Tag: Canada-Israel Relations


What Canada Can Learn From Israel's Entrepreneurial Ethos: Rick Spence, Financial Post, Nov. 21, 2017— In the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a ruined citadel called David’s Tower.

Why You Should Support Cancer Research in Israel: Benjamin Brafman, JTA, Nov. 15, 2017— As a busy criminal defense attorney with a roster of high-profile clients, I am not known to shy away from a fight.

How President Rivlin Could Revive the Israeli Presidential Conferences: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2017— With the termination of Shimon Peres’ presidency, his initiative of Israeli presidential conferences ended as well.

As Buildings Evolve in Startup Nation, Architects Create Space for Work and Play: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017— Driving up Route 4 from Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, it is impossible not to notice — especially at night when it is all lit up — a square glass box of a building with vaguely egg-shaped windows that dominates the landscape.


On Topic Links


Israel Successfully Launches First Space Lab (Video): Arutz Sheva, Nov. 27, 2017

87 Global Corporations Flocked To Israel For Tech And Talent In Past Three Years: NoCamels, Nov. 07, 2017

US-Israel Fund Invests $4.8m in Clean Energy: Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live, Nov. 9, 2017

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017





Rick Spence

Financial Post, Nov. 21, 2017


In the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a ruined citadel called David’s Tower. Fought over by King David himself, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans and Israelis, it’s now a museum spanning 4,000 years of history. But the castle is soon to assume another identity: as home to a startup accelerator specializing in virtual reality.


High tech/Old City is a fitting symbol for today’s Jerusalem. Since the publication of the 2008 best-seller Startup Nation, Israel has revelled in its reputation as an innovation power. But with most of that activity in Tel Aviv, Israel is now creating an innovation cluster in Jerusalem. It’s a city divided by history, faith and politics. But Israel’s innovation leaders hope this ongoing culture clash is a creative cauldron from which edgy, innovative ideas can emerge. Think Austin, Tex., or Boulder, Colo., but with more edge. (And hummus.)


Proof? Three months ago, Silicon Valley goliath Intel acquired Jerusalem-based Mobileye for US$15 billion (equivalent to the combined market cap of Canada’s Shopify and BlackBerry). A leader in computer vision and artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles, Mobileye spun out of the computer science department of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University — an institution founded in 1918 (30 years before Israel itself) by such visionaries as Einstein and Freud. (So there’s Lesson 1: To become a Startup Nation, put education first.)


To defend its title, Israel annually selects entrepreneurs from around the world to visit the country to study its startup secrets and meet its coolest entrepreneurs. It also sponsors a journalist from each of those countries to cover “their” entrepreneur’s journey. I joined the tour this month along with Toronto entrepreneur Maayan Ziv, founder of an accessibility app called AccessNow. Although the propaganda was predictably heavy-handed, I came away convinced that Israel has much to teach Canada about innovation. And seeing Israel through Ziv’s eyes revealed how Canadians can better compete.


On Day One of our five-day tour, my group of 22 journalists got some startling stats from Ran Natanzon, head of innovation and brand management (Lesson 2: Marketing matters!) for Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs. Natanzon said Israel ranks first in the world in R&D spending as a percent of GDP. And it’s third, behind the U.S. and China, in the number of companies it has listed on NASDAQ. In 2016, venture capitalists invested US$6 billion in Israeli deals. That’s twice the US$3.2 billion invested last year in Canada (even though our GDP is five times Israel’s). Clearly, Israel breeds aggressive entrepreneurs the way Canada produces hockey players. Natanzon listed numerous reasons for Israel’s entrepreneur surplus. Among them:


Israel has few natural resources, which means entrepreneurs have to create new value;  A limited domestic market means Israelis have to focus on exports; Israelis display can-do attitude and a culture of challenging authority. They also have chutzpah, a unique confidence that Merriam-Webster defines as “flagrant boldness.”; The flip side of Israel’s small market size means it’s easy to connect with influencers, because you already know someone who knows them; Every Israeli youth is required to serve in the military (or another form of national service). Forced exposure to team-building, shared purpose, mission-planning and execution produces focused leaders at an early age.


The rest of our week in Jerusalem was a whirlwind of meetings and open houses. We visited a rehab hospital that’s now commercializing its breakthroughs – such as a $100 wheelchair made of plastic; Hebrew U’s tech-transfer office; and an accelerator that is bringing entrepreneurship training to a downscale neighbourhood, with special programs for primary schools, women and the oft-neglected Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations.


We met with such companies as Mobileye and its spinoff firm, OrCam Technologies, which uses Mobileye’s vision systems and AI to create an eyeglass-shaped device that reads signs, text and money, reading everything aloud to the wearer, giving new mobility to the visually impaired. (An IPO is in the works.) We also met Jon Meved, the founder of OurCrowd, an equity crowdfunding platform for global startups and accredited investors. And within the stone walls of the Tower of David, we met virtual-reality entrepreneurs who are out to revitalize the museum experience and change the way you shop.


Meanwhile, my designated entrepreneur, Maayan Ziv, was on a mission of her own. She is still trying to monetize her AccessNow app, which enables users to rate buildings and locations anywhere in the world on their accessibility to people with disabilities. Ziv herself lives with muscular dystrophy, which has left her needing to get around in a wheelchair. With two Israeli-born parents, she speaks Hebrew and knows the culture, so she was eager to meet potential Israeli partners or investors. Ziv says she was truly impressed by Israel’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “The thing that struck me most is the way they think globally from day one. They are constrained; even if they want to trade with their neighbours, they can’t. I think that’s why they’re so successful.”…

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






Benjamin Brafman

JTA, Nov. 15, 2017


As a busy criminal defense attorney with a roster of high-profile clients, I am not known to shy away from a fight. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up in Brooklyn, the scrappy son of immigrants and Holocaust survivors. But nothing could have prepared me for the fight of my life, when my wife, Lynda, was diagnosed with breast cancer early on in our marriage. We had two young kids at home, and Lynda had to undergo a radical mastectomy and a year of chemotherapy before she was declared cancer-free and cleared for reconstructive surgery. I credit her oncologist, Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, with saving Lynda’s life.


What I did not realize at the time was that Lynda’s lifesaving treatment was made possible by the yeoman’s work of scientists working long hours in unglamorous labs trying to understand the biological forces that drive cancer – and how to stop them. So when God blessed me with professional success, I resolved to join the fight against this scurrilous disease. I turned to Dr. Hirshaut for advice on where to direct my support. His answer surprised me: Israel.


Though a tiny state with a population of just over 8 million, Israel has made disproportionately large contributions to the fight against cancer. A breakthrough in the 1980s by an Israeli scientist, Eli Canaani, was critical to the development of Gleevec, a drug that has saved the lives of millions diagnosed with leukemia. Velcade, a drug used to treat bone marrow cancer, was based on the research of two Israeli professors, Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, and their collaborator Irwin Rose, who went on to win the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2004.


Israeli scientists discovered the role that mutations in the p53 gene play in causing cancerous tumors, and how a minor mutation in the RAD51 gene increases the risk of breast cancer in women with the BRCA2 gene mutation. It was ICRF-supported scientists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center who contributed to the platform science that resulted in the development of Doxil, the first drug encapsulated in a microscopic fat bubble for direct delivery to a tumor site. In case after case, significant advances in the science of cancer began in Israel. And then there is this important fact: Because of a lower salary structure and overhead costs, research dollars go much further in Israel than in almost any other developed nation.


So if you want your support to have maximal impact, Dr. Hirshaut told me, invest in Israel. This, too, animates my support of Israeli science. Despite a spirit-rending campaign in some quarters to isolate the Israeli academic and research community, Israelis continue to make remarkable advancements in technology, medicine, and science – advancements that accrue to the benefit of all humankind.


Want to know what goes on at Israeli institutions of higher education? Learning. Insight. Imagination. Discovery. Healing. The best way to improve Israel’s image around the globe? Support its life-saving science.


For me, the question wasn’t whether to invest in Israel, but where? So many Israeli institutions are doing promising cancer research. How could I choose? Put me in a courtroom and I know my way around. A research lab, not so much. Dr. Hirshaut introduced me to the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), which raises funds to support the most promising scientific and medical research at institutions across Israel.


The idea for the fund came in 1975 from a group of American and Canadian researchers, oncologists and supporters looking for ways to bolster the fight against cancer while combating the problem of “brain drain” from Israeli research institutions. In the four decades since its establishment, ICRF has distributed more than $60 million through 2,300 research grants to scientists at 24 Israeli institutions — from post-doctoral fellows to Nobel Prize-winners.


To identify the most deserving recipients, several dozen esteemed scientists and doctors from throughout North America meet annually in New York for a rigorous two-day proposal review. The decision-making can be wrenching because life and death hangs in the balance. That’s because every year, dozens of promising proposals go unfunded for one simple reason: We don’t have enough money. Who knows whether one of those deserving, unfunded requests could have yielded clues to overcoming the early-detection problem of lung or ovarian cancer, or the stubborn lethality of pancreatic cancer?


The simple fact is this: Israel’s government alone cannot meet the needs of scientific research in Israel. Without extra support from Diaspora Jews, Israel risks losing these scientists and humanity risks losing critical, life-saving advancements in the fight against cancer. At times of crisis, Israel is often among the first countries to step up, from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the recent earthquakes in Mexico. Israel even extends a helping hand to Syrians, whose country is hostile to the Jewish state. We need to step up for Israel. There’s no better cause, and no better place to invest in the fight against cancer. I rest my case.






Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2017


With the termination of Shimon Peres’ presidency, his initiative of Israeli presidential conferences ended as well. Five such gatherings took place between 2008 and 2013. President Reuven Rivlin would do well to reinstate these annual conferences. The potential to benefit Israel is enormous.


To obtain the maximum benefit for Israel, the formula devised under Peres would require significant changes. In the past, the conferences included a strange mix of both topics and invitees. By far the best sessions of the past conferences were those that addressed the newest developments and expectations for the future in several advanced scientific fields. If one did not come early to the sessions there would be no remaining seats. The panels consisted of both foreign and Israeli scientists. In those that I attended, the Israeli presentations were as insightful and impressive as those by scholars from abroad.


On the other hand, there were some sessions on world Jewry in which the panelists were mainly rehashing what one could regularly read in Jewish media. There are enough other gatherings where these issues can be discussed. One also got the impression that the organizers had minimized the number of Orthodox and Center- Right speakers. Once, absurdly enough, an extreme critic of Israel, Peter Beinart, was invited.


Also, some of the goals announced were greatly overstated. Did the discussions at these conferences really – as suggested in 2013 –“engage the central issues that will influence the face of our future: geopolitics, economics, society, environment, culture, identity, education, new media and more”? It would have been much better to have been a bit more modest.


What would be the best new strategy for these conferences? First, it would be important to identify the areas in which Israel is at the world’s forefront. There should be sessions on topics concerning recent advances and possible future directions. The panels should consist of leading foreign and Israeli participants. Determining where Israel is a world leader or co-leader is crucial. Some very diverse areas are obvious candidates. For instance, cybersecurity, water technology, trauma treatment and the setting up of field hospitals. There are, however, many others which do not immediately come to mind. Identifying those areas of knowledge and expertise where Israel is among global leaders would rapidly create a long list.


Once one has identified the fields in which Israelis are among the world leaders, the next step would be to ask the country’s top experts in these areas who to invite from abroad. The conferences would be broadcast in real time to receive as wide an audience as possible. In previous conferences the speakers included politicians, writers, actors, a vulgar American comedian and so on. Such people could also attend, but there would no opening session where well-known invitees express their truisms and platitudes. Distinguished cultural performances could however be a welcome addition.


The conference core of topics in the above categories could be complemented with discussions about crucial world issues. To mention a few almost at random: the future of liberal democracy, sovereignty versus globalization, which type of multiculturalism could be viable, and truth versus fake news. It wouldn’t take much effort to define a few more.


One of the huge advantages for the participants in the panels would be the greatly varied interdisciplinary character of the conference’s speakers. Top people in a certain field usually participate in conferences where the attendees are mainly from professions close to their own. This diversity would increase the attractiveness of the conference for the panelists.


President Peres found generous patrons who financed the conferences he initiated. There is no reason why such a prestigious conference under the auspices of President Rivlin would not find similar donors. His international prestige would be enhanced by these gatherings as well. Regarding the technicalities of the conference, one could learn much from the experiences of staff members who were been part of the organization of the previous conferences.


There are many potential advantages for Israel. With the right public relations these conferences would expose to the world a broad spectrum of Israeli knowledge and inventiveness, including much that was greatly beneficial to people worldwide. As Israel is frequently attacked by a wide range of enemies and opponents, the conferences could, to a certain extent, also be a counterweight to this hatred and defamation. President Peres had a preference for interviewing some leaders of science during the conferences. This however was an extra and the conference could have proceeded easily without it. The important thing is that President Rivlin take the initiative, that the invitations to the conference go out in his name, and that he presides over the conference.                             





Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017


Driving up Route 4 from Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, it is impossible not to notice — especially at night when it is all lit up — a square glass box of a building with vaguely egg-shaped windows that dominates the landscape. It is the new local headquarters of SAP, the German software giant: the name, shining at the top of the structure, serves as a reminder that the so-called Startup Nation is a magnet for tech conglomerates who set up operations in Israel in a bid to tap into its technological prowess.


There are some 286 active multinational corporations in Israel today, according to Start-up Nation Central, a nonprofit that tracks the tech industry in Israel; some 87 have opened shop over the past three years. They mainly operate research and development centers, and most started their activities via the acquisition of local startups. Giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon and Intel are competing for Israeli talent. They draw inspiration from the brash Israeli can-do-it-all attitude and chutzpah, but they also infuse the local tech ecosystem with different management styles, an alternative corporate culture, and a new approach to the way they want their office buildings to look and feel.


These cash-rich technology firms are building or have built bold headquarters in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, flagship symbols of what their firms want to convey to their clients and employees. Apple workers this year started moving into their massive new headquarters nicknamed the “spaceship” in Cupertino, California. It’s designed by UK architect Lord Norman Foster, who worked closely with Apple’s legendary CEO, the late Steve Jobs, to come up with a symphony of glass, steel, stone and trees. Cloud-computing firm Salesforce has also set up a new steel-and-glass headquarters in San Francisco, while ride-sharing firm Uber has designed an entirely see-through head office.


As these multinational tech firm make homes for themselves in Israel, either through designing their own towers as SAP did or by renting office space in new structures, or renovating old ones, they bring with them their different standards, requirements and demands. And this is starting to revolutionize how office buildings are being built and designed. And it’s not only multinationals: homegrown firms, like auto-technology company Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel Corp. in March for a whopping $15.3 billion, are also setting up new headquarters with specifications that are changing the look and feel of local office buildings. And while to some the Israel-designed structures may not embody the beauty and the boldness of London’s Gherkin tower or the Louvre Pyramid and its fellow edifices of the 1980s Grands Projets in Paris, they may be a harbinger of exciting designs to come.


For technology firms, the architecture of their buildings needs to reflect “the spirit of the firm. The trend in general, for high-tech buildings, whether they are rented office spaces or built specifically for that corporation, is to enrich the experience of the workplace,” said Avner Yashar, owner of Tel Aviv-based Yashar Architects Ltd., whose office planned the SAP building and is working on the building that will hold Microsoft’s new office space in Herzliya. The architect was also the designer behind Apple’s R&D center in Herzliya, the US giant’s second-largest center in the world. While SAP commissioned the architect to build its project from scratch, both Microsoft and Apple decided to rent space in buildings already under construction, that were adapted to meet the US giants’ specifications, Yashar explained…

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




On Topic Links


Israel Successfully Launches First Space Lab (Video): Arutz Sheva, Nov. 27, 2017

87 Global Corporations Flocked To Israel For Tech And Talent In Past Three Years: NoCamels, Nov. 07, 2017—At least 87 multinational corporations have opened up R&D or innovation centers in Israel over the past three years, a majority after acquiring an Israeli startup. This is according to a new study showing the scale of foreign interest in Israeli technology and talent by Start-up Nation Central, an Israel-based non-profit that tracks the Israeli innovation ecosystem.

US-Israel Fund Invests $4.8m in Clean Energy: Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live, Nov. 9, 2017 —A programme funded by the US and Israeli Governments has announced $4.8 million (£3.6m) for five new clean energy projects. The Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy programme is a joint partnership between the US Department of Energy, the Israel Ministry of Energy and the Israeli Innovation Authority.

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017—While the Donald Trump era has brought a new level of hysteria to U.S. political discourse, the attempts to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the seemingly weekly revelation of yet another corruption scandal have only slightly dented his popularity. According to an October 5 poll by Israeli television’s Knesset Channel, when people were asked, “Have the publications on Netanyahu and his family on the various investigations against them changed your opinion of him?” 64 percent said no.



Bradley Martin: Israel Is the Last Hope for Christians in the Middle East



“If Christianity [in the Middle East] survives, it will not be because of any interest taken by Christians in our part of the world, but rather because the State of Israel, the people of Israel, and conscientious Jews everywhere are dedicated to saving it,” said Dr. Paul Merkley, Professor of History at Carleton University, last week in a panel discussion at Toronto’s Beth Radom synagogue.


The academic conference, titled “Christian Genocide in the Middle East: Why is the World Silent?” was co-sponsored by the… the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.


“In 1910, it’s estimated that Christians were 14% of the Middle Eastern population” said Dr. Frederick Krantz, Director of CIJR. “Today, they are under 4% and rapidly declining.”


Other figures were highlighted throughout the conference, such as how in Iraq alone, there were 1.5 million Christians until 2003. Today, that number is estimated at 275,000 with the strong likelihood that there won’t be any more of a community left within five years.


Much of the present-day persecution was tied to the Islamic State. National Executive Director of ICEJ Canada, Donna Holbrook, showed graphic images of the genocide of Christians currently taking place in Iraq.


“This mother was killed, but not before the terrorists made her watch them kill her baby,” said Holbrook, showing a horrific image of an Iraqi Christian woman murdered by ISIS terrorists.


Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, Chief Executive Officer of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement, who recently returned from Iraq, weighed in on the atrocities being committed by ISIS against Assyrian Christians. Sangari showed footage from a summer school program, whose children lost a year of schooling due to the ISIS invasion.


“ISIS. They are all beasts! They didn’t leave us anything in this country!” said a young Assyrian boy at the school, overwhelmed with tears as he recounted being expelled from his home. His mother was dying of cancer as a result of ISIS bombing his neighborhood.


While in Iraq, Sangari worked to promote unity of effort and commonality of purpose between the churches, political parties and Christian militias in Iraq, in a first-of-its kind document signed by representatives of these groups and blessed by church leaders. The agreement affirmed the signatories to work as partners to retake their historical homeland in the Nineveh Plain.

Apart from criticizing the silence of Western governments and churches in the face of this genocide, Israel was highlighted as the last hope for Christians in the region.


“There is a powerful irony in the fact that the last hope for Christians in the Middle East is in Israel,” said Carleton history professor Merkley. “Israel is the only polity within the entire Middle East where Christian numbers are increasing.” Merkley went on to praise the Jewish State for providing protection and aid to Ethiopian and Somalian Christians taking refuge in Israel, noting that Christians are to be found in every aspect of Israeli society such as the private sector, the government, the military, and even the Supreme Court.


Merkley also condemned UNESCO for their recent resolution denying Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, describing it as “utterly insane.” The panel affirmed that the Judeo-Christian values that tied Israel and Christians in the region together were under attack.


“It’s not the denial of genocide that is being perpetrated,” said Sangari, “but the denial of the existence of evil.…  The good is represented by the Chosen People, the Jewish people, and the principles and ideals which are an integral part of their inheritance.” Sangari would later say that it was precisely the strong commitment to these Judeo-Christian values that led to the ongoing genocide of Assyrian Christians by ISIS.


Sangari cited biblical texts to illustrate that the Assyrian Christians and the Jewish people were “bound together by a common inheritance of good.” Examples included Genesis 11:31, which states that Abraham came from Ur of Kaśdim, which is ancient Assyria. The Book of Jonah details how God sent the Prophet Jonah to the Ninevites to prophesy against their wickedness. Assyrian Christians to this day commemorate that event with an annual three-day fast to praise God for their deliverance from evil.


Sangari also cited Isaiah 19:23-25, which details how there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria with God blessing the three nations: “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”


Sangari advocates closer ties between Israel, Assyrian Christians, and Egyptian Copts. Apart from being a refuge for Christians within its borders, Israel was looked upon as a model for how to resolve the continuing decline of Christians throughout the Middle East.


An audience member asked the panel how practical such a solution could be for Assyrian and other Christians in the Nineveh Plain, considering the demographic disadvantage Christians face in the region when compared to the overwhelming Muslim majority in Iraq and throughout the region. Sangari dismissed this concern, saying that while he was in Iraq, he was privy to a force consisting of a 20,000-man Yazidi-Christian-Assyrian capability that stretches from the Nineveh Plain to the Sinjar Mountains.


On that note, the panel closed with Merkley quoting Luma Simms, Associate Fellow at the Philos Project.


“Let it always be said: In the dark age of ISIS, when desolation and despair covered the Arab world, Israel was the house of light. Like the prophet, Jonah whom God commanded to go to Nineveh and offer redemption to the Assyrians, may Israel go and redeem Assyria — redeem the Nineveh plains once again.”


Article Reprinted From American Spectator with Author's Permission


(Bradley Martin is Deputy Editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

and Fellow of the Haym Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought)



AS WE GO TO PRESS: TERROR AT SARONA MARKET; 4 MURDERED, 16 WOUNDED (Tel Aviv) — Four people have been killed and 16 people have been wounded in a terror attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. One of the terrorists was neutralized at the scene and taken to hospital in critical condition while the second terrorists was taken into custody. Multiple shots were heard at the open-air shopping center in the heart of Tel Aviv, adjacent to IDF and Ministry of Defense headquarters, The terrorists, two cousins from Yatta in the Hebron area, sat at the popular restaurant Max Brenner before they set out on their shooting spree. Multiple shots were heard at the open-air shopping center in the heart of Tel Aviv, adjacent to IDF and Ministry of Defense headquarters. Of the 16 wounded, four died, and three are still in the hospital. (Ynet, June 8, 2016)


‘Come to Canada’: Ontario Looks to Woo, Learn From Israelis: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, June 7, 2016— When people think of cutting-edge cities, where innovation and new businesses thrive, they generally think of San Francisco, of Boston, Tel Aviv or London. Not many think of Toronto.

Secrets To Israel's Innovative Edge: David Yin, Bloomberg, June 5, 2016 — Eighteen and fresh out of high school, Yossi Matias reported for his first day of military service at the Hatzerim Airbase in the Negev Desert, approximately 100 km south of Jerusalem.

How Israel is Turning Part of the Negev Desert into a Cyber-City: Ellen Nakashima and William Booth, Washington Post, May 14, 2016— Here in the middle of the Negev Desert, a cyber-city is rising to cement Israel’s place as a major digital power.

More Positive Signs for the Israel-China Relationship: Judith Bergman, Algemeiner, May 26, 2016— Welcome to the beauty of Chinese-Israeli cultural relations.


On Topic Links


The Real State of the Israeli Economy (Video): Breaking Israel News, Apr. 28, 2016

A Deeper Look at Israel, a Global Medtech Innovation Hub: Arundhati Parmar, Medical Device Business, May 3, 2016

Israel-Greece Relations: Ambassador Arye Mekel, BESA, May 18, 2016

As Old Friendships Cool, Netanyahu Looks East for Support: Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg, Apr. 26, 2016




          ‘COME TO CANADA’: ONTARIO LOOKS TO WOO, LEARN FROM ISRAELIS                                                                   

                                                             Judah Ari Gross                                                  


Times of Israel, June 7, 2016


When people think of cutting-edge cities, where innovation and new businesses thrive, they generally think of San Francisco, of Boston, Tel Aviv or London. Not many think of Toronto. In the world of high-tech, Canada has an image problem, and it’s turning to Israel — the self-described start-up nation — for help.


Toronto and the nearby cities of Hamilton, Waterloo and Kingston feature world-leading research institutions, the Ontario province and the country have a “business friendly” tax code, and Canada has the 15th-largest economy in the world by gross domestic product, according to Gregory Wootton, assistant deputy minister of Ontario’s ministries of Economic Development and of Research and Innovation. “A lot of effort by the province has been put into creating a welcoming business environment where businesses can succeed and be successful,” Wootton, the self-described “salesperson” for the province, said.


Yet despite those advantages, the Great White North has struggled to transform from a resource-based economy — one that is driven by the discovery and sale of timber, oil and minerals — to a knowledge-based economy, focused on intellectual services, scientific advancement and technology. So Canada is asking Israel, a resource-poor but knowledge-rich country, to show it how it’s done. “Israel knows how to be its best,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said. “It punches well above its weight.”


According to Compass, a consulting firm, Tel Aviv is ranked fifth in the top start-up cities, while Toronto comes in at just 17th. To move up that list, Wynne’s government is going on a full-scale push to attract Israelis. “We have a lot to learn from Israel,” she said, “and we have a lot to offer.” In May, the Ontario government brought a handful of Israeli journalists, including this one, to Toronto in order to meet with officials from the provincial government, local businesses and area universities. Later in the month, Wynne, along with a group of over 100 industry, academic and political leaders, also traveled through Israel on a two-week visit during which they signed contracts with Israeli companies and announced a variety of new initiatives and partnerships. “We didn’t have to beat the bushes to get people to sign on for the trip,” Wynne said.


Though Israeli political leaders constantly warn of the looming threat of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state, the issue the delegation appeared to address was not encouraging Canadian companies to take an interest in Israel, but encouraging Israeli companies to take an interest in Canada. Canadians, it seems, are interested in working with Israel; it’s Israelis who are less interested in Canada, according to Henri Rothschild, the head of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, which works to bring together Canadian and Israeli companies by offering grants of $400,000 on average.


“We realized our problem in bringing Canadians and Israelis together was not going to be in Canada. Initially we thought Canadians don’t know much about Israel, there might be biases or it might not be a natural place,” Rothschild said. “In 20 years, I have to say, I have only once had a Canadian prospective partner tell me they wouldn’t want to work with Israel,” he said. “However, in Israel, I found many more who said they wouldn’t want to work with Canada,” Rothschild said, explaining that Israelis see Canada as the “B-team” compared to the United States.


Despite that apparent Israeli bias against Canadians, during Premier Wynne’s visit some $140 million in business deals were signed, according to the delegation, alongside renewed and expanded collaboration agreements between Canadian and Israeli universities. Wynne also met with a number of Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though those meetings were almost entirely overshadowed by the political upheaval that was rocking Israel at the same time. “Israel is one of the top innovation economies in the world, and a priority market for Ontario. Israel and Ontario are both leaders in the fields of research, innovation, and life sciences, making us natural partners,” Wynne said after meeting with Netanyahu. Most of those contracts, however, were worked out long ago. Those initiatives were similarly agreed upon long before the delegation’s plane touched down. Some networking and impromptu contacts may be made, but the visit may have been more of a public show than a business-only trip.


When it comes to starting businesses — generating so-called seed capital — Canada has been successful, according to Bill Mantel, an assistant deputy minister in the Ontario government’s Ministry of Research and Innovation. “There’s always a few places in the top tier, then there’s a big gap and then there’s the second tier. We’re at the top of that second tier,” Mantel said. But when it comes to turning those little start-ups into full-blown corporations, Canada has had less success, he said. “Canada has tremendous expertise in generating the knowledge, but we’re not as good as Israel at commercializing and bringing things to market,” Dr. Barry Rubin, a leading vascular surgeon and Canadian medical leader, told Israeli journalists, specifically referencing the country’s biomedical innovations.


This sentiment was repeated by many industry and government representatives. “Israel is a country that has thrived by focusing on innovation, and that’s something that Ontario aspires to be like,” William Charnetski, Ontario’s chief health innovation strategist, said. “Countries that innovate thrive; those that don’t do not,” he added…

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







David Yin                                         

                                 Forbes, June 5, 2016


Eighteen and fresh out of high school, Yossi Matias reported for his first day of military service at the Hatzerim Airbase in the Negev Desert, approximately 100 km south of Jerusalem. As a reward for passing several rounds of standardized tests and a six-day selection test involving problem solving and disaster management exercises, Matias had been selected to train as a pilot for the Israeli Air Force, widely considered one of the most prestigious positions in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The program was intense, with only one out of six trainees completing it. But the next phase – operational missions in a volatile region in constant turmoil – was even more challenging. “I was responsible for flying airplanes in pretty demanding situations,” recalls Matias. “These challenges make later challenges in life look smaller.”


After six years as a pilot and obtaining a doctorate in computer science from Tel Aviv University, Matias began his career as a research scientist, first at Weizmann Institute and later at Bell Laboratories. His name appears in thirty patents and a hundred journal papers. Yet, rejecting a cushy life in academia, Matias went on to co-found Zapper Technologies, where he pioneered customized and contextual search technologies, and worked as CTO and Chief Scientist of HyperRoll, an enterprise software company that was later acquired by Oracle…In 2006, while thinking about his next venture, Matias received a call from Google … to set up an R&D center in Israel. “This was an opportunity to take up a start-up-like challenge, to build a team and decide on projects with maximum impact,” explains Matias, who has since grown the team to 500 engineers.


Under Matias’ leadership, Google’s R&D center in Israel has developed several of the company’s most prominent innovations in search. These include Google Suggest (which provides autocomplete suggestions in the search box), Google Trends (which tracks viral search terms), and Google Live Results (which delivers more direct results to popular enquiries, such as foreign exchange rates and sports scores). Starting from a project that aimed to put the Dead Sea Scrolls online, the center has also led Google’s digitization efforts, which have since expanded to thousands of historic documents globally.


Google is not alone in setting up camp in Israel. As early as 1974, Intel had already recognized the country’s strengths in innovation and built its first R&D plant outside of the United States there. Over the next forty years, it became Israel’s largest tech employer and exported a billion processors. Many of these processors were developed at Intel Israel, such as the 8088 (the first PC processor), the Pentium MMX (which became the most popular processor of the 20th century), and the Centrino (the first laptop processor with wifi).


More than 250 global companies have R&D labs in Israel today, with 80 of them being Fortune 500 companies. Two-thirds are American tech giants such as Facebook … and Apple …, but there is an increasing presence by Chinese and Korean players such as Huawei and Samsung. Some build greenfield operations, while others acquire smaller companies which they build upon – out of HP ’s eight R&D facilities in Israel, seven evolved from buyouts. “If you’re a multinational company today, one of your assets would be a R&D center in Israel,” says Yair Snir, a director of M&A and business development at Microsoft … “Especially if you’re looking for an innovation hub and adding an extra mile to do things differently.”


Over the past few decades, Israel has cemented its reputation as the “Start-up Nation”, a nickname popularized by a 2009 book of the same title by Saul Singer and Dan Senor. Between 1999 and 2014, Israelis started 10,185 companies, with half of them still in operation and 2.6% having annual revenues of over $100 million. Several became billion-dollar unicorns and were subsequently bought over by foreign tech giants, such as Viber and Waze (acquired by Rakuten and Google, respectively). Others sought listing on foreign stock exchanges, with over 250 Israeli companies going public on the tech-focused NASDAQ since the 1980s. After the U.S. and China, Israel is the most represented country on NASDAQ. Despite its size, Israel clearly has a disproportionate impact on global innovation.


In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2013 best seller David and Goliath, he describes the famous battle at the Valley of Elah. Though confronted with a much larger and better armed opponent, David (the future king of Israel) reacted with speed and agility, ultimately killing the towering Goliath with a slingshot. Gladwell continues by arguing that seeming disadvantages can prove to be hugely favorable in other situations. Like David, Israel is a living example of turning weaknesses into strengths and triumphing over the odds. At first sight, it appears limited by its small size, precarious geopolitical environment, and lack of natural resources. But what seems like weaknesses can also be translated into strengths.


Israel’s innovative sectors are in part the result of its numerous vulnerabilities. With almost no resources, it has limited potential for resource-intensive primary and secondary industries. As a result, it was necessary for Israel to invest heavily in education and maximize the intellectual capacity of its people. Its economy naturally gravitated towards knowledge and innovation-heavy industries. It was able to overcome its lack of freshwater and become a leader in desert agriculture by developing world-class technologies in drip irrigation and desalination – an example of Israel’s penchant for turning limitations into assets. Today, swaths of desserts in Israel have been converted into dates and olives orchards, with such produces forming a sizable portion of the country’s agricultural exports….                                                                               

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



HOW ISRAEL IS TURNING PART OF THE NEGEV                                                                

DESERT INTO A CYBER-CITY                                                                              

Ellen Nakashima and William Booth                                                                                                

Washington Post, May 14, 2016


Here in the middle of the Negev Desert, a cyber-city is rising to cement Israel’s place as a major digital power. The new development, an outcropping of glass and steel, will concentrate some of the country’s top talent from the military, academia and business in an area of just a few square miles. No other country is so purposefully integrating its private, scholarly, government and military ­cyber-expertise.


Israel is a nation of 8 million people with little in the way of natural resources. But in global private investment into cyber­security firms, it is second only to the United States, with half a billion dollars flowing to the sector annually. Israel has not only vowed to repel the thousands of daily hack attacks against targets as diverse as the electric grid and ATMs, but it has also promised to build its commercial cybersector into an economic powerhouse.


More quietly, the Jewish state is also at the cutting edge of cyberoffense, developing stealthy computer weapons to penetrate its enemies’ networks. The United States and Israel, working together, launched the world’s most destructive cyberweapon known to date, Stuxnet, which was let loose on Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility to devastating effect.


But where the two countries diverge is in Israel’s apparent ability, because of its size, history, geography and culture, to organize itself to defeat cyberthreats. Different sectors of society — that in the United States do not have a tradition of collaborating — appear willing in Israel to work closely together under a strong centralized authority. “You will not find it in the United States,” said Eviatar Matania, the head of the National Cyber Bureau. “First, we have more enemies than others. We understand that the cyberthreat is here and now. Second, a lot of Israel’s high-tech and innovation culture is in cyber. This is where we can gain an advantage over other countries in defending ourselves. And thus, we see cyber not just as a threat to mitigate, but also as one of our economic engines.”


That strategy is the foundation of Beersheba. A cyber emergency response team, which was launched in 2014 to respond to cyber crises, will be housed in the midst of this booming development. It is part of the National Cyber Security Authority, which is mandated to protect all private-sector systems. Nearby, next to a new advanced technology park that already houses cyberfirm incubators and global companies such as PayPal, Lockheed Martin and Deutsche Telekom, backhoes are preparing a construction site that will become the headquarters of the Israeli military’s cyberdefenders.


Eventually, the nation’s secretive, elite cyberattack branch — the army’s Unit 8200 — will also burrow in here. The two branches are scheduled to merge next year. They in turn will work closely with the National Cyber Security Authority. Joining the effort will be the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, which as well as its role in Israel and the occupied territories, has been a key cyber player for more than a decade. And completing the complex is Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which is the nation’s top school for cybersecurity. The university will also work with the cyber-response team.


“What you get out of that is the research capabilities that academia brings, the real-world knowledge that the [tech firms] bring, the hands-on experience that the military brings, alongside the entrepreneurial ability that the start-ups bring,” said Nadav Zafrir, a former head of Israel’s Unit 8200, who is himself now a tech entrepreneur. “You put all that together, it sparks magic.” Israel will never achieve a ­cyberespionage network on the scale of the United States. But it wants to be feared in the region, and its computer hacking and spying skills are sophisticated and innovative. “The United States has more capabilities than Israel in cyberspace,” said Gabi Siboni, director of the cybersecurity program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “But we are small. We are very anxious, and it’s the difference between a speedboat and an aircraft carrier. We go very fast.”


So central is security seen for the state’s survival that every citizen — men and women alike, with exceptions for ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Arab population — is required after high school to complete a term of military ­service. The cream of the computer science and math crop are scouted by the elite military ­cyber-units when they are as young as 14. “If you ask me what’s the biggest secret of the Israeli high-tech system, it’s the military’s ability to look at people when they are in high school,” Zafrir said…

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





MORE POSITIVE SIGNS FOR THE ISRAEL-CHINA RELATIONSHIP                                                    

Judith Bergman                                                  

Algemeiner, May 26, 2016


Welcome to the beauty of Chinese-Israeli cultural relations. Seen against the backdrop of solid loathing of all things Israeli that so dominates the European cultural establishment, the relations between China and Israel almost seem like something out of a dreamlike alternate reality. The good news is that there is nothing imaginary about them. The story of popular Israeli children’s writer Yanetz Levi, author of the series “Adventures of Uncle Arie,” which has sold more than 700,000 copies in Israel, is a good example of this.


Levi arrived in China this week and was received like a rock star. Fifty thousand copies of his books sold in China before he arrived, and since his arrival tens of thousands more have been sold. In one school alone, 5,000 copies were purchased. While that may not seem like much for a country the size of China, with a population of more than 1 billion, it is still very impressive for a children’s writer from small Israel. The Chinese children greeted him like a superstar, shouting “Lioooshushu” (the equivalent of “Uncle Arie” in Chinese) as he came to their schools. What is there not to love? Evidently, Chinese children are not raised on a BDS-infused diet of lies and hatred.


According to the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, “Israeli culture and its diversity are very popular in China. In addition, culture is an important instrument for deepening relations between the Israeli and Chinese peoples. Bringing Yanetz Levi is an excellent example of the unique connection between the two cultures. The embassy will continue to bring different Israeli artists to increase the Chinese public’s exposure [to Israel].”This is of course what all embassies do, including Israeli embassies in Europe, but there Israel has little long-lasting success to show for its efforts in the cultural fields. Only this week, British professor Catherine Hall refused to accept Tel Aviv University’s prestigious Dan David prize for her work in gender history, after the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement called on her and other recipients to refuse the prize due to “Tel Aviv University’s complicity in the occupation.”


Such pathetic anti-Israeli posturing seems almost inconceivable from a Chinese scholar. Last August, 19 Chinese teenagers came to visit Israel as their prize for winning a prestigious science contest in their country. Given a choice of travel destinations, the teenagers chose Israel, where they attended a special 10-day workshop hosted by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. That says something about the high standing of Israel in China, but it also speaks volumes about the respect for Israel’s accomplishments, which Chinese children evidently learn and hold from an early age. “For China, Israel is never a small country, but rather, a happy and innovative startup nation with many cutting-edge technologies and rich experience in governing social affairs,” Chinese Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping said in 2014.


As Levi’s popularity proves, Israeli and Chinese children appear to cherish the same kind of children’s books; there appears to be no brainwashing going on about Israel and the “detrimental effects” of too much exposure to “Zionist” literature, as one imagines taking place among the BDS-infatuated European cultural elites. Already today, there are places in Europe, including Sweden, where classic children’s literature is reviewed by publishing houses for the purpose of altering or deleting potentially “offensive” passages for the more sensitive political palates of the current generations. Several Swedish and Danish writers have even had books taken off the market in Sweden. The step toward limiting other works of litrature simply because of its national origins is a very small one in the current toxic climate of BDS and political correctness.


It is therefore an example of unusual normalcy that China is increasingly proving to be a thriving and growing place for cultural exchange with Israel. The positive ramifications of that relationship can hardly be overestimated, nor should they be taken for granted.     




On Topic Links


The Real State of the Israeli Economy (Video): Breaking Israel News, Apr. 28, 2016—Financial expert Ronen Avigdor discusses the true, complex state of the Israeli economy compared to the weakening world economy. Is the news good or bad?

A Deeper Look at Israel, a Global Medtech Innovation Hub: Arundhati Parmar, Medical Device Business, May 3, 2016—When it comes to medtech markets, the story is always of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the so-called BRIC nations. But when it comes to novel healthcare solutions, you can’t ignore the global innovation hub that is Israel. The medtech subsector accounts for a majority of the overall Israeli life sciences industry—53% of all Israel-based life sciences companies active in 2014 were medical device companies, according to Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI), a nonprofit trade group representing the company’s high tech and life sciences industries.

Israel-Greece Relations: Ambassador Arye Mekel, BESA, May 18, 2016—This study, by Dr. Arye Mekel (a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and former Israeli ambassador to Greece) focuses on the strengthening of Israeli-Greek relations, especially since 2010. The enhanced ties between the two countries allows for the emergence of a new pro-Western geopolitical bloc in the eastern Mediterranean.

As Old Friendships Cool, Netanyahu Looks East for Support: Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg, Apr. 26, 2016—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to Israel’s international relations is changing. Criticized by U.S. and European leaders over his policies toward the Palestinians, the Israeli leader is cultivating allies in other parts of the world that share economic interests and enemies.










Yom Ha’atzmaut/Independence Day: Israel at 68: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, May 12, 2016— For a country that has had to fight so valiantly just to stay alive, the idea of peace may seem like a mirage.

What Israel Has Accomplished: Rafael Barak, National Post, May 12, 2016 — Today, as Israel marks 68 years of independence, we celebrate the story of how a tiny nation turned its adversity into its competitive advantage.

On Celebrating Independence Day: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, May 10, 2016— Last week, we commemorated the genocidal murder of 6 million Jews – the most barbaric episode in our 2,000 years of exile which was sporadically interspersed with discrimination, persecution, expulsion and pogroms.

Yom Ha’atzmaut: An Unyielding Marriage of 3,500+ Years: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Times of Israel, May 9, 2016 — This year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut commemorates the 68th anniversary of a marriage that has lasted more than 3,500 years.


On Topic Links


Take a 150-Second Trip Around Israel to Celebrate Independence Day (Video): Nicky Blackburn, Israel 21C, May 1, 2016

68 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Israel (Video): May 8, 2016

Ottawa’s Support of Israel Deserves More Than Just Words: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 4, 2016

Israel, the Only Country Standing in the Way of the Mideast Descending Into Total Chaos: Robert Fulford, National Post, Mar. 18, 2016




Baruch Cohen                                             

CIJR, May 12, 2016


In Loving Memory of Malca z’l


For a country that has had to fight so valiantly just to stay alive, the idea of peace may seem like a mirage. But as Israel marks its 68th anniversary, Jews all over the world celebrate knowing that Israel is more than a country, and that, remarkably, a relative stability, if not yet full peace, has been secured.


Israel today inspires millions of Jews around the world. From the ruins of a decimated Europe, from the ashes of the gas chambers, from Jews escaping antisemitism from all parts of the world–Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, and dozens of other lands–our people, the Jewish people, created a vital new land, dynamic and democratic, and sustained by our ancient faith: Am Israel Chai! The Jewish People Lives!


Theodor Herzl’s dream became reality due to the sacrifices of the entire Am Israel. Today, the Zionist dream is fulfilled: Israel is the Jewish state for all Jews, with the proud Israel Defense Forces guaranteeing that they will live in peace. As Am Israel celebrates its 68th birthday, Israel is a strong, powerful nation, economically, culturally and technologically successful, the fulfillment of the Zionist dreams of Theodor Herzl, David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin.


Am Yisrael Chai! Od Avinu Chai! L'shanah haba'ah b'Yerushalayim! The Nation of Israel lives! Our Father still lives! Next Year in Jerusalem! In our eternal Land, created for all our People.

Happy Birthday Israel!


                                    (Baruch Cohen, who will be 97 in October [!],

is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)






Rafael Barak

National Post, May 12, 2016


Today, as Israel marks 68 years of independence, we celebrate the story of how a tiny nation turned its adversity into its competitive advantage. Geography has never been in Israel’s favour. Not only are we surrounded by enemies, we are also a small country, over half of which is a desert, with few natural resources and no regional trading partners. This unique experience, as our region’s only democratic country living in a state of perpetual threat, has fostered one of the world’s most resilient and surprisingly optimistic people, who always have an eye to a better future.


Although much ink has been spilled on the miracle of our physical survival, the history of modern Israel is also a social and economic miracle. Few countries have experienced such a dramatic shift over a relatively short period of time. Since our birth in 1948, our population has grown more than tenfold (600,000 to 8.2 million) and 68-fold in GDP ($4.5 billion to $305 billion). We began as a developing country barely able to feed and house Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe and those forced to flee their homes in Arab lands. Out of necessity, we overcame this adversity through ingenuity, stubborn determination and technological innovation. 


Nothing exemplifies this dogged perseverance better than our achievements with water. In May 1939, at the dawn of Nazi Germany’s advance throughout Europe and when the Jewish community in present-day Israel was under British rule, colonial officials claimed that Jews must be restricted from returning to their national homeland because of inadequate water resources. Nonetheless, Israeli leaders were not deterred and began work on a sophisticated national water plan to prove the British wrong.


Over the years, Israel has implemented centralized water planning and real pricing, educated citizens to conserve water, desalinated sea water, seeded rain clouds, used drip irrigation and recycled nearly all its wastewater to use on crops. Today, despite the fact our population has grown tenfold and rainwater has even diminished by half, there is no water shortage. On the contrary, there is a water surplus and we even export this invaluable resource and water technologies to our Arab neighbours and around the world. When California and eastern Africa recently faced severe droughts, the first place they turned to was Israel.


Now more than ever, the world is coming to Israel for partnerships and Canada has been designated a priority nation. Israel and Canada are natural partners. Ranked first and second as the most educated populations in the OECD, we share democratic values and a yearning to make the world a better place. Our friendship goes beyond party lines. Strong people-to-people ties sustain our bilateral relationship with daily connections between the very best of our scientists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, political officials, artists and youth.


Next Sunday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will land in Tel Aviv to kick off a weeklong trade mission. From the outside looking in, tiny Israel plays a rather unique part in the Premier’s 2016 global trade agenda, considering the other stops were China and India. The over 150 delegates from diverse sectors in business and academia are not coming for our market, but to partner with us to collaborate on upgrading their capabilities and technologies. In addition to solutions in water technology, we are working with Canada and other friendly countries to commercialize knowledge in life sciences, agri-tech, medicine, quantum computing, nanotechnology and cybersecurity.


Looking back, we have achieved so much in our 68 years. Despite our ceaseless efforts to keep our people safe, we continue to hope for a better future and we value our peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. We also understand that our region is getting worse — whether it is Iran flaunting its defiance to its international commitments or the introduction of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war — and we don’t foresee it getting better anytime soon. Israelis wake up every morning not knowing what to expect and have become accustomed to a perpetual state of regional instability.


Despite this reality, we are ultimately an optimistic people who make the most out of every single day. Like a diamond, the pressure around us has turned us into a strong, beautiful nation. Our resiliency and ingenuity have not only kept us alive, but have catapulted us to the forefront of science and the global economy. Above all else, our friendship with like-minded countries such as Canada serves as a pillar of strength by connecting us to a better world that exists beyond our challenging neighbourhood.




Isi Leibler

 Candidly Speaking, May 10, 2016


Last week, we commemorated the genocidal murder of 6 million Jews – the most barbaric episode in our 2,000 years of exile which was sporadically interspersed with discrimination, persecution, expulsion and pogroms. Today, the nation mourns those who sacrificed their lives in the course of the creation and ongoing defense of our Jewish state. Against this somber background, tomorrow we will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. This period evokes mixed feelings. Our prayers for peace with our neighbors and our desperate hope that our children and grandchildren shall not be obliged to fight wars, remain but a dream with no respite on the horizon.


Moreover, those who believed that after Auschwitz, anti-Semites would represent an extinct species, were deluded and are dismayed at the upsurge of mankind’s most enduring hatred. Prior to the creation of the State of Israel, anti-Semites accused Jews of being the source of all the evils confronting mankind. Today hatred of the Jew as an individual has been transcended by global hatred of the Jewish state, which is widely perceived as the prime source of global instability, the greatest threat to peace and one of the most oppressive countries in the world. This warped view is promoted at a time when the Dark Ages of barbarism have returned to the region, with millions being killed, displaced and denied human rights.


Moreover, even Western countries – especially Europe whose soil was soaked with Jewish blood during the Holocaust – once again stand by and either abstain or even formally support efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. It is somewhat like a déjà vu of the world’s indifference to the Nazi extermination of the Jewish people.


But, on Independence Day, while fully conscious of the evil surrounding us, we must resist the whining of the prophets of doom in our ranks. We should celebrate that we are the most blessed Jewish generation in 2,000 years. Jewish youngsters today graduating from schools and universities have no appreciation of the fear and insecurity that dominated the lives of Jews before the creation of the state empowered us.


As we follow the chilling anti-Semitic tsunami in Europe, including recent expressions in the British Labour Party, and observe European Jews once again being transformed into pariahs, we are angered rather than fearful. That is because a Jewish state guarantees that today Jews threatened with murder or oppression have a haven. We should celebrate the fact that Israel has created the most powerful military force in the region. Our tiny state is one of the top 10 world military powers, with the ability to deter and defend itself against the combined forces of all our adversaries. Could Holocaust survivors, Jews oppressed in Arab countries, or Soviet Jews facing anti-Semitism 70 years ago, have even remotely dreamed that their descendants would enjoy the status we have achieved in an empowered Israel? That alone provides boundless grounds for rejoicing.

Furthermore, we have cause to celebrate the ingathering of our exiles, ranging from broken survivors of concentration camps to Ethiopian Jews – and the extraordinary success in which these Jews from all corners of the world and different levels of society have been molded into a vibrant nation.


Our political system is frequently condemned as dysfunctional and only a small percentage of our more talented citizens are tempted to enter into professional politics. Yet, the fact remains that despite being the only country in the world whose existence is constantly challenged, and facing ongoing terrorism and wars, we have succeeded in retaining one of the most democratic systems in the world. Indeed, our freedom of expression and robust press has frequently been condemned for being over indulgent in providing platforms for elements promoting our enemies. We rightfully grant full equality to Arab Israelis, notwithstanding that their radical parliamentary representatives support our enemies and demonize their own state.


Our legal system, despite its weaknesses and the controversy over the excessive interventionist power of the High Court, ensures that all Israelis are treated with equality. Indeed the fact that a president, prime minister and senior cabinet ministers were indicted, convicted and imprisoned, highlights the proper functioning of our legal system. This, too, is an aspect of life in which we should take pride and celebrate. We are blessed to have one of the most robust economies in the world and we must rejoice in the fact that we have more new high-tech initiatives and start-ups per capita than any other nation. Not to mention that over the past decade, our own desalination processes have overcome an endemic drought condition and, despite prevarications, we will in future become a gas exporting nation.


Beyond this, we can take pride in our vibrant cultural and religious life. This is a Jewish state that pulsates in accordance with the Jewish calendar, catering for religiously observant as well as secular streams. There is also positive evidence that more of the ultra-Orthodox are serving in the army and entering the workforce and there is gradual and steady progress of their integration into mainstream society. By and large, aside from the excessive influence of the ultra-Orthodox establishment and the Chief Rabbinate, there is a broad spiritual awakening and greater understanding between the various sectors of Israeli society. The Israeli Jewish identity is still evolving, but at a time when assimilation and intermarriage are having a devastating impact on the number of Diaspora Jews, Israel guarantees the continuity of the Jewish people. This, too, is something to celebrate.


Finally, we should rejoice that, aside from parochial politics, the nation is today more united than it has been since the great divide over the Oslo Accords. Whether one supports or opposes Benjamin Netanyahu as leader, it is clear that the reason for the failure in peace negotiations is due to the Palestinian determination to bring about an end to Jewish sovereignty. We should be celebrating that today, aside from the extreme Left and Right, there is a consensus on these issues with the major Zionist political parties in accord that our objective is to separate ourselves from the Palestinians, but that for security reasons, we cannot move forward until a genuine peace partner emerges from their ranks.


So as we celebrate 68 years of statehood, we should dismiss the doomsayers and rejoice at our extraordinary achievements. If we review the progress we have made since 1967 – despite misgivings about retaining the status quo – we have every reason to celebrate this Independence Day. That in recent years Israelis have consistently polled as one of the happiest nations in the world, speaks for itself. We pray that, with the help of the Almighty, we will continue to flourish and grow even stronger and ultimately realize our dreams for peace with our neighbors. Chag sameach               





YOM HA’ATZMAUT: AN UNYIELDING MARRIAGE OF 3,500+ YEARS                                      

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo                                                                                

Times of Israel, May 9, 2016


This year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut commemorates the 68th anniversary of a marriage that has lasted more than 3,500 years. This may sound like a paradox, but it is the inescapable truth about the Land of Israel and the Jews. No marriage has lasted so long, been so deep in its commitment and so overwhelming in its love as the one between the Jews and their homeland. Yet no marriage has been so painful or so tragic, for the partners were forced apart by the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago. The bride and groom pledged unconditional love but were not reunited for another 1878 years. But for all those years, nothing – absolutely nothing – could emotionally separate the partners even when they were thousands of miles away from each other. This marriage did not depend on where the partners were located, but rather where their souls dwelt.


For the marriage to succeed, the Jews, metaphorically and unprecedentedly, lifted the Land of Israel from its native soil and transformed it into a portable homeland, taking it with them to all four corners of the earth. Only in 1948 were the people and its land physically reunited.


The founding of the State of Israel, then, is not the beginning of the marriage between the land and the Jewish people, but rather a reaffirmation of the marriage commitment that took place thousands of years ago between God and Abraham. The State of Israel was not established in 1948, but more than 3,000 years ago when Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah in order to bury his wife Sara. It was reaffirmed a few hundred years later when the Israelites inherited the land under the leadership of Joshua, immediately after Moshe’s death.


But no marriage should be taken for granted. Not even after 3,500 years. When a bridegroom offers his new wife a ring as a sign of commitment, he knows that this is only the first installment of an ongoing pledge. No marriage can endure if both partners do not constantly reinvest in their relationship. The moment a marriage is counted in years rather than marked by shared striving for new opportunities, it has come to an end. Only a mission – a common dream – can sustain a marriage, and only something greater than it will allow it to succeed. To paraphrase Aristotle, marriage is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. But a soul that has lost its purpose has lost itself.


Ironically, a significant part of the people of Israel today are struggling to stay spiritually wed to their land. Rampant materialism, secularism and religious fanaticism have eroded Israel’s sense of Jewish identity and the historical consciousness that gives meaning to its national existence. Growing numbers of its people lack Jewish self-understanding and question why they should live in this country at all. It is true that the wonderful Israeli soldiers are ready to sacrifice their lives for our country. But how long can this continue when Israel is nothing more than just a country? People are willing to die only for that by which they have lived. And human beings can live meaningful lives only when they know that there is something eternal worth dying for.


It is thus crucial to identify the element that has bound the two partners together for these thousands of years. And that element is, unequivocally, the mission to be “a light unto the nations,” as pronounced by God to the prophet Isaiah. The marriage was created to give birth to a wellspring of religious and moral teachings that will suffuse mankind with the knowledge that life is holy and that God awaits man’s response to His call in order to redeem His world. This then is the task of the Land and People of Israel: to elevate the human race so that it becomes a link between the divine and the earthly. For life is a mandate, a privilege – not a game or mere triviality. The Jewish people married the land in order to create a model society to be emulated by all mankind.


It is the rabbis who consecrate a marriage. But that is only part of their task. As pastors, their responsibility is to ensure the marriage’s success and tend to it if it flounders or stagnates. This is the task of Israel’s religious leaders today. They must transform the Jewish people by creating a spiritual longing for its unique mission, thereby restoring their marriage to its full potential after the long and difficult separation. True religious leaders should not be “honored” or “well respected.” Rather, as men of truth they should stir unprecedented awe among Israelis and all Jews. Simultaneously their towering personalities should draw people closer with their overflowing love.


The times demand unwavering religious and moral guidance. The religious leadership must extricate itself from the morass in which has become mired. In an unprecedented initiative, it must steer the ship of an inspiring, rejuvenated Judaism in full sail right into the heart of Israeli society, causing shockwaves that will impact every aspect of life. It can no longer be concerned just with the kashruth of our food, or with our Jewishness. Above all, it needs to inspire the kashruth of our souls. Like the prophets of old, our religious leaders must generate a spiritual revolution, triggering an ethical-religious uproar that shakes the very foundations of the state. Their complete failure to do so is nothing less than a tragic dereliction of duty. Israelis are waiting for such a move, and there is little doubt that their response will be overwhelming.


Only then will the Jewish people re-engage with its land. Only then can the Jewish people stay eternally married to its land. Only then will no third party, whether it is European Anti-Semitism, BDS efforts, Moslem Extremism, Jewish self-hate or the deceitfulness of UNESCO dare to interfere in its matrimonial bond. This is Israel’s hope and future. May God bless this eternal marriage!             




On Topic Links


Take a 150-Second Trip Around Israel to Celebrate Independence Day (Video): Nicky Blackburn, Israel 21C, May 1, 2016—It may be smaller in size than Lake Michigan, but Israel is unforgettable. From Eilat and the Red Sea in the country’s south, to the awe-inspiring Negev desert, and on to the beaches of the Mediterranean, the verdant hills of the Galilee, and to both ancient and modern cities, this is a country bursting with life and diversity.

68 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Israel (Video): May 8, 2016—68 reasons to celebrate Israel: diversity, hi-tech, fun, delicious snacks and much more. Share this to wish Israel a happy 68th birthday!

Ottawa’s Support of Israel Deserves More Than Just Words: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 4, 2016 —There are 192 member states in the United Nations. In the worst of them, girls and women are raped and trafficked as a matter of course. In many others, women have fewer legal, educational and employment rights than men.

Israel, the Only Country Standing in the Way of the Mideast Descending Into Total Chaos: Robert Fulford, National Post, Mar. 18, 2016 —Across the Arab world, dictators denounce Israel as a way of diverting the masses from their miserable condition. Surprisingly, this devious strategy works as well in 2016 as it did in the 1950s. And it fools educated Westerners as easily as it tricks starving Arabs.










Plunging Into the Peace Gap: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Jan. 29, 2016 — Is it possible to oppose a two-state solution under the current circumstances but to be for it in principle?

Those Nice Israel-Bashers’ Achilles’ Heel: Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 4, 2016— Why can’t Israel’s self-styled friends understand that the things they say about Israel are not in fact the sentiments of friends but of enemies?

France’s Ultimatum to Israel – Legally Flawed and Politically Imprudent: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Feb. 2, 2016— On  January 28,  2016, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in a statement issued after meeting with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, voiced a somewhat curious and ominous warning and threat, directed solely against Israel…

Israel is Not Isolated — it is Highly Sought After': Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom, Jan. 8, 2016 — On the face of things, Israel's standing in the international arena has never been worse.


On Topic Links


In Wake of Arab Terror Spree, UN Chief Castigates…Israel but Israel Responds: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2016

Hope is Not a Strategy: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 1, 2016

The Last Temptation of Barack Obama and John Kerry: Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy, Jan. 11, 2016

So, I Guess it Wasn’t all Israel’s Fault After All: Gary Gambill, National Post, Jan. 11, 2015



                                          David M. Weinberg     

                                      Israel Hayom, Jan. 29, 2016


Is it possible to oppose a two-state solution under the current circumstances but to be for it in principle? The answer is yes, and that is the de facto position of both the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the declared policy of the official opposition Labor party, as expressed this week by Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog. It's time to take a moment and reflect on this complex Israeli consensus, and to calibrate diplomacy accordingly.


In a formal speech and candid radio interview for which he was savaged by the extreme Left, Herzog stated the obvious: A two-state solution is "not realistic" in the current reality between Israel and the Palestinians. Absent the ability "to do it now," Herzog pledged to continue to "yearn" for a two-state solution, but honestly admitted that a Labor government would not be birthing a Palestinian state any faster than a Netanyahu government would.


In the meantime, Herzog's plan for the West Bank involves increased security measures for Israeli cities and settlements (fences), souped-up separation from the Palestinians (more fences), and confidence-building measures all around (more economic assistance to the Palestinians; more focused/restrained Israeli settlement policy; and a crackdown on terrorist teachers, preachers and practitioners). Sound familiar? Essentially this is a gloss on Netanyahu's approach. The most that Herzog can say to distinguish himself from Netanyahu is to argue that he would be "more serious" in implementing the tough security and moderate settlement policies that both leaders have talked about…


Like Netanyahu, Herzog believes the Israel Defense Forces must remain in the West Bank and especially in the Jordan Valley to secure Israel's eastern frontier. And like Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Herzog seeks a regional security conference with Arab nations that share Israel's concerns, to discuss new paradigms for peace diplomacy that go beyond the narrow, struggling two-state construct. (See Gen. Giora Eiland's creative proposals for four-way land swaps and shared sovereignty arrangements with Egypt and Jordan, published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies; or the sober proposals of Professor Shlomo Avineri for "halfway" measures, published in Foreign Affairs; or the modest proposals of former peace negotiator Tal Becker for "tangible" progress, published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.)


In short, a fully demilitarized and truly democratic Palestinian state (in the West Bank, if not also in Gaza, and allied with or subsumed by Jordan) that lives peacefully next to Israel with both Jews and Arabs free to live unmolested on either side of the border may be an ideal solution to the conflict.  But until a sea change in the Palestinian political culture happens to make that an actual possibility rather than merely a fantasy, no rational Israeli government is about to consider significant withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. That's an Israeli consensus; rare, but real and valuable.


Unfortunately, the Obama administration and much of the international community still messianically thinks that immediate establishment of a Palestinian state must be diligently pursued via pressure on Israel, regardless of the circumstances or the complete lack of interest in implementing such a scheme on the part of the Palestinians. To this end, some are even considering a U.N. Security Council resolution in 2016 that would gut Resolution 242 ("negotiated" borders and security) and instead attempt to dictate the parameters of, and an imposed timetable for, Israeli withdrawal. Others already are seeking to pressure and isolate Israel via labeling schemes, reprimanding speeches and boycotts.


But for people claiming to be friends of Israel, this path must be rejected. The confidence that precipitous Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank will magically create peace is unfounded. It is a belief that must be called blind to reality and hostile to the security of Israel. It runs contrary to the experience-based views of the vast majority of Israelis and Israeli political leaders. It is not consistent with friendship for the Jewish state. What the world ought to be doing instead is helping to close the "peace gap." By this I mean helping Palestinian leaders bring their own constituency towards the levels of compromise and moderation that Israeli leaders have successfully achieved in Israel.


Consider the following: As the result of an intensive political-educational process, Israelis have shifted their views tremendously over the past 30 years. They've gone from denying the existence of a Palestinian people to recognition of Palestinian peoplehood and national aspirations; and from insisting on exclusive Israeli sovereignty and control of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to acceptance of a demilitarized and peaceful Palestinian state in these areas. Israel has also withdrawn entirely from Gaza, and allowed a Palestinian government to assume authority over 95% of West Bank residents. Israel has made the Palestinian Authority three concrete offers for full-fledged Palestinian statehood in more than 90% of the territory of the West Bank (all rejected by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas).


By contrast, the Palestinians have utterly failed to move themselves away from rejectionism and toward peace with Israel. Many Palestinian political and religious figures still deny the historic ties of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, and refuse to accept the legitimacy of Israel's existence in the Middle East as a Jewish state. They continue to demand the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in pre-1967 Israel as a way of swamping and destroying the Jewish state.


They support and glorify Palestinian suicide bombers, missile launchers, shooters and stabbers, all of whom target Israel's civilian population. The Palestinian airwaves and newspapers are filled with viciously anti-Semitic and bloodthirsty propaganda. Palestinian leaders crisscross the globe and lobby every international institution to condemn, vilify, criminalize and isolate Israel. So there is an enormous gap between the two peoples in their readiness for peace. It is just not true that both Israelis and Palestinians are equally ready to accept one other and to compromise with each other. It is not true that both sides are ready to make difficult sacrifices for peace. There is no "balance" here…                                                                 

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




THOSE NICE ISRAEL-BASHERS’ ACHILLES’ HEEL                                        

                             Melanie Phillips

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 4, 2016


Why can’t Israel’s self-styled friends understand that the things they say about Israel are not in fact the sentiments of friends but of enemies? Whenever someone says “As a friend/candid friend/staunch ally of Israel…,” you know that what’s coming is a vicious kick to the head. Delivered, of course, purely in a spirit of friendship. The Canadian foreign minister Stéphane Dion, describing himself as a “steadfast ally and friend to Israel,” criticized both the Palestinians’ unilateral pursuit of statehood and the Israelis’ settlement construction. “Canada is concerned by the continued violence in Israel and the West Bank,” he said. “Canada calls for all efforts to be made to reduce violence and incitement and to help build the conditions for a return to the negotiating table.”

Dion seemed to be suggesting that Israeli terrorism victims were somehow asking for it and that Palestinian murder attacks were to be equated with Israeli self-defense. Doubtless he thought he was being studiously even-handed and therefore fair, wise and just. But in the battle between victim and aggressor, legality and illegality, truth and falsehood, even-handedness inescapably entails blaming the victim and tacitly endorsing illegality and lies.

A few days later the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did something similar. While condemning the current wave of Palestinian stabbings and other attacks upon Israelis, he claimed the perpetrators were driven by “alienation and despair.” “It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism,” he said. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage at such an apparent justification for Palestinian violence, Ban appeared genuinely affronted. His words, he said, had been twisted. Palestinian attacks and incitement were reprehensible and he condemned them.

Yet having stated, “Nothing excuses terrorism,” he then repeated the excuse for Palestinian terrorism. “No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.” Well actually, no one who pays the slightest regard to reality could maintain such a thing. Whatever the provocation, it is not “human nature” to set out to murder as many innocents as possible, including women and children.

Ban’s apparently real bewilderment that anyone could possibly think he supports terrorism arises from two things. The first is his fundamentally false view of the Arab war against Israel. The “occupation” does not cause Palestinian violence. It is unending Palestinian violence that prolongs the “occupation.”

The Palestinians aren’t driven by despair at the absence of their state. How can this be so, when they have turned down repeated offers of such a state since the 1930s? Isn’t it more logical to assume that the relentless incitement – to which Ban himself alluded – which tells them falsely that Israel plans to destroy al-Aksa and that their highest calling is to kill Jews and conquer the whole of Israel has rather more to do with it? Moreover, this is not an occupation in the normally accepted understanding of the word. Israel has not occupied another people’s land, because the disputed territories never belonged to another people.

Nor is Israel there out of an aggressive colonial impulse. The Jews are entitled to hold and settle the territories under international law several times over, both as a legally permitted defense against continuous belligerence and from their never-abrogated entitlement to do so – as the only people for whom this was ever their national homeland – under the terms of the Palestine Mandate. These false premises about Israel’s “occupation,” however, are widespread.

This helps explain the distressing fact that most of the almost daily Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis aren’t noted at all in the Western media. Few realize that Israelis going about their everyday lives are routinely being murdered or wounded by stabbing, shooting, rock-throwing or cars driven into bus queues. This onslaught is not being reported because, to the Western media, it is the understandable response to occupation. The settlers have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way, goes the thinking, and other Israelis have also brought this upon themselves merely by being Israelis.

So to the West, these Jewish victims of terrorism just don’t exist. At the same time, the Western media never reports the near-daily Palestinian incitement of the mass murder of Israeli Jews. That doesn’t fit the narrative of Palestinian victims of Israel. For identical reasons, the media also ignores the victimization of Palestinians by other Palestinians. According to Palestinian Media Watch, last year the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights received 292 complaints of torture, maltreatment and physical assault in the West Bank and 928 in the Gaza Strip.

The West remains almost totally ignorant of the tyrannical abuse Palestinians inflict upon one another. But why is its Palestinian narrative thus hermetically sealed against the truth? Here’s the second reason for Ban’s bewilderment. Progressives subscribe to universalizing agendas. These by definition deny any hierarchy of cultures or moral values. So Palestinian society cannot be held to be innately hostile to human rights, and Palestinian terrorism is equated (at best) with Israeli defense against such attacks. Thus on Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all things, Ban equated anti-Semitism with anti-Muslim bigotry. But the two are not remotely comparable. Of course there are some who are irrationally bigoted against Muslims. But most anti-Islamic feeling is a rational response to Islamic violence and aggression. By contrast, anti-Jewish hatred is true bigotry as it is based entirely on lies, myths, and paranoid and deranged beliefs about Jews who have never posed an aggressive threat to anyone.

Ban and others committed to universalism think this equation is fair. In fact, it diminishes Jew-hatred and sanitizes Islamic aggression. Which is why progressives who think they are pure because their hearts so conspicuously bleed for the oppressed are not pure at all. They are morally corrupt. They aren’t driven by compassion for any kind of victim. What drives them instead is hatred of supposed victimizers in the “powerful” West. Their purported even-handedness thus camouflages a moral degeneracy…

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





Amb. Alan Baker

JCPA, Feb. 2, 2016


On  January 28,  2016, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in a statement issued after meeting with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, voiced a somewhat curious and ominous warning and threat, directed solely against Israel: If imminent efforts being organized by France to end the deadlock in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians end without result, France intends to “live up to our responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and recognize a Palestinian state.”


This curious, unprecedented, biased, and far from friendly ultimatum raises some pertinent legal and diplomatic questions regarding France’s capacity and standing, both in the context of the Israel-Arab peace process, as well as regarding France’s “responsibilities” as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

France, as a leading member of the EU, is party to the EU’s signature as witness to the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This agreement constitutes the internationally acknowledged backbone of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The commitments set down in this agreement, to negotiate the permanent status of the territories as well as other central issues such as Jerusalem, borders, settlements and refugees, are solemn Palestinian and Israeli obligations which France, together with its EU partners, as well as the United States, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway are obligated to honor after placing their signatures on the agreement as witnesses.


By the same token, the UN General Assembly in its Resolution A/50/21 of December 4, 1995, supported by France, expressed its full support for the Oslo Accords and the peace negotiation process. In its capacity both as a signed witness to the agreement, as well as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it is incumbent on France, which voted in favor of the UN resolution endorsing the agreement and the negotiation process, not to attempt to undermine the same agreement and process, nor to prejudge issues that are still open and to be negotiated.


In threatening to unilaterally and arbitrarily recognize a Palestinian state, France is clearly prejudging the issue of the permanent status of the territory, which, as set out in the agreement itself, is a negotiating issue yet to be resolved.  In this context, France and its European colleagues cannot and should not act to undermine the Palestinian obligation set out in the Final Clauses of the agreement, according to which no step will be taken to “change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” Thus, in acting to unilaterally organize an “international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” France is attempting both to bypass and undermine a negotiating process called for by the UN in several resolutions since 1967, all supported and endorsed by France.


France is also undermining the various reciprocal commitments between the Palestinian leadership and Israel, including a letter from Yasser Arafat to Yitzhak Rabin dated September 9, 1993, in which Arafat declared that “all outstanding issues relating to the permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.”


As such, by engaging in a parallel, un-agreed process with the declared aim of imposing upon one side – Israel – the outcome of an international conference, France is, in fact, acting ultra vires all accepted norms and principles of conflict-resolution. Since all the agreed issues between Israel and the Palestinians, including borders between them, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, security and cooperation, as well as the permanent status of the territory, require reciprocal negotiation, France cannot deceive itself and the international community into believing that these issues can be imposed arbitrarily by any conference or international or regional organization…                                                                                                          

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




Shlomo Cesana                               

                                                 Israel Hayom, Jan. 8, 2016


On the face of things, Israel's standing in the international arena has never been worse. The media and other outlets, mainly from the left side of the political spectrum, are telling us that the world actively wants us to settle the conflict with the Palestinians and that the international arena is getting behind the Palestinian demand that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders. They constantly remind us that there are no international embassies in Israel's capital — Jerusalem. They note that the U.S. and the EU consistently condemn Israeli construction and sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Certain organizations talk about imposing sanctions on Israel and blast our policies as a matter of routine. But does all this truly reflect Israel's standing in the world? Is Israel really as isolated, rejected and unwanted as they say, because of its current policies toward the Palestinians? Well, we asked Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely these questions, who didn't seem the least bit perturbed.


"Israel is not isolated or rejected," she says, speaking to Israel Hayom at her office in Jerusalem. "Quite the opposite, actually. The media has a focus problem — they always focus on the problems and the familiar rather than highlighting positive achievements. If you ask the average Israeli about our relations with the world, they will recite the very narrow view of the ties with Europe — a very vocal relationship primarily because of the EU's tendency to condemn the building of every home beyond the Green Line. The average Israeli is also aware of the Israeli-American relationship over the last year, which revolved around the deep conflict surrounding the Iranian issue. But that is a mistake."


With the help of a few charts, Hotovely presents a very different picture — of flourishing commerce and active diplomatic relations with 80% of the world's nations, all suggesting that Israel is not at all isolated, neither diplomatically nor economically. "Today, Israel is holding the U.S.'s hand on one side — a very strong ally — and on the other side the hands of India, China and Japan," she says, underscoring Israel's international dealings.


"In my capacity as deputy foreign minister I have traveled to Japan and to Vietnam, and I discovered a very different discourse there than the one in Europe," she goes on to say. "In the East, the discourse is about what Israel contributes to the world, and not about what Israel does wrong. Israel can indeed contribute greatly: It can provide solutions to enormous problems in the fields of air pollution, farming, water management and medicine, to name a few. "Our experience suggests that Israel is not a leper; it is highly sought after. There is a lot of warmth coming in Israel's direction from countries that, for years, were aligned with the Arab world. These countries have become fans of Israel, and, as I said, seek our friendship. In the Far East Israel is seen as a superpower. A country unparalleled in its work ethic. They want to learn from Israel about entrepreneurship."


Q: So the problems are mainly in Europe? A: "In Europe there has also been a shift. The French know that global terrorism tops their agenda right now. Suddenly the Palestinian issue has become negligent, though they will never stop obsessing about it. These days, when you meet the prime minister at the climate change summit in Europe, the main topic of conversation is how to fight terrorism and how to use Israel's cyber know-how to fight radical Islamism. "So with all due respect, the notion of what the world is concerned with, and what is at the center of the world's focus, is anachronistic. It is the old way. We have now entered a new era in international discourse. It is all about global solutions in medicine, agriculture, cyber warfare and technological innovation."…                                                                                                                          

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


On Topic


In Wake of Arab Terror Spree, UN Chief Castigates…Israel but Israel Responds: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2016—Ban Ki-Moon had it right when he began his remarks to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Jan. 26. In the first session of 2016, Ban said that this new year started the same way that 2015 ended, with “unacceptable violence.” We’re with you there.

Hope is Not a Strategy: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 1, 2016—Our government is playing games with itself. And losing. On Wednesday Chaim Levinson reported in Haaretz that for the first time in nearly two years, last week the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria approved new building plans for a small number of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Last Temptation of Barack Obama and John Kerry: Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy, Jan. 11, 2016—Despite all sense and reason, the president and his secretary of state will have one more go at Middle East peace.

So, I Guess it Wasn’t all Israel’s Fault After All: Gary Gambill, National Post, Jan. 11, 2015—A friend of mine recently lamented that the Western media was downplaying the brutal string of Palestinian stabbings that has claimed 25 Israeli lives since September. I nodded in assent, but couldn’t help recalling the closing scene of the film Casablanca. With religious and ethno-sectarian violence rampant in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and across the Arab world claiming several tens of thousands of lives every year, fuelling an unprecedented wave of global Sunni Islamist terror, Israeli-Palestinian troubles “just don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”










Oh No, Canada: Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom, Jan. 26, 2016 — It was clear that it wouldn't take long for Canada's new government to sink its liberal fangs into Israel.

How Can We Stand Aside as the World Falls to Poisonous Totalitarian Beliefs?: Robert Fulford, National Post, Jan. 22, 2016— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still has CF-18 fighter jets supporting the anti-ISIL campaign but he’s made it clear this is only a temporary measure.

Canada’s Growing Jihadi Cancer: Dana Kennedy, Daily Beast, Dec. 14, 2016 — Ignore growing Muslim fundamentalism and extremism in Canada at your peril.


On Topic Links


Canada to Send 'Tough Message' on Violence to Ally Israel: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2016

Sorry Israel, Canada is Climbing Back on the Fence. And Other Reasons to Fear for Humanity: Kelly McPharland, National Post, Jan. 26, 2015

Why Jews Will Continue to Support the Tories: Michael Taube, Canadian Jewish News, Jan. 21, 2015

When Foreign Policy Hits Foreign Reality: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Jan. 25, 2016



OH NO, CANADA                                   

     Ruthie Blum                                                                                              

Israel Hayom, Jan. 26, 2016


It was clear that it wouldn't take long for Canada's new government to sink its liberal fangs into Israel. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's loss to Justin Trudeau in October virtually guaranteed an end to the honeymoon between Ottawa and Jerusalem. Sunday's message from Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion to the Jewish state, then, though contemptible, was not the least bit surprising.


Borrowing a page from the U.S. State Department's playbook — and emulating an abusive marriage — Dion professed his love and commitment while throwing a punch. "As a steadfast ally and friend to Israel," his statement read, "Canada calls for all efforts to be made to reduce violence and incitement and to help build the conditions for a return to the negotiating table." This little of piece of immoral parity came on the heels of a couple of particularly horrifying stabbing attacks by Palestinian terrorists against two Israeli women — one slashed to death in front of her traumatized teenage daughter; the other wounded while pregnant.


But the above brutal assaults are merely drops in the bucket of the uprising that began in September and has been continuing daily without letup. Nor is the purpose of this "lone-wolf intifada" — spurred by incitement on social media and given the stamp of approval by Palestinian Authority officialdom — to bring about a "return to the negotiating table." It is, rather, to beat the Jewish state into submission and defeat. Because the terrorists have not succeeded in this mission, a number of Israel's good "friends" in the West have been trying to lend a hand.


In Europe, which is now having its own experience with Islamist terrorism, Israel is literally and figuratively being labeled as the culprit of the Palestinian war being waged against it. The idea is that if settlements in Judea and Samaria ceased to exist, both peace and Palestinian statehood would emerge. The United States under President Barack Obama also holds this preposterous position, as its ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, made clear in his speech last week at a national security conference in Tel Aviv. In his bosses' eyes, there are "two sides" to the Palestinian-Israeli violence, and each has to do its part to curb it. In other words, Israel has to cease adopting policies that cause terrorists to go out and murder innocent people.


But Canada — O Canada — had a different approach. Harper and his foreign ministry did not qualify their country's loyalty to the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. The sole conditions about which they spoke were those that had to be met by the PA. It was thus with a heavy heart that the Israeli government and conservatives in Canada and elsewhere parted with Harper and watched an Obama clone replace him.

Indeed, it was the Canadian Conservative Party that responded most loudly to Dion's statement for "equat[ing] … terrorist attacks with Israeli settlement construction. This is unacceptable."


On Monday, as Shapiro "apologized" for the poor timing of his comments from the previous week, Dion's spokesman, Joe Pickerill, "clarified" Canada's reprimand and explained why a longer "tough message" to Israel was soon to be delivered. "We're not necessarily equating the violence by any means on both sides," Pickerill said. "But there have been issues, and we need to be in a position to point that out."


These words coincided with a stabbing attack on two women at a grocery store in a Jewish community northwest of Jerusalem. The terrorists were killed by a security guard before they had the chance to detonate the pipe bombs they had brought with them to maximize carnage. Shame on you, Canada.






                Giulio Meotti

     Arutz Sheva, Jan. 25, 2016


What better place than the Davos Forum in Switzerland to offer "the new image of Canada" to the people who count? Like George Soros, who elected Justin Trudeau his favorite politician. The compassionate Canadian premier in Davos was shown with a Jamaican who praised the green energies at the Caribbean and a woman who told him of her suffering in Gaza. 


Since being elected, “baby face” Trudeau has excelled in photo opportunities and tears. There is the photo of Trudeau receiving, between “ahlan sahlan wa” (welcome in Arabic) and a selfie, the first group of Syrian migrants at the Toronto airport, reaching out to them with warm clothes to face the Canadian winter. There is the photo in which Trudeau, to atone for his sense of guilt, is dressed in a robe of Indian natives and dances to a Punjabi song. There is a photo in which Trudeau appears in a sort of gay nativity alongside an MP of his party, his partner and their two daughters conceived with the surrogate mother.


But the first real test of leadership, the massacre in Burkina Faso and the killing of six civilians who were Canadians, served to wipe off Trudeau’s smile. Yves Richard, who lost his wife Maude in the massacre, hung up on the phone call from the Canadian Prime Minister, who had waited three days before presenting his condolences. Maude’s mother has instead told Trudeau that if he wants to honor her murdered daughter, he must abandon his plans for disengagement from the war on the Islamic state.


The day after the killing of Canadians in Burkina Faso, where they had gone to build schools and hospitals, Trudeau visited a mosque in Peterborough. And when he spoke at the podium, Trudeau equated the terrorist attack with the arson at a mosque in Canada. He used stronger words for the mosque than those he used to condemn the massacre in Burkina Faso. It is the impossible paradox of a liberal prime minister who, since being elected, defended the right of Canadian women to wear the hijab (Islamic veil), but also praised Canadian secularism and in whose government,  half of his ministers chose not to pronounce the words of the rite “So Help Me God” during their oath.


The first political gesture by Prime Minister "baby face" Trudeau was the withdrawal of the six Canadian fighter bombers engaged in the war on ISIS. This despite the fact that Canada is, in proportion to its population, the country from which more volunteers left to fight for the Caliphate. Terrorism has not been the priority of Trudeau in these three months, not like “gender equality”, global warming and the injustice committed centuries ago against the Natives. And the Prime Minister has already made it clear that for Israel, which had a great and principled ally in Harper's Canada, the music has already changed.


Trudeau’s government itself is a postcard vision of political correctness: half of the ministers are women ("we are in 2015!" chanted Trudeau at the presentation of the executive), there are two Aboriginal and three members of the Sikh minority, including a disabled person and an Afghan refugee. A policy of “inclusion” that Trudeau has also applied to migrants is open doors for male homosexual Syrians, less to heterosexuals because those are more likely to embrace ISIS. At least in the magical world of Justin Trudeau who, according to the perfidious Ezra Levant, “cannot distinguish Hummus from Hamas”. Trudeau's stupid smile is the mirror of the Western decadence.






TO POISONOUS TOTALITARIAN BELIEFS?                                

                    Robert Fulford

National Post, Jan. 22, 2016


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still has CF-18 fighter jets supporting the anti-ISIL campaign but he’s made it clear this is only a temporary measure. He plans to withdraw the fighters and deal with the Islamist threat through non-military means — medical aid, help for refugees, training of soldiers. He believes we can accomplish much through diplomacy. That’s the Canadian way, the peaceful way, as his statements since taking office indicate. But his approach reveals a misunderstanding of both Canada and the current emergency.


The Islamist progress across the globe resembles the wave of poisonous totalitarian beliefs that swept across Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, first conquering the continent under Hitler and later subjugating Eastern Europe for half a century under the Soviet empire. The Nazis and communists had the great advantage of an industrial base to provide armaments. The Islamist totalitarians, on the other hand, have the advantage of a religious fervour that attracts supporters among some fellow Muslims as far away as China and Indonesia.


In defending democracy in the 1940s against the Nazis and the communists, Canadians played a direct and costly part. They did not hope that the dictators would be handled by diplomatic means. The Canadian tradition is to use military means when necessary, as it was in the past and appears likely to be in the current onslaught. We love to see ourselves as peacekeepers but forget that Canadians have often been warriors. Jack Granatstein, the distinguished historian, has claimed for years that we have ignored our military history while over-emphasizing our claims of keeping the peace. It’s important to know that Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, who won the Nobel peace prize for inventing the UN force in the Suez crisis, was also among the inventors of NATO, the most powerful military alliance in history.


Islamists constitute a fierce, angry and intensely savage element in politics. A UN report this week said ISIL has about 3,500 Iraqis, mainly Yazidi women and children, “currently being held in slavery.” The Yazidis, a non-Muslim minority in northern Iraq, are considered devil-worshippers by ISIL. Francesco Motta, head of the UN human rights office in Iraq, said ISIL seeks to “eliminate, purge or destroy minority communities. The intent seems clear — genocide.” The report said doctors, teachers and journalists opposed to ISIL ideology have been singled out and murdered. Motta also described the use of children as young as nine being forced to give their blood, compelled to operate as suicide bombers and drafted for armed combat roles.


The jihadists have learned to fight with car bombs, sending them in waves against their targets. They use small drones for reconnaissance. They impose what they consider correct sexual morals with horrendous fury. Videos show ISIL soldiers punishing homosexuals by throwing them off seven-story buildings in Syria. One victim, who somehow appeared to survive the fall, was quickly stoned to death by the watching crowd below.


This is no longer a question limited to the Middle East, and it reaches far beyond ISIL. It is now a global problem, a form of spiritual and military colonialism that reaches into every corner of the planet. Just last weekend, six Canadians engaged in African humanitarian work, including the building of a school, were killed in a Burkina Faso hotel attack by al Qaida terrorists. On Wednesday Singapore arrested 27 Bangladeshi construction workers as Islamists.


Islamists, while by no means unified, share the belief that much of Muslim civilization has fallen into heresy and drifted away from the Koran, adopting alien practices from the West. They hope to reconstruct society according to their definition of “pure Islam” by killing heretics or forcibly converting them. Waves of would-be jihadists have come to the Middle East to take part in this movement or have set themselves up as foreign emissaries who can act out Islamist violence at home, anywhere from Indonesia to Canada. They all claim to be heading in the correct direction but so far ISIL, with its claim to embody a Caliphate to rule the world, appears to have the most attractive reputation.


It’s possible that the U.S.-led coalition will defeat ISIL (it already shows signs of weakness) and kill its chief, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi (also known as The Caliph Ibrahim). But the Islamist ideology is strong and infectious enough to revive itself and remain a menace to the world for decades. If most of the democracies consider this movement an imminent danger that must be opposed, Canada should not stand by and watch.





Dana Kennedy

Daily Beast, Dec. 14, 2015


Ignore growing Muslim fundamentalism and extremism in Canada at your peril. That’s the message an increasingly vocal number of moderate and secular Canadian Muslims and counterterrorism experts want to send to the United States and the rest of the world. The attention focused … on the Ontario branch of al-Huda, the same religious school the San Bernardino killer Tashfeen Malik attended in Pakistan, is just one example of increasing Saudi-funded Islamic fundamentalism all over Canada.


Radical mosques with reported ties to terrorist organizations have flourished in and around Toronto as well as in Montreal, while some politicians, including Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, have been reluctant to constrain or even criticize these groups, defending them in the name of diversity and multiculturalism.


For instance, the Mississauga, Ontario, branch of the al-Huda school closed for at least one day last week after CBC reported that four girls who studied there left Canada to join the so-called Islamic State. “Farhat Hashmi runs al-Huda and denies that jihad is being taught there,” Dr. Farzana Hassan of the moderate Canadian Muslim Congress told The Daily Beast. “She’s not telling the truth. I’ve listened to her podcasts in the Urdu language. She praises jihad and says women should participate. There is a possibility of impressionable young women hearing that and being radicalized.”


Canada’s new telegenic Prime Minister Trudeau, 43, the ultimate anti- Donald Trump, was pictured last week warmly greeting the first of an estimated 25,000 Syrian refugees arriving between now and March 2016. (Canada’s population is about one-tenth of the United States, so that’s as if 250,000 Syrian refugees were arriving in the U.S. in the space of just four months.)


But the feel-good photo op for Trudeau and his Liberal Party could portend trouble for Canada, according to Brian Levin, a former NYPD officer turned counter-terrorism and extremism specialist at San Bernardino State. “People talk about Mexico,” said Levin. “They totally overlook Canada. Nobody has any idea what’s going on up there. In my opinion it’s a bigger threat than Mexico.”


Given Prime Minister Trudeau’s good looks, his political pedigree, a one-time TV-anchor wife who the New York Post called “the hottest First Lady in the world,” and his headline-making cabinet featuring many women and minorities, he recently scored a spread in Vogue. But he’s come under fire at home for what some see as pandering to the Muslim vote and an extreme political correctness. He has said he will revamp aspects of C-51, the controversial anti-terrorism bill that the Conservative Party enacted this year.


Trudeau visited mosques all over Canada as part of his political campaigns leading up to his recent win. He visited a notorious Montreal mosque in 2011, a month before the U.S. classified it as an al Qaeda recruitment center. He addressed a mosque with ties to Hamas and, unlike his Conservative Party predecessor, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he defends the right for Muslim Canadian women to wear the niqab, a veil covering the face, when they take their citizenship oaths.


In 2011 Trudeau objected to the word “barbaric” in a Canadian citizenship guide for new immigrants that included the passage: “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, honor killings, female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence.” “There’s nothing the word ‘barbaric’ achieves that the words ‘absolutely unacceptable’ would not have achieved,” said Trudeau, who later retracted his statements after a Twitter firestorm.


Trudeau’s key aide helping him nail the Canadian Muslim vote was Omar Alghabra, 46, a Saudi-born Syrian immigrant. Alghabra was once president of the controversial Canadian Arab Foundation which lost government funding in 2009 because of its support for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, which are officially listed as terrorist groups in Canada. Trudeau just named Alghabra as his Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Consular).


Alghabra once denounced Toronto’s police chief for taking part in a charity walk for Israel and also said the chief’s official visit to Israel was akin to going to meet with Saddam Hussein. When Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat died, Alghabra put out a press release expressing “sorrow and regret.” He condemned a major Canadian newspaper for using the term “terrorist” to describe Islamist terrorist groups like al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.


Canada has had its share of terrorist plots, some of them aimed at the United States. The so-called Toronto 18 were arrested in 2006 before the could carry out planned attacks involving bombs, storming the Parliament, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and beheading the prime minister. According to former NYPD counter-terrorism analyst Mitchell Silber in his book The Al Qaeda Factor: Plots Against the West, members of this group were also linked to an infamous British jihadist, Aabid Khan, who wanted to use Canada as a staging area for attacks on the United States. Two men in Atlanta, Georgia, were arrested after sending him video of potential targets in and around Washington, D.C.


Algerian-born al Qaeda member Ahmed Ressam, the so-called Millennium Bomber, lived for awhile in Montreal while plotting to bomb The Los Angeles International Airport in 1999. Suspicious border agents arrested him after they found explosives in his car on a ferry from Vancouver to Washington State. In retrospect, the Ressam operation staged out of Canada was seen in counter-terror circles as a small-scale prelude to the horrors of the 9/11 attacks.


The mastermind of the attacks on New York and Washington had plotted to carry out a second wave using at least one naturalized Canadian citizen originally from Tunisia, Abderraouf Ben Habib Jdey, also known as Farouq al-Tunisi. The United States has a $5 million reward on Jdey’s head, noting on the State Department’s official website, “Authorities remain concerned that Jdey may attempt to return to Canada or the United States to plan or participate in a terrorist attack.”


Last year Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian convert to Islam and the son of a Libyan father, fatally shot a soldier in Ottawa and stormed Parliament before being killed by police. But, at least so far, homegrown attacks in Canada are fairly rare. Mubin Shaikh, a former Muslim extremist turned counter-terrorism operative who went undercover for Canadian intelligence to infiltrate the Toronto 18, says the low incidence of terror attacks is precisely because of Canada’s policy of multiculturalism.


“Our multiculturalism is a protective factor and one of the reasons why Canada has seen lower numbers [of terrorist incidents] is largely due to the fact that Muslims are treated very well,” Shaikh told The Daily Beast. “This is the whole point, that when you actively prevent isolation and marginalization, so too do you see a low level of extremism,” said Shaikh. “The problem in the U.K. is that although there is multiculturalism, there is a colonial history that grievances-centered people can take advantage of.”


Others disagree and say multiculturalism has spawned a more subtle type of fundamentalism taking over some communities to the point where they look like areas of the Middle East with a corresponding mind-set—and dangers. A public middle school not far from Toronto made news in 2012 when the principal bowed to local pressure and allowed the cafeteria to be used as a mosque for Friday prayers led by a local imam known for his fundamentalist rhetoric. The girls have to sit behind the boys and menstruating girls are forced to stand in the back.


The notorious Toronto imam Aly Hindy of the influential Salaheddin mosque is well known for calling the 9/11 attacks a CIA operation, praising the Toronto 18 terrorists, calling homosexuality “invented garbage” and mocking Canada. When denouncing what he called “illegal sexual acts,” Hindy once added, “Illegal means illegal in Islam, not illegal in the Canadian law, because everything is legal in the Canadian law, except children. Other than that, they allow everything.” …

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





On Topic


Canada to Send 'Tough Message' on Violence to Ally Israel: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2016—Canada's new Liberal government said on Monday it was delivering a "tough message" to Israel as a good friend after expressing concern about Israeli-Palestinian violence, Israeli settlements and unilateral Palestinian moves.

Sorry Israel, Canada is Climbing Back on the Fence. And Other Reasons to Fear for Humanity: Kelly McPharland, National Post, Jan. 26, 2015—Just what Canada needed is Ottawa climbing back on the fence of moral relativity in relations with Israel and Palestine. So, for 10 years we acknowledged the reality of Israel’s right to exist without being attacked, bombed, threatened or invaded by neighbours who want to wipe it off the earth, but now we’re back to pretending Israel could somehow end the violence if only it was nicer to the people who hate it.

Why Jews Will Continue to Support the Tories: Michael Taube, Canadian Jewish News, Jan. 21, 2015 —Not long after the Tories were defeated in last year’s federal election, some pundits started to speculate that Canada would experience a long-term political shift. What would this entail? The pundits didn’t know for sure. Yet their magical crystal balls of (ahem) wisdom suggested a significant realignment of policies, ideas, individuals and groups.

When Foreign Policy Hits Foreign Reality: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Jan. 25, 2016—There is something perversely reassuring about the Liberal government’s insistence that it will stand by a controversial arms sale to Saudi Arabia despite the kingdom’s egregious human-rights record, exemplified by the recent execution of an outspoken Shia cleric. It suggests that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understands that foreign policy is often more about dark arts than sunny ways.
















Beth Tikvah Synagogue & CIJR Present: The Annual Sabina Citron International Conference: THE JEWISH THOUGHT OF EMIL L. FACKENHEIM: JUDAISM, ZIONISM, HOLOCAUST, ISRAEL — Toronto, Sunday, October 25, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The day-long Beth Tikvah Conference, co-chaired by Prof. Frederick Krantz (CIJR) and Rabbi Jarrod R. Grover (Beth Tikvah), open to the public and especially to students, features original papers by outstanding Canadian and international scholars, some his former students, on the many dimensions of Emil L. Fackenheim's exceptionally powerful, and prophetic thought, and on his rich life and experience. Tickets: Regular – $36; Seniors – $18; students free. For registration, information, conference program, and other queries call 1-855-303-5544 or email yunna@isranet.org. Visit our site: www.isranet.org/events.


Tribute to Stephen Harper: Hillel Neuer, UN Watch, Oct. 20, 2015— Prime Minister Stephen Harper: We owe you a profound debt of gratitude.

American Jewish Leaders – Speak Up Now!: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 21, 2015 — It is now evident that, by and large, the Jewish establishment has adopted a policy of deafening silence in relation to the virulent one-sided political attacks and sins of omission by the Obama administration concerning our barbaric adversaries.

No Country for Jews?: Daniel Gordis, New York Daily News, Oct. 18, 2015— We have a young language instructor at Shalem College in Jerusalem, where I work.

Netanyahu, Husseini, and the Historians: Jeffrey Herf, Times of Israel, Oct. 22, 2015 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments about Haj Amin al-Husseini's impact on Hitler's decision-making about the Final Solution in Europe do not stand up to the consensus of historical research.


On Topic Links


Canada Loses a Moral Compass: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Oct. 20, 2015

Benghazi: Where Was Hillary?: Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2015

The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada: Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, Oct. 16, 2015

A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse: Henry A. Kissinger, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2015



TRIBUTE TO STEPHEN HARPER                                                                                            

Hillel Neuer

UNWatch, Oct. 20, 2015


Prime Minister Stephen Harper: We owe you a profound debt of gratitude. Over the past decade, when others were silent, you courageously led Canada to defend moral clarity at the United Nations, defying dictatorships and double standards.


I will never forget, at the infamous UN Human Rights Council, during the years 2006 to 2009 when the U.S. was not a member, how your government became the only one in the world to vote against poisonous resolutions sponsored by Syria's Assad, Qaddafi and other murderous tyrants. I will never forget how, in 2009, you were the first in the world to pull out of the antisemitic Durban II Racism Conference, leading Italy, the U.S., Germany, Netherlands, Australia, and others, to follow. Thanks to your actions, when Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered the opening speech, leading democracies walked out, and the entire conference was exposed as a sham.


I will never forget how you stood alone against French President Jacques Chirac and what he called a "great majority of states," to successfully prevent the 2006 Francophonie Summit from singling out Israel for opprobrium after the Hezbollah-Israel war of that summer. I will never forget how you defended my organization, UN Watch, when pro-Hamas UN official Richard Falk, a 9/11 Truther, tried to shut us down; nor will I forget how your government condemned the UN's cynical and corrupt appointment of Falk's wife to a similar UN human rights post. I will never forget how your government supported UN Watch's ongoing work to give a platform to democracy activists, dissidents and human rights heroes, suffering under the world's worst tyrannies.


For all of those reasons, and for so many others, those of us at the United Nations who work to restore the founders' ideals were deeply fortunate to see a world leader who showed, through extraordinary actions, how a profound commitment to basic principles can defy even the most intense peer pressures of international politics. Thank you, Prime Minister Harper, and may God bless you.                                                                       




AMERICAN JEWISH LEADERS – SPEAK UP NOW!                                                                          

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 21, 2015


It is now evident that, by and large, the Jewish establishment has adopted a policy of deafening silence in relation to the virulent one-sided political attacks and sins of omission by the Obama administration concerning our barbaric adversaries. It is only the outspoken Zionist Organization of America and minor fringe groups that have been directly speaking out against the Obama administration’s intensified anti-Israel rhetoric.


Until now, I had a nagging suspicion that the failure of American Jewish leaders to confront the biased Obama administration attacks on Israel was not merely a reasoned strategic approach. But aware of their devotion to Israel and having witnessed their former stalwart defense of Jewish interests, I was reluctant to conclude that fear was their primary consideration. But the ongoing silence by the Jewish establishment in relation to the current disgraceful behavior of the Obama administration, its secretary of state and State Department spokesmen is incomprehensible.


Today Israeli Jews are confronted by frenzied, psychotic young Arabs who have been brainwashed into believing that murdering innocent Jews will deliver them directly to paradise and transform them into glorious martyrs. This barbarism, inculcated by hideous indoctrination from kindergarten and subsequently nurtured in the mosques and throughout Palestinian social media, is creating monsters. It is publicly sanctified by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has whipped up a frenzy on the insanely false allegation that Israel is bent on destroying al-Aksa mosque and building a Jewish temple on its ruins.


The demonic madness is fortified by the heroic profile the PA adopts in relation to the killing sprees and which Abbas refuses to condemn. The perpetrators are also aware that if they survive, the PA will pay them generous salaries in prison and provide pensions for their families. Under such circumstances, one would surely expect leaders of the civilized world to condemn these Arab murders of innocents. But aside from lip service condemning “violence,” world leaders and global organizations have, at best, adopted a sickening moral-relativist position in which Jewish victims are equated with their murderers.


Until now, the US took pride in defending Israel and proclaiming its shared values and common democratic Judeo-Christian heritage. Even though there were occasional policy differences between the countries, Israel considered itself a true ally of the US, irrespective of whether a Democrat or Republican occupied the Oval Office. Since Barack Obama was elected president, in his obsession to build bridges between the US and Islam he sought to demonstrate that there is daylight between Israel and America. His Third World outlook also led to his abandoning long-term US allies and groveling to Islamic fundamentalist terrorist states like Iran, mistakenly believing that appeasing them will make them more moderate.


Over the past month we have witnessed the climax of the US political abandonment of Israel. Obama, who repeatedly condemned Netanyahu for remarks made in the heat of an election even after he had clarified and withdrawn them, has emboldened the Palestinian extremists by failing to utter a single condemnation of Abbas for his vicious ongoing incitement and calls for Jewish blood. Worse still was Secretary of State John Kerry, frequently referred to as an “unguided missile,” who made a series of inexcusable, demented remarks.


He refused to apportion the blame for the killings and even hinted that the Israelis had brought the violence upon themselves. He related to “violence on both sides.” Both sides? He claimed that the Palestinian killings had been ignited by Palestinian “frustration” over the failure to negotiate a two-state solution and the “massive increase of settlements over the course of the last few years.” This bears no relevance to the facts as settlement building in the past few years has been dramatically reduced. The frenzied killers are unquestionably motivated by the incitement and lies being promoted insisting that Jews plan to destroy al-Aksa.


Kerry also demanded that the status quo at the Temple Mount be upheld “in word and deed,” knowing full well that this has constantly been the policy of the Netanyahu government. Such ambiguous statements gives credence to the Palestinian lies. State Department spokesman John Kirby even accused Israel of violating the status quo on the Temple Mount – and thus effectively also fanning the flames – and called on “both leaders” to combat the incitement which leads to a “cycle of violence.” He was subsequently forced to retract but the damage could not be undone. He also stated that the US had “seen some reports of security activity that could indicate the potential excessive use of force” against the psychotic killers.


To top off these outrageous outbursts, Obama made a statement assiduously avoiding use of the term “terrorist” and patronizingly endorsed Israel’s right to “protect its citizens from knife attacks” and “random violence.” He then spat in our faces by effectively blaming both Netanyahu and Abbas for the incitement. For Israel’s one true ally to descend to such Orwellian depths as placing the Israelis in the same category as religious fanatics orchestrating a killing spree is utterly contemptible and encourages the barbarians to accelerate their murderous activity, and the US administration thus assumes a share of responsibility for the murder of innocent Jews that will no doubt transpire in the days to come.


To compound matters, the White House critiques also serve as a green light for Europe to pressure Israel into making further unilateral concessions which would undermine its security.  Under diplomatic constraints, Netanyahu has instructed ministers not to respond to the shameful remarks by the administration and its spokesmen. But such restraints do not apply to American Jewish leaders. In the face of such a reprehensible attitude by the Obama administration to Israel at a time when psychotic murderers kill Jews in the streets, one would have expected the American Jewish community’s leadership to condemn their government and launch public protests.


American Jews continuously stress that in the US they can speak out as Jews without fear. Yet when it comes to criticizing Obama, despite the fact that the majority of the nation and both houses of Congress support Israel, a deafening silence envelops the Jewish leadership…

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





NO COUNTRY FOR JEWS?                                                                                                                            

Daniel Gordis

New York Daily News, Oct. 18, 2015


We have a young language instructor at Shalem College in Jerusalem, where I work. She's a religious Muslim who wears a hijab, lives in one of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and is a graduate student at Hebrew University. She's fun and warm, and a great teacher — the students like her a lot.


Late last spring, when things here were quiet, some of the students mentioned to the department chair that as much as they'd spoken with her over the past couple of years, they'd never discussed politics. They were curious what someone like her thought about the conflict in this region, especially now that she was teaching at an unabashedly Zionist college, had come to know so many Jewish students and had developed such warm relationships with them. How does someone like her see things here? How did she think we would one day be able to settle this conflict?


"So ask her," the department chair said. "As long as you speak to her in Arabic (she's on staff to help our students master the language), you can talk about anything you want." They did. They told her that since they'd never discussed the "situation" (as we metaphorically call it here in Israel), they were curious how she thought we might someday resolve it. "It's our land," she responded rather matter-of-factly. Stunned, they weren't sure that they'd heard her correctly. So they waited. But that was all she had to say. "It's our land. You're just here for now."


What upset those students more than anything was not that a Palestinian might believe that the Jews are simply the latest wave of Crusaders in this region, and that we, like the Crusaders of old, will one day be forced out. We all know that there are many Palestinians who believe that. What upset them was that she — an educated woman, getting a graduate degree (which would never happen in a Muslim country) at a world class university (only Israel has those — none of Israel's neighbors has a single highly rated university) and working at a college filled with Jews who admire her, like her and treat her as they would any other colleague — still believes that when it's all over, the situation will get resolved by our being tossed out of here once again.


Even she , who lives a life filled with opportunities that she would never have in an Arab country, still thinks at the end of the day the Jews are nothing but colonialists. And colonialists, she believes, don't last here. The British got rid of the Ottomans, the Jews got rid of the British — and one day, she believes, the Arabs will get rid of the Jews. That is one of the many reasons that this recent wave of violence, consisting mostly of deadly stabbings carried out by Israeli Arabs (not Palestinians living over the Green Line) and Arab residents of east Jerusalem, has Israelis so unsettled.


Yes, the reality on the ground is frightening. People are being stabbed on the street, on buses, in malls. Those being attacked are elderly men and women and young boys on their bicycles. No one is immune, and unlike the last Intifada, when suicide bombers sought high casualty counts so you felt safe away from crowds, now nowhere feels definitely safe. But even that is not the most debilitating dimension of this new round of attacks on Jews. What's most sobering is the fact that this new round of violence has made it clear, once again, that this conflict is simply never going to end.


What Israelis are coming to understand by virtue of the fact that the attackers are not Palestinians living in refugee camps but Israeli Arabs — who have access to Israeli health care, Israeli education, Israel's free press and right of assembly, protection for gays and lesbians and much more — is that this latest round of violence is simply the newest battle in the War of Independence that Israel has been fighting for 68 years now. The war began even before Israel was a state — Arabs attacked Israel not when David Ben-Gurion declared independence on May 14, 1948, but when the United Nations General Assembly voted — on November 29, 1947 — to create a Jewish state. When formal independence followed some six months later, the attacking Arab militias were replaced by standing armies of five Arab nations — Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and even Iraq (which joined the fray even though it did not share a border with Israel).


Over the years, the enemies have shifted (Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but now there are the Palestinians and Iran is both pursuing a weapon of mass destruction and declaring that Israel must be destroyed) and the methods have changed (standing Arab armies have been replaced by terrorism at home and an international campaign to delegitimize Israel in the UN and beyond). But the basic goal of Israel's enemies remains the destruction of the Jewish state. Increasingly, Israelis (who, polls show, overwhelmingly would like to get out of the West Bank and live peacefully alongside a Palestinian State that would recognize Israel) fear that while for us this is a conflict that can be settled by adjusting borders and guaranteeing security for both sides, for our enemies this is an all-or-nothing battle in which the only end would be for Israel to disappear.


Israel's iconic diplomat, Abba Eban, said in the early 1970s that "the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." It was, sadly, an apt observation. And it is still true. By joining the violence and responding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' incitement (Abbas insists that he's not inciting, but that is patently false — if nothing else, his ludicrous claim that Israel is planning to change the status quo on the Temple Mount proved sufficient to inflame an entire region), Israeli Arabs have foolishly put themselves on the wrong side of history. Rather than take a page from Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps protesting peacefully on behalf of other Palestinians, a violent minority has chosen to show its support for the larger Palestinian cause by attacking innocent Jews. And by and large, Israeli Arab leadership has been silent…

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





NETANYAHU, HUSSEINI, AND THE HISTORIANS                                                                                    

Jeffrey Herf

Times of Israel, Oct. 22, 2015


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments about Haj Amin al-Husseini's impact on Hitler's decision-making about the Final Solution in Europe do not stand up to the consensus of historical research. Husseini's importance in Nazi Berlin lay far more in assisting the Third Reich's Arabic language propaganda toward the Arab world and in mobilizing Muslims in Eastern Europe to support the Nazi regime. That said, Netanayhu's comments about Husseini's lasting impact on Palestinian political culture are very much on the mark.


In his now famous comments at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on October 20, Netanyahu claimed that Haj Amin al-Husseini convinced Hitler to change his anti-Jewish policy from one of expulsion to one of extermination. "Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time [of the meeting between the mufti and the Nazi leader]. He wanted to expel the Jews," Netanyahu said. "And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here [to mandatory Palestine],'" continued the prime minister. "'So what should I do with them?' He [Hitler] asked," according to Netanyahu. "He [Husseini] said, 'Burn them.'"


In the Knesset in 2012, the prime minister asserted that Husseini "was one of the leading architects of the Final Solution," and that "he, more than anybody else, convinced [Hitler] to execute the Final Solution, and not let the Jews leave [Europe]. Because, God forbid, they would come here. Rather that they would be annihilated, burned, there."


Having spent many years working on the history of modern Germany and on the period of Nazism and the Holocaust, I was surprised to see these quotes and this interpretation. I've never seen these comments cited before in the vast literature on the subject. This interpretation of the events of November 1941 is not supported by the scholarship on Holocaust decision-making. The prime minister overreached in his effort to push back against efforts to diminish Husseini's role as a collaborator and ideological soulmate with Nazi Germany.


As this newspaper has helpfully published the English translation of the German record of the meeting between Hitler and Husseini on November 28, 1941 in Berlin, I will place the conversation in historical context. Amidst the vast scholarship on Hitler's decisions to implement a Final Solution of the Jewish question in Europe, the work of two historians stands out in particular. In his 1991 study, Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution, Richard Breitman drew on Himmler's appointment calendar to make a compelling argument for an "early" decision, that is, one that was emerging in spring 1941 before the invasion of the Soviet Union and became more obvious with the Einsatzgruppen murders that began immediately after that invasion in June 1941.


Subsequently, Christopher Browning, in works that are summarized in The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942, addressed in more detail the evolution of Hitler's thinking and decision-making. Browning's now widely accepted conclusion is that in the midst of "euphoria" over the seeming victory over the Red Army in summer 1941, Hitler took a series of decisions to implement the Final Solution at the latest by October 1941. The historical reconstruction of the decision-making process is complex and well beyond the scope of a newspaper column. There is no substitute for reading Breitman and Browning along with the synthesis of the issue in Saul Friedlander's second volume of Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945: The Years of Extermination.


In my own The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, a study of propaganda within Germany, I pointed out that by summer and early fall of 1941 Hitler's fiction of an international Jewish conspiracy waging war against Germany, a fiction which Hitler had repeatedly mentioned since a speech in the Reichstag on January 30, 1939, seemed in his own eyes to be taking shape in the form of the alliance of Britain with the Soviet Union following his invasion of Russia in June 1941. The anti-Hitler coalition confirmed in his mind the truth of his conspiracy theory. As "international Jewry" appeared intent on waging a war of extermination against Germany, so he would "exterminate the Jewish race" in Europe in retaliation. He had been discussing these ideas since early 1939. They reached a fever pitch in summer and early fall of 1941 before he met with Husseini…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic


Canada Loses a Moral Compass: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Oct. 20, 2015  — Apparently antagonized by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s sometimes-brash leadership style and itching for change after almost a decade of conservative rule, Canadians have delivered Harper a surprising and decisive defeat at the polls.

Benghazi: Where Was Hillary?: Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2015 — American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow John Bolton on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s conduct on the night four Americans were murdered.

The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada: Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, Oct. 16, 2015  — In September of 1928, a group of Jewish residents of Jerusalem placed a bench in front of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, for the comfort of elderly worshipers.

A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse: Henry A. Kissinger, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2015 — The debate about whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran regarding its nuclear program stabilized the Middle East’s strategic framework had barely begun when the region’s geopolitical framework collapsed.







Beth Tikvah Synagogue & CIJR Present: The Annual Sabina Citron International Conference: THE JEWISH THOUGHT OF EMIL L. FACKENHEIM: JUDAISM, ZIONISM, HOLOCAUST, ISRAEL — Toronto, Sunday, October 25, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The day-long Beth Tikvah Conference, co-chaired by Prof. Frederick Krantz (CIJR) and Rabbi Jarrod R. Grover (Beth Tikvah), open to the public and especially to students, features original papers by outstanding Canadian and international scholars, some his former students, on the many dimensions of Emil L. Fackenheim's exceptionally powerful, and prophetic thought, and on his rich life and experience. Tickets: Regular – $36; Seniors – $18; students free. For registration, information, conference program, and other queries call 1-855-303-5544 or email yunna@isranet.org. Visit our site: www.isranet.org/events.


The Time Has Come to Consider Drastic Action: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Oct. 14, 2015 — Like most Israelis, I am proud that we remain one of the most democratic countries in the world, despite being surrounded by a sea of barbarism and facing continuous threats to our existence by hostile neighbors.

The Social Right to See Each Other’s Faces: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 13, 2015— My 10-year old granddaughter is an empathic child, easily distressed by tales of human or animal suffering.

The NDP’s Anti-Israel Grassroots: Pat Johnson, National Post, Aug. 20, 2015 — Part of the Conservative party’s strategy against the New Democrats in this election includes the website Meetthendp.ca, which aggregates controversial statements by NDP candidates.

Proud to be a Canadian: Dan Illouz, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 13, 2015 — I am Canadian. I was born in Montreal, raised in Montreal and graduated high school, college and law school in Montreal.


On Topic Links


Israeli Arab Reporter Lucy Aharish Blasts Muslim and Arab Leaders: The Israel Project, Oct. 14, 2015

Lethal Lies: Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2015

Why this Socialist Will Vote For Harper: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Oct. 13, 2015

NDP Candidates Under Fire For Comments About Israel: Jodie Shupac, CJN, Aug. 15, 2015



THE TIME HAS COME TO CONSIDER DRASTIC ACTION                                                            

Isi Leibler

Candidly Speaking, Oct. 14, 2015


Like most Israelis, I am proud that we remain one of the most democratic countries in the world, despite being surrounded by a sea of barbarism and facing continuous threats to our existence by hostile neighbors. But the nation today is facing a serious threat, not from external adversaries but from elements of Arab-Israeli society that have been incited by their kinsmen in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to engage in frenzied attacks against their Jewish neighbors. The levels of incitement and calls to become martyrs “for Allah” have reached such a feverish pitch that in addition to rock throwing, impressionable Arab-Israeli youngsters are now engaged in indiscriminate stabbings and acts of mayhem against Jews.


Significantly, the ongoing attacks are not restricted to communities over the Green Line and have occurred in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Petach Tikva, Afula, Kiryat Gat and Raanana. PA anti-Israeli incitement makes no distinction between Israelis living behind or beyond the Green Line. The demonic level of the incitement is reflected in the spontaneous street parties and public celebrations that erupt whenever an innocent civilian has been murdered. Pictures of murdered Israelis are shared on social media and proud parents of “shaheeds” bless their children for their martyrdom initiatives on official PA-sponsored TV.


A key source of this vicious hysteria emanates from our “peace partner,” Mahmoud Abbas, who denies that a Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem and accuses Israelis of “contaminating” and “defiling” Al-Aqsa mosque with their “filthy feet” as well as plotting to demolish it. Abbas has refused to condemn the attacks, his military factions claim credit for the murders, and the PA media boasts stabbings and murders as heroic acts and a prelude to eliminating Jewish sovereignty in the region. In fact, Abbas himself publicly sanctified the murderers, stating, “We bless you. We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah every shaheed will be in heaven and every wounded will get his reward.”


After the stabbing of the 13 year old boy in Pisgat Zeev, the official PA spokesman accused Israelis of executing his assailant – who was hailed as a hero.  In a deliberate and successful attempt to incite further terrorism, pictures were posted on PA sponsored media comparing the terrorist to Muhammad Al Dura, the young boy falsely claimed to have been shot by Israeli forces, images of which laid the groundwork for the second intifada. However, speaking with a forked tongue, Abbas persists in telling the Western media that he seeks peace. Despite threats to the contrary, he has not disbanded the PA security forces – knowing that were he to do so and were the IDF to withdraw, Hamas would immediately take over the region.


With the eruption of this wave of violence and the death of innocent Israeli civilians, the response – or lack thereof – from world leaders is deplorable. The U.S., claiming to be an ally of Israel, was especially disappointing as President Barack Obama arranged that Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power absent themselves when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.N. General Assembly – a calculated insult to Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry declined to apportion blame but attributed Palestinian “frustration” to Israel’s ongoing settlement construction and the White House spokesman expressed condemnation of violence directed against “Israeli and Palestinian civilians,” disgustingly implying a moral equivalence between terrorists and innocent Israeli victims.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had the chutzpa of calling on Israel to review the “excessive force” he alleged it was employing against terrorists. Likewise, the Quartet “called upon all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve unchanged the status quo at the holy sites in both word and practice.” The British foreign secretary called for an end to the occupation. His French counterpart announced his intention to pursue a resolution at the next meeting of the U.N. Security Council demanding a freeze on all “settlement” construction, including in Jerusalem and the settlement blocs that even Abbas had initially conceded Israel would retain. All of this obviously encourages the Palestinians to intensify terrorism. These attacks do not constitute an existential threat to Israel and we have overcome far greater threats of terrorism.


But now we face a dangerous new phenomenon with the emergence of extremist Arab-Israeli elements supporting enemies of the state. In the past, hostile Arab-Israeli proclamations and demonstrations were basically ignored. But that has now changed with the violence and killings by crazed Arab-Israelis aspiring to become martyrs and it has raised profoundly greater tensions within society which can no longer be dismissed.


In light of this, the government and Zionist parties in opposition must temporarily set aside conventional political differences and achieve a consensus on measures required to stem the new threat of mushrooming Arab-Israeli terrorism. In this context, restrictions and compromises relating to unfettered freedom of speech and activity will be required to prevent incitement and enable Israeli citizens to live in security…

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






THE SOCIAL RIGHT TO SEE EACH OTHER’S FACES                                                                              

Barbara Kay                                                                                                        

National Post, Oct. 13, 2015


My 10-year old granddaughter is an empathic child, easily distressed by tales of human or animal suffering. Yet in her chosen Hallowe’en costume she will appear to be carrying her head and a “blood”-stained plastic meat cleaver after having been decapitated. I don’t see her as a future recruit to ISIL, though. One needn’t be a psychiatrist to understand that Hallowe’en acts as a healthy safety valve in managing childish fears. But even a 10-year old understands that while anti-social costumes are received with good cheer on Oct. 31, they would be inappropriate at other times.


You can see where I’m headed here. To the vexation of most Canadian pundits, self-masking as a cultural norm bloomed into a hot-button issue in this election campaign. The debate continues to rage. I’m an old hand in this battle. As I have taken a hard-line stance in support of banning face cover in the public sector for years, I have read and heard and amassed in my inbox every imaginable strenuously argued rebuttal to my position. Hallowe’en’s approach seems the right time to dismiss them once and for all as the red herrings they are.


What I find to be the common denominator amongst the pro-niqab crowd is confusion around the social significance of masking. My malcomprehending opponents divide into two distinct categories. The first understands the niqab narrowly, as a religiously obligated appurtenance not essentially different from the wimple, kippah, hijab, sheitel (a wig worn by ultra-Orthodox women) and the turban. These critics (including the normally savvy pundit Evan Solomon in Maclean’s, I was chagrined to see) argue along the slippery-slope worry lines of: “niqab today, sheitel tomorrow.” To those slippery-slope email correspondents I respond (but in more restrained language), “What part of [profanity] FACE COVER do you not understand?” Face cover is neither the equivalent of, or on a downward slope from the hijab, kippah or wimple; it is a new, unique, and aggressive form of social disappearance.


In any case the alleged slippery slope has been tested. In her proposed Charter of Values, former PQ leader Pauline Marois encouraged intolerance for all religious accessories in the public sector. She and her Charter were handily rebuffed. Yet opposition to the niqab alone remained firm, and is now passing into Quebec law. In the second category are those who triumphantly adduce other forms of face cover as though they were analogous to niqabs. What about Hallowe’en? Ski masks? Surgical masks? Full-head motorcycle helmets? Hockey goalies? We don’t ban them! Ergo …


Hallowe’en, as I have implied, is performance theatre, when personal disappearance is permitted via a social contract between those who conceal their identity and those who consent to be “scared” by it. The same goes for horror films, costume balls and the like. These are controlled environments in which players and audience tacitly agree to permit faux-menace for entertainment’s sake; the collective complicity precludes anxiety and adds a fillip of pleasure to the exercise.


The others: These are masks worn transiently for protective purposes everyone understands as legitimate — from cold and infection, against wind and flying objects — in, again, a controlled, limited environment. When the skier leaves the hill and enters the lodge, he removes his mask. When the surgeon enters the recovery room to speak to the patient, he removes his mask. When the motorcycle rider parks, he removes his helmet. When the hockey game ends, the goalie flips up his mask. In fact, these false analogies are not only unpersuasive, they are actually petards to hoist their champions. In every case, the mask-wearer is scrupulously careful to ensure that his mask is removed the moment that it is no longer practically necessary, because he is well aware he then no longer meets the criteria for respectful self-presentation to his fellow citizens…

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





THE NDP’S ANTI-ISRAEL GRASSROOTS                                                                                

Pat Johnson          

National Post, Aug. 20, 2015


Part of the Conservative party’s strategy against the New Democrats in this election includes the website Meetthendp.ca, which aggregates controversial statements by NDP candidates. Already the site has led to one Nova Scotia New Democrat being relieved of his candidacy — and presumably the Tories are saving their best fodder for later in the long campaign. A number of the comments posted so far centre on Israel. Some NDP candidates accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “war crimes” and call for a boycott of the Jewish state. Another talks about how good he felt supporting the murderous First Intifada.


The NDP’s response so far — cutting loose the young Nova Scotia candidate — will almost certainly not be the last time their hands are forced in response to oppo research by the Tories. The social media response, including from NDP supporters, has been predictable: Leader Thomas Mulcair is caving to pressure from the Zionists who, in the inevitable spiral of online discourse, morph into caricatures of Jewish power and control.


What we’re witnessing, in fact, is a realignment that is necessary if the NDP is ever to be a legitimate aspirant for government — and Mulcair knows this. He cannot form a government that includes the radical crazies whose mania about Israel represents a sort of far-left Tea Party that holds sway with the grassroots, but which threatens the party’s legitimacy among general election voters. Grassroots New Democrats with any sense of history or humanity need to recognize that this process of taking the party back from anti-Israel extremists is essential to returning the party to its true, progressive roots. They should not condemn it, but welcome it.


The “pro-Palestinian” movement, as it now exists, has no place in a progressive political party. Its tactics and positions are antithetical to progressive values. The “pro-Palestinian” movement has cleverly co-opted the language of peace and human rights, but it promotes the (violent, if necessary) destruction of Israel. It exhibits zero concern for human rights violations perpetrated by Hamas and Fatah against Palestinian women, gays, minorities or anyone else. It shamelessly makes common cause with the most misogynist, homophobic forces in the world, those who obliterate basic human rights and freedoms, use their own citizens as human shields in wartime and who tolerate none of the collective bargaining or other labour rights that are sacrosanct to most “pro-Palestinian” activists here. And they do this while accusing others of “blind,” “uncritical” support for Israel.


The so-called “pro-Palestinian” movement has made life worse, not better, for generations of Palestinians. It has prolonged violence and statelessness by goading Palestinians into expecting nothing but total victory — the violent eradication of the State of Israel — instead of demanding coexistence and peace. This is a movement that thrives on confrontation and violence — even here in Canada. It hates compromise, reviles the concept of mutual coexistence with Jews and seeks the elimination of the only thriving democracy in the Middle East. It rejoices in rubbing salt in historical wounds by manipulating the imagery of the Holocaust and Nazism against the Jewish state and people.


It would be one thing if the movement took a two-pronged approach — demanding an end to Israeli occupation while pressuring the Palestinians toward human rights, democracy and the kind of economic growth that would result immediately from coexistence with Israel. But it doesn’t. “Pro-Palestinian” activists are perfectly contented to see Palestinians oppressed and destitute, as long as the oppressors are Arab. There’s a special kind of racism in this. But this is key to understanding the continuing conflict: the Palestinians have never really been the issue. The issue is the Jewish state. Few “pro-Palestinians” care about building a Palestinian state; their obsession is dismantling the Jewish one. Carriers of such an ideology have no place in a progressive movement. The NDP is finally recognizing this, albeit with a hand from the Tory attack machine.




PROUD TO BE A CANADIAN                                                                                             

Dan Illouz

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 13, 2015


I am Canadian. I was born in Montreal, raised in Montreal and graduated high school, college and law school in Montreal. The values I grew up on were both Jewish and Canadian values. While I now live in Israel, I still hold dear these values which made me into who I am today.  As a Canadian, I was always proud of the great stories of Canadian heroism which we were taught in school. Canada has a long history of standing up for freedom. Unfortunately, until recently, it felt only like history.


For example, when the free world was threatened in the Second World War, Canada carried out a vital role in defending the Free World and contributed forces beyond what can be expected of a small nation of then only 11 million people. Between 1939 and 1945 more than one million Canadian men and women served full-time in the armed services! More than 42,000 were tragically killed while heroically defending freedom and Canadian values. Canada was a lighthouse for freedom, with a clear moral compass and showing the world how a small country that is ready to stand up for what is right can make a real difference. However, in the past few decades, Canada became the country of neutrality.


Canada started adopting policies that were more appropriate to Swiss values than Canadian values. Instead of standing up for freedom, Canada stayed away from big questions of international relations, preferring the safe route of consensus and neutrality to the tough battle for freedom and values. By trying to please everyone, Canada’s moral voice was silenced. Canadians were seen as “nice and friendly” but nothing more. They had no voice.


This was true until Stephen Harper became prime minister. Since then, Canada has regained its voice and its moral clarity. It has regained its moral leadership. Prime Minister Harper once said that “Canada is not just any country, but a people determined to do right – compassionate neighbors, courageous warriors, and confident partners; a bastion of freedom in an unfree world.” Since becoming prime minister, Harper has made sure that this statement would be a continuing reality.


In the Middle East, Harper has led the world with his moral clarity. With the rise of Islamic State, Canada immediately agreed to contribute troops to defeat this evil group. How can a freedom-loving country do anything else? When the world powers preferred personal interest over values and followed the American president’s utopian vision set out in the dangerous agreement with Iran, Canada made it clear that it would not remove sanctions on the Islamic, gay-hanging, freedom-hating regime as long as it does not change its ways. As the world ignored the sponsorship of terrorism, the affronts to human rights, and the regional destabilization, let alone the continued calls for the destruction of both America and Israel, Canada did not budge and, rather, questioned how world leaders could trust such an evil regime.


In a world in which Islamic State and Iran are fighting for supremacy in radical Islam, Canada is the only country that chose the right side, which is opposing both of these evil groups. This has been done under Harper’s leadership. Canada, in the years before Harper, would have rather chosen the path of “going along to get along.” Harper chose the path of moral clarity and leadership.


Still in the Middle East, Canada stands strong for the only democracy in the region, Israel, against all its detractors, even paying a heavy price in the UN for this moral stance. As some threaten Israel with boycotts, Harper was incredibly clear about his support for freedom and democracy – for Israel. In the Knesset this past January, he said: “I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society, a vibrant democracy, a freedom-loving country… with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary, an innovative, world-leading ‘Start-up’ nation. In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life. And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”


When Russia invaded Ukraine, Canada’s voice was especially loud in opposing this act of aggression by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many world leaders were afraid to confront him. Harper was not afraid to confront Putin and tell him directly to “get out of Ukraine.” He even stood up clearly and said: “I don’t think Russia under Vladimir Putin belongs in the G7. Period.”


If Canadian values had been made irrelevant to international relations by successive Liberal governments before Harper, he made them relevant once again. Former foreign minister John Baird said: “Sometimes you should be a referee and a rule-setter, but if you want to get a certain result, you have to be a player. When it comes to promoting Canadian values and interests, we can’t afford to not be a player.” Harper made Canada not only a player but also a candidate for most valuable player. In fact, with Harper’s proven leadership, Canada was named the most reputable country in the world, for the fourth time in six years, by the Reputation Institute, a global private consulting firm based in Boston and Copenhagen.


The world now once again can look to Canada for moral leadership. Without even going into economic questions, or delving into the way Harper helped Canada be the nation with one of the best economic growth rates (with a GDP growth of 16.1 percent since 2006), the best job creation (with over 1.2 million new net jobs), and the best growth on middle-class incomes among any of the advanced developed nations since the end of the global financial crisis, it is clear that he has done great good to Canada’s international standing.


Elections in Canada were recently announced for October 19. For some unexplainable reason, Harper is currently trailing in the polls. As a proud Canadian living abroad, surrounded by people from various countries who look at Harper’s leadership with great awe, I want to give a clear message to Harper: Thank you for making me prouder than ever to be Canadian.


                                    CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic


Israeli Arab Reporter Lucy Aharish Blasts Muslim and Arab Leaders: The Israel Project, Oct. 14, 2015—Furious at the incitement by local Muslim and Arab leaders, she speaks the truth: “You are inciting thousands of young people to go the the streets. You are destroying their future with your own hands.”

Lethal Lies: Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2015 —Directly inflaming passions, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, declared on Tuesday that 15-year-old Hassan Manasrah (who gravely wounded an Israeli 13-year-old and stabbed another passerby in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood) had been “cold-bloodedly executed” by Israelis.

Why this Socialist Will Vote For Harper: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Oct. 13, 2015—For the past 50 years, my inner socialist has been my moral compass. It has guided me in politics and in my writing.

NDP Candidates Under Fire For Comments About Israel: Jodie Shupac, CJN, Aug. 15, 2015 —Three federal NDP candidates are under intense scrutiny – and one has resigned – for controversial comments each made about Israel.



We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


Harper’s Principled Stand on Israel: National Post, May 25, 2015— It would be easy to scoff, in a worldly wise way, at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent speech in Montreal.

A Meeting of Kindred Spirits in Iraq: Paul Merkley, Baysview Review, May 1, 2015 — The activities described in two news items recently noted by Daily Mail (U.K.) pretty well sum up the progress being made these days by the group which several months ago declared the inauguration of the Caliphate — universal rule of the Godly as proclaimed by Muhammad himself.

Hebrew Inscriptions, Jewels of Palmyra’s Jewish Past, May be Lost Forever: Ilan Ben Zion, Times of Israel, May 25, 2015 — Among the archaeological gems from Palmyra, the pearl of Syria’s desert, at risk after the Islamic State’s takeover last week are vestiges of its Jewish past

Munich Museum Is Another Step in Acknowledging the City’s Nazi Past: Melissa Eddy, New York Times, May 1, 2015— The Nazis first displayed their overt hunger for power in lock-step parades through Munich’s elegant Königsplatz.


On Topic Links


Forgotten Facts and Distorted History of the Mideast: Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Post, May 28, 2015

“Whoever Disbelieves, Strike Off His Head” Muslim Persecution of Christians, February 2015: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, Ma

y 14, 2015

At Easter Services, Iraqi Christians Under Threat From ISIS Consider Leaving Middle East: Campbell MacDiarmid, National Post, Apr. 5, 2015

The Ancient Ruins Terror Can’t Destroy: Patrick Symmes, New York Times, May 23, 2015



HARPER’S PRINCIPLED STAND ON ISRAEL                                                                        

National Post, May 25, 2015


It would be easy to scoff, in a worldly wise way, at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent speech in Montreal. Harper, in town to receive the first-ever King David Award from the Jewish Community Council of Montreal, spoke of the deep friendship between Canada and Israel, of the unique challenges Israel faces as the sole democracy in the Middle East and of his government’s unwavering support for the Jewish state.

“Our government recognizes that Israel is a friend. A nation of democracy and constancy in a region of repression and instability,” said Harper. “Canada will continue to stand by Israel through fire and water.”


And yet, to the cynics, “Harper’s just courting the Jewish vote!” “It’s all strategy!” “We’re just talking tough because we lost out on that UN Security Council seat!” Yes, it’s easy to be cynical — too easy. There are any number of issues on which the prime minister deserves criticism, and many more on which his motives might be doubted. His support for Israel, however, is not one of them. It is honest, it is principled, and it is right. No one would suggest that Israel is above criticism. We share the concerns expressed by others that some Israeli policies and practices — particularly expanding West Bank settlements — have been unhelpful to the cause of peace in the Middle East. But we are also mindful that no other Western democracy, as Israel assuredly is, has had to live as it has since its founding: surrounded by hostile neighbours, on the front lines of a perpetual war.


Most Westerners, especially North Americans, have long enjoyed the ability to fight our wars on someone else’s real estate. With our civilian populations relatively immune from attack and the ugliness of war kept pleasantly out of view, we have enjoyed all the luxuries that a life of seemingly costless freedom has to offer. We forget how hard and painful defending a free society can be.


Members of our armed forces, our veterans and their families know this truth. For too many of them, it is seared into their flesh and bones. But the rest of us, those who live comfortably removed from the daily threat of attack, might not appreciate what an achievement it is for Israel to have maintained its democratic ideals as well as it has while living under siege all these many years.


Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any society doing a better job of balancing the competing demands of maintaining civil rights at home, protecting innocent civilian life in enemy territory during war — and, of course, protecting its own citizens from attack. The defence of the nation is the first responsibility of any government, as it is the first right of any people. Why would we deny the people of Israel the same right? And yet there are those who, while mouthing the principle in the abstract, take issue whenever it is exercised. Israel, it seems, has a right to defend itself, so long as it does not use its army.


For Israel’s supporters, the points above are familiar, even clichéd. They’ve been said before. In time, we’re sure we’ll have cause to say them again. But it is rare to hear a political leader set aside the soothing bromides of diplomacy — on the one hand this but on the other hand that — and say so clearly, without equivocation, what should not need to be said, and yet most desperately does: Israel is a tiny country doing its best to make a future for itself in a part of world where too many of its neighbours want it destroyed. As Harper said: “Israel is the frontline of free and democratic nations, and any who turn their back on Israel, or turn a blind eye to the nature of Israel’s enemies, do so in the long run at their own peril.”


Though many will dismiss the prime minister’s recent remarks as mere political grandstanding, they should look deeper. We often say we’d like our leaders to speak from their hearts instead of reading off talking points. Last week, Harper did exactly that.




A MEETING OF KINDRED SPIRITS IN IRAQ                                                                                   

Paul Merkley                                                                                                      

Baysview Review, May 1, 2015


The activities described in two news items recently noted by Daily Mail (U.K.) pretty well sum up the progress being made these days by the group which several months ago declared the inauguration of the Caliphate — universal rule of the Godly as proclaimed by Muhammad himself.


“Shock [sic] new video shows ISIS thugs smashing historic Iraqi city of Nimrud with barrel bombs, bulldozers and jackhammers in orgy of destruction slammed as a war crime by the United Nations … ‘God has honored us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statues worshipped instead of Allah in the past days,’ one militant says in the video.  Another militant vows that ‘whenever we seize a piece of land, we will remove signs of idolatry and spread monotheism.’…


It is important for us to grasp that the methods by which this progress has been achieved and on account of which unlimited future progress is anticipated by these zealots are those mandated in the mission statement of the Prophet Himself: “When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [Islam],” he instructed the faithful, “then strike off their necks.” [Qur’an 47:4.]


Raymond Ibrahim notes that in the earliest Muslim literature there are exact parallels for the entire range of sadistically-inspired behavior that we have come to expect from ISIS – “beheadings and mutilations … humiliation and gestures of triumph (feet on chest of fallen victim, dragging his body, or head, on the ground), laughter, mockery, and celebration (for the hearts of the believers are now ‘healed.’)”… Muhammad would surely never begrudge these servants his full marks for clarity of purpose and for candour in regard to the principles and their goals.


We do not have to assume that in net terms ISIS is gaining on the ground – that is, that it governs more lives today than it did yesterday. Nobody really knows the answer to this question. Since the formation of the anti-ISIS Alliance spectacular losses of fighting manpower have been suffered by ISIS. Vast territory which was won in a spectacular manner just months ago in Iraq and in Syria has been abandoned by ISIS, apparently without net gain by ISIS in territory or population.


At the same time, it has to be kept in mind, that ISIS does not wholly-own the franchise in the field of Islamic Empire-building at this hour: other equally-bloody-minded organizations – Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, AQAP, al-Shaba, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, etc — all of whom hate each other more than they hate us – are increasingly active in the same cause. Their intramural differences mean nothing to us; and the moment we begin to image that they should, then it is game over. What cannot be denied is that more people every day are being dragged into Islamic slavery…


At the same time, the mainstream (that is, secular) media are working hard to keep our eyes averted from the imminent elimination of Christianity from the Arab world. (For dispatches from this front we are almost entirely dependent on dedicated Christian news-gatherers including Open Doors and the Voice of the Martyrs… But increasing sensitivity to this crisis in secular media is represented (inter alia) by “Christians who use the language of Jesus being uprooted by Islamic state.”…


But there may be a small victory for clarity to be reported on one front. Substantial news coverage is now suddenly being given to stories about the “barbaric” campaign of destruction of antiquities of all kinds in areas under ISIS rule. At Hatra, Nimrud, Nineveh and Khorsabad and other sites where ruins remain from the days of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911 BC to 609 BC) official ISIS gangs have been systematically destroying everything. These deeds are eliciting alarm about the fate of “Our Cultural Heritage.”


Leadership on this theme is coming from the United Nations – which, it must be said, has not been at the forefront of the fight to save the living Christian people fleeing from Islamic zealotry in Iraq or anywhere else. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO has condemned the latest IS attack on antiquities in Iraq as a “mad, destructive act that accentuates the horror of the situation… With their hammers and explosives they are also obliterating the site itself [Nimrud], clearly determined to wipe out all traces of the history of Iraq’s people.”…

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





JEWISH PAST, MAY BE LOST FOREVER                                                                                         

Ilan Ben Zion                                                                                                                               

Times of Israel, May 25, 2015


Among the archaeological gems from Palmyra, the pearl of Syria’s desert, at risk after the Islamic State’s takeover last week are vestiges of its Jewish past, including the longest Biblical Hebrew inscription from antiquity: the opening verses of the Shema carved into a stone doorway. Western archaeologists who visited the site in the 19th and 20th century discovered Hebrew verses etched into the doorframe of a house in the ancient city. But whether that inscription is still at the site is unclear.


The last time a European scholar documented it in situ was 1933, when Israeli archaeologist Eleazar Sukenik of Hebrew University photographed it. “What may have happened to it since is anyone’s guess,” Professor David Noy, co-author of Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis (Jewish Inscriptions of the Near East), said in an email on Friday.


Palmyra was one of the Roman Empire’s major cities, rising to prominence in the first centuries of the common era as a vassal state and entrepôt connecting West and East. Situated at an oasis in the desert frontier separating the empires of Rome and Parthia, Palmyra grew to an estimated population of 150,000-200,000 at its height in the third century CE. Textiles, perfumes, spices and gems came from India and the Far East, and metals, glass, wine and cash from Rome passed overland, bypassing the longer Red Sea trade route.


Because of its unique location, Palmyrene culture and art exhibited a fusion of Roman and Persian traditions. Traditional Mesopotamian mud bricks comprised the majority of the city’s architecture, Jørgen Christian Meyer, an archaeologist from the University of Bergen explained, but temples to Semitic gods such as Bel, Baalshamin and Al-lat were constructed in Classical style with stout columns hewn of stone.

When the city was abandoned following its destruction in 273 CE and left to the elements, the mud brick disintegrated, leaving behind a petrified forest of stone columns.


During its centuries of prosperity and decline it was home to a thriving Jewish community. “What we see in Palmyra is a multicultural, and possibly also a multi-identity city,” Meyer, who headed a Norwegian-Syrian archaeological excavation at the site in 2011, just as the civil war started heating up. “Here we’ve got this mixture of Greek, Aramaic, Middle Eastern, Roman culture. This is fantastic.” “That’s why it’s a unique place from a historical point of view, a cultural point of view,” he said.


That fusion included Jews. Two locally produced terra cotta lamps found next to one of the great pagan temples bear menorahs on either side of a conch, suggesting close integration of Jews and gentiles. Known in Hebrew and Aramaic as Tadmor, Jewish legend attributed the city’s construction to King Solomon. Josephus Flavius, writing in the first century CE, ascribed its construction to King Solomon, saying that the city of Tamar referred to in Kings I was the “very great city” Josephus’s contemporaries knew in the Syrian Desert.


“Now the reason why this city lay so remote from the parts of Syria that are inhabited is this, that below there is no water to be had, and that it is in that place only that there are springs and pits of water,” the Jewish Roman historian said. “When he had therefore built this city, and encompassed it with very strong walls, he gave it the name of Tadmor, and that is the name it is still called by at this day among the Syrians, but the Greeks name it Palmyra.”


Modern scholars, however, dispute the veracity of Josephus’s claim that it was built by Solomon. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Classical city of Palmyra didn’t predate the first century BCE, and the biblical city of Tamar was likely in today’s Negev Desert…


Nonetheless, during Palmyra’s height during the Roman era, the city became home to a substantial Jewish community, as testified in Jewish texts. Two 3rd century CE Jewish tombs in Beit Shearim, outside Haifa, identify individuals as the interred sons of Palmyrenes. A passage in the Mishnah, compiled in the first to third centuries CE, also refers to one Miriam of Palmyra as living in the city during the first century CE. “It’s clear that there was a serious Jewish community. Jews from [Palmyra] brought them for burial [in Israel] and wrote on the sarcophagus that they were from there.” Daniel Vainstub of Beersheba’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said. “We know from the Talmud that some of the locals converted to Judaism.”


But most significantly, etched into the doorway of a house in central Palmyra, northeast of its main colonnaded street, were the four opening lines of the Shema, one of the central Jewish prayers, verses from the book of Deuteronomy. Scholars have debated whether it was an entryway to a synagogue, but now they lean toward it having been a private home. The Biblical passage differs from the traditional text only inasmuch as it substitutes God’s name Yahweh for adonai — my Lord.


On the sides of the doorway were two other apotropaic inscriptions in Hebrew script believed taken from Deuteronomy as well. It was last photographed in the 1930s, and scholars contacted by the Times of Israel couldn’t ascertain whether it was still at the site, or whether in the intervening decades it was destroyed or sold on the black market.  “They’re part of the limited but clear evidence for Jews at Palmyra,” Tawny Holm, a Jewish Studies professor at Pennsylvania State University, said of the missing finds. They likely dated from before the 6th century CE, possibly from before the city’s destruction in 272-3, but “the inscription could have been added later,” she noted…

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





ACKNOWLEDGING THE CITY’S NAZI PAST                                                                                   

Melissa Eddy

New York Times, May 1, 2015


The Nazis first displayed their overt hunger for power in lock-step parades through Munich’s elegant Königsplatz. Today, against the backdrop of imposing neo-Classical buildings, the striking white form of the city’s new Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism appears oddly misplaced. It is too simple, too clean. That incongruity was the desired effect of the center, which opened its doors to the public on Friday, more than a decade after it was first approved. It is meant to force both residents and tourists in the Bavarian capital to stop and ask themselves: What is that building? And why is it here, in Munich?


Winfried Nerdinger, the museum’s director, who has worked since 1988 to see the center realized, said that the structure and its contents were designed to provide sobering answers. “This is a perpetrator site,” Mr. Nerdinger said. “Those who carried out the crimes actually sat here, and the emphasis is on retracing how it could have come to this.” The permanent exhibition follows the rise of the Nazi Party chronologically over three floors. Using a mixture of images, text and an audio guide, the center examines how the Nazi movement grew out of the German Workers’ Party, or D.A.P., founded in a Munich beer hall in 1919; was embraced by middle-class society; and grew into a force that spread throughout Germany and later Europe, leading to World War II and the Holocaust.


The exhibition starts on the fourth floor and works its way down, leading visitors through the role that Munich and its society played in creating fertile ground for the far right and the radical anti-Semitism preached by the Nazis. The lower floors are dedicated to an examination of how postwar Munich handled its Nazi history and how anti-Semitism and racial discrimination remain relevant today, through news reports and a study of neo-Nazis in the city. During the opening ceremony on Thursday, several dozen neo-Nazis gathered at the edge of the security perimeter, decrying the center as misleading, unnecessary and a waste of public funds.


Mr. Nerdinger said his main goal was education: “to examine what lessons can be taken away from this site, and how are they relevant in the present day?” Although some in the German news media criticized the exhibition as little more than a well-presented, life-size history book, its message seemed to reach and resonate with the visitors who turned up on the May 1 Labor Day holiday for its opening… Germany, more than most countries, has dedicated itself to working through the questions of its past crimes. In Bavaria alone, the memorial sites include the Dachau concentration camp and documentation centers at the Nazis’ rally grounds in Nuremberg and at the Obersalzberg mountain retreat, with its view of the Alps, where Adolf Hitler hosted foreign guests and Munich intellectuals. All are meant to recall the past and warn of its implications for the future.


But as the country struggles to cope with an influx of some 200,000 migrants fleeing conflict and poverty last year alone, reminders of Nazi sentiments have emerged. Refugee shelters in Bavarian villages have been defaced with swastikas or set on fire. In Dresden, thousands of Germans have joined weekly demonstrations against Muslims and other immigrants. While those demonstrations, organized by the anti-immigrant movement Pegida, drew support from across the country, nowhere were the counterprotests stronger than in Munich, where several hundred anti-immigrant demonstrators were drowned out by thousands who turned up to send a message of tolerance and diversity.


Yet Munich, more than any other place in Germany, has struggled to come to terms with its fall from what Thomas Mann described in 1926 as a society “once healthy and gay” to “a hotbed of reactionary sentiment and the seat of inflexibility and resistance to the will of the times.” After a thwarted communist revolution and a crippling economic depression, the far right found legitimacy among much of the upper middle class, which welcomed Hitler and his newly established party.


In 1930, the Nazis purchased an elegant villa just east of the Königsplatz, where they established their headquarters. Known as the Braunes Haus, or Brown House, the building was largely destroyed by bombing and cleared by the American Army after World War II. For decades, the site sat vacant, until the city decided to build the center there at a cost of more than $31 million…From a vantage point on the third floor, visitors can gaze out at the former Führerbau — today home to the Munich University of Music and Theater — where Hitler signed the treaty decreeing that Czechoslovakia cede the Sudetenland in 1938, while screens show film footage of Nazi parades past the site…


For decades after the United States Army marched into Munich on April 30, 1945 — 70 years to the day before the center’s opening ceremony — proudly brandishing the sign removed from the city limits declaring “Munich, Capital of the Movement,” the city preferred to think of itself as a “global city with heart,” largely ignoring the role it had played in giving birth to the Nazi movement. In the 1980s, that began to change. The municipal authorities conducted a study of the city’s role in Nazi-era history. At the same time, younger Germans were beginning to explore who had suffered under the Nazis…


In 2001, Munich set out to build the Documentation Center, to confront its past by examining the question of how and why it happened, while reminding visitors that history remains relevant. “The Nazi period will remain a thorn in Germany’s side,” said Andreas Wirsching, director of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich. “We will continually be confronted with the question of how it could be that such a highly civilized country plunged into such an abyss of transgression, into a regime of injustice and murder. That is a lasting question of humanity that can be nightmarishly relevant.”


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!





On Topic


Forgotten Facts and Distorted History of the Mideast: Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Post, May 28, 2015—The Middle East is in flames and the world community is still clinging to the theory that when a Palestinian state arises, peace will descend upon the region.

“Whoever Disbelieves, Strike Off His Head” Muslim Persecution of Christians, February 2015: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, May 14, 2015—Throughout February, members of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, the Copts, were slaughtered.
At Easter Services, Iraqi Christians Under Threat From ISIS Consider Leaving Middle East: Campbell MacDiarmid, National Post, Apr. 5, 2015—For many Iraqi Christians commemorating Easter Sunday, this year’s church services were not just a time for marking the Resurrection, but a time to reflect on their future, with many considering new beginnings overseas.

The Ancient Ruins Terror Can’t Destroy: Patrick Symmes, New York Times, May 23, 2015 —The guard from the antiquities authority was asleep when I arrived at the Temple of Bel, deep in the Syrian desert.



Charles Bybelezer: The “Other” Israel






In some ways, Israel is indeed what many have been conditioned to see: A conflict zone.


Directly to the north is Syria, whose civil war has left more than 200,000 people dead and terrorist groups manning the Golan Heights along Israel’s border. Next door, Lebanon is run by the Iranian proxy Hezbollah, the leader of which has encouraged world Jewry to immigrate en masse to Israel, as the concentration of Jews there would make it easier to dispose of them in one fell-swoop.


To the South, Hamas-ruled Gaza continues to pose a major military threat, as evidenced by last summer’s seven week conflict—the third in six years—which saw thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli population centers. For its part, Sinai is increasingly descending into anarchy, with large swaths of territory taken over by jihadists, including those loyal to the Islamic State.


Notwithstanding this context, the international community persists in pressuring the Israeli government to make concessions to a Palestinian leadership which rejects the Jewish state’s right to exist—in any borders—and which insists on maintaining maximalist positions such as the Right of Return, which would see millions of fourth-generation “refugees" flood Israel, effectively creating a 23rd Arab-majority nation.


It is because of the Palestinian Authority's obstinacy and irredentism, that Israel is required to maintain control over a large portion of the West Bank. While unpalatable, the IDF became entrenched in Palestinian cities only after the second Intifada, in which thousands of Israelis were killed and maimed by suicide bombers while sipping coffee in Tel Aviv’s cafes or riding public buses in Jerusalem. To this day, rarely a week goes by without a security incident of some sort, be it a stabbing or car ramming attack, or the thwarting thereof.


This is not to paint Israel as perfect—it is simply to provide context for Jerusalem’s reluctance to make further irrevocable concessions to an unrepresentative Palestinian leadership while the region burns. It also partially explains the recent landslide election victory by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which puzzled many abroad.


While it is easy to criticize Israel from an external perch, the circumstances appear much less black and white from the inside looking out. Quite simply, a plurality of Israelis, like Netanyahu, view reality in stark objectivity, recognizing, in survival mode, that the country is surrounded by implacable enemies. For this reason, Netanyahu is considered by many as the most suitable candidate to defend Israel against its many threats that are otherwise the cause of the rest of the Middle East imploding.


Moreover, Israelis have watched the Left’s land-for-peace paradigm literally explode in their faces, given that territories vacated by Israel in the past have all been occupied by terror groups, and are no longer willing to take “bold risks” in the prevailing climate.


But there is another, less-discussed reason the country chose Netanyahu; namely, that he has contributed perhaps more than any other politician in transforming Israel from a stagnant socialist bureaucracy into the “Start-Up Nation” flourishing today.


As the Financial Post’s Lawrence Solomon recently wrote, “…under Netanyahu’s influence, starting in the late 1990s with his first term as prime minister, Israel systematically began dismantling the welfare state, tackling both the social safety net and the vested corporate interests.


“[Netanyahu] sold off Israel’s interests in state enterprises, abolished foreign exchange controls and otherwise liberalized the economy, attracting foreign capital and turning Israel into an entrepreneurial marvel.…”


Despite the widespread conception that Israel is isolated, Solomon points out that the country’s economic development has, in fact, enabled Jerusalem to forge close ties with superpowers such as China and Russia, emerging economies such as India and Nigeria, and even Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.


It is this “other” Israel that much of the mainstream media ignores, leaving that phenomenon unknown to the public at-large. Coupled with the success of the Palestinian propaganda machine in white-washing Israel’s many positive aspects, the country continues to be viewed primarily through the prism of conflict. Calls throughout the globe to boycott the Jewish state drown out its immense contributions in the fields of science, arts, culture, literature, and the like.


Overlooked is the development by Israeli companies of so many life-altering technologies, such as drip-irrigation systems which have helped feed millions of people throughout Africa and Asia; the newly-launched ReWalk bionic assistance suit that enables paraplegics to stand upright and even climb stairs; and the “Pillcam,”an ingestible device which identifies diseases by photographing the digestive track.


Israeli companies have been instrumental in the development of ground-breaking products such as the USB flash drive, the computer microprocessor, the cell phone, instant messaging, as well as staple applications like Waze, Viber, and Get Taxi.


It is for this reason that I encourage people to attend a one-of-a-kind upcoming conference in Montreal: “Israel's High-Tech Miracle & Canada: Innovation for Humanity.” The April 29 event, organized by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, will provide individuals—Jewish and, perhaps more importantly, non-Jewish alike—with the opportunity to see this “other” side.


A small sample of those taking part includes Prof. Itzhak Ben Israel, chairman of the Israel Space Agency, the Jewish state being one of a handful of countries ever to successfully launch a satellite into orbit. Likewise on hand will be Mr. Haim Rousso, Executive Vice President of Elbit Systems, a company whose technology was used to create the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, which has saved thousands of Israeli and, in turn, Palestinian lives.


Also participating is Mr. Barry Fishman, the former CEO of the Canadian branch of Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest generic drug maker in the world and responsible for such revolutionary medications as Copaxone, the best-selling treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. Mr. Pierre Boivin, current President and CEO of Claridge Investments and former chief of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, will also be speaking.


These pioneers will be joined by numerous academics from across the country, who will convene to offer a counterpoise to the growing de-legitimization of Israel on campuses throughout North America; Jerusalem’s Ambassador to Ottawa, Mr. Rafael Barak, will deliver one of the keynote addresses.


Whatever its faults, Israel is so much more than meets the eye; it is, by any objective measure, a technological wonder to which other countries are increasingly turning for life-saving goods and services. Against all odds, the Jewish state has become a living, breathing embodiment of what can be accomplished when a people comes together to create rather than to destroy; it is a tribute to human ingenuity, a beacon of hope in an otherwise desolate region.


I encourage everyone to look past the stereotypes and experience the “other” Israel first-hand.


Charles Bybelezer is an I24 Correspondent and a former CIJR Publications Manager