Romney to DNC: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel

Daniel Zimnikov via The Washington Examiner

Daniel Zimnikov: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel!

Daniel Zimnikov: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel!

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Obama and the Democratic Party for abandoning the position that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

“It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Romney said in a statement this afternoon. “As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”

The DNC skirted the issue of Jerusalem’s status by refusing to mention the city. Past Democratic platforms, as the Washington Free Beacon noted, explicitly stated that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.”

Romney blamed Obama, whose administration has repeatedly backed away from the idea that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, for the party platform omission.

“Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality,” he said.

Daniel Zimnikov: G-d Bless Israel!

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Daniel Zimnikov: Egypt’s Morsi to decline Israel visit invitation

Daniel Zimnikov via JTA

JERUSALEM – A day after Israel’s foreign minister called on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to visit Israel, a Muslim Brotherhood official called such a visit impossible.

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Mohamed Morsi

“There is no possibility for Morsi to visit the Zionist entity,” Gamal Heshmat of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party told an Egyptian online news magazine, Ynet reported. 

“President Morsi’s patriotism will not allow him to do so,” Heshmat said, saying that the presidential palace will turn down the invitation,

Avigdor Lieberman issued the invitation Tuesday during a speech at a legal conference. He called for the visit after Morsi said in an interview Monday with Reuters that he would not attempt to overturn the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s military said Wednesday that it would expand its counterattack against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula that have launched attacks on both the Egyptian military and Israel. The offensive could involve bringing more military hardware into the area in contravention of the peace treaty. Egypt and Israel reportedly have been in regular contact over the redeployments.

Daniel Zimnikov: G-d Bless Israel!

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Israeli court throws out family’s lawsuit over death of US activist Rachel Corrie

Daniel Zimnikov via NBC

HAIFA, Israel — An Israeli court rejected on Tuesday accusations that Israel was at fault over the death of American activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an army bulldozer during a 2003 pro-Palestinian demonstration in Gaza.

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Rachel Corrie

Corrie’s family had accused Israel of intentionally and unlawfully killing their 23-year-old daughter, launching a civil case in the northern Israeli city of Haifa after a military investigation had cleared the army of wrongdoing.

In a ruling read out to the court, judge Oded Gershon called Corrie’s death a “regrettable accident,” but said the state was not responsible because the incident had occurred during what he termed a war-time situation.

At the time of her death, during a Palestinian uprising, Corrie was protesting against Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

“I reject the suit,” the judge said. “There is no justification to demand the state pay any damages.”

He added that the soldiers had done their utmost to keep people away from the site. “She (Corrie) did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done.”

Corrie’s death made her a symbol of the uprising, and while her family battled through the courts to establish who was responsible for her killing, her story was dramatized on stage in a dozen countries and told in the book “Let Me Stand Alone.”

“I am hurt,” Corrie’s mother, Cindy, told reporters after the verdict was read.

Corrie’s mother Cindy told a news conference after the court’s decision that the bulldozer personnel had the “ability” and also an “obligation” to have seen that her daughter was in its path.

She said she hoped the lawsuit would help change Israel’s policies regarding the demolition of Palestinian houses.

Cindy Corrie said that previously a senior Israeli soldier had said there were “no civilians in war.”

“Rachel was in Gaza because there were and are civilians there, those who have rights and deserve protection,” she added. “Rachel’s right to life and dignity were violated by the actions of the Israeli military.”

She said her daughter was a “rich thinker and a beautiful person” from “Olympia, Washington, USA,” her voice breaking as she spoke.

The family’s attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein, said that the court’s decision was so close to the Israeli government’s position that the state’s lawyers could have written it themselves, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported that Corrie was with a group of international activists acting as human shields against the demolition of Palestinian houses.

“She was standing on top of a pile of earth,” fellow activist and eyewitness Richard Purssell, from Brighton, U.K., said at the time, according to the Guardian. “The driver cannot have failed to see her. As the blade pushed the pile, the earth rose up. Rachel slid down the pile. It looks as if her foot got caught. The driver didn’t slow down; he just ran over her. Then he reversed the bulldozer back over her again.”

Few Israelis showed much sympathy for Corrie’s death, which took place at the height of the uprising in which thousands of Palestinians were killed and hundreds of Israelis died in suicide bombings.

Corrie was from Olympia, Washington, and was a volunteer with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement.

Senior U.S. officials criticized the original military investigation into the case, saying it had been neither thorough nor credible. But the judge said the inquiry had been appropriate and pinned no blame on the army.

Daniel Zimnikov:  I am 100% agreed with court decision. G-d bless Israel!

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German Rabbi Faces Criminal Charges

Daniel Zimnikov via CBN News

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ritual circumcision

JERUSALEM, Israel — A crucial tenet of Judaism, as described in the Bible, is under attack in Germany, with a rabbi facing a criminal lawsuit for following the biblical mandate to perform a brit milah (ritual circumcision).

Germany’s chief prosecutor charged Rabbi David Goldberg with committing bodily harm, the German Jewish newspaper Judische Allgemeine, reported Tuesday.

According to media reports, a German doctor, supported by 600 signatories, filed the suit following a ruling last May by a Cologne district court judge making infant circumcision illegal.

The Jerusalem-born mohel — a man who performs the procedure according to Jewish tradition — serves as chief rabbi of the 400-member Jewish community in Hof Saale, Bavaria.

Since 1977, Rabbi Goldberg has circumcised more than 3,000 Jewish infants, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

In Judaism, ritual circumcision has been practiced for millenia. Based on G-d’s commandment to Abraham described in Genesis 17:1-13, it initiates the newborn into the faith of his forefathers.

The procedure takes place when a male child is eight days old, the day when the infant’s potassium level, which helps blood to clot, peaks, medical researchers later discovered.

Jerusalem Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger traveled to Germany earlier this week to investigate the situation, telling Israel Radio Wednesday that German politicians intend to resolve the issue.

At a press conference Tuesday in Berlin, Metzger told reporters Jews have been observing brit milah for four millennia.

“Whoever insists we change this ritual is asking us to change our religion,” he said, warning Germany not to behave “like a communist state.”

Metzger suggested establishing a school there, where men would receive medical training from doctors and religious training from rabbis before being certified by the German or Israeli rabbinate. The 10 mohels practicing in Germany were all trained in Israel.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said parliament intended to pass legislation allowing Jews and Muslims to perform “ritual circumcision.” Islam does not follow the biblical mandate to perform the procedure eight day after the child’s birth but when the young man is 13 years old.

Several German hospitals have reportedly suspended the procedure, which Jewish families often performed in homes, synagogues or other private facilities. 

Daniel Zimnikov: Infant circumcision has been and will continue to be practiced by those who want to follow G-d’s law.
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Daniel Zimnikov: Donkeys become Wi-Fi hotspots for Biblical time-traveling tourists in Israel

Daniel Zimnikov via NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Visitors to a village that recreates life in ancient Galilee are updating their Facebook pages and tweeting by means of routers attached to pack animals.

Visitors to one historical park in northern Israel are now free to surf the Web — as long as they sit on their asses.

Donkeys — widely mentioned in the Bible as popular modes of transportation — are being used in a 21st century way at Kfar Kedem park by carrying Wi-Fi routers around their necks. The site’s name translates to Village of Yore.

“Our village has 30 donkeys, and we’ve equipped the first five with wireless routers that are attached to the donkey’s body,” the park’s founder, Menachem Goldberg, told the Israel Hayom newsletter. “In the future we’ll consider equipping all of the donkeys with the necessary apparatuses as necessary.”


Ariel Schalit/AP

American tourist Ella uses an iPad while riding a Wi-Fi-outfitted donkey lead by her brother Aaron.

Goldberg said Wednesday that tourists to the site, which invites them to dress in traditional clothes and experience ancient Galilee life, enjoy sharing their experiences online.

“You take some pictures, you want to change your picture on Facebook — you can do it,” Goldberg said.

Visitor Peter Scherr accessed the Internet while touring the Galilee hills to do some donkey fact-finding with his family.


Ariel Schalit/AP

Visitors riding donkeys through the Old Testament landscape can now also surf the web while being transported across the land of the Bible.

“It has been used as a working animal for 5,000 years,” said the New York native, reading from a Wikipedia page on his iPad. “There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world. That’s a lot of donkeys!”

These animal hotspots are apparently less controversial than human ones in the United States.

In March, homeless people were used as 4G wireless stations during the South by Southwest arts and tech festival in Austin, Texas.


Ariel Schalit/AP

American tourist Peter Scherr uses a an iPad to send a photograph using a Wi-Fi router placed on a donkey Kfar Kedem.

For their efforts, mobile users could donate money to them at a suggested rate of $2 per 15 minutes, ABC News reported.

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Daniel Zimnikov: Naked congressman in the Kinneret: criminal, shocking, or simply amusing?

Daniel Zimnikov via Haaretz

One would think that the FBI would have enough on its plate, what with keeping an eye on both international terror groups plotting attacks and crazy homegrown terrorists who decide to shoot up movie theaters and college campuses.

But no – apparently, the U.S. intelligence had enough time on its hands to delve into the important national security threat posed by drunken congressmen and their staffers frolicking in the Sea of Galilee late at night after a “long, hot day” of meetings and briefings in Israel and the Palestinian Authority on a trip that took place a year ago.

Such goings-on were also important enough, once leaked, to be thoroughly covered by the web site Politico, which broke the shocking story of the swim and the investigation:

The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff — and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.

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Rep. Kevin Yoder

(Daniel Zimnikov -NOT NUDE!)

During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told POLITICO. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed, while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who were participants in the trip.

More than a dozen sources! You’d think they were talking about Watergate, not water antics. Inevitably, the story was picked up by every media outlet known to man, because, as Anthony Weiner well knows, no editor can resist a headline that contains the words ‘naked’ and ‘congressman.”

The juiciness of the story explains the media overkill once the transgression was uncovered (pun intended.) But why the FBI? It’s difficult to imagine what could possibly be criminal or dangerous or even unethical about such behavior. There’s the possibility of indecent exposure, maybe, but it sounds like it was pitch dark, and only one participant was totally naked. Abuse of American taxpayer dollars? I might accept that explanation if the behavior took place on a government-funded trip. But, as the Politico article explained, the trip by the delegation of Republican legislators and aides was funded and run by the “American Israel Educational Foundation, a group related to AIPAC.”

In such a case, one would think that it was AIPAC that should be upset and investigated the incident, not the U.S. government. But presumably, the pro-Israel donors who pony up for such a trip would likely be more pleased than outraged that U.S. lawmakers and aides felt relaxed and happy enough in northern Israel to indulge in a drunken dip in the Kinneret. Kicking back and feeling good is the stuff memories are made up that would presumably make them feel warm and fuzzy about Israel, and all the more likely to support her once they get back to DC. Making sure their visitors have fun is probably part of the AIEF program, although after this incident, they probably will try to make sure they don’t have quite too much fun.

Personally, I find it hard to work up a substantial head of angry steam towards the swimming junketeers, either as an American or as an Israeli (I’m both.) I even feel a little sympathy. If I spent several days dealing with Israeli and Palestinian politicians trying to wrap my head around the problems of the region, I’d probably enjoy a few drinks and a cleansing swim afterwards, too.

Though it’s hard to understand how the exploits could be interpreted as criminal, the exposure of their behavior is obviously problematic for the politicians involved as far as their constituents are concerned. I suppose it’s the naked part that’s really scandalous, especially for Christians who consider the Kinneret – that’s what we locals call the Sea of Galilee – to be filled with holy water trod upon by Jesus. And these are Republicans, to whom the evangelical Christian constituency is important.

As a result, the skinny-dipping congressman, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, has apologized. After he was caught by Politico with his pants down, he issued a statement to the publication:

“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.”

Yoder’s apology is my favorite part of the story because it’s so American. An Israeli politician would never do such a thing. Our fearless leaders in the Middle East, even in the face of clear evidence and multiple witnesses, will continually deny their transgressions. Corruption, sexual harassment, even rape – no matter how severe the crime, they are always the wronged innocents being set up by their political enemies. Since our parliamentary political system makes them accountable to the smoke-filled back rooms and rank-and-file of their parties and not to the voters, public apologies by politicians are few and far between. Most Israeli politicians even go to prison still protesting their innocence.

In that context, hearing a politician from the U.S. take responsibility and apologize for such a minor transgression as skinnydipping feels to Israeli ears as the water of the Kinneret must have felt on Yoder’s skin. Very refreshing.


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Daniel Zimnikov: Israel Says Egypt Violating Peace Treaty in Sinai

Daniel Zimnikov – ABC News

Israeli officials say Egypt is violating their 1979 peace treaty by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert, which borders Israel.

Daniel Zimnikov

Israel/Egypt Map

The officials said Tuesday they have made their objections known to the Egyptians directly and through American mediators. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive security issue.

Egypt has been building up its military presence in lawless Sinai after Islamic militants there attacked an army post on Aug. 5 and killed 16 soldiers.

Israel has welcomed the crackdown but says tank deployments should have been coordinated. Israel has previously agreed to exceptions to the treaty allowing Egypt to add troops and equipment in Sinai.

An Egyptian border official said he met with Israeli counterparts and heard their concerns about the military presence in Sinai


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