Tag: Temple Mount


Postmortem of a Disastrous Month: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, Aug. 9, 2017 — The dramatic setbacks of the past month have been somewhat destabilizing in contrast to the almost euphoric atmosphere which prevailed.

Recurring Patterns: The Temple Mount Riots: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Aug. 6, 2017— On July 14, two Israeli police officers were murdered in Jerusalem.

What are Trump's Next Steps to Help Forge Peace?: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2017 — Last week the world was exposed to some of the Trump administration’s internal thinking with regard to the way it views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Even Kushner Knows Negotiation Can't Solve the Palestinian Conflict: Gregg Roman, The Hill, Aug. 4, 2017— In a recently leaked off-the-record speech to a group of congressional interns, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner said that the administration is committed to working "with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


On Topic Links


Rejection of Peace in the Israeli-Arab Process: Stephen Hughes, Jerusalem Online, Aug. 14, 2017

The Terrible Timing of the Newest American Peace Delegation: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Aug. 13, 2017

Recognizing a Palestinian State Before a Peace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law: Peter Wertheim, JCPA, Aug. 7, 2017

Is China Intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Aug. 13, 2017





Isi Leibler

Israel Hayom, Aug. 9, 2017


The dramatic setbacks of the past month have been somewhat destabilizing in contrast to the almost euphoric atmosphere which prevailed. It is an awesome burden of responsibility to serve as a leader, obliged to make decisions that affect the future of the Jewish people, in both Israel and the Diaspora. Over these last few weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has probably been under the greatest pressure he has ever encountered. Barbaric acts of Arab terrorism and intensified incitement, problems with the Trump administration, excessive demands/blackmail from the haredim creating tensions with American Jewry, constant pressure and criticism from ministers in his own government and above all, the campaign to indict him personally on a myriad of alleged acts of corruption, have taken their toll and destabilized him.


In hindsight, the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount following the bloody terrorist murders there was a major blunder. Under any normal circumstances, it would have been an absolutely legitimate reaction, but having regard to the frenzied religious fanaticism endemic among Palestinians, Netanyahu should have anticipated that this would be exploited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamists to incite hysteria. He also should have realized that this would create major domestic problems for our more moderate neighbors who face enormous pressure from their own citizens when swept by the hysteric accusation that Al-Aqsa mosque is being defiled by the Jews.


Had Netanyahu remained firm and resisted the demand to remove the detectors, Israeli public opinion would have supported him. But he considered the broader picture, recognizing that if he refused, he would risk a violent new intifada that would cost many more lives and would probably set back his emerging covert alliance with the more moderate Arab states. Any responsible Israeli leader weighing up the issues would have been obliged to act in a similar manner.


The issue was compounded by the inept way in which Netanyahu handled the Jordanian crisis. There appears to be no doubt that the security guard acted in self-defense. But Netanyahu’s parading him as a hero was a grossly inappropriate, given our delicate relationship with King Abdullah, who is under pressure from the powerful Palestinian and Muslim Brotherhood elements to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. And the government should have instituted a legal review of what happened even though it would have exonerated him. Besides, an apparently innocent bystander was accidentally killed, which probably merited at the least an apology and restitution.


To add to our discomfort, the international community reverted to its classical posture with the U.S. State Department issuing statements applying moral equivalence to both parties which seemed like a throwback to the Obama era. President Donald Trump, admittedly facing his own domestic problems, remained silent. This was certainly grounds for considerable disappointment as one would surely have anticipated this administration to deal with reality and condemn the bogus Palestinian hysteria instead of understating it and indulging in appeasement. To top it off, Netanyahu faced a barrage of demagogic criticisms of the government policies from both factions, including ministers from his coalition and even from within the Likud.


We should ensure that we learn from our mistakes. Clearly, the Palestinians are emboldened and believe that they have humiliated Israel and won a major battle. But we should not exaggerate the negative repercussions of what transpired, nor engage in masochism and allow these events to blur reality. Setting aside the status quo originating from Moshe Dayan’s blunder in 1967 when he handed control of the Temple Mount to the Wakf, whatever rage and frustration the Palestinians may express, Israel remains firmly in control.


But we must face reality. A substantial proportion of the Palestinians and, alas, as was recently demonstrated, also a highly vociferous minority of Israeli Arabs, are vicious barbarians who would slaughter us at any opportunity. They behave like savages as evidenced by the murder of the Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount and the butchering of the Salomon family at their Shabbat table in Halamish. The spontaneous street celebrations after the murders and adoring mass of 10,000 Israeli Arabs in the Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm led by the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, and other senior members of the outlawed organization, who at the funerals of their murderous kinsmen, chanted “you are the shahids of Al-Aqsa,” speak volumes. They were hailed by the PA as well as Hamas as heroes and their families were financially rewarded. The murderer of the Salomon family will receive a massive pension despite his anticipated incarceration.


Almost $345 million per annum is allocated to families of “martyrs” and those in prison—representing almost half the annual foreign aid provided to the PA. This despicable practice of paying pensions to murderers may now belatedly be dealt with by Congress.  But it must continue to be highlighted as a central policy issue and we should not equivocate because Abbas threatens to terminate cooperation with Palestinian security forces.


If one thing has been reaffirmed over the past month, it is that the Palestinian leaders and the bulk of their followers are unwilling to reach any peace agreement and are determined to fight on for their ultimate objective—the obliteration of Jewish sovereignty in the region. Besides, with the impending retirement of Abbas, there is every likelihood that chaos will prevail and the Palestinian security forces could well turn their weapons against Israel. We are strong but must be well prepared for this eventuality…

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





Manfred Gerstenfeld

BESA, Aug. 6, 2017


On July 14, two Israeli police officers were murdered in Jerusalem. They were members of the Druze community, a religious and ethnic minority. The three Muslim murderers came from the town of Umm al-Fahm in the north of Israel. They had hidden their weapons on the Temple Mount, where the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is managed by the Waqf, a Muslim religious trust, stands.  The three terrorists were killed by Israeli police. The day before the killings, one of the perpetrators published a selfie in which he stands before al-Aqsa. The photo is accompanied by the text, “Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful, God willing.”


Israel reacted to the murders by increasing security measures through the installation of metal detectors. The alternative would have been to wait passively until the next contingent of terrorists arrived, ready to employ the proven formula of bringing in weapons and hiding them at that place of worship. The installation of metal detectors led Palestinian preachers to call upon the worshipers to pray publicly outside the mosque on the morning of Friday, July 21. Riots followed during which three Palestinians were killed and a number wounded. On the same day, a Palestinian terrorist murdered a Jewish father, seriously injured his wife, and killed their two adult children in the village of Halamish during their Shabbat meal.


It is estimated that this terrorist’s family will receive more than $3000 per month from the Palestinian Authority for many years to come. These payments are co-financed by Western countries. In the meantime, the metal detectors have been removed. Due to the riots, Israel has opted instead to install more expensive and technologically advanced tools to detect weapons from entering the holy site in the future. Despite the removal of the detectors, Palestinian riots in Jerusalem have continued.


When we examine the reactions of the actors in this saga, it becomes possible to discern recurring patterns. In the past, the PLO-dominated Palestinian Authority was able to control riots. A typical case in point was the “al-Aqsa Intifada,” which began in late September 2000. Though presented as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, several PLO/PA officials (including Marwan Barghouthi and Minister of Communications Imad Faloudji) were to admit that the violence had been planned well in advance by Yasser Arafat. All that was required was a handy pretext to start it.


Since then, the stature in the western world of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has steadily increased. In 2016, many members of the European Parliament gave Abbas a standing ovation after a speech in which he made the vile anti-Semitic accusation that an Israeli rabbi had urged Israelis to poison the water of the Palestinians. Two days later, Abbas had to admit that his libel was a complete falsehood.


In contrast to his glowing image among Europeans, Abbas is seen by most Palestinians as very weak. His Fatah movement supports the riots, partly because it fears losing even more influence if it does not. He is playing a dangerous game, however. If the riots continue, Abbas may lose control over them. If it is true that he has canceled the PA’s security collaboration with Israel, he might find himself in immediate danger. If he is without the protection of the Israeli security services, it will be much easier for Hamas sympathizers to target him.


Another recurrent pattern is the abuse of holy or protected places. During Israel’s military campaigns against Hamas, the terrorist group often hid weapons in mosques, universities, and schools. This included schools of the UN agency UNRWA. During the December 2008-January 2009 exchange, several Hamas leaders hid in a Gaza hospital because they knew Israel would not target it. Hamas also uses civilians as human shields.


Yet another recurrent pattern is the behavior of foreign governments and leaders. Many excuse and condone Palestinian terror, incitement, and violence. Others feel the need to step in with condemnations or recommendations. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for example, is a staunch supporter of Hamas, using any available opportunity to condemn Israel. This time, he said:  “By occupying the al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel has exceeded the boundaries.” France issued an anodyne statement mainly to create the illusion that it is still an important international player while it struggles with critical domestic issues. Still another recurrent pattern is the behavior of foreign media, which habitually turns aggressors into victims and vice versa. The media watch organization Honest Reporting Canada created a detailed list of many such distortions in the Canadian media alone during the first days of the riots.


In view of these recurrent patterns, a peace agreement is likely to be useless. The Palestinians may one day sign such an agreement, and indeed maintain quiet for a while – but they will ultimately resort once again to riots, violence, and murder, as they invariably have in the past. The Temple Mount riots created a perfect model for such a pattern. Commit a crime against Israel related to al-Aqsa. If Israel reacts with enhanced security measures, incite rioting by declaring the mosque to be in danger. Israel cannot undo the concessions it makes for “peace.” Those concessions are likely to include the removal of isolated West Bank settlements and an exchange of land in return for the larger settlement blocs. The Temple Mount riots provide tangible evidence that as matters stand now, a peace agreement is not a credible option.




                                                Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2017


Last week the world was exposed to some of the Trump administration’s internal thinking with regard to the way it views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A recording of a briefing Jared Kushner gave White House interns made its way to Wired Magazine, which then shared it with the world. In it, Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, gave a sober review of the last 40 years of Middle East peacemaking and the chances that a deal can be reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the near future.


“What do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know,” said Kushner. “I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right endstate is. And we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution.” He continued: “There may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on,” he added. “So, we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”


There were three big takeaways from Kushner’s remarks. The first was that, seven months after taking office, the Trump administration does not yet have any new ideas for how to advance the peace process. Its thinking seems to be no different than that of previous administrations: Push for negotiations between the parties, mediate between them and try to hammer out an agreement.


The second takeaway is that there seems to be a growing assessment within the White House that a deal might not even be possible. The third is just as interesting and has to do with the motivation for why Kushner and Deputy Assistant to the President Jason Greenblatt are even working on a deal to begin with. The president, Kushner revealed, had asked them. Kushner made his remarks before news broke in Israel that Ari Harow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, had turned state’s witness and is going to provide the police with key evidence in two investigations being conducted of the prime minister.


This is relevant, since from now forward, any step Netanyahu takes will need to be looked at through the prism of the investigations of his conduct. If he breaks Left – like Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon respectively did as prime ministers under investigation – he will be perceived as doing so to save himself from indictment. If he turns further Right – as it seems he will – it will be seen as an attempt to shore up his support among right-wing voters ahead of elections. What this means is that real progress will likely not be made in the near future. The criminal cloud over Netanyahu’s head will prevent him from taking any real steps toward peace, which Kushner anyhow doesn’t appear to have much faith in the chances of achieving.


If this is the case, what can be done? Now would be a good time to invest in grassroot initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for all residents of the West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian. This could include several major undertakings: improving infrastructure like roads and electricity plans, building more industrial zones to create employment, setting up hi-tech incubators for Palestinians and Israelis and improving the import-export process for Palestinian businesses seeking to expand their reach overseas. Israel is often referred to as the Start-Up Nation. There is no reason it should not be working to share its culture of innovation with its Palestinian neighbors and help to advance them in a more positive direction.


All of these initiatives can be carried out without connection to the top-down approach needed to reach a political resolution to the conflict. They are not affected by politics or dependent on the lack of leadership in Jerusalem or Ramallah. These are measures that will create a better atmosphere for peace and will be conducive to later attempts at reaching a long-term, final-status agreement when and if the political conditions make that possible. Kushner should be applauded for his honesty. He articulated what a lot of people already believe regarding the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.But that doesn’t mean that he or the administration should give up. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that Israelis and Palestinians should give up. A lot can still be achieved.         





Gregg Roman                                                                                  

The Hill, Aug. 4, 2017


In a recently leaked off-the-record speech to a group of congressional interns, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner said that the administration is committed to working "with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He followed this up with what seemed like a throw-away line that's actually very significant: "There may be no solution, but it's one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we're going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future."


Even for those who agree with that statement, hearing a senior White House official admit that the conflict may not have a solution is remarkable, especially since president after president has made achieving peace such a priority. Still, the United States is not out of options, nor should we read Kushner's words as an indication that the White House intends to abandon hope or forgo attempts to make progress towards peace.


Admitting that the conflict may not have a solution presents an opportunity to try something different. In fact, this could present an opportunity to try something different, to fly in the face of the so-called conventional thinking that has ended in a resounding failure for the past 24 years. In order to hasten the end of this conflict and create conditions for peace, security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians, American policy must be changed in five key areas.


First, Palestinian terror organizations like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad must be defeated. The Trump administration has made significant progress in isolating and targeting Hezbollah in Lebanon, and they should use that success as a model to cut off funding and root out the structures that support terrorism in the Palestinian territories. Second, we must use diplomacy — no small feat for this administration — to convince our allies in Turkey and Qatar to end their support for these groups. For too long, Turkey and Qatar have provided funding and, perhaps more importantly, safe haven for the leadership of Hamas. The United States must use every tool available to convince these nations that supporting terrorism, even tacitly, will be costly.


Third, the United States should use economic leverage to prop up those in the Palestinian territories who oppose terror and to punish those who support it. The Taylor Force Act aims to force the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end salaries for the families of terrorists. While this law would help end this abhorrent practice, it would do little direct harm to terrorist groups or those who support them. Instead, all economic assistance and benefits provided by the United States — through qualified industrial zones, favorable trade agreements and direct assistance should be tailored to incentivize the Palestinian Authority to get serious about coming to the table for the kind of negotiations with Israel that they have been unwilling to enter for decades.


Fourth, security cooperation between the United States and the Palestinians must be reimagined so that Washington is no longer agnostic on the question of whether the PA forces cooperate with Israel. In fact, Palestinian-Israeli security coordination is frequently halted when it is needed most, like at the beginning of the latest furor surrounding security on the Temple Mount.  The State Department's Office of the U.S. Security Coordinator should make funding and training for the PA forces conditional. If they meet targets to cooperate with Israeli forces — both security and political conditions — then we provide support, if not, like PA President Abbas announced recently, then they're on their own.


Finally, the United States should give serious consideration to the messages that reach the Palestinian people. The U.S. Board of Broadcasting Governors should adopt an anti-rejectionism platform and cease funding any media that calls for Israel's destruction, instead offering support to the minority of voices in the region that encourage cooperation and peace. Generations of Palestinian leaders have made entire careers out of rejecting Israel while perpetuating this conflict. If we are smart about how we engage in the region, the United States can make it very costly to continue this strategy.


The time for the U.S. to act as an 'honest broker' has come to an end. The time for the U.S. to act as a neutral convener — an "honest broker" — has come to an end. In order to move forward in a way that advances our interests and supports the safety and security of our closest ally in the Middle East, we must stop allowing the Palestinians to perpetuate this conflict, which is what is driving many to assume there is no hope towards its end. They must accept they have been defeated so they can come to the table with an eye toward building their society into one that can move past the seventy-year old war they're still fighting.



On Topic Links


Rejection of Peace in the Israeli-Arab Process: Stephen Hughes, Jerusalem Online, Aug. 14, 2017—There is nothing in the Islamic religion or doctrine that prohibits the placement of security features before the entrances of Mosques and related holy sites.

The Terrible Timing of the Newest American Peace Delegation: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Aug. 13, 2017—There’s no reason to envy Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Dina Powell, US President Donald Trump’s point-people on Middle East peace who will soon be arriving in Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “restart the peace process.”

Recognizing a Palestinian State Before a Peace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law: Peter Wertheim, JCPA, Aug. 7, 2017—According to the Palestinian Authority, 136 (70.5 percent) of the 193 member states of the United Nations and two non-member states have officially recognized a State of Palestine.

Is China Intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Aug. 13, 2017—On July 18, 2017, PA President Mahmoud Abbas met for the fourth time with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China. The meeting was apparently good, judging by the declarations of continued cooperation between the sides.









Arabs Marginalize the Palestinian Issue: Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 6, 2017 — The Al-Aqsa Mosque controversy has exposed, once again, the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue in the overall Arab order of priorities.

Israel and the Arab World: Needed by the Rulers, Hated by the People: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2017— This week’s stabbing and shooting incident at Israel’s embassy compound in Amman, the manner in which it was resolved, and the reactions on the street in Jordan say much about Israel’s current situation in the Mideast.

Could the Mideast Use Some ‘Trumpification’?: Eli Verschleiser, Algemeiner, July 28, 2017— Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, recently spoke out against what he called the “Trumpification” of the Middle East.

As Daesh Is Crushed, Future Of Middle East At Stake: Yaakov Amidror, Breaking Defense, July 28, 2017 — When I first started working as a journalist, a colleague asked me for advice because he was going to interview a chasidic man for a story.


On Topic Links


Trump, Israel, Jordan and Egypt Can Redress the Obama-PLO Debacle: David Singer, Arutz, Sheva, Aug. 7, 2017

Why the Middle East Hated Obama But Loves Trump: Susan B. Glasser, Politico, July 31, 2017

The Root Cause of the Disasters in the Middle East: David Horowitz, Frontpage, July 31, 2017

What Trump Gets Right About the Middle East: Steven A. Cook, Politico, July 05, 2017




Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger    

   Arutz, Sheva, Aug. 6, 2017


The Al-Aqsa Mosque controversy has exposed, once again, the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue in the overall Arab order of priorities. Contrary to Western media headlines, Arab policy-makers and the Arab Street are not focused on Palestinian rights and Al Aqsa, but on their own chaotic, raging local and regional challenges, which are not related to the Palestinian issue.


For example, while the top Palestinian religious leader, Mufti Muhammad Hussein, castigates Arab leaders for their inaction on behalf of the Al Aqsa Mosque, Egyptian President General Sisi, and the Egyptian street, are preoccupied with traumatizing economic and social decay and challenges; the dwindling level of tourism, which is a main source of national income; the lethal, domestic threat of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism; the Libyan chaos and its effective spillover into Egypt; the entrenchment of Islamic terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, across the Gulf of Suez; the Gaza-based terrorism; the threatening collaboration of Turkey-Qatar-Iran and Turkey’s support of Hamas; the potentially-explosive border with Sudan; etc. General Sisi invests much more time in geo-strategic coordination with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, other Arab Gulf States, the US and Israel – which are perceived as critical allies in combatting terrorism – than with the Palestinian Authority, which is perceived as a destabilizing entity.


According to the July 20, 2017 issue of the London-based Middle East Monitor, “Al Aqsa has been abandoned by those who profess the leadership of the Muslim World…. [Egypt’s and Saudi Arabia’s] cold indifference…is unworthy of institutions that profess to be the preeminent leaders of Muslims around the world…. The religious institutions in Makkah, Madinah and Cairo have gone absent without leave despite the dangerous situation at the Noble Sanctuary in occupied Jerusalem…. Both countries are spearheading a regional drive for full normalization of relations with Israel. Their reasoning is that friendship with Israel is the best guarantee of US support for themselves….”  


The London-based Palestinian newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, published a cartoon, depicting the Arab World as an ostrich burying its head in the sand, while the Al Aqsa Mosque bleeds. Since 1948, and in defiance of Western foreign policy, academia and media establishments, the Arab/Islamic agenda has transcended the Palestinian issue.


While showering the Palestinian issue with substantial talk, the Arab/Islamic walk has mostly been directed at other issues: the 1,400-year-old regional, intra-Arab/Islamic unpredictability, fragmentation, instability and intolerant violence; the Islamic Sunni terrorist machete at the throat of all pro-US Arab regimes; the clear and present danger, posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs, to the same regimes; the destructive role played by Qatar in the context of – and in assistance to – the Ayatollahs; the lethal, regional ripple effects of the disintegration of Iraq, Syria and Libya; the inherent, tectonic (disintegration) potential in every Arab regime; the impact of the global energy revolution on the potency of the Arab oil producing regimes; and the enhanced role of Israel in the battle against the aforementioned threats. 


The dramatic gap between the Arab walk and talk on behalf of Palestinians was particularly noticeable during the Israel-Palestinian wars of 1982 (in Lebanon), 1987-1991 (the 1st Intifada), 2000-2003 (2nd Intifada) and the Israel-Hamas wars of 2009, 2012 and 2014. Arabs have never shed blood – nor have Arabs dedicated their economic power – on behalf of Palestinians. Moreover, current Iraqi policy-makers and the Iraqi Street are well-aware of the intense Palestinian collaboration with the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein, which caused the Palestinian flight from Iraq following the fall of Saddam.  The Syrian Street has not taken kindly to the Palestinian support of the Assad regime, which has produced an expanding Palestinian emigration from Syria since the eruption of the civil war in 2011.


Furthermore, most Arab policy-makers consider the well-documented subversive, terroristic Palestinian track record – against fellow Arabs – to be a potential threat to domestic and regional stability.  The Arab aim has been to reduce the number of stormy spots in the Middle East, realizing that each eruption of violence resembles a rock thrown into a pool, generating ripple effects throughout the pool, as has been documented by the Arab Tsunami, which is simmering in every Arab country. Thus, violence west of the Jordan River could have an infectious impact east of the river, posing a deadly threat to the pro-US Hashemite regime, which could spread southward to Saudi Arabia and other pro-US Arab Gulf states…

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





Herb Keinon

Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2017


This week’s stabbing and shooting incident at Israel’s embassy compound in Amman, the manner in which it was resolved, and the reactions on the street in Jordan say much about Israel’s current situation in the Mideast. The neighboring governments – or at least some of them – need Israel, want its security and intelligence cooperation, and even appreciate what the country has to offer in the fight against their greater threats in the region: Iran and fanatical Islamic terrorism.


The first part of the above equation explains why Jordan’s King Abdullah II let the embassy security guard go back to Israel after he was stabbed Sunday night, and fired two shots that killed the assailant and another man at the scene. The second part of the equation explains the Jordanian public’s furious reaction to the release of the guard. While the incensed public reaction can be explained in part by the fact that the guard did kill two Jordanians – one, evidently, who had nothing to do with the stabbing – there was more to the anger than just this incident, and it reflects a deep, intense hostility toward Israel felt by many Jordanians.


Just witness the praise heard in the Jordanian parliament for the three Israeli Arabs who killed two border policemen on the Temple Mount on July 14. The speaker of the parliament, Atef Tarawneh, offered this prayer for the dead terrorists: “May the mercy of Allah be upon our martyrs who sowed and watered the pure land. We will raise our heads through the sacrifice of the young Palestinians who are still fighting in the name of the nation.”


Witness as well the angry marches in Amman following the installation of the metal detectors on the Temple Mount – even before the incident in the embassy compound – where protesters chanted, “How beautiful it is to kill soldiers from Jerusalem.” Abdullah let the security guard return to Israel because he realizes the utility – the importance – of good cooperation with Israel: military cooperation, intelligence cooperation, and cooperation in the form of buying from Israel desperately needed water and gas.


Israel plays a critical role in the survival of the Hashemite Kingdom. The king knows it, his inner circle knows it, the people less so. The Hashemite Kingdom’s survival depends on the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – yes, Israel, though that is obviously not going to be something that Abdullah broadcasts to his people. Jordan, of course, is also of critical strategic importance to Israel – providing a key buffer to the east – but the relationship is not symmetrical. If Abdullah were toppled, Israel would survive, albeit with additional headaches from the east.


If Israel were to cease to exist, however, it is not clear whether the Hashemite Kingdom – with over a million refugees who have filtered down from Syria, hostile Shi’a forces on its eastern border with Iraq, and a fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood constituency within – would endure. Abdullah wants and needs this relationship. As a result, he is not going to let a stabbing attack at the Israel Embassy, or even metal detectors at the Temple Mount, destroy it, and indeed will work to find a way to resolve these issues.


At the same time, Abdullah is well attuned to the mood of his people. With public opinion furious, he has to flex a muscle toward Israel, which explains his angry outburst at Netanyahu when the king returned from abroad on Thursday. This also explains Jordan’s threat not to let Israel reopen the embassy in Amman until the guard is placed on trial. He, too, has domestic considerations. Despite, these considerations, however, he did work this week to try to resolve both crises.


The guard issue was resolved within 30 hours, the Temple Mount issue was trickier, largely because while Jordan had an interest in calming down passions, others – from Hamas to elements inside the Palestinian Authority, to the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – had an interest in fanning them. That Abdullah was so heavily involved in trying to resolve both issues shows the strength of Israel’s relationship with the government of Jordan. With the government, but not with the people. And there is one of Israel’s major problems right now in the Middle East – good relations with select rulers, miserable relations with the masses.


Israel has peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have stood both the test of time and of crisis. Those governments appreciate the importance of the relations and benefit mightily from them, as does Israel. But none of that has filtered down to the people. And therein lies Israel’s dilemma. After nearly 70 years, Israel has established itself as a presence in the region. But, as former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was quoted as saying in an interview to the German news magazine Der Spiegel in the mid-1990s, Israel is “a knife plunged into the heart of the nations of this region.”


It is the difference between recognizing Israel as an existing fact, which Yasser Arafat did in a letter to Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s continuous refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The latter type of recognition would signal a recognition not only of Israel the fact, but of its legitimate right to exist. An existing fact you might believe you can eventually move; a legitimate right is something you will have to accommodate yourself to.


The governments of Jordan and Egypt have come around to recognizing that Israel is an immovable object in the region. Not only is it an immovable object, but also one that could be helpful to them. So they cooperate. The people, however, are at a different place, nourished for decades on the idea that Israel is an oppressor, a usurper, a tool of the colonialist West, a passing historical episode. Even in countries with which Israel has peace treaties, such as Egypt and Jordan, this narrative has never been abandoned.


During the 30 years when Mubarak ruled Egypt with an iron fist, there was a huge anomaly in the relationship with Israel. On the one hand Mubarak carefully kept the peace treaty, yet on the other he let a virulent anti-Israeli, even antisemitic press flourish in the country. Wasn’t that a contradiction? Peace on one hand, yet hatefilled articles and television programs in the state run media on the other? It was a contradiction, but one that served Mubarak’s purpose. The peace with Israel was good for Egypt (just as it was good for Israel). But encouraging the hate of Israel on the street was also good for Mubarak, because it diverted the public’s attention from his abuses of power and the real issues facing the country – issues that came to the fore in the events of 2011 that deposed him.


Saudi Arabia and Israel, according to various accounts, currently have close security cooperation because of the common threat of Iran and jihadist fundamentalist terrorism, whether of the Shi’a or Sunni variety. But the Saudis are unable to make any of that cooperation public, unwilling to admit to these ties. Instead, the Saudis remove Israeli-grown fruits from supermarket shelves and block access to websites with stories about Saudi plans to normalize ties with Israel. Why? Because after 70 years of educating the people to believing that Israel is evil incarnate, a passing nightmare for the Muslim world, the country’s rulers can’t just wake up one morning, slap their foreheads with their palms and say, “Our bad, Israel really is not all that terrible, let’s make a deal.”…

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





                             Eli Verschleiser

                                                  Algemeiner, July 28, 2017


Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, recently spoke out against what he called the “Trumpification” of the Middle East. “The recent massive arms deals President Trump made with the Gulf monarchies exacerbate the risk of a new arms race … I am very concerned by the dramatic escalation of the situation and the consequences for the whole region,” Minister Gabriel said.


He was referring to the White House siding with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar for its evident support of Iran and jihadist terror via the Muslim Brotherhood. This has built into quite the standoff and the resulting blockade has sent ripples throughout the region. The Qatari riyal has taken a beating and they are seeking compensation for the blockade. In addition to the Saudis and UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Maldives and Yemen have all cut ties with Qatar.


It’s a mess all right, but with due respect to the Germans and other critics, “Trumpification” may not be such a bad thing. In taking a hard line against Doha, the president is continuing the Bush doctrine, that the US “should make no distinction between terrorists and the nations that harbor them — and hold both to account.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is within his purview to try to negotiate a solution to this standoff, but, despite his evident misgivings and indignation about the key role played by Trump adviser Jared Kushner, he should support his boss on this.


Trump reportedly doubled down on his position in a call with Gulf region leaders. According to the White House, as reported by Reuters, “He reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology. The president also underscored that unity in the region is critical to accomplishing the Riyadh Summit’s goals of defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability…President Trump, nevertheless, believes that the overriding objective of his initiative is the cessation of funding for terrorism,” the White House continued. In addition to its links with the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar has also nurtured ties with Israel’s most fierce enemy, Hamas, under the claim that it is trying to promote more engagement and moderation.


Yes, it was disappointing that the president has shelved his campaign promise to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But he certainly made a solid statement about Jerusalem as the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall. And there’s much else to like about the emerging Trump Middle East policy. Unlike his predecessor, he acted quickly when Syria crossed the imaginary “red line” by gassing civilians, launching a quick and punishing airstrike.


He also seems to take the more realistic view of the region and what our goals there should be. Writing in Politico, Steven A. Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations noted that Trump’s policy “reflects a sound understanding of what the United States can achieve in the region and, importantly, what it cannot.” Noting that Western efforts to promote democracy that led to the Arab Spring produced more fractured societies but no real change agents, Cook added, “The Trump administration seems to understand this and has pragmatically shifted American policy to achievable goals like rolling back the Islamic State and challenging Iran’s efforts to extend its influence around the region.”


Those who believe Trump, a businessman and political amateur, is not a serious president with real policy goals may dismiss his Mideast stance. But it suggests a practical view of the fight against ISIS recognizing that, other than democratic Israel, there are no other perfect allies in the Middle East. The 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and the country has a troubling history of terror support. However, Iran is worse in that its leaders continue to make threatening statements against Israel and the US, while almost surely planning to resume their nuclear arms quest as soon as they can get away with it. While he’s keeping the John Kerry-brokered nuclear deal in place for now, President Trump is avowedly pessimistic about it.


The Saudis on the other hand have growing, low-key ties with Israel based on strategic interests and common enemies. Given the disastrous Middle East policy of Barack Obama, which entailed alienating Israel while cozying up to and placing misguided trust in Iran, and chasing pipe dreams about the spread of democracy if we just talk nicely to people and avoid saying “Islamic terror,” “Trumpification” seems to me to be potentially one of the best processes to come along in years.                  




AS DAESH IS CRUSHED, FUTURE OF MIDDLE EAST AT STAKE                                                

Yaakov Amidror                                                                                                 

Breaking Defense, July 28, 2017


The future of the Middle East is currently being determined, in a process that is almost entirely hidden from view. In recent weeks, the gaze of the world has been fixed on the fight against Daesh (aka ISIL), as the end of its occupation in Mosul, Iraq, and the breaching of its defenses in Raqqa, its Syrian capital, have symbolized the success of operations against this evil organization. But the future of the Middle East is not being decided in Mosul or Raqqa, despite the importance of ending Islamic State rule over both. It will be determined by a fight that has attracted far fewer headlines—the struggle for control of the border between Iraq and Syria.


The US-led coalition is fulfilling the promise extended by President Obama “to destroy the organization” of Daesh. Obviously, the end of the terrorist group’s control over the territories it captured in Syria and Iraq does not mean the end of the organization itself, as it will continue to hawk its ideas throughout the Sunni world and to carry out terror attacks around the world. But from now on, it will be just another “ordinary” terror organization, like al-Qaida, for example. Daesh will no longer be seen as unique, as a remarkable success, as it was when it managed to hold such large swathes of territory and to rule over so many civilians.


Who takes over this territory once held by Daesh will determine the future of the Middle East. The Iranians are conducting an effort with great strategic implications, via their proxy Shia militias that operate in both Iraq and Syria. This effort seeks to change the map of the Middle East. It includes the displacement and extermination of Sunnis in key areas; the settlement of Shias into these areas, such as Mosul; and the creation of Shia ground corridors linking Iraq to Syria, with the aim of attaining a contiguity that has never previously existed, connecting Iran—the leading Shia power—to the Mediterranean Sea.


This will accomplish three goals for Iran: It will cut a Shia crescent through the heart of the Sunni world, from Tehran via Baghdad, to Damascus and Beirut. It will provide a territorial link to Iran’s forces in Syria and Lebanon, thus creating a direct strategic threat to Israel, supported by a Shia hinterland. And it will allow Iran to supply every Shia force in the region, posing new threats to the borders of Jordan to the south and Turkey to the north.


There is currently no force in this area—between Turkey and Jordan, along the Syrian-Iraqi border—capable of stopping Iran. The bizarre alliance struck between Russia, Iran, and the Shia militias (Hezbollah foremost among them) was only made possible by the nuclear agreement. The agreement made Iran a legitimate ally, by allowing it back into the international community and opening up trade. Russia, of course, has leapt at the opportunity: The two countries are now partners in the Syrian state, nominally headed by Assad, who would be long gone were it not for the Russian presence. Russia provides the air power and the international backing, while Iran provides the ground forces to fight the Alawite regime’s vicious battles.


For the region’s Sunni countries, this is nothing less than a strategic earthquake. For Israel, it is a nightmare. Therefore, it is imperative that there be active cooperation between the Sunni countries and Israel, including the use of military force, to stop this in its tracks. The Arab states are too weak to deal with the problem alone, and Israel needs regional legitimacy in order to deploy its military might. While it would make things easier if the United States were to give its blessing to such a collaboration, this is by no means a necessary condition. Such an alliance, if created, would be able to act without American involvement. The United States would be asked only to provide an umbrella of international legitimacy…

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




On Topic Links


Trump, Israel, Jordan and Egypt Can Redress the Obama-PLO Debacle: David Singer, Arutz, Sheva, Aug. 7, 2017—President Trump continues to ponder the way forward to end the 100 years conflict between Arabs and Jews – as negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – stalled since April 2014 – show no sign of being resumed.

Why the Middle East Hated Obama But Loves Trump: Susan B. Glasser, Politico, July 31, 2017—Russia won in Syria thanks to President Barack Obama’s inaction. The Middle East unraveling of the past decade is due in no small part to America not listening to her allies in the region. Never mind President Donald Trump’s Muslim-bashing rhetoric, he may just be a better partner.

The Root Cause of the Disasters in the Middle East: David Horowitz, Frontpage, July 31, 2017 —During the eight years of the Obama administration, half a million Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were slaughtered in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists, in a genocidal campaign waged in the name of Islam and its God.

What Trump Gets Right About the Middle East: Steven A. Cook, Politico, July 05, 2017—When President Donald Trump wanted to jump-start Middle East peace talks, he did something utterly unconventional: He sent his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to bang Israeli and Palestinian heads together.








Losing and Winning the Temple Mount: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, August 3, 2017— Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet caved in to the demands of the PLO and its partners…

The Vanishing of the Jewish Collective: Hillel Halkin, Mosaic, May 15, 2017— I fully agree with Daniel Gordis (and with Elliott Abrams in his earlier essay in Mosaic) that it is putting the cart before the horse to ascribe American Jewry’s growing distance from Israel to Israel’s perceived moral failings…

My Response to Bret Stephens: Dennis Prager, Townhall, July 25, 2017 — Bret Stephens devoted his New York Times column last week to admonishing me for my tweet from two weeks ago and critiquing my follow-up column last week explaining the tweet.

‘Menashe’ Is a Marvel: Alan Zeitlin, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2017 — When I first started working as a journalist, a colleague asked me for advice because he was going to interview a chasidic man for a story.


On Topic Links


Why Many American Jews Are Becoming Indifferent or Even Hostile to Israel: Daniel Gordis, Mosaic, May 8, 2017

If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What's the Reason?: Elliott Abrams, Mosaic, Apr. 4, 2016

Is the News Media an ‘Existential’ Threat?: Bret Stephens, New York Times, July 20, 2017

Welcome to the Jews' Republic of China: The Grandiose Chinese Plan to Settle Jews in 1939: Aharon Shai, Ha’aretz, Aug 04, 2017   




Caroline B. Glick          

Jerusalem Post, August 3, 2017


Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet caved in to the demands of the PLO and its partners in Hamas, the Islamic Movement, Jordan, Iran and Turkey by agreeing to remove metal detectors and other security screening equipment from the Temple Mount. The equipment was installed last month in response to Palestinian incitement and acts of jihadist violence against Israelis, including the murder of two policemen, at Judaism’s holiest site.


After polls showed 77% of Israelis felt he and his cabinet members capitulated to terrorism, Netanyahu issued a statement thanking US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump’s senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt for their help in resolving the crisis. The underlying message of Netanyahu’s statement was that he and his ministers folded like a cheap suit to our enemies’ demands, effectively ceding Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount to our enemies because Kushner and Greenblatt pressured them to do so.


But then this week, a congressional intern did us the favor of surreptitiously recording and leaking remarks Kushner made on the issue in off-record remarks to interns at the White House. Kushner’s remarks, which came in response to a question about his role in mediating the Palestinian conflict with Israel, were fairly detailed. Regarding the Temple Mount crisis, Kushner justified Israel’s decision to place metal detectors at the entrance of the Temple Mount. In his words, following the murder of the policemen by terrorists armed with guns smuggled onto the Mount, “putting up metal detectors on the Temple Mount… is not an irrational thing to do.”


Kushner also emphasized several times the central role that Palestinian incitement played in fomenting the violence on the Temple Mount. He drew the logical conclusion that the same incitement which fomented the violence on the Temple Mount led to the massacre of the Saloman family in their home in Halamish two weeks ago. Unlike all previous US mediators, Kushner didn’t blame “both sides” for causing the violence. He placed the blame squarely on the Palestinians who incited and committed murder.


In speaking this way, Kushner made clear that he isn’t the type of person who will apply bone-breaking pressure on Israel to capitulate to the demands of terrorist murderers. Certainly Netanyahu and his ministers are strong enough to withstand whatever pressure Kushner and Greenblatt may have brought to bear on them last week. Indeed, as one administration official put it, “The idea that the same Netanyahu who withstood eight years of unrelenting pressure from the Obama administration crumpled under pressure from Kushner and Greenblatt is simply ridiculous.”


So if it wasn’t American pressure that convinced Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and their colleagues in the security cabinet to crumple, why did they do it? All of their instincts were pointing them down the opposite path. From a security standpoint, you don’t need to be a genius to understand that you don’t respond to an enemy on offense by surrendering your defenses. More generally, Netanyahu and his ministers all know that just as releasing terrorists from prison guarantees more dead Israelis, so capitulating to the demands of terrorists ensures more dead Israelis.


But if the decision was wrong from a security standpoint, it was downright crazy from a political perspective. Among the 77% of Israelis who said the decision amounted to capitulation were doubtlessly 100% of Likud and Yisrael Beytenu voters and 85% of Kulanu voters. (Bayit Yehudi voters at least knew their cabinet representatives, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, voted against the measure.)


According to the media, the cabinet was intimidated into surrendering by a doomsday scenario presented by the IDF and Shin Bet representatives at the cabinet meeting. Channel 2 reported that the IDF and Shin Bet warned the politicians that failure to capitulate would result in a security nightmare, whose details they laid out in a frightening PowerPoint slide. The Palestinians would start a new terrorist war, they said. Fatah’s Tanzim terrorists, who have been inactive in recent years, would renew their attacks, they warned. The Palestinians would undermine Israel’s capacity to fight Hezbollah effectively in Lebanon, they insisted. And finally, if Israel failed to capitulate, a “rare unity” of forces in the Islamic world stretching from Turkey to Iran would emerge, they hectored.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but all of these doomsday admonitions are debatable. Take the issue of the “rare unity” from Iran to Turkey. Since the Turks tried to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza seven years ago, unity has been the rule not the exception in Turkish-Iranian relations. Both supported the Muslim Brotherhood in the so-called Arab Spring. Both supported Hamas in its 2014 war against Israel from Gaza. And today, both support Qatar against the Saudi- and Egyptian-led bloc of Sunni Arab states. As for the Sunni Arabs, last week, the Saudis took the stunning step of siding with Israel on the metal detectors. The Saudis noted supportively that they installed metal detectors in Mecca and Medina.


As to the rest of the scenarios the security chiefs raised, they may or may not be true. But what is certainly true is that it isn’t the job of the security community to tell Israel’s leaders they have no choice but to surrender to aggression. It is their duty to formulate plans for defeating the aggressors, period. And incidentally, ahead of Tisha Be’av, which fell this year on Monday night/Tuesday, unlike the IDF and the Shin Bet, the police did just that. Whereas the Shin Bet wanted to prohibit Jews from visiting the Temple Mount on the day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the police recognized it was its job to enable Jews to visit. Rather than join the Shin Bet in recommending that Jews be barred from visiting the Temple Mount, the police provided the requisite protection and enabled more than 1,200 Jews to visit the site without incident…

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




Hillel Halkin

Mosaic, May 15, 2017


I fully agree with Daniel Gordis (and with Elliott Abrams in his earlier essay in Mosaic) that it is putting the cart before the horse to ascribe American Jewry’s growing distance from Israel to Israel’s perceived moral failings, whether vis-à-vis the Palestinians or anything else. There are indeed Israeli policies toward the Palestinians that deserve to be criticized by anyone who cares about human rights, as many American Jews do. But if Jews like Hasia Diner cared as much about Israel, they would couch their criticism differently. They would express it with more pain and less indignation; they would be more empathic and not so self-righteously condemning; they would seek to understand the reasons for Israel’s behavior even if they found it unjustified; and above all, they would continue as Jews to identify as strongly as ever with Israel as a Jewish state. They would go on feeling that it is their state despite their reservations about its conduct. The fact that they do not feel this way has less to do with Israel’s shortcomings than with their own attenuated sense of Jewish peoplehood, the reasons for which Gordis discusses cogently.


Growing numbers of American Jews care about Israel only to the extent that Israel validates their own self-image, and have no use for it, or turn against it, when it doesn’t. And yet, in all fairness, are most Israelis any different in their attitude toward American Jews? Apart from American Jewry’s support for Israel, do they take an interest in it, bother to become knowledgeable about its history and institutions, know anything about its religious and intellectual life, make an effort to understand it, or worry about its future? It, too, exists for them only instrumentally, to the extent that they and their interests exist for it. If the rampant assimilation of American Jews alarms them at all, this is only because they fear a consequent weakening of Israel’s political base in the United States, not because the vanishing of Jews in the Diaspora is of concern to them per se. And although they do on the whole have the sense of Jewish peoplehood that so many American Jews lack, they tend to think of Israel, and of Diaspora identification with it, as this peoplehood’s only meaningful expression.


There is of course, as Gordis observes, one major exception to this rule: the religiously traditional communities of both countries, which are conscious of a bond between them and of the ideal of a bond among all Jews that once used to be called klal yisra’el, the Jewish collective. Perhaps these communities will eventually set the tone for Israeli-American Jewish relations, as Gordis, while rightly cautioning against blindly extrapolating from current demographic trends to the future, contemplates their doing. Meanwhile, however, most Israelis and American Jews will continue to drift farther apart. And one additional reason that they will do so, besides those enumerated by Gordis, is that they will have less in the way of shared origins. For much of the 20th century, the Jews of America and the Jews of Israel had the same East-European nativity, parents, or grandparents. Now, these European roots have receded into the past—and with them, one more link between the two groups.


The main difference between Daniel Gordis’s outlook and mine is that I’m less perturbed by all this than he is. The distance between Israeli and American Jews is growing? Let it grow. It’s natural. The two populations live in different worlds, speak different languages, face different problems, challenges, and dangers, have different worries, fears, and life experiences, adhere to different values, and think of themselves and their surroundings in different ways. In the absence of a strong sense of klal yisra’el, no amount of preaching, education, tourism, Birthright programs, or superficial “Americanization” of Israeli life, let alone the establishment of a Palestinian state or an outbreak of peace in the Middle East, is going to change this. Most American Jews are not going to spend much of their time thinking about Israel, and even fewer Israelis are going to think about American Jews. But so what?


So what? One of the premises of classical Zionist thought, amply borne out in our times, is that in the liberal democratic societies of the modern Diaspora, the assimilation of most Jews is inevitable. It always amuses me to hear it proclaimed, in the name of Zionism, that assimilation in America must be combated. Why or how combat what your beliefs tell you must take place, whether combated or not? This is not an argument against Jewish education in America. It is an argument against the illusion that such education, if pursued vigorously enough, can stem a historical tide. And because I believe classical Zionism’s analysis of the Jewish condition to be correct, I also believe, like most Israelis, that the only viable vehicle for Jewish peoplehood in our times is a Jewish state. Despite my American background, I must confess that American Jewish life in itself does not interest me very much—certainly not enough for me to grieve over its being opted out of by more and more American Jews.


What about the fear that a shrinking and less pro-Israel American Jewry could affect American policy toward Israel? Once, to tell the truth, I shared this fear. But look at the last two decades of American history. There have been elected in them two strongly pro-Israel Republican presidents who received (and expected to receive) little in the way of Jewish help or votes, and one cool-toward-Israel Democratic president who was the darling of a large number of American Jews. Surely, this suggests that despite the widespread notion that American policy toward Israel has been shaped by Jewish political pressure, other factors are more important. Israel has survived a great deal in the first 69 years of its existence and prospered in spite of it. It will survive the weakening of American Jewish support for it, too.





                             Dennis Prager

                                                  Townhall, July 25, 2017


Bret Stephens devoted his New York Times column last week to admonishing me for my tweet from two weeks ago and critiquing my follow-up column last week explaining the tweet. The tweet reads, "The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does." Since he wrote the column as a "Dear Dennis" letter to me, I will respond in kind.


Dear Bret: I'll try to respond to the most salient arguments you made. I'll begin with one of the most troubling. You wrote: "Wiser conservatives — and I count you among them, Dennis — also know that when we speak of 'the West,' what we're talking about is a particular strain within it. Marx and Lenin, after all, are also part of the Western tradition, as are Heidegger and Hitler." I was taken aback that such a serious thinker could write that nihilist communists and nihilist Nazis are all "part of the Western tradition."


That's what the vast majority of professors in the social sciences teach: There's nothing morally superior about Western civilization — it's as much about Hitler and Lenin as it is about Moses and Thomas Jefferson. And, anyway, Moses never existed and Jefferson was a slaveholding rapist. Among those professors' students are virtually all those who dominate the Western news media. Am I wrong? Do you think your colleagues at the Times or the Washington Post or Le Monde or BBC believe in the moral superiority of the West? Of course they don't. Most believe in multiculturalism — the doctrine that all cultures are equal — and it is therefore nothing more than white racism to hold that Western civilization is superior. Didn't nearly all of your (nonconservative) colleagues who commented on President Trump's speech in Warsaw call it a dog whistle to white supremacists? On those grounds alone, my tweet was accurate. I am surprised that anyone — especially you — thinks Vladimir Putin's Russia poses a greater threat to the survival of Western civilization than the Western left. No external force can destroy a civilization as effectively as an internal one — especially one as powerful and wealthy as the West. The Western left (not Western liberals) is such a force. Western liberals always adored the West.


I was also stunned by your saying, "I'm not sure that Justin Trudeau declaring there is 'no core identity, no mainstream in Canada' counts as a Spenglerian moment in the story of Western decline." The prime minister of Canada announces with pride that his country has no core identity and you don't think that counts as an example of a declining civilization? And here's another upsetting sentence: "To suggest that Vladimir Putin is a distant nuisance but Maggie Haberman or David Sanger is an existential threat to our civilization isn't seeing things plain, to put it mildly."


The reason I found that troubling is I never cited Haberman or Sanger, and you well know that no generalization includes every possible example — that's what makes it a generalization. But I did specifically cite the writers in The Atlantic who equated Western civilization with white supremacy, and your substitution of your New York Times colleagues for The Atlantic commentators allowed you to avoid dealing with The Atlantic writers' and others media attacks on Western civilization. Despite the fact that neither my tweet nor my column said a word about Trump, you devoted almost half your column to denouncing the president. Yet, as I wrote in the column, my tweet would have been just as accurate had I sent it out during former President Obama's administration or Hillary Clinton's, if she were president.


Bret, to your great credit, you are a lonely voice of strong support for Israel at your newspaper (your readers should see the videos on the Middle East you made for Prager University; they have eight million views for good reason). Doesn't the almost uniform hostility toward Israel in the media and academia trouble you? Does it trouble you that most Democrats in America hold a negative view of Israel? That Jewish students at many American, not to mention European, universities fear expressing support for Israel or just wearing a yarmulke on campus? That so many young American Jews, influenced by the media and their professors, loathe Israel? I am certain all of that greatly troubles you. Is any of that Putin's doing? Or is it all the result of the media and academia?…

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





Alan Zeitlin                                                                                                                     

Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2017


When I first started working as a journalist, a colleague asked me for advice because he was going to interview a chasidic man for a story. He said he’d never had a conversation with a chasidic person. I told him to ask questions like he would of anyone else. He returned after the interview with a smile. “He was a regular guy,” he said with joy and surprise. Unfortunately, when it comes to the media and film, chasidic Jews are sometimes portrayed as people from another world who joylessly follow archaic laws. Some films have featured chasidic characters that are corrupt and others who decide the only way to find freedom and joy is to escape being religious.


Thankfully, that is not the case in “Menashe,” a groundbreaking and heartwarming film that neither demonizes nor romanticizes what it means to be a chasidic Jew. It is also one of the few films in the last 70 years to be released in Yiddish. In his first role in a movie, Menashe Lustig gives a stunning performance as Menashe, a widower who is trying to make ends meet by working at a supermarket. He faces several obstacles while trying to take care of his son. It is his desire to be a good father that grounds the film in universality.


Menashe has considerable flaws. He is disorganized, struggles to get his son to school on time or be on time for work himself, and he needs to earn more money. He goes out on a date made by a matchmaker even though he has no intention of remarrying at that time. But he is charismatic, has a great sense of humor and has a good heart. For all the great experiences a father and son can share, from going to a baseball game to building a tree house, here, eating an ice cream cone or making funny faces is enough to show the bond and the connection that the father and son have. Lustig’s performance makes you root for the character, even if at times you’re annoyed with him when he’s getting himself into trouble.


As the son, Rieven, Ruben Niborski nails the role of a normal kid who wants to be happy, misses his mom and is trying to make the best of things. His smile is memorable and he has clear chemistry with Lustig. Yoel Weisshaus is also on point as the brother-in-law, Eizik, who is financially stable. Menashe resents the fact that Rieven is living with Eizik and his wife because they have a stable household and Menashe is told he must remarry in order to have custody of his son. Eizik is the antagonist who makes Menashe feel disrespected. When it is time to have a memorial dinner in honor of his deceased wife, Menashe wants to make it at his home, but Eizik tells him it’s not wise to do so because he will mess things up and embarrass himself in front of the rav. But we also see Eizik as someone grounded in pragmatism and he does care about the child’s welfare. Menashe’s boss is tough on him, and yet toward the end, he doesn’t totally dismiss a plea for help from Menashe, who is in financial need.


Director Joshua Z Weinstein, who is known for documentaries, gives the film a partially documentary feel. He smartly resists the urge for any grandiose and over-the-top scenes that could come off as cheesy. If fact, the climactic scene has to do with a kugel. Another brilliant move by Weinstein is to depict rituals with no explanation in order to provide an immersive experience for the viewer. The mikvah is not explained, nor is negel vasser, the washing of the hands upon waking up and before getting out of bed. Another key component is that the rav, played with a measured grace by Meyer Schwartz, winds up saying a simple line that is the sweetest one in the film.


Weinstein’s fine touch makes this film a juggernaut that pulls at the heartstrings. In a perfect world, people would judge others on how they act and not on their garb or religious observance. But this is not a perfect world. I would have liked to see a little more music and in the scene where Menashe is hanging out with his Hispanic co-workers, it would have been good to see him joking around more with some impersonations. We’ll have to wait for the next film Lustig is in. Perhaps it will be a slapstick comedy.


Weinstein, who is also a co-writer of the film, deserves much credit for deciding to do “Menashe” in Yiddish. Not only could it narrow the audience base, it required the script to be translated because Weinstein isn’t fluent in the language. His decision to shoot the movie in Boro Park gives it an authentic feel.


Largely based on the real life of Lustig, who shows great vulnerability and passion on screen, “Menashe” is one of the most memorable Jewish films you’ll ever see. While it’s about a regular guy, this is no regular movie.                             


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Why Many American Jews Are Becoming Indifferent or Even Hostile to Israel: Daniel Gordis, Mosaic, May 8, 2017—ll told, the two Jewish communities of the United States and Israel constitute some 85 percent of the world’s Jews. Although other communities around the globe remain significant for their size or other qualities, the future of world Jewry will likely be shaped by the two largest populations—and by the relationship between them.

If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What's the Reason?: Elliott Abrams, Mosaic, Apr. 4, 2016—Everyone knows that American Jews and Israel are drifting apart—and everyone is confident of the reasons why. Israel, it is said, has become increasingly nationalistic and right-wing; “the occupation” violates liberal values; and the American Jewish “establishment,” with its old familiar defense organizations and their old familiar apologetics, has lost touch with young American Jews who are put off by outdated Zionist slogans and hoary appeals for communal solidarity.

Is the News Media an ‘Existential’ Threat?: Bret Stephens, New York Times, July 20, 2017—Dear Dennis, To err is human. To tweet is to regret. When I decided last month to leave Twitter, it was in part because I knew that, while I couldn’t avoid the former, I could at least escape the latter. Not everything that pops into the heads of smart people is smart. Still less of it needs to be shared.

Welcome to the Jews' Republic of China: The Grandiose Chinese Plan to Settle Jews in 1939: Aharon Shai, Ha’aretz, Aug 04, 2017—In 1939, China prepared a plan to settle persecuted European Jews in the southwestern Yunnan province, close to the Burmese border, according to documents recently found in Chinese state archives. For unknown reasons, the plan was never implemented.







The IDF’s Priority: War Readiness: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, July 27, 2017— In Warsaw on Thursday, President Trump gave the most impressive speech by a US president on European soil since Ronald Reagan…

The Merkava 4: Why Hezbollah Should Be Afraid—Very Afraid: Ari Lieberman, Front Page, July 21, 2017— Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, armchair pundits determined that the age of the tank as king of the battlefield had come to an ignominious end.

The F-35 Critics vs. the Facts: Chet Richards, American Thinker, July 4, 2017— The people working on various aspects of the F-35 fighter program must be very frustrated.

Why Israel Removed the Metal Detectors: Daniel Pipes, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017— Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party announced Saturday that the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.”


On Topic Links


Insulting Apology from Islamic Center of Davis (Video): Camera, July 27, 2017

Historic Change on the Temple Mount: Moshe Feiglin, Zehut, July 26, 2017

Operation Good Neighbor: Israel Reveals its Massive Humanitarian Aid to Syria: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, July 19, 2017

When Will the F-35 Stop Being Controversial?: Sandra Erwin, National Interest, July 11, 2017




                                                 Yaakov Lappin

                                                  BESA, July 27, 2017


Israel is enjoying a period of relative calm, but in five to ten years, its strategic environment will likely be significantly more complex and challenging than it is today. For that reason, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has, under the Gideon multi-year working plan, placed combat training and war readiness at the top of its agenda.


The IDF General Staff has identified the objective of attaining a good state of war readiness, and keeping this readiness high, as a crucial objective for Israel in the medium to long term. It is an objective that has been neglected in past years due to budget instability and the lack of a clear strategic directive to place war readiness front and center. This dangerous blind spot appears to have been corrected. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is intensively promoting the objective of war readiness throughout the whole of the military. A multi-year working plan provides a stable funding environment in which this can be achieved.


The stable truces in place with Hamas and Hezbollah, and the freeze in Iran’s nuclear program, allow the IDF time and space to focus on combat training and force build-up, thereby giving Israel the ability to prepare for a more dangerous future. The truces are fueled by Israeli deterrence and an Israeli ability to skillfully leverage influences on enemy decision-making. Both of the hybrid terrorist-guerrilla armies, Hezbollah and Hamas, are bogged down by challenges of their own. Despite their ideologies, they are reluctant to initiate a full-scale clash with Israel at this stage, as that would expose them to devastating Israeli firepower.


Such deterrence, could, however, prove time-limited. The prospect of combat with these foes, even if unintended, seems likely to grow with time. The risk of clashes with Hezbollah and Hamas will also be joined over time by new threats, the seeds of which can already be discerned. As Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi, head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, said in June, “Israel’s power deters all enemies in all arenas, state and non-state … but there is a basic instability, and an increase in non-state actors. Their force build-up is intensifying, increasing the chances of scenarios of [a security] deterioration, even if no one wants these scenarios.”


Several factors point to a likely increase of threats. An assessment of these confirms the wisdom of Eizenkot’s directive to focus on achieving and maintaining good war readiness now, while conditions allow. The Iranian regime has not given up its strategic objective of obtaining nuclear weapons. The sunset clauses on the nuclear deal will lift key restrictions over the next eight to thirteen years. Assuming the hard-line Shiite ideological-religious camp and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) continue to control Iran’s foreign and military policies, the Islamic Republic will be able restart its nuclear program at the end of the sunset clauses (if it does not cheat and breach the agreement beforehand).


Iran could begin enriching uranium again (using improved techniques it is currently researching) to bring it to nuclear breakout, and could try to reach that point at a time of its choosing. Its missile program is already developing. This means Israel could find itself in a state-to-state conflict in the not too distant future. Additionally, Arab Sunni states threatened by Iran have launched civil nuclear programs of their own. These could turn out to be the initial stages of military nuclear programs, designed to counter Iran’s nuclear shadow.


The prospect of a nuclear arms race in the region is therefore very real. It might develop as an added layer on top of the fast-paced conventional arms race that already exists throughout the Middle East. An arms race in a region marked by instability and multiple failed states calls for an IDF that is capable of dealing with both non-state actors and state militaries that might, in the future, fall under the command of revolutionary Islamists. The latter are seeking to topple the pragmatic, rational Arab Sunni governments who currently share many interests with Israel.


Meanwhile, powerful hybrid non-state actors, which are part army and part terrorist-guerrilla, are building up their forces near Israel’s borders. Hezbollah in particular, though also Hamas, continues to build up its offensive capabilities. The Iranian missile factories set up in Lebanon are the latest indication of Hezbollah’s ambitious force build-up program, which threatens the Israeli home front as well as strategic targets inside Israel. Where Syria once existed as a centralized state, an assortment of well-armed Iranian-backed forces is gaining strength. The Shiite axis in Syria combats Sunni rebel organizations (some of them fundamentalist and jihadist) and receives Russian air support.


A number of these non-state entities are arming themselves with destructive firepower, including precision-guided heavy rockets and missiles. These capabilities were once reserved for the great powers. Halevi described this situation as one in which “great military power is falling into irresponsible hands.” The IDF is busy building up its own capabilities, and it remains the most potent military force in the Middle East. But as time progresses, Israel’s strategic depth is shrinking due to the mass production of precision weaponry by Iran’s military industries and the trafficking of such weapons to Iranian proxies…

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





Ari Lieberman

Front Page, July 21, 2017


Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, armchair pundits determined that the age of the tank as king of the battlefield had come to an ignominious end. They argued that the introduction of anti-tank guided missiles rendered the tank obsolete. How wrong they were. Several post-war studies of the conflict demonstrated that the tank was still indispensable to modern warfare and when employed in a combined arms manner with artillery and mechanized infantry, still reigned supreme.


Israel learned many lessons from the Yom Kippur War and incorporated those lessons into the development of its own indigenous tank, the Merkava (Chariot). The Merkava 1 entered service with the Israel Defense Forces in 1978 and first saw action in 1982 during Operation Peace for Galilee when it engaged and destroyed no fewer than nine Soviet-made, Syrian T-72 tanks without sustaining a single loss. It also reportedly succeeded in downing a Syrian anti-tank helicopter with its main gun.


Since that time, the Merkava has undergone several modifications and improvements, the latest iteration of which is the Merkava 4. The Merkava 4 is considered by armored warfare experts to be among the finest tanks in the world, and in terms of crew survivability, the safest. In the summer of 2006, Israel was forced to go to war again, this time with the notorious terrorist organization Hezbollah. On July 12, two Israeli reservists were killed and their bodies snatched during a Hezbollah cross-border attack. Israel could not allow the outrage to go unanswered and decided to launch an offensive against Hezbollah. Nearly 400 Merkava tanks, mostly of the older II and III variants, were haphazardly deployed in the latter stages of the 34-day conflict.


During the course of the war, Hezbollah guerrillas fired thousands of anti-tank missiles – from the first generation Sagger to the highly advanced Kornet – at static Israeli infantry and tanks but only succeeding in damaging some 40 tanks and of these, there were only 20 penetrations. Despite these encouraging numbers, so-called experts began to once again challenge the utility of the tank and its place in modern warfare. IDF planners saw things differently. They went back to the drawing board in an effort to draw conclusions from the performance of the Merkava and tactics employed by its crew members.


With at least 1/3 of its fighting force permanently stationed in Syria, the probability of Hezbollah initiating war against Israel in the near future is low. Even in the absence of the Syrian conflict, Hezbollah will soon not forget the thrashing it took at the hands of the IDF during the 2006 campaign. Nevertheless, most experts agree that the next Lebanon war is not a question of if, but when, and when it does begin, Israel’s latest Merkava variant, the vaunted Merkava 4 will be in the thick of it.


The Merkava 4 incorporates many sophisticated design features including advanced electro optics that ensure a 100% first-hit kill capability from its formidable 120mm smooth-bore gun. The Merkava also features an internally operated 60mm mortar to deal with missile-armed infantry. The Merkava is also capable of firing the long-rang, third generation LAHAT laser homing, guided missile from its main gun, an advantage lacking in the Merkava’s contemporaries. Another feature possessed by the Merkava but lacking in its competitors is the ability to accommodate up to eight infantry soldiers or three litter patients.


But among its most outstanding features is its emphasis on crew safety and ability to negate anti-tank missile threats. The tank, whose well-sloped armor is composed of advanced spaced and composite materials, is arguably the best protected in the world. Unlike other tank designs, the Merkava’s 1,500hp diesel engine is located in the front, providing the crew with an additional layer of protection from frontal hits. Learning from past experience, the Merkava’s vulnerable underbelly was up-armored to provide additional protection against anti-tank mines and Iranian supplied explosively formed projectiles (EFP), which have been used to devastating effect by Iraqi and Afghan insurgents against American forces, claiming no fewer than 500 American lives. In addition, the Merkava 4’s armor is modular, allowing for quick battlefield repair and tailoring the armor for the tank’s mission-specific purposes.


But perhaps the Merkava’s most outstanding feature is its use of the Trophy active self-protection missile defense system, which acts like the tank’s personal Iron Dome missile defense shield. The system is designed to shoot down incoming missiles before the projectile reaches the tank’s armor. The IDF is the first military to deploy such a platform and all Merkava 4s and Namer (leopard) and Eytan armored personnel carriers (APC) are equipped with it. The United States Army is currently testing the Trophy system for use and adoption in its M1A2 Abrams tanks and other armored fighting vehicles such as the Stryker wheeled APC and the Bradley tracked APC.


The Trophy’s first baptism under fire occurred on March 1, 2011 when it successfully intercepted an RPG-29 anti-tank rocket fired by a Hamas terrorist from Gaza. Three years later, during Operation Protective Edge, the system proved itself again, shooting down no less than five anti-tank missiles fired by Hamas terrorists. Not a single Merkava tank was damaged thus depriving the enemy of any psychological or propaganda victory…

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





THE F-35 CRITICS VS. THE FACTS                                                        

Chet Richards                                                                        

American Thinker, July 4, 2017


The people working on various aspects of the F-35 fighter program must be very frustrated. The program is still highly classified, so that much that is taking place within the program is simply not available for discussion. And yet, the F-35’s critics are baying and howling and often deliberately misrepresenting the program and its products.


The F-35 program is not one program. It is several. Its products are three different aircraft and several brand-new, and highly innovative, technologies. It provides quantum leaps in aviation technology in many different areas. Simultaneously achieving all these technical breakthroughs has obviously proved difficult. But that is not surprising — it is the norm in innovative engineering.


The program is producing three very different aircraft: the F-35A is a conventional takeoff aircraft for the Air Force. The F-35B is a vertical takeoff and landing capable aircraft for the Marine Corps. The F-35C is a catapult takeoff and carrier landing aircraft for the Navy. From a distance, the aircraft look alike and inside they share much avionics and the core of the engine. But don’t be fooled. These are very different aircraft.


The F/A-18 Hornet and the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet also look like they are the same aircraft. But they are really two completely different aircraft. The Hornet was developed in the 1970s and was manufactured in the 1980s. The Super Hornet was developed in the 1990s and was in production after 2000. The Super Hornet is 20% larger, up to 15,000 pounds heavier, has 40% greater range and 50% greater endurance. They look alike simply because the Super Hornet borrowed excellent aerodynamic design from the Hornet. Time and money saved. Then why are they both called "F-18"? Try selling a brand new aircraft to Congress! For that matter, try selling three different aircraft to Congress: just call them all F-35s and make sure they look alike.


The real intent of unifying the various F-35 programs under one management umbrella was to make sure that each of the three different aircraft, and innovative technologies, would be fully compatible for Joint Service Operations. Moreover, there is substantial fabrication and logistics commonality and this reduces overall unit cost and subsequent support cost. It should be noted that the F-35 development effort is not quite complete. There are still bugs to be fixed. This is normal, and normally provided for in the Integrated Master Plan and Schedule.


At a similar point in the development of the M1 Abrams tank, its critics were howling for program cancellation because of the tank’s many developmental bugs. The bugs were fixed and the M1 proved itself, in battle, to be by far the deadliest tank in history. Even though Initial Operating Capability (IOC) has been declared for the F-35A and the F-35B, this does not mean that these aircraft have their full combat capability — although some units have been forward deployed. IOC really means that these aircraft are training the crews that will eventually operationally fly improved production models. And, in a pinch, they could fight.


My old boss, mentor, and dear friend, the late Bill O’Neil, used to say that a fighter plane is a truck. Its job is to deliver a munition to the right place at the right time. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. Try telling that to a fighter jock. What he wants is something looking sleek and deadly! But Bill was right, and his contribution to the F-35 is major. I mentioned that several innovative programs existed under the F-35 umbrella. One of the most important of these is Bill’s Distributed Aperture System — the DAS. The DAS on the F-35 consists of six infrared sensors (cameras) placed at various parts of the aircraft. A complex computing system seamlessly fuses the imagery and presents it to the helmet visor of the pilot in such a way that wherever he looks he sees the world outside the aircraft as if the walls of the aircraft are simply not there. No need to roll the aircraft to see the ground below, just look down. No need to turn the aircraft to look straight behind, just turn your head. The wings are no longer there to obscure your vision.


Imagine a pilot about to land his nose-up aircraft on the deck of an aircraft carrier. It is night. It is storming. The carrier’s lights are doused because an enemy is nearby. To the naked eye the carrier simply does not exist. Only the lights of the Optical Landing System are visible. If you have any doubts about the seriousness of this scenario just talk to a carrier qualified pilot, as I have. It scares even the most experienced pilots! Because the DAS sensors see in the infrared, night looks like day. With DAS, the pilot looks down just below his instrument panel. The now brightly lit carrier’s deck is fully visible to him at all times. Landing is so very much easier. Carrier pilots are going to love the DAS. But the F-35 DAS is in its infancy. It is easy to envision where this technology is going to go, with greatly increased spatial resolution and hyperspectral imaging. DAS is definitely the future — the future for all aircraft — thanks to the F-35 program…

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






Daniel Pipes                                              

BESA, July 2, 2017


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party announced Saturday that the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.” Fatah demanded the removal of metal detectors and other security devices from the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. A week earlier two Israeli policemen were killed by terrorists who had stashed their weapons inside the mosque.


The Fatah statement was illogical and hypocritical. Many mosques in Muslim-majority countries use the same security technology to protect worshipers, tourists and police. Yet Mr. Abbas managed to force the Israeli government to remove them. He did it by deflecting attention from the policemen’s murders and stoking fear of a religious conflagration with vast repercussions.


The Temple Mount crisis highlights with exceptional clarity three factors that explain why a steady 80% of Palestinians believe they can eliminate the Jewish state: Islamic doctrine, international succor and Israeli timidity. Islam carries with it the expectation that any land once under Muslim control is an endowment that must inevitably revert to Muslim rule. The idea has abiding power: think of Osama bin Laden’s dream of resurrecting Andalusia and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hopes of regaining influence over the Balkans. Palestinians consistently report their belief that the state of Israel will collapse within a few decades.


A confrontation over the Temple Mount uniquely excites this expectation because it reaches far beyond the local population to arouse the passions of many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. The most prominent Muslim leaders and institutions overwhelmingly supported Fatah’s position on the Temple Mount security provisions. Islamic voices outside the pro-Palestinian consensus are rare. Palestinians rejoice in their role as the tip of an enormous spear.


Palestinians’ illusions of might enjoy considerable international support. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization routinely passes critical resolutions aimed at Israel. Columbia University houses something called the Center for Palestine Studies. Major corporations such as Google and news organizations like the British Broadcasting Corp. pretend there’s a country called Palestine. Foreign aid has created a Palestinian pseudo-economy that in 2016 enjoyed a phenomenal 4.1% growth rate.


In the Temple Mount crisis, the U.S. government, the Europeans and practically everyone else lined up to support the demand for the elimination of metal detectors, along with high-tech cameras or any other devices to prevent jihadi attacks. The Quartet on the Middle East welcomed “the assurances by the Prime Minister of Israel that the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem will be upheld and respected.” With this sort of near-unanimous support, Palestinians easily imagine themselves stronger than the Jewish state.


Israel’s security services timidly avoid taking steps that might upset the Palestinians. This soft approach results not from starry-eyed idealism but from an exceedingly negative view of Palestinians as unreformable troublemakers. Accordingly, the police, intelligence agencies and military agree to just about anything that ensures calm while rejecting any initiative to deprive the Palestinians of funds, punish them more severely or infringe on their many prerogatives.


The Israeli security establishment knows that the Palestinian Authority will continue to incite and sanction murder even as it seeks to delegitimize and isolate the state of Israel. But those security services emphatically prefer to live with such challenges than to punish Mr. Abbas, reduce his standing and risk another intifada. The collapse of the Palestinian Authority and a return to direct Israeli rule is the security services’ nightmare. Mr. Abbas knows this, and this week’s fiasco demonstrates that he’s not afraid to exploit Israeli fears to advance his dream of debasing and eventually eliminating the Jewish state.


Daniel Pipes is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic Links


Insulting Apology from Islamic Center of Davis (Video): Camera, July 27, 2017 —That’s the dishonest, cowardly, meaningless, and insulting apology offered by the Islamic Center of Davis in California after Imam Ammar Shahin called for the annihilation of Jews during a sermon he gave on Friday, July 21, 2017. After Shahin’s sermon was recorded and posted on the mosque’s website, it came to the attention of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) who translated it from Arabic into English for a shocked public.

Historic Change on the Temple Mount: Moshe Feiglin, Zehut, July 26, 2017—Although I anticipated that Netanyahu would remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, and although I very much hoped that I would be proven wrong, things are developing in such an amazing and fascinating manner, that you cannot but think that perhaps we are on the threshold of an historic change of direction.

Operation Good Neighbor: Israel Reveals its Massive Humanitarian Aid to Syria: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, July 19, 2017—The Israeli military on Wednesday unveiled the scope of its humanitarian assistance in Syria that has dramatically mushroomed over the last year to include treating chronically ill children who have no access to hospitals, building clinics in Syria, and supplying hundreds of tons of food, medicines and clothes to war-ravaged villages across the border.

When Will the F-35 Stop Being Controversial?: Sandra Erwin, National Interest, July 11, 2017 —It is a question that has nagged the Pentagon for years: At what point will the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter be out of the woods?











The Temple Mount Crisis — Far From Over, it’s Really Just Beginning: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, July 26, 2017— Although for a moment it seemed that the metal detector crisis had ended Monday night, with the removal of the electronic gates and cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount…

Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors – Who Is Violating What?: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, July 27, 2017— The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors."

Caving in Cravenly to Terror, Acting Stupidly Towards Jordan: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, July 27, 2017— Israel's security cabinet decided to remove all the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount entrances…

Victory Requires Patience: Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, July 19, 2017— The Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a similar caucus in the U.S. Congress.


On Topic Links


Clashes Erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to Site: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, July 27, 2017

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan May Stay Closed: Jewish Press, July 27, 2017

In Unprecedented Attack, Israel Hayom Pans ‘Helpless,’ ‘Feeble’ Netanyahu: Times of Israel, July 26, 2017

Beyond the Debate Over Metal Detectors (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, July 27, 2017




FAR FROM OVER, IT’S REALLY JUST BEGINNING                                                                      

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, July 26, 2017


Although for a moment it seemed that the metal detector crisis had ended Monday night, with the removal of the electronic gates and cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount, we are evidently still in the midst of an impasse that may last for quite some time. Both sides, and especially the two leaderships, each for their own political reasons, appear to be exacerbating the situation, looking for confrontation rather than calm.


On the one side, there is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who, along with his Fatah movement, explicitly called Tuesday for an escalation of the struggle and for large-scale demonstrations against Israel on Friday. This seems to be an attempt to extricate the PA leader from the depths of irrelevance.


On the other is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who seemed to be profoundly impacted by the results of Tuesday’s Channel 2 survey, which indicated deep public dissatisfaction with his response to the Temple Mount crisis. Hours after the poll’s publication, he ordered the Defense Ministry not to evacuate some 120 settlers who illegally occupied a contested home in Hebron, in addition to instructing police to individually check every worshiper ascending to pray at the Temple Mount — a decision perceived by the Palestinian public as a declaration of war.


Both sides continue their gallop toward a deeper, bloodier confrontation, and there is no responsible adult in the room to stop the deterioration. Anyone who may have expected Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to intervene in the police’s war against the security establishment, or perhaps speak out against Netanyahu’s decisions of late, has quickly learned that a country long acclimated to operating without a foreign minister has also functioned for the past two weeks without a defense chief. The man simply does not exist.


The indications that the crisis is far from over are evident on several levels. First, Tuesday’s demonstrations by Muslim worshipers, which spiraled into violence outside the entrances to the Temple Mount, involved thousands of demonstrators refusing to enter the Al-Aqsa compound despite all of their demands being met. Asked what exactly they were protesting at that point, their responses were as absurd as something you might hear on a TV sitcom.


The problem here is that the statements made by demonstrators, Muslim religious leaders and the Palestinian leadership are not funny. And the person most responsible for setting the tone at this stage is the mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, who of all the Jordanian Waqf members is the furthest from being a representative of Amman. Hussein, who receives his salary from the Palestinian Authority, announced early Tuesday afternoon that Muslim prayer would continue to be held outside the Temple Mount. When asked why, he explained that only when the situation was restored to the way it was before July 14 would the worshipers return to the Haram al-Sharif.


The fact that there are no longer any metal detectors or security cameras did not prevent him and his followers from conjuring a list of new demands: “removing invisible cameras,” removing cameras overlooking the Temple Mount, removing barricades still lying around the Old City, the planting of trees on the Al-Aqsa compound, etc. It is as if “someone” is trying to invent demands in order to exacerbate the situation, and is unfortunately succeeding in doing so.


The second indication relates to Abbas. On Tuesday, the PA president gathered the leadership of the Jerusalem branch of Fatah’s militant Tanzim faction at his office in Ramallah. He understood that Israel had pulled the rug from underneath him when it removed the metal detectors and that he and his Fatah movement were accordingly in extreme political distress. If in the past Abbas was considered weak, now many in the Palestinian public consider him to be simply irrelevant. He was not part of the erupting crisis on the Temple Mount, nor was he involved in efforts to solve it. The Jordanians, according to a senior Palestinian source, did not even update the PA leadership regarding the arrangement it had reached with Israel to remove the metal detectors and cameras.


Consequently, it seems that the Palestinian leadership’s decision to escalate the struggle is intended to convey a message not only to Israel but also to Jordan: Anyone who tries to ignore us or erase our role with regard to the Temple Mount will receive an intifada in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. What we are therefore now seeing is a struggle for survival by Abbas and his Fatah movement. Abbas has given a green light to the Tanzim faction to organize demonstrations and rallies this Friday, but no one knows how they will end. This quite easily could lead to shooting battles with IDF soldiers, casualties, deaths and even a scenario, mentioned more than once in recent years, which includes all the ingredients necessary for an intifada. It certainly won’t end well…

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






Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, July 27, 2017


The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors." They have exposed Palestinian lies and the real reason behind Palestinian anger. Israel apparently removed the metal detectors from the gates of the Temple Mount as part of a deal to end an unexpected crisis with Jordan over the killing of two Jordanian men by an Israeli embassy security officer in Amman. The security officer says he was acting in self-defense after being attacked by one of the Jordanians with a screwdriver.


The crisis erupted when the Jordanian authorities insisted on interrogating the officer — a request that was rejected by Israel because the officer enjoys diplomatic immunity. US intervention and a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah helped end the crisis peacefully and quickly, and the officer and the rest of the Israeli embassy staff were permitted to leave Jordan and head back to Israel.


Shortly after the embassy staff returned to Israel, the Israeli authorities started removing the metal detectors that were installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on July 14. The move sparked a wave of rumors and speculation, according to which the Jordanians allowed the embassy staff to return home in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors. Israel and Jordan have denied any link between the shooting incident in Amman and the removal of the metal detectors.


The crisis that erupted between Israel and Jordan over the killing of the two Jordanians was solved in less than 48 hours — much to the dismay of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were hoping to exploit the crisis to exacerbate tensions between Amman and Jerusalem. Their ultimate goal: to cause the Jordanians to scrap their peace treaty with Israel and return to the state of war with the "Zionist enemy." The Palestinians were also hoping to exploit the crisis to incite Jordanians against Israel and the Hashemite monarchy.


Fortunately, the Jordanian authorities did not fall into the Palestinian trap. They realized that it is in their own interest to resolve the crisis swiftly and peacefully. King Abdullah was wise enough not to allow the Palestinians to drag him into a confrontation with Israel.


Since the installation of the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, the Palestinians have been waging yet another campaign of fabrications and distortions against Israel. This Palestinian blood libel claims that Israel is seeking to "change the status quo" at the Temple Mount by introducing new security measures such as metal detectors and surveillance cameras at the gates to the holy site. Yet if anyone has violated the status quo it is the Palestinians themselves. Status Quo Violation Number One: For the past two years, the Palestinians have been trying to prevent Jews from touring the Temple Mount — a practice that has been allowed since 1967.


Status Quo Violation Number Two: The Palestinians and their supporters have long turned the Temple Mount into a battlefield for clashing with Israeli policemen and Jewish visitors. In an ongoing arrangement that ought to interest the international community, they pay Muslim men and women salaries to come to the compound and harass policemen and Jewish visitors by hurling insults at them and throwing stones and petrol bombs. These individuals belong to an outlawed group known as the Murabitun. This is a group of Muslim fanatics who receive money from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel to do their utmost to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount.


Status Quo Violation Number Three: Over the past two decades, the Waqf (Islamic Trust) that manages the affairs of the mosques on the Temple Mount, and other parties, have been carrying out illegal excavation and construction work at the site in a bid to create irreversible facts on the ground. The Waqf and the Palestinian Authority claim that the excavation work is aimed at refuting Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and showing the world that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem.


Status Quo Violation Number Four: The Palestinians and their supporters have been using the Temple Mount compound as a platform for spewing anti-Semitism and calls to murder Jews and all "infidels." This abuse of the holy site as a podium for spreading Palestinian poison is far from a new practice. Palestinians and other Muslims have been doing this at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques around the world for decades. Take, for example, when the imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque predicted that the "White House would turn black, with the help of God." This prayer, attended by thousands of Muslim worshippers, came only a few weeks before the 9/11 terror attacks. Last week, another imam prayed to God that Israeli policemen guarding the Temple Mount would be widowed and orphaned. These are only a handful of the countless examples of how mosques are being used to indoctrinate the hearts and minds of Muslims with hate.


Status Quo Violation Number Five: The murder of two policemen on July 14 is the mother of all status quo violations. Until the murder, Muslims had resorted to less deadly weapons such as stones and petrol bombs to attack Jews and policemen. July 14 represents the first time that Muslims used firearms at the Temple Mount. While it is not unusual to see Muslims blowing up mosques and committing atrocities against fellow Muslims in many Arab and Islamic countries, the shooting attack at the Temple Mount was still unprecedented.


Smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount is a grave desecration of the holy site. Murdering two police officers, who were stationed there to safeguard the site and protect Muslim worshippers, takes the level of violation and desecration to new lows. It is worth noting that the two police officers were not murdered during a confrontation or a violent incident. One of them was shot in the back while he was standing at one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.


After the July 14 murder, Palestinians began waging daily protests by refusing to enter the Temple Mount through metal detectors installed by the Israeli authorities to prevent weapons smuggling for the safety of the Muslim worshippers themselves. Instead, Palestinians gather every evening at the entrances to the Temple Mount, where they complete their prayers with a volley of stones and petrol bombs lodged at police officers. Crucially, and contrary to Palestinian claims, there has been no Israeli decision to ban Muslims from entering the Temple Mount…

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





ACTING STUPIDLY TOWARDS JORDAN                                             

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

          Arutz Sheva, July 27, 2017


Israel's security cabinet decided to remove all the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount entrances, and perhaps even the cameras at the Lion's Gate and the other gates that lead into the Old City of Jerusalem, placed there just a few days ago after the cold-blooded murder of two Druze Border Police officers by Israeli Arab terrorists. The decision was linked to Jordan's freeing the security guard in the Israeli Consulate there, although the guard has diplomatic immunity, having been sent by the Shabak chief on a mission to Jordan and engaging in negotiations with colleagues in the Hashemite Kingdom.


The Cabinet decision talks about developing "smart checks" for the astronomical cost of 100 million IS to take the place of the detectors and cameras. I am willing to bet – you name the amount – that nothing of significance will be developed in the near future and the talk of "smart checks" is meant to mislead the public, deluding the man in the street into thinking that Israel has found a way to be sovereign in the Old City and the Temple Mount. In addition, even if a miracle occurs and new technology is developed, there is zero chance that it will be put in place without riots. For Israel-hating Muslims, there is  no difference between metal detectors, cameras and any other technology, because putting anything there means Jewish Sovereignty, contradicting basic Islamic tenets mandating that Jews have to live as dhimmis under the protection of the ruler but subject to his whims, and that they must pay the humiliating Koranic jyzia head tax.


Without doubt, the Israeli government caved and retreated from its decision to operate security apparatus at the entrances to the Temple Mount. From today on, only Jews and tourists will be expected to undergo a humiliating search to be sure they are not carrying phylacteries or prayer books when they ascend the Mount. Muslims, who proved their terrorist proclivities on the 14th of July this year, will continue to enter the holy site without being searched or supervised and will be able to smuggle weapons on to  the Mount. Pressure was exerted on the Israeli government from every direction: Israeli Arabs, PA Arabs, Arab and Muslim countries, Europe and the USA.


Israel's capitulation when faced with these pressures is of grave significance. The first failure is the fact that Israel's government did not coordinate its steps with the US government, particularly Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy to the Middle East. The government did not expect the crashing wave of Islamic opposition to the move and did not obtain American support for the security measures beforehand. After all, every American understands the necessity of these measures in light of the terrorist reality in which the enlightened world finds itself.


Muslim haters of Israel have received enormous encouragement from this affair. Their future demands will be much greater, in just the way one's appetite grows at the sight of food. Terror, it seems, does pay, and the state of Israel looks for easy, immediate and temporary solutions to problems instead of dealing forthrightly with challenges and emerging the victor over those who wish to harm us. The Jewish people will pay a high price for this questionable "achievement" of "defusing tensions on the ground," a result that is far from proven.


Removing the security apparatus proved that the Muslims have scored another victory over the Jews. Once again it has been made clear that Israel's government has melted down the steadfast sticking-to-our-guns mentality that characterized the Jewish people when the state was established in 1948 and during the wars that have since accompanied life on our ancestral lands. No declaration, no matter how bombastic, whether proclaimed by the president, prime minister, ministers, officials, IDF commanders or  police can hide the bitter and humiliating truth that terrorists forced the Israeli government  to cave in and retreat from its correct and completely justified – original – decision.


How will the government be able to look the families of the two Border Police officers in the eye?  What  will all those irresponsible ministers say to  the families hit by the terror that will unquestionably increase thanks to their weak and scandalous decision to remove the security apparatus guarding the capital of Israel? How will the Israeli Police deal with the wave of terror that this government's stupidity will bring about, without being provided with the means necessary to accomplish their mission? What nation with the will to live caves in to terror this way?..

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






Efraim Inbar       

                                                Israel Hayom, July 19, 2017


The Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a similar caucus in the U.S. Congress. The caucus hopes to sensitize the Israeli public, as well as politicians in Israel and abroad, to the need to attain a decisive victory over the Palestinians. Professor Daniel Pipes, the scholar behind this project, argues convincingly that a peace settlement will only be possible after the Palestinians realize that the 100 years of struggle against Zionism has failed.


To date, the Palestinians (not only Hamas) still entertain hopes that the Zionist enterprise can be dismantled. Israel's victories on the battlefield against Arab armies, its success in containing terrorism and the prosperity of the Jewish state have not yet cemented a sense of defeat among the Palestinians. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority continues the campaign to delegitimize Israel. Elements in Palestinian society even believe that Jewish society will inevitably crumble under the pressure of terrorist attacks and internal tensions.


The view that Israel will eventually disappear, just like the Crusaders in the 12th century, is widespread. The Palestinians are encouraged by the indiscriminate financial and diplomatic support they get from abroad and are pleased with the enhanced regional influence of Iran, which pledges the destruction of Israel. The assumption that their desire for a state leads to concessions needed for a peace settlement with Israel remains to be proven. Taking into consideration the nature of the "peace partner," the protracted struggle is likely to continue unless a new pragmatic leadership emerges. Alas, such a leadership is not in the offing, leaving Israel no choice but to wage a limited war on the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


Indeed, Israel is in a state of war, not in a peace process. This truth is not palatable to the international community that emphasizes diplomacy and wants to believe that the Palestinians are interested in peace. This predicament constrains Israel's military freedom of action in the pursuit of victory. Its ability to inflict pain on the Palestinians — which is what war is about — is limited. It is often accused of exercising excessive force by a liberal press that is inherently averse to any use of force.

Moreover, Israel is torn by a permanent dilemma. On the one hand, it tries to buy calm, and time, by providing economic means to sustain the weak Palestinian economy. Jerusalem understands that hungry neighbors attract international criticism of Israel and could turn into a security problem. On the other hand, it needs to punish the violent Palestinians to create deterrence, and to affect their behavior and aspirations. It is not easy to balance the first effort, basically a short-term consideration, with the attempt to deliver a costly defeat to the Palestinians that might bring an end to the conflict faster.


The Palestinian reluctance to adopt realistic foreign policy goals and Israel's hesitation to use its military superiority to exact a much higher cost from the Palestinians are the defining features of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…                                                                                                                                           

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




On Topic Links


Clashes Erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to Site: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, July 27, 2017—Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan May Stay Closed: Jewish Press, July 27, 2017—While Israel wants Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and her staff to return as soon as possible to the Israeli embassy in Jordan, that probably won’t be happening.

In Unprecedented Attack, Israel Hayom Pans ‘Helpless,’ ‘Feeble’ Netanyahu: Times of Israel, July 26, 2017—After years of backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the free daily Israel Hayom castigated the premier’s “display of feebleness” and his “helpless” response to the Temple Mount crisis on its front page on Wednesday, in a large above-the-fold headline.

Beyond the Debate Over Metal Detectors (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, July 27, 2017—It’s extremely important to remember where exactly the current crisis about metal detectors on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem came from – to recall it all started when guns were smuggled onto the Temple Mount and actually used against two Israeli policemen.  Officers Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan were killed as a result of these illegal firearms that were brought in to a holy site.









Trump Soars in Warsaw — But Gets Suckered in Hamburg: Ralph Peters, New York Post, July 7, 2017— In Warsaw on Thursday, President Trump gave the most impressive speech by a US president on European soil since Ronald Reagan…

Russia’s Strategy: Built on Illusion: George Friedman, Geopolitical Futures, July 19, 2017 — Strong powers can underplay their hands and afford to make mistakes.

Chechnya’s Jewish Community Doesn’t Exist — But it’s Angry at Israel: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, July 21, 2017— While Russia’s mainstream Jewish leaders in Moscow firmly backed Israel’s actions in clashes this week with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the small Jewish community of Chechnya broke ranks with them and boldly condemned the Jewish state’s “provocations” against Muslims in the holy city.

Middle Eastern Islamism Threatens Russia: Daniel Pipes, Eurasia Expert, July 24, 2017— Why is the Middle East so unstable? Is there hope for improvement?


On Topic Links


Are Russia and America Headed for a Showdown?: George Beebe, National Interest, July 24, 2017

Why Trump’s Syrian Cease-fire Makes Israel Nervous: David Makovsky, Politico, July 14, 2017

The Prospect for Russia's Jews: Maxim D. Shrayer, Mosaic, March 6 2017

Taliban Fighters Claim Russia is Giving Them Weapons: Mark Moore, New York Post, July 25, 2017



TRUMP SOARS IN WARSAW — BUT GETS SUCKERED IN HAMBURG                                                           

Ralph Peters

                                                  New York Post, July 7, 2017


In Warsaw on Thursday, President Trump gave the most impressive speech by a US president on European soil since Ronald Reagan raised the challenge, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” His speechwriter served him splendidly, deservedly praising Poland’s long struggle for freedom and repeatedly calling out Russia for its invasions, occupations and atrocities.


The historical references, such as to the Katyn Forest Massacre of 15,000 Polish officers held as POWs, resonated with the Poles and galled Moscow. Listening to our president, I felt like standing up and cheering. Then Trump met Vladimir Putin on the rim of the G-20 summit in Germany, and he fell under the same spell that had seduced three US presidents, Clinton, Bush and Obama, the latter of whom ended up as Putin’s strategic punching bag.


Listening to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s summary of the two-hour-plus meeting was painful. The naivety on display played into Putin’s hands. We got nothing, Putin got a big win. While it seemed a fine thing that our president brought up Russian interference in our election, Tillerson undercut it by stressing that he and the president didn’t want to re-litigate the past but seek to move forward. That was terrific news for Putin, who needs to be punished harshly for his election-meddling (yes, the Russians indisputably meddled). Russia’s new czar got a free pass for a still-to-be-issued promise not to do it again. We held all the aces. And we folded.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had his say, too, not only claiming Trump accepted that Russia had not meddled in the election, but implying, in the Russian version, that Trump personally rejected the notion of Russian interference. Follow-up US denials didn’t help; the damage was done. And that no-details-yet deal to suspend the fighting in southern Syria? The primary beneficiary — if it even works — will be Iran and its surrogates, who will be protected from interference as they tighten their grip on the border with Iraq.


The administration needs to grasp that Russia’s our enemy, and that’s because it chooses to be. The burden’s not on us to make up with Moscow, but on Putin to stop invading his neighbors, assassinating dissidents (including those in the West) and terror-bombing civilians in Syria. That’s how things could move forward. We somehow have convinced ourselves that we need Russia’s help. That’s nonsense. Russia desperately needs our support. And it needs sanctions lifted (watch that space). What do the Russians have? They have Putin. And he’s as canny as he is savage.


The live shots of Trump’s first handshake with Putin were telling. Trump was himself. Putin was the self he chose to be. Normally not a smiley-face guy, Putin advanced with an artificial smile — he’d studied Trump and decided that the best approach was chumminess. And he kept control of the situation. Short in stature, he was careful not to come too close to Trump, avoiding an embrace that would have made him look tiny compared to our president. Putin calculates every single move.


Czar Vladimir was more at ease in the second photo op, when both men were seated and Putin, who has a large torso, looked bigger beside Trump. Having watched Putin for many years, he always reminds me of a predatory cat, ever watching for the right moment to pounce. A judo devotee for five decades, he has a constant awareness of his environment, a sinewy alertness in the moment.


Perhaps our president will draw a lesson from the immediate propaganda use to which the Russians put this meeting. But he would have been better served had he at least included his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster — who has no ties to Putin — in this initial meeting. As it is, we’re stuck with a public disagreement between Lavrov and Tillerson over what actually was said. And sowing doubt is to Russia’s advantage.


The president we need is the one we heard in Warsaw, praising and detailing the valiant, against-all-odds heroes of the Warsaw uprising, when Poles rose against the Nazis, expecting the Red Army — positioned just across the Vistula River — to come to their aid. Instead, Stalin ordered his troops to halt while the Nazis massacred the Poles. The speechwriter knew his or her history — and who the enemy was and still is today.


We need the Trump who, in that speech in Poland’s rebuilt capital, insisted that Western civilization is worth defending and that the fundamental question of our time is whether we’ll defend it. That sent the politically correct in the media into a weak-loined frenzy — all cultures are supposed to be equal — but, for the rest of us, it was heartening to hear someone defend a civilization that, for all its discontents, embodies the highest achievements of humanity: personal freedom, the rule of law, freedom of religion, opportunity and government of the people, by the people and for the people. As the president pointed out in that speech, the enemy doesn’t come only from the south, but from the east, as well. Ask the Poles.





George Friedman

Geopolitical Futures, July 19, 2017


Strong powers can underplay their hands and afford to make mistakes. Weak powers, on the other hand, need to exaggerate their power and be far more precise in its use. Power is like money; the less you have, the more you need to flaunt it and the fewer mistakes you can afford to make. But by trying to convince others that they have more power than they actually do, they run the risk of squandering a scarce resource. It’s nearly impossible to both flaunt power and preserve it at the same time.


This is the core strategic problem of Russia. On the one hand, it is still trying to find its way more than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event President Vladimir Putin has referred to as “the greatest political catastrophe” of the 20th century. In the lives of nations, a quarter of a century is not very long, and the reverberations of the catastrophe are still being felt. On the other hand, Russia lives in a complex and dangerous region, and appearing weak can be the biggest threat to its well-being. Therefore, like a wealthy person coming into hard times, Russia must simultaneously try to appear more powerful than it is and meticulously manage what power it has.


Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has faced two fundamental problems. The first is geographic. The second, which we’ll return to later, is economic. Russia’s main geographic problem is that it needs to maintain a buffer zone to its west to stem the risk of attack from the European Peninsula. Russia has been invaded three times, once by France and twice by Germany. In each case, it survived because of strategic depth. The Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine created the buffer zone that gave Russia room to retreat and exhaust the enemy. Although the weather also played a role, distance was the main challenge for attacking armies. Even in World War I, Germany was unable to sustain the gains it won. In the Napoleonic Wars and World War II, the enemy was ground down and defeated.


After World War II, Russia’s buffer zone expanded dramatically. A second tier of nations to the West – Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania – came under Soviet dominion. Soviet power pushed into central Germany. For the first time in its history, it had strategic depth such that an attack from the European Peninsula was unthinkable. But maintaining the force that was needed to hold this deep buffer exceeded Soviet resources. The drop in oil prices, the inherent inefficiency in the economy, and the cost of defending what it had won in World War II had become unsustainable, and the Soviet Union collapsed. It first lost the deep buffer of Eastern Europe, and two years later, it lost the critical elements of its core buffer, the Baltics and Ukraine.


An argument can be made that given the situation on the European Peninsula, the threat to Russia has evaporated. But nothing in Russia’s history permits such complacency. In 1932, Germany was a weak and divided liberal democracy. Six years later, it was the most powerful military force in Europe. Russia understands the speed with which European (and American) intentions and capabilities can change. It must therefore continue to pursue strategic depth.


When the Baltic countries were brought into NATO, the Russians were unable to respond. But Ukraine was a different matter. It had become independent but was not absorbed by the West. It was also a critical part of Russia’s buffer. Ukraine is vast, and the cost of crossing it from the west is high. When Western countries, particularly the U.S., appeared to support the establishment of a pro-Western government in Kiev during the 2004 Orange Revolution, Russia believed they actually intended to undermine Russian security. A Ukraine armed or controlled by the West would make Russia very difficult to defend. The U.S. claimed the Orange Revolution was about human rights, but the Russians saw that as a cover. The Russians fought back with covert operations designed to install a pro-Russian government in Kiev. The Americans responded by supporting the uprising in 2014, and the Russians saw this too as a hostile act.


But Russia was in no position to do anything about it. Its intelligence services failed to understand or prevent what happened in Kiev. The Russians had to do something to demonstrate they were not impotent. So Russia formally annexed Crimea, a region that was historically Russian, and where Russian force was already overwhelming. This convinced the Americans that Russia was an aggressive power. Russia found itself in a strategic confrontation that outstripped its resources but which it could not abandon.


But with Russia unable to challenge Western forces and with the U.S. uninterested in an extended conflict with Moscow, the result was a frozen conflict in Ukraine. There was an implicit agreement: Russia would accept a pro-Western government in Kiev so long as that did not include a military alliance or deployment of Western forces in Ukraine. The U.S. and Europe would accept the status quo so long as the Russians did not become aggressive. The Russians had a buffer against the West, and the West had a buffer against Russia. This achieved a solution the West could live with because Ukraine was not a fundamental interest. But for the Russians, it was only minimally acceptable. Ukraine was vital to Russian interests and this solution was only just short of a defeat.


Russia decided it had to act to increase its strength. But it was dealt another blow in 2014, when oil prices began to decline as a result of increased supplies and constrained demand. And this brings us back to Russia’s second fundamental problem: its economic weakness. Russia is dependent on an economic variable it can’t control. It remains heavily reliant on oil exports but it can’t dictate the price of oil. At a time when it needed to expand its military power, it was facing deep economic constraints. This was precisely the problem the Soviet Union faced in the 1980s. It had to increase its military force while its major export, energy, plunged in price. This problem was instrumental in the Soviet Union’s collapse. To avoid repeating this scenario, the Russians had to decrease their defense budget rather than increase it.


After the dual shocks of 2014, Russia could either acknowledge its weakness or attempt to appear more powerful than it was. But if it acknowledged its problems, Russia was afraid, reasonably so, that the U.S. could impose a more aggressive policy on Moscow. Russia was forced into the maneuver of a formerly wealthy man down on his luck. It had to appear convincingly more powerful than it was, with the attendant danger of using up resources it couldn’t afford to spend. It pursued this strategy through low-cost, low-risk actions.


One such action was in Syria. The intervention there served no Russian strategic interests. There was speculation that Russia was interested in pipelines or ports. But no one believed that Russia’s commitment to Bashar Assad was so deep that it would intervene to save him. In reality, the Russians intervened to show that they could, and to prove that they could deal with the United States and Turkey as equals. From a strategic standpoint, it made little sense. From a psychological standpoint, it made some sense. The forces it sent were limited, and while they may have prevented the fall of Assad, they are now as bogged down as the Americans, unable to win and unable to leave. But being as bogged down as the Americans was not a problem. To the contrary, it made Russia a player on a bigger stage…

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




BUT IT’S ANGRY AT ISRAEL                                                 

Cnaan Liphshiz                                                                                

JTA, July 21, 2017


While Russia’s mainstream Jewish leaders in Moscow firmly backed Israel’s actions in clashes this week with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the small Jewish community of Chechnya broke ranks with them and boldly condemned the Jewish state’s “provocations” against Muslims in the holy city. At least that was the story reported in the national and local media, including the Echo of Moscow radio station and Chechnya Today – the most popular news site in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic.


There was just one problem with the news item: Chechnya apparently has no organized Jewish community, and according to some Jewish people who were born there, also next to no Jews. The reports about where Chechen Jews stand on the issue of Jerusalem, where police and Palestinians clashed Thursday night and Friday over Israel’s decision to place metal detectors near the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque, relied on a video message published Tuesday by a man called Mosei Yunayev.


Claiming to speak for the Jewish community of Chechnya, he joined Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in condemning Israel’s actions at the Temple Mount, where the mosque is situated. Chechen Jews, Yunayev said, “wholeheartedly support” the sharp-worded rebuke of Israel by Kadyrov. “Nonsense, I doubt there are even any Jews left in Chechnya, let alone an organized Jewish community,” Tamara Rafailova Kahlon, an Israeli who was born in the Chechen capital of Grozny, told JTA on Friday. Her father, Rafoi Rafailov, heads an association of Chechen Jews in the city of Pyatigorsk, situated 150 miles west of Grozny in the North Caucasian Federal District. “They all left, I don’t know who this man speaks for,” she said.


On July 15, Kadyrov called Israel’s heightened security on the Temple Mount, where the previous day three Arab-Israeli terrorists killed two police officers before they were shot to death, “deliberate provocation to foment riots.” He described as “violent” Israel’s detention of the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who was called in for questioning after he urged worshippers to ignore a temporary closure of the compound immediately following the attack.


In response to the shooting, Israel for the first time placed metal detectors in gateways leading to the Haram al Sharif compound, which contains the Al-Aqsa mosque. Thousands of troops were deployed Friday following riots; two Palestinians were killed in the clashes. Security checks are a “provocation that invites resistance” by Muslims, Kadyrov said. Yunayev’s support for the condemnation by Kadyrov received considerable exposure in the Chechen media and other Russian-language publications. But Russian-speaking Jews, including community leaders, journalists and immigrants from Chechnya, dismissed and ridiculed Yunayev’s claim to represent a Jewish community that they said does not exist.


In an interview with Chechnya Today, Yunayev denied the assertions. “Those who claim that there are no Jews in Chechnya are far from being Jewish,” he said. And he presented his credentials: “I was sent to the Chechen Republic by the Council of Elders of the Jewish People to restore the Jewish community in the region. Only true believers know how right I am in my convictions.” JTA could not confirm the existence of an organization by that name; its only presence online originates in Yunayev’s mention in the Chechnya Today article. At other times, Yunayev presented himself as a member of the equally untraceable Congress of Jews of the North Caucasus Federal District.


Rabbi Boruch Gorin, a senior figure within the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, told JTA he is aware neither of that group nor of any other organized Jewish community active in Chechnya. “Chechnya is special in that there is no Jewish community, there are no Jews there,” he told the news site Open Russia on Thursday. “Not in Grozny, not anywhere. Perhaps there are a few individuals, but there is no social community of ethnic Jews after the Chechen wars” of the 1990s and 2000s. “Any statements from the Chechen Jewish community are made up,” Gorin said.


Chechnya did have a Jewish population in the past. Grozny had a 19th-century Ashkenazi synagogue that was turned into a music school in 1937 and then destroyed during the first Chechen war of 1994-96. But today, “Chechnya has no Jews,” according to the website Gorskie, the official website of the Mountain Jews Community, who have lived for centuries in the Caucasus…           

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






Daniel Pipes (Interview)          

                                                Eurasia Expert, July 24, 2017


Why is the Middle East so unstable? Is there hope for improvement? Middle Eastern instability results from the region's particularly difficult transition to modernity. This can be explained by two main problems: historic Muslim-Christian tensions going back to the origins of Islam and acute differences between modern and Islamic ways at both the public and private levels. In all, Muslim-Christian relations are probably the most fraught of any two large bodies of people in the world…

Will Syria or its neighbors be occupied by terrorists? For me, the word terrorist has lost meaning; it's what everyone calls his enemies. Let me change your question from terrorists to jihadis. Jihadis have a great future in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq and could control those states. The other neighbors – Turkey, Jordan, Israel – can protect themselves from anarchy though not from specific attacks.


In the aftermath of the Putin-Trump meeting at which both presidents expressed a readiness to fight ISIS in Syria, do you expect their forces to cooperate against it? Every serious analyst recognizes that the real issue in Syria is the growing Iranian presence and the Sunni states' resistance to it. ISIS is a sideshow. As Moscow is basically supporting Tehran and Washington supports the Sunni states, their differences will preclude more than occasionally tactical cooperation. I hope the Trump administration supports the Kurds and others who are resisting Iranian domination.


After helping the Iraqi army take Mosul from ISIS, will the U.S. government also help take Syrian cities from it? Due to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Americans feel a special responsibility for Iraq; but no similar sense exists for Syria. Also, the presence of Turkish and YPG forces complicates matters in Syria. I therefore expect a lesser U.S. involvement in Syria than in Iraq.


Can ISIS export instability from Syria-Iraq to Central Asia? ISIS has a history of doing too much too fast, making too many enemies and paying a heavy price for these mistakes. Assuming it has not learned the lesson of making alliances and limiting ambitions, it will likely try to reach Central Asia. I doubt it will succeed as the lure of the caliphate has been broken and other Islamist competitors are better positioned there…


Estimates suggest 5-7,000 people from Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are fighting for ISIS; Putin has stated that "we certainly cannot allow them to apply experience gained in Syria in our home." Do these CIS fighters in fact pose a threat to Russia? Assuming that the Russian authorities are on the alert for former ISIS fighters, I expect their threat will be contained to occasional acts of jihadi violence but no greater challenge…                                                                 

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




On Topic Links


Are Russia and America Headed for a Showdown?: George Beebe, National Interest, July 24, 2017—The situation may have to get worse before cooler heads start to prevail.

Why Trump’s Syrian Cease-fire Makes Israel Nervous: David Makovsky, Politico, July 14, 2017—Israel has done all it could over the past six years to stay out of the maelstrom next door in Syria, where Bashar Assad’s regime has struggled for six years to beat back a peaceful uprising that became a bloody civil war.

The Prospect for Russia's Jews: Maxim D. Shrayer, Mosaic, March 6 2017—Why do you stay here?” “I have a son here,” he replied. And then he added: “God gave me as a Jew such a place in life—to live in Russia.” “What about the other Jews, why do they stay here?” “About the others I don’t know, but I imagine they too are needed here by nature and the Creator.”

Taliban Fighters Claim Russia is Giving Them Weapons: Mark Moore, New York Post, July 25, 2017—Two groups of Taliban fighters said they have weapons supplied by the Russians, CNN reported on Tuesday, reinforcing claims by US military officials that the Kremlin is arming its one-time foe.









Cause and Effect: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2017— Is there a cause and effect relationship between the new security arrangements instituted by Israel on the Temple Mount and the horrific murder of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36?  

The Argument Is About Jews, Not Metal Detectors: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, July 21, 2017— To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount makes no sense.

As Temple Mount Tensions Persist, Where’s Donald Trump?: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017— With violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatening to spiral out of control, and amid many calls for restraint from the international community, one person has remained conspicuously silent: Donald Trump.

The Rami Hamdallah Compliment: IDF Policy Towards the Palestinians Proves Its Value: Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, BESA, July 23, 2017— Within the last two weeks, interactions between Israel and the PA at the ministerial level have offered proof of the value of current Israeli strategy towards the Palestinian population.


On Topic Links


Grief and Defiance as Israel Lays 3 Members of Salomon Family, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorist, to Rest: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 23, 2017

Palestinians’ Dilemma on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Opposing Israel or Each Other?: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, July 19, 2017

How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace: Judith Miller, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2017

A Time for Jewish Rage: Francis Nataf, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017





                                                  Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2017


Is there a cause and effect relationship between the new security arrangements instituted by Israel on the Temple Mount and the horrific murder of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36? There is according to 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, who massacred the three and seriously wounded Yosef’s wife, Tova, 69. Before leaving his home in Kobar on Friday night to carry out his attack in the neighboring settlement Halamish (Neveh Tzuf) in Samaria, he posted a message on his Facebook page: “They are desecrating the Aksa Mosque and we are sleeping, it is an embarrassment that we sit and do nothing…all I have is a sharpened knife, and it will answer the call of al-Aksa.” He signed off with emojis including hearts.


But there is no connection. What Abed did is what people have been doing to Jews for millennia, refusing to recognize Jewish nationality, rights, statehood and connection to this land. This has nothing to do with metal detectors. It is about hatred and radical ideology, fueled by lies and incitement. Connecting between the two like Abed did is a convenient way of thinking. It absolves him of responsibility for his actions and shifts the blame to the victim.


In Abed’s case, the despicable act of murdering an elderly man, seriously wounding his wife and killing two of his children can be transformed into a heroic act that is part of the Islamist struggle for control over al-Aksa, or as retribution for perceived grievances said to have been perpetrated by Jews who have no right to political autonomy in this land, let alone on the Temple Mount. If a cause-and-effect relationship exists at all in this story it is the connection between the cold-blooded murder of two Israeli Druse police officers adjacent to the Temple Mount and the decision by Israel to place metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount to prevent similar attacks in the future.


In a world governed by reason, ensuring the Temple Mount remains safe and gun-free would be seen first and foremost as a Muslim interest, since Muslims make up the vast majority of people who pray at the site and do not want to see it desecrated by acts of murder. The three Arabs with Israeli citizenship who smuggled guns into the Temple Mount exploited the atmosphere of trust and reverence that enabled lax security arrangements. Perhaps it was naive to think that this sort of attack could not take place. But our government does not want to repeat its mistake.


Now, Netanyahu is being asked to cave in to the demands of the Islamists. A campaign in Israel is being led by Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement, and by Hamas, and is receiving the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and North Africa. The governments of Turkey and Qatar are also supporting the struggle.


More “moderate” Arab leaders such as Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are gradually being forced to fall in line with the Islamists. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who initially denounced the murder of the Druse officers, has since changed course, suspending ties with Israel in protest against the metal detectors. The “Arab Spring” proved the power of the masses to bring about regime change. And its memory is still fresh in the minds of men like Sisi and Abdullah.


In retrospect, Netanyahu should have foreseen all this. He has extensive experience with the explosive potential of the Temple Mount. The decision to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount seems not to have taken into consideration all the potential ramifications. Did Netanyahu ask himself whether the security benefits gained by introducing the metal detectors outweighs the price paid in the form of unrest, rioting and a renewed wave of terrorism? Sometimes it is better to be smart than right.


At the same time, no amount of concessions will satisfy people like Abed, Sheikh Salah or the Muslim Brotherhood. Removing the metal detectors will not be the end of it. There will be new grievances, new “causes” for Muslim violence. Extracting concessions under threat of violence is one of the objectives of terrorism. The question is where do we draw the line. Perhaps we should have been “smart” when it comes to metal detectors. Ultimately, however, appeasing Islamists does not lead to real peace. When violence is rewarded it tends to become an incentive for more violence.






Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, July 21, 2017


To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount makes no sense. Three Arab terrorists used guns they had smuggled up to the compound July 14 to kill two Israeli policemen, both of whom happened to be Druze rather than Jewish. In response, Israeli authorities set up metal detectors to prevent a recurrence of the crime. The response to this from Palestinians was general outrage, violence and a promise of mass riots if the offending machines were not immediately removed. Upon Friday afternoon prayers July 21, with Israel facing the prospect of even more violence that might get out of control, the metal detectors remained in place.


How could putting metal detectors to protect a holy site be considered a casus belli for what might, if the conflict escalated in the way the Muslim rioters promised, lead to a new holy war? The answer is that this isn’t about metal detectors. It’s about something much bigger: the right of Jews to be in Jerusalem.


What happened near the Temple Mount wasn’t about metal detectors. Nor was it another variation on the usual theme sounded from Israel’s critics about the infringement of Palestinian rights. To the contrary, Israel didn’t change the status quo at the Temple Mount, which denies Jews the right to pray at the holiest place in Judaism. The Islamic Waqf was left in charge of Jerusalem’s mosques, including the Temple Mount’s Al-Aqsa, inviolate.


Nor was the new security measure discriminatory. Any Jew or non-Jew who wishes to enter the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount compound must also pass through security, including metal detectors. The same is true for Muslims who wish to enter the holy places in Mecca during their annual pilgrimages.


So what exactly is this all about? For a century, Palestinian Arab leaders have been playing the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” card. The cries that Jews were seeking to destroy the mosques or in some way harm Muslim rights led to a series of pogroms against Jews, including the riots of 1929 in which Jews were massacred in Hebron. But the appeal to holy war isn’t only a vestige of the horrors of the distant past and the influence of the Nazi sympathizer Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem who incited those riots.


It was the supposedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose inflammatory statements helped incite the so-called “stabbing intifada” in recent years by also claiming Jews were going to harm the mosques. It was Abbas, not just his Hamas rivals or other violent Islamists, who called on Palestinians to resist the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. It was Abbas who said “stinking Jewish feet” should not profane the holy places.


Abbas’s motives were cynical, since he was waving the bloody banner of holy war to compete with his political foes. But the impact of his statements gave the lie to the notion — so prevalent on the Jewish left — that a peace agreement could be easily reached if Israel had the will to try for one. His rhetoric sought to remind Palestinians that the conflict wasn’t over borders or settlements, but something far more basic: a religious war that mandates Arab opposition to the Jewish presence. This is why the PA goes to such trouble to foment fights at United Nations agencies like UNESCO intended to deny Jewish ties or rights to holy places, even those that are self-evidently proof of Jewish history like the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.


This is also why the new security measures are merely the latest pretext for Arab violence intended to make the point that Jews should not merely have no say over the Temple Mount, but have no right to be there at all. The demonstrations and threats of more violence are just one more power play intended to remind the world that the only solution Palestinians will ultimately accept is one in which the Jews are excluded. So long as this is their goal, it isn’t Al-Aqsa that is in danger, but any hope for peace.







Raphael Ahren                       

                                                  Times of Israel, July 23, 2017


With violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatening to spiral out of control, and amid many calls for restraint from the international community, one person has remained conspicuously silent: Donald Trump.


Two days after a terror attack in Halamish in which a grandfather and two of his children were stabbed to death, and after a week of clashes over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that have seen several Palestinian protesters killed, the US president has yet to comment. Some of his closest confidants are said to be involved in ongoing efforts to calm the situation, but Trump himself has not yet made any public effort to help restore calm.


The White House is holding talks with Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other regional players in a bid to quell the current wave of violence, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Saturday night, quoting Israeli and Arab officials. Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, who reportedly discussed the matter last week with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is said to be leading the US effort, together with Trump’s special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, his ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman, and the US consul-general in Jerusalem, Donald Blome.


But Kushner’s team is working behind the scenes. On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement saying the US was “very concerned about tensions” surrounding the Temple Mount, and calling on Israel and Jordan to “find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.”


But the statement was vague, and did not indicate how the administration viewed Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following the July 14 attack in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two on-duty Israeli police officers there with guns they had smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Mount’s Waqf Muslim authority has successfully discouraged worshipers from walking through the gates, and they have instead prayed outside. Numerous Arab leaders have demanded that Israel remove the metal detectors.


On Saturday night, the Middle East Quartet released a statement strongly condemning “acts of terror,” and, noting the “particular sensitivities surrounding the holy sites in Jerusalem,” urging all sides to “demonstrate maximum restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work towards de-escalating the situation.” Though his name was not mentioned in the statement, Greenblatt represents the US in the Quartet, and would have been party to its drafting. But the vague statement carries less weight than clear US intervention would.


Trump has declared his intention to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and has invested considerable time and effort trying to bring the two sides closer together. He has established good relations with all key players in the region and potentially holds considerable influence over them. To date, in this crisis, he has chosen not to use it. It’s not as though he’s been hesitant to make his voice heard on Israeli-Palestinian issues: Trump has already spoken out on such abidingly sensitive matters as settlements and Palestinian incitement.


Trump’s advisers would likely urge him to proceed with caution, cognizant that any crisis surrounding the Temple Mount can snowball from a local affair into a religious war that sets the region ablaze. The White House would also seek to tread carefully lest it be seen as biased toward either party, thus jeopardizing its declared interest in restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


Careful diplomacy would therefore seem wise. But careful need not mean private. The prospects of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only recede further so long as the current Temple Mount crisis rumbles on, whereas the US president weighing in constructively might have an immediate cooling effect. Thus far, nothing is known about how the president feels about the current situation. He was likely briefed on it, but has kept his silence.


With passions so high, it is difficult to predict how a clear-cut US presidential statement assigning blame and/or defining a solution would be received by the sides. If the president were to declare flat out that it was absolutely legitimate for Israel to have installed metal detectors to secure the holy site, and that such a move does not constitute a change to the sensitive status quo there, that might alienate Arab and Muslim leaders. Or it might move the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, to lower the volume of their protest, allowing it to gradually quieten down.


Were he to firmly declare the metal detectors an unnecessary infringement on worshipers’ rights, and publicly urge Israel to reinstate the status quo ante, he might infuriate Israel. Or possibly provide Netanyahu with an urgent imperative to find an alternate arrangement. A more subtle intervention, though, could reasonably be expected to be welcomed by all sides. Were the president to personally urge the various parties to seek a mutually acceptable solution, and offer American good offices to help achieve that, it is hard to imagine that anybody would reject him.


When the leader of the free world speaks, the Middle East does sometimes listen. The more so when the leader of the free world is unpredictable, and when many of the parties involved in this crisis share an interest in staying on his good side.                           





IDF POLICY TOWARDS THE PALESTINIANS PROVES ITS VALUE                                                                                            Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman                                                                                                              

BESA, July 23, 2017


Within the last two weeks, interactions between Israel and the PA at the ministerial level have offered proof of the value of current Israeli strategy towards the Palestinian population. First came the positive meeting between PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, during which the former offered uncharacteristic praise of Israel’s measured response to the wave of violence that began in October 2015. Then came the July 10 inauguration in Jenin of the power plant project, jointly launched by Hamdallah and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, which indicates once again the utility of Israel’s gas exports as a tool of regional policy.


Palestinian praise for Israeli policies – amid a regular pattern of abuse, defamation, absurd UN resolutions aimed at denying the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and intermittent violence by Palestinian attackers who win moral and material support from the PA leadership – sounds like a “man bites dog” story the media should love. But little attention was paid to the highly unusual comments made by Hamdallah during his meeting with Kahlon. Side-by-side with a wide-ranging discussion of economic arrangements, Hamdallah felt obliged to take note – in public! – of Israel’s moderate and well-calibrated response to the violence that erupted late in 2015.


It is true that perpetrators and would-be perpetrators are apprehended and sometimes killed. But the attitude towards the population at large, and towards the economy of the West Bank, is deliberately geared to avoid collective punishment and give the peaceful majority a stake in stability.


This approach, as well as other major decisions (such as building permits in area C), reflects a consistent set of policies that are based, to some extent, on American lessons learned in the realm of counterinsurgency as well as on Israel’s own extensive experience on the ground. They do not insure against further violence – in fact, a major clash erupted in Jenin just a day after the power plant ceremony. But they do serve three key purposes. They create a stake in stability for a growing segment of Palestinian society; they reduce a potential point of friction between Israel and her key Arab neighbors and partners in the region-wide struggle against Iranian ambitions and Islamist totalitarians in their various forms; and they play a role in creating an atmosphere conducive to Israel’s recent burst of successful foreign policy activities.


The approach makes it easier for the Palestinian security forces, despite brutal criticism from Hamas and others, to sustain its security cooperation with Israel, which ultimately not only saves lives but also reduces the level of direct friction between the IDF and the population (not to zero, as was demonstrated on July 11 in Jenin). Israeli commanders in the field instruct their officers and soldiers to deal courteously with civilians whom they meet in the daily conduct of life at checkpoints and on patrol.


Many of the senior officers are themselves veterans – as younger officers – of the intensive clashes of 2000-04 (mistakenly referred to by many as “the second intifada,” though this was not a popular uprising but a campaign of violence conducted from above – “Mister Arafat’s War,” as Tom Friedman called it back then). They well remember the lessons learned during that period. Some have also internalized aspects of American field manuals on counterinsurgency, which bear the marks of what David Petraeus and others learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.


These policies towards the Palestinians, which are enhanced at the national level by a more generous policy on finances, trade, and infrastructure, are not universally popular. It is difficult, after all, to advocate for them while the PA continues to nurture the families of “martyrs” and jailed murderers. While some on the left see the policies as insufficiently lenient, many on the right see them as signs that the IDF has lost its edge. It now panders to the Palestinians and strives for international approval, they claim, when it should be striking hard at those who hate us. But a balanced response is not a matter of political preference, submission to international pressure, or naïve notions of who we are up against. Considerations of public image, both domestic and international, may play a secondary role, as does the long shadow of the ICC. But the choices made by the IDF and the Cabinet are rooted in Israel’s national security interests.


At the Palestinian level, these attitudes reduce tensions and offer incentives for the uninvolved to stay that way. The ideologically committed elements are relatively well-mapped in terms of intelligence coverage and are dealt with much less leniently, with impressive statistical results. Moreover, this approach enables the PA Security Services under Majid Faraj to sustain their cooperation with the IDF and the Shin Bet, which greatly reduces the load on our forces and the level of friction with the local population. This is not to say that the Palestinian security forces can now fend for themselves. They are at best half-ready, and if left to their own devices would be swept away by Hamas (as happened in Gaza in 2007). Still, the mutual support is a win-win, and it cannot be sustained in a more confrontational atmosphere.


Moreover, at the regional level, the careful management of the conflict, and the measures taken to avoid escalation, make it easier for Israel to husband the broad and robust set of relationships it has with its two peace partners: Jordan, whose stability is vital and could easily be threatened if things go wrong on the other side of the river; and Egypt, which looks upon itself as a custodian of basic Palestinian rights. The same is true, to a large extent, for other, less overt friends in the region, who share Israel’s view of the Iranian threat. For all these countries (or, rather, for their leaders), the Palestinian cause as such is not of primary importance. They cannot, however, do much business with Israel if the Arab media is flooded by visuals of clashes and casualties…

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




On Topic Links


Grief and Defiance as Israel Lays 3 Members of Salomon Family, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorist, to Rest: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 23, 2017—Thousands of mourners gathered in the central Israeli town of Modi’in on Sunday afternoon to attend the funerals of the three members of the Salomon family murdered on Friday night by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank community of Halamish.

Palestinians’ Dilemma on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Opposing Israel or Each Other?: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, July 19, 2017—I spoke to several Fatah sources in east Jerusalem on July 17, 2017, as the “metal detector” crisis began to build, and their bottom-line is that they feel they are left alone to defend Jerusalem. They fear they may lose control of the situation; some individuals may take action on their own with serious consequences.

How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace: Judith Miller, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2017—Three Arab Israelis opened fire last Friday on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Two Israeli policemen were killed, as were the attackers.

A Time for Jewish Rage: Francis Nataf, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017—Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a moderate when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict. I still believe in a two-state solution and I have gone so far as publicly advocating dialogue with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. I understand that along with much of the hype and irrationality, there are legitimate grievances on the other side and that it is in everyone’s best interest to think more creatively about ways to come to some sort of political solution.







The Facebook Intifada: Micah Lakin Avni, New York Times, Nov. 3, 2015 — Three weeks ago, my father was riding on a public bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood when terrorists from East Jerusalem shot him in the head and stabbed him multiple times.

The Hidden Hand Behind the Palestinian Terror Wave: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, Oct. 25, 2015— The wave of Palestinian terror against Israel, which the Palestinian leadership calls an “intifada” (a violent uprising that includes an armed struggle), is winning open support from all the representative organizations and institutions of the Palestinian people…

Jordan’s Delicate But Pivotal Role on the Temple Mount: Barry Shaw, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 28, 2015— When all strands of Palestinian political society came together in a deadly incitement based on religion radiating out from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem it left many dead on both sides of the religious divide…

Why Oslo Failed: Confronting “Peace Now”:  Louis Rene Beres, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 29, 2015 — Notwithstanding the latest “Peace Now” demonstrations in Tel-Aviv, Oslo Agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority remain destined to fail.


On Topic Links


Sara Zoabi Speaks at Israeli Knesset: Youtube, Oct. 14, 2015

Toronto-Born Jewish Terror Victim Dies After Year in Coma Following Meat Cleaver Attack at Jerusalem Synagogue: Michael Bell, Tom Najem & Neil Quilliam, Globe & Mail,  Oct. 20, 2015

In Tense Eastern Jerusalem, Arabs and Jews Hunker Down: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Nov. 2, 2015

Palestinian Incitement to Violence and Terror: Nothing New, But Still Dangerous: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 17, 2015




Micah Lakin Avni

                     New York Times, Nov. 3, 2015


Three weeks ago, my father was riding on a public bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood when terrorists from East Jerusalem shot him in the head and stabbed him multiple times. Afterward, as he lay unconscious in the intensive care unit of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, fighting for his life, one question was on my mind: What inspired the two young Palestinian men to savagely attack my father and a busload of passengers?


My father, Richard Lakin, dedicated his life to the cause of Israeli-Arab reconciliation. Ever since moving to Israel from Connecticut in the 1980s, he spent his career teaching English to Israeli and Arab children. Inspired by his experience marching with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, he became a founding member of Israel Loves Iran, a social media initiative designed to bring the citizens of these two nations closer together. When news of his tragedy broke, many of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish residents of Jerusalem who knew my father and admired his work rushed to his bedside to pay their respects and say a prayer for his recovery. Even Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, stopped by on his recent visit to Israel.


Watching the well-wishers congregating in the intensive care unit, however, I realized that the world leaders who were having the most impact on the situation in the Middle East right now weren’t Mr. Ban or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and other young entrepreneurs who shape the social media platforms most of us use every day.


It may sound strange to talk of Twitter and Facebook as relevant players in the war against terror, but as the recent wave of violence in Israel has proved, that is increasingly the case. The young men who boarded the bus that day intent on murdering my 76-year-old father did not make their decision in a vacuum. One was a regular on Facebook, where he had already posted a “will for any martyr.” Very likely, they made use of one of the thousands of posts, manuals and instructional videos circulating in Palestinian society these last few weeks, like the image, shared by thousands on Facebook, showing an anatomical chart of the human body with advice on where to stab for maximal damage.


Sickeningly, my father, too, became a viral hit on Palestinian social media: Hours after he was shot and stabbed, a video re-enactment of the attack was posted online celebrating the gruesome incident, and calling on more young Palestinians to go out and murder Jews. Such images, YouTube videos and comments have become a regular feature on social media after every attack.


My father raised me to cherish and protect free speech, but the very liberty that free speech was designed to protect is at stake when it is used to spread venom and incite violence. Just as it is universally recognized that shouting fire in a crowded theater is dangerous and should be prohibited, so, too, must we now recognize that rampant online incitement is a danger that must be reckoned with immediately, before more innocent people end up as victims.


The companies who’ve turned social media platforms into very big business argue, and rightly so, that monitoring each post is nearly impossible, that permitting users the freedom of expression is essential, that there are already steps in place to combat hate speech. All that is true. But something new is happening today, and what Facebook, Twitter and the others must realize is that the question of incitement on social media isn’t just a logistical or financial question but, first and foremost, a moral one.


This wave of terrorism is different from anything we’ve seen, involving not terrorists recruited by shadowy organizations but ordinary young men and women inspired by hateful and bloody messages they see online to take matters and blades into their own hands. Just as many of us now argue that we should hold gun manufacturers responsible for the devastation brought about by their products, we should demand the same of social media platforms, now being used as sources of inspiration and instruction for murderers.


One immediate solution is to remove blatant incitement without waiting for formal complaints — it’s one thing to express a political opinion, even one that supports violent measures, and another to publish a how-to chart designed to train and recruit future terrorists. To that end, an Israeli non-profit took legal action against Facebook earlier this week, demanding that the company do more to monitor and remove unacceptable content. My family joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs. Still, I believe that any truly successful effort to curb the culture of hate on social media must come from the companies themselves.


Companies can become more active in combating hate. The popular social networking site Reddit, for example, not only banned specific types of unacceptable content — such as a group encouraging rape — but it also engaged specific user groups in dialogue, a simple act of civility that succeeded in curbing the worst rhetoric. Companies can and must work harder — using all the tools at their disposal — to create an online culture that does not tolerate violence and hate.


Sadly, for my father, it’s too late: Two weeks after the attack, he succumbed to his wounds. When they heard the news of his passing, many of his friends — Christians, Muslims, Jews — posted his favorite photo on their social media channels. It shows an Arab and an Israeli boy, their arms around each other, while the text around them spells simply “coexist.”





Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi

JCPA, Oct. 25, 2015


The wave of Palestinian terror against Israel, which the Palestinian leadership calls an “intifada” (a violent uprising that includes an armed struggle), is winning open support from all the representative organizations and institutions of the Palestinian people, including the PLO, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, the Hamas authorities who control Gaza, and organizations representing the Palestinian diaspora. The green light for the intifada was given by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 30, in which he lauded Palestinian terror and threatened political chaos – that is, a descent into an all-out intifada-type conflict.


By unleashing Palestinian terror Abbas hopes to bring about greater international intervention in the conflict, and, thereby, to give greater heft to UN General Assembly Resolution 67/19 of December 4, 2012, which recognizes “Palestine” as a nonmember observer state of the UN within the borders of June 4, 1967, including east Jerusalem. Thus the Palestinian terror is meant to leverage international pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank without negotiations or conditions. The Palestinian struggle against Israel will then continue from the new borders under improved circumstances.


The Hamas leadership, too, sees the UN resolution as a historic opportunity for it, particularly the provision that recognizes “the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in accordance with a decision by the Palestine National Council, [as] entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine….” Hamas, which in the past was a bitter foe of the PLO, has made it a supreme goal to take over the organization. It thereby seeks to gain the status of sole representative of the Palestinian people and the right to international recognition of that status with the entire attendant political, legal, economic, and other ramifications.


Hence, in the reconciliation agreements between the PA/Fatah and Hamas, the Hamas leadership demanded the formation of a temporary PLO leadership that would include Hamas and Islamic Jihad – that is, partnership in the temporary Palestinian government – and the holding of new elections for the PLO institutions, first and foremost the Palestinian National Council.


Despite his declared support for a national reconciliation, Abbas is in no hurry to incorporate Hamas in the PLO institutions and is making this conditional on gaining real control of Gaza, currently under the effective control of Hamas. In Hamas’ view, Abbas and the present Palestinian leadership are an obstacle to gaining a foothold in the PLO institutions and the PLO Executive Committee, which constitutes the “temporary” Palestinian government. The Hamas leadership understands that Abbas is trying, by means of the intifada, to upgrade the international recognition of the Palestinian state and of his status as “president” of all the Palestinian people, including Gaza, and to do so without enabling Hamas’s incorporation in the institutions of the state-in-the-making that are recognized by the international community.


Hamas has branded the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah as “traitors,” collaborators with Israel in the “grave crime” of security cooperation, to be punished by execution for “severe treason” against the Palestinian people. The Hamas leaders deny the legitimacy of the PA’s rule and call for its overthrow by the masses. In recent years the Hamas leadership has been trying to spark an intifada in the West Bank that will lead to the PA’s collapse – whether through a revolt by the Palestinian population or a wide-scale Israeli military operation against the PA military forces that are responsible for the terror.


The Hamas leadership is also appropriating the current terror wave by dubbing it the “Al-Quds Intifada,” while putting cardinal emphasis on opening a front against Israel both in the West Bank and within Israel itself by calling on Israeli Arabs to take an active part in the struggle. Gaza serves as a base for setting the terror wave in motion. Apart, though, from a few attacks (the firing of a few rockets, some sniper fire, and breaches of the border fence), the Hamas leadership is refraining as in the past from responding to the “assault on the Palestinians” with massive rocket fire from Gaza at Israeli communities.


Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri made clear (in the Hamas daily Felesteen, October 14, 2005) that Hamas wants to sustain what it has called “the popular nature of the Al-Quds Intifada” while keeping it focused on the West Bank and Jerusalem, along with attacks within Israel. Abu Zuhri also underlined the harnessing of legal tools and of the human rights organizations to the terror organizations’ struggle against Israel, and particularly, as he called it, against “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians (in other words, those killed during attempts to murder Israeli civilians and soldiers with knives, vehicles, and so on)…


The Hamas leadership, then, does not want to open an immediate military front against Israel in Gaza, but rather to focus the terror activity on the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel itself. The overriding goal is to undermine the PA’s rule…

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





JORDAN’S DELICATE BUT PIVOTAL ROLE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT                                                                

Barry Shaw

Arutz Sheva, Oct. 28, 2015


When all strands of Palestinian political society came together in a deadly incitement based on religion radiating out from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem it left many dead on both sides of the religious divide – Jewish Israelis who were the prime target of Islam-motivated Palestinians.


Although the Islamic Movement and Hamas (are) two of the leading Palestinian instigators of the violence, it was the statements of a presumed secular Mahmoud Abbas that inflamed the Palestinian street. He, like Yasser Arafat before him, presumed to speak for the Muslim world when he exhorted his people in a televised address to his people on September 16, “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 martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”


He was referring to his incitement to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount plateau which is the most holy place in Judaism.  About them he said, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is ours as well. They have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet; we won’t allow them to do that.” This statement was not only inflammatory; it was disdainful not only to Jews and Christians but also to King Abdullah, the Hashemite leader of the Kingdom of Jordan. It was also terribly presumptuous as Palestinian Arabs have no religious right to govern any holy site in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in particular.


The accepted status quo rests on Israel’s agreement in 1967 to allow the Jordanian appointed Waqf to govern the Islamic holy site on the Temple Mount, known in the Muslim world as “Haram al-Sharif.” The explosion of the Arab war of 1948 against the nascent state of Israel left part of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria, colloquially called “the West Bank,” under Jordanian occupation.


Jordan formally annexed the land they conquered in a war of aggression on April 24, 1950. This was widely considered illegal, including by the Arab League. On July 27, 1953, King Hussein declared the parts of Jerusalem under Jordanian control to be “the alternative capital of the Hashemite Kingdom” and would form “an integral and inseparable part” of Jordan. There was no consideration during the Jordanian occupation of any of this territory to be a state of Palestine. No claims for “Palestine” were lodged between 1948 and 1967 while it remained under Hashemite control, despite later narratives of “Palestinian Arabs” being kept in refugee status within Jordan itself.


Those Arabs remaining in the "West Bank" and east Jerusalem were granted Jordanian citizenship without complaint. Its residents were allowed to vote in the Jordanian parliamentary elections and their representatives continued to sit in the Jordanian parliament as late as 1988 even though Jordan lost all of the territory it held in Jerusalem and the "West Bank" following a failed aggressive war it launched against Israel in 1967.


Following the Jordanian victory over Israel in 1948, as part of the Armistice Agreement signed on April 3, 1949. Jordan obligated to allow “free access to the holy site and cultural institutions and cemeteries on the Mount of Olives.”  However, Jews were barred from entering into the Old City and visiting the Jewish holy places. Synagogues within the Old City were systematically destroyed. Gravestones in the Jewish Mount of Olives cemetery were desecrated and taken to be used as paving stones. The Wailing Wall, a part of the destroyed Jewish Temple, was used as a urinal.


When Arab nations prepared once again to attack Israel in June 1967 in what became known as the “Six Dar War” the Arab armies suffered crippling losses of weaponry and equipment. Arab losses in the conflict were disastrous. Egypt’s casualties numbered more than 11,000, with 6,000 for Jordan and 1,000 for Syria, compared with only 700 for Israel. Nobody at that time criticized Israel for a “disproportionate use of force” as they have constantly chosen to do in later events when Israel has been forced to defend itself from aggressive violence and terrorism, including during recent knifing and stoning attacks in which Palestinians have sustained a greater loss of life than Israelis.


In 1967, Israel warned Jordan to stay out of the fighting. Ignoring this request, Jordan began pounding the western parts of Jerusalem with artillery fire. Israel launched a counter-offensive which drove Jordanian troops out of Jerusalem and much of the "West Bank." Israel offered the Jordanians a ceasefire. This was refused. The muezzin loudspeakers on the Dome of the Rock mosque bellowed “Take up your weapons and take back your country taken by the Jews.”


Perhaps the most iconic and historic moment of this war was when Israeli soldiers broke through the Lion Gate leading into the Old City of Jerusalem and fought their way through the narrow alleyways to the most central site in Judaism. There the IDF Chief of Staff, Mordechai “Motta” Gur, radioed the message “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” A tremor went through the soul of every Jew. Following two millennia during which Jews prayed to be reunited with Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple, Israel had liberated Judaism’s most revered shrine.


The guardianship of these Islamic shrines has, historically, been allocated into the hands of Jordan.

Moshe Dayan was Israel’s Minister of Defense and, as he proceeded across the Temple Mount plateau he saw an Israeli flag atop the Dome of the Rock and he ordered it taken down. After he placed a private prayer note in the cracks of the Western Wall he turned and declared, “We’ve reunited the city, the capital of Israel, never to part it again. To our Arab neighbors, Israel extends the hand of peace and to all peoples of all faiths; we guarantee full freedom of worship. We’ve not come to conquer the holy places of others but to live with others in harmony.”…

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




WHY OSLO FAILED: CONFRONTING “PEACE NOW”                                                                            

Louis Rene Beres

Breaking Israel News, Oct. 29, 2015


Notwithstanding the latest “Peace Now” demonstrations in Tel-Aviv, Oslo Agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority remain destined to fail. This is not because of any Israeli “right-wing government intransigence,” but on account of an immutably corrupted Palestinian doctrine.


From Oslo’s beginnings, in 1993, the Arab side sought only to embrace the U.S.-brokered pact as a promising means of improving its own relative power position. Even then, in unhidden sentiments that have become still more explicit during the so-called “Third Intifada,” the Palestinians had been seeking only a One-State Solution. Never, even for a moment, did a single Palestinian faction display any authentic interest in living “side-by-side” with any Jewish State. Never did any such faction actually favor a “Two-State Solution.” Never.


There are, of course, other elements of Palestinian misrepresentation and contrivance, that have cumulatively doomed the “peace process.” Most obvious is the ongoing and plainly-undiminished Palestinian commitment to incitement and terror, and, as an inevitable corollary, the continuing Palestinian insistence on a “right of return.” On its face, this alleged “right” remains a not-so-coded message for accelerating Israel’s incremental destruction. Prima facie, this seemingly-benign and “just” expectation clearly represents complete rejection of Israel’s physical continuance as a sovereign state. For any “peace process,” even ones currently favored by Israel’s “Peace Now,” this particular sort of rejection is not merely problematic. It is, rather, replacement-centered, or openly annihilatory.


There is yet another important reason to explain incessant Palestinian noncompliance with Oslo. This most widely overlooked explanation centers on the uniform and persistent Palestinian Authority violations of international criminal law, here, the “peremptory” obligation to extradite wanted terrorists to Israel. This incontrovertible obligation stems from both: 1) the actual language of the codifying agreement; and 2) the always-binding principles of underlying international law. Such jurisprudential principles do not depend for their implementation upon any specific treaties or pacts.  Sometimes, they are even binding perpetually, as “jus cogens” norms, to introduce specific legal terminology of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.


From Oslo’s beginnings, on September 13, 1993, the Palestinian Authority, inter alia, absolutely refused to honor its expressly core obligation to extradite Arab terrorists to Israel. Significantly, even if the Oslo Agreements had not themselves contained unambiguous provisions for terrorist extradition, the PA would still have been bound to “extradite or prosecute” terrorist murderers, according to the more general, customary, and pre-existing rules of international criminal law. Ultimately, the basic and universally-binding requirement to extradite major criminals (Hostes humani generis, or “Common enemies of humankind”) lies most enduringly in “Natural Law.”…


In turn, this “higher law” exists at the normative center of all civilized national and international legal systems, most prominently, in the jurisprudential foundations of Israel, and the United States of America. his general legal obligation to extradite is more than merely anecdotal. It has a proper name. It is specifically referenced, in law, as aut dedere, aut judicare;  “extradite or prosecute.”…

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



On Topic


Sara Zoabi Speaks at Israeli Knesset: Youtube, Oct. 14, 2015 —Sara Zoabi in the Knesset yesterday speaking about Muslim Zionism. English translation provided by Calgary United with Israel (CUWI).

Toronto-Born Jewish Terror Victim Dies After Year in Coma Following Meat Cleaver Attack at Jerusalem Synagogue: Michael Bell, Tom Najem & Neil Quilliam, Globe & Mail,  Oct. 20, 2015—Nearly one year ago, doctors placed Toronto-born Howie (Chaim) Rothman, an Israeli-Canadian brutally wounded in a terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in a drug-induced coma, so devastating was the swelling of his brain.

In Tense Eastern Jerusalem, Arabs and Jews Hunker Down: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Nov. 2, 2015 —To get to the Jewish compound in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, residents arrange in advance for an armored van to pick them up at a spot adjacent to the walls of the Old City.

Palestinian Incitement to Violence and Terror: Nothing New, But Still Dangerous: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 17, 2015—The bitter, civil violence and terror over the past weeks, concentrated in Hebron and in Jerusalem, revolving around the issue of the Al Aqsa mosque, and enveloping Arabs both in Israel and in the disputed territories, are being attributed by various commentators to a series of causes and reasons.







Rabbi Sydney Shoham z”l, Rabbi of Beth Zion Congregation in Montreal, was our spiritual guide and good friend. He officiated at our son’s Bar Mitzvah and other family events.  When we heard the sad news this morning, after being out of town for a few weeks, we immediately began reflecting on what a great and inspiring individual Rabbi Shoham was.  In 2007, shortly after his retirement, while I was co-chair of the Israel Bonds-Business Division, we decided to honor the Rabbi and use the opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem. Under his resourceful direction and guidance, we put together an unforgettable audio-visual show about Jerusalem and its history. What a pleasure it was to work in a team with Rabbi Shoham, a brilliant scholar and an effective organizer.  We are deeply saddened by his sudden passing:  the Jewish community of Montreal has lost one of its pillars and most beloved spiritual leaders. May his memory be a blessing to us all and at this time we wish to offer Jewel and the extended Shoham family our most sincere condolences. ותנצב"ה  יהי זכרו ברוך .


                    Jacob Kincler, Board Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research


[Rabbi Sydney Shoham served as sole spiritual leader of Beth Zion Congregation in Montreal for 50 years—Ed.]



Basic Protection: Jerusalem Post, Sept. 17, 2015 — Alexander Levlovitz, 64, was not killed in a car crash Sunday night, as some reports over-cautiously phrased it.

UN Bias Encourages Palestinian Violence: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Sept. 20, 2015 — With incidents of Palestinian violence growing in recent weeks, Israelis are wondering now if the Jewish New Year that is just beginning will soon bring with it a new war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The Muslim Schism Over Jerusalem: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Sept. 22, 2015— The notion of a “conflict over Jerusalem” immediately brings an association with the Arab-Israeli conflict over the Holy City.

UN Gives Palestinians Flags, But No Democracy: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 17, 2015 — Last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a motion allowing the Palestinian flag to be flown in front of the UN buildings.


On Topic Links


More Than Half of Palestinians Oppose Two-State Solution, Survey Shows: Algemeiner, Sept. 21, 2015

Senior Israeli Official: World Needs to See Through Abbas's 'Charade': Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 24, 2015

Who are Temple Mount's Mourabitoun?: Shlomi Eldar, Al Monitor, Sept. 18, 2015

Obama’s Partners in the PA-PLO and Their American Victims: Michael Lumish, Jewish Press, Aug. 18, 2015



BASIC PROTECTION                                                                                                          

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 17, 2015


Alexander Levlovitz, 64, was not killed in a car crash Sunday night, as some reports over-cautiously phrased it. Levlovitz, driving home in Jerusalem from Rosh Hashana dinner, was murdered in cold-blood by Arab stone-throwers whose aim was hardly innocuous. Stone-throwers are terrorists in every sense of the word, and they are out to cause harm – preferably fatal, if they “succeed.”

Hurling rocks at moving vehicles is invariably an extreme act of malice aforethought. There are no pacifist and compassionate stoners. An act of intentional premeditated violence cannot be downplayed as nonviolent and trivialized as frivolous by harried law-enforcers, overworked prosecutors or aloof judges.

There are no scripted, guaranteed conclusions to any stone-throwing incident. Motorists may – as was the case with Levlovitz – suffer a coronary episode and lose control of their car. This doesn’t make the dire outcome the result of a random car accident because the misfortune wasn’t triggered by a medical mishap or by any haphazard misjudgment on part of the driver. In the circumstances of such attacks, there’s no telling which driver might crash and what may transpire as a result. This should be elementary to our judiciary, but evidently it isn’t.

Moreover, such essential context and information must be accentuated relentlessly to foreign news outlets, most of which failed altogether to even mention Levlovitz’s murder. Likewise, there was no condemnation from world leaders who rarely pass up any opportunity to rake Israel over the coals on any pretext. The tendency internationally is often to belittle the crime of stone-throwing and regard it as an expression of youthful exuberance, which is how the Arab communities which send out brainwashed youths to target Jewish traffic like to present things. Unthinkably, stoning Jews has become a popular sport which is glorified in Arab society as heroic.

There’s nothing grassroots or spontaneous about the end-products of systemic and incessant incitement to homicide. Regrettably, the fact that many of the rock-throwers are young puts temptation before our clogged judicial system to process the cases speedily by meting out negligible punishments. Therefore, the latest government initiative to legislate minimal sentencing requirements is nothing less than vital.

Maximum sentencing guidelines exist on our law books – and indeed were rendered more stringent only last July. Yet these don’t oblige judges and don’t mitigate the inclination to dispose of bothersome cases via ludicrously light sentences (some of them, involving only short stints of community service). Significantly, the heaviest sentence imposed this year on a stone-thrower was 22 months, in a case in which a baby was critically wounded. The cumulative total for the crimes committed in that particular incident could have amounted to a 30-year term.

Attacks on innocent travelers mustn’t be belittled merely because the weapon of choice isn’t a firearm. “Cold” projectiles can also kill and they have – too many tragic times. These projectiles aren’t necessarily tiny pebbles, though size shouldn’t count here. Often large rocks are hurled, heavy cement blocks and even outright boulders. Stones, rocks, blocks and boulders all kill.

Back in the 2000 intifada, Bechor Zhan, traveling with his brother south from Haifa on the coastal highway, was murdered by rock-throwing teens from Jisr a-Zarka. In 2001, Yehuda Shoham, just five months old, had his skull crushed by rock-throwers. Asher Palmer, and his infant son, Yonatan, were both killed in 2011 when their car was pelted with stones. Last February, four-year-old Adele Biton died after two agonizing years in which she lay semi-comatose following a March 2013 stoning attack. Arab terrorists hurled rocks at the family car driven by Adele’s mother, Adva. Its passengers were Adva’s three young daughters. As the vehicle passed near Ariel, a hail of rocks caused it to overturn.

Stoning attacks have claimed many more lives over the years and they are ongoing and rampant. Nobody is immune when private and public transport is targeted. The very least which the state and its legal establishment owe the public is basic protection. If this realization must be reinforced by legislation, so be it.  





Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                                                 

Commentary, Sept. 20, 2015


With incidents of Palestinian violence growing in recent weeks, Israelis are wondering now if the Jewish New Year that is just beginning will soon bring with it a new war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Hamas has been hard at work in recent months digging new terror tunnels and fortifying the strip with Iranian assistance. But the decision of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas to try to compete with the Islamists by ramping up tensions in Jerusalem has made a renewal of last year’s fighting an even greater possibility. But rather than seek to calm these tensions, the United States has been largely silent about Abbas’s incitement as well as Iran’s role in stirring up more trouble. Just as troubling is the way the United Nations Security Council has reacted to the dispute over the Temple Mount. Last week, it issued a statement that made it clear the international community has no respect for Jewish rights in the holy city. But it also indicated that it is openly siding with Palestinians who are seeking to use this issue as a way to stir up even more hatred against Israelis and Jews. The willingness of the Obama administration to acquiesce to this disreputable stand shows its untrustworthiness as an ally as well as the dangers that lie ahead for Israel should the president seek to restart peace talks.


Any discussion about the Temple Mount must begin with an acknowledgment that Israel has sought to preserve the unsatisfactory status quo whereby the holiest spot in Judaism remains under the sole authority of a Muslim Wakf. Jews are prohibited from praying on the site, a rule enforced by Israeli police. But not even this is enough to satisfy Palestinian radicals who routinely harass non-Muslim visitors and subject Jews who dare to ascend the plateau to constant abuse. Just as bad, the mosques there have been used as staging areas for Arab violence with stones and firebombs stored there. While a minority of Jews has agitated for the right to pray there, the “hardline” Netanyahu has resolutely opposed them. But it has been forced to step in to forestall violence on the Temple Mount, which overlooks the Western Wall Plaza.


But as they have done throughout the last century, Palestinian leaders are using the Temple Mount to fuel more hatred by claiming that Jews are trying to destroy the mosques. Even supposed moderate Abbas said this week that he was seeking to prevent “filthy Jewish feet” from desecrating holy places and did so without criticism from the Obama administration that has lauded him as a force for peace. The number of incidents in which Palestinians used firebombs or stones to attack Jews, included one in which a 64-year-old Jewish man was murdered on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, is rising. Not to be outdone, the possibility of Hamas using its massive rocket arsenal to up the ante with both Israel and Abbas’s Fatah Party may bring the region to the brink of another war.


Yet faced with this crisis, the UN Security Council issued a statement that both ignored the truth about what is happening on the Temple Mount. The Security Council referred to the Temple Mount — the site of the biblical Holy Temples — upon which Muslim conquerors subsequently built mosques only by its Arabic name, the Haram al-Sharif. This is a blatant denial of both Jewish and Christian ties to the site. Nor did it mention that Palestinians who seek to deny not only Jewish rights but also Jewish history in Jerusalem solely initiated the violence there.


It ignored the question of Jewish rights and merely stated that the “Muslim worshippers at the Haram Al-Sharif must be allowed to worship in peace, free from violence, threats, and provocations.” This is absurd since no one is threatening Muslim worshippers there with violence. To the contrary, it is the Palestinians who are threatening the Jews as well as seeking to prevent Jews from exercising their rights.


But while this latest example of UN bias against Israel might be dismissed as meaningless, it is actually quite significant. Palestinian leaders seeking to foment a wave of religious hatred against Israel will only be encouraged by this kind of international support to step up their incitement. Moreover, they cannot have failed to note that the United States went along with this sort of one-sided approach to a dispute in which the Palestinians are the ones who are seeking to escalate.


This does more than give Abbas an incentive to keep stoking the fires of hate in order to make his faction appear to be as militant as Hamas. It may provide the justification for more terrorism against Jews in Jerusalem or the West Bank that will be viewed by Palestinians as a defense of their religion. Just as last year’s war began with violence in the West Bank, there is always the chance that the same pattern could repeat itself leading to more bloodshed. But even if the cease-fire with Hamas holds and all Abbas will do is to posture and threaten without more violence, this stance on Jerusalem by the UN and the United States is a portent of future diplomatic trouble for Israel.


By treating the Temple Mount in this manner, the U.S. is signaling the Palestinians that they need not moderate their stance on seeking Jerusalem’s division should peace talks ever resume. It also illustrates the fallacy behind expecting the Palestinian Authority to respect Jewish rights even in the event that they were prepared to sign a peace agreement. This effort is more proof that the goal of the Palestinians isn’t just to re-partition Jerusalem but rather to deny Jewish claims and evict hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in the currently undivided city.


Of course, that is a purely theoretical problem since Abbas has repeatedly showed that he will not agree to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. But it does undermine Obama’s rationale for pressuring Israel to bribe the Palestinians to come back to the peace table should that be on the top of his agenda when he meets next with Prime Minister Netanyahu in November.


By backing Abbas in his effort to needlessly inflame Muslim sentiments about Jerusalem, the UN and Obama are playing with fire. If the president truly cares about peace, instead of backing Abbas’s incitement, he should be issuing a clear warning to the Palestinians that he will support Israel’s effort to crack down on terror. Anything less than that will constitute a green light to both Fatah and Hamas as they continue pushing the region down the road to more conflict.



THE MUSLIM SCHISM OVER JERUSALEM                                                                                                

Pinhas Inbari                   

JCPA, Sept. 22, 2015


The notion of a “conflict over Jerusalem” immediately brings an association with the Arab-Israeli conflict over the Holy City. Surprisingly, however, amid the systematic destruction of mosques and holy places in the Arab world, it is precisely Israel’s responsibility for security at the mosque compound on the Temple Mount that protects the mosques there from a similar fate. To understand the nature of the danger to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one needs to understand the disputes within the world of Islam over the mosque and over the importance of Jerusalem in general.


Islam is divided into the Shia and the Sunna, but the Sunna is also divided into two main groups: the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood. There are other groups as well, such as the Sufis, but that does not concern us in this discussion.


The controversy between the Salafis – from whom Al-Qaeda emerged and who are also known as Wahabis – and the Muslim Brotherhood is about, among other things, what constitutes the center of Islam. Whereas the Salafis view the Arabian sites of Hijaz and Mecca as the center of the faith, the Muslim Brotherhood locates it at the Cairo Al-Azhar University, founded in the year 970 as a center for Islamic studies from which rulings and edicts on Islam and Islamic culture emerge. But because Cairo has no special religious holiness, the Brotherhood regards Jerusalem as their religious center. Thus, from the Salafis’ standpoint, the Muslim Brotherhood’s enhancement of the special status of Jerusalem poses a danger to the status of Mecca.


The conflict is not only theoretical and theological but concerns positions of power. In Syria, for example, the Salafi Islamic State is engaged in an outright war with the Nusra Front of the Muslim Brotherhood. [Editor’s note: The author exposes Al Nusra’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Until now, reports suggested Al Nusra was an offshoot of Al-Qaeda.]


The theological debate, of course, is undergirded by the political-military struggle between the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood. One source of the theological disagreements between the two sides is the attitude toward holy places. Whereas the Salafis frown upon the cult of holy places other than Mecca and Medina and destroy such sites systematically – and not only antiquities and shrines of Christianity but Muslim shrines as well – the Muslim Brotherhood accepts the icons of holy places.


This religious controversy also involves Jerusalem. “Liberating Al-Aqsa” or “Al-Aqsa is in danger” are main motifs of the Muslim Brotherhood’s preaching throughout the region. Salafis, however, downplay the issue of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa to the point of omitting it altogether. And whereas the Muslim Brotherhood focuses on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, the Salafis focus on a more immediate goal: “conquering Rome” – that is, the Christian world.


Although the Salafis do not state explicitly that they reject the status of Jerusalem in Islam, it can be inferred from where they place their emphases. For example, it appears that there is a Salafi cleric in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, and he has a website called The Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. At the site, however, the reference to Al-Aqsa is geographic – the marking of a place. There is no reference to its holiness, only to various religious matters with no discussion of Jerusalem or Al-Aqsa at all.


On one of the Facebook pages that reveal Salafi followers’ attitudes, a follower called Abdullah wrote: “One must ask why the Prophet first conquered Mecca and [many other places] before he turned to Jerusalem? Why didn’t the first caliph, Abu Bakr, conquer it? And why did Omar conquer it only after many other conquests? And also, why did Saladin conquer it only after he had defeated the Fatimids in Egypt and spread the Sunni school in Egypt and at Al-Azhar?” For him, Jerusalem was at the bottom of agenda for the Prophet and his successors, and Mecca was at the top. Against this backdrop, the proclamation that the Islamic State disseminated in Jerusalem during the most recent Ramadan should come as no surprise: it did not refer to Al-Aqsa or Jerusalem, but only warned Christians to leave the Muslims’ neighborhoods…                                                                                                                                                 

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




UN GIVES PALESTINIANS FLAGS, BUT NO DEMOCRACY                                                          

Khaled Abu Toameh                              

Gatestone Institute, Sept. 17, 2015




Last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a motion allowing the Palestinian flag to be flown in front of the UN buildings. The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership and various "pro-Palestinian" groups have hailed the vote as a "symbolic victory" for the Palestinians. The Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said that the vote regarding the flag would be "another step" towards solidifying Palestinian statehood.


The 119 UN member states that voted in favor of the motion are apparently convinced that this is a "big victory" for the Palestinians and their political aspirations. But what these countries do not know is that flying a Palestinian flag outside UN buildings is probably the last thing Palestinians need at this stage.


The vote in favor of hoisting the flag is not going to bring democracy, freedom of expression and transparency to Palestinians. The Palestinians do not need "symbolic victories" such as the one concerning the Palestinian flag. A Palestinian living in the West Bank or Gaza Strip does not really care if his flag is flown in front of a UN building. For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, there are more urgent matters that need to be dealt with immediately, such as the harsh economic conditions and the repressive measures of the Hamas regime. For those living in the West Bank, economic development, employment and democracy are more important than any flag raised in front of the UN headquarters.


But the countries that voted in favor of the motion do not really care about the needs and interests of the Palestinians. They do not care if the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively are functioning as repressive and corrupt regimes that have no respect for human rights or public freedoms. The vote was mainly directed against Israel. Its main goal was to taunt Israel rather than help the Palestinians move closer towards building an independent state. The vote at the UN concerning the Palestinian flag came amid increased human rights violations by both the PA and Hamas. But since when does the UN care about human rights violations committed by the PA and Hamas against their own people?


The UN state members that voted in favor of raising the flag pay attention to human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip only when there is a way to lay the blame on Israel. In recent weeks, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have reported a number of incidents that demonstrate how the Palestinian Authority and Hamas continue to show complete disregard for due process, human rights and freedom of expression. These incidents continued even as the 119 UN members raised their hands in favor of the hoisting of the Palestinian flag.


In the Gaza Strip, for example, Hamas security officers beat and detained a number of local journalists who tried to cover the removal of debris from homes that were destroyed during last year's military confrontation between Hamas and Israel. One of the journalists, Fadel al-Hamami, was hit in the face with the butt of a rifle and had to rush to a hospital for treatment. Hamas does not want journalists to cover any reconstruction work in the Gaza Strip. It wants the world to continue believing that the Palestinians are still unable to rebuild their houses because of Israeli "restrictions" and lack of international funds. That is why the journalists who tried to cover the removal of the debris were physically assaulted and detained for interrogation.


The UN General Assembly, of course, did not hear about this incident when its members voted in favor of raising the Palestinian flag outside its buildings. Even if the UN does hear about it, it is unlikely that the General Assembly or the Security Council would ever issue a statement condemning the assault on representatives of the media. Nor is the UN going to condemn Hamas's use of force to disperse Palestinians protesting against power cuts in the southern Gaza Strip. The lack of electricity has triggered widespread protests throughout the Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians hold the Hamas government fully responsible. Eyewitnesses said Hamas policemen used live ammunition and clubs to disperse the protesters…

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




On Topic


More Than Half of Palestinians Oppose Two-State Solution, Survey Shows: Algemeiner, Sept. 21, 2015— Fifty-one percent of Palestinians now oppose a two-state solution with Israel, according to the results of a survey conducted among 1,270 people in the West Bank and Gaza from Sept. 17-19 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Senior Israeli Official: World Needs to See Through Abbas's 'Charade': Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 24, 2015 — The international community should end the “charade” whereby Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to negotiate with Israel, deliberately creates a crisis, adds to the crisis through inflammatory rhetoric and then pleads to the world to “save us,” a senior government official said on Wednesday night.

Who are Temple Mount's Mourabitoun?: Shlomi Eldar, Al Monitor, Sept. 18, 2015— The battle over the Temple Mount is heating up. It is no longer just an occasional violent clash between Muslims and Jews, but daily battles with increasingly violent and growing numbers of participants. Loyal “soldiers” in “God’s army” are deployed on both sides, willing to sacrifice themselves in the religious war being waged over one of their holy sites.

Obama’s Partners in the PA-PLO and Their American Victims: Michael Lumish, Jewish Press, Aug. 18, 2015 —The Obama administration has asked a judge Monday to “carefully consider” the size of the bond demanded from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its role orchestrating years of terror attacks against Israelis and Jews – directly interfering in a US court case.







THE 9TH OF AV – TISHA B’AV : Whither the Temple Mount?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org



 Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.


Giving Up the Temple Mount?: Steven Plaut, Front Page Magazine, July 16, 2013—The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the holiest place on earth according to Judaism.  It is where both Biblical Temples stood, whose destruction is commemorated this week with fasting and mourning on the Ninth day of the month of Av according to the religious calendar. 


Mourning a Self-Imposed Exile: Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2013 —Ever since Jerusalem was liberated in 1967, Tisha Be’Av, the day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple that falls this week, has sparked debates over whether continued mourning is appropriate when rebuilt Jerusalem is flourishing in a reestablished Jewish state. Yet the day provides a needed reminder of the degree to which, even in Israel, Jews remain in a self-imposed exile: For the first time in history, we have ceded control of our holiest site voluntarily rather than against our will.


Other People’s Sin’at Chinam: Yair Rosenberg, Tablet Magazine, July 15, 2013— “What do you think about baseless hatred?” This is not the sort of question most academics are used to being asked, let alone by reporters. But at this time of year, when Jewish tradition mourns the destruction of the First and Second Temples, it’s exactly the sort of query regularly put to Hebrew University’s Isaiah Gafni, a preeminent historian of rabbinic Judaism. That’s because the rabbis of the Talmud famously attributed some of these tragedies to sin’at chinam, or baseless hatred among Jews, which brought about divine punishment.


On Topic Links


Tisha B’Av on a Kuwait Military Base: A Lesson in Jewish Unity: David Frommer, Tablet Magazine, July 15, 2013
The Ninth Of Av: Business As Usual?: Eli Kavon, Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2013

Adam Czerniakow, Tisha B’av, and Cooperating With Our Own Destruction: Stand for Israel, July 15, 2013




Steven Plaut

Front Page Magazine, July 16, 2013


The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the holiest place on earth according to Judaism.  It is where both Biblical Temples stood, whose destruction is commemorated this week with fasting and mourning on the Ninth day of the month of Av according to the religious calendar.  The Western Wall is considered holy only because of its proximity to the Temple Mount.  Jews everywhere in the world pray while facing the Temple Mount, and if they were to pray on the Mount itself they would face the Holy of Holies, the singularity point in between the cherubs that were positioned on top of the Temple Ark inside the Temple.  While God’s presence is everywhere, according to Judaism, its most intense concentration is at that point.  The Western Wall is simply the guard wall around the perimeter of the Temple Mount, and is of Herodian (Roman) origin standing upon earlier Hasmonean foundations.


The site has religious significance for Christians as well.  After the destruction of the Second Temple, churches were sometimes erected there. When the Muslims conquered the area, they followed the practice of building mosques or proclaiming as sacred to Islam the religious sites of other religions.  The Muslim general Umar bin al-Khattab was the second Caliph and led the armies of Islam.  In his writings he expressed scorn for Jerusalem and never acknowledged its sanctity.  When a temporary mosque was erected on the Temple Mount (long pre-dating the current Al-Aqsa mosque structure),  it was placed in the southern edge of the Mount.  A general in the armies of Umar, an ex-Jew who had converted to Islam, pointed out to Umar that placing the mosque in the northern section of the Mount would allow Muslims to pray while facing both the Holy of Holies of the Jews and Mecca.  Umar insisted that it be placed on the southern margin so that Muslims would pray facing Mecca but with their backsides toward the Holy of Holies.  That is where the Al-Aqsa mosque stands today.


Thus, the southern edge of the Mount, that is located above the ruins of what archeologists call Solomon’s Stables, has religious significance for Muslims.   In the center of the Temple Mount is another structure known as the Dome of the Rock, famous for its golden domed roof.  Some refer to it mistakenly as the “Mosque of Omar.”   But the structure is not a mosque at all and has no special religious significance for Muslims.  The problem is that this structure sits exactly on the spot that most (but not all) experts, archeologists and rabbis, believe is where the Holy of Holies once stood.  It also contains the “Foundation Stone,” which has religious significance for Judaism.


The Israeli army conquered the Temple Mount in 1967 in the Six Day War, when Israel liberated Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation.  At the time Israel should have dismantled the “Dome of the Rock” and moved it elsewhere, while leaving the Al-Aqsa mosque in peace.  Muslims could then continue to control and administer everything associated with the mosque.  But doing so did not require Israel to relinquish control over every inch of the Temple Mount.  The Israeli government nevertheless decided to pursue tranquility through appeasement and cowardice (sound familiar?).  Not only would the Muslim religious authority be granted de facto hegemony over the entire Temple Mount, they would also be granted the power to prohibit or restrict entry to it for Jews.


This has been the status quo ever since.  Jews are often prevented altogether from entering the Mount.  At other times, Jews are permitted some limited access, but under condition that they do not pray while on the Mount.  Jews whose lips move quietly while on the Mount have been arrested and evicted, motivating a few to learn ventriloquism.  Anyone daring to prostrate themselves while on the Mount in the direction of the Holy of Holies is treated even more harshly.  So here we have the spectacle of the Israeli government backing a prohibition on Jews praying in the holiest site of Judaism for fear of upsetting Muslims.


Meanwhile, serious collateral damage from Israel’s cowardly decision to maintain Muslim control of the Mount has been the systematic destruction of artifacts and antiquities uncovered on the Mount by the Muslims, particularly in cases where the artifacts clearly point to the ancient Jewish presence on the Mount.  Islamic radicals, including the “moderates” from the Palestinian Authority, have long denied that there ever were Biblical temples on the site, mountains of overwhelming archeological and historic evidence notwithstanding.  They have destroyed priceless evidence to the contrary. UNESCO has never uttered a word in protest.  It should be noted that radical Muslims also object to Jews praying at the Western Wall, which they also deny has religious significance for Jews.  Jews at the Wall are regularly assaulted by stone-throwing Muslims on the Mount.


The status of the Temple Mount and the question of public access to it for Jews is further complicated because of some seemingly bizarre and esoteric features of Jewish religious law.  Rabbinic law prohibits Jews from entering the grounds where the Temples stood while they are in a “state of impurity.”  The notion of “state of impurity” is a Biblical one, where one becomes “impure” by having any contact with a dead body, including being present in a cemetery or funeral.  This impurity is not a moral judgment, and in some cases indeed one is commanded to make oneself “impure” (such as attending a relative’s funeral or burying a corpse found in public space), but merely serves as a basis for prohibiting entrance into the Temple for ritualistic purposes.  The Biblical “cure” for the impurity using ashes from a special red heifer cannot be used today because no such bona fide animals are available. The bottom line is that according to Jewish rabbinic law itself, Jews may not enter the grounds where the Temple stood, and especially not where the Holy of Holies stood.


On the one hand, the Jewish religious restrictions upon Jews make the politics of the Temple Mount seemingly easier to surmount.  Religious Jews do not seek access to the center of the Mount for religious purposes, the area where the Dome of the Rock now stands.  On the other hand, most of the Temple Mount is clearly outside the grounds of the Biblical Temple, in areas where the “impure” may enter, and there is no reason why Jews cannot enter these and conduct prayers there.  (No one is seeking to conduct Jewish religious activities inside the Al-Aqsa mosque!!)  But radical Muslim hegemonists consider this an affront to Islam.  Not only must Jews be denied access to the Temple Mount to “defend” the Mosque, but Jews should be denied any sovereignty or presence in Jerusalem altogether.


All of the above puts some results from a recent public opinion poll into proper perspective.  As published in Makor Rishon, July 12, 2013, the vast majority of Israelis oppose construction of a new Temple now, and opposition among religious Jews is even stronger.   Those who say they favor building of the New Temple may actually mean they’d like the Messiah to show up and order such a move, not that government bureaucrats do so.  No one seems opposed to “preparing” for the coming Messianic Age by doing things like tailoring garments for Temple priests, forging Temple trumpets, or learning the rabbinic laws concerning conduct of Temple ritual.  Even the most ornery atheist can find nothing in such things objectionable.   A minority of Israeli Jews favor some preliminary construction for a new Temple building, presumably including dismantling and relocating the Dome of the Rock, but no such proposal is being seriously considered by the government.


Interestingly, a full 72% of Israeli Jews favor partitioning of the territory of the Temple Mount so that Muslim control and administration is restricted to the Al-Aqsa mosque, and where Jews would have access to other parts of the grounds.  A large plurality favor legal initiatives that protect Jewish rights of access to the Mount, including the right to conduct prayers there.


More generally, the entire legal status quo for the Temple Mount, under which Israel relinquishes control to the Muslim religious authorities, serves as yet another reminder that Jewish self-abasement and cowardice do not win Israel any tolerance or goodwill.  The time has come for Israel to make it clear that it will no longer seek peace via gestures of debasement of Jewish dignity nor by auto-suppression of the legitimate religious rights of Jews.  If the Muslim world should ever wish to come to terms with Israel and seek an actual modus vivendi, then it will have to do so with an Israel that insists on the defense of legitimate Jewish religious rights, including their right of access to (at least) parts of the Temple Mount.





Evelyn Gordon

Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2013


Ever since Jerusalem was liberated in 1967, Tisha Be’Av, the day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple that falls this week, has sparked debates over whether continued mourning is appropriate when rebuilt Jerusalem is flourishing in a reestablished Jewish state. Yet the day provides a needed reminder of the degree to which, even in Israel, Jews remain in a self-imposed exile: For the first time in history, we have ceded control of our holiest site voluntarily rather than against our will.


The good news, as a new poll shows, is that Israel’s Jews are starting to grasp the inappropriateness of this abdication: Though only a minority favors rebuilding the Temple, solid majorities agree both that Israel should reassert control of the Temple Mount and that it should use this control to enable Jews as well as Muslims to pray there, just as it does at Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs (Machpela). The bad news is that we remain far from translating this realization into practice.


There was nothing voluntary about the losses Tisha B’Av commemorates: Babylon destroyed the First Temple after vanquishing the Jews in battle; Rome destroyed the second after doing the same. Nor, for millennia, was there any doubt about our desire to rectify that loss: Jews began building the Second Temple on the ruins of the first the moment the area’s then-hegemon, Persia, permitted them to return from exile and start work; when it, too, was destroyed, countless generations prayed to be able to return and rebuild it again.


Modern Israel initially seemed to follow this same pattern. There was nothing voluntary about its loss of half of Jerusalem during the War of Independence, and when the Six-Day War provided an opportunity to recoup this loss, Israel seized it. Immediately afterward, the government annexed East Jerusalem, alone of all the territories captured in 1967. Thousands of Jews flocked to the Temple’s last surviving remnant, the Western Wall, to celebrate its liberation. Mordechai Gur, whose brigade liberated the Old City, announced his success in a now-iconic broadcast: “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” Like generations before him, Gur understood that the Mount was the Jewish people’s heart and soul; thus it was the Mount whose liberation he proudly proclaimed – not the Old City, the Jewish Quarter, or even the Western Wall.


But then, something unexpected happened: Secular Jews who hoped to trade most of the newly acquired territories for peace, and sought to prove their bona fides, joined forces with religious Jews who deemed the Mount too holy to profane by a Jewish presence (though oddly, not a Muslim one). Together, they voted to abandon the Mount and return de facto control to the Muslim Wakf. Consequently, to this day, Jews are forbidden even to open a prayer book or recite a Psalm on the Mount, and Jewish visitors are allowed up only in small groups, when they aren’t barred altogether.


As I’ve written before, this decision had numerous harmful consequences. First, it betrayed Israel’s fundamental obligation to protect Jewish rights: Today, Jewish policemen routinely arrest Jews for the “crime” of seeking to pray at Judaism’s holiest site.


Second, it undermined Israel’s longstanding demand to retain Jerusalem as its united capital: How is the world to believe we truly care about Jerusalem when we voluntarily ceded control of its holiest Jewish site, not even demanding anything in exchange, and obediently enforce the Wakf’s ban on Jewish prayer there while letting Muslims worship freely?


Third, it encouraged the Arab belief that violence pays, because every time they riot on the Mount, or even threaten to riot, Israel responds by closing it to Jews – sometimes for years, as in 2000-2003.


But perhaps worst of all, it encouraged our enemies’ belief that they can someday destroy us, by demonstrating that deep in our psyches, we ourselves aren’t sure of our right to a sovereign state here. For no people confident of the justice of its cause could voluntarily cede its holiest site to others.


It’s therefore encouraging that Israeli Jews are starting to understand how problematic this is. In a poll conducted last month for the Joint Forum of Temple Mount Organizations, 49% of respondents deemed it “important” or “very important” for Jews to visit the Mount, handily outnumbering the 37% who considered it unimportant. Significantly, this included a plurality of secular and traditional Jews as well as 78% of religious Zionists; only the ultra-Orthodox overwhelmingly considered it unimportant. Moreover, 55% of respondents expressed personal interest in visiting the Mount, including 60% of secular and traditional respondents (compared to 20% of the ultra-Orthodox).


Unsurprisingly, only a minority expressed interest in praying there; many Israeli Jews have no interest in praying anywhere. But fully 59% – including even a plurality of the ultra-Orthodox – thought Israel should impose an arrangement on the Mount similar to that at Machpela, where both Muslims and Jews can worship freely in separate sections of the site. This would actually be even easier on the Mount, since unlike at Machpela, Jews and Muslims don’t want to pray in the same spot: All Jewish religious authorities agree that the area containing the Mount’s mosques is currently forbidden to Jews.


A majority of respondents also want Israel to wield de facto control over the Mount – a necessary precursor to such an arrangement. Almost one-fifth of respondents incorrectly thought it already does. But of the others, 47% thought the state should be in charge, while another 11% wanted a Jewish religious authority in control.

Unfortunately, the government is way behind the public on this issue. Nevertheless, if enough of the public were to press hard enough for long enough, no democratic government could remain indifferent forever.


Forty-six years after Gur’s proclamation, the Temple Mount still isn’t in our hands. Thus this week, Jews will once again justly mourn their exile from their holiest site. But it’s vital to remember that this exile, unlike the others, is self-imposed. Hence if we are ever to realize our tradition’s promise that Tisha Be’Av will someday become a day of rejoicing rather than mourning, it’s our responsibility to work to end it.





Yair Rosenberg

Tablet Magazine, July 15, 2013


“What do you think about baseless hatred?” This is not the sort of question most academics are used to being asked, let alone by reporters. But at this time of year, when Jewish tradition mourns the destruction of the First and Second Temples, it’s exactly the sort of query regularly put to Hebrew University’s Isaiah Gafni, a preeminent historian of rabbinic Judaism. That’s because the rabbis of the Talmud famously attributed some of these tragedies to sin’at chinam, or baseless hatred among Jews, which brought about divine punishment.


Now, Israeli journalists are not really interested in Gafni’s scholarly opinion of the term. “What they’re trying to say,” he observes in one of his public lectures, “is that there’s as much sin’at chinam now as there was then.” The reporters want Gafni to use his academic credentials to bolster their social critique of contemporary Israel, which is deeply divided along factional lines. But he refuses to play along. “I’ve really gotten sick of that question, and I usually try to answer now saying: ‘I really don’t know, because I am not plagued with sin’at chinam. The people that I hate really deserve it!” He chuckles. “Usually they kind of hang up on me. This is not what they wanted.”


But Gafni’s seemingly unserious riposte makes a serious point. “No one is ever guilty of sin’at chinam,” he notes. “It’s always the other person that’s guilty of hating me.” Our own animosities are always justified in our eyes; it’s only hatred harbored by others that we consider groundless. A quick glance at modern political invocations of the charge of sin’at chinam perfectly illustrates Gafni’s principle: for many Jewish ideologues, sin’at chinam is the perpetual sin of other people, specifically those they disagree with.


“The true face of the fascist purveyors of sin’at chinam,” thunders a blogger for the London Jewish Chronicle, are “the settlers and their great pretender friends.” Of course, for a sympathizer of the settler movement, sin’at chinam was evident when “those Jews who did move trailers onto hills within their existing towns were dislodged by the IDF.” In the eyes of hawkish pro-Israel advocates, the dovish group J Street promulgates baseless hatred. Yet some of the liberal lobby’s supporters believe they have found the true purveyors of sin’at chinam: right-wing Zionists organizations like NGO Monitor. “We will show that sin’at chinam will soon be a way of the past if our voices have anything to say about it!” proclaim Women of the Wall. “Stop practicing sin’at chinam, baseless hatred, and you will find it mysteriously vanishes. It’s easy to have peace and unity — just pray with us, and don’t try to change us,” admonish their opponents, a group called Women for the Wall. And so on.


Setting aside completely the merits of these individual critiques, they all miss the point. Nothing could be further from the spirit of Tisha B’Av, tomorrow’s national fast day, than using its moral vocabulary to impugn others. In fact, when it comes to explaining the root causes of the destruction of the Temple, the Talmud teaches the very opposite lesson: that we must root out baseless hatred within ourselves.


“The destruction of Jerusalem came about through a Kamzta and a Bar Kamzta,” declares the Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 55b). A “certain man,” the rabbis recount, had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy named Bar Kamtza. This individual threw a party, and sent his servant to invite the former. But the messenger erred and instead brought the host’s soundalike foe, Bar Kamtza. And so, in full view of the many rabbis in attendance, the host ejected Bar Kamtza from the festivities, even after he offered to pay for the entire party rather than face such public humiliation. Embittered by this experience, and particularly incensed at the rabbis who stood by while he was shamed, Bar Kamtza slanderously denounced the Jews to the Roman emperor, setting in motion the conquest of Jerusalem.


What’s striking about this tale is that it apportions blames to the people recounting it, namely, the rabbis who did not intervene at the party. The host of the affair, the ostensible culprit, is never even named. While the Talmudic sages could easily have pinned the entire episode on him, they chose instead to share the blame themselves. National tragedy, in the traditional understanding, is not an opportunity to assert our own sense of superiority, but to foster a spirit of self-critique. As the Mussaf prayer every Rosh Chodesh reminds us, “because of our sins, we were exiled from our land.”


On Tisha B’Av, of all days, we are not meant to point to flaws outside ourselves, however apparent they may be, but rather to examine those within. After all, we can never truly know the minds and motivations of others. The only baseless hatred we can diagnose is our own.



On Topic

Tisha B’Av on a Kuwait Military Base Gives a Chaplain a Lesson in Jewish Unity: David Frommer, Tablet Magazine, July 15, 2013—Tisha B’Av couldn’t come fast enough. It was strange to be fixated on this holiday, since commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples had never figured prominently in my Reform Jewish upbringing on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.


The Ninth Of Av: Business As Usual?: Eli Kavon, Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2013—The Ninth of Av is a traditional day of mourning and fasting on the Jewish calendar. On Tisha Be’av, Jews around the world remember the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE, the Roman razing of Jerusalem in 70 CE, and the fall of Betar—the last stronghold of the Bar Kochba Revolt – in 135 CE. Other disasters, as well, occurred on the Ninth of Av in Jewish history.


Adam Czerniakow, Tisha B’av, and Cooperating With Our Own Destruction: Stand for Israel, July 15, 2013—On July 23, 1942, the Nazis began mass deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to the death camp of Treblinka. Over the next nine months, the Germans would send some 300,000 Jews from the Ghetto to the gas chambers – culminating with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April of 1943.


Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.



Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org