Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gas from Israeli ‘Tamar’ field starts flowing

Aerial view of Israeli gas drilling field 'Tamar'

Production could save Israel billions of dollars in annual costs and eventually turn country into an energy exporter.

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The Qataris hoovering up London

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God is an Englishman,’ declares Irvine Sellar, as he strides on to the newly opened 69th-floor observation deck of the Shard, the skyscraper he developed. Looking out of the vast floor-to-ceiling windows, it is tempting to agree. There’s the Shard itself; the jagged steel and glass tip of the £1.5 billion, 1,016ft tower seems to pierce the sky. To the east, the Olympic Stadium rises like a giant crown. To the north lies Camden Lock, where teenage tourists and ageing punks shop, and just across the Thames there’s a bigger market, for everyone except teenagers and punks: the London Stock Exchange. Squint through the telescope and you can make out the eagle that flies above the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square. A mile to the west, the lights of Harrods are reflected in the bulletproof glass of the £1 billion One Hyde Park, the most expensive apartment building in the world. In the distance, you can make out the glow of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2.

But while God might have provided the inspiration for the new glittering monuments to London’s prosperity, he didn’t pay the bill. A single investor has stumped up for almost all of it. This man has bought up the Shard, part of the Olympics site and Canary Wharf, a chunk of Camden Lock, One Hyde Park (in conjunction with his cousin), Harrods and ten per cent of Heathrow. He also owns Chelsea Barracks, the W Hotel in Leicester Square, and has big stakes in companies whose names are emblazoned across the capital: Barclays Bank, the London Stock Exchange, Sainsbury’s, Santander bank, even luxury handbag brand Anya Hindmarch.

The new landlord of London is the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who rules a scalding, pancake-flat Arabian peninsula the size of Yorkshire, with a native population smaller than Bradford. Londoners are used to oil- and gas-rich gazillionaires and their wives flocking to London to party and to buy things in Harrods, but not the entire store. Why is the emir playing real-life Monopoly?

Saudi Arabian cleric declares babies should wear burkas

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Sheikh Abdullah Daoud said all female newborns should wear a full face veil in an interview with an Islamic television station.

He told al-Majd TV that wearing a burka would stop incidents of sexual attacks on babies.

REMINDER: Arabs Have Black Slaves – Today

Israel Apartheid Week has come and gone this year on many American campuses. It was, of course, a hoax: However much one says that Arabs in Israel suffer, and whoever is to blame for that alleged suffering, there is no apartheid in Israel.

Meanwhile, however, in Sudan and Mauritania, racist Arab societies enslave blacks. Today. Most of the slaves are African Muslims. Yet there is no Arab Apartheid Week on American campuses. Why not?

One might think American student activists would be upset about Mauritania, the West African country with the largest population of black slaves in the world – estimates range from 100,000 to more than a half-million. In Mauritania, slaves are used for labor, sex and breeding. The wholly owned property of their masters, they are passed down through generations, given as wedding gifts or exchanged for camels, trucks, guns or money.

‘Jew in the box’

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Nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, there is no more sensitive an issue in German life as the role of Jews.

With fewer than 200,000 Jews among Germany’s 82 million people, few Germans born after World War II know any Jews or much about them.

To help educate postwar generations, an exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Berlin features a Jewish man or woman seated inside a glass box for two hours a day through August to answer visitors’ questions about Jews and Jewish life.

The base of the box asks: ‘Are there still Jews in Germany?’

‘A lot of our visitors don’t know any Jews and have questions they want to ask,’ museum official Tina Luedecke said. ‘With this exhibition we offer an opportunity for those people to know more about Jews and Jewish life.’

But not everybody thinks putting a Jew on display is the best way to build understanding and mutual respect.

Since the exhibit The Whole Truth, everything you wanted to know about Jews opened this month, the ‘Jew in the Box,’ as it is popularly known, has drawn sharp criticism within the Jewish community – especially in the city where the Nazis orchestrated the slaughter of 6 million Jews until Adolf Hitler’s defeat in 1945.

‘Why don’t they give him a banana and a glass of water, turn up the heat and make the Jew feel really cosy in his glass box,’ prominent Berlin Jewish community figure Stephan Kramer told The Associated Press. ‘They actually asked me if I wanted to participate. But I told them I’m not available.’

The exhibit is reminiscent of Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann sitting in a glass booth at the 1961 trial in Israel which led to his execution. And it’s certainly more provocative than British actress Tilda Swinton sleeping in a glass box at a recent performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Eran Levy, an Israeli who has lived in Berlin for years, was horrified by the idea of presenting a Jew as a museum piece, even if to answer Germans’ questions about Jewish life.

‘It’s a horrible thing to do – completely degrading and not helpful,’ he said. ‘The Jewish Museum absolutely missed the point if they wanted to do anything to improve the relations between Germans and Jews.’

But several of the volunteers, including both German Jews and Israelis living in Berlin, said the experience in the box is little different from what they go through as Jews living in the country that produced the Nazis.

‘With so few of us, you almost inevitably feel like an exhibition piece,’ volunteer Leeor Englander said.

6,000,000

Star-of-David

During Passover, the Jewish population of Israel has passed the symbolic 6 million mark – the same number of Jews who were believed to have been killed during the Nazi Holocaust.

Musical Interlude