Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: April 2018

TENSIONS RISE BETWEEN ISRAEL & IRAN OVER TEHRAN’S SYRIAN ADVENTURES

AS WE GO TO PRESS: MISSILE STRIKES ON SYRIAN MILITARY BASE KILL DOZENS — Missile strikes on Syrian bases overnight killed dozens of pro-regime forces, raising the risks of a wider regional war just weeks after Israel was blamed for hitting an air station in the country used by Iranian elite forces. “Enemy missiles” targeted military bases in Aleppo and Hama, Syrian state news agency SANA reported Monday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 27 people, most of them Iranians, were killed. The base in Aleppo is also widely thought to be used by Iranian forces and allied militias. Syrian media close to the regime of President Assad said photos from the site revealed Israel as being behind the attack, purportedly using GBU-39 bombs fired by F-35 jet fighters. Israeli military declined to comment, in line with a policy of neither confirming nor denying strikes in Syria. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 30, 2018)

 

Threatening Regional Storm Clouds: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, Apr. 25, 2018 — Notwithstanding the exuberance of Israelis at the jubilant 70th Independence Day celebrations, justified in light of Israel’s extraordinary achievements and progress on both the diplomatic and defense fronts, the Jewish state will be facing major challenges over the next few months.

Stopping the S-300: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2018— Russia’s s-300 surface-to-air missile platform is one of the most sophisticated air defense systems in the world.

Tensions Intensify As Israel Endeavors To Keep Iran From Growing A Second Proxy State On Its Border: Yaakov Lappin, IPT News, Apr. 27, 2018 — Tensions between Iran and Israel have risen significantly following a military strike on an airbase in central Syria this month that targeted an Iranian military presence.

220 Airstrikes on Palestinians; World Yawns: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 26, 2018— While all eyes are set on the weekly demonstrations organized by Hamas and other Palestinian factions along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel…

On Topic Links

Who are Iran’s 80,000 Shi’ite Fighters in Syria?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2018

Donald Trump, Syria and the Prevention of Genocide: Louis Rene Beres, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 25, 2018

Nobel Knock-Offs and the Syrian Chemical Weapons Charade: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Apr. 26, 2018

How Hezbollah Will Use Foreign Fighters to Conquer Lebanon: David Daoud, Ha’aretz, Apr. 27, 2018

 

THREATENING REGIONAL STORM CLOUDS

Isi Leibler

Israel Hayom, Apr. 25, 2018

Notwithstanding the exuberance of Israelis at the jubilant 70th Independence Day celebrations, justified in light of Israel’s extraordinary achievements and progress on both the diplomatic and defense fronts, the Jewish state will be facing major challenges over the next few months.

Until recently, largely due to the effective diplomacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel was in an ideal situation, receiving the support of the Trump administration as well as enjoying a unique relationship with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. This, despite Putin’s determination to retain influence in Syria and his wish not to breach his cordial relations with the Iranians who, for their own reasons, have played a key role in assisting him to save Syrian President Bashar Assad from oblivion. However, this has encouraged the Iranians to overtly create military bases in Syria while shamelessly and repeatedly proclaiming their determination to wipe Israel off the map, which Israel regards as serious, potentially existential threats.

Until now, frequent consultations between Israel and Russia have served to avoid conflicts. Israel refrained from engaging in activities intended to bring about regime change or threaten Russia’s regional interests. In turn, the Russians did not react to Israel’s repeated bombing incursions in Syria to neutralize arms shipments to Hezbollah or prevent the Iranians from advancing toward its northern borders. Unfortunately, Israel is now finding it extremely difficult to maintain these delicate balances. Assad’s employment of chemical weapons against his own citizens has outraged the international community which, until only recently, had been passive while hundreds of innocent civilians were butchered weekly by Assad’s forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who, to Israel’s dismay, had announced his intention to withdraw all American troops from Syria, then reversed his decision and succeeded in persuading the French and British to join him in a joint military intervention to punish the Syrians. It was a strictly limited operation in which four major installations were destroyed with minimal casualties because the Syrians were made aware of the potential targets and evacuated them in advance. It was not an attempt to achieve regime change. But even this limited operation contrasted starkly with former President Barack Obama’s cowardly failure to follow up previous threats when the Syrians engaged in chemical warfare.

However, the tension between Israel and the Iranians has escalated. The Iranians have been employing Lebanese and Palestinian surrogates to carry out their terror activity and in February, in what was their first direct attack on Israel, the Iranians dispatched a drone from one of their Syrian air bases carrying explosives intended to devastate a location in Israel. It was shot down by an Israeli Apache helicopter. Israel made it clear that Iranian bases in Syria were unacceptable and launched a retaliatory raid, targeting the major T4 air base in central Syria and in which an F-16 fighter jet was lost. In a second wave of strikes, Israel destroyed a significant percentage of Syria’s air defenses, which also incurred Iranian casualties. Although no Russians were injured, the Putin government criticized Israel for this foray. Following the Syrian chemical attack on April 9, Israel was alleged to have launched additional long-range surface-to-air missiles, which were said to have destroyed the Iranian control center and killed 14, including seven Iranians, one of whom headed the drone unit. The Russians protested and the Iranians swore to retaliate.

Against the backdrop of these tensions on the Syrian front, early this month Hamas initiated a campaign in which it enlisted thousands of Gaza residents to breach the Israeli border. Hamas gunmen and fighters hurling Molotov cocktails were interspersed with the civilian demonstrators. The IDF took defensive action, using live gunfire where necessary against those using assault weapons or trying to penetrate the borders. Thousands were injured and dozens, primarily identifiable Hamas terrorists, were killed. Despite photographic documentation of the violence, the employment of human shields including women and children, and the repeated statements by Hamas leaders that the objective was to bring back the refugees and destroy Israel, the U.N. Security Council sought to condemn Israel for responding “disproportionately.” The resolution was vetoed by the U.S. The atmosphere throughout the region is extremely tense and Israel is girding itself for the possibility that war could erupt at any time on any front…

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

 

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STOPPING THE S-300

Editorial

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2018

Russia’s s-300 surface-to-air missile platform is one of the most sophisticated air defense systems in the world. It is for that exact reason that Israel and the united states have worked tirelessly over the years to prevent its delivery to Iran and why Israel is now working to stop it from getting to Syria. The real question concerns Russia’s intentions and why it recently announced its intention to deliver the system to the Bashar Assad’s military.

What makes the s-300 a cause of such concern in Israel is that it has the reported ability to track up to a hundred targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters. Moscow has already deployed the system in Syria – as well as the more advanced s-400 – but they are under the control of the Russian military. The new systems would be given to the Syrians.

This poses two problems for Israel. First is the possibility that it will be used to shoot down Israeli aircraft. Due to its long range, it can reach deep into Israel and hit planes taking off and landing at Ben Gurion Airport, not to mention Israel Air Force jets operating over Syria. In addition, there is the possibility that Syria will transfer the system to Hezbollah in Lebanon, further undermining Israel’s operational freedom and aerial superiority in the region. In Israel, there have traditionally been two schools of thought with regard to the severity of the s-300 threat. On the one hand, there are those like former air force commander Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ido Nehushtan who said a few years ago: “We need to make every effort to stop this system from getting to places where the IAF needs to operate or may need to operate in the future.”

Other officials have been less concerned and claim that … if and when the s-300 is delivered to Iran or Syria, Israel will be able to develop an electronic warfare system to neutralize it. The problem is that delivery of this system to Syria could lead to a war. Defense minister Avigdor Liberman told Ynet last week that if the s-300 is used against Israel, “we will act against it.” Moscow has reportedly warned of catastrophic consequences if Israel attacks the system once it reaches Syria.

Russia’s aim seems to be, on the one hand, an attempt to bolster the regime of Bashar Assad that it has been fighting to keep in power for the last few years. At the same time, it wants to use the threat of delivering the system to Syria as diplomatic leverage in its dealings with the United States over the future of the middle east. What Israel will do if the s-300 is delivered to Syria remains to be seen. It will have to navigate between destroying a system that could significantly under – mine its capabilities and at the same time avoiding a direct military confrontation with Moscow.

Russia should be careful. It is true that it has deployed significant military assets in Syria, but Israel has proven over the last few years that a Russian presence does not stop it from acting against strategic threats. The IAF has carried out more than 100 strikes against targets in Syria in recent years, most recently, according to foreign sources, on an Iranian drone base. Russia should not be allowed to get away with whatever it wants in Syria. US president Donald Trump has already accused Vladimir Putin of responsibility for allowing Assad to gas his own people, but he needs to keep the pressure on the Russian leader to stop the delivery of the s-300.

It is in Israel’s interest that Syria be stabilized, but it is in the world’s interest that weapons do not proliferate to terrorist groups and terrorist regimes. Giving the Syrian military the s-300 achieves the exact opposite. The world needs to act now to stop that from happening.

 

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TENSIONS INTENSIFY AS ISRAEL ENDEAVORS TO KEEP IRAN FROM GROWING A SECOND PROXY STATE ON ITS BORDER

Yaakov Lappin

IPT News, Apr. 27, 2018

Tensions between Iran and Israel have risen significantly following a military strike on an airbase in central Syria this month that targeted an Iranian military presence. Iran blames Israel for the strike and is threatening to respond. But this incident is merely a symptom of a much larger event unfolding in the region, which is Iran’s pursuit of a grand, expansionist plan for the Middle East, and Israel’s determination to disrupt this dangerous process.

Media reports speculated about what was hit at the T4 Syrian airbase on April 9. One report said it was an Iranian surface-to-air missile system, while others suggested it was an Iranian armed drone program. What’s clear is that several members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed in the attack on the airbase, and Iran quickly blamed the strike on Israel. Since then, Iranian officials have unleashed a series of threats, promising retribution.

In response, the Israeli defense establishment appears to have sent its own warning, reportedly releasing maps of Syria that show the location of Iranian military assets, thereby reminding the Iranians of what they stand to lose if this conflict escalates. Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman, responding to a flurry of Iranian threats on Tel Aviv and Haifa, told a Saudi media outlet that any attack on Tel Aviv would be answered by a retaliatory strike on Tehran.

Yet these events, while indicating a surge in tensions, are actually part of a wider and more disturbing picture. Iran is following a grand, long-term plan made up of multiple stages, which is designed to make it the dominant Middle Eastern power, able to activate armies of terrorist-guerilla forces. Iran is working patiently toward this goal, employing the ‘strategy of a thousand cuts’ to move into Syria.  Ideologically, Iran remains committed to the idea of exporting the Shi’ite Islamic fundamentalist revolution, as espoused by the regime, far and wide. From the start, it cast itself “as an Islamic Revolution for Muslims throughout the world.”

The Islamic Republic continues to view the doctrine of its founding father and first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomenei, as a cornerstone for its policies, Doron Itzchakov, a research associate at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Khomenei preached “Shi’ite activism,” and set up a regime based on defining the enemy as the West and Israel, Itzchakov said. Khomenei also called for spreading the “Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist” model, which the regime in Tehran bases itself on, far and wide. Later on in his life, Khomenei called for the establishment of a “resistance axis,” a call that today provides legitimacy for the IRGC’s subversive activities across the region.

The Iranian regime also creates its own definition of “repressed” and “repressor,” and uses that as a justification for spreading its influence and military activities, Itzchakov said. Iran’s religious elite use the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and the eight-year long Iran-Iraq war, as proof of divine backing, and they regularly make use of concepts of defensive and offensive jihad to justify Iran’s activities, he added.

To be sure, some segments of Iran’s population do not buy into the regime’s position, and have recently become more emboldened to say so. Chanting “not Gaza, not Lebanon, I give my life for Iran,” Iranian protesters, driven by major economic troubles, recently made it clear they oppose spreading out in the region and investing treasure for that purpose, before the protests were crushed.

Despite such protests, the Iranian regime continues to exploit deep-rooted hatred for Israel, a hatred that was embodied by Khomeini, as “a mechanism to prove that it is sticking to his path, and therefore, when it comes to Israel, there is a consensus among the various factions in the Iranian regime,” Itzchakov added. Iran relies heavily on Khomenei’s tenets, but there is no doubt that its program to spread Iranian hegemony in the area stems “from geopolitical and geo-strategic motivations, which illustrate its ambition to lead the Muslim world,” he said.

This strategy, if successful, would turn Iran into an actor to be reckoned with: a state able to control large swaths of territories beyond its borders. As part of that vision, Iran is creating a land corridor linking Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea, via Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon – a corridor it could use to move military forces and proxies. The IRGC was once limited to being the overseer of ground operations in Syria, organizing, supporting, and advising the combatants fighting for the Assad regime. But now, it is attempting to set up its own permanent military presence in Syria.

Iran would like to flood Syria with more radical Shi’ite armed proxies, and insert its own military capabilities as well. This vision, if left unchecked, could lead to the creation of Iranian air force bases, and naval ports appearing in Syria. The land corridor could be used to move Iranian military formations into Syria. All of this would turn Syria into one big Iranian forward base, allowing it to threaten Israel in an unprecedented manner. Meanwhile, Iran seems willing to wait patiently for the nuclear deal to expire, so that it can reactivate the program from a position of greater military and economic strength, and eventually produce nuclear weapons…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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220 AIRSTRIKES ON PALESTINIANS; WORLD YAWNS

Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 26, 2018

While all eyes are set on the weekly demonstrations organized by Hamas and other Palestinian factions along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, as part of the so-called March of Return, a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus is facing a wide-scale military offensive and ethnic cleansing by the Syrian army and its allies. The war crimes committed against the Palestinians in Yarmouk camp have so far failed to prompt an ounce of outrage, much less the sort of outcry emerging from the international community over the events of the past four weeks along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The international community seems to differentiate between a Palestinian shot by an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian shot by a Syrian soldier. In the first case, Hamas and several Palestinian groups have been encouraging Palestinians to march towards the border with Israel, with some even trying to destroy the security fence and hurling stones and petrol bombs at Israeli troops. The organizers of the Gaza demonstrations say their real goal is to “achieve the right of return and return to all of Palestine.”

Dozens of local and foreign journalists have shown great interest in the “March of Return.” Reporters from different parts of the world have been converging on the Gaza Strip and the border with Israel to report about the weekly demonstrations and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. How many journalists, though, have traveled to Syria to cover the plight of the Palestinians in that country? A small handful, perhaps? Why? Because the Palestinians who are being maimed and murdered in Syria are the victims of an Arab army — nothing to do with Israel.

Yarmouk camp was once home to some 160,000 Palestinians. Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, however, the number of residents left in the camp is estimated at a few hundred. On April 19, the Syrian army and its allies, including the Russians, launched a massive offensive against opposition groups and Islamic State terrorists based in Yarmouk. Since then, 5,000 of the 6,000 residents left in Yarmouk have fled the camp, according to the United Nations and human rights organizations. Most of the camp’s houses have been destroyed in the past few years as a result of the fighting between the Syrian army and opposition groups that found shelter inside Yarmouk.

Yarmouk has been under the full siege of the Syrian army since 2013, a situation that has caused a humanitarian crisis for the residents. According to some reports, the situation has gotten so bad that residents living there have been forced to eat dogs and cats to survive. In the past week, at least 15 Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes and artillery shelling on Yarmouk.

According to the London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, 3,722 Palestinians (including 465 women) have been killed since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011. Another 1,675 are said to have been detained by the Syrian authorities, and another 309 are listed as missing. More than 200 of the Palestinian victims died because of the lack of food and medical care, most of them in Yarmouk. Since the beginning of the civil war, some 120,000 Palestinians have fled Syria to Europe. An additional 31,000 fled to Lebanon, 17,000 to Jordan, 6,000 to Egypt, 8,000 to Turkey and 1,000 to the Gaza Strip. On April 24, Syrian and Russian warplanes carried out more than 85 airstrikes on Yarmouk camp and dropped 24 barrels of explosives; 24 rocket and dozens of missiles were fired at the camp. A day earlier, Syrian and Russian warplanes launched 220 airstrikes on Yarmouk camp. The warplanes dropped 55 barrels of dynamite on the camp, which was also targeted with 108 rockets and missiles.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the conflict in Syria “continues to disrupt the lives of civilians, resulting in death and injuries, internal displacement, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and persistent humanitarian needs. Affected communities suffer indiscriminate violence, restrictions on their freedom of movement and continued violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Palestinians are among those worst affected by the conflict.” UNRWA said that of the estimated 438,000 Palestine refugees remaining inside Syria, more than 95% (418,000) are in critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance. Almost 254,000 are internally displaced, and an estimated 56,600 are trapped in hard-to-reach or wholly inaccessible locations.

The silence of the international community to the war crimes being committed against defenseless Palestinians in a refugee camp in Syria is an insult. Dropping barrels of dynamite on houses and hospitals in a Palestinian refugee camp is apparently of no interest to those who pretend to champion Palestinians around the world. Nor does the issue seem to move the UN Security Council. But the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel: for the world, that is where the real story is unfolding. Certainly not in Syria, where Palestinians face ethnic cleansing on a daily basis…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Who are Iran’s 80,000 Shi’ite Fighters in Syria?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2018—There are 80,000 Shi’ite militiamen, trained and recruited by Iran, in Syria. Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon displayed a map Thursday at the UN, asserting that some of them were being trained several kilometers from Damascus. “They are trained to commit acts of terror in Syria and across the region,” he said.

Donald Trump, Syria and the Prevention of Genocide: Louis Rene Beres, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 25, 2018—President Donald Trump recently announced his intention to get out of Syria, “very soon.” The president’s stated intention here could soon run starkly counter to this country’s urgent obligations under the binding international law.

Nobel Knock-Offs and the Syrian Chemical Weapons Charade: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Apr. 26, 2018—As most of the local media was focusing on the brouhaha over Natalie Portman’s snub of Israel – that is, her refusal to attend a ceremony in Jerusalem to receive the Genesis Prize, the publicity stunt its founders have dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” – another entity, with an authentic Nobel Prize, was finally granted access by Russia, Iran and the Assad regime to the Syrian town of Douma, the site of an April 7 chemical attack.

How Hezbollah Will Use Foreign Fighters to Conquer Lebanon: David Daoud, Ha’aretz, Apr. 27, 2018—Hezbollah has promised that ‘thousands’ of foreign Shi’ite fighters will deploy to Lebanon to fight Israel in the next war. They’ll use conflict as cover to bring them into Lebanon – and they won’t leave.

DURING WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING, JEWISH RETALIATION & RESISTANCE BECAME A FACT

5 Things to Know About the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Aaron Bandler, Jewish Journal, Apr. 19, 2018— The focus this week has been on Israel’s 70th anniversary as a country, but April 19 is an important day, the 75th anniversary on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Abusing Anne Frank’s Memory: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 12, 2018 — Anne Frank has probably become the best known Jewish person murdered during the Shoah.

Why Holocaust Education Is Desperately Needed in America: Noah Phillips, Algemeiner, Apr. 23, 2018 — I recently applied for a grant to promote Holocaust education at local middle schools through field trips, an education unit about Holocaust studies, and survivor testimonies.

Jewish Power at 70 Years: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Apr. 20, 2018— Adam Armoush is a 21-year-old Israeli Arab who, on a recent outing in Berlin, donned a yarmulke to test a friend’s contention that it was unsafe to do so in Germany.

 

On Topic Links

David S. Wyman, 89, Authored a Controversial Book About the U.S. Inaction on Jews During the Holocaust: Hillel Italie, Globe & Mail, Apr. 4, 2018

The History and Future of Holocaust Research: Wendy Lower, Tablet, Apr. 26, 2018

From 1930s to 2018: ‘Kill Lists’ Target ‘Jewish Hollywood’: Abraham Cooper & Harold Brackman, Jewish Journal, Apr. 25, 2018

The Untold Story of the Ritchie Boys: Brian Bethune, Maclean’s, Jul. 20, 2017

 

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING

Aaron Bandler

Jewish Journal, Apr. 19, 2018

The focus this week has been on Israel’s 70th anniversary as a country, but April 19 is an important day, the 75th anniversary on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. People across the country in Poland stood in silence as bells and sirens rang to honor that the Jews that lost their lives in the uprising. The uprising was a significant event, as the Jews imprisoned in the ghetto bravely fought back against the barbaric Nazis and threw a temporary wrench in their war efforts. Here are five things to know about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

  1. Prisoners in the ghetto vowed to take arms against the Nazis after the first wave of deportations from the ghetto occurred in 1942. Adolf Hitler ordered all the prisoners in the ghettos to be deported to the Nazi death camps, resulting in the deportation of over two million Jews to the death camps, including 300,000 from the Warsaw Ghetto. Those in the Warsaw Ghetto who watched in horror as their loved ones were being snatched away by the Nazis vowed to take vengeance against the SS, even if it meant death. “Never shall the Germans move from here with impunity; we will die, but the cruel invaders will pay with their blood for ours,” Warsaw Ghetto survivor Emmanuel Ringelblum wrote.
  1. The resistance in the ghetto consisted of two main groups: the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB) and the Jewish Military Union (ZZW). During the first two-month wave of deportations to Treblinka in July 1942, the two groups were unable to form an effective coalition because of tension between the two. According to Yad Vashem, “The ZZW claimed that the ZOB refused to incorporate them into their group’s structure, while the ZOB maintained that the ZZW wanted to take over the operation. In addition, both groups imposed taxes on the ghetto’s wealthier Jews, causing more tension between them.” Making matters worse was the fact that the ZOB was fractured by varying factions and they did not have a sufficient amount of arms despite the ZZW’s links to the Polish Home Army.

After the first wave of deportations ended, the ZZW and ZOB realized they had to set their differences aside in other to have a fighting chance against the Nazis. Over the next couple of months, new life was breathed into the ZOB with the acquisition of some weapons from the Polish Home Army and having a new leader in the charismatic 23-year-old Mordechai Anielewicz, who declared that the Jews would “resist going to the railroad cars,” per Jewish Virtual Library.

  1. The Jews in the ghetto were able to fight off the Nazis from deporting them in January 1943. The deportations at that time had caught the Jews in the ghetto off guard, but they were able to use the structure of the ghetto to their advantage. According to Britannica, “Jewish fighters could strike quickly, then escape across the rooftops. German troops, on the other hand, moved cautiously and would not go down to cellars.” The resistance efforts prevented the Nazis from issuing their planned deportations that day, giving the Jews imprisoned in the ghetto a sliver of hope. They spend the next few months stockpiling a few more weapons, training and establishing hiding spots in the ghetto to use as guerrilla warfare against the Nazis.
  1. The uprising officially began on April 19 and lasted until May 16. The Jews in the ghetto had heard that the Nazis were preparing to fight and deport the remaining prisoners in the ghetto to Treblinka on April 19, so they retreated to their hiding spots and fired away at the Nazis when they entered. Despite being vastly outnumbered and outmanned in firepower, the Jews forced the Nazis to abandon their three-day plan of complete liquidation of the ghetto. Even when the Nazis began burning down the ghetto, the Jews were able to hold their ground for nearly a month before the Nazis eventually overwhelmed them. The Jews that hadn’t died in battle were either executed by the Nazis or sent to the death camps.
  1. Even though the uprising did not prevail against the Nazis, it inspired other uprisings elsewhere. For instance, when the Jews entombed in Treblinka got word of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, they planned an uprising of their own, setting the death camp into flames and killing 40 Nazi guards. Three hundred people escaped Treblinka that day but only 70 survived, as the Nazis hunted down those that escaped. Other uprisings occurred in the ghettos of Bialystok and Minsk and the Sobibor death camp.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a signal at that time that the Jews would not be herded like sheep into slaughter, they were determined to fight back and “die with honor.” As Journal columnist Ben Shapiro noted in 2004, Anielewicz had written during the uprising, “The most important thing is that my life’s dream has come true. Jewish self-defense in the ghetto has been realized. Jewish retaliation and resistance has become a fact. I have been witness to the magnificent heroic battle of the Jewish fighters.” “A new model of the Jew had been created: not a passive Jew, but a Jew who would battle to the last bullet,” Shapiro wrote.

 

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ABUSING ANNE FRANK’S MEMORY

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Arutz Sheva, Apr. 12, 2018

Anne Frank has probably become the best known Jewish person murdered during the Shoah. Her memory is also one of the most abused. This maltreatment has a long history. New examples emerge frequently. One among many: in January 2018 the Italian first division soccer club Lazio was fined 50 000 Euro after supporters displayed anti-Semitic Anne Frank stickers before a game in October 2017.

In the late 1980’s, the then head of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam did not permit the Dutch filmmaker, Willy Lindwer, to film his movie, The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank, in the house. The documentary dealt with her suffering in the concentration camps and her death in Bergen-Belsen. Lindwer tells that the director said to him, “Anne Frank is a symbol. Symbols should not be shown dying in a concentration camp.”

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam has decades ago on many occasions used her name for political purposes which had nothing to do with honoring her memory. Dutch journalist, Elma Verhey, commented on the role of the Anne Frank Foundation in 1995: “Not all Dutchmen find it fitting that the Anne Frank House has developed into one of the most important tourist attractions of Amsterdam. Many Dutch Jews avoid the Anne Frank House because of some of the myths created by her diary. Moreover, there has been concern that the Foundation has in the past paid more attention to a handful of neo-Nazis in Germany, and the plight of the Palestinians, than to the state-sponsored anti-Semitism of the former Soviet Union.”

Other distortions of Anne Frank’s memory have also come out of the Netherlands. In Amsterdam in February 2007, graffiti appeared showing Anne Frank with a keffiya. In 2008, the same picture was turned into a commercial postcard. That despite the fact that the majority party in the only Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 was Hamas, which aims for genocide of the Jews. In 2006 a Belgian-Dutch Muslim Group posted a cartoon of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler. The motif of the Palestinian Anne Frank returns regularly. It recently appeared on posters and flyers at Wits University in Johannesburg. It was promoted by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign during Israel Apartheid Week. In 2017 a freelance guide at the Anne Frank Center in Berlin compared the suffering of Jews under the Nazis to that of Palestinians under Israeli control. The center distanced itself from his statement.

A new play based on Anne Frank by Ilja Pfeiffer is being shown in the Netherlands. The play transforms one of the people in hiding with her, Fritz Pfeffer, from a victim to a perpetrator of violence. He was murdered in the Shoah. This play in which a Holocaust victim’s memory is sullied is one more example of the partial degradation of Dutch society whose government will not admit how its Second World War predecessors in exile greatly failed the persecuted Jews.

The “Palestinian” Anne Frank is an inversion of the Holocaust. Another major distortion of the Holocaust is its de-Judaization. In 1952, an English translation of the diary was published for the American market. It was titled Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. David Barnouw, a researcher formerly with the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), wrote that the foreword was written by Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of the wartime president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this text, the terms “Jew” or “persecution” of Jews were not mentioned at all.

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett wrote a play based on the diary which premiered in 1955 in New York. Barnouw writes, “Of course the adaptation of a book or in this case a diary [to a stage play] cannot be totally true to the original. But the fact that there was a Hitler and national socialism as well as anti-Semitism and that Anne was persecuted as a Jewish girl has been pushed to the background.” An earlier play written by Meyer Levin had a much more Jewish content but was rejected by many producers.

The historian Tim Cole observes: “The contemporary lesson of tolerance demands that Anne’s words be rewritten to include members of ‘this or that minority’ and yet that makes a mockery of the historical reality.” He adds: “Given its mythical status, the Holocaust risks becoming a popular past used to serve all sorts of present needs. In particular, the needs of contemporary liberalism tend to latch onto a powerful tale in the past and universalize it so as to produce a set of universal lessons.” Cole concludes: “If there is one lesson that can be drawn from the Holocaust it is precisely that the optimism of Anne Frank was woefully misplaced.”…

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

 

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WHY HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IS DESPERATELY NEEDED IN AMERICA

Noah Phillips

Algemeiner, Apr. 23, 2018

I recently applied for a grant to promote Holocaust education at local middle schools through field trips, an education unit about Holocaust studies, and survivor testimonies. My grant application was rejected, which wasn’t a complete surprise, given the volume and quality of competing applications. But I was taken aback by the verbal feedback I received from the grant’s benefactor, who told me something along the lines of: “The Holocaust was a terrible thing, and it should be remembered — but its significance is not as meaningful today. Your project is not something we can turn into an annual occurrence.”

How could someone minimize the relevance of the Holocaust and trivialize its intergenerational impact? I was stunned. In response, I began researching the Holocaust education programs implemented by my school and others. In my school — a private institution with a significant Jewish student population — I expected a robust layering of Holocaust studies across grade levels. Instead, I found one unit on Anne Frank in the middle school and an overview of the Holocaust in the European history elective. This lackluster effort to incorporate Holocaust education into the regular curriculum, along with the lack of any special programming, left me wondering about students’ exposure to genocide studies and the specific case of the Holocaust.

Maybe it’s my personal observations and bias, but I imagine that my school’s curriculum is indicative of a larger trend. Per a 2005 report by the Education Commission of the States, Holocaust education is partially mandated in some form by only 17 US states. Alabama, California, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia have created commissions and task forces on the Holocaust. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington state have passed laws requiring or encouraging educational programs about the Holocaust as part of the curriculum. But even in these states, the commissions and task forces are the sole bodies responsible for the implementation of this agenda, and many of the members of the task forces are volunteers.

The report also states that “eight states have statutes that specifically require or encourage instruction of the Holocaust be part of the state education curriculum.” These states have curricula and learning standards for each grade level, with the task of curricula development delegated to educators, policymakers, and higher education content experts. But only the state of New York enforces its policies by reserving “the right to withhold public funds appropriated to schools that do not meet the curriculum requirements.”

Without any proactive enforcement, what good are these policies? What impact can they have? There’s wiggle room for teachers and educators to eschew Holocaust education, not necessarily out of malignancy, but for convenience or pressure to “cover” major units of studies. The rationale is understandable: sacrifice this effectively optional state “encouragement” for the more typical school curriculum in preparation for state tests or other components of compulsive education. And this is assuming that teachers at the school level are even made aware of the Holocaust requirements by their supervisors.

There is certainly visible variation in the productivity of the respective state commissions. New Jersey’s commission coordinates hundreds of programs annually for tens of thousands of students in grades K-12, per their 2016 report. But broadly speaking, the legislation around mandated Holocaust studies programs — and the implementation of the curricula — are feeble.

My personal Holocaust education has included my family’s visit to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, hearing from survivors, reading testimonies, as well as Night by Elie Wiesel, and commemorating the Shoah annually. The Holocaust means more to me than a chapter (or page) in a history textbook. And I hope for Jews and non-Jews across the nation to eventually share this sentiment. But as of now, it appears that the majority of my generation — the upcoming wave of activists, entrepreneurs, and intrepid thinkers — may never learn about an essential component of American and global history.

 

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JEWISH POWER AT 70 YEARS

Bret Stephens

New York Times, Apr. 20, 2018

Adam Armoush is a 21-year-old Israeli Arab who, on a recent outing in Berlin, donned a yarmulke to test a friend’s contention that it was unsafe to do so in Germany. On Tuesday he was assaulted in broad daylight by a Syrian asylum-seeker who whipped him with a belt for being “yahudi” — Arabic for Jew. The episode was caught on video and has caused a national uproar. Heiko Maas, the foreign minister, tweeted, “Jews shall never again feel threatened here.”

It’s a vow not likely to be fulfilled. There were nearly 1,000 reported anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin alone last year. A neo-fascist party, Alternative for Germany, has 94 seats in the Bundestag. Last Thursday, a pair of German rappers won a prestigious music award, given largely on the basis of sales, for an album in which they boast of having bodies “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners.” The award ceremony coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day. To be Jewish — at least visibly Jewish — in Europe is to live on borrowed time. That’s not to doubt the sincerity and good will of Maas or other European leaders who recommit to combating anti-Semitism every time a European Jew is murdered or a Jewish institution attacked. It’s only to doubt their capacity.

There’s a limit to how many armed guards can be deployed indefinitely to protect synagogues or stop Holocaust memorials from being vandalized. There’s a limit, also, to trying to cure bigotry with earnest appeals to tolerance. The German government is mulling a proposal to require recent arrivals in the country to tour Nazi concentration camps as a way of engendering a feeling of empathy for Jews. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone that, to the virulent anti-Semite, Buchenwald is a source of inspiration, not shame.

All this comes to mind as Israel this week marks (in the Hebrew calendar) the 70th anniversary of its independence. There are many reasons to celebrate the date, many of them lofty: a renaissance for Jewish civilization; the creation of a feisty liberal democracy in a despotic neighborhood; the ecological rescue of a once-barren land; the end of 1,878 years of exile.

But there’s a more basic reason. Jews cannot rely for their safety on the kindness of strangers, least of all French or German politicians. Theodor Herzl saw this with the Dreyfus Affair and founded modern Zionism. Post-Hitler Europe still has far to fall when it comes to its attitudes toward Jews, but the trend is clear. The question is the pace.

Hence Israel: its army, bomb, and robust willingness to use force to defend itself. Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews. That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this — doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders — and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t. It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are.

Israel’s 70th anniversary has occasioned a fresh round of anxious, if not exactly new, commentary about the rifts between Israeli and Diaspora Jewry. Some Diaspora complaints, especially with respect to religion and refugees, are valid and should be heeded by Jerusalem. But to the extent that the Diaspora’s objections are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Though not Jewish, Adam Armoush was once one of the nonchalant when it came to what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. Presumably no longer. For Jews, it’s a painful, useful reminder that Israel is not their vanity. It’s their safeguard.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

David S. Wyman, 89, Authored a Controversial Book About the U.S. Inaction on Jews During the Holocaust: Hillel Italie, Globe & Mail, Apr. 4, 2018—David S. Wyman, a leading scholar of the U.S. response to the Holocaust whose The Abandonment of the Jews was a provocative, bestselling critique of everyone from religious leaders to president Franklin Roosevelt, died Wednesday at age 89.

The History and Future of Holocaust Research: Wendy Lower, Tablet, Apr. 26, 2018—In early 1947, the Chief Counsel of the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals, Brigadier General Telford Taylor prepared indictments against the second tier Nazis. By then the liberation of the concentrations camps, and the research, testimony and publicity surrounding the international trial against the Nazi leadership, had revealed the horror and extent of the regime’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.

From 1930s to 2018: ‘Kill Lists’ Target ‘Jewish Hollywood’: Abraham Cooper & Harold Brackman, Jewish Journal, Apr. 25, 2018—President Harry Truman once wrote, “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” But sometimes what you don’t know can put you at risk — or worse. Nicholas Rose of Irvine, a 26-year-old teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL), faces a six-year-plus sentence for recent violent anti-Semitic threats against prominent Jews in the entertainment industry. Luckily, he was turned in by his parents.

The Untold Story of the Ritchie Boys: Brian Bethune, Maclean’s, Jul. 20, 2017—Martin Selling, 24, was undergoing training as a U.S. Army medical orderly in February 1943 and chafing under a Pentagon policy that kept him—a Jewish refugee from Germany and hence an “enemy alien”—away from any combat unit. He’d endured a lot already, including three brutal months in Dachau concentration camp after Kristallnacht in 1938, before finding haven in America. The knowledge that his adopted country would not let him fight their common enemy was bitterly frustrating.

L’IDÉAL-TYPE DU JOURNALISTE BIEN-PENSANT: DE GAUCHE ET ANTISIONISTE

GOLDNADEL : «CE QUE L’ON N’A PAS DIT SUR LES MORTS À GAZA»

Le Figaro, 3 avril, 2018

 

«La Shoah des Palestiniens», tel était le titre plein de nuances d’un article publié dimanche sur le site de Médiapart, pour évoquer les 17 Palestiniens tués par l’armée israélienne vendredi dernier.*

Sponsorisé par Collector Square avec Figaro Services

Sélection de sacs, montres et bijoux au format XXL

On peut cependant considérer, au-delà de l’événement à commenter, que ce titre d’un blog est également en parfaite cohérence avec la pensée du fondateur du site, Edwy Plenel, qui aura passé une bonne partie de sa longue carrière à tenter de persuader son lectorat nombreux que les musulmans étaient les nouveaux juifs souffrants. Quand bien même certains des premiers s’acharnent à faire souffrir les seconds. Y compris en France, la semaine dernière, à l’égard d’une survivante de cette Shoah qui tourmente tant M. Plenel qu’il la voit partout, sauf là où elle se trouve.

Toujours est-il que la Shoah rend fou, et entraîne aussi dans la démence la question israélo-palestinienne, parce qu’elle touche mortellement à la question juive.

C’est dans ce cadre littéralement hystérique et irrationnel que nous devons appréhender, dans toutes les acceptions du terme, les récents événements de Gaza.

Comme si cela ne suffisait pas, il s’agit d’une histoire de foule, et dans foule, il y a fou.

Et je prétends, à longueur d’articles, que le monde médiatique électronique se conduit désormais comme une foule hystérique.

Trois jours cependant après les faits sanglants et leurs commentaires meurtriers, il est désormais temps de pouvoir se livrer à une autopsie sommaire d’un mensonge planétaire.

La Shoah rend fou, et entraîne aussi dans la démence la question israélo-palestinienne, parce qu’elle touche mortellement à la question juive.

D’abord le mensonge. Certains médias ont accueilli, davantage sans doute par réflexe pavlovien que par réflexion malintentionnée, le récit arabe palestinien. C’est ainsi, par exemple, que dès le samedi matin, la correspondante de France Inter prétendait que la marche de Gazaouis décidés à franchir la frontière avec Israël pour faire valoir leur droit au retour émanait de «la société civile»…

De la même manière, le nombre des blessés (plus d’un millier) jeté en pâture par les autorités de Gaza était reproduit sans la moindre distance.

Si mensonge il n’y avait pas, il conviendrait effectivement de s’interroger sur le comportement de l’armée israélienne et de se demander sérieusement si ses soldats n’auraient pas eu «la gâchette trop facile», nonobstant le fait que Tsahal avait averti à l’avance qu’elle ne tolérerait pas le franchissement d’une frontière indiscutable depuis que le pays a décidé de se retirer unilatéralement de Gaza, avec les effets que l’on sait sur le comportement du nouvel occupant islamiste.

Mais s’interroger sur la légitimité d’une frontière et le droit de la défendre est une question cruellement ingrate dans un environnement européen délétère où la notion de frontière et de droits nationaux touche à l’obscénité, du moins lorsqu’il s’agit d’un peuple occidental.

On observera en effet que lorsqu’il s’agit d’une population orientale, l’esprit occidental gauchisé par le temps se fait bien moins critique. C’est ainsi par exemple que chaque centimètre carré du territoire palestinien est mesuré, et que dans le cadre d’un État arabe de Palestine à créer, les mêmes qui poussent des cris d’orfraie à l’idée qu’un clandestin afghan soit expulsé du territoire français ne voient pas d’inconvénient majeur à voir chasser les «colons» juifs… de Judée.

Pas davantage, la revendication d’un droit au retour des descendants de ceux qui furent chassés ou qui préférèrent fuir en 1948, le temps que les armées arabes liquident la population juive, qui signifie la mort de l’État hébreu, ne semble inquiéter nos humanistes en chambre.

Mais déconstruisons à présent le mensonge, en l’espèce éhonté. L’article équilibré de Marc Henry dans Le Figaro y contribue factuellement.

L’idée qu’il existe une société civile à Gaza pouvant organiser de son plein gré quelque chose relève de la plaisanterie morbide. Gaza vit sous la dictature du Hamas islamiste, qui décide de tout, y compris de la vie et de la mort. La fameuse marche était soutenue et encadrée par lui.

Parmi les 17 morts, 11 faisaient partie des groupes armés du Hamas et du Jihad islamique, organisations considérées comme terroristes par l’Europe et les États-Unis, et dont on peut deviner les intentions pacifiques lorsqu’il se trouve à l’intérieur d’une foule qui a la prétention d’approcher ses ennemis jurés. Les autorités israéliennes ont publié les photographies de ces individus.

L’un des corps est conservé par l’armée qui refuse sa restitution, dans l’espoir de pouvoir l’échanger avec les dépouilles de soldats israéliens que le Hamas détient et souhaite troquer contre des détenus condamnés pour terrorisme.

Quant au millier de blessés, les autorités israéliennes les chiffrent en douzaine. On excusera mon insigne faiblesse de croire d’avantage un régime démocratique, même imparfait, soumis à la vigilance d’une presse acerbe, que les affirmations d’une dictature fanatique pourtant prises avec empressement pour argent comptant.

Le journal d’opposition post-sioniste Haaretz, très apprécié des contempteurs d’Israël , n’infirme pas ce qui précède, même s’il n’exclut pas d’inévitables bavures dans le chaud de l’affrontement.

Il est vrai qu’il n’y avait pas que des combattants parmi la foule. Il y avait aussi des civils, très jeunes. Comme tout mouvement terroriste qui se respecte, le Hamas se fait un devoir d’utiliser des boucliers humains. Lorsque le bouclier a dix ans, c’est bien. Lorsqu’il a dix mois, c’est mieux.

Curieusement, les mots «bouclier humain», qui existent lorsqu’il s’agit de la Syrie , n’existent pas dans le champ lexical journalistique, lorsqu’il s’agit des islamistes de Palestine, même lorsque ceux-ci installent leurs camps à proximité des écoles ou sous les hôpitaux.

La foule islamiste, qui ne poussait pas le pacifisme jusqu’à renoncer pour certains à l’usage des cocktails Molotov, des poignards et des haches, poussait aussi le refrain à thème. C’est ainsi que l’on a pu entendre cette fameuse mélopée scandée: «Khaibar, Khaibar ya yahud, jaish Muhammed sa- yahud» qui revient à avertir les juifs que le jour de leur décapitation par les bons croyants est proche, ainsi qu’il est arrivé aux juifs de peu de foi de Khaybar, réticents au discours du prophète.

Je tiens à la disposition des sceptiques les documents sonores et visuels, mais je sais bien que celui qui ose critiquer la sainte colère d’une foule d’Orient mérite la lapidation par les idiots utiles hystériques. C’est ainsi, entre mille exemples, que lors de ce printemps arabe dont il était hors de saison de questionner la douceur, les multiples viols de Cairotes commis par les manifestants électrisés de la place Tahrir connurent la même discrète destinée que les pauvres filles de Telford violentées par des musulmans du Pakistan.

C’est dans ce cadre rien moins que simple que la gauche française s’est encore illustrée par son simplisme sublime.

Ainsi, Olivier Faure, président très frais d’un Parti Socialiste refroidi, ne craint pas, en cette période pascale et nonobstant sa citoyenne laïcité, de puiser dans le registre religieux. Très inspiré par le moment, il compara la marche du Hamas à l’ouverture de la mer Rouge par Moïse. Puisse l’éternel, avec le temps, lui pardonner.

Mais à n’en pas douter, ce furent encore les éléments de Mélenchon qui, dans leur désir obstiné de complaire aux cités insoumises du côté de la Plaine-Saint-Denis ou dans les contreforts de Créteil, ainsi que Malik Boutih le déplorait encore lucidement au micro de RMC, se sont illustrés le plus ardemment avec leurs pieds.

Allez savoir, si dans leur sombre inconscient, il ne voulait pas se faire pardonner d’avoir tenté de rendre hommage à une vieille dame suppliciée.

Il sera en effet acté dans le petit livre rouge et vert de l’islamo-gauchisme que ceux qui n’auront pas, en cinq ans, bougé un orteil pour les 500 000 victimes innocentes de Syrie ou les centaines de manifestants démocrates fusillés en pleine rue par le régime communiste de Maduro se seront déplacés pour venir soutenir au moins indirectement les islamistes radicaux de Gaza.

Il est des chiffres qui donnent le tournis.

Je n’écrirai pas que la question juive rend fou, il serait capable de vouloir m’enfermer.

 

 

BRICE COUTURIER : LES MÉDIAS FRANÇAIS SONT DE PLUS EN PLUS ANTI-ISRAÉLIENS

Times of Israel, 10 fev., 2015

Selon le journaliste interrogé par Actualité Juive, l’évolution est lente mais constante. « Chaque année qui passe, le point de vue sur Israël est un peu moins neutre et un peu plus engagé », note le journaliste français.

Il pointe du doigt l’absence de mise en parallèle entre les affaires qui ont mis en cause des conducteurs jetant leur véhicule sur la foule tant en Israël qu’en France.

« La France a préféré parler de ‘déséquilibrés’ pour évoquer cette technique qui avait été utilisée quelques semaines plus tôt en Israël, notamment sur des quais de tramway. Que nous soyons victimes du même terrorisme, là-bas et ici, c’est une réalité qui n’a pas droit de cité… »

Brice Couturier analyse les raisons d’un traitement partial de l’information. « Pour l’extrême gauche, la figure du prolétaire, à laquelle elle ne croit plus, a été remplacée par celle du Palestinien. Celui-ci est devenu l’incarnation de toutes les souffrances, de toutes les humiliations », indique-t-il à Actualité Juive.

Autre raison évoquée : la perte d’influence sur le plan médiatique des intellectuels juifs – « à part Alain Finkielkraut, et dans une moindre mesure Bernard-Henri Lévy », Brice Couturier « n’en voit plus guère ».

Cela expliquerait un recentrage de l’intérêt des médias pour le conflit israélo-palestinien, conflit dont il ne comprend d’ailleurs pas « pourquoi ses copains algériens s’y identifient via une cause palestinienne avec laquelle ils n’ont rien à voir ».

D’un point de vue de bienséance, il note également l’inégalité de traitement que vont connaître les différentes communautés dans l’exposé de leurs idées politiques.

« Il y a une autre chose qui m’énerve, c’est de voir certains se croire obligés de dire ‘Je suis juif, mais je ne soutiens pas le gouvernement israélien.’ On ne demande pas aux Algériens de dire « Je suis d’origine algérienne, mais je ne soutiens pas Bouteflika », s’indigne-t-il.

Dans le contexte des attentats de janvier, le chroniqueur souligne le fait que « les musulmans de mon pays ne sauraient être tenus pour co-responsables ; contrairement aux commanditaires de ces meurtres qui se cachent, dans quelque pays lointains ».

Pourtant la réciproque n’est pas vraie quand des terroristes « tuent des Juifs français pour, prétendent-ils, ‘venger les enfants palestiniens’ ».

« Quel rapport entre un Juif qui fait ses courses pour Shabbat dans une épicerie un vendredi après-midi et un soldat de Tsahal ?  » s’interroge Couturier.

 

DE L’INDÉPENDANCE DES JOURNALISTES

Contrepoints, 23 fev., 2013

Tiens, un sondage sur l’indépendance et la pluralité des médias ! Tiens, ses résultats corroborent ce dont on se doutait déjà et vont nettement dans le sens des résultats des (très) rares sondages déjà effectués ! Et tiens, ce sondage n’est pas jugé suffisamment intéressant par ces mêmes médias pour qu’ils en parlent ! Coïncidence ? Je ne crois pas. Alors, comme je ne suis qu’un petit blogueur sans aucune prétention à l’objectivité, je m’y colle.

Avant d’aller plus loin, il est bon de préciser que ce sondage n’est pas un sondage traditionnel, par téléphone, avec l’habituelle méthode des quotas (qui a elle-même ses problèmes). C’est un sondage internet, qui, s’il indique peut-être une tendance, ne permet aucune affirmation péremptoire. L’échantillon étant de plus de 5000 participants, il semble cependant un peu facile de remettre totalement en question les résultats obtenus, d’autant qu’ils sont, comme je le disais en introduction, corroborés par d’autres sondages effectués par d’autres méthodes.

Ainsi, la revue Marianne dans son N° 209 de la semaine du 23 au 29 avril 2001 s’était intéressée à l’opinion des journalistes et en particulier à leur penchant politique et avait tiré la conclusion suivante de son sondage : « Les journalistes sont, à une écrasante majorité de gauche. L’écart avec la population est ici maximal: au total 6% de journalistes pensent voter à droite, contre au moins 50% dans le peuple français. »

Fouchtra. Marianne, journal de gauchistes ? Oh. Je suis tout surpris de l’intérieur.

Et on se rappelle qu’ils avaient même, plus récemment, demandé directement pour qui votaient leurs propres journalistes, ce qui avait permis de découvrir, sans surprise, que majoritairement, ils votaient pour François Hollande (40%) à ce moment-là. Vu les performances du capitaine de pédalo, on peut croire que les votes seraient un peu différents s’ils étaient refaits aujourd’hui, mais on ne peut pas écarter une vraie obstination bornée qui les referait voter pareil, hein. On découvrait aussi, dans la foulée, que Jean-Luc Mélenchon réalisait 31,7% des suffrages, et François Bayrou, en troisième, 8,3%. Les petits candidats comme Joly, Cheminade ou Poutou totalisaient un peu plus de 8%, et Nicolas Sarkozy récoltait… 0% des votes. Méluche à 31% chez Marianne, c’est quasiment 4 fois son score réel (mais comme on le verra, pas question de parler ici de déconnexion avec le concret).

Du reste, l’exercice avait été mené à d’autres reprises et dans d’autres rédactions, avec toujours des résultats proches : on « découvre » ici que 74% des journalistes votent à gauche, et moi-même, je rappelais il y a quelques temps que les compositions politiques des équipes de différentes rédactions ne laissaient guère de doute sur la coloration générale des opinions émises :

Tout ce libéralisme, toute cette propagande pro-capitaliste, pro-business, pro-libérale étalée ainsi dans autant de rédactions, brr, ça fait froid dans le dos, hein ?

Bien sûr, on trouvera aussi, relayés de façon nettement moins discrète, quelques articles vantant le pluralisme de la presse et sa bonne adéquation avec les demandes du public, mais après les éléments ci-dessus, fatalement, ça laisse songeur.

On en arrive à présent au sondage que j’évoquais en introduction. Cette fois-ci, au lieu de regarder une rédaction ou l’autre et d’analyser le spectre politique des gens qui y militent travaillent, les sondeurs ont cherché à savoir comment le public percevait la pluralité de la presse, et comment la presse traditionnelle se comparait à internet en termes d’indépendance et de liberté d’expression. Et là, c’est un peu le drame.

Je ne passerai pas en revue la douzaine de camemberts proposés comme résultat du sondage (qui sont laissés à l’appréciation du lecteur), mais je me contenterai des quatre suivants, qui dressent un portrait sans concession de la profession journalistique vue par un échantillon de 5300 internautes. Ainsi, le premier camembert montre une belle défiance des internautes face aux médias traditionnels : internet leur semble le mieux placé pour défendre la liberté d’expression. Zut et crotte.

oijm – liberte expressionVoilà qui est dommage pour toute un profession dont le credo officiel est, justement, de tout faire pour protéger cette liberté-là. Deux explications possibles : ou bien ils ne font pas assez de publicité pour la liberté d’expression, ce qui est très surprenant sachant que ce concept leur a quasiment servi de dentifrice pendant tout le temps où la droite était au pouvoir. Ou bien la partialité avec laquelle ils la défendent ne rend pas crédible leur action. Il y a une troisième explication : sur les 5300 internautes se sont discrètement glissés 5200 libéraux (évidemment mangeurs d’enfants communistes) qui ont honteusement biaisé les résultats, en montrant cette abominable partialité.

Partialité qui ne serait pas complètement impossible à en croire l’opinion qu’ont ces internautes de l’orientation générale des journalistes. Surprise et fourchette en plastique, on retrouve encore un fort biais à gauche :

ojim – opinion des journalistes

Autrement dit, lorsqu’on demande aux journalistes, ils se situent tous majoritairement à gauche. Lorsqu’on demande à leur lectorat, ce dernier acquiesce vigoureusement. Et pourtant, nos amis encartés brandissent dès qu’ils le peuvent la pluralité, la neutralité ou l’objectivité de leur profession. Et ceci se ressent dans leur production puisqu’on a souvent droit à des articles (récupérés ici sous forme de Pignouferies de Presse) qui, sous couvert de journalisme d’information, présente des événements une version biaisée, politiquement orientée, en faisant passer l’article devenu éditorial ou billet d’humeur/d’opinion comme un reportage ou un documentaire.

Et lorsqu’on fait cette remarque aux journalistes, ceux-ci se défendent de toute démarche militante, parfois avec véhémence (il est même probable que certains, l’œil – gauche – parcouru de tics nerveux, éructent quelques insultes poivrées à la lecture de cet article). Ce qui aboutit, d’années en années, au constat suivant :

ojim – journalistes loins de la réalité

Pour l’internaute, les journalistes semblent maintenant complètement déconnectés de la réalité. Cette déconnexion perçue est intéressante puisqu’elle est le pendant logique de la déconnexion observée chez les politiciens qui s’abreuvent, justement, des informations que veulent bien leur distiller les journalistes.

Mais c’est le graphique suivant qui résume à lui seul le problème au cœur de cette profession, surtout en France : à l’évidence, vu depuis internet, le journaliste moyen est un mouton de Panurge, qui ne fait, finalement, que suivre un pesant troupeau de ses congénères qui vont, tous ou quasiment, dans le même sens. Finalement, ce n’est pas tant, selon ce sondage, les pressions politiques, les annonceurs ou l’audimat qui poussent les journalistes à porter tous à gauche dans un bel ensemble, mais bien le conformisme.

oijm – conformisme des journalistes

Et même si l’on n’oublie pas que ce sondage n’est que de taille modeste, qu’il ne porte que sur des internautes, que l’échantillon est peut-être lui-même biaisé, le conformisme et la reproduction intellectuelle massive qu’on trouve chez les journalistes, tous les jours, est une évidence difficile à cacher. Bien sûr, on peut admettre sans problème qu’il y a probablement un écart entre la réalité de terrain et la perception de cette réalité par ces internautes, mais à la limite, peu importe : le journaliste du XXIème siècle n’a pas pour but de contenter un lectorat issu du XXè. Il ne doit pas avoir pour mission d’informer comme le faisaient ceux de 1950 ou 1980. Il ne peut plus prétendre ignorer internet. Il ne peut donc plus ignorer que la masse des consommateurs d’information se trouve sur ce média avant tous les autres et que la nature décentralisée et pervasive de ce dernier l’oblige à modifier de façon importante sa manière de procéder. Par exemple, il va leur devenir de plus en plus difficile d’évincer tout un bloc d’opinions politiques au prétexte qu’elle n’est pas assez bisou, ou que la presse se doit de conscientiser le citoyen dans un sens précis. Par exemple, le journaliste ne pourra plus se contenter de pousser dans les tuyaux la purée AFP. Il va lui falloir ajouter de l’analyse, de la matière grise, se mouiller, arrêter de suivre le troupeau. Par exemple, le journaliste ne peut plus se considérer comme l’unique détenteur de l’information, sa position n’est plus un privilège. S’il y a bien eu, un jour, un quatrième pouvoir, avec internet, celui-ci s’est distribué sur une masse considérable de gens qui ont, effectivement, dépouillé les journalistes en titre de cet attribut.

Aussi délicat soit-il d’interpréter des données en provenance d’un sondage internet, celui-ci montre à l’évidence l’absolue nécessité de toute une profession à se renouveler. Et malgré ces évidences, malgré ces sondages qui pointent tous dans la même direction (non pluralité, conformisme, biais), la remise en question de la profession, en France (et dans une certaine mesure, dans pas mal d’autres pays, notamment francophones), ne semble même pas amorcée (par exemple, les subventions continuent toujours à couler pour les mêmes journaux).

 

Actualité 

 

MANIFESTE CONTRE L’ANTISÉMITISME: “L’ISLAMISME EN QUESTION” (L. FERRY À I24NEWS)

I24, 22 avr, 2018

L’ancien ministre de l’Education nationale Luc Ferry, qui est l’un des signataires du manifeste contre l’antisémitisme publié dans Le Parisien ce dimanche, a dénoncé sur i24NEWS le fait que les autorités n’ont pas encore saisi “l’ampleur du problème”.

“J’étais le premier à l’Assemblée nationale à dire qu’on avait affaire à une nouvelle forme d’antisémitisme d’origine islamique, islamiste”, a-t-il déclaré, visant une frange de la classe politique de gauche qui n’hésite pas à “vous taxer d’islamophobie” lorsque vous nommez les choses.

Le philosophe, qui explique que les violences antisémites ne viennent plus de l’extrême-droite, a rappelé que ce phénomène ne touchait pas seulement la France mais l’Europe toute entière.

“Dans certains quartiers de banlieue, il n’y a plus un élève juif dans les établissements publics”, a-t-il déploré, précisant que 50.000 Français Juifs ont dû déménager pour des raisons de sécurité.

Au sujet de “l’antisionisme”, Luc Ferry a déclaré que “toute une partie de la gauche va considérer qu’Israël continue la colonisation occidentale” et de ce fait devient antisémite “au nom de l’antisionisme”.

Interrogé sur les mesures à prendre pour lutter contre ce phénomène, l’ancien ministre a entre autres évoqué l’expulsion de tous les imams qui tiennent des discours antisémites, anti-femmes et contre les valeurs de la République.

Il a notamment jugé “absurde” la venue de plus de 300 imams étrangers, notamment d’Algérie, pour le Ramadan, à l’origine d’une controverse.

Dans le “manifeste contre le nouvel antisémitisme” en France, plus de 300 personnalités dénoncent un “silence médiatique” et une “épuration ethnique à bas bruit” dans certains quartiers.

“Nous demandons que la lutte contre cette faillite démocratique qu’est l’antisémitisme devienne cause nationale avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. Avant que la France ne soit plus la France”, peut-on lire dans ce texte signé par des personnalités politiques de droite comme de gauche (de l’ancien président de droite Nicolas Sarkozy à l’ex-Premier ministre socialiste Manuel Valls), des artistes (comme les chanteurs Charles Aznavour et Françoise Hardy), des responsables religieux et des personnalités.

 

 

ALLEMAGNE: CONTROVERSE APRÈS UN APPEL À NE PAS PORTER LA KIPPA

La Presse, 24 avr., 2018

«Porter [la kippa] avec un air de défi serait en principe la bonne chose à faire», a déclaré à la radio régionale RBB le président du Conseil central des Juifs d’Allemagne, Joseph Schuster, qui s’exprimait après une agression survenue en plein Berlin la semaine dernière.

«Malgré tout, je dois en réalité déconseiller à des personnes seules de se montrer dans le centre des grandes villes d’Allemagne avec une kippa», a-t-il encore dit.

Quand un responsable juif «respecté juge nécessaire de presser les Juifs de dissimuler leur identité, alors il est clair que les autorités allemandes ont échoué à protéger les droits de leurs citoyens juifs et à combattre l’antisémitisme croissant», a renchéri dans un communiqué le rabbin Abraham Cooper, un responsable américain du centre Simon Wiesenthal de lutte contre l’antisémitisme et le racisme.Le rabbin Menachem Margolin, président de l’Association juive européenne (EJA), a au contraire appelé M. Schuster à «retirer» son appel.

Ses déclarations partent sans doute «d’un souci sincère de la sécurité des Juifs» mais «malheureusement, [M. Schuster] se trompe dans le remède» : «ne pas porter la kippa par peur de l’antisémitisme, c’est en fait l’accomplissement de la vision des antisémites en Europe», a argumenté M. Margolin.

Il ne faut pas «encourager les juifs – ou quelque autre groupe religieux ou ethnique – à abandonner leurs attributs religieux», a-t-il déclaré.

Les propos de M. Schuster s’inscrivent dans un contexte de crainte d’une résurgence de l’antisémitisme en Allemagne, pays toujours hanté par les crimes nazis.

La semaine dernière, l’agression de deux jeunes portant une kippa dans un quartier branché de Berlin avait ainsi suscité une vive émotion.

L’une des victimes, qui n’est pas juive mais un Arabe israélien, avait expliqué avoir été insulté par un groupe de personnes et avoir décidé à ce moment-là de filmer la scène avec son téléphone portable. Les images qui ont circulé sur les réseaux sociaux montrent son agresseur en train de le fouetter avec sa ceinture en criant «yahoud» («juif» en arabe) et «trou du cul».

L’un des agresseurs présumés s’est rendu à la police. Selon la presse allemande, il s’agirait d’un réfugié syrien ayant vécu dans un centre pour migrants.

La chancelière Angela Merkel avait dénoncé cet «incident terrible» et promis de «réagir». «Nous sommes confrontés à de l’antisémitisme parmi les Allemands et aussi parmi les gens provenant du monde arabophone», avait-elle ajouté.

La Communauté juive de Berlin a appelé les Berlinois à un rassemblement de solidarité mercredi, invitant Juifs et non Juifs à porter une kippa.

Ces derniers mois, du fait de l’essor de l’extrême droite et des inquiétudes dues à l’afflux de réfugiés arabes, un débat monte dans le pays sur la résurgence en Allemagne de l’antisémitisme, notamment dans les cours d’école.

 

 

LA PHILOSOPHIE JUIVE COMME GUIDE DE VIE. EPISODE 1, SPINOZA

Jewpop, 4 dec., 2013

Maïmonide, Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Buber, Rosenzweig, Wittgenstein, Levinas, Ouaknin… Quiconque a déjà eu la chance de passer une soirée au Clara, dans la chaleur humide d’un été tel-avivien, avec un mojito entre les mains, sait combien les Juifs sont des philosophes nés. Après tout, c’est bien connu, l’intelligence de la discrétion et le sens de l’étude sont copyrightés dans nos gènes.

Alors oui d’accord, parfois, un débat sur le prix du mètre carré dans la tour Starck ou sur la rivalité Banana Beach versus Frishman remplace une conversation à propos de l’éthique helléniste ou l’ontologie de l’Autre. Mais qu’importe la métaphysique, pourvu que sous la kippa, le cerveau soit aussi rempli qu’une boîte de nuit. Et si la philosophie juive est une manière de comprendre l’existence, au fait ça donne quoi dans la vraie vie ?

 

ÉPISODE 1 – SPINOZA : GOD IN DA PLACE (1632-1675)

Il faut admettre que commencer une chronique sur la philosophie juive par un type qui s’est fait exclure de sa communauté pour hérésie, c’est moyen. En même temps, c’est peut-être la preuve que dès 1656, la haine de soi, la contradiction et le paradoxe, étaient déjà sérieusement à la mode dans nos contrées.

En 1677, alors que Baruch est déjà mort, sort L’Ethique, qui deviendra son best-seller. Avec autant de modestie que Kanye West en crise kardashinienne, il a pour projet de mettre en place une philosophie pratique permettant à l’homme, en toute tranquillité, d’accéder à la liberté et à la béatitude. Eh ouais, rien que ça. En précurseur du développement personnel version luxe, Spinoza s’interroge : comment combattre les passions qui nous possèdent et nous opposent aux autres ? Quels sont les joies et les désirs qui affirment pleinement notre puissance ? De quelle façon l’homme peut sortir de sa passivité et accéder à une réelle activité ? Mais Spino n’est pas un gourou ordinaire, et bien qu’il soit séfarade, il est aussi tourmenté qu’un ashké en crise de culpabilité devant un élevage de poulets qu’il trouve un peu trop concentrationnaire. Il ne va donc pas nous la jouer simple, car pour répondre à ses questions, et saisir l’homme, c’est-à-dire, sa nécessaire servitude et la possibilité de son salut, il se dit que c’est par Dieu qu’il faut commencer puisqu’il est la cause de toute chose.

Au fur et à l’usure des chapitres qui défilent un peu moins vite qu’un épisode d’Une Nounou d’enfer et surtout, sans rires enregistrés, on comprend que le Dieu de Spinoza est un être absolument infini, et que la Nature qui nous entoure ne doit pas être pensée comme une création mais comme Dieu lui-même : Deus sive natura comme on dit pour être chic dans un dîner. En gros, les forêts, les paysages, l’Iphone 5C, les kippot Nike, les Louboutins, tout ça, Made in France ou pas, c’est produit par Dieu. Pas la peine de s’en prendre à la contrefaçon chinoise, que ce soit Pekin ou le Sentier, c’est kif-kif puisque le grossiste est le même. Et comme l’homme est lui aussi une partie de la Nature a.k.a Dieu qui a tout prédéterminé, il n’a pas franchement de libre-arbitre, ce qui explique sa grande passivité autant que ses aprem à glander sur le canapé. Mais pas de panique, malgré cette tendance à la loose, Spino se veut rassurant et explique que l’homme est aussi caractérisé par le conatus, une sorte de pulsion d’auto-conservation, qu’on appelle aussi «Désir». Le désir, l’appétit, la volonté, l’impulsion, sont universels, ils constituent notre essence même, nous animent, et encore mieux, nous permettent de persévérer dans notre être. Moralité, la prochaine fois que vous allez chez Sephora dépenser 312 euros en crème Chanel ou La Prairie, dites-vous que c’est votre conatus spinoziste qui s’exprime à travers votre American Express. Et qui peut encore dire que la pensée juive est la pensée de la culpabilité ? Merci qui ? Merci Spinoza !

Marie R.

A lire :

L’Ethique, Spinoza, Folio.

Le problème Spinoza, Yalom, Galaade Editions.

Shabbat Shalom!

 

IN 70 YEARS, ISRAEL HAS GONE FROM A “POOR, WEAK & SMALL COUNTRY…TO AN INNOVATION POWERHOUSE”

From 1950s Rationing to Modern High-Tech Boom: Israel’s Economic Success Story: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2018— From a war-torn nation struggling for survival and lacking natural resources, the biblical land of milk and honey has become a technological powerhouse which has seen economic growth for 15 consecutive years.

Israeli Space Team Still Shooting for the Moon: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, Apr. 2, 2018— The Google Lunar X Prize competition expired on March 31 with no winner.

The Satellites of Chelm: Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 29, 2017 — In 1977, a young officer in the IDF’s Intelligence Corps came up with what seemed at the time, like a crazy idea.

Israel At 70: Top Venture Capitalists Offer Their Take On Future Innovation: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, April 19, 2018— Israel is marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern state with a theme that centers on “A Legacy of Innovation.”

On Topic Links

Pioneers of Innovation: 13 Israeli Startups Making Their Mark On The World: Ido Levy, NoCamels, Apr. 18, 2018

A Big Chunk of Israel’s Tech Scene is Actually Not Based in Israel: Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg, Mar. 29, 2018

Israel is One of World’s Leading Economies, OECD Report Finds: Ariel Whitman, Israel Hayom, Mar. 12, 2018

Behind Israel’s High-Tech Reputation Is a Low-Tech Economy: Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg, Feb. 14, 2018

 

FROM 1950S RATIONING TO MODERN HIGH-TECH BOOM: ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC SUCCESS STORY

Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2018

From a war-torn nation struggling for survival and lacking natural resources, the biblical land of milk and honey has become a technological powerhouse which has seen economic growth for 15 consecutive years. “We can stop and look back with satisfaction” at the “amazing achievements made by the Israeli economy in the 70 years of the State’s existence,” Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug said at a press conference in Jerusalem in March.

Israelis’ standard of living has risen from 30 percent of Americans’ standard of living at the time of the state’s founding to 60% today. Israel’s economy has experienced a yearly average growth of 3.3% since 2000, higher than in many OECD countries, partly driven by a strong population growth. Its labor market is close to full employment and the unemployment level is the lowest it has been in decades. Israeli tech firms raised record funds in 2017 and the year saw $23 billion worth of company exits, defined as merger and acquisition deals and initial public offerings of shares. The nation has some 94 companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

The country’s population surged from 806,000 at the founding of the nation to 8.84 million today, and the state has absorbed some 3.2 million immigrants over the years. Life expectancy for Jewish men jumped to almost 81 years from 65 in 1949, and for women to just over 84, compared with just below 68 in 1949. The nation is ranked the 11th-happiest country in the world, and, to top it all, it has also found natural gas reserves off its shores, which will help lead the tiny country to energy independence…

If you look at the “big picture, at the perspective of 70 years,” the Israeli economy by and large “clearly did very well,” said Omer Moav, professor of economics at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK, and at the IDC Herzliya, in a phone interview. The country has gone from a “chronic balance of payments,” huge debt, and runaway inflation to “a balance of payments surplus, a surplus of assets over liabilities, and inflation that we would like to be a little higher,” Flug said.

And all of this has taken place while absorbing and resettling huge waves of immigrants and fighting off hostile neighbors. How did this come to pass? Israel’s economic success is due to a number of factors that have merged to bring the nation to its current state. A lack of natural resources pushed its dwellers to find alternative ways to cope, leading to the development of drip irrigation and water desalination plants — technologies that are now sold globally. The wars the country has fought have led the nation’s military to develop cutting edge technologies that have also permeated the civilian sphere, creating the basis of Israel’s thriving tech scene.

The country has also managed to absorb huge waves of immigration, and this population surge has contributed to a mix of cultures and languages — from Russian to Arabic and Ethiopian and English — that have remained distinct as much as they have melded, creating friction at times but also a fertile ground for innovation. The impact of the immigration was such that “there had to be rationing of resources in the early 50s, like oil and food,” said Prof. Eytan Sheshinski, an emeritus lecturer in economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in a phone interview.

This rationing continued well into the 60s, with the government deeply involved in the economy. From 1950 through 1955, Israel’s economy grew by about 13% each year, and just under 10% in the subsequent years into the 1960s, according to “Start-Up Nation,” a book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer that documents the story of Israel’s “economic miracle.” The government provided jobs and set up infrastructure projects using money from overseas, mainly from Jews abroad but also from German reparations given as compensation for Nazi crimes. “These were critical to the economy” and helped build roads, ports and trains, Sheshinski said.

Then, in the 70s, inflation started. The 1973 Yom Kippur war forced the country to recruit most of the labor force to the military effort for up to six months, bringing business activity to a halt. Government policies that artificially propped up salaries led to ballooning debt, and tax rates were raised. Hyperinflation hit in the early 80s and in 1984 it reached 445%. This “disrupted the function of the economy — and there was a large deficit in the balance of payments,” Sheshinski said. In 1985 a stabilization plan led by finance minister Shimon Peres together with US secretary of state George Shultz and IMF economist Stanley Fischer, was set up to reduce public debt, curb government spending, and start a spurt of privatization of government-owned companies.

The program “froze prices and wages and stopped inflation,” Sheshinski said. “The privatization created a competitive industry and continued well into 1990s.” At the same time the government undertook a program of liberalizing the economy, opening the Israeli markets to imports and lifting curbs on the currency. “Israel became part of the global economy,” Sheshinski said. Because of the small size of the economy, the industry focused on foreign markets, boosting Israel’s exports. In the 1990s the government also had the foresight to set up a program called Yozma, which helped create a local venture fund industry that invested in burgeoning Israeli technologies.

Then, the boom of the internet broke down geographic barriers and Israeli entrepreneurship mushroomed. “The internet very much suited the Israeli character and many young people entered the field,” said Yossi Vardi, an Israeli entrepreneur and investor who backed Mirabilis, the founders of ICQ, the first instant messaging program for the web. It was sold to America Online in 1998 for some $300 million. “Israel is a small country with no local market, and the barrier to entry for the internet was very low; some managed, others failed, but it inspired people,” Vardi said in a phone interview.

A wave of immigration in the 90s brought with it more than 900,000 new immigrants, many of them engineers, professors and scientists from the former Soviet Union who fed Israel’s nascent tech scene with much needed professional skills. “Our ability to absorb immigrants and integrate them is something not many other countries have done,” said Yaniv Pagot, an economist and head of strategy for the Ayalon Group, an Israeli institutional investor. “This is an achievement that has huge economic implications and also long term social impact.” It was a combination of venture capital money, the internet, an influx of engineers and scientists, hardheadedness and determination, and years of thinking out of the box to finding solutions to pressing needs that has led to Israel’s thriving tech industry.

The main achievement of Israel’s economy is that “we have gone from being a very poor weak and small country, 70 years ago, to an innovation powerhouse, globally known as a center for startups and innovation,” said Saul Singer, the co-author of “Start-Up Nation.” Not only does Israel have “the highest density of startups of any country in the world,” he said, “Israel’s startup ecosystem continues to grow and attract more investment and large companies from all over the world, who are buying up Israeli technologies and are setting up research and development centers locally.”…

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

 

Contents

ISRAELI SPACE TEAM STILL SHOOTING FOR THE MOON

Abigail Klein Leichman

Israel 21C, Apr. 2, 2018

The Google Lunar X Prize competition expired on March 31 with no winner. Yet Israel’s team, the nonprofit SpaceIL, is continuing its mission of landing an unmanned module on the moon – with plans to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 via Spaceflight Industries in the fourth quarter of 2018, even if Lunar X does not find another major sponsor.

“We are moving forward with the project, regardless of the terms or status of the Google Lunar X Prize,” said newly appointed SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby, formerly of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. “SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries are committed to landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, and we plan to launch before the end of this year.” So far, only three world superpowers, the United States, Russia, and China, with their tremendous resources, have achieved controlled lunar landings.

“Our mission was never about winning the prize money – although $20 million would have been nice,” said Anteby. “It’s about showing the next generation that anything is possible – that even our small country can push the limits of imagination. “The impact of our spacecraft’s launch and its historic weeks-long journey to land on the moon will resonate for years to come, and we hope to inspire new forays into science, technology, and space exploration.”

SpaceIL was Israel’s entry in the Google Lunar X Prize Moon Race, started in 2007 to inspire innovators from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the $20 million grand prize, a privately funded team had to have been the first to successfully place a spacecraft on the moon’s surface, travel 500 meters on the moon, and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth – all before the competition’s deadline, March 31, 2018. SpaceIL was the first of 16 competitors to sign a launch contract and one of only five teams to proceed in the contest.

The mission’s scientist, Prof. Oded Aharonson of the Weizmann Institute of Science, has helped the team determine that the spacecraft should aim to land on Mare Serenitatis, (Serene Sea) an area in the moon’s northern hemisphere. This site has a strong magnetic field that will allow the magnetometer aboard the spacecraft to take measurements and collect data about its characteristics during the landing, and transmit these back to Earth.

The engine and fuel tanks were recently integrated into the spacecraft’s body inside the “clean room” at IAI’s space facility. “In parallel, we are making progress with our simulator system, with the navigation control software development, with the ground control stations and with the preparations for testing the spacecraft and its subsystems,” Anteby reported.

The craft’s cameras successfully passed an environment test in which they were placed in a vacuum chamber simulating the extreme temperatures that the spacecraft will encounter during its voyage. They’re now being integrated into the craft. SpaceIL has signed a contract for satellite communication services to keep track of the location of the spacecraft on its journey to the moon. Members of the team also went to Cape Canaveral in Florida to begin coordinating with all the entities taking part in the launch, particularly SpaceX, and to see the large hangar where the spacecraft will undergo its last pre-launch tests and will be fueled.

As for SpaceIL’s mission to inspire young people to explore STEM subjects, the nonprofit is telling its story to 500,000 children nationwide through a volunteer network, and has chosen 100 schools to take part in “Moon Games,” a unique educational program in collaboration with the Israel Space Agency. SpaceIL recently sponsored an activity at the Holon Technological Fair for 30,000 Israeli ninth-graders, “Do you have what it takes to build a spacecraft that will land on the moon?” that presented the young visitors with various challenges involving creative thinking, spatial vision, mathematical thinking and more.

Israeli kids flying on El Al during the Passover season will receive the third issue of SpaceIL’s fun workbook series, Who Wants to Reach the Moon? on the theme of “Women in Space.” And for children from any country, SpaceIL has introduced its Moon Kids website in English, chock full of fun interactive content about the moon and outer space.      Contents

   

THE SATELLITES OF CHELM

Yaakov Katz

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 12, 2017

In 1977, a young officer in the IDF’s Intelligence Corps came up with what seemed at the time, like a crazy idea. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had made his historic visit to Jerusalem and it was clear that if peace was going to happen, Israel would need to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula, the territory it had captured a decade earlier during the Six Day War.

The problem was that Israel needed Sinai. The peninsula served as a buffer between pre-1967 Israel and Egypt. If Egypt launched another surprise invasion like it did on Yom Kippur in 1973, it would first have to reconquer Sinai and Israel would have time to prepare. Israel couldn’t withdraw before finding a way to keep eyes on the ground. As the head of the research and development division in the Military Intelligence Directorate it was Col. Haim Eshed’s job to come up with technological solutions for operational problems. His idea for keeping an eye on the Sinai? Build a satellite.

Convincing the government to invest in satellites was a long shot. Space was supposed to be off limits to small countries like Israel and was, at the time, the sole domain of superpowers. Only seven countries had launched satellites into space. The last to do so had been the United Kingdom in 1971. The idea was bold for another reason as well. Until then, Israel’s space experience was limited. In 1961, the country launched a meteorological research rocket called Shavit (Hebrew for comet), but it was far from being able to place a satellite in space. And then in 1965, Israel considered establishing a space program but the government rejected the proposal, citing budget and technological constraints.

Eshed knew all of this but he was determined. He first approved the idea with his boss and together they brought it to IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Rafael Eitan, who initially dismissed it as “Luftgesheft”, a Yiddish expression used to describe something as a waste of time. Israel, Eitan argued, needed to begin focusing on the withdrawal of military bases and towns from Sinai and their relocation inside the country. A satellite would be a waste of money. Anyhow, the chief of staff said, the air force had told him that its aircraft could provide all of the aerial reconnaissance the country needed even after a withdrawal.

Eitan also claimed that once there was peace, Israelis could simply drive into Sinai to look around and see if the Egyptians were preparing for war. But Eshed and his commanding officer pushed back. “That’s impossible,” they said. “We would need to look inside every single Beduin tent to really know what is going on.” Reconnaissance flights over Egypt, they argued, were also out of the question, since Israel wouldn’t be able to violate Egyptian sovereignty after it had reached a peace deal. The only viable option was to build a satellite.

It took some pushing, guts and creativity, but Eshed ultimately succeeded and Israel launched its first satellite into space in 1988, gaining membership in the exclusive club of nations with independent satellite-launching capabilities, joining the US, Russia, France, Japan, China, India and the United Kingdom. In the years since, Israel has grown into a satellite superpower. As with the other military platforms it specializes in developing, Israel has shied away from building big satellites and instead designs what are known as “mini satellites,” which weigh about 300 kilograms in comparison to America’s “mammoth” 25-ton models.

By 2016, with the launch of the Ofek-11, Israel had nearly 10 spy satellites in space, most of which use electro-optical sensors, cameras that can take high-resolution photos. In addition, Israel has a number of communication satellites of the Amos series, almost all of which have been designed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                          Contents

             

ISRAEL AT 70: TOP VENTURE CAPITALISTS

OFFER THEIR TAKE ON FUTURE INNOVATION

Simona Shemer

NoCamels, April 19, 2018

Israel is marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern state with a theme that centers on “A Legacy of Innovation.” But while much of the country has been focusing on the groundbreaking and innovative achievements of the past 70 years, what the future may hold is just as compelling.

While celebrations for Israel’s 70th birthday are underway, NoCamels has interviewed experts from six of the top venture capitalist firms in the country, picking their brains about the future of Israeli innovation across industries, and what startups are catching their eye in automotive, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, big data, digital health, agritech, and retail. Here’s what VC leaders from OurCrowd, Bessemer Venture Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners, YL Ventures, Maniv Mobility, and Vertex Ventures had to say.

“People always ask me how Israel maintains its edge,” Jon Medved, CEO of equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd tells NoCamels, “Israel is particularly strong in its multidisciplinary nature. This is the culture of Israeli tech. Of course, the Israeli army is the most multidisciplinary system, but it checks all the boxes and we make it work.” Israel is made up of people with skills and experience in many different areas sectors, like for example, a doctor who also knows how to code, Medved says. Israelis also know how to put together the right multidisciplinary team, he adds, bringing together a machine learning specialist with a group developing a new product for the automotive industry, or an imaging tech expert with a farmer to work on a forthcoming project.

Adam Fisher, a founder and partner of Bessemer Venture Partners, echoes Medved’s sentiment, telling NoCamels, “Other countries are often too dependent on one type of expertise. Israelis are experts across many sectors and we continue to see that through their curiosity and diverse interests.” Israel is also full of multidisciplinary teams that don’t come from the same background, he says, noting like Medved that while the origins of tech are in the military, there are now enough independent companies in the country to sustain it. Fisher calls the Israeli character “fearless and naive,” and says the next decade will see tech penetrate every aspect of business in Israel,” explaining that he believes Israeli startups will soon disrupt unexpected industries, like shipping and insurance.

Yonatan Machado, a co-head of the Jerusalem Venture Partners early stage investment vehicle JVP Labs and co-founder of JVP Play, the platform matching early-stage Israeli startups with leading multinational companies like PepsiCo, Tesco, and Barclays, also predicts this disruption, telling NoCamels that tech will pour into retail, even more so than today. “In Israel, a big part of the focus of innovation was happening in the digital space, not something that the average person would understand. Now, much more tech affects our physical lives and affects the average person. What we’re going to see is more disruptions to the physical experience.”

What does this mean for the Israeli innovator? Ofer Schreiber, a partner at YL Ventures, a global VC firm with offices in San Francisco and Tel Aviv focusing on seed-stage and deep-technology B2B (business to business) companies in cybersecurity, enterprise software, and autonomous vehicles, puts it boldly saying that “Israel is turning into ‘scale-up nation,’ meaning that in the future we will see more leading global companies founded in Israel, together with a healthy M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity.”…

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

Contents

On Topic Links

Pioneers of Innovation: 13 Israeli Startups Making Their Mark On The World: Ido Levy, NoCamels, Apr. 18, 2018—Israel has over the past two decades soared to become the nation with the highest number of startups per capita in the world. With over 8,000 currently active startups and established companies, and innovation across a number of fields including medical, agricultural, automotive, cloud computing, cybersecurity (and much more), Israel is a powerhouse for pioneering tech and has certainly earned its moniker “Startup Nation.”

A Big Chunk of Israel’s Tech Scene is Actually Not Based in Israel: Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg, Mar. 29, 2018—Last year, Ben Fried pitched a fintech startup to Israeli investors — and got nowhere. The venture firms wanted to see if he could sell the idea in the U.S. first. “I’ve heard it from many investors,” says the former Israeli Air Force captain. “They push you out the door as soon as possible.”

Israel is One of World’s Leading Economies, OECD Report Finds: Ariel Whitman, Israel Hayom, Mar. 12, 2018—A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that the Israeli economy is one of the strongest economies in the world today.

Behind Israel’s High-Tech Reputation Is a Low-Tech Economy: Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg, Feb. 14, 2018—When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasts about his country’s powerhouse technology, he glosses over the fax machines that banks still use, the homes that take nearly three years to build and the classrooms that don’t have a single computer.

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

THE AGONY OF AN ATTACK WITHOUT

EXPLANATION, AND THE PAIN OF CHAOS

Barbara Kay

National Post, Apr. 24, 2018

The method is only too familiar. The motive of the man who rammed a van into dozens of pedestrians in Toronto on Monday is so far unclear, although it is for the moment tentatively linked to sexual grievances.

In 1993, when North Americans were still cocooned in their bubble of geopolitical security, a 1,200-pound bomb in a Ryder van parked underground at New York’s World Trade Center exploded, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 people. It was meant to cause greater damage. Since then, the weaponized “van” has become a meme for Islamist terrorism.

If the motive turns out to be different this time, nobody deserves to be chastised for having instinctively assumed, when the news broke, that the Toronto massacre was related to religion. Given the long litany of ISIL-inspired van attacks (listed on a full page in Tuesday’s National Post, with one of them, committed outside a London mosque, the work of a non-Muslim man claiming he was avenging an Islamist attack), such a leap is not a sign of “Islamophobia.” Patterns lead to prediction. That is the history of human survival.

In this context, I was struck by a tweet put out by the Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein on Tuesday: “In today’s world, I think we all know what we’re thinking it could be. Let’s hope it isn’t.” That puzzled me. I tweeted back: “What should we hope it is?” Should we hope it is “merely” a deranged individual, whose addled perceptions and inchoate self-pity have merged to produce the insane idea that mowing down a crowd of peaceful strangers will somehow serve to close the loop on his personal anguish?

That to me is a far more unsettling thought. Islamist terror is at least something we have come to understand. Jihadists are not insane, even if their amateur acolytes are often mentally unstable. Their attacks are premeditated along fairly predictable lines. It begins with radicalization. We generally know what they believe. We know how these beliefs are spread. We know who is financing the propaganda mill into which lone-wolf jihadists get sucked.

So when we learn that an attack is based in ideology — whether it’s jihadism or even the terrorism perpetrated by the Baader-Meinhof gang in the 1970s and ’80s — we at least have something positive to do with our grief. We can transmute it into white-hot anger. Our thoughts turn to probable suspects, analysis of the event, of our security policies, of ways to prevent another attack. And we do prevent many.

Knowing that an evil action is part of a pattern, rather than a random act over which we hadn’t a scintilla of preventative control, is the difference between feeling helpless and feeling purposeful, between feeling utterly vulnerable, with no possibility of counter-action and feeling empowered, galvanized to counter-action. On a more metaphysical level, it is the difference between mental order and mental chaos.

Nothing is more frightening in these situations than mental chaos. University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson titled his book — recently the best-selling non-fiction book in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. — “Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” I have this passage highlighted in my copy:  “Chaos is the domain of ignorance itself. It’s unexplored territory. It’s … the despair and horror you feel when you have been profoundly betrayed … Chaos is where we are when we don’t know where we are, and what we are doing when we don’t know what we are doing. It is, in short, all those things and situations we neither know nor understand.”

And order? “Order is explored territory … It’s the flag of the nation. It’s the value of the currency. Order is the floor beneath your feet, and your plan for the day … order is the place where the behaviour of the world matches our expectations and desires.” And above all, this: “Where everything is certain, we’re in order … We like to be there. In order, we’re able to think about things in the long term.”

I admit I wasn’t really puzzled by Lorrie’s tweet: I knew where he was coming from when he said, “Let’s hope it isn’t.” He was steeling himself, if it were an act of jihadism, for the wave of anger that was sure to include a substratum of #YesAllMuslim types, and countering them, another substratum of “nothing-to-do-with-Islam” types. He was imagining Justin Trudeau lecturing the country on diversity being our strength. He was steeling himself for news of a hijab attack that, this time, wouldn’t be a hoax, that really was directly linked to spillover rage at the attack.

An attack of this magnitude can be much more difficult when it is ideological. It can produce social tension. The debates can be exhausting. A “merely” deranged massacrist can produce social unity — a single, grieving circle of citizens, who will privately experience dread of the chaos the massacre represents. But I will cop to extreme selfishness in saying I would have preferred it this had been an act of jihadism or something else linked to a clear ideology or cause. Because I like to be able to think about things in the long term. I prefer mental order to mental chaos.

 

Contents: | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes   | On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

Canada Is Attacked Again: J. J. McCullough, National Review, April 24, 2018

Threatening Regional Storm Clouds: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 25, 2018

Trump and Syria: Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Apr. 6, 2018

70 Years of an Unyielding 3,330-Year Marriage: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Times of Israel, Apr. 22, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

“You can mark it down, if they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they’ve ever had before.” — U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump issued his warning to Iran alongside French President Macron in the Oval Office, where the two allies discussed the multinational nuclear accord and the war in Syria. One of Macron’s main objectives is to persuade Trump to stay in the deal. Trump reminded Macron of what he sees as flaws in the agreement, which he called a “terrible deal” that fails to address ballistic missiles or Iran’s activities in Yemen or Syria. (Toronto Star, Apr. 24, 2018)

“When the arrogant powers create a sanctuary for the Zionist regime to continue survival, we shouldn’t allow one day to be added to the ominous and illegitimate life of this regime…The Army will move hand in hand with the IRGC so that the arrogant system will collapse and the Zionist regime will be annihilated.” — Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, the Commander of Iran’s Army. He predicted this would take place within 25 years, a number frequently used by the Iranian leadership. (Times of Israel, Apr. 21, 2018)

“I would suggest to all those on our northern border to think again about what they are doing…It’s seriously not worth it for you to test the IDF, nor the state of Israel…We are ready for every scenario. We are ready for a multi-front scenario and I don’t remember a time when we were so prepared and so ready, both the army and the people of Israel.” — Defense Minister Liberman. As Iran stepped up its threats against Israel, Liberman warned Tehran not to even consider an attack on the Jewish state, which he said has never been better prepared to counter Iran. (Times of Israel, Apr. 21, 2018)

“I am embarrassed due to the fact that Jewish institutions require security details in 2018.”— German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel said she is “burdened’’ by the failure to eradicate antisemitism in Germany. Merkel gave an interview with Israeli media, in which she addressed German-Israeli relations. She connected this with the arrival of refugees and “people of Arab heritage” who, Merkel said, “bring with them a new form of antisemitism into Germany.” Merkel added “to our regret, antisemitism existed in Germany even before [their arrival].” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018)

“According to the statistics, 90 percent of antisemitic crimes are committed by right-wing radicals…But I hear something different from Jews in Germany. Above all, that Muslim antisemitism is stronger than is reflected in the statistics.” — Felix Klein, Germany’s first federal antisemitism commissioner. Klein has urged a renewed effort against anti-Jewish hatred within the country’s Muslim communities, following the shocking attack by three assailants on an Israeli man and his friend who were wearing kippot as they walked in Berlin. One of the assailants, a 19 year-old Syrian citizen, turned himself into police as video of the incident went viral on the internet. German police are treating the incident as an antisemitic hate crime. Klein said that “Jew-hatred also has an ugly Islamist face…Antisemitism is common in many Muslim countries and is often brought into Germany,” he continued. “We cannot accept that.” (Algemeiner, Apr. 20, 2018)

“I have never felt as nervous and frightened as I feel today at being a Jew. It feels that my party has given permission for anti-Semitism to go unchallenged. Anti-Semitism is making me an outsider in my Labour Party. To that, I simply say, ‘enough is enough.’” — Dame Margaret Hodge. Members of the Labour Party in the U.K. last week turned on leader Jeremy Corbyn over his “betrayal” of Jews as they described death threats they had received for speaking out against antisemitism in their party. Corbyn sat in silence as his MPs read out hate mail they had received from his supporters. Others received standing ovations for calling out the “bullying and intimidation” in the party.  (National Post, Apr. 18, 2018)

“I have no words for the people who purport to be both members and supporters of our party…who attacked me in recent weeks for speaking at the rally… who said I should be deselected…They have called me Judas, a Zio-Nazi, and told me to go back to Israel…We have a duty to the next generation. Denial is not an option. Prevarication is not an option. Being a bystander who turns the other way is not an option. The time for action is now. Enough really is enough.” — Luciana Berger, UK Labour MP. Berger detailed the “torrent” of abuse she faced for being Jewish in a party in which Corbyn has allowed antisemitism to become “more commonplace, more conspicuous and more corrosive.” (National Post, Apr. 18, 2018)

“As liberal democracies have become worse at improving their citizens’ living standards, populist movements that disavow liberalism are emerging from Brussels to Brasília and from Warsaw to Washington. A striking number of citizens have started to ascribe less importance to living in a democracy: whereas two-thirds of Americans above the age of 65 say it is absolutely important to them to live in a democracy, for example, less than one-third of those below the age of 35 say the same thing. A growing minority is even open to authoritarian alternatives: from 1995 to 2017, the share of French, Germans, and Italians who favored military rule more than tripled.” — Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa. (Foreign Affairs, May 2018)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 MEMORIAL DAY: 71 SOLDIERS, 12 CIVILIANS FELL THIS YEAR (Jerusalem) — Since Memorial Day last year, 71 soldiers have lost their lives, as well as 30 more who passed away due to injuries incurred in service. The most recent IDF soldier to lose his life in the line of duty was Sgt. Eliyahu Drori, who was killed in a tank accident in the south last weekend. The number of soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty since the first days of Zionist activity in Israel in 1860 stands at 23,645. Twelve civilians fell victim to terrorist attacks over the past year, the most recent of whom was Adiel Kolman, a security guard who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem’s old city in March. (Jewish Press, Apr. 17, 2018)

RUSSIA LIKELY TO DELIVER S-300 MISSILES TO SYRIA (Moscow) — Russia plans to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria in the near future. Russia’s sale of these weapons to Syria has been a source of tension between Moscow and Jerusalem. Israel fears the S-300 would hamper its ability to attack military sites in Syria that are dangerous to the Jewish State. Since intervening in Syria’s civil war on behalf of Bashar Assad in 2015, Russia has generally turned a blind eye to Israeli air strikes there against arms transfers and deployments by his Iranian and Hezbollah allies. But Russia was quick to blame Israel for an April 9 raid that killed 7 Iranian military personnel. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 25, 2018)

ROMANIAN OFFICIAL: WE WILL MOVE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM (Bucharest) — Liviu Dragnea, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party who effectively runs the Romanian government, said that the government had decided to move the nation’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His statement coincided with Israel’s 70th Independence Day. Romania’s foreign ministry said authorities were analyzing the situation and would consult and coordinate with “strategic allies.” Earlier this month, lawmakers in Honduras voted to relocate the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In March, Guatemalan President Morales announced that his country’s embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. (United With Israel, Apr. 22, 2018)

MNUCHIN TO HEAD US EMBASSY DELEGATION (Jerusalem) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is expected to head the delegation to the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. In addition to Mnuchin, presidential adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, is also expected to attend, as will the Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, U.S. Amb. to Israel David Friedman and U.S. Amb. to the UN, Nikki Haley. The embassy will temporarily be housed in an upgraded version of the U.S. Consulate in the Arnona neighborhood. (Jewish Press, Apr. 23, 2018) 

MOSSAD BLAMED FOR DEATH OF HAMAS-AFFILIATED ENGINEER IN MALAYSIA (Kuala Lumpur) — A Hamas-affiliated Palestinian engineer from the Gaza Strip was shot dead near the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur in an assassination blamed on the Mossad. The dead man was an expert on attack-drone and rocket systems, according to Israeli sources. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Dr. Fadi Muhammad al-Batash must not be brought to burial in Gaza until bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul are returned to Israel. Palestinian media reported that Batash, 35, was leaving a mosque after morning prayers in the town of Gombak when he was struck by close to 20 bullets fired by two people on a motorcycle. A Senior Islamic Jihad leader accused the Mossad of being responsible for the assassination. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 21, 2018) 

GENESIS PRIZE CANCELS EVENT AFTER NATALIE PORTMAN DECLINES ISRAEL VISIT (Jerusalem) — The Genesis Prize announced it was canceling its prize ceremony in Israel in June after 2018 recipient Natalie Portman said she would not take part in light of “recent events.” In November, the Genesis Prize announced that Portman would receive its 2018 award, which comes with cash prize that recipients may direct toward causes of their choice. She joins artist Anish Kapoor, violinist Itzhak Perlman, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas as winners of the $1 million prize. Genesis said in December Portman’s prize money had been doubled to $2 million by a donation by Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn. (Jewish Press, Apr. 20, 2018)

BARNARD STUDENTS VOTE TO DIVEST FROM ISRAEL (New York) — Barnard College students voted this week in favor of the institution’s divestment from eight companies that “profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.” Almost half of the students at the college voted in the election for SGA positions as well as the referendum, and of the 1153 students voted on the referendum, 64.3 percent voted in favor of the boycott against Israel. Student groups for the Boycott, Divest & Sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel worked hard to convince students of the justice of their cause, as did those who opposed it. (Jewish Press, Apr. 19, 2018)

GWU SENATE VOTES TO DIVEST FROM ISRAEL (Washington) — George Washington University’s student government called on its administration to divest funds from companies accused of violating Palestinian rights. In a secret ballot vote of eighteen to six, with six abstentions, the Student Association Senate adopted a resolution urging the university to withdraw its holdings in nine companies that do business with the Israeli government. The measure was rejected by University President Thomas LeBlanc. The senate also voted down a resolution to take action against one of its members, Brady Forrest, who came under fire last month for supporting a boycott of multicultural and interfaith events because they included GW Hillel and the Jewish Student Association (JSA). (Algemeiner, Apr. 24, 2018)

FOOTAGE EMERGES OF VIOLENT ANTISEMITIC ASSAULT IN BROOKLYN (New York) — Footage emerged of the violent anti-Semitic attack on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who was severely beaten and choked while walking home from Shabbat services in New York. In the video, the attacker jumps on the victim, 52-year-old Menachem Moskowitz, from behind in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. Moskowitz sustained a cracked rib along with a black eye, swelling, bruising and scratches over his body. Police have opened an investigation into the attack as an assault motivated by bias. It was the second attack against Jewish men in the neighborhood within a week. Last Friday night a Jewish man was assaulted in the Crown Heights. (Times of Israel, Apr. 23, 2018)

ANOTHER RECORD-SETTING YEAR FOR ANTISEMITISM IN CANADA (Toronto) — B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents reports that 2017 was the second consecutive year in which record numbers were reached. The Audit recorded 1,752 incidents, a 1.4 per cent overall increase nationally compared to 2016. It was in antisemitic vandalism, however, where there was a whopping national increase of 107 per cent, reaching levels unseen in Canada since 2013. Homes, schools, parks and highways were defaced by Nazi graffiti and antisemitic epithets, including swastikas and hate signs. Other disturbing antisemitic trends included the rise of antisemitism from both the far-right and the far-left of the political spectrum, politicians seeking support from those with anti-Jewish prejudice and a lack of criminal charges for faith leaders caught praying for the death of Jews. (B’nai Brith Canada, 2018)

SUICIDE ATTACK AT AFGHANISTAN VOTER CENTER KILLS DOZENS (Kabul) — A suicide bombing at a voter registration center in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, left at least 57 people dead and 119 people injured. The attacker detonated the bomb at a voter center where Afghan authorities were handing out national identity cards in their effort to register more people to vote. Islamic State claimed responsibility. Even though I.S.’s presence in Afghanistan has largely been reduced by airstrikes and covert military operations, the group continues to claim deadly attacks in urban areas. The suicide bombing is the fourth attack on voter centers since voter registration for October’s long-delayed parliamentary elections began a week ago. The attack was Kabul’s deadliest since an ambulance bomb killed more than 100 people in January. (The Hill, Apr. 22, 2018)

SAUDI CINEMA BAN ENDS WITH BLACK PANTHER SCREENING (Riyadh) — Saudi Arabia held a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther — a stark reversal for a country where public movie screenings were banned in the 1980s during a wave of ultraconservatism. Authorities planned the invitation-only screening of the movie in a concert hall converted into a cinema complex in the capital, Riyadh. The screening, attended by both men and women, will be followed by a rush to build movie theatres in major cities. (CBC, Apr. 18, 2018)

DERSHOWITZ CHOSEN FOR UN WATCH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (Geneva) — UN Watch is proud to announce that it will honor Alan M. Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School, for his monumental contribution to the cause of universal human rights, at the organization’s 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner, on May 7, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. “Few in the world exemplify the ideals of UN Watch more than Professor Alan Dershowitz,” said Hillel Neuer, the organization’s executive director. Professor Alan M. Dershowitz has been called one of the nation’s “most distinguished defenders of individual rights” and “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world.” (UNWatch, Apr. 18, 2018)

GIRO D’ITALIA TO MAKE HISTORIC START IN ISRAEL (Rome) — When the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia kicks off with a race through Jerusalem on May 4, it will mark the first time any of the cycling world’s three grand tours – the Giro, the Tour de France or the Vuelta d’Espagna – will have taken place in Israel. The race then moves to Catania in Sicily on its way to the penultimate stage in Rome on May 27. (Grapevine, Apr. 11, 2018)

On Topic Links

Canada Is Attacked Again: J. J. McCullough, National Review, April 24, 2018—Media coverage of yesterday’s monstrous van attack in Toronto, which as of this writing is responsible for ten deaths and more than a dozen other casualties, was punctuated by political press conferences of the sort that are now an inescapable part of the dark theater of public tragedies.

Threatening Regional Storm Clouds: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 25, 2018—Notwithstanding the exuberance of Israelis at the jubilant 70th Independence Day celebrations, justified in light of Israel’s extraordinary achievements and progress on both the diplomatic and defense fronts, the Jewish state will be facing major challenges over the next few months.

Trump and Syria: Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Apr. 6, 2018 —The White House declared on April 4 that the “military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed.”

70 Years of an Unyielding 3,330-Year Marriage: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Times of Israel, Apr. 22, 2018—This year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut commemorates the anniversary of a marriage that has lasted more than 3,000 years and has now completed its 70th year. An almost minor event on its own, but once seen in the larger picture, a milestone, and a miracle.

 

ISRAELI-SUNNI COOPERATION FUELED BY IRAN’S GROWING REGIONAL INFLUENCE

Israel’s Search for Peace May Pass Through the Gulf: Rick Ekstein, Globe and Mail, Apr. 17, 2018— Twenty-five years ago, when I started doing business in the Persian Gulf, no one could have reasonably imagined the warming of relations now unfolding between Israel and a number of key regional players.

The Secret to Successful Arab Modernization is to Stop Hating Israel: Lee Smith, Tablet, Apr. 4, 2018 — In the middle of Mohammed bin Salman’s two-week trip across America seeking investment and advice…

The Middle East’s Nuclear Technology Clock Is Ticking: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Mar. 20, 2018— Concerns about a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race are being fueled by uncertainty over the future of Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement…

The Dangers of Failing Middle East States: Kobi Michael and Yoel Guzansky, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2018 — In an address to a prominent British think tank, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently argued that before establishing a Palestinian state…

On Topic Links

Business Ties to Arab World Skyrocketing, Says Venture Capitalist Margalit: Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018

The Future of Israel Looks Good: Efraim Inbar, JISS, Apr. 18, 2018

An Emerging Arab-Israeli Thaw: James S. Robbins, National Interest, Apr. 3, 2018

Russia’s Aim in Mid East: Bloody the Nose of Uncle Sam (Podcast): Elliot Friedland, Clarion Project, Apr. 11, 2018

 

ISRAEL’S SEARCH FOR PEACE MAY PASS THROUGH THE GULF

Rick Ekstein

Globe and Mail, Apr. 17, 2018

Twenty-five years ago, when I started doing business in the Persian Gulf, no one could have reasonably imagined the warming of relations now unfolding between Israel and a number of key regional players. The signs of progress may not make headlines, which are generally reserved for the worst news from the region, but they are important and clearly present, if you know where to look.

To cite just one example, analysts took notice of Air India’s historic announcement that it will operate a direct route between Tel Aviv and Delhi over Saudi airspace – an act that was previously denied by the Gulf state. Across the region, leaders once hostile to Israel are increasingly viewing Israelis as valuable trade, technology, and security partners.

It’s widely observed that these unlikely friendships are rooted in mutual concern toward Iran’s growing influence in the region, seen in the Shia theocracy’s massive expenditure of forces and funds in terror groups across the Middle East. Today, Iran’s aggressive agenda spans much of the map. The regime is bankrolling Hezbollah missiles in Lebanon and Hamas missiles in Gaza. It is arming a brutal insurgency in Yemen. It is building a permanent military presence in Syria, armed with advanced weaponry. This is to say nothing of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which generate as much – if not more – fear in Riyadh and the Gulf as it does in Tel Aviv.

While the context may be one of regional anxiety, the resulting Israeli-Sunni co-operation offers optimism for those who seek an accord between Israel and its neighbours. It may yet foreshadow a comprehensive peace that Israelis have always sought – with mixed success – for their children.

Polling data over the years consistently shows most Israelis support significant concessions for the sake of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Since the state’s establishment – 70 years ago this spring – Israeli leaders have been willing to share the land with their Arab neighbours in two states for two peoples, as envisioned by the UN’s 1947 partition plan.

Since the Oslo Accords, Israelis have offered multiple far-reaching peace proposals, made major concessions, relinquished extensive tracts of land and withdrawn forces in an effort to enable progress towards peace. Tragically, the Palestinian leadership is wracked with dysfunction. Palestinians are currently split between a Gaza-based “government” under Hamas that rejects Israel’s very right to exist and a West Bank Palestinian Authority that has lost the confidence of its people and has boycotted negotiations for years.

I use the term “mixed success” because the failure of Palestinian leaders has not prevented exceptional progress with neighbouring Sunni states. The peace treaties Israel signed with both Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) prove that peace and co-operation are possible. These agreements survived the devastating effects of the Arab Spring, which engulfed the Middle East in chaos. They have also enabled Israelis to share their tremendous knowledge, technology, and resources (now including natural gas) with their neighbours – especially Jordan.

Indeed, a region wracked by socioeconomic, environmental, and security challenges needs more co-operation with innovators in Israel, the so-called “startup nation.” This sentiment is reflected in my personal experience. Many of the friends I made across the Arab world have always held Israel in great esteem and had no problems working with me, a Jewish businessman from Toronto and a strong supporter of Israel.

The Gulf states seem to be quietly recognizing that those who refuse to let go of bitter historic grievances are, tragically, captive to the past. Many Sunni government and business leaders understand that those who fantasize that Israel will disappear – the likes of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas – are as self-deluded as they are self-defeating. To the contrary, Israelis recognize that their future is inseparable from the future of the region, which is one reason why Israel is committed to the security, prosperity and progress of its neighbours.

Nothing is a given in the Middle East. As Israeli leaders – including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – have repeatedly shown, historic rivals can mend old wounds and build a better future for the next generation. In the face of shared threats, there is a historic opportunity for Sunni leaders to forge a new relationship with Israelis. To build upon current momentum, regional players should urge the Palestinian leadership to end its boycott of negotiations with Israelis and seek a peace accord based on two states for two peoples.

Contents

THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL ARAB

MODERNIZATION IS TO STOP HATING ISRAEL

Lee Smith

Tablet, Apr. 4, 2018

In the middle of Mohammed bin Salman’s two-week trip across America seeking investment and advice, from tech innovators in Palo Alto to New York rabbis, for his blueprint for his country’s future, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia made news—maybe history. In an interview with the Atlantic Magazine’s Jeffrey Goldberg published Monday, the man known as MBS said that he personally recognized the legitimacy of Zionism. “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation,” said the Saudi royal. “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”

In 1919, Emir Faisal, ruler of the Kingdom of Hejaz, signed a famous agreement with the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann recognizing a Jewish State in a future Arab sphere of influence that would be free of Ottoman and Western colonial rule. Yet ever since MBS’s grandfather Ibn Saud founded the modern Saudi kingdom in 1932, Riyadh has opposed a Jewish state in the Middle East. Some of MBS’s predecessors were more active than others in their opposition. In the early 2000s, for instance, Riyadh covered much of Hamas’ budget and supported other extremist groups committed to the destruction of Israel.

There have also been peace overtures, like the initiative that MBS’s uncle Abdullah, then Crown Prince himself and later King, made public in a February, 17, 2002 Thomas Friedman column. Abdullah’s proposal offered Israel “full normalization of relations” in exchange for withdrawal from “all the occupied lands.” But MBS’s statement leapfrogs Abdullah’s initiative. He has validated the central tenet of Zionism—the Jews have a right to their own land. In the Middle East.

Now when he gets back to Riyadh, the Crown Prince should move for open and normal relations—not because of Israel or the Palestinians or Muslims more generally, or for the sake of world peace, but for his own people. Perhaps it’s because the 32-year-old Arab leader has already broken so many taboos that reports of this history-making statement have been muted. It’s certainly gotten less attention than when MBS detained some 200 officials for several months starting in November. Among those held at the Ritz in a huge corruption purge were several princes, including Waleed bin Talal, one of the world’s wealthiest men. That is, MBS was calling his own family, the royal family, to account.

While many commentators argued the corruption purge was simply cover for a power grab, MBS is already the power behind the throne he is destined to inherit from his father, the 82-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The real point was that in jailing his own blood, MBS showed that no one is above the law. The royal family, the custodians of Islam’s two holy shrines in Mecca and Medina, is not itself sacred. Rather, it’s an imperfect institution that should be held accountable, like everyone else.

Thus MBS established the precedent by which he too will be judged by those he leads—men as well as women, whom he seeks to make a full part of this conservative country’s society and economy. According to sources in the region, MBS has further pushed against tradition, though much less publicly, in urging religious officials to reform certain Islamic texts that preach violence and hostility to non-Muslims. He told Thomas Friedman in November that the kingdom is not “reinterpreting” Islam but “restoring” it to its origins. On MBS’s reading, it all started to go wrong in 1979, when armed extremists took over the grand mosque in Mecca, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and the Islamic Revolution took root in Iran.

If Middle East and Islam experts tend to roll their eyes with talk of a pre-1979 Saudi Arabia that sounds a little like Sweden, the reality is that he’s written a new foundation story for the vast majority of a population born after 1979. Another thing Saudi youth don’t remember is the last full-on Arab Israeli war in 1973, or the economic embargo MBS’s uncles imposed on the US for supporting Israel. His grand reform project, known as Vision 2030, is a clear warning to his countrymen that Saudi Arabia can no longer exist on oil receipts alone. Nor, as his statement on Israel shows, can Riyadh allow its foreign policy to be held hostage by other regional actors

The Saudis have been embroiled in a regional squabble with their Gulf Cooperation Council neighbor Qatar for close to a year now. Riyadh has imposed an embargo on Doha until it stops promoting and funding extremists, interfering with Saudi’s internal politics, and flirting with Iran. The Saudi effort is ham-fisted, but MBS wants his neighbors in line to counter the Iranian threat. The Palestinians represent a more dangerous breach than Qatar.

The Hamas-fueled protests—attacks —on the Gaza border are partly intended to deflect attention as the Trump administration prepares for the possibility of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in mid-May. Iran’s strategy is to sow divisions in the US alliance system by highlighting Saudi Arabia’s budding, albeit quiet, relationship with the Palestinians’ adversary, Israel. If in sending children to the border Hamas is trying to force the Saudis to choose between the Palestinians and Israel, MBS deflected the issue Monday, explaining that both have rights…

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

 

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   THE MIDDLE EAST’S NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY CLOCK IS TICKING     

Dr. James M. Dorsey

                BESA, Mar. 20, 2018

Concerns about a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race are being fueled by uncertainty over the future of Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement, a seeming US willingness to weaken its strict export safeguards in pursuit of economic advantage, and a willingness by suppliers such as Russia and China to ignore risks involved in weaker controls.

The Trump administration was mulling a loosening of controls to facilitate a possible deal with Saudi Arabia as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged President Trump, in a recent address to a powerful Israeli lobby group in Washington, to scrap the Iranian nuclear deal unless the Islamic Republic agrees to further military restrictions and makes additional political concessions. Israel has an undeclared nuclear arsenal of its own and fears that the technological clock is working against its long-standing military advantage.

The US has signaled that it may be willing to accede to Saudi demands in a bid to ensure that US companies, with Westinghouse in the lead, have a stake in the kingdom’s plan to build 16 reactors by 2032 that would have 17.6 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear capacity. In putting forward demands for parity with Iran by getting the right to controlled enrichment of uranium and the reprocessing of spent fuel into plutonium, potential building blocks for nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia is backing away from a 2009 memorandum of understanding with the US in which it pledged to acquire nuclear fuel from international markets.

“The trouble with flexibility regarding these critical technologies is that it leaves the door open to production of nuclear explosives,” warned nuclear experts Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski in an article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. While Israeli opinion is divided on how the US should respond to Saudi demands, Trump’s and Netanyahu’s opposition to the Iranian nuclear accord has already produced results that would serve Saudi interests.

European signatories to the agreement are pressuring Iran to engage in negotiations to limit its ballistic missile program and drop its support for groups like Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Iran. Iran has rejected any renegotiation but has kept the door open to discussions about a supplementary agreement. Saudi Arabia has suggested it may accept tight US controls if Iran agrees to a toughening of its agreement with the international community.

The Trump administration recently allowed high-tech US exports to Iran that could boost international oversight of the nuclear deal. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan signed a waiver that allows a Maryland-based company to export broadband networks, satellite dishes, and wireless equipment to Iran for stations that monitor nuclear explosions in real time.

Iranian resistance to a renegotiation is enhanced by the fact that Europe and even the Trump administration admit that Hezbollah, despite having been designated a terrorist organization by the US, is an undeniable political force in Lebanon. “We…have to recognize the reality that (Hezbollah) are also part of the political process in Lebanon,” former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on the eve of a visit to Beirut. A US willingness to go easy on demands that Saudi Arabia adhere to tough safeguards enshrined in US export control laws, widely viewed as the gold standard, would open a Pandora’s Box.

The United Arab Emirates, the Arab nation closest to inaugurating its first nuclear reactor, has already said it would no longer be bound by the safeguards it agreed to a decade ago if others in the region are granted a more liberal regime. So would countries, like Egypt and Jordan, that are negotiating contracts with non-US companies for the construction of nuclear reactors. A US retreat from safeguards in the case of Saudi Arabia could add a nuclear dimension to the already full-fledged arms race in the Middle East.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) cautioned last year in a report that the Iranian nuclear agreement had “not eliminated the kingdom’s desire for nuclear weapons capabilities and even nuclear weapons… There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of the (Iranian agreement’s) major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the deal or sooner if the deal fails.”

Rather than embarking on a covert program, the report predicted that Saudi Arabia would, for now, focus on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure as well as a robust nuclear engineering and scientific workforce. This would allow the kingdom to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle at some point in the future. Saudi Arabia has in recent years significantly expanded graduate programs at its five nuclear research centers…

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

 

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THE DANGERS OF FAILING MIDDLE EAST STATES

Kobi Michael and Yoel Guzansky

Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2018

In an address to a prominent British think tank, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently argued that before establishing a Palestinian state, it would be necessary to internalize what had happened in the broader Middle East during the past few years—a reference to the collapsing regional order and the attendant proliferation of failed states. “It’s time,” he said, “we reassessed whether the modern model we have of sovereignty, and unfettered sovereignty, is applicable everywhere in the world.”

Netanyahu expressed a wider and deepening concern over the long-term consequences of the on-going Arab upheavals, euphorically misdiagnosed at their onset as the “Arab Spring.” These upheavals have toppled a number of established regimes and destabilized several states at a horrific human and material cost. But they also have called into question the century-long Arab system based on territorial nation-states by accelerating processes and undercurrents that have long been in operation, turning many of these entities into failed states. By most accepted measures, the Palestinian Authority is also a failed entity. Would a Palestinian state fare any better?

According to the U.N.’s definition, “failed states” are political entities that demonstrate little or no ability to provide their citizens with basic security. Such states suffer from at least three key failings: a weak government that lacks legitimacy and does not enjoy a monopoly on the means of violence; extreme political and societal fragmentation; and severe economic weakness. To these can be added the lack of correlation between nation and state, especially when various national or ethnic groups aspire to independence or view themselves as belonging to a neighboring state. This phenomenon is particularly salient in the contemporary Middle East where the post-World War I agreements partitioned the defunct Ottoman Empire into artificial states that grouped together diverse ethnic groups, rival religions, and, in some cases, speakers of different languages.

American political scientist William Zartman argues that, in most cases, the process of state failure is gradual and prolonged, rather than sudden, as in a coup d’état or revolt. He notes that states that suffer from internal disintegration (primarily because of identity politics—religious, ethnic, etc.) and simultaneously are characterized by weak or non-functioning institutions are liable to become failed states. In such states, failure intensifies in a kind of vicious circle. The weakness of the state’s institutions reinforces the fragmentation, which in turn further weakens the institutions and their legitimacy.

The last two decades show that most of today’s active conflicts, including international terrorism, emanate from failed states, which either cannot control the spillover of domestic turmoil beyond their borders or deliberately seek to export it in an attempt to reduce the threat at home. In other words, crises that develop in failed states also harm their surroundings: They are the biggest generators of humanitarian crises, displaced people, and refugees; they endanger regime stability in neighboring states; they enable access to sophisticated weapons stolen from collapsing military facilities, and they constitute fertile soil for the advent of extremist and terror groups. In the context of the Middle East, they encourage subversive activities among Muslim com-munities in Western countries in a way that might destabilize those countries’ social order…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Business Ties to Arab World Skyrocketing, Says Venture Capitalist Margalit: Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018—As Israel marked Independence Day, the country was benefiting from ever-growing business ties with the Arab world, according to one Israeli executive who has helped paved the way for the budding rapprochement.

The Future of Israel Looks Good: Efraim Inbar, JISS, Apr. 18, 2018—At 70, Israel stands strong, yet debates about its health persist. The radical Israeli Left seems most concerned about the country’s future, arguing that there is great urgency in solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; otherwise, Israel is doomed. The Left contends that Israel’s democratic character, its international legitimacy, and its ability to withstand protracted conflict all are threatened by the ongoing stalemate.

An Emerging Arab-Israeli Thaw: James S. Robbins, National Interest, Apr. 3, 2018—A tectonic shift is taking place in Middle East politics. We may be on the verge of seeing a historic normalization of relations between Israel and several major Arab states. And it is all thanks to Iran.

Russia’s Aim in Mid East: Bloody the Nose of Uncle Sam (Podcast): Elliot Friedland, Clarion Project, Apr. 11, 2018—To the detriment of the U.S., Russia seems to be dominating much of what is going on in the Middle East right now – especially on the Syrian front. Why? And how does it affect America? Listen to the following podcast in which Clarion Project’s Elliot Friedland presents four answers.

“ISLAMIZATION” OF TURKEY & EUROPE CHALLENGES WESTERN VALUES

Emerging Islamist Political Clout Accelerates Europe’s Self-Islamization: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Apr. 17, 2018— Forget the beheading videos, the ISIS propaganda on social media, even the terrorist attacks themselves.

Belgium: First Islamic State in Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2018— The French acronym of Belgium’s ISLAM Party stands for “Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality”.

The Islamization of Turkey: Rauf Baker, BESA, Apr. 22, 2018— Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament…

Hard Truths About an Ancient Doctrine: Machla Abramovitz, Michpacha, Mar. 14, 2018 — Last December‚ about two hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the media was in a tizzy.

On Topic Links

Struggling to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, France Wants to ‘Reform’ Islam: James McAuley, Washington Post, Apr. 18, 2018

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2018

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Apr. 15, 2018

 

 

EMERGING ISLAMIST POLITICAL CLOUT

ACCELERATES EUROPE’S SELF-ISLAMIZATION

Abigail R. Esman

IPT News, Apr. 17, 2018

Forget the beheading videos, the ISIS propaganda on social media, even the terrorist attacks themselves. Europe, says counterterrorism expert Afshin Ellian, is Islamizing itself, and in the process, the Western values on which its democracies are built are increasingly put at risk.

Take, for instance, Belgium’s ISLAM Party, which now hopes to participate in the country’s October local elections in 28 regions. (Its name serves as an acronym for “Integrité, Solidarité, Liberté, Authenticité, Moralité.) Its ultimate aim: transforming Belgium into an Islamic state. Items high on its agenda include separating men and women on public transportation, and the incorporation of sharia law – as long as this does not conflict with current laws –according to the party’s founder, Redouane Ahrouch. His own behavior, however, suggests that his respect for “current laws” and mores has its bounds: He reportedly refuses to shake hands with women, and in 2003, he received a six-month sentence for beating and threatening his wife. Currently, the Islam Party has two elected representatives in office – one in Anderlecht, the other in Molenbeek – both regions that happen to be known as hotbeds of extremism.

Or consider DENK, Holland’s pro-Islam party founded in 2015 by Turkish-Dutch politicians Selçuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu. The party platform, which supports boycotts and sanctions against Israel, also discourages assimilation, calling instead for “mutual acceptance” of multiple cultures. Non-Muslims, for instance, would apparently be required to “accept” the Muslim extremist father who beats his daughter for refusing an arranged marriage, or for becoming too “Westernized” for his taste. It’s his culture, after all. DENK also calls for a “racism police force” to monitor allegedly racist comments and actions. Those found guilty would be placed in a government “racism register,” and banned from government jobs and other employment.

So far, such pro-Islamist views have served the party well. In local Dutch elections last month, DENK (which means “think” in Dutch) gained three seats in Rotterdam, totaling four seats among 45 total and edging out Geert Wilders’ far-right Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), which fell from three seats to one. In Amsterdam, which also has 45 seats, a full 50 percent of Dutch-Moroccans and about two-thirds of Dutch-Turks gave the party a three-seat win in its first election there, as well. Many of these voters, according to post-election analyses, moved to DENK from the center-left Labor Party (PvdA), clearly feeling more at home with a more overtly pro-Muslim politic.

Similarly, France’s Union of Muslim Democrats (UDMF) has taken a number of voters from the Green Party by promising to defend Muslims. UDMF’s online program statement condemns burqa and headscarf bans. What’s more, in its pretense of supporting what it calls the “sweet dream of Democracy, Union and Human Rights,” the party loudly (though rightly) condemns “anti-Muslim speeches” that “lead the most psychologically fragile people to commit acts of unprecedented violence.” Examples of such “unprecedented violence” follow: a German white supremacist, who killed an Egyptian woman wearing a veil in 2009, and the stabbing of a French Muslim in Vaucluse. “Heavy weapons attacks have exploded in Europe since the beginning of the year against Muslim places of worship,” the statement reads.

What the party statement does not mention anywhere are the attacks by Muslims in Paris and Nice that together killed 240 people between January 2015 and July 2016; the attack by a Muslim extremist on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012; and the kidnapping and heinous torture of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew, in 2006. These are among other acts of “unprecedented violence” by Islamists.

UDMF also calls for protection of the family and its “essential role in the education of children,” while citing Article 14 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child which calls for respecting “the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.” From here, the party demands the “right and duty of parents….to guide the child in the exercise of the above-mentioned right.” Implied here is the demand that parents be allowed to treat their children as they see fit according to their religious beliefs – including to beat daughters who refuse an arranged marriage, becoming “too Westernized,” and so on.

Most disturbing are the large numbers of Muslims who have all flocked to parties like DENK and UDMF throughout Europe. Rather than moving towards more secular, traditionally democratic political movements, Europe’s Muslims are apparently increasingly distancing themselves from the “European” side of their identity and identifying more with Islam and the Muslim community. And this, too, is part of Europe’s “self-Islamizing,” the result of taking too unsure a hand, too ambivalent a position, on the issue of assimilation.

Indeed, as Ellian points out, European institutions have enabled this cultural separation. Photographs taken last November during a meeting of the Muslim student union at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit revealed that men and women sat on opposite sides of the auditorium aisle. Such events are common, according to journalist Carel Brendel, who first reported on the incident. “Yet the administrations [of these schools] do little or nothing about it, despite the fact that their own rules forbid” such gender separation,” he told the Investigative Project. Brendel has also exposed links between the Amsterdam police and Abdelilah el-Amrani, a Muslim Brotherhood-connected imam invited by the police department to lead last year’s annual Iftar dinner marking the end of a day’s fast during Ramadan. El-Amrani, Brendel said, also oversees a group of interconnected organizations, including an Islamic school that came under investigation last year for having separate entrances for boys and girls.

Worth noting about the event, according to Brendel, is that no other government body sponsors a religious ceremony. Nor does any Dutch government agency, let alone the police, host a Passover Seder or observe any other religious event with the public. In addition, and perhaps more alarming, a spokesperson for the Rotterdam police posted to Twitter that day that “police will be difficult to reach tonight, due to various Iftar meals.” City security and the safety of citizens, in other words, was being compromised in the name of a religious celebration.

Elsewhere, other signs of self-Islamization can be found in the rise of other Muslim parties in Austria as well as a failed effort in Sweden; a proposed ban on the British press against identifying terrorists as Muslim; the proliferation of sharia courts in the UK; and the repeated efforts by some Canadian officials to legalize sharia – a debate that recently has been revived. While all of this involves political movements, it stands as a reminder of what the ideology behind the “war on terrorism” is really all about: an attack against our culture. We need to do better at protecting it.

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BELGIUM: FIRST ISLAMIC STATE IN EUROPE?

Giulio Meotti

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2018

The French acronym of Belgium’s ISLAM Party stands for “Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality”. The leaders of the ISLAM Party apparently want to turn Belgium into an Islamic State. They call it “Islamist democracy” and have set a target date: 2030.

According to the French magazine Causeur, “the program is confusingly simple: replace all the civil and penal codes with sharia law. Period”. Created on the eve of the 2012 municipal ballot, the ISLAM Party immediately received impressive results. Its numbers are alarming. The effect of this new party, according to Michaël Privot, an expert on Islam, and Sebastien Boussois, a political scientist, could be the “implosion of the social body”. Some Belgian politicians, such as Richard Miller, are now advocating banning the ISLAM Party.

The French weekly magazine Le Point details the plans of the ISLAM Party: It would like to “prevent vice by banning gaming establishments (casinos, gaming halls and betting agencies) and the lottery”. Along with authorizing the wearing the Muslim headscarf at school and an agreement about the Islamic religious holidays, the party wants all schools in Belgium to offer halal meat on their school menus. Redouane Ahrouch, one of the party’s three founders, also proposed segregating men and women on public transport. Ahrouch belonged in the 1990s to the Belgian Islamic Center, a nest of Islamic fundamentalism where candidates for jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq were recruited.

The ISLAM Party knows that demography is on its side. Ahrouch has said, “in 12 years, Brussels will principally be composed of Muslims”. In the upcoming Belgian elections, the ISLAM Party is now set to run candidates in 28 municipalities. On first glance, that looks like a derisory proportion compared to 589 Belgian municipalities, but it demonstrates the progress and ambitions of this new party. In Brussels, the party will be represented on 14 lists out of a possible 19. That is most likely why the Socialist Party now fears the rise of the ISLAM Party. In 2012, the party succeeded, when running in just three Brussels districts, in obtaining an elected representative in two of them (Molenbeek and Anderlecht), and failing only narrowly in Brussels-City.

Two years later, during the 2014 parliamentary elections, the ISLAM Party tried to expand its base in two constituencies, Brussels-City and Liège. Once again, the results were impressive for a party that favors the introduction of sharia, Islamic law, into Belgium. In Brussels, they won 9,421 votes (almost 2%). This political movement apparently started in Molenbeek, “the Belgian radicals’ den”, a “hotbed of recruiters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”. Jihadists there were apparently plotting terror attacks all over Europe and even in Afghanistan. The French author Éric Zemmour, facetiously suggested that instead of bombing Raqqa, Syria, France should “bomb Molenbeek”. At the moment in Molenbeek, 21 municipal officials out of 46 are Muslim. “The European capital,” wrote Le Figaro, “will be Muslim in twenty years”.

“Nearly a third of the population of Brussels already is Muslim, indicated Olivier Servais, a sociologist at the Catholic University of Louvain. “The practitioners of Islam, due to their high birth rate, should be the majority ‘in fifteen or twenty years’. Since 2001… Mohamed is the most common name given to boys born in Brussels”.

The ISLAM Party is working in a favorable environment. According to the mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, all the mosques in the European capital are now “in the hands of the Salafists”. A few weeks ago, the Belgian government terminated the long-term lease of the country’s largest and oldest mosque, the Grand Mosque of Brussels, to the Saudi royal family, “as part of what officials say is an effort to combat radicalization”. Officials said that the mosque, was a “hotbed for extremism”. A confidential report last year revealed that the police had uncovered 51 organizations in Molenbeek with suspected ties to jihadism. Perhaps it is time for sleepy Belgium to begin to wake up?

 

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                                      THE ISLAMIZATION OF TURKEY

          Rauf Baker                            

                BESA, Apr. 22, 2018

The Turkish regime is gradually transforming into a developed, complicated, and more dangerous version of the al-Qaeda organization. The rhetoric and approach seem convergent or even identical. The difference is that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is leading a country of significant geopolitical importance, not a militant group scattered across Afghanistan’s mountains.

If al-Qaeda succeeded in spreading fear across the globe through its terrorist operations, one can only imagine the extreme damage Erdoğan can cause to the MENA region and even the world, particularly in view of his increasing political paranoia and totalitarianism. As he seeks to stay in power indefinitely following a referendum that granted him sweeping powers to run the country largely uncontested, Erdoğan is trying to leave a legacy that will last for decades. To that end, he is using the education system as a repository in which to sow seeds to be harvested later.

The Islamization of the state has been going on systematically, quietly, and slowly for many years, but its pace has increased since the coup attempt in July 2016, with a focus on the education system. Last year, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Erdoğan made substantial changes to school curricula, amending more than 170 topics. The Ministry of Education eliminated evolutionary concepts such as “natural selection” and added subjects related to “jihad”. Erdoğan’s government fired more than 33,000 teachers and closed scores of schools over claims that they had ties with those involved in the coup attempt. At the same time, it increased the number of religious schools (“imam hatip”).

The ministry described the changes as “an emphasis on a values-based education” that promotes Erdoğan’s goal of raising a “pious generation”. AKP MP Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı stated last year that “it is useless to teach math to students who do not know jihad”. Prior to the overhaul, the number of students in 537 religious secondary schools reached 270,000 in 2012. In 2017, there were 1,408 and 635,000 students. When we add the 122,000 students attending religious schools in the open education system, the number of students in all religious schools in Turkey reaches 757,000.

Erdoğan has noticeably increased the number of Islamic references in his speeches. He made “jihad” the fountainhead of the war on the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria, using verses from the “Al-Fath”chapter of the Koran. That chapter uses the Prophet Muhammad’s victory over his enemies to justify military operations. Friday prayer sermons called for “jihad” against the Kurds. When the Turkish army captured Afrin, Erdoğan did not hesitate to call his troops “Islam’s last army”.

Two months ago, during a televised congress of his party, Erdoğan invited a little girl in military uniform onto the stage and told her she would be “martyred” if she were killed while fighting. Several weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ described Erdoğan as a leader “who exerts himself for the sake of God”. Last year, Şevki Yılmaz, a columnist for the government mouthpiece “Yeni Akit” and a close confidante of Erdoğan’s, described al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden as a “national hero”. Yılmaz also said voting “yes” to the constitutional referendum to replace the parliamentary system with a presidential one would be to act as the “Ababeel” did. In the Koran, the Ababeel were heavenly birds sent by God to throw rocks on an army that marched upon Mecca intending to demolish the Kaaba.

All the above comes in parallel with a growing number of public attacks on women under the pretext of that they are wearing “inappropriate clothes”. A video circulated on December 31, 2016 showed two bearded young men handing out leaflets to passersby in the city of Izmir on the prohibition of New Year’s celebrations in Islam. The issue does not only affect Turks. Around half a million Syrian students in Turkey are influenced by Erdoğan’s education policy. Authorities ignore, and sometimes encourage, practices of Syrian school administrations in Turkish cities that focus on religious topics, employ veiled women only, prohibit teachers from wearing nail polish, and enforce a strict Islamic dress code for female students…

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

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HARD TRUTHS ABOUT AN ANCIENT DOCTRINE

Machla Abramovitz

Michpacha, Mar. 14, 2018

Last December‚ about two hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the media was in a tizzy. Pundits were breathlessly prognosticating that the White House move would ignite an explosion of pent-up rage on the Arab street.

Meanwhile, Dr. Harold Rhode went on the radio in Washington, D.C., to explain to a local audience that despite dire warnings to the contrary, he didn’t anticipate any violent outbursts from the Muslim world. Time proved the historian and Islamic affairs expert correct: Except for some staged skirmishes in the West Bank and boilerplate criticism out of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the Middle East remained shockingly quiet.

“Jerusalem is only important to Muslims when non-Muslims control it,” Rhode says now, in conversation with Mishpacha. “Had that not been the case, Jordan would have proclaimed it their capital when it was under their control. For Sunni Muslims, the issue of Jerusalem is less religious than political, and for Shiites, it’s all political. Right now, the Muslim street, for the most part, is fed up with its leadership and is sick and tired of being taken advantage of by them for political purposes.”

If anyone could have predicted this outcome, it’s Harold Rhode. His decades of study and living among Muslims in the Middle East has attuned him to how the Muslim world thinks. Rhode received his PhD in Islamic history from Columbia University, specializing in the history of the Turks, Arabs, and Iranians. He studied overseas for years in universities in Iran, Egypt, and Israel. In the 1980s, he went to work as an advisor on the Islamic world for the US Department of Defense.

The Jerusalem issue has exposed deep divisions between the Muslim street and its leadership, but other internal struggles being played out within the Islamic world are of even greater significance to the West. Rhode points out that Jerusalem has always been a focus for other nations, and today, the Palestinians are only part of the crowd. Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issues harsh rhetoric about Jerusalem as a way of reasserting his country’s historic leadership of the Sunni world. And of course, the Iranian regime is obsessed with the Holy City. Harold says a prominent mullah admitted to him personally that according to Shiite tradition, Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. Why then this obsession? He says the ayatollahs hope to exploit the issue to gain dominance in the centuries-old conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.

“Iran, a Shiite country, is using Jerusalem as a tool against the Sunnis,” he explains. “Because the Sunnis, who cannot tolerate Jews running Jerusalem, have not been able to wrest Jerusalem from the Jews, the Shiites say they will do the job for them. For that purpose, the Iranians established Hezbollah and are empowering Hamas. Tehran believes that Israel’s inability to destroy Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War showed the Sunnis that Shiism is the way.”

The entire geopolitical landscape shifted, however, with President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That announcement, Rhode says, dealt a severe blow to Tehran’s ability to assert itself within the Arab world, exposing it as weak. That, together with the president’s refusal to certify the Iran Deal, has terrified the Iranian government; they don’t know what’s coming next. “For the last five months, Iran hasn’t attacked any US ship in the Gulf,” Rhode points out. “They haven’t attacked anyone. They are petrified, which is good.”

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Struggling to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, France Wants to ‘Reform’ Islam: James McAuley, Washington Post, Apr. 18, 2018—Speaking alongside the flag-draped coffin of a police officer killed in a terrorist attack in southern France, President Emmanuel Macron last month lay blame on “underground Islamism” and those who “indoctrinate on our soil and corrupt daily.”

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2018—March 1. The Spreewald Elementary School in Berlin’s Schöneberg district hired security guards to protect teachers and students from unruly students. Around 99% of the pupils at the school have a migration background. “Within the past year, the violence has increased so much that we now had to take this measure,” said headmaster Doris Unzeit.

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018—The Muslim Brotherhood has managed to weather many storms during nine decades in Egypt. Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak all tried to contain and suppress the Islamist movement, which ultimately seeks a global Muslim Caliphate.

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Apr. 15, 2018—I co-pioneered the study of violence against women in the late 1960s. I focused on women living in North America and Europe who had been psychiatrically diagnosed and hospitalized; were the victims of rape, sexual harassment, incest, intimate partner battering, pornography and prostitution.

IN EUROPE, ANTISEMITISM PERSISTS AMONG MUSLIMS & LEFT; ANTI-IMMIGRATION PARTIES CONTINUE TO RISE

France: Soon with No Jews?: Guy Millière,Gatestone Institute, Apr. 7, 2018— A year ago, in Paris, on April 4, 2017, Sarah Halimi, an elderly Jewish retired physician, was horribly tortured and murdered in her home in Paris, then thrown from her window by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”)

The Next British PM Might Be an anti-Semite, Like Some Leftist Friends: Robert Fulford, National Post, Apr. 13, 2018 — “Britain’s next prime minister might well be an anti-Semite.”

The Rise of Western Civilizationism: Daniel Pipes, Australian, Apr. 14, 2018— Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament…

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, Apr. 8, 2018— The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Topic Links

Romania to Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Netanyahu Promises Six More to Follow: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, Apr. 20, 2018

Abusing Anne Frank’s Memory: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 12, 2018

Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution: Ivan Krastev, Foreign Affairs, May 2018

It Backed Israel Before Balfour: Corbyn Stance is Stark Shift From Early Labour: Robert Philpot, Times of Israel, Apr. 17, 2018

 

 

FRANCE: SOON WITH NO JEWS?

Guy Millière

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 7, 2018

A year ago, in Paris, on April 4, 2017, Sarah Halimi, an elderly Jewish retired physician, was horribly tortured and murdered in her home in Paris, then thrown from her window by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”) . She had reported to the police several times that she was the victim of anti-Semitic threats — in vain.

Less than a year later in Paris, another elderly — and disabled — Jew, Mireille Knoll, was raped, tortured and murdered in her apartment by another Muslim extremist. Mrs. Knoll, a Holocaust survivor, had also contacted the police to say that she had been threatened. Again, the police did nothing. For months, the French justice system tried to cover-up the anti-Semitic nature of Sarah Halimi’s murder; the judge in charge of Mireille Knoll’s case at least recognized the anti-Semitic nature of her murder at once.

Both women were victims of an anti-Semitic hatred that is rising quickly in France. French Jews live in constant insecurity. The men who murder them evidently do not hesitate to break into homes and attack elderly women; they seem to know they can threaten their future victims without fear of arrest. More often than not, the police do not even record the complaints of Jews who go to the police station, but simply note in the daybook that a Jew claiming threats came and went.

The French authorities say they are fighting anti-Semitism, but they never speak of the only anti-Semitism that today in France kills Jews: Islamic anti-Semitism. If the murderer is a Muslim, he is usually described as suddenly “radicalized”. The word “radicalized” is now used to describe Muslim killers. It allows those who use it to avoid the words “Muslim” or “Islam”. The French mainstream media also use the same language as the French authorities. When a killer’s neighbors are interviewed, they usually say he was “a nice guy”. There was almost no news coverage of the murder of Sarah Halimi when it took place. There was more on the murder of Mireille Knoll, but almost none referred to the cause of her murder. The fear that neutralizes French politicians and journalists is: Being accused of “Islamophobia”.

In all the uncountable number of books on the danger and the consequences of anti-Semitism published in France since World War II, only one deals specifically with the hatred of Jews in the Muslim world. The author, Philippe Simonnot, a former journalist for the daily Le Monde, actually justifies this hatred. He alleges (incorrectly) that Jews who lived in Muslim countries were well treated, but then betrayed Islam by not fighting alongside Muslims at the time of Western colonization; that the creation of Israel has been a crime against the poor “Palestinians”, and that Muslims have the right to collectively punish Christians and Jews. These ideas are not marginal. In France, they are widespread.

Each time, an anti-Semitic crime is committed by a Muslim on French territory, French politicians and journalists try to hide who the criminal is or what his motivations were. Often, they explain that the criminal is also a “victim.” When a criminal leaves a message stating that he acted to avenge the suffering of “Palestinians”, French politicians and journalists almost unanimously repeat that what happens in the Middle East must stay in the Middle East, and then that a “just solution” must be found to “Palestinian suffering”. They ignore that, despite all of Israel’s efforts to treat Arabs humanely, every French report on Israel starts with denouncing Israeli soldiers as ruthless killers, supposedly happy to humiliate Arabs.

Today, France is the only country in the Western world where Jews are murdered simply for being Jews. Since 2006, eleven French Jews have been killed — men, women, children. At the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, in March 2012, children aged three, six and eight were shot to death at point blank range. Giulio Meotti wrote: “If they had been Muslims, their stories would have become a universal warning against intolerance, racism, ethnic and religious hatred … Politicians would have given their name to streets and schools.” But they were Jews, so in France, the anti-Semitism is not named.

A few weeks ago, at the annual dinner organized by the Jewish organization CRIF in Paris, President Emmanuel Macron said that France is at war with anti-Semitism. In the aftermath of the murder of Mireille Knoll, he said the same thing. For decades, all French Presidents have used virtually the same sentences. Macron repeated many times that “without Jews, France would no longer be France”. What appears to be taking place, however, is precisely that: a France with no Jews.

In two decades, more than 20% of French Jews have left the country. According to a survey, 40% of the Jews still living in France want to leave. Although Jews now represent a little less than 0.8% of the French population, half of the military and police deployed in the streets in France stand guard in front of Jewish schools and places of worship.

French Jews see that what remains of the Jewish presence in France is being erased. They know that they have to hide their Jewishness and that even if they are street-wise and carefully lock their door, risks are everywhere. They also know that what happens to them does not interest the rest of the French population. The French National Assembly has 577 members. Only one of them tirelessly and courageously draws attention to what is happening: Meyer Habib. He represents the French living in the Middle East and was elected thanks to the support of the French Jews who now live in Israel but still have their citizenship. Without them, he would have no chance of being elected…

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

 

Contents

THE NEXT BRITISH PM MIGHT BE AN ANTI-SEMITE,

LIKE SOME LEFTIST FRIENDS

Robert Fulford

National Post, Apr. 13, 2018

“Britain’s next prime minister might well be an anti-Semite.” Theodore Dalrymple, an English psychiatrist and distinguished author, began a recent article with that striking speculation. He wasn’t kidding. He was discussing what some in U.K. politics call “the Labour Party’s Jewish problem,” embodied in the person of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader and, conceivably, the next prime minister.

As Dalrymple explained, we can’t say whether Corbyn’s anti-Semitism is a sincerely held prejudice or merely a matter of electoral calculation — there are far more Muslims than Jews in Britain. “But either way, his failure to condemn anti-Semitism in his own party and his penchant for consorting in friendly fashion with extremist anti-Zionists of genocidal instincts” have created among British Jews more anxiety than anyone since Sir Oswald Mosley, the much (and correctly) maligned British fascist leader of the 1930s.

If not an anti-Semite himself, Corbyn is quite tolerant of anti-Semitism in others, including his fellow Labourites. Or perhaps he doesn’t think this issue deserves his attention. Corbyn maintains good relations with Jewdas, a group self-described as “Radical Voices for the Alternative Diaspora.” They are Jews but anti-Zionist. They organize trips under the name Birthwrong, a reference to an official Jewish program, Birthright, which sponsors student trips to Israel. Birthwrong caters to “anyone who’s sick of Israel’s stranglehold on Jewish culture.”

Corbyn dismayed many Jews when he defended a blatantly anti-Semitic mural in the East End of London. It depicted stereotypical hook-nosed Jewish bankers manipulating the world’s finances on a Monopoly board supported on the backs of the poor. Corbyn championed the artist on the ground of freedom of speech, later explaining that he didn’t notice the offensive Jewish stereotypes.

The controversy swirling around him is part of a broader political phenomenon, the persistent appearances of anti-Semitism on the left. Dislike of Jews has afflicted many leftish people in the past — and even over on the tyrannical left, Stalin looked with lethal suspicion on Jews. But now that ancient hatred shows up frequently, not only in British Labour but also among leftish Democrats in the U.S. and the NDP in Canada.

One explanation lies in the almost universal notoriety of colonialism. To many leftish people, conditioned to despise any form of Western imperialism, Israelis can look like conquerors and Palestinians like their helpless colonial victims. The campaign to boycott Israel draws its strength from the way it presents itself as virtuous and focuses on the less attractive of Israel’s policies. It’s also a way of disguising a semi-secret Jew hatred as international benevolence.

In the U.S., activists on the left have a way of applauding fellow leftists even if they are bigots. This leads to anti-Semitism by association. Leftists may be judged not by their own actions but by the people they praise. Whom do they learn from? Whom can they tolerate? Tamika Mallory, an organizer of the anti-Trump national women’s march, can barely restrain her enthusiasm for Louis Farrakhan, leader for the past four decades of the Nation of Islam. He blames Jews for the African slave trade and speaks of “that wicked state of Israel.” Mallory has tweeted, “Thank God this man is still alive and doing well.” The NDP invited her to address its recent biennial convention.

Richard Marceau, the senior political adviser for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said he found the Mallory invitation troubling: “While there is a vocal and active minority of NDPers who have some kind of unhealthy anti-Israel obsession,” the NDP doesn’t embrace Farrakhan’s views. But at that same convention, 14 of the 45 resolutions on world affairs submitted by NDP riding associations were either pro-Palestinian or critical of Israel, supporting Marceau’s claim of an “anti-Israel obsession.”

Diana Richardson, a liberal Democrat and a New York State assemblywoman from Brooklyn, was accused recently of delivering an anti-Semitic rant during a caucus meeting in Albany. She’s said to have blamed Jews for gentrification in her constituency, an odd version of the blame-the-Jews slogan used for generations by anti-Semites. The state Republican chairman told the New York Post she should resign from the state assembly for “her hateful, anti-Semitic comments.”

Perhaps the connection between leftists and anti-Jewish bigotry was best explained in a few words attributed to August Bebel, a 19th-century carpenter in Germany who rose to national prominence in politics. “Anti-Semitism,” he said, “is the socialism of fools.” Thinking about Jeremy Corbyn adds a fresh relevance to that ancient adage.

Contents

   

THE RISE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATIONISM

Daniel Pipes                                     

Australian, Apr. 14, 2018

Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament, increases his governing supermajority and endorses his tough policy of excluding illegal immigrants, especially from the Middle East. His success dramatizes a new reality across Europe and in Australia: a novel kind of party has emerged, disturbing the political scene and arousing impassioned debate.

Examples of this phenomenon include the other three members of the Visegrád group (Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia) as well as Austria’s four-month old government. Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, sees western Europe following the Visegrád group: “In the Eastern part of Europe, anti-Islamification and anti-mass migration parties see a surge in popular support. Resistance is growing in the West, as well.” In France, the National Front emerged as the second strongest party in last year’s presidential elections, in Italy, a muddled situation could lead to an Orbán-like government, while Cory Bernardi’s Conservatives and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation have made their mark on the Australian scene. Indeed, like-minded parties have quickly become a significant force in some twenty countries.

An initial problem is how correctly to name them in general. The media lazily lumps these parties together as far-right, ignoring their frequent leftist elements, especially in economic and social policy. Calling them nationalist is wrong, for they neither bellow calls to arms nor raise claims to neighbors’ lands. Populist misses the point because plenty of populist parties such as La France Insoumise (Rebellious France) pursue nearly opposite policies.

Best is to focus on their key common elements: rejecting the vast influx of immigrants and especially Muslim immigrants. Non-Muslim immigrants also cause strains, especially those from Africa, but only among Muslims does one find a program, the Islamist one, to replace Western civilization with a radically different way of life. Turned around, these parties are traditionalists with a pro-Christendom, pro-European and pro-Western outlook; they are civilizationist. (This definition also has the benefit of excluding parties like the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece, that despise traditional Western civilization.)

Enlightened opinion generally reacts with horror to civilizationist parties, and not without reason, for they carry a lot of baggage. Some have dubious origins. Staffed mainly by angry political novices, they feature dismaying numbers of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim extremists, Nazi nostalgists, power-hungry cranks, economic eccentrics, historical revisionists, and conspiracy theorists. Some proffer anti-democratic, anti-European Union, and anti-American outlooks. Far too many – and especially Orbán – have a soft spot for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

But civilizationist parties also bring critical benefits to the political arena: realism, courage, tenacity, and a civilizational critique necessary if the West is to survive in its historic form. Therefore, contrary to many friends and allies, I favor working with most civilizationist parties, advocating critical co-operation rather than rejection and marginalization. Four reasons drive this decision: First, civilizationist parties pose a lesser danger than do Islamists. They are traditionalist and defensive. They are not violent, they do not seek to overthrow the constitutional order. Their errors are correctable. Arguably, they are less dangerous even than the Establishment parties which permitted immigration and shirked Islamist challenges.

Second, they respond to political realities. The lure of power has already inspired some civilizationist parties to mature and moderate; for example, the founder of the National Front in France was expelled from his own party by his daughter due to his persistent antisemitism. This sort of evolution entails personnel fights, party divisions, and other drama; however inelegant, these are part of the growing process and, so, have a constructive role. As they gain governing experience, the parties will further evolve and mature. Third, parties focused on civilizationism cannot be dismissed as ephemeral. They emerged quickly and are steadily rising in popularity because they represent a sizeable and growing body of opinion. As they relentlessly approach power; it is better they be engaged with and moderated than be reviled and alienated.

Finally, and most critically, civilizationist parties have a vital role in bringing their issues to the fore: without them, other parties usually ignore immigration and Islamist challenges. Conservative parties tend to overlook these issues, in part because their big business supporters benefit from cheap labor. Leftist parties too often promote immigration and turn a blind eye to Islamism. To appreciate the role of civilizationist parties, contrast Great Britain and Sweden, the two European countries most lax in dealing with culturally aggressive and criminally violent forms of Islamism. Lacking such a party, these issues are not addressed in Great Britain; immigration and Islamist inroads progress almost unimpeded. Prime ministers might provide excellent analyses, but their words lack practical consequences and problems such as the sex-grooming gangs go unaddressed…

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

             

THE FUTURE OF GREEK-ISRAELI RELATIONS

Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos

BESA, Apr. 8, 2018

The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean. A rapprochement with Greece, traditionally at odds with Turkey, made theoretical sense but was practically difficult due to the Greek sympathy with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause. Careful diplomacy was thus required.

While some discussions on the matter began in Athens in the spring of 2009, the turning point occurred in 2010. Prime Ministers George Papandreou and Benjamin Netanyahu opened a new chapter in the bilateral relationship by meeting in Moscow in February of that year. Two important visits soon followed: one by Papandreou to Jerusalem in July and one by Netanyahu to Athens in August. As a matter of principle, Papandreou was in favor of a multidimensional Greek foreign policy, and he was interested in the security and economic benefits that could accrue from a rapprochement with Israel. More importantly, Greece counted on Israel’s support during a particularly tough and unpredictable period for its national economy. This support was played out in both Europe and the US on several occasions.

In June 2011, for instance, The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu had used his reputation as a leader with a good grasp of economic matters to encourage Israel’s friends to be supportive of the Greek efforts. When Papandreou resigned at the end of October 2011, Netanyahu did not change his approach. Hosting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras two years later, he encouraged Israeli investors and businesspeople to go to and invest in Greece. Military cooperation has been also remarkable since the ice was broken. Between 2010 and 2012, no fewer than 13 joint Greek-Israeli military exercises were conducted. According to a paper published by the Hudson Institute, bilateral cooperation in the zone between Israel and Crete (a distance of about 1,400 km) has allowed Israeli pilots to engage in bombing drills and the aerial refueling needed to cover a distance equal to that separating the country from Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. Further to this, Reuters informs us that Israel has trained in Greece against the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system.

Greek-Israeli relations have improved further during the administration of the leftist SYRIZA party. Despite the stance of its leader and current premier Alexis Tsipras while in opposition, he has proven to be a real friend of Israel. Ambassador Arye Mekel calls this “impressive and surprising”. Not only is the Greek PM interested in closely cooperating with Israel but he sometimes supports Israeli positions at the EU. In November 2016, Greece defied an EU order on labelling settlement goods. Tsipras is also showing sensitivity in the fight against anti-Semitism, which remains a problem in Greece. Eight years after the initial rapprochement between Greece and Israel, the bilateral partnership is stronger than ever. Israeli companies are interested in participating in the Greek privatization program, and military exercises – also under the NATO aegis – are multiplying. The January 2018 visit of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to Athens and Thessaloniki was another indication of the excellent status of the bilateral relationship.

The Greek main opposition, the conservative New Democracy party, is ahead in all opinion polls, and it will certainly continue the pro-Israel path of previous governments if it wins the next election. George Koumoutsakos, the head of New Democracy’s international affairs department, paid an official visit to Israel in mid-March 2018 and said that Greek-Israeli relations “could acquire strategic depth in favor of economic progress, stability and peace in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.” The head of the party’s defense affairs department, Vassilis Kikilias, also visited Israel a few days after Koumoutsakos in another sign of continuity…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Romania to Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Netanyahu Promises Six More to Follow: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, Apr. 20, 2018 —After meeting last week with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely last week,  a Romanian politician has announced their nation will be moving their embassy to Jerusalem. This will make Romania the fourth nation to do so and the first European Union country to break ranks and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abusing Anne Frank’s Memory: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 12, 2018 —Anne Frank has probably become the best known Jewish person murdered during the Shoah. Her memory is also one of the most abused. This maltreatment has a long history. New examples emerge frequently.

Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution: Ivan Krastev, Foreign Affairs, May 2018—In 1991, when the West was busy celebrating its victory in the Cold War and the apparent spread of liberal democracy to all corners of the world, the political scientist Samuel Huntington issued a warning against excessive optimism.

It Backed Israel Before Balfour: Corbyn Stance is Stark Shift From Early Labour: Robert Philpot, Times of Israel, Apr. 17, 2018—Avi Gabbay’s decision last week to break links with Jeremy Corbyn may have little practical effect – the British Labour leader’s contemptuous brush off indicates how little he cares about the relationship – but it has huge symbolic value.

ISRAËL SOUFFLE SES 70 BOUGIES!

DISCOURS DU PRÉSIDENT ISRAÉLIEN

À L’OCCASION DES 70 ANS D’ISRAËL

Times of Israel, 18  avril, 2018

 

À tous les lecteurs du Times of Israel, en Israël et dans le monde entier. Je voudrais en premier lieu, vous souhaiter un joyeux Yom HaAtsmaout.

Comme je l’ai dit, je pense que cet anniversaire d’Israël est un événement pour le monde entier. Parce qu’aujourd’hui, nous ne marquons pas seulement, le retour à notre terre, nous ne célébrons pas seulement les accomplissements de ces 70 dernières années. Aujourd’hui, nous célébrons 70 ans de liberté et de démocratie au Moyen Orient.

Durant sept décennies, Israël a porté haut le flambeau de la liberté et de la démocratie dans une région difficile. Souvent entouré d’ennemis, et contre toute attente, nous avons été, et continuons à être guidés par ces valeurs, en tant qu’unique pays juif, juif et démocratique.

Mais nous sommes savons que nous n’aurions pas pu y parvenir sans nos amis, Juifs et non-juifs du monde entier, qui ont consacré leurs vies à ériger l’État d’Israël. Nous sommes reconnaissants, et tout particulièrement aujourd’hui, envers tous ceux qui, au quotidien, défendent Israël.

Et bien évidemment, notre dette de reconnaissance à l’égard de ceux qui ont donné leurs vies pour défendre notre liberté est incommensurable. Alors que Yom HaZikaron touche à sa fin, nous séchons nos larmes et nous accrochons à la mémoire de ceux qui ont payé le prix ultime, en combattant pour défendre la terre d’Israël et le peuple d’Israël. Ils sont avec nous, et nous adressons à leurs familles notre amour et nos prières.

Au cours de l’année écoulée, j’ai voyagé en Israël, et j’ai rencontré des Israéliens de toutes communautés confondues, Juifs et Arabes, religieux et laïcs. J’ai rencontré des enseignants et des médecins, de fermiers et des entrepreneurs. Je me suis entretenu avec des étudiants. J’ai rendu visite aux soldats et aux policiers qui garantissent notre sécurité jour et nuit.

J’ai rencontré des organisations et des bénévoles, qui font abstraction d’eux-mêmes et offrent un soutien indéfectible aux personnes issues de milieu défavorisés. Ils ont tous une chose en commun. Ils portent en eux l’espoir de voir Israël fleurir. Ils ont peut-être des opinions divergentes, à bien des égards, mais leur engagement est « pour la bonne cause », pour le bien-être et la prospérité de ce pays et de son peuple.

J’ai aussi pu observer la façon dont ce désir est partagé ailleurs dans le monde, et pas seulement chez les nombreux groupes et délégations qu’il m’a été donné d’accueillir à la résidence présidentielle de Jérusalem. J’ai voyagé à travers le monde, j’ai rencontré les communautés juives d’Amérique du nord au GA de Los Angeles. Je me suis rendu en Allemagne, en Bulgarie, en Espagne et ailleurs, et j’ai toujours été accueilli par des amis d’Israël dévoués.

J’ai reçu en Israël des diplomates américains, africains, sud-américains, européens et asiatiques. Tous ces dirigeants et ces représentants avaient une chose en commun : ils étaient émerveillés et impressionnés par toute ce que nous avons réussi à accomplir en seulement 70 ans.

Depuis la technologie du secteur de l’eau, jusqu’à celui de la cybersécurité, en passant par la recherche, les innovations médicales, l’agriculture et l’énergie propre, Israël continue d’être une source d’inspiration pour le monde, et le peuple d’Israël est une source d’inspiration pour moi.

À l’échelle d’une vie, 70 ans est une période conséquente, mais à l’échelle d’un pays et d’un peuple à l’histoire si longue et si riche, c’est peu. En relevant les défis que nous rencontrons, en saisissant les opportunités qui se présentent à nous, je souhaite que grâce à vous, Israël continue à grandir et à évoluer, pour le bien des nations du monde entier. ‘Hag Saméa’h !

 

AVEC DES BARBECUES ET DES F-35,

LES ISRAÉLIENS FÊTENT LES 70 ANS D’INDÉPENDANCE

Times of Israel, 19 avril, 2018

Des centaines de milliers d’Israéliens ont afflué toute la journée vers les plages et les parcs du pays, y allumant des barbecues, brandissant des drapeaux et levant la tête pour admirer les avions de combat israéliens à l’occasion du 70e anniversaire du pays, ce jeudi.

Après une nuit de feux d’artifice, de concerts et de fêtes, au croisement entre la journée du Souvenir hier et le Jour de l’Indépendance aujourd’hui, la plupart des Israéliens passent la journée, fériée, à célébrer l’anniversaire du pays.

Quelque 100 000 Israéliens se trouvaient dans les parcs nationaux du pays, et 18 000 campaient autour de la mer de Galilée, selon l’autorité des Parcs nationaux.

Les réserves naturelles de Banias et d’Ein Gedi ont été les plus fréquentées et les parcs nationaux de Césarée, d’Ashkelon, du Yarkon, d’Eshkol et de Masada sont également plébiscités par les Israéliens.

L’un des points forts de la journée a été le survol des avions de chasse et des hélicoptères. Parmi eux, pour la deuxième fois, on retrouvera la flotte israélienne de F-35, considéré comme l’avion le plus sophistiqué au monde.

Les célébrations à Jérusalem ont débuté jeudi matin à la résidence présidentielle de Jérusalem, où Reuven Rivlin a accueilli le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu, le ministre de la Défense Avigdor Liberman, le chef militaire Gadi Eisenkot et d’autres pour une cérémonie d’hommage à plus de 100 soldats, félicités pour leur excellence.

« Ce n’est pas un secret que durant ces célébrations, les soldats de l’armée et les forces de sécurité sont en état d’alerte », a déclaré Rivlin lors de la cérémonie, en réponse aux tensions iraniennes à la frontière nord. « Ce n’est pas un secret que nous sommes confrontés à des tentatives iraniennes de nuire directement à l’Etat d’Israël. Chers soldats, nous voyons le fardeau de la responsabilité sur vos jeunes épaules. Je vous remercie. »

Les épreuves finales du concours annuel du Quiz biblique ont eu lieu après la cérémonie. Le gagnant du concours est Azriel Shilat, de Hatzor Haglilit. L’armée israélienne a également ouvert ses bases et a exposé des jeeps, des chars et d’autres équipements militaires dans tout le pays. Mercredi soir, les discours tristes et funèbres du Jour du Souvenir ont laissé la place à des célébrations joyeuses.

Pour les Israéliens, la juxtaposition de ces deux jours est un élément clé dans l’expérience d’indépendance nationale, rappelant que cette célébration n’exclut aucunement l’accomplissement accompli par le sacrifice des soldats et de leurs proches, et que l’indépendance n’aurait pas été possible sans son terrible coût.

Au cimetière militaire du mont Herzl à Jérusalem, la transition entre les deux journées a été marquée par une cérémonie d’Etat, au cours de laquelle douze personnes, qui ont apporté une contribution exceptionnelle à la société ont allumé douze torches. Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu et le président de la Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, ont également chacun allumé une torche.

Durant la cérémonie, un spectacle musical retraçant l’histoire juive a été joué, avec des acteurs qui ont chanté et dansé au fil d’événements remontant jusqu’à l’époque biblique.

 

 

IL Y A 70 ANS LE PLAN DE PARTAGE

Gil Taieb

Tribune Juive, 4 dec., 2017

Il y a 70 ans, le 29 novembre 1947, était voté par l’ONU à New York, le plan de partage de la Palestine mandataire. Cette résolution numéro 181 prévoyait la création de trois entités : un État juif, un État arabe et Jérusalem placé sous contrôle international.

Ce plan est accepté par les dirigeants juifs mais est rejeté par la quasi-totalité des dirigeants arabes. Ce 29 novembre 1947, David Ben Gourion notait dans son journal : « c’est un enthousiasme superficiel de laisser croire que le vote des Nations unies a résolu le problème et que l’État juif est créé … Tout va dépendre de notre capacité à mettre sur pied une force armée convenablement entraînée et équipée pour faire face à l’assaut des troupes qui, à n’en point douter, seront envoyées contre nous. »

Les jours et les mois qui suivent lui donnent raison. Des émeutes et des attaques contre les Juifs éclatent au lendemain du vote. Près de 200 Juifs sont assassinés durant les deux premières semaines. Et quelques mois plus tard, le 15 mai 1948, au lendemain de la déclaration d’Indépendance, éclate la première guerre israélo-arabe.

À l’espoir que faisait naître le partage de la Palestine en deux États pour deux peuples, le monde arabe a répondu par la guerre, le sang et la haine.

Depuis 70 ans, Israël n’a cessé de se défendre et à l’exception de l’Égypte et de la Jordanie, il reste encore aujourd’hui menacé par un monde arabe qui n’aspire qu’à le voir disparaître.

Ces faits historiques sont aujourd’hui contestés, et trop nombreux sont ceux qui cherchent à ré- écrire l’histoire et à la déformer. La propagande arabe, ayant créé après la guerre des six jours « le problème palestinien », occulte la réalité et nie la vérité historique.

Depuis 1967, avec la mise en avant des réfugiés palestiniens dont aucun pays arabe ne s’était occupé, et la création de l’organisation terroriste OLP, le monde arabe n’a fait qu’attiser la haine.

Il est bon de rappeler ici une simple mais importante vérité : le peuple juif et l’état juif d’Israël aspirent à la paix.

Dans un excellent article écrit par Elie Wiesel dans Libération du lundi 22 février 1988, le Prix Nobel de la paix écrivait : « Tout en moi s’insurge contre la répression, d’où qu’elle vienne. Si je refuse de condamner Israël, c’est à cause de cette jeunesse israélienne que je sais blessée et tourmentée. Nul ne me convaincra qu’elle se réjouit de se servir de gaz lacrymogène contre des femmes et des enfants.

Mais face à ce que les palestiniens eux-mêmes nomment l’intifada, l’insurrection, que peut faire un soldat juif ? Reculer ? Jusqu’où ? Prendre la fuite ? Jusqu’à quand ? Et de poursuivre : « En 1967, alors que l’Égypte était déjà battue, le premier ministre Levi Eshkol envoya trois émissaires au Roi Hussein, le suppliant presque de ne pas se laisser entraîner par Nasser dans le conflit dont Israël ne peut être que bénéficiaire. Si Hussein avait suivi le conseil d’Israël, la Cisjordanie serait encore sous contrôle jordanien. Qu’on cesse donc de nous présenter Israël comme une puissance affamée de conquêtes. L’obsession d’Israël, c’est la sécurité et la paix ».

Il rappelle que « c’est Menahem Begin qui en échange d’un traité de paix a cédé la totalité du Sinaï », exception faite de Gaza dont Sadate ne voulait plus.

Et plus loin : « On oublie l’accueil que Sadate reçut à Jérusalem. Dans la foule qui l’applaudissait en pleurant, il y avait sûrement des veuves et des orphelins dont les pères ou les fils avaient perdu la vie pendant la guerre de Kippour. Pourtant au lieu de le haïr, ils lui criaient leur reconnaissance et leur fraternité. Un peuple capable de faire taire en lui sa rancune, son amertume et même sa tristesse ne mérite pas qu’on lui marchande sa confiance. »

Elie Wiesel déjà en 1988 exprimait ce que chacun de nous ressent. Hélas, 30 ans après ce texte, peu de choses ont changé. La propagande palestinienne a contaminé une part importante de la planète et l’histoire a été révisée.

Mais ce qui n’a pas changé, c’est la grandeur d’Israël et ses valeurs. Malheureusement, les fa- milles pleurent encore leurs enfants victimes d’attaques terroristes et continuent à espérer la paix. En face, des mères, plutôt que d’appeler à l’arrêt de la violence, osent se dire fières d’offrir leurs enfants en martyrs.

Comme l’a dit Golda Meir : « la paix viendra le jour où ils aimeront plus leurs enfants qu’ils ne dé- testent les nôtres. »

Prions afin que leur haine s’assèche, que leurs cœurs s’adoucissent. Prions pour qu’Israël vive, prospère, et trouve enfin la paix

 

#ISRAEL70 – A LA VEILLE DES 70 ANS DU PAYS,

ILS SONT 8,8 MILLIONS D’ISRAÉLIENS

Arutz Sheva, 17 avr., 2018

 

Près de 6,6 millions de Juifs vivent en Israël alors que le pays s’apprête à fêter ses 70 ans, soit 10 fois plus que lors de sa création en 1948.

Plus de 8,84 millions de personnes vivent en Israël à la veille du 70e anniversaire de l’indépendance du pays, selon les données publiées par le Bureau central des statistiques.

Au cours des soixante-dix années écoulées depuis qu’Israël a déclaré son indépendance le 14 mai 1948, la population totale a été multipliée par onze, passant de 806 000 à 8 842 000 habitants. La population juive a augmenté à un rythme légèrement plus lent, passant d’environ 650 000 en 1948 à 6 589 000.

Plus de 74%, des citoyens sont Juifs. Les 1 849 000 Arabes israéliens (à l’exclusion des résidents de l’Autorité palestinienne ou de la bande de Gaza contrôlée par le Hamas) représentent 21% de la population, moins de 5% de la population – soit environ 404 000 – n’étant ni juifs ni arabes.

L’augmentation massive de la population israélienne au cours des 70 dernières années a été alimentée en grande partie par l’immigration, avec plus de 3 200 000 immigrants ou “Olim” qui se sont installés en Israël depuis mai 1948.

Avec un taux de croissance annuel actuel de 2%, la population israélienne devrait continuer à croître à un rythme relativement rapide jusqu’au milieu du siècle, dépassant 15,2 millions d’ici 2048. La population juive d’Israël devrait dépasser les 11 millions d’ici là. Le Bureau central des statistiques prédit que le taux de croissance d’Israël tombera à 1,7% d’ici 2048.

Au cours de l’année écoulée, la population d’Israël a augmenté de 163 000 personnes, avec environ 177 000 naissances, 41 000 décès et 28 000 nouveaux immigrants.

 

 

Actualité 

 

ORTHODOXES ET SIONISME: UN SONDAGE INTÉRESSANT…

Shraga Blum

LPH Info, 15 avr, 2018

 

Un sondage sur l’indice du sionisme dans la population israélienne a été réalisé à l’occasion du 70e anniversaire de l’Etat d’Israël. Sans surprise, la population qui s’identifie au sionisme-religieux a atteint un chiffre record avec 95% des personnes interrogées qui se définissent comme sionistes. Ce taux est supérieur à celui de la population juive globale qui se définit à 86% comme sioniste. (ce taux est le même chez les natifs d’Israël – sabras – que chez les immigrants).

Mais la surprise est venue de la population orthodoxe, où près de la moitié des personnes interrogées (45%) a répondu qu’elle s’identifie au sionisme. Il s’agit d’une donnée très encourageante, vu que les valeurs sionistes ne sont absolument pas enseignées dans le réseau éducatif orthodoxe et que ces 45% évoluent dans un milieu a-sioniste voire antisioniste.

Ce chiffre confirme aussi les mouvements de fond qui s’effectuent dans la société orthodoxe depuis un certain nombre d’années, société qui est loin d’être monolithique, avec de plus en plus d’orthodoxes qui effectuent un service militaire, entreprennent des études supérieures ou des formations professionnelles et qui entrent dans le monde du travail et donc dans la société.

Finalement, ces 45% sont moins “visibles” et moins bruyants que la petite minorité qui manifeste régulièrement et entache tout ce secteur, mais ils indiquent la direction que prend la population orthodoxex pour les années à venir.

 

LES FRAPPES ISRAÉLO-AMÉRICAINES SAPENT

LE MORAL DES TROUPES SYRIENNES

Souhail Ftouh

Europe Israël, 16 avr., 2018

Il est important de constater que  les frappes, qui ont été menées conjointement par Washington, Paris et Londres le 14 avril 2018, aux sites chimiques syriens sapent le moral des troupes syriennes. Il est de même pour  la frappe du 8 avril contre la base T4, effectué par les Israéliens ainsi  que la dernière frappe de Tsahal à Jabal Azzan (ara. : la montagne d’Azzan). Les missiles israéliens ont pu atteindre des sites appartenant aussi aux Iraniens et au Hezbollah.

Quelques heures après que les forces américaines, britanniques et françaises aient procédé à des tirs de missiles sur des sites liés au programme d’armes chimiques de la Syrie, la plus grande base militaire iranienne en Syrie a été bombardée par des avions de combat de Israel Air Force.

Selon certaines informations émanant de sites syriens, des avions de combat israéliens auraient pris pour cible un dépôt d’armes sur l’une des plus grandes bases possédées par l’Iran dans la zone de Jabal Azan, contrôlée par le gouvernement, sur le mont Azan au sud d’Alep.

Le 11 avril dernier, le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu s’est entretenu par téléphone avec le président russe Vladimir Poutine et a réitéré qu’Israël ne permettra pas à l’Iran d’établir une présence militaire en Syrie.

Il y a dix jours, le président Trump disait ‘les Etats-Unis ont vocation à se désengager de la Syrie. Damas et les iraniens pensaient alors qu’ils pouvaient massacrer chimiquement les populations sunnites civiles sans réaction du monde civilisé.

Les Etats-Unis, la France et la Grande-Bretagne ont mené dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi des frappes coordonnées en Syrie en représailles à l’attaque chimique menée le week-end dernier à Douma, dans l’ex-enclave rebelle de la Ghouta orientale, imputée au régime de Bachar al Assad. Ces frappes constituent la plus importante intervention des puissances occidentales contre le président syrien en plus de sept ans de guerre civile.

« Nous avons réussi l’opération sur le plan militaire puisque l’intégralité des missiles qui ont été tirés ont atteint leurs objectifs et les capacités (du régime-NDLR) de production d’armes chimiques ont été détruites« , a estimé le chef de l’Etat français Emmanuel Macron dans une interview dimanche soir en direct accordée à BFM TV, RMC et Mediapart.

« (Nous sommes intervenus) de manière légitime dans le cadre multilatéral », a-t-il ajouté. « Nous étions arrivés à un moment où cette frappe était indispensable pour pouvoir redonner de la crédibilité à la parole de notre communauté internationale.«

Cette action a affaibli  moralement le front de la soi-disant Résistance. Hassan Nasrallah, le chef de la milice chiite du Hezbollah se cache très profondément dans le fond d’un trou inaccessible aux bombes Américaines et israéliennes.

L’attaque américaine a montré le manque de courage  de l’armée syrienne face à l’attaque de la coalition tripartite Paris-Washington-Londres.

Les Etats-Unis et leurs alliés ont brisé la volonté du gouvernement syrien qui a ordonné  l’utilisation des armes chimiques. Cette attaque a sapé le moral de l’armée syrienne et disloqué la volonté du soi-disant axe de la Résistance et de l’armée syrienne de poursuivre les crimes chimiques.

L’échec des syriens  devant cette opération occidentale a entraîné une démolition  d’énergie parmi les troupes syriennes et les iraniens eux-mêmes. Le général Mohammad Baqeri, chef d’état-major des forces armées iraniennes, a eu ce samedi  un entretien téléphonique avec le ministre syrien de la Défense, le général Ali Ayoub, au cours duquel il a condamné l’attaque américaine.

 

 

LES QUATRE RAISONS D’ADORER LES BAINS DE SOLEIL EN ISRAËL

Israelvalley, 15 avr., 2018

 

  1. Le soleil nous met de bonne humeur

Non seulement nous sommes contents de voir le soleil pointer, ce qui est raison de se réjouir en soi, mais en plus ses rayons ont un réel effet sur notre moral. Lorsqu’il reçoit des rayons ultraviolets, le corps humain sécrète des endorphines. Ces hormones agissent de manière positive sur notre moral et nous procurent une sensation de bien-être, comme l’explique Franceinfo.

Le lien entre lumière et dépression a d’ailleurs été découvert dès 1984 et le recours à la luminothérapie pour chasser la « dépression saisonnière » (cette période hivernale pendant laquelle nous pouvons avoir le moral en berne) a été validé en 2005. Le soleil agit également sur la sécrétion de la sérotonine, un neurotransmetteur qui régule l’humeur, le sommeil et l’appétit.

  1. Il renforce notre estime de nous-même

Et lorsqu’on prend le soleil, nombreux d’entre nous prennent également un joli hâle qui donne bonne mine. Et quoi de plus gratifiant qu’un commentaire sur son air radieux ? « Le visage reste le miroir de notre intériorité, et la bonne mine, la ‘preuve’ que tout va bien », affirme la psychanalyste Rebecca Lustman à Psychologie Magazine. « C’est pourquoi les compliments sur notre éclat et notre rayonnement nous gratifient énormément sur le plan narcissique, c’est comme si nous étions félicité pour ce que nous sommes, pour la vie que nous menons », ajoute-t-elle.

  1. Le soleil nous rend plus altruistes

Lorsqu’il fait beau, nous avons tendance à être plus généreux avec les autres, selon une étude réalisée par le psychologue américain Michael Cunningham en 1979 et décrite dans le magazine Cerveau et Psycho (édition abonnés). Ce dernier a soumis une série de 80 questions à des passants en leur demandant de choisir le nombre de celles auxquelles ils souhaitaient répondre. S’il faisait beau, qu’il fasse chaud ou pas, les cobayes répondaient à bien plus de questions que si le ciel était nuageux et ce, quelle que soit la saison. La présence ou non de soleil aurait donc une influence sur notre comportement social. Le chercheur a également observé que sous le soleil, les gens laissaient plus de pourboires dans les restaurants et qu’ils étaient plus enclins à s’aider les uns les autres.

  1. Il nous redonne de l’énergie

Le soleil a une action drainante et revitalisante sur notre organisme. Sa chaleur stimule la circulation sanguine et favorise ainsi l’élimination des toxines. Son action légèrement antibiotique a aussi un effet positif sur notre énergie. Après une exposition modérée au soleil, nous avons donc rechargé nos batteries.

Nous sommes d’autant plus enclin à la bonne humeur qu’en stimulant la fabrication de la vitamine D – qui renforce également nos os – le soleil agit comme un anti-stress. Il nous permet de mieux assimiler le magnésium, un oligo-élément dont la carence entraîne baisse de forme, insomnie et anxiété.

Et comme la chaleur de notre corps est plus en accord avec les températures extérieures, nous avons besoin de moins d’énergie pour compenser la différence de température, ce qui nous procure, là encore, un sentiment de bien-être.

Shabbat Shalom!

YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5778: HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!

Celebrating Israel at 70: David Harris, Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018— Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary this month.

Israel Proves Exceptional, Once Again: Evelyn Gordon, JNS, Apr. 11, 2018 — In January 2017, the Ipsos Mori research company published a shocking poll headlined “Six in ten around the world think their society is ‘broken.’ ”

How an ‘Iron Wall’ Has Slowly But Surely Made Israel Invincible: Zev Chafets, National Post, Apr. 19, 2018 — In the run-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Israel Defense Forces chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot pronounced the country “invincible.”

Noted Historian on Israel’s 70th Birthday: Justice Is on Jewish State’s Side: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018 — At 70 years old, the State of Israel has grown up, and might be unrecognizable to those who founded it.

 

On Topic Links

 

On Israel’s 70th Anniversary, Netanyahu Says ‘We’re Just Getting Started’ (Video): Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018

Trump on Israel’s 70th Anniversary: US Has ‘No Better Friend Anywhere’: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018

A Gift for Israel’s Birthday: a Legal Summary of its Clear Legitimacy: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 17, 2018

New York Times Greets Israel’s 70th With Piece Claiming 1948 Was ‘Catastrophe’: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018

Celebrating Israel at 70: David Harris, Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018

 

CELEBRATING ISRAEL AT 70

David Harris

Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018

Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary this month. Let me put my cards on the table — I’m not dispassionate when it comes to Israel. For centuries, Jews around the world prayed for a return to Zion. We are the lucky ones who have seen those prayers answered: The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and haven for Jews from anywhere and everywhere; its wholehearted embrace of democracy and the rule of law; and its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are extraordinary accomplishments.

And when one adds that Israel’s neighbors tried from day one to annihilate it, the story of Israel’s first 70 years becomes all the more remarkable. No other country has faced such overwhelming odds against its very survival, or experienced the same degree of never-ending international demonization by too many nations ready to throw integrity and morality to the wind.

Yet Israelis have never succumbed to a fortress mentality, never abandoned their deep yearning for peace or their willingness to take unprecedented risks to achieve that peace. This was the case with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and one day, let’s hope, a deal with the Palestinians — if and when their leadership finally accepts the reality of Israel and the legitimacy of Jewish self-determination.

To be sure, nation-building is an infinitely complex process. In Israel’s case, it began against a backdrop of tensions with a local Arab population that laid claim to the very same land and tragically refused a UN proposal in 1947 to divide it into Arab and Jewish states (the original two-state solution). This also took place as the Arab world sought to isolate, demoralize, and ultimately destroy the state. At the same time, Israel was forced to devote a vast portion of its limited national budget to defense expenditures, even as it coped with forging a national identity and social consensus among a geographically, linguistically, socially, and culturally diverse population.

Like any vibrant democracy, Israel is a permanent work in progress. To be sure, it has its shortcomings, including the excessive and unholy intrusion of religion into politics, the inexcusable marginalization of non-Orthodox Jewish religious streams, and the unfinished, if undeniably complex, task of integrating Israeli Arabs into the mainstream. But such challenges, important as they are, cannot be allowed to overshadow Israel’s remarkable achievements.

In just 70 years, Israel has established a thriving democracy unique in the region. This includes a Supreme Court prepared to overrule the prime minister or the military establishment, a feisty parliament that includes every imaginable viewpoint, a robust civil society, and a vigorous press. Israel has built an enviable economy, increasingly based on mind-blowing innovation and cutting-edge technology, whose per capita GNP far exceeds the combined total of its four contiguous sovereign neighbors — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. It has joined the OECD, become a global hub of research and development, and is a magnet for foreign direct investment.

It is home to universities and research centers that have contributed to advancing the world’s frontiers of knowledge in countless ways and won a slew of Nobel Prizes in the process. It has created one of the world’s most powerful militaries — always under civilian control — to ensure its survival in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. At the same time, it strives to adhere to a strict code of military conduct that has few rivals in the democratic world, much less elsewhere, even as its enemies send children to the front lines and seek cover in mosques, schools, and hospitals.

It is ranked among the world’s healthiest nations, with a life expectancy higher than that of the US — not to mention a consistent top ranking in the annual world “happiness index.” It has forged a thriving culture admired far beyond Israel’s borders, and has lovingly taken an ancient language — Hebrew, the language of the prophets — and rendered it modern to accommodate the vocabulary of the contemporary world…

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

Contents

ISRAEL PROVES EXCEPTIONAL, ONCE AGAIN

Evelyn Gordon

JNS, Apr. 11, 2018

In January 2017, the Ipsos Mori research company published a shocking poll headlined “Six in ten around the world think their society is ‘broken.’ ” Out of 23 countries surveyed—13 Western democracies and 10 non-Western democracies, most with relatively strong economies—only in six did a majority of respondents disagree with that statement. Moreover, almost four in 10 respondents agreed another troubling claim: “These days I feel like a stranger in my own country.” Though the proportion topped 50 percent in only two countries, it exceeded a third in all but three.

Pollsters then asked several questions designed to elaborate on those general sentiments—some exploring trust in national institutions and others exploring attitudes toward immigration. Their theory was that low trust in institutions would correlate to high levels of belief that society was broken, while negative attitudes toward immigrants would correlate to high levels of feeling like a stranger in one’s own country. And there was, in fact, some correlation, albeit not perfect. Notably, countries with both high trust in institutions and low concern about immigration had among the fewest respondents saying either that society was broken or that they felt like strangers in their own land.

And then there was the one glaring exception: Israel. A majority of Israeli respondents voiced little or no confidence in all seven categories of institutions—international institutions, banks, the justice system, big companies, the media, the government and political parties. In five of the seven categories, more than 70 percent did so. Israel was among the top 10 most distrustful countries in all but one category; in most, it was in the top six. Yet when it came to the summary question of whether society was broken, Israel suddenly plummeted to the bottom of the negativity rankings, with only 32 percent of Israelis agreeing (Japan and India, at 31 percent and 32 percent, respectively, were in a statistical tie with Israel for the bottom slot).

The same thing happened on questions about immigration, which Israeli respondents almost certainly interpreted as referring to non-Jewish immigrants (the ostensibly neutral Hebrew word for immigration, hagira, is actually used only for non-Jews; Jewish immigration, for which Israeli support has traditionally been high, is called aliyah). Israel was among the six most immigrant-averse countries in all four categories: belief that employers should prioritize hiring locals over immigrants, concern about immigrants’ impact on social/public services, concern about their impact on jobs and opposition to uncontrolled immigration.

Yet when it came to the question about feeling like a stranger in your own country, Israel again suddenly plummeted to the bottom of the negativity rankings, with just 20 percent of Israelis agreeing. Only Japan, at 14 percent, was lower.

Two factors help explain Israel’s exceptionalism in this poll. One is simply that complaining is Israel’s national sport; Israelis routinely gripe about every aspect of their country. Many of those grievances relate to real problems. Nevertheless, the reality is rarely anywhere near as bad their complaints make it sound (a fact that American Jews, who often accept the Israeli left’s complaints at face value, should bear in mind).

Indeed, Israel’s flourishing economy, high standard of living, and high levels of both personal security and personal freedom are all testaments to the fact that its institutions aren’t nearly as dysfunctional as Israelis deemed them in this poll. Countries with truly dysfunctional institutions rarely score well on any of these fronts. And despite their complaints, Israelis actually do know this. That’s why Israel consistently ranks as the 11th happiest country in the U.N.’s annual “World Happiness Report,” and why on overall assessments of the country—like whether society is broken or whether people feel like strangers in their own land—Israelis were far more upbeat than respondents in most other countries Ipsos Mori surveyed.

But there’s also a deeper reason. Israelis understand that there is only one Jewish state, and for all its flaws, its very existence is something precious and worth preserving. That’s why 90 percent of Israelis define themselves as Zionist. For Zionism, at bottom, is simply the belief that the Jewish people has a right to its own state, and that a Jewish state therefore ought to exist. This has enabled Israel to escape one of the modern West’s besetting ills. In a world where elite opinion scorns both religion and the nation-state as anachronistic but has failed to provide any compelling source of identity to replace them, many Westerners have grown increasingly unsure of their identities. Hence, it’s no surprise that they feel like strangers in their own land—or as if their societies were broken.

Israelis, in contrast, are very confident of their identity: They are Jews living in the world’s only Jewish state. Thus, it’s impossible for most Israeli Jews to feel like strangers in their own country; this is the state created precisely so that all Jews, anywhere, will always have a home. []Similarly, it’s difficult for most to feel that their society is broken when, against all odds, it has not only successfully maintained the first Jewish state in two millennia, but also turned it, in 70 short years, into one of the world’s most thriving countries. Israel has successfully absorbed Jewish refugees from all over the world and continues to provide an insurance policy for Diaspora Jews nervous about their own countries’ future. It has built one of the world’s 20 wealthiest economies per capita. It has maintained a robust democracy despite being at war since its inception. And its growing economic, military and diplomatic clout led American analysts Walter Russell Mead and Sean Keeley to rank it last year as one of the world’s eight great powers.

Thus, despite arguing bitterly over what policies their country should pursue and complaining endlessly about its many shortcomings, Israelis are overwhelmingly glad that a Jewish state exists, and committed to both preserving and improving it. And that’s why most will be celebrating on Israeli Independence Day … Because the very existence of a Jewish state, whatever its flaws, is grounds for rejoicing—and all the more so when that state has so many real achievements to celebrate.

Contents

   

HOW AN ‘IRON WALL’ HAS SLOWLY

BUT SURELY MADE ISRAEL INVINCIBLE

Zev Chafets                                      

National Post, Apr. 19, 2018

In the run-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Israel Defense Forces chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot pronounced the country “invincible.” This was a bold statement. The country faces a growing threat from Iran and its puppets in Lebanon and Gaza, and the possibility of a clash with Russia over Syria. And yet, few Israelis have disagreed with this assessment.

There is mood of confidence here, and its origin lies in a doctrine of strategic defence that has proven itself over nearly a century of intermittent warfare. That doctrine was first enunciated in a 1923 article titled “The Iron Wall” by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a visionary Zionist leader and the ideological father of the Likud. The Jews of Palestine were then a small, embattled minority. Only three years had passed since the first Arab riots in Jerusalem against them. The Jewish community’s socialist leaders hoped they could appease Arab enmity by offering economic co-operation, progress and prosperity.

Jabotinsky derided this as childish, and insulting to the Arabs, who would not barter away their homeland for more bread or modern railroads. They would, he said, resist while they had a spark of hope of preventing a Jewish state. “There is only one thing the Zionists want, and that is the one thing the Arabs do not want,” he wrote. Nothing short of abandoning the Zionist project would placate Arab hostility and violence. If the Jews wanted to remain, they would have to come to terms with a harsh reality: this was a zero-sum game. There could be no peace until the Arabs accepted Israel’s right to exist.

Jabotinsky saw that the Arabs (in Palestine and beyond) were far too numerous to be defeated in a single decisive war. The Jews needed to erect an iron wall of self-defence and deterrence — a metaphorical wall built of Jewish determination, immigration, material progress, strong democratic institutions and a willingness to fight. Gradually, the enemy would be forced to conclude that this wall could not be breached. The Iron Wall concept was intended to deter aggression until psychological victory was won, and extremists, “whose watchword is ‘Never!’,” were replaced by more moderate leaders willing to live peacefully with a Jewish state.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, despised Jabotinsky and his political heir, the future prime minister Menachem Begin. He certainly rejected their ideological commitment to a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River. In 1947, he accepted a two-state partition. The Arabs of Palestine, and their allies in the Arab world, rejected it. The war that followed created the Jewish state, but as Jabotinsky had predicted, the Arabs refused to accept it. Ben-Gurion came to the reluctant conclusion that his rival’s doctrine — deterrence by gradual demoralization of the enemy — was correct. In 1953, Ben-Gurion essentially adopted this concept (without, of course, crediting Jabotinsky). Israel would be forced to fight a long, existential war composed of many small wars. It must win each time, and use the interim to strengthen the national wall of iron by cultivating Israel’s advantages in human resources, technology and military experience.

Egypt, Jordan and Syria bounced off the Iron Wall in the Six Day War of 1967. That was enough for Jordan, which withdrew permanently from armed conflict with Israel. But in 1973, Egypt and Syria tried again, launching a surprise attack that caught the IDF completely unprepared. It was their last best shot and it failed. Israel did not crumble. Four years later, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem and cut a deal with Begin. A few years later, King Hussein of Jordan followed. The rest of the Arab states have gradually come to terms with the permanence of Israel…

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

 

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NOTED HISTORIAN ON ISRAEL’S 70TH BIRTHDAY:

JUSTICE IS ON JEWISH STATE’S SIDE

Benjamin Kerstein

Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018

At 70 years old, the State of Israel has grown up, and might be unrecognizable to those who founded it. From a relatively barren imperial backwater, it has become a flourishing, vibrant and innovative regional leader. From a population of 500,000, it is now home to over 8 million people. From a tiny nation fighting for its life, it has become a military power. And from a socialist-dominated one-party state, it has become a thriving capitalist democracy. Yet, a leading Israeli historian told The Algemeiner this week, in many ways Israel has not changed at all. Its core national identity as a Jewish state remains as strong as it ever was.

“Obviously Israel has changed,” said Efraim Karsh, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a professor emeritus of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London. “First of all it has increased in a way no other Western or developed nation has grown over this period. I mean, more than tenfold. Then of course, the different kinds of populations that arrived. Essentially from predominantly European-based Jews to those who arrived from other nations — many were expelled in the Independence War and then immediately afterwards — some expelled in the ’50s, and then in the mid-’60s from North Africa, then later on you have the large Russian immigration, and then of course the Ethiopians.”

“Israel is a melting pot,” Karsh stated, “and on the whole I think it has been a success story. And I think in a way it’s remarkable, because you don’t have many societies, Western or otherwise, absorbing huge populations several times their size and doing it in such a successful way that eventually, with all the difficulties and the grievances of certain communities at certain times, it is relatively a highly equal society. “So I think in this respect, yes, Israel has changed,” he continued. “But, on the whole, not for the worse. On the contrary, you have an Israeli identity developing over the time that crystallizes all of the different sections.”

Asked whether the identity of the Israeli sabra, the native-born, muscular “new Jew” of Israel’s founding era, still exists, Karsh says, “Yes, there is the sabra, but the sabra is different today than it was before. You could say it’s become more Mediterranean, more eastern than it used to be. But definitely the Israeli sabra is a unique identity. If you go to many Jewish communities around the world, you can see for all the similarities and all the attachments between Jewish communities and Israel, the Israelis have their own identity.”

“So I don’t think the sabra has disappeared,” he went on to say. “They have changed in certain ways. You know, I’m not one of these people who looks nostalgically at the past and says, ‘Oh, our generation was better.’ I think they are very good in their own way. Of course, they are different because the world has changed. You live in a different age. When I grew up in Israel, we didn’t even have a telephone. Only in the ’50s. Television came only after the Six-Day War. … Today the world is open. I mean people go around the world much more freely. You have the internet.”

“So, of course, the young generation is different,” Karsh pointed out. “You can say in certain ways it’s more individualistic than we used to be. You cannot educate them the way they educated us. But when the moment of truth comes, or you see moments of difficulties, you see that there is social cohesion. We all feel a shared destiny, a shared history.”

Karsh has been a longtime critic of Israel’s “new historians,” a group of Israeli intellectuals — mostly on the left — who in the 1990s began to adopt the Palestinian narrative of Israel’s history. Asked whether the new historians’ revisionism has changed Israeli culture and society, Karsh replied this only took place in academia, and was driven by a reaction to widespread hostility toward the Jewish state. “Israel is a Jewish state, the only Jewish state in the world, and the only Jewish state that has existed for thousands of years,” he said. “And as such, it carries the very difficult burden of the Jewish people, which is mostly unpleasant. And it’s going to continue like this. For academics it’s much easier to join the gang.”

Karsh’s hope, he states, lies with Israel’s youth. “I hope it is the young generation that will keep on fighting,” he said. “Because in the final account, the story is quite straightforward. Justice is on Israel’s side in this respect.” As a historian with intimate knowledge of the grand sweep of Israeli history, Karsh remains a cautious optimist about the country’s future. “I am a realist,” he said. “I think Israel will never be left alone. It will continue to carry the burden. So it’s not like people say, ‘Ok, you will have peace with the Palestinians tomorrow, if you give them every last inch of the West Bank’ — it’s not going to resolve the problem. They’re going to continue to ask for more. And then you can give them the Galilee, and then they’ll ask for more. So I don’t think the Israeli-Palestinian problem will be resolved.”…

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

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On Topic Links

On Israel’s 70th Anniversary, Netanyahu Says ‘We’re Just Getting Started’ (Video): Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018—“Israel’s success didn’t happen overnight,” Netanyahu said, pointing out that all Israelis – ranging the gamut from young and old, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, religious and secular – men and women have worked hard to build the nation.

Trump on Israel’s 70th Anniversary: US Has ‘No Better Friend Anywhere’: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018—U.S. President Donald Trump sent his congratulations to the State of Israel on the eve of its 70th Independence Day celebrations with a special tweet.

A Gift for Israel’s Birthday: a Legal Summary of its Clear Legitimacy: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 17, 2018—Israel’s 70th birthday will be celebrated Thursday. Note the passive voice. I would have preferred “the world will join in celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday,” but immediately saw its impossibility.

New York Times Greets Israel’s 70th With Piece Claiming 1948 Was ‘Catastrophe’: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018—The New York Times is marking Israel’s 70th birthday with an op-ed piece describing the Jewish state’s creation as a “catastrophe.” The article also offers a historically false account of events in Haifa in 1948.