Wednesday, March 7, 2012

172 Israel Lobby bankrolling Tories; 50% of shadow cabinet are Friends of Israel

(1) Spitting Mad Jews and Angry Artists, by Dr Lasha Darkmoon
(2) Netanyahu on Iranian threat "to wipe Israel off the map"
(3) US pressures China: Israel could bomb Iran, therefore help us stop Iran
(4) China's Backing on Iran Followed Dire Predictions
(5) Israel Lobby bankrolling Tories; 50% of shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel
(6) Tory party's MidEast policy dictated by the Zionist lobby
(7) Jews criticize Dispatches Report on Israel Lobby
(8) Melanie Phillips scoffs at Dispatches programme on the Israel lobby (she's a Zionist)
(9) Walk up the stairs: Sabbath elevators ruled Not Kosher

(1) Spitting Mad Jews and Angry Artists, by Dr Lasha Darkmoon
From:  Date: 25.11.2009 05:23 PM

> We can easily dismiss demonising talk of
> 'the Jews who destroy art in order to break Aryan spirit'.

I disagree. I was made to watch a film about abstract art and Jackson Pollack when I was in a Catholic Elementary School (No doubt recommended by some Jewish educational expert). I laughed at it. My niece had some kind of lesson on Jackson Pollack in KINDERGARTEN,  at a Protestant school in Mississippi.  They do this because they want to get the kids young and screw them up forever. They laugh at us for trying to understand what they are doing, they know it's junk.

(2) Netanyahu on Iranian threat "to wipe Israel off the map"

From: Mark MacCuish <> Date: 19.11.2009 06:17 PM

"The Iranian regime tyrannizes its own people, sponsors and
supplies terrorism, and openly pledges to wipe Israel off the map.
Imagine how much more dangerous this regime would be if it
had atomic bombs."  -  Netanyahu

1) Millions upon millions of Iranians democratically voted their  President into power.  The only people who were "tyrannized" were  those either supportive of Western states, those subverted by  Western intelligence agencies, or those hell-bent on de-stabelizing the Iranian government -- all of whom deserve to be "tyrannized".

2) There is no evidence what-so-ever of Iran wanting to "wipe Israel off the map" -- this quote is by far the most dangerous and  most exaggerated of all the false claims.The President was referring  to how the enemies of Iran (Saddam, the Soviet Union, and the Shah)  were all "wiped from the pages of history" without Iran having to  resort to any violence what-so-ever and this too could be  possible with regards to Israel.

Despite this fact, the Iranian President has absolutely no power  in terms of going to war with another nation -- and the Ayatollah has said there is no plans to attack Israel. 

3) Iran has not attacked or invaded another nation in over 4 centuries.

4) There is absolutely no proof of any weapons program.  In fact,  in over a decade, the IAEA and the UN weapons inspectors have been allowed to inspect Iran, most times unannounced, and never once have they said there is any evidence of a weapons program.  Also, the  Ayatollah has said nuclear weapons are against Islam.  On the other  hand, Israel is allowed to have hundreds of nuclear weapons, and  does not allow any inspections and won't sign the NPT (which Iran has signed)

5) Iran has no use for nuclear weapons -- Israel's destruction will occur regardless of Iran interfering because of Israel's racist ideology.  Just as apartheid ended in South Africa, so too will it  in Palestine.

The rhetoric from Netanyahu is abhorrent and disgusting.  I live in  North America, and to think people are listening to this liar is

Mark from Canada

(3) US pressures China: Israel could bomb Iran, therefore help us stop Iran

Manufacturing Consent For Attack On Iran

'US Warned China That Israel Could Bomb Iran'

By staff and ap

November 26, 2009 "Jerusalem Post" -- Two senior officials from the White House, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Bader, made a trip to China on a "special mission" to garner support in Beijing over the Iranian nuclear program, according to a Thursday report in The Washington Post. The officials visited China two weeks before US President Barack Obama arrived in Beijing.

The officials reportedly carried the message that if China would not support the US on the issue, Israel would be likely to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. The paper quoted the officials as saying that Israel saw the issue as "an existential issue," and that "countries that have an existential issue don't listen to other countries."

They stressed that were Israel to bomb Iran, the consequences for the region would be severe.

The efforts seemed to have yielded results, according to White House officials quoted in the report, as the six world powers, including both China and Russia, put together a resolution critical of Iran's nuclear program earlier this week.

The development was significant as it groups Russia and China with the four Western powers - the US, Britain, France and Germany - in unified criticism of Iran's nuclear program. Russia and China have acted as a drag on Western calls for tougher action against Iran.

While the board passed an IAEA resolution critical of Iran in 2006 with the support of all six world powers, subsequent attempts by the West to get backing from all 35 board nations foundered on resistance from Russia and China.

While any board resolution is mostly symbolic, it does get reported to the UN Security Council. Beyond that, unified action in Vienna could signal that both Russia and China may be more amenable to a fourth set of Security Council sanctions on Iran than they have been in past years.

The draft urges Iran to open its nuclear program to wider perusal by the IAEA, they said. As well, it calls on Iran to answer all outstanding questions on that enrichment facility, comply with UN Security Council demands that it suspend enrichment and further construction of the plant, and stop stonewalling an IAEA probe of allegations it tried to develop nuclear weapons.

(4) China's Backing on Iran Followed Dire Predictions

Before Obama's visit, NSC warned leaders of Mideast turmoil

By John Pomfret and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer

November 26, 2009 "Washington Post" -- Two weeks before President Obama visited China, two senior White House officials traveled to Beijing on a "special mission" to try to persuade China to pressure Iran to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.

If Beijing did not help the United States on this issue, the consequences could be severe, the visitors, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Bader, both senior officials in the National Security Council, informed the Chinese.

The Chinese were told that Israel regards Iran's nuclear program as an "existential issue and that countries that have an existential issue don't listen to other countries," according to a senior administration official. The implication was clear: Israel could bomb Iran, leading to a crisis in the Persian Gulf region and almost inevitably problems over the very oil China needs to fuel its economic juggernaut, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Earlier this week, the White House got its answer. China informed the United States that it would support a toughly worded, U.S.-backed statement criticizing the Islamic republic for flouting U.N. resolutions by constructing a secret uranium-enrichment plant. The statement, obtained by The Washington Post, is part of a draft resolution to be taken up as soon as Thursday by the 35 nations that make up the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

While largely symbolic, it is the first such declaration since 2006 to be backed by both China and Russia. And the statement marks a departure for China, which has long refrained from criticizing Iran's nuclear policies. The issue of how China will handle the Iranian nuclear issue has emerged as an early test of what Obama has described as a relationship that "will shape the 21st century."

Given its backing even from Iran's erstwhile allies, European diplomats on Wednesday predicted easy passage of the resolution, which calls Tehran's construction of an underground enrichment plant near Qom a "breach of its obligations" under U.N. and IAEA guidelines. If approved, the resolution will be referred to the U.N. Security Council, which could decide to enact harsher sanctions against the Islamic republic.

"Our patience is not going to last forever," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, whose government drafted the resolution, told reporters on the eve of the IAEA session.

But while diplomats and arms-control experts welcomed China's support of the IAEA resolution, some acknowledged that it is not clear whether Russia or China would go further and agree to new sanctions against Iran. Attempts to reach officials at the Chinese Embassy for comment were unsuccessful.

"They're expressing displeasure with Iran, but whether that translates into a U.N. Security Council resolution is another matter," said David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.

Iran, which insists that it wants to harness nuclear power only to make electricity, this week acknowledged feeling new pressure from Russia over its expanding nuclear network. A top military commander, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hassan Mansourian, told state-run Press TV that Russia had reneged on supplying promised military technology "due to pressure form the Zionist lobby and the Americans."

The visit to Beijing last month by the senior White House aides was described as part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to isolate Iran. In making their case to China, administration officials warned that a nuclear Iran not only would raise the risk of a regional conflict, higher oil prices and even interrupted supplies, it could also trigger a surge in nuclear proliferation.

The Chinese were told that "this could shake the entire framework of the international nonproliferation regime," said the official who was familiar with the lengthy analysis Ross laid out.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt could start their own nuclear programs, the Chinese were told. "And once Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey go, what's left?" the official said. The implication again was clear: Japan, China's biggest competitor for influence in the region, could go nuclear as well, the official said.

Obama reinforced those messages during his trip to China last week in meetings with President Hu Jintao, the official said. "Both Dennis and the president talked about the consequences of Iran moving toward having highly-enriched-uranium capacity," the official said.

The United States wants China to back sanctions against Iran if Tehran refuses a proposal to send most of its current stockpile of low-enriched uranium abroad for processing into fuel rods for a research reactor in Iran.

China has said it opposes sanctions against Iran; China's state-run energy behemoths have committed to investing $120 billion in Iran's energy sector over the past five years, and few if any of those projects have broken ground. Iran is also China's No. 2 supplier of oil. Earlier this week, Sinopec, one of China's biggest oil companies, signed another memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Co. to invest an additional $6.5 billion to build oil refineries in Iran.

From the start of his administration, Obama has lobbied the Chinese over Iran. The issue dominated his discussions with Hu during their meeting at the U.N. General Assembly in September. Obama referred to the issue with Iran as "a core national interest" of the United States, a conscious use of a term China employs on sensitive issues such as Taiwan and Tibet. "It's their terminology coming back at them, emphasizing how critical" the issue is to the United States, the U.S. official said.

U.S. officials have also attempted to explore ways to help to wean China off Iranian oil, State Department officials have said. Officials from the United Arab Emirates have said they plan to increase oil exports to China. Saudi Arabia is also moving toward closer ties with Beijing that would clearly involve selling more oil to China, officials said.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company

(5) Israel Lobby bankrolling Tories; 50% of shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel

The Guardian (Britain)

50% of MPs in the shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel members, according to Channel 4

Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims

Ian Black, Middle East editor

The Guardian

Monday 16 November 2009

Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain look set to see their influence increase if the Conservatives win the next election, a film scrutinising the activities of a powerful but little-known lobby warns today.

At least half of the shadow cabinet are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), according to a Dispatches programme being screened on Channel 4. The programme-makers describe the CFI as "beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups".

Inside Britain's Israel Lobby claims that donations to the Conservative party "from all CFI members and their businesses add up to well over £10m over the last eight years". CFI has disputed the figure and called the film "deeply flawed".

The programme also describes how David Cameron allegedly accepted a £15,000 donation from Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire who chairs Bicom (the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre). Zabludowizc, the film reveals, has business interests in an illegal West Bank settlement. He also gave £50,000 to Conservative Central Office. Zabludowicz says his contributions "are a matter of public record".

William Hague allegedly accepted personal donations from CFI board members totalling tens of thousands of pounds after being appointed shadow foreign secretary. More than £30,000 from CFI supporters went to the campaign funds of members of Cameron's team who were first elected in 2005, the film claims, using publicly available information.

The programme-makers say that while this is legal, it is not well-known. The CFI director, Stuart Polak, told the Guardian the figure of more than £10m is not supported by any facts. "It is fictitious, misleading and damaging to the reputation of CFI and its supporters," he said.

"CFI as an organisation has donated only £30,000 since 2005. Each of thesedonations has been made transparently and publicly registered. In addition to this £30,000, it is undoubtedly the case that some of our supporters have also chosen, separately, to donate to the party as individuals."

Two years ago a controversial study by American academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer explored the influence of the Israel lobby over US foreign policy. But Britain's pro-Israel organisations have been subjected to far less scrutiny.

"The pro-Israel lobby … is the most powerful political lobby," Michael Mates, a Conservative MP and privy councillor, told the film-makers. "There's nothing to touch them."

Hague fell out with CFI after describing Israel's 2006 attack on Lebanon – in retaliation for a Hezbollah raid – as "disproportionate" and allegedly faced threats to withdraw funding from Lord Kalms, a major Tory donor and CFI member, the film reports.

Cameron later gave an undertaking not to use the word again, the programme claims. At a CFI dinner this June the party leader made no mention of the death toll in the Gaza war – 1,370 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. Instead he commended Israel because "it strives to protect innocent life".

Sir Richard Dalton, a former British diplomat who served as consul-general in Jerusalem and ambassador to Libya and Iran, said: "I don't believe, and I don't think anybody else believes these contributions come with no strings attached."

Labour Friends of Israel, another key group, is described as being "less unquestioning in its support of the Israeli government than CFI". But it has taken more MPs on free trips to Israel than any other group – more than 60 since 2001.

CFI has also flown over 30 Tory parliamentary candidates to Israel on free trips in the last three years.

Dispatches describes how when the presenter Jonathan Dimbleby criticised a pro-Israel campaign against the BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, Dimbleby was the subject of a complaint and, according to the programme, is now under investigation by the BBC. This point was denied in a statement later from the BBC's press office: "Any suggestion that Jonathan Dimbleby is the subject of an investigation by the BBC is incorrect."

Bicom, like the party-affiliated groups, organises briefings and trips to Israel for journalists, including Guardian staff. It sought to dismiss the significance of Zabludowicz's interest in a shopping mall in Ma'aleh Adumim, a settlement built on territory occupied in the 1967 war and which Israel would hope to retain. ...

• This article was updated on 16 November 2009 to include a BBC denial issued later in the day about Dispatches' assertion that Jonathan Dimbleby was under investigation. ==

Inside Britain's Israel Lobby
Dispatches - Channel 4 (Britain) -- Video

(6) Tory party's MidEast policy dictated by the Zionist lobby

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 24.11.2009 01:29 PM

Comment (NS): The link below takes you to Channel 4's Dispatches on the Israel Lobby in Britain. Apparently US Youtube has banned it. The programme doesn't go far enough and repeats certain Zionist lies (such as last winter's Gaza massacre being a retaliation), but it's still a courageous expose of this lobby which endangers Britain's independence, the future of the Jewish people, and the immediate survival of the ancient Palestinian people. Why is the apartheid state still financially, militarily and politically backed by Western power as its crimes become ever more enormous? Here's why. {end comment}

And Richard Ingram’s comment in the Independent (UK) below:

Up against the power of the lobby

"Why, if Jews are held to have such occult lobbying power," asked the former Labour minister Denis MacShane in Tuesday's Independent, "are they so spectacularly unsuccessful?"

He was responding to a Channel 4 Dispatches programme presented by Peter Oborne and broadcast on Monday. It was a peculiar question to ask, as Oborne had convincingly shown that the Tory party's policy in the Middle East has been largely dictated by the Zionist lobby with the help of generous financial donations to individual MPs and to the party as a whole.

Indeed, the programme began by referring back to a speech David Cameron made earlier this year at a lunch given by the Conservative Friends of Israel. Despite the fact it was only a few months after Ehud Olmert's disastrous invasion of Gaza with widescale loss of civilian life, Cameron made no reference to this. On the contrary, his reassuring message to his wealthy audience was: "If I become Prime Minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on Israel."

I do not know if Mr MacShane saw the whole programme. If he did, he may remember Oborne's description of how Jewish lobbyists had succeeded in forcing the BBC to investigate charges of bias against one of its most experienced journalists, the Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, and how the BBC Trust had gone so far as to reprimand Bowen publicly. If that isn't an example of successful lobbying then I don't know what is.

I should imagine that the usual suspects will be joining forces to mount an official complaint against Channel 4 and Oborne for broadcasting Monday's programme. We must hope that unlike the wretched BBC they will stick to their guns.

(7) Jews criticize Dispatches Report on Israel Lobby

From: IHR News <> Date: 20.11.2009 06:00 PM

The Jewish Chronicle (Britain)

Dispatches criticised by leading Jews
By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2009

A row over the Channel 4 flagship investigative programme Dispatches, which examined the influence of the Israeli lobby, has erupted after the programme was broadcast last night.

The programme, Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby, had already attracted criticism for the antisemitic comments posted on the Channel 4 website.

Zionist Federation co-Vice Chairman Jonathan Hoffman denounced the programme on the website CiF Watch, claiming: “The lack of substance was amply demonstrated by the people who were prepared to go ‘on the record’ – namely the usual as-a-Jew suspects accompanied by representatives of the Guardian, the (ex)BBC and the Foreign Office.”

Melanie Phillips, who wrote a response to the programme in The Spectator, said: “After watching Peter Oborne’s ‘Dispatches’ programme on the power of the Israel lobby in Britain, the scales have fallen from my eyes.”

“I now see things in an entirely different light. I now realise that the power of this unique cabal is so vast and unprecedented in its truly demonic power – a power given to no other lobby – that both the Labour government and Tory opposition slavishly and unquestioningly support Israel’s military actions and that the Guardian and the BBC have found themselves totally unable to publish or transmit anything other than wholehearted support for Israel.”

The Community Security Trust also criticised the programme on its blog and the antisemitic feeling it claimed the programme would stoke. It reads: "[Presenter Peter Obourne's] stern admonition that “there is no conspiracy” remains a case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted – one hour of innuendo about “pro-Israeli” moneybags controlling the Conservative and Labour Parties; “pro-Israeli intimidation of British media; premeditated “pro-Israeli” abuse of antisemitism; and sinister music accompanying photos of “pro-Israelis” blurred across Israeli and British flags."

The Liberal Jewish synagogue chairwoman Rita Adler has distanced herself from comments that the synagogue’s Emeritus Rabbi David Goldberg made in the programme, claiming he was speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the synagogue.

The director of the Conservative Friends of Israel told the Guardian newspaper that the programme’s claim that CFI donated £10m to the Conservatives over the last eight years was “deeply flawed”.

Stuart Polak, CFI Director said: "It is fictitious, misleading and damaging to the reputation of CFI and its supporters.

"CFI as an organisation has donated only £30,000 since 2005. Each of these donations has been made transparently and publicly registered. In addition to this £30,000, it is undoubtedly the case that some of our supporters have also chosen, separately, to donate to the party as individuals."

(8) Melanie Phillips scoffs at Dispatches programme on the Israel lobby (she's a Zionist)

Everything is now illuminated

Melanie Phillips

Monday, 16th November 2009

After watching Peter Oborne’s ‘Dispatches’ programme on the power of the Israel lobby in Britain, the scales have fallen from my eyes.

I now see things in an entirely different light. I now realise that the power of this unique cabal is so vast and unprecedented in its truly demonic power – a power given to no other lobby – that both the Labour government and Tory opposition slavishly and unquestioningly support Israel’s military actions and that the Guardian and the BBC have found themselves totally unable to publish or transmit anything other than wholehearted support for Israel.

I now realise that, every day, a cowed and intimidated Guardian publishes story after story in support of Israel, focusing relentlessly upon the beleaguerment of its citizens under the onslaught from Hamas while never carrying anything in favour of the Palestinians, presenting the Middle East entirely through a pro-Israel prism and never even reporting the Palestinian point of view except for a few contemptuous references suggesting that they are always lying.

I now realise that every day a cowed and intimidated BBC transmits only the most admiring reports of Israeli soldiers being put in harm’s way by their commanders in order to avoid killing Palestinian civilians wherever possible, and that its Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen is guilty of the most flagrant admiration for the Israel Defence Force and of presenting a version of Israel’s history which is drawn entirely from a Jewish perspective.

I now realise that Britain has been forced to endorse the most drastic and gung-ho action possible against Iran to stop it from going nuclear – part of the approach to the region which, in the memorable words of no less an authority than the former British ambassador to Iran, has been promoted by British Jews who are acting against the national interest of Britain and in the interests of another country.

I now realise that both Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Tory foreign affairs spokesman William Hague have done nothing other than mouth off in support of Israel’s actions in Gaza or in the settlements, with Miliband in particular denouncing the Goldstone report and voting against it at the UN, and are loud in their grotesquely lop-sided and obsessional condemnation of the Palestinians and the Arab world for being the cause of the Middle East conflict.

I now realise that Miliband, Hague, the editor of the Guardian and the Director-General of the BBC are all tragic, broken figures who have been so badly traumatised by the truly diabolical power of this lobby that they are helplessly unable to do anything other than pump out pro-Israel propaganda, and weakly protest at the truly demented and hysterical frenzy of smears, libels, insults, ad-hominem attacks, fabrications, distortions and, well, sheer undiluted bigotry and hatred that are daily hurled at these defenceless individuals by these rich and powerful Jews.

I now realise just how successful the British Israel lobby has been in -- as the programme so brilliantly conveyed -- treacherously subverting British politics and intimidating the media to realise its diabolical aim of harnessing politicians and journalists to Israel’s cause, an aim in which it has had such conspicuous success.

And just how has this lobby managed to gain so much power over Britain’s ruling and media class, far more so than the poor old Arabs have ever managed? Ah well, there’s one vital thing Peter Oborne forgot to tell us.

You see, the Jews have all the oil.

Comment (Peter M.): Iraq and Iran have oil; but that doesn't give them leverage, nor ownership of the US media.

(9) Walk up the stairs: Sabbath elevators ruled Not Kosher

From: ReporterNotebook <> Date: 22.11.2009 01:23 AM

MONDAY, OCT 26, 2009 00:35 PDT

Rabbinical ruling causes havoc on elevators


The Jewish day of rest has become a bit more labor-intensive for Yosef Ball.

The Orthodox Jew and his wife are no longer using elevators custom-built for the Jewish Sabbath, ever since a rabbinical ruling last month outlawed them. Instead, they have been hiking up seven flights of stairs to get home each Saturday, lugging with them their five young children and a double stroller.

"It's been very hard, but we're walking up the stairs slowly and with a lot of patience," said Ball, 29, while pushing a baby carriage with two toddlers in tow on a recent day.

Jewish law, or halacha, forbids the use of electrical items on the Sabbath. But for decades rabbis have allowed special elevators that automatically stop at every floor without the riders pushing any buttons, permitting Orthodox Jews to ride them and live in high-rise buildings.

The ruling last month by one of Israel's leading rabbis, calling the elevators a no-go, has reignited a vigorous debate over the lifts, forcing Orthodox Jews living on top floors to decide if they're up for the steep hike home from synagogue on Saturdays.

The decision stretches far beyond Israel's borders. Buildings with Shabbat elevators are common in Orthodox communities around the world, and residents in places as far away as New York are now struggling with how to interpret the ruling.

Jacob Goldman, a real estate agent in an Orthodox neighborhood in Manhattan's Lower East Side, said residents are not rushing to change their routines. Landlords and building managers have to think about the decree's possible implications but aren't likely to take any drastic measures.

"A landlord can't take away people's Sabbath elevators just because one person said they can't be used," Goldman said, adding that to do so could leave some people housebound on the day of rest.

No single authority interprets religious law for Orthodox Jews. But Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the revered 99-year-old scholar who signed the elevator ruling, is one of the most influential voices in the Jewish world, widely considered to be one of his generation's greatest authorities on religious law.

Most members of the Reform and Conservative movements, the liberal streams of Judaism to which most American Jews belong, do not strictly observe the Sabbath and would not be affected by the ruling.

But even the Orthodox community has long been divided over the elevators. Opponents say that while the riders push no button, the weight of the passengers still increases the amount of electricity required to power the lift, thus violating Jewish law.

Still, the elevators, in use for some four decades, have opened the door for large numbers of Orthodox Jews to dwell in modern skyscrapers.

"No young couple is going to move into a ninth or tenth floor building if it becomes a prison for them," said Jonathan Rosenblum, an ultra-Orthodox commentator in Jerusalem.

Lila Lowell, a Bronx native now living in Jerusalem, installed a Sabbath elevator to access her second-floor apartment and won't stop using it despite the decree.

"My elevator is kosher," she said. And she added: "My husband and I have difficulty with the stairs, so we need the elevator." Her young grandchildren also use the lift.

The ruling, decreed last month, is the latest in a series by Israeli rabbis on the minutiae of applying Jewish law to daily life. Top rabbis can count tens of thousands of followers who abide by their rulings.

Elyashiv has been behind other controversial decisions before. In September, he proclaimed Jews could not wear Crocs shoes on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, because they were deemed too comfortable for the somber fasting holiday.

In 2004, Elyashiv prohibited religious women from wearing Indian-made wigs because the hair may have been used in idol-worshipping ceremonies, which are forbidden under Jewish law. Religious women cover their heads with wigs or cloth as a sign of modesty.

A debate a decade ago by another leading rabbi concluded that nose-picking was allowed on the Sabbath. It was under discussion because nose hairs may be plucked out in the process, and cutting hair on the Sabbath is outlawed.

The elevators are just one of several electric devices that rabbis have found loopholes for, allowing their use. Religious families can use timers for their lights and special hot plates to warm food as long as those hot plates were not switched on or off during the Sabbath.

Hospitals and hotels catering to Orthodox Jews have also had to weigh how to address the elevator decree. The plush David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem said it will leave it up to visitors to decide whether to use one of the four Sabbath elevators, but expects religious guests to request rooms on the lower of its 10 floors.

Jerusalem's 10-floor Shaare Zedek hospital said it has not received any directive on the matter and will continue operating its Sabbath elevators as usual.

Proponents of the lifts say followers need not change their habits.

"I think people understand nothing has changed technologically," said Rabbi Israel Rozen, head of the Zomet Institute, which specializes in Sabbath-appropriate electrical equipment. He supports the use of Sabbath elevators.

"But if people decide they want to climb 10 floors because of this, that's their choice."

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