Month: September 2017


The Shofar's Call: Yom Kippur 5778: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Sept. 29, 2017 — The shofar, New Year’s symbol, blows…

Yom Kippur Thoughts: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, Sept. 28, 2017— Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment.

From Poland to Lithuania: A Writer’s Search for Her Jewish Past: Charly Wilder, New York Times, Sept. 18, 2017— I think I was in an iced-over bus lot in northeastern Poland, standing in front of a mound of desecrated gravestones, when I first had the feeling that Jewish heritage travel in Europe might be a mistake.

On Becoming an American: Ben Cohen, JNS, Sept. 20, 2017— This week, I became an American citizen.


On Topic Links


Yom Kippur: Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 29, 2017

The Most Interesting Jews of 5778: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Sept. 29. 2017

Israeli Identity: What Has Changed This Year?: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Sept. 29, 2017

A Chorus of Mazel Tovs in Uganda: Merissa Nathan Gerson, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017



Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Sept. 29, 2017


In Loving Memory of Malca z”l


The shofar, New Year’s symbol, blows

The long-drawn call for all humanity!

A call for peace that’s yet to be

Addressed to all humanity.


Within the little synagogue the lights are dim

We hear the shofar sound–

Piercing a silence that seems

To pray, for you and me, its call

A prayer for you and all.


A call for a peace yet to be,

A long-drawn note to all humanity:

The tone resounds,

And mankind knows

It is the call for love,

For a humanness yet to be…


All around the air is hushed!

We hear the shofar’s blast redound:

From my heart, may peace abound!


(Baruch Cohen, CIJR’s Research Chairman, will soon be celebrating his 98th birthday)





Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jewish Press, Sept. 28, 2017


Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment. At no other time are we so sharply conscious of standing before God, of being known by Him. But it begins in the strangest of ways.


Kol Nidre, the prayer that heralds the evening service and the beginning of the sanctity of the day, is the key that unlocks the Jewish heart. Its melody is haunting. As the cantor sings, we hear in that ancient tune the deepest music of the Jewish soul, elegiac yet striving, pained but resolute, the song of those who knew that to believe is to suffer and still to hope, the music of our ancestors that stretches out to us from the past and enfolds us in its cadences, making us and them one. The music is sublime. Tolstoy called it a melody that “echoes the story of the great martyrdom of a grief-stricken nation.” Beethoven came close to it in the most otherworldly and austere of his compositions, the sixth movement of the C Sharp Minor Quartet, opus 131. The music is pure poetry but the words are prosaic prose.


Kol Nidre means “all vows.” The passage itself is not a prayer at all, but a dry legal formula annulling in advance all vows, oaths and promises between us and God in the coming year. Nothing could be more incongruous, less apparently in keeping with the solemnity of the day. Indeed, for more than a thousand years there have been attempts to remove it from the liturgy. Why annul vows? Better, as the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis argued, not to make them in the first place if they could not be kept. Besides, though Jewish law admits the possibility of annulment, it does so only after patient examination of individual cases. To do so globally for the whole community was difficult to justify.


From the eighth century onwards we read of gaonim, rabbinic leaders, who condemned the prayer and sought to have it abolished. Five centuries later a new note of concern was added. In the Christian-Jewish disputation in Paris in 1240, the Christian protagonist Nicholas Donin attacked Kol Nidre as evidence that Jews did not feel themselves bound by their word, a claim later repeated by anti-Semitic writers. In vain, Jews explained that the prayer had nothing to do with promises between man and man. It referred only to private commitments between man and God. All in all, it was and is a strange way to begin the holiest of days.


Yet the prayer survived all attempts to have it dislodged. One theory, advanced by Joseph Bloch in I917 and adopted by Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz, is that it had its origins in the forced conversion of Spanish Jews to Christianity under the Visigoths in the seventh century. These Jews, the first Marranos, publicly abandoned their faith rather than face torture and death, but they remained Jews in secret. On the Day of Atonement they made their way back to the synagogue and prayed to have their vow of conversion annulled. Certainly some such reason lies behind the declaration immediately prior to Kol Nidre in which the leaders of prayer solemnly grant permission “by the authority of the heavenly and earthly court” for “transgressors” to join the congregation in prayer. This was a lifting of the ban of excommunication against Jews who, during the year, had been declared to have placed themselves outside the community. That, surely, is the significance of Kol Nidre in the Jewish imagination. It is the moment when the doors of belonging are opened, and when those who have been estranged return.


The Hebrew word teshuvah, usually translated as “penitence,” in fact means something else: returning, retracing our steps, coming home. It belongs to the biblical vision in which sin means dislocation, and punishment is exile: Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden, Israel’s exile from its land. A sin is an act that does not belong, one that transgresses the moral boundaries of the world. One who acts in ways that do not belong eventually finds that he does not belong. Increasingly he places himself outside the relationships – of family, community and of being at one with history – that make him who he is. The most characteristic sense of sin is less one of guilt than of being lost. Teshuvah means finding your way back home again.


That, on this night of nights, is what Jews do. The synagogue is full of the faces of those who rarely visit it. During the year – albeit less dramatically than their medieval predecessors – they may have been Marranos, hidden Jews. They have worn other masks, carried different identities. But on Yom Kippur night the music of Kol Nidre has spoken to them and they have said: here is where I belong. Among my people and its faith. I am a Jew. In ancient Israel, there were holy places. The land itself was holy. Holier still was the city of Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem the holiest site was the Temple. Within the Temple was the supremely sacred place known as the Holy of Holies. There was holy time. There were the festivals. Above them was the Sabbath, the day God himself declared holy. Above even that was the one day in the year known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths, the most holy day of all: the Day of Atonement.


There were holy people. Israel was called “a holy nation.” Among them was a tribe of special sanctity, the Levites, and within it were individuals who were holier still, the kohanim (priests). Among them was one person who was supremely holy, the high priest. In ancient times the holiest man entered the holiest place on the holiest day of the year and sought atonement for his people. Then the Temple was destroyed. Jerusalem lay in ruins. Devastated, too, was the spiritual life of Israel. There were no sacrifices and no high priest. None of the rites of the Day of Atonement, spelled out in the Book of Leviticus, could be performed. How then could sins be purged and the people of Israel annually restore their relationship with God?


One saying has come down to us from that time, a sentence that rescued Judaism from the ruins. Its author, Rabbi Akiva, lived through the destruction. His early years were spent as an illiterate shepherd. Tradition tells us that he fell in love with Rachel, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem. She agreed to marry him on condition that he studied and became a Torah scholar. Her father disinherited her, but she remained devoted to Akiva, who eventually became the supreme scholar of his day and one of the architects of rabbinic Judaism. He died, a martyr, at the hands of the Romans.


Rabbi Akiva was a remarkable man. It was at his insistence that the Song of Songs was included in the biblical canon. He framed a number of enactments to foster love as the basis of marriage. He said, “Beloved is mankind, for it is created in the image of God,” and declared that “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is the fundamental principle of Judaism. But above all he could see through catastrophe. When others wept at the destruction of the Temple, Rabbi Akiva preserved a spirit of hope, saying that since it had been prophesied, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which had also been prophesied, would also come to pass. “Whatever God does is for the best.” About the Day of Atonement he said this: “Happy are you, O Israel! Before whom are you purified and who purifies you? Your Father in heaven, as it is said: ‘And I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be purified’ ” (Ezekiel 36:25).


Israel did not need a Temple or a high priest to secure atonement. It had lost its holiest place and person. But it still had the day itself: holy time. On that day every place becomes a holy place and every person a holy individual standing directly before God. By turning to Him in teshuvah it is as if we had brought an offering in the Temple, because God hears every cry that comes from the heart. When there is no high priest to mediate between Israel and God, we speak to God directly and he accepts our prayer. So it has been for almost two thousand years.


So we fast and remove our shoes and dress in white shrouds. We spend the day in prayer and confession as if each of us stood in the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem, because God heeds not who or where we are, but how we live. And though we no longer have a Temple and its offerings, we have something that is no less a powerful prayer: the “service of the heart.” Hear our voice, Lord our God, Have pity and compassion on us, And with compassion and favor accept our prayer…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                




A WRITER’S SEARCH FOR HER JEWISH PAST                                                          

Charly Wilder

New York Times, Sept. 18, 2017


I think I was in an iced-over bus lot in northeastern Poland, standing in front of a mound of desecrated gravestones, when I first had the feeling that Jewish heritage travel in Europe might be a mistake. I had been walking with a guide and an interpreter, both Polish men in late middle age, through Makow Mazowiecki, a small town about 45 miles north of Warsaw. This was where two of my great-grandparents were born in the late 19th century, when Jews made up nearly half the local population.


Like the vast majority of American Jews, I descend from Yiddish-speaking Europeans who settled along the Rhine River around the first millennium. Known as Ashkenazi Jews (Ashkenazi being an old term for German), they later moved to the edges of the Russian Empire, the so-called Pale of Settlement, an area spanning much of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldova, where Jews were allowed to reside.


All eight of my great-grandparents immigrated around the turn of the century from the Pale to the United States. They settled in New Jersey, where my father grew up, and Kansas City, Mo., where my mother, and later my brothers and I, were raised among the mowed lawns and flush supermarkets of Midwestern suburbia. “They lived in shtetls,” my parents would say, using the Yiddish diminutive for town. “Backward, mud-caked, poverty-stricken little villages surrounded by anti-Semites.” Or something along those lines.


It wasn’t until recently, after a decade of living in Europe, that I decided to find out more about my ancestors, to travel to the places they were from and see what, if anything, remained of the shtetl world they had left behind. In this, I wasn’t alone. Jewish heritage tourism has been growing steadily since the fall of the Iron Curtain, when the former Pale of Settlement began to open up to Western tourists. The influx of foreign interest has encouraged a re-examination of Jewish history, especially in larger urban centers. New museums, most notably Warsaw’s phenomenal Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, but also smaller institutions throughout Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic nations, cater to visitors of Eastern European Jewish descent.


“It’s a tremendous change,” said Tomasz Cebulski, a Polish Holocaust scholar whom I contacted early in my heritage quest. “Within the last 25 years in this country, it’s like day and night,” said Mr. Cebulski, whose company, Polin Travel, offers Jewish heritage tours and genealogical services. He attributes the change partly to the lifting of taboos around discussion of Judaism and the Holocaust — but also to growing interest in ancestral research. In addition to hundreds of booming genealogical resources like and FamilySearch, there are numerous sites geared to Jews, most notably JewishGen, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the New York-based Museum of Jewish Heritage, with more than 20 million records and links to country-specific Jewish record archives, like Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (


But like most genealogical quests, mine started the old-fashioned way, through talking to relatives. My mother knew a few facts. Samuel Frank Wengrover, her maternal grandfather, was a tailor from Makow Mazowiecki. After arriving in New York around the turn of the century, he moved to Alabama and opened a tailor shop. It was almost immediately burned down by Klansmen types. “So he picked up and moved to Kansas City and tried it again,” my mother said. My father knew that his mother’s family, the Russaks, moved around the same time from Lodz, Poland, to the Jewish section of Paterson, N.J. The whole family had once been Orthodox, but had forsaken religion and “turned into Communists.” Of his father’s Lithuanian parents, he knew almost nothing.


I set up an account on and began building a tree, adding facts the website extracted from now-digitized public records. At the same time, I started reaching out through the JewishGen databases to people who had searched similar name-and-place combinations. That’s where I found Kathy Herman. I had never heard of her, but she turned out to be my second cousin on the Russak side. Her grandfather, Benny, was the brother of my great-grandfather Joe. She was the first to tell me the names of their parents: Moishe Meyer Russak and Mindel Stetin. “Family lore is that she was raped by a Cossack, and my grandfather killed the guy,” she wrote in an email. “They hanged my grandfather by his hair (I don’t even really know what that means), and then the Russaks had to get Benny out fast.” That, Kathy said, is why the Russaks moved to the United States. Not exactly “Fievel Goes West,” but I was hooked. She had two addresses in Lodz where the Russaks had lived. Armed with these anecdotal scraps and scant genealogical documents, I was off. Old Country or bust.


In Warsaw I met a man who has been working for decades as a fixer for Jewish visitors researching their Polish roots. It’s a job that often stirs resentment in Poland, especially since the current right-wing government came to power, said the fixer, a retiree with kind eyes and a talkative, disheveled demeanor who asked that his identity be concealed. Widespread anti-Semitism persists, he said, and there is fear, especially in remote, provincial areas — shtetl country — that the descendants of Polish Jews will come back and claim their stolen property. “Keep in mind that Poland before the Second World War was like the United States. We had a huge mixture of minorities, and the Jews made up 10 percent of the prewar Polish population,” he said, as we drove past fields of black currants, lindens and the occasional roadside taverns, until we reached Plock…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                



ON BECOMING AN AMERICAN                                           

                                                          Ben Cohen        

JNS, Sept. 20, 2017


This week, I became an American citizen. As I intently studied my naturalization certificate after the oath-taking ceremony, it struck me how fortunate I am to be accepted into this nation on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, of all occasions. I should stress that my own story is rather routine and uninteresting. I came to the US from the United Kingdom with my family, I had a job and a home in New York, and as the years went by, I progressed from a work visa to a “green card” to full citizenship. Along the way, I did nothing more dramatic than fill out lots of forms and attend periodic interviews with immigration officials.


But there were 199 other people in the room with me, from 60 different countries, and with vastly different experiences that, nonetheless, led us all to this single moment. As I wound my way to my seat, climbing as delicately as possible over the outstretched knees and handbags on the narrow floor between the rows in the auditorium, I said hello to individuals I learned were originally from New Zealand, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines. When we went up to the stage to collect our naturalization certificates, it felt as if the entire world had been locked in the embrace of American democracy: a fellow from Cote d’Ivoire, another from Mali, a young woman from Bangladesh, an older woman from Ukraine, even a couple of people from Israel, just moments after we all swore the same oath of allegiance before the same flag.


For me, taking the oath was the most powerful part of the ceremony — the clearest reminder that America is built upon the idea of liberty, and the most compelling signal to all of us present we were now participants in the American republic. Consider, if you will, the last clause of the oath: “…and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” Is there any pithier expression of the idea that we are, as humans, bestowed with individual consciousness, along with an innate ability to think and speak freely and make our own decisions, so long as the circumstances allow? Does any country represent and respect that idea better than the United States?


More than two centuries after the American Revolution, we accept this idea as commonplace. But that ceremony reminded me of just how revolutionary it is. Thomas Paine — a son of Norfolk, England, who came to these shores in 1774 — wrote in his splendid pamphlet, “Common Sense,” that the “independence of America, considered merely as separation from England, would have been but a matter but of little importance, had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practice of governments.”


These principles have been considered utopian, but I believe they also reveal a fundamental truth about how humans should be governed. We are imperfect, we are selfish, we will always clash, but we have as well common principles and common beliefs that bring us together — the task of government, therefore, is to reconcile those two poles in a manner that is lawful and liberal in the classical sense of that term. For all the bitterness of our current politics, who wants to live in a society where beliefs and opinions are imposed from above? I’d rather be free to pick my way through the drek of social media than have my access blocked by the government. I’d rather be free to express disappointment in the society I live in — silly and unjustified or eloquent and persuasive — than be compelled by my rulers to toe the line. That is a key element of the historic promise the US continues to offer.


In his speech to the UN on Tuesday, President Donald Trump quoted John Adams, the second US president, observing the American Revolution was “effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.” That collective sense of freedom — which breeds furiously divergent opinions, rather than dull uniformity — is what led the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville to note in 1831 that America’s free press contained “such a strange mixture of good and evil that, without its presence, freedom could not thrive and with its presence good order could hardly survive.”


That ever-present tension, perhaps, is part of freedom’s very nature ­– yet as the years have progressed, “good order” has become more stable at no discernible cost to our revolutionary liberties. And it’s that same good order that allows us to take for granted what our forefathers in foreign lands certainly did not: the right to spend a peaceful Rosh Hashanah with one’s family in a land with no established religion. This year, I will do that as an American for the very first time. Shanah Tovah.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters an Easy Fast & Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic Links



Yom Kippur: Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 29, 2017—1. Yom Kippur is one of the six main annual Jewish fasting days: (a) The 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei is Yom Kippur, an annual day of repentance for one’s misconduct toward fellow human-beings – in order to minimize future missteps – the cleansing of one’s behavior, recognition of one’s fallibilities, forgiveness of fellow human-beings’ misconduct.

The Most Interesting Jews of 5778: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Sept. 29. 2017—It's become a Rosh Hashanah tradition for newspapers to publish lists of the "most influential" or "most prominent" Jews. The lists are mainly a potpourri of the wealthy, powerful, organizationally well-positioned or pop-culture famous.

Israeli Identity: What Has Changed This Year?: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Sept. 29, 2017—External threats to our existence as Israelis create an awareness of a common fate. It is tempting to focus on such threats, because they provide a comfort zone in which security-political experts can ask the familiar question: how will we continue to defend our existence over the coming year? By concentrating on this question, we have found a way to repress basic questions about Israeli identity.

A Chorus of Mazel Tovs in Uganda: Merissa Nathan Gerson, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017—Seven years ago, Shadrach Mugoya Levi drove three hours from his rural village of Magada in the Namutumba District of Uganda to find a woman named Naomi. His friends had insisted he meet her. When he arrived at her house, her mother answered the door and said: “No, my daughter is too young.”








IDF: Israel Prepared to ‘Neutralise’ Hezbollah with ‘Overwhelming’ Force in Next War: Adam Abrams, JNS, Sept. 19, 2017— Despite the raging civil war to Israel’s north and east in Syria, the Jewish state’s northern border has remained precariously quiet over the last decade.

Victory, Not Deterrence, Will be the Goal if There is Another Gaza War: Yaakov Lappin, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 29, 2017— In past models of conflict, Israel responded to Hamas aggression through the use of force in a way that was designed to punish Hamas and convince it to return to a state of calm.

Israel Unveils New Defense Technology That Can Predict Future Battlefields: Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 5, 2017— As the nation’s enemies continue to develop their military capabilities, Israel works to stay at least one step ahead, predicting what types of technology will be needed in future wars.

Israel Has a Playbook for Dealing With North Korea: Zev Chafets, Bloomberg, Sept. 7, 2017 — Israel and North Korea are on opposite sides of the Asian landmass, separated by 5,000 miles as the ICBM flies.


On Topic Links


As Syrian War Winds Down, Israel Sets Sights on Hezbollah: National Post, Sept. 20, 2017

Israel vs. Iran and Hezbollah: Towards a Military Clash?: Ehud Eilam, Israel Defense, Sept. 14, 2017

Cyber Warfare — Reasons Why Israel Leads The Charge: Christopher P. Skroupa , Forbes, Sept. 7, 2017

‘Killer Robots’ Can Make War Less Awful: Jeremy Rabkin and John Yoo, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2, 2017






Adam Abrams

JNS, Sept. 19, 2017


Despite the raging civil war to Israel’s north and east in Syria, the Jewish state’s northern border has remained precariously quiet over the last decade. No stranger to looming threats, Israeli officials are planning and ready for several worst-case scenarios in the north as Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah continue to forge their stranglehold on the region…


In a possible war scenario with Hezbollah, the Israeli military can launch a “massive and overwhelming” operation that would effectively “neutralize” a significant part of the Lebanese terror organization’s military capability, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the head of the International Media Branch for the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, told The IDF’s operation would be based on “very accurate intelligence” collected “relentlessly” and “would minimize to the greatest extent possible, harm to non-combatants…. by using the most precise guided munitions that strike only at the legitimate military targets,” Conricus said.


Striking only Hezbollah targets without collateral damage will be a challenging military feat because Hezbollah is deliberately “deployed in order to maximize collateral damage” to civilians, he added. One-third of the homes in southern Lebanon’s 130 villages are known to house military components belonging to Hezbollah. “Hezbollah’s strategic choice of the battlefield, embedding its military assets in Shiite villages and towns, has put the majority of the Shiite population in Lebanon in harm’s way, using it as human shields….” Brigadier general (Res.) Assaf Orion, a senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), told


Defeating the terror group would likely involve “significant IDF ground incursions into Lebanon as well as taking out Hezbollah rocket positions located in high-density population areas,” in hospitals, schools and apartment buildings, Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told In a future conflict, one could expect “significant damage to Israel,” Orion said, but simultaneously “a devastating and unprecedented destruction in Lebanon, including a significant victory against Hezbollah’s military forces and destruction of most infrastructure enabling its war fighting capacity.”


Due to Hezbollah’s deep entrenchment within civilian infrastructure, the IDF has narrow windows of opportunity to engage “legitimate military targets,” Conricus said. However, the IDF is prepared for this scenario and recently completed its largest drill in two decades in Israel’s northern region, simulating cross-border Hezbollah attacks on Israeli towns in which the terror group aims to commit massacres and take hostages.


The exercise was planned over a year and half in advance and tens of thousands of soldiers from all branches of the IDF participated. During the initial stage of the drill, soldiers simulated rooting out Hezbollah terrorists from Israeli towns and defending the Jewish state’s sovereignty. The drill’s second stage simulated “decisive maneuver warfare” into the depths of Hezbollah’s territory, Conricus said. The exercise sought to enhance “coordination and synchronization” between the IDF’s ground forces, air force, navy, intelligence and cyber units, and shorten “the intelligence cycle” from when a “target is identified to any type of munition meeting that target,” he added.


The IDF has acknowledged that since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has matured from a guerilla organization to a fighting force equipped with heavy artillery, high-precision missiles and drones. The terror group also receives about $800 million a year in funding from Iran. A third of Hezbollah’s forces are currently entrenched in Syria’s ongoing civil war — becoming battle-hardened, but simultaneously overstretched, losing some 2,000 fighters in the conflict.


Hezbollah and Iran have established weapons factories in Lebanon that can produce powerful missiles and, according to the IDF official, “more than 120,000 rocket launchers and rockets” are positioned in southern Lebanon, “in clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.” Iran and Hezbollah are also constructing permanent military facilities in southern Syria to establish a land bridge stretching from Tehran to Beirut along Israel’s northern border.


According to Schanzer, this indicates the next war with Hezbollah “would likely be a two-front battle in Lebanon and Syria,” which could also include other Iranian terror proxies in the region. The IDF official confirmed, “it is definitely possible and plausible” that the Israeli military will be required to fight on more than one front, which the military is prepared for.


Using its “networked intelligence,” the IDF is prepared to implement “a massive precision strike…. on a scale which far exceeds the assessed growth in Hezbollah’s military [capability],” Orion said. Since 2006, Hezbollah has occasionally been given a glimpse of the “quality, scope and intimacy” of Israeli intelligence collected against it, the IDF official said, which has created a deterrence and quiet for the past 11 years. A recent purported Israeli airstrike against a Syrian chemical weapons facility Sept. 7, which occurred during the massive IDF exercise, may have served as one such glimpse into Israel’s intelligence capability directed against the terror group and its allies.


Israel is “far better prepared for the next war with Hezbollah” than it was in the 2006, Schanzer said. “We see now the appearance of stealth tank technology, the preparation for ground warfare and the possibility of tunnels into Israel… as well as the preparation for mass volleys of rockets launched by Hezbollah into Israel.” The Israeli Air Force has also acquired several new state-of-the-art F-35 “Adir” stealth fighter jets, and in recent weeks the military unveiled multiple revolutionary defense technologies that will soon be added to its arsenal.                                                                     





Yaakov Lappin

Arutz Sheva, Aug. 29, 2017


In past models of conflict, Israel responded to Hamas aggression through the use of force in a way that was designed to punish Hamas and convince it to return to a state of calm. Systematically destroying Hamas’s military capabilities was not an Israeli objective. Today, while Israel hopes to avoid war, it is preparing for the possibility of a new conflict. War could erupt again in Gaza for a wide range of reasons.


Should hostilities resume, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) plans to make sure the end stage of that clash will be an unmistakable Israeli victory, and that no one will be able to mistake it for a tie or stalemate. This change in approach has been brewing over the past three years, ever since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014. That operation was launched by Israel to defend itself against large-scale projectile attacks and cross-border tunnel threats from Gaza. At two months’ duration, it was one of Israel’s most protracted conflicts. It was also the third large-scale clash fought with Hamas since 2009. At the end of each round of fighting, the military wing of Hamas remained intact, and was able to quickly begin rearming and preparing new capabilities for the next outbreak of hostilities.


Should Hamas initiate another conflict with Israel, Jerusalem should not be expected to return to the deterrence model. It will not make do with the goal of returning calm to the area, as it did in 2014, 2012, and 2009. Instead, Israel would likely seek to destroy Hamas’s military wing, including its underground labyrinth of tunnels under Gaza City, built to enable operations out of Israel’s sight. Hamas’s decision to embed many of its offensive capabilities in Gaza’s civilian areas will not immunize it to Israeli strikes. The IDF would, however, make every effort to minimize harm to noncombatants.


After 2014, the IDF’s Southern Command began moving away from the “frequent rounds” model, concluding that Israel should not be dragged into major armed conflicts with Hamas every two to three years. The Southern Command identified three alternatives for Israel and Gaza. Under the first, Israel would continue to experience short, temporary truces – an option deemed unacceptable. In the second scenario, Israel would conquer Gaza and topple the Hamas regime completely. In such a scenario, Israel would either rule the Strip and its two million Palestinian inhabitants or find someone who would. It is unlikely that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would take over Gaza after an Israeli “handoff.” Not only would the PA lose domestic legitimacy, but its ability to retain Gaza without IDF assistance would be in serious doubt.


As a result of these calculations, the defense establishment identified a long-term truce, fueled by Israeli deterrence, as the best option. That is the current situation between the combatants: a long-term truce. During the time the truce has lasted, the idea of facing two bad choices – occupying Gaza or accepting the “frequent rounds” model – has evolved. One possibility, in the event of a new conflict, is that the IDF takes out Hamas’s military wing but leaves in place its political wing and police force, thereby creating a feasible Israeli exit from Gaza that does not depend on Jerusalem’s finding new rulers for the Strip.


Today, three years after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas continues to rebuild itself. Its domestic arms industry is producing rockets, mortar shells, and tunnels. Tunnels under Gaza City are designed to enable Hamas battalions to launch hit-and-run attacks on the IDF and to move weapons and logistics out of Israel’s sight. The other kind of tunnel threat, the network of cross-border tunnels, is on borrowed time. Israel is building an underground wall along the 65-kilometer Gazan border, and it progresses with each passing day. Israel has invested billions of shekels in that project, and an anti-tunnel detection system is also operational.


Hamas is not sitting idle during the truce. It is looking for new assault tactics. It seeks to be able to flood southern Israel with short-range projectiles that can carry a warhead as big as a half-ton, which would pose a major threat to any built-up area near the Strip. Hamas can also try to paralyze central Israel with medium-range projectiles, even if these are intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. Air raid sirens and interceptions are severely disruptive for Israel even without significant projectile damage.


Hamas continues to work on its naval commando cells, which are designed to infiltrate Israel via the coast. It is also continuing to pursue its drone program, with which it hopes to send explosives at targets in a guided manner. Israel is well aware of these capabilities. Hamas remains a serious combat challenge, and has proven its ability to adapt to Israel’s progress. But Hamas is also under intense, unremitting Israeli intelligence surveillance. Hamas is likely aware that any new clash would involve upgraded Israeli combat capabilities that are better suited for the Gazan arena.


Israel has been using the truce to build up its force and study the Gazan battlefield. It is building a growing fleet of armored personnel carriers and tanks that can defend themselves with active protection systems. In Gaza, where practically every Hamas fighter is armed with an armor-piercing RPG, that kind of protection is a game changer.


Israel’s ability to strike Hamas’s underground city has also been enhanced significantly in recent years. Hamas will have nowhere to hide if war resumes. Hamas is likely aware that although it can pose serious challenges to the IDF and to the Israeli home front, Israel has changed its end game. For the time being, Hamas’s cost benefit analysis has led it to conclude that a lengthy truce is in its own best interest.





THAT CAN PREDICT FUTURE BATTLEFIELDS                                                                    

Anna Ahronheim

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 5, 2017


As the nation’s enemies continue to develop their military capabilities, Israel works to stay at least one step ahead, predicting what types of technology will be needed in future wars. “MAFAT is trying to predict the future battlefield, both in terms of threat and technologically,” Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Danny Gold, head of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT), said on Monday during a briefing for military correspondents at the Kirya army headquarters in Tel Aviv.


MAFAT, which works with the IDF and civilian companies and engages in extensive cooperation with many countries around the world, is critical in providing the technology that make it possible for the IDF to outflank its enemies in all areas. Gold outlined several systems expected to be used by the IDF, including advanced facial-recognition technology, an armed, lightweight quadcopter developed by an Israeli start-up company and a new armored fighting vehicle.


Drawing lessons from 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, where IDF soldiers fought in narrow streets and alleys in the Gaza Strip, the 35-ton, tracked AVF is designed to be simple to operate, relatively inexpensive, agile and lethal with firepower designed for close and urban combat. The AFV, called Carmel (a Hebrew acronym for Advanced Ground Combat Vehicle), is under development by MAFAT and the Defense Ministry’s Merkava Tank Administration and will “constitute a quantum leap” in the field of armored vehicles, Gold said.


As part of the multi-year project, breakthrough technologies are being developed for the Carmel, including modular transparent armor, next-generation cooperative active protection, an IED alert and neutralization system, and a hybrid engine. While MAFAT expects the development and demonstration testing of the Carmel to extend over the coming decade or more, the first stage of the development plan is proof of its feasibility, Gold said. Israel is staying one step ahead of her enemies such as Iran and other countries that have “dramatically improved” their military capabilities, he said.


Gold, who took up his post last year, added that even beyond the Islamic Republic, there has been an expansion of the threats facing Israel, including the continued transfer of advanced weapons to the Middle East, the increase in the intensity and accuracy of firepower by enemy states and sub-state groups, and threats in the cyber domain. “We want total protection and intelligence control in cyberspace,” Gold said, explaining that the use of advanced cameras and other technological advancements were of significant help in the early prevention of terrorist attacks during the recent wave of Palestinian violence in the West Bank.


MAFAT is investing significant effort and funds into safeguarding the borders from existing and future threats, be they from missiles or drones, cyberattacks, and threats from underwater and underground, he said. One project currently in the works to protect Israel from naval threats are two unmanned submarines. One, named Caesar, is a small submarine that would be used primarily for reconnaissance and mapping missions. Developed in cooperation with Ben-Gurion University, the Caesar is at the forefront of global technology, characterized by its ability to dive rapidly and almost vertically.


“What do we need to have in order to be ahead of our enemy? It’s very complicated to think ahead of time how each solution will fit everything,” Gold said, explaining that Israel need robustness and flexibility in all defense systems in order to locate and eliminate any and all possible targets. “For example, the threat posed by precision missiles, it was clear to me that 10 years ago this type of threat would eventuate,” Gold said. Another system developed with the help of MAFAT is the Barak-8 radar, which has since been sold for billions of dollars to international clients. “This was built on the technology that we invested in when no one else believed in it,” he said.                            




ISRAEL HAS A PLAYBOOK FOR DEALING WITH NORTH KOREA                                                               

Zev Chafets       

Bloomberg, Sept. 7, 2017


Israel and North Korea are on opposite sides of the Asian landmass, separated by 5,000 miles as the ICBM flies. But Israelis feels close to the nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang. They have faced this sort of crisis before, and may again.


Some history: In the mid-1970s, it became clear to Israel that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was working on acquiring nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. Saddam had already demonstrated an uninhibited brutality in dealing with his internal enemies and his neighbors. He aspired to be the leader of the Arab world. Defeating Israel was at the top of his to-do list. After coming to office in 1977, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin tried to convince the U.S. and Europe that Saddam was a clear and present danger to the Jewish state, and that action had to be taken. Begin was not taken seriously.


But Begin was serious, and in 1981 he decided that Israel would have to stop the Iraqi dictator all by itself. His political opponents, led by the estimable Shimon Peres, considered this to be dangerous folly. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, the legendary former military chief of staff, voted against unilateral action on the grounds that it would hurt Israel’s international standing. Defense Minister Ezer Weizmann, the former head of the air force (and Dayan’s brother-in-law) was also against a military option. He thought the mission would be unacceptably risky. Begin had no military expertise. But his family had been wiped out in the Holocaust. He looked at Saddam, who was openly threating Israel, and saw Hitler. To Begin, sitting around hoping for the best was not a strategy; it was an invitation to aggression. If there was going to be a cost — political, diplomatic, military — better to pay before, not after, the Iraqis had the bomb.


In the summer of 1981, Begin gave the order. The Israeli air force destroyed the Osirak reactor. The United Nations Security Council condemned the attack. The Europeans went bonkers. The New York Times called it “inexcusable.” But the Israeli prime minister wasn’t looking to be excused by the Times or the Europeans or even the usually friendly Ronald Reagan administration. He enunciated a simple rationale that would come to be known as the Begin Doctrine: Israel will not allow its avowed enemies to obtain the means of its destruction. The wisdom of this doctrine became clear a decade later, during the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein made good on his threat to fire Russian-made SCUD missiles at Israeli cities. The SCUDs landed, and caused some damage and a fair amount of panic, but they were not armed with unconventional warheads. Israel had taken that option off the table.


Similarly, in 2007, Israel confirmed what it had suspected for five years: Syria, with North Korean help, was trying to build a nuclear reactor. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a Begin disciple, sent Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Washington, to ask for American intervention. The CIA chief, Michael Hayden, agreed with Israel’s contention that Damascus (with Iranian financing) was constructing the reactor. But Hayden convinced President George W. Bush that bombing the site would result in all-out war, and who wants that?


Acting on its own, Israel destroyed the Syrian site (reportedly killing a group of North Korean experts in the process). Hayden was wrong about how Syria would react, as he later admitted. If Israel had been reasonable and listened to the CIA, Bashar al-Assad would have nuclear weapons right now. A few years later, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak spent billions of dollars preparing and training to take out the Iranian nuclear program. Barak, not a member of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party, explained: “There are instances where it appears it is not necessary to attack now, but you know that you won’t be able to attack later.” In such cases, he said, the “consequences of inaction are grave, and you have to act.”…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic Links


As Syrian War Winds Down, Israel Sets Sights on Hezbollah: National Post, Sept. 20, 2017—With President Bashar Assad seemingly poised to survive the Syrian civil war, Israeli leaders are growing nervous about the intentions of his Iranian patrons and their emerging corridor of influence across the region.

Israel vs. Iran and Hezbollah: Towards a Military Clash?: Ehud Eilam, Israel Defense, Sept. 14, 2017—Since 1979, Israel and Iran have been in a state of cold war, a conflict which has intensified since the early 2000s with the development of Iran’s nuclear program.

Cyber Warfare — Reasons Why Israel Leads The Charge: Christopher P. Skroupa , Forbes, Sept. 7, 2017—Cyber warfare is a relatively new kind of war that transcends the typical “declaration” that previous wars have had in the past. The war never officially started, yet its investment began more than a decade ago.

‘Killer Robots’ Can Make War Less Awful: Jeremy Rabkin and John Yoo, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2, 2017—On Aug. 20, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and dozens of other tech leaders wrote an open letter sounding the alarm about “lethal autonomous weapons,” the combination of robotics and artificial intelligence that is likely to define the battlefield of the future.













Sam Ball

France 24, 25 aout 2017


Quel est le rôle de Pyongyang dans les programmes d’armemement chimique de Damas ? La question, lancinante depuis plusieurs années pour les questions de missiles balistiques, est revenue sur les devants de la scène après l’interception de deux cargaisons nord-coréennes destinées à la Syrie lors des six derniers mois.


C’est un rapport confidentiel de l’ONU, révélé mardi 22 août par l’agence Reuters, qui rapporte ces interceptions de marchandises violant les sanctions internationales contre la Corée du Nord. "Une commission [d’experts de l’ONU] enquête actuellement sur une coopération interdite entre la Syrie et la Corée du Nord sur des armes chimiques, des missiles balistiques", ont écrit les experts dans le rapport de 37 pages.


Un agent neurotoxique "100 fois plus mortel" que le sarin


La cargaison, dont la nature n’est pas dévoilée dans le rapport, a été expédiée par le Komid (Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation), un exportateur d’armes nord-coréen qui figure sur la liste noire du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU depuis 2009.


Mais c’est surtout le nom du destinataire syrien qui a fait tirer les sonnettes d’alarme dans les corridors des Nations unies. Via des sociétés-écrans, ces cargaisons étaient en effet destinées au Centre syrien d’études et de recherches scientifiques (CERS). Une organisation réputée pour sa supervision du programme d’armes chimiques depuis les années 1970.


"A mon avis, il y a des chances que ces cargaisons contiennent des agents neurotoxiques VX ou les produits chimiques requis pour le fabriquer", affirme Paul Walker, ancien membre de la Commission des forces armées de la Chambre des représentants américaine et responsable actuel à l’ONG Green Cross International.


L’agent VX est une arme chimique décrite par Walker comme "100 fois plus mortelle que le gaz sarin". L’assassinat de Kim Jong-nam, le demi-frère du dirigeant nord-coréen, – empoisonné le 13 février 2017 en Malaisie avec de l'agent VX, a révélé aux yeux du monde entier que le régime de Pyongyang était en possession de cette arme chimique.


"On estime que la Corée du nord a environ 5 000 tonnes de stocks d’armes chimiques (…) C’est peu comparé aux stocks des États-Unis et de la Russie, mais beaucoup plus que la plupart des autres pays, y compris la Syrie", affirme Paul Walker. La plupart de ces stocks nord-coréens sont composés de gaz de combat du type de ceux utilisés pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, comme le gaz moutarde.


La filière chimique nord-coréenne


Le transfert d’armes chimiques aussi mortelles que l’agent VX ou le sarin a des conséquences particulièrement dramatiques en Syrie, où le gouvernement a été accusé à plusieurs reprises d’avoir utilisé de tels armements pour terroriser les populations vivant dans les zones sous contrôle rebelle. Le gouvernement américain estime ainsi que 1 429 personnes, dont au moins 426 enfants, ont perdu la vie en août 2013 dans une attaque au gaz sarin contre la Ghouta, une région à proximité de Damas.


Le régime syrien avait alors accepté de détruire son arsenal chimique sous contrôle international. Des traces de gaz sarin et d’agent VX avaient ainsi été retrouvées dans les locaux du CERS – l’organisme auquel étaient justement destinées les cargaisons nord-coréennes.


"Je ne serais pas surpris si, après d’autres inspections, on découvrait que ces produits chimiques étaient finalement liés à la Corée du Nord", relève Walker, qui collabore régulièrement avec l’Organisation pour l’interdiction des armes chimiques.


L’existence d’une filière nord-coréenne fournissant des armes chimiques à la Syrie ne surprendrait pas non plus Kelsey Davenport, directrice du programme de non-prolifération à l’Association pour le contrôle des armes.


"La Corée du Nord s’est impliquée en Syrie par le passé. On sait que [Damas] a développé des missiles balistiques avec de la technologie nord-coréenne. Et puis il y a également eu une collaboration sur le plan nucléaire, qui a mené aux frappes aériennes israéliennes (sur une installation suspectée d’être un réacteur nucléaire) à Deir Ezzor en 2007", affirme l’experte. Autant d’éléments qui font craindre le maintien d’une filière clandestine permettant à Damas de réapprovisionner son arsenal chimique auprès de Pyongyang.




Ruthie Blum

algemeiner, 23 mars 2017


L’exportation nord-coréenne de missiles et d’autres systèmes d’armement militaire vers des pays et organisations terroristes à travers le globe menace directement Israël, selon un reportage de la 2ème Chaîne israélienne, lundi.


Selon, la2ème Chaîne, des organes de presse arabes ont rapporté au cours du week-end, que l’aviation militaire de Tsahal a attaqué une cargaison d’armes en route pour le Hezbollah, en Syrie, dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi matin. Cette cargaison, selon ces sources, comprenaient des missiles avancés nord-coréens. La chaîne 2, ajoute que le réacteur nucléaire en Syrie, qu’Israël a détruit le 06 septembre 2007, près de Deir Ez Zor, a pu être construit par le Président Bachar al Assad grâce à l’aide du régime dictatorial de Pyongyang.


Comme  The Algemeiner l’a mentionné en avril dernier, l’ancien conseiller John Hannah, à la Sécurité Nationale du Vice-Président américain Dick Cheney, avait rédigé un article dans le journal des Foreign Affairs, dans lequel il expliquait, concernant le bombardement de ce réacteur, en 2007, -dont le nom de code était « Opération Orchard »- que l’Amérique l’avait échappé belle en Syrie… uniquement grâce à la courtoisie (perspicacité) des Israéliens ».


« Non seulement les Israéliens l’ont découvert juste à temps, avant qu’il ne soit trop tard », disait alors Hannah à propos du réacteur producteur de plutonium construit par les Nord-Coréens près de la ville d’Al-Khibar, dans le Désert à l’Est de Damas. « Ils ont aussi mené l’attaque qui était presque certainement le seul moyen de s’assurer que le réacteur ne deviendrait jamais brûlant ».


Hannah employait ce récit de l’implication active de la Corée du Nord en Syrie il y a près d’une décennie afin d’alerter contre son comportement actuel. « La plus grande menace à laquelle nous sommes confrontés de la part du Guide Suprême Kim Jong Un ne correspond probablement pas à une attaque-suicide contre les Etats-Unis et nos alliés en Asie du Sud-Est par des missiles nucléaires », écrivait-il. « Le danger le plus probable est plutôt que le tyran de Corée du Nord vende des parties de son arsenal nucléaire toujours en expansion à d’autres Etats-voyous ou non-Etats-voyous (comme le Hezbollah) qui soient destinés à nous porter préjudice ». Il continuait alors en identifiant l’Iran et son supplétif, le Hezbollah, comme réclamant plus de vigilance et de surveillance dans un tel contexte ».


Au  de ce mois, David Albright – Chef du Think Tank de l’Institut des Sciences et de la Sécurité Internationale – a déclaré à The Algemeiner que le fait de prêter toute son attention à toute coopération nucléaire potentielle entre la Corée du Nord et l’Iran devrait être la priorité de l’Administration Trump.





 Ron Ben-Yishai 

Ynet, 1 juin 2016


Même si la Corée du Nord a testé avec succès sa première bombe à hydrogène mercredi, il est peu probable qu'il atteigne la capacité de la miniaturiser suffisamment pour l'intégrer à un missile.

Pourtant, il y a peu de doute que la capacité de la Corée du Nord à produire une arme nucléaire sophistiquée soit en croissance. Et c'est là une mauvaise nouvelle, pas seulement pour ses voisins qui sont encore officiellement en guerre avec Pyongyang (la Corée du Sud, le Japon et les Etats-Unis qui maintiennent 40.000 soldats sur le sol sud-coréen). Il s'agit également de nouvelles embarrassantes pour la Chine, le voisin et seul allié de la Corée du Nord et pour Israël.


Pour l'Etat hébreu, il s'agit d'une menace lointaine. Mais depuis les années 1970, la Corée du Nord a fourni des missiles et des roquettes à ses ennemis, ainsi que la technologie pour les fabriquer.

Pyonyang est à l'orsesigine de la plupart des missiles et roquettes fabriqués en Iran et en Syrie, et de ceux qui se trouvent dans les arsenaux du Hezbollah.


Et ce n'est pas tout. En 2006 et 2007, la Corée du Nord a fourni un réacteur nucléaire et une installation de séparation de plutonium à la Syrie.


Selon les informations obtenues par l'Occident, des experts iraniens étaient présents à l'avant-dernier essai nucléaire effectué par la Corée du Nord en 2013. Il se peut même qu'ils aient été présents lors du test de la bombe à hydrogène de mercredi matin.


Il est donc très clair que si la Corée du Nord a déjà – ou aura dans un an ou deux – la capacité de fixer une ogive d'hydrogène sur un missile balistique, cette technologie pourrait se retrouver dans les mains de l'Iran à très court terme.


Une fois que les sanctions économiques qui frappent l'Iran sont levées en 2016, l'Iran aura les moyens financiers pour acheter une telle technologie à ce pauvre Etat d'Asie. La Corée du Nord a un besoin notoire de pétrole, et l'Iran en a beaucoup.


Même si les experts occidentaux estiment qu'Israël a aussi développé sa propre arme hydrogène, les dégâts d'un tel dispositif utilisé contre Israël seraient massifs.


Par ailleurs, les conséquences pour Israël de l'expérience nord-coréenne ne sont pas limitées au transfert de technologie.


Le plus grave est que la Corée du Nord fait fi de la communauté internationale, et que l'Iran pourrait l'imiter.


C'est la façon dont Pyongyang procède depuis des années: il effectue un essai nucléaire, puis annonce qu'il est prêt à se défaire de ses capacités nucléaires en échange de denrées alimentaires, de pétrole et de matières premières.


Lorsque l'Occident, à savoir les États-Unis, le Japon et la Corée du Sud, satisfait ses exigences, il recommence à développer son arsenal nucléaire, effectue un autre test, et ainsi de suite. Pyongyang a procédé ainsi dans les années 1990, en 2006, en 2009 et à nouveau en 2013.


Le fait que l'Occident ait été si inefficace face au chantage délirant du nucléaire nord-coréen, montre la voie à Khamenei et aux chefs des Gardiens de la Révolution.


Pour l'instant, ils laissent Rohani convaincre l'Occident de lever les sanctions, mais une fois que cela arrivera, l'Iran pourrait bien revenir à ses mauvaises habitudes, basées sur le modèle nord-coréen.

En fait, il le fait déjà. Cette semaine, Téhéran a dévoilé une installation sous-terraine de missiles balistiques longue portée, qu'il a testé récemment, en violation flagrante des résolutions du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU.






I24, 15 aout 2017


Le président de l'Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, a félicité mardi le dirigeant nord-coréen Kim Jong-Un à l'occasion de la "journée de la libération" de son pays dans un contexte de tensions entre Pyongyang et Washington, a rapporté le Times of Israel.


"Le peuple coréen a offert les sacrifices les plus précieux pour sa liberté et sa dignité", a déclaré Mahmoud Abbas dans un télégramme adressé à Kim Jong-Un, selon le site officiel palestinien Wafa.

La déclaration du président de l'AP survient alors que le leader nord-coréen a déclaré mardi qu'il mettrait sur pause son projet de tirs de missiles près de l'île américaine de Guam, dans le Pacifique, mais a averti que cet exercice hautement provocateur irait de l'avant en cas de nouvelles "actions irresponsables" de Washington.


En effet, la Corée du Nord a menacé la semaine dernière de tirer quatre missiles au dessus du Japon en direction du territoire américain de Guam, qui compte deux importantes bases militaires.


Dans son télégramme Abbas a d'autre part dit apprécier la "solidarité ferme apportée en soutien aux droits du peuple (Palestinien) et à son juste combat pour mettre un terme à l'occupation et établir notre état indépendant avec Jérusalem-Est comme capitale".


Il a également souhaité "santé et bonheur" au leader, la "prospérité" à la Corée du Nord et espéré que "la relation historique entre la Palestine et la Corée du Nord se développera davantage", selon le Times of Israel.












Elie Attal

 13 sept. 2017


C’est une proximité dont les responsables communautaires suédois se passeraient bien. Le 30 septembre est organisé le plus grand festival littéraire du pays, le salon du Livre de Gothenbourg. 100 000 personnes y sont attendues, une audience dont entend bien bénéficier l’extrême droite locale. Le Mouvement de résistance nordique, à l'inspiration néonazie, souhaite en effet défiler ce jour-ci pour exposer ses idées radicales et profiter de la couverture médiatique de l’événement culturel. Un premier itinéraire a été présenté par l’organisation, suivant les principales artères de la commune ; refus de la police qui a proposé un plan B. Celui-ci prévoit que les manifestants marcheront à 200 mètres de la synagogue de Gothenburg. Or le 30 septembre ne sera pas en Suède, comme ailleurs dans monde, un jour comme un autre pour les Juifs. Sera célébrée à cette date la fête du Yom Kippour, la plus solennelle du calendrier juif. Impensable dès lors pour les dirigeants de la communauté juive locale que les fidèles soient importunés, voire menacés, par des militants extrémistes.



Les dirigeants de la communauté juive suédoise ont annoncé qu’ils vont faire appel d’une décision prise la semaine dernière par la police, qui permet au Mouvement de résistance nordique de défiler durant le salon du livre de Gothenburg, alors que 100 000 personnes environ se trouveront dans la municipalité pour ce festival littéraire, le plus important de Scandinavie. Interrogé par le site JTA, le président de la communauté juive locale,Allan Stutzunski, exprime son inquiétude, alors qu’un autre centre avait dû fermer en avril, dans le nord-est du pays, après avoir fait l’objet de menaces antisémites de la part de sympathisants de Nordfront, l’autre nom du mouvement néonazi.


« La menace à notre encontre est encore importante, et elle le devient bien davantage lorsqu’ils manifestent », explique M. Stutzinsky. Et la possibilité de voir des sympathisants d’extrême-gauche s’opposer à la manifestation de Nordfront pourrait encore accroître le risque de tensions.







I24, 26 sept., 2017


Le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a menacé mardi Israël de geler ses relations diplomatiques si l’Etat hébreu, seul pays à s'être prononcé en faveur du référendum kurde, "ne reconsidère pas son soutien", a rapporté le journal Daily Sabah.


"Si Israël ne reconsidère pas son soutien à l’indépendance kurde, la Turquie ne pourra plus prendre d’autres mesures (avec Israël ndlr)", a déclaré le président turc.


"Qui reconnaîtra votre indépendance ? Israël. Mais le monde ne se limite pas à Israël", a lancé Erdogan en s’adressant au président de la région du Kurdistan Massoud Barzani, assurant que "brandir des drapeaux israéliens ne vous sauvera pas".


Israël est le seul pays a avoir annoncé son soutien à la création d’un Etat indépendant pour les Kurdes, s’attirant les foudres d’Erogdan, fermement opposé à l'initiative, et qui a mis en garde mardi contre un risque de "guerre ethnique et confessionnelle" si le Kurdistan irakien menait à terme son projet d'indépendance.


"Si Barzani et le gouvernement régional du Kurdistan ne reviennent pas très vite sur cette erreur, alors l'histoire gardera d'eux le souvenir d'une ignominie ayant poussé notre région vers la guerre ethnique et confessionnelle", a-t-il dit lors d'un discours télévisé.


Ces déclarations surviennent au lendemain d'un référendum d'indépendance qui s'est tenu dans la province autonome kurde du nord de l'Irak, en dépit des appels répétés de plusieurs pays à annuler ou repousser le scrutin.


Qualifiant le référendum d'indépendance de "trahison" envers la Turquie, M. Erdogan a de nouveau exhorté les autorités kurdes irakiennes à "abandonner cette aventure dont l'issue ne peut qu'être sombre".


Malgré les relations commerciales fructueuses qu'Ankara et Erbil ont développées ces dernières années, le président Erdogan a menacé de fermer la frontière terrestre et "les vannes" de l'oléoduc qui permet au Kurdistan irakien d'exporter, via le port turc de Ceyhan (sud), la majeure partie de son pétrole.


"A partir du moment où nous appliquerons nos sanctions, cette affaire sera entendue (…) Dès que nous aurons fermé les vannes, ce sera terminé", a dit le chef de l'Etat turc, sans avancer de date pour une telle initiative.




I24, 27 sept., 2017


L'organisation internationale de police Interpol a approuvé mercredi l'adhésion de la "Palestine", au terme du vote de 76% des pays adhérents dans ce sens.


Il s'agit d'une défaite diplomatique de grande envergure pour Israël et les Etats-Unis qui oeuvraient au rejet de cette adhésion.


L'Etat hébreu insistait notamment sur le fait que la candidature ne pouvait être validée, la "Palestine" n’étant pas un Etat selon les critères d’Interpol.


L'adhésion des Palestiniens à Interpol inquiète Israël car elle permet entre autres à la police palestinienne de demander des informations à l’organisation internationale sur des citoyens israéliens, en vue d'obtenir leur arrestation ou leur extradition.


Mais aussi car elle donne accès à l'AP au réseau informatique commun "I-24/7" et à la base de données criminelles commune de 190 pays, dont Israël fait partie.





Nathalie Sosna-Ofir

Rubrique Monde juif, 17 sept., 2017


No room for Small Dreams – Pas de place pour les petits rêves. C’est sous ce titre que l’ancien président de l’Etat d’Israël livre ses confidences. Un livre achevé quelques semaines avant sa mort qu’il a accepté d’écrire seulement après s’être assuré qu’il ne serait pas uniquement une ode à sa gloire mais surtout à celle d’Israël. Au fil des pages, il nous mène dans les coulisses de plusieurs chapitres majeurs de l’histoire d’Israël, une histoire indissociable de sa vie. Depuis le départ de Pologne alors qu’il est encore Szymon Perski, l’arrivée en Israël, sa vie au Kibboutz, l’indépendance, le programme nucléaire dont il fut l'un des architectes, l’opération Entebbe alors qu’il est ministre de la Défense, en passant par sa rencontre secrète, alors qu’il est ministre des Affaires étrangères, en novembre 1993, avec le roi Hussein en Jordanie. Les deux pays n’ont pas encore établi des relations diplomatiques. Il raconte être arrivé flanqué d’une fausse moustache et d’un chapeau qui couvre sa chevelure grisonnante pour ne pas être reconnu.  « Je ne pouvais m'empêcher d’éclater de rire en collant la moustache à mon visage », écrit-il. Les deux hommes se découvrent une vision d’avenir commune et un an après, l’accord de paix historique est signé entre Israël et la Jordanie. Il parle aussi de la paix tant espérée avec les Arabes et les Palestiniens et surtout d’Israël devenu une nation start-up louée dans le monde entier. L’innovation est sa grande passion. « Nous allons peut-être découvrir bientôt que c'est l'innovation, et non pas les négociations, qui rend la paix possible », soutient-il. Mais ses mots sont, avant tout, une invitation à rêver. « Moi aussi j’ai rêvé et je ne regrette aucun de mes rêves, mon seul regret est de ne pas avoir rêvé davantage », confie-t-il. « Si vous avez plus de rêves que d'accomplissements, c'est que vous êtes encore jeune. Dans le cas contraire, vous êtes déjà vieux », aimait à répéter le Prix Nobel de la Paix. Et c’est donc manifestement très jeune, malgré ses 93 ans, que Shimon Pérès a rendu son dernier souffle…






(Extrait de Sept années à Jérusalem de Julien Bauer – Éditions du Marais, pp 18, 19)


   Un autre cas qui reflète l’évolution des relations entre religieux et laïcs est la journée de Kippour, le Grand Pardon. Cette journée est celle qui manifeste le plus de caractère juif d’Israël. Toute la vie courante, tout s’arrête pour une période de 25 heures. Tous les services publics à l’exception des urgences comme les hôpitaux, les pompiers et la police, sont fermés. Aucun bus ou train ne roule. Les aéroports sont fermés. Les points de passage avec l’Égypte et la Jordanie le sont également. Radio et télévision n’émettent pas. C’est vraiment le jour où Israël se coupe du monde et se replie sur lui-même.  


   Dans la pratique, à Jérusalem, le scénario est le suivant. La veille de Kippour, la quasi-totalité des entreprises sont fermées. Seuls sont ouverts, le matin, les commerces. À partir de midi, les autobus qui vont vers le centre-ville sont vidés alors que ceux qui en viennent sont pleins. Vers 14 heures, la pression de l’eau chute à Jérusalem, car, à la même heure, tous les habitants juifs prennent un bain ou une douche. Une heure plus tard, c’est le dernier repas avant le jeûne. Une heure avant la tombée de la nuit, les sirènes sonnent pour annoncer le commencement officiel de Kippour.


   Malgré ce qu’en disent les habitants de Jérusalem, la façon de célébrer Kippour a changé au cours des quarante dernières années. Je me rappelle d’un Kippour où la circulation automobile était certes réduite, mais néanmoins continue :véhicules diplomatiques, de l’ONU et privés. Je me rappelle de voisins se plaignant, rue Hapalmah, de jeunes qui avaient organisé une soirée fort bruyante. L’atmosphère était spéciale, mais un nombre fort restreint de laïcs n’y participaient pas.


   Depuis la Guerre de Kippour, la spécificité de la journée est encore plus notable au point d’être quasi unanime. Cela ne signifie pas que tout le monde va à la synagogue, mais ceux qui n’y vont pas restent chez eux, lisent, écoutent de la musique, passent le temps comme bon leur semble, mais évitent de perturber leurs voisins. La circulation est réduite à néant : aucun véhicule privé ne roule, diplomates et personnel de l’ONU ont appris à respecter la journée et ne ressentent plus le besoin de se faire remarquer. Les seuls véhicules en circulation sont les ambulances les voitures de police et les camions de pompiers. C’en est au point que la Place de Paris, où convergent cinq rues et où la circulation est intense, est vide de voiture. La ville est rendue à ses habitants. Le soir de Kippour, les Yérosélémitains prennent l’air, se promènent sur la chaussée, profitent du calme. Les seuls véhicules sont quelques vélos et quelques trottinettes. Les passants, laïcs, religieux et ultrareligieux, s’adressent la parole, se souhaitent mutuellement bonne année, bref se comportent de façon inhabituelle.


L’atmosphère de Kippour à Jérusalem est une expérience unique. Judaïsme et évènements récents se combinent pour effacer les tensions intergroupes et créer une journée exceptionnelle d’unité.   



Que le son du Shofar à la fin de Kippour annonce une période de justice et de paix




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On Topic Links


Trump the Best Defence Against World Becoming Playpen of Nuclear Powers: Conrad Black, National Post, Sept. 22, 2017

Watch: A Capella Group Details History of Jewish Music in 5 Minutes: Philip Terzian, Weekly Standard, Sept. 11, 2017

Israel Endorsed Kurdish Independence. Saladin Would Have Been Proud: David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, speaking at the UN HRC (Video): NGO Monitor, Sept. 26, 2017





“It is a new day at the UN. What you are now seeing is…the Israel-bashing has become more balanced. You've got a United Nations that's action-orientated…I think that the pleas that (President Trump) made in terms of trying to see change at the United Nations have been heard.”— Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Since she began her term in office, Haley has continuously blasted the organization for its anti-Israel bias. Trump has been similarly critical of the UN, saying that the global body causes problems instead of solving them. Haley also cited the UN’s passing of sanctions on North Korea and its agreement to some reforms. “We've passed two resolutions on North Korea just in the last month. And you also have a United Nations that is totally moving towards reform. You have a secretary-general who's come out with a massive reform package,” she said. “We said that we needed to get value for our dollar. And what we're finding is the international community is right there with us in support of reform.” (New York Times, Sept. 20, 2017)


“In the entire history of the UN, there has never been a more straight forward criticism of the unacceptable behavior of other member states…(Trump’s) UN speech showed that he will not live with the half measures and compromises (with)…North Korea that have failed for the past 25 yrs.” — Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Bolton praised Trump’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly last Tuesday. "There are a lot of people in the UN who have never heard anything like that from an American president," Bolton said. "I think this was an outstanding speech, and I think it will serve the president very well." (Townhall, Sept. 19, 2017)


“Back home, we have a saying: The dog barks, but the caravan continues…If he thought he could scare us with the noise of a dog barking, well, he should be daydreaming.” — North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. Ri ridiculed Trump for threatening to “totally destroy” his country if it persists in its nuclear and missile threats. During his speech at the UN last week, Trump called North Korea a “band of criminals” and its leader, Kim Jong-un, “Rocket Man” on “a suicide mission.” When asked about Trump’s comments, Ri said: “I am sorry for his aides.” (New York Times, Sept. 21, 2017)


“We will increase our military power as a deterrent…We will strengthen our missile capabilities. We will not seek anyone’s permission to defend our land. Not only will we fortify our missiles, but our ground, navy and air forces will always be supported by the people.” — President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. As he spoke at a military parade in Tehran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps unveiled a ballistic missile with a range of about 1,250 miles, making it capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel. Rouhani’s speech and the show of force were a direct display of defiance toward Trump, who signed a bill in August imposing mandatory penalties on those involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The unveiling of the new missile, called the Khoramshahr, comes two months after Iran launched a missile into space, prompting a new round of sanctions and criticism from the United States. (New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017)


“Rouhani is playing hardball…By promising to step up Iran’s ballistic missile program, Rouhani seeks to gain support from Iranian hard-liners who have long been critical of the nuclear deal, and who have repeatedly accused him of being soft in international relations. Moreover, hard-liners, such as Iran’s supreme leader, believe compromise with the United States is a futile exercise…History and the experience of other rogue states such as North Korea has also shown the Iranian government that it is only from a position of strength that regimes such as Iran’s can be protected.” — Sanam Vakil, an Iran scholar at Chatham House. Although United Nations provisions seek to limit ballistic missile technology, the nuclear agreement negotiated in 2015 by Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., does not prohibit Iran from developing such weapons. The Trump administration has called the omission of ballistic missiles a central flaw of the agreement, which Trump may try to revisit — or scrap altogether, as he has threatened in the past. (New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017)


“If (Massoud) Barzani and the Kurdish Regional Government do not go back on this mistake as soon as possible, they will go down in history with the shame of having dragged the region into an ethnic and sectarian war.” — Turkish President Erdogan. Iraq’s Kurds voted in a historic independence referendum despite fierce opposition from Baghdad and neighboring countries Iran and Turkey. Turnout was 72 percent, with 3.3 million of the 4.58 million registered voters taking part. Results were expected within 24 hours, with an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote not in doubt. Erdogan said no other country would recognize Iraqi Kurds’ independence other than Israel, which had warmly supported the referendum. “Who will recognize your independence? Israel. The world is not about Israel…You should know that the waving of Israeli flags there will not save you,” he said. Erdogan was apparently referring to the appearance of Israeli flags at some pro-Kurdish independence rallies. (Times of Israel, Sept. 26, 2017)


“I address my words to the Palestinian Authority, which claims to be the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people. I ask: where does your legitimacy come from? The Palestinian people did not elect you, and they did not appoint you to represent them. You are self-appointed. Your accountability is not to your own people. This is evidenced by your total violation of their human rights. In fact, the Palestinian individual and their human development is the least of your concerns. You kidnap Palestinian students from campus and torture them in your jails. You torture your political rivals. The suffering of the Palestinian people is the outcome of your selfish political interests. You are the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people. If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame. Take responsibility for the outcome of your own actions. You fan the flames of conflict to maintain your abusive power. Finally, you use this platform to mislead the international community, and to mislead Palestinian society, to believe that Israel is responsible for the problems you create.” — Mosab Hassan Yousef. Yousef, a Hamas member turned humanitarian who addressed the U.N. human rights council on behalf of UN Watch. (Unwatch, Sept. 25, 2017)


“Modern activists often try to silence speakers they consider repugnant. They argue that free speech is being used as a smokescreen for hate and that allowing offensive speech exposes marginalized groups to intolerable and harmful prejudice. Speech itself, they say, is sometimes violence. Universities routinely suppress speech that might offend. Only a few weeks ago, citing safety concerns, Toronto's Ryerson University even cancelled a panel discussion called "The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses." It would have featured, among others, controversial University of Toronto psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson. Calls for a crackdown on offensive or bigoted speech have grown louder since the events last month in Charlottesville, Va., where a white nationalist rally ended in violence. In the opinion section of (The Globe & Mail), University of Toronto professor Mark Kingwell went as far as to argue that it might be time for new "curbs" on free speech.” — Marcus Gee. (Globe & Mail, Sept. 22, 2017)







3 ISRAELIS KILLED, 1 SERIOUSLY HURT IN TERROR SHOOTING (Jerusalem) — Three Israeli security officers were killed and one was seriously hurt in a terror attack outside the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem Tuesday. The assailant reportedly opened fire on a group of security personnel, including Border Police officers and private guards. The terrorist, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed at the scene. The terror attack comes two years after a wave of unrest broke out, mostly in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Since September 2015, some 51 Israelis, two visiting Americans, an Eritrean national, a Palestinian man and a British student have been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinian assailants. (Times of Israel, Sept. 26, 2017)


MERKEL WINS FOURTH TERM; AFD MAKES BIG GAINS (Berlin) — Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservative bloc won a lacklustre victory in Germany’s national election while the anti-migrant, nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party managed a triumphant entry into parliament, projections showed. The outcome puts Merkel on course for a fourth term as chancellor – but means that she has a tricky task in forming a new coalition government. Smaller parties were the chief beneficiaries of the erosion in support for Germany’s traditionally dominant parties – above all the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, which was set to win up to 13.5 per cent of the vote. AfD capitalized on discontent with established politicians but particularly targeted those angry over the influx of more than 1 million mostly Muslim migrants in the past two years. (Global, Sept. 24, 2017)


MURDER OF HALIMI MOTIVATED BY ‘ANTISEMITISM’ (Paris) — The Paris public prosecutors’ office has recognized the murder of Sarah Halimi as an antisemitic hate crime. The decision was based on interviews conducted by a psychiatrist with Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traore. On April 4, Traore — who had previously made antisemitic remarks to Halimi — broke into her apartment and beat her while yelling Islamist slogans.  Traore threw her out of a third-floor window to her death. According to the psychiatrist, Traore’s assault on Halimi was both “antisemitic” and a “delirious act” influenced by the heavy consumption of marijuana. However, Traore was not sufficiently intoxicated at the time of the attack to be absolved of responsibility — a key demand of Traore’s lawyers. (Algemeiner, Sept. 25, 2017)


TERRORIST LEILA KHALED TO SPEAK AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT EVENT (Brussels) — Leila Khaled, a Palestinian woman who was convicted of terrorism and advocates violence against Israelis, is slated to speak at the European Parliament about women’s rights. Khaled, who was invited to Brussels to speak by the far-left Izquierda Unida party from Spain, was arrested in 1970 while carrying two grenades in an attempt to hijack an El Al flight. Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine group, which is blacklisted as a terrorist entity by the EU, will be the keynote speaker at the event “The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Resistance.” (JTA, Sept. 26, 2017)


SYRIA SAYS IAF CARRIED OUT AIR STRIKE NEAR DAMASCUS (Damascus) — Syrian media outlets reported that the Israeli Air Force had carried out a strike targeting an ammunition facility near Damascus. It was also reported that the area was engulfed by heavy smoke and that there were no Syrian casualties. The strike may have been Israel's response to the unmanned drone from Syria that tried to infiltrate Israeli territory last week. The aircraft, which was intercepted by a Patriot missile, was reportedly built in Iran and operated by Hezbollah. (Jerusalem Online, Sept. 22, 2017)


INTERPOL VOTES TO ADMIT 'STATE OF PALESTINE' AS NEW MEMBER STATE (Beijing) — The International Police Organization (Interpol) voted to accept “Palestine” as a full member state. The move at Interpol’s annual General Assembly meeting came despite Israeli efforts over the last few weeks to thwart it. The move passed in a secret ballot by a vote of 75 to 24, with 34 abstentions. The Palestinians needed more than two-thirds of the yes-or-no votes counted, and passed that threshold handily. After the UN, Interpol — with 190 member states — is the largest international organization in the world. A Palestinian bid to join the organization fell short last year. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 27, 2017)


POLL: MAJORITY OF PALESTINIANS DEMAND ABBAS’ RESIGNATION (Ramallah) —The latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that a majority of Palestinians feel their freedom is under assault by the PA. 67 percent of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, while 27 percent want him to remain in office. Three months ago, 62 percent said they wanted Abbas to resign. Demand for Abbas’ resignation stands at 60 percent in the PA and 80 percent in the Gaza Strip. If Abbas does not nominate himself in a new election, 35 percent prefer Marwan Barghouti to replace him, while 21 percent prefer Ismail Haniyeh and 9 percent support Mohammad Dahlan. Barghouti is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for leading several terror attacks. (United With Israel, Sept. 25, 2017)


NEW CJH CEO HOLDS RADICAL LEFT VIEWPOINTS (New York) — The new CEO of the Center For Jewish History (CJH), David N. Myers is a leader of The New Israel Fund which openly supports a boycott of Israel, and holds leadership positions of If Not Now, When and J Street.  His viewpoints include supporting “some forms” of boycotting Israel, and that Israel should no longer exist as a Jewish state. CJH serves as the biggest repository of Jewish history in the United States, and serves as a centralized place of scholarly research, events, exhibitions, and performances. Myers – who was honored by Peace Now in 2014 – has regularly co-written op-eds with the head of the New Israel Fund, where he calls for Arabs in the settlements to be made citizens. (Arutz Sheva, Sept. 4, 2017)


U.S. EXPANDS TRAVEL BAN, RESTRICTING VISITORS FROM EIGHT COUNTRIES (Washington) — The Trump administration announced new restrictions on visitors from eight countries — an expansion of an existing travel ban that has spurred fierce legal debates. The move comes on the day the key portion of Trump’s travel ban, one that bars the issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries, was due to expire. Three nations were added to the list of countries whose citizens will face the restrictions: Chad, North Korea and Venezuela — although the restrictions on Venezuela target that country’s leaders and their family members. (Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2017)


CANADA SANCTIONS 40 VENEZUELANS, INCLUDING MADURO (Ottawa) — Canada has sanctioned 40 Venezuelans, including President Maduro, over what it calls attacks on “fundamental democratic rights.” The new regulations include asset freezes and prohibitions against dealing with the 40 individuals “in any property … or providing financial or related services to them.” Between April and July, there were at least 124 deaths linked to protests against the Maduro government, with security forces responsible for at least 46, according to a UN report. More than 5,000 people were detained during that period, with at least 609 civilians forced to go before military tribunals. (CTV, Sept. 22, 2017)


BODY OF RABBI IN MEXICO PULLED FROM EARTHQUAKE RUBBLE (Mexico City) — Volunteers from Israel’s Zaka search-and-rescue organization pulled the body of a local rabbi from an office building that collapsed in a massive earthquake that hit Mexico. Rabbi Haim Ashkenazi had been working in the office building when the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico on Sept. 19, rocking Mexico City and causing hundreds of buildings to collapse. He served as the rabbi of the Kehillat Magen David synagogue and was an in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, chief rabbi of the Magen David Jewish community of Mexico. (JTA, Sept. 24, 2017)


IDF EMERGENCY TEAM ARRIVES TO HELP QUAKE-STRICKEN MEXICO (Mexico City) — An IDF emergency team from the Home Front Command arrived Thursday in Mexico, where they began providing assistance after the Central American nation was hit by a powerful earthquake that has killed at least 245 people. The Israeli delegation was made up of 71 soldiers and officers who had already begun providing assistance, an army spokesperson said, but could not yet provide details. The delegation is slated to return on September 29, ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday. (Times of Israel, Sept. 21, 2017)


CLOUSTON RECOGNIZED FOR EFFORTS AT DUNKIRK (Montreal) — The Montreal-born Second World War hero whose efforts at Dunkirk in 1940 saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers was recognized in his hometown on Thursday. Parks Canada unveiled a plaque in honour of Cmdr. James Campbell Clouston, who oversaw the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of British and other Allied troops from France as German forces encircled them. Clouston’s exploits were portrayed in the blockbuster movie, “Dunkirk,” released earlier this year — even if his name wasn’t uttered in film. One of the main characters, a Royal Navy officer played by Kenneth Branagh, was inspired in part by Clouston’s role as pier master during the Dunkirk evacuation. Clouston died in June 1940 on his return to Dunkirk to help co-ordinate the rescue of French and Belgian troops. (Toronto Sun, Sept. 21, 2017)


On Topic Links


Trump the Best Defence Against World Becoming Playpen of Nuclear Powers: Conrad Black, National Post, Sept. 22, 2017 —This week I have been having a lively discussion with my very distinguished friend of many years, John Polanyi, winner of a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1986, one of Canada’s most respected and sociable academics, and a frequent commentator on arms control and nuclear proliferation issues, about current scenarios with North Korea.

Watch: A Capella Group Details History of Jewish Music in 5 Minutes: Philip Terzian, Weekly Standard, Sept. 11, 2017

—If you've ever listened to Yiddish rap, you know that Jewish music has come a long way over the past few hundred years.

Israel Endorsed Kurdish Independence. Saladin Would Have Been Proud: David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017—With a two-sentence statement supporting the Iraqi Kurds’ plan to hold a referendum on independence this Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put Israel at odds with nearly every other major player in the Middle East.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, speaking at the UN HRC (Video): NGO Monitor, Sept. 26, 2017




Trump Is Right to Punish the Profiteers of Venezuela's Misery: Ana Quintana, Real Clear World, Aug. 31, 2017— It’s been a quite a turnaround for Venezuela.

The Agony of Venezuela: Pierpaolo Barbieri, National Review, Aug. 25, 2017— Closing a speech that was as emotional as it was endless, the president invoked Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Putin’s Latest Anti-American Intervention: Venezuela: Moises Naim & Andrew Weiss, Washington Post, Sept. 6, 2017— A violent crackdown on civilian protesters rallying against an autocratic president leaves scores dead.

Israel and Latin America: It’s Complicated: Emmanuel Navon, Times of Israel, Sept. 13, 2017— Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Latin America is welcome and long-overdue. 


On Topic Links


How's Socialism Doing in Venezuela? (Video): Debbie D’souza, Prager U, Aug. 28, 2017

US Sanctions to Pile Misery on Moribund Venezuelan Economy: Joshua Goodman, National Post, Aug. 29, 2017

Imperialists Invade Venezuela: Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 14, 2017

I Am in Prison Because I Want Freedom for My Country: Yon Goicoechea, New York Times, Sept. 4, 2017





Ana Quintana

Real Clear World, Aug. 31, 2017


It’s been a quite a turnaround for Venezuela. The one-time magnet for world vacationers is now to the top source of U.S. asylum requests. Left unaddressed, the crisis in Caracas will only worsen, leaving ordinary Venezuelans even worse off and increasingly affecting the United States.


The regime of President Nicolas Maduro is the world’s youngest dictatorship, yet already one of the most corrupt. Criminals masquerading as politicians rule with an iron fist and have transformed Venezuela into an international drug trafficking hub. Dozens of current and former senior Venezuelan government officials have been sanctioned by the U.S. government for drug trafficking, rampant violence against anti-government demonstrators, corruption, and undermining of democracy. Those sanctioned include the president, the vice president, the former attorney general, the former secretary of homeland security, and the director of national intelligence.


The same group that turned the oil-rich nation into a narco-dictatorship also set the economy on a crash course. Hugo Chavez used the surplus petrodollars from last decade’s commodities boom to amass a personal fortune, pay off party loyalists, and expand the welfare state. His socialist economic policies and multibillion-dollar corruption sank Venezuela’s economic freedom rankings. In 1995, Venezuela’s score was 59.8 on a scale of 100. Today it is a paltry 27, ranking worse than Cuba and better than only one other nation: North Korea.


Venezuela’s on-hand cash reserves have now dipped below $10 billion and are drying out. For perspective, consider that Bill Gates is worth eight times more than the amount of money the world’s most oil-rich nation was able to save. Oil production, the economic backbone of the country, has declined to unprecedented lows. Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, the state-owned petroleum and natural gas company, theoretically has the ability to produce over 3 million barrels of oil per day. Yet it is producing barely 1.9 million bpd and is receiving payment on less than 1 million of that. The rest of production goes mostly to pay off outstanding debts to China, Russia, and other investors, although some is also given to the regime’s leftist allies in the region.


The regime’s mismanagement has produced one thing in vast quantities: human misery. Venezuelans are fleeing the country in droves into neighboring Colombia and Brazil. For the first time in history, Venezuelans have topped the list of U.S. asylum seekers, thanks to a 160 percent increase from 2015. Another doubling of applicants is expected this year. The government-created economic crisis has manifested itself in widespread food shortages. It is now commonplace to see Venezuelans faint as they wait in bread lines. Also heartrendingly familiar are images of children scrounging in garbage bags for their next meal.


Venezuela’s healthcare system, once the pride of Hugo Chavez, has now collapsed. Basic medical care is unattainable, and crucial medicines such as antibiotics are unavailable. Venezuela’s national drugstore trade group placed medicine shortages at 85 percent in 2016, and matters are not improving.   


Not all Venezuelans are living in misery. Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump designated Vice President Tareck el Aissami as a drug trafficking kingpin and ordered U.S. authorities to seize his ill-gotten property in the United States. They uncovered illicit property and assets valued at $500 million dollars. Hugo Chavez’s daughter, a darling of her father’s socialist movement, is believed to be the richest person in Venezuela, with a fortune valued at over $4 billion.


Hundreds more in the Venezuelan government continue to bleed their country dry. Following U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Latin America, the Trump administration announced a robust series of sanctions aimed at the profiteers of misery. The U.S. is banning trade in new bonds issued by the Venezuelan government and by PDVSA. There will also be limitations on dividend payments for the Venezuelan government. Rather than a full economic or oil embargo, this strategy brilliantly protects the Venezuelan people from further economic hardship while penalizing the corrupt government officials who are holders of the bonds. It should also serve the dual purpose of peeling away Maduro’s loyalists and enablers. 


The socialist paradise of Chavez and Maduro, in reality a criminal-kleptocrat syndicate, is circling the drain. Unfortunately, innocent Venezuelans are paying the heaviest price for their leaders’ failures. The impacts of this debacle are being and will be felt beyond the country’s borders. The Trump administration’s sanctions are a well-calculated exercise in damage control.






Pierpaolo Barbieri

National Review, Aug. 25, 2017


Closing a speech that was as emotional as it was endless, the president invoked Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the play’s opening scene, a boatswain dares to defy the wind as the storm gathers: “Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!” The charismatic leader then paraphrased the bard: “Blow, hard wind, blow, hard tempest, I have [a constitutional] assembly to withstand you!” The crowd was enraptured.


The year was 1999, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, shortly after his election victory the previous December, was asking the assembly to deliver a new, “eternal” constitution. He put himself at the “mercy” of a fresh, temporary but all-powerful assembly, conveniently created to supersede a parliament that did not answer to him. Chávez got his way; he almost always did. The resulting constitution — Venezuela’s 26th — did away with the senate, lengthened presidential terms, unshackled military appointments from congressional oversight, and weakened the checks and balances exercised by judges and legislators. It was also the beginning of the end of democracy in Venezuela.


As it turned out, “eternal” did not make it 20 years. The Venezuelan republic breathed its last in July, when Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, enthroned yet another constitutional assembly, to disempower the democratic but opposition-controlled parliament. The one goal that eluded Chávez in life — the establishment of “communal socialism” — might be achieved, in his name, after his death. Despite the marshaling of government cadres eager to fire against unarmed protesters, millions of Venezuelans took to the streets to stop this power grab. Dozens of dead and hundreds of political prisoners later, they endure. The world, meanwhile, looks on, with the United States engaged only peripherally and emerging global powers reluctant to disrupt business. Venezuelans are now engaged in a civil war in which, as one astute observer remarked while being deported, only one side is armed.


Venezuela matters. The modern, media-fueled messianic populism that so worries Western elites was born there in the 1990s. It arose during a unique period when, ever so briefly, history appeared to be over. Liberal democracy and economic neoliberalism enjoyed an intellectual hegemony following the unceremonious collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Communists of the East implemented capitalist reforms, following China’s lead. Meanwhile, the “Washington Consensus” led to privatizations and monetarism across the developing world. In Latin America, a region only recently returned to democracy after decades of military interregnums fueled by a hot Cold War, its dictums were applied with zeal. Only the Cuba of Fidel Castro held out, impoverished, isolated, and devoid of Russian cash.


Venezuela was once an example to follow. The country avoided the murderous military rule that befell the likes of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile in no small part because of Rómulo Betancourt, a thrice-exiled pioneering social democrat who, in the words of Ronald Reagan, “fought dictatorships of the Right and the Left.” Fossil-fuel wealth on par with that of the Persian Gulf allowed for the kind of social redistribution that was never in the cards elsewhere. Despite this affluence, or perhaps because of it, Venezuela was also the kind of “low-intensity democracy” that political scientists worry about, its republican institutions weakened by profound social inequities and rampant corruption.


Neoliberal economics failed to strengthen the republic. With Betancourt long gone, the ruling two-party system was in decay. In 1989, a harsh IMF-sponsored economic austerity program lit up the capital in what became known as the “Caracazo.” Protests, lootings, and riots were met with force by the government, resulting in scores of deaths at the hands of the military. Soon enough, a charismatic young colonel espousing anti-establishment ideas improvised a coup d’état while his neoliberal commander in chief traveled to the nascent World Economic Forum at Davos. The telegenic Hugo Chávez failed, but he also failed to go away. As he was taken into custody, he addressed the TV cameras: “Regrettably, for now, we did not achieve our . . . objectives.”


“For now” was accurate. When Chávez was released from prison by a misguided president, he organized a democratic “movement” that cut across party lines, promising Manichaean deliverance: freeing “the people” from an entitled and corrupt “oligarchy.” He was eventually elected to the presidency, in 1998 — and he never left it until he died in office in 2013. His government has deservedly been praised for its anti-poverty efforts, later emulated by like-minded governments elsewhere. When he came to power, extreme poverty hovered at around 24 percent of the population, a staggering number given Venezuela’s natural endowment; according to the World Bank, it had fallen to around 9 percent by 2011. Similarly, unemployment declined from 14.5 percent in 1999 to 7.6 percent a decade later, a figure boosted by radical growth of the public sector. Infant mortality was almost halved during Chávez’s first decade in power, from 20 per 1,000 live births to 13.


His televised paternalism exalted the state at a time when it was being restrained elsewhere. Like other populist governments before him, however, his preferred jobs and free housing to improved education. He never sought to heal social wounds; his Manichaean revolution, after all, depended on them. Chávez’s economic strategy was supported by a decade-long rise in commodity prices — in particular, oil prices. Nationalized oil behemoth Petróleos de Venezuela became progressively less professional and more politicized under chavismo. There was a months-long strike in 2002–03 against the government’s management of the company; Chávez eventually fired the strikers. Devoid of its best managers, the company saw its oil production steadily decline thereafter. Yet the value of Venezuela’s net crude exports boomed for a decade, rising from (in 2017 dollars) $21 billion when Chávez was inaugurated to $66 billion in 2011. These oil exports accounted for a staggering 96 percent of Venezuela’s hard currency. As historian Enrique Krauze has accurately observed, chavismo’s belief in high oil prices was as zealous as its socialism…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




PUTIN’S LATEST ANTI-AMERICAN INTERVENTION: VENEZUELA                                                 

Moises Naim & Andrew Weiss

Washington Post, Sept. 6, 2017


A violent crackdown on civilian protesters rallying against an autocratic president leaves scores dead. The repression pushes even more people into the streets, triggering a spiral of violence and an urgent humanitarian crisis. A U.S. president unequivocally states that the brutal dictator needs to go. The European Union agrees, but no major power has any stomach for direct military intervention. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Vladimir Putin decisively inserts Russia into the crisis, ensuring that the repressive dictator stays in power. The U.S. president is ridiculed for his fecklessness. Unfortunately for President Trump, the above scenario is playing out again, this time not in Syria but in Venezuela. For all its bellicose talk and new sanctions against Nicolás Maduro’s government, the Trump administration has been oddly silent about Russia’s role, perhaps preferring not to draw attention to the fact that Moscow is now the bankrupt nation’s lender of last resort.


On the surface it may seem odd that that Russia would intervene in a country so far from its borders that appears to be hurtling toward collapse. Yet friendly ties between the Russian government and Venezuela run deep, stretching back to former leader Hugo Chávez’s first trip to Moscow in May 2001. He returned 10 times before his death from cancer in 2013. Over that period Venezuela became one of the world’s top clients of the Russian arms industry. Between 2001 and 2011 it purchased $11 billion worth of Russian weapons.


As its economic situation worsened, the volume of Venezuela’s arms purchases dwindled and its main relationship with Russia shifted from weapons to energy. At first, most of the deals were loans guaranteed by Venezuela’s oil sales. Soon, these largely commercial deals became more complex as the Russians demanded more real assets as guarantees. Caracas obliged, and the Russian companies that were the vehicles for these deals got shares of oil companies and even the right to operate entire Venezuelan oil fields.


While the essence of the relationship between Russia and Venezuela has largely been economic, international and domestic politics are never far away. The Venezuelan government’s move to neuter the elected National Assembly, which triggered an escalation of street protests by the opposition in the past few months, was motivated by, of all things, the need to secure a Russian loan. The National Assembly is the only lever of power that Maduro does not control. By law, all international credits and sales of the nation’s assets have to be approved by this body. The opposition leaders who run it are strongly opposed to the deals the government was offering to foreigners – mostly to Rosneft, the Russian state-owned energy behemoth. The government, in dire need of cash, decided to bypass this step by having the Supreme Court, which it controls, issue a decision grabbing the National Assembly’s authority — including the power to approve the new asset transfers to Russian entities.


Today the Maduro government is scrambling to service roughly $5 billion in foreign debt due over the next 12 months. In the wake of newly announced U.S. financial sanctions on Venezuela, the national oil company PDVSA, the chief generator of hard currency, has effectively lost the ability to borrow from U.S. or European banks to pay off or refinance most of these debts. That highlights the importance of the fact that Rosneft loaned PDVSA more than $1 billion in April, bringing the total amount of Russian loans and credits to upward of $5 billion total in the past few years.


Moscow has also offered political support. Russia was among just a handful of foreign governments that endorsed the recent dissolution of the National Assembly, and top Russian diplomats like Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov routinely complain about the hidden hand of the United States in fostering Venezuela’s domestic crisis. But the Kremlin’s help doesn’t come cheap. PDVSA reportedly is in talks to sell to Rosneft stakes in other lucrative oil and gas projects at a deep discount. Rosneft has also taken over from PDVSA the profitable job of marketing Venezuelan crude to customers in the United States, Asia, and beyond.


In the wake of Putin’s successful streak of geopolitical adventurism, the big question is whether he sees another opening in Venezuela. An inveterate opportunist, he surely knows that Donald Trump’s recent bombshell statement about possible military options for the Venezuela crisis was an empty threat. On the restive streets of Caracas, it is also increasingly clear that the regime has the upper hand and is unlikely to collapse any time soon. What we don’t know is whether the financial and political costs of keeping Maduro in power will turn out to be affordable for the Kremlin. But it would surprise us if Putin passes up a chance to throw his weight around in America’s backyard — and build some healthy income streams on the side. In Syria, Putin flipped a messy civil war on its head and prevented a U.S. policy goal of regime change from becoming reality. Exposing the hollowness of the Trump administration’s bombastic brand of foreign policy in Venezuela could be a reward in and of itself.                                       



ISRAEL AND LATIN AMERICA: IT’S COMPLICATED                                                 

Emmanuel Navon               

Times of Israel, Sept. 13, 2017


Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Latin America is welcome and long-overdue.  Indeed, it is astonishing that no Israeli prime minister before him ever paid an official visit there.  As Israel is trying to counter Iran’s global reach and to crack the “automatic majority” at the United Nations, investing diplomatic efforts in Latin America is the right thing to do.


Latin America played an important role in the birth of Israel.  Three of the eleven countries that constituted the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) were Latin American (Guatemala, Peru, and Uruguay).  The representative of Guatemala at UNSCOP was George Garcia Granados, a pro-Zionist who had met twice with Menachem Begin in secret when the British were trying to kill him.  Granados pushed hard to get UNSCOP to adopt partition and to get it approved by the General Assembly.


The President of the General Assembly at the time of the vote on partition was Oswaldo Aranha from Brazil.  Like Granados, Aranha also had strong Zionist sympathies.  The vote on UNSCOP’s partition proposal had been scheduled to take place on the 27th of November 1947.  As the vote was approaching, however, it became clear that there was no majority for the approval of partition.  More time was needed to gather support, especially among Latin American countries.  Aranha came up with an idea that saved the day: November 28 was Thanksgiving, he reminded delegates, and it would be unfair to keep American workers at the UN.  He therefore suggested renewing the debates and votes over the UNSCOP proposal after Thanksgiving.  His proposal was accepted, and the extra 48 hours enabled the Jewish Agency to gather more support among UN delegations.  During the vote, the support of Latin American countries was critical.  At the General Assembly, 33 countries voted “yes,” 13 voted “no,” and 10 abstained.  Of the 33 “yes” votes, 13 were from Latin America (i.e. 40%).


Despite this diplomatic support, however, relations were overshadowed by the shelter offered by Latin American governments to senior Nazi criminals such as Adolph Eichmann, Klaus Barbie, and Joseph Mengele.  After Israel captured Eichmann in Argentina in 1960, the Argentinian government complained that Israel had violated diplomatic étiquette, but it did not apologize for granting Eichmann a save heaven in the first place.  Other Nazis lived a happy life in Argentina and died in old age, such as Erich Priebke who died in October 2013 at age 100.  Like many other Nazis, he lived a comfortable life in the Argentinian ski resort of Bariloche, where Joseph Mengele took his driving test and where Erich Priebke ran a deli.  It was said to be the best in town, and customers used to call it “the Nazi deli.”


While most Latin American countries voted in favor of partition at the UN in 1947, their voting patterns at the General Assembly became unfavorable to Israel from the 1960s onward.  In 1964, a voting group of third world countries (known as “Group of 77”) was formed at the General Assembly.  Latin American countries were part of this bloc, which was very much influenced by its Arab and Muslim members.  To Israel, Latin America was “lost” diplomatically but it still mattered economically because of its oil reserves.  After the Iranian revolution of 1979 Israel lost a major oil supplier and oil exporters such as Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador became valuable alternatives.


In addition, Latin America once again became diplomatically relevant to Israel after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  Due to the oil embargo, most African countries cut their diplomatic ties with Israel, while Western Europe and Japan kowtowed to Arab demands.   Israel tried to bypass its diplomatic isolation by leveraging common interests with unsavory regimes.  In the case of Latin America, this policy meant selling weapons to anti-Soviet and authoritarian countries. Of all Latin American states, only Cuba severed its diplomatic relations with Israel after the Yom Kippur War.  Latin America became the last bastion of Israel’s presence in the Third World after 1973: Israel was isolated from Africa, and it had no diplomatic relations with China and India.  Except for Cuba after 1959 and Nicaragua after 1979, Latin America did not become “red” during the Cold War.  The United States was eager to prevent a Communist “domino effect” in what it considered to be its backyard…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic Links


How's Socialism Doing in Venezuela? (Video): Debbie D’souza, Prager U, Aug. 28, 2017—Venezuela is falling apart. Its economy? Ruined. Its people? Hungry. Its government? Corrupt. What happened? In a word, socialism. Debbie D'Souza, a native Venezuelan and political activist, explains.

US Sanctions to Pile Misery on Moribund Venezuelan Economy: Joshua Goodman, National Post, Aug. 29, 2017—A small army of red-shirted workers mop the linoleum floors as their supervisors, sitting under a giant portrait of Hugo Chavez, look on. By the meltdown standards of Venezuela’s economy, the shelves around the workers at the state-run Bicentenario supermarket in eastern Caracas are brimming with staples like rice and pasta.

Imperialists Invade Venezuela: Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 14, 2017—Asked on Friday about the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, President Trump said “I’m not going to rule out a military option.” But he has yet to articulate the geopolitical dimension of the Venezuelan crisis.

I Am in Prison Because I Want Freedom for My Country: Yon Goicoechea, New York Times, Sept. 4, 2017—I write this from my cell in the dungeons of the Venezuelan secret police. I’m 32 and I’ve been a democratic activist for 12 years. I have two children, 8 and 5, who are my sun and moon. I have a wife whom I love and who now has to carry the burden of being married to a political prisoner.







Trump's UN Speech was Properly Forceful and Pragmatic: Editorial, National Post, Sept. 22, 2017— On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

Why the Left Hated Trump’s U.N. Speech: Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2017— When Donald Trump ran for president, he criticized the interventionist policies of his Republican and Democratic predecessors, sparking fears that he would usher in a new era of American isolationism.

At ‘Iran Summit,’ Bipartisan Hatred of Iran Deal Stands Stronge: Philip H. DeVoe, National Review, Sept. 22, 2017— During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump declared the Iranian nuclear deal “an embarrassment to the United States,”…

The Nuclear Deal Is Only Half of It: Lee Smith, Weekly Standard, Sept. 25, 2017 — The Trump White House has yet to roll out its much-anticipated, comprehensive, government-wide Iran policy review…


On Topic Links


Trump at UN: He’s back. (Video): Israpundit, Sept. 19, 2017

Unfashionable as it is to Say, Trump Spoke the Ugly Truth in his Refreshing UN Speech: Christie Blatchford, National Post, Sept. 22, 2017 

State Department Waging "Open War" on White House: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, September 17, 2017

Perfect Partners: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Sept. 18, 2017






National Post, Sept. 22, 2017


On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly. If you only followed the media’s coverage of the event, you may be of the impression that it was a failure. Trump was widely ridiculed for referring to North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un as the “Rocket Man.” A picture of Chief of Staff John Kelly resting his head in his hand during the speech rapidly made the rounds on social media. The New York Times stated that Trump had “brought the same confrontational style of leadership he has used at home to the world’s most prominent stage.”


These sound bite accounts give Trump’s speech short shrift. If you watch the 40-minute address, there’s a good chance you’ll come away with a different view of it. Trump’s tone may have been bombastic, and his outlook unduly grim, but the positions he articulated on a wide range of issues — from global security to immigration to UN reform — were pragmatic. Trump used the speech to emphasize a basic, but often overlooked, fact of politics: a “government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens … to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.” Critics pounced on this “America First” rhetoric, suggesting it signaled a retreat from a commitment to pursue collective goals.


And Trump’s statements would have indeed been troubling if they had not been matched by clear language reinforcing the U.S.’ intention to work with its allies (as some of his earlier, ambiguous statements about NATO rightly led people to question). But this was not the case here. While Trump did emphasize the importance of state sovereignty, he also advocated for international action to address global problems. “Just as the founders of this body intended,” he stated, “we must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil and terror.”


One important way the administration intends to do this, Trump made clear, is by dealing aggressively with the countries that are posing the most acute threats to global or regional stability: North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. To North Korea in particular, Trump delivered a forceful — but necessary — message: North Korea will suffer a terrible fate if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies. Given Kim Jong-Un’s increasingly bellicose actions of late, it would be a grave concern if the U.S. administration were not employing severe actions and rhetoric to respond to Kim’s threats.


Which leads to Russia and China. Some pundits criticized Trump for only obliquely chiding these two heavyweights in his speech. While stronger language against Vladimir Putin in particular would have been welcome, it may have compromised nearer-term goals. Currently, the Trump administration is working to build international support to impose increasingly punitive sanctions on North Korea (last week, the Security Council unanimously passed new sanctions against the rogue state). For such efforts to be successful, the U.S. requires China and Russia’s co-operation. Similarly, if the U.S. does move ahead with plans to negotiate a tougher nuclear deal with Iran, it will need these two countries’ support, as they are signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear framework agreement.


On the question of refugees, Trump said that the U.S. will focus on supporting G20 agreements that “seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible.” While this message may not warm the heart like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tweets aim to, the position is not unprincipled. As Syria’s civil war begins to wind down and ISIL becomes an increasingly diminished force, the region’s war-torn countries will need their human capital to return if they are to have any chance of rebuilding successfully. The U.S. may well get more bang for its buck supporting refugees from afar than it would from bringing a small number into its country for permanent resettlement.


Trump tackled another key issue: the UN must be reformed. “It is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations,” he noted, “that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.” He’s right. Currently, the Council’s membership includes Venezuela, which is inching closer towards dictatorship every day; the Philippines, which has undertaken a massive program of extra-judicial killings to combat its drug problem; and Saudi Arabia, which generally requires women to obtain a male guardian’s permission to travel, marry, work and obtain health care.


Trump also returned to a common, but important, theme: that other nations must contribute their fair share to the UN. The UN is comprised of 193 nations, yet, in 2017, the U.S. shouldered 22 per cent of its budget. The U.S. does not, obviously, house 22 per cent of the world’s population, so Trump is right to note that this math doesn’t work. Importantly, though, Trump reaffirmed support for the UN, and even noted the U.S. would be prepared to “bear an unfair cost burden” if the UN was reformed into a “much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.” It is hard to disagree with this message.


In both style and substance, Trump’s speech did not resemble the kind of talks we’re used to politicians giving at the UN or other prestigious forums: it was blunt, forceful and firmly realist. Trump’s willingness to give voice to realities that other politicians refuse to acknowledge, or only delicately tiptoe around, is one of the reasons he was elected. The media does itself and voters a disservice when it fails to convey Trump’s true message.                                                           




Marc A. Thiessen

Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2017


When Donald Trump ran for president, he criticized the interventionist policies of his Republican and Democratic predecessors, sparking fears that he would usher in a new era of American isolationism. But at the U.N. this week, Trump laid out a clear conservative vision for vigorous American global leadership based on the principle of state sovereignty.


Judging from their hysterical reaction, critics on the left now seem to fear he’s the second coming of George W. Bush. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called his address “bombastic.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said it represented an “abdication of values.” And Hillary Clinton said it was “very dark” and “dangerous.” This is all the standard liberal critique of conservative internationalism. The left said much the same about President Ronald Reagan.


In New York, Trump called on responsible nation-states to join the United States in taking on what he called the “scourge” of “a small group of rogue regimes that . . . respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.” This mission can be accomplished, Trump said, only if we recognize that “the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.” He is right. Communism and fascism were not defeated by the United Nations, and global institutions did not fuel the dramatic expansion of human freedom and prosperity in the past quarter-century since the collapse of the Soviet Union. What has inspired and enabled the spread of peace, democracy and individual liberty was the principled projection of power by the world’s democratic countries, led by the United States.


This is what is needed today — and what Trump promised in his address. He recast his “America First” foreign policy as a call not for isolationism but for global leadership by responsible nation-states. He embraced the Marshall Plan — the massive U.S. effort to support Europe’s postwar recovery. And he declared that “if the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph” because “when decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.” Trump then used this theme of sovereignty to challenge the United States’ two greatest geopolitical adversaries, China and Russia, insisting that “we must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.”


The president also had a blunt message for North Korea. He dismissed its leader, Kim Jong Un, as “Rocket Man” and said Kim “is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” He made clear that “the United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” This message rattled some, and that was its intent. During the Cold War, Soviet leaders truly believed that Reagan was preparing for war and might actually launch a first strike. This belief is one of the reasons that a cataclysmic war never took place.


If we hope to avoid war with North Korea today, the regime in Pyongyang must be made to believe and understand that Trump is in fact, as he said at the U.N., “ready, willing and able” to take military action. His tough rhetoric was aimed not just at Pyongyang but also at China and other states whose cooperation in squeezing the regime is necessary for a peaceful solution. Those words must be followed by concrete steps short of total destruction to make clear that he is indeed serious and that North Korea will not be permitted to threaten American cites with nuclear annihilation.


Trump also put himself squarely on the side of morality in foreign policy and explicitly stood with those seeking freedom around the world. He promised to support the “enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.” He declared that “oppressive regimes cannot endure forever” and upbraided the Iranian regime for masking “a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy” while promising to stand with “the good people of Iran [who] want change.” He took on Iran’s ally, “the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad” in Syria, whose “use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shock the conscience of every decent person.”


And his best moment came when he turned to what he called the “socialist dictatorship” of Nicolás Maduro, declaring that “the problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” Trump promised to help the Venezuelan people “regain their freedom, recover their country and restore their democracy.” This is classic conservative internationalism: a vigorous defense of freedom, a bold challenge to dangerous dictators and a commitment to the principle of peace through strength. No wonder Trump’s critics on the left are so upset.              



AT ‘IRAN SUMMIT,’ BIPARTISAN HATRED OF IRAN DEAL STANDS STRONG                                                           

Philip H. DeVoe

National Review, Sept. 22, 2017


During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump declared the Iranian nuclear deal “an embarrassment to the United States,” assuring the audience that they haven’t “heard the last of it.” Four blocks away, at “Iran Summit 2017,” speakers including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, former senator Mike Kirk, General David Petraeus, former senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, and other diplomats and congressmen gave a similar assurance: Support for the Iran deal is as low as ever.


The summit, held by the bipartisan group United Against Nuclear Iran, involved a series of panel discussions during which speakers explored the threat that Iran poses to the United States and its allies. Speakers agreed that preventing a nuclear Iran should be Trump’s top priority. Per the terms of the Iran “deal,” drafted in 2015 by the Obama administration, the United States agrees to lift sanctions if Iran closes a percentage of its uranium-enriching centrifuges and keeps its nuclear materials below the enrichment levels necessary for weapon development. Though the deal was broadly unpopular in 2015, due in part to its failure to guarantee a non-nuclear Iran after its expiration, the focus on issues such as health-care reform and the debt ceiling during the early days of the Trump administration has put it out of voters’ minds.


But not, it seems, out of all minds. Indeed if the UANI summit is to be trusted as a barometer, the renegotiation of the Iran deal is still a high priority for many in Washington, D.C., even within a Congress that is frequently willing to stonewall Trump legislation. In statements made to National Review, Mike Kirk confirmed he has full confidence that Congress won’t block Trump’s decision to rescind the deal, should the president decide to do so. When Congress voted on the deal in 2015, four Democratic senators and 19 Democratic representatives joined the Republican majority to vote no. According to Kirk, the only force blocking more Democrats from voting against the deal was influence from the Obama White House, so Trump should have an easy path forward. “The only thing saving Iran was Barack Obama,” Kirk said. “Iran has no allies now.”


Kirk also cited Iran’s close relationship with North Korea as a reason why public frustration with the deal remains strong. It was a point that many other speakers made in their comments. Lieberman opened his remarks by reminding the summit’s audience that the partnership between those two nations was bad for the stability of the world: “Any development in North Korea [in ballistic-missile technology] we will see next in Iran.” Or, put another way: A deal that fails to prevent Iranian ballistic-missile development and ensure nuclear deproliferation after it expires also threatens to increase North Korea’s power.


Many at the summit spoke in support of Trump’s foreign policy. Surprisingly, Trump’s 2016 primary foe Jeb Bush was one of the most ardent defenders of the president. Speaking opposite former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat who opposed the deal, Bush responded to a question about Trump’s behavior toward Iran and North Korea by praising the president’s use of “chaotic language” as an appropriate strategic maneuver for “set[ting] the table” when dealing with hostile regimes.


Despite pressure from the moderator, NBC News’s Nicolle Wallace, Bush specifically credited Trump’s foreign policy as “moving in a more traditional way.” Bush did criticize Trump’s lack of “consistent policy,” but he recognized the president’s generals and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are “leading the charge” and commended them on “doing a good job.”


Supporters of the deal have attempted to cut public support by employing the same arguments used in the debate over leaving the Paris climate agreement: The deal is better than nothing, and ending it would alienate our allies. But as many on the summit’s panels pointed out, renegotiation is central to the decision. Pulling the deal cold would certainly be worse than the original deal, which is why correcting mistakes and producing a new deal is so important. Representative Steve Israel (D., N.Y.), who broke party lines to vote against the Iran deal, explained that a central focus of renegotiations would be expanding it to include Middle Eastern countries, such as Israel, that were not parties to the original pact.


Panelists agreed that the U.S. should rapidly increase funding for its missile-defense program while the deal is still in place, because the deal fails to prevent Iran’s development of ballistic missiles. Considering that the U.S.’s missile-defense systems cannot adequately protect against an attack from even North Korea, building the program is key to national security. Kirk told NR that Israel’s current defense systems are also inadequate, being too old to target, let alone track and fire back at, incoming missiles. If Iran launches an ICBM at Tel Aviv or the United States before the deal is renegotiated, the odds are low that either nation will be able to protect itself.


For Americans concerned about the weakness of the Iran deal, the summit should provide some hope. Despite attacks from the left on Trump’s seemingly inevitable decision to back out of the deal, many on both sides are working to remind the public — and Congress — of its problems, and how important renegotiation is to national security. If the summit is any indication, the deal’s supporters are still few in number, and its repeal and revision will be swift.                                      




THE NUCLEAR DEAL IS ONLY HALF OF IT                                                

Lee Smith                    

Weekly Standard, Sept. 25, 2017


The Trump White House has yet to roll out its much-anticipated, comprehensive, government-wide Iran policy review, but administration principals have met over the last few weeks to iron out details regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. On September 14, as expected, Trump renewed the waiver that provides sanctions relief to Iran under the JCPOA’s terms, while the Treasury Department at the same time imposed new sanctions targeting supporters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).


That recipe—waive nuclear sanctions while imposing other sanctions—is in keeping with the administration’s larger message about Iran, namely, that the problems the Islamic Republic poses go far beyond the nuclear program. These include support for terrorism and criminal enterprises, threats to strategic waterways, and ballistic missile development. The question still outstanding is whether that big picture will come to affect U.S. policy towards Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, where the Islamic Republic is further entrenching its position.


The next Iran deal milestone comes October 15 when the president must again certify to Congress—per the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act—that Iran is meeting the conditions of the JCPOA. Trump, who criticized the deal during his presidential campaign, is reportedly keen to decertify. In July he told the Wall Street Journal that “if it was up to me, I would have had [Iran] noncompliant 180 days ago.” So far, though, he hasn’t done so, blaming his secretary of state for keeping him from making a command decision. And Rex Tillerson is trying to do so now. According to an Associated Press report last week, the State Department has already urged the president to certify Iranian compliance again and then go to Congress to fix the deal.


“The secretary of state and his staff have been working since the transition to play Trump for an idiot on Iran,” says one veteran Iran hand closely involved in the decertification debate. “During the first round of waivers and recertifications in April, they tried to slip it by the president as just a minor ‘technical’ issue that he didn’t have to worry about. The next time certification came up in July, they simply denied him any other option. This time they’re trying to entangle him in process.” (The 2015 law requires certification every 90 days.) To ensure that Trump certifies in October, the State Department had tried to push a diplomatic process to tighten aspects of the deal, in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Europeans. But they predictably rebuffed State’s efforts, as did Iran. The point of that proposal, as with the latest initiative to “fix” the deal, is to tie Trump down in a process that will prevent him from decertifying—the first step in dismantling the deal entirely.


So what are the president’s options for October? He can still tear up the deal entirely, a scenario endorsed by John Bolton and previously promised by Trump. Another option would be to decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal but not reinstate sanctions, not yet anyway. “Trump can decertify on the condition that the JCPOA is not in the U.S. national interest,” says Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a leading expert on the deal. “Then it goes to Congress for debate for 60 days where the president needs to lay out a persuasive case that this is not the time for Congress to reinstate sanctions and abrogate the deal.”


According to Dubowitz, this tactic not only puts Iran on notice but gives our European allies plenty of advance warning to develop a common policy on how to fix the fatally flawed nuclear deal. The preference is do this together. But everyone needs to understand that the United States is prepared to reimpose sanctions instead of giving Iran patient pathways to nuclear weapons and ICBMs. “Europeans would prefer a common approach on Iran. They will always choose access to the $19 trillion U.S. economy over a $400 billion Iranian one,” says Dubowitz. “American coercive financial power, especially under Trump is real.” On the other hand, says Dubowitz, “if the president certifies [Iran’s compliance with] the JCPOA again next month, he’ll lose credibility—with Democrats, Europe, never mind Iran and other interested observers, most notably North Korea and Russia. If he does certify yet again, he will have an uphill battle going forward to demonstrate that he is prepared to walk away and use all instruments of power to pressure Iran and permanently cut off its pathways to atomic weapons.”




On Topic Links


Trump at UN: He’s back. (Video): Israpundit, Sept. 19, 2017—PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates: Welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city, as a representative of the American people, to address the people of the world.

Unfashionable as it is to Say, Trump Spoke the Ugly Truth in his Refreshing UN Speech: Christie Blatchford, National Post, Sept. 22, 2017—Unfashionable and hazardous as it is to say this, I’m with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neetanyahu, who tweeted on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech to the United Nations, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”

State Department Waging "Open War" on White House: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, September 17, 2017—The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress. The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

Perfect Partners: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Sept. 18, 2017—When he won election, Donald Trump—along with his national security adviser Michael Flynn, his all-purpose counselor Stephen Bannon, and, perhaps, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner—was fond of the idea that Russia and Iran, comrades-in-arms in Syria, weren’t natural partners.










On Topic Links


Facing a Challenging New Year: Isi Leibler, Algemeiner, Sept. 18, 2017

Rosh Hashanah (New Year) Guide for the Perplexed 2017 / 5778: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 20, 2017

Israel and the American Jewish Crisis: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19, 2017

Obama Blinked, Israel Bombed: History Will Show Who Got Syria Right: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 15, 2017



Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Sept. 19, 2017


The sounding of the shofar is a symbol of the New Year, of renewal, and of unending hope for peace, love, and better world for all. The blast of the shofar reminds us of our mighty and proud Israel Defensive Forces, and of their acts of heroism in Israel’s wars.  It also reminds us of the ethical and just values of the mighty and proud people of Israel, their heroism, and their love for peace and hope for the ultimate, harmonious gathering of all peoples. Judaism regards the period between Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) as days of celebration, creation, renewal, and a new beginning, for each individual and for Am Israel, The Jewish People.  The sound of the shofar is a call for peace.


Tsedek, tsedek, tirdorf: justice, justice shall you pursue! Happy New Year to all of CIJR’s family, friends, and supporters. May it be a year of peace for Israel, the Middle East, and for the entire world! Shana Tova U'Metuka: a sweet New Year for us all.


(Baruch Cohen, 97, has been CIJR’s Research Chairman for thirty years)




Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Wall Street Journal, Sept. 16, 2017


The Ten Days of Repentance are the holy of holies of Jewish time. They begin this Wednesday evening with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and culminate 10 days later with Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement. At no other time do I feel so close to God, and I suspect the same is true for most Jews.


These days constitute a courtroom drama like no other. The judge is God himself, and we are on trial for our lives. It begins on Rosh Hashanah, with the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, announcing that the court is in session. The Book of Life, in which our fate will be inscribed, now lies open. As we say in prayer, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who will live and who will die.” At home, we eat an apple dipped in honey as a symbol of our hope for a sweet new year.


On Yom Kippur, the atmosphere reaches a peak of intensity in a day of fasting and prayer. Repeatedly we confess our sins, whole alphabetical litanies of them, including ones we probably had neither the time nor the imagination to commit. We throw ourselves on the mercy of the court, which is to say, on God himself. Write us, we say, in the Book of Life. And at the end of a long and wrenching day, we finish as we began 10 days earlier, with the sound of the ram’s horn—this time not with tears and fears but with cautious yet confident hope. We have admitted the worst about ourselves and survived.


Beneath the surface of this long religious ritual lies one of the more transformative stories of the human spirit. The sociologist Philip Rieff pointed out that the movement from paganism to monotheism was a transition from fate to faith. By this he meant that in the world of myth, people were pitted against powerful, capricious forces personified as gods who were at best indifferent, at worst hostile, to humankind. All you could do was try to propitiate, battle or outwit them. This was a culture of character and fate, and its noblest expression was the literature of Greek tragedy.


Jews came to see the world in a completely different way. The book of Genesis opens with God making humans “in his image and likeness.” This phrase has become so familiar to us that we forget how paradoxical it is, since for the Hebrew Bible, God has no image and likeness. As the narrative quickly makes clear, what humans have in common with God is freedom and moral responsibility.


The Jewish drama is less about character and fate than about will and choice. To the monotheistic mind, the real battles are not “out there,” against external forces of darkness, but “in here,” between the bad and better angels of our nature. As the religion writer Jack Miles once pointed out, you can see the difference in the contrast between Sophocles and Shakespeare. For Sophocles, Oedipus must battle against blind, inexorable fate. For Shakespeare, writing in a monotheistic age, the drama of “Hamlet” lies within, between “the native hue of resolution” and “the pale cast of thought.”


The trouble is, of course, that faced with choice, we often make the wrong one. Given a second chance, Adam and Eve would probably pass on the fruit. Cain might work a little harder on his anger management. And there is a straight line from these biblical episodes to the destruction left by Homo sapiens: war, murder, human devastation and environmental destruction. That is still our world today. The key fact about us, according to the Bible, is that uniquely in an otherwise law-governed universe, we are able to break the law—a power that we too often relish exercising.


This raises an acute theological dilemma. How are we to reconcile God’s high hopes for humanity with our shabby and threadbare moral record? The short answer is forgiveness. God wrote forgiveness into the script. He always gives us a second chance, and more. All we have to do is to acknowledge our wrongs, apologize, make amends and resolve to behave better, and God forgives. It allows us to hold simultaneously to the highest moral aspirations while admitting honestly our deepest moral failings. That is the drama of the Jewish High Holy Days…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





"The U.S. has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” — President Trump, in his first address to the UN General Assembly. Trump also said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime" and said the regime's "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles" threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life. Trump also spoke in harsh terms about Iran and the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor. He called it "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the U.S. has ever entered" and deemed it an "embarrassment to the U.S.” Trump said the Iran nuclear deal provides a "cover for the potential construction of a nuclear program" in the region. “We cannot let a murderer's regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program," Trump said. (CBS, Sept. 19, 2017)


“The ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric, filled with ridiculously baseless allegations, that was uttered before this august body yesterday…was not only unfit to be heard at the United Nations — which was established to promote peace and respect between nations — but indeed contradicted the demands of our nations from this world body to bring governments together to combat war and terror…It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics. The world will have lost a great opportunity.” — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Rouhani on Wednesday praised the nuclear deal as a “model,” arguing that the Middle East was safer for it, and said Trump’s threat “undermines international confidence in negotiating with it.” (New York Times, Sept. 20, 2017)  


“I have a simple message for Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran: The light of Israel will never be extinguished. Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions. We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria or in Lebanon for use against us. And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border.” — Prime Minister Netanyahu, at the UN General Assembly. After praising Trump’s address, Netanyahu said the 2015 accord strengthened Iran’s nuclear program and posed a grave threat to the entire world. In light of the deal’s flaws, the prime minister said, the nuclear accord must be ripped up or radically amended. “Change it or cancel it,” he said. “Fix it or nix it…Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability,” he added. “Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation. But above all, fixing the deal means getting rid of the sunset clause.” (Times of Israel, Sept. 19, 2017)


"Recently, one of the Zionists said that Iran should not be in Syria…I say- the Zionists will not be here in another 25 years, we will not forget the crimes of the Zionists. If they do something foolish, they will disappear even sooner than that." — Iran's acting Commander-in-Chief Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi. A day after the opening of the UN General Assembly, Mousavi reportedly warned that his country would destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel took any 'foolish' steps against Iran. "Israel needs to put its head down," he said. (Jerusalem Online, Sept. 18, 2017)


“If (the Sept. 7 airstrike — reportedly carried out by the Israeli Air Force — that targeted an Assad regime chemical weapons facility) it slows the production of those deadly weapons, Israel’s attack will have done a service for humanity as well as itself…It also should have served as a wake-up call for the Trump administration. Mr. Trump has been slow to recognize that the United States has vital interests in Syria beyond eliminating the Islamic State — and that those interests don’t coincide with those of Russia, which has been working in tandem with Iran.” Washington Post Editorial. Trump should heed Netanyahu’s recent warnings about the danger posed by Iran’s effort to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, the Washington Post said on Thursday. The editorial called on the US to take “its own steps to block the Iranian ‘entrenchment’ in Syria that Mr. Netanyahu spoke of…Diplomacy might achieve some of that, but military steps should not be ruled out,” it went on to say. The paper also praised the airstrike that targeted an Assad regime chemical weapons facility in Syria’s Hama region. (Algemeiner, Sept. 15, 2017)


“The Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act, which is a consequence of PA and Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) policy of paying terrorists and their families.” — U.S. State Department. The Trump administration declared its firm support for a bill that would suspend US financial assistance to the PA until it ends what critics have described as a long-standing practice of rewarding Palestinians who kill Americans and Israelis. President Trump, the State Department added, “raised the need to end any part of this program that incentivizes violence against Israeli and American citizens with President Mahmoud Abbas last May in both Washington and Bethlehem.” Taylor Force was a student at Vanderbilt University and a West Point graduate who was visiting Israel in March 2016 when he was killed. The PA praised Force’s killer as a “heroic martyr.” The PA has reportedly paid $144 million in “martyr payments” over the years. (World Israel News, Sept. 17, 2017)


“Muslims are living in peace and harmony under Israeli law and there are about 400 Mosques in Israel, which are protected by the Jewish state…This is the beauty of Zionism. Zionism has never encouraged religious violence.” — Noor Dahri, of the Pakistan-Israel Alliance and the Pakistan Israel News. The Pakistani Muslim and his family arrived in Israel to tour holy places. Dahri notes that the arrival of his family is itself “evidence that Israel is a democratic country.” Dahri has had a long relationship with the Jewish State, having earned a degree in criminal psychology here. He has also authored the book, The State of Israel: In War & Peace and Islamic Terrorism. (Jewish Press, Sept. 16, 2017)


“(Israel) has been a friend and ally of Colombia, and recently a great ally in the construction of peace in the country…We would like to strengthen this magnificent relationship…We are honored to have you visiting here, and are grateful you have chosen Colombia as one of the countries in your first visit to Latin America.” — Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos. Israel has offered its expertise in the “very humanitarian” effort of helping Colombia clear its countryside of anti-personnel mines, Santos said after meeting Netanyahu in Bogota. Santos said that Colombia can learn from Israel how to channel and tap into the innovation of its people. Colombia was the second-leg of Netanyahu's three-country Latin American tour. Netanyahu met briefly at Bogota's airport with representatives of the small Jewish community. After Colombia he flew to Mexico. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 14, 2017)  


“May the day come soon when His Majesty’s plane lands at Ben-Gurion Airport, and when the anthems played here tonight will be heard around the world ushering in that long-awaited era of lasting peace and tranquility…If I had to predict, I would tell you that the Arab world’s relationship with the State of Israel is going to dramatically change.” — Rabbi Marvin Hier, Simon Wiesenthal Center founder and dean. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa has denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state. The statement by the head of the Persian Gulf country, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, was revealed at an event hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (World Israel News, Sept. 17, 2017)






HAMAS AGREES TO DISSOLVE ITS GOVERNING BODY IN GAZA (Gaza) — Hamas agreed on Sunday to dissolve its governing body in the Gaza Strip, and allow the West Bank-based PA to take over in its place and hold general elections. Since Hamas ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from Gaza in 2007, Hamas and Fatah have essentially established two separate governments – one Hamas-run government in Gaza and another led by the PA in the West Bank. While the two parties have signed a number of reconciliation agreements aimed at creating one shared government, they have failed to implement any of them. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 10, 2017)


UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SHOT DOWN OVER NORTHERN ISRAEL (Jerusalem) — An unmanned aircraft was shot down over the Golan Heights Tuesday afternoon, an IDF spokesperson reported. The drone unit was shot down by Israeli forces after it penetrated Israeli airspace. According to the IDF spokesperson, a Patriot missile downed the unmanned aircraft, which likely entered Israeli airspace from Syria. No injuries or damage were reported. (Arutz Sheva, Sept. 19, 2017)


IRAN SUPPORT FOR HEZBOLLAH UP TO $830 MILLION ANNUALLY (Beirut) —Iran has increased its financial support to the Hezbollah terror organization to the tune of $830 million a year, up from around $200 million a year, according to a report. According to the report, Hezbollah has 22,000 fighters, 7000 of which are fighting in Syria for Assad and Iran, and 2000 have been killed over the past four years. Iran has also poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Assad’s regime, and $70 million into Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza every year. (Jewish Press, Sept. 15, 2017)


NETANYAHU REFUSES MEETING WITH SWEDISH PM (New York) — Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly refused to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at the UN General Assembly, telling him diplomatically that his schedule was completely booked. This is the second year that Netanyahu has given Löfven the cold shoulder, most likely due to Löfven’s haste to recognize a Palestinian State shortly after taking office. Another likely cause is that Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallström made several harsh remarks during the most recent terror wave, claiming that Israel executes without trial. (Jerusalem Online, Sept. 16, 2017)


US OPENS FIRST PERMANENT MILITARY BASE IN ISRAEL (Jerusalem) — Israel and U.S. officials inaugurated the first permanent American military base in the country, which will house dozens of U.S. troops and a missile defense system. The base will be located within the Israel Defense Forces Air Defense School in southern Israel, near Beersheba. The facility will include a barracks and several other buildings for U.S. troops to be stationed in the country, as well as systems to identify and intercept various aerial threats. It will operate under Israeli military directives. (The Hill, Sept. 18, 2017)


CHRC, ALBERTA GOV’T SPONSOR ANTI-ISRAEL EVENT (Calgary) — As part of the Ignite Change 2017 conference, Ranya El-Sharkawi launched into a 40-minute diatribe against the Jewish State. The Ignite Change website lists the City of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta and the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) as sponsors. El-Sharkawi, who strongly endorsed the BDS movement in her speech, said that "the whole concept of antisemitism is problematic," arguing that Arabs cannot possibly be antisemitic since they would be going "against [their] own ethnicity." El-Sharkawi included a claim that foreign volunteers "do not have the right to dictate how Palestinians resist, whether it's violent or non-violent." (B'nai Brith, Sept. 13, 2017)  


GOOGLE & FACEBOOK FACE CRITICISM FOR ADS (New York) — Google and Facebook face sharp criticism for allowing advertisers to direct ads to users who searched for or racist sentiments and hate speech. In response, both companies said they would change how their systems worked. The criticism began after a report revealed that Facebook enabled advertisers to seek out self-described “Jew haters” and other antisemitic topics. The company responded by saying that it would restrict how advertisers targeted their audiences. BuzzFeed then reported how Google allowed the sale of ads tied to racist and bigoted keywords, and automatically suggested more offensive terms as part of that process. Google said it would work harder to halt offensive ads. (New York Times, Sept. 15, 2017)


CHINA MAKES MASSIVE INVESTMENT IN ISRAELI LAB MEAT TECHNOLOGY (Beijing) — China has signed a $300 million deal to partner with Israeli high-tech companies working to create laboratory-grown meat as the Asian giant looks to embrace technologies that will help it cut down on harmful emissions and pollution. Israeli companies SuperMeat, Future Meat Technologies, and Meat the Future are three of only eight companies in the world growing meat from animal cells in laboratories. China has already announced a plan to cut Chinese meat consumption by half. Last week, the state-run China Science and Technology Daily ran an article (in Chinese) advocating lab-produced meat as a safe and environmentally more acceptable way of eating meat. (Times of Israel, Sept. 17, 2017)


MUSEUM CREATES VIRTUAL CONVERSATIONS WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS (New York) — New Dimensions in Testimony, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan is an interactive testimony installation—created by USC Shoah Foundation— which allows visitors to have “virtual conversations” with Holocaust survivors Pinchas Gutter and Eva Schloss. Visitors ask questions and lifelike projections of Gutter and Schloss answer in real time. Schloss is a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau who now lives in London. Gutter is a survivor of six Polish Nazi concentration camps who now lives in Toronto. The installation’s technology draws on 1,500 recorded answers triggered by visitors’ unique questions—allowing direct, seamless conversation. (Jewish Press, Sept. 17, 2017)


ISRAEL’S POPULATION TOPS 8.7 MILLION (Jerusalem) — Israel’s population stood at 8.743 million on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, up some 156,000 people from the previous year. The population growth rate was 1.8 percent. Jews make up nearly three-quarters of the population at 6.5 million, while  almost 1.8 million Arabs make up just over one-fifth of the population. Druze, non-Arab Christians, and those not categorized as members of a religious group, make up less than 4.5% of the population, at 396,000 people. The country also saw 27,000 people move to Israel over the last year. Of the new immigrants, the highest number came from countries in the former Soviet Union, followed by France and the U.S. (Times of Israel, Sept. 18, 2017)


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shana Tova!

On Topic Links


Facing a Challenging New Year: Isi Leibler, Algemeiner, Sept. 18, 2017—We enter Rosh Hashanah 5778 with conflicting emotions. Israel has never been in a stronger position, globally and domestically; we are thriving in every respect — economically, politically and militarily.

Rosh Hashanah (New Year) Guide for the Perplexed 2017 / 5778: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 20, 2017—Before the Sabbath, I participated in President Trump’s conference call with Jewish leaders for the new year. The invitation said that the President would “send well wishes for the upcoming holidays” and then move on to “discuss his administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community.”

Israel and the American Jewish Crisis: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19, 2017 —As the New Year 5778 begins, 88% of Israeli Jews say that they are happy and satisfied with their lives. This makes sense. Israel’s relative security, its prosperity, freedom and spiritual blossoming make Israeli Jews the most successful Jewish community in 3,500 years of Jewish history.

Obama Blinked, Israel Bombed: History Will Show Who Got Syria Right: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 15, 2017—One way to understand the vulnerable geography of Israel is to go far north, through the Galilee and into the Golan Heights, right up to the fence that marks the border with Syria. On the other side of the fence soldiers represent at least three of Israel’s many enemies.







Freddy Eytan

JCPA, 6 sept., 2017


Le Premier ministre Benjamin Nétanyahou entame ces jours-ci un long voyage qui l’amènera dans plusieurs pays d’Amérique latine, puis à New-York, où il rencontrera le Président Trump et prononcera un discours dans le cadre de la réunion annuelle de l’Assemblée générale des Nations-Unies.

Sa longue absence hors du pays fera oublier momentanément les enquêtes policières courantes sur les « Affaires ». Le Premier ministre aura ainsi l’occasion de consolider les relations bilatérales et de justifier la cause légitime de l’Etat juif face aux menaces de ses ennemis proches et lointains.  


La visite à Buenos Aires sera émouvante et particulière. Rappelons que deux attentats terroristes ont eu lieu dans la célèbre capitale du tango. En mars 1992 contre l’ambassade d’Israël, qui avait fait 29 morts dont 4 diplomates israéliens, et en juillet 1994 contre le Centre communautaire juif qui avait tué 85 personnes. Jusqu’à ce jour aucun groupe terroriste n’a pris officiellement la responsabilité de cs deux attentats et les autorités locales ont étouffé l’enquête. Pourtant, nul doute que les auteurs appartiennent au Hezbollah et que les attentats ont été commandités et planifiés par Téhéran.


Soulignons que plus de 230 000 Juifs vivent aujourd’hui en Argentine, et cette première visite de Nétanyahou a pour but de consolider le lien avec la sixième plus importante communauté juive au monde. Outre l’Argentine, et accompagné de nombreux hommes d’affaires, Nétanyahou renforcera également les relations avec le Paraguay, la Colombie et le Mexique dans le domaine de l’agriculture, des communications, la technologie et les systèmes de Défense.


Après son voyage en Amérique latine, le Premier ministre aura l’occasion de rencontrer de nombreux chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement lors de la réunion de l’Assemblée générale des Nations-Unies. Dans son discours, il soulignera qu’Israël n’est pas du tout isolé dans l’arène internationale et compte de nombreux amis.


Le Premier ministre brossera un tableau de la situation géopolitique de la région avec un fort accent sur la menace de l’Iran. Il s’agit bien d’une menace existentielle non seulement pour l’Etat juif, mais aussi pour la stabilité de l’ensemble des régimes arabes du Moyen-Orient.


Sa rencontre avec le président Trump consolidera les relations stratégiques avec les Etats-Unis et surtout coordonnera les prochaines étapes pour relancer le processus de paix avec les Palestiniens et aboutir à un règlement régional.


C’est à la veille de Rosh Hashana que Nétanyahou retournera en Israël pour fêter la nouvelle année juive que tous ici espèrent bonne et fructueuse. Shana Tova !




"Nous voulons partager avec l'Argentine de grandes opportunités" (Netanyahou)

I24, 12 sept., 2017


"Nous voulons partager avec l'Argentine de grandes opportunités qui viennent de l'innovation, dans plusieurs domaines tels que l'agriculture, l'eau, les technologies, la cyber sécurité ou la santé", a déclaré le Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou lors de son discours à Buenos Aires aux côtés du président Mauricio Macri.


Benyamin Netanyahou a insisté sur le nettoyage de l'air, le nettoyage de l'eau et la capacité qu'à Israël à "produire davantage". "C'est ce que nous faisons mieux que d'autres pays: nous pouvons faire des choses inimaginables. Nous pouvons produire de meilleurs résultats, nous pouvons conduire nos voitures de façon plus sûre… Toutes ces choses arrivent grâce à la technologie et l'intelligence artificielle", a-t-il détaillé.


"Nous avons hâte de collaborer avec l'Argentine de différentes manières et nous allons changer la vie de nos citoyens. Le président Macri et moi-même, nous nous sommes mis d'accord pour que nos relations soient plus modernes et pour moderniser notre économie", a encore souligné le Premier ministre.


Benyamin Netanyahou est arrivé lundi à la mi-journée à Buenos Aires, où il a rencontré la communauté juive argentine, estimée à 300.000 membres, soit la plus importante d'Amérique latine.


"Il y a un pont humain entre l'Argentine et Israël: c'est la communauté juive du pays, l'une des plus grandes du monde, une communauté très fière. Et je dois dire que des dizaines de milliers de Juifs viennent en Argentine et ont contribué à la société dans différents domaines. Ce pont entre les deux pays aidera les actions que nous mènerons ensemble", a déclaré Netanyahou.


Le Premier ministre israélien a par ailleurs accusé lundi l'Iran d'être à l’origine des attentats meurtriers survenus en Argentine dans les années 90, lors d’une cérémonie d’hommage aux 113 victimes à Buenos Aires, des propos qu'il a réitérés aux côtés du président.


"J'apprécie monsieur le président votre volonté, votre intégrité et vos positions pour faire toute la lumière sur ce qui s'est passé. Nous savons sans aucun doute que l'Iran était derrière tout cela avec le Hezbollah. Ils ont initié ses attaques et l'Iran n'a pas arrêté depuis de semer la terreur", a-t-il réaffirmé.


"Le Hezbollah a continué à perpétrer des attaques terroristes sur beaucoup de continents notamment en Amérique latine. Il est important que nous combattions le terrorisme. C'est devenu une réalité pour tous les pays comme nous l'avons vu à Barcelone, Berlin, Manchester, Londres ou Paris", a ajouté Netanyahou.


Israël cherche à élargir ses liens économiques et commerciaux avec de nouvelles régions, ce qui a conduit le Premier ministre à souligner l'importance des nouvelles technologies.


"Les différences entre les hautes et les basses technologies sont en train de disparaître très rapidement et nous savons que nous pouvons infuser la technologie dans la vie de nos pays de façon encore plus rapide. Nous allons commencer cette visite historique: elle représente un grand espoir pour le meilleur", a-t-il conclu à Buenos Aires.




Shraga Blum      

LPH, 14 sept. 2017


Mardi, avant de quitter l’Argentine pour la Colombie et le Mexique, le Premier ministre israélien s’était entretenu avec le président du Paraguay Horacio Maniel Cartes venu spécialement à Buenos Aires pour le rencontrer. Les deux leaders ont exprimé leur satisfaction pour les excellentes relations qui règnent entre leur deux pays et leur désir de renforcer encore la coopération entre eux. Binyamin Netanyahou a dit au président paraguyen qu’Israël peut offrir à son pays son expérience dans les domaines de la technologie, de l’agriculture, du traitement des eaux, de la sécurité et de nombreux autres domaines. Les deux pays entretiennent une zone de libre-échange dans le cadre du Mercosur, le marché commun de quatre pays d’Amérique du Sud (Argentine, Brésil, Uruguay, Paraguay) auquel Israël est lié par des accords depuis 2008.


« Je veux vous dire que je vous aime beaucoup » a notamment dit le président paraguyen au Premier ministre israélien. Horacio Manuel Cartes avait effectué une visitehistorique en Israël en 2016, la première d’un président du Paraguay.


Binyamin Netanyahou a ensuite quitté l’Argentine pour la Colombie après une visite très réussie. A Bogota il a été reçu par le président colombien Juan Manuel Santos. Après leur entrevue, le Premier ministre israélien a exprimé son admiration face au développement impressionnant de la Colombie. Le président colombien a quant à lui déclaré qu’Israël a démontré qu’il est un pays ami et allié de la Colombie, notamment lors des négociations avec les rebelles du Farc. Les deux dirigeants ont convenu de renforcer la coopération entre les deux pays dans les domaines de la science et du tourisme.


Après cette rencontre, le Premier ministre s’est envolé pour sa dernière étape en Amérique latine: le Mexique. Il se rendra ensuite à New York pour s’exprimer devant l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU.





Raphael Ahren

Times of Israel, 14 sept. 2017


Benjamin Netanyahu, le président colombien Juan Manuel Santos a remercié Israël de la promotion de la paix faite dans son pays, citant en particulier les efforts de Jérusalem pour désamorcer les mines.


« Israël a été un ami et un allié de la Colombie, et dernièrement, il a été un grand allié dans la construction de la paix dans notre pays, a dit Santos. Vous nous avez offert de l’aide dans plusieurs domaines, notamment, mais pas uniquement, dans quelque chose de très humanitaire, qui est le retrait des mines anti-personnelles. »


En raison de la guerre civile qui remonte à 52 ans, la Colombie a longtemps été le pays comptant le plus grand nombre de mines anti-personnelles après l’Afghanistan.


Santos, citant ce fait, a indiqué que « nous sommes dans un processus de correction de cette situation honteuse », a-t-il dit depuis le palais présidentiel, la Casa de Nariño. « Nous aimerions renforcer les relations magnifiques dont nous jouissons depuis tant d’années. Comme toutes les relations, il est toujours possible de l’approfondir. Nous voulons coopérer plus encore avec Israël. Vous avez beaucoup de ce dont nous avons besoin, et nous avons beaucoup de ce dont vous avez besoin. »


La visite éclair de trois heures de Netanyahu à Bogota était dominée par les discussions sur la contribution potentielle d’Israël aux efforts « post-conflit » de la Colombie. Avant de s’adresser à la presse, Netanyahu et Santos ont signé un accord de coopération dans le domaine du tourisme.


Le 24 novembre 2016, le gouvernement colombien et les FARC, les Forces révolutionnaires armées de Colombie, ont signé un accord de paix qui a mis fin à la sanglante guerre civile. Plus de 225 000 Colombiens ont été tués et huit millions d’entre eux déplacés pendant le conflit. L’accord de paix, signé après quatre ans d’intenses négociations, permet le désarmement des FARC et leur intégration dans la vie civile.


Entre 1990 et 2015, plus de 11 400 personnes ont été tuées ou blessées par des mines ou des munitions non explosées en Colombie. L’accord de paix a fait diminuer le nombre de victimes, mais en 2016, la Colombie a encore connu 89 décès, et 18 pendant le premier semestre 2017, selon les Nations unies.


En septembre 2016, l’Autorité d’action nationale contre les mines d’Israël, placée sous l’autorité du ministère de la Défense, a accueilli huit Colombiens pour une semaine de formation aux procédures de désarmement des mines.


Après l’accord de paix historique, pour lequel Santos a reçu le Prix Nobel de la Paix en 2016, le gouvernement colombien a créé un ministère spécial, entièrement dédié aux sujets « post-conflit ». Il gère actuellement 200 projets d’infrastructures nationales, et Israël cherche à être impliqué dans beaucoup d’entre eux.


« Nous sommes excités par les opportunités post-conflit qui sont présentées en Colombie », a dit Netanyahu. Il a discuté avec Santos des différents domaines dans lesquels les deux pays veulent renforcer leur coopération, notamment dans l’agriculture, la gestion de l’eau, le tourisme et la cyber-sécurité.


Il a également annoncé que le défunt Fonds d’innovation Colombie – Israël allait être relancé. « Peut-être allons-nous enfin apprendre à faire un bon café », a-t-il plaisanté. Santos a lui aussi promis de renforcer la coopération bilatérale, et a salué les technologies israéliennes.


« Votre pays, Israël, est un leader mondial en termes d’innovations, a-t-il dit à Netanyahu. Nous aimons dire que les Colombiens naissent innovateurs. Mais si nous apprenons de vous comment canaliser cette innovation pour aller vers le progrès, alors nous serons capables de faire beaucoup mieux. »


Netanyahu a également parlé de la menace du terrorisme islamique mondial, affirmant qu’il avait « deux sources », l’Etat islamique et l’Iran. « Ceci a produit une nouvelle relation entre Israël et les pays arabes, parce qu’ils ne voient plus Israël comme un adversaire, mais comme un allié indispensable contre ces forces qui veulent ramener l’humanité de son futur fantastique à son passé barbare », a-t-il dit.


« L’Iran envoie ses forces et ses terroristes partout, même en Amérique latine. Nous pensons que tous les pays devraient s’unir, [tout] comme Israël coopère avec les pays arabes, pour empêcher l’extension de l’agression iranienne. »


En 2013, Israël et la Colombie, qui fêtent cette année les 60 ans de la mise en place de relations diplomatiques, en 1957, ont signé un accord de libre échange qui doit encore être ratifié par le parlement colombien. Santos a indiqué qu’il entrerait en œuvre « dans les prochains mois ».


En 2016, les échanges commerciaux entre les deux pays ont atteint les 850 millions de dollars. Près de 100 entreprises israéliennes sont présentes en Colombie. Pendant la présidence de Santos, qui ne pourra pas se présenter à l’élection de l’année prochaine car le nombre de mandats possibles est limité, la Colombie est devenue l’un des meilleurs amis d’Israël en Amérique latine.


Après sa visite éclair de trois heures à Bogota, Netanyahu a repris l’avion pour se rendre au Mexique, où il doit rencontrer jeudi le président Enrique Peña Nieto et la communauté juive. Vendredi, il partira pour New York, où il doit rencontrer le président américain Donald Trump lundi. Mardi, il s’adressera à l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies avant de revenir en Israël. Lundi, Netanyahu est arrivé en Argentine pour une visite de deux jours, devenant ainsi le premier Premier ministre israélien en exercice à se rendre en Amérique latine.









Raphael Ahren

Times of Israel, 15 sept. 2017


L’annulation soudaine d’un important sommet africain-israélien cette semaine au Togo montre paradoxalement un rapprochement positive entre Jérusalem et le continent, selon un haut diplomate israélien.


« Cela fait plusieurs semaines que nous avons remarqué une certaine forme d’opposition au voyage d’Israël en Afrique, ce qui indique qu’Israël réussit à entrer en Afrique. C’est en réalité un paradoxe : si cela n’avait pas été une réussite, ce voyage n’aurait pas eu tant d’importance », a déclaré Yuval Rotem, directeur général du ministère des Affaires étrangères, au Times of Israël.


« Le voyage vers l’Afrique est un long voyage, cela prendra quelques années, a-t-il ajouté. Cela demande de l’investissement et de la persévérance. Et au fil de chemin, il y aura des obstacles, mais nous les surmonterons. »


Lundi, le Togo a demandé à Jérusalem de reporter le Sommet Afrique – Israël, qui devait avoir lieu dans la capitale du pays, à Lome, du 23 au 27 octobre. Pour expliquer sa décision, le président du Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, a évoqué des « préparations élaborés » qu’il devait mettre en place en amont de l’évènement.


Le report indéfini est une conséquence de la pression exercée par « certains acteurs arabes et membres du bloc africain », a expliqué Rotem. D’autres responsables israéliens ont tenté de minimiser les influences étrangères qu’a subi le Togo pour reporter le sommet, et ont accusé « des problèmes d’ordre national ». « Il y a des raisons que l’on peut dire et voir en surface, et des raisons que l’on ne voit pas. Nous les connaîtrons en temps et en heure », a ajouté Rotem.


Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu, qui s’est rendu à deux reprises en Afrique au cours des 16 derniers mois, devait également se rendre à Lome. Mais ses précédentes visites sur le continent, notamment en juin au Liberia, où il a rencontré plusieurs dirigeants d’Afrique occidentale, ont suscité, « chez plusieurs acteurs, un certain malaise, qui les a poussé à faire pression sur le Togo », a expliqué Rotem.


Quatre chefs d’État africains avaient déjà confirmé leur participation au sommet du mois prochain, a affirmé Rotem. « C’est un bel accomplissement. Mais nous voulons quelque chose de plus grand. Et nous avons besoin de temps pour cela. »


Après les fêtes du Nouvel an juif, les responsables du ministère des Affaires étrangères se rendront en Afrique pour réévaluer la situation et chercher un nouveau pays pour accueillir cet évènement, a indiqué Rotem.


« Nous pouvons construire une meilleure coalition qui permettra aux acteurs qui soutiennent Israël d’être plus francs dans ce processus. Et je pense que nous ne nous y prenons pas trop mal », a-t-il au Times of Israël, en marge du séjour de Netanyahu en Argentine cette semaine.


Sous la devise « Israël revient en Afrique et l’Afrique revient en Israël », Netanyahu a montré que les initiatives diplomatiques vers l’Afrique étaient au cœur de ses objectifs en matière de politique étrangère. Offrant aux pays africains une aide au développement, une coopération économique et un savoir-faire antiterroriste, Netanyahu vise à utiliser ce soutien pour casser la majorité anti-Israël historique dans des instances internationales telles que l’ONU.

Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu rencontre le président du Togo Faure Gnassingbé pendant le sommet de la CEDEAO à Monrovia, au Libéria, le 4 juin 2017 (Crédit :Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)


Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu rencontre le président du Togo Faure Gnassingbé pendant le sommet de la CEDEAO à Monrovia, au Libéria, le 4 juin 2017 (Crédit :Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)


Le mois dernier, Israël a minimisé les efforts palestiniens pour empêcher ce sommet, les responsables ayant manifesté leur assurance que Netanyahu rencontrera les dirigeants africains qui sont disposés à encourager les liens politiques et économiques avec l’État juif dans leur pays.


« Cela ne se passe pas sans pression », a dit Netanyahu aux ministres de son cabinet, en parlant du sommet. « Des pressions ont été exercées sur le président togolais pour qu’il annule cette conférence. Ces pressions sont la meilleure preuve du succès de notre politique, de la présence d’Israël en Afrique. »


En plus de l’opposition de Ramallah, le Maroc a dirigé les initiatives pour annuler cet évènement. L’Afrique du Sud a également tenté de contrecarrer ce sommet. En juillet, le parti au pouvoir, l’African National Congress, a diffusé un « document de discussion » appelant à saboter le rapprochement entre les pays africains et Israël, et particulièrement la réunion prévue au Togo.


Suite à la décision du report du sommet cette semaine, le ministère des Affaires étrangères a assuré qu’aucune pression ne ferait régresser les efforts d’Israël dans le renforcement de ses relations avec les nations africaines. « Israël continuera ses efforts en Afrique, comme il l’a fait ces dernières années », indique le communiqué.






Lise Ravary

Journal de Montreal, 15 sept., 2017


« Ô Allah, détruis les Juifs maudits, Ô Allah, montre-nous le jour noir que tu leur infliges, Ô Allah, montre-nous les merveilles de ta puissance et ta capacité à leur infliger, Ô miséricordieux, secoue le sol sous leurs pieds, Ô Allah, tue-les un par un, Ô Seigneur, n’en laisse aucun [vivant]. »


Charmant, non ? Encore plus charmant quand on apprend que ces paroles de paix ont été prononcées par l’imam Sayyed al-Ghitaoui du Centre islamique Al-Andalous à Ville Saint-Laurent. Les prêches contenant ces appels à la mort étaient accessibles sur YouTube pendant trois ans sans qu’aucune autorité religieuse n’intervienne pour les retirer.


De plus, cette mosquée, qui accueille près d’un millier de fidèles pour la prière du vendredi, selon le journal local, est située à quelques pas d’un secteur de Ville Saint-Laurent ayant une importante population juive, ce qui confère un ton particulièrement sinistre à ces inacceptables propos.


Pas de crime ? L’antisémitisme musulman est un sujet tabou, mais quoi qu’en disent les apologistes de l’islam, il existe bel et bien au Québec. Comme partout ailleurs dans le monde.


Le SPVM a enquêté sur l’imam de Al Andalous, mais le procureur de la Couronne n’a pu déposer d’accusation pour incitation à la haine parce que le délai de prescription était expiré. Et le procureur juge qu’il n’y a pas assez de preuves pour accuser l’imam d’incitation au génocide.


Pas assez de preuves ? « Détruis les Juifs maudits… n’en laisse aucun vivant » ne suffit pas au DPCP ? Que faut-il alors ? La discrimination systémique et le racisme sont le sujet de l’heure au Québec, mais on entend très peu parler d’antisémitisme. Or, année après année, la communauté juive est la plus souvent visée pour ce qui est des crimes haineux motivés par la religion.






I24, 19 sept., 2017


Le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou a rendu hommage mardi au discours prononcé par le président américain Donald Trump à l’Assemblée générale annuelle des Nations unies, le plus "courageux" jamais entendu, selon lui.


"En plus de 30 ans de relations avec l'ONU, je n'ai jamais entendu un discours aussi courageux et tranchant que celui de Donald Trump", a déclaré Netanyahou, qui doit lui aussi s'exprimer à la tribune de l'ONU plus tard dans la journée.


"Le président Trump a exposé la vérité sur les dangers qui menacent le monde et appelé à les confronter pour assurer l'avenir de l'humanité", a-t-il ajouté. Le président américain a dénoncé dans son discours les "Etats voyous" qui sont une menace pour le monde et affirmé que l'armée américaine allait devenir "plus forte que jamais".


M. Trump a également évoqué "l'embarras" suscité par l'accord nucléaire iranien et insisté sur la souveraineté des Nations. La veille, Netanyahou a eu une réunion avec Trump avec qui il s’est entretenu sur le processus de paix entre les Palestiniens et Israël.


"Nous allons discuter de beaucoup de choses, notamment d'un accord de paix entre les Palestiniens et Israël" qui serait "une réussite fantastique", a affirmé le président américain au début de leur réunion en marge de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies.


M. Netanyahou s'est également entretenu lundi pour la première fois publiquement avec le président égyptien Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Les deux dirigeants ont eu "une discussion approfondie sur les problèmes de la région", selon le Bureau du Premier ministre. Sissi a lui "exprimé son désir de contribuer aux efforts visant à parvenir à la paix entre Israël, les Palestiniens et la région".


Netanyahou a déjà rencontré Sissi dans le passé, notamment en février 2016, lors d’un sommet secret à Aqaba avec l'ancien secrétaire d'État américain John Kerry et le roi Abdallah II de Jordanie. Le dirigeant israélien aurait également rencontré le président égyptien quelques mois plus tard en avril 2016 lors d’une réunion au Caire.





Yeshaya Dalsace


C’est le nouvel an, mais le calendrier juif en comporte trois autres…


C’est le nouvel an, certes on mange bien mais on ne peut pas dire que ce soit vraiment la fête… on ne parle que de repentance, d’examen de conscience et de jours redoutables…


C’est le nouvel an, on mange des tas de choses douces et agréables et en même temps on vous sonne dans les oreilles des coups de trompettes à réveiller les morts…


Bon essayons de mettre un peu d’ordre dans tout cela…


C’est plus logique qu’il n’y parait…


D’abord cette affaire: un ou plusieurs nouvel an !


Roch Hachana est connu comme Le "nouvel an juif". L’expression Roch Hachana signifie en effet littéralement tête de l’année. Mais en réalité Roch Hachana n'est qu'un des quatre nouvel ans du calendrier juif !


Il y en a un pour le compte des mois, au printemps, un pour les arbres, à la fin de l'hiver, un pour les animaux durant l'été et un pour les années, celui qui nous intéresse, Roch Hachana. C'est peut-être un peu compliqué mais c'est pour cela que Roch Hachana, tombe le premier du septième mois. Roch Hachana est le nouvel an celui dont dépend le compte des années.


Dans le calendrier juif nous entrons cette année dans l'an 5778 à dater de la création du monde. L'idée de compter à partir de la création du monde est apparue tardivement dans le judaïsme, en fait pour se démarquer du compte chrétien à partir de Jésus.


Ce compte est symbolique et repose sur un calcul à partir des générations bibliques. Il n'a donc aucune valeur scientifique ou historique. En revanche, il est intéressant de constater que le judaïsme prend pour référence un événement par nature universelle et une époque où les juifs n'existaient pas encore. Roch Hachana est donc l'équivalent du 1er janvier pour le changement d’année. C'est pour cette raison qu'on se souhaite chana tova, "bonne année" !


La techouva


Roch Hachana est le moment par excellence du repentir de l’introspection et du jugement. Roch Hachana a toujours lieu à la fin de l’été, début de l’automne et entame le mois le plus riche en fêtes juives puisqu’il amorce le cycle Roch Hachana, Yom Kipour et Soucot. Roch Hachana est relié à Yom Kipour qui intervient dix jours plus tard.


La notion essentielle pour cette période qui va de Roch Hachana à Yom Kipour est celle de la téchouva, le repentir. Roch Hachana est considéré comme le jour de jugement (yom hadin) et Yom Kipour comme le jour du pardon. Entre les deux, il y a dix jours de pénitence (asseret yemei techouva), moment de délibération céleste durant lequel l’homme doit revenir à de meilleures résolutions. C’est donc l’idée centrale de Roch Hachana: nous devons faire techouva.


La techouva est une notion qui mérite explication. Littéralement le terme signifie réponse ou retour.


Comme si notre conscience nous interrogeait et qu’il fallait lui répondre. On dit de quelqu’un qui revient à la pratique religieuse qu’il a fait techouva. L’idée de la techouva est centrale pour la pensée juive, c’est le fait que l’humain n’est pas enfermé dans un déterminisme inéluctable. Il n’est pas soumis à des forces insurmontables. Au contraire, l’humain peut se surpasser et devenir meilleur, il peut se changer et changer le monde.


Rien n’est écrit de façon définitive et si on insiste fortement sur la culpabilité, elle n’est pas écrasante, mais responsabilité par rapport à nos actes qui peuvent tous être améliorés. Il va de soi qu’un véritable et complet processus de techouva ne peut se faire du jour au lendemain et qu'il ne suffit pas de deux jours de prière pour se "refaire à neuf".


Mais une prise de conscience est possible et à partir de celle-ci un long travail sur soi peut commencer. C’est pourquoi le calendrier des fêtes s’étale sur plusieurs jours et surtout que ce cycle de techouva est repris d’année en année.


C’est peut-être aussi pourquoi cette période est grave mais pas forcément triste, au contraire elle est marquée par la joie d’un "nouveau départ dans la vie". Dès avant Roch Hachana on récite tôt le matin les seli'hot qui sont des prières implorant le pardon, ponctuées par une brève sonnerie de chofar.


 Les sefarades, les juifs du pourtour méditerranéen, commencent les seli'hot au début du mois d’Elloul et les ashkénazes, d’Europe centrale, la semaine précédent Roch Hachana. On continue ces seli'hot jusqu’à Kipour. Sur la base du Talmud, Maimonide, qui vivait au 12e siècle, a codifié les lois de la techouva. Il explique que le meilleur "test de techouva" est celui qui consiste à se retrouver dans les mêmes conditions que celles où on a échoué par le passé, résister et ne plus fauter. Cela exige une véritable révolution intérieure et une grande maitrise de soi. Celui qui arrive à se surmonter ainsi est d'ailleurs appelé "Baal techouva", maître de techouva.


Roch Hachana et Kipour sont donc des occasions pour commencer ce retour et ébranler nos mauvaises habitudes.


La Tsedaka


Tout au long des offices de Roch Hachana et de Kipour reviennent les termes Techouva, Tefila, Tsedaka véritable trilogie, ou encore formule pratique pour réussir cet examen de conscience. La Techouva nous venons d’en parler.


La Tefila c'est la prière. Une grande partie de la journée se passe à la synagogue et la prière y est particulièrement riche. La Tsedaka, c’est la charité ou plus précisément le fait de soutenir les autres, même modestement. Il s’agit donc aussi de reconstruire un tissu social altéré et de mettre l’accent sur la solidarité. On le voit donc Roch Hachana est l’occasion d’un retour sur soi-même (Techouva), d’un retour à Dieu (Tefila) et d’un retour à l’autre (Tsedaka) ce triple retour est au cœur du rituel de Roch Hachana et de Kipour qui en est en quelque sorte le point d’orgue, le point culminant.


Le chofar


Tout le monde a déjà entendu cette sonnerie stridente qui nous ébranle au plus profond de nous même. La Tora n’utilise pas l’expression "Roch hachana", mais parle plutôt de Yom Teroua, jour des sonneries. C'est là une allusion aux sonneries du chofar qui constituent le rite principal de Roch Hachana. Le chofar est une corne debélier dans laquelle on sonne durant l’office du matin, à la synagogue.


On en extrait une série de sons. Leur durée et leur intensité en sont parfaitement définies.


Il y a d’abord :


– la tekia, un long son ininterrompu, puis

-les chevarim: trois sons de longueur moyenne,

-la teroua: une série de très courts sons saccadés.


On organise ces différentes sonneries, exactement une centaine, afin d’exprimer les différentes combinaisons possibles entre les différents rythmes. Certaines évoquent la complainte, d’autres l’agonie et l’expiration d’un dernier souffle, d’autres au contraire le réveil au plus profond de soi même et l’appel à se ressaisir. Tout se passe comme si au comble de l’intensité les mots de la prière n’étaient plus que des sons inarticulés mais pourtant très significatifs.


Le moment de la sonnerie du chofar est considéré comme l’un des plus solennels de l’année juive, la personne qui sonne doit être très concentrée, l’assemblée se recueille particulièrement, le plus souvent dissimulée sous son talet, pour écouter ces sonneries.


 L'objet même du chofar renvoie au bélier sacrifié par Abraham à la place de son fils Isaac, lors du célèbre épisode de la akédat Yits'hak, la ligature d'Isaac. Le souvenir de cet évènement est central à Roch Hachana et c'est précisément ce passage qu'on lit lors de la lecture de la Tora ce jour-là.


Il nous rappelle, de la part d’Abraham comme de son fils Isaac, lié sur l’autel du sacrifice, la brisure parfaite de l’égo et la soumission à la souveraineté divine. Le chofar joue aussi un rôle fondamental dans le processus de la techouva: ce sont nos murailles intérieures que vient faire tomber la sonnerie du chofar, tout comme le chofar servit à faire tomber les murailles de Jéricho dans le récit biblique.


Les images symboliques de Roch hachana


 Comme Pessa’h, Roch hachana est marqué par de nombreux rituels symboliques. Dans le Talmud, on dit de façon imagée qu’à Roch Hachana, un grand registre céleste est ouvert dans le ciel, Dieu fait les comptes et prend note…


 Celui qui aura assez de mérites sera inscrit directement dans le "Livre de la vie" le sefer ha'hayim, le méchant sera inscrit dans le "Livre de la mort" et le moyen (c'est-à- dire la grande majorité des gens), devra attendre le verdict de Yom Kipour. C'est pour cela qu'à Roch Hachana on se souhaite mutuellement "soyez inscrit dans le livre de la vie". Ou encore en abrégé "Bonne inscription".


La coutume de la pomme trempée dans le miel ouvre le premier repas de l’année, c'est-à-dire le soir de Roch Hachana. Elle est accompagnée du souhait : "que cette année soit bonne et douce" comme ces deux aliments, symboles même de la douceur. Le rite séfarade comporte un rituel gastronomique particulièrement riche.


Tout comme il existe un seder de Pessa'h il existe ainsi un seder de Roch hachana.


Pour que l'année commence sous de bons augures, on consomme une série de mets à portée symbolique accompagnés d’une formule adéquate faisant un jeu de mot sur le nom ou la forme de l’aliment: de la tête de poisson ou de veau pour être en tête et non à la queue, des grenades pour être rempli de mérites comme la grenade est remplie de grains, des graines de sésame pour que nous soyons aussi nombreux que ces petites graines…


Une autre pratique symbolique de Roch Hachana, est celle de Tachli'h. Il s’agit d’aller au bord d’une source d’eau, mer ou rivière et de réciter des versets bibliques faisant allusion à l’eau purificatrice et au fait que nos fautes doivent disparaitre dans l’abîme. On retrousse alors ses poches et on fait semblant d’en jeter tout le contenu, c’est à dire nos péchés. C’est une coutume relativement récente, datant du 16e siècle, devenue très populaire et on voit dans toutes les grandes villes des groupes de Juifs venir ensemble "jeter leur fautes aux poissons"…


Roch Hachana est une fête à la fois joyeuse, marquée par un kidouch et des repas en famille, mais aussi un moment grave du fait d’une longue liturgie empreinte de grande solennité mettant l’accent sur la culpabilité humaine et le jugement de Dieu. On résout cette contradiction entre joie et gravité en affirmant notre confiance dans le jugement de Dieu et notre joie à l’idée de ce nouveau départ.


Alors si vous regardez ce clip à la veille de Roch Hachana … à mon tour de vous souhaiter Chana tova!


Nous vous souhaitons une année de bonheur, de satisfaction et de paix. Chana Tova.





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