Archive for March, 2008

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Israeli Consessions: Palestinian City, Less Roadblocks, New Industrial Zones

March 31, 2008

Defense Minister Edud Barak met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and presented her with a 35-page booklet of good faith concessions that Israel will make in the near future.

Among those are the building of a new Palestinian city, or several neighborhoods, near Ramallah, financed by Jordanian businessmen, which is to be inhabited by tens of thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to ease the housing shortage in the area.

Other gestures, meant to show Israel’s seriousness and commitment to peace, without harming the security of Israel’s citizens, includes the removal of the Mevo Horon outpost, in addition to another two that were already removed (these are illegal settlements).

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A Beautiful Murderer

March 30, 2008

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I received this by email. I Googled it and found out that it has been published several times on different blogs, but I feel the topic is important enough to publish again. Hopefully others will do the same. This letter was written by the family of Malki Roth.

[Several months ago,] the New York Times carried a review of a film called “Hot House” that goes inside Israeli prisons and examines the lives of Palestinian prisoners. We’re not recommending the film or the review. But we do want to share our feelings with you about the beaming female face that adorns the article.

Murderer

The film is produced by HBO. So it’s presumably HBO’s publicity department that was responsible for creating and distributing a glamor-style photograph of a smiling, contented-looking young woman in her twenties to promote the movie.

That female is our child’s murderer.

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Israeli Film “Lemon Tree” to be Distributed in US

March 30, 2008

Eran Riklis’s award-winning movie, Lemon Tree, will soon be hitting US cinemas. “Lemon Tree,” which recently won the 10th Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin Festival, has been purchased for distribution by US company IFC Films.

The movie was also purchased for screening in several other international cities in Europe and other international locations including Canada, Korean, Taiwan, and South American countries.

According to Ynet,

“Lemon Tree” tells the story of a Palestinian widow living next to the Israeli border, who is forced to chop down her cherished lemon grove to accommodate the security demands for the Israeli defense minister and his family who live right across the border from her. The widow fights the decision in court, but ultimately fails.

I haven’t actually watched the movie yet since it only came out this weekend, but if anyone has, let me know how it was.

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Lights Out, Tel Aviv – Part 2

March 30, 2008

I know this is about 847 years late, but better late than never, right? Or something. As I reported a while back, Tel Aviv chose to participate in Earth Hour where all lights in the city were going to be turned off.

Lights out AzrieliAs opposed to the rest of the world cities that participated on Saturday, Tel Aviv actually moved it’s Earth Hour to Thursday because of problems that could arise with Shabbat and to make sure it was effective. At 8 pm, lights in Tel Aviv went out. It was completely dark. Not a light in the city. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Even if you slapped your face. You’d wonder where the slap came from.

OK, so I’m slightly exaggerating, but the truth is that Earth Hour in Tel Aviv was a big success. Lights were turned off in almost all the major buildings (i.e. Azrielli and the Iriya) and literally thousands upon thousands of businesses and citizens turned their lights off between 8 and 9 pm.

Even at Channel 10 we did our part (sorta). At the top of the 8 o’clock newscast (which begins at 7:58 – don’t ask), Miki, the anchorwoman, ordered our lights out. It’s a cool concept, but we couldn’t see the line ups, so we had tons of mistakes during the newscast.

Not really, it went well, actually, and we had enough lights from the monitors. I personally suggested we do the entire newscast without electricity, but for some reason no one else thought it was a good idea.

So one after the other, lights went out in the city – an approximate equivalent of 700,000 (!!!) light bulbs were turned off, bringing total wattage saved in Tel Aviv, after all calculations of regular drops in electricity etc. to over 20 megawatts – the same as Sydney last year. FYI – 20 megawatts is equal the gas emissions of 40,000 cars a day (!!!).

In Kikar Rabin, some 40,000 people gathered to see the lights of the Iriya turned off by the Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, and to hear an acoustic version of Knesiat Hasechel’s music.

Only the first row could hear.

Not really – the concert was powered by a bicycle generator and used vegetable oil, namely falafel oil (I’m not kidding on either counts).

By the way, the reason you see some lights on in the building is because 1) some people are idiots and forgot to turn off their lights regardless, and 2) those are mostly hi tech companies, and many people were, most likely, still working.

I have a question for my readers (the 10 of you out there): What kinds of things would you like to hear about on this blog? What kinds of updates would you like? Feel free to either leave it in the comments or email me at realisrael [at] gmail.com – the address is on my sidebar as well.

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From a Sudanese African in Israel – An Israeli Apartheid?

March 26, 2008

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This is a repost from This is Israel. Posted by A Soldier’s Mother, this is a letter from a Sudanese refuge who is now living in Israel. For those of you who don’t know, Israel opened its borders to thousands of Sudanese refugees who are mostly living in the south of the country. For those of you who are convinced Israel is an apartheid, I urge you to read this letter and pass on the link to everyone you know.

A reality check for Bishop Tutu from a Sudanese African in Israel
Disappearance of Bishop Tutu

By Simon Deng

Late last month, I went to hear Bishop Desmond Tutu speak at Boston’s Old South Church at a conference on “Israel Apartheid.” Tutu is a well respected man of God. He brought reconciliation between blacks and whites in South Africa. That he would lead a conference that damns the Jewish state is very disturbing to me.

The State of Israel is not an apartheid state. I know because I write this from Jerusalem where I have seen Arab mothers peacefully strolling with their families even though I also drove on Israeli roads protected by walls and fences from Arab bullets and stones. I know Arabs go to Israeli schools and get the best medical care in the world.

I know they vote and have elected representatives to the Israeli Parliament. I see street signs in Arabic, an official language here. None of this was true for blacks under Apartheid in Tutu’s South Africa.

I also know countries that do deserve the apartheid label: My country, Sudan, is on the top of the list, but so are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. What has happened to my people in Sudan is a thousand times worse than apartheid in South Africa. And no matter how the Palestinians suffer, they suffer nothing compared to my people. Nothing. And most of the suffering is the fault of their leaders.

Bishop Tutu, I see black Jews walking down the street here in Jerusalem. Black like us, free and proud. Tutu said Israeli checkpoints are a nightmare. But checkpoints are there because Palestinians are sent into Israel to blow up and kill innocent women and children. Tutu wants checkpoints removed. Do you not have doors in your home, Bishop? Does that make your house an apartheid house? If someone, Heaven forbid, tried to enter with a bomb, we would want you to have security people “humiliating” your guests with searches, and we would not call you racist for doing so. We all go through checkpoints at every airport. Are the airlines being racist? No.

Yes, the Palestinians are inconvenienced at checkpoints. But why, Bishop Tutu, do you care more about that incovenience than about Jewish lives?

Bishop, when you used to dance for Mandela’s freedom, we Africans all over Africa joined in. Our support was key in your freedom. But when children in Burundi and Kinshasa, all the way to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and in particular in Sudan, cried and called for rescue, you heard but chose to be silent.

Today, black children are enslaved in Sudan, the last place in the continent of Africa where humans are owned by other humans. I was part of the movement to stop slavery in Mauritania, which just now abolished the practice. But you were not with us, Bishop Tutu.

So where is Desmond Tutu when my people call out for freedom?Slaughter and genocide and slavery are lashing Africans right now.Where are you for Sudan, Bishop Tutu? You are busy attacking the Jewish state. Why?

Simon Deng, a native of the Shiluk Kingdom in southern Sudan, is an escaped jihad slave and a leading human rights activist.

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Helena Bonham Carter’s Grandfather Honored by Yad Vashem

March 20, 2008

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum posthumously honored a Spanish man for helping save 1,500 lives during the Holocaust.

Eduardo Propper de Callejon, grandfather of Oscar-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter, was named a “Righteous Among the Nations,” the highest honor granted to non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust.

Propper de Callejon was, at the time, first secretary in the Spanish embassy in Paris, stamped and signed passports nearly non-stop for four days to allow refugees to escape to Portugal through Spain. He actually went against Spanish foreign ministry orders NOT to issue such visas.

“He was signing papers with both his hands,” said Elena Bonham Carter, his daughter. “He signed so many that his hands hurt so much, my mother had to bandage them at the end of the day. It was extraordinary.”

Bonham Carter said her famous daughter wanted to be at the ceremony, but was on location filming the latest installment of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

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Facebook Update

March 20, 2008

So this was actually publicized yesterday, but I didn’t have the time to update the blog. So here goes.

Following much controversy surrounding Facebook’s changing some Israeli towns to Palestine instead of Israel, Facebook is now giving people the choice between listing Israel or Palestine for their towns. In itself, this seems like a great thing, right? All is right with the world?

Not so much. This doesn’t change the fact that Ariel, Ma’ale Adumin, etc. will never be Palestine. Like I mentioned in my previous post about Facebook, were these towns to be part of a future Palestinian state, they would surely not keep the Hebrew names these towns have.

So what have we achieved here exactly? It seems that Facebook, in light of much controversy regarding taking sides of political conflicts, is trying to be as parve (neither here nor there) as they can. In the process, they are making some decisions that do not make sense. I understand giving the choice between Israel and Palestine for Hebron (leaving aside the fact that technically there is no such country as Palestine at the moment), but how can you compare Hebron (a predominantly Palestinian territory with very few Jewish settlers) to a town that is made up only of Israelis (Jewish, Arabic, or otherwise)?

Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, and other Israeli towns will NEVER be part of a Palestine. Were these towns to be given to the Palestinians under any future agreement (and these particular towns are not up for negotiation, but this is not the point here), the towns, as they are, would cease to exist and new Palestinian towns would rise over them with PALESTINIAN names.

Be a bit sensible, Facebook.

It’s time to take care of the hate groups now. You know, those who advocate for killing any Israelis overseas (it seems the group has been shut down, thankfully) and the one praising the murderer of the 8 kids at Merkaz Harav a couple of weeks ago (still up).

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