Palestinian attackers kill 5 at Jerusalem synagogue, including 3 Americans

JERUSALEM The gruesome slaying of five Israelis at a synagogue early Tuesday left many residents of this city fearing that the worst is still to come, as Jerusalem descends deeper into a cycle of terror attacks and violent protest over its religious sites.

Many Israelis were especially stunned by the sense of violation created by the attack, in which two Palestinians armed with cleavers and a gun stormed a synagogue in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of West Jerusalem and killed four rabbis: a Briton and three Americans, including a member of two of Orthodox Judaisms most prominent families.

Late Tuesday, an Israeli police officer who rushed to the scene died of wounds suffered in the attack, and Israeli forces threatened to begin demolishing the family homes of Palestinians who have attacked Israelis. The Palestinian assailants, cousins from majority-Arab East Jerusalem, were killed at the scene by police.

Photographs of the attacks aftermath, released by the Israeli government, showed prayer shawls, an open prayer book and the arm of one of the four rabbis, wrapped in scripture-laden tefillin, lying in pools of blood.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night accused Palestinian leaders of inciting the violence and committing blood libel by suggesting that Jews were responsible for the death this week of a Palestinian bus driver who Israeli police say committed suicide by hanging.

Two Palestinian men allegedly killed four people with axes and knives inside a synagogue in Jerusalem early Tuesday, before police shot them dead. The attack happened in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of West Jerusalem. (Reuters)

Tuesday evening, Netanyahu ordered the destruction of the East Jerusalem homes of those linked to recent attacks. Seven Israelis have been killed in recent weeks as Palestinians rammed a car into passengers awaiting a Jerusalem Light Rail train and slashed people with knives at a bus stop in the West Bank and at a train station in Tel Aviv.

The home-razing tactic was common a decade ago, but Israel has rarely used it in recent years. Netanyahu said Tuesday the demolitions are an effective deterrent against further attacks.

This is a battle over Jerusalem, he said in a nationally televised address, insisting that Israelis would never give up their claims to the contested city. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which is annexed and occupied by Israel, to be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authoritys president, Mahmoud Abbas, denounced Tuesdays slayings and said such attacks violate all religious principles and do not serve the common interest we are trying to promote establishing a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.

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Palestinian attackers kill 5 at Jerusalem synagogue, including 3 Americans

Israel President Cancels Pop Star Appearance

Israel’s president on Tuesday canceled the appearance of a local pop star at a high-profile public event following the star’s release of a new song focusing on a fictional Arab who gets his kicks by stabbing Jews.

The release of the song by singer Amir Benayoun reflects the recent tensions between Jews and Muslims, connected in large part to competing claims to the most sensitive holy site in Jerusalem. President Reuven Rivlin, whose largely ceremonial role is meant to serve as a moral compass for the country, has repeatedly appealed for calm.

On Tuesday, Rivlin’s office said it was cancelling its invitation for Benayoun to perform at an event next week marking the expulsion and exile of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

The office said the sentiments expressed by Benayoun in the song “Ahmed Loves Israel” are “inconsistent with the responsibility required of the president’s residence.”

“His statements made at this time of conflict and tension … do not, to say the least, help bring calm to the streets,” it said.

“Ahmed Loves Israel” tells of a fictional Arab who wants to “send to hell a Jew or two” despite his moderate appearance.

“I wasn’t brought up on love,” the fictional Arab protagonist sings. “It’s true that the moment will come when you will turn your back on me, and I’ll stab you right in the back.”

Over the past month, Palestinian attackers have killed 11 people. Five Palestinian assailants have died at the hands of Israeli security forces, and an Arab-Israeli man was fatally shot by police during a violent protest.

Against this backdrop, the Israeli government is pushing new legislation that would codify Israel’s status as “the Jewish state.” Critics, including Arab rights groups and many Jewish Israelis, believe it would undercut Israel’s democratic character. Officials have delayed a parliamentary vote, originally scheduled for Wednesday, by a week while legislators search for compromise language.

The bill still threatens to fracture Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.

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Israel President Cancels Pop Star Appearance

Relationship between Israel and Jordan grows warier amid tensions in Jerusalem

AMMAN, Jordan Jordans king and his people are bristling with anger over Israeli actions at a sacred site for Muslims in Jerusalem, threatening to turn a cold peace between Israel and Jordan into a deep freeze.

The rising animosity between Jordan and Israel, whose governments are tethered by a peace treaty, could undermine U.S.-led efforts to fight Islamist extremists. It also threatens a multibillion-dollar natural gas deal that is important to both countries.

Jordan took the extraordinary step this month of recalling its ambassador to Israel to protest police incursions, provocative visits by Israeli politicians and the treatment of Muslim worshipers at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalems Old City. The ambassador has not returned.

Jordanian officials stressed that anything that undermines the monarchs ability to protect al-Aqsa undercuts his authority at home and in the eyes of Muslims elsewhere, which could undermine the regime at a time when it is taking risky moves to fight Islamist radicals in Iraq and Syria.

Jordans King Abdullah II is on the throne in part because of his claim to being a direct descendent of the prophet Muhammad and his custodianship of Islams holy places in Jerusalem, granted to him by a special agreement between Israel and Jordan. A king who cannot protect the mosque or that delicate arrangement may lose the support of his people.

The king has been extremely unhappy, said Jawad Anani, a member of the energy committee in the Jordanian Senate and former chief of the royal court.

Jordan could not afford to maintain its relations with Israel if the status quo is upended. It is that serious, he said. The Israeli extremists are playing with fire.

Israeli officials say they were forced to temporarily restrict access to the mosque in response to rioting, after a Palestinians recent attempt to assassinate a prominent activist who agitates for Jews to have the right to pray at the site. The first and second Jewish temples once stood at the site, a spot considered the holiest in Judaism.

In response to the mosque closures and what they see as heavy-handed actions by Israeli security forces trying to quell riots, populist members of the Jordanian parliament are calling for the government to close its embassy in Tel Aviv and reconsider the countries 1994 peace treaty. That treaty has provided quiet on Israels eastern flank for two decades.

On Wednesday, some Jordanian parliament members called for a moment of silence and read verses from the Koran to honor two Palestinians who killed five Israelis praying at a synagogue last week.

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Relationship between Israel and Jordan grows warier amid tensions in Jerusalem

Israel's Cabinet OKs Controversial Nationality Measure

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens during a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday. His Cabinet approved a draft law that defines the country as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” Jim Hollander/AP hide caption

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens during a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday. His Cabinet approved a draft law that defines the country as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

Israel’s Cabinet approved a draft law on Sunday that defines the country as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” The move has angered not only Israel’s Arab citizens, but also some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.

NPR’s Emily Harris is reporting on the measure, which must still be approved by Israel’s Parliament. Here’s what she told our Newscast unit:

“About 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arab and Israel already wrestles with being both a Jewish country and a fully democratic one. The final form of the legislation could cite Jewish religious law as a source for Israeli law and may drop Arabic as an official language. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims the proposed law is needed in part because Palestinians won’t accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. That came up in failed peace negotiations earlier this year. Palestinians say that they fear Arab-Israeli citizens and Palestinian refugees who fled what is now Israel would lose rights if the bill becomes law.”

The vote was 14-6. The opposition came from centrist parties in the Cabinet.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni warned that the bill, in its current form, would not pass. She said the measure “hurts the values of the state of Israel as laid down in the Declaration of Independence.” And, she added, “If the prime minister decides to fire ministers, that’s his decision.” Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the government’s chief legal counsel, has said some portions of the bill “would … lead to deterioration of the democratic characteristic of the state.” Finance Minister Yair Lapid has also criticized the bill, and Ahmad Tibi, an Arab-Israeli lawmaker, told The New York Times the proposed law “confirms that the Jewish and democratic state is fiction.”

But Netanyahu has said that Israel would stay Jewish and democratic.

“There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish, and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “And in the principles of the law that I will submit today, both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.”

Israel has regarded itself as a Jewish state since it was founded in 1948, but its Declaration of Independence ensures “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” And, as The New York Times reports, the country has no constitution: “instead its constitutional character is made up of basic laws, judgments and the Declaration of Independence of 1948.”

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Israel's Cabinet OKs Controversial Nationality Measure

WorldViews: An Israeli argument for the E.U. to recognize Palestine

On Thursday, the European Parliament will convene in Strasbourg, France, and hold a vote on whether to recognize Palestine as an independent state. The deliberation comes witha considerable amount of momentum: In recent weeks, a number of European governments have taken steps on their own to recognize Palestine as an independent state. Sweden formally recognized Palestine in October, becoming the most prominent European country to do so. Symbolic votes in the main legislatures of Britain, Spain and Ireland have followed since. France’s parliament is set to vote on the issue on Dec. 2.

As WorldViews wrote earlier, it all reflects widespread European frustration with Israel’s continued expansion of settlements into the West Bank and East Jersualem, which the Palestinians and the international community regard as the future capital of an independent Palestine. Talks between Israel and its Palestinian interlocutors have collapsed. Tensions between Arabs and Jewish Israelis in Jerusalem have reached a boiling point.

Lack of progress toward a two-state solution — and the factthat many in Israel’s current right-wing government have little interest in seeing it come to fruition– have led to this wave of symbolic recognitions of Palestine. They don’t make a viable Palestinian state any more real: Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and reduced whole swathes of the Gaza Strip to rubble during its summer offensive against the Islamist militant group, Hamas. But it does put the spotlight onthe government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which critics say has pushed the likelihood of a two-state solution further out of sight.

A defiant Netanyahu warned the French parliament on Sunday that itwas making a “grave mistake.”

Some other Israelis, though, are backing the European initiatives.In an op-ed written for the EUObserver Web site on Friday, former Israeli attorney general Michael Ben-Yair made a forceful argument for why the international community should press ahead with its recognition of Palestine, since, heargued, Israel had little interest in changing the current “oppressive” status quo:

The West Bank has remained an occupied territory for over 47 years. During this period we have ignored international treaties; expropriated land; moved Israeli settlers from Israel to the occupied territories; engaged in acts of disinheritance and theft. We have justified all these actions in the name of security.

Over the years, the motives for the occupation have merged into the following: economic exploitation of the occupied territories for the well-being of Israeli settlers and their needs.

In our eagerness to maintain control over the occupied territories, we have developed two separate legal systems: an advanced, liberal system for Israel and Israeli settlers; and a cruel, abusive system for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

In effect, we imposed an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately after their conquest. This oppressive regime exists to this day.

Ben-Yair, who was in government in the mid-1990s and is known for his outspoken views onIsraeli settlements, is hardly alone. More than 700 Israelis, including prominent artists and a Nobel laureate, have signed a petitionappealing to various European parliaments to follow Sweden’s lead.

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WorldViews: An Israeli argument for the E.U. to recognize Palestine

Israel President Cancels Pop Star Appearance

Israel’s president on Tuesday canceled the appearance of a local pop star at a high-profile public event following the star’s release of a new song focusing on a fictional Arab who gets his kicks by stabbing Jews.

The release of the song by singer Amir Benayoun reflects the recent tensions between Jews and Muslims, connected in large part to competing claims to the most sensitive holy site in Jerusalem. President Reuven Rivlin, whose largely ceremonial role is meant to serve as a moral compass for the country, has repeatedly appealed for calm.

On Tuesday, Rivlin’s office said it was cancelling its invitation for Benayoun to perform at an event next week marking the expulsion and exile of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

The office said the sentiments expressed by Benayoun in the song “Ahmed Loves Israel” are “inconsistent with the responsibility required of the president’s residence.”

“His statements made at this time of conflict and tension … do not, to say the least, help bring calm to the streets,” it said.

“Ahmed Loves Israel” tells of a fictional Arab who wants to “send to hell a Jew or two” despite his moderate appearance.

“I wasn’t brought up on love,” the fictional Arab protagonist sings. “It’s true that the moment will come when you will turn your back on me, and I’ll stab you right in the back.”

Over the past month, Palestinian attackers have killed 11 people. Five Palestinian assailants have died at the hands of Israeli security forces, and an Arab-Israeli man was fatally shot by police during a violent protest.

Against this backdrop, the Israeli government is pushing new legislation that would codify Israel’s status as “the Jewish state.” Critics, including Arab rights groups and many Jewish Israelis, believe it would undercut Israel’s democratic character. Officials have delayed a parliamentary vote, originally scheduled for Wednesday, by a week while legislators search for compromise language.

The bill still threatens to fracture Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.

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Israel President Cancels Pop Star Appearance

Israel Mulls Hard-Line Legislation After Attacks

JERUSALEM (AP) In a move likely to further inflame tensions with Israel’s Arab citizens, the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved a bill to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The decision, which set off a stormy debate that could bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brittle coalition government, followed weeks of deadly Arab-Jewish violence and was denounced by critics as damaging to the country’s democratic character and poorly timed at such a combustible moment.

It now heads toward a full parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

Israel has always defined itself as the “Jewish state” a term that was contained in the country’s declaration of independence in 1948. The new law seeks to codify that status as a “Basic Law,” Israel’s de facto constitution.

While many critics derided the measure as unnecessary, Netanyahu told his Cabinet the bill is a response to Israel’s Arab critics both inside and outside Israel who question the country’s right to exist.

Netanyahu has long demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland as a condition of any peace deal. Both the Palestinians and their Arab Israeli brethren say such acceptance would harm the rights of Israel’s more than 1.5 million Arab citizens.

The bill calls not only for recognizing Israel’s Jewish character but for institutionalizing Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and dropping Arabic as an official language.

Netanyahu insisted that Israel would be both Jewish and democratic.

“There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic,” he said. “And in the principles of the law that I will submit today both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.”

Israel is in the midst of its worst sustained bout of violence in nearly a decade. Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks over the past month, including five people who were killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue last week.

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Israel Mulls Hard-Line Legislation After Attacks

Israel News – Breaking World Israel News – The New York Times

Nov. 24, 2014

Israeli cabinet approves draft nationality bill that emphasizes nation’s Jewish character above its democratic nature; critics point out law could hurt fragile relationship with country’s Arab minority at time of heightened tensions. MORE

Israeli officials say they have confiscated thousands of commando-style knives, swords, fireworks and other dangerous devices that were hidden in shipping containers supposedly filled with Christmas decorations; police arrest five Arab citizens of Israel in connection with shipment, which came from China and was destined for East Jerusalem. MORE

Israeli security forces revive controversial antiterrorism policy, demolishing home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaloudy, Palestinian man who plowed his car into group of pedestrians in Jerusalem in October, killing baby and young woman; harsh tactic, coming amid spiraling violence, has not been employed for decade. MORE

Two Palestinians armed with gun, knives and axes storm synagogue in Jerusalem, killing four men, including three Americans; assailants are killed at scene, along with police officer; politicians and others worldwide condemn attack, worst in city since 2008, and its sectarian nature. MORE

Four Jewish men who were killed while at prayer in Jerusalem by Palestinian assailants were all members of neighborhood synagogue and lived on the same street; congregants attend funerals for Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Zeev Levine, Aryeh Kupinsky and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, mourning loss of synagogue’s ‘wise scholars.’ MORE

News analysis; deadly attack at Jerusalem Synagogue that resulted in deaths of four Orthodox Jews suggests that long-stalemated battle over disputed holy site may be emerging as a full-throated religious war; some Palestinians openly celebrate the killings, claiming act was in defense of site that Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary and Jews the Temple Mount; extremists on both sides seem to be acting increasingly beyond the control of Israeli and Palestinian leaders. MORE

Editorial expresses horror at murder of four men, including three rabbis, at synagogue complex in neighborhood of West Jerusalem; maintains it is tragedy for all Israelis and Palestinians, as the two communities appear increasingly locked in cycle of hatred that makes permanent peace seem impossible; calls on Palestinian Pres Mahmoud Abbas to make moral case that such brutality can only bring shame upon Palestinian people. MORE

Israeli forces patrolling border with Gaza Strip shoot and wound Palestinian as he approaches border fence and take him to Israeli hospital; spokeswoman says Palestinian is 10-year-old boy. MORE

Secretary of State John Kerry is optimistic after meeting with leaders of Jordan, Israel and, separately, Pres Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, that strife over volatile holy site in Old City of Jerusalem can be eased; site is revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews as Temple Mount. MORE

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Israel News – Breaking World Israel News – The New York Times

Fifth Person Dies In Israeli Synagogue Attack – ABC News

More ABC US news | ABC World NewsCopy

An Israeli police officer has died of his wounds from an attack at a Jerusalem synagogue by two knife-wielding Palestinian men earlier today, bringing the death toll in the assault to five.

The attackers also killed four rabbis, three of them American.

The officer was critically wounded when two Palestinian men armed with knives, axes and a pistol burst into the synagogue during morning prayers. He later died of his wounds.

The two alleged attackers were identified as cousins, Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal, from East Jerusalem, according to a police spokeswoman. Police said they shot and killed them at the scene.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would reply harshly after police said Palestinian assailants wielding knives and axes killed five people after attacking a Jerusalem synagogue.

After the attack, Netanyahu ordered the demolition of the alleged attackers homes and arrested multiple members of each mans family. He told reporters he would also demolish the homes of other Palestinians accused of recent attacks against Israeli citizens.

We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers, said Netanyahu.

This the first attack of this kind on an Israeli synagogue.

Netanyahu earlier had denounced the attack as a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.”

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Fifth Person Dies In Israeli Synagogue Attack – ABC News

3 U.S. citizens killed in Jerusalem synagogue attack

Israeli emergency personnel walk past blood on the floor in a synagogue that was the scene of an attack by two Palestinians on Israeli worshippers in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

Last Updated Nov 18, 2014 11:05 AM EST

JERUSALEM — Two Palestinians stormed a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, attacking worshippers praying inside with meat cleavers and a gun, and killing four people before they were killed in a shootout with police, officials said.

Three of the victims — Aryeh Kopinsky, Calman Levine, Moshe Twersky — were dual American-Israeli citizens, a police official confirmed to CBS News. The fourth, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, was a dual British-Israeli citizen. All four were also rabbis. A fifth victim, a policeman, died of his wounds later, CBS News reported. He was identified in the Jerusalem Post as 30-year-old Zidan Saif.

30 Photos

Four rabbis killed in deadliest attack in Jerusalem in years as tensions soar.

In a statement, President Obama condemned the attack, but urged for calm on all sides.

“At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace,” Mr. Obama said.

It was the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in years and was bound to ratchet up fears of sustained violence in the city, already on edge amid soaring tensions over a contested holy site.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel will “respond harshly” to the attack, describing it as a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to Netanyahu after the assault and denounced it as an “act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence.”

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3 U.S. citizens killed in Jerusalem synagogue attack

Israeli cabinet moves to define Israel as Jewish state

In a move likely to further inflame tensions with Israel’s Arab citizens, the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved a bill to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The decision, which set off a stormy debate that could bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brittle coalition government, followed weeks of deadly Arab-Jewish violence and was denounced by critics as damaging to the country’s democratic character and poorly timed at such a combustible moment.

It now heads toward a full parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

Israel has always defined itself as the “Jewish state” a term that was contained in the country’s declaration of independence in 1948. The new law seeks to codify that status as a “Basic Law,” Israel’s de facto constitution.

While many critics derided the measure as unnecessary, Netanyahu told his Cabinet the bill is a response to Israel’s Arab critics both inside and outside Israel who question the country’s right to exist.

Netanyahu has long demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland as a condition of any peace deal. Both the Palestinians and their Arab Israeli brethren say such acceptance would harm the rights of Israel’s more than 1.5 million Arab citizens.

The bill calls not only for recognizing Israel’s Jewish character but for institutionalizing Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and dropping Arabic as an official language.

Netanyahu insisted that Israel would be both Jewish and democratic.

“There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic,” he said. “And in the principles of the law that I will submit today both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.”

Israel is in the midst of its worst sustained bout of violence in nearly a decade. Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks over the past month, including five people who were killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue last week.

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Israeli cabinet moves to define Israel as Jewish state

Netanyahu warns of 'grave mistake' if France recognises Palestine

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday (Nov 23) that France’s parliament would be making a “grave mistake” if it recognises a Palestinian state in a vote on Dec 2.

“Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen?” he told reporters in Jerusalem, referring to hiker HerveGourdel who was executed by his militant captors in Algeria in September. “Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake,” Netanyahu said.

“The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognise the right to have a state for the Jewish people,” Netanyahu told members of Israel’s growing Jewish community from France.

His comments came just hours after his cabinet voted 14-6 in favour of a controversial proposal to anchor in law Israel’s status as “the national homeland of the Jewish people”.

France’s plans for a non-binding but highly symbolic vote follows similar resolutions passed by the British and Spanish parliaments, and an official decision to recognise Palestine by the Swedish government. Sweden’s move infuriated Israel which responded by recalling its ambassador to Stockholm.

A draft of the proposal in France “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.

European leaders have shown signs of mounting impatience with Israel over its continued settlement-building on Palestinian land. Criticism has become more focused in the wake of this summer’s 50-day offensive by the Israeli army in Gaza that killed about 2,200 Palestinians and dozens of Israelis.

The French parliamentary vote follows a similar resolution to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” approved by British lawmakers on Oct 13. Israel warned that the British resolution, which passed with a huge majority but is also non-binding, risked undermining peace prospects.

Sweden went further by announcing on Oct 30 that it officially recognised the Palestinian state, a move heavily criticised by Israel and the United States.

The Palestinian Authority estimates that 135 countries have now recognised Palestine as a state, although the number is disputed and several recognitions by what are now European Union member states date back to the Soviet era.

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Netanyahu warns of 'grave mistake' if France recognises Palestine

Netanyahu warns of 'grave mistake' if France recognises Palestine

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday (Nov 23) that France’s parliament would be making a “grave mistake” if it recognises a Palestinian state in a vote on Dec 2.

“Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen?” he told reporters in Jerusalem, referring to hiker HerveGourdel who was executed by his militant captors in Algeria in September. “Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake,” Netanyahu said.

“The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognise the right to have a state for the Jewish people,” Netanyahu told members of Israel’s growing Jewish community from France.

His comments came just hours after his cabinet voted 14-6 in favour of a controversial proposal to anchor in law Israel’s status as “the national homeland of the Jewish people”.

France’s plans for a non-binding but highly symbolic vote follows similar resolutions passed by the British and Spanish parliaments, and an official decision to recognise Palestine by the Swedish government. Sweden’s move infuriated Israel which responded by recalling its ambassador to Stockholm.

A draft of the proposal in France “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict”.

European leaders have shown signs of mounting impatience with Israel over its continued settlement-building on Palestinian land. Criticism has become more focused in the wake of this summer’s 50-day offensive by the Israeli army in Gaza that killed about 2,200 Palestinians and dozens of Israelis.

The French parliamentary vote follows a similar resolution to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” approved by British lawmakers on Oct 13. Israel warned that the British resolution, which passed with a huge majority but is also non-binding, risked undermining peace prospects.

Sweden went further by announcing on Oct 30 that it officially recognised the Palestinian state, a move heavily criticised by Israel and the United States.

The Palestinian Authority estimates that 135 countries have now recognised Palestine as a state, although the number is disputed and several recognitions by what are now European Union member states date back to the Soviet era.

More here:
Netanyahu warns of 'grave mistake' if France recognises Palestine

Israel Mulls Hard-Line Legislation After Attacks

JERUSALEM (AP) In a move likely to further inflame tensions with Israel’s Arab citizens, the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved a bill to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The decision, which set off a stormy debate that could bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brittle coalition government, followed weeks of deadly Arab-Jewish violence and was denounced by critics as damaging to the country’s democratic character and poorly timed at such a combustible moment.

It now heads toward a full parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

Israel has always defined itself as the “Jewish state” a term that was contained in the country’s declaration of independence in 1948. The new law seeks to codify that status as a “Basic Law,” Israel’s de facto constitution.

While many critics derided the measure as unnecessary, Netanyahu told his Cabinet the bill is a response to Israel’s Arab critics both inside and outside Israel who question the country’s right to exist.

Netanyahu has long demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland as a condition of any peace deal. Both the Palestinians and their Arab Israeli brethren say such acceptance would harm the rights of Israel’s more than 1.5 million Arab citizens.

The bill calls not only for recognizing Israel’s Jewish character but for institutionalizing Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and dropping Arabic as an official language.

Netanyahu insisted that Israel would be both Jewish and democratic.

“There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic,” he said. “And in the principles of the law that I will submit today both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.”

Israel is in the midst of its worst sustained bout of violence in nearly a decade. Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks over the past month, including five people who were killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue last week.

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Israel Mulls Hard-Line Legislation After Attacks

Tensions grow between Israel's Jewish majority and Arab minority

Tensions gripping Israel after this weeks attack on a Jerusalem synagogue took on distinct ethnic overtones Thursday when a mayor in southern Israel said he was banning Arab workers from construction projects at local day-care centers.

The mayor of Ashkelon, Itamar Shimoni, swiftly came under criticism from other Israeli officials over the ban, which he said had come in response to demands by parents and was not intended as a permanent measure. The workers in question were building reinforced concrete safe rooms to protect the preschoolers and their teachers against rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Shimonoi also ordered armed guards placed near dozens of other construction sites employing Arabs.

Arab citizens of Israel, who make up 20% of the population, responded to the news with a mixture of resignation and indignation. Why stop at kindergartens? Arab Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi asked sarcastically. Maybe all of Israel should just be Arab-free?

While recent clashes have involved mainly Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Arabs are in the majority, the friction has spilled over into Israeli cities and towns that have predominantly Arab populations.

Earlier this month, the fatal police shooting of a young Arab man who had battered a police vehicle triggered days of rioting around the northern town of Kfar Kana. Protests were galvanized by a video that appeared to show the man backing away as he was shot.

The Kfar Kana episode crystallized feelings of resentment on the part of many Israeli Arabs, who say they are often treated as second-class citizens, facing systematic discrimination in jobs, housing and education. Arab sensibilities also have been rankled by efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government on behalf of a bill that would designate Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.

No Arab citizen of Israel has been implicated as a perpetrator in a recent wave of attacks that have killed 11 people in the past month, including five who died in Tuesdays assault on a synagogue in the devoutly religious neighborhood of Har Nof in West Jerusalem.

But even before the synagogue carnage, a series of lone-wolf assaults by assailants wielding knives or using cars as weapons had left many Israeli Jews feeling fearful for their personal safety. In some quarters that has led to blanket mistrust of all Arabs, whether they are citizens of Israel or not.

Authorities were investigating whether the two assailants in Har Nof, who were killed by police at the scene, had worked in a store in the neighborhood, and thus had knowledge of prayer times, and the fact that the synagogue was virtually unguarded. The attackers were Arab residents of East Jerusalem, most of whom do not have Israeli citizenship but are able to move and work freely in the city.

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Tensions grow between Israel's Jewish majority and Arab minority

Four Rabbis Killed In Gruesome Attack At A Jerusalem Synagogue #2| November 18, 2014 – Video




Four Rabbis Killed In Gruesome Attack At A Jerusalem Synagogue #2| November 18, 2014
F.B.I. to investigate attack as three of the victims are dual Israeli-American citizens. From abcNews, Hot News Of The World, abc news, abc news tofd, abc special repot, breaking news, breaking…

By: Hot News Of The World

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Four Rabbis Killed In Gruesome Attack At A Jerusalem Synagogue #2| November 18, 2014 – Video