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Dutch Jewish group drops far-right politician from petition on anti-Semitism

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 06:00

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — A Dutch Jewish group dropped the politician Geert Wilders from a petition against anti-Semitism.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, had approached Wilders for his signature along with other well-known Dutchmen. But the group dropped Wilders’ name when the petition appeared on Thursday as a full-page ad in De Telegraaf daily.

“In the Netherlands, everyone must live safely, also Jews,” read the petition.

The petition noted that it was not an “expression of solidarity with Israel’s government.” Rather, the 86 signatories said: “Criticism on Israel? Okay. Jew-hatred? No way.”

CIDI director Esther Voet told the Volkskrant daily that Wilders, the leader of the far-right Party for Freedom, was removed after he criticized a joint declaration earlier this week by Jewish community representatives and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

In an open letter this week, Wilders accused Rutte of ignoring “the elephant in the room,” adding: “You fear Islam so you will not say what everybody knows: The more Islam grows in the Netherlands, the more anti-Semitism grows.”

Released amid an elevated level of anti-Semitic incidents coinciding with Israel’s actions in Gaza, the Aug. 4 declaration read: “Conflict occurring elsewhere must not lead to tension and conflicts between various groups in the Dutch society.” The statement did not mention Israel, but it did praise a Muslim group’s call for tolerance.

CIDI wrote in a statement that Wilders’ name was removed because his letter “did exactly what concerns the people who made the declaration, namely importing the Middle East conflict” to Holland.

Voet also told Dutch media that 70 percent of anti-Semitic incidents were caused by immigrants, though she did not know their religion.

Wilders lived in Israel for two years and is a staunch supporter of the Jewish state. He is also outspoken in his opposition to Islam and recently caused controversy when he suggested Holland should have “fewer Moroccans.”

Federative Jewish Netherlands, a small right-wing Jewish group, criticized CIDI’s actions and called on it to apologize to Wilders, whom it thanked for his efforts on behalf of Israel and Dutch Jewry.

Livni: Fanatics in Gaza, Iraq need dealing with

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 05:52

(JTA) — Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said the world must respond to jihadists in Gaza and Iraq.

Livni made the statement in a Facebook post on Friday morning. Her post came as Israeli jets struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire and hours after President Barack Obama announced he had authorized limited airstrikes in Iraq against the jihadist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

“There will be no new, ISIL Middle East,” Livni wrote on Facebook. “Those who woke up this morning in our rough neighborhood know the world needs a clear and loud compass on what is coming out of Gaza and what is happening in Syria and Iraq. Radical forces, fanatics and terrorists need to be treated, and not psychologically, because there is no justification for terrorism against civilians.”

In an address Thursday, Obama announced the first significant battlefield role in Iraq by the United States since the last American soldier left Iraq in 2011. Obama said he had ordered “targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city” of Irbil.

The United States was also “providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL,” Obama said.

Obama added, “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.”

Gaza rockets resume as cease-fire ends, and Israel responds

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 05:40

Police sappers inspect part of a rocket fired into Israel from Gaza after Hamas renewed its rocket launches following the expiration of a 72-hour cease-fire, Aug. 8, 2014. The Israeli army responded with airstrikes in Gaza. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

(JTA) — Palestinian rocket crews fired dozens of rockets at Israel as a 72-hour cease-fire came to a close, and Israel renewed its attacks on Hamas targets in Gaza.

The Israeli strikes were carried out by aircraft over Gaza on Friday morning, Army Radio reported. The strikes resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy, the Ma’an news agency reported. Eleven others were wounded.

In Israel, one civilian sustained moderate injuries and one soldier was lightly wounded.

More than 45 rockets were fired at Israel since midnight, according to the Israel Defense Forces. At least three of 21 rockets fired Friday morning were intercepted over Israel — one above Sderot and the remaining two over the Ashkelon area, the IDF said.

“In response to the renewal of rocket fire by Gaza terrorists at Israel, we are striking terror sites in Gaza,” the IDF said.

In a statement to media, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesperson, said: “The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted. Hamas’ bad decision to breach the ceasefire will be pursued by the IDF. We will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel.”

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing three rockets, according to Army Radio.

In Gaza, thousands of people left their homes ahead of the expiration of the cease-fire, which Hamas and other Palestinian factions refused to extend because Israel would not lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli delegation in Cairo for talks on achieving a more durable cease-fire returned to Israel on Friday morning, Haaretz reported.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in response to rocket fire by Hamas from Gaza. On the Israeli side, fighting resulted in the death of 67 people, three of whom were civilians. On the Palestinian side, some 1,800 people have died and thousands were wounded, according to Palestinian sources.

Jesse Steinfeld, anti-tobacco surgeon general, dies at 87

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 15:23

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Dr. Jesse Steinfeld, who fought vigorously as surgeon general to warn the public of the dangers of smoking, has died.

Steinfeld, who served in the post from 1969 until President Richard Nixon forced his resignation in 1973, died Tuesday in Pomona, Calif., from complications resulting from a stroke. He was 87.

Nixon appointed Steinfeld, who used his office as a bully pulpit to become an outspoken and pointed critic of tobacco until his ouster.

Steinfeld was the first surgeon general to warn the public of the dangers of secondhand smoke and called for a smoking ban in most public areas. He also insisted on the warning on cigarette labels, “The Surgeon General has determined that smoking is hazardous to your health,” which was stronger and more definitive than previous warnings.

During his tenure as surgeon general, Steinfeld also warned against the deleterious effects of television violence on children, the dangers of pesticides and carcinogens in food.

The son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, Steinfeld grew up in West Aliquippa, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. According to the Washington Post, he was inspired to study medicine by the premature death of his father, a heavy smoker, from a heart attack when Steinfeld was 5 years old.

After resigning as surgeon general, Steinfeld subsequently served as the dean of the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and then as president of the Medical College of Georgia.

Ecuador’s president cancels Israel visit in support of Gaza

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 15:17

(JTA) — President Raphael Correa of Ecuador canceled a planned visit to Israel over the conflict in Gaza.

Correa was scheduled to visit Israel later this year, the Prensa Latina newspaper reported.

“Obviously, after these events, we have canceled the visit,” Correa said Wednesday, referring to Israel’s operation in Gaza.

The cancellation came two days after Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced that Ecuador would open an embassy in the Palestinian Authority. Ecuador already has a diplomatic delegation in Ramallah in the West Bank, according to Prensa Latina.

South Africa threatens to prosecute citizens serving in IDF

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 15:14

(JTA) — South African authorities said they will prosecute citizens who serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

The warning earlier this week came after a pro-Palestinian advocacy group opened a case against Dean Goodson of Cape Town, who reportedly is serving in the IDF.

Action Forum in Support of Palestine told the South Africa Independent online that it plans to open cases against at least four other South Africans that the group believes are serving in the IDF.

South Africa’s Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act regulates the involvement of South Africans in armed conflicts beyond the country’s borders. Those found guilty could be sentenced to jail time.

The country’s defense minister, on the recommendation of the National Conventional Arms Control committee, can grant permission to serve in conflicts abroad.

The warning by South African officials also covered those serving in militaries in Afghanistan and West Africa.

South Africa’s Defense Department told the Independent that it has not granted permission to any South African to participate in the current Gaza conflict. The department said it was aware that some may be serving in the IDF without clearance.

Husband of Rivky Stein fails to show for get proceedings

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:33

(JTA) — The husband of Rivky Stein, a New York Jewish woman who launched a social media campaign to attain a religious divorce, did not appear at the religious court as promised.

Yoel Weiss, 31, failed to show up at a beit din, or Jewish religious court, convened on Wednesday to complete the process, the New York Daily News reported.

“This is just another form of abuse,” said Stein, according to the newspaper.

Weiss told the Daily News that he would only give his wife a religious divorce, or get, if the same three rabbis who started the process would be there to complete it. One of the rabbis could not attend Wednesday; he was in Israel for the funeral and shiva of his mother. Other rabbis who could step in were at the proceedings.

Weiss’ stipulation has no precedent in Jewish law, rabbis told the newspaper.

Stein, 24, of Brooklyn, alleges in documents posted on the Facebook page and a website on behalf of her case that she was physically abused and raped by Weiss, and he kept her under surveillance. Weiss denies that he abused Stein, who left her husband two years ago.

In a June interview, Stein told the Daily News that she recently turned to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office in an effort to have Weiss criminally charged.

Weiss told the newspaper then that he will give his estranged wife a get once they work out custody of their two children in family court.

 

Palestinian-American attorney sues Kerry, Hagel over Israel aid

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:23

(JTA) — A Palestinian-American attorney sued U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to halt military aid to Israel.

Akram Abusharar, who is licensed as an attorney in Michigan but practices in Anaheim, Calif., also is suing the U.S. officials to deny Israeli military officers entry into the United States, according to the OC Weekly, an Orange County newspaper. He filed his lawsuit in Santa Ana, Calif., on Tuesday.

“Plaintiff and his family have suffered at the hands of the Israeli army over the years,” the complaint read, according to the newspaper. “His brother was killed when he was 16 in 1988 by the Israeli army. His family of over 30 people was nearly killed in the explosion this past week. His father passed away as a result of the siege in Gaza because he could not obtain the proper medical treatment in April 2014. Many other homes in the area have been bombed and destroyed.”

Court officials in Orange County sent a 60-day summons calling for Kerry and Hagel to reply to the complaint.

The United States supplies Israel with $3 billion in annual military aid, as well as funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system that proved successful in intercepting Hamas rockets fired from the Gaza Strip targeting Israel.

Abusharar specializes in immigration law.

 

150 Jews who fled Ukraine fighting expected in Israel

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:13

(JTA) — At least 150 Jews who fled fighting in eastern Ukraine are expected to land in Israel next month in one of the largest group of arrivals of its kind this year.

Many of the would-be immigrants, who will arrive aboard three flights chartered by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, are staying at a Jewish summer camp in Zhytomyr that has been converted into a temporary shelter for them, according to the fellowship’s founder, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

The exact date of arrival depends on “how fast the Jewish Agency emissaries and other Israeli officials can work to get all the paperwork done,” Edelstein said. “Meanwhile we’re taking care of them.”

In recent weeks, interest in immigrating to Israel, or making aliyah, has risen among the Jews who left war-torn cities like Lugansk and Donetsk, according to Eckstein. He expects the number of people heading to Israel next month with his organization’s help to significantly surpass 150.

“Many people are waiting this thing out,” Eckstein said of the fighting that is going on between government forces and pro-Russian separatists. “But increasingly there is a growing realization that the fighting will continue for a long time. This is producing an increase in people’s interest to make aliyah and I believe there will be hundreds.”

The summer camp in Zhytomyr, which is run by Rabbi Shalom Gopin, Chabad’s emissary to Lugansk, can accommodate the flood of Jewish refugees, who number 200 to 250 and are arriving at a pace of 40 per week, Eckstein added.

Several Jewish groups working in Ukraine, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish community of Dneproprovsk, have arranged temporary homes for hundreds of Jews who fled the fighting in the east.

The fellowship has allocated more than $10 million this year toward helping Jews in Ukraine, constituting a 25 percent increase over what it usually spends on Jewish communities there.

Netanyahu asks U.S. congressmen to protect Israel from war crimes charges

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:07

(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked U.S. lawmakers to help Israel avoid war crimes charges stemming from the Gaza conflict.

Netanyahu asked a delegation of visiting legislators to help keep Israel out of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Rep. Steven Israel (D-N.Y.) told the New York Post in an interview Wednesday from Israel, the newspaper reported.

Palestinian Authority leaders met Wednesday with officials from the court to discuss the process of joining.

The Palestinians and other world leaders have charged that Israel committed war crimes by firing on civilian areas of Gaza during its operation. Experts have suggested that Palestinians in Gaza also could be charged with war crimes for firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, most in civilian areas.

Netanyahu “wants the U.S. to use all the tools that we have at our disposal to, number one, make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel, they were committed by Hamas. And that Israel should not be held to a double standard,” Israel the congressman told the Post.

 

 

West Bank Hamas chief charged with setting up terror cells

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 10:14

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The head of Hamas in the West Bank was arrested for his involvement in setting up terror cells to attack Israelis.

Riad Natzer was indicted Thursday in an Israeli military court in the West Bank, accused of raising millions of dollars to set up and arm the cells, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Natzer was arrested May 27, nearly two weeks before the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by Palestinian gunmen allegedly operating on behalf of Hamas in Gaza. A gag order on the release was lifted with the publication of the indictment.

Natzer reportedly has been the head of Hamas in the West Bank since 2010.

Davis Cup match moved from Tel Aviv due to Gaza conflict

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 10:02

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Israel will not host its Davis Cup playoff match against Argentina due to the conflict in Gaza.

The International Tennis Federation announced Thursday that it was moving the Sept. 12-14 match out of Tel Aviv and the playoff will not be held in any other Israeli city.

Over the next five days Israel, as the team with the home-court advantage, must choose among four venues for the new location: New York; Delray Beach, Fla.; Krakow, Poland; or Tallinn, Estonia.

The Argentine Tennis Association requested a change in location two weeks ago due the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“We are concerned. We have communicated with the ITF, which promises to make a decision about Davis Cup very soon,” the association’s president, Arturo Grimaldi, told reporters several days ago.

Israel is aiming to return to the World Group after a one-year absence following its 3-1 victory over Slovenia in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I, but Argentina has four players rated in the Top 100.

Argentina’s team is led by a Jewish captain, Martin Jaite, who is supporter of Argentine Jewish sports clubs.

The Israeli squad has an Argentine player, Buenos Aires native Jonathan Erlich, who made aliyah when he was 2. Erlich and Andy Ram have been the best doubles tandem in Israeli history.

 

Hamas: Meet our demands or we’ll restart rocket fire

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 06:51

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Hamas said it will resume firing rockets on Israel at the end of a 72-hour cease-fire if its demands are not met.

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, in Cairo for cease-fire talks on a permanent truce with Israel, and Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday night that “there is no agreement on the extension of the truce.”

The cease-fire is set to end at 8 a.m. Friday. Israel already has conditionally accepted an extension to the cease-fire, according to reports.

Israel’s 29-day operation in Gaza to curtail rocket fire and eliminate Hamas tunnels left more than 1,800 Gazans dead, many of them civilians, according to Gaza sources. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians, including a foreign worker, were killed during the campaign.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Wednesday night called the Palestinian announcement of the intention to resume rocket fire “extortion” and said Israel is “prepared for any eventuality.”

Liberman thanked the United States for its “unequivocal support for Israel” Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly, where the adoption of a binding anti-Israel resolution was halted.

Meanwhile, indirect negotiations continued on Thursday in Cairo. The main condition Israel has submitted for continuing the cease-fire is the demilitarization of Gaza and the Palestinian terror groups, according to reports — a condition that thus far has been rejected by Hamas. Israel reportedly has agreed to other conditions, including lifting the blockade on Gaza, opening its border crossings and releasing Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, told reporters on Thursday that the Israeli military is “prepared and ready, and any rocket fire will be answered with heavy fire.”

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s no different between the political and military leadership of Hamas,” Lapid said. “Whoever heads a murderous terror organization is fair game and we will get to them, and they understand that we will and they understand why they’re still hiding underground and that no one is safe from us.”

Rabbi Yaacov Arar, Athens chief rabbi for four decades, dies

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 05:57

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Rabbi Yaacov Arar, who served as the chief rabbi of Athens for over four decades, has died.

Arar died July 31 in Israel, according to the Athens Jewish Community. He was 76.

A native of Larissa, a town in central Greece, Arar took up his post as chief rabbi of Athens in 1964 and served for 46 years.

“He was a man of deep knowledge, professionalism, kindness and love for his people,” the community said in a statement. “We also express our gratitude for the valuable contribution to our community and hope you rest in peace.”

Arar was buried in Israel, according to his wishes.

5 teens arrested in Sydney for threatening Jewish students on bus

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 05:48

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Five teenagers were arrested for allegedly hurling anti-Semitic epithets at and physically threatening Jewish school students on a bus in Sydney.

Police confirmed that the five minors were arrested Thursday morning but were too drunk to be interviewed. They were released into their parents’ custody and were expected to be interrogated by police later in the day, a police spokesman said.

Police are searching for several other youths believed to have been engaged in the incident, which has stunned the Jewish community here.

About 30 children from Moriah College, Mount Sinai College and the Emanuel School, ranging in age from 5 to 12, were aboard the bus when the driver stopped to collect a group of 15- to 17-year-olds apparently wearing school uniforms.

Police allege the youths then racially taunted some of the children and physically threatened others. One parent alleged that her child told her the offenders yelled “Kill the Jews” and “Heil Hitler.”

Jacqui Blackburn told local media that her 12-year-old daughter said the gang had threatened to “slit the children’s throats.”

Police said they did not believe it to be a targeted attack on the students and said the gang only began racially taunting them once they were aboard the bus.

The bus was not exclusively chartered by the Jewish schools, but is run by the State Transport Authority. Drivers stop to pick up students from several schools.

Parents criticized the driver for not calling police. Police said the driver told them he was unaware of what happened.

The incident drew a chorus of condemnation from across the community. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry issued a statement Wednesday saying it was “deeply concerned” by the incident, as well as the spike in anti-Semitism since the Israel-Gaza conflict began last month.

“We as a community are profoundly troubled by this latest event and the sequence of anti-Semitic incidents that has preceded it,” the statement said.

The council cited the attack on a visiting rabbi from Jerusalem who was set upon by a gang of youths in Perth earlier this week; the painting of Perth’s only Jewish school with the words “Zionist scum” two weeks ago; and a Melbourne man who recently was called a “Jewish dog” and beaten by two men.

“It is completely unacceptable and morally repugnant to scapegoat or hold responsible Jewish Australians, including children, for events overseas,” the Executive Council of Australian Jewry said.

White supremacist who killed man for Jewish-sounding name gets life

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 05:39

(JTA) — A white supremacist convicted of killing four people in three states — one because his name sounded Jewish — was sentenced to two life sentences for two of the murders.

David “Joey” Pedersen, 34, was sentenced Monday in a federal court in Portland, Ore., for the murder of Cody Myers of Lafayette, Ore., and Reginald Clark of Eureka, Calif., to concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Pedersen already is serving life a life sentence in prison in Washington State for the murders of his father and stepmother in Everett, Wash.

He and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby, 27, were arrested in October 2011 after a monthlong killing spree that spanned California, Washington and Oregon. Grigsby reportedly told investigators that Myers, a Christian, was killed because his name sounded Jewish.

Grigsby reportedly told police that she and Pedersen were on their way to “kill more Jews” in Sacramento, Calif., when they were apprehended.

The 24-page indictment charged that Pedersen and Grigsby were members of a criminal enterprise that aimed to promote a white supremacist movement.

The pair robbed their victims to finance the campaign, stole their cars to escape and murdered them to eliminate witnesses and avoid capture.

The enterprise, according to the indictment, also targeted Jewish leaders and members of prominent Jewish organizations. Pedersen researched the names and addresses of Jewish organizations in Seattle, Portland and Sacramento to identify potential targets for elimination but never followed through.

French senator sorry for showing Israelis murdering Disney toons

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 05:33

(JTA) —  A French senator apologized for any misunderstandings connected to her praise for a campaign featuring fake pictures of Israeli leaders murdering Disney cartoon characters.

Nathalie Goulet of the Union of Democrats and Independents party made the endorsement on Twitter earlier this week, Europe1.fr reported, in posting on her account the images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bludgeoning a dying Pinocchio. The picture also showed Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni stabbing Cinderella and former Israeli president Shimon Peres choking Peter Pan.

“Very powerful campaign against children mass murder,” Goulet wrote about to the pictures.

Mehdi Thomas Allal, who heads the anti-discrimination department of the human rights group Terra Nova accused Goulet of “presenting Jews as killers of children, echoing many such caricatures in the period before World War II” in an Op-Ed he wrote on the online edition of the Le Nouvel Observateur weekly. He wrote that she should be prosecuted for that action, which he qualified as “a slip toward anti-Semitism.”

As other critics chimed in, Goulet apologized on Twitter, writing: “This tweet has been misunderstood and I’m absolutely sorry for that but I persist in saying that what’s happening in Gaza is a scandal.  I revolt at the sight of dead children, and at the international community’s silence. The tweet may have been inappropriate.”

But before her apology, Goulet defended her actions, writing on Twitter that she had Jewish roots and adding: “I am not a self-hating Jew, but that’s nobody’s business.”

She also wrote: “Anti-Semitism is what they come up withwhen they have nothing better to say,” and, “I find it astonishing that the community is less shocked by images of dead children than by Disney characters. This is proof the campaign is working!”

She did not say which community she meant.

U. of Illinois retracts offer to prof following anti-Israel tweets

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 16:25

(JTA) — The University of Illinois rescinded a job offer to an incoming professor who harshly criticized Israel on Twitter.

Steven Salaita, who was offered a job at the Champaign-Urbana campus in the American Indian studies program, will not be hired, according to a report by the website Inside Higher Education.

The move reportedly was made in response to concerns civility following a series of tweets in which Salaita criticized Israel and supporters of Israel in stark terms. Inside Higher Education cited sources familiar with the university’s decision.

Salaita’s tweets included, “At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised? #Gaza.” Another tweet said, “Ever wonder what would happen if the KKK had F-16s and access to a surplus population of minorities? See #Israel and #Gaza.”

Salaita also retweeted this tweet that seemingly advocated the murder of journalist Jeffrey Goldberg: “Jeffrey goldberg’s story should have ended at the pointy end of a shiv.”

According to Inside Higher Education, the university had announced that Salaita would be hired, and Salaita had already resigned his position as an associate professor at Virginia Tech in its English department.

However, University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise reportedly informed Salaita that his appointment would not go to the university’s board of trustees for approval.

A university spokeswoman had stressed faculty members’ right to free speech when asked about Salaita’s tweets, according to The News-Gazette, a local newspaper.

Coins from revolt against Romans discovered near Jerusalem

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 15:41

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A ceramic money box holding a rare hoard of coins from the Great Revolt against the Romans was discovered outside Jerusalem.

The 114 bronze coins date back to the fourth year of the Great Revolt against the Romans, which led to the destruction of the Second Temple, 2,000 years ago this week. The discovery was made several months ago but announced on Tuesday.

The coins were discovered during the expansion of Route 1, the highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in a previously unknown settlement from the late Second Temple period.

“The hoard, which appears to have been buried several months prior to the fall of Jerusalem, provides us with a glimpse into the lives of Jews living on the outskirts of Jerusalem at the end of the rebellion,” Pablo Betzer and Eyal Marco, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. “Evidently someone here feared the end was approaching and hid his property, perhaps in the hope of collecting it later when calm was restored to the region.”

The hoard was concealed in the corner of a room, perhaps inside a wall niche or buried in the floor. Two other rooms and a courtyard belonging to the same building were exposed during the course of the archaeological excavation. The structure was built in the first century BCE.

The Israel Antiquities Authority and the National Transport Infrastructure Company are examining the possibility of preserving the village remains within the framework of the landscape development alongside the highway.

Israel’s envoy lashes out at U.N. General Assembly

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 14:54

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations slammed its members for “their complicity in allowing organizations like Hamas to continue to exist in the Middle East.”

Ron Prosor spoke Wednesday at a special General Assembly session on Gaza.

“This institution was founded to stand for truth, for justice, and for moral clarity. This is no longer the case,” he told the delegates.

“It might be too much to ask you to stand on our side in this battle between civilization and barbarism, but at least have the decency to swallow your selective outrage while Israel wages war against the extremist groups seeking to eradicate the values that we all hold very dear.”

Prosor spoke after the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. ambassador, Riyah Mansour, accused Israel of violating international law during its 29-day operation in Gaza.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the current cease-fire “has come at a price that is almost too much to bear. The massive death and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world.”

Ban called for a negotiated political settlement between the two sides.

He acknowledged that weapons had been discovered stored in what he called “abandoned” U.N. buildings and that there were reports that Hamas rockets had been fired from near U.N. properties.

“Yet, let me be clear: Mere suspicion of militant activity does not justify jeopardizing the lives and safety of many thousands of innocent civilians,” Ban said.

He added: “International humanitarian law clearly requires protection by all parties of civilians and civilian facilities, including U.N. staff and U.N. premises. Those who violate this sacred trust must be subject to accountability and justice.”

Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.S. deputy permanent representative to the U.N., said the United States was “horrified” by the attacks on U.N. buildings acting as shelters for displaced Palestinians but added: “Let us remember how this conflict started. Hamas launched repeated rocket attacks at Israel. Hamas deliberately, willfully targets civilians. No nation can accept such attacks, and Israel has the same right to self-defense as every other nation.”

The U.S. also called for the disarmament of Hamas and other Gaza terror groups, and on the international community to strengthen the Palestinian Authority in order to rehabilitate Gaza.