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To the derision of critics, the Cain and Abel School for Prophets will offer a diploma in Jewish soothsaying
By Tia Goldenberg
TEL AVIV (AP) — Instead of long beards and robes, they wear track suits and T-shirts. Their tablets are electronic, not hewn of stone, and they hold smartphones, not staffs. They may not look the part, but this ragtag group of Israelis is training to become the next generation of prophets.
For just 200 shekels, about $53, and in only 40 short classes, the Cain and Abel School for Prophets says it will certify anyone as a modern-day Jewish soothsayer.
The school, which launched classes this month, has baffled critics, many of whom have dismissed it as a blasphemy or a fraud.
On a religious level, Jewish tradition recognizes a few dozen prophets from the biblical era — from the monumental figures of Abraham, Moses and Elijah to lesser known foretellers of doom and tormented questioners like Micah the Morashtite and Habakkuk. Tradition says no one can be a prophet ever since the Romans destroyed the second temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 and the era of prophecy can only be revived with the arrival of the Messiah and the temple’s rebuilding. As one Talmudic phrase puts it, the only prophets now are children and fools.
By Anav Silverman Tazpit News Agency
A small group of Israelis, many university students, gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on Monday evening in a show of support and friendship with America. The rally, organized by the pro-Israel student movement, Im Tirzu, came in response to the recent attacks on US embassies across the Middle East. The attacks first began in Cairo when the American embassy was stormed two weeks ago, and then in Benghazi, when a US consulate was penetrated by armed jihadists who killed the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other US employees.
Im Tirzu director Ronen Shoval explained that he and his team organized the rally in order to show that in Israel “we are behind America.” “Israel and the United States share many important values including those of freedom and liberty,” Ronen told Tazpit News Agency. “It is crucial that we show America that there is one country in the Middle East that will always stand with her no matter what.”
Anti-US demonstrations have also taken place in Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere from North Africa to south-east Asia, apparently fanned by a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that had been made in California. German and British embassies have also been attacked. In Sudan, the German embassy was set on fire and significantly damaged.
At the Tel Aviv rally, a passing American visitor, Tani Zarelli, of Washington State, stood with the Israeli demonstrators and was clearly moved by the enthusiastic support. “This means a lot to us,” Zarelli told the crowd, which chanted ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’ while waving Israeli and American flags. Several Israelis even attempted to sing The Star Spangled Banner.
“University students have come all over Israel to be here at the U.S. Embassy today to show their pride in the special friendship between the United States and Israel. No matter who attacks the values of freedom that define Western society, America can always count on Israel to her friend,” concluded Shoval.
Anti-missile battery to remain in Tel Aviv metropolitan area for several days for training purposes Yoav Zitun
Israel’s Air Force deployed an Iron Dome battery near the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area on Wednesday. Previously deployed in the Gaza vicinity area and Eilat, the battery has been placed in the area for training purposes.
The innovative anti-missile system, whose developers recently won the Israel Defense Prize, continues to travel the country. After being deployed in more volatile regions such as Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod, it is now arriving at central Israel.
Recently, it has been exposed that despite the great praise the system has been receiving, the soldiers operating it have been complaining of tough conditions on the ground. They lack permanent accommodations, warm meals and other basic provisions.
Israel’s Modiin Energy and Adira Energy Corp. on Tuesday confirmed the discovery of an commercially viable quantity of oil just 15 miles off the coast of Tel Aviv.
Late last year, Modiin and Adira published surveys of the 150-square-mile Gabriella field showing that the site likely contained significant quantities of both oil and natural gas.
Speaking to shareholders in Tel Aviv, Adira officials said Gabriella is expected to yield 232 million barrels of oil and 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Add that to the 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered last year at other Mediterranean sites, and Israel’s energy situation is starting to look much improved.
Modiin majority shareholder Tzahi Sultan told Israel’s Globes business newspaper that drilling at the Gabriella site should begin later this year, and a well will be in place producing oil in about five years.