US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Friday harshly condemned Palestinian terrorists for rocket volleys that among other things killed a four year old Israeli boy, as Hamas-led groups in the Gaza Strip kept up a pace of roughly 109 rockets on average, per day, over the last four days. Shapiro took to Facebook to "condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous terrorist attack and offer condolences to the boy's family," before emphasizing that "Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself, which the United States supports." Another two Israelis on Friday were wounded while running to bomb shelters, amid a series of rocket attacks that reached central Israel. Early reports described the rocket attack that killed four year old Daniel Tregerman - photo here - as having been fired from near a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Later clarifications revealed that the shelter in question had actually been run by Hamas. Tablet Magazine writer Yair Rosenberg contextualized the updated assessment against the backdrop of wide-ranging criticism - grounded in evidence provided in part by boasts from top leaders - that Hamas coerces Gazans into serving as human shields. Rosenberg noted that the revelation implied that "Hamas set up a 'shelter' for innocent Gazans and then deliberately fired from it." The Israelis have long described the dynamic - under which Hamas uses Palestinian civilians for cover as its operatives fire on Israeli civilians - as a double war crime. The terror group's open acknowledgement of the practice has influenced different dimensions of the policy debate in different ways. The State Department has tended to explicitly blame Hamas for the deaths of Gaza civilians. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, in contrast, has defiantly implied that he has seen no recent personal evidence of "Hamas us[ing] Palestinians as human shields."
Viral awareness campaign gains support from celebrities and politicians in Israel. There is no way Bostonian ALS sufferer Peter Frates could have known that people across the world would take him up on his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But after the former Boston College baseball star called on his athlete friends to dump buckets of ice water over their heads to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the campaign spread to the world of celebrities, politicians and the general public, helping raise a total of $22.9 million for the charity so far. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon is thriving in Israel, too. Television host Guy Lerer upped the ante as he decked out in a flak jacket and helmet before a tractordumped half a ton of ice water over his head. Lerer was nominated by Rahav Rosenberg, just your average Israeli guy, who says on his YouTube clip that he wants to make the Ice Bucket Challenge in Israel as popular as the one in the US. Sholli Ber Kestecher, who immigrated to Israel from the UK, posted a video titled “ALS ice bucket challenge in Israel (under rocket fire).” As the title suggests, Kestecher has to do the icy deed quickly as he runs for cover. The Ice Bucket Challenge requires anyone who undertakes it to nominate others. Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor nominated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “who spends most of his time trying to break the ice between countries,” to answer the challenge. He also called on Israeli singer Rita to take part.Prosor quipped to the camera that taking the freezing-cold plunge was an easy choice for him, noting that he’s used to getting “a chilly reception in the United Nations.” (via Israel21c)
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