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Netanyahu Vows to Stem Terror Wave After Fatal Rosh Hashanah Attack

(Israel Hayom/ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday night to discuss ways to stem the recent surge of rock-throwing and firebombing attacks in Israel’s capital, including the killing of 64-year-old Jerusalem resident Alexander Levlovich in a rock-throwing attack as he drove home from a Rosh Hashanah eve dinner.

Attending the meeting were Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen and acting Israel Police Commissioner Benzi Sau.

“We will fight aggressively against those who are seeking to violate the status quo on the Temple Mount. And we will enact a sharp change in policy regarding the throwers of rocks and firebombs. We will use any means necessary to restore quiet in Jerusalem and the surrounding area,” Netanyahu said at the meeting.

Netanyahu announced he would promote fast-track legislation that would set minimum sentences for perpetrators of rock-throwing and firebomb attacks. He also said the quickest way to deal with the problem was to keep perpetrators of such attacks in administrative detention throughout the course of legal proceedings against them. Further, Israel will examine changes in the rules of engagement for security forces and the levying of substantial fines on minors who take part in rock-throwing and firebomb attacks.

South African Jewish Community Protests Dual Citizenship Ban

( South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) political party is considering a change in the country’s policy on dual citizenship. The South African Jewish community believes the initiative is an effort to prevent Jewish citizens from serving in the Israel Defense Forces. The ANC is set to discuss the measure at a general council meeting next month, according to Obed Bapela, head of the ANC’s national executive committee’s subcommittee on international relations, the Sunday Times reported.

The measure will not only affect many in South Africa’s Jewish community who hold dual citizenship, but also millions of other South Africans.

“Obed Bapela has undermined the very core value of South Africa’s democracy by proposing a change to our law purely to prevent one sector of our society, in this case South African Jews, from having a relationship with Israel,” South African Jewish Board of Deputies and South African Zionist Federation spokeswoman Charisse Zeifert said.

Zeifert noted that Jews comprise only 0.1 percent of South Africa’s population, and accused Bapela of political grandstanding that is motivated “by his own narrow understanding of the Middle East conflict, which is based on religious fundamentalism and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) lobby within the ANC.”

The Jewish community has sought a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma to clarify the measure.

Stephen Colbert Draws BDS Advocates’ Ire

( Stephen Colbert, author and comedian, mentioned Sabra brand hummus in his first night as David Letterman’s replacement on CBS’ “Late Show.” Plugging the partially Israeli-owned hummus company caused controversy among Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) advocates, a number of whom posted angry tweets accusing Colbert of tacitly endorsing the “Israeli occupation.” Though based in the U.S., Sabra is evenly co-owned by multinational PepsiCo and Israeli food manufacturer Strauss. According to a Sabra representative, though Colbert was paid for the mention, “[Colbert] and his people could have turned to any other American company and they still chose us.” The same representative went on to emphasize the popularity Sabra enjoys among U.S. consumers and the company’s position as an American entity.

Hillel International Recipient of $16 Million Grant

( The Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded a $16 million grant to Hillel International. The largest grant ever provided by the foundation, the funds will be distributed over five years and will assist Hillel, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, to improve and expand its practices promoting Jewish student life and community. “We are excited and deeply humbled to receive this grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, which will position Hillel International to begin implementing its Drive to Excellence campaign,” said Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International. “As a global movement, we are intent on utilizing best practices to inspire every single Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.” The grant will assist Hillel in its new “Drive to Excellence” business goals, which involve recruiting and developing talent, engaging students on campus and developing resources. “When it comes to reaching, educating, and inspiring Jewish college students, Hillel is unsurpassed,” said Al Levitt, president of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “The Drive to Excellence is a strategic, deeply thoughtful initiative that can expand Hillel’s already effective efforts. This campaign warrants a grant of this magnitude, and we hope others are moved by the exciting possibilities, too.” A previous grant by the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2008 helped Hillel launch its Senior Jewish Educator/Campus Entrepreneur Initiative pilot program.

Netanyahu Willing to Negotiate with Palestinians ‘Immediately’

( On September 10, while on a diplomatic visit to Great Britain, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed a willingness to resume peace talks with the Palestinian Authority “immediately.” Speaking to the press at the beginning of a meeting with British PM David Cameron, Netanyahu continued, “I want to say, here in 10 Downing Street, and reaffirm again, that I am ready to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians with no conditions whatsoever to enter negotiations, and I’m willing to do so immediately.” He also addressed possible further collaboration between Israel and its allies, as well as turmoil in the region of which Israel is a part: “The Middle East is disintegrating under the twin forces of militant Islam: the militant Sunnis led by ISIS and the militant Shi’ites led by Iran. And I believe that we can cooperate in practical ways to roll back the tide of militant Islam both in the Middle East and in Africa altogether.”

Aggressive Islamic Temple Mount Groups Banned

( Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed a declaration banning two Islamic organizations known as “Mourabitoun” and “Mourabitat” from the ever-contested Temple Mount, which will remain under the administration of the Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf with security provided by Israeli police. In a media advisory, the Defense Ministry explained that these groups “engage in inciteful and dangerous activity against tourists, visitors and worshippers at the site, which leads to violence and is liable to injure human life.” Additionally, “The aforesaid organizations strive to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, change the existing reality and arrangements at the site, and infringe on freedom of worship. They are linked to—and frequently guided by—hostile Islamic organizations.” As documented last week by the Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov, the Waqf limits Jewish access to the Temple Mount to certain days and times of the week and bans any Jewish prayer on the site. Though some Jewish activists have advocated for greater access to the site, the Israeli government fears such a decision, as it may lead to increased Palestinian violence. However, “The State of Israel allows freedom of worship to all its citizens, tourists and visitors regardless of their religion, and holds this to be an important and essential basic value,” Ya’alon said.

EU to Label Israeli Products Manufactured Outside of Pre-1967 Borders

( On September 10, the parliament of the European Union voted in favor of a resolution to differentiate labels on products made in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights from those made in the rest of Israel. Some 525 voted in favor, with 70 opposed and 31 abstaining. EU officials claim this is not a boycott and represents an extension of existing EU law, which considers the regions beyond Israel’s pre-1967 lines to be “occupied territory” and not legally part of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the U.K. when the measure was approved, said, “It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace; it does not advance peace. The root of the conflict is not the territories, and the root of the conflict is not the settlements.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “Under the guise of a technical step, this is an attempt to force a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Europe is acting with hypocritical sanctimoniousness toward Israel when it does not consider proposing similar solutions to northern Cyprus or western Sahara.”

Senate Democrats
Block Republican Resolution to Kill Iran Treaty

( Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully blocked a resolution by Republicans that was meant to reject the Iran nuclear deal, while helping President Barack Obama avoid the use of his veto power for the measure.

In a 58-42 vote, Democrats filibustered the disapproval resolution that Republicans and some Democrats had hoped to send to Obama, who had promised to use his veto if needed.

The vote on Thursday came after nearly two months of contentious debate in the Congress over the nuclear deal. Despite the fact that Republicans, who unanimously opposed the deal, control both the houses of Congress, Senate rules stipulate that 60 votes are needed to successfully thwart a filibuster.

Initially, opponents of the deal had hoped to secure 67 votes—a two-thirds majority—to overcome a planned Obama veto. But those hopes were dashed last week when U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) became the 34th senator to support the deal.

“Regardless of how one feels about the agreement, fair-minded Americans should acknowledge the president’s strong achievements in combating and containing Iran,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of four Democrats to vote against the president, the New York Times reported.

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