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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
May 27, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Pope, Netanyahu Trade Words over Jesus' Native Language (Reuters)
    Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traded words on Monday over the language spoken by Jesus two millennia ago.
    "Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew," Netanyahu told Francis in Jerusalem.
    "Aramaic," the pope interjected. "He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew," Netanyahu shot back.
    Israeli linguistics professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann said, "Jesus was a native Aramaic speaker, but he would have also known Hebrew because there were extant religious writings in Hebrew."
    He added that during Jesus' time, Hebrew was spoken by the lower classes - "the kind of people he ministered to."

Israeli Ambassador: Art Exhibit at Ottawa City Hall Glorifies Terrorism - Giuseppe Valiante (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    Israeli Ambassador Rafael Barak says an exhibit at Ottawa City Hall glorifies terrorism and exalts people who murdered innocent Jews.
    Palestinian-born Toronto-based artist Rehab Nazzal created the exhibit, with grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa.
    The exhibit pictures Abu Iyad, the founder of the Black September terrorist group which murdered 11 Israeli athletes and officials at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
    It also includes Dalal Mughrabi, who participated in a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel that killed 38 people including many children.
    At least five other people projected on the gallery wall are associated with terrorism, Barak said.

Neo-Nazis Elected to European Parliament (AFP-Times of Israel)
    The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) was expected to claim one of the country's 96 seats in the new European Parliament.
    The NPD describes itself as "national socialist," just like Germany's Nazis in the 1930s, and is openly anti-Semitic.
    In Greece, the neo-Nazi "Golden Dawn" party is claiming three seats in the new Parliament.

Test Yourself: How Much Do You Know about Jerusalem? (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    May 28 is celebrated in Israel as "Jerusalem Day," marking the 47th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.
    Test your knowledge of Jerusalem's current events and history with a short, interactive quiz.

    See also Video - Jerusalem: 4000 Years in 5 Minutes (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Ayatollah Khamenei: Jihad Will Last until America Is Wiped Out - Damien Gayle
    Iran's supreme leader has said that his country's struggle will only end when it defeats U.S.-led oppression. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told members of parliament in Tehran that Iran must be armed and "have the capability to defend itself" in a "world full of thieves." "This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors' front with America at the head of it."  (Daily Mail-UK)
        See also Ayatollah Khamenei: Those Who Want to Promote Negotiations Are Guilty of Treason - Cheryl K. Chumley
    Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told members of parliament on Sunday: "Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiations and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason," Fars News Agency reported. (Washington Times)
  • Iran: Western Powers Want "Too Much" in Nuclear Talks
    Iran said on Monday that world powers were "demanding too much" in negotiations aimed at reaching a deal on Tehran's nuclear program by a July deadline. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, "They should stop demanding too much. We have our red line."
        Zarif said world powers should refrain from additional pressure on the Islamic Republic to force it into concessions. "Sanctions haven't served them any purpose, only led to our making 19,000 centrifuges," he said. (Chicago Tribune-Reuters)
  • IAEA Access to Iran Nuclear Site Remains Elusive - Fredrik Dahl
    The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, appears no closer to finding out what happened at the Parchin base southeast of Tehran which is at the center of its investigation into suspected atom bomb research by Iran. U.S. officials say it is vital for Iran to answer IAEA questions if Western powers are to reach a broader nuclear settlement with Iran.
        An IAEA report on Friday said satellite images showed "ongoing construction activities" at Parchin. "The activity at Parchin gives ample reason for continued concern that Iran may be trying to remove any remaining vestiges of nuclear-related experiments," said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Turkish Court Issues Arrest Warrants to Israeli Ex-Generals over 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid - Barak Ravid
    Istanbul's Seventh High Criminal Court released arrest warrants Monday to four senior Israeli officers over their role in the 2010 raid on a Turkish-flagged Gaza-bound flotilla. The court also asked Interpol to release international arrest warrants against the four.
        Current reconciliation contacts between Israel and Turkey include a Turkish commitment to nullify all legal complaints against Israeli soldiers involved in the Gaza flotilla incident. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz Blames Palestinians for Failed Peace Talks - Lahav Harkov
    America has no business dictating terms to Israel on issues of vital national security, visiting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in Jerusalem on Monday. He placed the blame on the Palestinians for the recent failure of peace talks, saying "the principal impediment to peace is that, to date, the Palestinians have refused to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and have refused to renounce terror. Unless and until the Palestinians can agree on those very basic starting blocks, no lasting peace solution is likely."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Unemployment Rate in April - 5.6 Percent - Adrian Filut
    The unemployment rate in Israel fell in April to 5.6%, from 5.7% in March and 5.9% at the beginning of 2014. This is one of the lowest rates in the OECD. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why Is the United Church of Canada Preoccupied with Israel? - Dow Marmur
    At the United Church of Canada's recent symposium in Saskatoon, "Doing Theology on Occupied Land," the subheading was: "Engagement with Israel/Palestine." Invited to speak at the event, I posed a number of questions: Why is so much emphasis placed on Israel and so much less on the many other occupations around the world, say Tibet by China or Crimea by Russia?
        Why do we hear relatively little from churches about the plight of Christians in Muslim countries? Are Christians prepared to acknowledge the incontrovertible fact that the Jews are a people and should, therefore, be entitled to their own land like other peoples? The writer is rabbi emeritus at Toronto's Holy Blossom Temple. (Toronto Star-Canada)
  • Palestinian TV Teaches Kids the Way to "Jihad Street" - Abigail R. Esman
    Every day, hundreds of millions of children in more than 120 countries settle in to watch their local versions of "Sesame Street." While in most countries the program is about how to be kind to others and to love, in Palestinian Gaza, the lessons from Hamas children's television are aimed at wanting to kill.
        "Pioneers of Tomorrow" has a fluffy talking bee who encourages viewers to "throw stones" at Jews, and a pretty young host who praises a little girl for her desire to be a police officer and "shoot Jews." For years, reports have emerged of children's programming in the Palestinian territories, whose shows often teach children not just to hate Americans and Jews, but to kill them. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
  • Turning Holocaust Denial into Homework - Reuven H. Taff
    2,000 eighth-graders at five middle schools in the Rialto Unified School District east of Los Angeles were asked to compose an essay on whether or not they believe the Holocaust was "an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme." As part of the homework, educators gave students resources including a website that denies the Holocaust.
        In response, Deborah Lipstadt, a professor at Emory University and expert on the Holocaust, said that, "At best, the teachers and so-called educators who took part in writing this question have been duped into thinking that there is a legitimate debate about whether the Holocaust happened. At worst, they knew better and looked the other way."
        Critical thinking is an essential skill for children to develop. But when educators encourage students to question the historical fact of the Holocaust, they are essentially fomenting a subtle form of anti-Semitism. It may not be their intention, but it is certainly the result. The writer is the rabbi of Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento. (Wall Street Journal)

Jerusalem Is a Mixed City - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)

  • For years, residents of Isawiya, an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem, have begged the municipality and the Israel Postal Service to build a post office in the neighborhood so that mail can be distributed. But on the night before the branch was to be inaugurated in a festive ceremony, unidentified assailants set the new branch on fire and spray-painted graffiti on the building denouncing any attempts at normalizing relations and cooperating with the municipality. The residents of the neighborhood refused to capitulate, nor were they deterred by the violence. They cleaned up from the fire, repaired the damage, and opened the postal branch quickly.
  • This episode offers a microcosm of present-day Jerusalem. On the one hand, there are violent clashes, a growing Hamas presence and a radicalization of public opinion. On the other hand, there's a surprising wholesale integration of Jerusalem Arabs into the daily life of the city, an aspect that is almost never reported by the press.
  • There is nearly wall-to-wall sentiment among the Arabs of Jerusalem in favor of remaining under Israeli control. The Arabs of Jerusalem earn four times the salary of their brethren living under the PA. They have more stable jobs as well as social benefits. They also derive benefits from the Israeli health care system, while never taking for granted the freedom that is afforded them to express themselves, to move freely around the city, and to worship as they choose.
  • Veteran journalist and east Jerusalem expert Danny Rubinstein notes "the Israeli-Arab orientation of the Arabs of east Jerusalem." "Psychologically, they are closer to Israeli Arabs than they are to the Arabs of the West Bank. They are unwilling to even conceive of a redivision of the city, and they want to find a political arrangement that would fulfill their nationalistic ambitions while at the same time maintaining the framework of a united city."
  • Many of the public bus drivers in Jerusalem are Arab, as are many of the taxi drivers and tourist bus drivers. In the Mahane Yehuda open-air market, a significant number of stands and shops are managed and operated by Arabs. Arabs and Jews coexist in the shopping malls and coffee shops. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 2,537 Jews live in neighborhoods with an Arab majority, like the City of David near Silwan or the Muslim Quarter in the Old City, while 3,378 Arabs have taken up residence in neighborhoods with a predominantly Jewish population - like French Hill or Armon Hanatziv.

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