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The Day In Israel: Mon Aug 31st, 2009

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Hamas slammed the UN over it’s plans to teach palestinian children in Gaza about the Holocaust, saying “We refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”

Meanwhile in the “West Bank”, teachers said there was no official guidance on teaching about the Holocaust. No word either on whether Mahmoud Abbas’ doctoral thesis is recommended reading.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:32PM: Libyan crackpot Muammar Gaddafi has blamed Israel for stoking violence in Africa.

As long as he doesn’t blame us for his dress sense..

9:48PM: Israeli President Shimon Peres has told FOX News that US President Obama is expected to moderate a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in late September.

“Yes, I think they will meet by the end of September. President Obama will chair it, and I think that at least there is a chance that they will decide they are going to reopen negotiations,” Peres said. “But that will not include Hamas.”

Meanwhile, this is what Peres had to say about the settlement freeze demand:

In order for that to happen, the Israelis will likely have to agree to suspend or halt settlement construction. Peres said that issue is still unresolved.

“On that particular issue, there is not yet an agreement. Negotiations are going on,” the Israeli president told FOX News. “I do believe there is a solution for it as well. … It must be soon. It’s very hard to convince your own people to make so many concessions — to take so many risks.

“But this is the task of a leader to move ahead. (Netanyahu) is aware of the choice, and he knows there is no chance, no escape, no alternative to go ahead and make peace. He knows he must do it … it’s just not a simple proposition.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. That is our president conceding that Israel will need to freeze settlement construction in the land of Israel, instead of speaking out and demanding the palestinians make concessions.

Peres is so far past his used-by date, it’s not funny.

8:18PM: Here’s some footage of Madonna visiting the Western Wall last night (with bonus obnoxious calling out of her “Hebrew name” Esther).

5:52PM: Pop star Madonna arrived in the Holy Land last night, ahead of her very..err… kosher sounding Sticky and Sweet tour, and began by visiting the Western Wall with her very..err.. kosher sounding boyfriend Jesus.

Meanwhile, she’s got mail!

While she surely receives thousands of letters a day from fans, a letter like this Madonna likely wasn’t expecting. Safed’s rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, has sent a personal letter to the international pop star who landed in Israel on Saturday night, urging her to honor the Holy Land and wear modest clothes while performing in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to the rabbi, the way Madonna’s concerts are marketed in Israel does not match the values of Kabbalah, which she is so well identified with. On behalf of many who believe in those values, he asks her to respect them.

The rabbi began his letter to “Mrs. Madonna Louise Ciccone” by welcoming her to Israel and its holy sites.

“Many people have been waiting for your arrival,” he wrote. “I assume you have also been waiting for the moment you would set foot on the Holy Land – the land where the wisdom of Kabbalah was discovered, the enchanting wisdom you have so much respect for.”

The rabbi went on to say that “in this time in history many are making efforts to study the wisdom of Kabbalah, including you, and many are trying to adopt its customs… You are about to perform here in the coming week in front of an audience of thousands of people. The ads announcing your concert decorate newspapers and billboards here. One cannot escape them. The way you are being marketed is not, in any way, in line with Kabbalah, with Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, with internal enlightenment and with faith and love.”

According to Rabbi Eliyahu, the powers hidden in exposing a woman’s body do not honor her, but “may raise the lust instead of raising the love – and that’s a shame.”

He said it was important to intensify and strengthen love, the connection and loyalty between a man and his wife, and added that men looking at other women are only hurt by it. “It doesn’t do well to the home, doesn’t do well to the family and doesn’t strengthen the children – and this is definitely not something you want.

“I appeal to you on behalf of many people who appreciate the wisdom of Kabbalah, who appreciate the faith,” the rabbi concluded. “I appeal to you on behalf of all the people who would really like to see a better world, who would like to fix the world with deeds rather than just with words. I ask you, on their behalf, to honor this place with modesty, to honor the land you are stepping on.

“We have reason to believe that you are sensitive enough to accept our request. We have reason to believe that you really want to bring good to the world, that you don’t settle for talking or singing about it, that you want the good here, in real life. We will greatly appreciate your respect to the Land of Israel in a more modest performance.”


Rawi Sultani - AP

Rawi Sultani, center, is surrounded by Israeli police officers inside a court in Petah Tikva, Israel, Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. Israeli authorities indicted Sultani, an Israeli Arab, for allegedly tracking the movements of the country’s military chief of staff on behalf of Lebanonese Hezbollah militants, according to court documents made public Monday. Israeli defense officials said the information passed on by Sultani, 23, was meant to facilitate a plot to assassinate Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi in retaliation for the assassination of a top Hezbollah commander last year, an incident widely attributed to Israel. (AP Photo/Eli Dassa, Maariv)

This is the guy who supposedly went to the same gym as the IDF chief of staff and spied on him. It seems rather obvious looking at him that he wasn’t there working out.

12:56PM: It has been revealed that an Israeli Arab man was indicted for allegedly working on behalf of Hizbullah in a plot to assassinate IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

An indictment was issued against a 23-year-old resident of Tirah for threatening State security. Rawi Sultani has been indicted for allegedly being recruited by Hezbollah  to collect details on Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. Sultani, arrested following a complex and involved investigation carried out by the International Crimes National Investigation Unit, was indicted for offences against national security, including transferring information for the benefit of the enemy, contact with a foreign agent, and conspiring to commit a crime.

Sultani, who works out at the same gym as the chief of staff in Kfar Saba, passed on information to his Hezbollah operators via email and meetings abroad.

According to the indictment issued by the Central District Prosecution, initial contact between Sultani and a Hezbollah operative was made when Sultani attended a Balad (Israeli Arab movement -ed.) sponsored youth camp in Morocco in August 2008. While there, he befriended Salman Harb, a Lebanese youth who reportedly revealed to him that he was active in Hezbollah. During their meeting, Sultani told the operative that he works out at the same gym as the IDF chief of staff. At this stage, he was not asked to take any action, only to stay in contact with the Hezbollah youth.

Later, the Hezbollah operative wrote to Sultani to invite him to Poland. Sultani left for Poland in December, where he met with the operative’s brother, Sami Harb. Sultani was told that Salman could not get an entry visa to Poland. Sami asked Sultani at the beginning of their Poland meeting to provide him with information on IDF bases and soldiers. Towards the end of the meeting, he started asking him questions about Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi.

He asked about the location of the gym, including its various workout machines and their characteristics, ways of accessing the gym, entrance protocol for members and guests, gym security arrangements, the location of security guards and how they were armed.

Sultani also transferred to Harb’s brother various ways of accessing the country club at which he and the chief of staff work out. In addition, he told the operative’s brother what at what times the chief of staff usually works out, whom he comes to the gym with, and what clothes he wears.

A day after their meeting, Sami gave Sultani an activated email address for the two to keep in touch. In addition, he gave him a disc with an encryption program on it.

Sultani returned to Israel and continued to be in contact with the Hezbollah operative. Sultani was arrested in December for investigation. He admitted to meeting with Hezbollah representatives in Poland and to providing them information on Ashkenazi.

Sultani’s father, Attorney Fuad Sultani, said that his son was exploited and that he is innocent. “My son was maliciously exploited by these agents. The accusations are apparently politically-based,” said the senior Sultani, who is representing his son.

6:08AM: A 50-year-old man has been stabbed to death at a hostel in Jerusalem by a 23-year-old palestinian from the “West Bank,” who worked at the hostel and with whom the victim had reportedly been arguing since the morning.

In other news, there are Israeli hostels that think it is a good idea to employ palestinians.

5:55AM: Fox News report on Obama’s dropping approval rating amongst Israelis.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

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
Picture of David Lange

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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