11/25/14

May You Live in Interesting Times

Arlene from Israel

This phrase is usually identified as an “old Chinese curse,” while in fact it is neither old nor Chinese in origin.  What it is, clearly, is ironic, which is why I am using it:  Our “interesting” times are often overwhelming – filled with turmoil and confusion.  Oi! Could we do with a bit of “uninteresting” times.

~~~~~~~~~~

I would like to share some news that reflects back on what I wrote yesterday:

The vote in the Knesset on the “Jewish state” law has been tabled for at least a week and a good deal of the tension has dissipated.  Part of the reason for this, I suspect, is that neither Livni nor Lapid – both of whom said they’d leave the coalition rather than support the law – are eager for the new elections that their leaving the coalition might spark.  Polls indicate that they would both garner fewer mandates than they have now – which in Livni’s case might mean her disappearance from the Knesset. Talk is cheap.  (Although I would not be sorry to see her gone from the Knesset.)

~~~~~~~~~~

The US State Department did offer its (unsolicited) opinion on the law.  A spokesman said: “Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and all its citizens should enjoy equal rights. We expect Israel to stick to its democratic principles.”

Naftali Bennett’s response to this on IDF radio this morning was right on: “I say to the Americans that the affairs of the State of Israel – we will manage.  We will have to deal with the implications…and what kind of country we want…This is an internal issue and I think that no one has the right to intervene…”

Of course, the unspoken implication of the State Department comment is that the Jewish State legislation would damage Israel’s democracy.

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But look who is unabashedly supporting the “Israel is a Jewish State” legislation: Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest (and an Arab) from Nazareth who promotes IDF service for Christian Arabs in Israel.

He went to the UN recently to say that the only safe place for Christians in the Middle East is Israel.

Father Gabriel Nadaf
Credit: Facebook

This amazing man gets it, even if some Jews in Israel refuse to get it.  The JPost describes what Father Nadaf wrote on his Facebook page (emphasis added):

”He said that it is ironic that, although the State of Israel defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic principles are well-founded in law, whereas Jewish principles are not.”The priest also said that the claim by ‘a small minority, with great influence via the Supreme Court, the media, and leftist academia’ that Israel is ‘a state of all it’s citizens,’ was lovely at first sight, ‘but covers a severe injury to the Jewishness of the state.’”

“’Even the Basic Laws – which the Supreme Court has turned into a constitution, contrary to all internationally recognized practice – where it says that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state, have been interpreted to give a clear superiority to the democratic dimension above the Jewish dimension,’ he said.

Nadaf highlighted what he said is the importance of defining Israel as a Jewish state in light of the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to so.

There is a reason why they won’t recognize [Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people]. They prefer it to be a state of all its citizens, without a national perspective, which would allow them to claim their own national rights in the land forever, including the concept of the ‘right of return.’ In light of this, it is important to clarify in law to the citizens of the state, who maybe have forgotten this, to our neighbors, and to the entire world, that it is not worthwhile for them to err. The Jews have returned home and established their national state. They are no longer temporary residents in the Land of Israel,” Nadaf wrote.

”He noted that all minority citizens living in the State of Israel “enjoy freedom and equality in all aspects, and that for Israel to define itself as Jewish would not pose any obstacle for members of minority groups to live in peace in the country.”

This, I believe, is worth sharing.  It carries more weight when a non-Jew in Israel says minorities enjoy freedom and equality in all aspects.

~~~~~~~~~~

Switching gears just slightly…we now have another proposed piece of legislation that is sparking controversy.  Referred to as the Haneen Zoabi bill, it would be an amendment to Basic Law, and states:

“an MK who in a time of war or military action against an enemy state or terror organization offers public support for military struggle against the State of Israel, their term in the Knesset shall be terminated on the day the Knesset decides by a majority of its members and at the recommendation of the Knesset House Committee that the published comments constitute the aforementioned expressions of support.”

The involvement of the House Committee is essential for determining precisely what constitutes public support for an enemy.  Netanyahu is in favor of this legislation, but wants to see a supermajority of votes (I’m reading 70) required, rather than the simple majority of half plus one (which is 61).

The legislation has the support of a broad spectrum of MKs, and was proposed by David Rotem (Yisrael Beitenu), who chairs the Knesset Committee on Constitution, Law and Justice.

MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu). (Flash90)

Credit: Flash 90

~~~~~~~~~~

My response to this is, Mazel Tov!  The failure of the Knesset to take action against MKs who are obviously not loyal to Israel has been distressing to many for a long time.  Hopefully this situation will now be rectified.

There will be an outcry with regard to this proposal, as well, from the Arab parties and the left.  With this outcry will come a certain confusion about what the real issues are.  The claim will be that a democracy must permit free speech. But even free speech has limits.

It is instructive to read what Knesset legal advisor Ayal Yinon had to say on these issues less than a month ago.  When Haneen Zoabi was banned for six months from all Knesset activity except voting (I wrote about this yesterday), she went to the High Court, claiming that the Knesset has no legal right to sanction an MK for expressing a political opinion.

Explained Yinon: We are not dealing with the expression of unethical opinions, which would be protected by parliamentary immunity. It is rather that Zoabi’s statements violate MKs’ vow to be faithful to the State of Israel and its laws and work for the good of the country.

Let’s see where this goes now.  This proposed legislation definitely feels like progress for Israel.  I have long felt that this woman should be tossed out of the Knesset.  Yesterday I wrote that she said the kidnappers of the boys were not terrorists.  But, during our war with Hamas this summer, she also encouraged Hamas rocket attacks and wrote on a Hamas website that they should put Israel under siege.  From where I sit that smells like treason.

~~~~~~~~~~

The bitter irony is that in spite of legal/ethical debates such as those described above, and the democratic protections that are in place, Israel is charged with persecution of its minorities, racism, and “apartheid.” In my view, we’ve put up with too much that is unacceptable, for too long.

~~~~~~~~~~

The EU Parliament had been scheduled to vote on recognizing a Palestinian state today, but that vote has been tabled for two weeks. Not a whole lot of time.  Reasons given for the postponement include dissension within the EU on the language of the resolution; opposition to the resolution by some member states, most notably Germany; and intense lobbying for postponement that has been done by Israel. It is hoped that the two weeks will provide time for convincing some additional states to oppose the resolution.

~~~~~~~~~~

According to the Ma’an News Agency, PA Foreign Minister Riyad ha-Maliki said Monday that there would be a delay in bringing the issue of Palestinian statement before the Security Council – both because the Council was preoccupied with Iranian issues and because the support of member states had not been secured.

Yesterday, according to the Wafa News Agency, ha-Maliki denies this and says they are proceeding.

When they figure out what they’re doing, they can let us know.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sweden passed a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state last month, prompting Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman to angrily recall the Israeli ambassador to Sweden.  After Sweden indicated its desire to sustain a relationship with Israel – and it became clear that the Swedish government took the position it did for internal political reasons – the decision was made that we will allow our ambassador to return at the end of this week.

The parliaments of Britain, Ireland and Spain have passed non-binding resolutions urging their respective governments to recognize a Palestinian state. The parliaments of France, Denmark, and Slovenia will be voting similarly before long.  But so far no other nation has actually voted to recognize the state.

From a legal perspective, these votes are without impact.  Remember that the PA simply does not fulfill the qualifications for a state. But there are political ramifications.

~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, at a Fatah conference in Ramallah yesterday, Abbas stated, at the end of a speech he delivered, that:

“It is a moral, national and religious right to defend Al-Aqsa and the places holy to Islam and Christianity. Our people oppose the thieving attackers who are supported by the government of Israel…We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa and for Jerusalem.”

I want you to note how the PA now enfolds “Christianity into its references to holy places, as if it is the protector of Christians.  A mockery.

~~~~~~~~~~

I supported the decision of the Netanyahu government not to take Hamas out entirely this summer.  I was convinced that there are too many other directions in which to focus, too many other places in which we might need to devote our troops and equipment in battle, to allow us to become too mired in Gaza in a long-term draining battle.  Not that I would not have wished it could have been possible.  It seemed to me a question of military pragmatics, triage if you will; although I do confess that I had wished we might have done more damage than we did before quitting.

But now come reports that are troubling. There is no question that Hamas is re-arming – for example, testing rockets by launching them into the Mediterranean.

There are claims that Hamas is also rebuilding tunnels into Israel.  This would be troubling in the extreme.  You want to say, surely the military is on top of this.  Fervently would I hope so, but nothing is certain. It might be that the military – still very concerned about what might explode to our north – is studiously ignoring Hamas at the moment, figuratively speaking.

I write this now to call my readers’ attention to this issue (“interesting times,” huh?).  But also because of two articles I want to share:

Mosab Yousef, the son of Hamas leader Sheik Hassan Yousef, worked for the Shin Bet for 10 years.  Now he has come forward with a plea to take out Hamas before it gains strength via rebuilding.

“I say these things because you cannot escape from reality. You cannot escape from [Hamas militarization] with temporary solutions. You have to address the Hamas problem by pulling it up from the roots, once and for all.

Yousef called the ceasefire agreement “fundamentally flawed”: “This is, first and foremost, an ideological movement. Thus, there is no concept of negotiations or compromise with it.”

This is absolutely true.  If Hamas refrains from attacking us, it is because it suits them to refrain, or because of Israeli deterrence, not because of a commitment it has made.

What caught my attention here was that Yousef also said that taking on Hamas again now would lead to reduced tensions in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Food for thought, for there is no question but that Hamas is fomenting terrorism.  Not that I really believe for a moment that Israel will act in this direction now, even if Yousef is analyzing correctly.

~~~~~~~~~~

Then, please see this article by Khaled Abu Toameh, “Hamas: Rebuild Gaza or We Attack.”

“The only option Hamas faces, therefore, is to attack Israel again as a way of ridding itself of the severe crisis in the Gaza Strip and the growing frustration among the Palestinians living there. Hamas’s biggest fear is that this frustration will be translated into disillusionment with its regime. That is why Hamas is now seeking to direct the anger on the Palestinian street toward Israel.” (Emphasis added)

However you look at it, it seems to me, there is extreme turmoil in Gaza, and insufficient deterrence for us to depend upon.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Friday, Hamas called for one more “day of rage,” although I believe it fell a bit flat (thank Heaven).

At the same time, the grieving families of the four rabbis killed in Har Nof put out this notice:

”The widows and orphans of the four men who were slain in the Jerusalem synagogue massacre this week issued a letter calling for national solidarity and unity:” With broken hearts, drenched in tears shed over the spilt blood of holy men – the heads of our families.

”We call on our brethren wherever they are – let us come together so that we may merit mercy from Heaven, and let’s accept upon ourselves to increase love and comradery, between each individual and each community.

”We ask that every person accept upon himself on this Sabbath Eve …to set aside the day of Shabbat as a day of unconditional love, a day during which we will refrain from words of disagreement and division, from words of gossip and slander.

”May this serve to elevate the souls of our husbands and fathers who were slaughtered while sanctifying God’s name.”

Compare and contrast, please! Time and again I am left in awe of the noble spirits of those who have lost loved ones to terrorism.  We are, without question, a special people.

And THIS, my friends, is the good news for today.

11/25/14

The Real Ferguson Indictment

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Chaos in Ferguson headline AP photo

Last night marked a place in time for America; but I’ll get around to that in a bit.  The Grand Jury followed the law and decided there wasn’t sufficient (any) evidence to justify charging a Ferguson police officer with criminal charges because all the evidence established that he’d acted in self defense when he shot and killed a young man, a young man who had robbed and assaulted a business owner only minutes before, a large man sized youth who had attacked him and tried to take away his service pistol.

The news media, if they can still be called that after the way they’ve abused their privileged status and lost the trust of the American public…the news media has been building up for a race riot ever since the day of the shooting.

They painted the officer as a white hate mongering racist who shot a defenseless innocent boy simply because he was black.  The only reason the cop shot a black kid was because white cops have always shot black kids; and on top of that, white cops don’t like having a black president; it’s the story to run with, and boy did they run with it.

Race pimps from around the country joined in building the bonfire pyramid; a chance to have a monumental burning down of the ‘old’ while ushering in the ‘new’.   Social Justice would take the place of the rule of law and the undeserving would be rewarded for being undeserving as a means of righting that which had gone on from the beginning of history; isn’t that the definition of Social Justice?

Interestingly, while the scum of the earth was looting and burning down business after business in Ferguson, all in the name of justice…a message showed up on my Facebook page.

The instructions were to post a picture of the Lord’s House and then challenge anyone who hit the ‘like’ button to do the same.  If we offset the negative with something positive then it will show that we have our priorities in the right place.

Houston Temple at Night Spring 2008 015I was supposed to wait until the name of a specific temple was sent; but the idea of supporting a great idea wouldn’t wait, I posted a picture of the Houston Temple.  Later, after receiving the ‘challenge’ I posted a picture of that temple as well.

This morning over 35 individuals from my ‘friends’ list had stopped by to check out the challenge.  Before long Facebook could have quite a different feel to it; hundreds of folks posting pictures of the Lord’s House to offset the garbage being reported and over-reported from around the world.

As we go before our ‘Grand Jury’, what evidence will we supply to support an indictment?  There will always be plenty of evil, enough to go around and then some.  It will be up each of us to choose this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

11/24/14

Shifting Sands

Arlene from Israel

If I said that things were good, I would be nothing but a Pollyanna.  But I do believe there are some signs here in Israel of a shift in perspective that is long overdue and should ultimately provide better policies for a stronger nation.

Of course, these shifts are generating tensions, a fairly predictable state of affairs.  Nothing ever progresses smoothly, and perhaps in a democracy we cannot and should not expect that any transition would be made without resistance.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Democracy” is a buzz word right now with regard to domestic tensions, and we see this in several respects.

The first has to do with how we are responding to Arabs within our midst.  And I say, without inhibitions or second thoughts, that in our situation of crisis, it may be necessary to adjust some of the parameters of what is seen as civil liberties for the Arabs.  Because in some instances the flip side of Arab civil liberties is the right of Jews to not be killed or attacked.

The other day I quoted Netanyahu (although perhaps it was Erdan) who said that 99.9% of Israeli Arabs are OK.  I did not belabor the fact that I didn’t believe it for a second, that only .1 % of Israeli Arabs are potentially trouble.  I just made the point of how many this represents.

Well, today I encountered a poll by Stat Net that indicated that 68% of Israeli Arabs oppose terror:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187808#.VHMOOJtxnIU

Hmmm.  If I am calculating correctly, that leaves over 500,000 Arabs within our midst who might in certain circumstances be predisposed to terror – whether actively or via passive support. (I am not saying we have 500,000 terrorists in our midst.  I am saying there is a potential that we dare not ignore.)

I made the point recently that all Israeli Arabs are not loyal to Israel. Some have conflicting loyalties, and are pulled at by radical elements who challenge them to prove their devotion to the “Palestinian cause.”  And I again contrast this situation to that of the Israeli Druse community: they made a conscious decision to be loyal Israelis and opted for conscription in the IDF.

~~~~~~~~~~

Some of the most shocking and blatant examples of Israeli Arabs who in their hearts are not loyal to Israel can be found in the Israeli parties of the Knesset.  Few are worse than Haneen Zoabi. She was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara that attempted to break the blockade of Gaza, and has told Palestinian Arabs that they should “declare popular resistance.”  This summer, she stated that the kidnappers of the three teenage boys were not terrorists.  Speaking of the kidnappers, she said, “they are people who don’t see any way to change their reality and are forced to use these means until Israel sobers up a bit.” In response, the Knesset ethics committee suspended for six months her right to address the plenum of the Knesset. She was still a member of the Knesset, and could still vote. But she called this ruling “anti-democratic.”

Give me a break. The only place in the Middle East where Arabs have civil rights is in Israel.

~~~~~~~~~~

I am looking at all of this now in part because of the decision by the Ashkelon mayor to temporarily stop Arabs from working on construction sites near pre-schools.  All sorts of epithets were thrown at him, and, under pressure, he has backed down part way now.  The Arab construction workers will be permitted to continue and the children will be moved to a community center for the duration of the construction.

You might want to see Ruthie Blum’s “The Mayor of Ashkelon is not a racist,” which set this incident into context:

”’I would rather be taken to the Supreme Court than, heaven forbid, to the funeral of a kindergarten child,’ Shimoni told Channel 2 on Thursday evening. Finding himself under fire and at the wrong end of the law, Shimoni backed down on Sunday… His new decision is to leave the Arab workers at the kindergartens to complete the job of renovating the bomb shelters, while moving the children from those specific pre-schools to community centers.

”Shimoni may well find himself at the wrong end of the law. But there is nothing in his behavior that warrants being labeled a racist. Willing to face ostracism and possible indictment in order to protect the weakest sector of his city from a palpable threat, he is exhibiting leadership.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-mayor-of-Ashkelon-is-not-a-racist-382632

The key word here is “palpable threat.”

~~~~~~~~~~

And here’s the context:

Just last week, on PA TV (not Hamas TV), a program host intoned:

Good morning to you, good morning to your pride, and to your hands preparing to throw stones and ignite the gasoline in the Molotov cocktails, greetings from the Good Morning Jerusalem program.”

While on its Facebook page, Fatah posted a video that featured this song:

“I’m coming towards you, my enemy,
”We’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives,
”With grenades we announced a popular war.
”I swear, you won’t escape, my enemy,
“from the revolution and the people.
”How will you escape the ring of fire,“while the crowds are blocking the way?”

This is accompanied by pictures of Arabs attacking with rocks and more in the streets.
http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=13224

~~~~~~~~~~

And I raise the issue of “democracy,” as well, because of other actions that are now being taken:

“Likud Central Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon is advancing a new bill to prevent Israel from returning the bodies of dead terrorists to their families and the Palestinian Authority (PA), in an attempt to deter terrorism and prevent the glorification of terrorists at their funerals.
“…Danon explained ‘we saw what happened recently when cruel terrorists turn into heroes and their funeral processions turn into recruitment processions for the next generation of terrorists.’

“So as to prevent the current arrangement from continuing, Danon is proposing to have the bodies of terrorists buried in unknown cemeteries.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187805#.VHNO5ZtxnIV

My only question here is why we didn’t start doing this sooner.  But guaranteed, someone will respond to this great idea by screaming “human rights.”

~~~~~~~~~~

With encouragement from Prime Minister Netanyahu, legislation is being drawn up to remove residency rights from Arabs who are convicted of attacks on Israeli citizens or promote Israel’s destruction.

Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Gilad Erdan has revoked the Jerusalem residency status of Mohammed Nadi who drove a suicide bomber to the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001.  That attack killed 21 teenagers and injured 132 people.  Nadi served 10 years in prison as accomplice.

Said Erdan;

“a wave of terror and incitement” has swept Israel, assisted by Israeli residents who “carry out attacks, assist them, and justify them, and even incite others to commit crimes and murders.”

“These people cannot continue to enjoy a permanent status of Israeli residency, and I will use all of my power to cancel their residency and prevent them from receiving all benefits that this residency offers.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/interior-minister-revokes-jerusalem-residency-of-terror-accomplice/

Benefits consist primarily of the right to reside in Israel, and to receive social benefits such as health insurance.

What are the odds that someone will seek to challenge this excellent move in the courts?

~~~~~~~~~~

Along with this is the stated intention to continue the demolition of homes of terrorists (although there are charges that the homes are not even fully demolished).

And wouldn’t you know; last Thursday the ambassadors from Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain registered objections about this to our government.

~~~~~~~~~~
And then there is the bill being advanced as part of basic law that speaks about Israel as a Jewish nation.

With strong support from Netanyahu, one version of this bill has been approved by the Cabinet. But, as it is causing great dissension within the coalition, other modified versions are being promoted.  I am not able to describe the contents of these bills in detail, but my understanding is that while basics remain, there are some modifications regarding specifications about democracy.

Whatever modifications are made, I believe they all clearly state that Israel is a Jewish state, and somehow defines national rights (and self-determination) as belonging only to the Jewish people, with individual civil rights adhering to all citizens.

Those who objecting to the bill are Tzipi Livni (Hatenua) and and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), both of whom threaten to leave the coalition because the bill is “anti-democratic” and “unfair to the Arabs.”

What I have found fascinating is how adamant the prime minister is about pushing this.  This, too, I believe is a reflection of our times. Whether there is real risk of the coalition tearing apart because of this, or it is grandstanding, I cannot say.  What Netanyahu is working on, we are told, is a version of the bill that would satisfy all.  Whatever that might turn out to be.

~~~~~~~~~~

Perhaps even in calling these modest steps signs of an encouraging shift in perspective, I am being a Pollyanna. For, as I read this over, I see how we seem to go two steps forward and then one step backward. We speak about national unity – oh how we need national unity! – but even here in Israel there are those who have forgotten who we are, and those who are too concerned with what the world says to take a stand.

Keep plugging then…

~~~~~~~~~~

As Jerusalem continues to take measures to protect its Jewish citizens, additional security measures have been announced:

There will be 300 guards placed at bus stations. First, at the Central Bus Station, and then along routes that have been selected as requiring the most security protection.  Then, 10,000 bus drivers national-wide are being given training in the Israeli martial art of will be given Krav Maga.

~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, someone with his head screwed on properly, who is talking about blocking ways in which we assist the PA or provide benefits to Palestinian Arabs. The “someone” is MK Naom Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee.  And he is seeking ways to block the transfer of funds from Israel to the Palestinian Authority:

“We must recognize there’s a crazy absurdness here that I don’t understand,” Slomiansky said. “A terrorist who murdered and attacked and goes into jail has his finances covered during the years in jail, for him and his family.”

Money finds its way from the PA to the families of the terrorists – while Israel passes on to the PA taxes it collect for it in accordance with agreements in the Paris Protocol and the Oslo Accords.  And this continues even as the PA fails to honor its agreements and owes Israel “staggering sums” including over 1.4 billion shekels (over $360 million).

Slomiansky says that the PA collects money for electricity from its residents, even as it doesn’t pay Israel for the electricity, instead using the money for such purposes as providing “salaries” to terrorists.

“We have to defend ourselves. It’s not just a game of money anymore. We are indirectly encouraging terror against ourselves and the murder of our citizens. We must stop this,”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187803#.VHORaJtxnIV

Can we clone him?

If I said that things were good, I would be nothing but a Pollyanna.  But I do believe there are some signs here in Israel of a shift in perspective that is long overdue and should ultimately provide better policies for a stronger nation.

Of course, these shifts are generating tensions, a fairly predictable state of affairs.  Nothing ever progresses smoothly, and perhaps in a democracy we cannot and should not expect that any transition would be made without resistance.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Democracy” is a buzz word right now with regard to domestic tensions, and we see this in several respects.

The first has to do with how we are responding to Arabs within our midst.  And I say, without inhibitions or second thoughts, that in our situation of crisis, it may be necessary to adjust some of the parameters of what is seen as civil liberties for the Arabs.  Because in some instances the flip side of Arab civil liberties is the right of Jews to not be killed or attacked.

The other day I quoted Netanyahu (although perhaps it was Erdan) who said that 99.9% of Israeli Arabs are OK.  I did not belabor the fact that I didn’t believe it for a second, that only .1 % of Israeli Arabs are potentially trouble.  I just made the point of how many this represents.

Well, today I encountered a poll by Stat Net that indicated that 68% of Israeli Arabs oppose terror:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187808#.VHMOOJtxnIU

Hmmm.  If I am calculating correctly, that leaves over 500,000 Arabs within our midst who might in certain circumstances be predisposed to terror – whether actively or via passive support. (I am not saying we have 500,000 terrorists in our midst.  I am saying there is a potential that we dare not ignore.)

I made the point recently that all Israeli Arabs are not loyal to Israel. Some have conflicting loyalties, and are pulled at by radical elements who challenge them to prove their devotion to the “Palestinian cause.”  And I again contrast this situation to that of the Israeli Druse community: they made a conscious decision to be loyal Israelis and opted for conscription in the IDF.

~~~~~~~~~~

Some of the most shocking and blatant examples of Israeli Arabs who in their hearts are not loyal to Israel can be found in the Israeli parties of the Knesset.  Few are worse than Haneen Zoabi. She was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara that attempted to break the blockade of Gaza, and has told Palestinian Arabs that they should “declare popular resistance.”  This summer, she stated that the kidnappers of the three teenage boys were not terrorists.  Speaking of the kidnappers, she said, “they are people who don’t see any way to change their reality and are forced to use these means until Israel sobers up a bit.” In response, the Knesset ethics committee suspended for six months her right to address the plenum of the Knesset. She was still a member of the Knesset, and could still vote. But she called this ruling “anti-democratic.”

Give me a break. The only place in the Middle East where Arabs have civil rights is in Israel.

~~~~~~~~~~

I am looking at all of this now in part because of the decision by the Ashkelon mayor to temporarily stop Arabs from working on construction sites near pre-schools.  All sorts of epithets were thrown at him, and, under pressure, he has backed down part way now.  The Arab construction workers will be permitted to continue and the children will be moved to a community center for the duration of the construction.

You might want to see Ruthie Blum’s “The Mayor of Ashkelon is not a racist,” which set this incident into context:

”’I would rather be taken to the Supreme Court than, heaven forbid, to the funeral of a kindergarten child,’ Shimoni told Channel 2 on Thursday evening. Finding himself under fire and at the wrong end of the law, Shimoni backed down on Sunday… His new decision is to leave the Arab workers at the kindergartens to complete the job of renovating the bomb shelters, while moving the children from those specific pre-schools to community centers.

”Shimoni may well find himself at the wrong end of the law. But there is nothing in his behavior that warrants being labeled a racist. Willing to face ostracism and possible indictment in order to protect the weakest sector of his city from a palpable threat, he is exhibiting leadership.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-mayor-of-Ashkelon-is-not-a-racist-382632

The key word here is “palpable threat.”

~~~~~~~~~~

And here’s the context:

Just last week, on PA TV (not Hamas TV), a program host intoned:

Good morning to you, good morning to your pride, and to your hands preparing to throw stones and ignite the gasoline in the Molotov cocktails, greetings from the Good Morning Jerusalem program.”

While on its Facebook page, Fatah posted a video that featured this song:

I’m coming towards you, my enemy,
“We’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives,
“With grenades we announced a popular war.
“I swear, you won’t escape, my enemy,
“from the revolution and the people.
“How will you escape the ring of fire,“while the crowds are blocking the way?”

This is accompanied by pictures of Arabs attacking with rocks and more in the streets.
http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=13224

~~~~~~~~~~

And I raise the issue of “democracy,” as well, because of other actions that are now being taken:

“Likud Central Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon is advancing a new bill to prevent Israel from returning the bodies of dead terrorists to their families and the Palestinian Authority (PA), in an attempt to deter terrorism and prevent the glorification of terrorists at their funerals.
“…Danon explained ‘we saw what happened recently when cruel terrorists turn into heroes and their funeral processions turn into recruitment processions for the next generation of terrorists.’

“So as to prevent the current arrangement from continuing, Danon is proposing to have the bodies of terrorists buried in unknown cemeteries.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187805#.VHNO5ZtxnIV

My only question here is why we didn’t start doing this sooner.  But guaranteed, someone will respond to this great idea by screaming “human rights.”

~~~~~~~~~~

With encouragement from Prime Minister Netanyahu, legislation is being drawn up to remove residency rights from Arabs who are convicted of attacks on Israeli citizens or promote Israel’s destruction.

Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Gilad Erdan has revoked the Jerusalem residency status of Mohammed Nadi who drove a suicide bomber to the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001.  That attack killed 21 teenagers and injured 132 people.  Nadi served 10 years in prison as accomplice.

Said Erdan;

“a wave of terror and incitement” has swept Israel, assisted by Israeli residents who “carry out attacks, assist them, and justify them, and even incite others to commit crimes and murders.”

“These people cannot continue to enjoy a permanent status of Israeli residency, and I will use all of my power to cancel their residency and prevent them from receiving all benefits that this residency offers.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/interior-minister-revokes-jerusalem-residency-of-terror-accomplice/

Benefits consist primarily of the right to reside in Israel, and to receive social benefits such as health insurance.

What are the odds that someone will seek to challenge this excellent move in the courts?

~~~~~~~~~~

Along with this is the stated intention to continue the demolition of homes of terrorists (although there are charges that the homes are not even fully demolished).

And wouldn’t you know; last Thursday the ambassadors from Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain registered objections about this to our government.

~~~~~~~~~~
And then there is the bill being advanced as part of basic law that speaks about Israel as a Jewish nation.

With strong support from Netanyahu, one version of this bill has been approved by the Cabinet. But, as it is causing great dissension within the coalition, other modified versions are being promoted.  I am not able to describe the contents of these bills in detail, but my understanding is that while basics remain, there are some modifications regarding specifications about democracy.

Whatever modifications are made, I believe they all clearly state that Israel is a Jewish state, and somehow defines national rights (and self-determination) as belonging only to the Jewish people, with individual civil rights adhering to all citizens.

Those who objecting to the bill are Tzipi Livni (Hatenua) and and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), both of whom threaten to leave the coalition because the bill is “anti-democratic” and “unfair to the Arabs.”

What I have found fascinating is how adamant the prime minister is about pushing this.  This, too, I believe is a reflection of our times. Whether there is real risk of the coalition tearing apart because of this, or it is grandstanding, I cannot say.  What Netanyahu is working on, we are told, is a version of the bill that would satisfy all.  Whatever that might turn out to be.

~~~~~~~~~~

Perhaps even in calling these modest steps signs of an encouraging shift in perspective, I am being a Pollyanna. For, as I read this over, I see how we seem to go two steps forward and then one step backward. We speak about national unity – oh how we need national unity! – but even here in Israel there are those who have forgotten who we are, and those who are too concerned with what the world says to take a stand.

Keep plugging then…

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As Jerusalem continues to take measures to protect its Jewish citizens, additional security measures have been announced:

There will be 300 guards placed at bus stations. First, at the Central Bus Station, and then along routes that have been selected as requiring the most security protection.  Then, 10,000 bus drivers national-wide are being given training in the Israeli martial art of will be given Krav Maga.

~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, someone with his head screwed on properly, who is talking about blocking ways in which we assist the PA or provide benefits to Palestinian Arabs. The “someone” is MK Naom Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee.  And he is seeking ways to block the transfer of funds from Israel to the Palestinian Authority:

“We must recognize there’s a crazy absurdness here that I don’t understand,” Slomiansky said. “A terrorist who murdered and attacked and goes into jail has his finances covered during the years in jail, for him and his family.”

Money finds its way from the PA to the families of the terrorists – while Israel passes on to the PA taxes it collect for it in accordance with agreements in the Paris Protocol and the Oslo Accords.  And this continues even as the PA fails to honor its agreements and owes Israel “staggering sums” including over 1.4 billion shekels (over $360 million).

Slomiansky says that the PA collects money for electricity from its residents, even as it doesn’t pay Israel for the electricity, instead using the money for such purposes as providing “salaries” to terrorists.

“We have to defend ourselves. It’s not just a game of money anymore. We are indirectly encouraging terror against ourselves and the murder of our citizens. We must stop this,”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187803#.VHORaJtxnIV

Can we clone him?

Nissan Slomiansky

Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

~~~~~~~~~~

I cannot say that the failure to reach an agreement with Iran today is good news  Seven more months of pathetic negotiations is definitely not that. But our prime minister is happy at present because “no deal is better than a bad deal,” and it’s hard to disagree with that. Depends on what happens next, doesn’t it?

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So, let’s end with some really good news, twice over.

First, Yehuda Glick was released from Shaare Zedek hospital tonight. Baruch Hashem.  At a press conference, he called his recovery, after he was close to death, a “miracle.”

And then he said,

“Those who are giving respect to Islam are those Muslim doctors and nurses who work at this hospital [by] helping people after they have signed the Hippocratic Oath.”

This is so lovely.  As it should be.  The counterweight to the ugly stuff.

Yehudah Glick
Credit: Shaare Zedek Medical Center

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And then Yehuda said:

“It must not be a working assumption that members of the public in Israel are protected. Something has happened in Israel – a person who is active in public and law-abiding was shot because of his faith.”

The government, he warned, must “come to its senses” and provide the public with better protection. Relates directly to much of what I’ve written above.

11/21/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 11/21/14

The Watcher’s Council

http://www.romanobritain.org/Photos/roman-senate2.jpg

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“This morning in Jerusalem Palestinians attacked Jews who were praying in a synagogue. To have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for ‘days of rage,’ of just irresponsibility, is unacceptable.”

“People who have come to worship God in a sanctuary of a synagogue were/// murdered in a holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder.” – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

“There are two races of men in this world but only these two: the race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man.” – Victor Frankl, Auschwitz survivor, in ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’

“It’s not enough for us to say: ‘There are those carrying out Ribat’ (religious war over land claimed to be Islamic). We must all carry out Ribat in the Al-Aqsa [Mosque]. It’s not enough for us to say: ‘The settlers have arrived [at the Mosque]’. They have come, and  we have to prevent them, by any means necessary, from entering the Sanctuary. They have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it. – Mahmoud Abbas, inciting violence on Official Palestinian Authority TV

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_nEAkWOufFU/T366WMxCdrI/AAAAAAAABOg/easpV-8FMnM/s400/Joshua_Dali_Sun.jpg

This week’s winning essay was Joshuapundit’sThe Blood Of Zion Cries Out. It was my reaction on the day four rabbis and a Druze traffic cop who tried to stop the killers were murdered with guns and meat cleavers in a Jerusalem synagogue. Here’s a slice:

Early this morning, four Jews at morning prayers were murdered in a synagogue in Jerusalem after two Palestinian broke in and assaulted the worshipers with gunfire and meat cleavers.

Many others were wounded and four are in critical condition.

The terrorist attack took place in Har Hof a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood at the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue on Agasi Street.

The Murder victims were identified as Rabbi Moshe Twersky, the head of the Torat Moshe yeshiva, 59; 40-year-old  Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky; 50-year-old Rabbi Kalman Levine; and 68-year-old Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg(HY”D). Rabbi Kupinsky, Rabbi Levine and Rabbi Twersky were all American citizens, while Rabbi Goldberg was a British subject. A Druze policeman, 30-year-old Master Sergeant Zidan Sif subsequently died of his wounds as well, and all Israel will mourn and honor him.

The killers stormed the synagogue at 7 AM local time. There was no warning and no way for the victims to defend themselves.The rabbis were murdered during the sacred prayer of Shimoneh Esrei, with siddurim (prayer books) in their hands and their tefillum on.

Eye witness Ya’akov Amos said: ‘The terrorist moved to within a metre of me then started shooting. One, two, three, bang, bang, bang. I immediately hit the ground and tried to protect myself with a prayer stand. He kept screaming ‘Allah hu’Akbar’.

There was blood everywhere, so much that one of the medical workers slipped in it and broke his leg.

The international reaction was interesting. Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed shocked, with his voice quavering. He even used the “T” word and called for an end to incitement against Jews.

Phillip Hammond, Britain’s Foreign Secretary contented himself with a bloodless statement that ‘both sides’ should seek to ‘reduce tension.’ President Obama, of course, said much the same thing. Somehow, I doubt they would have merely talked about both sides reducing tension if four imams had been murdered by a Jew and Qu’rans profaned in this way.

Israel’s economics minister Naftali Bennett was interviewed by the BBC today, and provides us with another indication of exactly how sick and depraved Britain has become when it comes to Israel and the Jews.

(just a hint – when Bennett mentions Abu Mazen, he is using Mahmoud Abbas’s nom de guerre, the terrorist name he used as Arafat’s second-in-command.)

Notice how the interviewer doesn’t even address the issue of Abbas inciting terrorism, but pulls the case of an Arab bus driver who died yesterday, as though that made the savage murder of four Jews at prayer legitimate. That Arab driver, by the way, had a full investigation and an autopsy done on him and there is no doubt he committed suicide. Unlike the Palestinian Authority, Israel jails murderers no matter who they are.

I really felt like saying ‘Kol Hakavod’ when Bennett held up a picture of one of the victims, which the interviewer hastily told him to put down lest he upset the gentle sensibilities of her viewers. I think it is absolutely essential to do just that – to let the British public see what their government is funding and supporting. And I hope it upsets them to the point of utter shame.

At the end of the interview, Bennett says that Britain is going to have to make a choice of whether they support the Free World or not. As I’m sure Bennett knows, the British Government has already made that choice. Which is why, perhaps, they feel compelled to put up with soldiers being beheaded in broad daylight and no go areas for police and non-Muslims in London and other large British cities.

The murderers were both killed in a shootout with police at the scene. They were Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal from the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Needless to say, they were acclaimed as heroes and martyrs by all the factions of the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians.

A Palestinian woman scatters sweets as she celebrates with others an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue

Palestinian supporters of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (PFLP), a small militant group, dance while waving their flags, after they heard the news of the shooting

“We responded with shouts of joy when we received the news about their deaths,” Ala’a Abu Jamal said of his cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal to Yedioth Aharonoth. “People here distributed candies to guests who visited us, and there was joy for the martyrs.”

In a message published on its official new website Al-Resalah, Hamas said the attack was “a quality development in fighting the occupation. We highly value the heroism of its operatives.” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack on Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera as “heroic,” calling for more attacks of the same kind.

Hamas MP Mushir Al-Masri happily wrote on Twitter that “Jerusalem has nothing but men who love martyrdom. The heroes of the knife are in Jerusalem. The heroes of the run-over [car attacks] are in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem men take revenge.”

And he posted this on his Facebook page:

A cartoon posted on the Facebook page of Hamas MP Mushir Al-Masri has perpetrators of the Jerusalem attack dressed in religious Jewish garb asking 'where are they?' (photo credit: Facebook)

The Arab killer is asking ‘Where are they hiding?” Needless to say, in spite of what this cartoon shows none of the worshipers were armed.

And Fatah? Mahmoud Abbas, AKA Abu Mazen issued a ‘condemnation’ that wasn’t one. In a statement (in English, not Arabic) it said that “The Palestinian presidency” condemns violence “from whatever source” and “demands an end to the invasions of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the provocations of the Settlers.”

In other words, ‘So sorry, but unless you surrender Jerusalem to us expect more of the same.’

This is the same Mahmoud Abbas who accused Jews of “contaminating” Al-Aqsa Mosque last week, who just a few days ago was telling his people, in Arabic, to ‘defend Jerusalem’ by any means necessary. This is the same Mahmoud Abbas who said nothing when Fatah published cartoons and Facebook posts encouraging terrorist attacks on Jews and “days of rage” to defend the ‘threatened’ Al-Aqsa.

Tawfik Tirawi, former chief of the Palestinian General Security in the West Bank and a member of Fatah’s Central Committee made it even plainer, and in Arabic. Today he told a radio station in Hebron that the attack was “nothing but a reaction to the recent crimes of the occupation and the settlers in occupied Jerusalem and across the nation. The threats of the occupation against our people and the Palestinian leadership, represented by the president, will only increase our efforts in safeguarding our rights.”

His remarks were reprinted on Fatah’s official Facebook page.

I should make something clear here. This is not the fault of Abbas, or Hamas, or any of the Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians.

It is the fault of the Israeli government.

A significant number of the Palestinians are simply acting as they have always acted since the 1920′s, and these tendencies were unleashed even further once Arafat and the PLO were allowed in to take over after Oslo.

http://thesystemworks.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/hebron_massacre_newspaper.jpg

Israeli governments since Oslo have always allowed themselves to be pressured to ignore these instances of sheer horror… to release  convicted murderers, to make concessions to the terrorist entities on Israel’s borders, and most of all to avoid  finishing them off entirely when their violence and bloodshed mandated a response. This has been especially true since Barack Obama, who styles himself as the Palestinian’s very own community organizer entered the White House.

Is it any wonder that this sort of thing continues to happen? Is it really so puzzling that after allowing Hamas to continue in Gaza and maintaining any kind of relationship with Abbas and the PLO once they allied themselves openly with Hamas that they would resort back to Arafat’s tactics?

Yasser Arafat himself outlined for his followers what this war was really about. On Jordanian TV, right after signing the Oslo Accords he was criticized for signing a peace agreement with the Jews. He responded by reminding his audience of the Peace of Hubidiyeh, a treaty Mohammed made with the Quraysh tribe that he violated as soon as he was strong enough to massacre them, a story every Muslim knows. And then he outlined exactly what this war was about, saying that “either the Jews will push us into the sea or we will push them into the sea.”

Arafat, the leaders of Hamas and numerous members of Fatah have sung the same songs for years. Is it their fault that Israeli governments for years have refused to take them seriously?

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis HansonA Moral primer submitted by Joshuapundit. Hanson is an old classicist among his other virtues. In this essay, he looks at the state of America and the world, and especially the president who leads us and sees a lack of political and personal morality as a deadly problem, possibly a terminal one for our republic. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

>And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

11/20/14

Complexities and Hard Truths

Arlene from Israel

A bit more follow up and analysis before Shabbat…

Some of the recommended actions I wrote about yesterday, and more, have been put in place.  Not because I wrote about them, obviously, but because the government in this regard is responding with some appropriate security and deterrence measures:

There is now a large police presence in Jerusalem bolstered by Navy commandos who are volunteers serving on their own time.  Troops have been deployed outside of educational institutions and kindergartens, as well as outside some Arab neighborhoods – where checkpoints have been set up for searching people who might be suspect.

Observation balloons (with cameras) are being scattered about the city, controlled from a central command location.  This seems to me a very good idea.  Sometimes from above activity can be spotted that would not be caught by observers on the ground.

And the policy of demolition of terrorists’ homes is being enforced.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187675#.VG33DJtxnIV

There has also been a report from Arutz Sheva – not confirmed elsewhere – that the bodies of the Har Nof terrorists will not be returned to their families.  Great move, if it is so.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187664#.VG4NhJtxnIV

Is all of this sufficient?  I would not go so far as to declare this definitively.  But we are seeing some serious steps in the right direction.

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What’s not serious is the number of “benefits” to the PA that will be put on hold or terminated.  I had anticipated this.  Today I’m reading that there were certain roads in Judea and Samaria that were closed to non-Israelis because of security risks.  Just as over time checkpoints in Judea and Samaria have been removed, those road were scheduled to be opened to Palestinian Arabs soon.  Well, says Bogie Ya’alon, they will not be.  That’s it? Let’s get real here.

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I had written recently about the fact that the men murdered in Har Nof were not settlers, were in western Jerusalem, were not agitators or radical activists, were not people who tend to go up on Har Habayit (The Temple Mount) – even though these various reasons – occupation, Temple Mount agitation, etc. – are provided as the rationale for why the terrorists acted.

The Elder of Zyion blog has carried these thoughts one step further and the analysis is so very important that I want to share it here:

After showing Arab cartoons celebrating the Har Nof massacre such as this one:

He writes (emphasis in the original):

”Images like these are celebrated by many, and condoned by the rest, with their silence.

“This is the fundamental story of the massacre. For once, the motives are crystal-clear.

”It cannot be about ‘occupation’ or ‘settlements’ because the attack was inside the Green Line.
”It cannot be about ‘Al Aqsa’ because the people who prayed there are not the types to ascend.
”It cannot be about ‘Israeli oppression’ because the victims were not soldiers or reservists.

”The facts are undeniable: the terrorists targeted the most Jewish looking people at a synagogue while they were at prayer.

”The cartoons illustrate nicely what the west wants to hide: the targets are Jews. Period.

”Palestinian Arab cartoons in general routinely depict “Israelis” as a Nazi-style caricatures of a bearded, black-clad men, even though no Israeli leader has ever resembled that person. These victims did. The cartoons taught generations of terrorists that their enemy is the Jews, not Israelis.

”The West wants to find excuses for Palestinian terror, to pretend that both sides are part of the problem. But this attack, and these cartoons, combined with the glaring absence of any Palestinians who object to this kind of incitement, reveal the ugly truth: that in the end it is about Jew-hatred. All the other reasons being given by pseudo-intellectuals of ‘occupation’ or ‘Al Aqsa’ or ‘Gaza’ or bus drivers who commit suicide are simply excuses to divert the world’s attention from the simple fact that this is really about the world’s oldest hate.

“Once you realize this you can start to understand the reality and not the spin that we’ve been fed for decades.”

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2014/11/lessons-from-sick-depraved-antisemitic.html#.VG4CvGdxnIU

Wow!  Stunningly on the mark.  Please share this. It deflates all of the arguments of Palestinian Arab “suffering.”

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The mayor of Ashkelon, Itamar Shimoni, has taken a position that is not surprising, and is also not politically correct:

He announced yesterday that Arab workers will no longer be allowed on construction sites at kindergartens in the city where shelters are being built, and that security personnel will be placed at kindergartens near construction sites.  He said he made this decision in consultation with the police.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4594006,00.html

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Well…

The furor is all that we might expect  The mayor is being attacked and accused of racism.  It is being said that he is preventing Arabs from working, and tearing the fabric of good Jewish-Arab relations in the city.  Netanyahu, for example, said that we have no desire to target all Israeli Arabs, 99.9% of whom are decent folk.

My response is also going to be not politically correct, for there are painful realities at work here.  If 99.9% of Israeli Arabs are decent people, then – as there are approximately 1,700,000 Arabs in Israel – we have 1,700 who are not OK.  And the awful truth is that they cannot always be readily identified. The terrorist who shot Yehuda Glick outside of the Begin Center worked in the restaurant in the Center.  One of the terrorists who committed the Har Nof atrocities worked in a grocery store next to the synagogue.

Back in previous years, there have been instances of Arabs who were loyal employees of a business owner for years, and then murdered that business owner.  What seems to have happened is that such employees were recruited by radicals.  As long as we have a reasonable representation of such radicals within our society – radicals who endorse and encourage the killing of Jews – as well as others who are receptive to the messages of the radicals, we have a problem.  What comes to mind most readily is the Islamic Movement of Israel, Northern Branch.  Its leader and members are Israeli citizens.  But they have been shown to have links with Hamas and the Brotherhood.  Of course, there are others as well.

The mayor did not ban employment for Arabs everywhere in the city.  He was concerned with the safety of children.  An alternative to his decision might have been thorough security checks for any Arab who works near the kindergartens.  But let us not pretend there is no problem.

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To demonstrate how things can be, and what a positive attitude is possible, we need only look at the Druse community in Israel, about which so much has been written in the last days.

At the funeral of Zidan Saif yesterday, President Ruby Rivlin spoke, saying:

“He went first into the fire to protect the residents of Jerusalem. Without fear, he faced the terrorists and risked his life to protect the residents of Jerusalem. He acted on the values on which he was raised—courage, valor, self-sacrifice.”

While Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch declared:

“[Saif] is a source of pride for you, the Druse people, for the police, and for the people of Israel.  The values that you instilled in him compelled him to protect, and he fell while defending the state of Israel. We have that shared fate. Together we will fight the murderers.” (Emphasis added)

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Israeli Druse Naif Alian has written a guest column for Israel Hayom.  In it he said:

We, the Druze, are part of the people of Israel. I have never felt a difference between me, my relatives and my friends and the Jewish people. We are one family, always have been and always will be.

“The blood pact between Druze and Jews in the land of Israel began in the 1930s, and it will never be broken. When Haganah forces arrived in Shfaram, my late father Hussein joined them. During the War of Independence, he and 30 other local Druze enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and took part in the liberation of the Galilee.

“In the 1950s, my father was one of the five sheikhs who signed the agreement making military service compulsory for the Druze. In 1957, I lost my brother Salim during his military service. Today, I am the proud father of three IDF officers. They have never felt different from anyone else and have always walked with their heads held high — as I taught them to do.”

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=10645

Beautiful.  As it can be, as it should be, with non-Jewish Israelis who feel connected and choose to be a part of the land and the people. The problem, of course, is that Palestinian Arabs who are Israeli citizens are conflicted in their loyalties in some (definitely not all!) instances, pulled in different directions.

Much to consider, on another day.  Complexities and hard truths.

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We end on this upbeat note:

“In a profound display of faith in the face of carnage, the family of a newborn infant on Wednesday held his circumcision ceremony at the Jerusalem synagogue where terrorists slaughtered worshipers and a police officer exactly 24-hours earlier, Israel’s Ch. 2 News reported.

“’This is Judaism – from tragedy to joy,’ said Mohel Association Chairman, Chaim Miller, who performed the festive ancient ritual – symbolizing the eight-day-old infant’s joining the Jewish people – at the B’nai Torah synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/11/20/brit-held-in-terror-attack-synagogue-in-your-bloods-you-shall-live-video/

(scroll down for the 40 second video)

11/19/14

A Day Later

Arlene from Israel

The death toll in the Nar Nof massacre has risen to five.

Master Sergeant  Zidan Saif, 30 – of the Druse village of Kfar Yanouch in the Galil – was one of the first police officers on the scene during the massacre yesterday, and sustained wounds to his head.  Last night, he succumbed to those wounds in the hospital.  He leaves behind a wife and a four month old daughter.

adaylater

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy: Family

I want to take a moment to pay tribute to him, and to the Druse community in Israel.  Just ten days ago, another Druse, an officer in the Border Police, was killed in the course of a terror attack.  In fact, it seems to me that the Druse have given above and beyond.  It is emblematic that the Druse village of Beit Jann has lost the highest number of men per capita of any locality in the course of Israel’s wars.

Loyal citizens of Israel, the Druse serve proudly in the IDF, and in various police units. The families accept with dignity the sacrifices of sons lost in battles on behalf of Israel.

Saif was buried today.  Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) were in attendance in large numbers in order to pay tribute to him for giving his life in an effort to protect members of their community. Buses were organized to bring people from Jerusalem to the village in the north.  Calls went out for young people of the community to attend as well: “We won’t be ungrateful, we will show our gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives for us.”

Thousands at Sif's funeral (Photo: Avihu Shapira)

Credit: Avihu Shapira

This, my friends, is precisely how it should be.

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The Har Nof casualties, then:

Sergeant Zidan Saif, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Kalman Levine,
Rabbi Moshe Twersky and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky

~~~~~~~~~~

The horror stories continue – told by witnesses and survivors.  It would seem that the cream of the religious community of Har Nof was killed in the attack.

There are injured still in critical condition. Two had surgery yesterday, and one has regained consciousness.  One of the badly injured is reported to have severe brain damage.

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It is very much the practice here in Israel to resume “business as usual” as quickly as possible, so that terrorists cannot think they are able to disrupt our lives.  Thus did davening (praying) continue this morning in the synagogue where the attack took place.

Prayer service Wednesday morning (Photo: Noam (Dabul) Dvir)

Credit: Noam (Dabul) Dvir

Those who pray in the synagogue regularly were joined by others – including a couple of MKs – who came in a show of solidarity.  Here, on the right, you see Naftali Bennett:

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (R) prays inside a synagogue where two terrorists from East Jerusalem killed five people on Tuesday. November 19, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

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The question now is where we go from here in dealing with the violence.  As I am reading it, this particular attack has been a turning point psychologically.  Instead of mumblings about whether this or that attack may be leading towards an intifada, I now read reference to the fact that we’re dealing with an intifada.  For all intents and purposes that is a recognition of war.

And so?

~~~~~~~~~~

Let me begin by saying that while I am reading calls for this, I do not believe that attempting to seize control of the Temple Mount now would be a constructive act.  I have written extensively about the fact that King Abdullah of Jordan sits uneasily on his throne. Were he to be toppled, he would be replaced by jihadis and radicals – and this would definitely not be in our best interest. What is more, we have a relationship with Jordan that is valuable in a host of other ways.

One of the ways Abdullah maintains political strength and commands respect from the people is by demonstrating that he – via the Jordanian Wakf – exercises control on the Mount and is able to confront Israel. He makes a great show of this.  And while it is not to my liking, I do understand it.  To undercut Abdullah now, while the region is in such ferment, would be unwise.

Do I think what Moshe Dayan did was deplorable?  Yes.  Do I believe Jews should have full and equal rights on the Mount? Absolutely. But what was done badly in the past must be undone when the time is right.

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More to the point, I believe, is exercising full Israeli sovereignty and control over all Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem.  Not incidentally, this includes effective control over Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives) and the ancient Jewish cemetery there, where we are still seeing Arab vandalism and destruction of graves.

The need to be strong – to make the Arabs fear us – is a point I’ve already made. There will be much to write about in coming weeks.  Some measures have already been taken –  strengthening of certain laws, etc. But not nearly enough yet.  Some thoughts:

We need to bring out the army and have an on-going military presence in the city.  Checkpoints, if necessary, at intersections leading in and out of the most troublesome neighborhoods.  There should be a situation in which Arabs with knives and cleavers are likely to be caught before they use their weapons.  They should at least know they cannot walk around with such weapons with impunity.

We need to increase our intelligence and behave proactively to bring in people plotting attacks before they are reality – with preventative detention of agitators.

There are caches of guns in Arab areas of Jerusalem, and they need to be searched out and confiscated.  I find it deplorable that this has not yet been done.

~~~~~~~~~~

Naftali Bennett gave an interview on Army Radio today in which he espoused this sort of approach.

We should not active defensively, he says, but go on the attack, just as we did to put down terrorism in Arab areas of Judea and Samaria, in 2002, in Operation Defensive Shield.  Terror infrastructure must be rooted out.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Bennett-calls-for-military-operation-in-east-Jerusalem-to-root-out-terror-382236

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In line with this shift in attitude, I would hope for a proud stance that no longer reflected continual anxiety about what the international community is thinking.

It is time to openly conceptualize the PA and Abbas as the enemy, not as a potential partner, whom the world is waiting for us to sit down and talk to as soon as matters settle down. Passing the law establishing Israel as a Jewish state is a part of this thinking.

Defense Minister Ya’alon has announced that certain benefits that were to be accorded the PA will be put on hold now.  I read this and thought, Is there any question? Benefits for the PA?  But those benefits that Ya’alon has in mind are almost certainly only a small part of the courtesies and services that have been extended to the PA and that should now be terminated.

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Other issues connected to this situation:

We are dealing with multiple Arab populations, which makes matters more complex: There are Arabs living in parts of Judea and Samaria administered by the PA, who either enter Israel legally to work, or enter illegally.  There are Arabs in Jerusalem who have Jerusalem residency cards. And there are Arabs who are full citizens of Jerusalem.  Each of these populations requires a different response.

Simmering under the surface is the issue of our jurisdiction in Area C in Judea and Samaria – over which, according to Oslo, we were to have civil and military control.  I cannot say this is a question of sovereignty, because – unfortunately – we have not declared sovereignty in this area (yet).  But it is a close second, in terms of losing our prerogatives in an area over which we were supposed to have control. And this, in my opinion, is directly connected to the governmental mental set (which must change now) regarding such matters as slipshod control over certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

No one said this was going to be easy to sort out.  Or to make right.

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As I continue to track what’s going on, I hope I can bring some good news and a smile to my readers time and again.

What I will say here is that Israelis are extraordinarily resilient. We are determined to come out on top in this struggle, for this is our land.  Enormously important, as we fight this fight, is unity among the people:  We must hold fast as one.