* “Do NOT steal this woman’s bikini”: Photo of female Israeli soldier with gun and bikini on Tel Aviv beach (see below) goes viral; viewed almost a million times on the Internet
* Florida Democrat quits DNC (but not as a political candidate) after leaked emails reveal she accused Israel of running “mass concentration camps”
* Algerian government criticized for inviting Algerian-born Jewish singer: “Algerians are known for their dislike of all things Jewish,” reports Al Arabiya
* In a propaganda video posted on the Internet Salah added – falsely – that Macias’s grandfather “is known for having urinated in a mosque in order to humiliate Algerians”
* 12,000 Netanyans bring their (clean) pairs of socks to stitch together “the world’s largest sock mosaic”
(You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. Please first press “Like” on that page.)
There are two other dispatches this weekend:
This photo of an Israeli soldier relaxing on the sand in Tel Aviv has become an internet phenomenon, and on Friday it featured on the website of the Daily Mail, the most read news website in the world. (Article at the end of this webpage.)
1. 120 Gazan families to lose homes to Hamas government: virtually unreported in the West
2. Cyprus police detain man suspected of planning terror attack on Israeli tourists
3. Iranian agents in Kenya planned terror attacks on Israeli, British, U.S. targets
4. Al-Qaida’s African leader planned to attack Jewish neighborhoods in London
5. Outrage after Algerian minister renews invitation to Jewish singer Enrico Macias
6. Israel to arrange arrival of last members of Ethiopian Jewish community by 2014
7. Florida Democrat resigns over leaked anti-Israel emails
8. Israel extends smoking ban to Western Wall
9. Shoe in: A new world record set for the largest sock mosaic
10. Lifeguard fired after saving drowning man
11. Guns N’ Roses Plays Hatikvah in Tel Aviv
12. “Do NOT steal this woman’s bikini” (By Jill Reilly, Daily Mail, July 13, 2012)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
120 GAZAN FAMILIES TO LOSE HOMES TO HAMAS GOVERNMENT
Ma’an and other Palestinian news agencies report that the Hamas government in Gaza has renewed its policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinian families in order to seize land for government use. 120 families are to lose their homes in the latest round of demolitions – a far greater number than the number of illegally built Palestinian homes Israel has demolished in recent years – and unlike Israeli authorities, Hamas doesn’t even claim these homes were built illegally or with dangerous structures. Yet western media and human rights groups have been virtually silent about these destructions of Palestinian homes by Hamas.
Abu Al-Abed Abu Omra, whose house is threatened with demolition, told Ma’an that Hamas security police arrived late on a Saturday night and told residents to evacuate their homes in order to facilitate the demolition.
He said that more than 120 families living in a 15-dunams area near Gaza’s Al-Azhar University are under threat, though they have been living there since 1948.
In February, as reported on this email list, Hamas demolished a number of homes in the Hamami neighborhood in Gaza City
CYPRUS POLICE DETAIN MAN SUSPECTED OF PLANNING TERROR ATTACK ON ISRAELI TOURISTS
A spokesman for the Cyprus police on Friday said authorities have detained a man on suspicion of being involved in planning a terrorist attack on the east Mediterranean island.
Spokesman Andreas Angelides said that police have an “an individual in custody on possible charges pertaining to terrorism laws.”
Angelides declined to identify the suspect, the level of his involvement in the plot and the intended target, saying disclosure of any details about the case could compromise an ongoing investigation.
State radio CyBC quoted an unidentified senior police official as saying that “Israelis” in the southern coastal town of Limassol were to be targeted, reports The Associated Press.
Israeli media reported today that the Mossad had been tracking the man, who holds a Swedish passport and is of Lebanese Shia origin and is said to be in the employ of the Iranian government, and tipped off the authorities in Cyprus.
IRANIAN AGENTS IN KENYA PLANNED TERROR ATTACKS ON ISRAELI, BRITISH, U.S. TARGETS
Officials in Kenya told the Associated Press that two Iranian agents arrested with explosives planned to attack Israeli, American, British and Saudi Arabian targets inside Kenya. The officials said yesterday that the plot appears to fit into a global pattern of attacks or attempted attacks by Iranian agents, primarily against Israelis.
Kenyan security forces arrested Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi last week with 33 pounds of RDX, a powerful explosive, in Mombasa. Several hotels on the coast are Israeli-owned. One official said those arrested are members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force.
As reported previously on this list / website, Iranian agents are suspected in several attacks or thwarted attacks around the world over the last year, including in Azerbaijan, Thailand, India and the United States. Most of the plots have targeted Israelis. In 2002 an Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa was bombed, killing 13 people. Terrorists also tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner at that time.
For more on the 2002 attacks, please see:
* Mossad to track down those behind triple bomb attacks in Kenya (Nov. 28, 2002)
* Kenya bomb attacks: Another excuse to slander Israel (Dec 2, 2002)
AL-QAIDA’S AFRICAN LEADER PLANNED TO ATTACK JEWISH NEIGHBORHOODS IN LONDON
Documents outlining a plot to attack Jewish neighborhoods in London were found on the body of an African leader of al-Qaida, the Toronto Star reported last week. The plans also included plots for a kidnapping and attacks on Eton College (where Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and eventual heir to the throne Prince William went to school) and the Ritz and Dorchester hotels in London.
The plans were found on the body of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, 38, who was shot last year by Somali forces as he tried to crash through a government checkpoint.
According to the plans, terrorists would strike London’s Stamford Hill and Golders Green neighborhoods, which are populated with “tens of thousands of Jews crammed in a small area,” the Star reported.
Stamford Hill is home to one of Europe’s biggest ultra-orthodox Jewish communities.
“Our objectives are to strike London with low-cost operations that would cause a heavy blow amongst the hierarchy and Jewish communities,” it says in the document, titled “International Operations.”
Fazul was indicted in the United States for the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya that left 224 persons dead. A close ally of Osama bin Laden, Fazul was killed just six weeks after the al-Qaida founder last year.
OUTRAGE AFTER ALGERIAN MINISTER RENEWS INVITATION TO JEWISH SINGER ENRICO MACIAS
The leading pan-Arab news network Al Arabiya reported as follows from Algiers last Thursday:
“Algerian Communication Minister Naser Mehal took everyone by surprise when he announced an invitation to controversial Jewish singer Enrico Macias to visit Algeria, thus lifting the years-long ban on the Algerian-born artist.
“Macias, slammed in Algeria for his pro-Israel stance, was banned from entering his country of origin twice, once in 2000 and 2007. Both times, massive demonstrations were held to protest his being hosted.
“In 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided to pay an official visit to Algeria and decided to include Macias in the delegation hoping that this would make it easier for the singer. However, the objection came from the Algerian government when the then Prime Minister Abdel Aziz Belkhadem threatened to boycott Sarkozy’s visit if Macias accompanied him.
“Belkhadem also launched a fierce campaign against the singer in several Algerian cities where he told people that he is pro-Israeli.
“Popular resistance to Macias’s visit was more forceful this time and triggered the establishment of a national committee against normalization with Israel which was headed by Khaled bin Ismail, a very close friend of Belkhadem and late Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella. The committee was supported by the sons of martyrs and freedom fighters.
“However, it seemed that only some residents of his birthplace, the northern city of Constantine, were ready to receive him and, in fact, painted the Jewish cemetery in blue and white in preparation for his visit.
“Then too Macias canceled his visit and Sarkozy reportedly consoled him saying, ‘Be patient. You will go there sometime soon.’ To this, Macias reportedly replied, ‘Of course one day I will visit Algeria and my hometown Constantine.’”
“Political analyst Abdul Aali Razaki warned of the consequences of Macias’s visit. ‘Algerians are known for their dislike of all things Jewish,’ he told Al Arabiya.
Razaki criticized Mehal for inviting Macias, an action that he labeled “insensitive” and “unethical.”
Prominent Algerian activist who goes by the name “Algerie Salah de Londre” posted a video on You Tube slamming the invitation.
Tom Gross adds:
In the video Salah added – falsely – that Macias’s grandfather “is known for having urinated in a mosque in Constantine in order to humiliate Algerians.”
“All Algerians know who Macias is,” he said at the end of the video.
Macias will attempt to enter Algeria using his French passport.
ISRAEL TO ARRANGE ARRIVAL OF LAST MEMBERS OF ETHIOPIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY BY 2014
The Associated Press reports that Israel’s Cabinet has approved plans to bring the last of Ethiopia’s Jews to Israel over the next two years.
More than 120,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel following waves of immigration over the past three decades. Advocates say some 2,200 Jews remain in Ethiopia, and are waiting in transit camps to immigrate to Israel.
The government said that it will open a $4.3 million absorption center in September to accommodate the newcomers.
FLORIDA DEMOCRAT RESIGNS OVER LEAKED ANTI-ISRAEL EMAILS
Evelyn Garcia, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) member and candidate for the Florida House of Representatives who accused Israel of running “mass concentration camps” and of “crimes against humanity” in a series of vitriolic emails, has apologized and resigned from the DNC.
Garcia, a Haitian-American elected to the DNC in 2008, sent the emails in 2011, but they were first released by BizPacReview.com last week.
One local Democrat said this kind of “hate speech should be made public no matter who the person is or what their party is.”
“She’s horrible,” said Dan Liftman, legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Miramar). “She could harm the president and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
BizPacReview reported that Garcia’s email rants began when she forwarded an email by the radical leftist group Code Pink, titled “Time for a New Middle East Policy,” which accused President Obama of pandering to the “pro-occupation lobby”.
Though Garcia resigned from her post in the DNC, she says she still intends to run for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives; she is seeking to represent District 88, which includes the heavily Jewish West Palm Beach. She seemed to shift the blame for her comments, saying that her “private emails” had been released “by someone I believed was my friend.”
Casting herself as the victim of an unjustified witch hunt, Garcia said she has received a “barrage of hate mail and threats from places as far away from Palm Beach County as Oklahoma.” She added that she received her information about the Middle East from Jewish “groups such as J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace,” and therefore argued to her detractors that she could not be regarded as anti-Semitic.
ISRAEL EXTENDS SMOKING BAN TO WESTERN WALL
The Israeli government has announced an extensive expansion of laws to prohibit smoking in public spaces in the country.
Smoking will now be banned in central bus stations, covered bus stops, train platforms, government offices, hospital entrances and doorways, places of worship, swimming pools, theaters, restaurants and cafes, among other places.
Bus drivers will also not be allowed to smoke before passengers board the vehicles.
The association of Israeli restaurants protested the new restrictions, but Health Ministry director Prof. Roni Gamzu cut him short and said, “You have to protect the children.”
SHOE IN: A NEW WORLD RECORD SET FOR THE LARGEST SOCK MOSAIC
The Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed that a new world record for the biggest mosaic made of socks (12,000 socks in all) was set in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya last Tuesday.
The colorful project was initiated by two Netanya artists who had said they wanted to make a piece of art that would involve as many local people as possible in its creation.
Residents of the city were asked by the municipality to bring socks for the project. “But make sure they are clean,” they were told.
The large mosaic was set out in a Netanya city square. The previous “the largest sock mosaic,” was one in Japanese which used a mere 4,000 socks.
Among other recent dispatches concerning Netanya residents, please see:
* Burgers, fries and marijuana (June 9, 2012)
LIFEGUARD FIRED AFTER SAVING DROWNING MAN
A young lifeguard in Florida has lost his job after rescuing a drowning man in a section of beach he was not assigned to patrol, local news media reported last week.
Tomas Lopez, 21, was manning his post on Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, on Monday afternoon when a beach-goer alerted him to a swimmer struggling in an “unprotected” part of the beach.
“It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn’t going to say no,” Lopez told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
The unidentified man was rescued and rushed to hospital, where he remains in intensive care. But when Lopez went to file an incident report, he was fired for going 500 meters out of his assigned area.
“They didn’t tell me in a bad way. It was more like they were ‘sorry, but rules are rules,’” Lopez said. “I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
Lopez said he would do what he did again if he had to. “It was the moral thing to do,” he said. “I would never pick a job over my morals.”
GUNS N’ ROSES PLAYS HATIKVAH IN TEL AVIV
The American mega rock group Guns N’ Roses surprised an audience in Israel last week by giving a rousing rendition of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, which is based on a 19th century poem from Central Europe.
It is thought that the band’s guitarist, Bumblefoot, who was born Ronald Jay Blumenthal, may have been behind the idea.
I attach one article below, from the (British) Daily Mail, which as I noted in this weekend’s earlier dispatch is the most read news website in the world. (Item 10.)
DO NOT STEAL THIS WOMAN’S BIKINI
Do NOT steal this woman’s bikini
By Jill Reilly
Daily Mail (London)
July 13, 2012
* They really are dangerous curves: Heavily armed and bikini-clad female Israeli soldiers ‘mingle’ with beachgoers
* Women make up almost one-third of the IDF and 50% of its officers
* Almost the entire female population must spend two years in the military after reaching 18 due to compulsory military service
* In a bid to promote tourism in 2007, Israel’s Foreign Ministry backed a public relations campaign showing former female soldiers in bikinis on its beaches
Standing confidently on the beach, with a rifle casually slung over her shoulder, you would think twice about knocking over this woman’s sandcastle.
The bikini-clad subject is thought to be a soldier and a member of the highly-trained Israeli Defence Forces.
Since the surprising photo, snapped in Tel Aviv, was posted on the internet it has gone viral with many users reacted with shock at seeing such a hostile weapon on a sunny beach.
Some internet users were perplexed as to why the woman in the photo would be at the beach with a rifle- which does not appear to have a magazine loaded - but not in her uniform.
But other users were quick to point out there could have been practical reasons for the solider to take the weapon to the beach.
Under Israeli military regulations, if members take their weapon out from their military base they must keep them near at all times.
Punishments for losing or misplacing a weapon can include time in a military prison.
The photo, which has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of users, seems to have originated on Facebook under the title ‘Only in Israel’ and then spread across the internet, including onto the social news website Reddit.
One user on the website wrote: ‘An explanation for this photo (I served in the IDF): the girl probably went to beach right after being at the base and serves in a unit that requires her to carry a weapon (not necessarily a combat role), she didn’t want to go through the paperwork and permission required to leave the gun at armory.
‘Outside of the base we’re required to either lock our weapons or have them on us. You can clearly see what she chose.’
Another user wrote: ‘The photo is taken on the beach in Tel Aviv, and it is commonplace to see such sights during the summer.’
Israel’s compulsory military service means that almost the entire female population must spend two years in the military after reaching 18.
Women make up almost one-third of the force, and 50 per cent of its officers, making the Israel Defence Forces one of the most gender-equal units in the world.
It is not the first time that women from the IDF have been photographed in their bikinis on the beach.
In a bid to promote tourism, in 2007, Israel’s Foreign Ministry backed a public relations campaign out of its consulate in New York showing former female soldiers in minimal wear on its sunny beaches.
‘We want to make people in the world to see Israel through our glasses,’ said Aviv Shiron, Deputy Director General for Media and Public Affairs in the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
‘The image of Israel is not only men, either armed in uniform, or Jewish orthodox dressed in black... you have beautiful women here,’ added Mr Shiron.
In the same year a spread in July’s issue of Maxim magazine featured female Israeli ex-soldiers in bikinis headlined ‘Women of the Israel Defence Forces.’
[All notes above by Tom Gross]