- Palestinian authorities call for Jerusalem "Day of Rage" after Palestinian terror attack inflames tensions
The Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Palestinians to stage a "day of rage" in Jerusalem on Friday, a move that observers fear may trigger mass unrest in the Jewish state's capital, after a Wednesday assassination attempt on prominent Jewish activist Yehuda Glick caused a spike in tensions. The Times of Israel conveyed statements from an official PA news agency, originally translated by the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch, calling on the "fighters and to the masses of the Palestinian people to aid the Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem." Recent months had seen Israeli-Arab friction steadily increasing in Jerusalem, as top Palestinian leaders - up to and including PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah - claimed Israel was seeking to desecrate and destroy Muslim holy sites on the city's Temple Mount. The area is considered holy by both Jews and Muslims, though the former are forbidden to pray on the site. There is nonetheless a record, stretching back decades [PDF], of Arab and Muslim leaders claiming that Jews are seeking to desecrate and destroy what they refer to as the Noble Sanctuary. Two weeks ago Abbas gave a speech exhorting Palestinians - per a translation published by the Ma'an News Agency - to use "any means necessary" to prevent Jews from entering the area. The American-born Glick had long been at the forefront of movements aimed at expanding Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, and eyewitness testimony indicates that he was targeted over his activities. The suspected shooter - Islamic Jihad-affiliated terrorist Muataz Hijazi - had two years ago told a news outlet that he "wish[ed] to be a thorn in the throat of the Zionist plan to Judaize Jerusalem." Israeli counter-terror forces tracked Hijazi down after the shooting, surrounding the house in which he was holed up and killing him after he opened fire on them. Authorities in Jerusalem moved to dampen tensions Thursday morning by among other things temporarily closing the Temple Mount to any worshipers. Palestinian officials blasted the effort. A spokesman for Abbas declared the closure - which applied to all religions, was explicitly temporary, and was aimed at dampening violence in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack - to be a "declaration of war" not just against Palestinians but against "the Arab and Islamic nation." Israeli officials reopened the site by the evening.
The world’s foodies have had their say: Tel Aviv is an outstanding culinary destination. The White City snagged two top honors in the recently published Saveur Culinary Travel Awards 2014 and Israel’s airline raised a glass to an In-flight Wine award, as selected by the American-based, globally recognized culinary-travel magazine. Tel Aviv was listed as an “outstanding” pick for Best Culinary Destination with a population fewer than 800,000 and was tipped as “outstanding” for Best Markets & Shops, International. Jerusalem was given a “notable” mention for its markets as well. Meanwhile, El Al was also awarded an “outstanding” ranking for its impressive wine list in the Best In-Flight Wine Program category. “Across 21 categories, we’ve identified the very best—according to both an expert panel of world travelers and you, our readers—as well as additional outstanding and notable picks in each category,” the magazine reads. Tel Aviv’s restaurants, bars and chocolateries are often cited among the world’s best. The city’s Imperial Craft Cocktail bar recently won Best Bar in the Middle East; Mul-Yam won for the Best in the World cookbook; and Ika Chocolate won at the International Chocolate awards. (Israel21c)