Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Basic framework for peace impossible without partner

There Is an Israeli Consensus on the Basic Framework of Peace - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors on Tuesday:
We are fast approaching the time when the majority of Jews will live in the Jewish state. We [in Israel] already have the largest number of Jews in the world, but in a few years, we will do something that has defied the Jewish people for over two millennia, that is that the majority of the Jews will live in the Jewish state in the Jewish land.
The overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel and outside Israel, Israelis in Israel and friends of Israel outside Israel, agree on the basic framework of peace, assuming we had a peace partner who wanted to make peace with Israel.We seek to achieve a peace and mutual recognition between two states, two nation-states for two peoples....This is the core of the conflict. This conflict is about the Jewish state. It's about the persistent refusal to accept that the Jews have a right for a nation-state of their own....It precedes the question of boundaries; it precedes the question of territorial dispute.
I said numerous times that I will accept a Palestinian state. Now President Abbas must stand before his people and he has to say these six words: "I will accept the Jewish state."...And the only way that it's going to happen is by the external pressure that says to the Palestinian leadership: "Just say it."
We don't want a repeat of what happened when we withdrew from Gaza or from South Lebanon. I believe that this will require for Israel to maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. There will be arguments about sovereignty, about territory, but I think that the question of demilitarization and a long-term military presence along the Jordan River are essential to guaranteeing any peace. A peace you cannot defend will not hold. A peace you can defend will.
What we have to achieve is an end to conflict - not to create a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel to continue the conflict and try to dissolve Israel by flooding it with refugees or by inducing

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

huge natural gas find in Israel

Foreign Policy Specialist David Wurmser: New Gas Fields Could Make Israel Big Player
Tuesday, 28 Jun 2011 12:25 PM

By Jim Meyers

More ways to share... Mixx Stumbled LinkedIn Vine Buzzflash Reddit Delicious Newstrust Technocrati Share: More . . . A A | Email Us | Print | Forward Article Foreign policy specialist David Wurmser tells Newsmax that huge natural gas fields recently discovered off the coast of Israel will make the Jewish state a net energy exporter and have “dramatic effects” on the Israeli economy.

But the gas finds could touch off new disputes with Lebanon — and in particular, Iran’s terrorist client there, Hezbollah — over exploitation of the gas fields.

Wurmser was a Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and a special assistant to John Bolton at the State Department. He is also a former research fellow on the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute.

Story continues below video.

In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Wurmser was asked about the significance of the natural gas fields found in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel.

“A series of private operators discovered two gas fields in the last two years off the coast of Israel that are world class production zones,” he responds.

“The first was discovered in early 2009, called the Tamar field. The second was discovered at the end of 2010, called the Leviathan field.

“Together, they represent about 24.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. That’s about 750 billion cubic meters. Europe consumes about 400 billion cubic meters a year. So it’s equivalent to about one and a half years consumption of gas by Europe. These are very significant finds. And the basin in which they’re found shows promise of a lot more out there.”

A smaller gas field called Dalit also was found near Tamar.

“Israel consumes only a small part of what is out there already discovered,” Wurmser says.

“It would be about 75 years to 100 years of Israeli consumption. This is obviously far beyond what Israel would need to keep, so Israel would become for the first time in its existence a net exporter of energy resources, which will strategically begin to transform the way the nation looks at itself and develops relations with countries around it.”

Regarding possible disputes the gas finds could produce with Israel’s neighbors, Wurmser tells Newsmax the fields are “pretty clearly within Israeli waters. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some conflict or dispute that, say, Hezbollah in Lebanon presents.

“Hezbollah isn’t always run by lawyers so they would lay a claim whether there’s a real legal basis to it or not.”

Agreements with Cyprus and Egypt very likely will prevent any disputes with those countries over the gas find, Wurmser says.

“The bigger question is Lebanon, and every single norm of international law puts these fields way south of that possible line,” he adds.

“So there’s no real basis for conflict over these fields.

“That said, Hezbollah will use it because there are strategic implications for it. One is for Hezbollah itself. The second thing is that Hezbollah is an arm of Iran, which really doesn’t want to see the Eastern Mediterranean become a natural gas production zone that would make Europe’s ultimate reliance on Iranian gas less necessary.”

Israel has been importing about half of its gas and almost all of its coal and oil, so the natural gas finds “likely will have dramatic effects on Israeli economic growth, Wurmser says.

“Also, Israel could in many ways leverage this for strategic relationships with other countries like India, Japan, China, perhaps with Europe.

“And then Israel probably will develop a much broader energy policy that will seek to become a model for weaning modern industrialized countries off of oil, which could have major strategic effects for the United States and Europe.”

Read more on Foreign Policy Specialist David Wurmser: New Gas Fields Could Make Israel Big Player
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GLEN Beck one of Israel's biggest supporters helps

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Glenn Beck to teach MKs how to fight Israel's deligitimization
American talk show host Glenn Beck, known for his support of Israel, is soon to visit • Beck will explain to MKs how to fight delegitimization, ahead of an expected U.N. move this September.

Glenn Beck: ‘A friend of Israel who is sharing his talents.’ | Photo credit: Yehoshua Yosef

Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck will arrive in Israel in two weeks to teach Knesset members how to combat delegitimization as part of Israeli public relations preparations before the Palestinian Authority's expected unilateral request to the United Nations this September to be recognized as an independent state.

Over the past two years, Beck has served as one of Israel's greatest supporters and advocates in the U.S. Last month, he met with MK Danny Danon (Likud) to discuss Israel's global public diplomacy effort, focusing specifically on efforts in the U.N. Danon invited Beck to visit the Knesset to transmit his message to Israeli lawmakers and to give them tools to deal with one of the most complex arenas in which Israel operates. Beck will explain to MKs how to recruit friendly nations and U.S. public opinion to Israel's side.

Since the events surrounding the Turkish flotilla in 2010, Beck has intensified his pro-Israel stance, and his programs on Fox News and on the radio station that he owns have enjoyed immense popularity. However, as Beck's popularity has increased, so has criticism of him in the U.S., where he is considered a controversial media personality.

“As we face a foul wave of hatred of Israel and Jews in the world, it’s good that Israel has friends who can contribute their talents to our efforts to explain Israel's position,” Danon said. “The [Knesset] Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee will convene during Beck's visit to say in a loud voice that September is not just a crisis, it’s a historic opportunity to explain to the world that we are not conquering anything from anyone here.”

Senior government sources in Jerusalem expect that numerous states will change their minds and will oppose the creation of a Palestinian state.

Iran moves closes and closer to the bomb

Iran Unveils Missile Silos as It Begins War Games
Published: June 27, 2011

Iran unveiled underground silos on Monday that would make its missiles less vulnerable to attack, marking the country’s latest show of force in the long standoff with the West over its nuclear program.

Times Topics: Missiles and Missile Defense Systems | Iran
State television broadcast images of an unspecified number of silos deep underground, saying they held medium- and long-range missiles ready to hit distant targets. Subterranean silos are considered harder to destroy than surface installations, and Iran hailed them as a defensive asset meant to thwart attackers.

Col. Asghar Qelichkhani said the silos “function as a swift-reaction unit.” State TV quoted him as saying that the missiles were permanently in the vertical position and “ready to hit the predetermined targets.”

The silos were presented as Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards began 10 days of military exercises.

Western powers have long cited evidence that Iran was investigating the design of nuclear warheads for its missiles, a charge Tehran denies. It insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Western news organizations have reported sketchy evidence of the existence of Iranian missile silos near Tabriz and Khorramabad in northwest Iran. The presentation on Monday seemed to confirm the veracity of the scattered reports, if not the exact locations of the silos.

Last year, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an arms analysis group in London, reported “emerging evidence” of Iranian silos that could fire missiles at Iraq, Israel, Turkey and countries throughout the Persian Gulf. It said the most logical reason for building silos was “to prepare to field larger missiles,” rather than creating rocky shields for underground forces.

Large missiles require fixed deployments in the form of launching pads or silos, whereas smaller ones can be fired from mobile platforms.

The state TV report showed footage of an underground launching pad for what it called the Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of about 1,250 miles. The report also showed a large metal roof opening atop the silo to allow the firing of the missile.

During previous drills, Iran has repeatedly shown the Shahab-3 resting atop a huge mobile transporter and launcher that has more than a dozen wheels.

Monday’s television report said the silos were linked to a missile control center. The commander of the Guards’ Aerospace Force, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, praised the silos as a crucial asset in Iran’s standoff with the West. With these installations, he said, “we are certain that we can confront unequal enemies and defend the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Another unidentified Guards officer told state television that “only few countries in the world possess the technology to construct underground missile silos. The technology required for that is no less complicated than building the missile itself.”

Israel, which views Iran’s nuclear program as an existential threat, has accused Tehran of receiving assistance from North Korea in building underground missile sites.

But Colonel Qelichkhani, the spokesman for the war games, said the silos were based on Iranian technology.

Tehran is calling the war games “The Great Prophet Six” and says they will include tests of long-range missiles like the Sajjil, which has a longer range than that of the Shahab-3.

legality of Israel's response to the flotilla

Q&A: Is Israel's naval blockade of Gaza legal?

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World »
By Jonathan Saul
LONDON | Wed Jun 2, 2010 9:16am EDT
(Reuters) - Israel has said it will continue a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip despite growing global pressure to lift the siege after a navy raid on a Turkish ferry carrying aid killed nine activists this week.

What is the legality of the blockade and did Israel's intervention breach international law? Below are some questions and answers on the issue:


Yes it can, according to the law of blockade which was derived from customary international law and codified in the 1909 Declaration of London. It was updated in 1994 in a legally recognized document called the "San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea."

Under some of the key rules, a blockade must be declared and notified to all belligerents and neutral states, access to neutral ports cannot be blocked, and an area can only be blockaded which is under enemy control.

"On the basis that Hamas is the ruling entity of Gaza and Israel is in the midst of an armed struggle against that ruling entity, the blockade is legal," said Philip Roche, partner in the shipping disputes and risk management team with law firm Norton Rose.


Under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea a coastal state has a "territorial sea" of 12 nautical miles from the coast over which it is sovereign. Ships of other states are allowed "innocent passage" through such waters.

There is a further 12 nautical mile zone called the "contiguous zone" over which a state may take action to protect itself or its laws.

"However, strictly beyond the 12 nautical miles limit the seas are the "high seas" or international waters," Roche said.

The Israeli navy said on Monday the Gaza bound flotilla was intercepted 120 km (75 miles) west of Israel. The Turkish captain of one of the vessels told an Istanbul news conference after returning home from Israeli detention they were 68 miles outside Israeli territorial waters.

Under the law of a blockade, intercepting a vessel could apply globally so long as a ship is bound for a "belligerent" territory, legal experts say.


Under international law it can use force when boarding a ship.

"If force is disproportionate it would be a violation of the key tenets of the use of force," said Commander James Kraska, professor of international law at the U.S. Naval War College.

Israeli authorities said marines who boarded the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara opened fire in self-defense after activists clubbed and stabbed them and snatched some of their weapons.

Legal experts say proportional force does not mean that guns cannot be used by forces when being attacked with knives.

"But there has got to be a relationship between the threat and response," Kraska said.

The use of force may also have other repercussions.

"While the full facts need to emerge from a credible and transparent investigation, from what is known now, it appears that Israel acted within its legal rights," said J. Peter Pham, a strategic adviser to U.S. and European governments.

"However, not every operation that the law permits is necessarily prudent from the strategic point of view."


No, as under international law it was considered a state action.

"Whether what Israel did is right or wrong, it is not an act of piracy. Piracy deals with private conduct particularly with a pecuniary or financial interest," Kraska said.


None so far but the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), an association which represents 75 percent of the world's merchant fleet, has expressed "deep concern" over the boarding by Israeli forces, arguing that merchant ships have a right to safe passage and freedom of navigation in international waters.

"These fundamental principles of international law must always be upheld by all of the world's nations," the ICS said.

Is Orthodoxy sliding left?

Sliding to the Left?
Posted on June 23, 2011 by Alan Brill| 3 Comments
This post is FYI- so everyone can read this before it becomes the blog topic of Summer 2011.

Thirteen years ago Chaim Waxman as an Edah supporter wrote an article The Haredization of American Orthodox Jewry that the sky is falling with the impending Haredization of Orthodoxy and why Modern Orthodoxy is losing.

Now has reversed himself and put out a chatty article on the state of American Modern Orthodoxy created by interviewing more than fifty knowledgeable observers.
Yehuda Turetsky and Chaim I. Waxman, “Sliding to the Left? Contemporary American Modern Orthodoxy” Modern Judaism (2011) first published online May 25, 2011
Subscription Required: Here is the index page and here is the html.

Much of what he writes in the article is the stuff of recent blogs collated into a long op-ed, namely that we have just as much shifting to the left. His examples familiar to orthodox blog readers includes Prof. James Kugel at YU, Maharat, YCT, Hadar, JOFA, Kellner on Belief, reaction to Slifkin ban, IRF, conversion controversy, and the role of the web.
He finds more of a right-ward swing at YU than in actual pulpits. He gives a shout out to almost everything that could be found online so there will be something for everyone to discuss, argue with and pick at.

In addition, the article in its title and its content is a direct rejection of Heilman’s Sliding to the Right.
(Bear in mind that I do not like or use the entire right/ left language despite what a blog post by Eli Clark incorrectly reported and has not changed. Personally, I see both sides arguing over the same halakhot and as part of the same interpretive community.)

The question to the reader of the current article is: what happened to his data and sociology of thirteen years ago? Is this just a change of mood of the community? Of the author? If he had interviewed fifty people in the late 1990′s would the results have agreed with this article or the first one? Is this just a chance for Waxman to respond to the blogs in an organized fashion? More importantly, how much are the fifty people themselves just part of the echo chamber of people repeating what other people say on blogs?
It is also interesting for a sociologist whose academic work was specifically on the baby-boomers not to have any generational differentiation in the article.

In the past decade there has been a move to the right as reflected in many aspects of YU and communities such as Teaneck [NJ] and the Five Towns [NY]. At the same time, there has been a healthy willingness to experiment with new innovations such as yo’atzot … YCT and maybe even Yeshivat Hadar which, while not Orthodox-affiliated, attracts Orthodox students and teachers.

The “move to the right” is more pronounced at YU. I wonder if is true out there in most major shuls.

Another respondent opined that, “The number of people who feel that they are allowed to be a voice has expanded enormously. This is true in Halakhah, in meta-Halakhah, and in hashkafah [perspective].” This respondent suggested that the declining hierarchalism in Orthodoxy in general and Modern Orthodoxy in particular coincides with the passing of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, in 1986.

As indicated, very few of our interviewees perceive an exclusively right character to Modern Orthodoxy.

One possibility is that those who saw Modern Orthodoxy being overtaken by a rightward trend were incorrect. They may have been expressing their own fears without taking a broader view of what was actually happening. Also, they may have been looking at specific Orthodox localities from which, perhaps due to demographic change, more modern members may have moved away while those of a more haredi disposition have moved in. This, however, does not necessarily mean that American Modern Orthodoxy was moving to the right; only that some neighborhoods moved to the right while others, which previously may not have even been neighborhoods with an Orthodox Jewish population, now have Modern Orthodox communities.

We suggest that, though some aspects of the above may be the case, there has, in fact, been a real shift in American Modern Orthodoxy in recent years, and that this shift is the result of internal developments within Modern Orthodoxy itself as well as developments within the larger American society and culture. As discussed above, women’s prayer groups emerged in the 1960s and their numbers have grown since, indicating that the issue of women and the synagogue/prayer was a very real one

In 1997, JOFA and Edah were founded, and both held conferences which attracted wide interest. Two years later, in 1999, YCT established its rabbinical school and, despite predictions of its imminent demise, it has continued to grow.
That these communal outreach efforts have reportedly been successful suggests that there are receptive communities out there composed of varieties of perspectives, and that they have not all haredized. Indeed, this was suggested by the large number of attendees at the aforementioned JOFA and Edah conferences since their inceptions in 1997.

There are some scholars who have suggested that the “sliding to the left” in Modern Orthodoxy may result in the emergence of a new denomination, especially after the founding, in November 2009, of a new Orthodox rabbinical organization, the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF),

It was further empirically evident in the data amassed, in 2002, by Milton Heumann and David Rabinowitz in a Young Israel synagogue in the New York–New Jersey area, which found that a minority held “conservative” or “very conservative” perspectives on the eight issues presented, while an approximately two-thirds majority held “modern” to “very modern” perspectives. What has apparently changed is not so much the presence of significant numbers of Modern Orthodox with very modern values and perspectives but, rather, the readiness of those with less modern values and perspectives to engage with them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Boycott Delta till they stop this anti-semitic practice

good news the latest

1) Will Delta ever deny passage to a Jew or an Israeli, regardless =
of destination, if they have proper ticketing and documentation?


Absolutely not. Delta Air Lines does not discriminate nor do we condone =
discrimination against any of our customers in regards to age, race, =
nationality, religion, or gender.=20


2) Does Delta=E2=80=99s alliance with other airlines indicate an =
endorsement of particular policies of the airline or country, other than =
standard airline protocol?


No. Delta, like all international airlines, is required to comply with =
all applicable laws governing entry into every country we serve. =
Passengers are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel documents =
required for entry into another country prior to traveling, and Delta is =
responsible for ensuring that every passenger that boards our aircraft =
has the proper documentation, often including visa and certification of =
necessary vaccinations. This does not indicate an endorsement of any =
particular policy.

3) Does Delta share profits with Saudi Arabian Airlines as a result of =
this arrangement?

Delta does not have a codesharing arrangement with Saudi Arabian =
Airlines, and has indicated that it does not plan to enter into any such =
arrangement in the future.


4) Did Delta=E2=80=99s cancelation of service between Atlanta and Tel =
Aviv come as a result of this new alliance?


No. Delta announced earlier this year it would be reducing its capacity =
on trans-Atlantic flights in winter 2011 in response to high jet fuel =
prices. The seasonal suspension of Atlanta-Tel Aviv service is part of =
that reduction. Delta expects to resume its Atlanta-Tel Aviv service in =
2012. is the CEO of Delta
and> is Vice President, Reservations, Sales and
Customer Care.

Delta will add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of partnering companies and would require Delta to ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights to Saudi Arabia. The partnership was originally announced by Delta Airlines in a press release on January 10, 2011.

World Net Daily reported that this issue "first was presented to Congress, the public and others by talk radio host and former U.S. Rep. Fred Grandy, whose own battle against discrimination was documented when his former radio station demanded he tone down criticism of Islam on his program. He then left the station."

The article included correspondence from Kathy M. Johnston, Delta's coordinator of Customer Care, explaining that Delta does not discriminate nor condone discrimination against any protected class of passenger in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender. However, she stated , Delta must comply with all applicable laws in every country it serves. That means that if the Saudi government denies Jews from entering its country and Delta brings them there on its flight they can be fined.

The issue here is one of principle. Delta isn't being forced to include Saudi Arabian Airlines into its Sky Team Alliance. In fact, Delta could stand on principle and refuse to include Saudi Arabian Airlines based on its discriminatory policy. No, it's not Delta's fault that the Saudi government is anti-Semitic, but it doesn't have to go along with it. It's as if the Saudis are telling Delta that when it comes to Jewish passengers it's name should become an acronym: "Don't Even Let Them Aboard."

I know I'm not the only one who finds it troubling that Delta would go along with Saudi Arabia's policy of not allowing Jews on their flights. While I'm not planning a vacation to Riyadh any time soon, I would have a hard time flying with Delta knowing they are collaborating with the discriminatory government of Saudi Arabia.

The American Center for Law and Justice has already taken up this issue and I have no doubt that organizations like the Anti-Defamation League will not be far behind.
I have no doubt that this matter will not quietly go away. The Jewish community will not feel comfortable flying Delta knowing about its new association with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Rabbi Jason is on Facebook

choose happiness

When ‘unique individuals’ fail
By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Many people live in the past, brooding over bad choices they'd made or someone's negative behavior to them years ago. Others live in the future, worrying about events that may happen --- or may not. Here is the way to achieve lives of joy, courage, love and serenity is to live in the moment, to see the wonders of the present, to feel gratitude for what is happening right this minute. Right now we're writing our life stories, and we can choose how the script will read. Right now we can put behind us self-doubt, anger, frustration.
Right now, we can choose happiness.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

don't mess with Israel

In a twist of irony, five of Russia's top nuclear experts who had a hand in designing an Iranian nuclear facility were among the victims of a plane crash near Petrozavodsk earlier this week.

Those killed include lead designers and technological experts who worked at the Bushehr plant after the construction contract passed into Russian hands in the mid-1990s.

Russian security sources reportedly called the deaths a great blow to the country's nuclear industry but don't suspect foul play. In recent years, top Iranian nuclear scientists have also been victims of plane crashes and other unexplained accidents.

To read more, click here.

Why Our ZOA work is so important

The collapse of Zionist leadership
06/23/2011 00:00

Candidly speaking: Today, we desperately need a global Jewish pro-Israel caucus which could emerge from a reformed Jewish Agency.

Talkbacks (6)
The Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization will be meeting in Jerusalem next week. Of late, the media have been conveying the message that many Diaspora Jews, especially youngsters, are becoming alienated from the Jewish state. It is sometimes even implied that more Jews are engaged in castigating than defending Israel.

This is certainly a wild exaggeration. Despite the combined impact of postmodernism and the hostile anti-Israeli environment, the majority of activists, including young people, remain faithful to the Jewish state, which represents the core of their Jewish identity.

However, it’s true that established Jewish leaders in many communities display a penchant to downplay pro-Israel advocacy and assume a low profile. This trend was boosted as the liberal media began highlighting and lauding as heroes Jews who demonize the Jewish state. This in turn emboldened them to demand recognition as legitimate members of the mainstream Jewish community.

Regrettably the response of many confused communal leaders was to prattle on about the virtues of enlarging the “Jewish tent” to include organizations like J Street, which inaccurately portray themselves as “pro-Israel, pro-peace” while shamelessly lobbying foreign governments to exert pressure on Israel. They failed to appreciate the incongruity of integrating into their ranks groups whose prime objective is to undermine Israel.

THIS CHAOTIC arena led to what can only be described as bizarre behavior unprecedented in Jewish communal life: “rabbis” claiming to promote “tikkun olam” by actively supporting and engaging with avowed enemies of the Jewish people; debates conducted within federations as to whether Jewish philanthropic funding should be directed to organizations promoting anti-Israel plays and films; the New York Jewish Federation bestowing $1 million of charitable funds on the fervently anti-Israel George Soros-sponsored group Jewish Funds for Justice; individual Hillel directors treating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a dispute between two morally equivalent parties, on occasion even favoring the Palestinians; and student activists in the UK, Canada and the United States being urged by Jewish establishment bodies to assume low profiles and avoid confronting anti- Israel demonstrations.

What typifies this insanity was a recent “very difficult decision” undertaken following a fervent debate at Brandeis University’s Hillel as to whether to exclude from the “big tent” Jewish Voices for Peace – an organization shamelessly calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The problem was resolved by endorsing a recommendation by Martin Raffel (senior vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs), who ruled that supporting boycotts of goods produced in the West Bank should be considered a legitimate (!) Jewish activity. However, as Jewish Voices for Peace also opposed an independent Jewish state, he felt that this “crossed a red line,” and the decision was made to exclude them! It is incomprehensible why preponderantly Zionist contributors to these philanthropic organizations tolerate such abuse of funds.

THE PRINCIPAL reason for the emergence of such troubling developments seems to emanate from inadequate leadership. During the early years of the state, Labor Zionist governments invested major resources toward nurturing links with Diaspora Jewish leaders.

No aspiring Jewish communal leader would conceivably contemplate criticizing policies which could have life-or-death implications for Israelis.

However, recent government leaders, including prime ministers, have neglected Diaspora Jewish leadership, and instead fawned over wealthy Jews, from whom they solicit support for their political and personal enterprises.

Historically, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the World Zionist Organization (WZO) were the principal parties responsible for promoting the Zionist cause within Diaspora Jewish communities. In fact, their program of Kibbush Hakehilot – the Zionist “conquest of Jewish communities” – succeeded to such an extent that support for the Jewish state from “Zionist” and Jewish communal leaders became virtually indistinguishable.

Alas, that activity eroded in the 1980s, as JAFI was largely reduced to a bloated bureaucracratic instrumentality occupied with activities that could equally be conducted by other state instrumentalities.

Nobody disputes that JAFI still operates important Zionist educational projects like Birthright and Masa.

The seminars on delegitimization which they will be conducting at their forthcoming board meeting are a commendable academic exercise, but are duplicated by virtually every major Jewish organization engaged in public affairs, and the participants are not necessarily likely to be indulging in Israel advocacy. However, beyond such projects, JAFI has abysmally failed to fulfill its principal obligation – promoting the centrality of Israel in Jewish communal life throughout the world.

Despite great expectations, the chairman of JAFI, Natan Sharansky, a hero of the Jewish people and the symbol for renascent Zionism, has until now proven a major disappointment. He is perceived as having capitulated to the demands of wealthy (primarily American) board members determined to dilute core Zionist projects and transform JAFI into a replica of the American Jewish fundraising federation system.

Many Zionists were deeply frustrated with Sharansky’s decision to substitute JAFI’s traditional primary goal of aliya (which was already operated by Nefesh B’Nefesh) and concentrate almost exclusively on the vague objective of “promoting Jewish identity,” which surely does not conflict with aliya, and which everyone supports. Ironically the aliya department was disbanded precisely when Western countries began to emerge as a major new potential source of immigrants.

The WZO, whose funding has been drastically curtailed and which is now totally separated from JAFI, is justly regarded as an utterly impotent body with marginal impact on the Jewish world. It continues convening global meetings and congresses in which nobody takes the slightest interest. Other than the Australian, British and South African Zionist federations, which carry on with minimal support from the parent body, its Diaspora offshoots have disintegrated.

TODAY, WE desperately need a global Jewish pro-Israel caucus which could emerge from a reformed JAFI. But it should not depend on existing personnel tainted with failure, or primarily on wealthy donors. It must incorporate a wide cross-section of Diaspora and Israeli Jewish activists engaged in public communal life and encompassing all sides of the political spectrum and religious streams within Judaism. The sole proviso for entry should be a genuine commitment to promoting Israel as the center of the Jewish people.

The principal objective of a reformed JAFI must be the reconstruction of an unashamedly pro-Israel Jewish leadership in Diaspora communities, including within the American federations, Hillel and rabbinical bodies. It should endeavor to ensure that only those willing to publicly support the right of Israel to defend itself will be elected to communal leadership roles.

Such an action group should speak out when establishment communal leaders remain silent in the face of anti-Israel activity. Importantly, it should promote Zionist education and ensure that every Jewish high school allocates at least a few hours a week to teaching about modern Israel, so that when students arrive on campus they are sufficiently informed to respond to the anti-Israel onslaughts.

In the profoundly challenging times now confronting the Jewish people, action to bring about such changes should be considered an absolute priority.

Representing the vast majority of committed Jews, a group dedicated to these objectives would have a dramatic impact on the quality of Jewish communal life, and help restore bonds between the Diaspora and Israel.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If the Jews had acted like Palestinians

What If Jews Had Followed the Palestinian Path?

Postwar Jewish refugees left everything they had in Europe-no 'right of
return' requested.


It is doubtful that there has ever been a more miserable human refuse than
Jewish survivors after World War II. Starving, emaciated, stateless-they
were not welcomed back by countries where they had lived for generations as
assimilated and educated citizens. Germany was no place to return to and in
Kielce, Poland, 40 Jews who survived the Holocaust were killed in a pogrom
one year after the war ended. The European Jew, circa 1945, quickly went
from victim to international refugee disaster.

Yet within a very brief time, this epic calamity disappeared, so much so
that few people today even remember the period. How did this happen in an
era when Palestinian refugees have continued to be stateless for

In 1945, there were hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors living in DP
Camps (displaced persons) across Europe. They were fed and clothed by Jewish
and international relief organizations. Had the world's Jewish population
played this situation as the Arabs and Palestinians have, everything would
look very different today.

To begin with, the Jews would all still be living in these DP camps, only
now the camps would have become squalid ghettos throughout Europe. The
refugees would continue to be fed and clothed by a committee similar to
UNRWA-the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in
the Near East (paid for mostly by the United States since 1948). Blessed
with one of the world's highest birth rates, they would now number in the
many millions. And 66 years later, new generations, fed on a mixture of hate
and lies against the Europeans, would now seethe with anger.

Sometime in the early 1960s, the Jewish leadership of these refugee camps,
having been trained in Moscow to wreak havoc on the West (as Yasser Arafat
was) would have started to employ terrorism to shake down governments.
Airplane hijackings in the 1970s would have been followed by passenger
killings. There would have been attacks on high-profile targets as well-say,
the German or Polish Olympic teams.

By the 1990s, the real mayhem would have begun. Raised on victimhood and
used as cannon fodder by corrupt leaders, a generation of younger Jews would
be blowing up buses, restaurants and themselves. The billions of dollars
extorted from various governments would not have gone to the inhabitants of
the camps. The money would be in the Swiss bank accounts of the refugees'
famous and flamboyant leaders and their lackies.

So now it's the present, generations past the end of World War II, and the
festering Jewish refugee problem throughout Europe has absolutely no end in
sight. The worst part of this story would be the wasted lives of millions of
human beings in the camps-inventions not invented, illnesses not cured,
high-tech startups not started up, symphonies and books not written-a real
cultural and spiritual desert.

None of this happened, of course. Instead, the Jewish refugees returned to
their ancestral homeland. They left everything they had in Europe and turned
their backs on the Continent-no "right of return" requested. They were
welcomed by the 650,000 Jewish residents of Israel.

An additional 700,000 Jewish refugees flooded into the new state from Arab
lands after they were summarily kicked out. Again losing everything after
generations in one place; again welcomed in their new home.

In Israel, they did it all the hard way. They built a new country from
scratch with roads, housing and schools. They created agricultural
collectives to feed their people. They created a successful economy without
domestic oil, and they built one of the world's most vibrant democracies in
a region sadly devoid of free thought.

Yes, the Israelis did all this with the financial assistance of Jews around
the world and others who helped get them on their feet so they could take
care of themselves. These outsiders did not ignore them, or demean them, or
use them as pawns in their own political schemes-as the Arab nations have
done with the Palestinians.

I imagine the argument will be made that while the Jews may have achieved
all this, they did not have their land stolen from them. This is, of course,
a canard, another convenient lie. They did lose property all over Europe and
the Mideast. And there was never an independent Palestine run by Palestinian
Arabs. Ever. Jews and Arabs lived in this area controlled first by the Turks
and then by the British. The U.N. offered the two-state solution that we
hear so much about in 1947. The problem then, and now, is that it was
accepted by only one party, Israel. No doubt, the situation of Arab
residents of the Middle East back then may have been difficult, but it is
incomprehensible that their lot was worse than that of the Jews at the end
of World War II.

We don't hear about any of this because giving human beings hope and purpose
doesn't make great copy. Squalor, victimhood and terror are always more
exciting. Perhaps in the end, the greatest crime of the Jews was that they
quietly created something from nothing. And in the process, they transformed

Golda Meir is credited with having said that if the Jews had not fought back
against the Arab armies and had been destroyed in 1948, they would have
received the most beautiful eulogies throughout the world. Instead, they
chose to stand their ground and defend themselves. And in winning, they
received the world's condemnation. Meir said she would take the condemnation
over the eulogies.

Mr. Kozak is the author of "LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis
LeMay" (Regnery, 2009).

Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

read how arabs are taking over Israel land dunam by dunam

THE SCENE and the UNSEEN on the May/June 2011 AFSI Chizuk Mission to Israel
By Helen Freedman
YES!! Once again we arrived at Ben Gurion airport and marveled at its modern layout. Ami, our bus driver was waiting for us in his beautiful, air-conditioned bus, in the special parking lots allocated for buses, and our group of 30 gathered and set off for our much anticipated eight day Chizuk mission in Israel. We drove south, to visit those Jewish refugees from Gush Katif who are still living in temporary homes, still waiting to rebuild new communities. Hugs and kisses were shared with Dror Vanunu, Rachel and Moshe Saperstein and Laurence Beziz – all friends from the destroyed Nevei Dekalim in Gush Katif/Gaza. We visited the children in a kindergarten and received specially prepared gifts from them. We gave them gifts in return and bought some gifts for ourselves in the lovely Orange Gallery, filled with original jewelry and art made by the women of the former Gush Katif communities.
We drove to Yesodot, the new community that will house the displaced persons from Netzer Hazani. Anita Tucker, with her indomitable spirit, hosted us for lunch in a semi-completed school. She pleaded for funds to continue the construction while the workers were still on the site. Once they would leave, the costs would double. We wondered how it was possible for private contributions to rebuild the libraries, schools, recreation halls, synagogues, community centers and all the common use buildings that make up a community. Although we pledged funds, we know that without a huge infusion of money, the task cannot be accomplished. Isn’t it the government’s task to replace the community life it destroyed for the Jews of the former Gush Katif? We believe the answer is a resounding YES!!!!
Driving into Jerusalem that evening, we were once again appalled by the excessive illegal building of the Arabs everywhere. The Minarets gleam in the sunshine while illegal Arab homes, many of them multi-storied, abound. We arrived in Jerusalem in time for check-in, and a quick dinner with the group and good friends, Sylvia and Bill Mehlman, AFSI’s chairperson in Jerusalem, and Judy Balint, multi-talented author of Jerusalem Diaries. It was a joy to travel to the remarkable IR David, an incredible archeological dig just across from the Old City. Once again it was the scene of the presentation of the Moskowitz Zionism Awards. Mrs. Cherna Moskowitz was present and delivered warm words of encouragement and pride to the honorees. And once again, the ceremony was marred by the blaring noise of Arab music being played at the highest decibel level across the valley from Silwan. No efforts are made on the part of the Israeli government to curb the noise. And no one dare go into Silwan from Ir David in order to spare oneself from climbing the hundreds of steps to the exit. The police are there, but only to prevent the Jews from exiting into an area in which the police cannot or will not provide safety.
Our morning visit to Hebron, where Israel’s history can be traced back 4,000 years, was enhanced by our meeting with David Wilder, spokesman for the community. We had the great treat of going into the Ma’arat HaMachpela and actually praying in the Cave of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs. Of course, we were unable to enter 75% of the building which is allocated to Arab worship. We were in the 25% which incorporates the courtyard with a tarpaulin roof, which does not offer protection from the heat of the summer or the rain in the winter. Walking around Hebron with David, and learning the history of the Jews of Hebron while in Beit Hadassah, one can forget that the Jews have only 3% of the city today. Arab building has encroached upon the city so that the 97% that is Arab seems to be everywhere. Only the presence of Israeli soldiers keeps a semblance of quiet in the city.
Orit Strook, mother of eleven children, who lives in Hebron, spoke to us about the legal work she tries to do in the Knesset and the political policy making she attempts to advance, despite the very left-leaning courts in Israel. Her efforts in pursuing human rights for Jews in Judea and Samaria, and fighting Jewish police brutality against their fellow Jews, has unfortunately focused attention on her son, Tzvi Strook, 28 years old. He is now convicted of a crime against an Arab boy with an appeal pending in the Supreme Court.
A visit to Menachem Livni’s farm and winery, S’dai Calev, outside of Hebron, in an A (all Arab) area lifted our spirits, although learning that there had been seven assassination attempts on his life was alarming. Stopping off at Yochanon Shareth’s farm in Sussia was disturbing as we learned that he might be forced off his farm this July by the local regional council. In addition, choice land around Sussia is being fought over by Arabs. The agricultural intifada is flourishing.
This was further explained to us by Nadia Matar of Women in Green when she met us at the Gush Etzion winery and restaurant. She and her co-Chair, Yehudit Katzover, have been leading the efforts to plant in Netzer, an area of state owned land that lies between Alon Shvut and Elazar, very close to Efrat. Arabs have been illegally planting olive trees to prevent the two Jewish communities from expanding and linking together. Nadia and Yehudit, along with many volunteers and student groups, have been leading the battle to plant Jewish groves of trees. Most of their work is done at night. A few members of the group had the privilege of actually planting at Netzer and seeing the desperate struggle to hold onto the land. After our return to the U.S. we learned that Arabs had attacked the women during the night, accused them of being the attackers, and the Israeli police have now placed a restraining order on the WIG women. Such is Israeli justice where Arabs are involved. Jews are accused and Arabs go free.
Caliber 3, the popular artillery range in Gush Etzion, was our next stop. Sharon, an IDF instructor, is someone we have met with many times through Mishmeret Yesha, the rapid response organization led by Israel Danziger. Sharon and his men explained the intricacies of fighting Arab terrorists who infiltrate into a community. The need for speed, accuracy, and the ability to identify friend from foe, makes this type of fighting extremely difficult. Between 2001 and 2011 there were more than sixty successful infiltrations with 250 Jews murdered, as the Fogels were in Itamar. They then gave us instruction in how to fire the rifles, and we proceeded to do so, with some of our group hitting bulls-eyes very successfully.
It was then time to return to a very festive Jerusalem, where celebrations for Yom Yerushalayim were in progress. We joined Shlomo Zwickler at Beit Orot on the Mount of Olives and were delighted to join in the dancing and dining with Mrs. Cherna Moskowitz, her daughter, Laurie Hirsch, and many friends. The AFSI Chizuk group felt right at home at Beit Orot, since we have established the tradition of rejoicing over the re-unification of Jerusalem at the Yeshiva over the past few years.
June 1, Yom Yerushalayim, we once again met with Rabbi Richman of the Temple Mount Institute at 7:30 in the morning in order to ascend the Temple Mount. As always, we were the first ones there, but not the first to be admitted. While Christian groups streamed past us, we were held at the entrance until our passports had been inspected. Despite this intolerable treatment, we are willing to endure it in order to be granted admission to Israel’s holiest site. How shameful that in the Jewish homeland, it is the Jews who must wait to enter their holy place, and it is the Israeli police that enforces the WAQF Arab rule against Jewish prayer on the Mount.
We spent a short time at the Temple Mount Institute with Rabbi Richman, once we descended from the Mount, marveling at the detailed preparations being made for the Third Temple. Dan Luria of Ateret Cohanim/Jerusalem Reclamation Project, met us and proceeded to guide us through the Old City. We climbed steps, walked through narrow alleys, viewed Jerusalem from rooftops, and enjoyed a picnic lunch at Kidmat Zion, a special area overlooking east Jerusalem, and bordered by the ghastly, huge, concrete wall that cuts through Jerusalem.
We had learned about the vast amounts of dirt and archeological treasures that had been tossed into the Kidron Valley by the Arabs when they were digging out their huge underground mosque, Solomon’s Stables, under the Temple Mount, near the northern wall of the Mount. Now, efforts are being made to examine the discarded treasures through a project founded by Ir David. Visitors are invited to participate in a sifting process, whereby buckets of small objects are tossed into a strainer and run under water. A search is then made for anything that looks “valuable.” Our group really enjoyed this hands-on activity.
As we returned to the streets of Jerusalem, it was joyous to watch the celebrants carrying their flags as they marched towards the Kotel. Some members of our group fell into step with the marchers, delighted to be in that place, at that time, for that purpose.
Back at the hotel, Arieh King, founder of the Israel Land Fund, spoke to the group about the drastic situation that exists in Jerusalem and Israel today. Despite the glorious treats that make up a Jerusalem of inspiration and spiritual renewal, there is a cruel reality that most people do not see. Arieh told us that there are eight neighborhoods IN JERUSALEM that have signs posted denying entrance to JEWS. There are 30,000 illegal Arab buildings in east Jerusalem and 2,000 illegal Arab buildings in west Jerusalem – the Jewish Quarter!! There seems to be no effort on the part of Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, to control the growth. Interestingly, it was explained that Arabs have no incentive to apply for permits and go through the red tape required to build. Since it is a rare Arab building that is destroyed, illegal Arab building flourishes. And of course, Arieh was talking about Jerualem. We saw illegal Arab mansions standing in expansive Arab villages wherever we drove. The proliferation is rampant. In addition, Arieh told us that Hamas has cleaning companies working in Jerusalem. The mind reels with this information of blatant violations of Israeli law.
MK Tzipi Hotovely was gracious enough to speak to the group at our hotel. She commented on the huge crowds celebrating Yom Yerushalayim, but acknowledged that they were primarily religious Zionists. She outlined her program of policies she has presented or will present to the Knesset. Returning Hebrew names to Jerusalem neighborhoods is on the list. In an effort to stop the PA from requesting recognition of statehood from the UN in September, Hotovely calls for a stoppage of money to the Hamas/Fatah coalition. She also calls for the annexation of Judea and Samaria. This would remove the outposts and communities in the disputed areas from being under the military control of Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak. It is his signature on legal papers that is often withheld, creating an “illegal” situation for so many Jews. Annexation would make an enormous difference in the lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria.
Driving north from Jerusalem on Thursday, June 2, we were so aware of the spread of Ramallah, which seems to surround Jerusalem. Just before arriving at the Shilo bloc, we passed a sprawling, wealthy Saudi Arabian city, boasting a lengthy palm tree lined driveway, an equestrian center, and large mansions. We had seen this display of Saudi wealth before, on other trips into the Shomron, but each time it shocks the senses. Newcomers on our trip looked with disbelief at this display of wealth, requiring them to shake off their NY Times information about the poverty ridden Arabs living in hovels, severely oppressed by their “occupiers.” It was clear that the story needs re-telling. It is the Jews who are living in caravans, inside fences, while the Arabs take as much land as they like, fearing no one and seemingly daring the Israelis to stop them.
Entering the Shilo bloc, we enjoyed seeing the beautiful vineyards and olive trees, some of which we had planted ourselves on past AFSI Chizuk trips to Israel. We arrived at Adei Ad where we met with Eliyahu Libby, founder of the agricultural farm, who was living in a bullet proof bus with his wife and children. We enjoyed their hospitality and then drove on to Alei Ayin. We learned later in the day that Eliyahu was arrested shortly after our visit and spent the day in jail. The charge wasn’t clear, but we understand it was related to the aftermath of the Israeli police destruction of Alei Ayin.
This is where we experienced something shocking and shameful. The night before, at 5 AM, the Israeli police had entered the small community of Alei Ayin, had destroyed the home of Leah and Ze’ev Eitan, and followed up by destroying their car, truck, and farm equipment. The road to the outpost had been gutted, so we left our bus at the base of the road and hiked up the mountain to the outpost. What we saw there was heart-breaking. Everything had been destroyed. There was rubble everywhere. Leah and Eitan told us that this was not the first time their home had been destroyed by the police. They had rebuilt and would do so again. Israel’s Channel 2 News was there and seemed surprised that a group of Americans were interested in visiting the outpost. We let them know exactly what we felt about the disgrace and shame in the Israeli government attacking its own people.
We drove from Alei Ayin to Itamar to see the site of the Fogel family home. On the way we passed a US AID sign announcing that American money is going to aid the PA in that area. The group made promises to themselves to contact their Congressional representatives, protesting the misuse of American taxpayer dollars. When we arrived in Itamar, Mayor Moshe Goldsmith met us and explained that the Arab city of Awarta is just down the hill from Itamar and about fifteen murders have occurred in Itamar perpetrated by residents of Awarta. We remembered being there a few years ago, following the murders and permanent wounds inflicted on the Shabo family. Their empty house still stands as a reminder of the horror. We walked around the Fogel home and saw how easy it was for the infiltration to take place. It is really hard to understand why the Israeli government allows Awarta to remain intact. It is my belief that it should be leveled, since we know the enemy gathers strength from every successful attack. The murder of five innocent members of the Fogel family will only add to their blood lust.
In response to the massacres, 24 year old Yedaya Shoham immediately put up two structures at Givat Aryeh, an outpost outside Itamar, and moved in with his wife and a few others. This is the typical Jewish response to Arab terrorism – building a new community. The army erected a very tall tower with a camera, to record movement in the area. They probably saw our group enjoying a lovely outdoor lunch in one of the unfinished buildings.
Our next stop in the Shomron was Chavat Gilad, a farm built on private land owned by Moshe Zar, and designated to become a Jewish community when Moshe’s son, Gilad, was killed by terrorists. Again, because it is deemed an “illegal settlement” the thirty families, making up 100 people, are denied electricity and water by the Israeli government. They truck in water, and must pay 60,000 shekels per month for fuel for electricity. We have made good friends with the residents there, helping them as much as possible. Members of our group brought infant clothing for them, and others donated toys and kitchenware. All of this was greatly appreciated, but the need for fuel never ends. We are hoping that an advocacy group in Israel will put this hardship issue before the government officials so that Chavat Gilad can receive the humanitarian assistance given to Hamas killers in Gaza - electricity and water supplies.
We made a quick stop at the new Performing Arts Center in Ariel which had made the news when Israeli and American artists had boycotted the opening, protesting against such a Center in the heart of Samaria. Happily, the boycott was meaningless, except to defame the boycotters. It was explained to us that the Center provides an opportunity for artists to display their talents through concerts, film, dance, and a variety of children’s programs. When we were there, we saw the 500 seat theater filled with excited youngsters waiting to see a film. There is also a 100 seat theater. The facility services the 12,000 students at the University of Judea and Samaria, located in Ariel, as well as people from the entire area. It fills a great need and we wish them much success.
Driving north to Haifa along Route 6, we saw one sprawling Arab village after another, boasting large homes, with no fences around them to contain their growth. There was the dividing wall on our right, and we bemoaned the fact that such huge amounts of money have gone into these so-called “security fences” when the money could have been spent in a much more productive way. These fences are designed to divide Israel, not to protect it.
On Friday, June 3, we arrived in Akko, the beautiful city on the Mediterranean, with the terrible history of British imprisonment of Jewish prisoners. We toured the Underground Prisoners Museum – Akko prison – where we once again learned the story of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and the brave young men from Etzel, the Irgun, and the Haganah, who were imprisoned there, with a number of them being hung. We then found our way to the Tunisian Synagogue, an absolutely amazing edifice with the walls, floors, ceilings and even the staircases covered in mosaics. The work is astounding and must have taken years to complete at very great cost.
In the Old City of Akko we saw that the Arabs had taken over pretty completely, forcing many Jews to flee the city. Yisrael Ben Ezra, a civil servant and Project Director for Akko, was trying to emphasize the “co-existence with the Arabs” in the city. Unfortunately, although we didn’t witness any incidents, it was clear that if the Jews were leaving this beautiful port city, it was because “co-existence” wasn’t working. Ben Ezra also took us to see a Bahai Temple area which boasted beautiful grounds. We were unaware that the Bahai had such a large presence in Akko, believing that the Haifa location was the only one in the area. We learned that 60,000 Bahai tourists visit Akko each year.
We walked through the market place, reminiscent of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, to reach the port where we boarded a small boat for a short ride around the harbor. It was a delight, and fascinating to view the city from the sea. We caught a glimpse of the beautiful promenade which the government built at a cost of fifty million shekels. The idea was to make Akko so attractive that Jews would remain in the city. The result is that the Arabs have a beautiful walkway from which to view the sea.
Karmiel, the largest Jewish town in the Galilee, built 45 years ago, was our next stop on our drive north. Because of the huge growth of Arabs in the Galilee, the government of Israel promoted this Jewish town to create a Jewish presence in this supposedly Jewish part of Israel. The result is that today 52,000 Jews are surrounded by 200,000 Arabs. And the story gets worse. We were taken to a new neighborhood in the city which is under construction. But just across the street from the site we saw Bedouins squatting in their tents. There are 200-300 Bedouins living in Karmiel, most of them as squatters. As such, they are very hard to remove from their places. Their presence there will undoubtedly change the face of the city as more Arabs marry Jewish women and more Bedouins move into the city. Since the government of Israel makes no attempt to stop the Bedouin influx, it will grow, and once again, Jews will move out.
We arrived in Tsfat for Shabbat and were immediately taken in by the mystical charms of the city. The Ruth Rimonim hotel has lovely grounds and sitting areas from where one can view the mountains of Meron. There are many synagogues from which to choose for Shabbat services, and our group dispersed to choose the one at which each wished to pray. We met afterwards for a lovely Shabbat meal that lasted well into the night. Morning services were followed by a lingering lunch and rest period. At 4 PM we gathered to go to Ascent in order to meet with Rebbetzin Chaya Bracha Leiter. She led us on a fascinating tour of the city, stopping at the many synagogues made famous by the Tsfat scholars. When we had an opportunity for some private discussion, we learned that Tsfat is battling with some of the same problems afflicting the other Jewish cities we had visited. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, mayor of Tsfat, has been labeled a racsist for his request that residents NOT rent to Arabs. Bar Ilan U. has a student body that is now 80% Arab and 20% Jewish, the reverse of what it had been years ago. The change has occurred because the government is giving scholarships to the Arabs, probably in the belief that once they are educated, they will no longer hate the Jews. We know this is a fallacy and only backfires on us. We recall that the 9/11 terrorists were all educated men. That didn’t prevent them from murdering 3,000 plus people.
Rebbetzin Leiter also informed us that there is a huge tract of land which Bar Ilan wants to buy in order to build an annex to house more Arab students. The entire city has mobilized to block this effort, but the problem again is raising enough money to stop it. We heard the same objection to Arab presence in the Israeli cities that we had heard in Akko, Haifa, Jaffa, and Karmiel. Intermarriage between Arab men and Jewish women is on the increase and after the marriages have taken place, and the women are brought to the Arab homes, in most cases they try to escape and need help from organizations set up for exactly that purpose. The situation is very alarming.
We concluded our lovely Shabbat with shalosh seudot and havdalah at Ascent. We were joined by 150 soldiers who had been sent to Tsfat for Shabbat by the education department of the IDF in an effort to teach the soldiers more about their Jewish roots. This program went into effect following the great drop in morale as a result of IDF participation in the forcible expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif six years ago.
Sunday morning, June 5, we drove into the finger of the Galilee, Kiryat Shemona, located four miles from the Lebanese border, with Syria on the east and Lebanon on the west. Asher Plotsky met us and gave us a tour of the beautiful Hesder Yeshiva which houses hundreds of students. We learned that the valley below the Yeshiva had been called Death Valley. It was filled with swamps and the small groups of Arabs who lived there had a life expectancy of 20-30 years. Most died of malaria. After 1948 the Israelis drained the swamps, planted trees, and brought the valley back to life.
Today, missiles are pointed at them from all directions. 1200 rockets fell on Kiryat Shemona since the year 2000. During the 2006 Lebanese war, people were living in shelters for three weeks. The municipality collapsed, and it was the Yeshiva boys who came to the rescue of the city, providing food and medical supplies as needed. IDF reservists were living at the Yeshiva because the army hadn’t properly prepared for them. Ariel Sharon had planned the perfect military operation in cleansing Gush Katif of its Jews in 2005. The war against the enemy in Lebanon, in 2006, did not have the same preparation.
We drove on to the Golan Heights, viewing the beautiful Hula Valley. We passed through flat grazing ground with light fencing for the cattle. We viewed the volcanic rock and saw Mt. Hermon in the distance, still covered with snow. Our destination was Mt. Bental where one had a fabulous view of the surrounding area, the Kuneitra Valley, and the vineyards supplying the grapes to the Golan winery in Katzrin. We were also able to walk through the fortifications erected to withstand the Syrian attacks.
In Katzrin we were met by Ramona Bar Lev, wife of Sami Bar Lev, the Mayor of the city since its establishment in 1977. We learned that 50% of Israel’s meat comes from the Golan. The beautiful basalt stone, a result of the volcanic eruption that had occurred in the area, was everywhere. Ramona showed us the new elementary school, the high school, the field school and the zoo. She spoke about the ancient Jewish cities that had existed in the region and the fact that their names are now used for new communities in the Golan. The Golan had also suffered during the 2006 Lebanese war, enduring 141 Katyusha rockets.
We drove on to Hispin where Gabi Hemo and Aharon Pulver of the Israel Independence Fund (IIF) met us at the Midreshet haGolan, a lovely hotel in a beautiful setting. Adjacent to the hotel is a new technical school, Adir Ba’Marom, which provides outstanding post high school two year technical education leading to full time positions in the Israel Air Force for new immigrants from the FSU and Ethiopia, as well as Haredi youth. Sixty to seventy students per year are enrolled in the school which operates in cooperation with the IDF and has cutting edge equipment and facilities, as well as beautiful dormitory accommodations. We met with some of the students from Gundar, Ethiopia, and were impressed by their excitement at the prospect of graduating and wearing their IAF uniforms.
The idea of men from B’nei Brak studying technology and becoming technicians in the IAF is ground-breaking. Pulver’s IIF helps to fund this effort. IIF also works with Ovdei ha’Aretz, another training center in Nachliel, which seeks to train religious boys in building trades which they will use in IDF combat units. We learned from Pulver that UJA-Federation has appointed a commission to study prospects for creating a haredi educational program. It would seem more prudent on their part to put their funds into supporting the programs already in existence.
At our meeting that night with Aharon Pulver, many of the vexing questions that had arisen over the period of our Chizuk mission were asked, with Aharon trying to give us answers. One solution to the Arab citizenship problem might be that they would be foreign residents, with the right to vote in national elections. As for the anti-Israel Supreme Court, we learned that the justices appoint their own successors who seem to have a mindset in an alternate reality. The danger of this is that so many decisions are made against the Jews and in favor of the Arabs, threatening the very foundation of the State. In regard to land ownership, we were told that 70% is owned by Israel, but we have seen throughout the country the blatant disregard of land ownership by the Arabs as they build illegally everywhere. Even JNF, which holds 7% of the private land, has admitted to selling or giving Jewish land to Arabs. Today, 20% of the Arab sector owns twice the amount of land owned by 80% of the Jews. The situation is out of control!
We awakened Monday, June 6, to learn that while we were in the Golan, Syrians were marching on the borders with Israel and twenty had been killed. It proved once again that one can be in Israel, blissfully unaware of danger lurking near you.
Ilit Eitam, the wife of former MK Effie Eitam, both long time residents of the Golan, met us at breakfast to guide us to a marvelous archeological site of an ancient synagogue – Um El Kanter, in Arabic and Beit Knesset Ateeka BaGolan, in Hebrew. We learned that there had been 27 synagogues in the Golan. A pile of ruins was found in 2003 and in 2005 a generous donation allowed for the uncovering of this synagogue. The ruins were studied for seven years, with electronic chips placed in each stone. A computer generated view of all the stones was created through scanning. The two story building with the gabled roof can now be re-created. Elana and Yoshua Dray are working on the project and actually live at the site. is the website.
We began our drive down the Jordan Valley and stopped in Maskiot, a community made up of refugees from the former S’dot Yam in Gush Katif. We saw the great growth that had taken place since our last visit. New homes and streets have been built, ready for their new occupants. We were delighted to view the progress.
Continuing down the Jordan Valley, we arrived at MeVo’ot Yericho, on the outskirts of PA controlled Jericho. Nechemiah Zuckerman, Secretary of the yishuv, guided us around. Twenty-five families with seventy children live in the twelve year old community, which lies in the shadow of a PA military installation. We gathered in the beautiful new, air-conditioned kindergarten which was built without a security room. The government will not allow the kindergarten to operate without security, but will not supply the shelter. Private monies are being raised to build the room.
Because of the proximity to the PA in Jericho, the community feels threatened. Their fences have already been broken with herds of sheep stolen. This is not considered “terror” so there is no compensation from the government. Once again, Bedouins have taken over government land. We learned from MK Dr. Arieh Eldad, who was kind enough to greet our group at our farewell dinner, back in Jerusalem, that there are 60,000 illegal Bedouin homes. The problem of Arab take-over of lsraeli government land is overwhelming, with the government seemingly unwilling or unable to prevent it.
Goodbyes were said following our farewell dinner, as some of the group left for the airport for their flights back to the U.S., and others remained in Jerusalem to savor the joy of the Shavuot holiday in Israel. Once again, the sacred and the profane, the scene and the unseen, had been experienced. We reveled in the glory of the physical beauty and growth of Israel, and agonized over the seemingly insurmountable problems. However, this paradoxical situation only seems to whet the appetite of our travelers.
Plans have already been made for our Fall trip, Nov. 13-22, when we will once again be in Hebron for Chaye Sarah. In addition, we will have the extraordinary treat of dedicating a Sefer Torah, purchased by our AFSI and Chizuk member, Jack Ross. The ceremony will be held in the new synagogue built at Givat Aryeh, in memory of the five members of the Fogel family slaughtered in Itamar. Everyone will be invited to participate in this memorable occasion.
Contact the AFSI office now – 212-828-2424 – , to make your reservations and to get additional information. Reservations will be limited, so act now.

why is chicken not parve? Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

The source of the prohibition against consuming a mixture of meat and dairy is the verse, "You shall not cook a kid in his mother's milk" (Exodus 34:26). This verse infers that only the flesh of mammals, whose mothers lactate, are included in this prohibition. Fish and poultry do not nurse their young, and are thus excluded from this prohibition.
Nevertheless, rabbinic decree forbids the consumption of poultry or fowl together with dairy products. This injunction was enacted because their meat can be confused with beef, and people may not know to differentiate.
The prohibition mentioned in the Torah is to mix meat (beef) with milk. This injunction was extended by the Sages to include fowl as its meat can be confused with beef. Eggs do not fall into this category as they cannot be mistaken for meat. Furthermore, eggs are considered a separate entity once they have been hatched and are considered to be pareve, or neutral, so that they can be eaten with either milk or meat.

Carolyn Glick on Obama foreign policy

ewish World Review June 21, 2011 / 19 Sivan, 5771
An Obama foreign policy
By Caroline B. Glick

Robert Gates' recent remarks signal that the president's handling of US foreign affairs is about to undergo a dramatic transformation | Outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is worried about the shape of things to come in US foreign policy. In an interview with Newsweek over the weekend, Gates sounded the warning bells.
In Gates' words, "I've spent my entire adult life with the United States as a superpower, and one that had no compunction about spending what it took to sustain that position. It didn't have to look over its shoulder because our economy was so strong. This is a different time.
"To tell you the truth, that's one of the many reasons it's time for me to retire, because frankly I can't imagine being part of a nation, part of a government… that's being forced to dramatically scale back our engagement with the rest of the world."
What Gates is effectively saying is not that economic forecasts are gloomy. US defense spending comprises less than five percent of the federal budget. If US President Barack Obama wanted to maintain that level of spending, the Republican-controlled Congress would probably pass his defense budget. What Gates is saying is that he doesn't trust his commander in chief to allocate the resources to preserve America's superpower status. He is saying that he believes that Obama is willing to surrender the US's status as a superpower.

THIS WOULD be a stunning statement for any defense secretary to make about the policies of a US President. It is especially stunning coming from Gates. Gates began his tenure at the Pentagon under Obama's predecessor George W. Bush immediately after the Republican defeat in the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections.
Many conservatives hailed Obama's decision to retain Gates as defense secretary as a belated admission that Bush's aggressive counter-terror policies were correct. These claims ignored the fact that in his last two years in office, with the exception of the surge of troops in Iraq, under the guidance of Gates and then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Bush's foreign policies veered very far to the Left.
Gates's role in shaping this radical shift was evidenced by the positions he took on the issues of the day in the two years leading up to his replacement of Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon. In 2004, Gates co-authored a study for the Council on Foreign Relations with Israel foe Zbigniew Brzezinski calling for the US to draw closer to Iran at Israel's expense.
Immediately before his appointment, Gates was a member of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group. The group's final report, released just as his appointment was announced, blamed Israel for the instability in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Its only clear policy recommendations involved pressuring Israel to surrender the Golan Heights to Syria and Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria to a Hamas-Fatah "national unity government."

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In office, Gates openly opposed the option of the US or Israel attacking Iran's nuclear installations. He rejected Israel's repeated requests to purchase weapons systems required to attack Iran's nuclear installations. He openly signaled that the US would deny Israel access to Iraqi airspace. He supported American appeasement of the Iranian regime. And he divulged information about Israel's purported nuclear arsenal and Israeli Air Force rehearsals of assaults on Iran.
A month before Russia's August 2008 invasion of US ally Georgia, Gates released his National Defense Strategy which he bragged was a "blueprint for success" for the next administration. Ignoring indications of growing Russian hostility to US strategic interests — most clearly evidenced in Russia's opposition to the deployment of US anti-missile batteries in the Czech Republic and Poland and in Russia's strategic relations with Iran and Syria — Gates advocated building "collaborative and cooperative relations" with the Russian military.
After Russia invaded Georgia, Gates opposed US action of any kind against Russia.

GIVEN THIS track record, it was understandable that Obama chose to retain Gates at the Pentagon. To date, Obama's only foreign policy that is distinct from Bush's final years is his Israel policy. Whereas Bush viewed Israel as a key US ally and friend, from the first days of his administration, Obama has sought to "put daylight" between the US and Israel. He has repeatedly humiliated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He has abandoned the US's quiet defense of Israel's purported nuclear arsenal. He has continuously threatened to abandon US support for Israel at the UN.
Not only has Obama adopted the Palestinians' increasingly hostile policies towards Israel. He has led them to those policies. It was Obama, not Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas, who first demanded that Israel cease respecting Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. It was Obama, not Abbas, who first called for the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2011. It was Obama, not Abbas, who first stipulated that future "peace" negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be predicated on Israel's prior acceptance of the indefensible 1949 armistice lines as a starting point for talks.
All of these positions, in addition to Obama's refusal to state outright that he rejects the Palestinian demand to destroy Israel through unlimited Arab immigration to its indefensible "peace" borders, mark an extreme departure from the Israel policies adopted by his predecessor.
Aside from its basic irrationality, Obama's policy of favoring the Palestinians against the US's most dependable ally in the Middle East is notable for its uniqueness. In every other area, his policies are aligned with those adopted by his predecessor.
His decision to surge the number of US forces in Afghanistan was a natural progression from the strategy Bush implemented in Iraq and was moving towards in Afghanistan.
His use of drones to conduct targeted killings of terrorists in Yemen and Pakistan is an escalation not a departure from Bush's tactics.
Obama's decision to gradually withdraw US combat forces from Iraq was fully consonant with Bush's policy.
His decision to engage with the aim of appeasing the Iranian regime while supporting the adoption of ineffective sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council is also a natural progression from Bush's policies.
His bid to "reset" US relations with Russia was largely of a piece with Bush's decision not to oppose in any way Russia's invasion of Georgia.
Obama's courtship of Syria is different from Bush's foreign policy. But guided by Rice and Gates, Bush was softening his position on Syria. For instance, Bush endorsed Rice's insistence that Israel remain mum on the North Korean-built illicit nuclear installation at Deir-A-Zour that the Air Force destroyed in September 2007.
As for Egypt, as many senior Bush administration officials crowed, Obama's abandonment of 30-year US ally Hosni Mubarak was of a piece with Bush's democracy agenda.
Obama's policy toward Libya is in many respects unique. It marks the first time since the War Powers Act passed into law 30 years ago that a US President has sent US forces into battle without seeking the permission of the US Congress. It is the first time that a president has openly subordinated US national interests to the whims of the UN and NATO and insisted on fighting a war that serves no clear US national interest.
Notably, Gates has been an outspoken critic of the war in Libya. In interviews in March he said that Muammar Gaddafi posed no threat to US interests and that no vital US interests are served by the US mission in Libya.
Yet even Obama's Libya policy is not as sharp a departure from Bush's foreign policy as his Israel policy is. Although Bush wouldn't have argued that the UN gets to decide where US troops are deployed, he did believe that the US needed UN permission to deploy troops.

TO A degree, it is the basic incoherence of Obama's Libya policy that puts it in line with all of his other foreign policies except Israel. Those policies — from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay — are marked by inconsistencies. Like Libya, there is a strong sense that Obama's foreign policy to date has not been guided by an overarching worldview but rather spring from ad hoc decisions with no guiding conceptual framework.
But if Gates's words to Newsweek are any indication, all of this may be about to change. If Gates believed that Obama would continue to implement the policies of Bush's last two years with minor exceptions while sticking it to Israel, he would likely not have spoken out against Obama's policies so strongly. Apparently Gates believes that Obama's foreign policy is about to undergo a radical transformation.
And this would make sense, particularly if, as Obama has said a number of times, he is more committed to transforming America than winning a second term in office.
Until the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives last November, Obama was able to concentrate on passing his domestic agenda. Obama's willingness to lose the elections in order to push through his radical health care reform package demonstrated his commitment to implementing his policies at all costs.
With the Republicans in charge, Obama can't even pass his 2011 budget let alone his far reaching plans to transform US immigration policy, labor policy, environmental policy and Social Security.
In these circumstances, the only place where the power of the presidency gives him wide-ranging freedom of action to transform the US is foreign affairs.
What Gates's fiery departure indicates then is that for the rest of his term, Obama's entire foreign policy is liable to be as radical a departure from Bush's foreign policy as his Israel policy is. The war in Libya is a sign that things are changing. The fact that in recent months even Gates has taken to attacking Obama's Iran policy as too soft, further attests to a radicalization at work.
Then there is Obama's Afghanistan policy. When in 2009 Obama announced his surge and withdraw policy, Gates minimized the importance of Obama's pledge to begin withdrawing US combat forces in July 2011. In recent months, Gates has joined US combat commanders in pleading with the White House not to begin the troop drawdown until next year. But to no avail.
Not only is he unwilling to delay the withdrawal of combat troops. Obama is suing for peace with the Taliban. As Republican lawmakers have argued, there is no way the empowerment of the Taliban in Afghanistan can be viewed as anything but a defeat for the US.
Gates's successor at the Pentagon will be outgoing CIA Director Leon Panetta. US military and intelligence officers believe that Panetta's chief mission at the Pentagon will be to slash US defense budgets. Since his appointment was announced, sources inside the military have expressed deep concern that the planned budget cuts will render it impossible for the US to maintain its position as a global superpower. More than anything else, Gates' statements to Newsweek indicate that he shares this perception of Obama's plans.
To date, Obama's stewardship of US foreign policy has been marked by gross naivete, incompetence and a marked willingness to demean and weaken his country's moral standing in the world.
Imagine what will happen if in the next year and a half Obama embarks on a course that makes his Israel policy the norm rather than the exception in US foreign policy.

land swaps bad off the table rabbi jonathan ginsburg

"Land Swaps" and the 1967 Lines - Dore Gold (Weekly Standard)
When President Obama first made his controversial reference to the 1967 lines as the basis for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, he introduced the idea that there would be "mutually agreed swaps" of land between the two sides. Yet neither UN Security Council Resolution 242 nor any subsequent signed agreements with the Palestinians stipulated that Israel would have to pay for any West Bank land it would retain by handing over its own sovereign land in exchange.
So where did the idea of land swaps come from? During the mid-1990s, Israeli academics involved in backchannel talks accepted the principle that the Palestinians would obtain 100% of the territory, just like Egypt received 100% of the Sinai Peninsula, and they proposed giving Israeli land to the Palestinians as compensation for any West Bank land retained by Israel.
In July 2000 at the Camp David Summit, the Clinton administration raised the land swap idea that had been proposed by Israeli academics, but after the collapse of the Camp David talks, President Clinton stipulated: "These are my ideas. If they are not accepted, they are off the table, they go with me when I leave office."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resurrected the land swap idea in 2008 as part of newly proposed Israeli concessions. However, the Palestinians said they would demand land swaps of "comparable value" - meaning, they would not accept some remote sand dunes in exchange for high quality land near the center of Israel. Given the limitations on the quantity and quality of territory that Israel could conceivably offer, the land swap idea was emerging as impractical.
What is the standing of ideas from failed negotiations in the past that appear in the diplomatic record? Just because an idea was discussed in the past, does that make it part of the diplomatic agenda in the future, even if the idea was never part of any legally binding, signed agreements?

The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Need stronger Iranian sanctions Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Last summer, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act.

This historic legislation was overwhelmingly passed by Congress to help stifle Iran’s energy sector, restrict Tehran’s ability to conduct international financial transactions and hamper its ability to obtain components for its nuclear and missile programs.

While initial implementation of this law, as well as recently imposed international sanctions, are having a real impact in Iran, they have not yet brought about a change in the regime's behavior.

That is why members of the House just introduced The Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905).

This new legislation would sanction Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and enshrine in law for the first time that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The bill also would increase sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law.

Please urge your Representative to cosponsor this important legislation and help prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Thank you in advance for your help and thank you for your continued support of AIPAC, the only organization working to ensure critical American support for Israel in these uncertain times.

Thank You,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the disgusting things Palestinians say about us Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Antisemitism in official PA daily:
Judaism is
a "distorted, corrupted, falsified religion"

The Jews' "evil nature
is drawn from Adam's first son" Cain fi=157&doc_id=5190

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Recently three Antisemitic articles appeared in the official PA daily with the following messages:
1. Judaism is a "distorted, corrupted, falsified religion."

2. The Jews are inherently evil and inherited this nature from Cain who murdered his brother Abel.

3. Zionism is a religious Jewish plan to rule over the non- Jewish world, and "Goyim [non-Jews] must submit to their will"

4. Since Islam's creation its "enemies" have agreed on "cultivating evil against Islam and uprooting Muslims."

5. The creation of Israel is a "malignant cancerous growth."

6. The conflict between Palestinians and Jews is not about "land and borders," but "faith and existence."

The following are two excerpts from the official PA daily's section on religion:
Sheikh Ishaq Feleifel teaches religion: "The old-new despicable plot: The struggle between truth and falsehood is as ancient as life upon this earth... yet the mighty Islam, from the breaking of its dawn and the spreading of its light up until our time, has been targeted by its enemies, who do not agree on anything as they agree on cultivating evil against Islam and uprooting Muslims. The challenge still exists; moreover, the enemies have announced in a clear and provocative manner their despicable and terrible plot. Sixty-three years ago, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, stood at the UN after the entire world granted recognition to the malignant cancerous growth known as the State of Israel... The Prime Minister of this destructive cancerous growth stood up to declare the religion of the Jews in Palestine to the entire world. I hope that the [Islamic] nation will study this faith in order to know with certainty that the Jews talk, in conferences and in negotiations, only through their distorted, corrupted, falsified religion which they have adopted, which they glorify and honor, and they are lying when they deny the owner of the right the right... And the conflict between us and the Jews is not a conflict about land and borders, but rather a conflict about faith and existence."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 3, 2011]

Sheikh Ishaq Feleifel teaches religion: "In this lesson I wanted to talk about Cain and Abel - that's the first story on earth, whose victim was Abel, at the hands of his brother Cain - because this story shows a similarity to the Jews and their crimes. The parallel is that when Allah mentioned the rebellion of the Children of Israel and their disobedience of Allah's commandment to wage war against the Giants, He mentioned the two sons of Adam and Cain's disobedience of Allah's words, and his unjust killing of an innocent soul, which Allah forbade. The Jews, by throwing off their yoke, followed in the footsteps of the first person on earth who threw off the yoke of Allah. Their [the Jews'] evil nature is drawn from Adam's first son... I chose this story because of the similarity it contains: here the Zionist Jews kill many of the Palestinian people every day... and they imprison their [Palestinian] youth who are defending their right and seeking by all means to restore the land to themselves. This is our right, and no one is permitted to prevent us from attaining it. We are destined to restore our homeland to ourselves, Allah willing, and we shall raise our flag over Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and the rest of Palestine, Allah willing."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 13, 2011]

The following is an excerpt from an article in the official PA daily:
Article in official PA daily: "There was no period [like it] in history, and no other nation has acted with such recklessness, expelling and spilling blood, as the Zionist movement did against the Arabs of Palestine. The source of the name 'Zionism' is 'Mount Zion', one of the four mountains upon which the city of Jerusalem was founded. The Jews believe that their God lives there. Zionism is an extreme religious ideology whose aim is political hegemony and the transformation of a Jewish monarchy in Palestine into a basis for their eternal rule over the world, [and] that others, "Goyim" [non-Jews], must submit to their will, [their rule] which is drawn from the will of God."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 15, 2011]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Maybe Israel knows what it is doing

More Than Meets the Eye

Many wondered why Israel was repeatedly caught unprepared, and why its reactions repeatedly lead to PR disasters. With all of Israel’s resources, experience, and brainpower, could it really not come up with better solutions? But recent developments indicate Israel’s decisions, though criticized at the time, emerge from a coherent understanding of its security situation and from a plan, imperfect though it may be, for dealing with those challenges.

As time goes by, Israel’s strategic gains from the recent conflicts against them have looked more impressive.
On June 5, the date of the Naksa Day protests, the LAF did exactly what Israel hoped it would when the IDF decided not to release the surveillance footage. After the Lebanese Army declared the border a closed military zone, organizers of the march cancelled it altogether. Israel could not have hoped for a better LAF response. The decision not to release the tapes of the LAF firing on protesters, though damaging for short-term PR, had the effect Israel wanted. Thankfully, no more blood was spilled on the Lebanese border.

Though flotillas keep on coming, Israel seems to be in a much-improved situation following the May 31, 2010, incident. Subsequent flotillas, including the Malaysian Finch, were turned away with little effort or media attention.

The new flotilla organized by IHH, expected at the end of June, is feared to be a more aggressive version of the Mavi Marmara flotilla. However, quiet diplomatic efforts have begun to pay off for Israel. After repeatedly refusing to condemn the flotilla, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said last week that organizers should reconsider their plans, using the opening of the Egyptian-Gaza border as a pretext. Turkish newspapers also reported that the U.S. government was trying to convince Ankara to stop the flotilla in exchange for a Mideast peace conference in Turkey, a sign Israel’s diplomacy has convinced the Obama administration of the flotilla’s potential for violence.

Though often caught off-guard, the Israeli government and military learn quickly, understand the calculations of its enemies, and are able to minimize continued bloodshed by firm deterrent responses.
The threats posed by Hamas and Hezbollah are complex and ongoing, but as time goes by, Israel’s strategic gains from the recent conflicts against them have looked more impressive. As I’ve written in the American Enterprise Institute’s Center for Defense Studies blog, Israel’s approach to counter-insurgency (COIN) is based on deterrence, in which a few years of quiet is an important accomplishment. An expanded United Nations Interim Force in southern Lebanon, timid behavior from Hezbollah, and no response after the killing of Imad Mughniyeh is a significant strategic gain for Israel at the relatively modest cost of 122 military deaths. Before 2006, Hezbollah regularly fired rockets into Israel for a variety of reasons, but even at the height of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s campaign against Hamas in 2008-2009, it held its fire. There were certainly problems for Israel during the war, and both Lebanon and Cast Lead cost Israel PR points, but damaging terrorist organizations while deterring them for years is no mean feat.

Even the Palestinian plan to pursue UN recognition in September, hugely problematic for the Israelis, is beginning to fray. President Obama is firmly opposed to the plan, and other Western leaders, including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, are publicly warning the Palestinians against making any unilateral moves. The AP is reporting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas even wants to “climb down from the tree” and forgo the UN plan, but cannot because of public pressure. The impending September diplomatic tsunami may well turn out to be nothing but harmless ripples.

The Complexity of No Good Options

Evaluations of Israel’s actions must take into account the bewildering complexity of challenges it faces. Take the fight against Hamas, for example. Israel has tried the range of non-diplomatic and coercive means to discourage Hamas from targeting its citizens. It pulled every Israeli soldier and civilian out of the Gaza Strip, agreed to a series of cease-fires, and, with Egypt, blockaded Hamas’s territory. Still, Hamas launched Qassams, killed soldiers, and smuggled advanced weaponry. Israeli leaders faced a dilemma—continue the status quo and allow 1 million Israelis to live under Hamas attacks or move to a military option that will undoubtedly harm Palestinian civilians.

When Israel finally opted for a military operation, Hamas’s tactics forced the IDF to balance military necessity with its ethical restraints. Battling enemies who fire rockets from Palestinian schools and civilian areas as a matter of policy, the IDF compromised military effectiveness to protect enemy civilians, allowing Hamas more breathing room. In the words of British Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, “Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.”

Israel faces similar challenges across the spectrum—Iran’s nuclear program, Hezbollah and Hamas rockets, neighboring regimes falling, flotillas, protesters willing to die, international pressure, and terrorism, to name a few. Outnumbered by hostile forces, both on the ground and in the international community, Israel is further restricted by an ethical code that limits its responses to enemies for whom all Israelis are legitimate targets. Somehow, Israel usually manages to find a balance, striking a blow to its adversaries while remaining within the bounds of military and Jewish ethics. This is no easy feat. Though its responses often seem haphazard and excessively violent, the long view indicates that Israel’s mix of diplomacy, deterrence, and force keeps its citizens safe and minimizes extended bloodshed.

In a reality in which there are often no good options, Israel just might know what it’s doing.

Lazar Berman is the American Enterprise Institute’s program manager for foreign and defense policy studies.