Israel Briefs 1-24-12

Download this story in Microsoft Word format here.

Justice Ministry opens investigation of Palestinian Mufti’s call to kill Jews

Click photo to download. Caption: In this video, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem speaks on the Muslim destiny to kill Jews. Credit: Palestinian Media Watch.

Israel’s Justice Ministry on Monday launched an initial investigation into the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority representative Sheik Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, who recently publicly called for the killing of the Jews, Israel Hayom reported. The mufti said such murders were justified by Islamic text.

President Shimon Peres met with Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Monday, and said the mufti’s words were extreme and that law enforcement officials must use every means at their disposal to prevent similar public statements from being made.

However, the Mufti explained that he simply quoted Islamic tradition and therefore is not responsible for the content of his message.

“We are not calling to kill Jews and we did not call to kill Jews, we never said ‘kill Jews.’ The Hadith says [it]. I am not responsible for the Hadith. The Hadith is in the book. The Hadith is a noble Hadith, it is not my Hadith,” he told the Israeli radio station Reshet Bet on Sunday. 

—JointMedia News Service

Report: Hamas terrorists hid in Jerusalem Red Cross for more than a year

Two Hamas terrorists and members of the Palestinian parliament were arrested after hiding inside a Red Cross compound in Jerusalem for more than a year, the Washington Post reported. The Red Cross confirmed that Khaled Abu Arfa and Mohammed Totah hid in the compound from July 2010 to escape Israeli arrest.

Not long after the men were arrested, the Red Cross compound was stormed by a group of Palestinians “who acted violently against Red Cross staff and then left,” although no one was hurt, said Red Cross spokeswoman Cecilia Goin.

“Hamas forcing itself on the Red Cross is not new. It raises serious questions about the abuse by Hamas of Red Cross neutrality and about the impotence of the Red Cross to counter such abuse,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

—JointMedia News Service

Migron villagers agree to new, possibly unenforceable, evacuation deal

Villager leaders on Monday agreed to a compromise regarding the evacuation of the outpost of Migron, Israel Hayom reported. Following a motion filed by the left-leaning group Peace Now, the High Court of Justice ruled over the summer that the community, home to some 50 families, was built on privately owned Palestinian land and ordered its evacuation by the end of this March.

According to a ruling in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, Arabs who demanded that Migron be demolished but later withdrew their lawsuit—due to lack of proof of ownership—must pay NIS 7,000 to the residents of Migron and NIS 12,000 to the state of Israel, a report in the Israel National News said.

Initially, Minister Without Portfolio Ze’ev Binyamin (Benny) Begin (Likud) suggested relocating several structures in Migron to a nearby stretch of land owned by the state, vacating the disputed land. But villagers agreed to a different compromise on Monday, submitted by Likud MK Danny Danon, which stipulates relocating the families, but keeping the current structures intact as agricultural farm houses.

“We managed to have the cake and eat it too—abide by the law and preserve the settlement,” Danon said Monday.

It is not clear, however, whether Danon’s compromise will be adopted by the government, or whether it is legally enforceable.

—JointMedia News Service

20 years later, China-Israel relationship a boon to both nations

Click photo to download. Caption: The flag of China. Credit: PD.Jan. 24 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of a diplomatic relationship between Israel and China.

The relationship between the two nations is only set to improve, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post. Due to Israel’s size, the nation has a small domestic market, and to offset this, Israel could sell items such mobile phones and notebook computers to China—whose large size and continued urbanization are bound to increase the number of interested consumers.

This same urbanization is likely to increase the pressure on the nation’s already limited environmental resources. Israel recycles about 75 percent of its water, and by 2014 it is expected to supply most of its water needs using desalination, leaving enough water for exports. This and other Israeli technologies addressing the shortage of water, as well as solar and thermal energy for electricity, could benefit China immensely. On a cultural and social level, the Israeli government plans to allocate NIS 110 million for bringing more than 250 Chinese students to Israel.

—JointMedia News Service

Palestinian women organize hunger strike against PA

Citing a “grave” situation of harassment including threats of being shot in the leg, female employees of the Palestinian Women’s Affairs Ministry organized a “hunger strike till death,” Gulf News-Dubai reported.

Female activist Manar Al Natour said the ministry “is now a source that negatively affects the rights of women in Palestine. This is an intolerable situation.”

Palestinian government spokesman Dr. Gassan al-Khateeb, however, denied the claims of the Ramallah-based workers.

—JointMedia News Service

Snow turns Mount Hermon into Israeli winter wonderland

Click photo to download. Caption: Skiing on Mount Hermon. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.Old Man Winter made a brief but powerful appearance Sunday, conquering Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights in one swift blow and spattering other parts of the country with a blanket of fluffy snow.

The entire Hermon and Golan Heights was left covered in a hefty blanket of white. Mountains and high hilltops in the center of the country also received a short visit from snowflakes courtesy of Old Man Winter's close friend, Jack Frost. The rest of the country had to settle for barrages of hail, heavy rain, strong winds and biting cold.

Schoolchildren from Kibbutz Merom Golan and the surrounding area were sent home early for fear that the roads would be blocked later in the day, giving them a taste of that elusive child’s dream, the Snow Day.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Israelis respond to Arab hacking

After thousands of Israeli credit card numbers were posted online in recent weeks, Israel continues to be targeted by hackers, according to reports. The hacking has even spread outside of Israel to nations supporting the Jewish state—but Israeli hackers have fought back.

Last week hackers shut down the websites of El Al and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and invaded websites in Shiloh, a town in Samaria. In addition, anti-Israel messages were posted on the websites of Azerbaijan’s Interior and Communications ministries, its governing party and constitutional court. Azerbaijan is a Muslim country and an ally of Israel.

“We had hacked some websites in the past but from now on, I, OxOmar, decided to hack only Israeli sites to harm it and make it suffer,” said the Saudi hacker, according to Israel National News. “I live in Riyadh and I am fighting for the children of Palestine… I want to tell these children to resist and that victory is very close.” 

“I will finish Israel electronically,” OxOmar warned. “I am one of the stronger haters of Israel. The end of Israel is very close.”

In response, a group of Israeli hackers calling itself “IDF-Team” crashed the Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi stock market web pages, Israel Hayom reported. Another Israeli hacker calling himself “0xOmer” retaliated against the Saudi credit card hacker by exposing the credit card information of hundreds of Saudi citizens.

—JointMedia News Service

Palestinian Authority requests release of prisoners

Attorney Yitzhak Molcho, Israel’s envoy in negotiations with the Palestinians, met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jordan on Saturday night to continue another round of exploratory policy talks, as part of an effort to renew the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. This is the fourth time these representatives have met in the last two weeks, and so far no breakthroughs have been made for renewing negotiations.

One of the Palestinian requests submitted during the meeting was the release of 20 prisoners, among them Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament and prominent Hamas leader Aziz Duwaik, detained most recently on Jan. 19 for what Israel called “involvement in terrorist attacks,” as well as Marwan Barghouti, founder of Tanzim, the military wing of Fatah, and Ahmad Saadat, convicted of organizing the assassination of former Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.

A political official in Jerusalem on Sunday night confirmed that the Palestinians had requested the prisoners’ release, but said Israeli has no intention whatsoever of responding to the request.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Religious students won’t serve in IDF, petition states

One hundred yeshiva students have signed a petition stating that they will not enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces unless they are allowed freedom of religion, the Israel National News reported.

The petition is a reaction to a new IDF policy stating soldiers cannot avoid army entertainment events in which women are singing. The IDF policy was passed after several religious soldiers wanted to leave such a performance and were demoted as a result.

“We are sorry to say that especially lately, processes are taking place in which there are attempts to force soldiers to disobey the mitzvot of the Torah through orders (as in the case of listening to women's singing),” the petition states. However, Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz criticized the petition, stating that “Loyalty to the IDF should not be trifled with,” Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

—JointMedia News Service

Philanthropist to fund innovative medical training research in Israel

The foundation of U.S. philanthropist Lawrence N. Field will give $2 million to the Field Family Foundation Medical Simulation Center at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel. The facility’s research will help medical staff train to handle medical emergencies.

The Field Medical Simulation Center is an innovative facility in Israel that will simulate human illness or injury using electronic mannequins that exhibit life-life behavior. The advanced technology will enable doctors, faculty, and medical students to train using highly realistic experiences in real time.

“It gives us great pleasure to help BGU expand its role as a center of excellence in providing state-of-the-art training to skilled medical professionals who will provide that kind of care to patients in Israel and many other nations,” Field, a real-estate developer with properties in New York and Southern California, said in a press release.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on January 23, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel.