Nigeria: Muslims Murder at Least 60 People, Set Homes on Fire, Chase Those Fleeing and Kill Them Also

By: Robert Spencer; Jihad Watch – jihadwatch.org

Why is Boko Haram so fanatically devoted to murder that they would chase people fleeing Rann and murder them, along with killing people inside the town? Because Allah commands Muslims in the Qur’an to be merciless to unbelievers:

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are ruthless against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.” (Qur’an 48:29)

“O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness.” (Qur’an 9:123)

“Boko Haram Killed At Least 60 People in Attack in Nigeria, Amnesty International Reports,” by Amelia Nierenberg, Associated Press, February 1, 2019:

(DAKAR, Senegal) — Boko Haram has killed at least 60 people in a “devastating” attack on the northeastern Nigeria border town of Rann, Amnesty International said Friday, calling it one of the deadliest assaults by the extremist group in its nearly decade-long insurgency.

Fighters on motorcycles drove through the town near the Cameroon border on Monday morning, setting houses on fire and killing people left behind, the international rights group said in a series of Twitter posts. The fighters also chased residents fleeing the “massive attack” and killed several outside town.

Amnesty published satellite imagery that it said showed “hundreds of burned structures.” Many likely served as shelters for displaced people who had arrived in recent months seeking protection. Most of Rann is “now destroyed,” the group said.

The attack came as Nigeria faces what it has called an extremist resurgence, posing a serious challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari as he seeks re-election in two weeks’ time. His administration once claimed Boko Haram had been “crushed” or “technically defeated,” while the military has faced questions over low morale and support….

January Tourism to Israel Jumps by 11% Compared to Last Year

By: Jerusalem Post Staff; jpost.com

January tourism to Israel jumps by 11% compared to last year

Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin (Center] with the 4 millionth tourist to arrive in Israel in 2018.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The number of tourists who entered Israel in January of this year represented an 11% increase in relation to January 2018, and a 35% increase from January 2017, according to the Tourism Ministry. 

A record four million tourists visited Israel last year.

In December, London-based company Euromoniter International reported that Jerusalem is the world’s fastest-growing tourism destination.

“The rise in the number of tourists over several years is proof of the quality of the Israeli tourism industry,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “I hope and believe that 2019 will continue this unprecedented momentum in tourism that we have created in the past several years.”

The majority of tourists to Israel are Christians [61%] followed by Jews [22%]. Most hail from the US, France, and Russia.

Iran Vows to Keep Funding Terrorism, Threatens Israel with ‘Hellfire’

By: Emily Jones; CBN News – cbn.com

JERUSALEM, Israel –Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary said Tuesday that Iran will continue to supply deadly weapons to its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza so they can respond to Israel’s “acts of stupidity with hellfire.”

Those “acts of stupidity” refer to Israel’s retaliatory strikes against the Iranian regime. Last Monday, Israel’s Air Force pounded Iranian targets in Syria after Iran launched a rocket at Israeli citizens in the Golan Heights.

Iran also funds Hezbollah’s terror tunnels on Lebanon’s border with Israel. Israel recently announced it completed a six-week mission to destroy several terror tunnels from Hezbollah.

However, Secretary Ali Shamkhani said the tunnels are an embarrassment for Israel.

“There is no greater shame to the Zionist entity, which claims to have superior intelligence capabilities, than the fact that tunnels—hundreds of kilometers long—had been dug under this entity’s nose,” he said.

While speaking at Iran’s National Security Conference on Space Technologies, Shamkhani said the regime will continue perfecting its missiles.

“Iran has no scientific or operational restriction for increasing the range of its military missiles, but based on its defensive doctrine, it is continuously working on increasing the precision of the missiles,” Shamkhani said according to Ynet.

Iran’s threats come during a dangerous power struggle over Syria between Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Syrian government.

Iran has entrenched itself in Syria, posing a direct threat to the Jewish State.

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), one of Israel’s leading think tanks, says a northern war with Iran is Israel’s biggest threat in 2019.

“The gravest threat we face is not the third Lebanon war, but the first northern war – simultaneous conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, which Hamas in the south is likely to join,” Maj-Gen (res.) Amos Yadlin, head of the INSS said. “Israel of 2019 is a strong country, the IDF is extremely powerful and deters our enemies. The challenge is to take this strength and use it to reinforce correct policy.”

Julian Edelman Becomes First Jewish Super Bowl MVP

IsraelHayom.com

The diminutive wide receiver known as “The Squirrel” becomes first Jewish player to win Super Bowl MVP trophy after his key plays help lift New England Patriots to 13-3 victory over Los Angeles Rams • “Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” he says.


New England Patriots’ Julian Edelman celebrates after winning Super Bowl LIII, Sunday |
 Photo: Reuters

The New England Patriots’ Julian Edelman, an undersized wide receiver few thought would ever make a name for himself in the NFL, became the first Jewish player to win the Super Bowl MVP trophy on Sunday after his key plays helped lift New England to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

The speedy 32-year-old, nicknamed “The Squirrel,” was quarterback Tom Brady’s most reliable target on Sunday, providing an offensive spark every time it was needed en route to his third championship with the team.

In a game where both offenses struggled to find the end zone, Edelman made the most of his opportunities, catching 10 of the 12 passes thrown his way for 141 yards while rushing once for 8 yards.

Edelman, 32, is one of only a handful of Jewish players in the league and over time he has embraced that side of his identity. He has a Jewish father but was not raised Jewish. Drafted in 2009, he only started making a name for himself in the league in 2013.

Since then, he has shown his Jewish pride on a number of occasions. In a 2014 game, he wore a pin featuring the Israeli flag. He has tweeted about Jewish holidays, has attended a Birthright-style trip to Israel and has written a children’s book that references Theodor Herzl, the modern-day founder of Zionism.

But after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October 2018 that killed 11, he wore special cleats with Hebrew on them to honor the victims, and following the Patriots Nov. 4 victory over the Green Bay Packers, he wore an Israeli baseball cap for his postgame interviews as a shoutout to those in Pittsburgh.

“It’s disgusting what happened. And I’m just backing them up,” he said in a follow-up interview. “I’m proud of who I am and what I am. Just to let these victims know: ‘We’re all with you. This is a very tough time for you. I can’t even imagine. But you have support.'”

“It’s not like one of those things where you’re gonna put your head under the ground and kind of hide,” he said. “You’re gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s what makes us stronger.'”

Edelman is one of the most unlikely Super Bowl MVPs in league history.

He was taken 232nd in the 2009 NFL draft after not even being invited to participate in league tryouts, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick managed to shape him into a key component of the team’s offensive attack.

Edelman said he was focused on getting the team back to the championship after a torn ACL forced him to miss all of last season and he had to watch the Patriots fall to the Philadelphia Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl.

“My head was down, just trying to go out and try to win ballgames and help the team,” he said.

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” he said.

“I preach that and I guess you have to live to it.”

Israeli Holocaust Survivor Celebrates Birthday and Liberation from Auschwitz

By: ynetnews.com

Cipora Feivlovich, who turned 18 on the day the death camp was liberated, is now 92 and says she will never stop talking of recalls her horrific ordeal at the hands of the Nazis who murdered her family and subjected her to the disturbing experiments of Josef Mengele.

As the world commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on International Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday, death camp survivor Cipora Feivlovich marks her own personal milestone as she turns 92.

Feivlovich has spent her most recent birthdays recounting to audiences in Israel and Germany her harrowing experiences in the camp, where her parents, brother and best friends all perished.Despite witnessing daily atrocities and fearing that the toxic food and injections she was given would make her infertile, she eventually married her husband Pinchas, a fellow orphaned survivor, and started a new family. Today she has dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Cipora Feivlovich

Cipora Feivlovich

“When we first met after the war he asked me if I thought I could have children after everything I went through in Auschwitz. And I said ‘I don’t promise anything. What the Lord gives is what will be,'” she recalled from her home in Jerusalem. “We understood each other. He always said he was lucky to marry me since I understood him.

“But for the following decades, as he obsessively wrote and lectured about his six-year Holocaust ordeal in multiple concentration camps and the trauma of losing eight siblings and his entire extended family, she kept quiet to try and raise their three children in Israel in relative normalcy. Only in the 1990s, long after the kids had moved out, did she finally start processing her own troubled history.

Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust, wiping out a third of world Jewry. Israel’s main Holocaust memorial day is in the spring—marking the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The United Nations designated January 27 as the annual international commemoration, marking the date of Auschwitz’s liberation in 1945, the day Feivlovich turned 18.

She grew up in a Transylvanian village with a large Jewish population and lived a normal life until she was 14, when she and the other Jewish students were kicked out of school.

She said her family holed up in their home for the following years, fearful of their anti-Semitic neighbors, and naively waited for the storm to pass. But then the Nazis arrived in 1944, took them away in the middle of the night and crammed all Jewish residents into the local synagogue.

“Two days we sat on the floor, you couldn’t leave for the restrooms so people relieved themselves where they are sitting,” she recalled. “On both sides of the street the non-Jews were standing and clapping their hands saying: ‘Bravo, we are getting rid of the Jews.'”

After a brief stay in a Hungarian ghetto, they were deported on the three-day train ride to Auschwitz, with each cattle wagon packed shoulder to shoulder.

“My grandfather died there while standing. We couldn’t even lay him down. And in that miserable state we got to our final destination,” she said. There, they were greeted with barking dogs, screams and a warning: “Young mothers, hand your babies to grandmothers or aunts and maybe you will live.”

Cipora Feivlovich
Cipora Feivlovich

Feivlovich and her younger sister were thrown to one side, the boys to the other. They never saw their parents again.

The girls were ordered to strip. Their hair was cut and they were hosed with freezing water and marched outside naked, shivering with cold and shame.

“The Nazis are teasing us, spitting on us and watching us there miserable,” she said.

After finally getting dresses to wear, they were approached by a tall man in a polished uniform who introduced himself as Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor. He pointed to a huge chimney spewing thick black smoke and told them anyone not essential to the Third Reich would go straight to the crematorium.

“I’m holding my sister’s hand, and we are shaking and crying and I ask: ‘Is this possible?'” she remembered.

A Holocaust survivor shows the number on his arm as he visits the Auschwitz death camp as part of the 2018 March of the Living  (Photo: AFP)
A Holocaust survivor shows the number on his arm as he visits the Auschwitz death camp as part of the 2018 March of the Living (Photo: AFP)

Starved and exhausted, she and hundreds of other Jewish prisoners were presented with a large liquid-filled barrel.

“The moment we took that first sip in our mouth, everyone started screaming insanely. It was like a million pins in your throat. You couldn’t swallow the soup,” she remembered. “But we learned to drink that poisoned soup since there was nothing else to eat.

“She said they were told it was laced with toxin to help kill off the Jewish race and prevent it from reproducing. Feivlovich said she believed it since she stopped menstruating for a long time after.

Those already pregnant faced an even worse fate. In one case, a pregnant relative named Sarah was not allowed to go to the infirmary and forced to give birth on the floor. Usually, the Nazis took Jewish newborns away, never to be seen again. But in this case, they ordered the mother to drown her own baby in a pail of water.

By the time Auschwitz was liberated, she had already been transported to forced labor in a German armament factory. Even there she wasn’t safe. The camp commander ordered her to receive a mysterious injection for talking back and refusing to make the Christian sign of the cross on herself.

She awoke after two days. By then, the war was winding down. The Nazis disappeared and soon an American tank broke through. Yiddish-speaking soldiers comforted the emaciated inmates.

Auschwitz inmates folliwng their liberation in 1945. (Photo: AP)
Auschwitz inmates folliwng their liberation in 1945. (Photo: AP)

Some 200,000 elderly survivors remain in Israel today, with a similar number worldwide.

Feivlovich said in recent years her birthday has become “obligating,” particularly since her husband passed away in 2007.

“My husband demanded of me: Don’t stop talking about the Holocaust, because if we don’t speak about it there will be enough Holocaust deniers after us,” she said. “It is true that 74 years have passed but we are still living and we are here.”

Survivors Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day On 74th Anniversary Of Auschwitz Liberation

By: Francesca Paris; National Public Radio – npr.org


Holocaust survivors visited the former Auschwitz concentration camp on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Bernd Thissen/Picture Alliance via Getty Image

Former prisoners of Auschwitz gathered at the former Nazi concentration camp on the 74th anniversary of its liberation by Soviet forces.

In the site that once housed the largest Nazi death camp, a group of survivors, politicians and foreign dignitaries marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day in a ceremony Sunday.

“Auschwitz has shown what can happen when the worst qualities in people come to bear,” said Armin Laschet, premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Survivors gave testimonies and Poland’s chief rabbi read out the names of all the concentration camps, where many of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust were killed. Over a million people were killed in Auschwitz alone, most of them Jews. Poland’s prime minister and the ambassadors of Israel and Russia also attended the ceremony.


Survivors of Auschwitz at the former concentration camp Sunday.
Czarek Sokolowski/AP

“People growing up today must know what people were capable of in the past,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly video address on Saturday. “And we must work proactively to ensure that it is never repeated.”

President Trump added to the chorus of voices decrying the Holocaust on Sunday.

“To remember these men and women — those who perished and those who survived — is to strive to prevent such suffering from happening again,” he wrote in a statement. “Any denial or indifference to the horror of this chapter in the history of humankind diminishes all men and women everywhere and invites repetition of this great evil.”

Sunday’s ceremony memorialized all those who died at Auschwitz, yet a group of far-right Polish activists gathered there and falsely claimed that the Polish government was remembering only Jews.


A former prisoner pays tribute during the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This year’s anniversary comes amid growing concern among survivors and world leaders alike that the Holocaust has begun to slip from international, collective memory — particularly among younger generations. In remarks both before and on the day of the anniversary, leaders also lamented recent spikes in hate-inspired violence.

According to a poll released Sunday by The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, five percent of adults in the United Kingdom don’t believe the Holocaust happened, and 64 percent either don’t know the number of Jews murdered or underestimate that number.

In a recent op-ed for the newspaper Die Welt, Germany’s foreign affairs minister, Heiko Maas, wrote that with fewer people directly connected to the past, Germany must continue to teach its young people about the Holocaust.


Two people mourn at the former concentration camp Auschwitz.
Picture Alliance via Getty Image

“Our culture of remembrance is crumbling,” Maas wrote. “It is under pressure from extreme right-wingers.”

In the United States, a poll from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany conducted last year finds four out of 10 people don’t know what Auschwitz was. That proportion rises to two-thirds for millennials.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement Sundayremembering victims of the Nazis and acknowledging Canada’s own history of anti-Semitism.

“The threats of violence, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism still exist today,” he wrote. “The murder of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh … is fresh in our minds.”

Worshipers were killed last Octoberat the Pittsburgh synagogue when a gunman open fired on congregants. That attack followed a historic 57 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States from 2016 to 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs released its Global Antisemitism Report Sunday, saying 13 Jews were murdered in fatal attacks last year, the highest number since a wave of attacks on Argentinian Jews in the 1990s, the AP reports.

Iranian Christians Refuse to Renounce Christian Faith in Exchange for Freedom from Prison

By: Stoyan Zaimov; The Christian Post-christianpost.com


Christians in Iran. | (Photo: Reuters/Raheb Homavandi)

Two Iranian Christians at their final appeal hearing were ordered by a court to renounce their Christian faith to gain their freedom but they refused to do so.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide said the hearing took place on Tuesday in Tehran, where Christians Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri were ordered by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to turn away from their religion.

The believers, who refused to comply, have been convicted of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” and are waiting to hear their final verdict. In September, Fadaie was sentenced to 18 months in prison, along with two years of internal exile, while Bakhteri was sentenced to one year in prison.

The Christians were arrested and convicted for discussing Christian doctrine in a house church, which was deemed to be an attack on Islam, the dominant religion in Iran.

Fadaie is already serving a 10-year prison sentence in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, convicted in July 2017 along with three other Christians “for acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity.”

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas argued that Fadaie’s and Bakhteri’s convictions were not only go against their right to religious freedom, but also “criminalizes the Christian faith, which the Iranian Constitution purports to recognize.”

“It is deeply concerning that Judges Babaee and Zargar are presiding over their appeal, especially in view of the unacceptable demand for them to renounce their faith; the rejection by these judges of a previous appeal involving Mr. Fadaie, and the allegations that both judges are implicated in human rights violations,” Thomas added.

The CSW head insisted that the two Christians deserve due process and to have their verdicts overturned.

“We also continue to urge the Iranian government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation of peaceable religious communities, and to release all those detained in connection with their religion or belief,” he said.

In October, a ministry helping Iranian believers told The Christian Post that it was witnessing one of the “fastest growing underground church movements” in the world.

Mike Ansari, president of Heart4Iran Ministries, told CP that “the persecution of minorities has been a constant under the current Islamic regime in Iran. The Iranian converts to Christianity have been systematically arrested and persecuted as heretics.”

He attested that the persecution is stemming from a “historic and organic growth of Christianity inside Iran, evidenced by one of the fastest growing underground church movements in the world.”

The ministry leader revealed that most Christians who are arrested “are coerced to divulge information about their house-church activities and those of their friends, under the threat of criminal persecution, or arrest of family members.”

In a follow-up interview with CP in November, Ansari said it’s important to remember that the Church was strong in Iran even before the rise of Islam.

“Much of today’s Islamic world, including Iran, was once Christian. The churches across Iran and Iraq were once great and enduring churches, which sent the first missionaries to China. Yet with [the] emergence of Islam, these communities were marginalized and at times completely destroyed,” Ansari said ahead of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church that month.

“It seems there is an organic re-emergence of Christianity across Iran. God is on the move and building His Church. With growth comes persecution.”

The Secret Way Seniors Can Keep Deducting Gifts to Charity

Americans age 70½ or older can donate IRA assets, lowering their taxable income

By Laura Saunders / The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 7, 2018)

Millions of Americans will no longer get tax deductions for their charitable donations this year. But givers age 70½ or older often have a great way to get around this change.

It involves making donations directly from a traditional individual retirement account to one or more charities by using a smart move with a clunky name—qualified charitable distribution, or QCD.

“This transfer is usually the best way for IRA owners older than 70½ to do their giving,” says IRA specialist Ed Slott.

A growing number of IRA owners can use this maneuver. Roughly 3.2 million U.S. residents turned 70 in 2018, about 50% more than in 2010, according to estimates based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

The new focus on QCDs arises from the tax overhaul. It nearly doubled the standard deduction taxpayers get if they don’t itemize their write-offs for state taxes, mortgage interest, donations and the like on Schedule A.

This deduction is now $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for most married couples—high enough so that nearly 29 million more filers will take it than in 2017. Those who do will no longer get write-offs they used to, including for donations.

Yet IRA owners who are 70½ and older have the best of both worlds: They can get a tax break for donations and take the higher standard deduction. In fact, the standard deduction rises to $13,600 for singles and $26,600 for couples age 65 and older.

Here’s how an IRA QCD provides benefits. Say that Mary and Jack, a married couple, are 71 and 72. Because they’re older than 70½, they must withdraw a certain amount every year from their traditional IRAs. This year it’s $40,000.

This couple contributes about $10,000 to various charities such as their church and colleges. They can choose to write checks to these groups, or give appreciated assets such as stock held in a taxable account, or donate from their IRAs.

But they won’t get a write-off if they send checks, as they’re taking the standard deduction of $26,600. They also don’t want to give appreciated stocks, because that would deprive their heirs of a tax break, called the step-up, that eliminates capital-gains tax on some assets held at death.

Donating IRA assets gives Mary and Jack the best outcome. While they won’t get a charitable deduction, they won’t owe tax on the $10,000 in donations and will reduce their taxable IRA payout to $30,000.

What’s more, the $10,000 donation disappears from their adjusted gross income, or AGI. That can lower Medicare Part B and D premiums, which are based on AGI plus tax-free municipal-bond income.

Result: If the couple made $10,000 of IRA donations in 2017 that cut their AGI to $165,000 from $175,000, they’d save about $130 per month on Part B and Part D premiums for 2019, based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Medicare premiums for higher-earning taxpayers are based on a two-year lookback.)

IRA donations can also reduce the 3.8% surtax on net investment income. The income threshold for this levy is $200,000 for most singles and $250,000 for most married couples.

Say that another couple, Jane and Bob, donate $26,000 to charity per year and have AGI of $275,000 that includes net interest, dividends and capital gains from a taxable account. Making the donations from their IRA as part of their required annual payout puts them below the $250,000 threshold for the 3.8% surtax and also cuts their Medicare premiums substantially.

Less commonly, making donations from an IRA can help reduce taxes due on Social Security payments.

With QCDs, details matter. Attorney Natalie Choate, an IRA specialist, had one of her own IRA donations go astray in 2017, leaving her at risk of missing the mark on her required minimum distribution. The Internal Revenue Service forgave the mistake, as often happens. If it hadn’t, she would have owed a 50% penalty. Here’s more.

  • Dollar limits. Each IRA owner can give up to $100,000 a year directly to charities from his or her IRAs. One spouse can’t use the other’s allotment, but an IRA owner can donate more than his required annual payout.
  • Eligibility. IRA owners must actually be 70½ to make charitable transfers.
  • First-dollars-out rule. The first dollars out of an IRA count as the required withdrawal for that year, and these dollars can’t be put back in. For example, if someone is taking monthly payouts from his IRA and wants to make an IRA donation in November, it may be too late to have the entire gift count as part of the required payout.

Mr. Slott recommends making IRA donations early in the year to avoid mix-ups.

  • Direct payments. IRA donations must go directly from the account to the charity. Typically the custodian submits them to the charity or else sends checks made out to the charity to the IRA owner, who sends them on.
  • Qualified nonprofits. IRA donations can’t be made to many private foundations, according to the Council on Foundations. They also can’t go to donor-advised funds, the popular giving accounts that allow individuals to bunch contributions and take an up-front deduction while designating recipients later on. In general, gifts of IRA assets should go to public charities, such as colleges, churches, and the like.
  • No benefits. No benefit is allowed from the charity to the IRA donor, not even a dinner, says Ms. Choate. These rules are different from those that apply for cash donations to charities.
  • IRS reporting. The donor must have proper proof in hand from the charity before filing his tax return.

However, IRA custodians aren’t required to detail donations on the account owner’s 1099-R form. Tax preparers say that as a result, too many givers forget their IRA donations and pay tax on them.

Really, What Happened to Your ‘Pay Every Pence to Save Israel?’

By: Burak Bekdil; Middle East Forum-meforum.org

Pro-Palestinians Muslims have refused to drop their decades-long conspiracy theory that Pepsi Cola is essentially the code name for a Zionist plot – “Pay Every Pence to Save Israel.”

This columnist first heard of the theory when he was a teenager in early 1980s. “Don’t buy Pepsi Cola. Buy Coca Cola,” warned the always pious grocery store owner in the neighbourhood, then explaining why I should not buy Pepsi Cola. “It’s a sin. Good Muslims never drink Pepsi Cola.” I asked him: “So why do you sell Pepsi Cola?”

Ironically, members of the radical left, too, would hate Pepsi Cola, and for the same reason. Neighbourhood kids belonging to the “Turkish revolutionary left” looked like street campaigners for Pepsi Cola’s American rival, sporting their Coca Cola bottles and arguing: “If you buy Pepsi you help the Zionists and American capitalism.”

In the early 1990s when your columnist was an MSc student in Britain Arab and other (most notably a Malaysian) Muslim friends would vigorously warn him not to buy Pepsi or otherwise “you could be viewed as a Zionist and face the consequences.” “What consequences?” I once asked the ‘Malay Prince.’ “Your guess,” he answered, smiling.

Folly is a persistent thing. Even in recent years a member of Hamas, the darling of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his fellow Islamists, (Hamas member of parliament) Salem Salamah told Hamas’s television station Al-Aqsa TV: “There are companies established by the colonialists and occupiers – large companies with branches all over the world, like Pepsi, Pepsi Cola. This is a well-known company. Pepsi is an acronym. P-E-P-S-I – Pay Every Pence to Save Israel. Pay every pence – pence is one-hundredth of a dollar – to save Israel. Pay every pence to save Israel…”

Egyptian cleric Hazem Abu Ismail called for a Muslim boycott of Pepsi because it stands for “Pay Every Penny Saving Israel.” He explained: “They took the first letter of each word – ‘Pay Every Penny Saving Israel’ – and they formed the word Pepsi. When you pay [to buy Pepsi], you are saving Israel … My little son knows more about the boycott than me. When we go shopping, he says to me: ‘Buy this, don’t buy that.’ He knows them by heart.”

I recalled all that man-made nonsense when a newspaper headline heralded that Mr Erdoğan inaugurated a $150 million Pepsi factory in western Turkey. Since Mr Erdoğan cannot be a crypto Zionist his fellow Islamist conspiracy theorists should rethink their “Pay Every Penny Saving Israel” acronym.

Did, really, the Turkish Islamists have to wait for decades to shyly ignore one of their millions of conspiracy theories? Did they have to wait so long until one of them merrily inaugurated a $$$$ plant owned by a Zionist soft drinks producer? Is drinking Pepsi halal now that Mr Erdoğan himself attended the ceremony?

Now, dear Islamists, enjoy your soft drinks and get lost.

‘Historic Day’ as Israel Opens New Internatinal Airport

By: Eytan Halon; Jerusalem Post-jpost.com

“The Zionist vision is being realized here, from the foundations up to the rafters: planting a root into the earth of the homeland – and at the same time taking off to the peak of success.”

'Historic day' as Israel opens new international airport

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during an inauguration ceremony of the Ramon International Airport just outside the southern Red Sea resort city of Eilat, Israel January 21, 2019. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed a “historic day” for the State of Israel as the new Ramon Airport near Eilat was inaugurated on Monday.

The NIS 1.7 billion ($460 million) airport, named in memory of Ilan and Assaf Ramon and located 18 kilometers north of Eilat in the Timna Valley, will replace the Eilat and Ovda airports currently serving domestic and an increasing number of international flights.

“The Zionist vision is being realized here, from the foundations up to the rafters: planting a root into the earth of the homeland – and at the same time taking off to the peak of success, on the wings of great imagination,” said Netanyahu at the inauguration ceremony.

“Here, in Timna, we are fulfilling three key national goals: first, the advancement of national aviation; second, the blooming of the Negev and Arava; and third, adding layers to the building of our relations with the countries of the world.”

Ramon Airport, the first entirely civilian airport to open since Israel’s independence, is set to welcome up to two million passengers a year, with expansion works planned to more than double its capacity to 4.2 million passengers by 2030.

It will also serve as an option to re-route large aircraft from Ben-Gurion Airport in the case of rocket fire targeting Israel’s main international transport hub – as was threatened by Gaza terrorist groups in 2014 – or inclement weather.

Eilat has witnessed rapid growth in tourist demand and, accordingly, the number of flights to and from the city. As recently as 2015, there were only four weekly flights between Israel and Europe from Eilat. This winter alone, an estimated 165,000 tourists made the resort town their vacation destination, as they take advantage of some 57 weekly flights.

The new airport will enable larger planes and more flights to serve the South, as well as operating as a gateway for tourists seeking to travel to southern Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.

“The territory which will now be freed up in Eilat will help the city grow and develop its tourism infrastructure to enable it to absorb the millions of tourists arriving from all over the world to the new airport,” said Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz.

“With the inauguration of the Ramon Airport, all the restrictions [of the other airports] have been removed,” he said.

Speakers also paid tribute to the late Rona Ramon, wife of Ilan and mother of Assaf, who died of cancer last month at the age of 54.

“One special woman should have been with us today: Rona Ramon,” said Katz. “Rona took part in a moving ceremony that took place at the airport a few months ago, where she said: ‘This is proof that dreams come true.’”

The three living children of the Ramon family, Tal, Yiftach and Noa, joined Netanyahu and Katz to cut the ribbon opening the new airport.

The first domestic flights are expected to touch down at the airport in February, with all domestic arrivals due to land at Ramon by mid-March, enabling the closure of Eilat Airport. Later this year, the airport will begin welcoming international arrivals, eventually leading to the closure of Ovda’s civilian flights terminal.

Seeking to incentivize airlines to travel to Eilat, the Tourism Ministry launched a range of subsidies for European airlines during the current winter season. The ministry reimburses airlines flying to Eilat €60 per passenger, with a 10% bonus for airlines flying more than 14 weekly flights, including at least two new flights this season.

Airlines flying to Ramon Airport will receive a three-year waiver from airport taxes. Major international airlines currently serving Ovda and likely to fly to Ramon include Ryanair, WizzAir, Transavia, Lufthansa and FinnAir.

The airport offers a 3.6 km. runway with a 45 meter width, as well as apron parking space for 16 general aviation aircraft, nine large and wide-body aircraft used primarily by European low-cost airlines and four turboprop aircraft used on domestic flights. There are also facilities for cargo and freight operations.

The sleek and futuristic terminal building awaiting passengers traveling through Ramon Airport was designed by the Mann-Shinar and Moshe Zur architect firms.

“This is the only airport in Israel and among few in the world that was built and planned without any prior existing infrastructure,” said Amir Mann, head of the Ramon Airport planning team.

“The planning and design of the project were greatly influenced by the futuristic aviation world and the natural surroundings of the desert. The airport is destined to become a magnet for tourists and will be of the utmost importance in the map of regional and international tourism for Israel.”

Due to the airport’s proximity to the Jordanian border, a 4.5 km., 26-meter-high smart fence was constructed to protect incoming and departing aircraft from a range of cross-border threats, including missile fire.

On Sunday, Jordanian authorities protested the opening of the airport, accusing Israel of deviating from international norms and standards, and stating that its location violates Jordan’s airspace sovereignty.