Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Will return on Sunday


Monday, July 16, 2012

Calls to Destroy Egypt's Great Pyramids Begin

Has the sun finally set for Egypt's Great Pyramids?
According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt's Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi'i, those "symbols of paganism," which Egypt's Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax. Most recently, Bahrain's "Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs" and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt's new president, Muhammad Morsi, to "destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what Amr bin al-As could not."

This is a reference to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's companion, Amr bin al-As and his Arabian tribesmen, who invaded and conquered Egypt circa 641. Under al-As and subsequent Muslim rule, many Egyptian antiquities were destroyed as relics of infidelity. While most Western academics argue otherwise, according to early Muslim writers, the great Library of Alexandria itself—deemed a repository of pagan knowledge contradicting the Koran—was destroyed under bin al-As's reign and in compliance with Caliph Omar's command.

However, while book-burning was a simple process in the 7th century, destroying the mountain-like pyramids and their guardian Sphinx was not—even though many early Muslim leaders certainly tried, some partially successful; by the time gunfire was invented, Egypt's Medieval Mamluk rulers even managed to "de-nose" the Sphinx during target practice (though popular legend naturally attributes it to a Westerner, Napoleon). -- Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine

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Blending a Strong Interest in Kosher Ingredients With a Taste for Starbucks Coffee

Uri Ort, 26, runs kosherstarbucks.com,
which guides observant Jews about what they may consume at the coffee chain.
Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times
Uri Ort knows more about Starbucks than just about anyone else alive, but he will not name a favorite Starbucks. He will not say where he first had his favorite Starbucks drink, the tall one-pump Breve Vanilla Latte, nor where in summertime he prefers to pick up his favorite Starbucks cold drink, the orange mango banana Vivanno. -- Mark Oppenheimer, NY Times

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Finding Nemo in Israel

“Nemo” fish being raised at an Arava R&D experimental station.
Guppies and clownfish swimming in the Israeli desert?

Sounds unlikely, but that’s the latest commercial project spawned by Central and Northern Arava Research and Development, a quasi-governmental project set up in 1986 to help farmers in the arid Arava region plan and implement businesses to serve overseas consumers with fresh produce, flowers and fish.

Conceived about a decade ago when efforts to raise and export edible fish floundered, Arava R&D’s ornamental fish program now brings in more than NIS 50 million annually, mostly from European ma Abigail Klein Leichman, Isarel21c

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They just want kosher Dodger Dogs

 If kosher-observant L.A. Dodgers fans want to buy a hot dog at a game, they’re out of luck: Dodger Stadium doesn’t sell kosher hot dogs.

Hoping to change that, a scrappy group of Dodgers season ticketholders is making every effort to get a concession to sell fresh kosher dogs at the stadium. -- Ryan Torok, Jewish Journal

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Billboards accusing Israel of taking Palestinian land posted at suburban N.Y. train stations

Billboards showing a series of maps to bolster claims that Israel has systematically confiscated land from the Palestinians have appeared at some suburban New York train stations.

The ads that went on display this week at Metro North train stations in Westchester County show a succession of shrinking Palestinian territories in four maps and contain a headline stating that 4.7 million Palestinians are classified as refugees by the United Nations.

The billboards were posted under the auspices of The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine and paid for by Henry Clifford, an ex-Wall Street financier who lives in Connecticut. Clifford, 84, is the chairman of the organization, a 10-member group that says it is dedicated to organizing activities and educational events that advance the cause of peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.

According to Lohud.com, Clifford paid $25,000 to display thebillboards at 10 Metro-North stations for 30 days.

“If the facts are inflammatory, then they are inflammatory,” Clifford told Lohud.com. “All of the Middle East is infected with the virus of the Arab-Israeli conflict. People need to know the truth of the matter.”

The Anti-Defamation League called the ads “deliberately misleading and biased.”

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps,” said Ron Meier, ADL New York's regional director. “This ad campaign completely ignores the facts, including the history of land ownership prior to 1948, Israel’s repeated efforts to exchange land for peace, and the commitment of successive Israeli governments to achieving a two-state solution with the Palestinians.”

Metro-North said the ads did not violate its guidelines.

“We do not decide to accept or reject a proposed ad based on the viewpoint that it expresses or because the ad might be controversial,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan said in a statement. “The MTA does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in this ad, or any of the ads that it accepts for display.”

In June, the Coalition to Stop 30 Billion to Israel put up 23 billboards across Los Angeles in an initiative to halt military aid to Israel. The ads were taken down under pressure shortly after they went up. -- JTA

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Opinion: The fiasco at UNESCO

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Photo by: REUTERS

The latest UNESCO decisions will only whet the Palestinians’ appetite to encroach on more religious sites within Israel. -- David Parsons, Jerusalem Post

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Lauder to acquire control of Israeli news website

Ronald Lauder
Kambouris/WireImage via NY Daily News

Ronald Lauder is expected to acquire complete control of an Israeli news website and has plans to establish a new English-language website about Israel.

The American businessman and philanthropist's company JCS, which operates Jerusalem Capital Studios, has finalized a deal to acquire Nana 10, Haaretz reported. Lauder currently owns 24 percent of Nana 10, which features news from Israel's Channel 10 and reportedly is the fourth most popular Hebrew language website in Israel.

Haaretz also reported that Lauder, who is president of the World Jewish Congress, has plans to establish, with other American Jewish businesspeople, a new website in English to present Israel's position to Jews around the world. -- JTA

Moscow Goes Kosher

Ilya Kiselev, the owner of Tel Aviv, with the lunch spread at the restaurant.
Photo by Sasha Senderovich
The Russian capital’s recent boom in kosher restaurants shows that kashrut isn’t just for Jews anymore -- Sasha Senderovich, Tablet Magazine

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Birthright embraces disabled teens

Birthright: Challenges in a wheelchair are sevenfold
Photo: Elad Bar-Ilan
'Taglit' initiative hopes to offer incredible experience to each and every participant; including handicapped teens. One guide discusses his special needs Birthright experience. -- Elad Bar-Ilan, Ynetnews

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Large cache of Crusader gold found off Israeli coast

More than 100 gold coins were found hidden in a partly broken pottery vessel at the Apollonia National Park, where archaeologists say the former Crusader town of Apollonia-Arsuf once thrived. -- Israel Ministry of Tourism via Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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