Southern Israel On Alert As Netanyahu Vows To Strike Terrorists


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel remains on alert against an attack from Sinai despite killing the terrorist leader that was planning an attack from there -- an assassination that has led to a barrage of rockets raining down on southern Israel from Gaza by terrorist groups.

Muslim Brotherhood Threatens Treaty Review If U.S. Cuts Aid


The Muslim Brotherhood has threatened to “review” Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel if the United States cuts aid to Egypt.

Congress threatened to cut or cancel aid to Egypt after Egyptian authorities filed charges on Feb. 6 against 43 American and other foreign pro-democracy activists who worked in the country.

Israeli Troops Foil Terror Attack On Egypt Border


Israeli troops thwarted a terror attack Tuesday on Israel’s border with Egypt.

During a routine patrol on the Israel-Egypt border to prevent smuggling, Israeli soldiers stopping a smuggling attempt witnessed a man leave a bag on the Israeli side of the border and flee back to Egypt. The bag was found to contain a “powerful explosive device,” according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces.

Army sappers detonated the device in a controlled explosion.

Israel Congratulates Egypt On New Parliament


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel congratulated Egypt on the inauguration of its new parliament, the first in the post-Mubarak era.

"On the occasion of the opening session of the Egyptian parliament, on Jan. 23, Israel extends its congratulations to the people of Egypt for its efforts to achieve freedom, democracy and economic development," Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Egypt Votes, Israel Frets

Fear of Muslim Brotherhood’s influence balanced by sense that peace treaty will hold.
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv — Israelis watched elections in Egypt with the same ambivalence it has viewed the Arab Spring: historic images of Egyptians casting ballots for the first time were accompanied by troubling commentary by officials and analysts that the election is likely to empower an Islamist leadership that is more hostile to the Jewish state.

The anticipated victory by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic parties is expected to further complicate the 32-year-old peace between the neighbors, while boosting political Islam in neighboring Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Egyptians cast votes this week in a historic election, but one that leaves Israel anxious. getty images

Tahrir Square, Again


With each passing day Mideast tensions seem to grow deeper and more complex, and the notion of an “Arab Spring” that brought such hope to millions 10 months ago seems particularly naïve now as violence has returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Bring Him Home: Gary Ackerman Gets A Great Photo-Op

It's not often that a politician gets to bring home a constituent who had been imprisoned in an unstable Arab country. But JTA reports that's just what Queens and Long Island Rep. Gary Ackerman is set to do.

The carnation-sporting Democrat, who has been in office as long as anyone can remember, went to Israel late Wednesday to bring home Ilan Grapel, the dual Israel-American citizen held under nebulous circumstances in Egypt, where what passes for a government has accused him of being a spy.

Egypt Reportedly Ready To Free Ilan Grapel In Prisoner Swap With Israel


Egypt will reportedly release dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel in a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.

Grapel, who Egypt accuses of being a spy, will be released in exchange for 81 Egyptians being held in Israel on charges such as trying to illegally cross into the country, murder, drug trafficking, illegal residency and holding unlicensed weapons, according to the Egyptian newspaper Ahram. Three of the Egyptians held in Israel are under the age of 14, Ahram reported.

Grapel has not yet been indicted, and his detention was extended recently by 45 days.

Branching Out Beyond Egypt

New domestic, foreign suppliers of lulavim shaking up business, but prices still higher than last year.
Staff Writer

Ever since the government of Egypt announced a ban on the export of date palm branches, life in the Sukkot business has been high-stress for everyone — but not David Wiseman.

A British-born Orthodox Jew transplanted to Dallas, Wiseman sells Sukkot’s ritual bundles of flora and has developed a domestic source of palm fronds, better known as the lulav, a key element in the foliage shaken and waved during observance of the harvest holiday.

Lulav merchant David Wiseman holding some rare domestic date palm branches. Courtesy of David Wiseman

'Let My Lulavs Go'

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) has called on the Egyptian government to lift its ban on the export of lulavs in time for Sukkot.

Egypt is one of the largest suppliers of the palm fronds that form the spine of the ritual lulav, and the ban threatens to cause "financial hardship for families and communities simply wishing to fulfill their religious obligations," Berman wrote Wednesday to Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. (See Helen Chernikoff's report on the ban here.)

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