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Israel

Costa Rica becomes 33rd country to launch pro-Israel caucus

Costa Rica launched an official Israel Allies Caucus in its parliament last week, becoming the 33rd country in the world to do so, officials present at the event said Sunday.

The caucus was facilitated by The Israel Allies Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting communication between parliamentarians and legislators around the world who share the belief that the State of Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders.

"The establishment of the caucus demonstrates Costa Rica’s profound support for Israel and the importance it places in its bilateral relationship with the Jewish state," said the foundation's Latin American coordinator, Leopoldo Martinez.

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United Church of Christ Votes to Divest From Israel

The General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC), which has just under 1 million members in 5,100 congregations, voted today 508-124 with 38 abstentions to divest from companies conducting business in "Israel-occupied Palestinian territories" and boycott products made in those territories. The church's pension board and investment fund combined control about $4 billion; the economic effect on Israel will likely be negligible. The United Church of Christ supports a "sovereign, independent Palestinian state."

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

"The fast-declining United Church of Christ's vote today to divest from and boycott businesses doing business with Israel is sad but fortunately mostly inconsequential. Having lost over 50 percent of its membership, and now below 1 million members, the once prestigious and influential denomination likely speaks for few of even its own few remaining members.

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Israel Considers Bill to Ban Those Promoting Boycott From Entering Country

MK Yinon Magal (Jewish Home) has put forward a new bill to prohibit foreign citizens calling to boycott Israel from entering the country.

The proposed bill, which aims to prevent foreign activists from agitating against Israel from its own territory, comes against the backdrop of an upsurge in international movements to isolate the Jewish State.

"The past years have seen an increase in the frequency of calls to boycott Israel; the issue is on the public agenda" Magal's spokesman, Yochai Nadiv, told Tazpit News Agency, alluding to recent incidents such as the statements made by Orange CEO Staphane Richard last week regarding his intention to sever ties with Israel's Partner mobile service provider.

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Michigan Prof Blames Charleston Shooting On Jews, Islamophobia

Juan Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, claims right-wing Jews and an "Islampohobic network" were "a key influence" to Dylann Roof's rampage that killed nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C.

"The Muslim-hatred of the Geert Wilders and Marine LePens in Europe, for which Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller, and the whole Islamophobic network are cheerleaders and enablers, was a key influence on Dylann Roof, according to his manifesto," Cole writes on his popular blog, Informed Comment.

But as The College Fix points out, and one commenter noted, Roof's manifesto makes no mention of Pipes, Geller, Wilders, Muslims, or Islam.

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UN Secretary-General weighs lumping Israel in with ISIS and Al Qaeda

This week Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz have posed a challenge for would-be presidents and all Americans:  if the United Nations criminalizes Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense it will pay a heavy price.  The organization has no right to expect billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to be doled out every year when they are spent undercutting our deepest values and our national security.

Graham and Cruz's comments come after learning that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is now weighing whether to sign off on a report emanating from an Algerian U.N. "human rights expert" that analogizes Israel to ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda.  Leila Zerrougui's rights expertise includes eight years (2000-2008) as legal advisor to Algeria's President-for-life Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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Poll finds worrying rise in anti-Semitism in US, UK, Germany

Nearly 150 million Europeans think Israel is an apartheid state and even uses Nazi methods, a recent poll submitted to the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee indicates.

Professor Gustavo Perednik, who lectured on anti-Semitism at South American universities, presented the findings.

Diplomats from various Western countries discussed the findings and troubling anti-Semitic trends. German Deputy Ambassador Monica Leverson admitted that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany was up by 25%.

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Israel to France: Renounce Orange CEO's comments supporting boycott

Israel's Ambassador to France called on the Elysee Palace on Thursday to renounce comments made by Orange CEO Stephane Richard expressing his wish to end ties with Israel over its policies in the Palestinian territories.

French telecom operator Orange, which has an affiliate agreement with the Israeli firm Partner, is one of Israel's largest cellular service providers. The chief executive of the major European cell phone company said on Wednesday he would gladly sever ties with Israel "tomorrow" if it wasn't so financially prohibitive.

Israeli Ambassador to France Yossi Gal spoke with the Foreign and Finance Ministries in Paris to try and persuade the French government to distance themselves from the boycott remarks, Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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Hajj Amin Husseini's Anti-Semitic Legacy

The Jerusalem mufti, Muhammad Hajj Amin Husseini, leader of the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, is widely known for his close collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. Aspects of the collaboration remain to be more thoroughly scrutinized.[1] However, and without discounting his culpability for the collapse and dispersal of Palestinian Arab society (or al-Nakba, the catastophe, as it is called by Palestinians and Arabs), Hajj Amin's role in shaping Muslim perceptions of Jews might be a far more important and lasting legacy than his political activism in Palestine, Germany, or elsewhere.[2] An important source supporting this fact is a booklet he authored for Muslim soldiers enlisted in the Nazi SS division in Bosnia.

During the mufti's stay in Berlin in 1941-45, he befriended Hitler's right-hand man, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Himmler's fascination with Islam and the mufti's zealous support for the Nazi cause resulted in several common enterprises, notably the establishment of a volunteer Waffen-SS division in Bosnia, made up mostly of Bosnian Muslims, later named the Handzar division. Most books about the division display photographs of its soldiers-distinguishable by its insignia on uniform lapels and fez headgear-reading a booklet titled Islam und Judentum-most certainly the German version of the mufti's Croatian or Bosnian pamphlet Islam i zidovstvo (Islam and Judaism).

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Obama Threatens to Cut US Support at UN in Israeli Interview

US President Barack Obama gave an interview with Israeli media on Tuesday, in which he threatened that an Israeli refusal to renew peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) will "make it hard" for the US to veto motions in the UN against Israel.

In an interview with Ilana Dayan for Channel 2's "Uvda" (Fact) TV show aired Tuesday night, Obama commented on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements before elections in which he said that a Palestinian state won't be founded on his watch.

Obama noted that later Netanyahu distanced from the statement and "suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state. But it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met anytime in the near future."

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Iran nuke talks impeded by disagreement on all main elements

Iran and six powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date and will likely have to extend their negotiations, two diplomats tell The Associated Press.

Their comments enforce concerns that obstacles to a pact remain beyond the public debate on how far Iran must open its nuclear program to outside purview under any deal.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has for weeks rebuffed U.S. demands that U.N. nuclear monitors have access to military sites and nuclear scientists as they monitor Tehran's commitments under a deal and probe allegations of past work on atomic arms.

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Palestinian PM Says US Coordinating With France on UN Palestinian State Resolution

A French initiative at the United Nations to set a timeline for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state is being coordinated with the United States, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told The Washington Post on Monday.

"There is the French initiative now, in coordination with the United States, and they talk about a time limit. This U.N. resolution can be issued which would set a time to end the occupation and establish a state along the '67 borders," said Hamdallah, who succeeded Salam Fayyad as head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian government since 2013.

Hamdallah said the Palestinians wanted a "guarantee" for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

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Security level raised at Jewish sites in Melbourne

The Community Security Group (CSG) announced today that there is new and current intelligence which indicated that a radicalised person may attack the Melbourne Jewish community.

"No particular facility or organisation has been identified and no particular timeframe has been specified," CSG said in a letter to key communal organisations today.

The letter said that CSG enacted its internal escalation plan last week and that the information has been conveyed to Victoria Police and other Australian security agencies.

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Credit card giant Visa opens Israeli R&D center

International credit card and finance firm Visa is opening a start-up R&D center, the company announced this week, and has signed up its first four members, said David Page, co-creator and innovation partner at Visa Europe Collab.

"Israel is known as the 'start-up nation' and its entrepreneurs are turning their creativity to the fintech arena," said Page.

With the move, Visa joins fellow credit card firm MasterCard, which has been working in Israel for over four years. But Visa has not been avoiding Israel; in fact, the entire Visa Europe Collab financial technology hub, as the program is known, is brand new. The first Collab hub was opened in London at the beginning of May, and three weeks later, Visa has opened its second Collab branch - in Tel Aviv.

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Anti-Semitic Canadian Paper Blames Jews for 9/11

The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) filed a formal complaint with the Toronto Police earlier this month, after an anti-Semitic advertisement was featured in the May issue of the Your Ward News bulletin.

The bulletin is distributed by mail to residents in the East York and Beach areas.

The front page displays several images mocking religious Jews (including one with a long nose), and one of them says: "Here the Holocaust is repeating itself."

On the first page the following headline: "Benjamin Levine the Jew convicted of pedophilia", although the question of Levin's Jewishness is irrelevant to the crimes which he was convicted, CIJA adds.

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Massive Fires Burn Around Israel, 3 Homes Decimated

Huge fire in forest outside Beit Shemesh spreads out of control, after blaze in Tel Mond sets gas balloons on fire and levels homes. 

The record-high heat wave descending on Israel on Wednesday has led to an outburst of fires, with three homes burned to the ground and a large forest outside Beit Shemesh blazing in a massive fire that is spreading out of control.

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London Nazi Rally to Stand in 'Solidarity' With Palestinians

One of the organizers of a neo-Nazi demonstration targeting the heart of London's Jewish community has said protesters plan to desecrate Israeli flags and Jewish holy books in solidarity with the Palestinians and against the State of Israel.

Joshua Bonehill - a fascist activist with numerous convictions for petty crime and racism - initiated the anti-Semitic campaign earlier this year, to target British Jews by holding so-called "anti-Jewification" rallies in areas of London with sizable Jewish communities. 

The campaign has since been picked up by a coalition of neo-Nazis and other far-right groups, who recently held a small protest in Stamford Hill, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of Orthodox Jews in Europe.

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IAF Strikes Terrorist Infrastructures in Gaza

IAF aircraft on Wednesday morning struck four terrorist infrastructures in southern Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson said. Direct hits at the targets were identified, said the statement. The airstrike came in response to the rocket attack on southern Israel on Tuesday evening.

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Egypt court sentences Mohamed Mursi to death

An Egyptian court sentenced deposed President Mohamed Mursi to death on Tuesday over a mass jail break during the country's 2011 uprising and issued sweeping punishments against the leadership of Egypt's oldest Islamic group.

The general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and four other Brotherhood leaders were also handed the death penalty. More than 80 others were sentenced to death in absentia.

The Brotherhood described the rulings as "null and void" and called for a popular uprising on Friday.

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Heat Wave Hits Peak, Breaks 2015 Records

If you live in Israel and don't need to go outside today (Wednesday) - don't. The heat wave that has been building in recent days is reaching a peak, and will reach record highs for the year. Nearly the entire country will break 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday as the temperatures spike.

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Congressmen call on Obama to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital after US court ruling

President Barak Obama must use his executive power to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, pro-Israel congressmen said after last week's US Supreme Court decision to strike down a congressional law allowing "Israel" to be written as the birthplace on passports of Jerusalem-born Americans.

The Supreme Court took the Obama's administration's side in Zivotovsky v. Kerry last Monday, saying that the law encroached on the president's prerogative to set foreign policy.

Members of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus came out against the decision, with many calling for Obama to use the power the court ruled he alone holds to do what the now-canceled law authorized.

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'We'll Do Whatever Is Needed to Preserve Quiet'

Netanyahu says IDF acted 'immediately and forcefully' in response to rocket fired from Gaza.

As he greeted visiting US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said a few words to the press Wednesday about the rocket fired from Gaza Tuesday against Israel.

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