Tag: Avigdor Lieberman


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Lapid and the Haredim: Susan Hattis Rolef, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2013—On Monday, April 22, Finance Minister Yair Lapid delivered his maiden speech in the Knesset plenum, answering three of the six motions of no-confidence in the government presented by the Opposition. The speech turned into a direct confrontation between himself and the Ashkenazi haredi MKs – in particular MKs Meir Porush, Moshe Gafni and Yisrael Eichler.


Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Wants to Accelerate Settlements: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor Israel Pulse, April 28, 2013—Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon is busy these days dealing with the problem of the cemetery in Ariel settlement in Judea and Samaria. There are only four remaining burial plots and he is trying to expand the cemetery.


Palestinian Journalists Declare War on Israeli Colleagues: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, April 26, 2013—How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say that he is negotiating with them?


On Topic Links



Haredim See Lapid as a Force Majeur: Avishai Ben Haim, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2013

Netanyahu, Liberman Spar Over Peace-Deal Referendum: Aaron Kalman, Times of Israel, Apr. 29, 2013

Israel: The Olmert-Lapid Reckoning: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor Israel Pulse, Apr. 26, 2013

For Israel, Tranquil Days: David Ignatius, Real Clear Politics, April 28, 2013

Jew Hatred at UN Schools: Dan Calic, Ynet News, Apr. 26, 2013





Susan Hattis Rolef

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2013


On Monday, April 22, Finance Minister Yair Lapid delivered his maiden speech in the Knesset plenum, answering three of the six motions of no-confidence in the government presented by the Opposition. The speech turned into a direct confrontation between himself and the Ashkenazi haredi MKs – in particular MKs Meir Porush, Moshe Gafni and Yisrael Eichler.


I must admit that I was impressed by Lapid’s speech. First, there was the fact that Lapid, who is used to speaking with a teleprompter, had to do without this technological gadget, and did very well, speaking clearly and coherently, without letting the haredi MKs, who were constantly heckling him, budge him from his narrative. Furthermore, even though what he said was extremely provocative (from a haredi point of view), his language remained polite, and his tone calm and non-tempestuous, though every once in a while his intonation was surprisingly similar to that of his father, Tommy Lapid, who as we may recall was frequently impolite and tempestuous.


Secondly, Lapid expressed in the clearest and most direct form several basic principles most secular Israelis firmly believe in but only rarely express for fear of upsetting the haredim. The first is the principle that every person is responsible for providing for the children he brings to the world – or at least should do his best to provide for them, and not expect the state to do so. The issue came up when MK Meir Porush accused Lapid of “starving children” due to his proposal to drastically cut social security child support.


I was raised on the principle that it is the duty of parents to provide for their children. Where I came from, turning into a financial burden on the state was considered something to be ashamed of, and to be avoided at any cost. Inter alia, this means one should do one’s utmost not to bring more children into the world than one can provide for both in material and educational terms.


In the haredi world (at least in Israel) this principle is scorned. The number of children is a function of the fertility of their parents, and avoiding gainful employment for the purpose of religious studies (with or without a wink), is the bon ton. I remember feeling truly sorry for a haredi colleague in the Knesset Research and Information Center, who told me that none of his neighbors knew what he was doing for a living, because if they found out he would have difficulties finding decent matches for his children.


Another principle that Lapid reiterated (in response to an interruption by MK Gafni) was that it was none of the haredi MKs’ business to tell him whether it is OK to write Facebook posts on Saturday. There is no earthly reason why a secular Jew in Israel, including a finance minister, should have to apologize for not preserving the Sabbath, any more than a religious Jew should have to apologize for preserving the Sabbath.


Israel is not a state governed by halacha, Jewish law, it is a Jewish state in that it is the state of all the Jews who wish to live in it, and the only restriction on how they live is the law of the land, as legislated by the Knesset – not halacha. Nevertheless, no one stops people from living according to halacha, as long as this is not in breach of the law of the land – something that unfortunately many haredim in Israel have difficulty accepting.


Most observers agreed that in the Knesset debate on April 22 Lapid won a knockout victory over the Ashkenazi haredim, who should have known better than to get involved in this superfluous verbal battle (which also caused Lapid to decide henceforth to deliver important economic speeches outside the Knesset, without constant interruptions by the haredi MKs).


However, the main problem was the haredi reaction. During the debate MK Meir Porush accused Lapid of hating the haredim, while part of the haredi media accused him of anti-Semitism. MK Eli Yishai went so far as to say that if a politician in Europe dared to say about the Jews what the leaders of Yesh Atid say about the haredim, Israel would be up in arms to protest against the abominable manifestation of anti-Semitism.


This is pure demagoguery. If the Jewish citizens in any European country dared act the way the haredim act in Israel – i.e. refuse on principle, and en masse, to uphold obligations shared by every citizen or to go out and work, and at the same time demand full social security benefits – the politicians in that country would be perfectly justified to use harsh language to describe the phenomenon. But the Jewish citizens of other states do not act in this manner – not even the haredim.


The problem really is that even though most of the haredim participate in Israel’s democracy, they do not really accept the basic principles on which it is based. Back in the mid 1980s, MK Menachem Porush – father of Meir Porush – fought against the introduction of provisions into Israeli law that prevent lists that reject Israel as a Jewish and democratic state running in the elections, because he feared that the fact that the haredi parties openly advocate Israel turning into a halachic state would be interpreted to mean that they reject Israel as a democratic state.


The provision nevertheless became law, and the lenient approach of the High Court of Justice on the issue has enabled the haredi parties (and the Arab parties, for that matter) to get away with some of their ideological positions, as long as they do not take concrete action to realize them.


Nevertheless, the situation we confront today is a direct consequence of this anomaly, which for too many years has been swept under the carpet. The problem is not hatred of the haredim, but the unwillingness of the public Yair Lapid represents to continue to let them make a mockery of some of the basic obligations of citizens toward the state of which they are citizens. Put in other words, the social contract between the democratic state and its citizens is not something that any major population group can pooh-pooh.


The writer is a retired Knesset employee..


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Mazal Mualem

Al-Monitor Israel Pulse, April 28, 2013


Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon in an interview with Mazal Mualem.


Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon is busy these days dealing with the problem of the cemetery in Ariel settlement in Judea and Samaria. There are only four remaining burial plots and he is trying to expand the cemetery.


At his office at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, Danon is still getting used to his new job. Nonetheless, one thing has been clear to him since his first day in office: he intends to help the settlements in Judea and Samaria, those he feels were harassed by former Defense Minister Ehud Barak.


Defense ministers are in charge of approving construction in the settlements and Danon hopes the Ariel cemetery problem will soon be solved given that unlike Barak, his successor Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon is committed to the settlement enterprise. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Danon promises to advance the approval of all the building plans which he claims were held up by Barak.


Danon, 42, came in fifth in the Likud primaries held last year (Nov. 26, 2012), ahead of senior government ministers, among them Ya’alon himself, his boss at the defense ministry who came in 7th. This achievement is the result of his activism in the political and media arenas and his support for the far right-wing Likud membership in Judea and Samaria. This is what landed him is current job. But anyone who knows Danon knows, too, that he is not there simply to warm his chair at the defense ministry.


Danon belongs to the group of young Likud Knesset members, along with others like Deputy Minister of Transportation Tzipi Hotovely and Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin, who form the hard core of the right wing. Like him, they, too, were elected to top slots in the Likud primaries and were upgraded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to positions of deputy ministers. As previously mentioned here, Netanyahu gave them cushy jobs to buy himself peace and quiet on the diplomatic front from this strong group that during his previous term caused him many headaches from within the Likud.


For now, Netanyahu’s political conduct appears to be sound. President Barack Obama's visit came and went quietly, as did the visits of Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.


As a Knesset member for the Likud you fought against previous Defense Minister Ehud Barak throughout his term. You claimed he was harming the settlement enterprise for ideological reasons. Now that you’re at the defense ministry, have you found proof of this?


“Certainly. Barak delayed construction. The main problem is that all those involved in the settlement enterprise have gotten used to operating according to the winds blowing from the top. The new challenge is to convey the message that there are new winds blowing at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, both from the direction of Defense Minister Ya’alon and from mine. I regard the settlers as a boon, not a burden. We need to do as much as possible to strengthen the settlements — all by the book, of course.”

What exactly did he delay?


“At every settlement I visit people come up to me and tell of plans that were approved but were held up by Barak. This was the case with the Ariel College, as it was called at the time. Barak was forced to give his approval to the college becoming a university only under heavy pressure. And there are other such cases. I was amazed to discover that, as of the end of the week, there are only four remaining burial plots at the cemetery in Ariel. It’s a big place and some of the population is not young, and it’s really a distressing problem. Expansion of the cemetery was approved a long time ago, but Barak refused to sign the building plans. You have to understand — we’re not talking about illegal construction, but about providing basic civic services in the main settlement blocs. There’s also a neighborhood in the settlement of Elkana that has been approved but delayed by Barak, and many additional plans.


Construction in the West Bank could create tensions with the US just as the relationship has started to improve.


“I don’t think so. We’re talking about places that are not considered diplomatically sensitive. We respect the democracy in the United States and they have to respect our democracy and our commitment to our citizens. The Likud, as well as the HaBayit HaYehudi party, and even Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who launched his election campaign in Ariel, support the continued existence of the settlement blocks. The new government is a more national one, and the reason is that Barak is not a member of it.”


How will you react if it turns out that Netanyahu is leading a diplomatic move?


“I don’t see it happening right now. If it’s going on, it’s probably happening underground. Right now everyone is busy with Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. My assessment is that as far as the ruling coalition is concerned, there will be differences between words and deeds vis-à-vis a diplomatic move. In other words, as long as Netanyahu conducts negotiations, he won’t have a domestic problem, but if he decides on another settlement freeze, that’s already a different story. That will be a problem for HaBayit HaYehudi, as well. But for now we haven’t seen additional American pressure or any activity on the part of the prime minister.”


On another front, in recent days Danon has been leading a move within the Likud-Beiteinu Knesset faction to legislate compulsory national service for the Israeli-Arab citizens. The law would complement a proposed bill to draft the country’s ultra-Orthodox Jews, scheduled to come up for Knesset approval at the beginning of May. Danon, who will present his demand at the weekly Likud-Beiteinu meeting on Monday (April 29), is trying to enlist the support of additional Knesset members for the move, which is likely to stir a heated political and public debate. This is a loaded, explosive issue. Danon claims that the Likud, as a national democratic movement, cannot condone such an asymmetrical situation.


The demand to draft Israeli-Arabs into the army, along with drafting the ultra-Orthodox, was raised in the past by former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. That’s the reason his representatives torpedoed the deliberations of the Plesner Committee, established in May 2012 to formulate recommendations on the draft issue.


The Plesner Committee determined that one could not deal with the draft of the ultra-Orthodox with the same level of seriousness as that of the Arabs, that each requires totally different preparations.


“It’s possible, and how. I think it’s wrong to focus only on the ultra-Orthodox. We have a government that is changing the order of things, heading for big moves. It is not earth-shattering if we deal with this issue, too.” And Danon adds: “I don’t like the language and the style being used toward the ultra-Orthodox, while ignoring the fact that some 20% of Israel’s population, that do not contribute, are Arabs. This serves an agenda. I’m not saying the Arabs should be forced to join the Golani Brigade or the border police, but they should definitely do national service in hospitals, senior homes and public institutions.”


Whose agenda does this serve?


“Certainly not the Likud’s. We’re coming at this issue with an approach of real equality and not hatred of the religious. The minute you sever the link between the two things and threaten the ultra-Orthodox with imprisonment if they don’t enlist, and at the same time ‘display sensitivity’ toward the Arabs – that’s a problem. I’d like for the left-wingers who have become active in Yesh Atid party to display the same kind of ambition they display toward drafting the ultra-Orthodox also toward drafting the Arabs.”


Mazal Mualem started her journalistic career during her military service, where she was assigned to the Bamachane army weekly newspaper.


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Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, April 26, 2013


Palestinian journalists have declared an intifada against their Israeli colleagues. In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters. On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.


Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journaists. It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.


An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities. The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories "without permission."


The Palestinian Authority, for its part, has complied, issuing instructions requiring Israeli journalists to obtain permission from its Ministry of Information before entering Palestinian cities. Palestinian Authority officials and journalists later explained that the ban does not apply to some journalists working for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz and who report on "Palestinian suffering."


The Palestinian journalists campaigning against their Israeli colleagues have justified their action by saying that Israeli authorities do not allow them to work freely inside Israel. They also accuse the Israeli authorities of refusing to issue them with [Israeli] government press cards.


If anything, these claims represent a hypocritical approach. In recent years, Palestinian journalists have strongly opposed to "normalization" with Israelis, including meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who violated the ban and met with Israeli counterparts were denounced as traitors and expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.


So while Palestinian journalists are opposed to "normalization" with Israel, they are at the same time demanding that Israeli authorities grant them permission to work inside Israel. Even more, the Palestinian journalists are demanding that Israel provide them with press cards issued by none other than the Israeli government.


Won't the Palestinian journalists be violating their own rules and ideology once they accept press cards issued by the Israeli government? And if they enter Israel and meet with Israelis, won't they also be acting against their own boycott campaign? What is disturbing is that foreign journalists based in Israel have not come out against the campaign of intimidation against their Israeli colleagues. Could it be because these foreign journalists have also been facing threats and want to stay on good terms with Palestinian reporters, and will also agree to report only on "Palestinian suffering"?


Gone are the days when Israeli and Palestinian journalists used to work together and exchange information on a daily basis, in the days before the peace process started. Today, there is a new generation of Palestinian journalists who have evidently been radicalized to a point where any meeting with an Israeli is being viewed as a "crime." This is the result of anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, especially over the past two decades.


Aware of the growing radicalism of Palestinian journalists, the Palestinian Authority, together with the American security detail, banned a large number of Palestinian journalists from covering the visit of US President Barack Obama to Ramallah last month. The biggest fear was that a Palestinian journalist would either throw a shoe at Obama or engage in a rhetorical attack against him and US policies.


If Palestinian journalists have been so radicalized that some are even willing to resort to threats and violence against colleagues, what must one say about the rest of the Palestinians who, for the past two decades, have also been exposed to messages of hate by their leaders? How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say that he is negotiating with them?


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Paula R. Stern

A Soldier’s Mother Blog, April 23, 2013

Well, not Israel, exactly – but to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where an Israeli doctor and the director of the hospital, Dr. Ilan Tabb and his staff are responsible for doing all they can to save the life of a man accused of murdering four and injuring close to 200.

Unfortunately, I have had a lot of experience with these types of injuries after years of treating people injured in terror attacks in Israel. We have a few Israeli doctors in the emergency room, and the director of the ER is also Israeli. But most of the physicians at the hospital are not Israeli, and they functioned exceptionally well. It was very similar to what I was used to in Israel in that we had to admit many injured people in a short period of time," Professor Tabb said. "The fact that we are treating both the victims and the suspected terrorist also reminds me of similar situations in Israel. In Israel we had an injured soldier and a terrorist lying on adjacent beds. When an injured person is admitted to the ER, the doctor or nurse treats him without asking questions.

 Having met many Israeli doctors, I can tell you that I understand their training. I know that they are asked and expected to treat everyone evenly. I know that many doctors have been challenged with saving the life of someone who has maliciously taken the lives of others. More times than you can imagine, the terrorist is evacuated with the wounded – and in some cases, given priority in treatment because the doctors treat based on severity of wounds, not on nationality. All efforts will be made to disarm the terrorist – any and all force is acceptable…until the terrorist is disarmed, and then, in the eyes of the doctor, even the most horrible of human beings becomes a responsibility, an obligation.

There have been several really dumb comparisons made – especially one by John Kerry related to the Boston bombers. When I was reading about the Israeli doctors treating the terrorist, I remembered a passage I had once read about the Eichmann trial.  I wonder what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would say about his doctors being Israelis. I doubt he could possibly understand the humanity behind the actions of the Israeli doctors. Tsarnaev won't understand – as Eichmann did not. I found the passage I remembered…it was spoken during a discussion between then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the Director of the Mossad Isser Harel. The conversation was recorded and classified, and only recently released.

In the discussion, people are asking Harel about the time right after Eichmann was captured. Eichmann came from a culture that believed in death, as apparently Tsarnaev did. Neither would expect decency from their enemies, from those they had perceived as weak. I find it fitting that Eichmann was fairly tried in Israel, convicted, and punished according to the law. If ind it fitting and just that Tsarnaev will live his life, knowing that it was Jews that saved his life.

Harel told Ben Gurion and others…


He doesn’t understand our behavior, he thought that we would beat him and treat him cruelly. We are treating him in keeping with the laws of the State of Israel, from the day the arrest order for him was issued and given to the Justice Ministry he is being treated according to the law.


When the anger burns within you, it is easier to lose sight of the law, of what is just and what is right. There is justice in Eichmann not being executed in Argentina; of his being brought back to Israel to see what we have built here and to know that it is by our law, by our justice that he was sentenced to death. For the record, Israel has only executed one person in all of its 65 years of independence. One man.

There will be justice for  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because, like Israel, America will rise above the anger to do what is right, what is just. It is in the anger we overcome that we prove our humanity. There are those who will wish Tsarnaev had died rather than been captured but death is glory to the Islam that Tsarnaev says he and his brother were defending. The glory comes from becoming a martyr and as he survived, that martyrdom will be denied to this brother at least.  He will rot in jail – no glory, no honor. That is justice, the ultimate and true punishment. 

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Haredim See Lapid as a Force Majeur: Avishai Ben Haim, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2013—Finance Minister Yair Lapid's "we've finished taking orders from the haredim" speech in the Knesset will go down in the annals of Israel's relationship with its haredi population. Something like this had never happened before, and it is simply impossible to downplay its importance.


Netanyahu, Liberman Spar Over Peace-Deal Referendum: Aaron Kalman, Times of Israel, Apr. 29, 2013—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday defended the idea of a national referendum on any peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority, fending off challenges from within his faction.


Israel: The Olmert-Lapid Reckoning: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor Israel Pulse, Apr. 26, 2013—The announcement by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he plans to run for office in the next elections should be taken seriously. This is an opening strategic move designed to position himself, as early as the next few months, as an alternative leadership candidate before the Israeli public and the world.


For Israel, Tranquil Days: David Ignatius, Real Clear Politics, April 28, 2013—It's a measure of the relatively quiet time for Israel these days that the sharpest argument at a big national security conference here was between an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who wanted "autonomy" for his fellow believers and secular Israelis in the audience who shouted out denunciations of what one called his "apartheid" plan.


Jew Hatred at UN Schools: Dan Calic, Ynet News, Apr. 26, 2013—Created in 1949 specifically to deal with the "Palestinian refugees," UNRWA spends roughly $500 million each year on schools. It utilizes text books produced by the Palestinian Authority. The UN itself does not finance UNRWA. Primary financial support comes from US and European taxpayers. 


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Contents: Weekly Quotes | Short Takes | On Topic Links



Media-ocrity of the Week


   $10.5 million, including an annual salary of $1 million is the pay package Mark Thompson, formerly director general of the BBC, will receive as the newly hired New York Times CEO.  Thompson stands to make as much as $4.5 million from his signing bonus, $2 million in annual incentives and $3 million in long-term incentives.

   Thompson, 55, received $976,000 in total compensation for his most recent year at the BBC [which] under his leadership eliminated jobs and moved some offices and production outside London to save money.

   Times Co.’s union workers…expressed discontent over the exit package offered to its previous CEO, Janet Robinson. She received $23 million, on top of her $1 million base salary. The compensation included $4.5 million in consulting fees.

   The publisher still faces contentious negotiations with the Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents almost 1,100 employees at the Times newspaper, who have been working without a contract for more than a year. (New York Post, Aug. 18, 2012)

 [Emphasis added; and this from the newspaper of record which pushes President Obama’s line that the Republicans favour the “One Percenters”!!–Ed.]


Weekly Quotes


"The Palestinian Authority is a despotic government riddled with corruption,"­Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in a letter to the foreign ministers of the Middle East Quartet members. "This pattern of behavior has led to criticism even within his own constituency. Due to Abbas' weak standing and his policy of not renewing the [peace] negotiations, which is an obstacle to peace, the time has come to consider a creative solution, to think 'outside the box,' in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership.Despite Mr. Abbas' delays, general elections in the PA should be held, and a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership should be elected," Lieberman stressed. In response Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said that Lieberman's letter is "creating a state of violence and instability…an incitement to murder and violence, and seen as interference in internal Palestinian affairs."(Ha’aretz, August 22, 2012) [For the complete letter see our On Topic links below.­Ed.]


“The prime minister agrees that Abu Mazen Abbas creates difficulties in negotiations,”Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [in a] statement [in response to Lieberman’s letter], but “Israel does not intervene in internal politics in other places.”…“The Foreign Minister’s letter does not represent the position of the prime minister or that of the government.” (Jewish Press, August 22, 2012)


 “the fire, set by a criminal under the eyes of the Israeli Occupation Authorities, was the first [attack] in a series aiming to demolish al-Aksa mosque and build the alleged Temple in order to uproot its citizens, Judaize it and eternalize its occupation.”Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president in a statement Tuesday, marking the 43rd anniversary of an attempt by deranged Australian Christian Denis Michael Rohan to set fire to al-Aksa mosque.…[A]ll Israeli excavation work in Jerusalem, and tunnels underneath the mosque, “will not undermine the fact that the city will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian.” (Jerusalem Post, August 22, 2012)


“scenarios in which Israel faces all out war would be very difficult to deal with…We are preparing to face a real crisis.”Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel to Channel 2’s Ulpan Shlishi, adding that the foremost responsibility of any country is the security of its citizens and that if there is a need to spend more on defense, “then that simply is what will have to done.” (Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2012)


"This latest development in Hof Saale, Germany, is yet another grave affront to religious freedom and underlines the urgent need for the German government to expedite the process of ensuring that the fundamental rights of minority communities are protected."Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, The head of the Conference of European Rabbis, upon hearing of the charges brought against Rabbi David Goldberg, a mohel and resident of Hof, who was charged with “committing bodily harm” for performing a ritual circumcision. (JTA, August 22, 2012)


“The Egyptian regime did more economic damage to Israel by violating its contract on natural gas shipments than any other Arab regime in the history of the country, because Israel had to spend billions of dollars replacing that lost fuel. That is why Israeli taxes are going up and social spending must decline. The US government did not lift a finger to help.”Barry Rubin, Director of  the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel. (Jerusalem Post, August 22, 2012)

“We can change the face of Israel.” Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general hinting…that Hezbollah now has nuclear weapons. He said his group could turn the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis “to real hell” by launching precision-guided missiles. “We all know that the Islamic republic [of Iran]’s response will be very great and thunderous if it is targeted by Israel,” he said. (New York Post, August 18, 2012)


“civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence  that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.”Judea Pearl father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which he co-founded with his family in February 2002 "to continue Daniel's life-work of dialogue and understanding and to address the root causes of his tragedy." (The Daniel Pearl Foundation)


“I think [Paul] Ryan has that Reagan-like quality,”veteran commentator Charles Krauthammer [who] compared Mr. Ryan to Ronald Reagan. Democrats [in 1980] figured [Reagan] would be easy to beat Mr. Krauthammer said on Fox News. Democrats “are now underestimating who they now have as an opponent.” On a tour of North Carolina on Sunday Mr. Ryan told [a] crowd, “We're at an inflection point in this country where the very idea of what America stands for is on the line. Every generation faces this test; this is our generation's test.” (Globe and Mail, August 13, 2012)


“It’s not a debate about whether the Messiah has come or is on his way,”— Ilana Dayan, television journalist, in an interview about her cousin Dani Dayan, leader of Israel’s settle movement and  chairman of the Yesha Council.  “He’s talking realpolitik, he’s talking rational, he’s talking cost-benefit analysis. He will try to engage in a civilized and always intriguing argument, and he will try to convince you that from the point of view of the Zionist enterprise even the status quo is better than any Peace Now fantasy.” To Mr. Dayan those who believe in a two-state solution are “either naïve or liars.” Mr. Dayan said, “I see a vision of everyone living normal lives here with a political situation that has to be unique.…There is no other example in history of a people dispersed for 2,000 years that comes back to its land and reclaims it. It’s a very peculiar situation and will need a peculiar solution.” (New York Times, August 18, 2012)


"What is happening now in…Syria…is the best proof of the ruin and desolation [that afflict] this land – except that this desolation, which is essentially a moral desolation, is not new. It is part of the character of this region, which has never been characterized by the virtues of modern civilization. The great scholar Ibn Khaldun [1332-1382] recognized this character a long time ago – [a character] that has always been incapable of embracing civilization.”Dr. Salman Masalha in his call for a new cultural vision in the Arab world. "The way out of this bloody Arab whirlpool is obvious, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The Arab needs only to look at the world around him in order to clearly see the way. The Arabs urgently need to base their societies upon foundations that transcend the boundaries of religious, ethnic and tribal affiliations. Such a development can only be realized in civil states, which transcend all such affiliations. This does not mean non-affiliation; it only [means] building the social structure upon stronger foundations: those that underlie modern civilization. ” (MEMRI, August 21, 2012)


“The Syrian regime should be smashed fast.  After hearing the refugees and their account of the massacres of the regime, Mr. Bashara al-Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth.”French foreign minister,. Laurent Fabius, visiting a Syrian refugee camp on the Turkish border. (New York Times, August 18, 2012)


"Judges are a society that want cleansing. The judges will cleanse themselves, not me. I will just remove the immunity of judges who are corrupt."Egypt's new minister of justice, Ahmed Mekki, [who] said purging courts of Mubarak-era jurists marks another step in Egypt's revolution. Before Egypt’s revolution, Mr. Mekki and his brother Mahmoud, whom Mr. Morsi (Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president) appointed as his vice president, were strong advocates of judicial independence. Sameh Ashour, president of the Lawyer’s Syndicate, alleged that the Muslim Brotherhood wants power to “make decisions un challenged so thay can continue their campaign of terror against intellectuals and journalists.”(Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2012) (Top)


Short Takes


GERMAN RABBI CHARGED FOR PERFORMING CIRCUMCISION(Berlin) A rabbi in Bavaria has been slapped with criminal charges for “committing bodily harm”, in the first known case to arise from an anti-circumcision ruling in May. The charge against Rabbi David Goldberg, who is a mohel…means that the May decision in the state of Hesse has been applied in Bavaria, confirming the fears of Jewish leaders here that the local ruling would have a wider impact. Goldberg, 64, a Jerusalem native living in Hof Saale, Bavaria, told JTA he had not yet received a notice from the court. The charge was confirmed to the main Jewish newspaper of Germany, the Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung. The rabbi also said he did not know what act the charges could refer to, since he has not performed any circumcisions recently in Germany. "Only abroad: in Budapest, in the Czech Republic [and] in Italy," he said. (JTA, August 22, 2012)


A JEW, HIS DOG AND INSULTED MUSLIMS(Toronto) Toronto police arrested a Jew… for not moving his “unclean” dog further away from Muslim women during an anti-Israel rally. Allan Eintoss showed up [with] his therapy-trained dog “Cupcake,” draped with an Israeli flag, to the annual Al Quds rally to register his disapproval of the celebration's call for destroying Israel. Eintoss refused a demand by a Muslim man that he move away because, they said, he was “not allowed to go near our women."  As he walked away, another demonstrator punched him in his chest, prompting Eintoss to shove him back. Police stepped in and one officer blamed him for being so insensitive as to bring a dog to an Islamic rally, while other policemen promptly handcuffed him and carted him away on charges of incitement to riot and assault. The Muslim was neither arrested nor questioned.  [Eintoss] was freed after agreeing to leave the area. [He] is considering legal action against the police by demanding a public inquiry into the arrest. (Israel National News Aug. 22, 2012)


NETANYAHU TO CAIRO: GET THOSE TANKS OUT OF THE SINAI(Jerusalem) After Egypt dispatched tanks into the northern Sinai area over the past few weeks, as part of its attempt to combat Islamist terror cells in the peninsula, the Prime Minister’s office has decided that this must stop. Netanyahu sent a sharp message to Cairo, via the White House, to withdraw the tanks immediately. Israel also requested that Egypt refrain from further dispatching military forces to the area without prior coordination.…American intervention was called upon after the closely aligned military and security coordination between [Israel & Egypt] was recently compromised. [A] senior Israeli source confirmed: “Israel is worried about the tanks in northern Sinai. This is an outright breach of the peace agreement.” One of Israel’s suspicions is that Egypt’s…actions against the terror cells would remain limited in scope. …[And] that Egypt would take advantage of the deviations from the peace agreement in order allow the armed forces to remain in the Sinai for an unlimited time, thus altering the agreement de facto. (Jewish Press, August 21, 2012)


IRANIAN WOMEN BANNED FROM MANY DEGREE PROGRAMS(Tehran )In a move that has prompted a demand for a UN investigation by Iran's most celebrated human rights campaigner, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, 36 universities have announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be "single gender" and effectively exclusive to men. It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country's religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year's university entrance exam. (The Telegraph, August 20, 2012)


LEBANON CHARGES POLITICIAN WITH SYRIA-LINKED PLOT—(Beirut) Lebanon's Military Tribunal charged a prominent politician close to Syria and Hezbollah of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks in Lebanon and plotting to assassinate politicians and religious figures in the country.  The charges…named former Lebanese Information Minister Michel Samaha, who is considered a close ally of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, as well as two Syrians: Chief of the Syrian National Security Bureau Gen. Ali Mamlouk and a Syrian army officer, Brig. Gen. Adnan. They allege that Mr. Samaha, working with Syrian officers, set up an armed group in Lebanon to distribute and plant bombs aimed at inciting sectarian unrest and targeting "the authority of the state and its civil and military institutions."…The tribunal also accused Mr. Samaha of transporting and storing explosives provided to him by Gens. Mamlouk and Adnan from Syria to Lebanon…[and that] the three men were working with the "intelligence ministry of a foreign country to undertake attacks in Lebanon." (Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2012)


TERROR THEME PARK, HEZBOLLAH’S ‘HOLY WAR’ HOMAGE(Lebanon) Hezbollah terrorists have built a vast, multimillion-dollar “holy war” theme park, The Museum for Resistance Tourism, to teach children the glory of losing their lives fighting against Israel. Constructed in a former war zone in the southern Lebanon town of Mleeta, about 50 miles from Beirut, it features models of Hezbollah fighters, destroyed Israeli tanks and a “Martyrs Hill” garden, decorated with guns and missiles. Visitors begin their tour…with a seven-minute video history of Hezbollah, which… includes a welcoming speech from the Shiite group’s hard-line leader Hassan Nasrallah, saying, “We hope this tourist jihadi [holy war] center will be a first step toward preserving the history of our heroic resistance.”  More than half a million people, including children, visited the park in the first three months after it opened in 2010. But as it stands, it looks like a prime target for Israeli bombers in the future war that both sides say is inevitable. (Reuters, New York Post, August 18, 2012)


IRAQ TOLL AT 93(Baghdad) Attacks throughout Iraq this past Thursday killed at least 93 people –making it the second-deadliest day since US troops left in December…The aim seemed to be to undermine the Shiite-led government’s security measures on the eve of a holiday weekend.(New York Post, August 18, 2012)


INDO-ISRAEL FTA LIKELY BY MID-2013—(Hyderabad India) Indo-Israeli Free Trade Agreement is likely to be completed by the second quarter of 2013…. The FTA would facilitate doubling of the bi-lateral trade between the two countries from the current $ 5 billion over the next decade. The project envisages joint development of agriculture on the farm, technology and academic fronts…proposing to develop some 30 centres of excellence…by 2015, out of which two (one for vegetable and the other for fruits) have been set up in [the state of] Haryana. “After the programme was implemented in Haryana, the tomato yield in certain areas has increased from 14 tonnes a hectare to about 100 tonnes.” (The Hindu Business Line, July 30, 2012)


NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’ CALLS ISRAEL TRAIL ‘EPIC’(Israel) National Geographic has included the Israel National Trail in its list of the world’s 20 most “epic trails.” The list’s author, Doug Schnitzspahn, calls the selected paths “the holy grails of trails across the world” and specifically describes the Israel Trail as one that “delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of modern Israelis.” The Israel Trail was established by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in 1995 and is more than 1,000 kilometers long, from Kibbutz Dan in the north to the SPNI’s Eilat Field School in the south. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 13, 2012) (Top)


On Topic


Lieberman Letter to Quartet


On Wednesday, Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) submitted a bill to dissolve Israel’s parliament, raising the prospect of an early election to take place on September 4.


The bill is expected to be approved by Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday, which will accelerate the legislative process and put the bill to a preliminary Knesset vote on Monday. The bill’s first, second and third readings are likely to take place on Tuesday; the last day of the 18th Knesset is expected to be on Wednesday, May 9, during which the final legislation will be approved.


Sources in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office say Binyamin Netanyahu would like to hold an election as soon as possible, to take advantage of his Likud Party’s commanding lead in public-opinion polls and a fractured opposition.


Meanwhile, 62 percent of Israelis do not think an election is necessary, and only 27% say an early vote will be for the good of the country.



Jerusalem Post, May 2, 2012

If Israeli voters—the onlookers in our political arena—paid discerning attention, they would have noticed a surreal spectacle Tuesday. Just as one political aspirant—Yair Lapid—entered the fray, another contender—Tzipi Livni—proclaimed her exit. It almost looked synchronized, as if one hyped political wunderkind replaced the other neatly and instantly, leaving no gap in the overnight-star category.

In many ways Lapid and Livni seem to be cut from the same cloth. They subscribe to no clear creed or set of values. Indeed, it’s hard to pin down what they stand for. Though they profusely laud their self-professed principles, they rarely, if ever, elaborate. The only thing that can be said with any degree of certainty is that they are ideologically pliable and that they tout this as an asset rather than as a liability. It’s as if articles of faith are undesirable in our present-day political discourse.…

No wonder the hottest speculation at the moment is whether Livni will join Lapid and whether the twosome will run in tandem. Such guesswork presents compelling testimony to the trifling tidbits that preoccupy us. The big picture and undiminished existential dangers pale before headline-grabbing and ratings-generating inconsequentialities.

This is perhaps why our society rushes headlong into early elections, without consideration for the price and ramifications. No government in recent years has lasted a full term (though the present one did better than most). Untold sums go to waste for party financing and mounting costly campaigns more often than democracy mandates.…

But worst of all is the warping of our national agenda at times of increasing peril. Instead of focusing on our collective self-preservation, we’re too frequently gripped by inordinately prolonged campaigns that drag out for at least six months.…

When the superfluous electioneering din dies down, we’ll be left with all that weighed heavy upon us previously—the threat of a nuclear Iran, Palestinian pressures, the perfidy of the Arab Spring, our frayed socioeconomic fabric, the real estate bubble, the cashed-strapped educational framework, health system, police force, public transport networks, etc. None of this will go away.

And, last but hardly least, who will be charged with tending to all the above? In all likelihood it will be another fragile coalition, concocted from yet another ragtag assortment of factional splinters, each of which will extract all it can as the price for its cooperation.

In other words, the odds are that we will be back just where we now are.

Jonathan Spyer
Pajamas Media, May 2, 2012

Israel will have an election on September 4, and polls indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party will be re-elected to lead the government.

A recent poll by Yediot Ahronot and the Dahaf Institute suggests Likud would become the largest party, increasing its presence in the 120-member Knesset from 27 seats to about 30. The same poll shows the opposition Kadima Party, which recently chose former general Shaul Mofaz as its new leader, would suffer a drastic fall from 28 seats to only 10.

The splits among Likud’s other rivals also show a strengthening of the party. Labor, which has embraced social issues, would grow from eight seats to 18, while a new centrist party created by former journalist Yair Lapid called Yesh Atid (There’s a Future) would take 11 seats. [Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebrman’s] Yisrael Beiteinu party would shrink from 16 seats to 13.

If this poll proves accurate, Netanyahu will have a variety of options when it comes to forming a new coalition. Neither Kadima nor Labor nor Lapid’s party have ruled out joining a Netanyahu-led coalition. The prime minister might choose to construct a center-right government or a right-religious coalition of the type that currently exists, depending on the parliamentary arithmetic and his own preference.…

Contrary to frequent foreign perceptions, Netanyahu’s governing style is characterized in practice by extreme caution and a desire not to move far beyond the existing consensus. The last three years have witnessed an unfamiliar quiet on the security front and an economic stability currently rivaled by few countries in the West. A solid centrist consensus of Israelis has concluded that—for the moment—there is no real partner on the splintered Palestinian political scene for making diplomatic progress, and that there are deep concerns regarding the chaotic neighborhood emerging in the wake of the Arab upheavals of 2011. Iran and its ambitions are also a matter of grave import.

In such an environment, it is not hard to see why a pragmatic hawk of Netanyahu’s stripe looks like a “safe pair of hands” to many voters.…

Barry Rubin

Rubin Reports, May 2, 2012

Israel is going to have elections on September 4 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will almost certainly win by a big margin. Understanding why explains a lot about the country that people think they know the most about but in fact comprehend the least.…

One key element in this equation is that the country is doing pretty well. True, it faces serious security problems but that’s the norm for Israel. Indeed, with no other trusted leader on the horizon, Netanyahu is the one most trusted to manage that dangerous situation.

True, too, there have been real social problems due largely to the gap between low salaries and high living costs that especially hurts younger people and provoked protests last year.… [However], Israel’s economy is doing [relatively well], including low unemployment, low inflation, and manageable state debt. In contrast to other Western economies, Israel’s government has avoided high government spending, unsustainable subsidies, and huge debt.

A third factor is the total fractionalization of the opposition. Indeed, one might speak of Netanyahu and the seven dwarfs. Aside from Kadima there are three other mid-sized parties that take votes from the same potential constituency and quarrel among themselves:

-Kadima, the main opposition party which is vaguely centrist, is so discredited by its former, failed leader Tzipi Livni that it will not be saved by its new head…from losing [upwards of] 20 of its current 28 seats.

-Labor, which has reinvented itself as a social issues party and has an untested [new] leader, [Shelly Yachimovich]…might come in a distant second.

-A new centrist party [led by Yair Lapid]…pushes the same secular centrism that has repeatedly produced one-election parties before.

-Israel Our Home, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, has a solid base among immigrants from the former Soviet Union but by that very fact—and given the fact that Lieberman is widely disliked and close to indictment—should hold but not expand its base.

It is ironic to think that the Obama Administration, whose ignorance of Israel and its politics cannot possibly be overestimated, thought it was going to bring down Netanyahu and replace him with a more pliable Livni. In fact, by its periodic bashing of Israel and ham-handed Middle East policy promoting Israel-hating Islamists, Obama unintentionally mobilized domestic support for Netanyahu.

Speaking about myths about Israel and Israeli politics here are corrections for some of the main ones:

-In contrast to the prevailing myth abroad, Netanyahu is no longer a “right-winger” in the way he was 15 years ago. He has moved into the center, a key factor explaining his success.

-Contrary to others who haven’t followed events closely, Israelis do not believe they have a peace option at present, with the Palestinians uninterested in a deal and Egypt, Iran, Turkey, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Syria in an all-out hostile mode.

-Despite claims that Obama has proven his support for Israel, among Israelis—even if some think Obama is a nice guy—there is no faith in US backing given the Obama Administration’s views and actions.…

Evelyn Gordon

Contentions, May 1, 2012

Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s resignation from the Knesset [on Tuesday] offers a good opportunity to reflect on just how unreliable mainstream media reporting about Israel often is.

Just two months ago, Newsweek and The Daily Beast put Livni on their lists of “150 women who shake the world,” describing her as “one of the most powerful women in [Israel].” Yet while that was undoubtedly true a few years ago, by the time the Newsweek list came out in March 2012, Livni was almost universally regarded as a has-been even by her erstwhile supporters.

In an editorial published later that month, for instance, Haaretz mourned that in the three years since her “praiseworthy” decision not to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in 2009, “she has not missed a single opportunity to make a mistake: She did not function as an opposition leader, she did not offer an alternative to the government’s policies and she did not lead her party wisely and set clear policy.” In a poll published just four days after the Newsweek list, the public ranked Livni dead last among 16 leading Israeli political figures.… And three weeks later, Livni’s own party unceremoniously dumped her: She lost Kadima’s leadership race by a landslide 25-point margin. Now, her political career in ruins, she is even quitting the Knesset.

That Livni was a has-been by March 2012 was obvious to anyone who had even cursory familiarity with Israel. Thus, either Newsweek and The Daily Beast were completely ignorant of the Israeli reality, or they deliberately disregarded the facts in order to promote their own agenda: Livni, after all, is a darling of the international media, because as Newsweek said in its profile, she is “a steadfast proponent of the peace process.…” Regardless of which explanation is true, the bottom line is the same: Their reporting on Israel can’t be trusted.

Nor is this problem unique.… [Just this week], The New York Times deci[ded] to play up former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s [recent] verbal attack on Netanyahu…as something that “may add to recent pressure on Mr. Netanyahu to tack to the left.” [But] anyone with any knowledge of Israel knows that Olmert has virtually no political support, being widely viewed as both corrupt and incompetent.…

The media’s job is supposed to be informing the public. But when it comes to Israel, it often seems to prefer misinforming the public. By portraying…Livni and Olmert as important and influential politicians, media outlets make it impossible for readers to understand the real Israel—the one that elected Netanyahu in 2009 and seems likely to re-elect him this fall.…

Yossi Klein Halevi

Tablet, May 1, 2012

Benzion Netanyahu, scholar of the Inquisition, secretary to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and father of Bibi, was the last of the purist Revisionist Zionists. He carried Revisionism’s bitter battles against the Zionist left to the end of his 102 years. And his complicated relationship with his son tells the story of the successes and failures of the Revisionist movement.

Through the 1930s and ‘40s, Revisionist and left-wing Zionists argued vehemently about the nature of the future state and how to create it. Labor Zionists were socialists, Revisionists capitalists. Labor cooperated with the British mandate; the Revisionists revolted. And Labor accepted the division of the land of Israel, while Revisionists opposed every partition plan, including the first partition in 1922, which created the Kingdom of Jordan. The future state, argued Jabotinsky, would need ample borders in which to accommodate millions of future Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

The most profound debate between Revisionism and Labor concerned the nature of the Zionist transformation of the Jew. All Zionists agreed that the Jewish character had been distorted by exile; the question was what aspects of that personality needed to be changed. Labor advocated a total overhaul: a secular socialist Jew, freed of piety and economic marginality, a farmer and a worker. Revisionism, though, had only one demand on the new Jew: Become a soldier. Jabotinsky didn’t care whether Jews were Orthodox or atheist, workers or businessmen—so long as they knew how to defend themselves.

A key component to self-defense is the ability to perceive threat. And with the rise of Nazism, Revisionism’s insistence on Jewish power became a war against Jewish complacency and self-delusion. In speeches across Eastern Europe, Jabotinsky urged young Jews to learn to shoot and prepare to get out. Es Brent a fire, he warned, a fire is burning. Destroy the exile before the exile destroys you. Jabotinsky’s opponents mocked him as a fear-monger.

Of all the divides separating Revisionism and Labor, the failure of the mainstream Zionist movement to sense the approaching abyss and attempt to rescue Europe’s Jews remained perhaps the most bitter. Zionism, the antidote to Jewish wishful thinking, had, under Labor, been guilty of that worst Diaspora character flaw, and at the worst moment in Jewish history.

In the early years of the state, [therefore],…what Revisionism retained most urgently wasn’t so much ideology but sensibility. Jewish naivete, Revisionists insisted, had been the indispensable partner of the Final Solution. That is what kept the victims from listening to Jabotinsky and fleeing in time. The Nazis played on Jewish hope, reassuring their victims through a series of linguistic deceptions that ended with the showers. What remained of Revisionism was its 11th commandment: Don’t be a fool.

Then came the Six Day War. Suddenly territorial maximalism was relevant again. The new 1967 borders weren’t the same borders Revisionists had dreamed of, but they were close enough. History had compensated the Jews for its territorial losses. Not one inch, vowed Jabotinsky’s heir, Menachem Begin.

Ten years later, in 1977, came the moment the Revisionists had longed for and almost despaired would ever come. After 29 years in opposition—along with two decades in opposition before statehood—Begin finally rose to power. And then, almost immediately, came the shattering. When Begin agreed to cede all of Sinai in exchange for peace with Egypt, one of his strongest critics from the right was Benzion Netanyahu.…

But the cruelest blow to Benzion came from his son. A political rift between them opened during the election campaign of 1996, when Bibi declared that he would accept the Oslo Accords, while insisting on Palestinian reciprocity. Benzion was outraged. Bibi tried to explain that his endorsement of Oslo was only tactical. Benzion countered: What begins as tactical ends in a betrayal of principle.

Benzion was right. In his second term Bibi became the first Likud leader to accept the principle of a two-state solution, the possible withdrawal from the second bank of the Jordan. While most of the international community missed the significance of Bibi’s historic concession, his father surely did not. Under Prime Minister Netanyahu, Revisionist ideology was buried in a state funeral. Yet even as he rejected the practicality of his father’s territorial maximalism, Bibi remained faithful to his father’s sensibility.…

It is precisely that dread of Jewish self-deception that has defined the politics of Benzion’s son. Don’t believe the Palestinian leaders when they speak about peace in English and jihad in Arabic, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned in his first term. And do believe the mullahs when they threaten to destroy the Jewish state, he now warns in his second term.

The war between the heirs of Labor and the heirs of Revisionism is no longer over ideology, but sensibility. Labor won the debate over partition: A strong majority of Israelis backs a two-state solution. Yet that same majority wants the Labor ideology of partition to be implemented by the Revisionist sensibility of wariness. And that is what Benzion’s son has committed himself to do. Not to preserve greater Israel at all cost, but to negotiate a safe partition if that becomes possible. A partition without wishful thinking.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has forever changed Israel’s political map and, in so doing, helped prepare the way for an eventual agreement with the Palestinians. That is not the victory Benzion hoped for. But it is, in its painful way, a vindication of the politics of realism he taught his son.