Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Scent of a Politician

Former President Moshe Katsav was found guilty of two counts of rape, a forceful indecent act, and sexual harassment Thursday morning, with the leading judge calling him a liar. He was found guilty of every single charge in the indictment. Katzav declined a plea bargain of lesser charges, believing he would clear his name completely.

More here on Ynetnews.

NB: The Hebrew word Kalon "קלון" (rhymes with Cologne) means moral turpitude.

Kadima MK and party chairman Tzachi HaNegbi was convicted of perjury, yet tried to convince the court that perjury shouldn't be considered "moral turpitude," so he could remain a member of Knesset. He was thrown out of the Knesset.

I wonder if Katzav will go the same route...and appeal to the court to prevent him from being tarred with "moral turpitude."

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What would you do with $65 Billion Dollars?

A joint Joe-Jameel post

Yet another Israel offshore natural gas reserve was found the other day, this one at the Leviathan site. Current estimates have it at $45 billion dollars worth of gas (450 billion cubic meters). This on top of the Tamar site discovered at the beginning of the year which was estimated at some 238 cubic meters.

Let’s put aside the tax/royalty fight/discussions between the Israeli government and the drilling companies.

Let’s talk about something far more important.

What should Israel do with all that gas and gas revenue?

Estimates are that Israel has found at least 100 years worth of natural gas at estimated future uses. Unfortunately, there are those already talking about Israel becoming a gas-export state.

That is a bad idea, because the problem is while this seems like a lot of money, it really isn’t.

Israel’s annual GDP in 2009 was around $195 billion dollars. The Saudi’s just spent $60 billion dollars to buy new fighter planes. And of course, it’s not like the lottery, we’re not getting it all in one lump sum, but rather spread out over time.

In short, it’s “found money”, not something that will magically transform our entire economy because it’s not enough to do that immediately, but rather it is something that can be invested over the long term to improve our (and our neighbors) lives over time.

Jameel and I have been discussing this a lot lately, and we’ve come up with a plan.

There 6 areas that we believe can and should directly benefit from the gas finds:
  1. Desalination
  2. Electric Grid
  3. Cleantech
  4. Education
  5. Internet Infrastructure
  6. Independence
1. Desalination
While we’re not economists around here, here are some important points to consider natural gas sells at around $0.25 per cubic meter (depending where you are and how it gets transported to you, gas for us should probably be much cheaper), desalinated water is sold at around $0.70 per cubic meter.

On a financial level it makes sense to use part of the gas to make fresh water, and then sell the water. It will also significantly cheapen the price of producing water, as I don’t believe it is even close to a 1:1 correspondence between the amounts of gas needed to desalinate water.

If any of our readers are economists, we’d love to hear what you have to say about that.

Israel can invest in more desalination plants, and become a water exporting country, helping our neighbors like Jordan and Egypt. It seems it would be a more profitable export and would help develop peace (based on their needing us - as they need water).

Obviously the Kinneret would be refilled and Israel could even plant water-thirsty agricultural products for export (and local use), not to mention really make the desert bloom.

The Med-Dead plan (not Red-Dead) should be immediately implemented.

2. The Electric Grid
Everything should be electrified. No more gas cars. With electricity aplenty there would be no reason for gas vehicles. And we could shut down/convert the existing polluting electricity generating facilities.

3. Cleantech
Natural gas isn’t going to last forever. And probably not even the 100 years they are estimating now. These finds give us breathing space.

This money should be used to heavily invest in finding and developing alternative fuel solutions (Joe is currently preferential to bio-fuels).

Furthermore we should start exporting electricity (through our electric grid) and CleanTech to our neighbors.

The air-quality, for instance, in Gush Etzion is poor.


Because Egpyt uses leaded fuel in their electric plants and cars, and Egypt releases a lot of pollution into the atmosphere, where the jet stream then brings all their pollution up to Israel and dumps it down on Gush Etzion.

Helping our neighbor reduce their reliance on polluting technologies will clean up the air for the rest of us.

If you’ve noticed, the first 3 items are environmental. Healing and cleaning up our environment, and finding ways to keep it clean into the future.

But it’s more than just being green.

Israel should become the world leader in CleanTech while teaching and implementing it to countries around the world. There's money in it.

4. Education
Education should not suddenly become free. Free loses value. Education should still cost, but teachers salaries and the quality of teachers should be significantly improved. The best people should be attracted to teaching.

As a reward and incentive, college education should be free to anyone who completes their army service.

5. Internet Infrastructure
We’d like to see fiber optics right up to the doorstep. Let’s get superfast internet going in Israel. We can think of all the amazing things to do if we had it.

6. The last item is independence from US policy.
$65 billion spread out over a few decades wouldn't cover what the US invests in Israel militarily.

But the question is, does Israel really need that military aid in the first place? We say no.

The money should be used to break Israel from our psychological dependency on US military aid, and if we may dare add, break Israel's addiction to US Jewish donations; not that Jews shouldn't donate to Israel to strengthen their connection to Israel and the Jewish people, but so that Israel should be able to implement policy based on the opinions of people who live here, work here, and serve here, and not out of dependency on the opinions and policies of donors.

Once freed of US strings, Israel will be in a better position to sell and develop our other technologies (wisely) with partners of our own choosing.

The point we’re trying to make with this post is that the gas money isn’t some panacea. It’s a gift that if we invest it wisely we’ll be able to extract from it tremendous long term value.

Where and how do you think Israel should be investing our future gas money?

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boycott Text from PA Contracts with Israeli Companies

The race is on to find the 20 or so Israeli companies that are working with the Palestinian Authority to build a new Arab city, while boycotting Israeli products and services from the "Occupied Territories". The language of the contract defining "Occupied Territories" is here:

We will need to hit back at the PA hard; be it firing all the PA Arab residents who work throughout Israel and the Jewish Settlement Communities, or simply boycotting any and all PA produce.

The Israeli companies are scared stiff that we will find out who they are...and we will find out soon enough.

Stay tuned...

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Breaking Story: Train Accident

11:55 AM Over 60 people hurt in this train fire, many from broken glass when jumping out of windows to escape flames; 2 of them in moderate condition the rest were lightly hurt; smoke inhalation, minor burns. Updates are now closed on this incident.

Photo credit: On Line News in Real Time. (source)

11:13 AM Train fire caused by train engine.

11:03 AM
Suspicion lowering regarding train accident being possible terror attack.
Soldier shooting open the door to save everyone apparently caused concern it might be a terror attack.

4 train cars burning at this point.
49 injured so far (2 moderate).

11:01 AM
Count is up to 40 lightly injured so far.

10:50 AM
Train Accident in Azor Yarkon (Sharon area) 2 train cars on fire. 20 wounded. Soldier fired on door to get it open for people to escape.

High suspicion at the moment that train accident is actually a terror attack.

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Israel firms boycott Israeli products

At 9:33 AM IDF Radio/Galei Tzahal reported that approximately 20 Israeli companies signed contracts with the Palestinians Authority to participate in the building of Rawabi, the new Arab city being built in the Shomron between Shchem (Nablus) and Jerusalem.

This report has been transcribed by JoeSettler as directed by Jameel, for the Muqata blog as reported live on the radio.

The contracts specifically states that no raw materials or services provided by the companies will originate from "the Occupied Territories".

The contract specifies the "Occupied Territories" as:
  • "the Occupied West Bank",
  • the "Occupied Gaza", (JoeSettler adds: at least they acknowledge that)
  • "Occupied Golan Heights", and
  • the "Occupied East Jerusalem".

The money for this project is coming from the European Union and United States, and the publicity surrounding this is causing considerable embarrassment to all parties.

The PA is embarrassed that it has become known that they are using Israeli firms to build their "Palestinian" town. (Jameel adds: an interesting twist).

The Israeli firm are worried that Zionist-Israelis will now "retaliate".

The European Union and United States are worried because talk around this issue might impact the building of this new city.

IDF radio reports that the list of companies is a well kept secret, but as soon as we know, we will let everyone know who they are.

Israel's Ministry of Trade said that while it welcomes economic ties between Israeli companies and the Palestinian Authority, they are shocked that any Israeli company would sign off on a boycott of Israeli products and services.

The Muqata will be closely following this breaking story and provide you with more details as they become available. As always follow the Muqata on Twitter for the first and latest update.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Researchers Claim to have Found Graves of the Tribes

The following article appeared in the NRG/Maariv website yesterday.

Researchers have found the tombs of the tribes at Mt. Arbel
After years of researching documentation, Yossi Hertzberg and Israel Stepansky are convinced that they know where Reuven, Shimon, Levi and Dina -- the children of Jacob are buried.

Adi Hasmonai and Moshe David Ahikam 26/12/2010 7:47

A pair of scholars are convinced that the graves were located on the Arbel -- Jacob's children - Reuben, Simeon and Levi and their sister Dinah. Israel Hertzberg, an Orthodox Jew from Jerusalem, and Yossi Stepansky, formerly a senior archaeologist for the Northern District of the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted a study that lasted 11 years and included collecting and validating records of the sources of 120 pilgrims' journey logs from the past 200-1000 years.

They were entitled to investigate rare documentation at Israel's National Library at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where they found documents and dates of visits to the tombs by Jewish tourists. Joining their research was Israel Meir Gabbai, Chairman of "Ohalei Tzaddikik" or organizations which deals with rebuilding tombs and their research was approved by the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

"In the Writings of the Ramban and in all the ancient travel diaries of pilgrims, they described the same path of visiting the graves of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, their sister Dinah, and even of Seth, Adam and Eve's child," said Israel Herzberg -- the journey went from the grave of Nabi Shuaib to the Arbel [mountain].

In journals, its describe how the graves of the righteous see the magnificent high synagogue, and the tombs are North of the ancient village, where the synagogue is located in the center.

According to records there is a cave with stairs leading down it it,to the grave of Seth and he was near the tombs of the tribes in the field which have large markers. Pilgrims describe Dinah's grave as having a myrtle/Hadas bush growing out of it.

Since in the modern era, that area is not plowed, it took us six years to find the graves. When we arrived we were amazed to discover in the cave, the Hebrew names of these pilgrims were engraved, dating back some 600 years ago.
I was rather skeptical of this discovery, so I went to the authoritative book on graves in Eretz Yisrael, the 2 book compendium "Holy Graves in Eretz Yisrael" by Israel Prize Winner, the noted geographer Ze'ev Vilnai (first edition, 1951. I use the third edition from 1985)

He notes the following; Page 88.
In the middle ages, Jews showed the grave of Shet, in the area of Tiveria, near the ruins of ancient Arbel. The pilgrim, [Rabbi] Shumel Ben Shimson who visited the area in 1210, writes about "the tomb of Shet, which we saw." In this same area, Rabbi Yaakov Ben Netanel HaCohen passed through and wrote: "And one marker was built like a house, memorializing Shet the son of Adam, and there is a well inside the house." The Ramban's student also went through that area in the early 14th century and writes about holy graves in the area of the Arbel: "And near there is another tzaddik's [righteous person] and a water pier flows over his grave, and is covered with sand and a building, and the water falls as if from a waterfall into a well in the building, and they say that is Shet the son of Adam." In another list of holy graves, the Arbel is mentioned as "Arbelata": "On the western side, Shet the son of Adam is buried, and near his grave is a large myrtle tree." The ruins of ancient Arbel are known to us today in the Arabic as "Irbid." Near them are the new settlements of Arbel and Kefar Hittim. In the entire area of the Arbel, there are no findings of any marker or grave of Shet the son of Adam."
When Vilnai researched his book in 1951, and then in the second and third publications of it, the house with the well had not been found.

Regarding Dina, he wrote on page 220:
"The Jewish tradition for the burial place of Dina, the daughter of Yaakov is in Israel" According to our sages, "Shimon [her brother] took her bones, and buried her in the land of Cna'an" [Breisheet Rabba 80:11] Jewish Pilgrims in the Middle Ages were shown her grave in the area of Tiveriya, at the Arbel, which is near Moshav Kefar Hittim. The Ramban in his explanation of the Torah writes: "And her [Dina's] grave is know to this day through Kabbala, and it is in the city of Arbel...and its possible that Shimon mercifully brought up her bones [to Israel for burial] or the children of Israel brought her with all the the bones of the tribes [sons of Yaakov] as was mentioned by our Rabbis." [Ramban, Breisheet 34:12] Also Rabbi Yaakov Ben Netanel HaCohen passed through the area in the end of the 12 century and mentioned her grave. A student of the Ramban, who visited the area at the beginning of the 14th century wrote: "And near the Arbel are 3 of the tribes of Yaakov and their sister Dina. Next to the grave is a large, nice myrtle tree, and no one is allowed to take a branch from it - neither Jew or Arab, lest they be punished." In the list of the Holy Places, Arbel is mentioned, " the North are buried 4 of the tribes...including Dina the daughter of Yaakov, and all the graves are covered with large stones, and how is it possible than a man could have moved those stones?" [implying the stones are very large and heavy].

Today there are no signs of these graves, tombs or markers in the entire Arbel area...which is now called "Arbid" which has a nice, large ruin of a Beit Knesset, though any remains of graves or markers have vanished."
This appears to corroborate the discovery of the researchers.

1. Though written about centuries ago, the cave building / waterfall / well which is the traditional burial place of Shet, was not found till recently by the researchers. Vilnai knew it was written about but no one knew where it was.

2. The manuscripts of the Jewish pilgrims who wrote about the burial place of Shet, Dina and the other tribes were reviewed by the researchers, who found the names of the pilgrims and the dates they were there in the cave building which is ascribed to Shet, thereby corroborating it being the correct place.

3. The myrtle tree and large stone coverings of the graves match the document's brought by Vilnay. could very well be that based on the texts quoted by Vilnai, the researchers have indeed located the grave sites mentioned by the Jewish pilgrims and rabbis of the 12th-14th centuries.


I'll update this post a bit later with Vilani's comments on the graves of Reuven, Shimon and Levi.

On my next trip up North to the Arbel area, I will have to try and locate them as well, and take some pictures.

View קבר שת in a larger map

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World's Oldest Human Remains Discovered in Israel

Warning: Do not read this article if your belief system prohibits acceptance of objects being older than your believed age of the universe. For help in resolving such conflicts, I suggest you read "The Challenge of Creation" by Natan Slifkin.

Despite the modern anthropological thesis ("Out of Africa") that mankind originated in Africa, the world's oldest Homo-Sapien remains found so far have recently been uncovered in the Kessem Cave near the Israeli city of Rosh HaAyin. To date, the oldest examples of skeletal remains from Africa are carbon dated at about 200,000 years, while the remains from the Kessem Cave are dated approximately at 400,000 years. This discovery could completely change modern science's theories about mankind's evolution.

The following is translated from the Tel Aviv University, HaYadan website:
World's Oldest's Remains of Modern Man Discovered in the Kessem Cave near Rosh Ha'Ayin.

Tel Aviv University , Saturday, 25 December 2010

Tel Aviv University researchers have uncovered evidence indicating the presence of modern humans (Homo-sapiens) in Israel about 400 thousand years ago.

This is the earliest period in which evidence of modern humans in the world has been found. The findings were discovered in the Kessem Cave of Magic, a para-historical site near Rosh HaAyin that was discovered in the year 2000, and are now published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Researchers Professor Avi Gopher and Dr. Ran Barkai from the Department of Archaeology, who run the Kessem cave excavation, and Professor Israel Hershkovitz, from the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, conducted in collaboration with an international team of scientists, eight morphological dental analysis of the remains of people found in the Kessem Cave.

Very detailed morphological analysis of dental X-ray CT scans indicate that the teeth size is similar in shape and very similar to those of modern humans that until now were only in findings from 200 thousand years ago in the African Continent. The Kessem Cave teeth are also very similar to the findings of modern humans in Israel, which were dated at about 100 thousand years old, in the Ashul and Caramel Caves in the Lower Galilee near Nazareth.

The Kessem Cave dates to the period between 200 thousand to 400 thousand years ago, and in the archeologists' opinion, the findings indicate significant changes in the behavior of ancient humans. This period is a very significant stage in human history -- culturally and biologically, and the fact that a modern man's teeth were found, indicates that these changes apparently related to evolutionary changes that have occurred in man.

Professor Avi Gopher and Dr. Ran Barkai said the findings are unique to the culture of the Kessem Cave dwellers, such as systematically arranged production of flint blades, regular use of fire, hunting patterns, dismemberment and distribution of meat and livestock, mining of raw materials from the ground -- all strengthen the hypothesis that this is indeed an innovative behavior and integrates well with the appearance of modern humans.

Researchers say that the Kessem Cave discovery should change the widespread perception, that the origin of modern humans is from the African Continent.

In recent years archaeological finds of human skeletons in China and Spain might appeal to this theory, but the findings from the Kessem Cave are now far more significant, as the earlier age is undoubtedly an exceptional archaeological discovery.

The Kessem Cave excavations continue, and the diggers hope that more evidence will be discovered to allow for additional confirmation of the findings from the published study, and to deepen the understanding of human evolution and especially the emergence of modern man.

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Santa Visits Biyalin...Throws Rocks at IDF Soldiers (Video)

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kids! You Too Can Draw President Obama!

The following appeared in this week's Makor Rishon newspaper -- in the kids magazine section, by the Muqata's favorite cartoonist, Shay Charka.

Instead of me having to scan it in, Shay made my life easier by already posting it on his blog. All you need is pencil, paper, 2 eggs and a bottle of quintessential Osem Israeli ketchup.

I've added an English translation, and my own personal cartoon attempts with my kids from this morning.


(click the images below to enlarge, so you can print out and give to your kids)

The Muqata household proudly owns all of Shay Charka's books, and we recommend them all! (You can buy them on-line, here ) or you can email me for more specifics.

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Live from Bethlehem...Jihad Bells

Its Jihad Bells, courtesy of Latma.

The whole TV episode is here on Youtube.

Religious program on PA TV: This is our religion

Author: "The Shahid (Martyr) President Yasser Arafat used to say: 'Jesus was the first Palestinian Shahid (Martyr).' I heard him say that sentence many times."

PA TV Host: "He [Jesus] was a Palestinian; no one denies that."

Author: "He [Jesus] was the first Palestinian Shahid (Martyr). He (Arafat) attributed this Martyrdom to Palestine, as well." Click To View

[PA TV (Fatah), Dec. 3, 2010]
(US Tax dollars at work)

Islamic Fundamentalists are also having a field day targeting Christmas in the Daily Mail reports...

Fanatics from a banned Islamic hate group have launched a nationwide poster campaign denouncing Christmas as evil.

Organisers plan to put up thousands of placards around the UK claiming the season of goodwill is responsible for rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, promiscuity, crime and paedophilia.

They hope the campaign will help 'destroy Christmas' in this country and lead to Britons converting to Islam instead.

Read more:

In my neck of the woods, December 25th passed rather uneventfully, except for a Palestinian terror attack on Friday at noon, where a fun loving Palestinian took a hunting rifle and starting shooting at Jewish motorists.

I guess he's getting a lump of coal from Santa this year.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Israel is a Democracy

Israel is a Democracy.

But don't just take my word for it.

Israel at sixty is firmly Western in its values but also more diverse ethnically and culturally, less Europe-oriented, and decidedly more capitalist than the Israel founded largely by East European-born socialists. For all of its problems with finding the right electoral formula to bring about stable governments, Israel’s democracy is also a thriving reality. Israel is the only Middle Eastern country in which its citizens take for granted the peaceful transfer of political power via the ballot box.
-US Ambassador Richard Jones (Wikileaks)

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wikileaks Embarrassing Palestinian Authority

The JPost reports on this interesting WikiLeak:
Top Fatah members aligned with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked Israel to attack Hamas ahead of its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin told the American ambassador to Israel, according to a US diplomatic cable published on Monday by Wikileaks.

The disclosure could embarrass Abbas and his Fatah movement, which Hamas has accused of working with the Israelis. Abbas’s standing among Palestinians has already been weakened by his failure to make progress in peacemaking with Israel.
PA President Abbas is trying to spin damage control, claiming the "leak" is all an Israeli-masterminded Shin Bet Plot, designed to embarrass the PA.
The PA's claims are about as believable as Egypt's claims that Israel's Mossad spy agency was behind killer shark attacks off of Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

The real reason for the embarrassment is that the PA's Constitution claims that "The principles of Islamic Sharia are a major source for legislation [in Palestine]." It doesn't look that great for the PA and Abbas, when they turn to the Zionist Infidel to knock off other Sharia-fearing Muslims.

Oops. I bet Haaretz would be upset at this leak as well.

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Best Caption Ever

Straight from Yahoo (don't believe me? Check out their link here.)

Palestinian man waits to blow up

A Palestinian man waits for an inflatable Santa Claus to blow up in front of his shop in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010.

(AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Saved screen-snapshot for posterity from the AP/Yahoo website, for when Palestinian Terrorists / Islamic Fundamentalists force AP to remove the photo and caption from their website...(click to enlarge)

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


A Joint JoeSettler-Jameel post.

For the last few weeks Makor Rishon and Yisrael Hayom have been publishing some astounding material on the organization Yesh-Din and other Left wing groups. Jameel will be publishing some translations in the near future. Last week they had an incredible expose on the activities of Arik Ascherman (the anti-archeologist -- pictured at right).

Haaretz Reports that Yesh-Din has filed a complaint with the police because their internal documents have appeared in the newspapers. They believe the Right has a mole in their organization.

Yesh-Din is yet another "Human Rights" organization funded by foreign governments, George Soros and of course the New Israel Fund (NIF).

Here's a list of their major donors:
Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
European Commission
Federal Republic of Germany's Foreign Office
Hermod Lannungs Fond (Denmark)
Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (Germany)
Jacobs Charitable Trust (UK)
The Marc Rich Foundation (Switzerland)
The Moriah Fund
Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation (USA)
New Israel Fund
NGO Development Center
The Kingdom of Norway
Open Society Institute (USA)
United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yigal Arnon & Co. Law Office (Israel)
Yesh-Din is often seen on the front lines of activities against settlers, claiming settlers destroy trees and whatever else they can imagine.

The 2 newspapers have been exposing the tools and tactics of Yesh-Din. It's utterly fascinating what you can do against Jews when you have so much foreign money in your pocket.

In this weekends expose, the contents of these documents paint a disturbing picture.

It becomes clear how Yesh-Din uses the police as a tool to harass Settlers.

Yesh-Din sees the police as a natural partner for them to use against Settlers, and have set a goal of building a tight relationship with the Yehuda-Shomron police to achieve their objectives.

And in the Makor Rishon interview with the police, there are those in the Judea/Samaria police that see themselves as natural partners to Yesh-Din.

Yesh-Din files various numerous charges against Settlers and demand the police follow up on them, which they do, harassing innocent Jews.

To ensure their files are being followed up on, Yesh-Din makes very regular visits to the police to examine the progress on each file.

Yet for instance, in 98 recent cases that Yesh-Din filed against settlers of alleged violence against Arabs, all were closed, without a single one ended up with a charge filed against any suspect.

Based on statistics from non-Yesh-Din related files, it all looks rather suspicious, as if the charges and claims were made up.

Just as interesting is a Judea/Samaria police statement in an interview where the officer said that most cases and files opened against Settlers would never have been opened at all - if it were a police station anywhere else in Israel (that shows a rather aggressive attitude of the Judea/Samaria police against Settlers).

Meanwhile, these internal documents also show how Yesh-Din bring Arabs, who were jailed for security related crimes such as membership in terror organizations, into the town of Ariel, by bypassing the gate where they might be checked, and going through back roads instead.

In short, this articles describes how foreign money is being used to redirect the activities of the Israeli police, and use them as a tool to harass innocent civilians.

Jameel adds: Isn't it interesting how Haaretz, the publisher of stolen IDF documents, defender of the patron saint of Israel's left Anat Kam and champion of leaked secrets -- is in a tizzy that Makor Rishon published leaked Yesh Din documents?

When dealing with leaked Yesh Din documents, Haaretz says "Hundreds of documents have been stolen from the database of Yesh Din", headlining the report that "Human rights NGO monitoring Palestinians' legal rights gets robbed of internal use documents."

When dealing with Haaretz publishing leaked IDF documents by Anat Kam, it's "freedom of the press", and Haaretz criticized those who attacked Kam and the IDF as conducting a "witch-hunt" against the "the journalist who exposed corruption. The witch hunt that came out yesterday after weeks of gagging - which also has no place in a democracy."

No hypocrisy there.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Shidduch Challenge - Which is More Effective?

Which is more effective, the Amuka's Underwear Tree or JDate?

Billboard reads: You came all the way here to find a husband? JDate is easier...

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Terror Attack near Beit Shemesh

Get updates first on the Muqata Twitter Feed:

8:51 AM
Body of missing American terror victim, Christine Logan, found.

7:05 AM Kaye Susan Wilson (46), Olah ('91) from England, named as first victim in Beit Shemesh terror attack. Currently hospitalized. No information released yet regarding second missing woman.

8:37 PM
Attempted terror attack near Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital. Terrorist (recently freed from jail) tried to stab woman. Woman got away. Terrorist caught.

Mada reports that the stabbed girl is 26. No additional details on terror attack are being released at the moment due to censor.

6:19 PM
Conflicting reports on some details of the terror victims.

Attack occurred in the Matah Forest (near Beit Shemesh). New reports the victims were 2 Israeli women in their 20s. One victim is still missing. The stabbed woman is in "Matzav Kasheh" (very badly wounded).

6:14 PM
A terror attack has been reported near Beit Shemesh. A 46 year old woman was found with her hands tied and multiple stab wounds. Who friend still hasn't been found and is believed to have been killed. Police and IDF are looking for 2 Arabs.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The long reach of the IDF in Lebanon

AP reports (via ynetnews) that a senior Lebanese army officer said military experts have discovered two spy cameras planted by Israel in Lebanon's mountains.
"The officer claimed the long range spying systems were placed in Sanin mountain and the Barouk mountains, which overlook the capital of Beirut.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said Wednesday that army experts dismantled one of the systems and are working on the second.

He said the army received information about the systems from the militant Hezbollah group – whose members are expected to be indicted on the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

According to the report, the equipment included a system that can record and send signals as well as take footage, and can be operated from afar. The Lebanese official said the spying system was planted in an isolated area with dry rocks, which made it harder to uncover."
This rather bland report is tame compared to the reports in the Hebrew press about what this equipment actually is.

The Hebrew press claims that the equipment is not only for optical surveillance, but it also includes highly sophisticated remote controlled laser "painters" which illuminate targets for IDF laser guided missiles dropped from IAF warplanes.

The equipment was discovered atop rocky mountains that have no vehicular access to them, so the equipment must have been installed by elite airborne IDF units.

Here are some amazing photos of the equipment and its location. (source)

Hot on the heels of this story, Lebanon claims Israel destroyed this equipment last night via airstrikes.
The loud blast that sounded in Lebanon Wednesday night was the result of an Israeli operation aimed at destroying espionage equipment planted off the coast of Sidon, a Lebanese radio station reported Thursday.

On Wednesday the Lebanese army announced it had uncovered Israeli cameras and other spy equipment in the mountainous region, which it claimed the state had been using in order to survey vast areas.

The army statement said long range spying systems were placed in Sanin Mountain and the Barouk mountains, which overlook the capital of Beirut. It added that Hezbollah had provided the information leading to the find.

Later, Lebanese media outlets reported a major explosion off the coast of Sidon. They said the blast was accompanied by over-flights conducted by the Israeli air force in the area and the launching of illuminating bombs. (ynetnews)
The IDF has firmly denied "any reports of IDF activity near Sidon Wednesday night." (JPost)

It must really freak out the Hizbollah that the IDF can remotely target them from deep within Lebanon. For every IDF intelligence installation found like this one, I'm sure there are dozens more.

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Barak Sends in the Troops to Destroy More Homes

"Security personnel" destroyed a wooden home in the Tekoa Daled outpost yesterday that belonged to a young couple with a two-week-old baby.

The JPost quotes "Itzhak Makover" -- a relative of the Carlebach family, whose home was destroyed.
Resident Itzhak Makover said that border policemen and soldiers arrived at their small outpost of 20 families around 4 a.m., surrounded the home, which was built over a year ago, and destroyed it. He added that the man who lived in the house had only one leg [Jameel adds, and the man's wife gave birth by C-section 2 weeks earlier]

Before arriving at the outpost, located just south of Jerusalem in Gush Etzion, the IDF took down the telephone lines, Makover said.

But they left the cellphones intact, he said and added that he was alerted to the IDF presence by the guard in the nearby Tekoa settlement.

By the time he got there, the IDF was already destroying the home, Makover said.

Tekoa residents believe that the outpost, which is made up mostly of caravans, is part of their settlement.

According to the 2005 Sasson Report, the outpost is located 1.8 kilometers outside of the settlement. According to the report it was erected in 2001 without the necessary permits, but with NIS 150,000 from the Ministry of Construction and Housing.
So the Ministry of Construction helps build the community and then Defense Minister Ehud Barak sends in the troops to destroy the home at 4 AM.

Here are some exclusive photos of the home's destruction taken by Shilo Kinarti.

These photos may NOT be reproduced without express permission from the photographer (contact the Muqata Blog for info --

4 AM: Ehud Barak's Tractor begins to destroy the home.

A Masked border policeman observes.

Why is his face masked?
A couple watches the destruction:

After the destruction is over, the troops leave.

If you wish to help the Carlebach family rebuild their home, donations can be sent to
Bank Mizrahi branch #454, account #158982.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

R' Elyashiv: Forbidden to Visit Kotel on Shabbat

The "kikar-shabbat" Chareidi/Ultra-Orthodox website is publicizing a halachik ruling from the Yated Neeman newspaper which quotes Rabbinic Leader R' Elyashiv, that it is forbidden to visit the Kotel on Shabbat, because of the "Shabbat גesecration" involved.

According to the statement, the Israeli Police"Mabat 2000" security camera CCTV and recording program is not "sufficiently supervised" and therefore, the newspaper ad advises followers of R' Elyashiv to avoid visiting the Kotel on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. I assume his ruling would apply to walking anywhere in Jerusalem's Old City, since the entire Old City is secured via this security camera system.

Previously, R' Elyashiv ruled there was no problem with the Mabat 2000 system.

I have a feeling this is going to quickly go the way of the "Shabbat Elevator" ruling.

Despite R' Elyashiv's ruling, thousands of religious people visited the Kotel last Shabbat.

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