israel doing nothing to stop attacks on churches and mosques

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Stained glass and a statue of the Virgin Mary were among the items destroyed in the latest attack on St. Stephen’s church at Beit Jamal, west of Jerusalem. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Since 2009, at least 53 churches and mosques have been vandalized in present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank.

The vast majority of those cases – 45 – have been closed without any charges against perpetrators.

In all, there have been just nine indictments and seven convictions, according to Israeli government data reported by the newspaper Haaretz. Only eight of the cases remain under investigation.

They were usually dismissed on the grounds of unknown perpetrators.

A lawmaker raised the matter in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, at the request of Tag Meir, an organization that monitors racially motivated crimes.

According to Haaretz, public security minister Gilad Erdan wrote to the lawmaker that the attacks “were perpetrated from various motives, ranging from negligence through mental illness and, in extreme cases, incidents of arson that appear deliberate.”

The newspaper noted that Erdan’s assertion “seems to contradict the fact that most of the cases were closed on the grounds of ‘perpetrator unknown.’”

Moreover, according to Haaretz, all the cases involved arson.

The name of the organization Tag Meir is a play on the Hebrew words tag mehir – or price tag – the term Israeli settlers and extremists have adopted to describe their sometimes lethal attacks on non-Jews and their property, especially Palestinians.

Third attack

In the most recent attack, on 20 September, vandals shattered a statue of the Virgin Mary, broke stained glass and destroyed a cross in St. Stephen’s Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian Monastery west of Jerusalem.

“I was shocked,” the church’s caretaker Father Antonio Scudu told the Catholic News Service. “I didn’t expect to see something like this. The church is always open. If you see what happened, you feel they did it with hate. They smashed everything.”

Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s senior cleric in Palestine, said, “this is not only an act of vandalism but an action against the sacredness of the holy places and the faith of people.”

This was the third attack on Beit Jamal in the past four years, but no arrests have ever been made.

Wadie Abunassar, adviser to the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, condemned the desecration in a post on Facebook .

“We are fed up with repeated attacks on holy places,” Abunassar stated, adding that “anger is not only directed at the aggressors,” but at Israeli authorities which have failed to deal with the phenomenon.

Abunassar told The Electronic Intifada that there was growing public frustration at how the police deal with the incidents, given the small number of cases that have been resolved.

Unchecked incitement

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld has claimed that the incidents are unconnected.

“There have been arrests in previous cases,” he said. “We are looking into this case to see if it was an individual or a group. These are all separate cases.”

While Abunassar does not know if the incidents are done by individuals connected to each other, he points to constant incitement by extremist rabbis inspiring such actions.

He added that these right-wing preachers are not “sufficiently deterred by Israeli law enforcement authorities.”

He recalled one of the more notorious cases, Torat Hamelech or The King’s Torah, a 2009 book by Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur.

The book argues that it is permissible in certain circumstances to kill the non-Jewish children and babies of Israel’s enemies since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”

As a result, the UK banned the entry of Elitzur.

Israeli authorities investigated the pair for incitement, but eventually decided not to charge them.

Amongst other figures who encourage these attacks is Bentzi Gopstein, the head of Lehava, a vigilante group that opposes miscegenation between Jews and Arabs.

In August 2015, Gopstein publicly called for the burning of churches and mosques.

The Vatican urged Israel to charge Gopstein with incitement to violence and terrorism.

Months later, Gopstein wrote an article branding Christians “blood-sucking vampires” and urging their expulsion from the country.

Although bishops have asked to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss these hate crimes, their request has been ignored

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israel refuses to stop arms sales to Myanmar despite Rohingya massacre

Israel won’t stop selling munitions to Myanmar

Rohingya Muslim refugees wait for food to be distributed by the Bangladeshi army at Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Rohingya Muslim refugees wait for food to be distributed by the Bangladeshi army at Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli regime will not put an end to its sale of ammunition to Myanmar in light of incontrovertible evidence and United Nations data that the Southeast Asian nation’s military has perpetrated various forms of atrocities, including systematic rape and expulsions, against Rohingya Muslims.

English-language Haaretz daily newspaper reported that a group of human rights activists had filed a petition in the so-called High Court of Justice, demanding an end to the arms sales.

Senior Israeli official Shosh Shmueli, in return, said the court should not interfere in Israel’s foreign relations.

Shmueli’s comments came as Israeli arms companies have sold more than 100 battle tanks, as well as patrol boats and light weapons to the Burmese military in recent years.

Meanwhile, TAR Ideal Concepts has trained Burmese special forces in Myanmar’s restive western state of Rakhine, where a wave of serious communal violence continues unabated.

The Tel Aviv-based company posted pictures on its website in August last year, showing its staff training Myanmar’s forces on combat tactics and how to handle weapons.

The High Court of Justice was set to rule on the petition filed by Eitay Mack along with 10 other activists later on Wednesday.

The judges hearing the case – Yoram Danziger, Anat Baron and David Mintz – issued a gag order on Tuesday regarding the court’s decision on the Myanmar arms sales controversy. The measure was adopted at the request of the Israeli regime.

Rohingya Muslim refugees carry food distributed by the Bangladeshi army at Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Myanmar’s forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

The government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has snubbed and obstructed UN officials who have sought to investigate the situation. The government has prevented aid agencies from delivering food, water and medicines to the refugees.

Suu Kyi has also rejected UN accusations that Myanmar’s forces are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Considering Suu Kyi’s reputation for micromanagement, political analysts say it seems unlikely that the ongoing violence is taking place without her approval.

In early September, peace activists launched an international campaign calling on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to take back its 1991 prize to Suu Kyi over her complicity in what is viewed as the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

 

israel Doomed

Israel Doomed

Lasha Darkmoon — Darkmoon Sept 23, 2017

“In ten years time, there will be no more Israel.”
— Henry Kissinger, October 2012

dees shot palestinean kid

PALESTINE, COME BACK AGAIN!

A controversial article was published yesterday on the Darkmoon site. Written by brilliant political analyst Franklyn Ryckaert, it was called Israel Is Here To Stay. Within a few hours of publication, the article had elicited almost 100 heated comments denouncing Mr Ryckaert as a “crypto-Jew”, if not a secret agent of Mossad. I was amazed. The readers of our site, being uniformly anti-Zionist, did not wish to hear that Israel was here to stay. They would have preferred to hear the opposite: that Israel was doomed—that certain annihilation awaited evil Zion.
In his closely reasoned article,  Mr Ryckaert advanced the view that the only feasible solution to the Arab-Israeli problem was for the Palestinians to bow before the might of Israel and accept a Two State solution on Israel’s terms. The Palestinians, Ryckaert argued persuasively, needed to be realistic. They were a defeated people and in no position to make demands. They should therefore accept whatever scraps of land Israel was ready to offer them and be grateful. Better a little rump state than no state at all.
I’m afraid I cannot agree with this solution to the Arab-Israeli problem, however reasonable and pragmatic it may appear to be at first sight. This is because it is based on a flawed assumption: the false premise that the Israelis are negotiating in good faith and would dearly love see a Two State solution that is fair and just. I question this basic assumption.
If ever an assumption were false, utterly false, it is this.
I am personally convinced that the Israelis have no intention of handing back any land to the Palestinians. They intend to keep nibbling away at the land ad nauseam, adding illegal settlement to illegal settlement, exactly as they have been doing for the last 70 years. They intend to swallow up every square inch of territory, leaving the Palestinians with nothing but isolated and disconnected bantustans—in short, with open prisons lacking even the basic amenities such as an adequate supply of water.
It is clear to most observers that the Israelis are not negotiating in good faith and this is something the Palestinians know. The mauvaise foi of the Israelis, fully supported in their duplicity by an equally double-tongued Trump administration weighed down with Israel Firsters, is clearly indicated by this comment in a recent article by James Petras:
‘Israel Firsters’ dominate the top economic and political positions within the Trump regime and, interestingly, are among the Administration’s most vociferous opponents. These include: the Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as well as her Vice-Chair, Stanley Fischer, an Israeli citizen and former Governor of the Bank of Israel.
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an Orthodox Jew, acts as his top adviser on Middle East Affairs. Kushner, a New Jersey real estate mogul, set himself up as the archenemy of the economic nationalists in the Trump inner circle.
He supports every Israeli power and land grab in the Middle East and works closely with David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel (and fanatical supporter of the illegal Jewish settlements) and Jason Greenblatt, Special Representative for International negotiations. With three Israel Firsters determining Middle East policy, there is not even a fig leaf of balance.
Donald Trump has turned his entire Middle East policy over to his ultra-Zionist Political Advisor (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Political life in the United States cannot get worse — we really have touched bottom.
In circumstances like these, what hope for the Palestinians getting a fair deal? The Palestinians have no bargaining power, being an essentially defeated people. And beggars, as we know, cannot be choosers. They have as much chance of receiving back a single dunam of stolen land from the Israelis as the defeated Germans stood after WWI from receiving fair treatment from the merciless bloodsuckers who helped to craft the iniquitous Versailles Treaty.
The Jew are exacting taskmasters. The honest Jew Yossi Gurvitz gave the game away in a controversial video called, “When Israel is Mighty”. Here he makes it clear that Jews tend to be nice and accommodating when they have no alternative. When they are weak, they are ready to make concessions. But when they are strong, it’s a different story. Then they are utterly merciless.
Michael Hoffman notes:
“Maimonides ruled that when Judaic persons are weak they should feign friendship for Christians as a way of gaining power over them. But when Judaics are totally dominant, as they are in the Israeli state, they should slaughter anyone who obstructs their supremacy.”
A Two State solution, with Israel conceding land to the Palestinians, is just not possible “when Israel is mighty”. Sooner expect blood from a stone than concessions from Israel.
—   §   —
As far as Israel is concerned, there are no Occupied Territories. There are only disputed territories. And the endgame for Israel is not only the absorption of ‘Judea’ and ‘Samaria’ — i.e. the so-called occupied or “disputed” territories — into Israel proper, or Israel as we know it right now, but the continued expansion of the entire Jewish state beyond its present non-existent official borders into Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. Known as the Oded Yinon Planthis envisages a Greater Israel stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates:

greater Israel

Obviously, a people intent on conquering new lands are unlikely to hand back bits and pieces of their stolen lands to the wretched people whose lands they have plundered. This is why a Two State solution to the Arab-Israeli problem in Palestine is wildly improbable. How can you conquer new lands if you keep handing them back?
Is Greater Israel the ultimate goal of the Zionist Jew? No, it is not. The Revolutionary Jew will never be content until he has conquered the whole world. The whole world must be his glittering trinket. Nothing less will satisfy his insatiable appetite for power and dominion.
Greater Israel, in other words, is not the ultimate goal of the Revolutionary Jew. It is the penultimate goal. It is simply the stepping stone to full-spectrum world domination by international Jewry.
These prophetic words of Israel Shamir keep ringing in my ears:
“Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews; the world is. Palestine is just the place for world state headquarters. The Jews intend to turn Jerusalem into the supreme capital of the world, and its rebuilt temple into the focal point of the Spirit on Earth. Christianity will die, the spirit will depart from the nations in our part of the world, and our present dubious democracy will be supplanted by a vast theocratic state. De-spiritualized and uprooted, homeless and lonely, yesterday’s Masters of the World will become slaves in all but name.” 

Shamir quote

In light of the above, I see no possibility of a Two State solution. Maybe Henry Kissinger’s prediction — In ten years, there will be no more Israel” — will come true.
—  §  —
Kevin Barrett noted on Press TV some time ago that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been vilified in the Western media for daring to imagine “a world without Israel.” But according to news reports, Henry Kissinger and sixteen American intelligence agencies were to agree that in the near future, Israel would no longer exist. The New York Post had quoted Kissinger as saying “In 10 years, there will be no more Israel.”
Those were apparently Kissinger’s exact words.
Barrett continues:
The US Intelligence Community agrees, though perhaps not on the precise 2022 expiration date. Sixteen US intelligence agencies with a combined budget over $70 billion have issued an 82-page analysis entitled “Preparing for a Post-Israel Middle East.”
The US intelligence report observes that the 700,000 Israeli settlers illegally squatting on land stolen in 1967 – land that the entire world agrees belongs to Palestine, not Israel – are not going to pack up and leave peacefully. Since the world will never accept their ongoing presence on stolen land, Israel is like South Africa in the late 1980s: An unsustainable pariah state.
The extremist Likud coalition governing Israel, according to the US intelligence report, is increasingly condoning and supporting rampant violence and lawlessness by the illegal settlers. The Report states that the brutality and criminality of the settlers, and the growing apartheid-style infrastructure including the apartheid wall and the ever-more-draconian system of checkpoints, are indefensible, unsustainable, and out of synch with American values.
The sixteen US intelligence agencies agree that Israel cannot withstand the coming pro-Palestinian juggernaut consisting of the Arab Spring, the Islamic Awakening, and the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The US intelligence community report says that in light of these realities, the US government simply no longer has the military and financial resources to continue propping up Israel against the wishes of more than a billion of its neighbors. In order to normalize relations with 57 Islamic countries, the report suggests, the US will have to follow its own national interests and pull the plug on Israel.
Interestingly, neither Henry Kissinger nor the authors of the US Intelligence Report give any sign that they are going to mourn the demise of Israel. This is remarkable, given that Kissinger is Jewish.
Finally, we come to the least obvious – but most powerful – reason for Kissinger’s and the CIA’s complacency in the face of Israel’s implosion: The inexorable trickle-down of knowledge that Israel and its supporters, not radical Muslims, carried out the 9/11 false-flag attacks.
Increasingly, it is not fringe anti-Semitic groups, but high-level responsible observers, who are saying this. Alan Sabrosky, the half-Jewish former Director of Strategic Studies at the US Army War College, has come on my radio show to say that he has discussed with his colleagues the “100% certainty” that Israel and its supporters did 9/11. 
More Americans, including the US intelligence community as a whole, now recognize that the enemies of Israel do not have to be the enemies of the United States. In fact, the US is going broke and sacrificing thousands of lives in wars for Israel – wars that damage, rather than aid, US strategic interests.
As the recognition grows that 9/11 was not a radical Islamic attack, but an act of dastardly, bloody treason by supporters of Israel, it will become ever-easier for American policy makers, following in the footsteps of Kissinger and the sixteen intelligence agencies, to recognize the obvious: The state of Israel has reached the end of its shelf-life.
(Emphasis added)
This being the situation, any Two State solution to the Arab-Israeli problem—with miserly scraps of land handed back to the Palestinians, leaving Israel free to gobble up the best bits of real estate—would appear to be a dead duck in the water. Even if it were feasible, it would never be a fair. It would be a rip-off. Totally unacceptable to the Palestinians.
—  §  —
So what would be the ideal solution to this intractable problem? It would be a One State solution in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights.
In order for such a state to materialize, a state without apartheid, Israel would have to abandon the idea of continuing as an ethnically Jewish state, a state exclusively for Jews. This would be the end of the Jewish dream: a heaven on earth, a heaven haven just for Jews alone.
In a One State Israel-Palestine, Jews would in no time be outnumbered by Arabs. The One State solution would be the death warrant of Zionism. For this to occur, it would have to be imposed upon Israel by international law, by force of arms, with most Jews kicking and screaming “Over my dead body!”
The Jews would sooner blow up the entire world than accept the loss of their homeland. If I were a Jew, I would do no less. Having fought so long and hard for my heaven on earth, my spiritual homeland, I would rather die a thousand deaths than sacrifice my beloved country—the country of my dreams and the dreams of my ancestors. In the squalid shtetls and cold countries of my exile on earth, this was the dream that had kept me warm in the long watches of the night, that I’d cherished in my heart ever since I was a child. ‘Jerusalem tomorrow!’ Yes, I would sooner blow up the entire world and sacrifice everything, seeing it all go up in flames, than give up my bittersweet, mad, impossible dream.
My prognosis is a gloomy one.
There will never be a One State solution to which the Jews will agree, or a Two State solution that is remotely fair to the Palestinians. There will be more bloodshed, more intifadas. The ultimate solution to the Jewish problem will come when the Jews get too big for their boots and Israel is finally destroyed by a hailstorm of nuclear weapons, leaving the entire country a smoldering heap of radioactive ashes.

VIDEO  :  3.25 mins
‘Palestine, Come Back Again!’

This video, featuring a poem by Lasha Darkmoon read by the inimitable ‘Snordster’ (Patrick Willis), has relatively few views. There is a reason for this. When first released several years ago, the video received thousands of views but was banned almost immediately after protests from the Usual Suspects. A second version was released two years later and this time, mysteriously, it was not banned. This is the version you are now seeing. (JSM)

A Major Jewish Philanthropist Just Published A Plan To Ethnically Cleanse Palestinians

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A far-right faction within Israel’s Likud-led governing coalition has endorsed a plan for Israel to annex the entire West Bank and encourage the Palestinian residents to immigrate to neighboring Arab countries. The plan would allow Palestinians who voluntarily gave up all “national aspirations” to remain, granting them limited municipal self-government, but without Israeli citizenship or Knesset voting rights.

Make no mistake about this — this plan amounts to a none-too-subtle form of ethnic cleansing. It presents Palestinians with an untenable choice: Leave your home or be stripped of basic civil rights, perhaps forever.

Despite (or because of) its draconian nature, the plan was adopted unanimously at a September 12 convention of the National Union-Tekuma party, which holds two Knesset seats as the junior partner in the religious-nationalist Jewish Home bloc. National Union leader Uri Ariel serves as minister of agriculture in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet. The party’s other Knesset member, Bezalel Smotrich, is the author of the annexation plan.

 It’s a marginal enough party that those concerned with human rights or with Israel’s international standing needn’t fear the plan’s immediate implementation. But we should be troubled by the plan’s institutional backing — not just in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, but also in the heart of American Jewish philanthropy.

Smotrich’s plan was released September 6 in an 8,600-word lead essay, “The Decision Plan” (Tochnit Ha-Hachra’ah), in the fall issue of the Hebrew-language bimonthly Hashiloach, a conservative journal of ideas published by the New York-based Tikvah Fund.

That’s right — this plan’s institutional backing includes one of the most distinguished philanthropies in Diaspora Jewry. Tikvah is one of several conservative foundations endowed by the estate of the late investment fund manager Zalman-Sanford Bernstein. It is largely controlled by his widow, the philanthropist Elaine Mem Bernstein, and Tikvah’s board of directors includes some of the most prominent names in Jewish neoconservatism, among them William Kristol and Elliott Abrams.

In addition to Hashiloach, launched a year ago, Tikvah has a number of other publications, including the English-language journals Mosaic, Jewish Review of Books and the Library of Jewish Ideas, a book series published jointly with Princeton University Press. Another Bernstein foundation, Keren Keshet-The Rainbow Fund, publishes Nextbook and Tablet magazine. A third, the Avi Chai Foundation, is a major force in Jewish education reform.

Hashiloach takes its name from an early Hebrew-language journal founded in 1897 by the Zionist essayist and gadfly Ahad Ha’am and later edited by the revered poet Hayim Nachman Bialik before folding in 1919. Tikvah’s choice of that name for its journal might be deemed ironic, given the contrast between the liberal stance of the original Hashiloach, which championed a spiritual, anti-nationalist brand of Zionism, and the hard-line politics of the current incarnation.

On the other hand, the choice is in character for the Bernstein family of publications, which tend to combine their core political conservatism with a free-wheeling cultural sensibility and an openness to diverse, challenging ideas.

Still, Smotrich’s right-wing theories are a stretch even for the free-wheeling, open-ended conservatism of Bernstein-world. The notion of a mass population transfer to rid Israel of Palestinians, even if imagined as somehow voluntary, has long been consigned to the fetid corners of Israel’s radical right. If it’s now moved into the mainstream to the point where it can be taken seriously in a distinguished journal of ideas, that’s a depressing comment on the current state of Israeli and Jewish political discourse. If, on the other hand, it hasn’t gained that sort of broad respectability, then its appearance in Hashiloach suggests an alarming erosion of moral focus in Jewish neoconservative thought, as represented by the Tikvah Fund and its affiliates.

The respectability granted to Smotrich’s essay is particularly puzzling given its intellectual weaknesses, from faulty logic to naivete regarding international relations to plain ignorance. He claims, for instance, that the name Palestine, coined by the ancient Romans after their conquest of Judea, was revived by the Arabs of the Holy Land “when they launched their struggle against the Zionist movement” — when in fact the name had been in common use in Europe for centuries before and was imposed on the local Arabs by the British Mandate, not vice versa.

At another point, Smotrich writes that Palestinian extremism and terrorism were products of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Perhaps the 37-year-old settler-lawyer, born and raised in the hermetic world of the settlements, is unfamiliar with the bloody record of the pre-1967 Palestinian Fedayeen. Maybe he’s never heard of the horrific wave of Palestinian terror attacks throughout the 1970s on Israeli homes, schools, hotels, airport terminals and even Olympic athletes. It was before his time.

Smotrich recites at great length the paradoxical argument that coexistence between two nations living side by side in the Land of Israel is impossible because, first, the Palestinians refuse to accept the legitimacy of Jewish statehood, and second, the Jewish claim to the land is the only legitimate claim — meaning, by his lights, that even if the Palestinians were to accept the legitimacy of two states, the Jews could not legitimately do so. That is, the Palestinians are at fault for not accepting the principle of sharing, which we don’t accept either.

Picking at the holes in Smotrich’s arguments shouldn’t distract us from the larger questions raised by his plan. A morally repugnant concept that was rightly condemned as racist a generation ago is now the policy of an Israeli government coalition partner. This should have caused an immediate coalition crisis but, shamefully, it hasn’t. The plan’s mainstreaming in Israeli public life has been partly enabled by one of American Jewry’s most important philanthropies. This should have caused a crisis in Israel-Diaspora relations but, again shamefully, it hasn’t.

If there’s a bright spot in all this, it’s that we have a week and a half until Yom Kippur — time enough to repent our sins, to do justice and love mercy

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Religious bigotry is alive and well in israel

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Huge Spike in Number of Israelis ‘un-Jewed’ by Chief Rabbinate in Past Two Years

Trend appears related to new practice of re-examining and revoking religious status of citizens already recognized as Jewish

Judy Maltz, Haaretz
17 September 2017

The number of Israelis featured on a blacklist of  “unmarriageable” individuals, maintained by the Chief Rabbinate, has grown exponentially over the past two years, a new document obtained through a Freedom of Information Act inquiry shows. The list refers to individuals who are recognized as Jewish in the Population Registry but who are prohibited from marrying in Israel for various reasons.

This spike, as documented in a recent petition to the Supreme Court, coincides with a relatively new practice embraced by the Chief Rabbinate: Over the past two years, its representatives have begun summoning immigrants, already recognized as Jewish and who married in Israel, for background checks after doubts were raised about the religious status of relatives seeking to marry in the country. In such cases, after the marriage applicants had their request to marry denied, their relatives in Israel were suddenly notified that their Jewish status was either revoked or awaiting clarification.

Jews cannot marry in Israel without providing evidence to the Chief Rabbinate that they are Jewish. Typically, that evidence consists of the marriage certificates of their parents or, in the case of Jews from abroad, letters of certification from their congregational rabbis. Immigrants are often asked to provide the names of relatives living in Israel who can vouch for them. The Chief Rabbinate has the sole authority over marriage and divorce of Jews in Israel. Without being approved by the Chief Rabbinate, Jews cannot marry legally in Israel.

According to the newly released document compiled by the administrative offices of Israel’s rabbinical courts, almost 900 Israelis were added in 2015 and 2016 to the list of “unmarriageable” individuals in the following two categories: “pending clarification” and “non-Jews.” In all cases, these were individuals who were previously registered as Jewish.

The Chief Rabbinate began compiling its blacklist of “unmarriageable” Israelis in 1954. Since then, the total number of individuals in these two categories has been fewer than 4,000. That means that 22 percent of them were added in the past two years alone. Other categories included on the blacklist are “mamzerim” (the offspring of relationships forbidden by Jewish law), individuals suspected of still being married or divorced couples who have resumed living together. The total number of individuals on the list, since it was first compiled, is close to 6,800.

These numbers were compiled by the administrative offices of Israel’s rabbinical courts in response to a Freedom of Information Inquiry submitted by ITIM, an organization that advocates on behalf of immigrants facing challenges from Israeli religious authorities.

They are cited in an appeal to the Supreme Court filed by the organization several weeks ago on behalf of four families in Israel whose members were recently added to the blacklist.

The appeal was filed after the highest court of the Chief Rabbinate ruled, on appeal, that its representatives are authorized to reexamine the Jewish credentials of Israelis who have already been recognized as Jews in Israel. The ruling was issued in December, just days after the Chief Rabbinate published a new regulation allowing it to investigate the religious status of Israelis even if they are not applying to marry in Israel and even if they were already recognized as Jewish for the purpose of marriage.

In its appeal, ITIM argues that the Chief Rabbinate does not have this authority. It also argues that such background checks constitute an invasion of privacy.

According to Rabbi Seth Farber, the founder and executive director of ITIM, never in the past have relatives of marriage applicants had their Jewish status revoked or subject to further clarification.

“The idea that the Chief Rabbinate can suddenly ‘un-Jew’ individuals,” he said, “is completely antithetical to halakha (Jewish religious law), which states that one must take the word of people who say they are Jewish,” he said.

Representing the four families whose Jewish status in Israel has been challenged are also the Center for Women’s Justice and the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at Bar-Ilan University.

One case involves an American-born woman who married an Israeli in a civil ceremony in Florida in 1984. The couple moved to Israel that year, and the woman and the couple’s oldest child converted to Judaism the following year. Both were subsequently registered as Jewish in the Population Registry, as were two daughters later born to the couple. A few years ago, the oldest daughter applied to marry in Israel. In the process, her mother was notified by a representative of the Chief Rabbinate that her marriage was no longer valid because she was not Jewish. Her daughter subsequently decided to marry in a civil ceremony in Cyprus. The couple’s other daughters were notified that their names had been added to the blacklist until further clarification.

A second case involves a family of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Recently, a relative of theirs who applied to get married in Israel was rejected because he could not provide sufficient proof that he was Jewish. After he was rejected, all his family members, who had already been registered as Jewish, were notified that their Jewish status was now pending clarification. A third case involves another family that immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. When a daughter of theirs applied to get married two years ago and was not able to provide sufficient proof of her Jewish ancestry, all her relatives in the country, who already had been registered as Jewish, were subsequently informed that their religious status was now also pending clarification.

The fourth case also involves a family of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. In this particular case, an investigation was launched when a member of the family sought to divorce her husband, citing domestic violence. The estranged husband, in response, claimed that his wife had converted to Christianity. Based on this claim, which the woman categorically denied, the Chief Rabbinate notified relatives, who had already been registered as Jewish, that their Jewish status was now pending clarification.

Commenting on the four cases, Farber said: “ Behind each story here are real families who have had the carpet pulled out from under their feet. Halachic Judaism is not meant to cause suffering. By initiating Jewishness investigations, the rabbinate is further undermining its historic role in Israel.”

A few months ago, it emerged that the Chief Rabbinate also maintains a blacklist of rabbis from abroad whose letters of certification for the purpose of marriage it does not honor. This controversial list was also obtained through a Freedom of Information Act inquiry. The Chief Rabbinate has since announced that it plans to make public a new list of criteria for approving rabbis from abroad for such letters of certification.

israel denies aid workers visas

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MEMO | September 5, 2017

Humanitarian aid sent by Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD) and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) are being distributed in Gaza City, Gaza on 16 July, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Israel has suspended granting work visas to foreign charity workers delivering aid to Palestinians, according to AFP. Humanitarian organisations have noted numerous refusals or delays on the part of the Israeli government for over a year, affecting dozens of aid workers as they try to enter the country.

“This situation could escalate into crippled humanitarian operations,” a senior aid worker told AFP. “A country director who is waiting outside the country for months means timely delivery of aid will be affected.”

Israel has suspended various visas since August 2016, and in June of this year stopped issuing the B1 work visa, the most common documentation sought by those working with NGOs. Many are left working illegally on tourist visas only and fear that they could be expelled at any time.

Israeli authorities deny that the delays have been intentional and the Ministry of Social Affairs has attributed them to “ongoing inter-ministerial considerations regarding the applications approval procedure”.

Read: 15 Gazans die after Israel denies them treatment

Aid workers however, cite the length and extent of the refusals as evidence of other motives, pointing to the recent Israeli decision that would give the government the right to deny entry to those who support the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. They argue that the right wing stance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have resulted in their work being curtailed.

In the past, Israel has accused aid workers of supporting Hamas, and the Gaza head of the international Christian charity World Vision Mohammed El-Halabi, is currently on trial after facing such allegations. He denies all charges.

In February, Israel also refused a visa to the US head of Human Rights Watch, claiming the group was “fundamentally biased” towards Palestinians. The authorities were forced to reverse the decision following international condemnation.

Palestinians in the occupied territories and the besieged Gaza Strip are heavily dependent on aid, the vast majority of which is distributed by international charities crossing through Israel. Such dependency has only increased in recent months as the situation in Gaza deteriorates even further. The coastal enclave faces an energy, water and healthcare crisis prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on his visit to the region last week to label conditions as “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen”.

 

israel arming Myanmar amid ongoing Rohingya crackdown

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Thousands of Rohingya refugees continue to flee Myanmar as the army intensifies its crackdown against the minority group

Satellite images showed Rohingya villages in the Rakhine state burned to the ground (AFP)

Israel has continued to sell weapons to Myanmar as thousands of Rohingya refugees flee the military’s violent crackdown in the Rakhine state.

The weapons sold to Myanmar include over 100 tanks, weapons and boats used to police the country’s border, according to human rights groups and Burmese officials. 

Israeli arms companies such as Tar Ideal have also been involved in training Burmese special forces who are currently in the Rakhine state where most of the violence has taken place.

Images previously posted on the arms company’s website showed its staff instructing members of the Burmese special forces on combat tactics and how to use specific weapons.

Petition to ban arms exports to Myanmar

In September, the Israeli High Court of Justice is expected to hear a petition, launched by activists, urging the Israeli government to stop arms exports to Myanmar.

The US and EU have an arms embargo against Myanmar. 

Eitay Mack, the lawyer presenting the petition, told Middle East Eye that Israel has “no control” over its arms exports once they are sent overseas.

“Israel has no control of what’s happening with its weapons once it sends its weapons to Burma,” said Mack, an Israeli human rights lawyer based in Tel Aviv.



A Rohingya village, burned by Burmese forces (Reuters)

“But from Tar Ideal’s website, we know that they are arming and training Burmese special forces who are operating in the Rakhine state right now.

The petition was submitted in January, following visits by Israeli officials to Myanmar to discuss arms deals, and vice versa.

After the petition was submitted, the Israeli Defence Ministry in March said the court had no jurisdiction over the issue and claimed that arms sales to Myanmar were “clearly diplomatic”.

Israel has shared a strong relationship with Myanmar and maintained trade relations over the years. These relations existed before the military junta stepped down.

Weapons used against the Palestinians are being sold as ‘field-tested’ to some of the worst regimes on the planet

– Ofer Neiman, human rights activist

Ofer Neiman, an Israeli human rights activist, said Israel’s relationship with Myanmar is linked to its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

“Successive Israeli governments have been selling arms to the military dictatorship in Burma for years,” Neiman told MEE.

“This policy is strongly related to Israel’s oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Weapons used against the Palestinians are being sold as ‘field-tested’ to some of the worst regimes on the planet.”

Myanmar’s military chief on Friday defended the clearing of villages, attempting to justify it as “unfinished business” dating back to World War Two. 

‘Supporting genocide’

Penny Green, an academic who has documented alleged war crimes perpetrated against the Rohingya people, told MEE that many governments “have lent their support to the current genocide”.

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“It’s not at all surprising that the latest escalation in Myanmar’s genocide of the Rohingya has not moved the Israeli state to cease its supply of weapons to Myanmar’s military,” said Green, director of the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University.

“Its own record of violence and terror against the Palestinian people of Gaza is clear enough evidence that the Israeli government is unmoved by ethical concerns and human rights.

“Last year the British government spent over £300,000 of tax-payer’s money in training the Myanmar military and Commander in Chief General Min Aung Hlaing was welcomed by EU heads of military eager to engage in arms sales and training,” she added, citing figures from the Burma Campaign organisation.

More than 60,000 Rohingya refugees have fled their homes to seek refuge in Bangladesh as violence escalates in the Rakhine state.

Satellite images show dozens of Rohingya villages burned to the ground by the Myanmar army.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused Myanmar of perpetrating a genocide against the Rohingya.

Neither the Israeli defence ministry or the Israeli embassy in the UK have replied to a request for comment.

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