After Tel Aviv Shooter Killed, Difficult Questions for Police and Israeli Arabs : Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Jan. 10, 2016 — The killing of Nashat Milhem Friday, a week after he shot dead three people in Tel Aviv, won’t be remembered as much of a success for the security establishment.
The Return of the Rule of Law: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2015 — Last October, as the Palestinians began their latest round of terrorist war against Israel, lawmakers from the Joint Arab List participated in mass anti-Israel rallies in major Arab towns.
One of the World's Most Mysterious Organizations Gets a New Boss: Ronen Bergman, Ynet, Jan. 5, 2016— An elegant brown wooden pole, named "The Mossad Rod," is respectfully stored in a closed room in the Mossad headquarters north of Tel Aviv.
President Rivlin Must Eschew Politics: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, Dec. 17, 2015 — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was widely criticized last year for his efforts in trying to prevent Reuven Rivlin from being elected president.
On Topic Links
Police Kill Suspected Tel Aviv Gunman in Northern Israel After Week-long Manhunt: Yaniv Kubovich and Noa Shpigel, Ha’aretz, Jan. 8, 2016
Netanyahu May Form Israeli 'Republican' Party: Arutz Sheva, Sept. 11, 2015
A Conversation With Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Firebrand Minister of Justice: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Nov. 6, 2015
If Israel Disappears, Others Will Too: Mudar Zahran, Israel Hayom, July 9, 2015
Times of Israel, Jan. 10, 2016
The killing of Nashat Milhem Friday, a week after he shot dead three people in Tel Aviv, won’t be remembered as much of a success for the security establishment. On the tactical level, more than a few problems came to light concerning the attack. The first has to do with intelligence. While it’s certainly possible that the killer acted alone, using a submachine gun he stole from his father, it’s hard to comprehend why the father would keep such a weapon in the house even after his son served a five-year sentence for trying to snatch a rifle from a soldier.
Furthermore, despite the fact that security forces knew that Milhem was in the area of his hometown of Arara – there were clear indications that he was there hours after the shooting – it took a long time to get to him. The fact that he was hiding out in a more-or-less obvious place – an unoccupied house belonging to a family member – compounds the sense of failure.
The episode is reminiscent of the 2014 abduction-killing of three Israeli teens. In that case, the victims were buried in a plot belonging to the family of one of the terrorists, who hid in a building belonging to an extended family member. The takeaway – that fugitives often seek shelter in places that they know well – makes the fact it took eight days to get to Milhem even puzzling.
Still, on a more strategic level, it is important to note that even if Milhem’s shooting spree really was a “lone wolf” attack (at this point, it is not at all clear that that was the case), the excellent intelligence deployment of the Shin Bet security services in the Palestinian territories and among Israeli Arabs doesn’t make it easy to deal with the problem. There is a genuine difficulty among the intelligence community in countering the impossible challenge of “lone wolves” with access to weapons, who set out one fine day, without any prior warning, to carry out an attack.
The Shin Bet has had multiple successes in recent weeks thwarting organized terror cells sporting multiple members. The problem is that these days, there is an ever-growing mass of incidents – especially in the West Bank, where they are a daily occurrence – involving attackers who don’t rely on what the security establishment terms “terror infrastructure.” And then there’s the attitude of the Israel Police, which last week gave many citizens the sense that it was downplaying their genuine fears amid ongoing uncertainty and reports that Milhem could strike again.
But perhaps even more troubling than the security establishment’s dubious ability to cope with the situation was support for the attack among Israel’s Arab population. True, there were many condemnations, even among Milhem’s own neighbors. And yet it is becoming increasingly clear that the killer may have received help not only from his own family, but also from other friends and acquaintances. For one thing, we still don’t know who helped him get to Arara from Tel Aviv after carrying out the attack.
And of course, after he was killed by security forces, there was that – albeit small – demonstration during which young Arabs chanted, “With blood, with fire, we’ll avenge the martyr.” Milhem, we must recall, had murdered not only two Jews, Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruimi, but also an Arab resident of Lod, Ayman Shaaban.
Hamas, as expected, jumped on the bandwagon and embraced the murderer as a role model, while the Palestinian Authority equivocated, calling him a “martyr” but refusing to award him the status that would entitle his family to financial aid. Meanwhile, the ultra-radical Islamic State group appeared to scramble to declare that Milhem was one of its own, crowning Milhem an IS martyr for Palestine in a statement whose authenticity has yet to be established.
Finally, the big question that everyone here – Jews and Arabs alike – should be losing sleep over is whether Milhem’s action will sweep up and inspire others, sparking a trend among young Israeli Arabs. If, heaven forbid, a similar incident were to occur again, the already delicate relations between Jews and Arabs could sustain a heavy blow, and everyone will pay a price.
Almost as expected in times like these, the voice of the Israeli Arab leadership is not being heard very loudly. Members of Knesset known for their vehement condemnations when Palestinians are accidentally killed by IDF soldiers, go silent when an Arab is murdered by another Arab. True, some of them condemned the Tel Aviv attacks. But since the slaying of Milhem, not one of them has stood in front of the cameras and called on his or her supporters to denounce the likes of Milhem. For them, to condemn the death of an Arab at the hands of another Arab would simply be bad politics.
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2016
Last October, as the Palestinians began their latest round of terrorist war against Israel, lawmakers from the Joint Arab List participated in mass anti-Israel rallies in major Arab towns. One such rally in Nazareth in mid-October attracted some 2,500 participants. After it ended, some demonstrators started throwing rocks at Jews. The next day, MK Ayman Odeh, who heads the Joint Arab List stood on a street in Nazareth and gave a live interview to Channel 2 news.
Just as the camera began filming, Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam drove down the street. Seeing Odeh, Salam stopped his car and began bellowing, “Get out of here! Enough of your interviews. Go ruin things somewhere else!” Odeh tried lamely to get the camera to stop filming. But Salam continued shouting.
“You guys ruined the city. I’m the mayor… there wasn’t even one Jew here today. Not even one! What are you being interviewed about? What are you doing to us?… You had a march, you guys torched the world. Shut up! Leave! Move it!” Salam’s outburst did not come out of nowhere. He was voicing the frustration that most Israeli Arabs feel towards their Knesset representatives who spend far more time demonizing Israel than advancing the interests of Arab Israelis inside of Israel.
According to the latest detailed survey of Arab Israelis published in November by Prof. Sami Smooha, 60 percent of Israeli Arabs do not trust their representatives in the Knesset. Two thirds of Israeli Arabs say that their Knesset representatives are not advancing their interests. A full 80% of Israeli Arabs believe that it is the job of the Arab members of Knesset to advance their communal interests rather than concentrate on political war against Israel. Most Israeli Arabs would probably agree that they are hurt by the political war against Israel. After all, 77% of Israeli Arabs define themselves as Israelis, 60% accept Israel as a Jewish state, and 54% believe Israeli democracy extends to them.
While Odeh’s constituents feel betrayed by him, the Obama administration apparently can’t get enough of him and his anti-Israel message. Last month Odeh became the first Israeli Arab politician to receive an audience at the White House. While in the US, Odeh was hailed as an Israeli Martin Luther King Jr. as he trampled on the civil rights of Jews. Odeh insulted the American Jewish community by refusing at the last moment to participate in a meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
As the leaders of the Conference’s member organizations sat waiting for him at the Conference’s offices in New York, Odeh stood in the building’s lobby and refused to get into the elevator. Odeh, a member of Knesset who has sworn allegiance to the Jewish state, wouldn’t meet with the American Jewish leaders because the Conference offices are located on the same floor as the Jewish Agency’s offices. And the leader of the third-largest Knesset faction didn’t want to give any legitimacy to Israel’s national institutions.
In light of Odeh’s insulting bigotry, it is troubling that the Obama administration spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to train Odeh’s political operatives and help them campaign during last year’s Knesset elections. It is similarly distressing that to elevate Odeh, the administration broke protocol and rolled out the red carpet for him, even as his own constituents attack him for effectively disenfranchising them.
It is against the backdrop of Odeh’s US-supported irredentism that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave one of the most significant speeches of his career Saturday night. Standing at the site of Friday’s Islamic State-like massacre in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said that the time has come for Israeli Arabs – and their leaders – to recognize that with equal rights come equal obligations. In his words, “One cannot say ‘I am an Israeli in rights and a Palestinian in obligations.’ Whoever wants to be Israeli should be an Israeli all the way, both in rights and in obligations, and the first and highest obligation is to obey the laws of the state.”
Netanyahu demanded that the Arab members of Knesset denounce the attack and condemned the rampant incitement against Israel that takes place in the Israeli Arab sector. He then announced that the government will be investing billions of shekels in massively strengthening law enforcement in Israeli Arab towns and villages, and will seize the tens of thousands of illegal firearms that are now held by Israeli Arabs.
Netanyahu ended his remarks by embracing the integrationist trend among Israeli Arabs. In his words, “I view positively the increasing involvement in the IDF, in national service and in the overall life of the state, of the Christian, Druze and northern Bedouin communities, and within the Muslim community as well. I call on all citizens of Israel, especially its Muslim citizens, to take the path of integration, coexistence and peace and not the path of incitement, hatred and fanaticism. We are all citizens of the state and are all bound to maintain it and uphold its laws.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Ynet, Jan. 5, 2016
An elegant brown wooden pole, named "The Mossad Rod," is respectfully stored in a closed room in the Mossad headquarters north of Tel Aviv. Displayed on one of its ends is the secret organization's symbol and its famous slogan, borrowed from a verse in the Book of Proverbs (11:14): "Where no wise guidance is, the people falleth; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.." The bottom of the pole is encircled by 10 golden rings, each of them bearing the name of one of the Mossad chief who ended their terms.
On Wednesday morning, the "Mossad Rod" will receive a new ring, its 11th one, and the name of the organization director ending his term that day, Tamir Pardo, will be imprinted on it. While the rings are identical, each represents a completely different term. There is a deep difference between Pardo's term and the term of the owner of the preceding ring, Meir Dagan. It's reasonable to assume that the term of Yossi Cohen, who will replace Pardo that day and become the 12th Mossad director (the seventh to have grown within the organization) will be completely different, if only because of the major personality and outlook differences between them, alongside the regional environment in which the Mossad is required to operate and is undergoing dramatic and swift changes – the Arab Spring, the Iranian nuclear project challenge and the influence of the Islamic State.
When Cohen takes office, he will make history: The first Mossad chief to have grown and operated in the organization throughout almost all his years of activity, commanding Junction (Tzomet in Hebrew), the organization's biggest department which is responsible for recruiting and operating agents. Traditionally, most of the Mossad directors' bureau chiefs came from that department, but the head of the organization had never been appointed from there. Cohen will be making further history due to the fact that for the first time, a head of the National Security Council is being promoted to a higher position and is not ending his career in that position.
The Mossad which Yossi Cohen is taking charge of Wednesday is a large organization, one of the biggest intelligence organizations in the Western world, which deals with a diverse and difficult target list. According to the Mossad charter, the organization's goals are: "Secretly collecting information (strategic, diplomatic and operative) outside the State's borders; conducting special operations beyond the State of Israel's borders; stopping hostile countries from developing unconventional weapons and arming themselves with them; thwarting terrorist activities against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad; bringing Jews from countries which are preventing them from immigrating and creating a defense framework for the Jews in those countries."
The definition of these goals clarifies just how different the Mossad is from other intelligence organizations: It is not only required to provide intelligence, but also to carry out special operations; it is responsible for both intelligence relations and diplomatic relations with countries which do not have open ties with Israel; it is required to protect not only the citizens of the State of Israel, but sees itself as the defender of all Jews in the world, and as an organization required to help smuggle Jews from hostile countries.
There has never been another intelligence service in the history of mankind which has been forced to engage in so many missions, which are so different from each other. Cohen is arriving at this position after two prominent and strong-minded Mossad chiefs, who shaped the organization according to their image and outlook. In 2002, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided that he was looking for someone with "a knife between his teeth" for the organization's leadership, and decided to give the job to his subordinate and associate from the IDF, Meir Dagan.
After a period which was considered drowsy under Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, Dagan sent the entire organization into a state of operational madness. He narrowed down and emphasized the organization's list of targets, opened the organization to cooperation with moderate countries in the Middle East, which see the situation in the region as Israel sees it, and mainly pushed for more and more operations. The Mossad went back to being an important player vis-à-vis other intelligence organizations in Israel and vis-à-vis colleagues in the United States and Europe.
Dagan, a man with particularly sharp senses, realized that the war is against enemies, but it also over consciousness. The thunderous operations attributed to the Mossad made his workers proud and perpetuated once again the myth about the most mysterious, efficient and lethal organization in the world. After every headline about a mysterious blast or assassination which no one knew who was behind but assumed it was the Mossad, the organization's website nearly collapsed with so many requests flowing in from candidates.
During that period in Dagan's term, Yossi Cohen made a name for himself as a meteor in the skies of the Mossad. Then, about 10 years ago, we wrote that he would make a possible candidate to serve as head of the organization one day.
As it is forbidden to identify active Mossad personnel by name under Israeli law, we gave the senior organization officials nicknames. We called Cohen "the model" due to his handsome appearance and meticulous clothing (he was the only one who had the courage to wear pink shirts in the ultra conservative Mossad working environment, and with cufflinks, no less). This nickname, which was later criticized as superficial and objectifying, was well received and many in the Mossad and the intelligence community began referring to Cohen that way.
Cohen himself, upon joining the Mossad in the early 1980s, chose the operational nickname "Callan," after the tough, brilliant, and sarcastic hero of a spy series from the 1970s, who does not hesitate to use the most aggressive methods, including torture and assassinations, in order to protect the United Kingdom's citizens. It wouldn’t be a wild guess that Cohen saw himself as very similar to that "Callan." Yossi Cohen was raised in a religious family in Jerusalem and studied in a yeshiva. To this very day he (partially) and his family (fully) observe a religious lifestyle and he is very knowledgeable about the Mishnah and debates of Jewish wisdom…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Israel Hayom, Dec. 17, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was widely criticized last year for his efforts in trying to prevent Reuven Rivlin from being elected president. However, given Rivlin's recent engagement in politics, which is constitutionally beyond the jurisdiction of the primarily ceremonial role of the president, there may have been significant substance to Netanyahu's concerns. Like most Israelis, I have a fondness for Rivlin as a friendly character, a man of the people. He is a stark contrast to his predecessor, Shimon Peres, the ultimate diplomat, always coiffed and sartorially elegant. He was admired from a distance, sought to present himself as a cosmopolitan intellectual, and succeeded.
The more avuncular Rivlin, who worshipped at my local synagogue during the High Holidays, endeared himself to all, ignoring protocol and mingling with the congregants after the service. The intimacy he projects by rubbing shoulders rather than acting as a formal diplomat has made him highly popular at the grass-roots level. Besides, he is in every sense a warm and genial personality who instinctively recoils from pomp and ceremony. Alas, in recent months he has become increasingly involved in politics, which should be beyond his domain. Admittedly, some of his predecessors, including Peres and the late Ezer Weizman, also breached the boundaries of their ceremonial constitutional roles and dabbled in politics.
But what makes Rivlin more controversial is that he has seemingly adopted public policies quite inconsistent with his former role as a Likud hard-liner. He has increasingly been publicly critical of government policies and initiated policy innovations that are totally beyond his jurisdiction, such as his recent call for the creation of a confederation of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians. He has now gone further, and during his recent visit to the United States made totally inappropriate statements and innuendoes about his country, indirectly criticizing his government's failure to take diplomatic initiatives, which obviously endeared him to U.S. President Barack Obama and the liberal media.
But it was his contentious decision to participate in the Haaretz-New Israel Fund conference in New York and some of the extraordinary statements he made at that venue that suggest he may be losing the plot. NGO Monitor refers to the politically far-left New Israel Fund as an organization "active in repeating unsupported allegations of deliberate, systematic, and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians; war crimes and crimes against humanity, and grave violations of international humanitarian law." The NIF also provides funds for Jewish and Arab groups that oppose Zionism and a two-state solution.
The conference was essentially a hate-fest and an effort by left-wing American Jews to exert pressure on the democratically elected Israeli government and its security policies, which enjoy the support of the vast majority of its citizens. It attracted a host of anti-Israeli elements, including prominent promoters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement such as former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.
The conference was addressed by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who fully endorses and takes part in the evil incitement that has led to the current killing spree against Israelis emanating from his boss, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. To compound matters, Erekat demanded that the Israeli flag be withdrawn from the platform, and, disgustingly, his hosts complied with this request. In his address, Erekat "congratulated" Netanyahu for "destroying a culture of negotiations, a culture of dialogue, and a culture of peace." Speaking with a forked tongue and claiming he supports a two-state solution, Erekat accused Israel of "promoting apartheid." He also told the gathering that Israeli security forces had killed his nephew last month — but failed to point out that he was killed after having shot and wounded two Israelis in Jerusalem. His address received a standing ovation from the audience of "progressive" Jews...
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Police Kill Suspected Tel Aviv Gunman in Northern Israel After Week-long Manhunt: Yaniv Kubovich and Noa Shpigel, Ha’aretz, Jan. 8, 2016—Nashat Melhem, the suspected gunman behind the Tel Aviv shooting last week, was shot dead in a firefight with police forces in his hometown of Arara in northern Israel on Friday.
Netanyahu May Form Israeli 'Republican' Party: Arutz Sheva, Sept. 11, 2015—Senior journalist Yossi Verter reported on Friday in the leftist paper Haaretz that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering forming a politically right-centrist bloc of parties to run on a joint list in the next elections.
A Conversation With Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Firebrand Minister of Justice: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Nov. 6, 2015—Ayelet Shaked is an anomaly in Israeli politics. She’s a successful female politician in a landscape governed almost entirely by the male graduates of the Israel Defense Forces’ elite units. She’s a secular woman who had ascended the ranks of a religious party. And she’s a computer programmer who found herself, after a brief and meteoric rise, as Israel’s minister of justice.
If Israel Disappears, Others Will Too: Mudar Zahran, Israel Hayom, July 9, 2015 —Since 1948, we Arabs have been taught that all we need to do is get rid of the Jewish state, and everything else will go well after that.