Swastikas spray-painted on IDF memorial in Negev
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Netanyahu rails against Iran deal in US media blitz

PM takes to CNN, ABC and NBC to blast Lausanne understandings, compares framework agreement to Clinton’s failed deal with N. Korea

  • Armenian Christian clergymen attend prayers on Palm Sunday, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
    Armenian Christian clergymen attend prayers on Palm Sunday, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
  • A memorial for fallen IDF soldiers from the community of Omer in the Negev was defaced with graffitti over the weekend of April 3, 2015. (Photo credit: Nissim Nir/Omer Regional Council Spokesperson's Office)
    A memorial for fallen IDF soldiers from the community of Omer in the Negev was defaced with graffitti over the weekend of April 3, 2015. (Photo credit: Nissim Nir/Omer Regional Council Spokesperson's Office)
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, January 4, 2015 (Flash90)
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, January 4, 2015 (Flash90)
  • File: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
    File: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to CNN on Sunday, April 5th, 2015. (Screen Capture: CNN)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to CNN on Sunday, April 5th, 2015. (Screen Capture: CNN)
  • People visit at Sacher park in Jerusalem, during the Passover holiday, April 5, 2015.  (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    People visit at Sacher park in Jerusalem, during the Passover holiday, April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • A Picture taken on February 10, 2015 shows workers in front of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) Cavern at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva. The world's biggest particle collider was back in operation on April 5, 2015 after a two-year upgrade. (Photo credit: Richard Juilliart/AFP)
    A Picture taken on February 10, 2015 shows workers in front of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) Cavern at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva. The world's biggest particle collider was back in operation on April 5, 2015 after a two-year upgrade. (Photo credit: Richard Juilliart/AFP)
  • Israeli security forces guard settlers as they enter the Palestinian side of the West Bank city of Hebron to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz, on April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hazem Bader/AFP)
    Israeli security forces guard settlers as they enter the Palestinian side of the West Bank city of Hebron to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz, on April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hazem Bader/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on a media blitz with US news networks on Sunday, criticizing the Lausanne understandings from Thursday, which contain the framework for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program expected to be signed by June 30.

Meanwhile, news outlets around the world published reports detailing the vast differences — and sometimes contradictions — between the statements on the framework agreement put out by the White House in English and by Tehran in Persian.

In Syria, the tide seemed to be turning on the tragic fate of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, as Islamic State terrorists began withdrawing from the camp, according to Al Jazeera.

The refugees found themselves in the eye of the storm between IS and other rebel groups and forces loyal to Assad, which dropped 13 barrel bombs on the camp only a day before. According to accounts emerging from the camp, IS began killing and beheading Palestinians and imprisoning women and children. Some 2,000 people reportedly managed to flee Yarmouk with the help of Syrian soldiers.

The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded.

Syrian troops help in evacuation of Yarmouk

Around 2,000 people are evacuated from the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus after the Islamic State group seizes large parts of it, a Palestinian official says.

“Around 400 families, approximately 2,000 people, were able to leave the camp on Friday and Saturday via two secure roads to the Zahira district, which is under army control,” says Anwar Abdul Hadi, a Palestine Liberation Organisation official.

Abdul Hadi says Syrian troops helped in the evacuation, which comes as Palestinian forces battle to hold back IS fighters who captured large swathes of the camp since Wednesday.

Since the jihadist advance, regime forces also shelled the camp and dropped barrel bombs on it, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Palestinian officials and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees are urging humanitarian access to the camp, where about 18,000 people remain under a government siege.

— AFP

Swastikas spray-painted on IDF memorial in Negev

Anonymous vandals defaced a memorial for fallen soldiers from the community of Omer, near Beersheba in the Negev over the weekend, the Omer local council says.

The memorial was spray-painted with swastikas and graffiti of a Palestinian flag, as well as a distorted Star of David. The council filed a complaint with police.

A memorial for fallen IDF soldiers from the community of Omer in the Negev was defaced with graffitti over the weekend of April 3, 2015. (Photo credit: Nissim Nir/Omer Regional Council Spokesperson's Office)

A memorial for fallen IDF soldiers from the community of Omer in the Negev was defaced with graffiti over the weekend of April 3, 2015. (Photo credit: Nissim Nir/Omer Regional Council Spokesperson’s Office)

Council head Pini Badash says that “in the last two weeks arsonists had been operating in the area. We wondered who set fire to the plants near the memorial. When I see the graffiti, with Arabic text and swastikas, it already testifies who is behind this. There should be no forgiveness, the perpetrators must be found. We will have to install cameras nearby.”

Badash says he knows who the perpetrators are. “The direction is clear, I have nothing against the Bedouin, but the suffering by the community and by me is brought about by a certain type of population. This cannot continue here. Police deal with the small things, thousands of hours of interrogations on marginal issues, but sadly, they do not invest enough in the day-to-day personal safety of residents. I hope police catch whoever did this. If I get to catch them – I do not envy them,” he tells Ynet.

The police are conducting an investigation into the matter.

PA wants to return tax funds to Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas instructs his government to return tax money to Israel that the Israeli government transferred to the PA last week.

The money was initially held by Israel to pressure the PA after it signed a unity deal with Hamas in Gaza a year ago.

According to Israel Radio, Abbas says Israel only agreed to transfer a portion of the funds, after deducting monies owed by the PA to Israel for services such as water and electricity.

The PA has been in massive debt and its economy is teetering on the brink of collapse; the government in Jerusalem decided to transfer the funds despite no recent change in the Hamas-Fatah unity deal, as a measure of goodwill following the tension between PM Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, one of the focal points of which was the stalemate in the peace process.

Abbas demands that Israel transfer the funds in full, and threatens to turn to third-party mediation or to the International Criminal Court at the Hague if Israel refuses.

 

Persian journalist speaks of difference between English, Farsi statements on deal

Journalist Amir Taheri, a prize-winning writer who escaped Iran during the Islamic Revolution which brought the ayatollahs to power, says there are significant differences between the texts published by the US in English and Iran in Farsi following the announcement of a framework deal on Iran’s nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland last week.

Taheri speaks of a grammatical device in Farsi which allows statements to be phrased in a third-person non-specific, making them general and not attributed to a specific party.

He specifically cites a discrepancy between the US statement, which says the sanctions on Iran will be lifted gradually, and the Farsi text, which says they will be lifted at once upon the (still pending) signing of a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program expected to be achieved by June 30 this year.

On Thursday, immediately as the deal was announced, Taheri tweeted the following in all capital letters:

IN HIS CURRENT PRESS STATEMENT OBAMA IS LYING ABOUT ACCORD WITH IRAN. WHAT HE IS SAYING DOES NOT APPEAR IN PERSIAN TEXT PUBLISHED BY IRAN.

See the link to his clip in the tweet below:

Armenian Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

Armenian Christian clergymen attend prayers on Palm Sunday, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem’s Old City. Palm Sunday traditionally falls on the Sunday before Easter, and it commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, according to Christian tradition.

Armenian Christian clergymen attend prayers on Palm Sunday, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Armenian Christian clergymen attend prayers on Palm Sunday, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Pope hopes Iran deal will make world ‘more secure’

Pope Francis expresses hope in his Easter address that a framework accord limiting Iran’s nuclear drive may create a “more secure and fraternal world”.

In his annual “Urbi and Orbi” message to the world’s Catholics, Francis applaudes Thursday’s agreement between world powers and Iran, and prays “that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”

— AFP

Traffic jams across country as Israelis go hiking

Israelis partake in an old Passover tradition: touring the Land of Israel.

If you plan to join the masses, just be aware there are significant traffic jams on Route 2 from Netanyah to Olga Interchange, from the Sha’ar Haguy interchange to Shimshon junction and on Route 65 from the eastern exit to Afula to Naoura junction.

Egypt policeman killed in Cairo blast

A police officer was killed by a bomb explosion in the center of Cairo, Egyptian police say.

Terror attacks in Egypt against law enforcement forces have been frequent since the deposition of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. The attacks are usually claimed by jihadist groups. No group has yet claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

— AFP

Iran military chief hails nuclear success

Iran’s military chief hails the success of his country’s negotiators in talks with world powers that secured a framework for a deal on its long-disputed nuclear program.

The remarks by General Hassan Firouzabadi — a close ally of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has yet to comment on the agreement — are published Sunday on the Revolutionary Guards’ sepanews.com website.

Firouzabadi congratulates the Iranian leader on the “success of the team of Iranian negotiators and thanked the president” Hassan Rouhani and officials involved led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Opinions in Iran have been split on the agreement since it was reached in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Thursday.

Other officials have also expressed support for the agreement, which heralds the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran’s economy if it sticks to the terms of the deal.

— AFP

Islamist leader killed in Cairo apartment

A leader of an Egyptian Islamist group was killed by security forces early this morning, Reuters reports.

The group has targeted policemen and soldiers in Cairo, security sources say.

The man is identified as Hamam Mohamed Attia of Ajnad Misr. He was shot dead in an apartment in Giza, Reuters quotes security sources as saying.

The group did not immediately comment.

African leaders to hold Boko Haram summit April 8

Leaders of central and west African states will hold a summit on April 8 to try to draw up a joint strategy against the threat posed by Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorists, a statement from organizers said Sunday.

It will be the first meeting of its kind since Nigerian elections a week ago, won by former military leader Muhammadu Buhari, who has vowed to rid his country of the “terror” of Boko Haram.

A regional coalition involving troops from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon has been waging offensives against the Islamists in a bid to crush the insurgency, which has now spread across borders from Boko Haram’s stronghold in Nigeria.

The meeting in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, is being jointly organised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

— AFP

SodaStream changes labels to ‘Made in West Bank,’ in Oregon

Israeli manufacturer SodaStream changes its labeling to “Made in the West Bank,” following complaints by human rights activists in the Unites States, Haaretz reports.

The company, a producer of a highly-successful device for carbonating water in the home, holds its main production facility in the industrial zone of Ma’aleh Adumim, a small town beyond the Green Line.

Many of the SodaStream factory workers are Palestinians. US actress Scarlett Johansson, who identifies as Jewish, has in the past come under fire for representing the company.

Scarlett Johansson in SodaStream's Superbowl ad (screen capture: YouTube)

Scarlett Johansson in SodaStream’s Superbowl ad (screen capture: YouTube)

Johansson stepped down as a spokeswoman for Oxfam after the incident, standing by her endorsement of the successful Israeli firm.

According to Haaretz, in May 2014 a coalition of human rights activists in Oregon complained to the Oregon Department of Justice that the company was violating the state’s Fair Trade Practices Act by labeling its products as “Made in Israel.”

The company changed its labeling in the state to “Made in the West Bank” for SodaStream boxes sold in Oregon. It was not clear whether the company changed its labeling elsewhere.

SodaStream is in the process of moving its facilities to Kiryat Gat, in the south of Israel. While this decision will boost employment in the south, it will – perhaps ironically – bring an end to the employment of the Palestinian workers at the Ma’aleh Adumim factory, who enjoy better salaries and conditions than their brethren working in the PA.

‘Saudi to raze empty villages on Yemen border’

Saudi Arabia will raze 96 deserted border villages to prevent their use by infiltrators from neighboring Yemen, where the kingdom is leading air strikes on rebels, a report says.

Ten villages have already been demolished since a Saudi-led military coalition began air strikes on Shiite Houthi rebels on March 26, the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper reports.

It cites the border guard chief in the area, Hassan Aqili, as saying that the move was in order to prevent the empty houses from turning into “a safe haven for traffickers and infiltrators”.

The 15,000 inhabitants were resettled following a 2009-2010 conflict that saw Houthi rebels cross into Saudi Arabia from their stronghold in northern Yemen.

— AFP

Bennett calls to ‘wait’ on removal of Iran sanctions

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett calls the White House’s characterization of the Iran deal as the only alternative to war, a ‘big spin,’ suggesting that the West would be better off waiting before removing sanctions in the hope that the Islamic Republic gives up on its nuclear program due to the economic pressure of the sanctions.

Israel transfers 400,000 liters of diesel oil to Gaza

Israel transfers diesel oil to the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reports.

The Palestinian electricity company paid Israel NIS 20 million ($5 million), and in return received 400,000 liters of diesel oil, which will run the power station for 20 days.

Netanyahu says lifting of sanctions will fuel Iran’s global ‘terror machine’

Prime Minister Netanyahu is interviewed by CNN and says that the billions of dollars Iran will receive once a final agreement is signed on its nuclear deal will be used to fuel its global “terror machine.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media regarding the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on April 1, 2015. (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media regarding the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on April 1, 2015. (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

Netanyahu says the understanding between world powers and Iran will bring a very bad agreement. He adds that he would not trust international monitors. Asked whether he trusts President Obama, Netanyahu answers that the issue is not one of personal trust, and the he is sure Obama is doing what’s best for the United States.

Watch Netanyahu discuss Iran deal on CNN

Netanyahu speaks about the pending nuclear deal with Iran in an interview today:

Yemenite TV channel targeted by Houthis, ceases transmissions

The Aden TV Yemenite channel, a broadcast network loyal to President Abd Rabbi Mansour Hadi, ceases transmissions after being targeted by mortar shells fired by Houthi rebels, says a channel official.

There were no reports of victims, the official says.

— AFP contributed to this report.

Dem senator says PM ‘offered no real alternative’ to Iran deal

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein says “I think [Netanyahu] said what he has to say
to be candid, [but] I think this can backfire on him,” responding to Netanyahu’s interview on CNN on Sunday where he attacked the understandings reached between world powers and Iran last week regarding a future deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

“He has put out no real alternative,” for the agreement during his speech to the US Congress on March 3, says Feinstein.

Netanyahu on Sunday – as well as during the speech – called for tougher sanctions against Iran which will make the Islamic Republic buckle under the economic pressure and agree to a nuclear deal on conditions more favorable to the West.

 In this Dec. 9, 2014 file photo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is pursued by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (photo credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Dec. 9, 2014 file photo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is pursued by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (photo credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

French Muslim leader calls for doubling of mosques

One of France’s top Muslim leaders calls for the number of mosques to double over the next two years to remedy a shortage of places of worship for the country’s millions of faithful.

Speaking at a weekend gathering of French Islamic organizations, where participants ask for respect in the face of a rise in anti-Muslim attacks, Dalil Boubakeur says the 2,200 mosques in the country do not adequately represent Europe’s largest Muslim community.

“We need double (that number) within two years,” the head of the French Muslim Council and rector of the Paris mosque says in the town of Le Bourget near the capital.

“There are a lot of prayer rooms, of unfinished mosques, and there are a lot of mosques that are not being built,” he adds at the Muslim gathering, billed as the largest in the Western world.

— AFP

What the Iranians say in Farsi on Lausanne agreement

Iran Matters, a website of the Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, publishes the translation of the Farsi statement from Iran regarding the agreement. Differences between this text and the English text published by the US are revealing.

You can read the translation here.

Are Google and Facebook going to start paying taxes in Israel?

Under new rules proposed by the Tax Authority, Internet companies that do business in Israel will likely have to begin paying taxes, including Value Added Tax and income tax. This move is likely to affect multinationals like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and eBay.

Read the Times of Israel’s full story here.

‘If there’s no bread let them eat meat’

Israelis who keep kosher for Passover often still try to avoid matzah – the over-sized cracker which is a staple of the holiday – except on Seder night.

While it may be tasty, the dryer than dry flat bread is known to be less than merciful on the intestinal tracts of those who partake…

While there are kosher for Passover buns and other (costly, and not very tasty) alternatives, many Jewish Israelis go on what is a week-long Atkins diet of sorts. Like these people in Jerusalem here:

People visit at Sacher park in Jerusalem, during the Passover holiday, April 5, 2015.  (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

People visit at Sacher park in Jerusalem, during the Passover holiday, April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hundreds at funeral of man crushed in rabbi’s funeral

Hundreds of people are attending the funeral of Mordechai Gerber, a 27-year-old hassid who was crushed to death during the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner on Saturday in Bnei Brak.

Motti Gerber (photo credit: Courtesy)

Mordechai Gerber (photo credit: Courtesy)

Wosner died at the age of 101 over the weekend.

Several dozen people were crushed in the huge crowd that attended Wosner’s funeral, and three of them are still hospitalized.

Thousands attend the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Wosner on April 4, 2015 in Bnei Brak. (photo credit: Flash90)

Thousands attend the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Wosner on April 4, 2015 in Bnei Brak. (photo credit: Flash90)

Settlers visit holy grave in Hebron

Soldiers guarded settlers as they entered the Palestinian side of the West Bank city of Hebron to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz, earlier today.

Ben Kenaz was the first biblical judge after Joshua, and his tomb is traditionally believed to be located in Hebron. Pilgrims are allowed to come to the grave site on Passover, on Sukkot and on the 9th of Av.

Israeli security forces guard settlers as they enter the Palestinian side of the West Bank city of Hebron to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz, on April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hazem Bader/AFP)

Israeli security forces guard settlers as they enter the Palestinian side of the West Bank city of Hebron to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz, on April 5, 2015. (Photo credit: Hazem Bader/AFP)

Hadron Collider starts up again after two-year upgrade

The world’s largest particle smasher restarts Sunday after a two-year upgrade that will allow physicists to explore uncharted corners of the matter that makes up the universe.

“After two years of intense maintenance and several months of preparation for restart, the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, is back in operation,” the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) says.

Experiments at the collider have been seeking to unlock clues as to how the universe came into existence by studying fundamental particles, the building blocks of all matter, and the forces that control them.

— AFP

A Picture taken on February 10, 2015 shows workers in front of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) Cavern at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva. The world's biggest particle collider was back in operation on April 5, 2015 after a two-year upgrade. (Photo credit: Richard Juilliart/AFP)

A picture taken on February 10, 2015 shows workers in front of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) Cavern at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva. The world’s biggest particle collider was back in operation on April 5, 2015 after a two-year upgrade. (Photo credit: Richard Juilliart/AFP)

How far off is the next war with Hamas?

Is the writing already on the wall for the next Gaza war? Is Israel ignoring the deafening sound of Palestinian tunnel diggers toiling away?

The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff has the full story.

Commission to examine election campaigning laws

A new commission will examine far-ranging reforms to the Election Law — Electioneering, President Reuven Rivlin and Justice Selim Joubran jointly announce.

Heading the commission will be former chief justice Dorit Beinisch, who was appointed at the request of Joubran to Rivlin.

Joubran believes the law in its current form is outdated and has long called for it to be updated (Israel’s laws on propaganda date back to 1959). Indeed, during the last election campaign, as a form of silent protest, he made a point of ruling on violations of the law only in response to complaints by the various political parties, and avoided taking any proactive action on his own.

“It is appropriate that the commission will include retired politicians, jurists, media professionals, senior officials from the Central Elections Committee and the like,” Joubran wrote in his request to Rivlin.

Central Elections Committee head Salim Joubran (L) and President Reuven Rivlin on March 25, 2015 (photo credit:  Mark Neyman/GPO)

Central Elections Committee head Salim Joubran (L) and President Reuven Rivlin on March 25, 2015 (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO)

The 1959-legislation, which Joubran described as being “archaic,” includes such bizarre prohibitions as a ban on carrying torches while holding parades, or using projectors to cast strong light in buildings during the night hours.

Joubran complained that the law ignores “today’s most popular media tool, in general, and even more so during an election campaign – the internet.”

“In my view,” he continued, “the law in its entirety needs be thoroughly examined and its prohibitions and limitations adapted to our existing reality.”

“My predecessors with no exception called on lawmakers to adapt the law to the present. The High Court of Justice joined these calls in many verdicts. Nevertheless, no serious reform was undertaken and only pinpoint clauses were amended. Therefore this very important law remains more or less as when it was legislated, 56 years ago.”

The commission will examine the law and make its recommendations to the Knesset’s Law and Justice Committee, as well as the Central Election Committee. “With a little bit of luck, by the election for the 21st Knesset campaigns will be held according to a new legislation,” Joubran wrote.

Glenn Douglas Tubbs’ message to Iran

have you heard of Glenn Douglas Tubb? Well, to be honest, neither have I, but then I was never a big fan of Country music.

Born in Texas, Tubb is described by Wikipedia as “a songwriter married to Dottie Snow Tubb.”

Apparently the song “Skip A Rope” he wrote with one Jack Moran and performed by Henson Cargill was nominated for a Grammy way back in 1969.

But last week Tubb sang a song especially for Iranian ears. The lyrics are below, the video follows.

You say one day your rockets will start raining down
And not even one Israeli can’t be found
Well remember that God said they’re the apple of His eye
Do you really think that God would tell a lie?

Now there’s a spy in the sky and He’s a Jew
So be careful what you say and what you do
When you’re making all your plans, think ‘em through –
There’s a spy in the sky and He’s a Jew

Goliath was a giant and David was so small
But the difference in their sizes matters not at all
‘Cos David had the One who made the whole world on his side
And Philistines all knew it when Goliath died

Now there’s a spy in the sky and He’s a Jew
So be careful what you say and what you do
When you’re making all your plans, think ‘em through –
There’s a spy in the sky and He’s a Jew

When you’re planning how you’re gonna kill off all the Jews
Remember all the other ones who tried it too
Like Haman who was hanged instead of Mordechai
And Hitler who crawled in a hole and took his life.

Yeah there’s a spy in the sky and He’s a Jew
So be careful what you say and what you do
When you’re making all your plans, think ‘em through –
Oh there’s a spy in the sky and He’s a Jew.

Netanyahu compares Iran deal to deal with N. Korea

In an interview with NBC earlier today, PM Netanyahu compared the yet-to-be-signed deal with Iran, as announced in the framework deal reached in Switzerland last week, to the deal signed with North Korea – with dire consequences:

“The entire world celebrated the deal with North Korea. It [was] deemed to be a great breakthrough; it would bring an end to North Korea’s nuclear program; you’d have inspectors. That would do the job. And of course everybody applauded it, but it turned out to be a very, very bad deal and you know where we are with North Korea.

“I think the same thing would be true in the case of Iran, except that Iran is a great deal more dangerous than North Korea. It’s a militant Islamic power bent on regional domination, in fact, bent on world domination, as it openly says so. They just chanted “Death to America” a few days ago on the streets of Tehran, the same streets where they’re rejoicing right now. Don’t give the preeminent terrorist state of our time the access to a nuclear program that could help them make nuclear weapons. It’s very bad for all of us. “

Houthi rebels reportedly ready for truce talks

Houthi rebels in Yemen say they are ready to begin truce talks, on condition that the Sunni coalition ceases the campaign against them, Israel Radio reports.

A spokesperson for the Houthis, Saleh a-Hammed, who previously served as a spokesperson to President Hadi, says that regional or international mediators “not hostile to Yemen” can supervise such talks.

‘Iran deal will fuel Sunni-Shiite war’

The Washington Post’s Saturday editorial slams the Lausanne understandings, saying the final deal with Iran will fuel Sunni-Shiite tensions in the region.

The article’s harsh criticism of President Obama is significant in that it comes in an editorial with no byline, thus reflecting the second most-important American newspaper’s official view of Obama’s handling of the Iranian nuclear program.

According to the editorial,

“The Obama administration has enabled Iran’s aggression by refusing to respond to it while negotiating the nuclear accord. Now the president appears to be rushing to offer “reassurance” to traditional U.S. allies in ways that are not particularly wise.”

Read it in full here.

Netanyahu speaks to Kenyatta, sends condolences

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the Nation at the State House capital Nairobi on April 4, 2015 where he declared 3 days of national mourning following the Garissa University College terror attack and promised to support the victims. (photo credit: John Muchucha/AFP)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the Nation in Nairobi on April 4, 2015 where he declared 3 days of national mourning following the Garissa University College terror attack. (photo credit: John Muchucha/AFP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and conveyed his condolences –- on behalf of the citizens of Israel – in the wake of the “reprehensible” terrorist attack that was perpetrated in Kenya, a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says.

According to the statement, Netanyahu told Kenyatta that Israel and Kenya were “together in the war against terrorism” and offered such assistance as may be requested.

‘IS beginning to pull forces out of Yarmouk camp’

Al Jazeera reports that Islamic State began pulling forces out of the Palestinian Yarmouk camp near Damascus, Israel Radio reports. Earlier the pan-Arab network reported that 70 IS fighters were killed in fighting with one of the Syrian opposition groups. There was no other confirmation of the report.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights says that Assad forces dropped 13 barrel bombs on the camp on Saturday.

An association of Islamic clerics called on the international community to protect the Palestinian civilians and to save them from attacks of both IS and the Assad regime, Israel Radio reports.

Hamas held a rally in solidarity with the Yarmouk camp Palestinians on Saturday. The Gaza-based terror group also called on the international community to intervene to help the refugees.

Yemen rebels advance in battleground Aden

Yemeni rebels made new gains in the battleground southern city Aden Sunday as a Saudi-led coalition trying to halt their advance faced growing calls for a humanitarian pause in air strikes.

The Red Cross appealed for an immediate truce to allow families to seek water, food and medical assistance, describing the situation as “dire”.

Russia presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on Saturday calling for a humanitarian pause in the Saudi-led air war against the Houthi Shiite rebels, now in its 11th day.

The coalition kept up its night-time raids against rebel positions and arms depots, particularly around the capital Sanaa and Saada, the northern stronghold of the Iran-backed rebels.

In the main southern city Aden, the rebels advanced into the central port district of Mualla, capturing the provincial government headquarters, a local official said.

— AFP

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Swastikas spray-painted on IDF memorial in Negev

Anonymous vandals defaced a memorial for fallen soldiers from the community of Omer, near Beersheba in the Negev over the weekend, the Omer local council says.

The memorial was spray-painted with swastikas and graffiti of a Palestinian flag, as well as a distorted Star of David. The council filed a complaint with police.

A memorial for fallen IDF soldiers from the community of Omer in the Negev was defaced with graffitti over the weekend of April 3, 2015. (Photo credit: Nissim Nir/Omer Regional Council Spokesperson's Office)
A memorial for fallen IDF soldiers from the community of Omer in the Negev was defaced with graffiti over the weekend of April 3, 2015. (Photo credit: Nissim Nir/Omer Regional Council Spokesperson’s Office)

Council head Pini Badash says that “in the last two weeks arsonists had been operating in the area. We wondered who set fire to the plants near the memorial. When I see the graffiti, with Arabic text and swastikas, it already testifies who is behind this. There should be no forgiveness, the perpetrators must be found. We will have to install cameras nearby.”

Badash says he knows who the perpetrators are. “The direction is clear, I have nothing against the Bedouin, but the suffering by the community and by me is brought about by a certain type of population. This cannot continue here. Police deal with the small things, thousands of hours of interrogations on marginal issues, but sadly, they do not invest enough in the day-to-day personal safety of residents. I hope police catch whoever did this. If I get to catch them – I do not envy them,” he tells Ynet.

The police are conducting an investigation into the matter.