Druze angry about Israeli government help for jihadists


This 16 June 2015 video shows a demonstration by Druze in the Israeli occupied Golan heights, against the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria). The demonstrators carry colourful Druze flags and Syrian flags.

By Daniella Cheslow:

Israeli Druze angered by their country’s medical assistance to Syrian rebels

June 24, 2015 Updated 2 hours ago

MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights — Mira Amer, 50, was sleeping Tuesday before dawn in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights when police raided her home and arrested her son on suspicion of lynching a wounded Syrian who was on his way to an Israeli hospital.

Amer said her son, a 32-year-old musician, is not guilty – but that in any case the killing on Monday was not a murder. Druze in Israel are outraged that Israel may be giving medical care to Islamic militants fighting in Syria who’ve been accused of killing Druze in that country’s brutal conflict. Over the past two years, Israel has treated more than 1,600 wounded Syrian rebels in its hospitals.

“We don’t want the government to bring those terrorists here,” Amer said.

Amer – whose name has been changed because of an Israeli gag order on the case – has relatives in the Druze town of Hader on the Syrian side of the border, a town so close she can see it across the border. Islamist rebels from al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, had surrounded Hader last week, just days after members of the movement had slaughtered 20 Druze in the Syrian province of Idlib.

“We all have relatives in Hader and they are getting hurt,” Amer said. …

The Druze sect is a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam whose members live in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. In each nation, the Druze swear allegiance to the government and serve in its army. Nearly all of the men among the 110,000 Druze citizens of Israel do military service.

An additional 20,000 Druze live in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967; Druze in the Golan largely maintain Syrian citizenship in protest of Israeli rule and feel an umbilical connection to those who remain on the other side.

The crumbling of President Bashar Assad’s government has left the Druze in Syria vulnerable to attacks from Islamists, who see Druze as both heretics and enemy soldiers.

That’s galvanized the Druze inside Israel.

In Majdal Shams, residents poured into the streets last week flying the rainbow Druze flag and the red, white and green standard of Syria, along with banners bearing Assad’s face. Druze citizens of Israel raised $2.6 million, which they hoped would fund weapons for their Syrian counterparts. Ayoob Kara, a Druze legislator with Netanyahu’s Likud party, visited Jordan and Turkey to negotiate safe passage for Druze in Syria and made a personal appeal to the Israeli premier to help his people.

“The Druze in Israel who fought for Israel expect their state to help their brothers,” Kara told McClatchy.

Israel has sworn it will not allow a Druze genocide, but it has provided few specifics on how it will help.

After banning long skirts, shorts banned for girls


Israeli girls protest in shorts at a school. Photo  Facebook / mafsikot

After banning women for not wearing high heels … after banning women from wearing miniskirts, and banning women from wearing maxiskirts, and banning women from wearing any type of skirts, and banning women from wearing trousers … now banning women from wearing shorts.

Long or short, repressive authorities will always find stupid ways to punish women for their clothes.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Girls of Israel want bare legs in the classroom

Today, 14:23

Schoolgirls in Israel think they should be allowed to sit in shorts in the classroom. Now in many schools only boys are allowed to wear shorts, but for the girls that is not accepted, write Israeli media.

In Israel it is around 30 degrees centigrade and therefore also the girls would prefer to wear shorts. Most schools prohibit it because they say that girls in shorts will supposedly be more often victims of sexual harassment or even of rape.

Many girls think that is nonsense and in recent days they went to school still wearing shorts. They tell Israeli newspapers they are sent home for that reason.

Call on minister

On social media similar messages appear from students from different cities in the country. The debate has also been noticed by members of the Knesset – Israel’s parliament.

Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Education, was asked to put an end to the discrimination. His ministry has only responded by saying that students and teachers should dress appropriately for school and that schools are allowed to have dress codes in collaboration with parents and students.

Israeli school students protest against repressive dress codes, photo Haaretz

High school girls defy school ban on shorts. Teachers tell the girls that the discriminatory dress code protects them, but the girls believe this is a ‘blame the victim’ approach: here.

According to Dutch daily De Volkskrant, temperature has risen to forty degrees centigrade in Israel. The girls have called for a big demonstration on 16 June, at the Knesset building in Jerusalem.

Israeli journalist Allison Kaplan Sommer writes in Haaretz that if the girls would give in on this, then the next steps of the Israeli government, which includes ultra-orthodox politicians, might be mandatory covering of arms and hair for women.

Ethiopian Israelis demonstrate against racism


This 3 May 2015 video from Israel is called Thousands Of Israeli Ethiopians Protest In Tel Aviv.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Ethiopian Israelis demonstrate against racism

Today, 18:13

In Tel Aviv hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis have demonstrated against racism. The reason for the protest is a video which shows that police beat and pushed a black soldier.

Hundreds of Ethiopians marched through the city and chanted: “There are no blacks, no whites, there are only humans.”

The Ethiopian community in Israel has complained for a long time about discrimination and racism. Of the approximately eight million Israelis, about 135,500 come from Ethiopia. In the 1980s and 90s, tens of thousands of Ethiopians went to Israel, after Israeli rabbis had decided that they were descendants of a lost tribe of ancient Israel.

MORE than 1,000 Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin protesting against police brutality experienced it first-hand on Thursday when police turned on them. At least 13 people were injured and two police officers and five protesters were taken to hospital after angry crowds surged towards the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said: here.

Wounded Ethiopian Israeli demonstrator

UPDATE: 41 injured in Ethiopian Israeli protest in Tel Aviv: here.

TEL AVIV police fired stun grenades on Sunday to disperse a 10,000-strong rally by Israelis of Ethiopian origin demonstrating against police brutality and widespread discrimination. Mounted police also used water cannon and pepper spray in several failed attempts to disperse the furious protesters and clear nearby streets: here.

A massive protest in Tel Aviv by Ethiopian Jews against racism and police violence was attacked by police with horse charges, water cannon and baton rounds: here.

‘Unique’ black flamingo in Cyprus


A black flamingo is seen in a salt lake at the Akrotiri Environmental Centre on the southern coast of Cyprus April 8, 2015. Reuters/Marinos Meletiou

From Reuters news agency:

Thu Apr 9, 2015 2:35am BST

Black flamingo, possibly unique, spotted in Cyprus

AKROTIRI, Cyprus | By Michele Kambas

An extremely rare black flamingo has been spotted on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, exciting nature lovers who said it may be the only bird of its type ever seen.

The flamingo, seen on the banks of a salt lake on Wednesday morning, is thought to have a genetic condition known as melanism, which causes it to generate more of the pigment melanin, turning it dark, rather than the usual pink color.

“From what have seen on the Internet, there was only one other sighting … in Israel, so maybe this is the second one,” said Pantelis Charilaou, head of the environmental department of the British Sovereign Bases, territory under the control of former colonial power where the bird was seen.

The flamingo, entirely black, save for a tuft of white feathers on its rear, was feeding with others on the banks of the lake on Wednesday afternoon. Experts said it may be the same one that was spotted in Israel in 2014.

This is a black flamingo video from Israel. From 2013; not 2014.

The sighting in Cyprus happened during a flamingo count at a sprawling salt lake at the Akrotiri environmental center on the southern coast of Cyprus.

“A melanistic individual is a very, very rare sighting … basically its the opposite of an albino when the individual produces more melanin than normal,” Charilaou told Reuters Television.

Up to 20,000 greater flamingos descend on Aktoriri salt lake each year.