Justices to Hear Dispute Over Seizing Iran Artifacts

Article By The Associated Press • 27 June 2017

Justices to Hear Dispute Over
Seizing Iran Artifacts

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will hear an appeal from survivors of a 1997 terrorist attack who want to seize museum pieces in U.S. collections to help pay a $71.5 million default judgment against Iran.

The justices said Tuesday they will review a lower court ruling that said the U.S. victims of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem couldn’t go after collections of Persian artifacts at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago.

The victims accused Iran of providing training and support to Hamas, which carried out the attack. They won a judgment and sought assets to pay it after Iran refused to pay.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Iran didn’t own some of the collections and said other artifacts were immune under U.S. law.

The artifacts at issue include thousands of Persian tablets known as the Persepolis Collection that are more than 2,000 years old. They are owned by Iran, but have been on long-term loan to the University of Chicago since 1937 for research, translation and cataloging.

The victims say they have a right to pursue the collection under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. They say the law allows victims of terrorism to attach any assets of foreign state sponsors of terrorism regardless of whether they are connected to commercial activity in the U.S.

Iran argues that the appeals court was correct in determining that the collection is immune.

Other museums have been watching the long-running legal battle closely, fearing that their own collections could be at risk if courts allow the Persian artifacts to be seized.

The case will be argued when the Supreme Court begins its new term in the fall.

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Posted in Archeology, Conflict Resolution, Iran, Terrorism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Oil Giant Partners Up With Israeli Tech Company

Author Ofer Petersburg Posted May 21, 2012

Translator Al-Monitor

How did the management of a Saudi oil giant fall into the hands of a bunch of Israelis? This is a story of great talent, great trust and quite a bit of money.

Yanar, a Saudi oil holding company, is one of the largest and most important companies in the world in the marketing of oil products. Prince Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Fayj, a Saudi religious moderate, heads the company.

In recent months, as the company sought to increase its organizational efficiency, it began to look for management software. As part of their search, representatives from the company visited, among other places, an exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, where hi-tech companies from all over the world exhibited their products. After the Saudis did extensive market research, they had no doubt as to which company they would buy the unique software from.

A German company? An American company? No. The Saudis chose Daronet, an Israeli company based in Ramat Gan, whose support center is in the ultra-Orthodox community of Elad.

The program sold to the Saudi company is called TMB, and it is advanced software used to manage and increase the business efficiency of large organizations.

The purchase is worth some NIS 700,000 [over $180,000 USD]. Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that in recent days, after the deal was signed, representatives from the Saudi company were trained in Australia by an 18-member Israeli team. The members of the team all work in the company’s branch in Australia, where they all live.

The atmosphere was friendly, but before the signing, the Saudis demanded that the sale include comprehensive training of their employees on matters relating to support, so as not to rely on Israeli support. However, considering the statements of Efi Shwintarsky, the CEO of Daronet in Australia, business with the Saudis may not stop with this deal. “The Saudi representatives did not hide in the course of the negotiations how impressed they were with Israeli developments, and noted that they’d be happy to work in the future with Israeli technologies,” Shwintarsky told Yedioth Ahronoth [the paper] Thursday.

Daronet was established in 1999. It employs 120 people in Israel and 50 additional employees are scattered in branches around the world. Its main offices are next to the stock market in Ramat Gan, and its support center in Elad employs ultra-Orthodox women.

The chairman of Daronet, Elik Cohen, said Thursday that he received news of the deal from the managers of the Australian branch, and that he approved it only after having made sure it did not violate Israeli law.


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Sharansky urges Netanyahu to block haredi conversion legislation

Jpost Israel News

By Jeremy Sharon/ June 23, 2017

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to oppose legislation being advanced by ultra-Orthodox parties which would give the Chief Rabbinate a monopoly on conversion, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Jerry Silverman, chairman of the Jewish Federations of North America, senior leaders from the Reform and Conservative movements were also highly critical of the proposed law and called for it to be withdrawn.

This crisis for Netanyahu comes as many global community leaders arrive in Israel for board meetings of the Jewish Agency next week to celebrate 50 years since Jerusalem’s reunification.

It appears that the conversion bill was covertly inserted onto the agenda of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday at the behest of the haredi political parties, to avoid drawing the ire of those leadership figures both in Israel and from the Diaspora.

The legislation has been formulated by the Interior Ministry at the direction of Interior Minister and Shas chairman Arye Deri. The proposal determines that only conversions performed by the State Conversion Authority under the guidance of the Chief Rabbinate will be recognized for the purposes of citizenship via the Law of Return and registering as Jewish in the Interior Ministry.

It would permanently prevent Reform, Conservative and some Orthodox converts – who converted in Israel and are not yet citizens – from obtaining citizenship under the Law of Return.

The bill would circumvent a ruling last year by the High Court of Justice that ordered the state to grant citizenship to converts who converted through non-state, Orthodox rabbinical courts.

It would also preemptively circumvent an expected ruling by the High Court on a similar case regarding the right of Reform and Conservative converts who are not citizens to obtain citizenship under the Law of Return.

It is thought likely that the court will rule to award such converts citizenship; the timing of the new legislation is likely an attempt to prevent such an eventuality.

“When the legislation was first submitted to the Knesset last month, Sharansky wrote an impassioned letter, seen by the Post, to Netanyahu arguing that it opposed Zionist principles and calling for a policy that would embrace rather than distance potential converts.

“We must recognize that Israel is in the midst of an historic and monumental process of ingathering the exiles, and that the Jewish people can and must open its gates to those who wish to become a part of it,” Sharansky wrote to the prime minister, adding that thousands more immigrants are and will come to Israel in coming years.

“It is a compelling Zionist priority to enable them to join the Jewish people in a warm and encouraging manner. We must find a way to embrace rather than repel, to include rather than exclude, to expand our ranks rather than shrink them, to open the gates rather than create obstacles,” the Jewish Agency chairman continued.

In his letter, Sharansky also called on Netanyahu to establish a public commission composed of representatives of all relevant organizations and governmental bodies to formulate the best policy for the State of Israel.

He implicitly referenced and praised the non-state, Orthodox rabbinical court Giyur Ka’halacha, which was established in 2015 and has thus far converted nearly 400 people.

It was thought that last year’s court ruling to grant citizenship to Orthodox converts who converted in independent rabbinical courts could eventually force the Chief Rabbinate to recognize such conversions for the purposes of marriage.

The new bill would thwart this process.

Silverman was also strongly critical of the legislation.

“The proposed bill fundamentally changes the status quo of conversions in Israel and casts a shadow over conversions undertaken in the Diaspora,” he said. “We strongly urge that this legislation not move forward.”

Rabbi Seth Farber, one of the founders of Giyur Ka’halacha and director of the ITIM religious services group, said the proposed law would only serve to further alienate Jews from Judaism, both in Israel and around the world.

“We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act in the interest of justice in Israel, the community of immigrants and the Jewish community around the world to vote against this legislation,” said Farber.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Reform Movement in Israel, described the bill as a slap in the face to Jewish leaders arriving from abroad who will now be greeted with news of legislation opposed by many in their communities.

“More than any other prime minister in the history of the State of Israel, Bibi knows what the possible tragic outcome of legislation on conversion might be, and we expect him not to push the Jewish people once again into this massive controversy,” said Kariv.

“We believe he has the critical capacity and leadership qualities needed to draw a red line with his haredi partners on this issue…, and we will do whatever it takes to remind the government that the vast majority of Jews in Israel and abroad strongly oppose this legislation. And we expect the PM to serve the best interests of the entire Jewish people, and not of the hared parties which represent a small minority of the Jewish people.”

Yizhar Hess, director of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel, called on Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon to prevent the bill from coming to a vote.

Referencing efforts by the haredi parties to also abolish the Western Wall agreement, which may come to a vote on Sunday, Hess said their activities “represent a stab in both eyes of Diaspora Jewry,” adding that “only a short-sighted government wants a blind Jewish people.”

The Prime Minister’s Office declined a request for comment.

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Did an 18th Century Jewish Scholar Foretell Exact Date of Israel’s Redemption?

Breaking Israel News

By June 19, 2017

“And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed and you shall possess it.” Deuteronomy 30:5 (The Israel Bible™)

The State of Israel is currently celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem, as well as Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights in 1967. While these miraculous events took most Israelis by surprise, there was one Jew who precisely foretold of their occurrence, as well as that of other significant events, some 200 years in advance.

One of the most celebrated rabbis of all-time, the Vilna Gaon (the Genius of Vilna) lived from 1720-1797, but his teachings and visions inform Torah study to this day.

The Vilna Gaon sought to immigrate to the Land of Israel to hasten the process of redemption, but was unsuccessful.  He devoted the last eighteen years of his life entirely to bringing redemption and encouraged his disciples to immigrate to the Land of Israel and redeem it.

Jewish scholar Rabbi Samuel Yaniv notes a general principle of the Vilna Gaon, set forth in the work Ma’aseh Roke’ah by Rabbi Eleazar Rokach, which teaches that there is occasionally a connection between the order of verses in the Torah and what occurs historically in the corresponding Jewish year. Thus is the modern history of the establishment of Israel, beginning with the Holocaust, foretold.

The 5,700th verse of the Torah reads:

So the Lord was incensed at that land and brought upon it all the curses recorded in this book. Deuteronomy 29:26

The Hebrew year 5700 (1940) marked the beginning of the Holocaust, of which the Vilna Gaon had forewarned, teaching that before redemption comes there would be dreadful destruction in the Diaspora. However, he pointed to another verse prophesying Israel’s survival in Jerusalem.

But on Zion’s mount a remnant shall survive, and it shall be holy. Obadiah 1:17

Following the same pattern and prophecy, the 5,708th verse of the Torah reads:

And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed and you shall possess it. Deuteronomy 30:5

In the Hebrew year 5708 (1948), the state of Israel was established.

According to Rabbi Uri Sherki, the Director of Brit Olam, the disciples of the Vilna Gaon had an additional tradition that predicted the date of the founding of the state of Israel.

According to this belief, the life of King David marks the exact midpoint of human history. From the time of Adam until David, the world continued to exist as a result of the primordial inertia through which it and humanity were created. Through the effort of his wars, King David established the physical earthly Kingdom of Israel, which laid the way for the success of the process of history and for the mending of the path of the world.

The name of Adam himself hints to this view of history – Adam David Mashiach (Messiah).

Therefore the time span from the birth of Adam until the birth of David is the same as the timespan from David’s birth until the redemption.

The calculation is very simple: David was born in the year 2854 after the creation of the world. Thus the date of the beginning of the redemption is twice that, or 5708 – the year of Israel’s establishment.

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Israeli Delegation Joins Iftar Feast in Istanbul With Prominent Pro-Israel Muslim Cleric


Breaking Israel News

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 13, 2017 , 5:25 pm

“When a man’s ways please Hashem, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7

Last Thursday, a delegation of rabbis joined Adnan Oktar, a prominent Turkish Muslim cleric, at the Çırağan Palace Ballroom in Istanbul for his traditional iftar feast ending a day of fasting during Ramadan. More than 750 people from different religions and nationalities, including Jewish and Christian clergy and lay leaders, joined Oktar for the annual event hosted by Oktar’s organization, the Movement for the Culture of Peace and Reconciliation.

The guest list included a number of illustrious attendees, several of them Israeli: the chief rabbi of the city of Shoham, Rabbi David Stav; retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Israel Rabbi Abraham Sherman; Anglican priest Todd William Kissam from Maryland; and Co-Chairman of the Muslim–Jewish Friendship Organization in France, Imam Mohamed Azizi.

Adnan Oktar and Rabbi Abraham Sherman (Courtesy)

Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, International Spokesman for the Jewish Community in Hebron, was also present. He praised Oktar’s multicultural effort, saying, “I think that by you bringing us here today to Istanbul, you are part of that vision of connecting the peoples of the Middle East.”

“Israel… is a blessing for the entire region and the Islamic world,” Oktar said in reply. “[Muslims] are not aware that Jews are people of love. The love for Moshiach brings blessings to Israel.”

Oktar promised that the Temple of Solomon would be rebuilt in Jerusalem, and that he would help the Jews lay the first foundation stone. He explained that his motives for helping the Jewish People came directly from the Koran.

“You will be in those lands,” Oktar said. “This is the commandment of God; there is no other way. God clearly declares in the Koran that the Jews will reside in Israel. [God says] do not leave Israel. God says that Jews will inhabit Israel, in Jerusalem. You are the ornaments, the beauty of the region. The contrary is impossible.”

One of the highlights of the event was a video message from Likud Party Knesset Member Rabbi Yehudah Glick. Rabbi Glick has attended the event in previous years as Oktar’s guest, and referred to him in the message as “a champion of religious tolerance, champion of love to all human beings, [and] champion of God in the world.”

“He is a Muslim respected by many Muslims around the world, and he is a man of peace,” Rabbi Glick told Breaking Israel News. “I have been working with him for many years, and am proud to say that he is a Muslim figure taking a stand against terror.”

Fleisher returned from his visit with great hope that such meetings could bring necessary changes to relations between Israel and Turkey.

“Oktar uses his influence and wealth to bring clergy and opinion-makers to Istanbul to discuss the bringing of the Messiah and the building of the Jewish Temple,” Fleisher explained to Breaking Israel News. “He believes that the Jews are helping return Muslim youth to Islam and God, drawing them away from the negative influence of communism. He bases this all on the Koran.

The Iftar feast. Yishai Fleischer, left. (Courtesy)

“He is an unconventional individual,” Fleisher admitted. “But to be a Muslim in Turkey today, to be a high-profile figure in the Islamic world and call for peace, you have to be out of the box. This is especially true for a Muslim who believes it is a Muslim imperative to help the Jews and Israel.”

He saw the event as the “beginnings of a reformation” in the Muslim world, expressing, “This is a huge movement in Islam that just needs a leader and a partner among the Christians and Jews to really take off.”

Oktar has hosted other esteemed rabbis in the past, including the former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Holon Rabbi Avraham Yosef, and Rabbi Avraham Sherman of the Rabbinical Supreme Court of Israel.

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UNRWA should be dismantled, Netanyahu told Nikki Haley

Jpost Arab-Israeli Conflict

By Jpost Staff 6/11/2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he had told US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit last week that the United Nations should consider shutting down operations of its Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Netanyahu’s remarks came after UNRWA faced backlash over the weekend after the body announced discovering a Hamas tunnel underneath two of their schools in the Gaza Strip.

The UN body’s announcement of the discovery of the tunnels came a day after Nikki Haley visited an UNRWA school in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.

Established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, the agency exists expressly to provide aid to “Palestinian Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.”

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu charged that “in various UNRWA institutions there is a lot of incitement against Israel, and therefore the existence of UNRWA – and unfortunately its work from time to time – perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem rather than solve it.”

“Therefore, the time has come to dismantle UNRWA and merge its components with the [UN] High Commissioner for Refugees,” the premier added.

Netanyahu further stated that following the discovery of the tunnel under the UNRWA sites, he had instructed the Foreign Ministry’s Director-General to submit a formal complaint to the UN Security Council against Hamas.

“Hamas is using school children as human shields, and that is the enemy we have been fighting for years; an enemy that commits two-fold war crimes,” he stated, adding that “On the one hand, [Hamas] intentionally attacks innocent civilians all the while hiding behind children.”

On Friday, Israel called on the UN to “strongly and unequivocally condemn Hamas” and formally classify the group a “terrorist organization” following the discovery of a tunnel that runs beneath two UN Relief and Works Agency schools in the Gaza Strip.

In a letter to the president of the Security Council, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon demanded that “this time, the international community must not turn a blind eye toward such cynical exploitation” of civilian infrastructure in Gaza by Hamas.

UNRWA has been the subject of considerable pressure in recent months. In February, allegations emerged that an UNRWA employee had been elected to the Hamas political leadership. The individual in question was suspended by the organization and subsequently resigned.

And earlier this month, the UNRWA apologized after it was revealed that it had used a photo of a Palestinian child living in Syria for its fund-raising campaign in Gaza. The photo was later removed.

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Knesset and the Congress jointly mark 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem

Watch Live  Joint Knesset-Congress event marks 50 years of united Jerusalem.

The Knesset and the Congress jointly mark 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem on Wednesday in a move that can be viewed as tacit recognition by the White House of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and spark controversy.

Vice President Mike Pence is one key participant in the event, alongside Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, its host. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein will take part from the Knesset. All members of Knesset and both houses of Congress have been invited to the event, which was organized by Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.

While the US does not officially recognize Israeli sovereignty in the parts of Jerusalem that Israel liberated in 1967, White House participation in the event could be viewed as tacit acknowledgment of Israel’s position regarding Jerusalem. The event comes after Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall during his trip here last week but held back from making any mention of Jerusalem Day, celebrated the day after he left the country.

In his letter to the senators and the congressmen, Edelstein wrote that Jerusalem, “the eternal capital of the State of Israel, is the seat of our parliament – the Knesset. Jerusalem is also the city where the prophets of Israel spoke to the world of the universal values of morality, equality, freedom and monotheism. In Jewish tradition, this is the city where heaven and earth are linked together and the home of the holy Temple [is situated], sacred to all Jews around the world.”

Edelstein pointed out that people of all religions come to pray in Jerusalem and described the custom of writing wishes to God and putting them in the cracks of the Western Wall. He invited American lawmakers to send him their prayers.

“I will make sure your notes are placed between the sacred stones of the Western Wall,” he wrote.

So far, the Knesset has received 15 notes to put in the Kotel.

The event comes along with a strong push from Jerusalem to recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Netanyahu called on the US and all other countries to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem. Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin both asked Trump to recognize the capital during his visit to Israel last week.

While Trump did neither of those things, he mentioned the millennia of Jewish history in Jerusalem during his address at the Israel Museum.


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