We have nominated some "worthy" candidates who have been featured as Doofus of the Day. Please vote for your favorites. If your favorite is not included in the list of elite Doofii, please select "Some Other Doofus" and name your candidate in the comments.
The nominees are:
Neturei Karta (the winners in 2009) Queers For Palestine Helen Thomas Gaza Flotilla Blockade Runners PETA Some Other Doofus (Nominate your favorite in the comments)
This poll will stay up for the month of January, and may the Dumbest Doofus win!
"Some Other Doofus": Random Spammer (5 votes) Carlos Latuff (1 vote) Jenny Peto (1 vote)
Doesn't this creepy kid from "Village of the Damned" look suspiciously like Julian Assange?
WikiLeaks founder tells Al Jazeera leaked documents in his possession show top Arab officials disclose sensitive information to CIA
Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, said he holds the names of senior officials in the Arab world who visit US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily "to establish links" with the CIA.
"These officials are spies for the US in their countries," Assange said in the second part of his interview with Arab television network Al Jazeera. He said the leaked documents in his possession show that Arab officials reveal sensitive information on their colleagues and respective countries.
The WikiLeaks founder said the website would consider exposing the names of the Arab officials only if it would be certain it would not lead to their death.
Assange warned that the revelations may lead to dangerous coups in the Arab world. He added that WikiLeaks plans to reveal some 7,000 documents related to Egypt and its president, Hosni Mubarak.
Other leaked documents, he said, reveal information on the oil industry in the Arab world over the past few decades.
With ongoing and increasing intensity, the Palestinian leadership is fixated on advancing a policy vis-à-vis the international community and public opinion, demanding recognition of what they claim to be the “1967 borders,” and acceptance of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state within those borders.
Indeed, this campaign appeared to have some initial successes recently when Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay decided to recognize a Palestinian state within what they described as the “1967 borders.”
In fact, the Palestinian leadership, as well as the international community, are well aware that such borders do not exist, and have never existed. They have never figured in any of the international, agreed-upon documents concerning the Israel-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian issues, and have no basis whatsoever, either in law or in fact.
There were never any geographic imperatives that sanctified the 1967 lines. Clearly, there could be no legal or political logic to enshrining as an international boundary a coincidental set of cease-fire lines that existed for less than 19 years.
While the above is fully evident to the Palestinian leaders who are actively advancing this policy – principally the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the head of the PA negotiations department, Saeb Erekat, both of whom were themselves actively involved in all the stages of negotiation – they nevertheless continue to present the “1967 borders” as an accepted international term, and an Israeli commitment.
THE TERM “1967 lines” refers to the line from which the IDF moved into the territories at the start of hostilities on June 4, 1967 (the Six Day War).
These lines were not based on historical fact, natural geographic formations, demographic considerations or international agreement. In fact, they had served as the agreed-upon armistice lines from the termination of the 1948 War of Independence, pursuant to the armistice agreements then signed between Israel and its neighbors – Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – in 1949. These lines remained valid until the outbreak of the 1967 hostilities.
The armistice lines represented nothing more than the forward lines of deployment of the forces on the day a cease-fire was declared, as set out in Security Council Resolution 62 of November 16, 1948, which called for the delineation of permanent armistice demarcation lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective parties would not move. The line was demarcated on the map attached to the armistice agreement with a green marker pen and hence received the name “Green Line.”
The Security Council in its resolution stressed the temporary nature of the armistice lines – lines that were to be maintained “during the transition to permanent peace in Palestine,” intimating that permanent peace would involve negotiating permanent bilateral borders that would differ from the armistice demarcation lines.
In fact, the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement signed on April 13, 1949, as well as all the other armistice agreements, emphasized the transitional nature of each armistice as “an indispensable step toward the liquidation of armed conflict and the restoration of peace in Palestine.”
The language of the agreement went to great pains to stress that the armistice lines were of a provisional and nonpolitical nature, and were not intended to and did not constitute international boundaries, and as such do not prejudice the rights, claims and positions of the parties in the ultimate peace settlement: “No provision of this agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.
“The basic purpose of the armistice demarcation lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective parties shall not move.
“The provisions of this article shall not be interpreted as prejudicing, in any sense, an ultimate political settlement between the parties to this agreement.
“The armistice demarcation lines defined in... this agreement are agreed upon by the parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either party relating thereto.”
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- More than two dozen Israeli rabbis' wives have signed a letter urging Jewish women not to date or work with Arab men.
The letter, which had at least 27 signatories, was distributed Tuesday by Lehava, a one-year-old organization dedicated to preventing intermarriage between Jews and Arabs.
The letter comes on the heels of another letter published earlier this month and signed by several dozen municipal rabbis calling on Jews not to sell or rent properties to non-Jews. That letter created a furor, sparking a host of condemnations from some Israeli political figures and numerous religious and community leaders in the United States, including the main Modern Orthodox rabbinical group, the Rabbinical Council of America.
"There are quite a few Arab workers who use Hebrew names," noted the letter from the rabbis' wives. "Yusuf becomes Yossi, Samir becomes Sami and Abed becomes Ami. They seek your proximity, try to appeal to you and give you all the attention you could ask for. They actually know how to be polite and how to act, making you believe they really care… but their behavior is only temporary. As soon as they have in you in their grasp, in their village, under their complete control -- everything becomes different. Your life will never be the same, and the attention you sought will be replaced with curses, physical abuse and humiliation."
So when your grandmother told you not to date a non-Jew, she was being a racist? A nazi, even? Like nobody in all of Jewish history ever suggested that maybe marrying out of the faith was not a good thing?
Generally, the kind of Jews who date and marry non-Jews also don't really feel much attachment to Judaism. People who do feel strongly about their faith will want to look for partners who share their faith. The solution is to strengthen their bonds to their faith, not issue "Public Declarations" condemning interfaith marriage, as though, up till now, everybody was OK with it.
If Jewish men are really so disturbed by Jewish girls dating Arabs, maybe they should be more attentive and romantic so that Jewish girls will be attracted to them instead of to some "dashing sheik."
Likewise, why would a Jewish man want to marry Chelsea Clinton when he could have a mother-in-law like...The Vicious Babushka!
JERUSALEM — Chaim Amsellem was certainly not the first Parliament member to suggest that most ultra-Orthodox men should work rather than receive welfare subsidies for full-time Torah study. But when he did so last month, the nation took notice: He is a rabbi, ultra-Orthodox himself, whose outspokenness ignited a fresh, and fierce, debate about the rapid growth of the ultra-religious in Israel.
“Torah is the most important thing in the world,” Rabbi Amsellem said in an interview. But now more than 60 percent of ultra-Orthodox men in Israel do not work, compared with 15 percent in the general population, and he argued that full-time, state-financed study should be reserved for great scholars destined to become rabbis or religious judges.
“Those who are not that way inclined,” he said, “should go out and earn a living.”
In reaction, he was ousted from his own ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, whose leaders vilified him with such venom that he was assigned a bodyguard. The party newspaper printed a special supplement describing Rabbi Amsellem as “Amalek,” the biblical embodiment of all evil.
The intensity of the attacks from his own ranks appeared to underscore their own fears about a growing backlash to the privileges and subsidies long granted to the ultra-religious. The issue is not just the hundreds of millions of dollars doled out annually for seminaries and child allowances. Worry — and anger — is deepening about whether Israel can survive economically if it continues to encourage a culture of not working.
Already, there are an increasing number of programs to prod the ultra-Orthodox to join the work force and to serve out the military duties required of all other Jewish Israelis. But critics say these are not enough: Rabbi Amsellem says what is needed is nothing less than “revolution.”
The ultra-Orthodox, known in Hebrew as haredim, or those in awe of God, make up 10 percent of Israel’s population of 7.5 million, but are increasing rapidly. In addition to the men, more than 50 percent of haredi women do not work, compared with 21 percent among mainstream Jewish women. About 75 percent of Arab women do not work.
But while the Arab fertility rate has been dropping, the haredim still marry young and favor large families with eight children or more. Enrollment in ultra-Orthodox primary schools has increased by more than 50 percent over the last decade.
“We have a few years to get our act together,” warned Dan Ben-David, an economist and director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, an independent research institute.
“If not, there will be a point of no return.”
Several months ago the center issued a report that caused widespread alarm: If current trends continue, it said, 78 percent of primary school children in Israel by 2040 will be either ultra-Orthodox or Arab.
NGO reports Eritreans traveling to Israel to seek asylum are being held captive by terrorist group in northern Sinai. 'Extortion, organ trafficking fund Hamas and al-Qaeda," EveryOne co-President Roberto Malini says
Approximately 250 Eritrean refugees have been held captive and tortured for the past month by Hamas in northern Sinai, human rights organization EveryOne reported.
The Italian-based organization sent an urgent plea to the Egyptian government last Thursday, claiming that the refugees, who were making their way to Israel to seek asylum, were captured by human traffickers.
The issue of illegal refugees infiltrating through the Egyptian border has been dominating the news in Israel in recent months, but it appears that many meet a dreadful fate even before reaching the Jewish state.
The humanitarian aid group reported that the refugees in question encountered Hamas operatives along the route, who promised to smuggle them into Israel for a payment of $2,000. Instead, they were placed in a detention facility on the outskirts of Rafah, an Egyptian town on the Gaza border, demanding their families in Eritrea pay a $10,000 ransom for their release.
'Refugees target of organ trafficking'
It was further noted in the statement that eight of the immigrants were killed, and four have gone missing – allegedly being the subject of human organ harvesting and trafficking. About 100 of them were transferred to a 'concentration camp' at an unknown location, perhaps in the Palestinian territories. The captives are beaten, the women and children raped.
"The prisoners eat poor food and are forced to drink their own urine," the statement reads. "Most of the migrants are contemplating suicide."
According to Roberto Malini, who heads EveryOne, the NGO is able to communicate with the Eritreans, some of whom arrived in Italy a few months ago but were sent back to Libya, where they were held for three months. During their stay in Italy they were given cell phones so that they can keep the humanitarian aid group updated along the journey. The captors let the prisoners use the phones to request money from their families.
The refugees were thus able to relate the poor conditions in which they were being held, and describe their location – a house located near a government building, surrounded by a fruit orchard – and even send photographs of the detention facility.
Speaking as one who has been living in Israel for 35 years, and served for 22 years in milluim, most of it in Lebanon and the territories, I can only say that you people are so full of racist garbage that I am ASHAMED (to put it mildly) that we belong to same tribe.
If I may put it a littler less subtely -- fuck off back to Amerika. We don't need you and don't want you.
Well Danny boy, I don't even know what we have published here to make you wet your pants, but maybe you should take your own advice. We don't need you and we don't want you either. You are welcome to never visit this website again.
Arrested spy tells all: Egyptian confesses to working for, recruiting 'hundreds' for Mossad; says Israeli intelligence agency was involved in sabotage that caused entire country's internet network to collapse
Egyptian press continues attack on Israeli Mossad: Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported Monday that the spy who - according to Egypt - confessed to working for the Mossad, revealed in his interrogation that an additional Egyptian agent was working for Israeli intelligence.
He further claimed that Israel was behind the sabotage that disrupted Egyptian internet connections 18 months ago.
In the report it was claimed that arrested spy Tarek Hassan met with an agent in Beijing where he maintains that he "recruited hundreds of Egyptians for the Mossad". The man who received the nickname "Al Ustaz", which means "the master" or "the lecturer" in Arabic, has worked for Israeli intelligence for over 20 years and has never been arrested.
During his interrogation Hassan also said that he realized from his Mossad handler 'Idi Moshe' that Israeli intelligence was behind the sabotage in the cables that connected Egypt to the World Wide Web through the Mediterranean.
The cables were cut 18 months ago a few kilometers away from Italy's shores, and caused Egypt's entire internet network to collapse, causing major losses for the Egyptian economy and companies that trade through the internet.
Last week the Egyptian prosecution announced that it has presented indictments against an Egyptian citizen and two Israeli citizens who are suspected of being a part of the Egyptian spy ring whose operations included wire-tapping into Egyptian officials' phone lines.
The al-Ahram newspaper reported that the two Israelis involved in the affair escaped from Egypt and will be tried in absentia.
Hassan, who according to the Egyptian press, was the contact between the Israeli handler and a Mossad spy working in Lebanon managed to collect supposedly classified information which is considered to be of critical importance for Syrian security services.
In the last few days it has been claimed that he published internet ads through which he tried to recruit agents for the Mossad among Syrian and Lebanese cellular company employees.
According to the Arab press, the connection between Hassan and Israeli intelligence services began a few years ago – at Hassan's initiative. He approached Mossad through an email in which he included his contact info and stated that he was interested in a job.
In august 2006 he received a telephone call from 'Joseph Dimor', an Israeli intelligence officer who allegedly agreed to meet with him at the Israeli embassy in India. In the meeting that followed he received an advance of $1,500.
Website launched by Palestinian institute on second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead aims to 'expose the Zionist propaganda to the world'
New legal challenge for IDF? Ahead of the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, a Palestinian organization on Sunday launched a new extensive website called "the electronic encyclopedia of the Gaza holocaust", which aims to document "the Israeli war crimes."
The site's founders say its goal is to present all the Israel Defense Forces' "crimes" according to a number of profiles: The names and ranks of dozens of soldiers and officer documented in the Strip, still shots and videos, recorded testimonies and addresses.
The list of names on the site does not appear to include new names beyond those which have already been published in Arab forums. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi tops the list along with Major-Generals Dan Harel, Eliezer Marom, Avi Mizrahi, Eden Atias, Elyezer Shkedy, IDF Spokesperson Avi Benayahu, and others.
The organization behind the website is the "Ibdaa institute for research and training", which was founded in the Gaza Strip in January 2007. Although it seeks to present itself as apolitical and as a professional research institute analyzing strategic trends, it appears to be taking the same stand as the Hamas movement.
The chairman of the institute's board of directors, Muhammad al-Madhoun, told a press conference on Sunday that the site was the fruit of ongoing efforts, which included field activity by some 120 researchers who collected the information. The institute was also aided by human rights organizations, government ministries and institutes in the Strip.
List of names and roles of 'war criminals'
According to Madhoun, the idea to set up the site was raised "immediately after the Zionist attack on the Gaza Strip".
"This encyclopedia aims to take part in reducing the legitimization of the occupation, as part of a system seeking to annul the moral and human legitimization of this entity," he said. "This encyclopedia will protect history from fraud and provide a platform of data through documents, sound and pictures. All this will help support the steadfast stand of the Palestinian people in Gaza."
The website states that one of its goals is "to expose to the world the faults of the Zionist propaganda, which says the occupation soldiers damaged the resistance" and "to support and provide the investigators with material."
Israel's worst-ever forest fire earlier this month confirms predictions on the impact of global warming in the Mediterranean basin, according to one of Israel's leading climate experts.
"The fire disaster in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa is a taste of the future," Guy Pe'er, co-author of Israel's National Report on Climate Change, said on Wednesday.
Nearly a decade ago, Pe'er and other scientists warned that warming would create conditions such as heat waves, decreased and delayed rainfall, leading to a higher risk of intense forest fires.
The recent four-day blaze, which destroyed some five million trees across 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares), arose from these very conditions, he said.
The national report predicted that a temperature increase of only 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times would cause the region's desert to expand northward some 300-500 kilometers (200-30 miles).
Without deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature increase by century's end will be closer to 3.0 C (5.4 F), scientists say.
In either scenario, such a change would spell the end of Mediterranean-type ecosystems in Israel, Pe'er said.
The fire that raged in the Carmel mountain range, which rises more than 500 meters (1,500 feet) above sea level, was preceded by eight months of drought and occurred during a heat wave with temperatures around 30 C.
Baghdad - Iraq's new Minister of Tourism and Antiquities has said that among his top priorities is ensuring the return of Iraq's Jewish Archives, according to a local newspaper on Monday.
Minister Liwaa Sumaisem, appointed last week, said that the return of the Jewish archives, which were transferred to the United States for maintenance, belong to the Iraqi state and should be returned.
"This is part of Iraq's national heritage," he told the Iraqi- based Sabah newspaper.
He said that the US took the archives in 2003, prior to the US-led invasion, with the pretext it would be refurbished and returned to Iraq by August 2006.
"Despite assurances to return the archives within a certain time frame, the American side has not kept to its schedule and is now four years past the deadline," said Sumaisem.
He also said that the ministry is checking to see whether the archives were transferred to Israel.
Meanwhile, in September, Iraq's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said it would hold talks with Israel through a third party - in the absence of diplomatic relations - to verify whether a rare 18th century copy of the Torah was smuggled out of the country and sent to Tel Aviv.
Iraq was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East, but many left the country in the 1950s and 1960s to settle in Israel.
Abbas vows: No room for Israelis in Palestinian state
PA president says US has failed to pressure J’lem, accuses Israel of ‘deception’ for blaming PA for impasse in talks.
Palestinian state is established, it will have no Israelis in it.
“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it,” Abbas told reporters in Ramallah.
He was commenting on unconfirmed reports suggesting that the PA leadership might agree to the presence of the IDF in the West Bank after the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We are ready to have peace on the basis of international legitimacy and the road map, which we have accepted, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative,” Abbas said. “But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”
The PA president criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and accused him of placing obstacles on the road to peace.
“He who prefers settlements over peace is responsible for the obstacles to peace,” he added.
“If he really was interested in peace, he would have at least preferred peace to settlements.”
Abbas accused the Israeli government of “deception” with the purpose of blaming the Palestinians for the current impasse in the peace talks. He also criticized the US administration for failing to put pressure on Israel to stop the construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem.
“The US administration has tried to stop the settlements, but Netanyahu refused,” he said. “We know that there’s a clear American position, but these days we don’t hear it any more. We hope we will hear it in the future.”
Abbas said that the PA has presented in writing to the US its position regarding all the core issues, but has still not heard Israel’s reply.
“All the final-status issues must be solved according to international resolutions,” he said. “All these issues will be resolved at the negotiating table, and this includes the issue of the refugees, which Israel tried to get rid of, but to no avail.”
On Friday night, Abbas met in Bethlehem with members of the tiny Christian community in the Gaza Strip who received permission from Israel to travel to the West Bank for Christmas.
Abbas expressed hope that his Fatah faction and Hamas would be able to resolve their differences so that the Gaza Strip would be part of the future Palestinian state. He also voiced hope that he would be able to travel to the Gaza Strip in the near future.
Abbas hailed Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador, which have recognized a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders. He said that the Palestinians were now hoping that other countries, especially the EU, Russia, Canada, the US and Japan, would follow suit and declare their recognition of a Palestinian state.
Boy caught near central West Bank settlement of Beit El, said family forced him at gunpoint to go to settlement in hopes he would be killed.
A Palestinian caught trying to infiltrate a settlement Wednesday night claims he was sent by his family members, who had hoped he would be killed by soldiers during the infiltration.
Israel Defense Forces soldiers patrolling the central West Bank near the settlement of Beit El on Wednesday spotted a Palestinian walking toward the settlement and subsequently arrested him.
According to the investigation into the incident, the boy was behaving in a strange manner and the soldiers originally thought that he was drunk. Later on in the investigation, it was clarified that he was actually suffering from a mental illness.
The boy told investigators that his family wanted him dead. He said they threatened him at gunpoint, forcing him to walk towards the settlement with the hope that soldiers would think he was trying to infiltrate and would shoot him.
IDF scouts who searched the area confirmed the boy's version of events and found four family members who had tried to flee the area.
During live interview with Wiesel on Fox program, words at bottom of screen read "Holocaust winner" instead of "Holocaust survivor."
Fox News last week accidentally labeled Elie Wiesel a "Holocaust winner" on its chyron, the words appearing at the bottom of the TV program, during a live interview with the Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor.
The mishap occurred during an interview Wiesel gave on the Fox program, "Fox and Friends," and the chyron was immediately changed to "Nobel Prize Winner."
The mistake can be seen at the 35 second mark in clip.
Fox News has since removed the clip from their website, and there has been no response from Elie Wiesel.
ATHENS, Greece (JTA) -- A high-level priest on the morning show of the largest television station in Greece blamed world Jewry for Greece's financial problems.
The Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim also blamed world Jewry for other ills in the country during his appearance on Mega TV.
Mixing Freemasons with Jewish bankers such as Baron Rothschild and world Zionism, the Metropolite said that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy. He also accused international Zionism of trying to destroy the family unit by promoting one-parent families and same-sex marriages.
Thirteen minutes into the program the Greek host asked the Metropolite, "Why do you disagree with Hitler's policies? If they are doing all this, wasn't he right in burning them?"
The Metropolite answered, "Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire."
Jews such as "Rockefeller, Rothschild and Soros control the international banking system that controls globalization," the Metropolite also said.
The Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim is not the only Greek priest with such extreme ideas, as Salonika's Metropolite Anthimos also has preached similar ideas from his pulpit.
"Watching and listening to the program, I felt disgust hearing the Metropolite of Piraeus expressing himself like that against world Zionism, and shamelessly saying that Hitler with the help of Jewish bankers did what he did," said Benjamin Albala, president of the Athens Jewish community.
JERUSALEM – Israel's Holocaust memorial says it has now identified four million of the six million Jews who were killed by Nazis in the Holocaust of World War II.
Yad Vashem has made the recovery of the names a main mission in order to keep the memory of the murdered Jews alive.
In 2004, it launched a database of victims' names on its website. It had 3 million names at the time and since then has been compiling the names of other victims. It said Tuesday that the database now has 4 million names.
Yad Vashem says names are recovered through people who remembered the murdered Jews and by combing archival lists and other documentation.
The task is especially difficult because entire families were wiped out and documents were destroyed during the Nazi genocide.
These ads from the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign are scheduled to appear on the sides of 12 Metro buses on Seattle routes beginning Monday. The group, seeking tax-exempt nonprofit status, paid $2,760 for a one-month run.
An advertisement alleging "Israeli war crimes" won't appear on the sides of some Metro Transit buses for another week, but it's already ignited a political firestorm.
The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, which bought the ad, says it's intended to break through what it calls the silence over Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians.
Others have organized a campaign to block the ad, which they say will inflame bigotry against Jews and Jewish organizations.
King County Executive Dow Constantine was advised by county lawyers that the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits Metro from rejecting the ad if the transit agency continues to accept ads from other advertisers, spokesman Frank Abe said Monday.
While declining to discuss his feelings about the ad, Constantine said in a statement that interest groups sometimes leverage a small ad buy into news coverage "worth many times their investment ... ."
"These provocative ads bring in a negligible amount of revenue, but cost hundreds of hours staff time to address the intended controversy — time that is better spent providing bus service."
Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke said the transit agency received 600 e-mails protesting the ad between Friday, when KING-TV broke the news, and noon Monday. A large number of phone calls about the ad were interfering with Metro's ability to answer phone inquiries about bus schedules, she said.
The large ad is scheduled to appear on the sides of 12 buses serving Seattle routes starting Monday. The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, which is seeking tax-exempt nonprofit status, paid $2,760 for the ad to run for one month.
A photo purportedly showing children looking at a collapsed building during Israel's three-week air-and-ground offensive on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, appears next to these words:
"ISRAELI WAR CRIMES "YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK "www.Stop30Billion-Seattle.org"
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav evolved from an anti-Zionist firebrand in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood into the founder of ZAKA, a unique rescue and recovery organization.
In a special Knesset gathering in November, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz presented an award to ZAKA Rescue and Recovery Organization founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav for raising awareness and promoting road safety.
The moment was noteworthy not just because it acknowledged ZAKA's role in responding to thousands of car accidents and encouraging safer driving, but also because it underlined the warm relationship between Israel's secular officials and Meshi-Zahav, an ultra-Orthodox (haredi) former anti-Zionist agitator.
Since founding ZAKA in 1995, the 51-year-old father of seven has gained a reputation as an international rescue authority and as one of Israel's greatest champions of tolerance among both Jews and Arabs.
His post-9/11 work in New York earned him an invitation to participate in a special commemoration on the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attack, and he chose to take along Sheikh Akel Elatrash, commander of ZAKA's Bedouin Unit in the Negev.
"We slept in the same room, ate our meals together, and toured Manhattan together," Meshi-Zahav tells ISRAEL21c. With one sporting a black velvet skullcap and long gray sidelocks and the other in traditional Arab robe and headdress, the two caused quite a stir. "People asked if we were part of a film," he recalls.
Though Meshi-Zahav's life story could easily be mistaken for a screenplay, he is as real as the flesh and blood he encounters at the scenes of accidents, crimes and terrorist attacks. Brought up in the insular Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim, he was ingrained to distrust "the other" and to disdain Zionism as evil.
Arrested 34 times for anti-Zionist agitation
"The haredi community is set up with 'walls' to protect us from outside influences," Meshi-Zahav says, speaking in Hebrew translated by his foreign media spokeswoman, Lydia Weitzman, and ZAKA development director David Rose. "I never knew there were Jews who act and behave differently and that they are also good people."
The 11th generation Jerusalemite was taught that there was a correct and incorrect way to do things, "and if we did something the incorrect way, we were called Zionists."
This same man, who proudly lit the torch ushering in the State of Israel's Independence Day celebrations in 2003, was arrested 34 times at anti-Zionist demonstrations as a youth.
ZAKA members took part in the recovery operation at the site of the burned bus in the Carmel Forest fire.
At some point, the young Meshi-Zahav developed an affinity for the police who apprehended him time and again. "I began to see them as regular people who wanted to go home to their families after a day's work," he relates. "I started to see that a lot of things could be settled more easily by just sitting and talking to one another."
With this revelation as a backdrop, on July 6, 1989 Meshi-Zahav heard the explosion and subsequent screams emanating from a bus driven into a ravine by a terrorist. He and some friends rushed to the scene, determined to help tend the wounded and collect scattered body parts and blood for burial.
Though his mother had set a volunteering example with her regular visits to terminally ill patients, Meshi-Zahav knew neither first aid nor forensics. But he knew Jewish laws regarding human remains, and he discovered that no organization in Israel was authorized to do this gruesome but sacred work.