The Day In Israel: Wed Sept 2nd, 2009

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Outgoing IAEA (potato) head Mohamed ElBaradei called the Iranian threat “hyped,” saying there is no proof the Islamic republic will soon have nuclear weapons.

“In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped,” ElBaradei told the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in an interview released Tuesday.

“Yes, there’s concern about Iran’s future intentions and Iran needs to be more transparent with the IAEA and international community,” he told the Chicago-based magazine. “But the idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts as we have seen them so far.”

“About Iran, I’ve been told, ‘Mind your own business; you’re a technician.’ And yet, at other times, on other matters, I have been told that I’m the custodian of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – sometimes by the very people who tell me to mind my own business when it comes to Iran,” he continued.

“I don’t put much stock in either designation.

I have another designation for him, but since I try to keep this a relatively family friendly site, I won’t mention it here.



Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:08PM: More on today’s meeting between Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom and PA Economics Minister Bassim Khoury (bonus: Seth Green lookalike news anchor).

10:22PM: The Jerusalem Post displaying more of the patented brilliance that sees them head the list of popular Jewish news sites in the US.

nuclear site illustrative

In other words, we don’t actually have a photo of an Iranian nuclear site, so here’s a photo of some other site instead. But we’ll still refer to it as an Iranian nuclear site.

8:24PM: Sky News reports that palestinians are not happy that Madonna said all those nice things about Israel and draped herself with the Israeli flag at the end of her concert last night (see video). Like, d’uh.

8:12PM: From the Department of Apparently Superfluous Adjectives:

‘Shi’ite Bernard Madoff’ held in custody in Lebanon

Actually, it’s not referring to the..err..real deal (if I can call him that).

6:28PM: Here’s footage taken of Madonna saying those nice things about Israel at last night’s concert.

6:18PM: Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom and PA Economics Minister Bassim Khoury have met to discuss how to improve the lives of palestinians.

This is all well and good, but I would also like to hear of Israel and PA officials meeting to discuss how to improve the lives of Israelis, like those in Sderot and other communities in the firing line.

1:58PM: The Jerusalem Post is reportedly the most popular Jewish news website in the US.

A recent study – not commissioned by The Jerusalem Post – has revealed that of all Jewish news Web sites, Jpost.com is the clear leader in the United States, garnering more than twice as many readers as its closest competitor, and almost twice as many readers as all American Jewish news Web sites combined.

Although the Post was unaware of the study until after it was published, the newspaper welcomed the data as a sign that it was maintaining a critical lead in the cutthroat world of Internet news.

In mid-August, 4Wall, which operates the JInsider site, conducted what it called “the Jewish Internet Metric Study,” borrowing from the practices of McKinsey & Company to analyze Internet use and its business implications and applications.

The study found that Jpost.com hosted 1,454,649 unique visitors per month, while competitor Haaretz.com lagged far behind, with 691,467.

All of the American Jewish news sources combined – including the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jewish Journal, New York’s The Jewish Week, the Forward, Philadelphia’s The Jewish Exponent and The Jewish Press – received barely half of Jpost.com’s traffic figures, with 808,516 unique visitors.

Not only did Jpost.com leave other sites far behind, but the study also found visitors spent “significantly more time per visit” on the two Israel-based sites, and that “many more of those visitors are ‘regulars’ [people who visit more than once per month] and addicts [people who visit more than 30 times per month.]”

“I think that our success can be attributed to a combination of great original content, a never-ending pace of news flow, the power of the brand name and the fact that every day at 3:30 p.m. Jerusalem time, as far as we’re concerned, we enter US time,” explained Jpost.com Managing Editor Shani Rosenfelder. “We look at our North American audience in terms of what stories should be highlighted and what issues take center stage in those readers’ eyes.”

Color me surprised. Of the three main English news sites in Israel, I consider the Post to be the worst. It frequently borrows from other sites, and is often slow on stories. And regular Israellycool readers would already be aware of their buggy picture caption generator thing-a-me-bob, which provides constant grist for my mill.

Aussie Dave’s guilty confession: I prefer the Ha’aretz site. Sure, the op-eds annoy the daylights out of me, but the site is way more up-to-date than the others, and I find the site layout to be easier to follow.

I’m hoping Israellycool is on the list next year. Help me get there by telling your family and friends about it, and sending them posts of mine that you like.

10:50AM: The EU’s rapporteur on piracy (apparently a real job title), Admiral Tarmo Kouts (apparently his real name), has told TIME that Israel was likely behind the July hijacking of a Russian-manned ship en route to Algeria.

“There is the idea that there were missiles aboard, and one can’t explain this situation in any other way,” he told the magazine, becoming the highest-ranking official to date to support the theory. “As a sailor with years of experience, I can tell you that the official versions are not realistic.”

Meanwhile, it looks like everyone is a comedian, whether it be the Jerusalem Post..

Until today, no government official of any kind has gone on the record to accuse Israel as being behind the hijacking, but many have admitted that the story – or at least the official version – does not appear to hold water

..or former Israeli deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh:

“There is something fishy about this whole story, no doubt about it,” former Israeli deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told The Media Line. “But I can’t comment further on this.”

6:04AM: Pop star and FoTz (Friend of Tzipi) Madonna played in front of 50,000 fans last night, showing her love for Israel in the procees.

“I shouldn’t have stayed so long away,” she told the adoring crowd midway through the show, as she broke away from the script to express her affection for the country.

“Every time I come here, I get so supercharged with energy,” she said. “I truly believe that Israel is the energy center of the world. And I also believe that if we can all live together in harmony in this place, then we can live in peace all over the world.”

Meanwhile, judging by the pictures, I would say she also showed a whole lot more. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu was not available for comment.

5:54AM: Guess who’s coming to dinner? Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren yesterday attended a White House Ramadan dinner.

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