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June 28, 2013

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 28, 2013 By Greg Salisbury Jewish Exponent PHILADELPHIA The fireworks over the July 4 Alicia Keys concert in Tel Aviv continue to go off. The latest development: Israeli consulates across the United States are encouraging the singer-songwriter's fans-- and fans of Israel in general-- to post to her Facebook page and tweet support for her decision to stand up to the efforts to get her to cancel her appearance. Keys, who has been one of the most popular record- ing artists in the world ever since the release of "Songs in A Minor" in 2001, has sold over 35 million albums and is currently touring the world in support of her most recent album, "Girl on Fire." Her decision to perform in Israel has set the boycott, divestment and sanctions community, known as BDS, aflame. Notable anti-Israel A- and B-list celebrities, like the author Alice Walker (who re- fuses to allow her book, "The Color Purple," to be translated into Hebrew and whose new book, "The Cushion in the Road," reportedly describes Israel's policies toward the Palestinians as "genocide" and "crimes against human- ity") and former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters have called on Keys to join others who, like Waters himself, have canceled previously scheduled shows after pressure from pro-Palestinian factions. Their number includes Elvis Costello, proto-alternative group The Pixies and '60s singer-songwriter Gil Scott- Heron. Clad Strohmayer, deputy consul general in Philadel- phia, said the reason for the diplomatic involvement is simple: "We want to show support to those who show support for Israel. Artists need to come to Israel and show support for a two-state solu- tion--boycottingwon't help." Despite the numerous peo- ple who have shown their sup- port for Keys' commitment on social media, Strohm- ayer said, they are vastly outnumbered by the BDS movement's mobilization. (A cursory perusal of Keys' Face- book page, Twitter feed and a poll from BET confirms the consul's assertion.) When asked if there's a similar furor in Israel, Strohmayer replied: "It is and it isn't. People in Israel really appreciate that despite all the pressure, she is still coming, but they are not necessarily aware of the efforts we are making here. People here should be very active about" supporting her and her con- cert, he said. And what does the subject of all of this contention think about it? In a statement re- leased to the New York Times, Keys said, "I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show." Greg Salisbury is the arts and culture editor for the (Philadelphia) Jewish Expo- nent, from which this article was reprinted by permission. Israeli Cabinet OKs exporting 40 percent of newly found natural gas JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- rael's Cabinet approved a decision to export about 40 percent of its recently dis- covered reserves of natural gas while keeping a 25-year supply for the country's consumption. The Cabinet on Sunday] agreed to retain 540 billion ! cubic meters for Israeli consumption, which should last for about 25 years. Revenue from the exported gas is expected to be about $60 billion. ! "We will lower the cost of i living in the electricity sec- tor via the gas that will flow into the Israeli economy, and we will invest in the public welfare thanks to[ the profits that will go into] the state coffers from gas] exports," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the vote, which had three dissenters among the 22 Cabinet members. "Any delay in imple- menting this decision will endanger the state's ability : to realize the benefits of our - gas resources. Gas must not stay in the ground under layers of bureaucracy and populism." i The 40 percent export] figure is 13 percent less l than what was proposed by ! the Tzemach Commission, which was created in 2011 to come up with a national of spying for Israel were executed by Hamas authori- ties in Gaza. The men were hanged on Saturday after being found guilty of "collaboration with the Israeli occupa- tion." In a statement, the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza said the men were executed "in accordance with our religion and Pal- estinian law," according to The Jerusalem Post. They were accused of passing information to Israel that included the location of military posts, government offices, homes and weapons factories. Some 16 Palestinian Gazans have been executed after trial since 2007 for spying for Israel. Dozens more have been killed with- out trials, according to The Associated Press. Gaza Palestinian singer wins 'Arab Idol' JERUSALEM (JTA)--A Palestinian singer from Gaza won the Pan-Arab singing competition "Arab Idol." Mohammed Assaf, 22, won the singing contest late Sattfrday night, a day after the sho~w's final was held in Beirut, Lebanon. The program was broadcast on the Saudi MBC channel. Palestinians throughout Gaza and the West Bank poured onto the streets to celebrate after watching the policy on the natural re-i victory from coffee shops source. Shelly and giant screens. Opposition leader Assaf defeated Egyptian Yachimovich, head of the Ahmed Jamal and Syrian Labor Party, and other op- Farah Youssef, a woman. position politicians have His final performance threatened to take opposi- was "Alli al-keffiyeh," or tion to the proposal to the "Raise Your Keffiyeh," a Supreme Court, sayingthe Palestinian nationalist public supported keeping anthem.Assafcalledonthe the gas in the country. Several large natural gas fields have been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel in recent years. There are projected to be about 950 billion cubic meters of gas in the natural gas fields. 2 Palestinians executed for passing information to Israel JERUSALEM (JTA)--Two Palestinian men convicted Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to settle their differences and unite. Abbas begins work to replace newly appointed P.A. prime minister JERUSALEM (JTA)--Pal- estinian Authority Presi- dent Mahmoud Abbas ac- cepted the resignation of his prime minister, who quit two weeks after tak- ing office. Abbas on Sunday ap- Friedman & Friedman Excellence "One Team. Twice the Knowledge, Service and Experience" Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 The security guard who killed a man near the Western Wall is taken to the Jerusalem's magistrates court June 21 shortly after the incident. pointed Rami Hamdallah, 55, to lead an interim gov- ernment after accepting his resignation. Hamdal- lah reportedly quit after disagreements with his two Abbas-appointed deputy prime ministers. Western Wall security guard had clashed with man he shot JERUSALEM (JTA)--The security guard who fatally shot an Israeli homeless man at the Western Wall plaza is under investigation for murder. The guard, a Druze who had been on the job for a short time, reportedly had clashed previously with Doron Ben Shlush. He was arrested after the incident last Friday morning and or- dered held for five days. His name is under a gag order. A police investigation has determined that Ben Shlush yelled "Druze, you son of a bitch" at the secu- rity guard, according to the Times of Israel. The guard, a civilian employed by a private com- pany, said Ben Shlush had shouted "Allah hu akbar" ("God is great") in Arabic and tried to pull an object from his pocket near the public bathrooms before the guard fired his sidearm up to 10 times. Druze in Israel ask to bring 20 families from Syria JERUSALEM (JTA)-- Druze leaders living on the Israeli Golan Heights asked Israel's prime minister to allow some Druze in Syria to enter Israel. Sources told the Times of Israel that the request to Benjamin Netanyahu, made in a letter last week, covers about 20 families. The letter was given to the director-general of the Prime Minister's Of- fice, Harel Locker, during a meeting with some 100 Druze leaders on the Golan Heights. Netanyahu won't ask U.S. to exempt aid to Israel in defense cuts (JTA)--Israel will not object to a planned five percent cut in the annual military aid package from the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said. Under the sequester, the across-the-board cuts mandated by 2011 legisla- tion, Washington is set to cut more than $150 million from the annual $3.1 billion package to Israel. According to the Maariv daily, Netanyahu instructed Israeli officials in Wash- ington not to ask the U.S. government for an excep- tion from cuts. "Israel did not seek an exception," Maariv quoted Michael Oren, Israel's am- bassador to Washington, as saying. "We are willing to share in the burden." Lapid: Netanyahu should be more proactive in peace talks WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid said he was pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be more proactive in talks with the Palestinians. "The most important thing is to go back to the negotiating table and talk until the white smoke comes out," Lapid said in an interview published last Friday by the Wash- ington Post. "I'm talking constantly to our prime minister, saying we have to be more proactive." Lapid's remarks come after criticism from some members of his Yesh Atid party that he has not been assertive enough in defend- ing the two-state solution against pronouncements from others in the govern- ment that it is dead. The Obama administra- tion is moving forward with its bid to revive the peace talks and Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed to American Jews to press the Israeli leadership to hew to the two-state solution. "For me, there's no other game in town but the two- state solution," Lapid told the Post. "The Palestinians must have their own coun- try, and the Israelis must understand that the Pales- tinians should have their own country. I'm going to push for this as hard as I can because I think this is really important for Israel." Rabbi tapped to lead party list for Argentinian elections BUENOS AIRES, Argen- tina (JTA)--Rabbi Sergio Bergman will lead the ticket for the center-right PRO Party in Argentina's national elections. The PRO Party con- firmed the decision on Satur~day hours before the d~hdline for parties to presefit candidates for the October vote. Bergman, a member of the Buenos Aires municipal Legislature, will head the list for the National Lower House. He is the first rabbi to lead a national ticket in Argentina. Buenos Aires city Mayor Mauricio Macri, who is run- ning against President Cris- tina Fernandez de Kirchner of the Victory Front party, tapped Bergman to lead the party list. Bergman, the senior rabbi of the traditional Congregacion Israelita Argentina, is the founder of Active Memory, a group that demonstrated every Monday for a decade seek- ing justice for the victims of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center. Jews buried in 13th cen- tury Spanish cemetery 'well preserved' (JTA)--A Spanish his- torian who identified and catalogued 107 tombs in a 13th-century Jewish cemetery in Toledo said the remains were "well preserved." The cemetery was par- tially unearthed in 2008, but the delineation and archaeological study of the graves was only recently completed, according to the Spanish news agency, EFE. The archaeologist lead- ing the excavations, Arturo Ruiz Taboada, told EFE earlier this month that the people buried in the 107 Jewish tombs were "well preserved" and de- posited unusually deep in the ground, some over 9 feet from ground level. The identity of many of those buried at the site remains unknown. The deep burial may have been to ensure that the Jews were not buried with the remains of others, Jews and non-Jews alike, who had been buried in the area, Taboada told the news agency. Taboada said that some burial plots contained whole families, includ- ing several tombs where mothers were buried with newborn infants. Archaeologists first learned of the cemetery's existence in 2008, when human bones were found in the grounds of a local school. The Spanish gov- ernment began excavating there but stopped following protests by Jewish groups. Local authorities in Toledo--a major center of Jewish life before the expulsion of Spain's Jewish communities in 1492--had offered to hand over the bones for reburial at an- other site, but eventually they were reburied in 2011 at the same cemetery at the request of the local Jewish community and European Jewish groups.