foot in the Gaza Strip for the past 11 years, and his chances of ever returning there now seem to be zero.

Hamas says that if Abbas dares to enter the Gaza Strip, he will be put on trial for “high treason” — a crime punishable by death in accordance with Palestinian laws and traditions. In the eyes of Hamas, Abbas is a traitor because he is conducting security coordination with Israel and imposing economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

Abbas undoubtedly knows that as long as Hamas and PIJ are in the Gaza Strip, he will never be able to return there. He also undoubtedly knows that he feels safer being in Ramallah than in the Gaza Strip. In Ramallah, he is safe because the IDF is only a few hundred meters away from his headquarters and residence. Were it not for the presence of Israel in the West Bank, Hamas would have toppled Abbas’s government a long time ago. It is Israel’s ongoing crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank that is keeping Abbas and his government in power.

Abbas most likely does not want to acknowledge this reality. He also most likely does not want to accept any responsibility for the divisions among his people, particularly the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, he is now seeking to accuse everyone else but himself for the fact that there already is a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. Surreally, Abbas is now accusing Israel and the US of working towards establishing a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip — when this has been the reality for the past 11 years.

The separate Palestinian state was created in the Gaza Strip the day Hamas took control over the area. It was created there the day Abbas’s security forces in the Gaza Strip surrendered to Hamas in 2007.

The separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip was created the day Abbas and his enemies in Hamas failed to honor the several “reconciliation” agreements they had signed in the past decade.

What is even more surreal is that Abbas is now accusing Hamas of collaboration with Israel and the US to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. This accusation is ridiculous, given the fact that Hamas continues to seek the destruction of Israel and considers the US an enemy of Arabs and Muslims.

Abbas, however, apparently does not want to be confused by reality. He prefers to continue his long-standing strategy of blaming everyone else but himself for the miseries of the Palestinians. The emerging truce deal only confirms the reality that Abbas has been trying to ignore for the past 11 years: that a separate Palestinian state does exist, and it is run by Hamas, PIJ and other armed groups who continue to give the Palestinian president the imperial brush-off.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

Comic Book Legend Stan Lee Dead at 95

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 09:08

Stan Lee, the Jewish creator of such Marvel comic classics as Spider-Man, died at the age of 95 on Monday.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber in Manhattan to Romanian Jewish immigrants in 1922, Lee sidestepped the horrors of the Holocaust. As a boy, he aspired to be a writer but at the age of 17, with the help of his uncle, he got a job as an assistant at the newly established Timely Comics. Writing text filler for Captain America comics, he began using his now iconic pen-name. He joined the Army Signal Corps in 1942 and wrote training manuals and slogans, made training films, and even penned cartoons.

Lee returned to his job at Timely Comics, which subsequently changed its name to Atlas Comics. In response to the superhero successes of DC Comics, Lee was tasked with coming up with an original line of superheroes. His concept of a superhero was markedly different. Rather than present a superhuman character that transcended everyday life, Lee introduced complex, realistic characters. They displayed flaws and were even worried about mundane concerns like paying their bills and impressing girlfriends. Lee’s superheroes got bored or were even sometimes physically ill.

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Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with racism and bigotry. Lee used comics to address issues of discrimination, intolerance or prejudice. This occasionally set him at odds with the Comics Code Authority (CCA). When Peter Parker’s (aka Spider-Man) friend became addicted to prescription drugs, the CCA refused to grant its seal because the story depicted drug use. Lee had the story published without the seal. The comics sold well and Marvel won praise for its socially conscious efforts. The CCA subsequently loosened the Code to permit negative depictions of drugs, among other new freedoms.

Given Lee’s social conscience and personal background, it is not surprising that the Captain America character he helped create got his start in the 1940’s fighting the Nazis. The character was featured in a 1979 issue of titled “From the Ashes”. The story described a Holocaust survivor’s experiences at a fictionalized concentration camp.

Lee was credited with creating Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and — with his brother, co-writer Larry Lieber — the characters Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. Lee was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. Lee made frequent cameo appearances in movies featuring his characters. He received a National Medal of Arts, the highest government award for creative artists, in 2008.

Special Finds in Ancient Biblical Jerusalem

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 08:54

AnaRina Heymann and Joe Uziel (Israeli Antiquities Authority) discuss some of the key finds in the City of David.

Interstellar Object: Alien Probe or Herald of Nibiru?

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 07:04

A pair of Harvard scientists have come up with an astounding explanation for the strange behavior of the first interstellar object to pass through our solar system, suggesting it was a probe sent by an alien civilization to check us out. An Israeli Nibiru expert suggests a different cause, while giving an astounding explanation that links aliens to paranormal activity.

A relatively small object (by cosmic standards), approximately 700-feet-long and a mere 100-feet-wiide, Oumuamua was discovered in October 2017. At the time, it was 21 million miles from Earth and travelling at approximately 196,000 mph. It was moving so fast relative to the Sun that scientists concluded there was no chance it originated in our solar system.

Comets and asteroids from within our solar system move at a slower speed, typically an average of 12 miles per second as compared to Oumuamua’s sizzling  54 miles per second. This made it the first object ever detected entering our solar system that originated from a entirely different one. It came from the direction of the Lyra System but Oumuamua’s system of origin and the amount of time it has spent traveling among the stars are unknown.

Oumuamua is leaving the solar system and won’t be coming back. It’s heading in the direction of the constellation Pegasus and will cross the orbit of Neptune in about four years, covering one light year (5.8 trillion miles) over the next 11,000 years.

The name chosen by scientists indicates the powerful significance they ascribed to this discovery. The name comes from Hawaiian word for ‘scout’. Before the official name was decided upon, the name ‘Rama’ was suggested, the name given to an alien spacecraft discovered under similar circumstances in the 1973 science fiction novel Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke.

Several aspects about Oumuamua perplexed scientists. Researchers are checking Oumuamua for radio transmissions but have yet to find any. Comets in our solar system generate long trails of dust and gas when they get close to the sun, but ‘Oumuamua did not, which led observers to consider defining it as an asteroid. As it passed through the inner solar system last year, it got an unexpected burst of speed.

“Our high-precision measurements of Oumuamua’s position revealed that there was something affecting its motion other than the gravitational forces of the Sun and planets,” said Marco Micheli from the European Space Agency group monitoring the object.

Avi Loeb, chair of the Harvard University astronomy department, emphasized the significance of this irregularity.

“It looks very different from objects that we have found in the solar system,” Loeb  told CBS News. “There seemed to be an extra force that is pushing it, and it’s not clear what this push is from.”

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In an upcoming paper, he and his colleague Shmuel Bialy suggest a “more exotic scenario.”

“Oumuamua could be an active piece of alien technology that came to explore our Solar System, the same way we hope to explore Alpha Centauri using Starshot and similar technologies,” the researchers wrote in their paper published earlier this month. “The alternative is to imagine that Oumuamua was on a reconnaissance mission.”

“Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” they wrote. According to their calculations, Oumuamua is less than a millimeter thin, but very wide like a sail, harnessing solar radiation to propel itself.

Before he died in March, Professor Stephen Hawking suggested that if an interstellar probe were to appear in the Solar System, it would most likely be shaped like Oumuamua.

“Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft, since this would minimize friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust,” Hawking wrote.

Yuval Ovadia, whose videos on Nibiru have garnered hundreds of thousands of views, relates to these astronomical phenomena according to what is written in classical Jewish sources.

“Of course there is life on other planets,” Ovadia told Breaking Israel News unequivocally. “Jewish sources state this possibility. According to Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism, Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) created other worlds before this one. The problem with scientists is that they admit that there is such a possibility but anytime anyone suggests that it is true, they label them as ‘crazy.’”

Ovadia suggested another possible source for Oumuamua: an interstellar star described in the Zohar, the basis for Jewish mysticism.

“The Zohar describes a huge star which will come to our solar system from a distant system,” Ovadia said. “It will be accompanied by seven other stars. It is clear that if so many large objects are coming from a distant solar system, they will be preceded by a wave of detritus, rocks being pushed ahead of it as it travels.”

Ovadia emphasized that the question of the existence of extraterrestrials was irrelevant.

“Our purpose in this world is to serve God and to bring geula (redemption),” Ovadia said. “Though Jewish sources suggest that it is a possibility, there is no Jewish source that tells us that extraterrestrials are part of the Divine Plan as it relates to us.”

Ovadia also suggested that the subject of extraterrestrial visits may be misunderstood.

“The Talmud frequently describes interactions between people and shedim (demons),” he said. “The Talmud says that demons love to drive us crazy. It is entertainment for them. Many people may think they have seen aliens from other planets but what they actually saw were demons taking a different form.”

Urgent Call for Prayer as Hundreds of Missiles Fired at Israel

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 06:29

Rabbi Tuly Weisz, publisher of Breaking Israel News issued an urgent call for prayer in light of the massive missile barrage fired onto Israel. “I urge all Jews and Christians to recite Psalm 121 which begs the “guardian of Israel who never slumbers nor sleeps” to protect Israel from the vicious Hamas rocket attacks,” said Weisz.

1  I turn my eyes to the mountains 2  My help comes from Hashem, maker of heaven and earth. 3  He will not let your foot give way; your guardian will not slumber; 4  See, the guardian of Yisrael neither slumbers nor sleeps! 5  Hashem is your guardian, Hashem is your protection at your right hand. 6  By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night. 7  Hashem will guard you from all harm; He will guard your life. 8  Hashem will guard your going and coming now and forever.

Psalm 121, The Israel Bible

“While we ask God to protect all the People of Israel, we are especially concerned about the well being of the brave men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces,” continued Weisz. “As the security situation in Israel threatens to deteriorate further, I call on all our Christian Zionist friends around the world to fervently pray for the safety of all our IDF soldiers and for the peace of Jerusalem.”

To pray Psalm 121 and hear it recited in Hebrew click here.

The Torah of Kindness and Truth

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 05:56

Former chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks looks at the actual event of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. He explains how women in Torah are associated with loving kindness.

World Kindness Day (Today!), Biblical Concept Celebrated Internationally

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 05:30

“If you want to understand the essence of what creation is about, it is summed up in three words: olam chesed yibaneh, the world is built upon loving-kindness,” said Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, an award-winning author and teacher for Yeshiva for the Nations.

Speaking ahead of World Kindness Day – which is being observed internationally on November 13 and encourages individuals to show kindness to one another without regard to differences in age, gender, nationality, race and religion – he said we can learn a lot about kindness from the Bible’s main characters: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Take Abraham.

According to Rabbi Dov Lipman,  Abraham, “the first Jew,” is associated with kindness.

“Through Biblical stories about Abraham hosting people in his home and taking care of others – even the people of Sodom – we better understand the qualities of an ideal person and leader,” he told Breaking Israel News.

Similarly, explained Apisdorf, as part of Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish nation’s mission, destiny and place in the world can never be understood as separate from the rest of humanity.

“Abraham, as the wellspring where that blessing comes from, is associated with the trait of chesed, unlimited kindness and giving,” he said. “The Jewish people, part of Abraham’s progeny, are meant to be as source for blessing of mankind.”

Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, adds another dimension to our knowledge about how to spread kindness in the world.

“Isaac, who represents gvura (the essence of judgment and limitation) puts boundaries and brakes on unbridled kindness – there is such a thing as too much kindness,” Apisdorf said.

Finally Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebecca, represents tiferet, beauty, the harmonious blending of chesed and gevurah.

“Perfect harmony means giving and knowing when to open or close one’s hand. Such harmony, which comes from maturity and perspective, is found in Jacob, leading his descendants to become the Jewish people,” said Apisdorf.

The Jewish approach on kindness – illustrated by our forefathers – is that the most harmonious kindness is giving but bridled. The best way to be kind to others, explained Apisdorf, is sometimes knowing when to stand back and give others space to figure out how to help themselves – which may sound callous and unkind, but in the context of a whole type of kindness, we must think about how not to undermine the best interests of others.”

With these perspectives in mind Apisdorf suggested, “World Kindness Day is not just about doing something kind, it’s about learning from other perspectives of kindness.”

There are countless other accounts of Biblical figures showing kindness, said Lipman, including when God saw Moses, the leader of the Jewish people, show concern even for just one sheep as a shepherd.

“The Bible also tells stories of King David’s kindness towards his people,” he said. “Kindness is viewed as so primary to the Jewish faith that we are taught derech eretz kadma l’Torah, meaning that kind behavior should precede even the Torah.”

Additionally, Pirkei Avot, a compilation of ethical teachings passed down from to the Rabbis from Moses, similarly states that the entire world is built on three pillars, one of which is gemilut chasadim, loving kindness, posed Lipman.

“Kindness is the material of creation, woven from chesed (loving kindness),” said Apisdorf. “Our role and place as human beings in this world is to finish God’s unfinished masterpiece by contributing to the weaving of the tapestry of creation, its fibers being kindness. He’s left it in our hands to finish weaving the final contours of the masterpiece and to use the very same materials which he used – that is exactly what World Kindness Day requires of us.”

In this way, Apisdorf said, kindness “should come before all else, but not independent of all else – that is what we learn from the Jewish perspective of kindness.”

In the context of today’s world in which Apisdorf believes is trending away from kindness, Apisdorf posed, “right now we need to overcompensate and we need more chesed to balance.”

Lipman similarly suggested that on World Kindness Day, we open our hands.

“When we are born, we are born selfish, with closed fists,” he said. “But we learn throughout life to open our hands in kindness. In the Jewish tradition, when we die, that is how we are buried. We have learned – and this is the goal – to become selfless and giving like God, the ultimate giver.”

Parliament of the World’s Religions, Interreligious Understanding

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 04:47

Rabbi David Rosen, addressed the recent Parliament of the World’s Religions. The former chief rabbi of Ireland spoke about the issue of interreligious understanding and how religions must work together.

State Department Stands With Israel Over Gaza Rocket Attacks

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 04:02

As the latest attacks against Israel from Hamas have taken place in Gaza, the U.S. State Department condemned the terrorist group and reaffirmed that Israel has the right to defend itself.

“We are aware of reports of ongoing rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against targets in Israel,” a State Department official said Monday. “We condemn these attacks and call for their immediate halt. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”

According to the Israeli Defense Forces, more than 400 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Monday and early Tuesday amid renewed tensions following the death of an Israeli special-forces soldier, with the Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepting dozens of them, while others have struck Israeli homes and buildings near the border, or have landed in open areas.

In response, the IDF said it has hit 20-plus Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, including terror compounds, observation posts and rocket-launching squads.

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The IDF also destroyed Hamas’ main TV channel, Al-Aqsa TV.

“Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war,” tweeted Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s Special Representative for International Negotiations. “These rocket & mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”

He continued, saying “Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas.”

“The world has grown tired of Hamas’ violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza,” he added. “This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza.”

The world has grown tired of Hamas’ violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza. This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza.

— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) November 12, 2018

Support Israel’s Combat Soldiers With a Mobile House of Prayer

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 03:39

With more than 40 percent of Israel Defense Force (IDF) combat soldiers being very religious and the vast majority of the others keeping traditional Judaism, having a proper place to pray while protecting the Holy Land is of great importance. To that end Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers is raising funds for a synagogue on wheels which will travel with IDF combat soldiers as they move from place to place.

“Israel’s dedicated combat soldiers need of a mobile synagogue in order to have a proper place to worship while serving,” explained Gen. (res.) Yehiel Gozal, CEO of Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, the only Israel government sanctioned organization permitted to take care of IDF soldier welfare, to Breaking Israel News. “IDF combat soldiers are constantly on the move protecting Israel from a relentless enemy and incessant terror. Having ‘their’ synagogue, which travels with them whenever they move, builds a spiritual connection as well as a security that the God of Israel is watching over them and protecting them.”

Gozal explained that a mobile synagogue is a 40 feet long container with full amenities to keep soldiers comfortable and protected from the elements. Each container is fitted with air-conditioning and heating, proper furniture, lighting, a decorative protective closet for the Torah scroll and holy books.

Without this mobile synagogue, soldiers pray either outside in the elements or inside a tent, which can be oppressively hot during Middle Eastern summers or cold and wet during the winter months. And, the holy Torah scroll can become damaged.  

“Having a mobile synagogue changes everything for IDF combat soldier service,” continued Gozal. “Soldiers must wake up very early for morning prayers and afternoon prayers can be in the middle of the highest heat of the day.”

Although the mobile synagogues must be moved on strong trucks, which is very expensive, the physical and spiritual uplift they give to IDF soldiers is worth the effort and expense. “Often, one sees on a combat soldier base 20 to 50 tents. Then, the eye catches the synagogue building and the soldiers are comforted.”

Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers is blessed to have a supporter who is matching dollar for dollar every donation made toward this mobile synagogue. The campaign is running through the end of 2018. Because the organization is Israel government sanctioned, 100 percent of every donation is used directly for IDF soldier welfare.

Though every donation is welcomed, donations of $1,000 or more will be gifted with a unique opportunity to personally meet with some of Israel’s bravest fighters.

“Especially now, when IDF combat soldiers on every border as well as within Israel, are facing a constant escalation of terrorism and possibly even war, the soldiers need and want a proper place to worship,” noted Gozal to Breaking Israel News. “This mobile synagogue will move with the battalion when it is on the Gaza border, in Judea, Samaria and all over the Holy Land.”

Gozal said that he has personally experienced the wonderful help mobile synagogues provide to combat units. “These synagogues on wheels are very much appreciated and truly needed,” he said. “Can you imagine what it feels like to worship in the Negev desert summer heat or the Golan Heights winter snow without protection or proper facilities? This makes a huge difference to IDF combat soldiers army service.”

To donate to an IDF soldier mobile synagogue and have your donation’s value automatically doubled, please click here.


Written in cooperation with Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers.

Iranian Fingerprints on 400+ Rockets Fired From Gaza Toward Israel

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 03:28

In the last 18 hours or so, Hamas has launched more than 400 rockets into Israeli territory. As with many other aspects in the region, Iranian fingerprints are behind the terrorist group’s ability to attack its neighbor.

'#Iran's fingerprints are on every single weapon that has gone after #Israel.' @JessieJaneDuff joins @MichelleMakori to discuss the role of Iran in #Gaza: pic.twitter.com/vkO7C99IcD

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) November 13, 2018

370 Rockets Fired at Israel From Gaza; 1 Israeli Killed

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 02:25

Approximately 370 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza on Monday. The IDF reported that 100 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome System. Most of the remaining projectiles landed in open fields but some hit civilian dwellings inside Israel.

The barrage began at 4:30 p.m. when a Cornet anti-tank missile was fired at an Israeli bus near the border. One IDF soldier was critically injured in that attack. The rockets continued to rain down until around 1:30 AM.

WATCH UNTIL THE END: This is the true impact of terror. 300+ rockets fired from #Gaza at innocent #Israelis. Civilians are #NotATarget.
CC: @UN pic.twitter.com/Mht4qEiUZ7

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) November 13, 2018

A home and an apartment building were hit by rockets in Ashkelon, killing one Israeli and wounding seven others. One Israeli was killed when an apartment building was struck by a rocket. Eight others were wounded in the strike, including two women with life-threatening injuries, according to emergency services. Israeli authorities reported that more than 50 Israelis have been treated for injuries since Monday, most of them light wounds or stress-related trauma. Buildings were also hit in Netivot and Sderot.

The IDF retaliated by hitting more than 150 Hamas and Islamic Jihad military sites in Gaza, including weapons warehouses, a naval vessel used by Hamas, the headquarters of al-Aqsa TV, and a building used as the administration of Hamas’s internal security service overnight. The IDF also attacked three terror tunnels. The Hamas-run health ministry said four people were killed, three of whom were identified as members of terrorist groups.

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A Hamas spokesman warned that they intended to continue the rocket attacks.

“Approximately one million Zionists will be within the range of our missiles if the Zionist enemy’s decision is to continue its aggression,” a spokesman said.

Hamas set up roadblocks inside Gaza, preventing foreign journalists and aid workers from leaving. They also prevented goods from crossing over into Gaza.

The IDF moved additional Iron Dome batteries into southern Israel. There were also reports of infantry, tanks, and artillery units being moved into position along the southern border.

This comes at a time when Israel and Hamas seemed close to signing an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. Last week, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million to Gaza to allow  Hamas to pay the salaries of thousands of government workers. At the same time, Hamas has lowered the intensity of the weekly March of Return riots.

On Sunday night, an undercover IDF mission inside Gaza went awry. A high-ranking IDF officer was killed and one was wounded in the ensuing firefight. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short an official visit to Paris and flew back to Israel.

RAW FOOTAGE: The skies of southern Israel RIGHT NOW. Dozens of rockets are being fired from #Gaza at Israeli civilians. pic.twitter.com/Iu6QwzUo8l

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) November 12, 2018

The Delusion Has to Stop

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 02:00

The heartbreaking and shocking tragedy in Pittsburgh has had a particularly harsh effect on me. I send all my friends there my heartfelt condolences.

I remember so well being inside the Park Hotel with my family when a hate-filled Hamas suicide bomber blew up a dining room full of Holocaust survivors and their families just as they were sitting down to the Passover Seder.

Back then, I remember so clearly thinking how all the condolences, all the outrage, all the candles, all the finger-pointing spectacularly missed the real point, which was this:  My family almost died, and many others did die, because a Hamas bomber found no armed guard standing outside the door, letting him waltz right in.  The bomber was in Netanya in the first place because the Oslo Accords put fewer armed checkpoints on the roads, letting this homicidal maniac travel from Nablus to Netanya without stopping him, a “good will gesture” to please the media. He was there because the Oslo Accords, so enthusiastically supported by the media and ‘progressive’ American and Israeli Jews who wanted us all to live according to the wisdom of a Beatles song and “give peace a chance” instead of living according to reality, had gotten hundreds murdered, and thousands maimed for life.

Jews died because almost everyone in the media couldn’t figure out that the PLO headed by that pedophile murderer Yasir Arafat wasn’t interested in peace, but in filling Israeli graveyards. Fake news and media bias created a delusional public who elected delusional politicians who enacted delusional and destructive public policies. And when the bombs went off, and the streets flowed with blood these ‘progressive’ politicians and their cheerleaders never took any responsibility.

And now, similarly, organizations like “Bend the Ark” in America which claims to have “thousands of progressive Jews” as members, has decided that Donald Trump is responsible for the anti-Semitism of a deranged Trump-hater with a gun license who waltzed through the doors of an unguarded synagogue in Pittsburg.

If you’re looking for someone to blame, maybe it has to do with Mr. Obama who welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood into the White House and did his best to surround himself with anti-Israel scum like John Kerry, Valerie Jarrett, Samantha Powers, etcetcetc. had a little to do with turning the tide toward Jew-hatred.

Maybe it has something to do with organizations like the Anti Defamation League headed by Jonathan Greenblatt who instead of fighting anti-Semitism are busy with “progressive” political agitation against the White House. I know because a year ago I sent them an email begging them to take down vile, Jew-hating, Holocaust-denying websites, like those on Medium.com. He never bothered to respond.

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Maybe it has to do with Mr. Zuckerberg at Facebook who publishes ISIS propaganda and worse, and Medium.com which boasts “words matter” and which nevertheless hosts anti-Semitic vitriol that would make Hitler smile.

And maybe, just maybe, this delusion has to stop.  Someone in every synagogue and Jewish center and store in America needs to be armed, the way we are in Israel, instead going to Democratic rallies headed by anti-Semites trying to ban guns who claim Jew-hatred in America is Bibi Netanyahu’s fault because of how he treats the “poor Palestinians.”

I’m sure there are many who will not agree with me. I expect, as usual, to get hate mail.  But having seen a building explode and blood replace Passover wine, I think I have a good basis for my opinion, and when last I looked, that that opinion is protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.  At the very least, my opinion won’t get any Jew killed. I can’t say the same for the “progressive” ideas of those who disagree.

I highly recommend reading reading Monica Showalter’s article “The anti-Semitism is Coming From the Left” here.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Naomi Ragen

“Massive Decline in Global Fertility” Report Leads to Many Questions About Migration and What was Left Unsaid

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 01:00

A new study at The Lancet is raising eyebrows and getting headlines. “fertility rates cut in half since 1950,” says CNN. BBC notes “‘remarkable’ decline in fertility rates.” The study, titled ‘Population and fertility by age and sex for 195 countries and territories, 1950–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017,’ claims to show that the global fertility rate has declined from 4.7 to 2.4 births per woman. This should be welcome news to all those who have been writing about the world becoming overpopulated and that humans are destroying the environment. But the study points out that the changes are not equal across countries, some countries, primarily in the global south, have more children. More developed countries have less.

“As women have gotten more educated and participate more in the workforce and they get access to health services, no surprise, fertility has come down tremendously,” Christopher Murray told CNN. He the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Younger women are having fewer children. They are also delaying getting married. Dr. James Kiarie says that “Marriage is one of the biggest drivers of having children all over the world.”

The world is also “divided” between the countries having more children and less. “Only 33 countries, largely in Europe, were falling in population between 2010 and 2017, according to the report.” CNN also asserts that “over half of the expected growth between 2017 and 2050 is likely to occur in Africa.”

The BBC highlighted several reasons for the changes: Fewer deaths in childhood meaning women have fewer babies. Greater access to contraception. More women in education and work. Both articles pointed to the “progress” and “success story” of declining birth rates.

Ageing and immigration

But the BBC also tells us that “Without migration, countries will face ageing and shrinking populations.” The article continues, “The report, part of the Global Burden of Diseases analysis, says affected countries will need to consider increasing immigration, which can create its own problems, or introducing policies to encourage women to have more children, which often fail.” Murray comments. “I think Japan is very aware of this, they’re facing declining populations, but I don’t think it’s hit many countries in the West, because low fertility has been compensated with migration.”

The actual report has maps and looks at some different issues, such as the ratio of males to females. But it leaves more questions than answers. The phenomenon of low birth rates has been known for decades as they declined in most of the Europe, Japan and some other countries. In 2016 Italy reached a record low. “The average Italian is now 44.9 years old, up 0.2 years from 2015, while some 22.3 percent of the population is over 65, the highest ratio in the 28-nation European Union.” Italy has 1.34 children per woman and in Sardinia the number reached almost 1. This was similar to Cyprus.

For years policy makers in Europe particularly have known that fertility rates are falling. They have chosen to increase migration to meet the changes in society. For instance The Economist in 2017 noted that “Europe needs more migrants.”

Decades of falling birth rates have resulted in slower population growth in Europe than in other regions. By 2017, Europe’s most populous country, Germany, ranked just 16th globally. The continent’s birth rate is now so low that the total population in many European countries has begun to decline.

Many populist and more right leaning parties have grown over the last decades, partly by opposing immigration. This fueled the Brexit vote and Euroskepticism in general. Some articles have wrestled with this issue. A Time magazine piece notes

The average birth rate in the European Union is 1.6, well below the 2.1 live births per woman needed to sustain a population, and the global average of 2.4. Coupled with aging societies, consequences include villages with only a handful of people left; no staff to care for the elderly; a dwindling labor force to sustain economic growth.

The article also notes that “universal access to contraception, the increase of women in higher education and greater female participation in the labor force have led many to delay starting their families.” The article claims that welcoming more immigrants into societies with declining birth rates and aging populations is perhaps the most logical solution to plug any gaps in the labor market,” but that this has led to “emotional” responses and politicians won’t discuss such a policy.

Replacement migration?

The UN suggested in 2000 that “replacement migration” might be a solution. “Replacement migration refers to the international migration that a country would need to offset population decline and population ageing resulting from low fertility and mortality rates,” the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs notes. “United Nations projections indicate that over the next 50 years, the populations of virtually all countries of Europe as well as Japan will face population decline and population ageing.”

But if migration is the answer, why are young people unemployed?

Overall these studies raise many questions. If experts think that migration is the “solution,” they can’t seem to explain why the EU has also had rising unemployment rates in the last decades. Supposedly migrants are filling gaps in the labor market as people age. But actually in some European states with low birthrates, there are also high levels of unemployment among people who usually would be of child bearing age. In Spain in 2013 unemployment among young adults reached 25%. Spain has also had one of Europe’s lowest birth rates since the 1990s, with around 1.5 children per woman. Other European countries have high levels of unemployment, including Greece, France and Italy. Cyprus, where birthrates are the lowest in Europe, also has one of the higher unemployment rates at 8%. The same countries have the highest levels of youth unemployment, sometimes reaching almost 50%. Add to that list Slovakia, Portugal, Finland and Belgium. Germany, a country that opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees in 2015, has had low unemployment among younger people.

So something doesn’t make sense. Birth rates are declining. But the fewer young people are also unemployed. They ostensibly can’t find work. Yet policy experts say that the answer is more migration. One gets the sense that what the policy experts mean is “we need migrants to do manual labor,” which means working in fields or doing domestic work or factory work. The global divide between north and south, and the differences between developed countries and those where refugees come from, has fueled major disparities, not only in wealth but also in the way that migrants are “imported” to do working class jobs. This comes at a time when there are a record number of displaced people, around 68 million.

Contradictory policies in developed countries lead to greater education and greater need for migrants

The record number of refugees fits in with the desire by policymakers to make up for declining birth rates by opening borders to migration. But this still raises questions about what is actually happening. Immigration would seem to work best and lead to less social problems if immigrants can lead dignified lives and assimilate into society and have a hope of reaching the middle class. This was the “dream” offered by the United States for migrants. But increasingly what we seem to hear is that not only are there declining birth rates and “we need labor,” but that immigrants are expected to only fill the lowest level jobs, while the local, often unemployed, younger people refuse to take those jobs. This sets up the toxic environment that is feeding populism and the far right. Because people are complaining that “elites” are importing migrants, and that those migrants are primarily poor and not assimilating into society. Younger people, out of work and looking for answers, are finding them on the far-right.

The problem is built in to some of the assumptions and lessons that have been taught in the last decades. When we read through the statistics about fertility rates and migration what we see is that culture tends to play a major role. So higher education for women, and getting married later in life, tend to lead to lower birth rates. These are hallmarks of not only a developed society, but also one that is more secular and middle class. So the very values that policymakers have engineered in places like Europe or Japan over the last four decades that helped lead to lower birthrates; such as family planning, contraception, accessible education, increasing secularism, have led to declining birth rates and then led the same policy makers to suggest that only migration can solve the “problem.” Namely, the more “successful” a society was at changing social views and encouraging people to become educated middle class workers who marry later in life, or maybe not at all, the more migrants are needed from countries that are poor and where people are less educated and get married younger.

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In a sense this is a kind of catch-22. The same values that see success as educating women, bringing more women into the professional job market and having men and women marry later in life, is the same one that then says the only way to deal with the consequences of that, lower birth rates, is to import more men and women who have lots of kids and are not well educated and will take lower paying manual labor jobs, or jobs as domestic servants or caregivers.

Is migration really a solution?

How can this process go on forever as a “solution.” You can’t have a society that encourages everyone to be well educated, pushes secularism and thus results in later marriage for adults, and then tell the same society that it needs to have large numbers of “migrants” to “replace” the lack of children. In a sense you can’t have one policy that encourages one set of values that leads to X while then sees X as a problem and needs to foster Y, just so that X can live well and thus have more Y. Is the assumption that the new migrants, poor and marrying younger, will eventually adopt the culture of the country they have come to and then need more migrants to “replace” themselves as their children become more educated and marry later. This appears to just create a system where one group of wealthier countries sort of “feeds” off the birth rates of other, poorer, countries, as if those poorer countries are just baby factories to keep the production lines going in the wealthy countries so people can retire in comfort. And that’s what these studies say, basically openly. Demographic change is coming, the BBC and CNN, say. There aren’t enough workers to take care of the elderly.

For instance Prof. Murray says: “We will soon be transitioning to a point where societies are grappling with a declining population.” The BBC report notes “Half the world’s nations are still producing enough children to grow, but as more countries advance economically, more will have lower fertility rates.” And therefore we must “Think of all the profound social and economic consequences of a society structured like that with more grandparents than grandchildren.”

Automation will replace 800 million jobs by 2030

At the same time as we are told that birth rates are declining below “replacement” and that migration may be the only “solution” in some wealthier countries, we are also being told something else. A 2017 study said that automation will replace 800 million jobs worldwide. An article at Verge notes:

The study, compiled by the McKinsey Global Institute, says that advances in AI and robotics will have a drastic effect on everyday working lives, comparable to the shift away from agricultural societies during the Industrial Revolution. In the US alone, between 39 and 73 million jobs stand to be automated — making up around a third of the total workforce.

Overpopulation is “worse” than climate change

With millions of jobs now “at risk” as robots take them over, that leads to profound questions about the claim that the only solution to declining birth rates is for more migration. It also must lead us to wonder whether it is even true that declining birth rates are a problem. It also shows how highly developed societies, such as Japan, where there are declining birth rates and even declining population, might cope with thisissue. What is the real problem with declining population. An article at the Guardian in 2015 argued that population growth was a greater threat than climate change. It foresees several problems and also mentions the issue of fertility rates.

Agricultural intensification is causing serious soil degradation and depletion of groundwater in some of the most agriculturally intensive and important areas of the planet. Land use for agriculture, urbanisation and infrastructure (eg roads) continues to cause loss of habitat for much of the world’s biodiversity….The global fertility rate has been dropping. Yet the global population has more than doubled over the 50 years in which the fertility rate has been declining, and the UN projects that there are set to be at least 10 billion of us in just a few decades.

Combining this argument, with the growing numbers of jobs being automated by robots, leads to questions about the “declining fertility means more need for migrants,” narrative. It also might help answer the riddle of why countries with low birth rates in Europe also have high unemployment. And it might help us understand why migration, which was supposed to “solve” problems that the EU and other developed countries have, has actually increased political extremism and is tearing at the fabric of society.

The data says that there will be major population increase in Africa and some other countries in the Middle East and Europe. This is primarily due to poverty and also religious conservative views. The studies don’t want to say that this is the main reason some of these countries still have very high birth rates, but it is. There are no other factors involved. Some poorer countries have lower birth rates, such as Thailand (1.48), but in general poorer countries and more religious societies have higher birth rates. There are some exceptions, Saudi Arabia, Poland and Iran have decreasing birth rates, and other poorer eastern European countries have very low birth rates.

A global south perspective

So what about the countries that have very high birth rates. The problem here is that these kinds of studies tend to look at developed countries, where the authors tend to live, and say “what does this mean for us.” So in Europe the answer tends to be “more migrants.” But this is a very eurocentric view that posits that the “problem” with low birth rates is a lack of enough people to fill the “labor force” and “take care of grandparents.” That views countries with high birth rates as merely making “human material” to help “fill the gaps” or aid “replacement.” But thats not the only way to look at things. Why not look at it from the perspective of those countries with high birth rates. The articles speak of the “success” and “progress” of introducing “family planning” to reduce the numbers of children. How about improving education in those countries? Since education and later marriage appear to be the mainstays of having fewer children, massive investment in that infrastructure would aid sub-saharan African countries more than simply encouraging migration, in which thousands die crossing to Europe every year. Instead of turning people into victims of human traffickers, why not help with local education?

Efforts to build schools on the local level have largely failed because they were mostly created to enrich westerners and western-based NGOs that also “feed” off of some African countries as a way to keep westerners employed “helping” poorer countries. In fact these NGOs were just a way to find jobs for the unemployed youth mentioned above. It didn’t help locals, despite talk about “capacity building.” There isn’t more capacity in many of these countries than 50 years ago. In some cases there is less and there is more violence and civil conflict stretching across the Sahel and into countries such as Cameroon and the Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria and others. These are precisely the countries with the highest birth rates and where unprecedented numbers of people have been made into refugees.

Automation can help solve Europe’s problems as many of the jobs that existed years ago can be automated. Population decline is probably a good thing for the environment. Given these two facts, the need for “migration” to always solve the “fertility” issue is not as important. But what is important is addressing the problems in those poorer countries where there are high birth rates and a lack of basic education systems and infrastructure. Those countries don’t want to exist merely to export people to “fill the gap” in other countries. They would like to be more successful. Insofar as these reports tell us something, that is the message we should learn from them.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Seth Frantzman