Boat trying to break Gaza blockade seized by Israeli navy
The Israeli Navy on Sunday stopped a boat that was trying to break the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip and started to tow the vessel to the port in Ashdod.
The “Freedom Flotilla” group said that the boat had been “seized” and that the ship had received a warning from the navy prior to the interception.
According to the group, the navy said it would “take all necessary measures” if the vessel did not adjust its course.
The IDF confirmed that it had intercepted the boat and was towing it to the nearby Ashdod port.
“The forces made it clear to the boat that it was violating the blockade and that any humanitarian supplies [it is carrying] can be delivered to Gaza through the port of Ashdod,” the military said in a statement. “The activity ended without any unusual incidents. The boat is being towed to the port of Ashdod at this time.”
The “Return” (al-Awda) is one of two vessels making up the flotilla, alongside “Freedom.”
The flotilla was organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella of organizations aiming to end the closure of Gaza, and set sail from the Danish port of Copenhagen.
A flotilla seeking to challenge Israel’s maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip is currently some 150 miles from its destination and may arrive off the enclave’s shores late Sunday afternoon.
According to French news agency AFP, a three-vessel flotilla left Palermo, Sicily, on July 21. One of the smaller ships participating in the sail had to turn back due to mechanical failure, but the lead vessel, the Awda (“Return” in Arabic), was set to arrive off Gaza’s shores by Sunday or Monday, Pierre Stambul, the co-president of the French Jewish Union for Peace said.
Israel imposed a maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip after the Islamist terrorist group Hamas seized control of the enclave in a military coup in 2007. Israel maintains the measure is necessary to prevent Hamas from smuggling in weapons and terrorists into Gaza.
According to media reports, there are 22 passengers aboard the Awda, including journalists, activists and a Jordanian lawmaker.
Organizers said the flotilla was a “gesture of solidarity with the Palestinians.”
An Iranian reporter on the Awda posted a video on his social media accounts Saturday, noting that ”there is some medical aid on board, although the amount of medical aid is merely a gesture. We’re talking about just a few boxes.”
While supporting pro-Palestinian activists on the flotilla, Palermo’s mayor says his city respects the rights of both sides
It is hard to avoid the impression that Palermo, the capital of sun-drenched Sicily, is aiming to become the capital of something else: Palestinian solidarity. This is thanks to Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando who has done a lot to promote the Palestinian cause.
Just last week, the mayor welcomed another “flotilla” to Palermo’s shores. The word—now a key term in the political lexicon of the Middle East—means a small core of sea-going vessels (usually three or four) staffed with pro-Palestinian activists. The activists, who hail mainly from Europe and beyond, especially Anglophone countries, sail the boats towards the Gaza Strip where they attempt to break Israel’s decade-long naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave.
Flotillas have become a common form of protest within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. From 2008 to 2016, international activists have sailed at least 31 boats to challenge the Israeli blockade. The latest one is expected to reach the waters around Gaza in the next few days, after setting off from Palermo last weekend.
Comprising four boats, the flotilla, dubbed the “Freedom Flotilla,” is carrying more than 40 pro-Palestinian activists from Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada, the United States, France, Germany and Italy. After setting off from Copenhagen on March 22, it stopped in 15 European ports before arriving in Palermo, a journey of 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 miles). The final leg of the voyage from Sicily to Gaza is expected to take up to 10 days.
Several of the activists and organizations behind the flotilla to Gaza stopped by the IDF just off Israel’s coast Sunday, aiming to break the Israeli naval blockade, have openly supported Hamas.
The three-vessel flotilla is backed by the “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” of 13 organizations.
One of the coalition’s founders, Zaher Birawi, was designated as a member of a terrorist organization – Hamas Headquarters in Europe – by Israel’s Justice Ministry in 2013.
Birawi is based in London and is head of the “International Coordination Committee for the Great Return March,” meaning the rioting on the Gaza-Israel border in recent months, as well as the “International Committee for Breaking the Siege on the Gaza Strip.”
In May, Birawi posted photographs on Facebook of himself taking part in the “final preparations for the Freedom Flotilla” in Copenhagen, and at the flotilla departure point in Palermo. He has continued posting regular updates on the flotilla as recently as last week, although he did not embark on the journey to Gaza himself.
One of the flotilla’s funders is MyCARE, based in Malaysia, which calls itself a “humanitarian care” organization. MyCARE posted dispatches on Facebook from its associates on the flotilla, including Dr. Mohd Afandi Salleh, who they wrote had 116 boxes of medicine, and Aiman Khairul Azzam who was part of the flotilla’s central command.
MyCARE has direct connections with Hamas. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh publicly thanked MyCARE “for the continued support of the Palestinian defense,” at an event in Gaza in 2015, and the organization’s activists have posed with Haniyeh, together with their logo on at least one other occasion.
Remember William Shabas, who oversaw the UN Human Rights Council probe into Operation Protective Edge? Yes, the one who insisted he was totally objective and had no prior anti-Israel bias? Here he is earlier this month demonstrating against Trump’s “anti-Palestine policies” pic.twitter.com/u2teDxncI0
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) July 29, 2018
The German paper WAZ reported on Saturday that the authorities investigated one of the officers three years ago for right-wing extremism. According to a report from the North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Ministry, the police officer spread the Goebbels quote “Do You Want Total War?” over a private radio to other civil servants during the G-7 meeting in Elmau, Bavaria.
WAZ wrote that the prosecutor in Munich – the capital of Bavaria – did not pursue criminal charges against the police officer because there was no criminal act involved. The article said an investigation against a second officer involved in the beating of Melamed was previously conducted for an alleged assault. That investigation was discontinued, however, an explanation was not provided for why the inquiry was terminated.
Melamed accused the police in Bonn – the former capital of Federal Republic of Germany – of covering up their brutality against him. He said on his Facebook page that he was wearing a kippah when a man, who stated he was Palestinian, asked if he was Jewish and stalked him, yelling “F*** Jews. I f*** Jews” and “No Jews in Germany.”
He then threw Melamed’s kippahh to the ground three times and pushed him three times. In response, Melamed said he tried to kick the man in the groin twice but missed both times.
The attacker fled after hearing a police siren. Melamed wrote that two police officers ran past the attacker and tackled himself instead, then two or three other policemen helped pin him to the ground and handcuffed him. He said police punched him in the face several dozen times, bloodying him and breaking his glasses.
“I didn’t have much time to wonder, as almost immediately four or five policemen with heavy guard jumped over me (two from the front, and two or three from the back),” Melamed wrote. “They pushed my head into the ground, and then while I was totally incapacitated and barely able to breath[e], not to mention move a finger, they started punching my face. After a few dozen punches, I started shouting in English that I was the wrong person.”
A police officer then suggested that Melamed provoked the beating, to which he responded by describing his ancestors’ deaths in the Holocaust, Melamed wrote.
A petition urging the United Nations to condemn Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip for the campaign of environmental terror they have waged against Israel in recent months has gained thousands of signatures.
Gaza-based terrorists “have burned thousands of tires and launched hundreds of incendiary devices into Israeli territory,” the Change.org petition — authored by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) — explains. “The combined effect of these heinous acts has not only led to the release of toxic materials into the fragile ecosystem, but has resulted in the destruction of more than 7,400 acres of land, hundreds of acres of wheat fields, and 2,700 acres of protected nature reserves.”
The petition — for which the WJC set a goal of getting 10,000 signatures — calls on the UN Environmental Programme and its executive director, Erik Solheim, to “use all necessary measures at their disposal to ensure that these illegal actions cease immediately.”
Earlier this month, two top American Jewish leaders demanded global castigation of Hamas for its acts of eco-terrorism.
“These are acts of terror that must be condemned by all those who profess to care about the poisoning of the atmosphere and the destruction of the ecosystem, let alone peace in the region,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement. “We urge environmental organizations in the US and abroad as well as people of good will to join in condemning these acts of eco-terrorism.”
Fatah officials arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with Egyptian security officials on ways of ending the ongoing dispute with Hamas.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov was also in Cairo in the context of his efforts to prevent an all-out war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Mladenov met in the past few days with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in the Gaza Strip. The UN envoy has also been working towards convincing Fatah and Hamas to end their rivalry and implement the reconciliation agreement they signed in the Egyptian capital on October 12, 2017.
It was not immediately clear whether Mladenov would also hold talks with the Fatah delegation that arrived in Cairo. The delegation consists of top Fatah officials Azzam al-Ahmed, Rouhi Fattouh and Hussein al-Sheikh, in addition to Palestinian Authority General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Fatah delegation would relay to the Egyptians the faction’s position regarding the issue of reconciliation with Hamas.
On May 13, 2018, around 9pm, an explosion was heard in one of the communities on the Gaza border. Residents who came out of their homes found on their front lawn two explosive devices attached to something that appeared to be a small parachute, white and square. One of the devices exploded, but didn’t cause any damage. Security forces that arrived at the town gathered the findings, but couldn’t explain at the time how and where did they come from.
Several days later a similar device was once again discovered on the outskirts of that town, which is located across the border from Gaza City. This time, security forces could point to a connection between the explosive devices and a drone coming from the strip.
After the third time that month that a drone infiltrated this town, it likely did not make its way back, and went down on the way. The IDF didn’t report to the public about this incident, and to this day it only has vague comments to offer on it, despite the fact the findings collected from the front lawn that first time were presented to some of the town’s residents.
The IDF doesn’t know how many explosive-carrying drones were sent over the last year from the Gaza Strip, how many of them made it back in one piece, and whether this is the harbinger of what’s to come in the next round of fighting—waves of explosive drones. But the working assumption in the Southern Command is that Hamas does have the capability to operate dangerous drones.
A 12-year-old boy who Hamas officials said was shot dead by IDF snipers during Friday Gaza border protests had played a “martyr” killed by Israeli troops in a film widely shared on Palestinian social media earlier this month.
In the clip, Majdi al-Satari and his friends are seen hanging a flag on a fence that is meant to symbolize the one between Gaza and Israel. They then try sabotaging the barrier before “Israeli soldiers” shoot dead al-Satari.
In the film, the 12-year-old is then placed on a stretcher, draped in a Palestinian flag, and carried away by his friends — in a scene that was eerily similar to the one that unfolded Saturday afternoon during his joint funeral Saturday with the two other Gazans said killed during Friday protests.
The other two casualties were 17-year-old Moumin al-Hams and 43-year-old Ghazi Abu Mustafa, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, which said the latest deaths brought to 18 the number of minors killed in the past four months.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Niki Haley spoke before some 5,000 Christians United for Israel (CUFI) members at their Washington policy conference last week.
The speaking roster for the three-day conference also included a video address by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a live speech by Israeli ambassador to Washington and senior advisor to Netanyahu Ron Dermer. Haley has made support for Israel a central plank of her tenure at the UN.
Activists met with 98 percent of lawmakers or their staff members, a CUFI spokesman told JTA.
The speaking roster also included Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Palestinians were planning to make “fateful and dangerous decisions on important issues in the next two months.”
He did not specify the nature of the decisions being considered. However, Abbas said that they would be presented to the PLO Central Council for approval.
Abbas was apparently referring to previous recommendations by the Central Council and the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s parliament, to sever ties with Israel.
Palestinian leader Abbas says Trump’s ‘crime’ over Jerusalem precludes US peace role (Reuters)
Abbas, who was speaking at a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah on Saturday, again voiced his strong rejection of US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East, which is known as the “deal of the century” or the “ultimate deal.”
Saudi Arabia has reportedly reassured the Palestinian Authority and Arab states that it would oppose any peace plan put forward by US President Donald Trump’s administration that does not accept the Palestinian stance on the status of Jerusalem and the resettlement of millions of descendants of refugees.
“We will not abandon you,” King Salman promised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a recent meeting, Reuters reported Sunday.
“We accept what you accept and we reject what you reject,” the Saudi king added, the Palestinian ambassador to Riyadh Basem Al-Agha told the news agency.
The report said that the naming of this year’s Arab League conference “The Jerusalem Summit” and the announcement of a $200 million aid package for the Palestinians were understood as messages that issues such as Jerusalem and the “right of return” for refugees and their descendants were “back on the table.”
Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April stoked fear in the Arab world that the country was aligning with Israel and the US, saying in a magazine interview that Israelis as well as Palestinians “have the right to have their own land.”
Yotam Ovadia — the 31-year-old Israeli man who was murdered in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Adam on Thursday — saved the lives of others by fighting with the terrorist, his cousin said on Sunday.
“My cousin is a hero,” Tomer, a police officer, was quoted as saying by the Hebrew news site Walla. “If Yotam was not there and it was someone who would have put up less of a fight, I think the terrorist would have been able to jump to a nearby house.”
Ovadia was out collecting items for a romantic meal he was preparing for his wife for Tu B’Av when he encountered a 17-year-old Palestinian terrorist who had snuck into the settlement, located in the West Bank northeast of Jerusalem.
“The very fact that Yotam continued to struggle with the terrorist bought everyone time,” Tomer said. “He saved a lot of lives by fighting.”
The terrorist was eventually shot dead by another passerby, who had been lightly wounded in a scuffle with the assailant before pulling out a pistol and opening fire.
On Thursday, 17-year-old terrorist Muhammad Tareq Dar Yusuf murdered a 31- year-old Israeli father of two, Yotam Ovadia, and injured two others, before he was shot and killed. The very next day, both the Palestinian Authority and Fatah declared him a “Martyr” (Shahid).
By declaring the murderer a “Martyr”, the PA is saying that he did an exemplary act according to Islam, for which he will be rewarded in the afterlife by Allah. In addition, the PA will reward the terrorists’ family financially, as the PA does all families of so-called “Martyrs,” with a one-time grant of 6,000 shekels ($1,643) and a monthly allowance for life of 1,400 shekels ($383).
The official PA daily reported:
“A young man from Kubar died as a Martyr after stabbing three settlers north of occupied Jerusalem.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 27, 2018]
Fatah’s Bethlehem branch posted this picture of the terrorist murderer on its Facebook page with the following text:
“Martyr (Shahid) Muhammad Tareq Dar Yusuf, 18 (sic., 17), the one who carried out the stabbing operation that led to the wounding of three settlers (sic., 1 was murdered). He is from the village of Kubar in the Ramallah district.”
[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement – Bethlehem Branch, July 27, 2018]
Glorifying murder and terror at the weekly “protests” in Gaza. Giant portrait of yesterday’s Palestinian murderer of an Israeli father of two near #Jerusalem. So far today, grenades, Molotovs and stones hurled at #IDF troops defending the border. pic.twitter.com/5pfsxtbGx4
— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) July 27, 2018
In her first public appearance since being released from prison Sunday morning, Ahed Tamimi vowed to continue her struggle against Israeli military rule.
“My message here is that our resistance will continue, particularly our resistance for equal rights,” she said through a translator at a press conference here, in her village of Nabi Saleh.
The 17-year-old urged Palestinians not to neglect the security prisoners that remain in Israeli jails.
“While I am happy to have been released, my happiness is not complete knowing that there are still those suffering in Israeli jails. I call on Palestinians to act for their release,” said Tamimi, who in the past has called for suicide bombings and other attacks in the effort to “liberate Palestine.”
A billboard with Ahed Tamimi’s picture at the entrance to the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on July 29, 2018. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)
The teen was sentenced to eight months in prison after being filmed slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the central West Bank village late last year.
Under the terms of a March plea bargain, Ahed admitted to aggravated assault against an IDF soldier, incitement to violence and disrupting soldiers on two other occasions.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi “a model for the Palestinian struggle,” as he met with her shortly after she was released from Israeli prison.
Tamimi, 17, who was jailed for more than seven months after she was filmed slapping and kicking a soldier, was set free earlier in the day, returning to celebrations in her hometown of Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank.
“The Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi is a model for the Palestinian struggle for freedom, independence and the establishment of our independent Palestinian state,” Abbas said, according to the official PA news agency Wafa.
Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials welcomed Tamimi and her family at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
Tamimi’s incarceration had drawn attention from around the globe, highlighting the teen’s image as a Palestinian icon. She had become a cause célèbre for Palestinian supporters, and rallies were held in several locations calling for her release after her arrest in December.
Many Palestinians saw her as bravely standing up to military control over the West Bank, while Israelis accused her family of using her as a pawn.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday phoned Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi on her release from Israeli prison for slapping and kicking a soldier, and praised her “bravery and determination to fight,” Turkish media reported.
Erdogan also vowed to continue to support the “just struggle” of the Palestinian people, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported.
Tamimi, 17, and her mother, Nariman Tamimi, who was also jailed over the incident, were freed Sunday morning after over seven months in jail, returning to celebrations in their hometown of Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank.
Six years ago Erdogan met Tamimi when she visited Istanbul to receive the Hanzala Courage Prize.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri tweeted his support for Tamimi.
“Congratulation to the brave girl Ahed Tamimi, being released to freedom,” he posted. “And greetings to all Palestinian militants in the Israeli occupation prisons and to all the heroic Palestinian people.”
Israeli troops arrested two Italians and a Palestinian who painted a mural of Ahed Tamimi on a section of the security barrier between the West Bank and Israel, Palestinians said Saturday.
A Border Police spokesman confirmed the arrests and said the suspects had attempted to flee in their vehicle. He added that any painting on the barrier is illegal.
One of the artists believed to have been arrested was seen painting the mural on Wednesday while wearing a mask. He later identified himself as Agostino Chirwin from Italy.
Footage tweeted by the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Negotiation Affairs Department showed soldiers pulling three men from a car parked near a section of the separation barrier near Bethlehem and taking them for questioning.
The incident came just one day before Tamimi is slated to be released from the Hasharon prison along with her mother Nariman.
The New Statesman: Labour is close to the point of no return on anti-Semitism
It takes a lot to get any set of commercial competitors to work together. That reluctance is naturally greater in a fragile print media ecosystem and greater still here. The strength of cross-community revulsion to Labour’s failure to adopt the full IHRA definition has overridden it. “Something in our minds clicked,” says JN editor Richard Ferrer. “Newspapers reflect the feelings of their readership, and this reflects conversations that are being had at dinner tables, schools and shuls.”
During Corbyn’s near three-year tenure as leader, the mood music has never been good, and often dire. The editorial describes it as “deeply painful”. But no controversy ever had this effect, or moved 68 rabbis to overcome small differences such as not believing each other to be rabbis to write to Labour and accuse it of ignoring the Jewish community. No individual leader or organisation has a monopoly on what the community thinks or feels but events like today’s editorial are unprecedented – as its text says – for a reason.
There is a clear escape route for Labour, if not Corbyn. The editorial puts it thus: “Implement IHRA in full, or be seen by all decent people as an institutionally racist, anti-Semitic party.”
Members of the shadow cabinet, including Keir Starmer, Jon Ashworth and Barry Gardiner, have urged the same course of action. Andrew Gwynne, its elections coordinator, has acknowledged that the anti-Semitism row harmed the Labour party’s performance in May’s local elections. Nobody is in any doubt as to the urgent need to do something. As long as that something isn’t adopting the full IHRA definition, however, it will make the problem much worse.
Where next? MPs will almost certainly vote for it in September but it is far from certain that the party’s national executive will heed the call. But one prediction can be made with more certainty today: even if Labour does adopt the IHRA definition, it will be too late to repair much of the damage. (h/t messy57)
Antisemitism in the UK’s Labour Party continues to create news. The party’s National Executive Committee has omitted parts of the widely recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in drawing up its own contentious antisemitism guidelines. This, in opposition to the British Jewish community and many of its own parliamentarians.
The subject of the IHRA definition came up in Sky News review of the media broadcast on July 29. And that’s when the discussion unraveled.
According to the IHRA definition (which HonestReporting uses), antisemitism includes:
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
But for the Sunday Mirror’s Political Editor Nigel Nelson, when it comes to the IHRA definition:
There is one clause which I can understand them rejecting which simply says it would be antisemitic to accuse a Jew of putting Israel before their own country. I can see circumstances in which that would be a plain fact, and I can’t see why that would be antisemitic.
What circumstances would it be a plain fact that British (or other diaspora Jews) put Israel before their own country?
Jews “would feel compelled, in large numbers, to consider moving.”
— Richard Ferrer 🗞 (@richferrer) July 28, 2018
IsraellyCool: Operation: Mary Lockhart
Meet Mary Bain Lockhart. Scottish councillor for a UK political party that will remain nameless but has a history of antisemitism and rhymes with “neighbour.”
She is not a friend of Israel and by default on our hit list. On July 26 she posted this on her Facebook page:
By defending the Labour party against charges of antisemitism, she has simultaneously dug the following holes:
– Claiming that the legitimate concerns of antisemitism in “Jewish” newspapers and The Guardian against the Labour party actually leads to more antisemitism.
– Suggesting the legitimate concerns of antisemitism is a campaign assisted by The Mossad.
– And then finishes off with a glorious piece of antisemitism charging Israel as a racist state, and using the “Palestinian are also semites” line (even though this argument has been rendered useless numerous times).
– Says Israel is “ant-Semitic” (sic).
A Jewish congregation in Carmel, Indiana, said on Sunday that a building on their property was vandalized with a swastika and Iron Crosses in a Friday overnight attack.
The Iron Cross was a German military medal which has been adopted as a symbol by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The Shaarey Tefilla Temple announcement on Facebook said that religious services on Saturday morning had not been affected by the attack, and that the incident had been reported to the police.
Debra Barton Grant, CEO and executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, posted pictures of the vandalized shed on her personal Facebook page.
Sophie Steiert opens a bag of kosher gummy bears and offers them to 20 other German teenagers seated around her in their high school classroom.
“They’re really yummy,” Steiert, 16, says with an enticing smile. “And by the way, does any one of you know what kosher means?”
The students shrug. Most of the 17-year-olds never have met a Jewish person. In school, they’ve only talked about dead Jews: the 6 million killed by the Nazis.
For years, the Jewish community in Germany relied on Holocaust survivors to be its ambassadors. Jews who made it through the horror were the ones with the moral authority to teach young Germans about the perils of anti-Semitism and the crimes of their forefathers.
But with the number of survivors dwindling and schoolchildren today at least three generations removed from the Nazis, young Jews like Steiert are being tapped to put a modern take on an old message.
More than talking about the crimes of the past, they have been encouraged as volunteers for a school outreach program to focus on Jewish life in Germany today. The program was launched amid fresh concerns about anti-Semitism in schools and on the streets of German cities.
An additional 1,700-year-old mosaic floor was recently discovered in excavations of the villa of a wealthy merchant in Lod. This new colorful snapshot of sumptuous Roman life was uncovered during preparations for a museum to house the original, massive Lod mosaic, which was discovered under a garbage dump in 1996 and has since toured the world.
New artifacts and architectural evidence from the late third century-early fourth century Roman period uncovered in recent excavation are causing archaeologists to reevaluate the rich merchant’s holdings, according to Israel Antiquities Authority’s dig director Dr. Amir Gorzalczany.
“The excavations at the site exposed a villa that included a large luxurious mosaic-paved reception room triclinium, and an internal columned courtyard, also with mosaics, and a water system. We found evidence for Mediterranean luxury that characterized the Roman empire, including attributes such as fresco wall paintings,” said Gorzalczany in an IAA press release.
With the new mosaic, archaeologists wonder just how large the man’s villa actually was. Could he have been the Mark Zuckerberg of 4th century Lod?
In another massive failure of Apartheid in Israel, a Christian Arab Prof. Mona Khoury-Kassabri has been appointed dean of the Hebrew University School of Social Work.
She is the first Arab woman to be appointed dean at the Hebrew University. Dr. Khoury-Kassabri ‘s research addresses “both the factors underlying youth violence, and the ways to prevent victimization and perpetration and promote the welfare and rights of children.”
Tunisia, which is currently scheduled to host the 2019 World Schools Chess Championship, could have its hosting privilege revoked if the country refuses to grant a visa to a seven-year-old Israeli girl.
The country, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, does not permit Israelis to enter its borders, and is refusing to make an exception for Liel Levitan, the European School Individual Chess champion in her age group, for the upcoming World Chess Federation (FIDE) tournament.
The restriction would force Levitan and other Israelis to forfeit their spots in the tournament. A similar situation at last year’s tournament, also held in Tunisia, disqualified Israelis from participating in the competition – simply because they could not enter the country.
In an email last week, FIDE secretary Polina Tsedenova said the organization is taking necessary measures to put pressure on Tunisia to allow entry of all participants.
“We have requested an urgent explanation from the Tunisian Chess Federation,” Tsedenova wrote. “We are also sending them a separate letter requesting written confirmation that the 2019 World Schools Championship, which is scheduled to take place in Tunisia, will provide visas to all participants. Only after that will the organization of the tournament be confirmed for them.”
The email was sent in response to an inquiry by the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.
🇹🇳 #Tunisia, to host World Chess tournament, is banning 7-year-old Liel Levitan—who this month won her age-group’s European Chess Championship—because she’s 🇮🇱 #Israeli. We call on the @UNHumanRights Council to suspend Tunisia until they end their apartheid. RT if you agree. pic.twitter.com/JF3z09HdkO
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) July 29, 2018
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