A Mixed Bag

Arlene from Israel

Today we’ll start with the good news.

Ariel University has been an institution of higher learning, situated in Ariel — a major city in Samaria, 25 miles east of Tel Aviv — since 2005. At that time it was Ariel College and had the highest student enrollment of any public college in Israel. But the school’s intention was to seek full university status — which would provide it with the ability to grant doctoral degrees, as well as increase its funding for research and its prestige.

In 2010, it was granted the title Ariel University Center of Samaria, but was not yet accorded official university status. In July of this year, the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria granted it this status. In September, the Cabinet approved it.


But it wasn’t yet a done deal. Since Judea and Samaria are governed by a civil administration under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense, yet another approval was needed. And this was not forthcoming.

It was politics. Ariel College had met all criteria for becoming a university. But, shock, horrors: A full Israeli university in Samaria? That suggests permanency and will lead to expansion of a “settlement.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague actually had the gall to say in September that Israel should reconsider its decision on this school.

His attitude was not new. In 2009, for example, the Spanish Housing Ministry disqualified the university center from participation in an international architectural competition because it was located in “occupied territories.”

At any rate, this week Defense Minister Barak instructed Major General Nitzan Alon, the Head of the IDF’s Central Command, to grant the school final approval. This was after the attorney general had said there was no legal obstacle to doing so. General Alon signed the appropriate document yesterday, and it’s a done deal.

I have been advised by someone directly involved in Ariel that this did not represent a softening of Barak’s heart on this issue: a great deal of hard work behind the scenes went into achieving this.

However it was achieved, this is a cause for celebration. And I think it’s good to know that with hard work nationalists can hold sway at least part of the time.


Credit: powerbase

The university is attended by 14,000 students, including Israeli Arabs and the highest number of Ethiopian-born students of any university. It has 26 departments and three schools, and cooperates with other institutions of higher learning and development world-wide. Toronto University, for example, partners with Ariel University on an MBA in business administration. As well, Ariel University is recognized as a Microsoft IT Academy and is authorized to do certification exams for Microsoft Network Administration.


As an example of how politically fraught this whole Ariel issue is, I share this last bit of news: The Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities yesterday filed a motion with the High Court against the upgrade of the university.

One of their arguments was timing: “These are elections days and any decision on this sensitive matter can be interpreted as a political move. This is not logic in acting so urgently.”

So urgently?? You have to laugh.

Another of their arguments was that their budgets will be reduced if Ariel is to get a piece of the pie. To this, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz responded that: “After I added a billion shekels in a multi-year program to strengthen universities and colleges in Israel, it’s quite outrageous to receive complaints about budgetary damage caused by Ariel University.”

Bottom line: These academics tilt left. The president of Bar Ilan University withdrew from the proceedings in opposition.

I do not have any serious concern that the Court will overturn what is now an accomplished fact.


The Interior Ministry has passed on 1,200 housing units for the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Final approval must go through the Jerusalem District Zoning Committee. Once this is accomplished, construction tenders will be issued.

The planned expansion will be on 66 acres of privately owned and municipal land along the southern slopes of the city.

Gilo is at the southern tip of Jerusalem over the Green Line. It is solidly and completely part of Jerusalem — even though it is often referred to as a “settlement” in “East Jerusalem.” Anything over the Green Line is called “East Jerusalem,” a code for “Arab Jerusalem.” A statement on Wikipedia that I just discovered can help you understand how ludicrous this all is: Gilo, it says, is located in “southwestern East Jerusalem.” Cute.

Credit: Honestreporting

This neighborhood, with a population of 40,000, is on land that was Jewish-owned going back before the State of Israel was founded.


I would like to offer a parenthetical comment here on the whole issue of new housing, which is forever being interpreted as a provocation. The simple fact is that Israel’s population NEEDS more housing. We have the highest birthrate of any Jewish population in the world, a far higher birthrate than Europe (Europeans, non-Muslim, are not even reproducing themselves) and I am almost certain, a higher birthrate than the US.

This is an extraordinarily positive statement — an expression of hope, a way of, literally, choosing life. One of the things that I love about Israeli society is how child-oriented it is. There are kids — precious, beautiful kids — all over.

But the bottom line is this: We have babies. The babies grow up and marry and want to have more babies. And they need apartments to live in.


Needless to say, the Palestinian Arabs are not very pleased about this announcement or the prior one concerning building in Ramat Shlomo. Ahmed Halabiyeh, director of Hamas’s Jerusalem Department, called for armed groups to initiate confrontation with Israel over intentions to do building in Jerusalem. He is calling for “a third intifada to save the Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem,” and says that among various techniques of resistance there should be first and foremost “martyrdom operations in the heart of Israel.”

“Martyrdom operations” mean suicide bombings.


This is because we’re tying to “Judaize” Jerusalem. Another of my favorite phrases.

Jerusalem IS Jewish and has been for over 3,000 years. The fact that there are Arab parts of eastern Jerusalem is no more than the result of a brief and aberrant period in the city’s history: when Jordan controlled the eastern part of the city, from 1949-67, it rendered it Judenrein, banishing all Jews, destroying synagogues, and reneging on a commitment — written into its 1949 armistice agreement with Israel — to allow Jews access to the Kotel.


The fact today, however, is that Jews have returned to the eastern part of the city now in large numbers. It is no longer possible to say that “East Jerusalem” is Arab. And in spite of what you may read, the Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are so intermeshed that it would be demographically and logistically impossible to divide the city in order for it to be the capital of two nations.

The map here provides a clear picture (and shows where Gilo is):


You might also enjoy the material provided by the link below. In particular, scroll down to the Mount of Olives and Shimon HaTzaddik information for a better understanding of the ancient Jewish roots of areas that Arabs claim today:



Archaeologist Tzachi Zweig-Devira has just released a report regarding the fact that the Wakf (the Islamic trust, which has day-to-day control over the Temple Mount) is continuing to destroy antiquities and acting in defiance of a High Court ruling.

That the Muslims are doing this is not surprising — they’re trying to erase evidence of the Jewish history on the Mount in every way they can. They’ll do whatever they can get away with. And herein lies my quarrel: that they are getting away with it. The government is not sufficiently enforcing Jewish rights there, in spite of the fact that our attorney general has said clearly that Israeli law applies on the Mount.

It is nothing short of appeasement — an attempt to mollify the Arabs and maintain quiet in that area (Arabs are prone to riot) — that Israeli authorities close their eyes even to a sign at the entrance to the Mount that says, “The Al-Aksa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”

Further details: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/163528


It has just been revealed that the Shin Bet and the IDF working together have uncovered a major terrorist infrastructure being established in Ramallah and neighboring villages by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They were working on plans to kidnap Israelis in order to secure the release of terrorists from Israeli prisons. (Look, it worked with Gilad Shalit, didn’t it?)


I note here that it is the increasing unrest and terror threat — including the growing presence in Judea and Samaria of Hamas — that has stiffened Netanyahu’s spine. This is for him a matter of security; it is clear as clear could be what would happen if the IDF were to pull back in Judea and Samaria. The discovery of the terrorist infrastructure described above is example enough.

This was in Ramallah, at the heart of the PA (which is supposed to have its own security forces fighting terrorism). And if we weren’t operating there?


If there is anything Abbas is a master at, it is making threats. And these days he’s in top form. He’s threatening all sorts of things with regard to our plans to build in E1, including dismantlement of the PA.

Incredibly, the PA/PLO is also making threats regarding strong actions if Israel re-elects Netanyahu as prime minister. Goes to show how little they understand us. The more they threaten, the more popular Netanyahu is likely to become.

Right now they are saying they may go to the International Criminal Court (ICC), call for mass demonstrations, encourage international sanctions against Israel and end security coordination.

“We are going to pursue this policy to reach a point of having the international community impose sanctions on Israel,” said Qais Abdelkareem, a Palestine Liberation Organization official.


Does anyone at all in the international community notice that this is not the way an entity that seeks “peace negotiations” acts? They are threatening to punish our electorate for exercising our democratic right to select our leaders.


A couple of days ago there were reports that Russian officials were confident that Syrian had secured its weapons of mass destruction so that rebel forces couldn’t reach them. Allegedly they were moved to a safer location.

And then — as I reported — came claims by the rebels, via al-Jazeera, that Damascus had used poison gas against them. They had videos of people unable to breathe and suffering tremors. According to a story in Israel Hayom, however, “Recent reports about their alleged use by Assad’s forces were transparent spin by rebels attempting to prompt foreign military intervention on their behalf.” While Minister of Security Affairs, Moshe Ya’alon, has simply said there is no corroboration of the rebel claims that gas was used by the Syrian government.


Professor Larry Schweikart – Rocking History Without an Agenda

By: Gerald Loeffers

Hope you had a great Christmas and your New Year is a good one.

Today, I wanted to get away from political subjects and do another personal profile. As you know, I have been reading history for three years now and I’m going to start my fourth year as well. I have been reading both the classic histories and some newly revealed histories. I discovered my favorite new guy on Glenn Beck’s show. He was a university history professor named Larry Schweikart, who was promoting A PATRIOT’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. This man came to us with no political agenda… only pure history. So, I got the book in December of 2009 and nothing has been the same since.


Mr. SCHWEIKART showed up one day on the GLENN BECK show talking about history. This guy wasn’t boring or boorish. He’s a professor of history at the University of Dayton. I found him to be very outgoing and a very engaging teacher, which at the university level is rare. I was, to say the least, not an engaged student in high school on any subject. But Professor SCHWEIKART was and is different. He promotes critical thinking of history and not taking it at face value. He promotes questioning it often. Point number two: Mr. SCHWEIKART also admits in all of his history books that there is a clear fight between good and evil, or progressive and conservative elements in America throughout the world’s time span. He covers all aspects of history… the good, the bad and the ugly, with honest analysis and a breakdown of the events unfolding. This history teacher has a funny little history himself. Back in the 1960s, he was a drummer for a band called Vanilla Fudge.


It started with A PATRIOT’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, which not only covered America during colonial times, but America’s active 500 year history. It took me nearly 30 days to read this large book and I have used it as a reference book on several occasions. AMERICA’S VICTORIES was next for me. It outlined the importance of all of America’s military victories and how throughout history, they have benefited people all over the world by defeating dictators, freeing enslaved populations and even averting disaster. WHAT WOULD THE FOUNDERS SAY? That’s a great question and this is an awesome book that answers it. It’s a straight analysis of today’s political era and what the founding fathers would say or write about it. But wait… they already had all the answers to America’s political problems past and future. It’s just that no one was paying attention. Do you trust your children are getting an honest history course from current public school teachers? Hell no! That’s where 48 LIBERAL LIES ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY kicks in and fills you in on the liberal history gap that’s designed to indoctrinate all school children into hating a more traditional America. Mr. SCHWEIKART’s next book is about key pivot points in America’s history. In fact, it’s about seven of them – SEVEN EVENTS THAT MADE AMERICA, AMERICA. It’s an amazing book about America’s historical direction and what played key roles in that direction. If you’re looking for key note speeches or key court writings throughout American history, but have found there is no fast reference book for this, now there is. THE PATRIOT’S HISTORY READER is a great reference book containing presidential speeches, key historical opinion pieces and supreme court writings. This book even has one of Obama’s early first term speeches. How special is that? Professor SCHWEIKART’s next epic project is already printed in a volume one book and will be a two volume book set: A PATRIOT’S HISTORY OF THE MODERN WORLD. So, now he will be taking on a no agenda world history project… whew! I am half way through volume one right now and I am enjoying it very much.

So, if you need a historical reference for you and your school aged children, any books or writings of professor LARRY SCHWEIKART will enlighten you with the proper roll of history in America and around the world, without an agenda or indoctrination to worry about or to fight over. Thank you and happy New Year to all of my NoisyRoom friends and readers!


Watcher’s Council Nominations – Christmas Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

This week’s contest is dedicated to the memory of Robert Bork, a giant and a man of rare intellect and courage. RIP.

It’s Christmas, a very special time of year even for those of us who don’t celebrate it. All of us at the Council send you our best wishes for a holiday season filled with light, hope, cheer and the warmth of your loved ones.

And for those of our readers who aren’t able to be with their loved ones this holiday season, (and I know that includes a lot of Joshuapundit’s readers as well as some of the other Council members), may the day come soon when you return to your loved ones safe and sound. This is for you… trust me, none of us here have forgotten you.

Council News:

I’m happy to report that for the third year in a row, The Watcher’s Council won the Fabulous Fifty blogging award for Best Blogging Ring. Council Akbar and thanks to Doug Ross and to everyone who voted for us.

Now, yesterday was Christmas, but it wasn’t the only momentous event… no indeed.
It was also the birthday of our own Dave Schuler, The Glittering Eye!

There’s not much I can say about Dave that I haven’t said already. Aside from being a writer extraordinaire, he’s a true renaissance man, someone I could have a conversation with about opera, wine, economics, politics, foreign policy or a thousand other topics and he’d be all over it.

We’ve known each other in an online sense ever since I joined the Council. He’s one of the two members who predate me and it’s a mark of his cheerful demeanor and tolerance that he’s put up with all of my nonsense during all that time without going off on me even once.

Best birthday wishes Dave… many, many happy returns and I hope all those candles didn’t set off the smoke alarms!

A little music, with you in mind:

This week, Right Truth, Ask Marion, Crazy Bald Guy, Wolf Howling, and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then just return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, without further ado, let’s see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!