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The Day In Israel: Tuesday May 4th, 2010

Palestinians have visited Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood, to pay their respects to deceased Neturei Karta leader/Arafat buddy Rabbi Moshe Hirsch.

Hirsch ArafatA delegation of senior Fatah  leaders visited Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood on Monday in order to send their condolences to the extreme haredi anti-Zionist group, Neturei Karta, which recently lost its leader, Rabbi Moshe Hirsch.

Rabbi Hirsch was one of the most vociferous anti-Zionist leaders, and even nurtured a long-term relationship with Fatah, the PLO, and Yasser Arafat. At one point, he even served as Arafat’s minister for Jewish affairs in the PA. Prior to this, he was his advisor.

Leading the Fatah delegation was Hatem Abdel Qader, an adviser on Jerusalem affairs to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Bilal a-Natasha, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio in the movement’s revolutionary council.

At the end of the visit, Abdel Qader said to Ynet that Fatah considered Rabbi Hirsch “the leader of the Palestinian Jews,” who are part of the Palestinian state.

According to Abdel Qader, “This is the first time we are making an official visit to Mea Shearim. From our perspective Mea Shearim is part of east Jerusalem, which will be part of the capital of the Palestinian state.”

He added that Fatah does not plan on giving up Mea Shearim in negotiations with Israel, “nor the members of the Neturei Karta movement.”

Actually, this is not Fatah’s first official visit to Mea Shearim.

By the way, I do not recall the palestinians ever speaking openly about Mea Shearim as east Jerusalem and part of a future palestinian state.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?

8:10PM: As if there weren’t already enough reasons to not visit France.

Via No Pasaran, which also contains a blow-by-blow description of the festivities (hat tip: Shy Guy).

7:45PM: Here’s a great example showing the importance of context.

Version one (Ha’aretz)

The head of a Jerusalem yeshiva allegedly shot and wounded one of his students in early January.

The rabbi was arrested three weeks ago and is expected to be charged Tuesday with aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm and obstruction of justice.

On Saturday night, January 9, police received a report of a shooting incident in Jerusalem’s Haredi neighborhood of Beit Yisrael. At the time, eyewitnesses told police that two young men on a motorbike shot a yeshiva student and fled the scene of the crime.

The victim also fled the scene, but was located by police later that night in a hospital in the north.

Police arrested the Jerusalem rabbi three weeks ago along with an associate – allegedly the motorcycle driver.

Police had interrogated the rabbi, who was not initially a suspect, shortly after the incident because of his connection to the student. At the time he told police that he had been on his way to a torah class in the south when the shooting took place.

Police say they have eyewitnesses who identified the rabbi as the shooter, and evidence that the rabbi called the victim from a pay phone shortly before the incident and requested that he meet him at the location at which the shooting later took place.

Version two (Ynet)

Police arrested a yeshiva head on suspicion of shooting and wounding one of his students a few months ago, the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court cleared for publication Tuesday.

Police say the rabbi used a motorcycle to approach the victim, fired at him, and when the victim began to run away fired again, wounding him. The rabbi then fled the scene, leaving the young man lying in his own blood.

“I am innocent. The truth will come out later,” the rabbi, a newly religious man who has already served two years in prison for attempted murder, told the court.

Police plan to recommend the rabbi stand trial on charges of aggravated assault along with another suspect, Yitzhak Zohar, who they suspect aided him.

Police claim the yeshiva head maintains close ties with the mob. He established the Jerusalem yeshiva after being released from prison using donations. Many of its students are rehabilitated criminals or prisoners serving an alternative sentence.

The rabbi served two years in jail for attempted murder after the central witness for the prosecution died mysteriously just one day before he was scheduled to testify. The defendant bolted to Belgium, from whence he was extradited.

Police say that on January 9 the yeshiva head called Eliyahu Liberty, the 23-year old victim, to come and clear out his personal items from the school and leave it immediately. The two had fought a few days earlier.

Liberty arrived at the school along with two friends, and they were approached by two motorcyclists, one of whom masked. The masked man fired at Liberty, who began to run away. However, the motorcycle followed and the masked man fired additional shots, two of which hit Liberty in the leg.

When the victim fell, the man dismounted the bike and hit Liberty on the head with the butt of his rifle. Security footage filmed by a nearby bakery shows the two men riding off, leaving Liberty lying in his own blood.

The victim said later he was afraid to report the incident, and asked his friends to take him to his father’s house in the north. However, when it became clear that he was losing too much blood his family evacuated him to a Haifa hospital.

Liberty, who also has an extensive criminal record including break-ins, blackmail, and robbery, refused to cooperate with the police investigation. However, police say they have collected incriminating evidence against the rabbi, including a bank transfer of over $7,000 to Liberty’s family.

The Jerusalem Post version also contains the relevant contextual information.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Ha’aretz had purposefully left out this information because of its anti-religious agenda.

7:08PM: Well put together video showing the PA’s policy of honoring terrorists.

5:05PM: Weird pro-Israel video of the day.

4:42PM: To the commenter who expressed joy over the death of actress Lynn Redgrave (sorry, Intense Debate gobbled up the comment but I received it via mail), I should point you to this:

Ms. Redgrave often chafed at the outspoken political views of her sister — who was a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization — and in 1991, when they were performing together in London in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” they had a public spat after Vanessa referred to Americans as “imperialist pigs.” (They later reconciled.)

And this:

Lynn Redgrave is no Cain, but, brother, is she Able. Make that ready, willing and able, finally, after years of tight-lipped tolerance, to trash her older and infamously outspoken sibling. “My sister Vanessa’s actions are suddenly pissing me off,” Lynn, 48, told New York Post gossip columnist and longtime friend Cindy Adams in an astonishingly candid—and scathing-interview. “[She’s] driving me crazy.” Distressed by Vanessa’s much publicized condemnation of U.S. (and allied) involvement in the Persian Gulf war, Lynn wanted, once and for all, to set the record straight: “[We are] not one person, one voice. We are two separate people. I’m thinking of changing my name to add my husband John Clark’s name. The waters are being muddied. I want them not to muddy me.”

The timing of this declaration of independence was hardly fortuitous, since it coincided with the actress sisters’ first-ever appearance onstage together—in London, in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters. British tabloids were instantly agog with news of the feud—SISTERS AT WAR screamed one London daily; SHAMED BY HER SISTER railed another—but the rift had been brewing for weeks. It all began when Vanessa, 54, declared in January at a peace rally in Barcelona. “We must unconditionally defend Iraq against American. British or Israeli troops.” In the British press and in the U.S., her comments have caused a furious backlash, including cancellation of her scheduled American tour in the Broadway hit Lettice and Lovage. Vanessa claimed she was quoted out of context but then made the mistake of providing the context by placing an ad of “clarification” in the New York Times. “I unconditionally oppose the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait,” she explained. But by the end of the half-page letter, she had cited as the source of the conflict not Iraq, but Israel—culpable, she implied, for its treatment of the Palestinians.

Inevitably the fires of outrage burned hotter. Not, of course, that furor is anything new to the radical Vanessa. For more than 20 years, the left-wing activist has made for controversial copy. She rallied against both nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. once sold her home to fund a documentary on the Palestinians and four times ran for the British Parliament (and resoundingly lost). But perhaps her most notorious performance came at the Oscars in 1978, where she was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her role in Julia, a film about a young woman killed by the Nazis. She accepted the award with a pro-PLO speech that characterized Israel’s Zionist leaders as “hoodlums.” She was jeered and promptly placed on what amounted to a blacklist “banning” her for most of a decade from performing in America. The Boston Symphony Orchesta. for instance, dropped her from scheduled appearances in 1982 after receiving threats that pro-Israel demonstrators would picket her shows. (She sued and won a small settlement.)

Back then Lynn defended Vanessa. “People don’t know her,” she protested. “They just see the serious star who shouts and fights for what she believes in. People don’t see the private her. She’s a very generous and loving person.”

Growing up, the two were quite different—big sister Vanessa assertive and self-confident. Lynn shy and lonely—yet they maintained a special bond. “You can almost touch how close we feel,” Lynn once said. It was Vanessa more than the rest of her family—her father, the actor Sir Michael Redgrave; her mother, Rachel Kempson, now 80; or her brother, Corin, 51, also a politically involved actor—who gave young Lynn emotional support. “There was a great deal of tension [at home],” Lynn remembered. “My father was distant and didn’t communicate well with any of us. [Vanessa] was wonderful to me…. She’d read me books and make up stories for me.”

Years later, an accomplished actress in her own right, Lynn moved away from Vanessa and the suffocating burden of the Redgrave name. She settled in the U.S., where she still lives—in suburban Los Angeles—with her husband and manager, John Clark, and their three children.

Ironically, though Lynn and Vanessa are together professionally for the first time, they have never been more remote from one another personally. Backstage at London’s Queen’s Theatre, says Cindy Adams, the two do not speak. Nor are they likely to now. Among Lynn’s more biting observations about her sister was the suggestion that Vanessa’s causes are merely attention-getting devices. “I think she always thought of herself as Joan of Arc.” Lynn said. ‘There is definitely a dramatic angle attached. Perhaps it is the ultimate in being center stage.”

In the end, says Adams of Lynn’s declaration, “Her patriotism is stronger than her sisterly feelings.” Meaning in part that Lynn, who is the high-profile spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, and whose book, This Is Living: How I Found Happiness, is due out in May, doesn’t want Vanessa’s surly politics to sully her reputation—or employment potential. “I get phone calls about this,” said Lynn, who is not a U.S. citizen. “What’s happening is scary. I can understand [the outcry over Vanessa’s remarks] because I live in the States…. I think of America as my country, my people.” she said, as angry and sad as she is resigned to the forseeable future. “I don’t think [Vanessa and I] shall be working together again.”

True, I found one article reporting that she read from the poetry of Guantanamo Detainees a few years ago, but I would think on the whole such sentiments would be better saved for her sister Vanessa.

1:30PM: A burnt mosque, “settlers” are accused, and I smell a rat.

6:18AM: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday attacked Big and Little Satan at a UN conference of the signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  on Monday called for states that threaten to use atomic weapons to be punished, a clear reference to a new US nuclear strategy released last month.

Speaking at a meeting of the 189 signatories of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he urged “considering any threat to use nuclear weapons or attack against peaceful nuclear facilities as a breach of international peace and security.”

Such threats should meet with “swift reaction from the United Nations and termination of all cooperation of NPT member states with the threatening aggressor state,” Ahmadinejad said.

“The US has not only used nuclear weapons in the past, it continues to threaten other countries, including mine, with (nuclear arms),” said the Iranian president.

The delegations of the United States, Britain and France all walked out of the UN General Assembly chamber during the Iranian president’s speech.

Among the punishments that should be meted out to countries that use, or threaten to use, atomic weapons against other nations is suspension from the board of governors of the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna, Ahmadinejad said.

The Iranian leader went on to attack Israel directly, saying, “The Zionist regime continues to threaten the countries of the Middle East with its arsenal. It continues to threaten the world’s countries with acts of terror and invasion, and even gets the necessary assistance for its nuclear program.”


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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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