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Today’s Top Stories
*** Breaking news **** As today’s news roundup went to press, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef — Israel’s former Sefardi chief rabbi, a prominent spiritual leader and political power broker — passed away. See obituaries in the Times of Israel and YNet.
1. Egypt’s annual Armed Forces Day (held on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War) turned violent as Mohammed Morsi’s supporters and opponents clashed in the strees. AP reports that 51 people were killed and 241 more were injured. See Avi Issacharoff‘s analysis.
2. International monitors in Syria began destroying chemical weapons equipment. The Washington Post explains that this is the easy stuff:
Work to dismantle delivery and production equipment is relatively straightforward, according to experts, involving the use of simple tools, or even vehicles to run over and crush items. It is the later phases — disposing of highly corrosive precursor chemicals and filled warheads — that will pose the biggest challenge. Some precursors are expected to be transported out of the country to be destroyed.
3. Bashar Assad’s using starvation as a tactic against rebellious civilians, reports Time.
4. Say No to Anti-Semitism and Demonization of Israel: “All too often we’ve seen these “3 D’s” – Demonization, Double Standards and Delegitimization – appearing in media articles, opinion pieces and cartoons.” And sign the petition too.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Saeb Erekat had conniptions after Czech President Milos Zeman suggested moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post writes:
According to the Czech news agency CTK, Erekat has asked the Arab League and other Arab organizations to call extraordinary meetings at the ministerial level to support the Palestinian stance.
The Czech Republic is going to early elections later this month, and Zeman said that he will try to persuade the new prime minister and foreign minister to consider moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
• How’s this for Palestinian incitement?
• Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a speech at Bar Ilan University last night, which most notably reiterated Bibi’s call for the Arabs to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Assessing the address, Mordechai Kedar lists four reasons the Arabs will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state:
This is a legitimate demand, important, honest, and truthful, but the Arabs will never agree to it for several reasons.
1. Muslims believe that the religion of Judaism was cancelled out when Christianity arose, and the same happened to Christianity when Islam arrived. And if Judaism is null and void, then how can the Jews come and say that they have a holy land all for themselves?
2. For the Arabs, the Jews are not a nation but a religious community assembled from various ethnicities and countries where Jews have lived for hundreds of years. So if they are not a nation why do they need Israel?
3. According to the Quran, the land of Israel is an Islamic holy land, therefore no Muslim authority will recognize a Jewish state in Israel.
4. Jerusalem is the eye of the storm: According to Islam, there cannot be Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, because such an event would signify that Judaism has risen from the grave after Islam had abolished it.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The NY Times and Daily Telegraph — among others — picked up on Iranian people poking Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter. The prime minister incorrectly told BBC Persian that Iranians aren’t allowed to wear jeans.
— Haviv Rettig Gur (@havivrettiggur) October 6, 2013
• Massive explosion rocks Egypt’s Sinai security headquarters. Early wire reports say two dead and 48 injured, with casualties expected to rise as rescue workers search the rubble.
• Politics trumps all as Lebanon delayed issuing offshore gas and oil exploration licenses. Reuters explains that politicians were unable to form a caretaker government able to make the decrees necessary to kick off the bidding process. Some of the tenders encroach on Israeli territorial waters.
• Yaakov Lappin weighs in on Israel and Iran.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.