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Turkish aid group IHH to send new Gaza blockade-busting flotilla

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 13:22

(JTA) — A Turkish aid group is sending a flotilla in an attempt to break the Israeli blockage of Gaza, as it did in 2010 with deadly consequences.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH, said Monday that it would send the flotilla, including pro-Palestinian activists from 12 countries, “in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza,” Reuters reported.

“As most governments are complicit, the responsibility falls on civil society to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza,” the group said in a statement.

An Israeli commando raid on the IHH flotilla in 2010 left nine Turkish protesters dead and damaged relations between Turkey and Israel.

Swedish paper pulls cartoon deemed anti-Semitic

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 13:19

(JTA) — The Swedish daily Aftonbladet removed a cartoon deemed anti-Semitic and vowed to tighten editorial oversight.

Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s leading dailies, announced the removal of the cartoon from the online edition of the paper’s humor section on Monday.

The cartoon, which appeared on the website over the weekend, showed two characters wearing Jewish symbols. One dressed in Orthodox Jewish attire and holding a sign with the Star of David and the words “Land of Israel” is seen telling the other character, “Hitler gassed the wrong Jews.”

The Orthodox Jewish character is replying to a statement by a character wearing a kippah and Palestinian shawl, or keffiyeh, while holding a sign with the peace sign and the words Israel and Palestine.

The kippah wearer — ostensibly a Jewish supporter of a binational state instead of a Jewish one – is seen saying, “Leave Israel? When my parents who survived the Holocaust went to Israel to give me a life of peace and freedom?”

Tobias Lindner, a spokesman for Aftonbladet, told the news site, “It is clear that this strip should not be published. Aftonbladet will now sharpen their procedures” with regards to the humor section website.

A spokesman for the Christian Democrats party had called the cartoon “Jew-hatred,” according to the news site dagensmedia.se, and said its publication is “very strange” during a time when “politicians from left to right agree that the situation for Jews has worsened throughout Europe, including Sweden.”

In 2009, Aftonbladet sparked an angry reaction from Israeli officials and Jewish leaders with the publication of an unverified account that Israeli troops used to harvest organs from Palestinians who died in custody. Israel squarely denied the accusation.

10 Jewish Israelis charged in beating of two Palestinians

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 13:05

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ten Jewish Israelis — seven adults and three minors — were indicted in the beating of two Palestinians from eastern Jerusalem.

Under the indictments filed on Monday in Jerusalem District Court and Jerusalem District Juvenile Court, the accused are charged with aggravated assault in the July 25 attack.

The victims, both 20-year-old residents of the Bet Hanina neighborhood, were beaten near Neve Yaakov, a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, allegedly by a group of Jewish youths. The attack occurred soon after two Jewish teenagers spoke to the men and ascertained that they were Arabs, according to reports.

The victims said the mob used sticks and iron bars and that they lost consciousness during the attack.


3 Israelis killed when minibus hits train in Switzerland

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 10:26

(JTA) — Three Israeli tourists died and five others were wounded when their minibus collided with a train in Switzerland, Swiss authorities said.

The accident occurred Monday near Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland, the news site blick.ch quoted officials as saying at a news conference.

It was not immediately clear why the minibus crossed the railway tracks in a way that resulted in impact with the passing train. None of the train passengers were hurt.

The Israelis — four men and four women — were on their way to Engelberg just south of the lake, Jurg Wobmann, a local police officer, told the media. None were named, nor was the medical condition given of the five survivors, but blick reported that they were in serious condition.

Lorenz Muhmenthaler, another local police officer, said extracting the casualties from the mangled minibus was a complex operation that took a great deal of time. Some 50 rescuers worked at the accident scene.

According to the news site, the Israelis left Hotel Alpina in Wolfenschiessen on Monday morning on their way to Titlis.

Hamas orders foreign journalists in Gaza to hold its press card

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 09:50

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas evoked a strong protest from the Foreign Press Association for ordering foreign journalists working in the Gaza Strip to hold press cards issued by the Hamas press office.

The journalists must provide the Hamas press office with information about their Palestinian translators and assistants, and the address of where they will be staying, according to the directives issued Sunday. The new rules are to help with “facilitating and organizing the mission of our foreign colleagues,” the Hamas press office said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Journalists who do not meet the requirements will not be permitted to work in Gaza, the press office said.

The Foreign Press Association on Monday protested “in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”

The association called the new requirements a vetting procedure that would “allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists.”

“The international media are not advocacy organizations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground,” the association’s statement said.

The association said that some foreign reporters working in Gaza have been “harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.”

Yankees president hosts future Israeli soldiers before their aliyah

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 09:44

Yankees President Randy Levine and wife Mindy Levine, center, at Yankee Stadium in New York with the young men and women who are planning to make aliyah and serve in the Israeli army, (Shahar Azran, courtesy Nefesh B’Nefesh)

(JTA) — The president of the New York Yankees hosted some 40 young men and women who are making aliyah and plan to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Randy Levine and his wife, Mindy, hosted the future soldiers at Yankee Stadium on Sunday prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians.

Many of the young guests were scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday as part of an aliyah charter flight. Of the 338 people arriving on the flight, 108 will be joining the IDF.

The flight was organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel in cooperation with The Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.

The new soldiers will be taken care of, in part, by the Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program.

Israel working to retrieve fallen soldier’s remains, Yaalon tells family

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 09:26

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli government is making every effort to retrieve the body of Sgt. Oron Shaul for burial, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told the slain soldier’s  family.

“It’s obvious to us that Oron’s body is in the hands of Hamas, and we’re making every effort to retrieve it,” Yaalon said Sunday during a meeting with the family, Ynet reported. “Unfortunately we have a lot of experience with cases like this, and unfortunately I’ve encountered it during my military service.”

Efforts to retrieve the body are being undertaken on the diplomatic level during the cease-fire talks, according to reports.

Shaul, 21, of Poriya Illit in northern Israel, was declared killed in action after it was first believed he was kidnapped. An Israeli army committee ruled based on evidence from the field that Shaul was killed in the attack. He was declared a fallen soldier whose burial place is unknown.

Shaul was among seven members of the Givati Brigade who were killed when Hamas bombed their armored personnel carrier early in the ground operation. Hamas is in possession of his military photo ID.

Also Sunday, the Israel-based ZAKA International Rescue and Recovery organization in a letter to Robert Serry, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, asked for permission to enter Gaza to retrieve the remains of Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose remains also are being held by Hamas.

“As a UN-recognized international humanitarian volunteer organization in recovering human remains of disaster victims, we turn to you, as the UN representative in the Middle East, to help facilitate the return of the soldiers’ body parts,” wrote Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, ZAKA’s chairman and founder.

Israel also has requested assistance from the International Red Cross in its efforts to have the remains returned.

Wanted Palestinian killed in West Bank shootout with Israeli soldiers

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 06:46

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A wanted Palestinian man was killed in a shootout with Israel Border Police at his West Bank home.

Israeli troops surrounded the home near Nablus of Fatah member Zakaria al-Akra, 24, early Monday morning, and began spraying the walls with gunfire and ramming it with a bulldozer to force him out, according to Ynet, citing unnamed Palestinian sources.

Al-Akra fired on the soldiers, injuring two, before he was shot dead. Security forces found weapons inside the house, Ynet reported.

Israel accused Al-Akra of shooting and injuring an Israeli soldier a few weeks ago, according to the Palestinian Maan news service.

Less than a day earlier in the West Bank, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in a shooting by Israeli soldiers during a riot near Hebron. Palestinian protesters threw rocks at soldiers who fired back at them, wounding the boy. He died later in the hospital.

The Israeli army has opened an investigation into the boy’s death.

Dutch Jewish museum uses Anne Frank theater for education

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 06:21

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — Holland’s main Jewish museum launched a children’s educational program centered around a new play about Anne Frank.

The Amsterdam-based Jewish Historical Museum announced late last week the launch of the new program, which emphasizes the Jewish elements of the story of Anne Frank for pupils who watch the play “Anne.”

Produced in cooperation with the Basel-based Anne Frank Foundation, the play debuted in May and is the first dramatization of Frank’s story that is based on her family’s entire archive.

Anne Frank died at a German concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15. Prior to her deportation, she wrote a diary documenting her two years in hiding in Amsterdam with her family.

Edited by Anne Frank’s father, Otto, the diary became an international bestseller which was translated into dozens of languages. The late Otto Frank left the copyright on the book and other writings to the Basel-based foundation, which he established in the 1960s.

The museum’s new program offers school pupils two preparatory lessons before they watch the new show at Theater Amsterdam – a building which the entertainment firm Imagine Nation built exclusively for the show, at an investment of several million dollars. Another lesson is given after the show, the news website theaterparadijs.info reported.

The lessons deal with what Anne Frank’s Jewish identity meant to her and also familiarizes pupils with Jewish customs and history.

“The cooperation improves our ability to reach young audiences,” Kees Abrahams, the show’s producer, said. “We hope to interest more schools in sending their pupils to our shows.”

Funeral held in Miami for murdered Rabbi Raksin

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 06:13

(JTA) — Hundreds attended the funeral in Miami for Rabbi Joseph Raksin, an Orthodox rabbi from Brooklyn who was shot and killed on his way to Sabbath services in North Miami Beach.

Following the funeral Sunday at the Bais Menachem Chabad synagogue, where Raksin was headed when he was shot by two assailants on Saturday morning, the body was taken to the airport, the Miami Herald reported. A funeral and burial will take place Monday afternoon in Brooklyn.

Raksin, 60, had arrived on Thursday in Miami for a weeklong visit with his daughter and her family, the New York Post reported. Raksin is the father of six and a leader in the Crown Heights community, according to the Post.

Police said Raksin was shot several times following an altercation, though witnesses told NBC reporters that there was no altercation and the assailants were African-American males. Raksin was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center, where he died.

Miami-Dade police have said they do not believe the murder was a hate crime but rather a robbery gone bad. Members of Miami’s Jewish community are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Raksin’s assailants, according to the Miami Herald.

A nearby synagogue, Torah V’Emunah, was the target of vandalism on July 28, with swastikas and the word “Hamas” spray-painted on the front pillars.

Israeli negotiators arrive in Cairo for truce talks

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 05:59

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli negotiators arrived in Cairo for talks on a permanent truce with Palestinian factions in Gaza after a 72-hour cease-fire remained in place.

The cease-fire began at midnight Monday, and Israeli negotiators left for Cairo later that morning. Just minutes before the cease-fire went into effect, a powerful long-range missile was fired at Tel Aviv.

The Israeli negotiating team is made up of Amos Gilad, a senior defense official; Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen; Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s representative; Maj.-Gen. Nimrod Sheffer, the head of the Israeli army’s Planning Directorate; and Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, according to Army Radio.

Israeli negotiators had left Cairo at the end of the previous cease-fire on Friday, when Palestinian factions began firing rockets at southern Israel, saying they would not negotiate under fire.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio Monday that if there is no diplomatic solution to the current conflict, “I am convinced that sooner or later we will have to opt for a military solution of taking temporary control of Gaza to demilitarize it again.”

Hamas officials have told media in Cairo that if an agreement is not reached during this cease-fire, the Palestinian delegation will quit the negotiations for good.

The Palestinians’ main demand is for both Israel and Egypt to lift the blockade on border crossings and to allow a free flow of goods and people into the coastal strip.

Frankfurt Jews quit interfaith council in flap over anti-Israel statements

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 05:10

BERLIN (JTA) — The Jewish community of Frankfurt dropped out of the German city’s interfaith Council of Religions, saying it failed to condemn anti-Israel statements by local Islamic leaders.

Leo Latasch, the head of social affairs for the Jewish community, cited the council failing to censure statements made by members of the Islamic Religious Association of Hessen.

“These are not people with whom we can continue to work,” Latasch told Germany’s Jewish weekly, the Juedische Allgemeine.

As an example, the Islamic association in a press statement accused the Central Council of Jews in Germany of using the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe “to divert attention from the war crimes of the Israeli government.”

Unal Kaymakci, deputy director of the Islamic association and a member of the Council of Religions, also posted on Facebook a link to an article in which Israel was charged with state terrorism and crimes against humanity, the Jewish weekly reported.

Selçuk Dogruer, who represents Muslims on the interfaith council, said Frankfurt’s police chief should not have apologized to the Central Council for losing control of an anti-Israel demonstration there. The police handed a megaphone to the demonstration leaders in hopes that they would calm the crowds, but the leaders instead chanted anti-Israel slogans in German and Arabic.

Latasch told Juedische Allgemeine that it was not enough for the Council of Religions to say that Facebook comments and other public statements were not official statements.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews, accused the interfaith group of failing to hold up its end of the bargain.

The Jewish organization “has always stood up for Muslims in Germany,” he said. “But solidarity from Muslims towards Jews remains missing.”

Rivlin to be investigated for receiving illegal donations

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 16:20

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Police received the go-ahead to investigate whether new Israeli President Reuven Rivlin illegally received donations from an Israeli businessman.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein authorized the probe into accusations that Rivlin received thousands of shekels monthly from businessman David Appel more than 10 years ago. Appel was sentenced to a 3 1/2-year prison sentence in July 2010 for bribing public officials.

The allegations reportedly had been probed in the past, with police deciding not to open an investigation, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“The affair regarding the relationship between the president and David Appel was investigated over ten years ago by two attorney generals, Rubenstein and Mazuz, which closed the file given the lack of charges on any of the investigation’s lead,” Rivlin’s office said in a statement.

Rivlin was sworn in late last month to serve a seven-year term, succeeding Shimon Peres.


Barenboim performs free ‘peace concert’ in native Argentina with Arab-Israeli orchestra

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 16:13

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim performed a free outdoor “peace concert” in his native Argentina with an orchestra he co-founded featuring Israeli and Arab musicians.

Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performed a program of Vivaldi’s music on Sunday before a crowd of thousands at a neo-colonial bridge connecting Buenos Aires and the city of Valentin Alsina.

Saying he doesn’t speak during concerts or play music during talks, Barenboim told the audience, “But I want to say to you that I grew up in Argentina and some lessons remain inside me. I learned here that you can be Jewish, Polish, German, Syrian, Turk, and there is no problem here about multiple identities; you can be any of this and also an Argentinian.”

Barenboim, who in 2008 received Palestinian honorary citizenship, co-founded the orchestra with the late Palestinian academic Edward Said.

On Tuesday, Barenboim and the orchestra played Wagner at the Colon Theater, the main opera house in Buenos Aires. Barenboim’s performances of Wagner in Israel have been controversial because of the composer’s anti-Semitic views and because of how Nazi Germany made use of his music.

Prior to the Colon performance, Barenboim declared, “The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is very sensitive to the situation in Middle East. The musicians have relatives on both sides, the sides that are killing each other and, despite this cruel war, there is no Arabic or Israeli musician who has canceled his participation in this concert for peace. This is also a gesture to Argentina.”

Erdogan, ally of Hamas, wins first direct presidential election in Turkey

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 15:37

(JTA) — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey and an ally of Hamas, won his country’s first direct presidential election.

Erdogan garnered more than half the vote on Sunday in the first round of balloting, according to reports.

He has made repeated Israel-Nazi comparisons during the current Israel conflict in Gaza with Hamas, a group with which he has formed close ties.

“Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” he said late last month.

Erdogan also promised to keep Turkey’s Jewish citizens safe, but urged them to denounce Israel.

With nearly all the votes counted, Erdogan had 52 percent, Reuters reported, citing a tweet from the office of Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag. The results are expected to be announced on Monday.

Turkish presidents previously were elected to a five-year term by parliament.

The move to a popular vote came though a constitutional amendment approved by Erdogan’s government. Erdogan was prohibited from serving another term as prime minister.

Erdogan heads the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which calls itself a conservative democratic party, though its roots are in Islamism.


Hillary Clinton defends Israel and Netanyahu, says anti-Semitism might fuel some criticism

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 15:21

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaking at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum, May 14, 2014. (Ronald Sachs)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Hillary Rodham Clinton defended Israel’s handling of the Gaza conflict and said anti-Semitism was possibly behind some of the criticism of Israel.

Clinton also appeared to back Israel’s insistence on maintaining a security presence in the West Bank and stopping Iranian uranium enrichment.

The former U.S. secretary of state made her remarks in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic.

“I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” Clinton said. Israel, she added, may have made some mistakes that led to civilian casualties, but that is what happens in the “fog of war.”

“I don’t know a nation … that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas,” Clinton said, pointing to the terrorist group’s rocket attacks against Israel and the way its fighters base their operations in civilian areas.

Clinton criticized the “enormous international reaction” against Israel, calling it “uncalled for and unfair,” especially in comparison to the relatively more tepid responses to the far greater death toll in Syria and Russian aggression against Ukraine.

“You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism,” she added, “especially with what’s going on in Europe today.”

Clinton, who butted heads as secretary of state with Netanyahu over settlements, said that “dealing with Bibi is not easy.” But she noted that he endorsed a two-state solution and in 2009 accepted a 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank.

She also voiced support for his position on several fronts.

Citing the instability and fighting in Iraq and Syria, Clinton said Netanyahu was right to insist that Israel maintain a military presence in the West Bank along the Jordan River.

“If I were the prime minister of Israel,” she said, “you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security.”

Clinton also praised Israel and the Gulf states for insisting that Iran not be allowed to enrich uranium — a position that appears to be at odds with the direction that the Obama administration is heading in the international negotiations aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

“I am well aware that I am not at the negotiating table anymore, but I think it’s important to send a signal to everybody who is there that there cannot be a deal unless there is a clear set of restrictions on Iran,” Clinton said. “The preference would be no enrichment. The potential fallback position would be such little enrichment that they could not break out. So, little or no enrichment has always been my position.”

Miami Jewish community offers $50,000 reward in Rabbi Raksin killing

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 15:03

(JTA) — The Jewish community of Miami is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of two suspects in the murder of Rabbi Joseph Raksin.

The reward was reported on Sunday by the Miami Herald.

Raksin, 60, an Orthodox rabbi from Brooklyn, was shot and killed on his way to synagogue services in North Miami Beach on Saturday morning.

The funeral was set for Sunday afternoon, according to the Miami Herald.

Raksin reportedly was in town visiting his granddaughter and other relatives. He was walking to the synagogue, Bais Menachem, when he was confronted by the two young males being sought.

Police said Raksin was shot several times following an altercation, though witnesses told NBC reporters that there was no altercation and the assailants were African-American males. Raksin was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center, where he died.

Police said the shooting likely was a robbery gone bad.

“At this time there is no indication of this being a hate crime,” Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald.

A nearby synagogue, Torah V’Emunah, was the target of vandalism on July 28, with swastikas and the word “Hamas” spray-painted on the front pillars.


Flyers in Rome call for boycotting Jewish-owned stores

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 13:51

(JTA) – A new wave of anti-Jewish signposting in Rome is “an alarm bell that cannot be ignored,” a top Italian Jewish leader warned.

Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, suggested that the signs appeared to link far-left and far-right factions.

Gattegna issued the warning after flyers urging a boycott of Jewish-owned stores in the capital were discovered plastered to walls in several districts of Rome on Saturday.

The flyers were signed by an extreme-right group, Vita Est Militia, but its pro-Palestinian text echoed slogans of the far left.

“We are witnessing with concern the solidifying of the extremist underworld in the name of a common anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hatred whose most violent mode of expressions, still partially latent, risks forming a danger to the entire national collective,” Gattegna said.

The flyers said “boycotting any type of Jewish product or business is fundamental to stop the massacre in Palestine,” claiming that “every shop, factory and business under Jewish ownerships sends a percentage of its profits to Israel to furnish weapons and continue to kill those who have a right to live in their own homeland.”

The flyers listed by name more than 40 clothing stores, butcher shops, restaurants, bars and hotels they said were owned by Jews.

Since the fighting broke out last month between Israel and Hamas, there have been several instances of anti-Jewish graffiti in Rome and elsewhere in Italy. Last week, for example, unknown vandals scrawled “Judey pigs we will kill you a lot” in ungrammatical English on the wall of the synagogue in the northeast town of Gorizia.

In all the incidents, Italian authorities sharply condemned the vandalism, removed the graffiti and ordered police investigations. News reports said three extreme right-wing activists are under investigation for scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti in Rome at the end of July.

In his statement, Gattegna thanked the authorities for the “firmness” of their response.

Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour cease-fire

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 11:34

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, agreed to a new 72-hour cease-fire.

The French news agency AFP reported Sunday evening on the agreement by both sides in the current Gaza conflict. Israeli government officials agreed in a statement that night and  the Palestinians had notified the Egyptians of their agreement, The New York Times reported.

An Israeli delegation was dispatched to Cairo to finalize the agreement, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

The cease-fire  was to begin at midnight, according to reports. Egypt in a statement said it was aimed at trying to ease the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and fix infrastructure there, as well as provide a window for talks for a “complete and permanent cease-fire,” the Times reported.

Egyptian mediators have been negotiating separately with both sides since a previous 72-hour cease-fire that began nearly a week ago. The Israeli delegation to the negotiations reportedly left Cairo when the cease-fire expired on Friday morning and rockets fired from Gaza again began to strike Israel, which insists it will not negotiate under fire.

The Palestinian delegation had said earlier Sunday that it would leave if an Israeli delegation did not arrive in Cairo to continue talks.

Following the reporting of the decision to try a new cease-fire, several barrages of rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israeli communities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Sunday morning at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting that the military operation to end rocket fire on Israel is continuing.

“The operation will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of a quiet for a long period,” he said. “I said at the outset of, and throughout, the operation that it would take time and patience. Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens.”


Sweden anti-Semitism rally scrapped over security concerns

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 10:35

(JTA) —  The two organizers of a demonstration in Sweden against anti-Semitism canceled the event amid fears of violence and disturbances to public order.

Elin Schwartz  and Kaino Nordgren said they scrapped the Aug. 14 rally in Gothenburg because would-be participants said they were too afraid to show up, the Göteborgs-Posten daily reported Thursday. At least 100 demonstrators were expected to take part in the protest.

“At the last minute we learned that many Jews are afraid to come, and that there were rumors that people will come and try to destroy the demonstration and crash it to spread political messages,” organizers Schwartz  and Nordgren wrote on Facebook to announce the cancellation.

They added they could not verify the rumors, but said “we are two individuals and as organizers dare not take upon ourselves the responsibility of ensuring everyone’s safety.” They also wrote: “Had we had more time, we could find out more about the threat, but now we feel that we need to postpone.” No new time or venue has been set.

Also Thursday, well-known Swedish hip-hop music artist Jacques Mattar wrote on the picture-sharing social network Instagram that Zionists created the ISIS jihadist group.

Posting a picture of dead bodies, he wrote: “The media aren’t there. Why? The same people who created ISIS control the media: Senior Zionists.”

Mattar, who is known by his stage name Jacco and is a member of the popular band Labyrint, removed the remark about Zionists from his Instagram account shortly after posting it, the Dagens Nyheter daily reported.