Weekend round-up from the Serious News Department

IRAN: Iran media faces backlash over acid attacks coverage

Al Monitor reports: Iranian media outlets that have covered the acid attacks on women in the city of Esfahan have been criticized for and warned about associating the crimes with “vice” groups enforcing Islamic values. While Iranian authorities have attempted to address concerns about the attacks, they have also warned domestic media outlets over their coverage… The head of Iran’s judiciary denied any link between the attacks and a bill proposed by parliament that would give legal protection to “vice groups” that enforce Islamic laws. “Unfortunately, some Western countries have related this event to the ‘enjoining good and forbidding wrong’ and this is a strange oppression and persecution,” said Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, adding that “it was worse” that domestic media did the same. Esfahan’s governor also said that the police are pursuing the case and “Any type of gathering on this issue is illegal and individuals who create rumors or take actions that disturb the calm in society will be confronted.”

TURKEY: Turkey ‘should not’ be left alone in ISIL fight

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey reports: Israel’s highest ranking diplomat in Turkey, newly appointed Consul-General Shai Cohen has said the fight against ISIL should not be left to the Turkish government and Turkish security forces alone. “There should be an international cooperation on that and all of the relevant states should be involved in this fight,” Cohen told daily Hurriyet in a recent interview. Cohen, the new Consul-General of Israel had been the Head of the Counter-Terrorism and Regional Security Department in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs before his appointment to Istanbul. Cohen spoke with Hurriyet following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signing his executor. It has been five years since the Israeli “Cast-Lead” operation on Gaza and four years after the Mavi Marmara incident, Cohen said. “It is not a secret that there is some kind of a stalemate in the normalization process between the two countries. In this period of the last 4-5 years, there has been a decline in the relations between the two countries, especially in the political and strategic fields. On the other hand, in the last 7 weeks that I have been here in Turkey, I have seen that there is a lot of opportunity to develop relations in other fields. But our general approach is, we preach normalization between the people of the two countries,” he added.

ISRAEL:  Egypt, Israel agree to set up Gaza buffer zone: Report

Trend News Agency, Azerbaijan reports: Egypt and Israel have agreed on a plan for the establishment of a buffer zone along the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip, a report says, Press TV reported. According to the Qatar-funded al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper, an unnamed Western diplomat recently said Egyptian and Israeli leaders had earlier agreed over the plan regarding the creation of the buffer zone. The Qatari daily is reportedly headed by a former Arab member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset). The paper said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire in Gaza back in August – which ended its deadly 50-day war on the Palestinian enclave – in order to prevent Qatar and Turkey from getting involved. The newspaper added that in return for agreeing to the Egyptian-proposed truce, Tel Aviv also demanded that Egypt set up a buffer zone along its border with Gaza. As part of the plans to create the 13-kilometer long and 500-meter wide buffer zone, the Egyptian army on Sunday reportedly destroyed homes in Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip. About 10,000 residents were evacuated from their houses.

RUSSIA: Russian medical university bans hijabs, religious clothes

Eurasia Review reports: The administration of the Russian National Medical Research University (RNMRU) has established a new dress code; religious clothing will therefore be strictly banned on the premises of the educational facility. In a written directive issued on October 15, Andrei Kamkin, the university’s rector, pointed out that RNMRU is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Russia, and therefore its students and faculty have to maintain certain standards of conduct, which dictate that they dress in a way that befits doctors and medical students.  The male students are expected to wear trousers, jerseys, shirts, ties and jackets; the university has also mandated that they keep their hair well-trimmed. Female students are prohibited from wearing short skirts and revealing dresses, as well as gaudy make-up and jewelry. The wearing of religious clothes and traditional ethnic costumes of any kind, as well as clothes that could offend the political and religious feelings of others is also strictly prohibited. Students who violate these rules face expulsion, while potential offenders among the faculty may be fired. 

MALAYSIA: Malaysian Muslims feel heat for petting dogs, and social media bites back

Religious News Service reports: Syed Azmi Alhabshi has been labeled a heretic, a closet Christian, a Zionist spy or even a Shiite Muslim. His crime? Inviting other Muslims to touch a dog. The subsequent death threats and online abuse sent him into hiding, fearing for his life. So when he met reporters here on Saturday (Oct. 25), the 37-year-old social activist spoke from a prepared text, took no questions and left after five minutes. Nearly 1,000 people attended the Oct. 19 event at a park in the western state of Selangor, aimed at helping Muslims overcome religious stigma and fear of canines, learn permissible ways to touch a dog and how to perform a cleansing ritual, known as “sertu” or “samak.” The backlash was swift and serious after social media and news reports were flooded with images of Muslim participants — particularly women in hijabs — stroking and hugging their new four-legged friends at the “I Want to Touch a Dog” event. Muslims here largely subscribe to the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence, which views dogs as unclean. Dogs are not permitted to be reared as pets or handled, cuddled, pet or kissed. The only reason to touch a dog is if it needs help.

LEBANON: Averting a northern dilemma. 

Al Ahram Weekly, Egypt reports: After days of fierce fighting, the Lebanese army makes gains in Tripoli against armed militants, though the battle is far from over, writes Hassan Al-Qishawi from Beirut. The dire forecast made by Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji finally came true, with clashes erupting in Tripoli and other areas of north Lebanon between militant Islamists and the Lebanese army. The clashes were triggered by a search operation targeting an armed group in Tripoli, based on information obtained during the interrogation of militant Ahmed Miqati, who faces serious terrorist charges. As the operation got underway, militant groups fired at the army and tried to ambush it in Tripoli and the nearby towns of Behanin and Al-Mohammara. A Lebanese security source said that the clashes started when the army commenced search operations in Tripoli that were based on the confessions of Miqati, who was arrested in Denniya in north Lebanon a few days ago. Miqati’s son, believed to be a member of the Islamic State, and other members of the family were among the militants who challenged the army in two days of fighting in north Lebanon.

LIBYA: Dozens of Libyans pledge allegiance to top IS leader

Arab News, Saudi Arabia reports:  Dozens of residents of a town in eastern Libya have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq, according to a video and a resident. Around 50 young people could be seen in a video posted on social media gathering in Derna to support Baghdadi, who calls himself “caliph,” or Muslim leader, of Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda offshoot. A Derna resident confirmed the authenticity of the video, taken late on Friday. There has been growing concern among Western nations and Libya’s neighbors that Islamic State is trying to exploit lawlessness in the oil producer where militants and other militias who helped topple Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 are carving out fiefdoms. Derna, a port halfway between the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi and the Egyptian border, has since 2011 turned into a gathering point for militants and Al-Qaeda sympathizers.

AUSTRALIA: Mastermind of failed Australia beheading plot killed in Middle East

News 24, Australia reports: A former Sydney bouncer said to have masterminded a failed plot by Islamic State militants to behead a random member of the public in Australia is believed to have died in the Middle East, Australian media reported on Wednesday. Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who was believed to be one of the group’s most senior members and a top recruiter of foreign fighters, was thought to have died in fighting in Syria or Iraq four or five days ago, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported… Abdul Salaam Mahmoud, who belonged to the same street-proselytizing group as Baryalei in Sydney, wrote on Facebook of Baryalei’s death, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported. “I’ve just received the news that our beloved brother Mohamed Ali who was recently strongly attacked by Australian media has been martyred,” Mahmoud said. More than 800 police raided homes in Sydney and Brisbane in September as part of a sweeping counter-terrorism operation aimed at stopping what the government said was a plot to kidnap and publicly behead a random Australian citizen. Australia is concerned over the number of its citizens believed to be fighting overseas with militant groups, including a suicide bomber who killed three people in Baghdad in July and two men shown in images on social media holding the severed heads of Syrian soldiers.

SYRIA: Syrian helicopter bombs displaced persons camp, many dead

Khaleej Times, UAE reports: A Syrian army helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on a displaced persons camp in the northern province of Idlib, camp residents said on Wednesday, and video footage appeared to show charred and dismembered bodies. Footage posted on YouTube showed corpses of women, children and burning tents while people scrambled to save the wounded. “It’s a massacre of refugees,” a voice off camera said. “Let the whole world see this, they are displaced people. Look at them, they are civilians, displaced civilians. They fled the bombardment,” the man’s voice said. A man in another video of the Abedin camp, which houses people who had escaped fighting in neighbouring Hama province, said as many as 75 people had died. Syrian state media did not mention the bombing. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in the civil war, said 10 civilians died.

NIGERIA: Dozens More Girls Abducted By Extremists

Arab Times, Kuwait reports: Gunmen Kill German Citizen, Kidnap Another In Nigeria.  Dozens of girls and young women are being abducted by Islamic extremists in North East Nigeria, raising doubts about an announced cease-fire and the hoped-for release of 219 schoolgirls held captive since April. Thirty teenage girls and boys have been kidnapped since Wednesday from villages around Mafa town, 40 kms (25 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, the local government chairman Shettima Maina told reporters. Escaping residents said Boko Haram insurgents abducted 80 girls and women from neighboring Adamawa state on Oct 18. Older women in the group were released the following day and said the extremists kept about 40 younger women and girls, according to the residents. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by the insurgents… Witnesses and a security official said more than 20 insurgents were killed in fierce fighting at Abadam in which the Nigerian Air Force bombed occupied posts and ground troops opened fire after which the insurgents fled. Boko Haram had hoisted their black and white flag in Abadam a week before, when they killed at least 40 civilians and forced hundreds in the farming community to flee across the border into Niger, according to some residents who escaped to Maiduguri, 200 kms (125 miles) to the east. Also last week, a car bomb exploded in a bus station in Azare, a town in north-central Bauchi state.

BANGLADESH: Militant group planning coup in Bangladesh: India officials

Gulf Times, Qatar reports: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, target of terror group. India’s top counter-terrorism agency has uncovered a suspected plot by a banned militant group to assassinate the prime minister of Bangladesh and carry out a coup, three senior Indian security officials told Reuters yesterday. India will hand over a dossier to Bangladesh with details of the plan by members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, which has carried out scores of attacks in India’s eastern neighbour, the government and police officials said. Bangladesh did not comment directly on the assertions that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had been the target of a plot, but said it had tightened security on the border with India. Mainly-Muslim Bangladesh has suffered three major army coups and two dozen smaller rebellions since gaining independence from Pakistan in 1971 in a war that killed and displaced millions. The alleged conspiracy was discovered after two members of the group were killed in an explosion while building home made bombs at a house in West Bengal in eastern India earlier this month. Indian police say the militants were Bangladeshis and were using India as a safe haven to plan the attacks. “The strategy was to hit the political leaders of the country and demolish the democratic infrastructure of Bangladesh,” said a senior Indian Home (interior) Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This was all being planned on Indian soil and we could have been blamed if there was an attack.”

SAUDI ARABIA: More Than 2,000 Saudi Gunmen Operate for ISIL, Recruitment via Twitter, YouTube

Al Manar, Lebanon reports: Terrorist organizations employ between 2,000 and 2,500 gunmen of Saudi nationality. This explains why do the young Saudis – especially the suicide bombers – top the list of terrorist organizations, the Saudi UK-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported. “Assessments of research centers and monitors indicate that the number of Saudi fighters reached approximately 2,500, most of them are aged between 18 and 25 years old operating within the ranks of ISIL (the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’). While others operate within Al-Qaeda-affiliated AL-Nusra Front,” Hammoud Al-Zayyadi, an expert in terrorist groups told Al-Hayat. Zayyadi said that social networks, particularly the Twitter and YouTube, have become “the most important incubators and mobilization and recruitment means for terrorist groups,” whether targeting the Saudi elements or even at the level of global polarization.”… The Saudi expert said the goal of recruiting those gunmen is “to take advantage of the Saudi members’ ability to fund, both by elements who may belong to rich families, or by their relationships with charity institutions, businessmen, or social powers that couldn’t know the real reasons behind the donation.” 

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 Thank God there’s an Israel!

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Folks, ho-hum! Just a regular day in the Muslim world.

What Others Are Saying

“Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other; nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure.” – Muhammad Asad (1900-1992)

IRAQ

Armed group kidnapped 43 people, including women and children

A security source told the National Iraqi News Agency that an armed group calling itself  The Gang of the Blue Robe kidnapped 43 people, including women and children in the area of Al-Bakhado affiliated to al-Dour, southeast of Tikrit.

Two women killed, a third wounded in bombing west of Mosul

Two women were killed and a third was wounded on Sunday by bombing in the area west of Mosul.  A source said that the two women were killed and a third one was wounded by bombing the areas west of Mosul.

80 Terrorists killed, dozens injured in an air strike in Baiji

A security source announced on Monday the killing of 80 terrorists and injuring dozens others, an air strike in Baiji in Salahuddin province.  The source said in a press statement that “the air force carried out the strike near Baiji power office.”

LEBANON

Hezbollah suffers casualties in fight to root out rebels

Further fighting broke out Monday night along the Lebanese-Syrian border following fierce battles which flared over the weekend between Syrian rebels and Hezbollah as the group seeks to root out the last opposition fighters from the region. At least seven Hezbollah fighters and over 30 Syrian rebels were killed in the clashes, which erupted Saturday night in the border area between Baalbek, Arsal and the Syrian village of Nahleh, sources told The Daily Star.

LIBYA

High casualties at Tripoli Airport as control tower hit

As many as 15 people have been killed and 70 wounded at Tripoli Airport as missiles have rained down hitting its control tower and two planes, sources on the ground have claimed. Reports have come in of several fires at the airport as its air traffic control tower burned after being hit by one rocket. The attack on Zintani forces on the premises has been said to be coming from forces in Qasr Ben Ghashir and Wadi Rabia. Zintanis have also returned fire at the residential areas.

Remaining UN staff in Libya evacuated following Tripoli clashes

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has evacuated its last remaining staff from the country citing security concerns and the closure of Tripoli Airport as its reasons for withdrawing.
A number of UN diplomatic vehicles carrying personnel and their families crossed the Libyan border into Tunisia late yesterday evening.

Seven dead and 35 injured in clashes at Benghazi’s Jalaa Hospital

Seven people were killed and 35 injured in clashes at Benghazi’s Jalaa Hospital this morning as Operation Dignity forces unsuccessfully attempted to remove Ansar Al-Sharia from the premises. Spokesman for Operation Dignity Mohammed Al-Hejazi told the Libya Herald that the attack mounted by Saiqa Special Forces under the direction of Operation Dignity began early this morning. He said, however, that the assault had been pushed back by Ansar forces which had responded by firing anti-aircraft guns and mortars randomly into the surrounding residential area. He claimed the Islamist brigade had taken up positions in a nearby school and placed snipers on a number of roofs in the Salmani district where the hospital is situated.

YEMEN

Tens of thousands flee Amran as humanitarian crises deepens

Tens of thousands of displaced people are in need of urgent humanitarian aid after fleeing fighting between Houthi rebels and an alliance of tribesmen and military units, according to government and local sources. The numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) have swelled since the Houthi takeover of Amran City on July 8. There are conflicting reports of the numbers of displaced people, with local authorities in Amran citing 35,000 and relief organizations saying that the actual figure could be twice as high.

EGYPT

Eight killed in blasts in Egypt’s Sinai region

One security officer and seven others were killed in two successive explosions around security areas in Egypt’s Sinai region, near the border with Israel, the Interior Ministry and security officials said. Egypt has been hit by an Islamist insurgency led by Sinai-based militants, who have mainly targeted security forces since last year’s army ouster of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. Hundreds of soldiers and police officers have been killed in those attacks. The Interior Ministry said seven people were killed and around 25 others were injured in an explosion. Security sources said the rocket was targeting North Sinai’s main security compound but instead fell in front of a nearby crowded supermarket in Sinai’s northern city of Al-Arish. A few minutes later, two rockets hit a security unit in the same city killing an officer and injuring seven others, medical sources said.

AFGHANISTAN

89 killed in suicide blast in east Afghanistan

A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 89 people and wounding more than 40 in one of the deadliest attacks since the 2001 US-led invasion. The attack in the town of Urgun in Paktika province brutally underscored the country’s instability as foreign troops prepare to leave by the end of the year and feuding politicians in Kabul work to form a new government after a disputed presidential election. Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Defense Ministry spokesman, said the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle as he drove by the crowded market in the remote town in Urgun district, close to the border with Pakistan.

PAKISTAN

Pakistan man sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’

A court in Pakistan has passed a death sentence on a man convicted under controversial blasphemy laws of insulting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), lawyers said on Tuesday. Pakistan has strict laws against insulting Islam, which can sometimes carry the death penalty, but rights activists say they are often misused to settle personal disputes. Zulfiqar Ali, aged in his 50s, was arrested in April 2008 in the eastern city of Lahore and accused of writing blasphemous slogans on walls.

TURKEY

 Knife and baton-wielding masked group attacks shops run by Syrian refugees in Adana

A group of knife and baton-wielding have assailants attacked shops run by Syrian refugees in the southern Adana province on July 14, after tension peaked over the Syrians’ trade activities in the district of Seyhan.  Around 10 people attacked shops owned by Syrians, breaking windows and threatening the shopkeepers. The group escaped before police arrived at the scene.  According to witnesses, Syrians have rented many shops in the area and were threatened to immediately leave the district a day before the attack. However, locals also accused the Syrians of trying to send them away from their neighborhoods, claiming that they are not safe and asking for protection. The incident prompted the police to launch an investigation. . . Similar attacks on refugees have also taken place in Ankara and Istanbul, where the number of Syrians has soared in recent months.

 TUNISIA

Radical Tunisian Islamist Party Warned Over Attacks

Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa on Thursday (July 10th) threatened tough measures against salafist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, which he accused of undermining the republic. He gave the salafist party a 30-day deadline to fix violations.  Jomaa said Hizb ut-Tahrir, which obtained a license about two years ago, had called for disobeying the constitution, rejecting democracy and other violations of laws governing political parties.

ALGERIA

Bomb claims 7 security personnel in Algeria

A bomb killed seven members of Algeria’s security forces, the defence ministry said on Sunday, the second deadly attack in the country in four months. Militants attacked a military convoy in Sidi Bel Abbes province in western Algeria late on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. Three soldiers and four municipal guards were killed. The statement said “terrorists” carried out the attack, a term used by the authorities to refer to militants. The municipal guards, whose members were among those killed in Saturday’s attack, is part of a security body set up by the interior ministry in the 1990s to help fight militancy. The defence ministry denounced the latest attack, saying that “such criminal acts only serve to bolster the (army’s) determination to crush terrorist groups.”

SYRIA

Kurds enter Syria from Turkey to fight

Hundreds of Kurdish fighters have entered northern Syria to help battle jihadists besieging the Kurdish city of Ain al-Arab, a monitor says. “At least 800 Kurdish fighters crossed the Turkish-Syrian border to help their comrades in Ain al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), which is under total siege by Islamic State jihadists,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said on Tuesday. A Kurdish Syrian activist said the flow of fighters came as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), blacklisted in Turkey as a terrorist organisation, gave orders for Kurdish fighters to move to protect Kobane. “Fighters started going into Kobane from Turkey some four or five days ago,” said Havidar, who goes by only one name. “But the latest entry, last night, came after orders from the higher leadership of the PKK. Last night, there were celebrations in Kobane – fighters were firing into the air as they arrived in the town,” he said. 

GAZA

Hamas spokesman defends policy of using civilians as human shields

Quote of the day July 16 2014

Click on this image to watch his video statement

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER - "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" | "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

 Thank God there’s an Israel!

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 Check out all of our latest jewishinfoNews videos

 الأخباراليهودية.شبكة

  اخبار یهودی

Latest International News for May 13, 2014

What Others Are Saying

Never the twain shall meet?

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey reports: Iranians, Israelis rush to Antalya. The first four months of the year saw a rise in Iranian and Israeli tourists to Turkey’s southern holiday mecca of Antalya. According to a report released in May by the Antalya Touristic Hotels and Businesses Union, the number of Iranian tourists who visited Antalya skyrocketed by 464 percent between January and April, while visitors from Israel soared by 146 percent. The number of Iranian visitors surpassed 53,000, whereas the number of Israelis visiting Antalya was more than 39,000. The rise in Iranian and Israeli visitors outstripped some of the top Antalya-loving countries during the period, in which the overall number of foreign visitors rose 5.1 percent to 1.32 million… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last year over the Mavi Marmara incident gave a boost to Turkey’s allure for Israeli holiday markets.

“Judenfrei” sign posted on the gates of nursery school in Latvia

Riga Latvia bLatvian news site Vesti Segodniya reports the Pucite School, owned by Imants Paradnieks, [who has in the past made anti-Semitic statements] posted a sign reading “Judenfrei” (free of Jews) on the gate at the front entrance of the school. The school was in the news two years ago for bringing in men dressed in Waffen SS uniforms to show the kindergarten class what they called a patriotic lesson. In a video taken of that lesson, children are shown World War II era weapons such as grenades, pistols, rifles and machine guns.

‘We feel the Nazi frost in the air’: Sweden

The Local, Sweden reports: Two of Sweden’s most prominent politicians have asked their European counterparts “to wake up”. Cecilia Malmström and Birgitta Ohlsson argue that it is time to fight “Hitler’s ideological heirs, who are marching towards our legislative assemblies”.  On May 9th, 1945 there were celebrations across Europe as the Third Reich capitulated and the second world war finally ended. Last week, some 200 Nazis from the Party of the Swedes demonstrated in Jönköping. They protested against the EU and brandished the slogan “Sweden for the Swedes”. Through the duration of the demonstration, church bells rang out across the southern Swedish town.  It was the first time since 1939 that the churches rang their bells to warn of danger.  School students across our country have this spring been met by Nazi hate propaganda. Some dismiss the scrawled swastiskas and hateful words as pranks. But we feel the frost in the air. 

BBC’s Addis Ababa correspondent decides who is Jewish

BBC Watch, UK reports: Here’s a heart-breaking story which was broadcast on BBC World News television and promoted on the Middle East and Africa pages of the BBC News website… Presenter Emmanuel Igunza reports: Shouts of praise for the holy scrolls but make no mistake; this is not Israel. Welcome to Gondar – an ancient historic city in northern Ethiopia and home to the Falash Mura: the last Jews of Ethiopia. They spend their days living according to Jewish tradition, passed onto them over hundreds of years. The tranquility here betrays the emotional turmoil that many feel, not able to join their families in Israel. Stories of siblings separated, children allowed to settle in the Jewish homeland while their parents remain behind. Under the Israeli government criteria, only those Falash Mura who can show evidence of Jewish ancestry on their mother’s side are allowed into Israel and granted citizenship… The problem with Emmanuel Igunza’s story is that he has left out some very critical details, the most obvious one being that the Falash Mura are Christians whose Jewish ancestors were converted by Western missionaries from around the end of the nineteenth century.

Peres barred from entering Swedish airspace

The Jewish Chronicle, UK reports: Israeli President Peres was held up in mid-air on Sunday after Swedish authorities refused to permit the plane he was travelling in from entering their airspace. The president had been en route to Norway in a private jet, owned by the company Kishrev Teufa, when he hit problems over the Baltic Sea.
According to Haaretz, his flight was 15 minutes away from Swedish airspace when the pilot was told that the country’s air traffic authorities had no prior knowledge of clearance being given. After circling the area, the plane was finally re-routed through Danish airspace, making Mr Peres 50 minutes late for his arrival in Oslo. Although the Foreign Ministry blamed the problem on the fact that a private company had been transporting Mr Peres, his office has criticised the Swedish authorities. A spokesperson at the President’s Office said: “It was a technical problem. The Swedes immediately gave approval, but later revoked it for reasons unknown to us.”

Jewish boat making waves ahead of Amsterdam gay parade

JTA reports: Its maiden voyage is months away and will only take a couple of hours, but the Jewish boat of Amsterdam’s annual gay parade-on-the-canals is already making international waves. On Monday, the Jewish boat got the thumbs up from the British actor Stephen Fry, who described it on Twitter as an “Ace event for LGBT Jews worldwide,” adding: “As one of each I wish I could be there!”  The Jewish boat for the Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade 2014 is scheduled to hit the murky waters of Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal on August 2. It was one of approximately 80 boats to win a March lottery ensuring its participation in the world-famous event, believed to be the world’s only aquatic pride parade. Other winners included the first boat for Moroccan gays. The 18-year-old annual event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators who huddle along the canal to watch the decorated, themed vessels chart a west-east course through one of the Dutch capital’s main waterways. The Jewish boat, and an international Jewish LGBT conference that immediately precedes it, are being organized by a group called Exodays, whose board is made up of several young Jewish activists.

Israel says to normalize relations with Turkey

Kuwait News Agency reports:  Israel announced on Monday that it will begin normalizing relations with Turkey in a matter of days after the return of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his visit to Japan. The normalization comes after four years of tension between the two countries caused by the Israeli attack on the Turkish (Mavi Marmara) flotilla carrying Turkish activists supporting Gaza in May 2010, killing and injuring dozens of those on board. Turkey withdrew its Ambassador to Israel after the incident, and demanded the same from the Hebrew state. Israel has agreed to pay compensation of USD 21 million to the victims’ families, according to Radio Israel. The two sides will reach a final agreement regarding compensations once Netanyahu has returned, the radio added. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously said that Israel must pay the compensation and end the siege on Gaza, if it really wanted to normalize relations with his country. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu meanwhile said in a press conference that the Turkish-Israeli negotiations are coming out with positive results and have solved big issues between the two countries.

Israel’s creation is “the greatest crime known to humanity” writes official PA daily op-ed

Palestinian Media Watch reports: To coincide with Israel’s Independence Day last week, the official Palestinian Authority daily published an op-ed describing Israel’s creation – “the occupation of Palestine” – as “the greatest crime known to humanity.” Other terms of demonization used to refer to Israel’s creation were “a monstrosity was born” and “an despicable mission.” Jewish fighting forces in the War of Independence were referred to as “the Zionist gangs.”

Syria jihadists ban mannequins in shops

Gulf News, UAE reports: Militants in Raqa also ban men and women shopping together unless he is her husband, father or brotherSyria’s most extreme jihadist faction issued a ban Monday on mannequins in shop displays and the sale of women’s underwear to male customers, a monitoring group said. The decision by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in their northern stronghold of Raqa also bans men and women shopping together unless he is her husband, father or brother, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Observatory also said ISIL has decided that traditional garments on sale must be neither “tight, transparent or ornate”. Raqa is the only provincial capital in Syria to have fallen from the hands of President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, and it is now completely under Isil control. Isil is believed to be holding some 1,000 hostages in Raqa, rights groups say, many of them peaceful activists, rival rebels or civilians caught committing “crimes” such as heresy or smoking. The group also carries out frequent public executions, with some victims reportedly crucified in Raqa.

West ‘stupid’ to expect Iran missile curb: Khamenei

Gulf Times, Qatar reports: Iran’s supreme leader described as “stupid and idiotic” Western expectations for his country to curb its missile development, striking a defiant tone ahead of a fresh round of nuclear talks. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to mass produce missiles and said the nuclear negotiations were not the place to discuss Tehran’s defence programme or to solve the problem of sanctions damaging the Iranian economy. “They expect us to limit our missile programme while they constantly threaten Iran with military action,” Khamenei was quoted as telling the Irna news agency while on a visit to an aeronautics fair held by the Revolutionary Guards. “So this is a stupid, idiotic expectation … The revolutionary guards should definitely carry out their programme and not be satisfied with the present level. They should mass produce. This is a main duty of all military officials.”

We thought Rouhani was supposed to be moderate? Iran censors, shuts down two newspapers

AlBawaba, Jordan reports: Iranians expecting to buy Thursday’s edition of reformist newspaper Ghanoon were disappointed not to find it on news stands as the publication has been forced to close by the Iranian Ministry of Culture. The latest closures bring the total number of Iranian media outlets shut down by the Ministry of Culture to at least five since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in August. Ghanoon, the Persian word for “law,” was shut down for its coverage of the arrest of Mohammad Rouyanian, the former chair of the Persepolis soccer club and member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. Rouyanian, who was arrested on fraud charges in March, was head of Iran’s powerful Management Transportation and Fuel Center under controversial former Iranian PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad. “The newspaper published false reports aimed at disturbing public opinion, and (articles) against the Islamic values,” read the Ministry of Culture’s statement. The statement is posted on Ghanoon’s still-operational website. Ghanoon’s article was just a reprint of a report published by Iranian news agency Dana, which the Ministry of Culture also shutdown when that fact became apparent.

Warsaw’s Jewish Heritage on Show

The Warsaw Voice reports: A new exhibition at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews offers a glimpse of Warsaw as it was before World War II, when the city was home to the world’s second-largest Jewish community after New York City. Entitled Warszawa, Warsze, the exhibition comprises archival documents, paintings and photographs. Arranged in chronological order, the exhibition begins with items from the late 18th century. The primary focus of Warszawa, Warsze are Warsaw’s distinctly Jewish neighborhoods, such as Muranów and Nalewki Street, where Yiddish was spoken and the streets bustled with sidewalk stalls, stores and craftsmen’s workshops. Visitors to the museum can see how the elegant Senatorska Street and the Tłomackie Street area, a favorite meeting place for progressive intellectuals, once looked. The exhibition also delves into the shady atmosphere of Gnojna Street and Iron Gate Square, and brings to life the Jewish microcosm of Warsaw’s Praga district, whose local horse fair attracted many Jews in the 18th century. The exhibition also takes in the Vistula River, which used to be a popular bathing spot and which simultaneously served as a trade route for Jewish merchants dealing in grain and other products.

Quilliam releases new report on online extremism

A new report by Quilliam entitled ‘Jihad Trending: A Comprehensive Analysis of Online Extremism and How to Counter it’ is released today. The report maps Islamist extremist usage of the Internet and explores the role extremist materials online play in the radicalisation process. It also focuses on how online extremism can be countered, offering a comprehensive range of counter-measures.

Key findings of the report include:

• The vast majority of radicalised individuals come into contact with extremist ideology through offline socialisation prior to being indoctrinated online. This challenges popular discourse about ‘lone wolf’ actors radicalised solely through the Internet.

• Although governments are increasingly relying on censorship and filtering methods to counter online extremism, this report found that negative measures, or censorship in general, was not only ineffective and costly but also potentially counter-productive.

(Photo credit Vesti Segodniya)


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