Jerusalem – Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Brussels yesterday morning, where he will participated in an unprecedented conference of NATO army commanders.

Mr. Ashkenazi met with the secretary-general of NATO and with other high-ranking members of the organization, and presented Israel’s security problems to them, including the Iranian nuclear program and the war against Palestinian terrorism.

This is the Israeli Army Chief of Staff’s first trip outside of Israel since his appointment in February 2007, and may mark an indication of Israeli military coordination with Western democracies, toward a possible confrontation with Iraq in the near future.

Siloam Tunnel Inscription To

Come To Israel

Turkish President Abdullah Gul agreed on Monday to an unusual request by President Shimon Peres that is connected to the celebrations of Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Mr. Peres told his Turkish counterpart that in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum is a rare stone (the Siloam inscription) from the Siloam Tunnel containing an ancient inscription from King Hezekiah’s time (727-698 B.C.E.). The stone was discovered by the Turks during the Ottoman Period in the 19th Century and taken to Turkey.

Experts say that the Siloam inscription is one of the earliest pieces of evidence of Jewish life in the Land of Israel during the First Temple Period. Mr. Peres asked that the rare archaeological and historical exhibit be brought to the Israel Museum.

The Turkish president agreed in principle to lend the stone for a certain period and even promised to contact the Istanbul Museum personally in order to move the rare gesture forward. Mr. Peres thanked President Gul and invited him to participate in the Independence Day celebrations.

However, a diplomatic official in Ankara told the Israeli press that this is a particularly sensitive measure and it is not clear whether it will be completed successfully. The reason: the Turks fear that if the Siloam inscription returns to Jerusalem, religious communities in Israel will try to make the rare exhibit remain in Israel and even use legal means to prevent its return to the museum in Turkey.

©The Bulletin 2007


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.