The Day In Israel: Mon May 11th, 2009

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In an interview with The Times, Jordan’s King Abdullah has said that:

  • US President Obama’s meeting with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu next week has “become the acid test” for the Administration’s commitment to peace in the Middle East
  • His last encounter 10 years ago with Netanyahu was the “least pleasant” of his reign.
  • If peace negotiations were delayed, there would be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months
  • He looks nothing like “The Beaver”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:00PM: Here’s the Pope’s address at Yad Vashem, which did not impress Israel’s Chief Rabbi (9:53PM update)

9:55PM: Another deathmatch: Palestinian Sheikh vs The Pope:

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Notre Dame Hotel in east Jerusalem Monday night for a meeting with the heads of all religious represented in Israel was cut short by an unpleasant incident, after a Palestinian sheik interrupted his speech.

The meeting was attended by heads of the Rabbinate, Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarkisio Bertoni, heads of the various churches in Israel, Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal and Sheikh Taiseer al-Tamimi, head of the Palestinian Authority’s Sharia Courts.

Patriarch Twal began the ceremony and then invited the pope to speak. Both clergymen spoke of the importance of unity, brotherhood and peace.

The pope’s speech was suddenly interrupted by Sheikh Tamimi, who began crying out at his holiness, asking him to “see to a just peace. A just peace means a Palestinian state in which Israel will stop killing women and children and destroying mosques, like it did in Gaza.”

9:53PM: Dream deathmatch: The Chief Rabbi of Israel vs The Pope

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s speech at Monday’s Yad Vashem ceremony, Buchenwald survivor and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau expressed his disappointment over the pontiff’s address, telling Channel 1 that while the first day of the pontiff’s visit has been altogether positive, he couldn’t deny a feeling of “a missed opportunity” at the speech which he said lacked a personal note of contrition.

“A few points were missing in the pope’s address,” said Lau. “There was no mention of the Germans, or Nazis, who carried out the massacre. There was not a word of sharing the grief or of compassion or pain for the six million victims.”

“Instead of the word ‘murdered,’ as the previous pope John Paul II used,” Lau continued, Benedict XVI used the word ‘killed.’ There is a very clear difference between the two verbs,” the former chief rabbi stressed.

“He never said six million,” Lau emphasized.

6:35PM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt this afternoon.

“We want to renew the peace negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible, and I hope they will indeed resume in the coming weeks,” the Israeli leader told a joint press conference after meeting Mubarak, adding that he viewed peace with Egypt as a “strategic asset” and “the cornerstone of stability and hope in the region”.

6:30PM: Many palestinians are pissy at the Pope.

Like these guys:

Arab governments which welcome Pope Benedict XVI harm the Prophet Mohammed more than the pontiff’s controversial statements against the founder of Islam, an outspoken Hamas lawmaker said Monday.

‘Saying something about Mohammed will not harm him but the governments that hail and welcome the pope with hospitality do more damage than the pope’s remarks,’ Younis al-Astal said.

Al-Astal, who was recently barred from entering the UK, was referring to Benedict’s 2006 remarks quoting 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus that Mohammed brought things ‘only evil and inhuman.’

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Al-Astal added that the Pope Benedict XVI was ‘the most pro-Zionist pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church.’

The radical Islamic Jihad movement, meanwhile, criticized the Pope’s to Israel and the Palestinian territories as praise for the Israeli occupation.

The visit, a statement by the group said, ‘reflects a courtesy to the occupation (Israel) and it neglects the wounds of Jerusalem and puts aside the holocaust that the Israeli army conducted in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of this year.’

And these:

The families of several Palestinian prisoners set up camp in front of the Red Cross building in Gaza City on Monday, in protest of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the family of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

6:25PM: Here’s Pope Benedict XVI arriving in Israel and speaking after his arrival.

2:55PM: The pope’s in town.

10:48AM: Palestinian attempt to politicize the pope’s visit: take two!

Several hours before the pope’s visit, the question of east Jerusalem’s status has been put to the test once again: The Jerusalem Police on Monday morning sealed off a conference hall at the Ambassador Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood following the Palestinian Authority’s plan to hold a briefing for foreign and Palestinian journalists ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Israel.

A senior PA official told Ynet in response that “when the pope arrives in east Jerusalem, he and his visit are our responsibility.”

The auditorium was closed due to an order signed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, following intelligence information received by the police. Officers from the Jerusalem central unit’s minority division arrived at the place with additional forces and presented the order, issued in accordance with the “implementation law”, which states that any PA activity in all parts of Jerusalem is forbidden.

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PA officials were unmoved by the police’s decision to shut down the media center. The Palestinian prime minister’s advisor for Jerusalem affair, Khatem Abdel Kader, told Ynet that this testified to the shallowness of the international security minister’s activities.

“If the minister and the Israelis think that by closing the media center they can thwart our preparations to greet the pope and cover his visit – they are mistaken,” he said.

6:00AM: Another day, another anti-Zionist Egyptian cleric who is in no way, shape or form anti-Semitic.

A new fatwa published in Egypt determines that the source of all the existing pigs in the world is Jews, who were cursed by Allah. The new edict was issued by Sheikh Ali Osman from the Egyptian Waqf ministry.

Due to their Jewish roots, Sheikh Osman says, it is permissible to slaughter all the pigs. The religious scholar was quoted as saying by a Jordanian newspaper that he personally believes the source of the pigs is Jews and thus the consumption of pork meat is banned in Islam.

He added that a person who consumes swine flesh is considered as one who consumed another “impure person.” Sheikh Osman said his fatwa is being supported by the heads of al Azhar, but they fear to publicly confirm it. He said he still wait for response from al azhar fatwa committee to get an official approval for his new edict.

Which begs the following questions:

  1. Why would we be the source of an animal which we ourselves cannot benefit from?
  2. I have also heard of Muslims stating that we are the “sons of monkeys and pigs.” So isn’t it more correct to say that “the source of the Jews is pigs” and not “the source of the pigs is Jews?
  3. Does this error point to some dyslexia on the part of Sheikh Ali Osman?

5:52AM: Oh, great. On top of everything else, we now have to deal with declining sperm quality?

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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