Church leaders question U.S. aid for Israel
(JNS.org) Leaders from the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC (United Church of Christ) churches signed a letter to Congress requesting that U.S. military aid to Israel be contingent on “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.” The letter’s 15 signatories noted that they have “witnessed widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians, including killing of civilians, home demolitions and forced displacement, and restrictions on Palestinian movement, among others.” They expressed their “grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories which threaten to lead the region further away from the realization of a just peace.” Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) Chair Larry Gold noted that while the letter does acknowledge that Palestinians share responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it includes “no call for investigation of Palestinian intransigence.”
Blank bullets fired at French shul
(JNS.org) France is boosting security at Jewish religious sites after blank bullets were fired on a synagogue west of Paris, Israel Hayom reported. French President Francois Hollande said that authorities will increase security at Jewish religious sites so they won’t be subject to the kind of attack that targeted a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil on Oct. 6. The building was hit with about eight blank bullets and services were cancelled. The attack on the synagogue came hours after police carried out raids across France against suspected Islamist cells.
Israeli startup profits from Apple’s ‘Maps’ debacle
(JNS.org) With millions of Apple users frustrated over bugs and errors associated with the release of the “Maps” feature, Apple CEO Tim Cook is encouraging them to turn to competing software such as the Israeli mapping application Waze while Apple fixes the issues. Waze is an Israeli start up that collects map data from all its users. The users can report traffic incidents and delays that help other users find new routes or directions. It is an open source platform that is similar to Wikipedia, thereby improving as more people use the software. The recommendation from Apple’s CEO has given a huge boost to Waze. “We saw about a 20 percent bump in downloads when [Apple’s] iOS 6 came out,” Waze CEO Noam Bardin recently told the Wall Street Journal.
Muslims attack policemen at Temple Mount
(JNS.org) The Temple Mount was closed off to Jewish visitors on Oct. 4 after policemen were attacked with rocks by Muslim worshippers, Israel Hayom reported. The incident occurred when a group of Jews came to the Temple Mount as part of an organized visit. The group drew the attention of the Muslims praying at the site who began chanting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) at the visitors. A group of Muslims later attempted to approach the group but were distanced by police. Organized visits to the Temple Mount continued after the incident, but in the afternoon police were notified of a plan by a Muslim group to accost the next group of Jewish visitors and to throw rocks at them. Police conducted searches throughout the Temple Mount, and had rocks thrown at them by angry Muslims. They then closed the site to Jewish visitors. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City is holy both to Jews and Muslims. It is managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, with Israeli police in charge of security. According to Israeli rules, Jews are permitted to visit but not to pray there.
U.S man kills one in Eilat hotel
(JNS.org) Israeli anti-terrorism police shot and killed an American Jewish man Oct. 5 after he stole a gun from a security guard at an Eilat hotel and shot dead another hotel employee, Israel Hayom reported. The gunman, 23, was originally from New York and arrived in Israel two months ago. He was reportedly a chef employed by the hotel. According to press reports, the gunman killed the man who had fired him the day before. The gunman’s full identity was not initially revealed. According to eyewitness accounts, the gunman got into a heated argument with another employee in the kitchen of the Leonardo Club Hotel in Eilat, after which he stormed into the lobby and managed to disarm the hotel’s security guard.
Gaza Flotilla sponsor blames Jews for Holocaust
(JNS.org) The Free Gaza Movement, an American-based anti-Israel activist group posted an antisemitic message to its Twitter account. The tweet posted by @freegazaorg reads, “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews,” and included a link to video by conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins claiming that the word Nazi is an amalgam of the words “National socialism” and “Zionist.” The group, which was founded in 2006 to break the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, includes notable anti-Israel critics Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and Bishop Desmond Tutu on its board of advisors. It later became prominent during the May 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident, which it co-sponsored along with the terrorist-linked Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). The tweet has since been deleted. The group’s founder, Greta Berlin, said that she had intended for the message to only be posted to a private Facebook group. “I am sorry that I just sent it forward without looking at it,” she tweeted.
Germany set to legalize ritual circumcision
(JNS.org) The German government is in the final stages of passing legislation that will legalize ritual circumcision if performed by a trained medical professional, the Times of Israel reported. The bill comes three months after a German court in Cologne issued a ruling that banned circumcision, including religious circumcisions. Jewish and Muslim leaders at the time called the ban “an outrageous and insensitive act,” and both Israel’s president and chief rabbi also urged Germany to lift the ban. Charges were even brought against two Jewish rabbis who continued practicing circumcision. The pending legislation allows for traditional Jewish circumcisers, or mohelim, to perform circumcisions if they possess the necessary medical training.
France signs agreement with East Jerusalem
(JNS.org) The administrative zone encompassing the city of Paris voted on Sept. 28 to sign an agreement to cooperate with East Jerusalem, in a move to send a “political message” of solidarity to the Palestinians. Israeli government officials said France reached the agreement without consulting them. Regioanl Council Île-de-France has earmarked 300,000 euros to support the building of institutions, as well as vocational training, entrepreneurship, culture, health and social action in this area of Jerusalem. “There is very high sensitivity to the Palestinian cause in France… This symbolic move is certainly intended to send a political message,” said French Green Party councilman Jacques Picard, one of the politicians behind the agreement. The agreement has been criticized by the Israeli government, which views all of Jerusalem as its capital and does not view East Jerusalem as a separate civic entity. Paul Hirschon, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said, ultimately, such initiatives may have the effect of discouraging Palestinians from negotiating with Israel.
Human Rights Watch condemns Hamas abuses
(JNS.org) Human Rights Watch has released a 43-page report titled “Abusive System” in which it accuses Hamas, the internationally labeled terrorist group which governs the Gaza Strip, of corruption and human rights abuses such as arbitrary arrests, torture and unfair trials. Gaza’s “criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services…Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end,” said Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, according to the New York Times. Hamas representatives called the report politically charged and said the report ignores “the siege and the crimes” of the Jewish state, said Islam Shahwan, a spokesman for Hamas’s Interior Ministry.
Israeli-Arab accused of being Hezbollah agent
(JNS.org) An Israeli-Arab man has been indicted on charges of operating as an agent for Hezbollah, Israel Hayom reported. The indictment against Milad Khatib, 26, a resident of Majd al-Kurum in the Galilee, was filed in the Haifa District Court. Khatib was charged with contacting a foreign agent, espionage, conspiring to aid the enemy during time of war and illegal association. According to the indictment, Milad Khatib was in contact with Hezbollah agent Borhan Khatib, who was operating in Europe. Between 2007 and 2009, Milad Khatib visited his Hezbollah handler at his home in Denmark where the two allegedly discussed the Hezbollah missile attacks on the Israeli home front during the Second Lebanon War. The indictment said that Milad Khatib was allegedly asked about the location of missile strikes and the damage they caused. According to the indictment, the two met again in Turkey, where Borhan Khatib asked Khatib to carry out missions for the Shiite terror organization.
Quakers divest from Israel
(JNS.org) Friends Fiduciary Corp. — a nonprofit managing assets for American Quakers — divested from its holdings in Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard due to questions over whether the products they sell Israel can be considered “weapons components,” the Associated Press reported. Using the narrative of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) advocates as the basis for their divestment decision, Friends Fiduciary Executive Director Jeffrey Perkins wrote, “In the absence of that information [on those companies’ sales to Israel], we chose to sell our holdings based on the peace testimony.” BDS activists claim that Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard profit from non-peaceful uses of their products against the Palestinians, such the bulldozing of homes in Gaza. Friends Fiduciary divested from a third company doing business with Israel, Veolia Environment, due to “environmental and social concerns,” according to Perkins. BDS activists protest investment in Veolia because it has contracts for the transferring of garbage from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.