Photo: 2nd Temple-Era Column Top from Temple Mount Found - Yori Yalon (Israel Hayom)
The capital that topped a column that stood on the Temple Mount in the time of the Second Temple has been discovered through the Temple Mount Sifting Project.
Dr. Gabriel Barkay, director of the project, said, "This appears to be the capital of a column that formed part of the eastern colonnade of the Temple Mount, which Josephus and even the New Testament called 'Solomon's Porch.'"
"A column like this is impressive testimony to the immensity of the structures on the Temple Mount in the Second Temple era."
Barkay explained that the column would have stood 41 feet high. "The columns were erected in two parallel rows, and were topped with cedar rafters that supported the roofing."
The Temple Mount Sifting Project recently came to a halt due to a lack of funds. A campaign to raise funds to continue the project was launched on the Giveback website.
Palestinian Arrested for Stabbing Jewish Woman in Central Israel - Gili Cohen (Ha'aretz-Israel Hayom)
Malak Bassem Ismail Sa'ada, 19, a Palestinian resident of Halhul in the West Bank, took a knife from the bakery in Lod where he worked and went out to attack a Jewish woman, Revital Kenino, a local school principal, in a parking garage on March 27, the Israel Security Agency said.
He was arrested the following day.
Hamas Launches "Revenge" Campaign Against Israeli Collaborators - Kifah Ziboun (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
Hamas has launched a new campaign against suspected Israeli collaborators a day after deputy politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh issued a threat that killers of prominent leader Mazen al-Faqha will not escape punishment.
The Interior Ministry in Gaza announced Sunday it will undertake "increased measures" against "Israeli agents in the coming hours and days as a part of its investigation into the assassination of Faqha."
U.S. Ramps Up Drone Strikes on Al-Qaeda in Yemen - Bill Boggio (Long War Journal)
The U.S. military has continued its increased targeting of al-Qaeda's network in Yemen, launching more than 20 airstrikes over the weekend.
The U.S. has launched more than 75 airstrikes in Yemen since the beginning of the year. The highest number of airstrikes conducted by the U.S. in Yemen in any previous year was 41 in 2009.
El Al Wins World Innovation Competition for New Blanket - Amit Cotler (Ynet News)
El Al Airline won first place in the World Innovation Competition at the Hamburg International Airport Fair for its "wearable blanket."
The blanket has holes for the head and arms, allowing passengers to slip into it without it falling off as they sleep.
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- Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad - Anne Barnard and Michael R. Gordon
At least 69 people died after breathing in poison in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday, while some humanitarian groups said as many as 100 had died. While chlorine attacks usually kill just a few people,
this time people collapsed outdoors, and in much larger numbers. The symptoms included the pinpoint pupils of victims that characterize nerve agents. Several people were sickened simply by coming into contact with the victims.
President Trump blamed the Syrian government of President Assad as the White House called the attack a "reprehensible" act "that cannot be ignored by the civilized world."
A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said Syrian warplanes had struck a rebel storehouse containing toxic substances to be used in chemical weapons.
(New York Times)
See also U.S. Believes Sarin Used in Attack in Syria - Ellen Francis
The U.S. government believes the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack on Tuesday that killed scores of civilians in Syria, a U.S. government source said.
See also U.S., France, Britain Propose UN Resolution on Syria Gas Attack - Michelle Nichols
The U.S., Britain and France on Tuesday proposed a UN Security Council resolution to condemn a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria.
In February, Russia, backed by China, cast its seventh veto to protect Assad's government from council action. (Reuters)
- Attacks on Russia Will Only Increase - Colin P. Clarke
As Russia's involvement with the Syrian civil war deepens, it's a near-certainty that Sunni militants will intensify their burgeoning campaign against Russia, which has been increasingly perceived as a vanguard of Shia interests.
There are thousands of Russian citizens fighting with ISIS, and another 5,000 to 7,000 Russian-speaking jihadists, making Russian the second-most popular language spoken within ISIS. This means that Sunni jihadist groups have a ready-made, native force to send back home to Russia, where the militants can more easily blend in with local populations while plotting further attacks.
Much of the violence afflicting Russia may, in the end, stem from its own actions. Prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian authorities allegedly encouraged Sunni militants to leave Russia for Syria, where they could wage jihad against the Assad regime. But with the caliphate now under strain, some of these relocated militants might return home and link up with jihadists in Dagestan, Chechnya, or other restive Russian republics. The writer is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Demands EU Stop Its "Obsessive" Support for Illegal Palestinian Building - Tovah Lazaroff
The Israel Foreign Ministry "summoned" the EU's Deputy Head of Mission Mark Gallagher on Monday to demand the EU stop its "obsessive" support for illegal Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank.
In recent years, the EU has provided modular housing for Palestinians in the area of Ma'ale Adumim and in the South Hebron Hills. The Foreign Ministry told Gallagher that the EU should respect Israeli law.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said Tuesday, "There are 32 humanitarian crises in the world, but [the EU] has chosen to disproportionately deal with what is happening in Area C, that without a doubt is not a humanitarian crisis." (Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano two weeks ago, "Just as we didn't approve illegal building by Jews in Amona, I won't allow illegal building by Palestinians." (Ha'aretz)
- Revised Hamas Charter Not Acceptable to Gaza Leadership - Pinhas Inbari
The Lebanese news agency Al Mayadeen has published the text of Hamas' new political charter. While some have described the document as showing signs of new-found moderation, a review of the text shows that Hamas has not renounced its principles but simply "powdered" them slightly. Furthermore, angry reactions to the new text show that it is unacceptable to the movement's power base in Gaza.
Even in this new guise, Hamas is still sworn to Israel's destruction. Hamas is devoted to war with Israel and therefore is opposed to any security cooperation with it.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Hamas Moves to Soften Charter, But Won't Recognize Israel - Jonathan Ferziger and Saud Abu Ramadan (Reuters)
- Trump's Israel Policy - Annie Karni
President Trump has taken a surprisingly nuanced approach when it comes to the Middle East, reaching out to both sides to make a serious effort at brokering the "ultimate deal" - peace in the Middle East. Many are still skeptical that he can achieve a deal that has bedeviled ambitious American presidents for decades.
At the moment, Trump has more leverage over Netanyahu than his predecessor did in part because of the perception that he is a friend and ally to Israel. "The one thing any American president needs, to have influence, is a perception from the Israeli public that this guy is on their side," said Dennis Ross, who led President Bill Clinton's ill-fated peace push in the 1990s. "What I'm struck by now is how Trump genuinely wants to see something happen. The Greenblatt visit was a very serious one, based on what I heard from both sides."
"The Israelis think this is a short-lived gambit," said a foreign policy operative in Washington familiar with the thinking of the Israeli government. "Trump right now is convinced that the Palestinians want a deal....The attitude of the Israelis is, we need to get along for four years; he's fundamentally inclined to like us; and his approach will become better informed by experience in a few months." (Politico)
- Do Palestinians Want a Two-State Solution? - Daniel Polisar
It is commonly asserted that there is majority support among Palestinians for a two-state solution. I examined 400 surveys carried out by five Palestinian research centers which have conducted regular polls in the West Bank and Gaza for many years.
The depth of Palestinian opposition to a prospective deal becomes clearer when one examines responses to specific components. There was vehement antagonism to limitations on the Palestinian state's sovereignty, with 70% or more consistently rejecting the idea of a demilitarized state.
Moreover, Palestinians overwhelmingly repudiated the idea of east Jerusalem becoming the capital of their state and incorporating its Arab neighborhoods. Presumably, the obstacle was that, in parallel, Israel would exercise sovereignty over the Jewish neighborhoods, the Jewish quarter of the Old City, and the Western Wall. The mere mention of west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in parallel with east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, led more than 2/3 of Palestinians to express their opposition.
In June 2014, a poll commissioned by David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that the runaway first choice, selected by 60% as the main Palestinian national goal over the next five years,
was "to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea." On every survey in the last five years, clear and growing majorities of Palestinians have expressed opposition to the best deal Israel might agree to in the foreseeable future. No one committed to laying out the facts honestly can defend the proposition that majorities of Palestinians support a two-state solution. The writer is executive vice-president at Shalem College in Jerusalem.
Knesset Members Seek to Block Payments to Terrorists and Their Families - Amihai Attali (Ynet News)
- A bipartisan proposal in the Knesset would deduct payments to terrorists and their families from the funds transferred from Israel to the Palestinian Authority.
A number of Knesset members with a security background, led by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), recently drafted a bill to cut funds to the Palestinian Authority for its support of terrorism, which was submitted to the Knesset a week ago.
- The bill states that as funding terrorists is a violation of the Oslo Accords, Israel will deduct from the tax payments it transfers annually to the PA the NIS 1.1 billion the PA transfers to the terrorists. Israel's tax payments to the PA are based on the Paris Agreement - the economic annex to the Oslo Accords - and therefore the two can be linked.
- "Payments made by the PA to terrorists are not only inciting but also an incentive for terrorist activities," said Stern. "It's a real temptation to murder Jews, and it is our duty to stop this madness immediately."
- The initiative is also sponsored by former Israel Security Agency head Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid), Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven (Zionist Union),
Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Avi Dichter (Likud - a former head of the Israel Security Agency), MK Roy Folkman (Kulanu) and Coalition Chairperson David Bitan (Likud).
- A document compiled by the Head of the Research Division of the Israel Defense Forces, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, reveals that PA payments to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to the families of terrorists killed by security forces have increased tens of millions of shekels in recent years.
- The average monthly salary that an imprisoned terrorist receives is five times the average monthly salary in the PA. Even if the terrorists themselves die, the families of the terrorists receive a grant.
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