07/6/16

Cutting Through the Pain

Arlene from Israel

Here I am, again, skipping over the good news.  My apologies for this, as I know my readers enjoy those good reports (as do I).  But once again, I feel compelled to focus on the not-good news:

Some painful circumstances – disease, for example – may be unavoidable.  Others should never, ever happen.  What I have in mind right now is the terrorist murder of 13 year old Hallel Yafa Ariel last week, who met her death at the hands of a knife-wielding 17 year old Palestinian Arab.

Credit: onlysimchas

Monday I paid a shiva (condolence) call to her family.  I was blown away by their determination to persevere, their strength in the face of horror.

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And just for one moment it is the horror I need to focus on.  For she wasn’t “just” killed via a knifing.  Her body endured a pummeling by knife.  It is so perversely sick that thinking about it becomes unbearable.  (It brought to my mind the 2011 beheading of the two-month old Fogel baby by Palestinian Arabs terrorists who later declared themselves “proud” of what they had done.)

There is a part of me that wants to be circumspect and discrete, passing over these gruesome facts.  But I have come to realize I have an obligation to speak out. Because the world does not know. People – embracing some sanitized version of the situation – do not begin to comprehend what we deal with here.  And so I must tell it out, and ask you to wrap your heads around this, and tell it out as well.

Please, do not imagine that the way this young terrorist behaved is a response to the “occupation” – an occupation which, in point of fact, does not even exist.  (More below on this issue.)  Or that he is an anomaly, an aberration in an otherwise normal social.  For this is not the case!

What we are facing is a society that in some substantial measure –encouraged by its leadership – embraces, indeed venerates, violence.

Consider Palestinian Arab practices such as “honor killings” and the shooting of guns to celebrate weddings (which practice on occasion causes the accidental death of a celebrant).  Mark their hysterical and violent funerals for their terrorists, as compared with the subdued, “let’s make the world a better place” tone of the funerals for the victims of those terrorists.

Hey, even more significantly: Mark the fact that the terrorists are their national heroes, celebrated in a way that the Palestinian Arabs never, ever remotely celebrate scientists or musicians or educators.  And that children are taught at a young age to embrace violence.  This is a form of child abuse.

See this chilling video:http://www.palwatch.org/site/modules/videos/popup/video.aspx?doc_id=16531   and be sure to read the full comment below about social media.

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And so, we come to the great injustice visited upon us by the world: We are told to make concessions to the Palestinian Arabs for “peace.”  Concessions to people who venerate violence and celebrate death.

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The traditional way of Muslim mourning requires erecting a tent, where mourners receive their visitors.  The Taraiyre family – family of the terrorist who murdered Hallel Ariel – has such a tent.

The governor of Hebron (center), visiting the mourning tent  for the terrorist killed after slaughtering 13-year-old Hallel Ariel. Photo: Facebook.

Credit: Facebook

It was paid for by the Palestinian Authority.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/07/04/palestinian-authority-funds-mourning-tent-for-terrorist-who-stabbed-13-year-old-israeli-girl-to-death-fatah-official-arrives-to-pay-tribute-to-family/

Reportedly, a high official of Fatah, the major party of the PA, was among those who paid a condolence call.

And there is still more.  As the Palestinian Media Watch has noted:

“…in accordance with PA law, Taraiyre’s family will now begin receiving a monthly stipend — something that is paid to all families of “martyrs” [shahids].

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=18302

Please, dear friends, wrap your heads around this, as well.  The Palestinian Authority condones and rewards what this young terrorist did.  Its leaders have no red lines that conform with decency and humanity.  They do not speak out against such acts, but the contrary.

How dare the world suggest that we sit with the PA and negotiate a “state” for them!

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Before I move on to further points I wish to make, it is important for me to note that certainly not every Palestinian Arab embraces violence and is filled with hatred; some show that decency and humanity I refer to above.

Please see an article here about the Palestinians Arabs who saw the overturned car of the Mark family, and came to help:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4824391,00.html

(The fact that this was newsworthy indicates that this behavior is out of the norm.)

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As to the much touted suggestion that the “occupation” is the cause of this deep-seated and virulent hatred we are witnessing:

[] I have spoken many times about the fact that in legal and historical terms Israel is not an “occupier” in Judea and Samaria, and I will return to this many more times. But even if there were an “occupation,” it would not justify what is going on now. No way, no how.  To use it as justification is to obfuscate: to rationalize, to mask the total immorality of the current violence.

[]  While they are reluctant to say so publicly for obvious reasons, it has been clear for years that many Palestinian Arabs would prefer governance by Israel to governance by the PA, which is totally corrupt, provides no human rights, offers scant economic opportunities, has no social services, etc.  They are not chaffing under Israeli governance, where it exists, so much as furious about the way the PA conducts itself.  But sometimes it is easier (and safer) to vent against Israel.  And the PA – in speaking about such things as the alleged danger Jews represent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque – provides a convenient rationale for channeling this fury.

See this, written just a year ago:

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/half-of-jerusalems-palestinians-would-prefer-israeli-to-palestinian-citizen

It is nonsense to suggest that those Palestinian Arabs under the jurisdiction of Israel are so greatly enraged by this fact that they are reduced to extreme and uncontrollable violence, or that those under the jurisdiction of the PA are livid because they believe the PA has not been given the latitude to establish a full state.

Palestinian Arab culture is hamula-based.  The loyalty is to the clan. There is not a huge yearning for a state.  Not intrinsically.  Whatever the PR hype on the matter.

[] Lastly, I would like to share something just written by the eminent scholar Efraim Karsh, “Occupation is not the problem.”

When professor Karsh speaks about “occupation,” he is not referring to legalities of ownership of the land, but of governance of the Palestinian Arabs by Israel.

His executive summary (emphasis in the original):

The proposition that ‘occupation’ is to blame for Palestinian terrorism defies history, reality, and logic. Israel’s control of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has been virtually nonexistent for twenty years, ever since the 1995 interim agreement and the 1997 Hebron redeployment. Palestinian terrorism has increased not in response to the ‘occupation,’ but in response to its ending.”

Professor Karch writes (emphasis added):

“If occupation is indeed the cause of terrorism, why was terrorism so sparse during the years of actual occupation? Why did it increase dramatically with the prospect of the end of the occupation, and why did it escalate into open war following Israel’s most far-reaching concessions ever?

One might argue far more plausibly that it was the absence of occupation – that is, the withdrawal of close Israeli surveillance – that facilitated the launching of the terrorist war in the first place, just as it was the partial restoration of security measures in the West Bank during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield and its aftermath (albeit without assuming control of over the daily lives of the Palestinian population there) that brought the Palestinian war of terror to a (temporary) halt.

http://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/occupation-not-problem/

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Unfortunately – and it grieves me greatly to say this – some portion of Israeli society is also sick.  But in a way that is the inverse of the Palestinian Arab society.

We have had our own Jewish nation in modern times for 68 years now. But before this, we were in galut – in exile – for some 2,000 years. During those years, the survival of Jews often depended upon being able to please the host society.  And we have not, as a nation, yet lost the habit of trying to please others.

As the Western world promotes a disproportionate concern for the Palestinian Arabs to the detriment of Israeli rights and well being, our leadership – or some portion thereof – struggles to show what “good guys” we are in dealing with those Palestinian Arabs.

In a nutshell: We are not as tough on them, and specifically on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, as we need to be.  We take little steps, and while they move in the right direction – quicker demolition of houses of terrorists, refusal to return bodies, etc. – they remain insufficient.

Our government needs to be less concerned about what the Western world will say, and more concerned about making certain that no more Israelis meet the fate endured by Hallel Yafa Ariel and Rabbi Micki Mark last week.

There are a number of suggestions on the table as to how to be more stringent. They include such actions as shutting down PA broadcasts, because of the incitement; refusing to turn over any tax monies collected as long as the PA continues to pay the families of terrorists and “salaries” to terrorists in prison; and blocking use of the Internet, which is a major vehicle for terrorists’ communication (although how, is beyond my expertise).

Taking aim directly at PA actions is a critical component of what needs to be done.  And it is precisely in this regard that our government tends to tip-toe.

I cannot possibly deal here with all the suggestions for greater stringency that have been proposed, although I will mention one below and return to others later.

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There is a feeling in several quarters in Israel that the government is about talk – about “seeming” tough for the moment – rather than about real action.

There is solid reason for this feeling.  There have been stringent actions announced in the face of a specific terrorist act that are quietly reversed when the moment is past.  And announcements about actions that seem to be stringent but in point of fact are not what they appear to be.

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Here I mention a couple of examples of the latter:

The prime minister announced that in response to the terror attack in Kiryat Arba, 42 new housing units would be built.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-approves-additional-units-in-kiryat-arba-in-response-to-attacks/

Subsequently it became apparent that the tenders for this building had gone out well before the attack.  That is, it was not a plan for new, additional building being announced at all.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214518#.V3v9QZDr3IU

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It was also announced that there was going to be “full closure” of the village of Bani Na’im, home of the murderer of Hallel Ariel.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/363300#.V3wBVZDr3IU

Subsequently, it was discovered that the “full closure” consisted of “nothing more than a pile of dirt that the Arab residents easily drive around.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214423#.V3wAUZDr3IV

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What I ask here is that you send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

I cannot emphasize this enough: Do NOT preach to him. Do NOT write in anger.  Do NOT suggest that you have superior expertise in the matter and can advise him on what to do.  Do NOT engage in polemics or provide history lessons. All of these approaches are severely counterproductive.  They will turn him off.  If you want to be helpful, you will write with great restraint and avoid these pitfalls.

Be respectful.  And write no more than three sentences.  Be positive: Urge strength, encourage him to stand tall in the face of enemies, let him know you are with him during this horrendous time. It is the number of messages that matters, not your specific message.

I provide three different addresses below.  Send your message to all three.  The prime minister will not be reading these messages directly, his aides will. In your subject line, put “Please share this with the prime minister,” “Please pass this message to PM Netanyahu,” or something similar

Memshala@pmo.gov.il    pm_eng2@it.pmo.gov.il (underscore after pm)    Davidkeyes@pmo.gov.il

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As to responses that are being called for, I want to allude here to one approach that I see as good news: annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim and of Gush Etzion.  It is time for a new message, say those advancing these proposals.  And I heartily agree.  Whether they meet with success now or not, we must hope that they mark the beginning of a brighter future.

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When last I wrote, I noted that neither the White House nor the State Department had expressed condolences for the terrorist murder of Hallel Ariel, who was an American citizen.  It was pointed out to me by a couple of readers that indeed there had been a statement by the State Department.  This is the case, and so my comment had not been fully correct. But the State Department expression of condolences – which ignored the fact that Hallel was an American – was insufficient.

Not for a second do I believe this was an inadvertent oversight on the part of the State Department.  To acknowledge Hallel’s citizenship is to acknowledge responsibility for responding to what happened to her.  The State Department would rather avoid this.

A ZOA press release on this issue makes the further point that the condolence statement neglects to mention that the terrorist was a Palestinian Arab. Hmmm… It also compares the State Department condolence here to similar condolences regarding events in other parts of the world.
http://zoa.org/2016/07/10328355-zoa-u-s-state-departments-condolence-statements-on-terrorist-attacks-biased-against-israel-jews/

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I will do my best to focus on some measure of good news when next I post.

07/5/16

Resilience in the Face of Obscenity

Arlene from Israel

You try to scare us so that we’ll wear down, break, and leave, but it’s all for naught. The sentiments in Otniel are not of fear and exhaustion, but rather of cohesion, resilience and especially a strong desire to move forward. The murderers that imagine eliminating us through bloodshed will find before them again and again a solid wall of people who believe in life a lot more than those same murderers believe in death.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4822991,00.html

These are the words of Eran Dgan, secretary of Otniel, a small Jewish community south of Hevron in the regional council of Har Hevron, and home of the Otniel Yeshiva.

Amazing words from an anguished man.  Dgan was addressing the terrorists – not yet captured – who late on Friday afternoon attacked and killed Rabbi Michael (Micki) Mark, who was director of the Otniel Yeshiva and lived in the community with his wife and their 10 children.

Miki Mark (Facebook)

Facebook

Let all potential terrorists mark Dgan’s words well.  As a matter of fact, let the world mark them well.  We are not going anywhere.

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Described as a pillar of the community, Rabbi Mark was a much-loved man – “a man of faith and spirit [who] spent every moment of his free time studying Torah…a gentle man and a devoted father to his family.”  He was in his car on route 60, south of Hevron, when Arabs drove past him and began shooting at his car.  There are at least 20 bullet holes in the car.

As Mark’s 14 year old son described it:

“They shot at us from the side where my sister was sitting next to me, on my left – then suddenly dad wasn’t moving anymore.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214380#.V3j4C5Dr3IW

As the rabbi lost control, the car flipped over.

The Marks' flipped car (Photo: Har Hevron Regional Council)

Credit: Har Hevron Regional Council

The rabbi’s wife, Chava, was seriously injured.  Following a series of surgeries her life is now out of danger, but she is still in very serious condition and faces a long recovery.  A daughter, 14, was moderately injured and remains in the hospital.  The son, quoted above, was lightly injured and has been released from the hospital.

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The funeral today was held in two venues.  First a service in Otniel, with many rabbis and other notables in attendance.

Credit: Arutz Sheva

Credit: Hadas Perush/Flash90

Credit: Hadas Perush/Flash90

And then interment in Jerusalem.

Please see this extraordinary video clip of the Mark children put out before the funeral:

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Murdered-Rabbis-children-Please-come-to-his-funeral-459336

Said President Ruby Rivlin, who was a distant cousin of Rabbi Mark, “We are not loosening our grip on the land. Terrorism will never undermine our hold on the land...”  Again, let everyone take note.  (Mark was also a cousin of Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad.)

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, mourning deeply, on Friday noted his close relationship with Rabbi Mark: “He was like a brother to me.”

And Rabbi Binyamin Kelmanson, Rabbi Mark’s brother-in-law, said, addressing Mark at the funeral:

“Ironically, you will also be missed by the members of the [group] your murderers came from, you will be missed by our [Arab] neighbors whom you helped so much. We will still try to maintain good relations with our neighbors, and we will continue to meet with them.”

“But,” – now addressing the Arab population – “know this, that if you do not strike down the arms of the murderers, it will hurt you.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214401#.V3j9aJDr3IV

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Religious Jews, on receiving news of a death, say “Baruch Dayan HaEmet.”  “Blessed be the Righteous Judge.”  We, even when bereft and devoid of understanding, surrender to the Almighty’s judgment in the matter.  And so, we see, again and again, an astonishing lack of bitterness in those mourning victims of terror.

We encounter, instead, a desire that some good should result from the unbearable tragedy.  And a firm determination to stand strong.

I have written again and again about the sense of family we have here in Israel.  And this is part of what we are witnessing: a strength that comes from being tied to the people. The people embracing the mourners and holding them upright in unending comfort.

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I was going to say there will be no good news in today’s posting. But the news of who we are as a people and how we cope as a people is very very good news indeed.

Har Hevron Regional Council head Yochai Damri  put out a message before Shabbat:

“…For a long time in Otniel and Har Hevron, we have experienced difficult events, and today an additional event, but they will not break us! A peaceful Sabbath and a warm and lamenting hug to all.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4822991,00.html

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The Security Cabinet met last night and has decided on a number of more stringent measures for dealing with the Arabs: there will be a cemetery for burying terrorists, and none of their bodies will be returned; more work permits will be cancelled; more speedy demolition of houses of terrorists; more closures, including of Hevron; etc. etc.  More to follow on this in my next posting.

All to the good, and, taken collectively, still not sufficient.  This cannot continue.  That is the message that was delivered in demonstrations held here in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria last night.

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Approval has been given for construction of 42 new apartments in Kiryat Arba, in response to the terrorist murder of Hallel Ariel last week.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-approves-additional-units-in-kiryat-arba-in-response-to-attacks/

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I am very eager to get this out, but pause to note just a couple of other matters:

We must ask, first, how much one family can endure.  Chava Mark, who is seriously injured, is the aunt of Yondav Hirschfeld, one of the eight high school students murdered during the 2008 terror attack in the Markaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Her son, Shlomi, is married to Iska, the daughter of Eliyahu Ben-Ami of Otniel, who was killed in a terror shooting attack in 2000.

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Hallel Ariel, murdered in her bed by a terrorist last week, was a US citizen (with joint Israeli and American citizenship). To the best of my knowledge there has been no mention of this by the White House or State Department – no expression of outrage over this death.   If I am wrong, and it has come, it is in recent hours, for last I checked it was not the case.  Shameful.

And then: Abbas, who has remained purposely silent on these Palestinian Arab terrorist murders.  To decline to speedily and forcefully condemning is to condone.  Make no mistake about it: His people get the message.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-refusing-to-condemn-terror-surge-not-taking-calls-from-world-statesmen/

06/10/16

Recurring Evil

Arlene from Israel

Last time I posted, it was with a spirit uplifted because of Yom Yerushalayim.  I had not intended to post again until next week.  For Shabbat is coming, and immediately after, Shavuot, the harvest festival that celebrates our receiving of the Torah and is marked by study into/or through the night, and a custom of eating dairy foods (cheesecake a specialty).

But pain and horror have intervened, and so I must write again now, because everyone must know:

On Wednesday night, two terrorists attacked in Tel Aviv, killing four innocent Israelis and wounding another sixteen, several of whom are in intensive care.  The carnage took place at an outdoor mall known as the Sarona Market. It is immediately across from the Defense Ministry headquarters, the Kirya.

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The four who were killed are:

Ido Ben Ari, 42, from Ramat Gan.  The father of two, he served in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit during his IDF service.  His wife was injured in the attack.  Their two children were with them; one of his sons was restless and didn’t want to be there.

Ido Ben Ari, of of four victims killed in a terror attack in Tel Aviv's Sarona Market on June 6, 2016. (Courtesy)

Courtesy

Ilana Naveh, 40, from Tel Aviv.  The mother of four – including a daughter who had recently celebrated her bat mitzvah; she was out that night to celebrate her birthday.  A neighbor said about Ilana, “She was the best woman in the world…her door was always open.”

Ilana Navaa

Credit: Times of Israel

Michael Feige  58,from Ramat Gan.  The father of three, he was a highly esteemed professor at Ben Gurion University in Be’ersheva. A sociologist and anthropologist, he headed the Israel studies program at the university.

Credit: Dani Machlis

Mila Mishayev, 32, from Rishon Lezion.   She was engaged to be married, and her wedding was planned for the near future.  She was waiting for her fiancé in the café when she was attacked. After having been shot, she actually called him before she died of loss of blood.

Mila Mishayev

Credit: Times of Israel

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The killers have been identified as first cousins, Muhammad and Khalid Mehamara of the Arab village of Yatta in the Hevron Hills, in Area A, controlled by the PA. One is now in police custody, and the other, shot, in the hospital.

At first there were questions about how they got into Israel, but it has since been revealed by security that there were in Israel illegally for some months before the attack.

This immediately suggests the likelihood of collaborators. Terror is often a “family affair,” and it has come to light that the uncle of these terrorists, Taleb Mehamara, was a member of a Fatah Tanzim terror cell that killed four Israelis in a targeted shooting attack in 2002. He is currently in an Israeli prison.

I have my own unanswered question: Did they come into Israel illegally, sent by Hamas to plan, and wait for the “right” time to attack.  Or were they here for other reasons and then recruited in the last several days?

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The two, dressed in white shirts and black pants and ties, sat down at a table in the upscale Max Brenner café and ordered desserts. Then they rose to their feet, pulled out submachine guns, and began to indiscriminately shoot. When they were done, there was death, and injury, and a café strewn with blood.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-suits-and-ties-gunmen-shatter-israelis-hope-terror-wave-had-ended/

MK Amir Ohana (Likud), who arrived at the scene shortly after the attack occurred, described  “uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/06/08/eyewitnesses-to-tel-aviv-terror-carnage-uneaten-birthday-cakes-next-to-pools-of-blood-shooters-disguised-as-ultra-orthodox-jews/

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Prime Minister Netanyahu had just arrived in the airport following his trip to Moscow when this happened.  Heading straight to the scene of the attack, he vowed a “decisive” response.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-vows-decisive-response-to-tel-aviv-attack/

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene of a terror attack on Tel Aviv's Sarona Market on June 9, 2016. (Prime Minister's Office)

Credit: PMO

Thursday, after meeting with heads of the security agencies, Netanyahu said, “We discussed a series of offensive and defensive steps that we will take in order to act against this serious phenomenon of shootings. This is a challenge, and we shall meet it.”  In this statement, he raised the issue of collaborators.

While our new Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, declared that Israel “doesn’t intend to put up with the situation. I don’t think this is the time to issue pronouncements, but everything necessary we will do and we will do in a severe manner.”

To which I respond, all power to him.

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At the time of this writing, the following actions have been taken, although more might follow:

The village of Yatta has been sealed off, and no one will be allowed in or out except for emergencies.  The question is how long this will be sustained.  Some members of the Mehamara clan have been taken in for questioning, and the work permits (allowing entry into Israel) for 204 members of that clan have been cancelled.

Additionally, 83,000 permits for entry into Jerusalem over Ramadan, for praying at the Al-Aksa Mosque at the Temple Mount, which had been given to residents of Judea and Samaria, have been cancelled.

Lieberman on Thursday called for a moratorium on the return of terrorists’ bodies to their families.  We’ve been round and round on this one so often!  Let us hope this is the last word on the situation now.  Lieberman is also calling for the process of razing terrorists’ homes to be expedited so as to be completed in 24 hours.

“…none of those involved in the attack will escape justice,” he said

“Those who tried and succeeded in harming innocent Jews, at this very moment they and their families are paying and will pay the price. And those who sent them, directly and indirectly…who provide the ideological and operational infrastructure for these acts, will not be spared. We will catch each and every one of them.”

Late yesterday, the prime minister announced that a third suspect had been apprehended.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-third-suspect-apprehended-in-tel-aviv-attack/

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The question being asked is why this happened now after many weeks of relative calm in Israel.

Much is being made in certain media sources of the fact that Hamas has praised the attack without actually taking credit for it.  But I’m not reading it this way.  Hamas has said that the terrorists were members of their group, and has praised their actions as “heroic.”  The village of Yatta is actually recognized as a Hamas stronghold.

Hamas has offered a “rationale” for the attack: unspecified “Al-Aksa violations.”  This is a standard charge as part of the incitement against Israel, and in that sense it is not connected to Hamas exclusively – it is the constant cry of Abbas.  But this charge is particularly ironic now considering that permits by the tens of thousands had been granted to Palestinian Arabs to make it easier to get to Al-Aksa.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-blames-tel-aviv-attack-on-al-aqsa-violations-threatens-more/

Finally, Hamas has threatened that there will be more attacks during the month of Ramadan.

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And that leads to another thread in this situation: Ramadan, which began Sunday night. Typically, there is heightened Arab violence here over this period of time when observant Muslims neither eat nor drink from sun-up to sun-down.  I do not believe there is any ideological reason for this – it is more the physical strain on the Muslim systems, the discomfort and frustration.

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And then, lastly, there is this: the convergence of Yom Yerushalayim with the beginning of Ramadan.  They tried to stop the Parade of Flags through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and could not – never mind that the Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem) was closed to the Parade early so that there would not be Jewish celebrants in the area when Ramadan started.

I believe the Parade – the celebration of victory at a time the Arabs consider a “setback” – is galling to them in any terms.

See just a portion of the video clip below:

http://www.youfacebookclip.com/watch?v=xyzydnXmxTE

It shows tens of thousands of young Zionist Jews celebrating at the Kotel for Yom Yerushalayim. This particular clip was from three years ago, but the flavor is much the same.  It is not a hostile celebration.  It doesn’t involve shooting of guns or shouting violent threats.  It is joyous.  It suggests victory and a positive Jewish future.

The Kotel is on the edge of Arab areas of the Old City.

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I do not paint all Arabs with one brush.  I know there are peaceful Arabs, and Arabs glad for Israeli citizenship or residency.  Some who are even Zionistic.

But neither do I delude myself.  There is much hatred within the Arab community, and it is directed at us – not because of anything we have done, but because of who we are. It is palpable.

Innocents were murdered in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.  People – good people with loving lives – who were doing nothing to invite what happened to them.  And yet their deaths were celebrated as a victory by many in the Arab community. There was the passing out of candy. And they lit up the sky with fireworks in Yatta.

In a million years, can you imagine Jews behaving thus?

Perhaps ugliest of all, there was celebration in front of Sha’ar Shechem, where our young people had sung and danced only days ago.  See it for yourself in this brief video clip:

http://matzav.com/watch-arabs-at-shaar-shechem-celebrate-tonights-deadly-tel-aviv-terror-attack/

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And so we must be resilient as we face down this enemy. Strong in defending ourselves. Confident that we have a right to do so.

There can be no equivocation – no accepting of excuses of any sort.

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In the end, they cannot win.  For the hatred in their hearts is destructive to them, more than to us.  It is corrosive.

We Israelis, on the other hand, are amazing in our determination to go on with life in positive ways.  On Thursday, less than 24 hours after the attack, this was the scene at Sarona Market, with young people erecting an impromptu memorial to those who had been killed.

Teenage members of a pre-army program set up an impromptu memorial for the victims of a terror attack a day prior at the Max Brenner cafe at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv, June 9, 2016. (Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel)

Credit: Ricki Ben-David/Times of Israel

They softly sang Shir Lama’alot – a Song of Ascents, Psalm 121: “Behold, He that keepeth Israel, doth neither slumber nor sleep…The Lord shall guard thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth and for ever.”

“We have to be strong. We survive as Israelis because people wake up the next morning and do what needs to be done,” said one participant.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-day-after-terror-attack-tel-avivs-sarona-goes-back-to-a-sadder-normal/

While a Chabad rabbi, at a table on the periphery of this activity, encouraged male passersby to put on tfillin.  “We all need to do good,” he explained, “to create a chain effect in our own surroundings, among our family and friends and workplace and to be better people. If we go out of our way to do good, it will hasten our redemption.”

And Defense Minister Lieberman came by for a cup of coffee in a show of solidarity.

Credit: jta

~~~~~~~~~~

As we head towards Shavuot, and the time for religious study, let us be mindful of all that we are meant to be.

Credit: Jewish ledger

“It is is a tree of life, to those who grasp it, and all its ways are peace.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhpsldK_1_U

01/4/16

It Is Time

Arlene from Israel

No good news will start this posting, my friends. That’s not because there isn’t any – there is! and I’ll get back to sharing it next posting – but because it is time for me to write about Duma once again. There is nothing redeeming about this situation, but I believe it is important to focus on it today.

I do not – I cannot claim to – have final or absolute answers. But I raise critical issues.

~~~~~~~~~~

I first wrote on August 4th about the situation – the late July torching via a firebomb of a house in the Arab village of Duma, which ultimately caused the death of three people, starting with 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha.

A man shows a picture of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha who died when his family house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Credit: AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh

You can find the full post here:

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/8/5/august-4-2015-rush-to-judgment.html

I want to begin by referring back to pertinent sections of that posting to establish context for what is going on now:

~~~~~~~~~~

At the scene of the arson, graffiti spray-painted on the wall led to the wide-spread assumption – in some cases tentative and in others not so tentative – that it was an attack by Jews:

The graffiti consisted of a Jewish star and the Hebrew word nekama, which means “revenge.”

A Star of David and the Hebrew word 'Revenge' are spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Credit: Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights

Elsewhere on the wall was written, “Long live King Messiach” (HaMelech HaMoshiach).

 

The Hebrew phrase 'Long live the king messiah' is spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Credit: Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights

Academic Daniel Gordis wrote, “it is almost universally assumed that the attack was the work of right-wing Jewish nationalist extremists.”  Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reflected this assumption when he declared, “We intend to fight Jewish terror with determination and without compromises.” But I did not see this assumption as “almost universal.”

What was widely suggested was that the perpetrators were “radical settlers” from a nearby Jewish community – with “settler,” in this context, a pejorative. The fact was, however, that there were no identified suspects when this presumption was advanced.  This was the “Rush to Judgment” that I referred to in the title of my August 4 post.

On the part of the Jews of Israel, there was, first, a stunned sorrow, on learning that a baby had been destroyed, that a family had been attacked in their home.  But then there was the difficulty of taking in the fact that it may have been Jews who did this.  Jews are not supposed to behave thus.  The visceral reaction was that such an act demeaned us, as a people.

There were demonstrations to register opposition to terrorism; rabbis who spoke out forcefully against use of violence for resolving societal problems; editorials that decried what our society was in danger of becoming and demanded communal soul-searching.

And so, there was a way in which it was possible to say that we had demonstrated that this is not what what we are – we had demonstrated to ourselves and before the world that we are different.  We stand against violence.

And yet there was a point at which this ceased to resonate positively.There was too much breast-beating, a tone that echoed a sort of communal guilt that was not appropriate. Condemning the terrorism implicit in burning a baby is one thing. Assuming that our whole society is generating a terrorist mentality – because of one act that may or may not have been committed by Jews – is something else.

(I didn’t say this explicitly in August, but I would suggest now that this was galut mentality.  This rush to assume guilt.  Seeking answers and being ready to acknowledge the fact of a Jew who committed a terror act is one thing – this went further.)

Add to this the way in which our political adversaries and enemies chose to use the terror act in Duma to attack Israel. 

And the way in which leftist Israelis sought to use this as a weapon against “religious Zionists,” “nationalists” – representing them as violent crazies who must be restrained.

The so-called “Rabbis for Human Rights” (which I consider shorthand for Rabbis for Arab Human Rights) irked me greatly.  Which is hardly surprising.  One of their field workers was cited as saying this “terrorist action” was “one of the more heinous ones that has occurred in the West Bank.”  The message: that Jews commit atrocities that are as bad or worse than what Arabs do.

My mind went immediately to what was done four years ago to five members of the Fogel family, murdered by Arabs while they slept in their home.  The perpetrators declared themselves proud of what they had done, which included mutilating the body of the Fogel’s two-month old baby.  I had no recollection of Rabbis for Human Rights speaking out on this most horrendous attack – but then, the Fogels were “settlers” of a religious orientation.

As for the EU, their response to this incident was vile:

“The Israeli authorities should … take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence,” declared a spokesperson for Federica Mogherini, head of foreign policy for the EU, in a prepared statement.

When, ever, did you hear an EU spokesperson say to Abbas or other PA leaders that it was time for them to take full accountability for the violence visited upon Jews by Arabs living in PA areas?  When did they demand zero PA tolerance for violence?  Rhetorical questions, of course. The EU does not see fit to predicate support for the PA on its accountability with regard to terrorism.  And yet Mogherini’s spokesperson had the gall to speak about protecting the local Arab population from Jews.

~~~~~~~~~~

And  here I come to the final issue I addressed in August: certain facts that I encountered cast doubt on the likelihood that it was Jews who killed Ali Saad Dawabsha.

Hillel Fendel wrote an article in Arutz Sheva about this.  He relayed the fact that “there have been reports of an ongoing, 18-year feud between two clans in Duma that might be related to the murderous arson.”

Then he cited Yonadav Tapuchim, a Jew who had gone into Duma with other Jews in an attempt (unsuccessful) to pay a condolence call to the bereaved family.  Tapuchim had written on his Facebook page that there was something suspicious about the nature of the alleged arson, with “curious aspects” in the story.

“I would start with the fact that the two houses [an empty one was firebombed first ] are located in the center of the village, and that in order to get there we had to travel a number of minutes from the entrance. Duma is spread out over a gigantic area, and the houses are situated at the end of a winding road, among fences and yards.

“According to the Duma version, the attackers burnt one house, then saw that it was empty, and so they went to set fire to the next house.The second house is enclosed by a fence, and the windows are covered by a dense lattice; a firebomb cannot be hurled through the windows, and in any event it is very hard to reach the windows behind the fence….”

Most of the time, when terrorists enter a village, they aim for attack on the houses close to its periphery, to reduce the chance of being seen and maximize the opportunity for escape.  Such attacks are random in nature – the Fogel family, for example, was, to the best of my understanding, just in the wrong place, not singled out specifically for attack.

The logical question here is why Jewish terrorists would have taken themselves way into the center of the Arab village, where the chances for being seen or apprehended were much greater, rather than staying on the periphery.  And why they would have chosen to hit a home that was difficult to access because of fencing, if the intent was to hit “a” family, not to target any particular family.

If the perpetrator belonged to a clan that is feuding with the Dawabsha clan, then there might indeed have been a specific family that had been targeted.  And thus a specific reason for going to that particular house.  What is more, if the perpetrator belonged to the feuding Arab clan of Duma, then, presumably, he was already a resident of the village and not someone who had to make his way from the outside – and not identifiable in the way a religious Jew would have been.

~~~~~~~~~~

Let us then carry this one step further:

On the front page of the August 4th Jerusalem Post, there was a feature story about the family that owned the empty house that had been firebombed. They were supposed to be in the house that night, but were delayed in Nablus (Shechem). And guess what? Their name is also Dawabsha – they are cousins to the family that was attacked.

Was this truly random then?  An attack by Jews from the outside? Or an attack by people who were after members of the Dawabsha clan specifically?

What was explained by Emam Dawabsha (lady of the first house) is that the arsonists “torched the backroom of their home where they typically slept on hot summer nights.”

So then, one last question: Was it simply a random act by Jewish terrorists, who happened to torch the room where this family would have been sleeping even though it was at the back of the  house?  Or was the attack by people who knew full well where the family was expected to be?

~~~~~~~~~~

Some commentators have taken a close look at that “HaMelech HaMoshiach” graffiti.  Clearly, it suggests, or is deliberately designed to suggest, a “radical religious settler.”  However, this specific term is directly associated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement today. (If you doubt it, Google it and you will see.)  But Chabad – indisputably the most open and moderate of hassidic groups – is not associated with terrorism. Was this term written by a radical religious settler?  Or by an Arab who wrote Hebrew and got his religious groups just a tad mixed up?

(Some commentators have suggested – there are apparently ways for graphologists to assess this – that the way the Hebrew looks suggests that it was not written by a Jew thoroughly comfortable with Hebrew, but by someone who was copying the Hebrew.)

~~~~~~~~~~

For some considerable time thereafter, there was only silence.

If there was ever a serious investigation within Duma, regarding the clan feud, etc., no word was ever leaked about it, no report ever issued.

But neither was there any information leaked about evidence secured in the course of an investigation of possible Jewish suspects. As it turned out, there apparently was no evidence.

At one point Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made an ambiguous statement that bewildered many – myself included.  We know who did it, he said.  Jews, but not from the price tag  (tag mehir) movement.  Those responsible are a small group of perhaps a couple hundred who are very radical, he said, and a danger to Israel because they want to overthrow the government.  No arrests followed this statement, however.  Ya’alon said this was because it would “expose intelligence sources” if arrests were made.

~~~~~~~~~~

Then, some some six weeks ago, a number of far right young people (the original number I believe was six and then one was released) were detained in connection with the Duma arson. In their teens – at least one a minor – and early twenties, their identities were withheld.

These are members of the hilltop youth, who have established themselves on hilltops in Samaria, attempting to claim the land without approval from the gov’t. They are extremely right wing, and passionate in their beliefs.  They are disenchanted with the government, often alienated; they may be responsible for price tag graffiti, or vandalism on occasion.

Credit: i24news

You might deplore their positions and tactics, wish they had better guidance from adults who can reach out to them, or admire them as courageous and honest.  But none of what I just described, per se, makes them “terrorists.”

The question before our nation now is whether any one of their members indeed is a terrorist.

~~~~~~~~~~

They were not arrested because there was no evidence against them and thus no way to charge them.  And here I want to stop and cite political commentator Martin Sherman, who recently provided valuable perspective with regard to the fact that Shin Bet had nothing on them (emphasis added):

“Having committed the dastardly deed, these youthful renegade radicals, who presumably have not been extensively schooled in the tradecraft of clandestine activity, apparently have the iron discipline not to let slip the vaguest hint of what they had perpetrated. No boastful bravado, no indiscreet phone call in a moment of weakness – only sphinx-like silence for months on end, while the county’s entire law enforcement apparatus, together with the formidable internal security services, was hunting them.

”Remember, the suspects, unlike covert intelligence agents operating in foreign lands, cannot escape to some safe haven in another country. Quite the opposite, they comprise a small, easily identifiable group, confined to well-known locations, readily recognized by their physical appearance and thus unable to blend in easily with the general population.

For months the law enforcement agencies, with all the measures at their disposal – covert surveillance, phone tapping, insertion of undercover agents, enlistment of group members to become informers (either willingly, by positive persuasion or unwillingly, under duress) – could not come up with any incriminating evidence…

Could it be that there is something disturbingly wrong with this picture?”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Into-the-fray-Duma-dirty-dancing-and-deeply-disturbing-detention-439022

~~~~~~~~~~

And so, minus evidence or specific charges, the Shin Bet – Shabak, the Israeli internal security agency – held them in “administrative detention” for weeks without allowing them access either to their parents or to their pro bono lawyers from Honenu.

Why they selected the particular individuals they did, when they apparently were lacking evidence pointing to them specifically, is something I cannot explain. My guess at the time – and I caution that it was only my speculation – was that they decided these radical kids were a good place to start, and figured if none of those in detention were responsible, in the end they would provide information that would lead them to others.

The situation came to the fore when Honenu lawyers finally were allowed to meet with their clients on December 16th. The next evening, three attorneys associated with the case held a press conference during which they charged that the remand conditions and methods of interrogation were “appalling.”

Itamar Ben-Gvir, for example, said:

“I met my client after 21 days, during which he was forbidden to meet an attorney.  I met a man physically, mentally, broken, a man who needs psychotherapy. The Shin Bet investigators made him into a shadow of a man.”

He claimed the interrogation was accompanied by “sexual harassment against my client, harm to what is holy to him, to his observance of the Torah and commandments, and sleep deprivation for long periods.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/shin-bet-broke-my-client-says-attorney-for-jewish-terror-suspect/

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Honenu legal aid organization seen during a press conference regarding the detention of Jewish youth in the Duma terror attack investigation, in Jerusalem on December 17, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

~~~~~~~~~~

These deeply distressing charges were followed by counter charges and denials that made it very difficult to grasp with firmness precisely what was going on.  At some points it was impossible to declare anything definitively.  There seemed little to do but wait for greater clarity.

Here I can only summarize what has been and continues to be a very painful and complex situation.

Shin Bet for its part, insisted what they were doing was “tough interrogation” – supervised by lawyers – that did not constitute “torture,” as the charge had been made.  But then we came to a horrendous place of asking where “tough interrogation” stops and “torture” begins.  Refusing to allow the suspects sleep – what is that?  And refusing a religious person a chanukiah for lighting candles? Or clean underwear?  Not letting a 17 year old speak with his family for weeks?  Tying a suspect’s hands behind his back in an uncomfortable position for extended periods?

And so questions began to be posed regarding what it was appropriate for Israel, a democracy, to be doing.  Especially, as minors were involved.  There have certainly been suggestions that the law has been broken in one regard or another by the methods of interrogation that were used.

~~~~~~~~~~

It was explained by multiple persons – persons in gov’t and journalists – that the Shin Bet was dealing with a very serious situation that necessitated “toughness” – because these young people want to overthrow the government and are dangerous.  Overthrow the government? That would justify a great deal. This was the original claim of Ya’alon that I referred to above.

But what does this mean? That the hilltop youth are thoroughly alienated by the government and would prefer one that works according to principles of Torah is likely true.  But it’s a huge stretch from acknowledging this to saying they represent a “danger.” This, my friends, I find it difficult to believe. There has been no evidence to bolster this claim – not with all of the investigation of the group that has been done.  A convenient charge to make, perhaps to justify actions that should not be justified  How?  How would they be a danger in any real sense?  And if they are a danger, why have no indictments in this respect been brought?

What occurred to me as these charges were being made is that we have at least one Arab member of the Knesset (Hanin Zoabi) who speaks for the enemy – and yet she is still in the Knesset.  But the young people are dangerous?  Is there equity of judgment here, or is it a matter of what is politically correct, and what will fly?

~~~~~~~~~~

Still another explanation offered for why “tough interrogation” was required was that these young people represented a “ticking bomb.”  By this was meant there was a real danger of their doing a second time what they had done once in Duma, so that information had to be secured quickly to prevent this from happening.

But this does not fly either. The arson at Duma happened at the end of July, and these young people were at large until approximately mid-November. That would have been plenty of time for them to perpetrate another terror attack, had that been their intention. There is no way to make the case for a ticking bomb here!

The term “ticking bomb” is applied with regard to an Arab with terrorist connections who may know where weapons to be used in an imminent attack are hidden, or exactly when and where the next attack is going to happen.

~~~~~~~~~~

Late last week, a news story broke that undercut denials of torture and rendered this entire situation more troublesome still (emphasis added):

“Sources close to the probe of a fatal firebombing of a Palestinian home in July say Jewish suspects in the case were tortured under the express authorization of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, Haaretz reported Thursday.

“The unnamed sources reportedly allege that Weinstein authorized the use of severe interrogation techniques against the detainees several weeks ago, after officials in the Shin Bet internal security service informed him that the investigation was at a dead-end.

“The report further stated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not informed of this decision in advance, and was only notified about the use of extreme measures after the fact.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-g-authorized-torture-of-jewish-terror-suspects-report/

Credit: YNet

~~~~~~~~~~

And now, Amiram Ben-Uliel, one of the young people who has been in detention, is reported to have confessed and has been indicted for the arson at Duma. Shin Bet says he acted alone (as his accomplice backed out) and that he re-enacted part of the crime in the course of his confession.

Amiram Ben-Uliel, who was indicted Sunday, January 3, 2016, for murder in the killing of the Dawabsha family in Duma (courtesy)

Courtesy

~~~~~~~~~~

There are two questions of over-riding significance here.  One is the question of whether he did it.

I do not know and am obviously not in a position to make final judgment on this. His wife insists that he is innocent but cracked under torture. There certainly are false confessions on record given as a result of torture, whether it is true in this case or not.

IF he did it, by himself and without the assistance of an accomplice, it means that he went along a winding road into the center of Duma, set one house on fire, saw that no one was in it, set a second house, which was difficult to access because of fences and lattice-work, on fire, wrote the graffiti on the wall, and got out without being seen.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is another issue which likely supersedes the first question:  If his confession was secured via torture, it is not legal.  The Movement for Governability and Democracy (Meshilut) had already charged that if the Attorney-General approved torture despite the “lack of concrete events justifying such measures” he acted illegally “and in violation of a Supreme Court ruling on this matter.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/205884#.VomupJtunIU

Will the confession be accepted by a court of law then? For without the confession, the authorities have nothing and there is no case against Ben-Uliel.

~~~~~~~~~~

And so we are grappling with two matters of deepest concern.

One is whether a Jew committed terrorism against an Arab family.

But the other is whether Israel will conduct herself according to the rule of law – and whether “tough interrogation”/torture will be permitted when there is no independent evidence that would justify it.  The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Stern, having spoken with the young people held in detention, has already called for an “independent inquiry” to determine whether the charges against the Shin Bet are true.  There will be other such calls.  .

Undoubtedly, I will return to this, as these are heavy, heavy questions.

~~~~~~~~~~

Before closing, I make this comment:  I saw an article that implored, leave the Shin Bet alone, for we are indebted to them for the work they do in protecting us.  I heartily concur that we are indebted to them!  I write about it all the time – the Hamas cell they uncover, the cache of weapons, etc.  It is an ongoing and very necessary service they provide to Israel with considerable effort and diligence.

Thus, does it follow that it gives me no pleasure to criticize the Shin Bet.

However, the Shin Bet as well must obey the laws of the land, and when it seems there are hard questions to be asked, they must be asked. This too is for Israel’s sake, that she might be all she should be as a democracy.

In point of fact, this entire posting has been very difficult for me to write.

11/16/15

Horrendous

Arlene from Isreal

I know my readers have become accustomed to seeing a good news piece or two at the beginning of a posting.  Not today.

Does not mean there is no good news – there always is.  But we must focus now on the horrendous news just past.

~~~~~~~~~~

It began here in Israel, right before Shabbat, outside of Hevron.  Every single terrorist attack endured here is painful for the nation.  But some are harder because of unique circumstances.  And this was true on Friday.

There is an Ashkenazi custom for a prospective groom (chatan, in Hebrew) to be called to the Torah on the Shabbat before his wedding.  The air is festive and there is traditionally rejoicing after the Torah reading.  This is Shabbat Chatan.

In Hevron this past Shabbat there was going to be a Shabbat Chatan, and Rabbi Ya’akov Litman was on his way – for this was the celebration for the man who was going to be his new son-in-law in a matter of days.  Outside of Hevron, at Otniel, terrorists shot at the Rabbi’s car.  He was killed as was his son, Netanel, 18.

Rabbi Ya'akov and Netanel Litman

Courtesy: family

The prospective bride was not in the car, but other members of the family were wounded – including, I believe, her mother.  Her 16 year-old brother, shot in the leg, contacted security forces and directed them to the scene.

~~~~~~~~~~

When the news came to me Friday at almost sundown, my thought was, How little the world understands of what we Israelis endure.  Nor does the world understand how strong we are. My mind flew to the Applebaums.  Twelve years ago, father, David, and daughter. Nava, met in the Jerusalem café Hillel for talk a day before her wedding, and were blown away.

And then, I lit my Shabbat candles, and went to synagogue, and sang at the Shabbat table. Because this is what we do.

~~~~~~~~~~

The funeral – attended by hundreds and vastly emotional – was last night, in Jerusalem.  The young woman who was scheduled to be married this week is instead sitting shiva (observing a stringent one-week mourning period) for her father and brother.  Reports are that she was inconsolable, and who could blame her?

Friends and family attend the funeral of Rabbi Ya’akov Litman, 40, and his son Netanel, 18, in Jerusalem on November 14, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

President Ruby Rivlin spoke at the funeral, and he said (emphasis added):

“We are not afraid, we do not surrender and we do not retreat – even when our blood, the blood of fathers and sons is spilled, we remember that our roots are planted in the earth of this land.”

THAT, my friends, is how strong we are.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hundreds-attend-funeral-of-father-and-son-killed-in-terror-attack/

~~~~~~~~~~

Security forces have the weapon that was used in the attack, and have located the car, which had been abandoned.  As the result of a massive manhunt, and a joint security operation, one of the terrorists has been apprehended. In the course of interrogation, he implicated himself.  Rest assured, his accomplices will also be apprehended.

~~~~~~~~~~

There were reports that an ambulance of the Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross, passed by the dead and wounded at Otniel, and declined to stop and lend assistance. Officials from the prime minister down are furious.  A campaign will be launched against Red Crescent by Israel: a complaint will be registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross, along with a demand for Red Crescent officials to explain themselves.

A foreign ministry official said, “Israel will enact all necessary sanctions against the Red Crescent.”

What must be understood here is that this is routine practice for Red Crescent, despite ethical obligations to treat all casualties – as the Israeli Magen David Adom does.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/203375#.Vkios5uhfIX

~~~~~~~~~~

And then, no sooner was Shabbat over then I received word of the ISIS jihadi attacks in Paris, which had occurred later Friday night and had huge dimensions.  While many of my readers may not have heard what went on here before Shabbat, I doubt there is anyone who has not heard about this.

At least 130 people have been killed and 352 more injured (99 critically).  This was not one attack, but a series of six timed and coordinated attacks in different locations in Paris, in the 11th and 12th arrondissements.  A very sophisticated, well-planned operation, it all occurred within 30 minutes, starting at 9:45 PM.  This strongly suggests a lack of adequate French intelligence, especially as France was on a high security alert even before the attack.

In the worst attack, at least 88 people were killed at a concert at the Bataclan night club/theater.  There is reason to believe that this club was chosen because of its Jewish ownership.

bataclan theater

Credit: Gatewaypundit

“French magazine Le Point says the Bataclan theater has for years been the target of anti-Zionist groups as its Jewish owners often put on pro-Israel events.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/french-mag-bataclan-an-islamist-target-due-to-jewish-owners/

~~~~~~~~~~

In another hit, there was a double suicide bombing right outside the Stadium of France, where French President Hollande and the German foreign minister were watching an international soccer game.  Altogether too close…

Several select restaurants were also attacked.

France is now observing three days of mourning, with many shops closed, and people remaining at home.  Certainly all Jewish institutions in Paris are shut.

~~~~~~~~~~

Heartfelt  condolences came from many quarters, including, of course, Israel.  Last night, Netanyahu said, “An attack on any one of use should be seen as an attack on  all of us…Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians .  It can never be justified.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Netanyahu-responds-to-Paris-attack-An-attack-on-one-of-us-is-an-attack-on-all-of-us-433056

Additionally, Netanyahu said:

“You can’t fight terrorism selectively. You can’t say these are the good terrorists and these are the bad terrorists. All terrorists are bad.

Just as we have condemned murderous acts around the world, so too I expected condemnation to be issued against the murders that occurred yesterday, of Yaakov and Natanel Litman.”  (emphasis added)

Dearly do I wish the Western world would respond to this expectation.  I do not for a moment believe it will.

~~~~~~~~~~

In a spirit of solidarity with Paris, the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem were lit up in the colors of the French flag.

Credit: Perry Mandelbaum

~~~~~~~~~~

Three teams of ISIS- affiliated attackers acting in unison carried out the terrorist operation.  All the attackers carried assault rifles and wore suicide vests. The coordinator of the entire attack is still at large, as is the bomb-maker and apparently a member of one of the terrorist teams.

While some French nationals were involved – Belgian authorities say two of the French nationals were living in Belgium – there were also at least two attackers who came into France as Syrian “refugees.”

“Syrian passport found by police at the scene of the mass shooting in a Paris concert hall belonged to an asylum seeker who registered on a Greek island in October, a Greek minister said Saturday.

“’We confirm that the Syrian passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,’ said a statement issued by Nikos Toskas, the minister for citizen protection.

“’The most logical assumption is that it’s the same person, sent on a mission to Europe,’ said a European security expert speaking on condition of anonymity.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/greece-syrian-terrorist-passed-through-country-as-migrant/

“Second Suspected Paris Attacker Likely Passed Through Greece as Refugee
“Holder of Syrian passport found near gunman’s body arrived in Europe with 69 refugees in island of Leros in October, Greek official says…”

http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/1.686021

~~~~~~~~~~

This entire matter of jihadists posing as “refugees” is of enormous import for all of Europe, which has been welcoming those coming from Syria with open arms.  Of course not every person who claims refugee status is a jihadist, but analysts – yours truly among them – have been warning that the signs of a dangerous situation have been clear for all to see.

The unrest and anxiety this now causes in Europe is tremendous; already Poland has indicated a reluctance to take future refugees according to an allotment spelled out by the EU.

Whatever the reluctance now to take more refugees, the fact remains that thousands who are militants are likely already inside Europe’s borders.  That is, Europe has a humungous problem which we’ve seen coming down the road.

~~~~~~~~~~

President Hollande has declared:

“It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh [ISIS], against France. It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.”

He is planning to call out the army in strength; Paris, which he expects will remain under a state of emergency for three months, will be patrolled by the military.

France, said Hollande, will “be unforgiving with the barbarians from Daesh,” Acting within the law, France would respond with “all the necessary means, and on all terrains, inside and outside, in coordination with our allies.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/world/europe/paris-terrorist-attacks.html?_r=0

There are reports of French planes flying over ISIS strongholds in Libya, and there is an investigation already begun, to determine precisely who each of the terrorists was, and how it all came together.  But beyond this, there is no clarity on what Hollande intends.

I will be returning to this.

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Ana Bekoach is an ancient kabbalistic poem set to music.  A prayer.  It allegedly has great mystical power and meaning.  What I know is that I love it, and think it appropriate for ending this posting.  We need to reach for the mystical powers.

“We beg thee, with the strength and greatest of Thy right arm,
Untangle our twisted fate.

“Accept your peope’s song, elevate and purify us…

“Accept our cries, and hear our screams,
oh knower of mysteries.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp4HRYBhtSI&list=PLrEf38ndf2USoU2Jvi0KUEHQuoaNWS32V

10/25/15

Horrific

Arlene from Israel

Yesterday was a horrible day with regard to terror attacks.  Jerusalem was quiet except for one foiled attack – I think Netanyahu was correct in saying that extensive work in the city, including deployment of many security forces, has had a positive effect. The attacks are taking place mainly in Judea and Samaria, outside Ma’ale Adumim, and the Gush Etzion area, Yitzhar, on Route 60, etc. etc. There were five attacks that wounded six – all police and soldiers, one critically. Knifings and car attacks. For the first time there was an attempted attack in Beit Shemesh.

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Said IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot in a Channel 2 interview yesterday:

”There is no focused, clear solution to this kind of challenge.

“There is an integrated, multi-dimensional response. I believe that a solution to this problem will be found, even if it takes time.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Five-West-Bank-terrorist-attacks-leave-6-Israelis-wounded-428687

Not encouraging for those of us weary of all this and eager to see a strong hand raised against those who threaten us. Rightly or wrongly, this is not the way our government is going to play it.

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The response of the international community is both tiresome and infuriating: So many words, so many platitudes, so much that distorts rather than seriously confronts the reality.  We are facing evil and hatred, and a desire to eliminate Israel (much more on this below).  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meeting with Netanyahu in Berlin yesterday, declared that she expects Abbas to condemn acts of terrorism.  That’s nice.  As Netanyahu pointed out, Abbas has not condemned a single one.

Merkel also said, “Israel has the obligation to protect its citizens, but the means have to be commensurate with the goals.”  (Emphasis added)

Here we go again, with the “proportionate” mentality.  The world does not like it when we kill terrorists who have attacked our people.  Just because some Arab tried to make a Jew dead doesn’t mean we should make him dead, right?  We should give him a comfy prison cell instead and let him watch cable TV.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Merkel-We-expect-Abbas-to-condemn-acts-of-terrorism-428676

UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon was here, and, as expected, expounded on the need for a “two state solution” to give hope to the Palestinian Arabs.  I cannot help wonder when I hear people such as Ban propose such a solution, whether they truly can believe it.  I seriously doubt it, whatever their political orientation.

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A major focus of this violence, at least ostensibly, continues to be the Temple Mount, which we are charged with attempting to take over.  The PA and Jordan are seeking full control of the Mount, with decisions as to how many non-Muslims can come up totally in their hands. That is not going to happen.  What did happen is that Netanyahu offered to further restrict the number of non-Jews allowed up.  (You may have heard the huge thump that followed this offer, as I banged my head into the wall.)  This is NOT the way to go – as concessions signal weakness.  At any rate, his offer was rejected because it didn’t go far enough.

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I want to repeat again here what the original understanding in 1967 was: the wakf, in Jordanian hands, has day to day administration of the Muslim religious sites on the Mount.

The Arabs do not have sovereignty over the Mount; we do.

Our current situation is not new – and goes back way before modern Israel existed.  Charges that Jews are going to take over the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Mount have been utilized time and again to incite Arabs in the land to the murder of Jews.

Most notably there is the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who, in 1929, spread just this rumor. This led to the massacre of 67 people in Hevron. See on this and similar incidents here:

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/01/31/inciting-violence-against-jews-through-inaccuracy/#

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In 2000, Ariel Sharon, who was then head of Likud, the opposition party, went up on the Mount after having coordinated his visit with Wakf security.

Credit: Flash 90

The second intifada – the Arab war – that followed was said to have been ignited by this visit, which Palestinian Arabs claimed they found offensive. But this was a pretext.  I have material indicating clearly that the PLO had been planning for the intifada and were just waiting for the excuse to pin it on.  They even had fliers printed and stones stockpiled.

~~~~~~~~~~

But before we move away from the subject of the Mufti, I want to take a look at the furor that erupted yesterday because of a statement Netanyahu made regarding him.  In this instance I stand behind the prime minister, whose words were a bit distorted by media.  It was made to sound as if he said the Mufti and not Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust.

What Netanyahu said at the World Zionist Congress meeting here in Jerusalem:

“…the Mufti…was…sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the Final Solution.

“He flew to Berlin.  Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you will expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he [Hitler] asked.  He [Husseini] said, ‘Burn them.’”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-trivializing-Holocaust-by-claiming-mufti-persuaded-Hitler-to-kill-Jews-Herzog-says-427598

Netanyahu subsequently made it clear that he was not in any way trying to absolve Hitler of the crimes of the Holocaust. However, it is “absurd” to ignore the role played by the mufti in encouraging Hitler.

“There is abundant proof of this.”  Adolf Eichmann’s deputy, at the Nuremberg trials said that the mufti played a role in the decision to destroy European Jewry.  He thought this was “a reasonable solution to the Palestinian question.”

Credit: hirhome

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My friends, there is a direct line from the Mufti to Mahmoud Abbas, and within certain parts of Palestinian Arab society there is an endemic hatred of Jews that has a long tradition.  To ignore this is to ignore the reality of what we are dealing with now.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is to be congratulated for raising this significant issue.  Please share this information broadly, for it is obvious the world, in a desire to exonerate the Palestinian Arabs, would prefer to sweep it under the rung.

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Middle East Forum scholar, historian and author Wolfgang G. Schwanitz supports Netanyahu’s contentions (emphasis added):

It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust. He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe.”

https://madmimi.com/p/62c2d6?fe=1&pact=33998600335

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Please see this article by Daniel Gordis, “No Country for Jews?”

Gordis is not a right-winger or a nationalist, not by a long shot. But what he describes here is dialogue that ensued between students and a religious Muslim woman who is an instructor at the very moderate Shalem College in Jerusalem.

How did she think the current tensions would be resolved? the students asked her (emphasis added):

’It’s our land,’ she responded rather matter-of-factly. Stunned, they weren’t sure that they’d heard her correctly. So they waited. But that was all she had to say. ‘It’s our land. You’re just here for now.’”

“…What upset them was that she — an educated woman, getting a graduate degree (which would never happen in a Muslim country) at a world class university (only Israel has those — none of Israel’s neighbors has a single highly rated university) and working at a college filled with Jews who admire her, like her and treat her as they would any other colleague — still believes that when it’s all over, the situation will get resolved by our being tossed out of here once again.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/daniel-gordis-no-country-jews-article-1.2400841

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And see this, by David Horovitz, editor of The Times of Israel, who tilts left much of the time.  “Not an uprising against the occupation. An uprising against Israel.” (emphasis added):

“…what we face now is unknown numbers of potential attackers, who’ve been stirred to murderous fervor by a thoroughly organized campaign of hatred against us.

“…the result is that we set out each day knowing that people around us want to kill us…the brainwashing has been so effective that they come at us ready and willing to die in the act of killing the Jew — the evil Jew, they have been so effectively persuaded, who has no right to be here, who has no connection to Jerusalem and to this land.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/not-an-uprising-against-occupation-an-uprising-against-israel/

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These messages carry more weight because they are being delivered by people who are not rightist, people who would have opted for two-states, but are strong enough to tell the truth now.

Please! share this broadly.  These are existential issues.

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In Berlin today, Kerry met with Netanyahu.  The Secretary of State, who is oh so eager to ignore the realities, and probably has cotton between his ears:

“…called on Israel to move ‘beyond the rhetoric’ and take steps to ‘rekindle’ the peace process with the Palestinians….

“’It’s very important to settle on the steps that can be taken that take us beyond the condemnations, beyond the rhetoric.’”

As if there could be a “peace process” in the face of the hateful rhetoric.

He said he has been encouraged by recent statements by Abbas and Hussein regarding a de-escalation of the violence. He is now going to meet with them in Amman.  But of course Abbas will tell him what he wants to hear.

Netanyahu’s response (emphasis added):

There is no question that this wave of attacks is driven directly by incitement — incitement from Hamas, incitement from the Islamic Movement in Israel, and incitement, I’m sorry to say, from President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.  I think it’s time for the international community to say clearly to President Abbas: Stop spreading lies about Israel.

To generate hope, we have to stop the terrorism. To stop the terrorism, we have to stop the incitement.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/kerry-to-netanyahu-lets-rekindle-the-peace-process/

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One other subject I want to touch on here.  It is one that generated furious anger in Israel, but in the end has only PR value.

UNESCO passed a resolution yesterday.  I had been optimistic before the vote, for the original resolution called for the Kotel, the Western Wall, to be identified as part of the Temple Mount (i.e., in Muslim hands) and even the the head of UNESCO condemned this.

I was, it seems, too quick to see hope.  The final resolution dropped this claim but advanced two others: That Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb) just outside Jerusalem, and the Machpela (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hevron are “Muslim sites.”  Ludicrous, outrageous.

I want to visit this in more detail, just as I wanted to come back to the issue of Kever Yosef (Joseph’s Tomb). But will not take the time to do so until I am certain that my postings will be received by my readers.

For now, just know that this vote is purely symbolic and has less than no impact in the de facto situation, and no legal implications whatsoever.  Wrote one major international lawyer, whom I queried on this:

“…they can resolve that the moon is Palestinian territory and it would have no effect whatsoever. Just another Palestinian exercise.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Vehi She’amda is for Pesach, from the Haggada, but it is appropriate for today as well:

And it is this [covenant] that has stood for our Forefathers and us. For not just one enemy has stood against us to wipe us out. But in every generation there have been those who have stood against us to wipe us out, and the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hands.”

I particularly love this duet, with Ya’akov Shwekey and Yonaton Razel (who did the musical arrangement):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6WMef3SP0

10/19/15

A Huge Problem Confronts Us

Arlene from Israel

It was eerie how precisely I called it.  Yesterday, in describing the terror situation, I said: “I might write about the most recent attack and then, within hours, there might be another one.”  As it turned out, it wasn’t even hours.  I had just sent out my posting when word came in of another attack.  But this wasn’t a relatively simple matter of an attempted knifing. This was an horrendous affair:

It happened in the Central Bus station in Be’ersheva, in the Negev:

Credit: barefootholy
A major attack.  A terrorist carrying a pistol and a knife stormed into the bus station, killed a soldier, grabbed his rifle and began shooting.

The soldier was Omri Levi, 19, of the Golani Brigade. He was on his way to his base.

Omri Levy

Courtesy

Before he was shot dead by security, the terrorist wounded ten people, including four security personnel – some critically, some less seriously.

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It is deeply regrettable that one other person died in the course of this attack: An Eritrean, standing nearby, was thought by security to be an accomplice to the terrorist, and so was shot.  The crowd in the station, assuming he was complicit in the attack, then set upon him, beating him.  He ultimately died of his wounds.

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The terrorist has been identified as an Israeli citizen – a Bedouin, Muhand Al-Okabi, 21,

Credit: radiojai

News reports that identify him as having come from the Bedouin town of Hura, near Be’ersheva, are incorrect: he lived in an illegal Bedouin village outside of Hura.  (They like to call these villages “unrecognized,” as if the government has failed to give them their due, but “illegal” is the proper term.)

His father is an Israeli Bedouin from the area, his mother had been brought by his father from Gaza, and acquired citizenship when she married him.  I’ll come back to this.

~~~~~~~~~~

What has been determined is that security was lax at the bus terminal – someone with a gun and a pistol should not have been able to enter.

~~~~~~~~~~

From all sides, Palestinian Arabs celebrated this attack.

On the Hamas website, spokesman Husam Badran blessed “the quality operation.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/hamas-praises-quality-terror-attack-in-beersheba/

While Jibil Rajoub, Fatah strongman and former head of PA preventative security, in an interview with official PA media, referred to the attack as “an act of heroism.”

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Veteran-Fatah-strongman-Rajoub-praises-Beersheba-attack-as-act-of-heroism-427366

And a Lebanese Internet site reported “heavy celebratory gunfire” at Palestinian refugee camps al-Beddawi and Ain el-Hilweh in Lebanon.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/celebrations-reported-in-lebanon-after-beersheba-attack/

I doubt that many expected anything else.

~~~~~~~~~~

The big question being asked is how an Israeli citizen could have done this – this is not a Palestinian Arab from some village in Samaria.

Bedouin leaders in the Negev, including the mayor of Hura, have expressed horror at what happened.  One insisted, “His family is known and not as a family that encourages terrorism.” The family was lauded, in fact, as having helped to found the State of Israel.

Another leader protested: “This is not our way. Our way is the way of peace and reconciliation, love and brotherhood, of intermeshing and loyalty.” (Quite a mouthful.  Does he not protest too much?)

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Well, my friends, I am here to tell you that the situation is much more complicated and much uglier than what the Bedouin leaders would have us believe.  We tend to think of the Bedouin of the Negev as loyal Israeli citizens and undoubtedly some still are. Undoubtedly some are genuinely horrified by what has taken place and are proud to serve in the army (though fewer do these days).  What we need to face, however, is that for several reasons there has been a radicalization of the Negev Bedouins.

This is in part because the Islamist – Hamas affiliated – Islamic Movement in Israel, Northern Branch, comes down into the Negev to incite them.  They are heavily invested in the Bedouin community there, including in the schools. There is a recent history of the Bedouins – incited and guided by the Islamic Movement – who make radicalized demands of the State with regard to illegally constructed villages, which they misrepresent as having a legitimacy that does not exist.  Those of you who have been reading my posts for any length of time know I have reported.  This is not a benign phenomenon, but rather one intended to marginalize Jewish settlement.

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Then there is the matter of his mother, who is from Gaza.  This is another part of the story of the Israeli Bedouin, who adhere to the Muslim practice of polygamy.  Since this is against Israeli law, they do it serially, nominally divorcing one wife before marrying another.  When there is a “wife shortage,” they seek women from places such as Gaza. But these women are not pro-Israel.

Al-Okabi’s mother is not his father’s first wife.  What ideology did she bring with her from Gaza, as she raised her son (and, presumably, other children)?  Perhaps Muhand Al-Okabi’s family was a good family in the past, as is being claimed.  But in his generation?

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This is a phenomenon, in all its aspects, that has not been addressed sufficiently by Israeli officials.  More than once, I have been horrified by what I learned. For example:  Bedouin in those illegal villages frequently extort. They come out and tell the company paving a road in the area that if a road is not also laid down in their illegal village, the road that is being put down will be torn up over night.

Because the rule of law has not been enforced on relatively small matters, the chickens are now coming home to roost – as we confront major issues.

~~~~~~~~~~

There is one other very major aspect to the problem of the Negev Bedouin that must be addressed.

Reports have surfaced that the terrorist was a supporter of ISIS.  So says a man who worked with him (although I have not been able to discover what sort of “work” we are talking about).

“Channel 2 television reported that the worker said, ‘He talked about it all the time.’”   (Emphasis added)

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bedouin-terrorist-who-attacked-beer-sheva-had-isis-ideology/2015/10/19/

If this is so, how surprised could his family have been?  But let’s carry it further: How startled could the Bedouins of Hura been, their elaborate protests not withstanding?

This past June, the Shin Bet arrested six residents of Hura, “after it was discovered they were actively spreading the ISIS ideology, and attended secret meetings for the movement. Four of the suspects are school teachers. The official statement said that the suspects used their position as educators to spread the ISIS ideology.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4676824,00.html

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The best analysis I’ve seen with regard to what we are dealing with now is by Ari Soffer in Arutz Sheva, “Israel Must Tackle Its Own Extremism Problem” (emphasis added):

“…This is no ‘war’ against a foreign country or entity, but a struggle to wrest a portion of Israel’s own citizens from the claws of a poisonous ideology that is incinerating country after country in our immediate neighborhood…

“Yet far from countering it, in the absence of any real strategy Israel authorities are achieving the very opposite, with an approach which is in practice completely, absurdly, illogically backwards.

“As any counter-extremism expert will tell you, one of the most basic elements of such a strategy must be empowering moderates and marginalizing extremists as much as possible.  Yet here in Israel, we do the very opposite.

Extremist Arab MKS who openly support terrorist groups like Hamas, who actively engage in racist harassment against Jews (and police) on the Temple Mount, who have attacked soldiers in the past (remember the Mavi Marmari?), and who are even now calling for an ‘intifada,’ are free to serve in the Knesset and receive a government-funded salary.

“And while our politicians vow to crush Hamas and attack the Palestinian Authority for not doing more, we allow Hamas’s little brother, the Islamic Movement – particularly its jihadist northern branch – to operate openly and legally in Israel, alongside other fascist Islamic groups…Why are these organizations still legal in Israel?

“At the same time, those Israeli Muslims, Christians and Druze who are loyal citizens, who do serve in the army and contribute as much as any Israeli Jew to Israeli society are sidelined…drowned out by the extremists we ourselves allow to flourish here…

Much of this is due to the rampant political-correctness of the Supreme Court and some politicians, who are afraid of ‘discriminating’ against Arabs by taking action against extremists.  But the result is a perverse one: if discrimination and distrust towards Israeli Arabs still persists, it is in great part because the liberal elite has fed it by effectively legitimizing the most rabid extremists as their ‘legitimate representatives’ – whether their ‘constituents’ actually like it or not…And…it is Israel’s Arab population that ultimately suffers the most…

So instead of battling the extremists who encourage and facilitate terrorism, while empowering moderates who encourage and facilitate integration and participation in Israel society (some of whom, like Father Gabriel Nadaf, are doing incredible work even with the limited resources they have) we are getting the worst of both worlds: sidelining the moderates while allowing the extremists to run riot.

The time has come to flip that irrational approach on its head. The government must act decisively to not only follow through with Netanyahu’s latest pledge to ban the Islamic Movement, but toshow a true zero-tolerance policy towards all purveyors of Arab and Muslim supremacy.  Extremist MKs such as Hanin Zoabi, Ahmed Tibi, Basel Ghattas, and Jamal Zahalka should not be free to abuse their positions and act as an effective fifth-column operating within Israel’s own legislature. And rabid anti-Semitic preachers should not be allowed to spread their hate on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.”?

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/202111#.ViTib5uhfIU

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I have grown exceedingly weary in recent weeks of reading apologetics, including in mainstream Israeli media, about how we must be more sensitive to our treatment of Arabs in our midst – for we see that our treatment has fostered the current terrorism.  Or about how it’s all about “occupation,” and how even the Israeli Arabs witness this and are radicalized by it.

The issues I’ve raised here are painful to confront, but it is very necessary to do so.  The time has come to grapple with the situation with seriousness.

What our government requires most of all now is introspective honesty and a very determined strength in working to correct the problem.  Everyone who truly cares about Israel must be behind our government on this.  For we are going to face a firestorm of criticism from the politically correct, left-leaning international community – as well as from those same politically correct and left-learning elements inside our society. (Already there are pro-Palestinian Arab NGOs here registering distress about the “injustice” of depriving terrorists of their citizenship or residency rights.)

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What I’ve been doing, during this time of renewed terrorism, has been to track the government’s strength in taking sane steps to adjust the situation.  I’ve been encouraged in several respects – as if the light had suddenly dawned, and major parties within the government had had enough. But we are not where we need to be yet, not by a long shot.

I will go back to doing this tracking, and discussing related issues, in my next post.

Here I simply want to report on what is happening with Hamas and Fatah.  Yesterday, Hamas declared itself dissatisfied with the results of the ‘knife intifada,” which wasn’t killing many.  Put down your knives, they advised and go back to killing with vehicles.

And now Hamas has ordered its followers to conduct suicide bombings.

“Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, said Sunday that the ‘intifada’ needs to be turned from a ‘popular’ terror war into a fully-militarized terror war, making an open call for the use of guns and explosives”.

While Fatah brags that is can “blow up buses in Tel Aviv,” Jibil Rajoub isn’t sure it’s a good idea at this time:

“The world doesn’t accept exploding buses in Tel Aviv…
“However…the international community seems to allow the murder of IDF soldiers and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.

“The world doesn’t ask about a settler or soldier who is on occupied territories at the wrong place and the wrong time, no one asks about that.”

Got that?

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/202109#.ViUZspuhfIV

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And then, as with every post now, I close with good news. This is a beautiful video, that let’s people see who we are (with thanks to Deena M):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzfIuJkYl_Y&feature=youtu.be

10/14/15

Situation Impossible

Arlene from Israel

As I begin this post in the late afternoon in Jerusalem, with the sounds of helicopters circling overhead, this is what we’ve seen today:

There were two simultaneous attacks in Jerusalem.  One was in Armon Hanetziv (east Talpiot).

Two terrorists from Jabel Mukaber – an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem right next to east Talpiot – boarded an Eged bus in east Talpiot, armed with a gun and a knife, and began attacking passengers.  Two were killed and nine others were injured, either with gunshot or stabbing wounds – two seriously.  It appeared that the terrorists intended to take over the bus.  One terrorist was killed by security, the other wounded.  They would have had Jerusalem residency, at least, if not citizenship.

A scene from that attack here:

The scene of the attack in Jerusalem's East Talpiot (Photo: Shlomi Cohen)

Credit: Shlomi Cohen

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The second attack took place on Malchei Yisrael street in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem.  The terrorist plowed his car into a bus stop, killing one – Rabbi Yeshiyahu Krishevsky – and seriously injuring another. He then leaped out of the car and began stabbing people before he was shot dead by security.  A scene from the second attack:

Credit: kooker

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The terrorist in Geula was Alaa Abu Jamal (I believe also from Jabel Mukaber).

And here is the shocker:  He was an employee of the Israeli phone company Bezeq, was wearing his uniform when he attacked, and used a company car.  In the picture above you can see the Bezeq “B” logo.

Bezeq put out a statement:

“Bezeq would like to express its deep outrage over the attack on Jerusalem’s Malchei Yisrael Street and over the terrorist action of one of its workers…We are stunned and repulsed by the criminal act, and the deep hurt he has caused to the families of those killed. We are praying for the quick recovery of the wounded victims.

“We emphasize that there were no warning signs, and there were no clear changes in the worker’s conduct that could have prevented the act of terror.  We will continue to follow the developments, and our hearts cry out to the victims and their families.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201808#.Vh0GrpuhfIV

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Not for a second do I question the sincerity of the distress registered by Bezeq – representatives and executives within the company had to be been exceedingly horrified.

But it is not quite the case that there was no way to know this man was a potential terrorist: He was a cousin to the monsters who committed the atrocity in Har Nof last year, and when interviewed about it on television said, “Thank Allah, when someone dies as a martyr, that’s a great thing.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201823#.Vh0QuZuhfIU

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I am, of course, not implying that Bezeq had any clue about this.  The question raised here is what sort of vetting of Arab employees is appropriate.  The implications are vast and can seriously impact the Arab community in Israel, with regard to their ability to readily secure employment.  In situations such as the one we are in now, innocent Arab Israelis are likely to pay a price.

~~~~~~~~~~

There has been a great deal of talk about the lone wolf, and people acting on their own initiative after having been incited.  But security officials are now suggesting this is not the case any longer (if it ever was): The simultaneous timing of the two attacks in Jerusalem suggests something else (emphasis added):

”A security source said that the two terrorist attacks that killed three people and wounded several others in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning seem to be ‘a planned and timed assault.’

’There is no doubt that the source of incitement of the sequence of terrorist attacks this morning is east Jerusalem,’ the source added.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Security-source-Jerusalem-attacks-seem-like-a-planned-and-timed-assault-423806

Once there is an address for the source of the attacks, it certainly seems it should become easy to put a stop to it.  See more below on this.

~~~~~~~~~~

Also this morning, there were two stabbing attacks in the city of Ra’anana, a city in the central plain, near Herzliya.  In the first attack, at a bus stop outside of city hall, the terrorist stabbed someone, causing light wounds; he was restrained by passers-by until the police arrived. He was from eastern Jerusalem.

In the second attack, less than two hours later, a terrorist began stabbing people on the street, injuring one critically and three others lightly. A motorist, seeing what was happening, rammed his car into the terrorist.  He was from eastern Jerusalem.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Initial-report-Attempted-stabbing-attack-in-Raanana-423789

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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who has come off during this spate of terrorism with a tougher line than Netanyahu, at least up to this point, called for the closure of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

There were calls, as well, for the international community to stop funding the PA, because it is a major source of incitement.

“Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said after the attacks that the Palestinian Authority had lost its right to exist (a mouthful if this is taken seriously – of course she is correct), adding that PA President Mahmoud Abbas bears responsibility for the ongoing terror…

“’The blood of Israeli citizens is on [Abbas’s] hands, and of those of his men who incite children to go out and murder.’” She was referring to Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Roudeineh, who reportedly praised the 13-year-old Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli teenager yesterday on his bike.

“”The Palestinian Authority has lost the right to exist. Instead of preventing violence, it is a hothouse for radical Islam that hurts Israelis on a daily basis,’ she said.”

Credit: Times of Israel

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/hotovely-says-pa-has-lost-right-to-exist/

Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) lambasted the international community for failing to condemn the current wave of terror.”

“’There is no excuse in the world to justify the murder of innocent children. The silence of the international community is regrettable and worrying. The fact there no one condemns the Palestinians spreading lies that increase murderous terror is a warning signal to the entire free world.’” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/science-minister-slams-worlds-silence/

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My friends, the world’s silence is, for most of us here in Israel, more than “regrettable and worrying.”  Minister Akunis, normally a very forthright man, was being a bit polite.  It is, as we see it, horrifying and deeply disturbing. I would suggest a serious moral deficit. There is a disconnect, a reluctance to confront what Israel is coping with.

We see that the Palestinian Arabs continue to tell the most outrageous lies, pretending to innocence and pointing fingers at Israel. And we know that much of mainstream media are happy to transmit the skewed version of events – focusing on what Israel has “done” to poor Arabs.  I will return to this.

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Speaking of the international community, Netanyahu requested that the Quartet not come now, and they agreed.  One less pressure. Can you imagine them looking over our shoulders as we respond to the terror?

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Yesterday, as the Knesset opened its winter session, Netanyahu made a forthright statement (emphasis added):

Terrorism does not come from frustration because there is no peace process. Terrorism comes from a desire to annihilate us.”

We have faced terrorism repeatedly over the last 100 years, he declared.  “What always wins is the recognition that this is our homeland. Our will to live trumps our enemies’ desire for death.  There is no way to stop the Zionist enterprise.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Netanyahu-Terrorism-comes-from-a-desire-to-annihilate-us-not-from-Palestinian-frustration-423728

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This afternoon, he called a lengthy Security Cabinet meeting to discuss the way to handle the current outbreak of terrorism.  Subsequently he made a statement (emphasis added):

Israel will settle its account with ‘murderers and those who want to kill, and anyone who helps them. Not only won’t they have any rights, but we will extract the full price from them’

”The prime minister said that he was sure that the actions Israel will take will bring about a realization on the other side that ‘terror does not pay.’”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Netanyahu-Israel-will-settle-scores-with-those-killing-civilians-423836

He addressed a number of specific problems – particularly PA incitement and veneration of terrorists, and the complicity of certain Arab MKs.  I will return to examine these.

Although when he spoke he was not specific about what actions would be taken, for the first time, I began to have genuine hope that my government was, at last, ready to get serious. And sufficiently tough.

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After he spoke, the Security Cabinet reconvened in order to pass a number of measures.  Most significant, I think, is the bolstering of IDF forces in city centers, with Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem to be surrounded by security forces.

We are going to hear a great deal about deprivation of Arab rights now. Watch.  I think the gov’t is prepared to withstand this onslaught, likely to come from international sources and certain Arab MKs.

More to come as the situation unfolds.

Please do take note of the bravery of Israeli citizens who have been involved in stopping or capturing terrorists.

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Today’s good news:

In August, Israeli charity Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry facilitated 25 lifesaving transplants.  They included stem cell donations by five IDF soldiers that saved the lives of five desperately ill patients.

http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/because-of-you-16/#more-3176

10/14/15

THIS MUST GO VIRAL

Arlene from Israel

Dear friends,

I did not intend to post today, but – as has happened before – I realized that I must.

Yesterday, I wrote about Sheikh Mohammad Abu Rajab, who, during a sermon in the Al Abrar Mosque in Rafah, Gaza, demonstrated the way to stab a Jew.  I knew there was a video of his “sermon,” but it seemed to be unavailable – I couldn’t access it and so put up a still photo.  Bad enough, to see a member of the Muslim “clergy” brandishing a knife from the pulpit.

Now I have located the video, which comes from MEMRI.  It was broadcast via Internet, and Abu Rajab himself makes note of this, because the message goes far and wide this way.  Internet, and social media, have been used extensively in inciting during the current violence.

Here is the video from MEMRI.

http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/5098.htm

I truly hope you can access it.  I watched it, not once, but twice. I was stunned and shaken, for the hatred he expresses is so obscene.

You must watch it to the end, my friends, to understand what we are dealing with.

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And then, do your part for Israel: make sure this goes viral. Send this short posting to everyone. Or simply duplicate the URL for the cleric’s “sermon” and put it out, to everyone on your list, and on your Facebook pages and your websites.  Put it out on lists for discussion groups.  Include your own brief comment telling people that this is what Israel is dealing with and asking them to spread the word. Do EVERYTHING you can to make certain that millions in America see it.  This not only educates people to our reality, it refutes the horrendous lies being told about us.

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There were more, and worse, attacks today. See:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201766#.Vhu7SJuhfIV. There are calls for the attackers to come out in groups to be more effective. We have at least two people in critical condition, fighting for their lives. The attackers aim for their chests and their throats.

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And so what do I read?

Security Minister Gilad Erdan is thinking that we might refuse to return terrorists’ bodies.

That will really stop them.

The security cabinet on Sunday discussed possible legal measures to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel for incitement to violence.

That’s it? “Possible” measures?  “A senior official in Jerusalem said following Sunday night’s meeting that the ministers would continue their debate on the issue in the coming days.”

And worst: At a meeting of the Likud faction today, Netanyahu said: “We will complete the surrounding of the State of Israel’s borders with security fences.”

No! This is not an announcement that demonstrates needed strength. Strength is the only thing they understand.

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Just in case you imagine that it is only the radical jihadists in Gaza that are supporting terror, I share this as well – which also needs to be publicized widely (emphasis added):

The Palestinian Bar Association — which receives major funding from the United Nations and European Union — has decided to award an honorary law degree to Muhammad Halabi, the 19-year-old Palestinian [Arab] law student who stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem’s Old City on Oct. 3 before being killed by Israeli security forces, according to a report published by the Middle East Media Research Institute on Sunday.

“The Palestinian Bar Association decided in its meeting today [Oct. 10] to award an honorary law degree to the martyred hero Muhammad Halabi and to hold its next [bar] swearing-in ceremony in [his] honor,” a Palestinian Bar Association statement said.”

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=28833

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With it all, I will end with good news, as I have been doing now.  I told a reader last night that there is always good news, if we look for it. So much for Israel to be proud of, day in and day out.  With all that is done to us, and all that we are defamed, we truly are a blessing to the world.  And these blessing too should be shared widely:

Here I share a link to an extensive article by David Hazony in The Tower, “How Israel Is Solving the Global Water Crisis.” (emphasis added):

“Israel could not have made the desert bloom without its incredible innovations in water technology. As the world becomes more aware of the importance of conserving water, they are turning to Israel for exports and expertise.”

http://www.thetower.org/article/how-israel-is-solving-the-global-water-crisis/

Credit: Yonaton Sindel/Flash 90

10/12/15

Mounting Terror

Arlene from Israel

It’s not dissipating, folks, but rather getting worse. Not an enormous surprise.

Here, I hope simply to touch on a few points, starting with a correction: In yesterday’s post, where I intended my very first reference to Arafat, I wrote “Abbas” instead. Thanks to all who caught this.  I think everyone understood what I meant to say.

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We’re looking at knife attacks. The most recent reported, in Gan Shmuel in the north near Hadera.  The attacker hit one person with his car, and then jumped out and knifed three others, including a 14 year old girl; a 19 year old woman who was stabbed is in critical condition.

And riots – pictured is a clash outside of Beit El two days ago.

A Palestinian protester hurls stones during clashes with Israeli forces outside Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 9, 2015. (Flash90)
Credit: Flash 90

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And now a failed car bombing as well: This morning, on the road between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, a bomb went off in a car driven by a Palestinian Arab woman with Jerusalem residency.  It was originally reported that the bomb went off by mistake.  Now I’m reading an update that says she was approached by police officers and cried “Allahu Akbar” and then detonated the bomb.  In any event, a search of the car revealed other bombs in addition to the one she deliberately detonated.  It is assumed that she was heading for a suicide bombing in central Jerusalem.  She did not die in the explosion but is in critical condition.

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I’m seeing some official government attempts to be tougher, all of which are good, but none of which are enough. E.g.:

[] A four year minimum sentence will be imposed on those who throw rocks, fireworks or firebombs; fine may be imposed on minors and their parents.

[] A massive call-up of Border Police is taking place, with 1,300 – 2,000 extra police being deployed in sensitive areas.

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The incitement continues, and I am very weary of reports on how Abbas is trying to calm matters down.

Yesterday, Fatah, Abbas’s party, issued flyers celebrating the “martyrs” who had died after attacking Jews.  Note the pictures of Abbas and Arafat.

The flier for terrorist Ishaq Badran.
Credit: YNet

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And now Hamas has actively joined.  Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday called for “strengthening and increasing the intifada…it is the only path that will lead to liberation.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201651#.VhqYfJuhfIU

Also on Friday, Sheikh Mohammad Abu Rajab, during a sermon in the Al Abrar Mosque in Rafah, Gaza, demonstrated the way to stab a Jew.

Sheikh Mohammad Abu Rajab ajak umat Islam perangi Israel
Credit; syamtodaynews

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I am also weary of hearing about how we have to give the Arabs “hope,” which is what the push for negotiations is ostensibly all about.  The catch: every time there have been negotiations, terror has increased, with some of the worst attacks occurring during the Oslo years when (as I wrote yesterday) Israel was making major concessions, including on the division of Jerusalem.  Violence increases when Israel seems weak, and it is aimed at Israel’s destruction.

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One of the more troubling and complex elements of this situation is the fact that Israeli Arabs are involved, both in the attacks and in the incitement.  I believe the attacker in Gan Shmuel is an Israeli citizen, for example.

Israeli Arabs – who live with more rights and freedom than any other Arabs in the Middle East – are not participating because they lack “hope.”  There is radicalism within this population, recruitment by Hamas, and more.  Prevalent among the radicals are those of the Islamic Movement of Israel.  This movement should have been declared illegal a long time ago, and Netanyahu is now looking towards taking this action.

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Yesterday, there were major riots in the Israeli cities of Ramle and Nazareth.  In Nazareth, 1,500 Arabs took to the street to protest the “occupation.”  What occupation are they referring to?

There are two answers to this.  Either these Arabs identify with the Arabs of the PA. Or…they believe that ALL of Israel, even within the Green Line, is “occupied” because the Arabs should control everything and the Jews should be gone.

See this by Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch (with echoes of my report yesterday, emphasis here added):

”…Along with teaching that Jaffa is Palestine, the PA informs its people of the step-by-step strategy for liberating Jaffa and the rest of Israel from ‘occupation.’ For example, Fatah leader Abbas Zaki, a close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, stated that ‘establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines is being negotiated by the PA because everyone knows that Israel cannot survive in the 1967 lines and will “come to an end.”

’Israel will come to an end. If I say that I want to remove it from existence, this will be great, great – it is hard. This is not a [stated] policy.

’You can’t say it to the world. You can say it to yourself.’ (Al Jazeera TV, September 23, 2011)

The Palestinian population has accepted the message that the leadership’s ultimate goal is to conquer Jaffa, Acre and all of Israel ‘in stages.’ A poll conducted by the Washington Institute last year found that 60 percent of Palestinians believe that the ‘five-year goal should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.’

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Why-is-Jaffa-being-attacked-421361.

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And, I ask, without a trace of irony: What do we do when part of the population of Israeli Arabs accepts the PA message and looks forward to the day when Israel will be destroyed?

Dry Bones cartoon: Kirschen, Abbas, terror, PLO,Palestinians,

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Interior Minister Silvan Shalom says he will work to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs who are involved in terror.

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom
Credit: Flash 90

It’s a very welcome start. The problem is that this is after the fact.

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Nothing is more outrageous, more deeply offensive than those Israeli Arabs who are members of the Knesset, and continue to adhere to an anti-Israel line.  There are several of whom this is true, but the one that stands out is Hanin Zoabi, who has consistently embraced pro-Hamas and anti-Israel rhetoric.


Credit: aljazeera

The other day, Zoabi was cited by Hamas’s official journal as saying:

“Hundreds of thousands of worshipers should go up to Al-Aksa in order to face down an Israeli plot for the blood of the East Jerusalem residents. Today there are actions only by individuals and what is needed is popular support.  If only individual attacks continue without popular support, they will sputter out within a few days. Therefore the outpouring of thousands of our people will make these events a real intifada.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201703#.Vhq9lZuhfIU

An enraged Netanyahu ordered a criminal investigation of Zoabi.

The investigation had better lead to criminal charges. She should have been tossed out of the Knesset on her ear a long time ago.

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Additionally, MK David Bitan (Likud) is introducing legislation that would levy fines of hundreds of thousands of shekels on MKs who incited to violence.

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Two (unconnected) thoughts here, before closing:

The PA is notoriously corrupt. With all the radicalization of the Arab population of PA areas, I have no doubt that a good deal of the anger that is being vented has been generated by that PA corruption, with its failure to provide for the people.  Easier, is it not, to be furious at Israel.

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Note that Zoabi was speaking of Al Aksa. At the core of the incitement there continue to be the fallacious charges of Israeli intentions of taking over the Temple Mount.  The goal here is to spark violence that drives the Jews off the Mount.

Note what Zaki, cited above, said about Israel not being able to survive within the ‘67 lines and thus coming to an end if pushed back to those lines. This is the reality behind the incitement regarding the Temple Mount.  They know that Israel would not survive without that ancient historical and religious site of the Jewish people.  Attempts to drive Israel from the Mount are intended as a step towards her destruction.

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And tonight’s good news:

“European satellite operator Eutelsat Communications and social media giant Facebook said Monday they are working jointly to deliver satellite broadband Internet to connectivity-hungry sub-Saharan Africa using an Israeli satellite…

“The multi-million dollar AMOS-6 satellite, built by the Israel Aerospace Industries, will be ready for launch in 2016, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/facebook-to-launch-israeli-satellite-to-bring-internet-to-africa/


Credit: Mark Zuckerberg