Israel Briefs 12-26-11

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UNESCO defunds PA magazine that glorified Hitler

Click photo to download. Caption: "Deception: Betraying the Peace Process" (front cover pictured), by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, reveals that a Palestinian Authority educational magazine included an essay that glorifies Hitler. Credit: Palestinian Media Watch.An excerpt from Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik’s book Deception: Betraying the Peace Process reveals that Zayzafuna, a Palestinian Authority educational magazine, included an essay that glorifies Hitler, Palestinian Media Watch reported.

Although most of the magazine encourages positive things like family values and education, it also encourages jihad and hatred of Jews. In the essay, a girl asks Hitler “You’re the one who killed the Jews?” and he responds: “Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world.”

According to the source, this is not surprising. In many locations, streets and events are named after Dalal Mughrabi, who hijacked a bus and killed its 37 passengers. After PMW reported on the Palestinian magazine, UNESCO announced it will stop funding the magazine. 

“The organization, which is deeply committed to the development and promotion of education about the Holocaust, disassociates itself from any statement that is counter to its founding principles and goals of building tolerance in the full respect for human rights and human dignity,” a letter from UNESCO’s Director-General stated.

—JointMedia News Service

Netanyahu: No peace talks if Hamas joins PA government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday that he would refuse to negotiate with a Palestinian government that included representatives of the Islamist terrorist group Hamas.

Click photo to download. Caption: Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: PD.Netanyahu made the remarks just days after Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo to discuss the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian umbrella body whose largest faction is Abbas' Fatah, so as to include Hamas.

Speaking to Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said: “If Hamas joins the Palestinian government, I will not hold peace negotiations. Progress would have to be made in keeping with the current security arrangements, which are getting more and more difficult to maintain in light of the regional turmoil.”

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Israeli politician’s car hit with firebombs

Kadima politician Otnier Schneller’s vehicle was firebombed twice last week as he was driving near the Binaymin community of Ofra. He was headed to a Hanukkah celebration at his daughter's home with his wife and two grandchildren when the attacks occurred, the Israel National News reported. 

Neither of the bombs actually hit the vehicle although both fell very close. Schneller has been targeted with similar firebombs three times in the past already. 

“Fortunately, MK Schneller was unhurt but this is not self-evident. The left and the media have forgotten who Israel’s real enemies are. When you shed the blood of settlers for two weeks, generalize and blame everyone for price tag incidents, it’s no wonder that Arab terrorism has reared its head. The terrorists understand the signs,” a statement by the National Union party said.

National Union Chairman MK Yaakov Katz also called on Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Defense Minister to fight this terrorism, which has worsened, in his opinion, since the completion of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

—JointMedia News Service

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity celebrates Christmas

Click photo to download. Caption: The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Credit: Antoine Taveneaux. Pilgrims from around the world gathered Sunday at the Bethlehem church known for being Jesus’s traditional birthplace, the Associated Press reported. More than 100,000 people are estimated to have come to Bethlehem for Saturday’s Christmas Eve.

The Church of the Nativity was packed for Christmas Day Mass as worshipers prayed and kissed a statue of baby Jesus.

“Lots of pilgrims from around the world are coming to be here on Christmas. We wanted to be part of the action. This is the place, this is where it all started. It doesn’t get any more special than that,” said Don Moore, 41, a pilgrim from Berkeley, Calif.

Three thousand Christians currently live in Gaza, but most belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, which celebrates Christmas in January. However the Israeli government did transport 500 Gazan Christians who do celebrate Christmas in December to Bethlehem, which is in the West Bank, for the services.

—JointMedia News Service

Report: Jerusalem’s Christian population has decreased since 1988

Jerusalem is the only city in the world in which 15 different Christian communities live side by side, but the percentage of Christians living in the city has decreased since 1988, a new report released by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies on Sunday said.

The report, titled “Christians and Christianity in Jerusalem,” and released on Christmas Eve, noted that while Jerusalem’s Christian population grew steadily from the end of the Six-Day War, from 12,900 in 1967 to around 14,400 in 1988, the number of Christians in the city has decreased from 2.9 percent in 1988 to 1.9 percent at the end of 2010.

The reasons for the decreasing percentage, according to the report, are a low birthrate, and a lack of Christian immigration to the capital city combined with a pattern of Christian Arab emigration abroad since the beginning of the 20th century.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Ancient clay seal discovered in Israel

Israel’s Antiquity Authority unveiled a coin-sized clay seal from the Second Temple era, the Israel National News reported.

The same size as the modern New Israeli Shekel, the seal bears the Aramaic inscription, “It is pure.” It was originally discovered near at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, under a layer of soil dated to the first century BCE, according to archeologists. The seal is thought to have been used to indicate that an object could be used for rituals performed by Temple priests.

“This is the first time an object of this kind has been found. It is direct archaeological evidence of Jewish activity on the Temple Mount during the Second Temple era,” said Archaeologist Eli Shukron of the Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, who excavated the coin.

Other items discovered in the same excavation were items from the Second Temple and Hasmonean periods, including oil.

—JointMedia News Service

Study shows benefits to healthy diet besides weight loss

A new study published in Diabetes Care and conducted at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel showed that long-term dieting leads to weight loss in the first four to six months followed by weight regain. This phenomenon often discourages people from continuously maintaining a healthy diet, but the research shows there are greater benefits to healthy eating beyond weight loss.

322 participants were randomly divided into groups that continuously consumed either a low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carbohydrate diet. They then conducted metabolic testing of the participants’ blood, showing the despite eventual regaining of weight, certain markers associated with the health of different organs, such as the heart and the brain, improved.

“This study tells us that we may all have tunnel vision on weight when it comes to healthy dieting. Although maintaining ideal body weight is linked to better health, when it comes to adopting healthier dietary habits in mild to moderately obese people, there are benefits beyond weight loss, such as decreasing inflammatory tone and elevating the ‘good cholesterol’ HDL,” said BGU Faculty of Health Sciences Prof. Assaf Rudich, according to a press release.

—JointMedia News Service

20 years later, Russian immigration to Israel has huge impact

On December 25, 1991 the USSR officially fell apart after Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned. The end of the Communist nation and the Cold War opened the doors for Russian Jews to emigrate, bringing an enormous number of immigrants to Israel.

Before the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russian Jews who managed to escape or were allowed to leave went to the United States. But when the U.S. stopped considering Soviet émigrés as refugees in 1991, more than a million Russian Jews immigrated to Israel.

The Russian Aliya of the 1990s significantly changed the demographics of the state of Israel. Twenty years later, 15 percent of Israel’s population hails from the former Soviet Union. Today, Russian is still as commonly heard on the streets of Israel as Hebrew or Arabic. The new immigrants also formed powerful political parties and improved the workforce with their strong medical and scientific education.

Still, years later the identity of the Russian Aliya to Israel remains somewhat controversial. When the USSR fell, the Israeli government extended the Right of Return to anyone with a single Jewish grandparent. As a result, many of the Soviet immigrants were actually not recognized as Jewish by the rabbinate, and the issue continues to play a great role in Israeli political discussions.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on December 26, 2011 and filed under Briefs, Israel.