JNS BRIEFS 5-22-12


The latest news in the Jewish world, generated by JNS

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Top officer: Hezbollah, Syrian air defenses will keep Israel very busy

In the event of a future conflict with neighboring hostile countries, Israel will need to allot several hours to neutralizing its enemies’ air defense systems before taking any other action, Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh said Tuesday at a defense forum, Israel Hayom reported.

Israel’s enemies have been investing heavily in air defense, Naveh said, using Syria to illustrate his argument.

“Syria has invested $3 billion toward its build up of such systems,” Naveh said, adding that the amount of the investment suggests that Damascus considers air defense as being of greater importance than other military projects.

Naveh also warned that Hezbollah has amassed 60,000 rockets and missiles, “10 times the size of its stockpile in the 2006 Second Lebanon War.”

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Mount Everest. Credit: Pavel Novak.Israeli turns away from Everest summit to rescue Turkish climber

Israeli mountain climber Nadav Ben Yehuda gave up on his dream to climb Mt. Everest with just 300 meters to go before reaching the summit. Within sight of the summit, Ben Yehuda turned around to save an injured Turkish climber.

According to Israel Radio, which broke the story on Tuesday morning, Ben Yehuda himself sustained injuries during his rescue of the Turkish climber. According to the report, Ben Yehuda, 24, suffered severe frostbite and may lose his fingers.

After the rescue, the two climbers were airlifted off the mountain by helicopter and are now recovering in a hospital in Kathmandu.

Speaking to Israel Radio from the hospital, Ben Yehuda said that there were several bodies strewn along the path to the mountain’s summit and that, in addition to helping the Turkish climber, he also assisted a British climber and a Georgian national.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Tel Aviv University to host Chinese executives

Tel Aviv University will host a delegation of Chinese business executives to participate in a special development program conducted by the LAHAV executive education program. The delegation of about 1,000 senior executives and entrepreneurs will come from the city of Nanjing, capital of the Jiangsu province in China.

The university plans to hold “Nanjing Day” on its campus in honor of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Israel 20 years ago. The delegates will meet with academic officials and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

“The program of studies for senior officials and leading entrepreneurs from the city of Nanjing, the first of its kind at Tel Aviv University, opens opportunities for important academic, scientific and research activities,” said Prof. Joseph Klafter, president of Tel Aviv University, according to Globes.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Albert Einstein. Credit: PD.Israel approves Albert Einstein museum 

The Israeli government has unanimously approved the establishment of a museum in Jerusalem dedicated to Albert Einstein, the father of the theory of relativity. Israeli President Shimon Peres initiated the idea. The museum will be built on the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University.

“This is not just a tourist matter. This is an issue of the greatest value that will grant recognition to the sparks of genius that were hidden in our people and which broke through with Einstein,” Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

In his will, Einstein left his personal papers and intellectual copyrights, as well as the right to use his image, to Hebrew University. 

—JointMedia News Service

Ultra-Orthodox men rally on dangers of Internet in NYC

About 40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men attended a rally Sunday focused on the dangers of the Internet. The rally, held at the New York Met’s Citi Field in New York City, addressed the religiously responsible use of modern technology.

Although women did not attend the event, many watched it broadcast live from schools and event halls, reported NBC. Eytan Kobre, a lawyer who is the spokesman for the event’s organizers, said the Internet “does pose a challenge to us in various aspects of our lives,” citing gambling, pornography and social media as things that undermine religious observance and prevent followers from praying without interruption and focusing.

“There’s a spectrum of usage and there’s a spectrum of how people are dealing with it,” he said.

—JointMedia News Service

Former Arafat financial advisor threatens to expose PA scandals

The former financial advisor of Yasser Arafat has threatened to reveal corruption scandals in Palestinian Authority leadership. In response, the PA has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Click photo to download. Caption: Yasser Arafat with Palestinian National Authority cabinet members at a meeting in Copenhagen, 1999. Credit: Hans Jørn Storgaard Andersen.Mohammed Rashid used to handle enormous amounts of money for the PA under Arafat, including funds that often came as donations from international donors.

In a recent interview with the Al Arabiya satellite network, Rashid said current PA President Mahmoud Abbas “would take millions of dollars from the Palestinian Authority and from the Palestinian private sector in order to send money to fund Arab parties that competed in Israel’s Knesset elections.”

Rashid himself was an active participant in embezzlement under Arafat and became extremely wealthy—he is now worth more than $500 million. Now, Rashid is asking for an examination of the origin of Abbas’s fortune, estimated at more than $100 million. 

—JointMedia News Service

Iran ‘committed to Israel’s annihilation,’ says top general

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi on Sunday said Iran remains committed to the “full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end,” according to the Iranian Fars news agency.

Firouzabadi “reiterated the Iranian nation and supreme leader’s emphasis on the necessity of support for the oppressed Palestinian nation and its causes,” and noted, “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel.”

The top military official reminded those present that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei considers “defending Palestine a full religious duty and believes that any kind of governance and rule by anyone other than the Palestinians as an instance of usurpation,” Fars reported.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Denmark, South Africa to label products from ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’

Denmark and South Africa both plan to place special labels on products it imports from Judea and Samaria, with the labels noting that the products came from illegal West Bank settlements.

“This is a step that clearly shows consumers that the products are produced under conditions that not only the Danish government, but also European governments, do not approve of. It will then be up to consumers whether they choose to buy the products or not,” said Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal, according to Globes.

Sovndal added that the new rule should not be viewed as a boycott of Israeli goods, but only of goods manufactured in illegal settlements in the West Bank. Labeling would also be optional for supermarkets. In South Africa, Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Rob Davies said the measure was intended to “not incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory as products of Israel.”

—JointMedia News Service

Israeli police arrest nine-member Palestinian terror cell

The Israel Security Agency, the Israel Defense Forces and police recently apprehended a suspected nine-member Palestinian terror cell from Ramallah and the surrounding area, Israel Hayom reported. Security forces allege the cell made multiple attempts to abduct Israelis, with the goal of using them as bargaining chips in swaps for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, security officials revealed Sunday.

The members of the alleged terror cell, apprehended in March, were indicted in the Judea Military Court on suspicion of attempted aggravated kidnapping in addition to other charges. Security forces said Manzer Ramadan, 22, from Ramallah, led the cell.

On March 11, members of the cell allegedly attacked an Israeli driver on his way to Kiryat Sefer, near Modiin. According to the charges, after blocking his vehicle they tried dragging him out of the car, but he managed to escape. A day later, cell members allegedly attacked a female driver near the community of Ma’aleh Levona in Samaria, but she too managed to flee.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: A view of Jerusalem. Credit: Berthold Werner.Israel marks Jerusalem Day 

Israel celebrated Jerusalem Day last weekend, marking the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War after Jordan had controlled the eastern part of the city for 19 years. Festive prayer sessions were held in synagogues throughout Israel, marking 45 years since the historic reunification.

According to Israel National News, the government held a special session Sunday at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, where 36 paratroopers died during the worst Six Day War battles. The government also used the occasion to discuss ways to develop Jerusalem’s tourism industry and the rest of the city’s economy.

—JointMedia News Service

Activists angered by inclusion of Israeli national bird in UK quiz

Click photo to download. Caption: The hoopoe, Israel's national bird. Credit: Keta.Anti-Israel activists were infuriated after the Morning Star, a British newspaper, included the Israeli national bird (the hoopoe) in its daily quiz.

The newspaper has “always been the newspaper you could rely on to support the cause of the Palestinians,” said Linda Claire, the chairwoman of Manchester’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in a letter to the editor. “Is the Star not aware there’s a cultural boycott going on?” Claire’s husband asked in another letter.

As complaints began rolling in regarding these letters, the activists responded that “It was not the bird we object to but what this bird represents—the racist and apartheid State of Israel.”

—JointMedia News Service

Israeli doctors to perform face transplant

Dr. Eyal Gur, director of the Plastic Surgery Department at the Tel Aviv Ichilov hospital, and Dr. Arik Zaretsky, head of the Micro-Surgery Division of the Plastic Surgery Department, are preparing to undertake Israel’s first full face transplant, an operation which has only been performed 21 times around the world and is considered the most complex procedure in medicine.

While the patient has not been selected, some of the candidates are children, reported Israel Hayom. If a child is chosen, Israel will become the first country to conduct such an operation on a minor.

“The people being considered are holed up and isolated in their homes,” Gur said. “They do not allow themselves to go outside because of their appearance. I hope that we can help them change their lives dramatically—with the help of another person…whose family was generous and courageous enough to donate his organs for the sake of rescuing another human being.” 

The operation could take anywhere from 24 to 36 hours.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Credit: PD.Ahmadinejad wants to attend London Olympics despite being barred

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wants to attend the London Olympic Games to be “beside Iranian athletes,” but so far the British authorities are not allowing it.

Fifty Iranian athletes have qualified to participate in the Olympics in several sports, including weight lifting, wrestling, shooting, track and field, and table tennis, reported Israel Hayom.

British officials confirmed that they are able to refuse entry to anyone who wants to attend the games if it is proved that the person is “unconducive to the public good.” Last year, Iran objected to the logo of the 2012 Olympics, saying it vaguely resembled the word “Zion.”

—JointMedia News Service

AIPAC asks Congress, administration to ‘remain united’ on Iran

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) praised the House of Representatives for overwhelmingly passing a resolution that “rejects any U.S. policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran,” while urging Congress and the Obama administration to “remain united” on the Iranian threat.

H.Res. 568—whose chief supporters include Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA), as well as Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)—emphasizes the “vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.” The resolution passed 401-11.

“As the evidence of Iran’s illicit activity continues to mount, Congress and the administration must remain united in preventing the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from acquiring the capability to build an atomic bomb,” AIPAC said in a May 17 press release.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: World Economic Forum.Former Arafat aide: Abbas gave millions to Israeli Arab parties

Mohammed Rashid, the former right-hand man and economic adviser to former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, is accusing Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority of providing financial support to Arab parties in the Knesset.

Rashid, who resides in London, is regarded as one of the world’s most affluent Palestinians. He made these remarks in an interview with the Al Arabiya satellite network. The interview was conducted after the Palestinian Authority announced on Wednesday that he is being sought for interrogation in Ramallah on suspicion of involvement in corruption and the embezzlement of tens of millions of dollars in public funds.

An international arrest warrant has even been issued for Rashid at the Palestinians’ request.

“Abbas would take millions of dollars from the Palestinian Authority and from the Palestinian private sector in order to send money to fund Arab parties that competed in Israel’s Knesset elections,” Rashid accused. However, he refused to say which Israeli elections were involved or to name the parties he claims received Palestinian money.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Netanyahu, Peres may get their own ‘Air Force One’

An inter-ministerial committee on May 17 recommended that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres be afforded their own special airplane, Israel Hayom reported. Netanyahu, who established the committee in 2009 just after he was elected to the post of prime minister, is said to have accepted the recommendation.

Among other things, the committee considered the plane’s cost and security issues. Israel’s prime ministers have up to now contracted aircraft from El Al, the country’s flag carrier, and Arkia, a smaller private carrier, for internal flights and flights out of the country.

According to data provided by the Prime Minister’s Office, a special aircraft would cost more than $30 million, the equivalent to the cost of flights for the prime minister and president over a period of two years. The aircraft would be in use for more than two years, making it more of a long-term investment.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: The May 28 cover of Time Magazine featuring Benjamin NetanyahuTime Magazine puts Netanyahu on new cover

The cover of the newest issue of Time Magazine features Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the title reading “King Bibi” and the caption reading “He conquered Israel, but will Netanyahu now make peace—or war?”

Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel writes in the cover story that Netanyahu “is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion…His approval rating, roughly 50 percent, is at an all-time high…Like his father, he has an almost mystical belief in the abiding power of anti-Semitism, as though it were more biological than cultural…The question is whether he is a prisoner of that history or he can write a new narrative.”

The 5,000-word profile will appear in the May 28 issue of the magazine, and doesn’t answer the cover’s question directly. The story does, however, address Netanyahu’s acute fear of a nuclear Iran and his skepticism regarding negotiations with Palestinian leadership. “Bibi would like to be a hero, but he will not be one at the expense of Israel’s security,” Stengel writes.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: John Cleese. Credit: Paul Boxley.Monty Python actor to star in Israeli film

British comedian John Cleese has signed on to act in Israeli writer-director Reshef Levy’s next film, “Hunting Elephants,” alongside Israeli actors.

Cleese, who is known for starring in “Monty Python,” will play a British lord “who gets mixed up with a group of Israeli misfits who hatch a plan to rob a bank to get the money they need to save their family home,” reported Haaretz. The group decides to rob the bank after a 12-year-old boy loses his father at an accident at the bank, with the bank refusing to take responsibility.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Bashar al-Assad. Credit: PD.Barak: Assad is ‘doomed,’ but we must apply more pressure

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged the international community to increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying that he is “doomed” and that his departure would cause serious setbacks to Iran, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

“I think that a way should be found … to change (the regime) in Syria, preferably (using) the Yemenite example, namely to let Assad and his group go out and ... not to dismantle the party, the intelligence, the armed forces,” Barack said, according to AFP.

Barak’s remarks come as Assad blames the violence in his country on foreign mercenaries. “[The mercenaries] are being detained and we are preparing to show them to the world,” Assad said, emphasizing that foreign nations should refrain from interfering in Syrian affairs.

“If you saw chaos in Syria you may be infected by it yourself,” the Syrian president added, according to Fox News.

—JointMedia News Service 

CAIR official compares treatment of Muslims to Jews under Nazi rule

Zead Ramadan, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) New York chapter, recently compared the treatment of Muslims in America to how the Nazis treated Jews during the Holocaust.

“In Nazi Germany, they targeted the minority, the Jewish minority,” Ramadan told Iran’s Press TV, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “I don’t think we will ever get there, but I don’t think we should allow the road to continue to be built towards that direction because the comments that are being made against Muslims are very eerily echoing the comments that were being made against Jews by Nazis.”

CAIR has been labeled by federal prosecutors as an “unindicted co-conspirator” supporting the terrorist group Hamas, and has also been listed by the U.S. government as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. 

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: The logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Credit: PD.IOC declines to honor Israelis slain at 1972 Munich Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected Israel’s request to hold a minute of silence for the 11 Israeli players and coaches killed by Palestinian “Black September” terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

“The IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the [Israeli] athletes on several occasions,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said.

This year’s Summer Olympics in London marks the 40th anniversary of the murders in Munich. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who made the request of the IOC, said May 17 that Rogge’s response was “unacceptable.”

Rogge added that “within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”

In addition to Israel’s request, an online petition asking for the minute of silence was launched at www.munich11.org by Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, and the Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, NY.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Credit: PD.Ben-Gurion University, Cincinnati hospital partnering on pediatric initiative

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is teaming with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCH) to improve the design of pediatric medical devices.

“The pediatric sector of medical device development has been neglected throughout the years and only a small fraction of medical R&D funding has been devoted to pediatric medicine,” said Netta Cohen, chief executive officer of BGN Technologies, the Israeli university’s technology transfer company.

In the new partnership, CCH doctors will provide “detailed insight on specific medical device challenges and development opportunities,” according to American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. BGU engineers and technology researchers will then access that information in order to match development opportunities with technical solutions.

Dr. Richard Azizkhan, the Lester W. Martin Chair of Pediatric Surgery at CCH, said current devices used to treat children “are actually miniaturized adult devices that do not sufficiently address the clinical needs of children.”

—JointMedia News Service

Family of terror victim to be paid $323 million by Iran and Syria

Iran and Syria must pay $323 million to the family of Daniel Wultz, who was killed six years ago at age 16 along with 10 others in a terrorist attack by Islamic Jihad, following the efforts of the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center.

Shurat Hadin, an advocacy group representing victims of Palestinian terror, won a $323 judgment in a Washington, D.C. court for the Wultz family, of Florida, the Associated Press reported.

Islamic Jihad is financially backed by Iran, while Syria provides the group with territory for training, said Shuran Hadin member Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, according to the AP.

“When a state chooses to uses terror as a policy tool, as Iran and Syria continue to do, that state forfeits its sovereign immunity and deserves unadorned condemnation,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling. “Barbaric acts like the April 17, 2006 suicide bombing have no place in civilized society and present a moral depravity that knows no bounds.”

—JointMedia News Service

Top strategic thinker: ‘Attack Iran and launch a regional peace initiative’

Yehezkel Dror, professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has released an analysis on the need to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The attack should coupled with a comprehensive Israeli-led peace initiative, Dror said.

“Israel cannot leave the future of its national security to decision by others,” he said. “If Iranian advances towards nuclear weapons are not halted, Israel will have to attack Iranian nuclear facilities while they are still vulnerable. A violent Iranian reaction by Iran is to be expected, but its maximum costs to Israel, the U.S. and all of the Middle East are much smaller than those stemming from Iranian possession of nuclear weapons.”

According to Dror, the only strategy that will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is if Israel combines “an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities with presentation of a credible comprehensive Middle East peace initiative.”

—JointMedia News Service

Foreign lawyers gain ability to work in Israel 

Israeli Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz announced that foreign lawyers will now have permission to work in Israel. The Ministry of Finance hopes that the decision will open the Israeli market to international law firms and other businesses.

Additionally, the government hopes Israeli customers of foreign law firms will now have somewhere to turn to inside the country. However, foreign attorneys will still be bound by Israeli ethical guidelines, and foreign firms will need to have at least NIS 2 million in insurance in order to operate in the country, reported Globes. 

—JointMedia News Service

Interim CEO to take over as JDC launches search

Click photo to download. Caption: JDC CEO Steven Schwager. Credit: JFNA.In the wake of the announcement that American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Executive Vice President and CEO Steven Schwager will step down as CEO, JDC has named veteran Jewish community executive and leader Darrell Friedman as its interim CEO effective July 1. The organization plans to launch an immediate search for a permanent CEO.

Friedman spent 17 years as CEO of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and has been a strategic consultant to major national and international Jewish organizations.

“Darrell’s proven leadership and expertise, along with his years of experience with JDC, will be of great value to our organization over the coming months as we continue to address the critical challenges faced by Jews worldwide,” said JDC President Penny Blumenstein.

—JointMedia News Service

Israeli national team features Arab swimmer

An Arab-Israeli swimmer will represent Israel in the European Swimming Championships, which take place May 22-27, reported Israel Hayom. Jowan Qupty, 22, lives in Jerusalem.

Qupty was originally not included as part of the national team, but appealed the decision and was eventually granted a slot. If he performs well at the competition, he could go on to compete in the London Olympic Games this summer.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: The UC-Irvine campus. Credit: Complex01. UC-Irvine hosts supporters of terror and anti-Israel activists

Several anti-Israel speakers participated in a “Palestine Liberation Week” event sponsored by the Muslim Student Union at the University of California-Irvine from May 7-10.

One of the speakers was Oakland imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali, known to support the terrorist groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. According to Campus Watch, he has also made anti-Semitic comments and suggested that Jews were behind 9-11.

“The current financial crisis and collapse, the architects of it are Zionists,” Malik Ali told a crowd of more than 150 people, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “Whether you’re talking about [Alan] Greenspan or whether you’re talking about [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner or whether you’re talking about [former White House economic adviser Lawrence [Summers] or whether you’re talking about [Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd] Blankfein, or whether you’re talking about [JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie] Dimon—I’m saying Zionism corrupts you, Zionism corrupts you.”

Other speakers were Ben White, a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supporter who has written for the Electronic Intifada and other anti-Israel publications, as well as University of California-Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian, who has compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Holocaust and Israelis to Nazis.

In February 2010, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren was interrupted by 11 protesters—who among other things shouted “How many Palestinians did you kill?”—when he spoke at UC-Irvine.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Norman Finkelstein. Credit: Miguel de Icaza.BBC gives airtime to Norman Finkelstein, who calls Israel ‘lunatic state’

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently lent the airtime of its flagship news program to Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering.

On the “HARDtalk” program, Finkelstein called Israel a “lunatic state.” He criticized Israel’s involvement in the 2006 Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead from 2008-2009, and also labeled the country’s leaders as “cheerleaders” for the war in Iraq.

“Now [Israel] talks about attacking Iran,” Finklestein said May 8. “If you read the Israeli papers every day they talk about—should we attack Gaza? Should we attack Lebanon? Should we attack Syria? Name me another country in the world that falls into that category.”

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) said, “At a time of growing antiJewish sentiment in parts of the world, the BBC’s global influence makes its presentation of a bigoted figure such as Finkelstein, with his distorted claims, all the more reprehensible.”

—JointMedia News Service 

Israel to funnel aid to Palestinians in event of earthquake

Israel has set up a mechanism to funnel aid to the Palestinians in the event of an earthquake, Israeli officials said.

A 5.5-magnitude quake rattled Israel and the Palestinian territories May 11, reminding residents of their common vulnerability along the Syria-Africa Rift, a northern extension of Africa’s Rift Valley, despite the deadlock in talks on founding an independent Palestinian state.

In the event of a major quake, Israel would host a UN aid distribution center to receive relief from abroad, by air and sea, for Israelis and Palestinians alike. 

“The working assumption is that they (Palestinians) do not have the means to deal with such a disaster on their own,” said Alon Rozen, director-general of Israel’s Civil Defense Ministry, according to Israel Hayom.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on May 22, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel, U.S., World.