Friday, December 31, 2010

Yoely Greenfeld - Official Music Video '' Yechadshehu '' יחדשהו

This is the official music video featuring "Yechadshehu" from Yoely Greenfeld's new CD called '' HAMVORACH YISBORACH'' which is due to be released by January 10 iy"h,

The song was composed by Tuli Weill, Vocals by the famous 'Shira Choir', arranged and conducted by Yoely Horowitz

The album is produced by Naftali Schnitzler, and it features all new songs, composed and arranged by Yitzy Waldner, Moshe Wertzberger, Lipa Schmeltzer, Pinny Ostreicher, Motty Illowitz, Dovid Kaufman, Pinky Weber, Naftali Weill, Naftali Schnitzler,Sruly Meyer, Moshe Laufer, Ruli Ezrachi and Yitzy Spinner.

Making fiction of facts in the Israeli spy case

'Tis the season, apparently, for leaking and spinning government secrets, from both the right and the left.
Now comes retired Navy Capt. M. E. Bowman, who claims to know the real damage Jonathan Pollard, an American serving a life term for spying, caused the United States by passing on classified data to Israel more than a quarter-century ago. And the New Republic's Martin Peretz asserts Pollard "spied . . . for both Israel and Pakistan."
Both are entitled to their opinions, but not to fictionalize the facts.
Do either presume to know the particulars better than James Woolsey, former director of the CIA; or Dennis DeConcini, former chairman of the Senate's Select Intelligence Committee; or Michael Mukasey, former U.S. attorney general under George W. Bush; all of whom have publicly supported commuting Pollard's sentence to time served?
Do either have greater moral suasion from both sides of the political aisle than the Rev. Theodore Hesbergh of Notre Dame or Pastor John Hagee, each of whom have expressed similar sentiments?
It is now acknowledged by intelligence professionals that the vague, secret charges initially leveled against Pollard for somehow causing the then-unexplained loss of U.S. agents working in the Soviet Union were for crimes committed by two others: Aldrich Ames, who had been in charge of CIA counterintelligence for Eastern Europe but was actually a Russian mole, and Robert Hanssen, an FBI special agent who confessed having betrayed American agents. (Ames was finally caught and convicted in 1994, Hanssen in 2001.)
The intelligence community had been chasing a false trail. Moreover, its failure to realize Pollard lacked the Blue Stripe clearance necessary to betray our spy networks seriously impaired the subsequent search for the real traitors.
There is no credible evidence Pollard ever passed information to a third country. In fact, he kept his part of a plea bargain with federal prosecutors under which he agreed to cooperate fully with its investigation in return for a less-than-maximum sentence. By all indications the government did not. The judge ignored the agreement and sentenced Pollard to life in prison. Most who were there believe he was heavily swayed by secret declarations from then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
Both Bowman and Peretz do little more than damn by hearsay and innuendo, their assertions utterly incompatible with the government's own carefully crafted submissions to the court. Its Victim Impact Statement (designed to state the harshest provable case against the defendant) portrays, at worst, short-term friction between the U.S. and unnamed Arab countries, and a temporary reduction in bargaining leverage by the U.S. over Israel.
There is no charge that Pollard ever passed information to a third country. In fact, no permanent, overwhelming damage to U.S. national security is even alleged, much less proven.
The real reason the intelligence community persists in its loud anti-Pollard whispers reflects its lingering defensiveness about U.S. policy in the 1970s and '80s - in particular its disastrously failed support for Saddam Hussein and Saudi Arabia, which remains the principal sponsor of al-Qaida's anti-American terrorism.
The security establishment was outraged when Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, after which it cut the Israelis off from the normal interchange of intelligence. Pollard wrongly took it upon himself to remedy that failure.
You don't have to go to law school to understand how much this violates the bedrock principles of American fairness, justice and compassion. When the system fails, we pride ourselves on relentless self-scrutiny so that truth might ultimately prevail.
That noble sentiment was recently endorsed by 39 members of Congress who wrote President Obama urging clemency for Pollard - as well as hundreds of religious leaders of different faiths, all of them declaring in unison their fundamental belief that "Justice, only justice, shall you pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20).
Last month, Jonathan Pollard completed his 25th year behind bars. In this season of good will, let us hope that President Obama has the courage and character to set him free.
Kenneth Lasson is a professor of law at the University of Baltimore. Angelo Codevilla served as a senior staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee (1978-85). Lawrence Korb was assistant secretary of Defense (1981-85). John Loftus is a former U.S. prosecutor and Army intelligence officer.
Read more:

Hamas and WikiLeaks (and cowardice)

Go Down Moses - Paul Robeson; perfectly in time for Parshat VaEira

Hillel Neuer Slams Iran on CTV's "Canada AM" Show

Hillel Neuer slams Iranian President Ahmadinejad for anti-semitism, salutes Canadian PM Harper for principled positions on Middle East.

Hillel Neuer on Russian TV: "U.N. Obsession With Israel Harms Peace Process"

Interviewed by Russian TV's Paula Slier, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer slams the U.N.'s Human Rights Council for ignoring violations worldwide, electing Qaddafi as a member, and scapegoating Israel. He said the biased approach harmed the peace process, failed to help Palestinians on the ground, and encouraged extremists.

ISRAEL MATZAV: The center of the deligitimization campaign against Israel, is London

A study carried out on behalf of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs has concluded that the center of the worldwidedelegitimization campaign against Israel is in London (Hat Tip: Daily Alert).
In a report for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (JCPA) on the "delegitimisation" movement, published this month, Ehud Rosen has concluded that the boycott campaign against Israel and attempts to arrest Israeli politicians for war crimes are evidence that "Britain has become the main leader of an international effort to deny Israel's right to exist in its current form".

Mr Rosen, who now teaches at Bar-Ilan University, found that the alliance has taken advantage of the UK's political freedoms and legal system to make London its base for its attacks on Israel.

His research into the red-green alliance was carried out while studying for a PhD at London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

He also identified how the anti-Israel movement has entered the mainstream by allying with campaigns against the security crackdown following the events of 9/11 and British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has been aided by alliances with leftist groups such as the Stop the War movement, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Socialist Workers Party and George Galloway's Respect party.

The study details how a senior group of activists from various branches of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East and North Africa allied with a younger generation of Islamists to form a powerful hub of activity centred on the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). This "stronghold of exiled Brotherhood leaders and their sons and daughters" is sometimes known in the Arab media as the London Ikhwan (the Arabic name of the Brotherhood).


The findings of the JCPA report echo those of the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank which concluded in a reportearlier this month that London had become a "Mecca of delegitimisation".
I guess no one should be surprised at this given that the Prime Minister of Great Britain refers to Gaza as a prison camp and the British government continues to refuse to change its universal jurisdiction law, which subjects Israeli political and military leaders to random arrests in Britain.

Will your grandchildren be Jewish?

ISRAEL MATZAV: Al-Qaeda publishes explosives course in English

Al-Qaeda has published a bomb-making manual in English and has made it available on the internet on jihadi websites. The manual is called The Explosives Course.
On December 29, 2010, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated media center Global Islamic Media Front and the Dar Al-Jabha publishing house electronically published an English-language book titled The Explosives Course. Links to download the book were posted on jihadi forums such as Shumukh Al-Islam and the Ansar Al-Mujahideen English forum, with jihadist sympathizers also posting links on Facebook.

In its introduction, the book states that it was compiled and written by students of Abu Khabab Al-Masri, the nom de guerre of Midhat Mursi Al-Sayid 'Umar, the Al-Qaeda chemistry and explosives expert who was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in 2008. The book was approved for publication by Sheikh Ahmed Salim Sweidan, a senior Al-Qaeda operative killed in a 2009 drone attack in Pakistan.

The book is essentially a detailed, step-by-step guide to bomb manufacturing processes, replete with charts, illustrations, and diagrams. In the introduction, the authors state that their goal in writing the book was to provide: "(1) step by step guidance [in the] purification of common commercial chemicals – which are available in [local] markets and (2) the detailed practical observations/notes [of experts] in the preparation of these explosives." Regarding their target audience, the authors wrote: "This book is [intended] for brothers [i.e., fellow mujahideen] who have a sufficient understanding of the risks [involved] in this [i.e. the manufacture of homemade bombs] – both [of] the actual sensitive task of making explosives and of its security risks [i.e. the risk of being caught and imprisoned]. It is said that in explosives 'your first mistake is your last mistake' – and this is true for both situations."


The publication of such a book in English has important ramifications. First, it is another example of the use of the Internet to disseminate terrorist methods to individuals and cells throughout the world. More significantly, the publication of this book in English marks an escalation in Al-Qaeda's efforts to encourage jihadists living in Western countries to carry out attacks there, and to provide them with the know-how needed to do so. The recent suicide-attack attempt by Swedish citizen Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly in Stockholm[1] and the wave of arrests of suspected terrorists in Britain and the Netherlands are all evidence of the gravity of this threat.
What could go wrong?

ISRAEL MATZAV: India joins sanctions against Iran

India has joined the list of nationsenforcing sanctions against Iran
India, which imports 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Iran, took action this week barring companies from dealing with Iran through the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), a financial clearinghouse that includes the central banks of India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Iran, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

This clearing house allows central banks to handle payments to their countries' companies, and -- according to a Wall Street Journal article -- makes it possible to obscure which firms are doing business.

According to the WSJ, the US Treasury has regularly raised the issue with India, and that discussion on this matter accelerated after Obama's visit, when he endorsed permanent membership for India on the UN Security Council.

According to the report, the US has told New Delhi that Indian firms conducting transactions through the ACU run the risk of violating a US law signed in July banning international firms from doing business with 17 Iranian banks and much of Teheran's oil and gas sector, as well as the Revolutionary Guard. If Indian companies are found in violation, they could be banned from doing business in the US, the report said.

While India imports about 14 percent of its crude oil from Iran, down from some 16.5 percent in 2009, it is believed to provide about 40% of all the refined oil used in Iran. The UN sanctions adopted this summer neither forbade purchasing Iranian oil, nor placed a ban on selling refined oil back to Iran.

India-Iranian relations go back centuries, and the US led effort to get the world on board sanctions against Iran have not been enthusiastically greeted in India, where there are both huge economic ties as well as common geopolitical interests. For instance, India and Iran have worked together in the past against the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Now, if only Europe would go along, maybe some real pressure could be applied to Iran.

ISRAEL MATZAV: Assange claims Arab officials spy on their own countries for the CIA

In an interview with al-Jazeera's Arabic language network on Wednesday, Wikileaker Julian Assenge claimed to have names of Arab diplomats who are spying on their own countries for the CIA.
“These officials are spies for the U.S. in their countries,” Assange said, according to Qatar's Peninsula newspaper. More:
The interviewer, Ahmed Mansour, said at the start of the interview which was a continuation of last week’s interface, that Assange had even shown him the files that contained the names of some top Arab officials with alleged links with the CIA. [...]

Some Arab countries even have torture houses where Washington regularly sends ‘suspects’ for ‘interrogation and torture’, he said.
He then complained, "Washington is also projecting me as a terrorist and wants to convince the world that I am another Osama bin Laden."

Observers have long speculated about the massive "insurance" file that WikiLeaks posted on the Pirate Bay, which has by now been downloaded by thousand of people all over the world. Opening the file requires an encryption key that presumably would be released upon Assange's incarceration or untimely death. I guess it's the motherlode.
At Foreign Policy, Blake Hounshell doesn't believe it.
I have my doubts about these new claims, though. The CIA vigorously protects the identities of its sources, and would have no reason to let any old schmo at a U.S. embassy know their names. It is also highly doubtful that the cables would talk about "torture houses" -- the United States has always denied that it (knowingly) outsources rough treatment to foreign governments. Not everyone believes this, mind you, but I'd be surprised if any embassy cables said otherwise.

Maybe Assange and Mansour are confusing ordinary visits of Arab officials to U.S. diplomats with "spying," but it's hard to say for sure without seeing the cables themselves.
Hounshell is too quick to dismiss the stories of outsourcing torture. You can watch a CBS 60 Minutes report on outsourcing torture to Egypt and Jordan here, and there are reports that US was outsourcing torture of terrorists to those countries dating as far back as 2002. (To make it clear, I'm not criticizing that; I'm acknowledging the reality).

As to disclosing the names of Arab officials who are spying for the CIA, Hounshell knows this region well enough (he's based in Qatar) to know that ironclad evidence that would hold up in court is not a necessity. The accusation - especially coming from someone like Assange who is seen as somewhat credible - would be sufficient to put these peoples' lives in danger. I'd bet on the Qatari government telling al-Jazeera not to discuss this again. Because it's probably true.

Selling the Talmud as a Business Guide In China, notions of Jewish business acumen lead to a publishing boom—and stereotyping.

A page from the Talmud, the book consisting of early rabbinical writings that inform the Judaic tradition.
Jewish visitors to China often receive a snap greeting when they reveal their religion: “Very smart, very clever, and very good at business,” the Chinese person says. Last year’s Google Zeitgeist China rankings listed “why are Jews excellent?” in fourth place in the “why” questions category, just behind “why should I enter the party” and above “why should I get married?” (Google didn’t publish a "why" category in Mandarin this year.) And the apparent affection for Jewishness has led to a surprising trend in publishing over the last few years: books purporting to reveal the business secrets of the Talmud that capitalize on the widespread impression among Chinese that attributes of Judaism lead to success in the financial arts.
Titles such as Crack the Talmud: 101 Jewish Business Rules, The Illustrated Jewish Wisdom Book, and Know All of the Money-Making Stories of the Talmud share the shelves with stories of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. There’s even a Talmud hotel in Taiwaninspired by “the Talmud’s concept of success” that features a copy of the book Talmud Business Success Bible in every room. With the increasing interest in business education in China, and a rise in sales of self-help literature, the production of business guides to the Talmud has exploded. The guides are like the Chinese equivalents of books such as Sun Tzu and the Art of Business.
Han Bing, the (pseudonymous) author of Crack the Talmud, says a series on the “Jewish Bible” by a prominent publisher made him realize that “ancient Jews and today’s Chinese face a lot of the same problems,” such as immigration and isolation. The business rules he lists include such unsurprising—and universal—exhortations as “tell a customer about defects,” “help more people,” and “a partnership based on emotions is not dependable.” No statistics are available on the sales of this sliver of the book market. But while the guides haven’t reached the heights of books such as Jewish Family Education, which claims to have sold more than 1 million copies, they currently are “very popular” and a “hot topic,” says Wang Jian, associate dean of the Center of Jewish Studies in Shanghai, a research institution that focuses on Jewish culture and history, and Israel. The Talmud “has become a handbook for doing business and seeking fortunes,” Wang says.
The Chinese perception of Jews as expert moneymakers does not have the religion-based antagonism that often accompanies the same stereotype elsewhere in the world, and probably had its start in the mid-19th century, when investors began flocking to China. Many of the first foreign real-estate tycoons, such as Silas Hardoon and the scions of the Sassoon family, were Jewish. Michael Kadoorie—who hails from a wealthy Jewish family that dates its China connection back to 19th-century Shanghai, and who’s made his fortune in power generators and hotels—currently ranks as the richest non-Chinese in greater China, with an estimated net worth of $5 billion.
The admiration for Judaism stems from a history that goes beyond business. About half of the dozen or so Westerners active in Mao Zedong’s China were Jewish, and that also led to increased interest in Jewish culture among Chinese intellectuals, says Xu Xin, professor of Jewish studies at Nanjing University. That’s resulted in mostly glowing portrayals of certain Jewish individuals in the official Chinese press. They included Sidney Rittenberg, the first American citizen to join the Chinese Communist Party, and journalist Israel Epstein, who interviewed Mao at length and whose funeral was attended by China’s President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Rittenberg, who spent 16 years in solitary confinement in China, made the transition from party ideologue to consultant upon his release, and now operates the successful Rittenberg & Associates, which trades off his personal relationships with communist leaders and has advised companies including Microsoft, Hughes Aircraft, and Levi Strauss.
Non-Chinese experts on Judaism are quick to point out that the Talmud is not a business manual. While the Talmud mentions contract law, zoning, and problems involved with charging interest, it’s not a get-rich-quick guide, says Rabbi Eliezer Diamond, associate professor of Talmud and rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. “I’ve heard a couple of [Chinese] people say that Jews are smart because of the Talmud. But they don’t seem to know what it is. I think they see it as some sort of secret intelligence book,” added Rabbi Nussin Rodin, a Beijing-based emissary of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. “I once got a letter from someone in China saying, I’m very interested in making money so I’d like to know what you teach at your courses about how to make money,” says Diamond. “Of course, there aren’t too many people in the Jewish Theological Seminary pulling in the big bucks.”
The notion of the Talmud as a book full of business secrets for others to search for is not entirely benign. Two of the books feature the quote “No one can defeat the Jews, unless they’ve read our holy book the Talmud” on their cover, spuriously attributed to financier George Soros. “There are anti-Semites throughout the world who will say they want a Jewish lawyer, because Jews are good lawyers,” says Diamond. Han Bing says he has never met a Jew and cautioned NEWSWEEK that he’s not sure if he’s gotten his portrayal right. But he nevertheless states that “Jews understand that money itself is neither good nor bad.” He sees his book as “bringing some light into the dark room of Chinese businesses.” At the same time, he complains that no businessman has ever contacted him to say how the book may have changed him. “There’s just too many of these books out there,” he acknowledges.

Hamas Official Most Wanted Since 1998 Under Arrest; Palestinian sources say IDF have also tried to catch in the past al-Kawasma, who was arrested in Hebron; al-Kawasma has been on Palestinian Authorities' wanted list since 1998.

Palestinian security forces have arrested a wanted Hamas official in the West Bank. Al-Kawasma has been described as number one the Palestinian Authorities' "most wanted" list since 1998.

Security forces told Ma'an news agency that the man was arrested Thursday in the Hebron area. According to the reports, the IDF has also tried to arrest the man in the past.

The arrest comes after the Palestinian Authority threatened to deport 50 Hamas leaders from the West Bank, according to a claim by the Islamist movement on Sunday.

The unprecedented threat was seen as yet another sign of mounting tensions between the Fatah-dominated PA in the West Bank and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

It’s not clear to where the Hamas leaders would be deported. The PA security forces would not be able to carry out such a step without coordinating with Israel.

A senior PA security official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that he was unaware of any decision to deport Hamas members. The official accused the Hamas leadership of “lies and fabrications.”

Since Saturday, scores of Hamas officials and activists have been summoned to the headquarters of the PA’s General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, where they were reportedly informed that they may be deported.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Life in the shadow of terror and domestic conflict of interest groups in Israel

Coping with death through life in Israel

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has claimed many lives on both sides. Often those left behind struggle to come to terms with their grief, especially the mothers. In recent years several Russian-born women in Israel, who have lost sons in the conflict, have given birth to new children as a way of coping with loss.

Is Israel Doing Enough to Counter the Boycotts?

Is Israel Doing Enough to Counter the Boycotts?

Palestinian take part in a reenactment of an Israeli strike during a performance organized by Hamas, marking the 2nd anniversary of the Israel-Gaza war, in Gaza City, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010

Egyptians set to protest against Jewish festival; Israelis flock to Egypt for Jewish festival amid protests

Hundreds of Jews from Israel, Europe, and the United States started flocking to the Egyptian Nile Delta to celebrate the festival of Abu Hasira amid popular protests and legal objections to the violation of a court order that cancelled marking the Jewish event. The announcement of the arrival of 550 Jewish pilgrims to Cairo to celebrate the festival of Abu Hasira, a Moroccan Jew believed to have died in the village of Damatiuh, outside the delta city of Damanhour where the event takes place, stirred fury of village residents, civil organizations, and political parties.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Bloggers against Abu Hasira group, the You Will Not Cross My Land campaign and the opposition parties of al-Ghad and al-Karama announced plans to stage a protest on January 6 in front of the Damanhour Courts Complex against holding the festival, which is banned by a court order.
Residents of the Delta governorate of al-Behira, in which the village in located, collected one million signatures and filed several lawsuits against the event, and the Supreme Administrative Court issued a verdict in 2001 that cancelled the celebration and annulled the decision of Culture Minister Farouk Hosni to consider Abu Hasira shrine a site of national heritage. But Egyptian authorities did not implement the court order.

Relations with Israel

The Egyptian government differentiates between political relations and popular normalization with Israel, said Dr. Emad Gad, head of the Israeli Studies Division at al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies. 
“The Egyptian people object to several issues related to Israel like the export of natural gas, but the Egyptian government goes ahead with them anyway,” he told 
The same applies to the Abu Hasira festival since celebrating it was an official demand by the Israeli government as part of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, Gad explained.
Gad added that allowing the Jewish festival to be held is also related to Egypt’s diplomatic ties with the United States.
“If the event is banned, the Jewish lobby in the United States will launch a severe campaign against Egypt and the United States might accuse Egypt of religious intolerance.” 
However, Gad pointed out that Egypt is still careful as far as normalization with Israel is concerned.
“Egypt never allows the relationship with Israel to go out of control due to the threat this poses to its national security.”

Peace treaty

The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel stipulates freedom of movement between the two countries and that is why it is impossible to prevent Israelis from entering Egypt, said Judge al-Bayoumi Mohamed al-Bayoumi.
“Yet, there is a court order that concerns this specific festival and the Egyptian authorities have to implement it,” he told
Bayoumi added that Egyptians have nothing against Jews or Judaism, yet the current political situation makes it hard for Egyptians to accept holding the festival.
“In addition to the killings in Palestine, a new Israeli spying network was uncovered. This confirms that Israel is trying to infiltrate Egypt in many ways and this festival could be one of them.”
On the other hand, former Egyptian ambassador to Tel Aviv Mohamed Bassyouni argued that Abu Hasira festival is not related to the peace treaty.
“The peace treaty involves the establishment of diplomatic ties, economic cooperation, and freedom of movement between the two countries and has nothing to do with religious festivals,” he told 
This means, Bassyouni added, that with or without a court order the Egyptian government has the right to decide whether the festival should be held or not. 
Dr. Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, agrees with the court order and stresses that the Abu Hasira shrine is not a site of national heritage. 
“This is just a celebration in a small alley in an Egyptian village. This has nothing to do with historic sites,” he told

NYT: Gas Field Confirmed Off Coast Of Israel

JERUSALEM — Exploratory drilling off Israel’s northern coast this week has confirmed the existence of a major natural gas field — one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade — leading the country’s infrastructure minister to call it “the most important energy news since the founding of the state.”
Houston-based Noble Energy, which is working with several Israeli partner companies, said that the field, named Leviathan, whose existence was suspected months ago, has at least 16 trillion cubic feet of gas at a likely market value of tens of billions of dollars and should turn Israel into an energy exporter.
“If it acts correctly, levelheadedly and responsibly, Israel can enjoy not only the benefit of using the gas, but it can also turn into a gas supplier in the Mediterranean region,” the infrastructure minister, Uzi Landau, said in a statement. “The large reserves of natural gas will enable Israel’s citizens to enjoy the benefit of clean and inexpensive electricity, as well as the expected profits for the state.”
The find means that Israel, with a long history of dependence on foreign energy, and hostility and boycotts from many of the biggest energy powers, could find itself in a much more advantageous position in the coming decade.
But the find has been accompanied by a heated debate over how much in taxes and royalties Israel will charge. A state-appointed committee headed by an economist at Hebrew University, Eytan Sheshinski, is planning to recommend substantially increased profit taxes, opposed by the companies and some on the political right.
Gideon Tadmor, the chief executive of Delek Energy and Avner Oil Exploration, partners in this venture with Noble, said the taxes could make the project prohibitively expensive. “The gas may stay in the ground because we will not succeed in obtaining from banks around the world the tens of billions of shekels for developing the reservoir,” he said in an interview.
He said that this new find could impel neighboring countries, including Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria, to explore and possibly develop their potential gas fields, and warned that Israel needed to move quickly to be the first to export its gas. Delek estimates that if it moves aggressively, it could begin producing gas from Leviathan in five to six years.
This year, the United States Geological Survey estimated that more than 120 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves, equivalent to 20 billion barrels of oil, lay beneath the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. That would put it in the same league as the Alaskan North Slope (about 22 billion barrels) but far short of Saudi Arabia, which has proven reserves of 262 billion barrels.
In reaction to the Israeli announcement, Lebanese politicians said they would move more quickly in exploring their country’s gas potential.
Professor Sheshinski said that Israel had among the very lowest energy tax rates anywhere and that it was time to update that.
“We have proposed a profit tax to be imposed after the firms earn an adequate return on their investment,” Professor Sheshinski said in an interview. “We have checked with the banks and we will be well within world averages. Anyone who knows the numbers can be assured of a proper return.”
Professor Sheshinski said that his report, due out on Monday, had already been endorsed by the governor of the Bank of IsraelStanley Fischer; the International Monetary Fund; and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which Israel recently joined. He said that the profit tax rate recommended by his committee would be 55 to 60 percent and that the O.E.C.D. average was 62 percent.
The committee’s recommendations require government and parliamentary approval.
Sever Plocker, an economic columnist for the newspaper Yediot Aharonot, said in a commentary on Thursday that it was far from clear that the new discovery could be developed profitably. Gas prices could fall, the techniques needed to extract the gas were likely to be complicated and expensive to develop, and exporting natural gas required enormous investment for pipelines or the means of transforming the gas into liquid to be moved on tankers, he said.
“Creative thinking is our great natural resource, not gas,” he wrote. “It is our obligation to guard it with utmost care.”

Kul al-Arab Accuses Yad L’Achim Of Kidnapping Children From Their Arab Fathers & Returning Them To Judaism

Kul al-Arab, Israel’s most influential and widely read Arabic-language newspaper, is continuing its campaign against Yad L’Achim, charging that the organization rescues Jewish women from Arab villages.
“Yad L’Achim has been active for many years in rescuing young Jewish women and their children from Arab communities,” begins a major story that appeared recently in Kul al-Arab. “Leading religious figures in Judaism, including the Baba Sali, Rabbi Kaduri, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and others have blessed and legitimized Rabbi Lifschitz, the head of the organization, for his major efforts in rescuing Jewish souls and returning them to their people.”
The article, the second on Yad L’Achim in recent weeks, focuses on one particular rescue of a woman and children that ended up in court in a custody battle. The reporter speaks to the husband and describes his shock at returning home to an empty apartment and his fury at being told by a Jewish neighbor that “Yad L’Achim people ‘visited’ with a truck and took his son, daughter, wife and household items.”
The reporter goes on to describe how Yad L’Achim operates, noting with irony that staffers regard their activities as “rescue activities,” not kidnappings. He notes that Yad L’Achim is active all across the country, from Arab villages inside Israel and “occupied Jerusalem” to areas in the Palestinian Authority. The method is always the same, he writes: The wife and children are kidnapped and distanced from the Arab spouse and father.
The newspaper complains that Yad L’Achim then goes to court in order to “change the family name of the children and to give them the name of the mother alone, in order to turn them into Jews in the fullest sense.”
In the sole instance in which the paper adhered to journalistic ethics, the reporter contacted Yad L’Achim for a reaction, which appeared at the end of the article. “We don’t kidnap anyone. We are the address for anyone who believes in returning to his roots and to his Jewish religion. Yad L’Achim provides this service to any Jew who turns to us.”
Yad L’Achim said this week that its legal team will file a police complaint against the newspaper for printing details of a case that is being held behind closed doors. In its report, Kul al Arab violated a court-ordered media blackout on the case.
Yad L’Achim wishes to stress that the woman whose story is profiled in the newspaper suffered for years from her abusive Arab husband and that she had filed numerous complaints with the police that led to his arrest.
It also stresses that the rescue of the woman and her children was executed at her request and that this was not a case of “kidnapping.”

Baruch Cohen meets the Rosh Yeshiva of Mossad Harav after the Terrorist Attack Killing 8 Yeshiva Students

Battle for Nof Zion, Jerusalem!

One Jerusalem was founded in 2000 in response to Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton's attempt to divide Jerusalem and give a major victory to radical Muslims. At that time, we organized the largest rally in Israel's history - over 400,000 Israelis gathered around Jerusalem's Old City walls to celebrate their capital.

We were founded by our Chairman Natan Sharansky with one simple mission - to protect and defend Jerusalem as the united, undivided capital of the State of Israel. For over a decade, we have remained the only grassroots international organization to defend Jerusalem against all enemies, day in and day out. Thanks to you - our hundreds of thousands of supporters from across the globe, we have had the resources to stand strong and resolute.
But we must not rest on our laurels. Our enemies are persistent and will do all they can to gain a foothold in Jerusalem.
As you read this, a leading Palestinian figure is attempting a hostile takeover of Jewish-owned land overlooking the Temple Mount -- to build over 300 apartments for Palestinians and destroy a Jewish neighborhood. One Jerusalem is acting in complete coordination with the Jewish residents of Nof Zion, and launched a public relations campaign on their behalf.
We are working with Nof Zion day in and day out to inform the Israeli public of this travesty, and to rally them to once again stand up for their capital. 

Chazan Yakov Yosef Stark "Ant Hu DShalit"

Chazan Yakov Yosef Stark sings "Ant Hu DShalit" Motzei Shabbos Nachamu at the Alpines country in Upstate NY Accompanied by the Shira Choir 2009 Song was composed by Yossele Rosenblatt

פלאשמוב אחד במאי - נחלת בנימין תל אביב 2010 - May Day Flashmob

Haifa Flash Mob

Friday afternoon at Dizingof Center, Tel_aviv A great flash mob for glee series premire

Jerusalem Flash Mob - Taglit Birthright-Israel: Mayanot

Israel's Flash Mobs, 2010 Jerusalem, New Year's Day 2010:

A7: The iKotel: Bringing the Western Wall to the iPhone

A compass pointing to Jerusalem:

Send a note, a "kvitel",  to G-d via the Western Wall:

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation has launched a brand new iPhone application that brings one of Israel’s most precious sites, the Kotel, right to users’ phones.
The new application allows users to watch the Western Wall Plaza live on their phones at anytime, take a virtual tour of the Western Wall tunnels, and send a note to the Kotel through the iPhone. The application even features a compass which is pointed towards Jerusalem, a particularly useful tool for worshippers, as the silent prayer said three times daily is said facing the city or facing the Kotel if the worshipper is in Jerusalem.
The Western Wall rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, welcomed the initiative and said: “The Western Wall has been in the heart of every Jew in the world for 2,000 years. It is only natural that in the technological age there will be ways to express the love and devotion of the Jewish people to the Western Wall and to Jerusalem. We hope that the new application will strengthen the younger generation’s bond to the Kotel.”
The application is available in Hebrew, English, and Russian, and may be downloaded free of charge from the iTunes store.

Kibbutz Lavi Makes Best Synagogue Furniture in World

Kibbutz Lavi Makes Best Synagogue Furniture in World

Conference Deals with the Heritage of the Rambam

The Maimonides Heritage Center

This past weekend, the second annual conference on the subject of the preservation of the heritage of the Rambam (Maimonides) was held in Tiberias. The conference centered around one of the greatest figures in Jewish history, the Rambam, who was one of the greatest halakhic authorities, philosopher, scientist, physician, and researcher.
The conference, which was held in the Hof Guy hotel in Tiberias, also dealt with the importance of the preservation of heritage sites in Tiberias. Participants took part in lectures, discussions, and tours of the Maimonides Heritage Center and other heritage sites in the city.

“The goal here is not just to help rehabilitate the city of Tiberias but really to educate the world, Jew and non-Jew, about Rambam’s outlook and philosophy,” explained Rabbi Yemin Levy, President of the Maimonides Heritage Center.
“Israel understands that the Rambam is one of the pillars of Judaism and that through him the future of Israel can be built,” said Rabbi Haim Fogel, Director of the Maimonides Heritage Center. “The Rambam cared both for the rabbis as well as for the simple people. He wrote both an explanation to the Mishnah as well as the Mishneh Torah which is a guidebook for rabbis.”
“Rambam in the culture of Judaism really stands out and is really the voice that needs to be heard today, the voice of reason, the voice of science, and the voice of spirituality and Torah,” said Rabbi Levy.

Iran: 'Harry Potter a Zionist Plot to Promote Devil Worship'

( If you thought the Harry Potter series was an innocent children's fantasy story, you're wrong, an Iranian movie producer says: In reality, the Harry Potter books and movies are part of a “Zionist plot” to “spread their poison.” With its emphasis on witches, warlocks, and wonders, he says, the Harry Potter series "serves to spread the dark and evil essence of Zionism and its goals."

In a series of accusations that sound ridiculous to those raised in the West, Iran's Irinn TV channel produced a documentary that purports to show how the various elements of the Potter story – the use of magic, the struggle against the Dark Lord, and other themes – essentially reflect the tenets and goals of Zionism (read: Judaism), and encourage innocent people around the world to support those goals.

"Propaganda for purity of blood and race, one of the principles of global Zionism, is openly portrayed and emphasized in the second Harry Potter film," the film's narrator says, referring to the obsession of the film's villain, Voldemort, with pure bloodlines – symbolic of the Jews' parochial attitude to non-Jewish nations. "If we add this [film] to the other pieces of the puzzle – the beliefs depicted in the other propaganda and political products of the Ziono-Hollywoodists, the Satanic features of this inhumane movement will become more evident."

In addition to the blood theme, the series alludes to the Jewish desire to rule the world, says a prominent Iranian film critic quoted in the movie. "[The Zionists] support Harry Potter because he is the promised Messiah," Sa'id Mostaghasi says. "As you can see, he has the same traits and wants to defeat a dark force, which in this film is depicted as Voldemort. In the sixth episode, there is even mention of the War of Armageddon."

Perhaps worst of all, the documentary says, is the series' attempts to influence innocent Christians and Muslims to worship the devil, as the Jews do. “The creation of new stories, based on mythical themes leading to witchcraft and devil worship, has always been a tool used by contemporary Zionists, and is once again being used by them... targeting innocent children and youth” to join them in their Satanic ways."

The Iranians are apparently the first to make the three-way connection between Harry Potter, the Devil, and Jews, although they did not invent the two strands that make up that connection; Christian Europe has for nearly a millenium portrayed the Jews as the representative of the Devil on earth, while modern-day Christian evangelicals preachers have railed against Harry Potter because of its magic and fantasy related themes – although there have been a number of commentators across the spectrum of Christianity, including evangelicals and Catholics, who have rallied to the series' defense. Thus, while the Focus on the Family group has said that the Potter books contain some positive messages, “they are packaged in a medium – witchcraft – that is directly denounced in Scripture,” evangelical author Connie Neal has written.

That the Iranians would connect the devil theme to the Jews is not surprising at all, given that Christians have been doing this for much of their own history. In his seminal work on the subject, “The Devil and the Jews,” author Joshua Trachteberg laid out a sordid history of European anti-Semitism, which showed that much of Christian anti-Semitism over the past 1,000 years stems from a fear – and suspicion – that the Jews were working with the Devil to destroy Christianity.

“How is it that the Jews can be hated for being Communists and capitalists – at the same time,” asks Trachtenberg, as he explores some of the most ridiculous beliefs that Christians have had about Jews: that they poison wells, desecrate the “host” (the wafer representing Jesus in Catholic ritual), and destroy morality, among many other sins. In his work, published in 1943, Trachtenberg builds a persuasive case that Christians have seen Jews as allies of the Devil, working against them, and that those vestigial beliefs are still around today – for example, in the accusation that Hollywood (which everyone knows is “controlled by the Jews”) spreads moral perversion and unpatriotic attics.

Thus, it didn't take much for Iran to pick up on these themes in its battle against Israel and the Jews, says history researcher Morris Cohen. “Those themes were out there for the taking, so it makes sense that they would use them against Israel.” The Islamic world, he said, is much more vehement in its condemnation of Harry Potter than the Christian world: In 2002, the books were banned in schools across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the grounds that its themes were contrary to Islamic values; in 2007, police in Karachi, Pakistan discovered and defused a car bomb located outside a shopping center where the final Harry Potter novel was scheduled to go on sale that day; and of course, Iran has harped on the Jewish connection to the sorcery themes in the books, saying that "Zionists had spent billions of dollars" on it in order to encourage devil worship, as described above.

The Jewish attitude to Harry Potter, it should be noted, has been a bit more varied. While some rabbis, especially in the hareidi-religious community, have spoken against the series, few have pointed to its emphasis on magic as the reason – and are more likely to lump it together with other popular culture phenomena that can draw the attention of children away from Torah study.

However, there are a fair number of rabbis and Jewish authors who have made deep analyses of the books and movies, and have found what they say are many parallels to Jewish philosophy and thought, with themes such as the power of good over evil, the importance of loyalty and friendship, and the value of doing right vs. the value of preserving light. In an article on, for example, author Shira Albertson says that Harry “has to find the inner strength to act with independence and conviction,” reflecting Hillel's famous saying, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

While one would expect Judaism to be as vociferously opposed to Harry Potter as Christians and Muslims are – after all, magic and sorcery are capital crimes in the Torah - one reason that the Jewish towards Harry Potter is more relaxed may be because of the way Jews practice the Torah. “Jews are used to interpreting the Written Law through the lens of the Oral Law, and thus don't necessarily automatically jump on things that appear 'suspicious' on the surface,” Rabbi Chaim Shapiro of New York told Israel National News. “For example, the death penalty is mentioned numerous times in the Torah for a wide array of sins, but the Talmud tells us that a Court of Jewish Law that killed too frequently – even once in 70 years – was condemned. The Oral Law obviates many of these penalties, so it makes sense that rabbis would look beyond the surface on the Harry Potter issue as well.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck of Neturei Karta welcomes and embraces Ahmadinejad

Dancing Rabbis Take Over Morning Show


Mount Carmel on Fire; JNF-KKL provides first-hand footage and narration of the Mount Carmel Fires from December 2-6, 2010.

Lazer Beams: Members of "The Ray Chew Boys Choir" of Harlem, under the direction of Dr. Eric Turner, sing "Ki Va Moed" on the 2008 Chabad "To Life" Telethon -

Ki Va Moed: The Appointed Time has Come

There's tons of bad news going around - I don't want to repeat the doomsday prophecies, but these are tricky times.
Here's the good news - the closer we get to Moshiach and redemption, the more you'll see people from all backgrounds calling Hashem's name.
Nothing makes me happier than hearing about another person who has started calling Hashem's name in earnest. When you call Hashem, He not only answers, but He takes you where you need to go.
King David says to Hashem (Psalms 102:14), "You shall arise and comfort Zion for it's time to pardon her, for the appointed time has come."
Ki Va Moed means "the appointed time has come." When all the people of the world call begin to call Hashem's name, then you know that Moshiach right around the corner. When you see the Ray Chew's Boys' Ensemble from Harlem singing it in the original Hebrew, then you had better purchase your plane tickets to the Holy Land right away. Emuna Outreach salutes the Chabad Telethon for this magnificent sanctification of Hashem's name. Ray Chew has a powerful and beautiful voice, full of soul; he sure knows how to bring the best out of boys too; I hope you enjoy it as much as we do:

NYT: American Football Gains a Following in Israel

JERUSALEM — On a Thursday night early in December, Pinchas Zerbib took off his traditional cotton skullcap. In its place, he put on a polyester one.
“It’s my Under Armour yarmulke,” Zerbib said. “For practice, it’s better. Plus, it’s still kosher.”
As an orthodox Jew, Zerbib, a native of Israel, believes he must always wear a head covering. He spends his days studying in a yeshiva, or a Talmudic learning institution. But three nights a week, he suits up as a linebacker.
“I sit down and learn all day,” said Zerbib, a 27-year-old student. “I love to do this sport and stay healthy.”
Zerbib is not alone in his newfound appreciation of American football. In its fourth season, the full-pads, full-contact amateur Israel Football League, or I.F.L., is attracting a diverse crowd of players from all over the country. Players vary in age, and some are married with children. The league is 80 percent Israeli, with secular and orthodox Jews playing with and against Israeli Arab, Christian, Thai and even Palestinian players. The league has grown from roughly 80 tackle football players to more than 400.
As popular as the N.F.L. is in the United States, past attempts at spreading American football internationally have had limited success. Leagues like N.F.L. Europe, which shut down in 2007, have had problems drawing fans. But in a country so closely tied to American politics and culture, Israel is quickly gaining a football following. New players are joining each week, and crowds, though small, are steady.
“What we’re seeing is the beginnings,” said Uriel Sturm, the commissioner of the I.F.L. “In Israel, there are two major team sports: soccer and basketball. After that, it’s almost bare. We’re trying to take American football up to that next tier of sports.”
American football is no stranger to Israel. For the past 22 years the organization American Football in Israel, or A.F.I., has run a large flag football league, mainly in Jerusalem. It has offered an escape for American students and workers living in Israel, but only a small group of Israelis seemed interested in the rudimentary version of the game.
“It used to be that the guys were geeks,” said Assaf Graif, a former player and now an assistant for the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Sabres. “In the ’90s only the guys who were really into computers and on the Internet were exposed to the football culture.”
But with more access to the Internet, interest in the American sport gained ground — so much that the enthusiasm to start a tackle league came not from Americans in Israel but from native Israelis. In 2005, a group of them went to the head of American Football in Israel, Steve Leibowitz. “They said, ‘We’ve been playing tackle football on our own, but without equipment,’” Leibowitz said. “I said, basically, ‘You guys are a bunch of morons.’ ”
Leibowitz helped organize teams, gather regulation equipment and find volunteers to help run the I.F.L. In 2007, the league began with four teams. Since then, four more have been added. Israeli enthusiasm took the league only so far. Long before the I.F.L. started, Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the N.F.L.’s New England Patriots and a practicing Jew, donated money to build the first and only football stadium in Israel to house the flag football league. Kraft Stadium, situated in central Jerusalem, has lights, stands and artificial turf. In the center of the field is a Patriots logo.
“Building a stadium there was as hard as building a stadium here,” Kraft said in a telephone interview. After a year of political maneuvering and nearly $725,000 in donations from Kraft, Leibowitz and Kraft got the stadium built in 1999. But in 2007, when the idea of a tackle league playing in the stadium was brought up to Kraft, he was hesitant. He thought such a dangerous sport played by people with little to no experience would be a liability. Still, the Israelis were persistent, and he eventually supported the league, which is now named the Kraft Family I.F.L.
“It definitely helps that a lot of the guys here are 21-, 22-year-olds that just came out of the elite combat units,” said Yonah Mishaan, who coaches the Jerusalem Lions.
Mishaan was born in Los Angeles and moved with his family to Israel when he was 13. A brawny 38-year-old of Syrian descent, Mishaan owns one of the few American sports bars in Jerusalem, appropriately named the Lion’s Den. With a seven-hour time difference from New York, the bar regularly stays open past sunrise on Monday mornings so fans can watch Sunday night N.F.L. games.
“Football is such a cult here,” Mishaan said. “People just stay up all night, and then at 7:30, they’re out to work.”
While the league has found a niche audience, many Israelis are still surprised to hear of its existence. Crowds consist of family and friends of players, and they do not always understand the action on the field. At a recent Saturday afternoon game in Tel Aviv between the Pioneers and the visiting Herzliya Hammer, a first-year team in the league, fans of the new squad clapped and cheered after every play. Early in the game, the Hammer quarterback dramatically scrambled and threw an incomplete pass — and the crowd burst into applause. The Hammer lost, 56-18.
Equipment problems are a continual source of headaches. Because many football companies do not ship to the country, players are forced to fend for themselves to get proper equipment. For many, this means having an American friend buy the gear and ship it to Israel, nearly doubling the cost.
“Every time I go to America, I buy up all the cleats I can,” said Graif, the Tel Aviv assistant, who often travels for medical conferences. “I know I’ll be able to sell them easy.”
On a recent Thursday night, the Lions faced off against the Beer Sheva Black Swarm, a second-year team with little experience. As one of the original four teams and a three-time Israel Bowl contender, the Lions are one of the more seasoned and well-equipped teams in the league. Even so, one player on the Lions had not received his jersey through customs and threw on an extra-large white T-shirt over his shoulder pads. His coach used a marker to scribble No. 86 on his back.
The game was unmistakably that of an amateur league. Tackles were missed more often than they were successful, 11 fumbles were committed and referees had to stop the game for minutes at a time to argue a ruling among themselves more than once.
But some talent came through. The Lions won, 36-6, in a dominating fashion, proving themselves an experienced and organized team.
Could this one day be a breeding ground for future football stars?
“Now I see it as a great amateur sport,” Kraft said. “It’d be great to one day see players developed to a higher level.”