JNS BRIEFS 6-26-12

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Click photo to download. Caption: From left to right, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Gilad Shalit (holding a crystal "Big Apple" in a Tiffany's box), and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City Hall on June 25, the sixth anniversary of the day Hamas captured Shalit. Credit: Maxine Dovere.Bloomberg welcomes Shalit on anniversary of capture

(JNS.org) On Monday, June 25—standing free on the sixth anniversary of the day Hamas kidnapped him—Gilad Shalit came to meet New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council President Christine Quinn, both of whom had visibly supported efforts to secure the young soldier’s release. 

When marching with Shalit’s parents at a past “Salute to Israel” parade in New York, the mayor had worn an extra-large button with the young soldier’s picture. At Monday’s City Hall ceremony, Bloomberg showed Gilad an iPad photo of himself with Aviva and Noam Shalit. During his October 2011 trip to Israel, days after Gilad’s release, Bloomberg defended Israel’s decision to surrender 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for his freedom.

“I just know that the government of Israel had to make a decision and they didn’t walk away from the decision, they made one, and that’s what governing is all about,” Bloomberg told reporters in Jerusalem at the time.

Quinn had hosted Noam Shalit when he visited New York during his son’s captivity. Then, the City Council speaker proclaimed Sept. 6, 2011 “Gilad Shalit Day in New York,” and presented the distraught father a box overflowing with letters of comfort and concern. This time, the New York officials welcomed Shalit with a crystal “Big Apple,” in a Tiffany’s classic blue box.

UN to award Israel for improving e-government services

(JNS.org) On July 2, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs will award Israel an international prize for the improvement of its e-government development, Israel Hayom reported.

In the comparative 2012 e-Government Survey study conducted by the UN, Israel jumped 10 spaces from 26th in 2010 to 16th place in 2012, making it one of the top 20 countries in the world in the provision of government services through the Internet.

The survey has been conducted every two years since 2003. This year’s survey noted Israel’s progress in improving its government portals and websites as well as its great improvement in e-service delivery.

Hamas-affiliated group promotes anti-Israel narrative at UN meeting

(JNS.org) The Hamas-affiliated and UK-based Palestinian Return Centre promoted the destruction of Israel at a June 22 event at the UN’s Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Leading up to the event, the UN billed the gathering on its website as “Human Rights Council, twentieth session, 18 June-06 July 2012.”

In a parallel meeting to the Human Rights Council session, Palestinian Return Centre official Sameh Habeeb said: “In 1947, 1948 and 1949 the Palestinian refugees were ethnically cleansed by the Israeli gangs.... Some Arab armies came to Palestine to fight the Zionist project, which came from all over Europe to take over Palestine and to make it as a national home for the Jews, although it was always the national home for the Palestinians for thousands and thousands of years.”

Among the meeting’s handouts was a map with the word “Palestine” covering all of Israel, reported Hudson Institute fellow Anne Bayefsky in a column for the Jerusalem Post

In attendance was Eileen Donahoe, the U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council. 

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Click photo to download. Caption: Guma Aguiar. Credit: Eli Segal.Search called off for missing Jewish philanthropist

(JNS.org) Police have called off the search for Jewish philanthropist Guma Aguiar, who had gone missing off the coast of Florida since he went sailing on his boat June 19. The 35-year-old energy industrialist and father of four is known for donating to many Jewish and Israeli causes, including Nefesh B’Nefesh.

In the wake of Aguiar’s disappearance, his mother has applied for control of his fortune, claiming that her son “may be in a delusion state or be suffering from psychosis or otherwise may have disappeared at sea,” according to court documents.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Graffiti in Tel Aviv. Credit: Deror Avi.Students learn Hebrew from Tel Aviv graffiti

(JNS.org) A part-time Israeli teacher whose day job is at a television company has organized a unique Hebrew language lesson that takes students through the streets of Tel Aviv to study wall slogans and graffiti.

For 50 shekels (about $12), Guy Sharett’s students visit the streets and alleys of Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood, where they break down the meanings of graffiti slogans such as “Tzay mayhatelevizia, tatchil lichayot” (“Get out from the TV, start to live.”) These classes took form after Sharett’s traditional students noticed slogans from last summer’s massive social protests in the city.

Next to a picture of Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, students find his “If you will it, it is no dream” twisted into “If you don’t want, you don’t need,” the New York Times reported. “It’s not only to teach language, it’s also to teach the culture,” Sharett said.

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Click photo to download. Caption: An Iron Dome battery. Credit: IDF.Engineers win prize for designing Iron Dome

(JNS.org) The developers of the Iron Dome missile defense system were awarded the 2012 Israel Defense Prize by Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday.

Eight engineers from the Israeli Defense Ministry, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and mPrest split the award. Since the Iron Dome became operational last year, it has intercepted more than 100 Katyusha and Kassam rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

“When I met Rafael’s researchers and developers I was struck with their belief they could build a system with imaginary technological capabilities and that is why I decided to back them,” said former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, according to Yediot Achronot.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: World Economic Forum.Abbas in music video: PA won’t rest until ‘prisons are emptied’

(JNS.org) “We will not rest until all [Palestinian prisoners] are freed, and the prisons are emptied,” Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said in a recent music video that glorified the actions of terrorists.

The video produced by Alashekeen, which was named a Palestinian national band by Abbas in 2010, honored seven terrorist prisoners who have killed more than 100 Israeli civilians, Palestinian Media Watch reported.

Among those honored on the video—broadcast twice, on May 7 and June 11, by Palestinian Authority TV—is Ibrahim Hamed, who was behind suicide bombings at Hebrew University, Cafe Moment and Cafe Hillel that killed a total of 28 civilians.

Egypt’s president-elect says peace treaty with Israel ‘will be reviewed’

(JNS.org) Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, said Monday that his country’s Camp David peace treaty with Israel “will be reviewed,” the Iranian news agency Fars reported.

Morsi, a member the Muslim Brotherhood who was officially declared the winner of the election on Sunday, said he intends to achieve “strategic regional balance” by restoring "normal relations" with Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Morsi’s win was a key step in “an Islamic awakening and a new era in the Middle East.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hopes peace between Israel and Egypt remains intact, adding that he respects the results of Egypt’s first democratic election.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Jonathan Pollard. Credit: PD.Pollard ‘no threat to national security,’ Armed Services Committee member says

(JNS.org) The push for jailed spy Jonathan Pollard’s release continues, with the latest development a letter from House Armed Services Committee member Robert Andrews (D-NJ) to President Barack Obama stating that Pollard is “no threat to national security.”

Andrews, whose letter follows Israeli President Shimon Peres’s reported request for Pollard’s clemency in a private meeting with Obama, wrote “any intelligence [Pollard] once possessed is undoubtedly irrelevant 27 years later.”

Pollard is serving his 27th year of a life sentence, following a conviction of spying for Israel without intent to harm the U.S.

“The length of [Pollard’s] sentence is unprecedented, as the median sentence for passing classified intelligence to an ally is between two and four years ... Mr. Pollard has served even longer than many who have been convicted of spying for enemies of the United States,” Andrews wrote.

Iranian general: Israeli strike would ‘bring about its own demise’

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israeli military action against Iran's nuclear program would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state, a high-ranking Iranian general said June 23, according to the Iranian Fars news agency.

“They [the Israelis] cannot do the slightest harm to the [Iranian] revolution and the system,” Brig. Gen. Mostafa Izadi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, told Fars. He said Hezbollah proved this during the Second Lebanon War, when “a small group of Hezbollah fighters similar to Iranian Basij fighters defeated Israel.”

“The Islamic Revolution enjoys high capability, and if the Zionist regime wants to take an action against us, it will bring about its own demise,” the Iranian general said.

Critics: Palestinian conviction not a real step against corruption

(JNS.org) Although a Palestinian court recently convicted Mohammed Rashid, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s economic adviser, for embezzling millions of dollars, some now say that the conviction was only a ploy to suppress critics of the Palestinian Authority.

Since Rashid has lived nearly 10 years outside of the Palestinian territories and aligns with former Gaza Strip security chief Mohammed Dahlan, who is a key adversary of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, critics say there are ulterior motives as to why Rashid was chosen now as the target of the court.

“It looks like a reaction to a political dispute, not a continuous fight against corruption. Why Mohammed Rashid now?... The act would be more powerful if it were taken against someone inside the political system,” said Hani al-Masri of the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, according to the Washington Post.

A recent survey showed that most Palestinians believe the mostly foreign-funded PA is corrupt, and that such corruption isn’t going anywhere. “There is still a lot of favoritism and patronage and off-the-books payments,” said Mouin Rabbani, a Jordan-based senior fellow with the Institute for Palestine Studies.

British Muslim couple charged with planning to bomb Jewish targets

(JNS.org) A British Muslim couple has been charged with plotting a terrorist attack on the Jewish community of Manchester, UK, after becoming inspired by online al Qaeda propaganda. Muhammad Sajid Khan, 33, and his wife Shasta, 38, tried to build explosives from materials they bought in a supermarket.

The couple intended to attack the mainly Orthodox Jewish community in the area, the Jerusalem Post reported. Manchester is home to the second-largest Jewish community outside London, with a population of around 50,000.

Police found the bomb materials after they visited the home to resolve a domestic dispute in July 2011. Khan had attacked his father-in-law, and his wife’ss family decided to inform police of his terrorism plans. The couple has been indicted under “Terrorism Act 2000” on charges of planning and preparing a terror attack.

Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox men charged with intimidating victim in sex abuse case

(JNS.org) Brooklyn’s district attorney charged four ultra-Orthodox men with attempting to silence a victim of sexual abuse. The men offered the victim and her boyfriend a $500,000 bribe and threatened her boyfriend’s business, reported the New York Times.

The charges say the men tried to protect Nechemya Weberman, a prominent member of the Satmar Hassidic community, who is accused of 88 counts of sexual misconduct. The counts include oral sex with a child younger than 13 years old. The victim, now 17, alleges that Weberman abused her during therapy sessions.

While sexual abuse victims in the ultra-Orthodox community say that intimidation has long been a common practice in trying to keep them from going to the authorities, this is the first time in about 20 years that the Brooklyn district attorney has charged anyone in the community with intimidation of a witness. “I’m hoping that this will be a message to those who are intimidated that they should come forward and help us,” said District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Credit: Public1london. UN ambassador: ‘When there is quiet in the south, there will be quiet in Gaza’

(Israel Hayom/ Exclusive to JNS.org) “When it is quiet in Sderot and Beersheba, it will be quiet in Gaza,” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor said June 21 in a letter sent to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The letter of complaint comes after several barrages of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip hit the south of Israel in recent days. Prosor noted that more than 120 rockets were fired into southern Israeli communities by Hamas and other terrorists in the Gaza Strip this week.

In one rocket attack near the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council on June 19, a border policeman sustained moderate shrapnel wounds and three others were lightly wounded. Israel Air Force warplanes attacked seven terror targets in Gaza over two days in response to the rocket fire.

Another synagogue desecrated with Muslim anti-Israel slogans

(JNS.org) A synagogue near the community of Maor, east of Hadera in Israel, was vandalized with graffiti depicting Arabic words of Muslim prayers as well as praise for the prophet Mohammed.

Police are investigating the incident, which comes only a month after vandals sprayed the ancient synagogue in Naaran, next to Jericho, with swastikas and “Palestine” slogans, Israel National News reported.

The Jericho incident “proves that the only ones who are able to, and want to, defend Jewish holy sites are our security forces,” MK Uri Ariel of the State Control Committee had said.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Moses Mendelssohn, whose grave in Berlin can now be located through a smartphone app. Credit: Jewish Museum, Berlin. Smartphone app helps visitors locate important Jewish graves in Berlin

(JNS.org) Visitors to Berlin’s Jewish cemeteries can now get an electronic tour through their smartphones providing information about the people buried there. Through the app, visitors can find graves of famous individuals such as philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Graves of people who committed suicide to escape Nazi persecution can also be found.

“There is an Internet code at the entrance of each cemetery which can be scanned by a smartphone and directly connects to the cemeteries' website,” the cemeteries’ inspector, Hilel Goldmann, said.

There are three historical Jewish cemeteries in Berlin—dating back to between the 17th and 19th centuries—that survived the Holocaust. Major renovation work has been ongoing there in recent years, Reuters reported.

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Click photo to download. Caption: A still shot from one of Israel's new "Green Israel" promotional broadcasts. Credit: YouTube. The nation of blue and white brands itself as green

(JNS.org) Israel—usually associated with the colors of its flag, blue and white—on June 21 launched a global television campaign to brand itself as green.

The campaign, which the Prime Minister’s Office said is the first of its kind for Israel, debuted at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, attended by about 50,000 people. Through the “Green Israel” initiative, promotional broadcasts on CNN highlight the country as a global leader in desalination and the use of recycled water, among other environmental accomplishments.

"Israel is offering to the world the pioneering green technologies that it has developed,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “The goal of the campaign is to the show the world Israel's great abilities in the field of green technology."

A clip from the campaign can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m4Fn3lT2eg&feature=youtu.be

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Click photo to download. Caption: The Miami Heat logo. Credit: Miami Heat.Israeli-American owner's team wins NBA title

(JNS.org) The Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-106, on June 21 to give Israeli-American team owner Micky Arison a National Basketball Association (NBA) championship.

Arison, who is also CEO of the Carnival cruise operator and bought the Heat in 2010, was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. His net worth is $4.7 billion, making him the 72nd-richest person in the U.S., according to Forbes.

Miami’s LeBron James had 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in Game 5 to help the Heat wrap up their second NBA championship. Their first came in 2006, when Arison was a managing general partner.

Hamas signals readiness for truce, then fires rockets

(JNS.org) Hours after Hamas’s military wing announced June 20 that it was ready to sign an Egyptian-brokered truce to end three days of cross-border fighting, seven rockets fired from the Gaza Strip slammed into southern Israel within a one-hour span, Israel Hayom reported.

All seven rockets exploded in unpopulated areas, causing no injuries or damage. The barrage came after about 70 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza into Israel the previous day.

Most of the 70 rockets hit the areas surrounding the Eshkol Regional Council, Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev communities, causing no injuries and only some light property damage.  A Grad rocket landed in an open area near Beersheba as well.

Shrapnel from a rocket launched at the Sdot Negev community damaged a kibbutz home, and some kibbutz residents were treated for shock. 

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Click photo to download. Caption: Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher. Credit: Rona Proudfoot. ‘Joe the Plumber’ under fire for linking Holocaust to gun control

(JNS.org) Samuel “Joe Plumber” Wurzelbacher, a Republican congressional candidate in Ohio, has drawn criticism for suggesting that Jews’ inability to access guns contributed to their deaths during the Holocaust.

“In 1939, Germany established gun control,” Wurzelbacher, who earned his nickname when he questioned Barack Obama’s small business tax policy during the 2008 presidential race, says in a new campaign video. “From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), responding to the video, said using the Holocaust to make a political point “is never appropriate, under any circumstances.” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern called the video “incredibly offensive,” according to the Associated Press.

Wurzelbacher maintained that his video, which also says 1.5 million Armenians died following gun control laws in Turkey, does not suggest that gun control caused the Holocaust.

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Click photo to download. Caption: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem M. Schneerson. Credit: Mordecai Baron.Connecticut marks anniversary of Rebbe’s passing with statewide commemoration

(JNS.org) Connecticut issued a proclamation declaring June 22 a statewide “Day of Goodness and Kindness” marking the 18th anniversary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s death.

“The trademark of Chabad, based on the guidance of the Rebbe, is belief in the inherent goodness of the world and its inhabitants. Hence, every person is worthy of attention, love, and knowledge,” reads a proclamation signed by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the 7th and final Rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hassidic movement, passed away on the third day of the Hebrew month Tammuz in 1994, which fell on the night of June 22 this year.

Chabad has centers in 23 Connecticut communities.

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Click photo to download. Caption: U.S. Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. Credit: U.S. Congress.

Rep. King: Radical Islam ‘clear and present danger to homeland security’

(JNS.org) Islamist extremism is a “clear and present danger to homeland security,” U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said June 20 at the fifth House Homeland Security Committee hearing on radicalization.

The committee, which is headed by King, revealed a report on domestic extremism detailing how radical Islam poses a growing threat to the U.S. military. The report cited evidence from al Qaeda recordings in Pakistan, an English magazine produced by American jihadists in Yemen, and an American suicide bomber in Somalia who advocated for “jihad in America.” Political correctness toward Islam is potentially “devastating” for the safety of U.S. troops, according to the report.

While U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) warned that the hearings would “provide a Congressional stamp of approval for groups that espouse anti-Muslim beliefs,” Zuhdi Jasser—founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy—said that labeling individuals addressing the issue of radical Islam as Islamophobes or bigots “stifles free speech.”

Jordanian website: Israel ‘reeking boils on the body of humanity’

(JNS.org)Cleric Dr. Salah Al-Khalidi recently wrote on the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s website that “the Jewish State on the soil of Palestine is [like a rash] of contaminated, reeking boils on the body of humanity,” the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported.

Israel “has no historical, cultural, human or natural foundation—it is like an alien, stinking and festering boil that appears on one’s body, a repository of the body’s festering fluids, which one hurries to lance and to remove,” according to Al-Khalidi.

Making the point that Israel’s days are numbered, Al-Khalidi wrote that history proves how “occupation by an invading nation never lasts long,” citing as examples the Tartars who “only passed through [Muslim lands], and did not remain” and the Crusaders who “came to the Holy Land with the intention of remaining there permanently, but they stayed for only two centuries.”

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Click photo to download. Caption: The Temple Mount. Credit: Berthold Werner.Islamic Waqf tells student to remove kippah at Temple Mount

(JNS.org) A 20-year-old British-Jewish student, 20, who visited the Temple Mount June 20 was told by several Islamic Waqf officials to take off his kippah because they found it offensive. “I have experienced anti-Semitism in England, but I never thought that in Judaism’s holiest site I would be subjugated to such discrimination,” he said, Israel National News reported.

The student, who was participating in a group visit to the site, said other participants were allowed to pass. “I think this time the Waqf thought they could single me out because we looked like a group of foreign tourists and I was the only one wearing a kippah,” he said.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of The Temple Institute and the host of Israel National Radio’s “Temple Talk” podcast, said the event “demonstrates the opening of a new front at the hands of the Islamic Waqf, who are committed to eradicating all Jewish connection to the site.”

Report: Iran could have enough material for bomb within 4 months

(Israel Hayom/ Exclusive to JNS.org) U.S. officials believe Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within four months, according to a report by French news agency AFP June 20. The report says that despite setbacks from cyberattacks like the Stuxnet in 2009, Iran has quickened its pace of uranium enrichment.

High-level nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers in Moscow also fizzled on June 19. Speaking to the Washington Post on Wednesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed doubts that the current round of negotiations would convince the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons program.

“We hope that we’ll wake up and there will be an agreement to end the Iranian nuclear weapons program,” he said. “But we are too realistic. Sanctions are working better than in the past; diplomacy is more determined. But if I have to ask myself whether this will convince the ayatollahs to sit around the table and decide that the time has come to put an end to the military nuclear program, I don’t think that’s the case.”

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Click photo to download. Caption: The Hebrew National logo. Credit: Hebrew National.Hebrew National denies allegations of non-kosher food production

(JNS.org) A federal lawsuit against Hebrew National, the largest kosher food brand in the U.S., alleges that the company fraudulently labeled its food as kosher.

According to reports, 11 plaintiffs filed the suit in May at a Minnesota U.S. District Court. A statement by ConAgra Foods Inc, which manufactures Hebrew National food, said that there is “close rabbinical supervision” of its food manufacturing process.

However, a third-party kosher certifier for ConAgra complained of witnessing non-kosher food manufacturing procedures at Hebrew National meat plants. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the company uses unclean and unhealthy animals to make its meat.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Israeli-Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (left) criticized the decision to name a space center after late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon (right). Credit: Ahmed Tibi/NASA.Arab MK condemns naming space center after late Israeli astronaut

(JNS.org) Knesset member Ahmed Tibi, leader of the Israeli-Arab Ta’al party, called the decision to name a space center after late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon “distasteful” because Ramon attacked civilians in Lebanon and took part in Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor as an Israeli Air Force pilot.

The center will be in Tibi’s native Arab village, Taybeh. Ramon, the first and only Israeli astronaut, died with six other crew members in NASA’s fatal 2003 Columbia mission.

MK David Rotem noted that Tibi is “willing to give up on a space center that would educate Arab children just in order to avoid honoring an Israeli hero,” the Jerusalem Post reported. Gadi Ramon, Ilan’s brother, said Tibi is missing a chance for Israeli-Arab cooperation.

“I work with many people from the Arab sector and they treated my brother with respect and admiration,” Gadi said, according to Army Radio

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Click photo to download. Caption: The cover of "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker. Credit: PD.Publisher: Walker misses chance to foster tolerance by denying Hebrew version of novel

(JNS.org) Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker’s refusal to allow Yediot Books to publish The Color Purple in Hebrew was “an unfortunate position” because literature is “an important tool in building inter-cultural bridges by presenting the character of the ‘other’ and by creating an atmosphere of tolerance and compassion,” according to Yediot’s head editor Neta Gurevich.

“This is all the more so when it has to do with the book The Color Purple, which handles issues of discrimination, diversity, and the importance of the individual’s fight against general injustice,” Gurevich said in a Hebrew statement translated by JNS.org.

Walker, in a letter to Yediot posted on the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel’s website, wrote that her decision was based on the determination of last fall’s Russell Tribunal on Palestine that Israel “is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.”

Wendy Weil, head of the literary agency representing Walker, confirmed in an email to JNS.org that Walker “has not accepted the offer for the new translation of The Color Purple and her letter is clear.”

The Color Purple focuses on female black life in the southern U.S. during the 1930s. Walker, highlighting her activism in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, explained that she also lobbied against director Steven Spielberg showing the film on her book in South Africa because “as with Israel today, there was a civil society movement of BDS aimed at changing South Africa’s apartheid policies and, in fact, transforming the government.”

BBC: Hamas admits Gaza child was killed by Palestinian rocket

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A Hamas official admitted to BBC Gaza and West Bank Correspondent Jon Donnison that a Gaza child killed June 19 died as a result of Palestinian rocket fire, and not from an Israeli strike.

Emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya told the Palestinian Maan news agency in a statement that Hadil al-Haddad, 2, was killed, and that her brother was injured, in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

But despite the Hamas official’s admission to the BBC, another Hamas medical official told Reuters that the cause of the child’s death was not clear. Witnesses told Maan that al-Haddad was killed when terrorists launched a rocket close by.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said June 19 that the Israeli army was not responsible for the toddler’s death, but rather that she was killed by a Palestinian rocket  fired at Israelthat veered off course and exploded. 

Iran, Russia, China, Syria to hold massive war games exercise

(JNS.org) An enormous war games exercise will take place between Iran, Russia, China and Syria. Scheduled for July, the exercise is set to include air defense and missile units, as well as ground, air and naval forces.

According to Israel National News, 90,000 soldiers, 400 planes and 1,000 tanks from these countries will take part, as well as “12 Chinese warships…Russian atomic submarines and warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers, as well as Iranian battleships and submarines.”

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Click photo to download. Caption: Elie Wiesel. Credit: David Shankbone.Elie Wiesel renounces Hungarian award in Holocaust protest

(JNS.org)Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel is refusing to accept a Hungarian state award he received in 2004 to protest what he deems to be Hungary’s lackluster acknowledgment of its role in the Holocaust. Between 500,000 and 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Wiesel is particularly angry with the Hungarian parliament speaker, Laszlo Kover, whoparticipated in a ceremony honoring a writer who had loyally served in Hungary’s far-right parliament during the Second World War.

“It has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past, namely the wartime Hungarian government’s involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens,” Wiesel wrote in a letter to Kover, the Guardian reported.

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Click photo to download. Caption: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Credit: Scott LaPierre.Massachusetts-Israel science collaborations get $1.3 million

(JNS.org) Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson have announced that $1.3 million in grants will go toward four research and development collaborations between Massachusetts and Israeli companies, reported the Boston Herald.

This funding is the first round of grants awarded under the Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership, which encourages entrepreneurial collaboration between Massachusetts’s and Israel’s life sciences, clean energy and technology sectors.

Four project collaborations between Massachusetts and Israeli companies will benefit from the funding and will work to develop a variety of new technologies, including a 3-D imaging capsule that screens for colorectal cancer lesions and a new method of separating fuel from oil-creating algae.

The Economist magazine-affiliated peace index ranks Israel behind Syria, Iran

(JNS.org) While Syria’s death toll has topped 14,000 since the revolt against Bashar al-Assad began, and the growth of Iran’s nuclear program continues, the recently released 2012 “Global Peace Index” ranks Israel behind both of those countries.

Despite being the only country in the Middle East providing full equality for women and anti-discrimination laws protecting homosexuals, Israel came in 150th out of 158 countries on a list—produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)—which measures peace according to 23 factors. Iran was ranked 128th, and Syria was tied with Libya at 147th.

The Economist Intelligence Group, which is part of the business group that publishes The Economist magazine, performs research for the peace index. Iceland topped the rankings, and Somalia came in last.

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Click photo to download. Caption: The doodle Benjamin Netanyahu drew for Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Credit: PMO.

Investing in Israel one of Google’s best decisions, chairman tells Netanyahu

(JNS.org) Google Executive Chairman Eric E. Schmidt on June 19 told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the company’s decision to invest in Israel “was one of the best that Google has ever made.”

Netanyahu gave Schmidt a Google doodle he had drawn from suggestions by Israeli web surfers.

In order to emphasize Israel’s leadership in the fields of science and technology, the Google doodle shows the crystals discovered by the winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Prof. Dan Shechtman, along with an Israeli flag and a man sitting under an umbrella in the sun. “This is Israel—science, sun and Google,” Netanyahu said. 

The Prime Minister was the first leader in the world to draw a Google doodle, Schmidt said. The Google chairman gave Netanyahu a framed picture of the Isaiah Scroll as a symbol of the Dead Sea Scrolls project that Google is leading in conjunction with the Israel Museum.

Posted on June 26, 2012 and filed under Briefs.