Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yosef Rabin is 32 years old, an immigrant to Israel originally from the United States. He served in the IDF, is married and living in Tel Aviv, and works in an online marketing company. He’s also heavily invested in raising awareness of the Temple Mount.

I first came upon Yosef when he tried and failed to get people to show up for a protest. I wrote to tell him why I hadn’t taken the invite as a serious one, and he private messaged me to discuss things. I was impressed with how much thinking he had invested in this protest and in Temple Mount awareness in general.

Since then, I’ve been trying to lend my hand to his efforts by spreading word of events, protests, and articles relating to the Temple Mount among my followers on Facebook. This is kind of an odd experience for me, since I have never ascended to the Temple Mount. My rabbis don’t permit this. But in the privacy of my inner feelings, I wish with all my heart that I could go up there. I support this effort from the periphery, as someone who wrestles internally with the desire to go up there and feels the necessity of making it possible for Jews to reclaim their holiest site and wrest it from the hands of the enemy.

And so, not being able to go up there myself, but hoping that Yosef’s efforts will bear fruit such that someday, I might yet be able to do so, I continue to lend my support to his project. As such, I made the offer to interview him for my weekly column here at Elder of Ziyon, and Yosef readily assented. Which is part of why I am eager to support him. He is the kind of guy who is ready to take advice and do any and every thing to make this happen: to make the Temple Mount a part of every Jew’s life and to reclaim the Mount for our people.

I just like his attitude.

A bit of background: Yosef has been involved with Jewish rights on the Temple Mount since 2004, and has served as director of foreign affairs for the Movement for Temple Restoration (a member of United Temple Mount Movements) since 2006. He is a founding member of United Temple Mount Movements, an organization established in 2009.  

Yosef has held correspondence on matters relating to the Temple Mount with UNESCO representatives and diplomats from a number of Tel Aviv-based embassies. He has also served as a guide to many guests touring the Temple Mount, including former Canadian Minister Stockwell Day.
By US Mission Canada (Stockwell Day) [CC BY 2.0
(], via Wikimedia Commons

Judean Rose: Everyone who stumps for an issue has a reason. So why the Temple Mount, as opposed to, say, cancer, or child abuse?

Yosef Rabin: Ever since I was very little the recordings from the Six-Day War, the liberation of the Western Wall and the Temple in particular, made a very deep impression on me. It was like hearing the reverberations of prophecy. I for the longest time could not understand why we were not building the Temple and as a child growing up in Chicago, IL I could not understand why Jews were living outside of Israel at all.

Judean Rose: Your surname is Rabin, which I know is a Cohanic surname. Are you a Cohen? Is that part of the fascination you have for the Mount?

Yosef Rabin: I did not know that. My last name was once Rabanovitch. Not a Cohen.

Judean Rose: When did you first go up to the Mount? How old were you? What did it feel like?

Yosef Rabin: The first time I ascended the Temple Mount, it was in 2004 and I was at the time 20 years-old learning in a Jerusalem yeshiva (seminary). I was horrified by the sight of Israeli police escorting Jews to ensure that they would not pray. The police were watching our every move and filming us the entire time. We received constant instructions: “Walk faster, don’t stand in once place, don’t sit down, and don’t move to the right or left.”

The police were not there to protect us, but rather to fulfill the instructions of the Muslim Waqf (religious authority) guards. I felt a mix of awe of God and fear of the police and the Muslim Waqf guards. During that ascent, I promised that I would not rest until Jewish rights were restored to our holiest place.

Judean Rose: I’ve noted that in your Facebook postings you are eager to show that Haredim are, in fact, permitted to ascend to the Temple Mount. Can you explain your reasoning, here?

Yosef Rabin: Ascent to the Temple Mount in the religious Zionist sector is quickly moving from the fringes and going mainstream, but still very fringe in the Haredi community. A picture of one Haredi on the Mount is worth more than 1,000 such photos of Religious Zionists, because with the former there is no political stigma attached. Every time a Religious Zionist goes to the Mount, people just see it sadly as a political statement or “Zionist activism.” When a Haredi goes to the Mount, on the other hand, it is seen in a more puritanical light.

Judean Rose: I have a confession to make: I’d love to ascend to the Temple Mount, but until Haredi rabbanim make it mainstream, I’m not comfortable with going ahead and actually doing this. Do some Haredi women go up there? How many would you say in an average month?

Yosef Rabin: This is exactly why I promote Haredi ascent to the Mount, people see them as “the real deal” more than other religious Jews. In 2009 I made a short video of Rabbi Yosef Elboim, head of Hatenua Lekinun HaMikdash (Movement for Temple Restoration) leading a small visit to the Mount. It made tremendous waves in the Haredi media, so much so, that Rabbi Elboim admitted to me that that one video equaled his decades of work in the field.

It really rocked the Haredi public and within a month, the first large visit of Haredim to the Mount (50 people) was organized. The police were stunned and the Haredim were denied entry, but now we see hundreds of Haredim ascending on a yearly basis. There may be individual Haredi women who ascend, but there are no known groups that I know of. There is a religious-Zionist group of women called “Women of the Mount,” who are very active.

Women of the Mount ascend the Temple Mount

Judean Rose: During Temple times, what sectors of the Jewish population would have been found on the Temple Mount on an average day and in what capacity?

Yosef Rabin: All of the Jewish people came to the Temple Mount. Those who were sprinkled with water-ash mix from the red heifer went into the Temple courtyard and those who were impure could ascend to the outer areas of the Temple Mount, the areas where we ascend today. Of course, on the three major biblical holidays, masses came from all over the country to a bring special sacrifice called the Chagiga.
Probably the biggest ascent of the year was on the eve of Passover, when everyone would come to sacrifice the Paschal Lamb in the Temple courtyard, one representative from every group that would be eating together on Passover evening.  

Judean Rose: Why don’t people want to ascend to the Temple Mount? Is it about being afraid to walk in the forbidden areas? Aren’t there some areas we’re sure about, as being safe? Can you outline the issue for us, please?

Yosef Rabin: There is a grave misconception that the entire Temple Mount is off limits, because we are impure from contact with the dead and do not have the ashes of the red heifer to purify ourselves. According to the Torah, one who has been in contact with a dead body is prohibited to enter into the Temple, but is permitted into the remainder of the Temple Mount. Jewish law is very clear, see Maimonides - Laws of the Chosen House chapters 6-7 and Laws of the Entering the Temple, Chapter 3.

As long as one knows the permitted and forbidden boundaries, entering the Temple Mount is the fulfillment of a holy commandment of “fearing the place of the Temple” and giving honor before God. Many Rabbis who forbid their adherents from ascending have no actual knowledge of the forbidden or permitted areas. Even the great Rabbi Ovadya Yosef [z”l, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi], who was very vocal in his opposition to ascending the Temple Mount, wrote in his book Yabia Omer the real reason for his opposition: there is no physical boundary currently present to prevent someone from accidentally crossing from the permitted to the forbidden zones, like there was in the time of the Temple.

It is for this reason that the first few times a Jew ascends to the Mount, he must be accompanied by one who knows the permitted and forbidden boundaries well, because the punishment for entering into the Temple itself is Karet or the cutting off of one’s soul from the Jewish Nation. There is much rabbinic discussion of what this means, but all understand it to be the worst spiritual punishment in the Torah.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi of Safed blessing those ascending the Mount before they enter: "You represent the Jewish People."

Judean Rose: What is involved with ascending to the Temple Mount practically speaking? One needs to dip in the mikveh, right? And wear white, right? What else do we need to know from a halachic standpoint?

Yosef Rabin: Yes, a man who has had seminal emission must clean his entire body of all impurities and only then immerse in a mikveh (ritual waters). After the immersion he can enter the Temple Mount. One should check to find a male mikveh that is actually kosher for this immersion, because unlike the pre-Yom Kippur dunk this one is a biblical commandment. This is the only time when a man will make a bracha (blessing) before immersing in the mikveh.

A woman cannot ascend to the Temple Mount during her period or when she is a nidda (period of menstruation). After her nidda period, plus the clean day count, she must then clean her entire body and then immerse in a kosher mikveh. Additionally, a married woman who has been together with her husband (during her clean days), should wait a three-day period before ascending the Mount. She must immerse in the mikveh again and only then ascend to the Temple Mount. There is fierce debate if non-married women should immerse for the sake of ascending to the Temple Mount and a serious halachic authority should be consulted.

Non-leather shoes must be worn on the Mount by all, but there is no requirement to wear white.

Judean Rose: Many of us have seen the awful videos of Arabs rioting, throwing things, and yelling “Allahu Akbar” at Jews on the Mount. Is it dangerous to go up there?

Yosef Rabin: The police usually do a good job of securing the general area during the three hours a day Jews are even allowed on the Temple Mount. I have been there many dozens of times and was only hit by a rock one time, and thank God was not injured. Yes, almost every Jewish group has Arabs yelling at them Allahu Akbar and at times police have had to intervene. If the Arabs get rowdy enough the police will simply throw the Jews off the Mount in response to Muslim threats.

Judean Rose: There seems to be some kind of legal distinction between a Jew’s freedom of religion to pray on the Temple Mount and the ability of the police to maintain order. Can you explain the contradiction and how this works in practice? What happens if you get thirsty and need to take a drink? Can you make a bracha on your water or is that going to cause a riot?

Yosef Rabin: This is not a legal problem, but rather an issue of governmental policy. In 1967, after the Six-Day War, the Knesset (Legislative Branch) passed the “Safeguarding of the Holy Places Law,” which protected the rights of everyone to their holy places and even demanded 7 years jail time for preventing someone access to his holy site. The Israeli Government (Executive Branch), however, passed “Regulation 761” in contravention to the law passed by the Knesset: “A Jew wishing to pray at the Temple Mount should be re-directed to the Western Wall.” This sadly has become the law and the police cite it over and over again to defend themselves against lawsuits. The Israeli Supreme court has ruled that Jews have the right “in principle” to pray on the Mount, but defer the matter to Israeli police for “security measures”.

In terms of the water fountains, sometimes the police allow [Jews to drink] and sometimes they don’t, just do not make a bracha or you will be arrested. People have been arrested for simply citing a biblical verse in the context of a tour on the Mount.

Some 4 years of ago on Jerusalem Day. Yosef Rabin, together with a large group, actually prayed for about 20 minutes on the Temple Mount. All of them were banned from the site for a year, but World War III did not break out!

Judean Rose: Is it an awful thing that Arabs pray on the Temple Mount? They aren’t idolaters according to the Torah, right? So is it a profanation to allow them to have a mosque there?

Yosef Rabin: Technically, they are not idolaters, although the Muslims who control the Mount support the murder of Jews, so they cannot be Noachides either. Al Aqsa mosque is actually not even on the halachic Temple Mount and is in the Herodian additions, which do not have any special halachic status. The Dome of the Rock is sitting on the Holies of Holies, but what can we do about it? Nothing. However, because the building is not used for idolatry there would not be a problem to put up curtains on the entrances and for the Kohein Gadol (high priest) to enter on Yom Kippur and perform the service on the spot of the holies of holies.

Judean Rose: But we are ritually impure from contact with the dead, how can the High Priest or any Jew go into the area of the Temple? You mentioned before, we do not have the red heifer.

Yosef Rabin: This is true, but the Halacha is also clear that when the entire Jewish People are impure, we preform the Temple Service in its entirety in a state of impurity. However, personal sacrifices like a sin offering could not be brought today, only the service that relates to the entire Nation. An example of this is the Passover Sacrifice, which still must be offered in our time, even without the Temple standing. Of course, anyone who is not necessary for the service may not come into the Temple area in our times.

Theoretically, we could fulfill many parts of the Temple Service, while leaving the Muslim structures undisturbed. We would need permission from the Israeli Government to build an altar within the confines of the ancient Temple Courtyard, somewhere on the plaza east in front of the Dome of the Rock.

Judean Rose: What about the general comportment of Arabs on the Mount? We’ve seen boys playing soccer there. Is this a problem?

Arabs regularly desecrate the Temple Mount with soccer games, picnics and mass rallies calling for Jewish blood. It is truly horrible that our government has no respect for us or our religion and allow these hoodlums to control our holiest site. However, the People of Israel are truly at fault for not standing up.

Judean Rose: If the Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews, why don’t Women of the Wall want to fight for the right to pray there, in your opinion?

Yosef Rabin: Of course the Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish People. I can only guess that WOW is using the Western Wall as a monthly prop to try to import Reform Judaism into Israel, (WOW Chairwoman) Anat Hoffman was quoted on the BBC stating as such.

Judean Rose: Has anyone mapped out all the known places of relics from the Temple Mount? We know about the ancient beams that were found when they were renovating the mosque. What else is up there that we know about? Are we able to protect these items from further destruction/deterioration?

Ancient beams made from the wood of cypress and cedars of Lebanon trees, discarded as refuse in the Shaar Rachamim compound on the Temple Mount.

Ancient wooden beams set afire on the Temple Mount.

Yosef Rabin: Rabbi Shlomo Goren, Former Chief Rabbi of the IDF and the State of Israel, wrote a very comprehensive book called “The Temple Mount” replete with maps. We have a very good idea of where the Temple stood, there are still slight disagreements as to the angle, but the general area is known. Much of the remains of the Temple have been destroyed or illegally dumped into Kidron valley, but a half million artifacts have been recovered and cataloged with the help of nearly 200,000 volunteers since 2004. BTW those ancient beams have been left to rot under a tarmac.

Yosef Rabin in the place he loves most.
Judean Rose: Why is it so difficult to get Jews to care about the Temple Mount? What can we do to help?

Yosef Rabin: This is a question I ask myself over and over. The Temple was removed from our national reality, nearly 1948 years ago this coming Tisha B’av. Our Rabbis teach us that redemption comes “slowly, slowly, like the coming of dawn” and that baby steps are necessary.

The Prophet Isaiah: “And I will bring them to My Holy Mountain, and will make them happy in My house of prayer, their burnt offering and sacrifices will be welcome on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations “(56:7) I heard from Rabbi Yosef Elboim a beautiful explanation of this verse. Found within this verse are four stages of the redemption of the Temple Mount.

And I will bring them to My Holy Mountain” – The first stage is for the Jewish People to simply gather on the Temple Mount. Maimonides, Laws of the Chosen House chapter 7:7 “Even though the Temple is today destroyed…we should only enter into the areas (of the Temple Mount) that are permitted”

And will make them happy in My house of prayer” – The second stage is for the Jewish People to renew Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount. Maimonides, Book of Commandments Command 5“The 5th Commandment is to serve God…this is the commandment to pray …Serve Him through His Torah and Serve Him in His Temple, One should pray within the Temple or towards it”

“Their burnt offering and sacrifices will be welcome on My altar” – The Third Stage is the reconstruction of the altar without the standing Temple and the re-institution of national sacrifices. Maimonides, Laws of the Chosen House chapter 6:15: “Therefore we sacrifice all sacrifices, even though the Temple is not standing.”

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” – The process culminates with the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, thus allowing all humanity to unite in worshiping the one true God. Maimonides, Laws of the Chosen House Chapter 1:1: “It is a positive commandment to build a House for God, for the sake of offering sacrifices and rejoicing in it three times a year – as it says “Build for Me a Temple" (exodus: 25:8).

This was the same way that Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the second Temple. They first ascended, then they built an altar and then years later actually rebuilt the Temple. Just like the State of Israel was built with the help of the Almighty via active and political Zionism and did not fall down from the sky; The [Third] Temple will also not fall from the sky, and we must be as active as possible, until we or our children, grandchildren or great grandchildren can complete the great task. It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it” (Ethics of Our Father 2:16). Everyone is encouraged to donate whatever sum they can, to help our movement continue on the slow and sure path of restoring our days as old. 

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Credit: Vincent van Zeijst
Credit: Vincent van Zeijst
Tel Aviv, February 22 - Following the sentencing of an IDF soldier for a manslaughter conviction after he killed a wounded, neutralized Palestinian terrorist, members of the Joint List of mostly Arab parties in the Knesset voiced concern today that the severity of the sentence might be sufficient to demonstrate that Israel's military justice system functions properly, and the International Criminal Court might therefore not accept cases against Israeli leaders.

A military court sentenced Sgt. Elor Azaria to eighteen months' imprisonment yesterday for the shooting death of a Palestinian attacker who had attempted to stab soldiers in Hebron last year. The court determined earlier that Azaria knew that the attacker, who had already been shot and lay on the ground, was no longer armed, and that the lack of a continued threat to those present had been established when he pulled the trigger. A military court sentenced Azaria to a year-and-a-half behind bars, a punishment that critics deemed laughable for such a crime, but which still carries the potential to avoid international legal complications. That prospect has lawmakers from Balad, Hadash, Raam-Taal, and the United Arab List worried that the country to whom they have sworn loyalty as Members of Knesset may end up not facing international criminal sanction.

"This is a serious development," declared a subdued Ahmad Tibi. "Obviously anything short of the death penalty is a miscarriage of justice. But what makes matters worse is that the decision-makers in The Hague will look at the process and determine that Israel has a reliable mechanism for apprehending, trying, and sentencing official State functionaries who commit crimes against the Palestinians, and decline to assert its authority. That would be a lamentable setback for anyone who cares about undermining the stability and security of this country."

"We are more than a little disappointed," agreed Haneen Zoabi. "The penalty for killing a Palestinian hero freedom fighter should be much more severe than imprisonment - that is, if the perpetrator is a Jew. We couldn't care less if Assad's forces or allies do it, to the tune of thousands of our brethren. At this point we who are devoted to the delegitimization of Israel have only one clear course of action: since the only way to invite ICC action is to demonstrate Israeli disregard for due criminal process regarding those who harm Palestinians, we have to amplify our incitement so as to increase Palestinian violence, which will invite Israeli measures to counter or prevent it, some of which might well be fodder for another criminal case."

"It's the only reasonable option anyone has," she added.

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From Ian:

A US embassy shift to Jerusalem would right a historic wrong
If Donald Trump fulfils his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the decision would be a long-awaited recognition of Israel’s historic capital by its closest ally. And although the proposed relocation is accompanied by some risks, smart and co-operative diplomacy can mitigate the dangers.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s greatest and longest-serving prime minister, offers a guide for our current leaders. Responding to the 1949 resolution of the UN, which internationalised Jerusalem and thereby separated Israel from its capital, he conceded neither to the declaration nor to the gloomy predictions of the consequences of defying it. Instead, Ben-Gurion pronounced the city a vital element of the country’s history and immediately relocated the Knesset from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: the move was defiant yet the repercussions were hardly catastrophic.
Opponents of the US president’s proposal note that it risks obstructing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, would cause the deterioration of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbours and could incite Muslim terror groups worldwide.
All these warnings are overblown. Claims that the embassy move will derail a peace process comatose for nearly a decade ring hollow. The exact opposite might be true: the decision could prompt the Palestinians to re-evaluate their strategy of refusing direct negotiations, which has paralysed the peace process.

And now, Israeli fake news
We may be living in the age of instant communication but Haley's speech reached the Israeli audience three days after it was delivered – and that, too, appears to have happened only thanks to Hillel Neuer's UN Watch, which published it online in its entirety.
It was only after the video went viral and garnered over three million views that it broke through the iron curtain of ideological censorship and reached the Israelis. To the best of our knowledge, no news source in Israel published it before noon Tuesday, Israel time.
Moreover, Haley's heartwarming praise of Israel was actually spun as negative news. On Thursday, Israelis were told by their media that the UN Ambassador had thrown cold water on the President's remarks, a day earlier, in which he said that the US was open to other options beside the two-state solution.
Her remark about the two-state solution was presented as a backtracking and clarification of Trump's statement. In fact, she had simply repeated that statement, saying that "we support the two-state solution, but we support peace and stability even more".
The New York Times and the AP also spun her remarks in that fashion. It is only in the past 24 hours that media in the world have been waking up to what she really said, and some are even comparing it to former UN Ambassador's fiery rejection of the UN resolution equating Zionism and racism, in 1975.
In the end, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu uploaded a translated version of Haley's rousing words to his Facebook account. As of now, it has received close to 470,000 views. Fake news has been faked out.
David Singer: While in Australia, Netanyahu Needs To Expose PLO Hoax
Their signatures are a sad testament to their embrace of Security Council Resolution 2334 and to its claim that the Jewish Quarter, the Kotel and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and the Machpelah in Hebron are “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
If they did not understand that is what they were endorsing then they should withdraw their signatures immediately.
Interestingly they also signed up to “supporting the application of international law to Israel and Palestine”
International law indisputably establishes:
1. The right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Jerusalem, Hebron and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) pursuant to the provisions of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine
2. The preservation of such vested legal rights under article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – Israel’s “partner for peace” has:
1. declared this established international law to be “deemed null and void” under its Charter
2. claimed in its 1964 Charter: "Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields."

This article remained unamended when UN Security Council Resolution 242 was passed after the Six Day War. Article 24 was removed from the Charter in 1968 but no claim to sovereignty replaced it.

  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Jordanian classroom

If you are a Jordanian student and you don't like your Christian teacher, it is easy to get rid of her.

A Coptic teacher employed at a state school was arrested for supposedly saying "Wipe this shit off the blackboard" referring to a Sura from the Quran from the previous Islamic Studies class.

The kids complained to their parents who went to officials in the education department. Eventually this reached the head of the Minya governate who contacted security authorities. An investigation is underway and apparently the teacher has been suspended, so far.

The accusation seems highly unlikely. Copts have a sense of self-preservation. No teacher is that dumb to insult the Koran in a Muslim-majority classroom.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
A month ago, the news came out that Hamas is working on a new charter that would eliminate its antisemitic parts, while still calling for the destruction of Israel:

A senior Hamas official said on Wednesday that the terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, is rewriting its charter in a way that will remove its anti-Semitic language, but also made plain the group’s ongoing rejection of the Jews’ right to statehood in Israel.

The charter, written in 1988, contains a cocktail of Nazi, communist and Islamist anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories, including that Jews were behind the French and Russian revolutions and the two world wars, that they control the media and the UN, that they infiltrated the Freemasons and that they funded colonialism with their wealth.

“We will have a clear political document, which is supposed to be in the near future, clarifying all those points,” the official, Osama Hamdan, told Al-Jazeera on Wednesday.

“You will find in this document clear words that we [sic] against the Zionists, against the occupation of our lands and we will resist the occupiers, whoever they were. And we are not against anyone regarding to this religion or to his race,” he said.
If you look at the Al Jazeera interview where these claims were made - in English - Hamdan never said that the charter would be replaced, but that there would be a new "political document." Hamdan is allowing the listener to assume that they are one and the same - but they are not.

In Arabic, senior Hamas leader Salah al Bardawil said explicitly "This new document of the Hamas organization will never be considered to constitute an alternative to  the organization's founding charter."

The media already got this wrong before the new manifesto is released. Get ready for more idiotic media claims that Hamas is "moderating" after it is released.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Official Palestinian Wafa news agency reports:

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Tuesday described the 18 months jail sentence a court had earlier issued against an Israeli soldier who shot and killed a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian as a travesty.
“This is a travesty of justice,” said Ashrawi in a press release. “It is apparent that the Israeli judicial system has become compromised with the systemic racism, injustice and the culture of hate that is plaguing the Israeli occupation.”
Really? Ashrawi is casting aspersions on the Israeli justice system?

I was going to see if I could find any cases of Palestinian courts sentencing any Palestinian ever for attacking Jews, but then I realized - in over a decade of following Palestinian media, I can hardly remember a big court case in the Palestinian Authority.


Hamas sometimes sentences people to death, but what does the Palestinian Authority court system do?

I went through Ma'an's English articles over the past year, and while there are dozens of articles about the Israeli justice system, I could only find a single mention of "Palestinian court" - in April 2016:

 A Palestinian court on Tuesday found a 37-year-old Palestinian man guilty of murdering his wife in 2006 in Ramallah district and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor.
In the years since the killing, the suspect was held in detention while the Palestinian public prosecution carried out investigations, eventually leading to his conviction 10 years later.
 The term "Palestinian appeals court" also came up with exactly one case, in December, also for murders or women that occurred ten years prior:
A Palestinian appeals court in Ramallah on Monday sentenced a man to a lifetime of hard labor after he was found guilty of killing his two sisters in 2006 in Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, local sources told Ma'an Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
The man had confessed to the murders, saying in his defense that his sisters "dishonored the family reputation."
The "High Court" suspended elections that were planned in a case that was almost certainly decided by the PA itself, not the court.

Finally, Haaretz reported on a fourth court case that was also rubber-stamping the desires of Mahmoud Abbas:
 A Palestinian court sentenced on Wednesday Palestinian lawmaker Mohammed Dahlan to three years in prison after convicting him in absentia of stealing $16 million.
Dahlan left the West Bank for the United Arab Emirate in 2011 following a power struggle with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 
I haven't found any other cases in the media, in English or Arabic.

From everything I can tell, the Palestinian justice system does next to nothing. The police hold people in custody for years (and torture them) without them going to trial. On the rare occasions when Abbas does need to the court to put a legal cover for his edicts, the courts are happy to do so.

It is a complete joke.

They have courts. They have judges. They open up new facilities. But unless every trial is done in secret, they hardly have any cases.

If you think about it, this utter lack of a functional justice system reveals a lot about the Palestinian Authority.

This dysfunctional and irrelevant system, 20 years after autonomy, shows that the Palestinian authority has no interest in real state building. A working justice system is an essential component of any legitimate state. The Palestinian Justice Ministry is, from everything we can see, a corrupt and do-nothing gravy train for political cronies. .

Maybe Hanan Ashrawi shouldn't talk too much about the Israeli court system, because if anyone really took a look at the Palestinian justice system - if there are any real reporters left in the region, that is - she might not like what is discovered.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From Ian:

CAMERA: Analyzing Palestinian Propaganda on CNN: Rashid Khalidi on "Fareed Zakaria GPS"
On Feb. 12, 2017, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi was invited onto CNN's global affairs program hosted by Fareed Zakaria (Fareed Zakaria GPS) to defend and justify the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This followed an interview on the same program a week earlier with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy where he charged the BDS campaign with being "an anti-Semitic campaign" which "takes its roots a long time ago, 60 years ago, in the fringes of dying Nazism." Lévy's words so enraged Khalidi and other proponents of the anti-Israel campaign that Khalidi complained to the host, then appeared himself on the show the following week.
Khalidi, an experienced propagandist, used classic propaganda tactics (name-calling, transfer/association, glittering generalities, logical fallacy, bandwagon, plain folks, and card stacking, as described by the The Institute for Propaganda Analysis) to defend BDS, and to delegitimize Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, much as he had done several weeks earlier on WBEZ's Worldview.
Fareed Zakaria, with a history of skewing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, helped Khalidi along, not only providing him with an unfettered platform to disseminate his misinformation, but having photos and drawings televised to illustrate Khalidi's deceptive analogies, and in the case of Jerusalem, disseminating some half truths of his own.
Here are the facts on BDS and Jerusalem, followed by an analysis of the propaganda disseminated on Zakaria's CNN program.

IsraellyCool: Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Rips UN And BDS
Following my previous post on The Australian editorial against recognition of a Palestinian state comes further positive signs from Australia – from none other than Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has condemned the UN and BDS.
Malcolm Turnbull has strongly condemned the UN, accusing it of a prejudiced attack against Israel over a Security Council resolution that accused the Israeli ­government of violating inter­national law with its settlement activity.
On the eve of a historic visit by Benjamin Netanyahu, who ­arrives in Sydney today as the first sitting Israeli leader to visit Australia, the Prime Minister also charged those who promoted or supported a boycott campaign with a deplorable attempt to ­­­de-legitimise the Jewish state.
In an exclusive commentary article published in The Australian today, Mr Turnbull denounces the UN for what he claims is bias, citing 20 resolutions ­between 2014 and 2015 that are critical of Israel when only a ­single resolution had been issued on the Syrian war.
While Mr Turnbull has been critical in the past of anti-Israeli resolutions, rarely has he been so forceful in his language. “My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticising Israel of the kind recently adopted by the Security Council and we ­deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimise the Jewish state,” Mr Turnbull writes.
PMW: Kids jump for Jihad at European-funded dance competition
Like many western cultural centers, the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus recently hosted a folk dance competition for youth. But unlike their western counterparts, children at this competition danced to calls for violence and waltzed to words of war:
“We replaced bracelets with weapons
We attacked the despicable [Zionists]...
Jihad is needed
Pull the trigger.”

The Yafa Cultural Center, which receives funding from the German development agency GIZ, Norway, and the European Union, recently posted to its website photos from the first Yafa Folk Dance Competition. The gold prize winner danced to the song Pull the Trigger. The following is a longer excerpt from the song's lyrics:
“The Zionists coveted [our] homeland,
compounding damage and enmity
But the popular revolution awaits [them]
The orchard called us to the struggle
We replaced bracelets with weapons
We attacked the despicable [Zionists]
We do not want [internal] strife or disputes
While this invading enemy is on the battlefield
This is the day that Jihad is needed
Pull the trigger.
We shall redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country.”

This song was previously broadcast on PA TV in 2010.

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

A few weeks ago there was news that Hamas was using social engineering techniques to fool IDF soldiers into downloading malicious software on their phones by pretending to be European women.

It turns out that the software is more sophisticated than previously thought, but still possible that  Hamas could have possibly done.

Security firm Kaspersky, working with the IDF, analyzed the malware.

Israel HaYom reports:
The cybersecurity company engaged by the Israel Defense Forces to help crack the Hamas 'honey trap'  plot exposed last month has released a report about the security breach that includes new information. Hamas operatives had used fake social media profiles of alluring young women in order to entice IDF soldiers into downloading malware onto their mobile devices that would allow Hamas to collect information.

According to the report by Kaspersky Lab, released Thursday, the cyber attack is still in its initial stages and apparently ongoing. The report noted that the Hamas operatives behind the cyber plot were focusing mainly on soldiers and officers serving in and around the Gaza Strip, and that over 100 soldiers of various ranks had fallen prey to the attack, which turned the soldiers' personal Android mobile phones into spy machines for Hamas. The report said that the malware soldiers were tricked into downloading gave Hamas access to information about location, conversations, correspondence and also access to the devices' microphones and cameras. The attackers also managed to send out updates to the malware that increased their abilities to manipulate the users' smartphones.

The report said that after a victim was identified on Facebook, a fictitious profile of a young woman would tempt him into downloading a fake app granting the attackers user access. One version of the malware package included an invite to a fake YouTube app, while others offered fake messaging apps. Once the user downloaded one of the apps, the malware code would be installed on the device. One malware pack titled WhatsApp Update has been identified as having the ability to both execute commands on demand and conduct automatic data mining activity. Most of the data mining took place while the soldiers were using a wireless Internet connection.
I find it interesting that the IDF is cooperating with Kspersky. Kaspersky is widely believed to be close to Russian intelligence.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

I can’t believe it’s been twenty years.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s not the day itself I remember, just one vivid scene that forever changed me.

I was in 10th grade. Recess. Suddenly the school sound system was broadcasting the news.

They never did that. Sometimes they played music. Usually it was used just to sound the recess bell. Never the news.

Israeli schools are loud. Israelis in general are loud, boisterous, passionate, excitable… Younger Israelis are generally noisier than grown-ups. Israeli schools, because they are made from concrete and don’t have carpeting or furniture that absorbs sound, can be extremely noisy during recess.

Not this time.

There was dead silence. The moment the news began every student froze on the spot. A silent scattering of statues, everyone was listening intently to the report.

I had moved to Israel the year before. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t catch the beginning of the news flash.

And then I heard the names.

Name after name after name. Oh, my God. A wave of horror swept over me. When will the list stop? How many names will they read?

Everyone was utterly silent. Listening.

73 names.

There had been a terrible helicopter crash. Two IDF troop-carrying helicopters collided mid-air, causing them to crash and kill all the soldiers who had been on-board. 73 soldiers died in the blink of an eye.

I was the outsider, looking in on something I couldn’t completely comprehend. I didn’t have a brother, friend or father in the army. Everyone else did.

I was listening to news that was happening to people I did not know. Everyone else was petrified, listening, praying not to hear the name of someone they knew and loved. 

No one moved until the list was completed. Near the end of the recitation one girl burst in to tears and ran to the school’s pay-phone (no one had cell phones then, it was 1997). I remember watching her crying in to the phone and not knowing what to do with myself. What could I do?

That was the moment I understood the interconnectivity of Israelis. There is a bond unlike anywhere else in the world. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. If in America there are six degrees of separation, in Israel there are three (at most). Often this is a good thing. At other times, it is painful beyond belief.

In Israel, there is no such thing as someone else’s pain. It always comes back to us, it’s always connected.  

This is what it means to be a family.

That moment, 20 years ago, changed my life. In my childhood, in America, I learned the image of the “rugged individual.” I didn’t truly understand the idea of belonging to a Nation. Until that moment I understood with my head but not with my heart.

The idea of “E pluribus unum” became real to me only after living in Israel.

We are the many who have gathered from the four corners of the earth to live our oneness. One family, each member strikingly different from the other but all connected by an unbreakable bond. 

This is Israel.
These are the names of the soldiers who died in the 1997 helicopter disaster.

73 families ripped apart. Parents who grew older without their children, watching the friends of their children grow up and create families where they are left with only memories. Siblings missing their brother. Friends missing that special person who understood them so well. Women who had to find other men to love… Each death is not the death of one but the death of a world. 

Lt. Shai Abukasis, 22, of Mikhmoret
Sgt. Itai Adler, 19, of Ra'anana
St.-Sgt. Avraham Afner, 21, of Kiryat Tiv'on
St.-Sgt. Idan Alper, 20, of Bat Yam
St.-Sgt. Avner Alter, 20, of Ashdot Ya'akov Ihud
St.-Sgt. Yonatan Amadi, 20, of Ma'ale Adumim
Sgt. 1st Cl. Saguy Arazi, 22, of Kfar Yona
St.-Sgt. Ran Arman, 20, of Ra'anana
St.-Sgt. Emil Azoulai, 20, of Ashkelon
Lt. Alon Babayan, 21, of Givat Ze'ev
St.-Sgt. Rafi Balalti, 20, of Migdal HaEmek
1st Sgt. Hussein Bashir, 28, of Beit Zarzir
St.-Sgt. Nir Ben-Haim, 20, of Yifat
Lt. Kobi Ben-Shem, 20, of Ramat HaSharon
Lt. Saguy Berkovitz, 21, of Alfei Menashe
1st Sgt. Maj. Paul Bivas, 26, of Ashdod
Lt. Dotan Cohen, 21, of Hadera
Maj. Yirmi Cohen, 23, of Rosh Ha'ayin
St.-Sgt. Assaf Dahan, 19, of Jerusalem
Maj. (Res.) Yasys Eden, 44, of Ramat HaSharon
Lt. Gil Eisen, 21, of Ness Ziona
Sgt. Noam Etzioni, 20, of Megadim
Sgt. Menachem Feldman, 20, of Haifa
Sgt. Moleto Gideon, 21, of Lod
Sgt. Avishai Gidron, 19, of Kiryat Motzkin
Sgt. 1st Cl. Tamir Glazer, 24, of Holon
St.-Sgt. Aviv Golan, 24, of Beit Yosef
Sgt. Tomer Goldberg, 19, of Dishon
St.-Sgt. Aviv Gonen, 20, of Petah Tikva
St.-Sgt. Micha Gottlieb, 20, of Tel Aviv
Maj. Ronen Halfon, 35, of Tiberias
Sgt. Alejandro Hoffman, 19, of Misgav Am
Maj. Yisrael Hushni, 34, of Tel Aviv
St.-Sgt. Shahar Kasus, 20, of Alfei Menashe
St.-Sgt. Michael Katz, 20, of Mitzpe Netofa
Sgt. Fadi Kazamel, 19, of Beit Jann
Sgt. Tomer Kedar, 21, of Negba
St.-Sgt. Tom Kita'in, 20, of Neve Shalom
St.-Sgt. Ilan Lanchitski, 20, of Haifa
Lt. Dvir Lanir, 21, of Moledet
Capt. Avishai Levy, 27, of Tel Aviv
St.-Sgt. Shilo Levy, 21, Karnei Shomron
St.-Sgt. Nadav Lishinski, 20, of Sde Avraham
Sgt. 1st Cl. Eitan Maman, 25, of Beersheba
Sgt. 1st Cl. Gal Meisels, 24, of Kiryat Ata
Sgt. Yaakov Melamed, 20, of Petah Tikva
Capt. Dr. Vadim Melnick, 34, of Safed
Sgt. Vladislav Michaelov, 22, Tel Aviv
Sgt. Idan Minker, 20, of Nir Yitzhak
St.-Sgt. Gilad Mishaiker, 20, of Jerusalem
St.-Sgt. Gilad Moshel, 20, of Tel Aviv
Lt.-Col. Moshe Mualem, 31, of Beersheba
St.-Sgt. Haran Eliezer Parnas, 20, Herzliya
Lt. Eren Hai Peretz, 21, of Deganya Alef
Sgt. Vitali Pesahov, 19, of Acre
Cpl. Shlomo Pizuati, 19, of Tiberias
Sgt. Gidon Posner, 22, of Tel Aviv
Capt. Dr. Vitaly Radinsky, 33, of Or Akiva
Sgt. 1st Cl. Kamal Rahal, 27, of Beit Zarzir
Sgt. Shahar Rosenberg, 19, of Ness Ziona
St.-Sgt. Assaf Rotenberg, 20, of Tel Aviv
Sgt. Moshe Saban, 19, of Hod HaSharon
Lt. Nir Schreibman, 20 of Kfar Saba
St.-Sgt. Itamar Shai, 20, of Jerusalem
St.-Sgt. Omer Shalit, 19, of Jerusalem
Sgt. Yiftach Shlapobersky, 20, Hod HaSharon
St.-Sgt. Gil Sharabi, 20, of Rehovot
St.-Sgt. Tsafrir Sharoni, 22, of Netanya
St.-Sgt. Tsafrir Shoval, 22, of Bar'am
Lt. Erez Shtark, 21, of Kiryat Ata
St.-Sgt. Assaf Siboni, 20, Nir Am
Sgt. Yaron Tsofiof, 20, of Tel Aviv

Sgt. Dani Zahavi, 19, of Haifa  

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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