Israeli government’s anti-women decision condemned


This video from Israel about Jerusalem says about itself:

PM Netanyahu’s double speak on women’s rights at the Western Wall

30 December 2015

Women of the Wall in response to the report that Prime Minister Netanyahu promised ultra-Orthodox parties that there will be no change of the status quo at the Western Wall:

PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on women’s rights at the Kotel has gotten lost on translation. In English, in front of cheering crowds at the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America last month he said that he will “ensure that all Jews can feel at home in Israel… all Jews” and “ensure that the Kotel is a source of unity for our people, not a point of division.” In Hebrew this week according to Israeli Radio Galei Tzahal, PM Netanyahu has promised the ultra-Orthodox party heads that there will be no change of the status quo at the Kotel and that women will not read Torah at the Kotel.

Apparently when Netanyahu spoke of “all” Jews in November 2015, he forgot that women make up half of all Jews. No Israeli Prime Minister has the right to take away Torah from half of all Jews. It is our hope that Netanyahu will not ban women from reading Torah, however if he does bend to the pressure of the Haredi parties, Women of the Wall will continue to read Torah in the women’s section of the Kotel. Even if we must hide our Torah scroll and smuggle it past the guards, we will do so just as Jews have been forced to do so many times before us in exile.

However, then this video, a few months later, said about itself:

Israel approves mixed sex Jewish prayer site at Western Wall: Reuters

1 February 2016

Compromise Creates Two Western Walls for Two Peoples

Government decision to permit non-Orthodox prayer space recognizes Reform and Conservative Judaism, but overlooks any other form of Judaism, including liberal Orthodoxy.

by Yair Ettinger

Anyone looking for reasons to oppose the new arrangement signed by the Women of the Wall organization, which states that they will be able to pray from now on in the archaeological park also known as the “Southern Wall,” will find them in abundance in the archives, in the words of Women of the Wall themselves.

In February 1996 attorneys representing Women of the Wall wrote to the committee appointed to find a solution to the dispute: “The assumption that there is no way to consider a solution at the Western Wall plaza is extremely unreasonable and discriminatory. The proposal to distance the women from the Western Wall plaza to other places is humiliating and painful, constitutes an order of expulsion from the Jewish people and is an attempt of sorts to turn them into an inferior brand of Jews.”

That was in 2016, over a year ago.

But now … the reasons named by Yair Ettinger to oppose the compromise as not going far enough have become irrelevant, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has made a U-turn towards more misogyny.

This video from Israel says about itself:

Natan Sharansky slams Netanyahu for abandoning Western Wall plan

26 June 2017

According to Netanyahu now, non-Jewish Donald Trump is welcome to pray at the Western Wall, and Jewish women are not.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Israel: Netanyahu’s U-turn on mixed prayer area condemned

Tuesday 27th June 2017

LEADING zionist body the Jewish Agency cancelled a gala dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday over a U-turn on allowing women to pray at the Wailing Wall.

The agency warned the government’s reversal of plans for a mixed-sex prayer area at the Western Wall near Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque would alienate liberal Jews in the West from their more orthodox brethren in Israel.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky

who had proposed the compromise which is now off the table

said the move undermined Jewish unity and urged the government to reverse course.

“This gives a very strong message that you [the diaspora] are not important to us,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.

Dennis Ross, a former top US diplomat and currently chairman of The Jewish People Policy Institute, said he was afraid that US Jews would no longer see Israel as a home.

This video says about itself:

Jewish Group Cancels Netanyahu Dinner Over Western Wall Decision

26 June 2017

A leading Israeli Jewish group has cancelled a gala dinner with Israel’s PM after his government froze plans to upgrade a mixed-gender area for prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

Israeli peace movement solidarity with Gaza civilians today


This video says about itself:

Israeli Peace Demo Violently Disrupted, Dozens Injured as Counterprotesters Yell “Death to Arabs

21 July 2014

We look at the increasingly dangerous political climate inside Israel where several peace protests have recently come under attack. On Saturday, right-wing activists burned a Palestinian flag, chanted racial slurs, and threw stones at an antiwar protest in Haifa of Arabs and Israelis opposed to the bombardment of Gaza. Haifa’s deputy mayor, Dr. Suhail Assad, and his son were beaten.

On Sunday, the captain of a youth soccer team in Be’er Sheva wrote on his facebook page: “send left-wing voters to the gas chambers and clean this country of leftists.” The week before the Gaza invasion began, gangs were reportedly seen roaming the streets of Jerusalem and other towns shouting, “death to Arabs.”

We go to Israel to speak with Rann Bar-On, an Israeli peace activist and Duke University mathematics lecturer, who took part in Saturday’s Haifa protest. And we are joined by Max Blumenthal, senior writer for Alternet.org and bestselling author whose latest book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” documents the spread of right-wing Israeli extremism.

From Raluca in Israel today:

Millions of Gaza residents face an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. We must not stand idly by!

At the initiative of Zazim (“On the Move”), thousands of Israeli citizens signed a petition calling upon the government to avert the impending disaster and not to cut the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip. Now we have decided to increase the pressure, so that our call will resonate with the decision makers in Israel and internationally.

This evening, Monday June 19, we will gather near the Gaza border to launch into the air 150 sky lanterns (paper lanterns with candles). They would illuminate the sky in solidarity with the residents of darkened Gaza.

We will meet today at 19:45 in the Big Fashion Ashdod parking lot, near the Ad Halom Junction, and from there we will proceed to the exact location for launching the sky lanterns.

For further questions please contact
Gil +972-(0)50-6995265, Raluca +972-(0)50-6314848

New butterfly species discovery in Israel


Acentria's fritillary (Melitaea acentria), a new butterfly species discovered in Israel on the slopes of the popular Mount Hermon ski resort. Photocredit: Dr Vladimir Lukhtanov

From ScienceDaily:

New butterfly species discovered in Israel for the first time in 109 years

May 5, 2017

Summary: Little does a scientist expect to discover a new species of easy-to-see and well-studied animal, especially if it inhabits thoroughly explored areas. However, a biologist has now made a startling discovery: a new, beautiful butterfly named Acentria’s fritillary, which was spotted as it flew over the slopes of the popular Mount Hermon ski resort in northern Israel.

Vladimir Lukhtanov, entomologist and evolutionary biologist at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, made a startling discovery: what people had thought was a population of a common species, turned out to be a whole new organism and, moreover — one with an interesting evolutionary history. This new species is named Acentria’s fritillary (Melitaea acentria) and was found flying right over the slopes of the popular Mount Hermon ski resort in northern Israel. It is described in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics.

“To me, it was a surprise that no one had already discovered it,” says Vladimir Lukhtanov.

“Thousands of people had observed and many had even photographed this beautifully coloured butterfly, yet no one recognised it as a separate species. The lepidopterists (experts in butterflies and moths) had been sure that the Hermon samples belonged to the common species called Persian fritillary (Melitaea persea), because of their similar appearance, but nobody made the effort to study their internal anatomy and DNA.”

In 2012, Vladimir Lukhtanov, together with his students, initiated an exhaustive study of Israeli butterflies using an array of modern and traditional research techniques. In 2013, Asya Novikova (until 2012, a master’s student at St. Petersburg University and, from 2013, a PhD student at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem) sampled a few fritillaries from Mt. Hermon.

It was at that time when the researchers noticed that the specimens “didn’t look right” — their genitalia appeared different from those of the typical Persian fritillary. Over the next few years, Lukhtanov and his students studied this population in-depth. They carried out sequencing DNA from the specimens and found that they had a unique molecular signature — very different from the DNA of any other fritillary.

The Acentria’s fritillary seems to be endemic in northern Israel and the neighbouring territories of Syria and Lebanon. Its evolutionary history is likely to prove interesting.

“The species is probably one of a handful of butterflies known to have arisen through hybridisation between two other species in the past,” says Lukhtanov. “This process is known to be common in plants, but scientists have only recently realised it might also be present in butterflies.”

This is the first new butterfly species discovered and described from the territory of Israel in 109 years.

Israeli religious ban on female smurfs


This video from the USA says about itself:

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE – Official Trailer #2 (HD)

In theaters April 7, 2017.

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!

Cast:

Demi Lovato (Smurfette)
Rainn Wilson (Gargamel)
Joe Manganiello (Hefty)
Jack McBrayer (Clumsy)
Danny Pudi (Brainy)
with Mandy Patinkin (Papa Smurf)

First, there was the Polish right-wing attack on the fictional Teletubbies for being supposedly gay. Then, the Polish right-wing attack on an elephant for being supposedly gay.

Now, an Israeli ultra religious attack on a fictional smurf for being female.

By Carol Kuruvilla in the USA:

03/29/2017 05:55 pm ET

Female Smurf Character Edited Out Of Film Posters In Israeli City

Smurfette was erased amid fears the image “might incite the feelings of the city’s residents.”

Smurfette is the star of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s upcoming movie “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” The female cartoon character’s smarts and sense of adventure are what spur the plot into motion.

But in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak, Smurfette’s centrality to the plot apparently doesn’t matter as much as her perceived gender.

The character ― the only female Smurf ― has reportedly been edited out of billboards for the movie appearing in the city, which is home to many ultra-Orthodox Jews. Instead, the ads show just three male Smurfs.

Mirka’im-Hutzot Zahav, the PR company promoting the movie in Israel, told the Associated Press that the decision to cut Smurfette was made to avoid offending the city’s religious residents. Smurfette does appear in ads for the movie in other parts of Israel.

Smurfette isn’t the first lady to get this treatment. Several ultra-Orthodox Jewish publications have refused to publish photos of women because of concerns over modesty.

In the past, Tinkerbell and Jennifer Lawrence have also been edited out of advertising campaigns in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also edited out of pictures from a march in 2015.

In 2011, a Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper airbrushed Hillary Clinton and a female counterterrorism director out of a photo taken inside the White House’s situation room during Osama bin Laden’s assassination.  …

It’s also worth noting that the Smurf franchise isn’t exactly feminist. Smurfette was introduced into the series in 1966 as an evil seductress to cause jealously among the male Smurfs. Papa Smurf later transformed her into a real Smurf. (Her dark hair becomes blond in the process). She only became a permanent part of the Smurf community in the 1980s.

The new movie attempts to introduce a more feminist angle and more female Smurfs, with Smurfette at the center of the action.

“Smurfs: The Lost Village” opens in Israel on Thursday.

Kill gays, Israeli Chief Rabbi says


This video says about itself:

Orthodox Jews threaten violent reaction if gay parade goes ahead

Jerusalem – 1 November 2006

1. Wide of Israeli policemen mounted on horses chasing demonstrators
2. Policemen arresting Ultra Orthodox protester
3. Ultra orthodox gathering during protest burning tires

FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
4. Gay Parade in Jerusalem
5. Various of people marching in gay parade
6. Back shot of two women
AP Television
Jerusalem 2 November 2006
7. Mina Fenton, Orthodox member of Jerusalem’s city council sitting at desk
8. Sign reading (in English) “Yes to Jewish values – No to gay pride
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Mina Fenton, Orthodox member of Jerusalem’s city council:
“The pride parade has nothing to do with rights and equality it is just provocation; hurting, not taking in consideration the other people.”
FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
10. Various of religious protesters
11. Protester holding sign reading (in English) “homo (homosexual) sex is immoral”
12. Various of religious protesters shouting (in Hebrew) “Aids carriers-out!”
13. People marching in gay parade
AP Television
Jerusalem 2 November 2006
14. Sa’ar Nathaniel, openly gay City Council member, sits down
15. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sa’ar Nathaniel, openly gay City Council member:
“I think what this (gay) parade is doing is putting a mirror in front of the Israeli society and the people in Jerusalem and ask them a very simple question – do you want this city to be Tehran, completely Tehran? Do you want this city will have an ally with Kabul? This is the capital of Israel. Israel, the last time I checked was still a democratic country.”
FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
16. Ultra orthodox man being arrested after stabbing several marchers
17. Various of man injured from stabbing
18. Women injured from stabbing
AP Television
Jerusalem 2 November 2006
19. SOUNDBITE: (English) Yehuda Levin, Rabbi from Brooklyn, New York:
“If someone comes to my house or even my neighbourhood; attacks my wife, my daughters, my children, my bible, my God and everything that religious life is all about, you ask me, am I going to respond in a very strong way? Is there going to be violence?’ I don’t even think I have to answer that question.”
FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
20. Religious protesters chanting
21. Ultra orthodox man being dragged along by policemen
22. Two women marching at gay parade kissing
STORYLINE:
A week before a gay pride parade hits the streets of Jerusalem, the city’s religious Jews warned that it will spark a violent reaction and a government minister said the march might have to be cancelled altogether in order to keep the peace.

Gay rights activists fear the parade could be similar to last year, when three marchers were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox protester, or worse.

“The pride parade has nothing to do with rights and equality it is just provocation; hurting, not taking in consideration the other people,” said Mina Fenton, an Orthodox member of Jerusalem’s city council who has led the fight against the parade.

More than 100-thousand people will attend a counter-demonstration on the day of the march should it be allowed to go ahead, she said, and violence was certainly a possibility.

Notice boards in Jerusalem were plastered with posters condemning the march and prominent rabbis issued calls to prevent it.

In one, Shlomo Amar, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis wrote that by ignoring religious laws prohibiting homosexuality the march “threatens the existence of the people of Israel in its land” and was more destructive than “Nebuchadnezzar and Titus,” referring to two historical figures who sacked Jerusalem.

This has not helped calm opposition, which now includes hardliners from abroad.

By Omri Ariel in Israel:

LGBT community shocked by Rabbi’s remarks that homosexuals should be killed

Several members of the LGBT community have filed police complaints against the rabbi for incitement to murder, after he said in an interview that the Torah obligates killing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Nov 17, 2016, 9:27PM

Members of the LGBT community in Israel have filed numerous police complaints against Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar over remarks he made in a recent interview, in which he called LGBT people “a cult of abomination” and said the Torah obligates putting them to death.

Rabbi Amar told Yisrael Hayom that he refused to attend the funeral of 16-year-old Shira Banki, who was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox man during last year’s Jerusalem pride parade. “They call it an orientation, but it’s nonsense,” he said. “A person can overcome his desires if he wants to.”

Shirley Kleinman, a transgender LGBT activist, filmed herself filing the complaint and encouraged others to do the same. “An influential public figure, who gets his salary out of my pocket, has just called for the murder of my brothers and sisters,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“Exercise your right as a citizen and file a complaint, even if you’re not part of the community,” she added. “Let’s make sure this man doesn’t remain in a public position. This is not an anti-religious debate. I have nothing against religion. I only care about protecting my right and yours for life.”

MK Michal Rozin said statements such as these “strengthen and inflame violent attacks against the LGBT community.”

Rainbow flag outside Chief Rabbi Amar's office

Young Meretz activists in Jerusalem decorated the entrance to the office of Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar with a gay pride flag in protest against his harsh comments regarding the LGBT community. Nov 20, 2016, 10:30AM: here.

UK: Chief rabbi intervenes in Orthodox rabbis’ row over homosexuality. Ephraim Mirvis steps in as Joseph Dweck accused of heresy over reinterpretation of traditional teachings on homosexuality: here.

Israeli air force joins bloody Syrian war


Golan heights

Dutch NOS TV reports today that the Israeli air force has bombed Syria. Translated from Dutch:

Probably a Syrian missile had accidentally landed in the north of the Golan Heights [Syrian, occupied by Israel since 1967] instead of its target, opponents of the Syrian government. The missile did not result in any injuries or damage.

The Israeli armed forces have often beaten back when Syrian rockets ended up across the border. A Syrian military spokesman claimed on state television that Israel with this attack helps Islamist rebels against the Assad government. Israel has so far steered clear of the civil war in Syria.

This Israeli retaliation for that Syrian mistake killed four Syrians.

The Israeli government earlier on had been more clever than the Turkish government; when a Russian aircraft accidentally flew through Israeli airspace, they did not shoot it down. While the Turkish government had a Russian airplane shot down.

Israeli Druze people have accused the Israeli government before of taking the jihadis’ side in the war in Syria.

There is already Syrian government violence and jihadi violence in Syria. US American, Russian, German, British, Dutch, etc. war planes drop bombs on Syria. We deed not any more warplanes, whether from Israel or anywhere else.

Bird migration in Israel, video


This 26 August 2016 video is about bird migration in Israel.

Wings over Israel: conservation challenges & second chances: here.