Someone please tell me we're not going to ransom this moron
Remember Ilan Grapel, the American-Israeli who was arrested on the streets of Cairo, for whom both the US and Israel paid ransoma little over a year ago? Well, Grapel was just a fool. This guy, who was arrested trying to cross from Egypt to Gaza at the end of last week, is worse.
Egyptian officials announced Monday evening that 25-year-old Israeli Andrei Pashnichikov, who has been in an Egyptian jail since Friday, crossed
the Israel-Sinai border illegally and tried to sneak from Sinai into
Gaza to help Palestinian-Arabs fighting against Israel.
Please tell me we're not going to pay anything to get this guy back. Let him stay in Egypt or Gaza. Maybe he can move in with Amira Hass or something.
The reasons why liberals should oppose Hagel are numerous. In the
senate, he failed to distinguish himself except as John McCain’s Mini-Me
(before Lindsay Graham assumed the role), a fairly conventional
Republican who curried favor with the news media by striking a few
maverick poses. Notoriously, he made an obnoxious reference to James
Hormel, a Clinton-era ambassadorial nominee, as “aggressively gay”
(Hagel apologized the other day, but Hormel remains unpersuaded). Then,
too, it’s high time that Democrats stopped perpetuating the myth that
they need a Republican to Defense to afford them certification as tough
on national security.
Franklin Roosevelt, seeking bipartisan unity in a
time of world war, might be forgiven for appointing the eminent Henry L.
Stimson as Secretary of War, and the subsequent choices of Robert
McNamara, William Cohen, and Bob Gates can also be rationalized (OK,
maybe not McNamara). But after an election campaign in which the
Democrat was widely deemed to be far more proficient in foreign policy
than his Republican rival, the decision to award this seat, of all
Cabinet positions, to the opposition is especially foolhardy. Put Hagel
at Veterans Affairs if you must.
Of course, none of these is the reason that the GOP foreign policy
establishment has thrown obstacles in front of Hagel—or bestowed laurels
upon Flournoy. The real reason, or the main reason, is that despite
approving the Iraq War authorization in 2002, Hagel later broke with
Bush and the GOP on the thrust of their Middle East policy, including
their continued hawkishness on the Iraq war, their hard line against
Iran and Hamas, and their staunch support for Israel. Simply put,
Hagel’s stated positions on Iran, Israel, and other key issues deeply
worry many Republicans. (They also trouble no small number of liberal
Democrats, including me.)
Conservatives have thus come to oppose Hagel for the most sincere of
reasons while promoting Flournoy for deeply cynical, if not perverse,
ones. In contrast, many on the left have come to cheerlead for Hagel for
an even more cynical and more perverse reason: the nature of his
Since the Iraq War, a sizable and apparently growing segment of the
liberal punditocracy has lost its way on foreign policy. Politicians and
writers on the left, including many liberals, have been so repulsed by
the Bush administration’s policies abroad that they have often assumed,
almost reflexively, that whatever Bush and the Fox News crowd favored
was ipso facto wrong and its opposite ipso facto correct. This delusion
seemed to turn many progressives into sour realists, intent on
abdicating any American leadership role in the world, even a liberal and
humane one. It especially infected their thinking on the Middle East,
where they have been slow to recognize the dangers of Islamists like
Recep Erdogan in Turkey and Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, eager to minimize
the dangers of a nuclear Iran, and, in the case of one strain of
progressives, displaying the inordinate animus towards Israel that was
once confined to the far left, in places like the Nation and the Village Voice, but now finds a home on the New York Times op-ed page and other mainstream liberal outlets.
It is this same perversity of thinking that has led too many liberals to fall in love with Hagel.
What Greenberg misses (or decided not to mention) is that in a way, the Hagel nomination is a perfect symbol for the Obama administration. After all, since the day he took office, so much of what Obama has done been without any rational thought, just to prove he's not George W. Bush.
On this day in 1941, even before the Germans had officially decided to do it, Abba Kovner warned fellow residents of the Vilna Ghetto that the Germans planned to wipe out European Jewry.
On December 31, 1941, Abba Kovner spoke before an assembly
of Vilna Ghetto youth and declared his far-sighted and far from
conventional conviction that the Nazis were determined “to destroy all
the Jews of Europe,” and that they, the Jews of Lithuania, were to be
“the first in line.”
The 23-year-old Kovner was speaking nearly a month before the convening
of the Wannsee Conference, in Berlin, at which the Nazis formally and
in complete secrecy adopted the “Final Solution. In his remarks, Kovner
implored the group of some 150 young people, gathered in a soup kitchen
at 2 Straszun Street, not to be “led like sheep to the slaughter,”
because, he said, “it is better to fall as free fighters than to live by
the mercy of the murderers.”
Vilna, one of Europe’s most important Jewish capitals, had been
conquered by the Germans on June 24, 1941. Its 60,000 Jews were
organized into a large ghetto, which was largely overseen by the head of
the Jewish police, Jacob Gens. Early during the occupation Kovner, a
leader in the socialist-Zionist movement Hashomer Hatzair, took up
refuge in a Dominican convent outside the ghetto, but he returned when
he understood that the invaders were beginning to deport and murder
Much of the killing was taking place at Ponary, a forest and recreation
site a little south of Vilna, which was transformed, shortly after the
occupation, into a site for mass murder. Between June 1941 and July
1944, some 75,000 people, most of them Jews, were shot to death there,
their bodies quickly cremated to minimize evidence. When Kovner spoke
that New Year’s Eve, he seemed determined to look a devastating truth in
the eye: “None of those who were taken away from the ghetto has ever
come back,” he observed. “All the roads of the Gestapo lead to Ponary.
And Ponary is Death!”
This is how a 'Palestinian state' - if God forbid one ever comes into being - would look.
AOHR monitored the practices
of the PA’s security agencies from January to July 2012 and used information
from victims detained by the PA, their families, eye-witnesses and local NGOs in
It accused the PA of arbitrary actions against Palestinian
civilians in the West Bank – including torture, detentions, interrogations and
firing people from their jobs.
From June 2007 until the end of 2011, PA
security forces detained 13,271 Palestinian citizens and 96 percent were
subjected to various methods of torture, the report said. This resulted in the
death of six detainees and caused “chronic illness” in others.
January and July 2012, PA security agencies detained 572 people and sent
summonses to 770 more.
“Among them women and old people, who were often
forced to wait from early morning to the evening before being
Some were summonsed daily for weeks on end, others were kept
under virtual house arrest. The period also witnessed raids against
universities, hospitals and houses in order to arrest people wanted for
protesting against the Israeli occupation. PA officers confiscated equipment and
personal cash, which often went missing after the searches,” the group
It also said the PA was guilty of torture and degrading treatment,
with 18.7 percent of a sample of 300 former detainees stating that they
experienced “severe torture” and 99.7% claiming that they were exposed to
“With regards to the effect of detention on the
lives of the detainees, 60% of those in the study explained that they now suffer
from chronic diseases due to torture and the poor conditions in which they were
held in detention.
On another level, 60% confirmed that repeated or
extensive detention reduced them to a state of acute poverty,” the report
But of course, they're blaming Israel.
It also said that the PA has not learned from its
experiences with Israel, and called to halt military cooperation with the Jewish
“The PA’s human rights violations against the Palestinian people
have amplified their suffering under the Israelis and undermined their national
[unity] and struggle for selfdetermination.
It is clearly obvious that
the PA hasn’t learnt from its experiences with the Israelis. On the contrary, it
remains firmly committed to its campaign of detention and destroying national
solidarity while serving foreign agendas which strike the Palestinian national
freedom project at its core,” the report stated in its conclusion.
Part of growing up is learning to take responsibility for your own actions. Sadly, the 'Palestinians' and their Arab brothers have still not learned to do so.
The first post I wrote about Hezbullah operating in Mexico was in April 2006. In the time since then, Hezbullah has become more entrenched and has become deeply involved in trafficking cocaine. Now, with their Iranian funding drying up due to sanctions relating to the Iranian nuclear program, the Mexican cocaine operation is becoming a major source of Hezbullah funding.
US intelligence indicates that Mexico is home to some 200,000 Syrian
and Lebanese immigrants – most of them illegal – who were able to
cross the border via an extensive web of contacts with drug cartels,
both in Mexico and in other countries in South America.
These cartel contacts smuggle illegal immigrants – including individuals affiliated with Iran, Hezbollah,
al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups – into Mexico, placing them a virtual stone's-throw away from the United States.
Western intelligence agencies have been able to gather ample evidence
suggesting that the drug cartels in Mexico – which are the de facto
rulers of the northern districts bordering the US – are in cahoots with
Islamic terror organizations, which are eager to execute attacks against
American, Israeli, Jewish
and western targets; but most of all, the Islamic terror groups are
eager to make money, so they can fund their nefarious aspirations.
In December 2011, the US authorities released an indictment filed
against Lebanese drug lord Ayman Juma, which exposed Hezbollah's
involvement with the Los Zetas drug cartel. According to the US
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Los Zetas is the most technologically advanced and most dangerous cartel operating in Mexico.
Juma was indicted in absentia for smuggling 85 tons of cocaine into
the US and for laundering $850 million for Los Zetas. He was also
accused of serving as a go-between for the Mexican crime syndicate and
the Shiite terror group.
According to US officials, for a modest 8%-14% commission, Juma's
money laundering process would take about a week. The operation involved
bank accounts in dozens of countries, making it virtually impossible to
track the dirty money.
According to the
indictment, Hezbollah is using Juma's cartel connections to minimize its
dependency on Iranian funding. The international sanctions crippling
Tehran's economy have taken a serious bite out of the $200 million in
annual aid given to Hezbollah, but the latter's appetite for cash has
only grown. Los Zetas' Beirut-based money man has reportedly helped the
Shiite terror group meet its financial needs.
First, there was the al-Jazeera interview. Then, he told a group of visiting diplomats that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen is a 'partner for peace.' Now if you still have any doubts left as to his mental stability, Peres has added this (for the third time in three days). Peres has told Christian leaders that the government of Israel (for whom he has no right to speak, although most of the world doesn't realize that) will negotiate with Hamas if only it will say the magic words demanded by the Middle East quartet.
This time he refrained from mentioning Abbas, but spoke instead of
Hamas, saying that people ask why Israel won't talk to them. "It's not
that we won't talk to them," he said, "they won't talk to us.
Peres said that Israel would be willing to talk to Hamas if it
accepted the three conditions laid down by the Quartet, namely:
renunciation of terror; recognition of Israel; and entering negotiations
with Israel. "They have to decide if they want peace or war," said
Peres, adding that if they continue to shoot rockets into Israel, Israel
As for the PA, Peres said that it has established
security forces with Israel's approval and is building up its economy
with Israel's help, and he expressed confidence that peace could be
It's time to put Shimon Peres out to pasture. The sooner the better. Let's start with the Prime Minister disavowing everything he's said over the last couple of days. Bibi?
He eventually moved to Antwerp where (assuming that the news reports are correct) he has done something that ought to turn him into a moser (link in Hebrew) in the eyes of the Jewish community (leaving aside for a minute that he defied the ban contained in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 26 against availing oneself of the secular courts against fellow Jews). Moshe Aryeh Friedman filed and won a lawsuit against a private Jewish girls' school in Antwerp forcing them to admit his sons to study there. The school is now facing fines of $2,600 per child per day if it does not comply (Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).
At the end of 2011, Friedman relocated his wife and seven children from New York to Antwerp, but because of what Friedman calls “revenge” on the part of the Jewish community for his “opinion and good contacts with world leaders”, he has been unable to find a yeshiva which will admit his children. As such, Friedman said he had no choice but to apply for admission for his sons, ages 8 and 11, to the all-girls, Orthodox Jewish Benoth Jerusalem School in Antwerp.
According to a report in the local Belgian paper, Gazet van Anwerpen (http://bit.ly/VblYff), when Benoth Jerusalem denied admission to his sons, Friedman sued citing a recent decision from the Commission on Students’ Rights which held that a child cannot be denied admission to a school on the basis of their gender.
A Belgian judge ruled that because yeshivas are subsidized by the Flemish community, Benoth Jerusalem must admit the boys or face a $2,600 penalty per child for each day the boys are not permitted to attend.
The school board argued that Orthodox Judaism requires the separation of the sexes for educational instruction. Moreover, the board said it is not equipped to educate male students as it does not have male teachers on staff and lacks basic infrastructure such as separate restrooms.
The school board has until next week to appeal the judge’s ruling.
If this story is true, Friedman has assured his and his family's ostracism from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for life (at least unless and until his children are old enough to denounce him).
For generations, Orthodox Jews have hired private teachers to educate their children at home if they could not find an appropriate school. That's what Friedman should have done if no school would accept his children. And if he could not find anyone to teach them (because he is probably in cherem - excommunicated - so no one will deal with him) he should teach them himself. If he has to send them to a school, let him either recant and have the cherem released, or let him send them to public schools until he does so.
Second, I mentioned the prohibition in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 26 against turning to secular courts against fellow Jews (link in Hebrew).
Third, for anyone who believes that all ultra-Orthodox Jews support Neturei Karta, this should convince you otherwise. As I understand it, both the school in Vienna that expelled his children six years ago, and the school in Antwerp are operated by mainstream ultra-Orthodox communities.
And fourth, Friedman should have thought about this before embracing a Jew-hater like Ahmadinejad. Actions have consequences. No, I have zero sympathy for this guy. Look at the picture at the top to see why.
'Palestinian' chief negotiatorbottle washer Saeb Erekat is calling on the 'Palestinian Authority' to play up the 'Palestine' thing to the hilt, including putting the seal of the 'State of Palestine' (which subsumes all of the current State of Israel and more) on all of its official documents, and attempting to spit in the face of the United States Congress by seeking membership in all United Nations bodies.
Erekat, in a study published Sunday, accused
Congress and the Israeli government of “waging war” on the Palestinian national
project following the UN vote last November.
He predicted that the “war”
would continue. “The decisions they have taken are only the beginning,” Erekat
said, referring to Israel’s decision to withhold tax and customs revenues, and
threats by Congress to suspend financial aid to the Palestinians.
also recommended that the PA leadership prepare a working plan for the
resumption of peace talks with Israel from the point where they ended in
There is no way that anyone in this country is going to agree to start negotiating from Olmert's suicidal concessions. I don't believe that any Israeli government - even one (God forbid) led by the Left - would agree to such a thing. Even Tzipi Livni criticized Olmert for going too far at the time, because he was trying to save his own skin by becoming the 'hero' who reached an agreement.
He said such talks should be limited to six months, only
during which time Israel would freeze construction in West Bank settlements and
east Jerusalem and release Palestinian prisoners, especially those who were
incarcerated before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
We've frozen construction in the 'West Bank' before, and much as I would hate to see it happen, it's conceivable that enough pressure could be brought on the government to make it happen again. We've also frozen construction in 'east' Jerusalem (de facto) before and I could even see that happening again with a wink and a nod, although there is no way that any Israeli government is going to put any part of Jerusalem into play by making such an agreement explicitly.
But as to releasing 'Palestinian prisoners,' he's living in Never Never Land. What are we going to do after six months? Recapture them when we don't reach a deal?
And then there's the six-month thing. A deadline can be an impetus to finish negotiations when there's are real consequences to both parties if the negotiations aren't concluded. But it has to be a realistic deadline and it has to have consequences for both sides (that's why so many business deals get done at year's end). For example (and I'm not proposing this), if the US were to say, "you guys have x years to work out a deal and if you don't work it out, Israel will never again get a penny in US aid and we will never again propose or support or cajole Israel to allow the existence of a 'Palestinian state,' both sides would have an impetus to compromise and then a deadline might make sense. Of course, this kind of ultimatum would never happen, because other countries (hello, Eurabia) would continue to attempt to force Israel to acquiesce to a 'Palestinian state.'
Erekat said that if
Israel insisted on building in E1 and Givat Hamatos, the Palestinians should
take the matter to the UN Security Council.
“If the effort does not
succeed because of a veto, the case should be taken to the UN General Assembly
to make a decision regarding building settlements in the occupied State of
Palestine,” Erekat recommended.
That would accomplish a lot (not!) - the General Assembly is powerless. Of course, what they could do is to go to the International Criminal Court (if they are ever admitted to it), but then they run the risk that someone raises this little war crime called 'Palestinian terrorism'....
disclosed that a special Palestinian legal team was now studying measures needed
to obtain membership in 17 UN agencies, including the International Criminal
Court, the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the World Bank.
Didn't they join UNESCO last year? World Bank? Just what the World Bank needs: Another basket case economy.
I know - it's a picture that's supposed to say 1,000 words. Well, a map is a picture.
For those of you who still worry that Israeli construction in E-1 will 'cut a Palestinian state in half,' and for those who feel a need to answer that claim, I'd like to show you a map that shows how construction in E-1 would no more cut a 'Palestinian state' in half than would returning to the 1949 armistice lines (what some of you insist on referring to as the '67 borders') would cut Israel in half elsewhere in the country.
Here's the map.
Don't you think it's a little hypocritical to insist that a 'Palestinian state' has to have contiguity but that Israel does not?
Show that to all your Leftist friends.
P.S. I believe it's actually only 9 miles from Netanya to Tulkarm.
Likud calls Peres remarks about Abu Mazen 'regrettable'
The problem with making Shimon Peres President from the start was that the President of this country is meant to have an above the fray, non-political position, and Peres' nature was never such. In fact, the only President we have had who was even in the same ballpark as Peres in terms of politicizing the office was Ezer Weizmann. Now, with Peres nearing the end of his term, and realizing that there will be little he can do about the 'peace process' once that term is over, Peres' frustration is pouring out. That's what you saw in the al-Jazeera interview I posted on Sunday.
But Peres continues to live in his dreamworld, insisting that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen is a 'partner for peace.' On Sunday, after Peres repeated his claim that Abu Mazen is a 'partner for peace' to 160 foreign diplomats, the Likud reacted, releasing what I am sure is pent-up frustration over the feeling over the last four years that they cannot fight the angelic Shimon Peres.
Likud said in a statement it is "regrettable that the president
chooses to express a political opinion that is detached from the Israeli
public's position regarding Abbas, who refuses to make peace."
continued to say it is "even more regrettable that the President
chooses to present [these opinions] in front of foreign diplomats, a
political stand that encourages condemnation for Israel in the
international community," adding that the prime minister has
consistently called on Abbas to return to the table, but that Abbas has
failed to even condemn the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens by
"It is a shame the president did not explain to the foreign diplomats
how his comments on Abbas reconcile with the fact [Abbas] did not even
condemn the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens," the statement said.
response follows remarks by Peres on Sunday in his address to some 160
diplomats. Peres said he differed from the view of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu who repeatedly says there is no partner on the other
side, and said that he has known Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) for thirty
years and is convinced that he is the only Arab leader with whom Israel
can conclude an agreement.
Peres acknowledged that not everything
that Abbas says and does is beyond reproach, but the fact is Peres
underscored, that Abbas is the only Arab leader who has come out openly
and said that he wants peace and is opposed to terrorism. Moreover,
Peres continued, Abbas has shown commendable courage in preventing
terror – even at the risk of his life.
Peres invited the
ambassadors to place themselves in Abbas's position, and asked whether
they too would be prepared to forfeit the return to their birthplaces.
Abbas, who was born in Safed, has stated that he will not return there, Peres pointed out.
Israelis are interested in peace, said Peres, but not all are convinced that it is attainable.
emphasized that if Israel wants to have any influence in the Middle
East, it must complete a peace agreement with the Palestinians without
delay. A bi-national state, he warned, endangers the Zionist enterprise
as well as the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel.
the turmoil and transition throughout much of the region, Peres said
that it was impossible for Israel to influence the Arab world in which
nearly every country is engaged in some kind of struggle "which has
nothing to do with us".
Peres attributed the changing tide of the
Middle East to being part of a global revolution in which what occurs in
the city square is more important than what happens in the seat of
I suspect we're going to see a lot more of Shimon Peres in this election cycle - more than we have ever seen from an Israeli President. I suspect he will endorse either Labor or the Tzipi Livni party. But don't worry. Peres never won a popular election in this country. Called an underminer by former bosses Moshe Sharett and Yitzchak Rabin, Peres may be one of the least popular politicians Israel has ever had, even if he is still viewed by many as untainted by corruption.
What do Caribou Coffee, Church’s Chicken, J. Jill, and PODS Moving and Storage have in common?
They are all owned by Muslim Brotherhood-linked Arcapita Bank (formerly known as First Islamic Investment Bank).
Unlike most banks, Arcapita boasts a “spiritual advisor”–none other than Hamas-linked terrorist Youssef al-Qaradawi.
Qaradawi, you’ll remember, is the current spiritual leader of the
Muslim Brotherhood. He was exiled from Egypt under Mubarak, but now he’s b-a-a-ack, thanks to U.S. support of the “Arab Spring”.
Arcapita, presumably short for “Arab Capital”, buys and sells
businesses at a profit. The current list of their holdings is available
in their 2011 annual statement (pages 12-13). (If there’s no “exit date” listed, they still own that company.)
Arcapita is based in Bahrain, but it’s U.S. HQ is in Atlanta. First
Islamic Investment Bank changed its name to Arcapita in 2005, after the
Qaradawi connection went public. They had tried “Crescent Capital” for
their American branch, but apparently decided the Islamic link was still too obvious with that moniker.
Muslims know that Islam is not selling well in the West; they are
careful to conceal Islamic ties with name-changes so consumers cannot
connect the dots to brand names or distinguish between products that
fund terrorism and those that do not.
Arcapita’s spiritual advisor serves on the bank’s “Shari’ah Supervisory Board”
(see p. 113) to ensure that all financial transactions are
shari’a-compliant, or SCF. What does SCF include? That varies somewhat
depending on which Islamic legal school one is consulting, but always
bans anything involving “gambling, alcohol, pornography, dealing in pork products, or interest payments.”
I don't know why, but when I read about the CHAMP (Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project), it made me think about napalm. Napalm, for those of you who are too young to remember Vietnam, is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with petroleum or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, initially against buildings and later primarily as an anti-personnel weapon. "Napalm" is a combination of the names of two of the constituents of the gel: naphthenic acid and palmitic acid.
Colloquially, napalm has been used as the generic name of several flammable liquids used in warfare, often forms of jellied gasoline, such as to be expelled by flamethrowers in infantry and armored warfare.
In 1980, the use of napalm against civilian targets was banned, although its use against military targets is still permitted.
During the Vietnam war, however, there was a perception that napalm destroyed the 'things' but left the people alive, until we saw a photo of a young girl (who survived) fleeing from a napalm attack.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing successfully tested the weapon on a one-hour flight during which it knocked out the computers of an entire military compound in the Utah
It is thought the missile could penetrate the bunkers and caves believed to be hiding Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities. But experts have warned that, in the wrong hands, the technology could be used to bring Western cities such as London to
During Boeing’s experiment, the missile flew low over the Utah Test and
Training Range, discharging electromagnetic pulses on to seven targets,
permanently shutting down their electronics.
Boeing said that the test was so successful even the camera recording it was disabled.
Violence and war have
long been documented on Twitter and other social networks -- typically
by journalists and by regular people on the ground (notably the
Pakistani witness to the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden).
But in November, the
Israeli military took this concept to a new level. During its conflict
with Palestinian forces in Gaza, the Israel Defense Force tweeted
updates, including the news it had "eliminated" Hamas leader Ahmed
Jabari. The military arm of Hamas responded on Twitter with its own
The back-and-forth between the warring sides signaled a jarring evolution in how war is broadcast in real time.
The IDF Spokesperson's current Twitter page is screencapped below, but if you look at the earlier version above, you will see at least one familiar blog among their first 10 follows.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day: +972 names its person of the year
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Far Left blog +972 has named the Israeli settlerrevenant as its 2012 person of the year.
In 2012, the game became reality: The settlers are the new ruling elite of Israel.
According to all the polls, Israelis will elect an unprecedented number of Members of Knesset (MKs) from far-right parties, even as Likud’s relative moderates have been ousted and replaced by settlers and ex-settlers with radical political agendas.
A settler was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2012, while a former
justice declared that the West Bank was not actually occupied territory.
Israel’s fourth estate, too, is partly “occupied” by the settlers.
This year, Shlomo Ben-Zvi, a far-right publisher and settler who owns
the frankly nationalist daily Makor Rishon, bought Maariv
– one of Israel’s three veteran daily newspapers. While Maariv took a
right-of-center editorial line in recent years, for decades it was
Yedioth Ahronoth’s chief competitor for the title of Israel’s most
mainstream daily newspaper.
Throughout the year, over and over, settler violence – price tag
attacks on Palestinian property, unprovoked violence against
Palestinians, even flat-out murder – has gone unpunished. Worse, it
rarely elicits public condemnation or even, except for a few
high-profile incidents, extensive media coverage.
The settlers have influenced the national narrative to the point that
politicians who talk about peace, the two-state solution and
negotiations risk becoming irrelevant.
For all these reasons, +972 Magazine has chosen The Settler as its Person of the Year for 2012.
President Obama would love to impose the 1949 armistice lines on Israel as a border with a 'Palestinian' reichlet. But two recent polls show that Israelis, who live in a Democratic country, are unlikely to go along. This is from Yoram Ettinger in Yisrael Hayom.
December 2012, a most thorough and detailed poll was conducted by one of
the deans of Israeli pollsters, Mina Tzemach, on behalf of the
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The poll demonstrates that Israelis
respond to real local and regional developments — more than to wishful
thinking — when shaping positions on the peace process, security
requirements, land for peace, the two-state-solution and Iran.
According to the
December Mina Tzemach (Dahaf Polling Institute) poll, most Israelis
assume that Palestinians are concerned about the existence — and not the
size — of Israel, and therefore are very skeptical about the
land-for-peace formula. Most Israelis do not trust Palestinian
compliance with agreements, and therefore are dubious about the
two-state solution, which they increasingly consider a two-state
For instance, 76% (83%
among Israeli Jews) believe that an Israeli retreat to the pre-1967
sliver along the Mediterranean would not satisfy the Palestinians or
other Arabs. Only 22% (15% among Israeli Jews) assume that such a
concession would produce an end to the conflict.
About 74% of Israelis
are convinced that strategic depth — a code word for Judea and Samaria —
is pertinent to Israel’s national security. Only 21% discount the
importance of strategic depth. Fully 66% disapprove (and 29% approve) a
withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines in return for a peace accord with the
Palestinians and all Arab countries. About 63% are against a withdrawal
to the pre-1967 lines with minor modifications.
A ratio of 65:33
opposes the repartitioning of Jerusalem in the context of a peace
accord; 65:31 reject a withdrawal from the Jordan Valley; 68:28 refuse
evacuation of Ariel and western Samaria; 72:22 insist on retaining
control over the blocs of Jewish settlements; 73:18 disapprove
relinquishing control over the Judea and Samaria mountains that dominate
Ben-Gurion International Airport; 67:22 insist that Israel retains
control of Highway 443, which connects Jerusalem to the coastal plain
via the West Bank.
About 52% — compared
with 49% in 2005 — consider secure boundaries superior to peace,
compared with 36% who view peace as the prerequisite to security.
Most Israelis trust
only the Israel Defense Forces to protect the country. For example, only
39% assume that Israel can rely on the U.S. military during an
emergency. About 68% oppose the stationing of foreign troops — including
U.S. troops — in the Jordan Valley. Only 26% would support such a
Of the general population, when asked if they favor the existence of a Palestinian state, 66% oppose,
11% favor, and 23% are undecided or have a more ambiguous position.
Bear in mind that about 18% of Israelis are Arabs. When asked if they
favor construction in the E-1 area between Jerusalem and the Maaleh
Adumim suburb, which has been in the news recently as a “controversy,”
51% support construction, 9% oppose, and 40% are not sure (probably do
not know what it is about). When asked about allowing Jews to pray on
the Temple Mount, 71% support and 7% oppose. When asked what they think
of Supreme Court judicial review of laws, 48% oppose it, 41% support, and only 10% did not know.
When restricted to Israelis defining themselves as leaning Right, 54%
of these are secularists, 27% say they are religiously
“traditionalist,” 11% modern Orthodox, and 8% Chareidi. This is notable
because the media stereotype of the “Right” is as the ”Religious
Right.” But more than half of rightists are secularist, larger probably
than the numbers among the Left or Center. Women are more likely than
men to identify with the Right, and the young more than the old. About
24% of rightists have college or post-high school education, probably a
bit less than the general population but not a lot less. Income
distribution of Rightists looks similar to that of the general
What I find amazing about this poll is that despite the fact that our mainstream media is somewhere to the left of the New York Times (Ettinger's poll appeared in Yisrael HaYom, a paper financed by Sheldon Adelson specifically to stand up to our Leftist media, while Plaut cites the Hebrew-language Maariv, but his article comes from a US-based website), most Israelis get it and ignore the indoctrination efforts of the likes of Haaretz and YNet. Most Israelis aren't stupid or suicidal and we're not going to get rid of a Right wing government just because Obama doesn't like it.
However, the bizarre thing is that if Israelis were convinced that the 'Palestinians' 'really' wanted peace, a large percentage of them would probably agree to retreat to the 1949 armistice lines or awfully close to them. That's why you keep seeing polls that say that 'most Israelis' favor a 'two-state solution.'
This is my 30,000th post since starting this blog seven years ago next week.
As expected, the Supreme Court on Sunday morning ruled that Balad MK Hanin Zoabi should be allowed to run in the Knesset elections on January 22.
Zoabi was disqualified by the Central Elections Committee last week, in a
19-9 vote, despite Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein recommending that
she be allowed to run. The committee approved the ban on the grounds
that Zoabi supported terrorism and rejected Israel as a Jewish and
Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka had said following the decision last week that if Zoabi is disqualified, Balad would not run.
responded to the decision, saying it is clear the existing law "has to
change" and state "unequivocally that any expression of support for
terrorism amonst candidates will result in their disqualification from
MK Yariv Levin said the decision is a "scandal", adding that it exposes Knesset and the IDF to terror.
It is a scandal. At this point, one has to wonder what would happen if the next Knesset (as we can only hope) passes a law intended to circumvent the Supreme Court. The Court would undoubtedly attempt to strike it down. In that case, as President Jackson remarked in 1832, "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"
A small US
commercial plane made an emergency landing in the Iranian city of Ahvaz
20 days ago after having technical problems, Mehr news agency reported
"After landing, the crew traveled on to countries
around the Persian Gulf and the airplane is currently being repaired,"
the director of Iran's airports, Mahmoud Rasoulinejad, said according to
You've got to be kidding. An American plane lands in Iran, there's no report about it for three weeks, its crew is allowed to 'travel on... to countries around the Persian Gulf' and Iran is 'repairing' it - presumably so that the crew can come pick it up?
“Livni will not stay,” Lapid said at a
cultural event in Rishon Lezion on Saturday. “Her plan to present an alternative
collapsed and disintegrated into dust. She won’t stay in the Knesset at the helm
of an opposition faction of eight seats as deputy chairwoman of the State
Instead she will do what she did before: Go
Senior Likud officials made the same prediction last week after
Netanyahu ruled out giving Livni a portfolio that would enable her to negotiate
with the Palestinians. They said they believed it would be easier to bring
Livni’s party into the coalition after she quit politics.
But Kadima officials said Livni had already proven that she does not accept the
rules of democracy when she quit politics following her loss in the Kadima
leadership race last March.
“She refused during that race to say she
would stay in Kadima if she lost,” a Kadima official said. “Now she must tell
the public what she will do when she loses the general election, rather than
send people to make commitments in her name that she will not
And the egomaniac who heads the 'Tzipi Livni party' (we were all joking at the Sabbath table what a stupid name that is) responds.
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni’s responded to her opponents
across the political spectrum on Sunday after rivals said she would not
stay if her Tzipi
Livni Party fails to obtain at least double-digit support in the January
Asked on Army Radio Sunday morning whether she
would leave politics if she fared poorly, Livni said those who say
otherwise were scared by her political comeback.
"I returned with a deep understanding that I may have to pay a personal
price of starting from a different [lower] level but I have to keep
struggling," she said. "I came back to fight and I will do it from any
place, from the Knesset or the cabinet."
For those of you who are religious, let's hope that she drops out of politics. Out of all the Israeli politicians I've heard speak, Livni is the only one who compares with Meretz in her hostility toward religious Jews.
Reports from a number of sources indicate that key members of the American Jewish community have been informed by the White House that President Hussein Obama intends on Monday to nominate anti-Semite Chuck Hagel to be US Secretary of Defense. However, in a Saturday night interview with Jewish talk show host Zev Brenner, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group that represents 50 of
America’s largest Jewish organizations, and one of the people most likely to be called, said he had not been called and that he was not aware of anyone else that had been. Nevertheless, Hoenlein expects the nomination to move ahead.
Let's go to the videotape to hear the interview. More after the interview.
Note the swipe at Tom Friedman....Do you think the White House encouraged Friedman to write that column for Hagel?
If Hagel is going to be defeated, it looks like it's going to be up to the bloggers again.
Who avoids civilian casualties... and who doesn't?
The picture above is from an attack on civilians in Aleppo, Syria, by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is indifferent to attacks on civilians. Compare that to Israel, which uses its drone technology to minimize civilian casualties.
‘Major G,' the chief instructing officer of the Israeli UAV (Drone)
School, spoke exclusively to Foxnews.com on condition of anonymity about
Israel’s hi-tech drone capabilities, his military’s terms of engaging
the enemy, and aspects of his direct role in the recent Gaza conflict in
which Israel strongly contends most non-combatant deaths were as a
result of Palestinian civilians being routinely used as human shields by
“Drones (UAVs – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), play a very important and
essential role in the protection of the State of Israel,” ‘Major G’
explained. “The great advantage of the drone is the ability to stay in
the air for up to 40 hours at a time above the relevant area to perform
ISR missions - Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.”
Once a drone identifies a target, its operator is then responsible
for setting in motion a sometimes dizzyingly fast chain of events that
may result in a missile strike taking place.
“Using commercial apertures and video cameras, we have the ability to
work with both daytime and night time infrared images. My Heron1 drone
does only ISR, but I have the ability to designate a target to another
aircraft. This capability is very important because I am able to stay
above and investigate the target for a long time, clear it of uninvolved
civilians, and only when there is a clear path of fire do I call for
the F16 or Apache helicopter,” said ‘Major G.’
Critics of Israel’s actions invariably suggest a lack of concern
about collateral damage when air strikes are used, but ‘Major G’
revealed in detail how a drone operator sitting somewhere in Israel can
clear a target on the ground in Gaza of innocent civilians.
“In a lot of cases we have regular houses where in the basement there
is a lot of ammunition, bombs and missiles. The house is populated
sometimes with the families having willingly cooperated with the Hamas,
and in other cases they don’t have any choice; Hamas forces this on
them. In cases where there are people inside a house or building we
never strike the target without prior warning. We make phone calls, send
leaflet flier warnings, and sometimes use a technique called ‘Knock On
the Roof,’ where we fire very, very small, very precise tiny bombs onto
the edge of the roof and then they (the family) know that the attack is
about to begin and everybody can go outside.”
“Since the Second Lebanon War, we have developed a new technique
called TCT; Time Critical Targets, targets that have a very short
lifespan, 'Major G' said. "We (drones) find them, gather enough
intelligence to confirm that this is actually a terrorist, then call for
another aircraft to perform the attack.”
The Jabari case was one example of the TCT policy, and ‘Major G’ gave
a very rare insight into another. “As another example from the latest
Pillar of Defense operation in Gaza, we had intelligence that told us
that Hamas terrorists were about to launch missiles. We scanned the area
and then saw two people running away right after the launch. A basement
(trap) door had closed behind them and nothing was left to be seen (of
the missile launch site). This was very complicated because I didn’t
know if the people running away actually performed the launch, so we
turned immediately to other people who were able to check this out with
verified intelligence to confirm that these were indeed the suspects. We
called the helicopter and he performed the attack. All this process
took less than a minute.”
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the Air Force to strike 34 people in
Uludere last year based on intelligence that there was a high-profile militant
among the group, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş
“It was said that there was a high-profile PKK [outlawed
Kurdistan Workers’ Party] member among [the group], but information about other
civilians was also given to the prime minister,” Demirtaş said during protests
in the southeastern district on the incident’s first anniversary, daily Radikal
Demirtaş also said then-District Gov. Naif Yavuz had
claimed the evidence pointing to those responsible seemed fairly obvious in the
matter but that the official was banished to western Turkey after the incident.
The Chief of General Staff was also informed about the
raid, the BDP co-chair added.
Some 34 civilian Kurdish villagers were killed in the air
strike on Dec. 28, 2011, when they were allegedly mistaken for PKK militants as
they were smuggling oil from northern Iraq into Turkey.
Israel would never have gone after one target - even if the target had been there - if there were 33 civilians around. It would particularly never have done so without giving any warnings.
An official says thousands are protesting the government on the first
anniversary of a botched Turkish military air strike aimed at suspected
members of outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party that instead killed 34
civilians, The Associated Press reported.
denouncing the government’s failure to keep a promise to investigate the
incident and hold those responsible to account for the attack that
struck a group of smugglers - most of them youngsters - who were
crossing the border into Turkey from Iraq with mules.
And that, my friends, is the difference between a civilized nation and Islamist terrorists.
Shimon Peres calls 'Palestinians' 'self-victimizing' but also questions Israel's position on 'settlements'
There's a lot not to like about this lengthy interview. Israel's President, Shimon Peres, who is lionized abroad far more than here, tells David Frost on al-Jazeera that the 'Palestinians' are self-made victims. Unfortunately, he also criticizes our government's position on 'settlements.'
Peres represents the Left's view that because 'we' want a compromise, a compromise must be possible. What the 'Palestinian' rejection of the suicidal offers made by Ehud Barak and Ehud K. Olmert shows is that no compromise is possible. For the 'Palestinians' it's a zero-sum game in which they seek to replace us.
Obama administration abandoned secular forces in Egypt, backed Muslim Brotherhood
Michael Meunier is the President of Al Haya Party in Egypt. He is the founder of the U.S. Copts Association and a democracy, human rights and religious freedom activist. He claims that the Obama administration has systematically ignored the secular parties and the Copts in Egypt, creating the impression (which may be correct) that they actually wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to take power.
A stream of meetings, as well as public and private contacts,
followed between current U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and Brotherhood
members since her arrival in Egypt shortly after the revolution. The
ambassador seemed to favor the Brotherhood and the hard line Salafis
over the rest of the secular players in Egypt.
In fact, she has turned down requests for meetings from heads of
political parties and other secular politicians, myself included, who
oppose the Brotherhood.
Other U.S. officials such as Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Sen. John Kerry made the pilgrimage
to MB headquarters and made sure to meet with their shadowy influential
leader, Khairat El-Shater, at times even publicly praising him Kerry
did. Those visits were made during a time where no political group had
emerged as a leader in post-revolution Egypt.
The MB used these high-level meetings to tell the Egyptian people
that the U.S. is supporting them and does not object to their rule. Many
of us reached out to U.S. officials at the State Department and
complained that the U.S. policy regarding the MB was putting the secular
forces in Egypt at a disadvantage because it seemed to be propping the
MB, but our concerns were dismissed.
We warned of the MB's desire to impose Sharia law once in power and
the grim effect it would have on the rights of the millions of
Christians and moderate Muslims, and on women and children, yet all of
our warnings were dismissed. It seems that a policy decision was made to
bring the MB to power in Egypt at all costs, and it happened.
Through this all, President Obama's position amounts to, "This is an
internal matter and we leave to the Egyptian people to sort out!!"
What the Brotherhood is doing in Egypt is holding a gun to the head
of its opposition trying to pass a constitution that so far failed to
garner a greater support among Egyptians.
Once that becomes the law of the land, the race is on to turn Egypt
into another theocracy headed by an Islamist fascist regime that soon
after will threaten the security of the free world. At the heart of it
is the Obama administration and its failed foreign policy, and what I
see as the desire to destroy moderate Egypt and turn it over to the
fanatic elements of the society, creating a monster that will turn on
Read the whole thing. Last week, I heard second hand that some of the Egyptians who were imprisoned in 2011 and 2012 by the Morsi government had sought meetings with US officials and assistance from them... to no avail. I am still trying to confirm this with the first-hand source.
I shudder to think what the Middle East might look like after four more years of Obama.
PLO accuses US of 'forcing' Arab foreign ministers not to visit
The Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr visited 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen in the Mukhata in Ramallah on Saturday. But the big news is who wasn't there. Four other Arab foreign ministers allegedly canceled their trips at the last minute, and the PLO is claiming that it was due to pressure by the United States.
PLO executive member Wasel Abu Yusef told reporters that the US
Administration was behind the cancellation of the four Arab ministers'
visit to the West Bank.
"The Americans prevented the Arab foreign ministers from visiting Ramallah," Abu Yusef charged.
of the ministers who called off their visit claimed that they did not
want to pass through IDF checkpoints on their way to Ramallah.
Elaraby and the Egyptian foreign minister arrived in Ramallah aboard a
Jordanian helicopter, which landed in the Mukata presidential compound.
Yusef and other Palestinian officials also accused the US of exerting
pressure on the Arab countries not to provide the Palestinians with
"The US and Israel are imposing an economic
blockade on the Palestinian State and are preventing the Arab countries
and Western donors from providing Palestinians with financial aid," he
"Unfortunately, these countries have succumbed to the
pressure, further intensifying the financial crisis in the Palestinian
If only this were true.... Can you see Hussein Obama doing anything to punish the poor 'Palestinians'?
Meanwhile, at the meeting, Abu Mazen complained that the Arab League has not been putting up its $100 million per month to pay the terrorists' salaries. Someone ought to tell him to stop schnorring and go develop an economy.
Despite 'concussion,' Hillary Clinton goes to the Dominican Republic
Here's a video from Fox News in which Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, talks about what testimony her committee hopes to hear from outgoing US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Let's go to the videotape.
Secretary Clinton, who allegedly hasn't appeared before the committee yet because she has a concussion, is off celebrating the New Year with Willy Wonka in the Dominican Republic.
Sorry, the only pictures I could find of Bill partying were not appropriate for a family blog....
In a dramatic policy shift, Egypt will seek to forge "tight"
relations with Hezbollah, Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Hamdy
revealed in a candid interview published Saturday in Lebanon's Daily Star.
cannot discuss politics in Lebanon without having a relationship with
Hezbollah," Hamdy was quoting as saying, before describing the terror
group as a "real force on the ground" with "big political and military
In this respect, Hamdy announced that Muslim-Brotherhood-dominated Egypt
would begin “stretching [its] hand out in the proper, balanced way to
all regional powers," including Hezbollah, in order to forge "tight"
contacts with Lebanon's rulers.
In his interview, Hamdy denied reports that Hezbollah had sent a
delegation to Egypt to meet with President Mohamed Morsi's regime, but
confirmed that he personally had met with members of Hezbollah’s
political bureau in efforts “to understand each other better.”
“In discussions we said we want Hezbollah to remain as a political force in Lebanon,” Hamdy revealed.
in the sense of defending Lebanese territory...[is] their primary role.
We...think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job to
keep on defending Lebanese territory and trying to regain land occupied
by Israel is legal and legitimate,” he continued.
Will the US threaten to cut aid money to Egypt if they establish a relationship with Hezbullah? With Obama and Kerry in charge, don't hold your breath.
The master of understatement: Israel's connection to Ariel no weaker than England's connection to the Falklands
Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.
This is the first I heard of it, but current Education Minister Gidon Saar wants to be Foreign Minister in the next government. (Who says you need special qualifications for any ministry in this country?)
He started on the trail on Saturday by blasting the UK for a statement on Thursday expressing 'deep disappointment' with the upgrade of Ariel University to university status.That's fine but the way Saar went about it was a little odd. Saar said that Israel's attachment to Ariel is at least as strong as Britain's attachment to the Falkland Islands (which are off the coast of Argentina).
Speaking at a political event in Nes Tsiona on Saturday, Sa'ar
responded that the real obstacle to peace is "incitement in the
Palestinian educational system" and not the upgrade to the Ariel
"Ariel has always been an integral part of the
State of Israel. Our connection to Ariel is no less than England's
connection to the Falkland Islands," Sa'ar stated.
Ariel is a little closer to Jerusalem than the Falklands are to London. Maybe he could have said Manchester or Liverpool (which are also further away than Ariel)? Or does Saar have family in Argentina?
The good news is that if Saar is no longer Education Minister, maybe they will get rid of his edict that requires most elementary school children to wear uniform shirts to school. My sons would be thrilled if they became optional.
It's not up in English yet, but the Hebrew version of Barak Ravid's Diplomania blog is reporting that Netanyahu confidante Ron Dermer is going to replace Michael Oren as Israel's ambassador to the United States. Ravid describes Dermer as being the person behind Prime Minister Netanyahu's 'embrace' of Mitt Romney in the recently concluded US election. That ought to thrill the Obama administration. Oren's term expires in May 2013.
The report originally appeared in Makor Rishon, a paper that is sold in hard copy and sent by pdf, which does not have a website. Netanyahu's office did not comment on the report.
Ravid worries that the Obama administration will be unhappy with Dermer. Dermer made aliya in 1997, and his family still lives in Miami, where they are close with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016. The Democrats also believe that Dermer (and Dan Senor) were behind Romney's visit here last summer. (That one is in English).
Ravid reports that the Americans and Europeans believe that Dermer is 'extreme' and that Dermer believes (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!) that Abu Mazen is not a partner for peace. (That link is in English and comes from Wikileaks).
Netanyahu considers Dermer an expert on the United States, and he served as a Finance Ministry emissary there from 2004-08. Ravid claims Dermer is 'too American' to be Israel's ambassador to the United States.
My own view is that we are lucky to have natives of important countries (like Oren and Dermer and like Daniel Taub in the UK), whom we are able to send back to those countries as ambassadors. I would bet that Dermer knows a lot more about the US than Ravid does, even if Ravid is better regarded by the current extreme Leftist administration. I'm sure Dermer will make a far better ambassador than anyone the far Left foreign ministry might favor.
Ari Shavit may not support Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party. But he understands that a lot of Israelis support Bennett, and a lot of Israelis think like him. A lot more than support the Israeli Left.
"Zionism arose thanks to secularism," he says. "The dogmatic
religious establishment in the Diaspora was not capable of initiating
Zionism without [Theodor] Herzl's secular involvement. But secular
Zionism was an existential Zionism that saw the state of the Jews as a
"A state that is 64 years old cannot continue to exist on the ethos of a
refuge state, on security alone. After all, if this were the reason for
our existence, there are many places that are safer for Jews - like
Melbourne, Australia, or New Jersey. They don't send children to the
army there, and missiles aren't flying there. Therefore, the time has
come to move from the existential Zionism that you come from to a Jewish
Zionism. It is necessary to base our national life on a Jewish basis,
and it is necessary to give the state a Jewish coloration.
"I don't support religious coercion, but I do believe that Judaism is
our 'why': Judaism is the reason for our existence and the justification
for our existence, and the meaning of our existence. I know that for
your 'tribe,' this is difficult. It is difficult because your tribe
established the state in a secular-socialist spirit. And as you see the
society changing and the state changing, you feel like you are done for.
Your feeling is that the home that had been your home is no longer
"I am not indifferent to your distress. I am also personally connected
to your ethos. When I was a child, I had Yoni's letters [the reference
is to war hero Yoni Netanyahu] and [military commando] Meir Har-Zion's
book next to my bed. So for me it's not tactics and it's not cosmetics.
My whole life I've had one foot here and one foot there.
"You are right," he continues. "What is happening is a revolution.
Behind the success of Habayit Hayehudi there are deep forces that are
changing the face of the country. But for me in particular, it's
important to be a bridge to you. One of the biggest challenges from my
perspective is to connect you to religious Zionism, too."
But you are about to annex 60 percent of the area of the West Bank, I
persist. Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Benjamin Netanyahu all
refrained from taking this extreme step. Implementing the Bennett plan
will bury the two states once and for all. Implementing the Bennett plan
will perpetuate the occupation and make Israel a leper apartheid state.
Though you are a high-tech person from Ra'anana who has seen the world,
I continue, you are entirely ignoring the world. You will bring
disaster down upon us by causing the international community to condemn
us, and by causing a third of all Israelis to be entirely alienated from
that new Israel you will shape.
The chairman of Habayit Hayehudi tells me the international reaction
concerns him, and therefore he will not annex most of the territories
right at the start of what will be a long process. He believes that,
ultimately, the world is busy with the economic collapse of Greece, the
United States' fiscal cliff and the slaughter in Syria, and thus it is
possible to bring the world to come to terms now with facts on the
ground and firm Israeli decisions. Back in 1981, when then-Prime
Minister Begin was about to apply Israeli law to the Golan Heights,
Shimon Peres and Amos Oz also warned him that it would lead to Israel
becoming a leper state. He passed the Golan Heights Law, we received a
few criticisms - and we carried on.
Bennett says the internal Israeli rift disturbs him far more.
Consequently, he will conduct a dialogue with the center and the left
just as he is conducting a dialogue with me right now. But after making
the "right" noises, Bennett straightens up and declares we tried Oslo
and we tried the disengagement - and we've seen what has happened. If a
Palestinian state were to arise in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank ),
it would threaten Israel both with missiles and refugees. When he is
abroad and when he reads The Economist magazine, it seems to him, too,
that the establishment of Palestine is inevitable. But when he drives to
Jerusalem via Ariel, he understands that it is not going to happen.
A lot more Israelis think like Naftali Bennett - and Moshe Feiglin - than think like Haaretz's editorial writers. Israel is better off that way. Whether one agrees with them or not, they are the ones trying to make Israel into a Jewish state.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children are married and a fourth is engaged! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com