When ISRAEL21c interviewed champion golfer Laetitia Beck for a feature story a couple of months ago, she was nervously anticipating the third and final qualifier toward earning her LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Tour Card. No Israeli has ever won either the LPGA or PGA (Professional Golf Association) ticket to the world’s major pro golf tournaments. On December 7, Beck became the first Israeli LPGA Tour Card holder following her victory in a sudden-death finish in the qualifier at Daytona Beach, Florida. The card enables her to compete in the LPGA’s 33 tournaments planned for 2015 in more than a dozen countries. The first is scheduled for the end of January, shortly before Beck’s 23rd birthday. Her golfing star began to rise when she won the Israeli Open Golf Championship at age 12, and she won that title four more times before moving from her family’s home in Caesarea for serious training in Florida. She won golfing gold medals in the 2009 and 2013 Maccabiah Games and was voted Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 2011 as a member of the Duke University (North Carolina) Blue Devils. That year, she qualified for her first LPGA event, the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open – marking the first time an Israeli played in an LPGA tourney. In 2013, Golf World cited her as one of the top 50 golfers to watch. Beck says she is extremely focused. “If you ask me to play a sport, then I’ll get a smile on my face. I’m very athletic and very competitive.” She hopes to represent Israel at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics. (via Israel21c)
Bipartisan resolution condemning Hamas use of human shields passes House, Senate
Posted by Albert Gersh - December 11, 2014
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution condemning Hamas’s use of human shields, following the passage earlier in the week of the Senate version of the resolution, coauthored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who cosponsored the House’s version of the resolution, jointly released a statement praising Israel for going “to extraordinary lengths this summer in Gaza to protect innocent civilian lives” and blasted Hamas for “plac[ing] the Palestinian people directly in harm’s way by using them as human shields and placing its rockets near densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals and mosques.” The Palestinian terror group, which admitted to the tactic, was criticized by among others the United States and the European Union for using Palestinian civilians as human shields as Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers during the summer conflict. The House vote comes a day after members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade authored a letter to the Treasury Department underscoring lawmakers’ concerns over the funding and support provided to Hamas by regional players Qatar and Turkey. Qatar in particular was slammed for allowing Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal “to operate out of its territory knowingly and with impunity.” The letter cited press reports that “Qatar threatened to deport [Meshaal] if Hamas had accepted an Egypt-backed ceasefire agreement to end this summer’s conflict in Gaza,” potentially stretching out the summer’s conflict.
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