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A barn burns in Poland

Remembering the murder of the Jews of Jedwabe in 1941.

Barn burning in memory of burning of Jews of Jedwabne in 1941. FOT. FILIP KLIMASZEWSKI / AGENCJA GAZETA

Polish performance artist Raphael burned a barn on Sunday, July 10th, the 69th anniversary of the burning alive of the Jews of Jedwabne in 1941 by their neighbors. In the video below Raphael explains why he is burning the barn. More than 1000 people witnessed the artistic act, including the Israeli Ambassador.

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Saving Park Adullam

What happened to Israel Leading the world in alternative energy?

Park Adullam

Bicyclists and hikers love to travel through Adullam National Park near Beit Shemesh, where David hid in the Cave of Adullam. But that scenery may be forever changed by oil-shale extraction.

In December 2009, Israel Energy Initiatives Ltd (IEI ) – a subsidiary of the American-based IDT Corporation – began an exploratory dig in the park, in preparation for implementing a new system for heating the underground shale to 650 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing the oil out of the shale rock and into pipes for further processing. It takes about 4 years.

This recent energy exploration in the Park Abdullam region has created a grassroots movement to save the antiquities park called The Committee to Save Adullam – a group of some 15 families many of whom hail from English-speaking countries.

According to the Committee, the Park Adullam region was the heart of Jewish civilization in Judea in the first centuries CE. Beautiful and valuable two-millennia-old antiquities fill the park, most buried safely underground.

Oil Shale exploration near Aderet.

They argue that: “If the extraction proceeds as plans, the underground heat and oil extraction risk destruction of the landscape, the antiquities, the wildlife, the air, and the ground-water.” The extraction process has never been profitable. “Even if new technique crosses the profitability threshold, local farmers who work the land will be entitled to no compensation and local tourism operators will suffer.”

The recent award-winning documentary movie GASLAND tells the story of the environmental destruction across the USA caused by natural gas extraction. Contrary to the image set by the energy industry, getting hydrocarbons out of shale is anything but clean.

According to an article in Haaretz, the Committee has taken their complaints to the Knesset and to Michael Steinhardt, who became Chairman of The Board of IEI this year:

Last month, the Save Adullam group sent Steinhardt a letter expressing their concerns about the oil development project, which uses a little-tested shale oil extraction technique. The process uses sustained heating of the ground at a depth of 1,500 meters to convert Kerogen – an organic chemical compound mix found in some rocks – into crude oil….

Steinhardt wrote back to the Adullam committee, requesting that its members no longer contact him directly but rather address all future concerns to IEI, a committee member told Anglo File [Ha’aretz]. In the letter, he also wrote: “If successful this industry will provide prosperity to Israel and your region,” and that “as long as Israel is dependent on foreign sources of energy we will never be truly secure.

The Committee has started an online petition, and the Jerusalem Report recently published a major article about the issue which gives voice to those for and against the project.

The irony of this controversy about oil-shale exploration is that Israel wants to build support in America by portraying Israel in a “green” light. However larger economic forces are pushing Israel into “ungreen” territory, such as risky alternative methods of hydrocarbon extraction. The argument that Israel needs this oil to be independent of oil imports is shortsighted. Even if these methods work— and there is every reason to not believe the hype— unless Israel makes a concerted effort to tap into alternative energy sources, Israel’s nascent oil industry will bever be able to keep up with Israeli’s increased appetite for oil.

Hate Crime At The Ghetto Wall

Photo by: Channel 10

Poland continues to be a place where Jews works out deep psychological problems in deplorable ways.

Last week an Israeli vandalized the last major section of the Warsaw Ghetto wall. JPost reports:

Former Israeli Air Force captain and Israel boycott activist Yonatan Shapira spray-painted pro-Palestinian graffiti on the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto last week, Channel 10 reported on Sunday.

Shapira was shown on camera the previous Sunday spraying the slogans “Free all ghettos” and “Free Palestine and Gaza” on the walls of the Jewish ghetto in the Polish city – famed site of Jewish resistance to the Nazis – and then hoisting upon the wall a Palestinian flag on a rope with a bottle attached at the end that he threw over the other side.

Shapira’s vandalism occurred on the eve of some of the highlights for Polish Jews this summer. This past week the Jewish community in Poland, together with tens of thousands of non-Jews celebrated Jewish culture at the Krakow Jewish Cultural Festival. MATISYAHU performed at Poland’s premier OPEN’ER Festival in Gdansk. Poles and Jews are finding more ways towards rapprochement, a move forward with good relations.

Shapira’s vandalism shows his disregard for the inherent dignity of his fellow Jews. By desecrating and violating the Jewish community of Poland’s holy site, a place where tears soak the earth, he has committed a hate crime.

The wall is one of the few places that the Jewish community in Warsaw can mourn the loss of millions of Jews. The ghetto walls were destroyed along with most of Warsaw in WWII. The communists that rebuilt the city attempted to erase any other remnant of the infamous wall.

The ghetto wall section that he desecrated is not just visited by local Jews, but by tens of thousands of visitors to Warsaw every year. The Ghetto is where tens of thousands of Jews died before being shipped to the death camps.

Shapira is not a righteous zealot, but a criminal who deserves to serve time for his hateful acts.