TJC’s Jewish News Week in Review: March 1, 2013

newsdesk.tjctv.com Rocket attack from Gaza hits Ashkelon, breaking cease fire; Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin shares her experience being detained at the Western Wall for wearing a tallit; a weekly manicure becomes an opportunity for teaching Torah; and Prof. Hayim Lapin, author of “Rabbis as Romans,” sits down for an interview.

Palestinians Demand Answers After Detainee Dies in Israeli Custody

Palestinians Demand Answers After Detainee Dies in Israeli Custody

Palestinians are in uproar and demanding answers after a 30-year-old prisoner died while in Israeli detention. According to some, the detainee died as a result of being tortured during interrogation. This incident occurred as prisoners went on a hunger strike.

The prisoner, identified as Arafat Jaradat, died from an apparent heart attack. An autopsy is now scheduled with a relative of Jaradat and a Palestinian forensic specialist expected to be present.

Demonstrations are heating up in the West Bank, and some Israeli officials and analysts fear that a Palestinian intifada, or uprising, may be in place. Protesters are demanding for the release of 123 prisoners who have been behind bars since the signing of the Oslo Accords back in 1993.

The demonstrations have resulted in protestors clashing with Israeli soldiers and settlers. Demonstrators demanded justice for the death of Jaradat, who was employed at a gas station and the father to two children ages 4 and 2.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has released a statement that its members will resort to any means necessary to liberate the prisoners. Hamas has also called for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and criticized Palestinian leaders for relying on negotiations that have resulted in zero progress.

Jaradat was taken into custody for hurling stones at cars in a West Bank settlement. He was also accused of throwing Molotov cocktails, a claim which he denied. During his trial, he complained to his lawyer of severe neck and back pain as a result of harsh interrogation methods. According to Jaradat’s uncle, interrogators also threatened Jaradat by bringing his children into the discussion and warning that he will never see them again if he does not cooperate.

There is speculation that Jaradat’s death could be the premise for a third intifada. The uprising, should it take place, is expected to be in the form of mass, nonviolent civil disobedience.

Iranian President Says Iran Ready to Negotiate with the U.S.

Iranian President Says Iran Ready to Negotiate with the U.S.

Iranian President announced that Iran would be willing to enter into negotiations with the if the United States is willing to lighten its stance on his country obtaining nuclear capabilities.

Ahmadinejad made the comments just as Iran is marking the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. It also came just days after the supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejected the possibility of engaging in direct talks with the U.S.

In his address, which was accompanied by “death to America” chants from the audience, the Iranian president said that he will negotiate with the United States directly if they “stop pointing weapons at the Iranian nation.” He also pointed out that talks should be done with fairness and respect without pressure.

Ahmadinejad’s response came just a week after Vice President Joe Biden offered Iran a seat in the negotiation table with the P5+1, which includes the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, and China.

Khamenei, who has the final say and authority, chastised the U.S. and accused it of resorting to coercion tactics by threatening military action if Iran refuses to negotiate.

The U.S. currently has in place, which is aimed at curbing Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The have caused a severe economic crisis in Iran by limiting oil exports, which is the nation’s main source of revenue.

Ahmadinejad has vehemently denied that his country’s economic crisis is due to the sanctions though Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi admitted that the sanctions have played a role in the economy’s downward spiral.

Western nations have also expressed concerns over Iran’s satellite program, which they fear could be used to develop long-range missiles. Iran regularly announces technological breakthroughs, which includes sending a monkey into space and bringing it back home safely. Such claims cannot be independently verified by the U.S.

Petition Seeks to Remove Anti-Israel Page on Facebook

F*ck Israel Facebook Page

is a social network where anyone can share their views and have it heard by millions in an instant. While free speech is a freedom that everyone enjoys, some people exploit that right to serve their own prejudices.

A Facebook page called “F*ck ” has been stirring a lot of controversy. A petition is now swirling around the site and garnering support in an effort to pressure Facebook to close the page.

The petition was started by Michael Mendelson with the support of several Pro-Israel groups and has already collected more than 75,000 likes. According to Mendelson, he has not been in contact with any Facebook officials though he speculates that the petition will need roughly 10 times the number of likes as the “F*ck Israel” page in order for Facebook to act.

The Anti-Defamation League has also stepped in and urged Facebook to step up and remove all offensive comments and remarks on the page.

The “F*ck Israel” page has 36,000 likes so far and has statements that praise Adolf Hitler and also refers to Jews as pigs, apes and baby killers. The page, however, also contains a number of comments that stand behind Israel and boldly denounce the hateful sentiments.

According to Abraham Cooper, a Los Angeles rabbi, there are about two dozen other similar groups on Facebook as well as others on Twitter and Youtube. Most of them are believed to be started by Muslim groups. Most of these pages contain a logo of the flag or the Israel flag with a censor mark over it.

Facebook is also home to several pages dedicated to the defamation of Mormons, Muslims, Christians and Hindus. While Facebook has been responsive and have removed pages containing offensive material, the creators of such groups are often allowed to create another page under a different name.