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Sunday, Dec. 21 '14, Kislev 29, 5775



HEADLINES:
1. YA'ALON: LIVNI-HERZOG GOVT. WOULD TURN JUDEA-SAMARIA TO HAMASTAN
2. EGYPT SENTENCES 'ISRAELI SPY' TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON
3. BENNETT HAILS TEKUMA-JEWISH HOME UNITY
4. OBAMA SIGNS US-ISRAEL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP ACT INTO LAW
5. SAUDIS SLASH OIL PRICES TO 'BLOCK' IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPON
6. FOUR-YEAR-OLD INJURED IN GUSH ETZION ROCK ATTACK
7. TEXAS PLUMBER HAS 'NO IDEA' HOW HIS TRUCK ENDED UP WITH ISIS
8. VIDEO SHOWS EXTREME SPORT PERFORMANCE ON TOP OF AL AQSA MOSQUE


1. YA'ALON: LIVNI-HERZOG GOVT. WOULD TURN JUDEA-SAMARIA TO HAMASTAN
by Hezki Ezra, Ari Yashar

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) on Sunday hit out at Hatnua chairperson Tzipi Livni, over reports she asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to shoot down a unilateral Palestinian Authority (PA) UN bid so as to help the Left in elections.

Speaking at the Shamoon College of Engineering (SCE), Ya'alon called Livni's move "invalid to its core, because you can't involve foreign sources in Israeli political matters."

Livni hasn't only received election "help" from Kerry; early this month the Movement for Governability and Democracy slammed Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein for what it said constituted a violation of the law, when he gave Livni election plugs as she left her office as Justice Minister.

In the farewell ceremony, Weinstein called Livni "the guardian of democracy," and added "it seems to me that the public in Israel can't give up on your skills, your honesty and your abilities."

"It's clear to all of us that if Tzipi Livni and (Labor head Yitzhak) Buji Herzog were in power, there would have been Hamastan in the (West) Bank for a long time already," said Ya'alon Sunday, referencing the recent union of Hatnua and Labor.

The Hamas terrorist organization did indeed try to stage a military coup against the PA in Judea and Samaria earlier this year that was foiled by the IDF, after having taken power from the PA in Gaza back in 2007.

Responding to the rocket fired on Israel by Gaza terrorists last Friday, Ya'alon said "this was a global faction of jihad (that shot the rocket), but I view Hamas as responsible for the fire. The response to the fire was the bombing of a cement factory in Gaza."

The concrete factory apparently was being used to repair terror tunnels into Israel to attack Israeli citizens.

"Hamas is signalling that it stopped the fire and it has an interest to keep the quiet; at the same time, if additional rockets are fired at Israel the IDF will respond harshly," said Ya'alon.


2. EGYPT SENTENCES 'ISRAELI SPY' TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON
by Arutz Sheva Staff

An Egyptian court has jailed a Suez Canal shipping services manager for 10 years on charges of spying for Israel about naval movements through the strategic waterway, state media reported.  

The court in the canal city of Port Said also handed down life sentences in absentia to two Israelis it found guilty of being the Egyptian's handlers, the official MENA news agency reported late Saturday.  

The court found that Mohamed Ali Abdel Baki had passed on information damaging to national security about the movements of Egyptian and foreign warships, particularly Iranian ones.  

Abdel Baki had also divulged detailed information to his handlers about Port Said and its management, the court heard.

He had first made contact with the Israeli security services over the Internet in 2011 and met the two Israelis convicted of being his handlers at the embassy in Bangkok the following year.

Prosecutors charged that in addition to spying for Israel, Abdel Baki had also offered to provide similar information about naval movements and deployments to its regional foes Iran, Syria and Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah.

In February 2011, two Iranian warships entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal for the first time since the Islamic revolution of 1979, prompting Israel to put its navy on high alert.  

Iranian warships made a similar deployment through the canal in February 2012, sailing past the coast of Israel and making a port call in Latakia in allied Syria before returning to Iran.


3. BENNETT HAILS TEKUMA-JEWISH HOME UNITY
by Hezki Ezra

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett on Sunday morning led party members in praising the decision by the Tekuma/National Union faction to formally unite with his party, ending weeks of speculation over a possible split.

"We are greater together than apart and we have great tasks ahead of us," Bennett said."The Land of Israel, its character and its security are at stake, and only together can we withstand those missions and lead the people of Israel."

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan - who bolted Tekuma and joined the Jewish Home in order to run in party primaries as rumors of a split persisted - also hailed the decision.

"I am glad that the greater good and the good of the people of Israel prevailed and the members of Tekuma chose... unity with the Jewish Home," he said following the vote by Tekuma's central committee Saturday night.

"In the merit of this unity, the (religious-Zionist) public with God's help will remain cohesive and large, and will thereby succeed in facing the challenges ahead which will face us in the next Knesset; to protect the unity of the country and to protect the Jewish identity of the State of Israel and the status-quo on issues of religion and state," he added.

Last night's Tekuma central committee meeting came after the faction's MKs were split on the issue of leaving the Jewish Home party. The faction, which broadly identifies with the so-called "hareidi-Zionist" or "hardal" public, had then turned to its newly-appointed council of rabbis for guidance, but their opinion was also split - although the majority favored unity.

Tekuma/National Union had united with the Jewish Home party prior to the previous elections, uniting the religious-Zionist camp and significantly strengthening its showing in the Knesset. But some tension between the factions surfaced both due to Knesset seat allocations and due to some opposition to Bennett's push to include more secular candidates in the party's Knesset list.


4. OBAMA SIGNS US-ISRAEL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP ACT INTO LAW
by Cynthia Blank

United States President Barack Obama has signed into law the 2014 United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. 

The bill, meant to strengthen the US-Israel alliance, passed unanimously in the House of Representatives earlier this month, after passing unanimously in the Senate in September. 

The law declares Israel's status as a "major strategic partner" of the United States as well as Washington's "unwavering support" for Israel as a Jewish state.

The legislation orders the expansion of US weapons stockpile in Israel by some $200 million in value, to a total of $1.8 billion, so that the Pentagon can be better prepared to conduct military operations in the volatile Middle East.

It also crucially allows Israel to use the weapons in the event of an emergency, as it did this summer during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

The new law will also require the Obama administration to move toward allowing Israel to be included in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain US technologies and products. 

President Obama signed the bill into law on Friday in Washington, along with a law that bars suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving Social Security benefits. 

The Strategic Partnership Act also encourages the inclusion of Israel in the United States visa waiver program, if it should meet program requirements. Currently, Israel citizens traveling to the United States are required to purchase visas beforehand. 

Increased cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy, water, homeland security, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies is also included in the legislation. 

Jewish organization across the US have praised and thanks Congress for its support. 

One of the bill's authors also lauded Obama's support of the legislation. 

"I applaud the President for signing this bill to strengthen our historic relationship with Israel," said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who introduced the bi-partisan legislation with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). 

"This law will enhance cooperation between Israel and the United States on a wide range of issues - from defense to energy to cyber security - so we can work together to address the many challenges facing both countries."


5. SAUDIS SLASH OIL PRICES TO 'BLOCK' IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPON
by Ari Yashar

Oil prices have nosedived from $115 a barrel last August to under $60 a barrel by the middle of this month, with many analysts, in the wake of Arutz Sheva columnist and Middle East expert Dr. Mordecai Kedar, appraising that Saudi Arabia has intentionally caused the price drop as a weapon against Iran, over fears of a deal giving the Islamic regime nuclear weapons.

As the US-led talks continue to meet and breach deadlines and Iran demands enough centrifuges to build 38 nuclear bombs each year, the oil prices are seen as way the Saudis can directly harm their Iranian rivals.

Even Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this month said the oil price drop is a plot against Iran, saying "the fall in crude price is not merely an economic issue. Rather, it is caused by a plot and political planning by certain countries."

According to Foreign Policy, Saudi Arabia is behind the drop in prices, with the paper noting that in September the Gulf state boosted oil production by half a percent to 9.6 million barrels a day, and then offered increased discounts to major Asian customers, causing global prices to plummet by nearly 30%.

This isn't even the first time the Saudis have crashed the market to get at Iran according to the paper, which notes in 1977 Saudi Arabia flooded the markets by boosting production from 8 million to 11.8 million barrels a day and cutting crude prices, setting in motion the Iranian Revolution.

More recently, amid numerous statements by Saudi leaders noting that oil prices can be used to punish Iran for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and for developing its nuclear program, the Saudis in 2008 flooded the market again at the height of the global financial crisis.

Prices fell from their record high of $147 per barrel to a mere $33 within just six months, putting the squeeze on then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and causing a near revolution that was squashed by the Iranian regime as the US stood by on the sidelines.

The Canadian National Post noted that while last week Abdullah Al-Badri, secretary general of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) blamed the price drop on speculation, that assessment was "nonsense" as no speculator would encourage the sale of oil at less than its real market value.


6. FOUR-YEAR-OLD INJURED IN GUSH ETZION ROCK ATTACK
by Yishai Karov, Cynthia Blank


A four-year-old boy was lightly wounded Sunday morning after rocks were thrown at a car he was traveling in near the Gush Etzion Junction. 

The rocks shattered the car's window and the boy was hurt by the glass fragments. 

Magen David Adom paramedics arrived on the scene to give the child medical care, before evacuating him to a clinic in Efrat. 

The MDA volunteers reported that the child suffered cuts to head as a result of broken glass. 

Last week, a Jewish Israeli was lightly injured after Arab terrorists hurled rocks at his car at the Habitot Junction south of Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria.

A police investigation into that incident revealed that unexpected shower of rocks caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a wall. 

The wounded man was evacuated by Magen David Adom paramedics to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for medical treatment.

This is far from the first case of a rock attack causing a loss of control over the vehicle.

In August a young father, Yedaya Sharchaton, was hit in the head by a rock while driving in Judea and was critically wounded as his car flipped. His wife and one-year-old daughter miraculously were unscathed in the attack.

Rock-throwing attacks in Judea and Samaria, in general, have become an increasing problem, with such attacks occurring nearly every day on the periphery of many communities. 



7. TEXAS PLUMBER HAS 'NO IDEA' HOW HIS TRUCK ENDED UP WITH ISIS
by Arutz Sheva Staff

A plumber from Texas has been receiving a deluge of hate calls and even death threats, after footage from Syria showed one of his company's pickup trucks being used by ISIS terrorists as an anti-aircraft battery.

Mark Oberholtzer told CBS news that he had no idea how the truck found its way into ISIS's hands.

A picture of the vehicle was first posted on Twitter by the Ansar al-Din brigade of ISIS, showing one of its fighters firing an anti-aircraft gun from the top of the truck during clashes, possibly in the Aleppo region. The "Mark-1 Plumbing" logo and even company phone number were still emblazoned on the side, and since then Oberholtzer says his company has received thousands of angry calls and faxes, with some accusing him of "aiding and abetting terrorists."

But he insists his company has "nothing to do with terror at all."
He says he sold the truck to AutoNation dealership in Houston on October 2013. Although he usually removes company markings before selling a vehicle, he claims he did not on that occasion due to an understanding that AutoNation would remove it before selling it on.

"They were supposed to have done it and it looks like they didn’t do it. How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know," he told Galveston Daily News.

"To think something we would use to pull trailers, now is being used for terror, it’s crazy. Never in my lifetime would think something like that," said Oberholtzer. "We have a secretary here, she’s scared to death. We all have families. We don’t want no problems."


8. VIDEO SHOWS EXTREME SPORT PERFORMANCE ON TOP OF AL AQSA MOSQUE
by Ari Soffer

Muslim extremists have been upping their violent campaign against Jewish visits to the Temple Mount in recent months, claiming that the presence of religious Jews is tantamount to an "invasion" which "defiles" the Al Aqsa mosque complex there.

But while the site of Jews quietly touring the Temple Mount is considered a "provocation" (Jews are forbidden to pray there, despite it being Judaism's holiest site, as authorities fear an Islamist backlash), the use of the Al Aqsa mosque for an extreme sport is apparently no problem for the Waqf Islamic trust which administers the site.

[youtube:2000574]

A video uploaded to YouTube Sunday shows a man giving a public "Parkour" performance on top of the mosque, clambering and leaping around the top of the structure as crowds of Muslim visitors look on.

The tame response of Muslim worshipers stands in sharp contrast to the overt aggression often faced by Jewish visitors, who on occasion have been physically attacked by Islamists just for being there.

Jewish Temple Mount activists have lamented the way in which Muslim worshipers treat the site in the past, particularly the use of the Temple Mount plaza as a soccer pitch.




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