Tag: yom hazikaron


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

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

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

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


On Topic Links


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

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

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

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

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



David Harris

Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Evelyn Gordon

JNS, Apr. 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Zev Chafets                                      

National Post, Apr. 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Benjamin Kerstein

Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


On Topic Links

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

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

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

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


From Death To Rebirth In 48 Hours: Israel Honors Fallen Soldiers & Celebrates Independence Day: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Apr. 16, 2018— The fine line between tragedy and triumph is perhaps nowhere as clear as in Israel…

Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Fought in 1948: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Apr. 17, 2018 — Members of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli civilians are jointly commemorating the decisive battles of the 1948 War of Independence ahead of national celebrations of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Imagine That You are That Israeli Soldier: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 13, 2018 — Imagine you are an Israeli soldier in Kissufim.

Enhancing the IAF’s Qualitative Edge: The Air-Launched Cruise Missile Option: Guy Plopsky, BESA, Apr. 16, 2018— The proliferation of advanced weapons systems across the Middle East has increased significantly over the past decade.


On Topic Links

Israel Prepares to Remember 23,646 Fallen Soldiers and 3,134 Terror Victims: Michael Bachner, Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2018

What is Yom HaZikaron and How Does Israel Observe It?: IDF Blog, Apr. 17, 2018

70 Years of the IDF (Photos): IDF Blog, Apr. 16, 2018

Improving Israeli Military Strategy Through Avant Garde Analysis: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Mar. 25, 2018




Charles Bybelezer

The Media Line, Apr. 16, 2018


The fine line between tragedy and triumph is perhaps nowhere as clear as in Israel, and perhaps no more evident than this week as the Jewish state commemorates its fallen soldiers beginning Tuesday evening and its 70th anniversary twenty-four hours later. The transition from somberness to elation in many ways is a microcosm of the Jewish people’s tumultuous history, having suffered 2,000 years of persecution in exile only to return to its homeland to create one of the most dynamic, if not complex, societies in the world.

Even so, the trials, tribulations and hardships that have defined Israel since its rebirth have been felt across the board, with no individual escaping the ramifications of four major conventional wars launched by the Jewish state’s Arab neighbors—after its declaration of independence in 1948; in 1956; in 1967; and, again, in 1973—aimed, each time, at annihilating the fledgling nation. Having failed to achieve this goal, Israel’s enemies shifted their strategy towards asymmetric warfare, initially through the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization which perpetrated three decades of terrorism against the Jewish state; and, today, primarily through Iran’s Lebanon-based Hizbullah proxy and Gaza Strip-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad underlings.

Overall, 23,645 IDF soldiers and other security and intelligence personnel—including 71 over the past year—have since 1860 been killed while defending the pre-state Jewish population and then Israel proper. An additional 3,134 Israeli civilians were murdered in attacks since the nation’s establishment, with countless others injured during wartime or simply while riding a bus or walking the streets. Accordingly, in a country of only eight million people, few, if any, Israelis have not been, directly or indirectly, effected by violence, especially given that every youth is conscripted into the military at the age of eighteen. As such, the nation will come to a complete standstill on Yom Hazikaron, as it is called locally, not unlike last week when Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.

But come nightfall Wednesday, the mood will swing like a pendulum, from sorrow to jubilation, as Independence Day is ushered in. Events will be held throughout the country, highlighted by the official torch-lighting ceremony in Jerusalem, followed by what has become tradition in Israel on its birthday; namely, treks, barbecues and, of course, parties. With every anniversary comes an opportunity to take stock—to recall the past, analyze the present and plan for the future. And while Israel is a relative oasis in an otherwise troubled region, it remains a nation plagued by instability.

Internally, political dysfunction and paralysis (not to mention the prime minister’s legal troubles) have prevented the formulation of coherent strategies to address many problems, ranging from societal divisions—between Left and Right, secular and religious, Jewish and Arab—to the sky-rocketing cost of living and deplorable levels of poverty. Equally important is Jerusalem’s failure to devise a comprehensive approach for dealing with the Palestinians, granted this is a tall order given Ramallah’s previous dismissal of numerous peace plans and ongoing anti-Israel incitement—manifest in its “pay-for-slay” policy of transferring hundreds of millions of dollars annually to Palestinian prisoners and to the families of those killed in confrontations with Israeli forces.

On the flip side, Israel’s tremendous technological and military prowess has, progressively, transformed Jerusalem into a significant player in the international arena, with ties to the United States (the Jewish state’s “anchor”) complemented by burgeoning relations with China, India and a multitude of African and Latin American states, among others.

Nevertheless, as always, Israel must be vigilant in the face of external threats, foremost Tehran’s regional expansionism and potential nuclearization. Most acute is the Islamic Republic’s ongoing effort to entrench itself militarily in Syria, where the Israeli army has over the past two years conducted well over 100 strikes targeting Iranian assets and convoys of advanced weaponry destined for Hizbullah. That each mission has the potential to spark a larger conflict was made stark in February, when Israel responded to the penetration of its air space by an Iranian drone by hitting a dozen targets in Syria, before an Israeli jet was downed by a barrage of surface-to-air missiles for the first time in three decades.

Meanwhile, to the south, the Islamic State is attempting to regroup in the Sinai Peninsula and Hamas continues its provocations, the latest example being the so-called “March of Return,” which for the past three Fridays has drawn tens of thousands of Palestinians to the Israel-Gaza border, leading to deadly conflagrations with the IDF.

However, there are signs that Israel is, to a degree, slowly becoming integrated into the broader Middle East, a positive development given the Arab world’s historical rejectionism. A growing alignment of interests—primarily the shared desire to curb Shiite Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions—has led to a rapprochement between the Jewish state and Sunni Muslim countries, creating cooperative possibilities that Israel’s founders could never in a million years have envisioned, let alone seven short decades. Indeed, this may be the greatest lesson to internalize as the country marks its most melancholy and joyous days; that is, despite some dark periods, the course of Israel’s development demonstrates that beyond every horizon there is light.



Yaakov Lappin

JNS, Apr. 17, 2018


Members of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli civilians are jointly commemorating the decisive battles of the 1948 War of Independence ahead of national celebrations of Israel’s 70th anniversary. “When you study the War of Independence, which is fascinating, in an in-depth manner, you see that the IDF was born in this war,” Education Officer Lt.-Col. Shuli Ben Moha, who is running the commemoration tours, told JNS.

“In this war, the IDF built itself up. Its values were born in it. Its DNA was formed. This is the incredible aspect of the War of Independence. The things that were born in it can be seen to this day. It is moving to learn and read about this,” she added. Ben Moha said that the walking tours took place in Israel’s north, central, and southern regions on consecutive days in early April, with each day containing four routes for civilians to choose from.

Those who walked down the routes heard about the battles that raged there seven decades ago, as the newly born Israel fended off an attack by the states of the Arab League and local militias. Participants of the tour learned about acts of bravery that turned the tide and left a major mark on Israeli history, added Ben Moha. “We are using this wonderful opportunity of marking 70 years since the War of Independence, which was a seminal event of great significance, to bring people closer to the war’s legacy. We have a real opportunity to do that,” she said.

The war’s most significant and unique battles were chosen for the tours, Ben Moha said, describing them as having the most influence on the outcome of the conflict. These include the site of Ramat Yochanan, east of Haifa, “where the Druze sect sealed its blood pact [with the Jews of Israel] that exists to this day. We remember a significant battle there.”

In central Israel, the IDF and civilians walked along the Convoys Ridge, which is located on the approach to Jerusalem from the coastal plain. This is the site where convoys of armored supply vehicles broke through the Arab siege on Jerusalem and entered the city, rescuing its Jewish inhabitants. In the south, tourists heard “the incredible story of how southern communities stood firm [in the face of assaults by Arab League forces],” said Ben Moha.

Members of IDF brigades will, on some of the routes, walk along the sites where soldiers from the same brigades fought 70 years ago for independence. Lt. Guy Shtuser, Squad commander in the 401st Armored Corps Reconnaissance Company, spoke to JNS from Metzudat Koach, near Kiryat Shmona. This was the site of significant War of Independence clashes, which resulted in Israeli control of this strategically important area. Some 150 civilians joined 30 military personnel from the Armored Corps, the Paratroopers, and the Engineering Corps on the tour.

“We see this, first of all, as something that the military is doing for civilians. It is creating a bond that is a little different from the daily routine,” said Shtuser. During the walking tours, civilians also asked the military personnel about their current activities and heard about the fateful events of 1948. Shtuser’s squad is a part of the reconnaissance unit of the 401st Brigade — a unit whose members travel on foot in front of tanks, setting up lookouts and securing the territory. Shtuser, who has been a squad commander for almost a year and a half, noted that the message of the 1948 war resonates with him to this day. “We know we have to safeguard the borders because if we will not be there, if we will not be ready, what we are defending won’t be there for us.”




Giulio Meotti                                    

Arutz Sheva, Apr. 13, 2018


Imagine you are an Israeli soldier in Kissufim. It is a kibbutz on the border near the Gaza Strip. It is there since the Fifties, built by pioneers from Latin America within the “recognized borders” of Israel, those of 1948. After the tragic evacuation of the Jews in 2005, Kissufim is the front line for Israel. Beyond it, there is nothing else. The kibbutz over the years has suffered infiltrations of Palestinian fedayeen, Hamas missile launches, attempts to build tunnels that emerge between its houses and, in October 2017, even an Israeli strike that killed 7 Palestinian terrorists under the kibbutz in one of those deadly tunnels.

Imagine being that Israeli soldier two months after the strike. You are facing a Palestinian uprising beyond the fence that separates Israel from that enclave ruled by Hamas, an organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, a sort of Afghanistan of Islamism, terrorism, submission and torture facing the Mediterranean Sea.

The riot has been going on for two hours, with stone throwing and attempts to break the fence. The military order for all is not to approach less than a hundred meters from that fence. Soldiers attempt to disperse the riot with tear gas, megaphones and other instruments. One of the Palestinian leaders of this riot approaches the border. The soldier has the order to hit him non-lethally. There is no other way to stop an invasion if the assailant is determination to pass through the fence. The soldier interrupts the order because a child appears near the target. Then, the soldier fires and wounds the Palestinian. An illegal video is filmed by soldiers who have nothing to do with the action and in the background we hear fellow soldiers cheering for the success of the operation. “Woh, what a video!”

An Israeli non-governmental organization funded by many European countries in order to de-legitimize Israel, Breaking the Silence, spreads the video. We are in the days after the lethal confrontations in Gaza after the “March of the Return”. The propaganda needs important material and that video of four months earlier offers the opportunity. And immediately goes around the world.

The media launched it with sensationalist headlines, transforming the legitimate Israeli attempt to stop the invasion of a border and ended with the wounding of a Palestinian – invasion that would later witness the participation of 50,000 Palestinians under the leadership of Hamas – in a sadistic and free videogame of the “Zionist occupiers” who shoot the Arab.

It is a classic case of the anti-Israeli delegitimization: the context, the consequences and the causes are eliminated, only the performance remains, chiseled to transform the defenders into aggressors, the besieged as executioners. They speak Hebrew, that’s enough. Nobody wants them to see Palestinians partying after the attacks on Israeli civilians or Arabic sermons in the al-Aqsa mosque against the “sons of pigs and monkeys”.

This is the story of the recent Hamas’ attempts to demolish the border line between Israel and Gaza. Everything disappears: guns, grenades, human shields, children and indoctrinated families, the money that Hamas gave to the injured and the families of the victims (3,000 dollars to the dead, 500 to the wounded), the cannibalistic proclamations of the leaders of the terror (“we will eat the livers of the Israelis”, “we will pull the hearts out of their bodies”), the double identity of the photographer killed (he was a member of the security forces of Hamas), the true nature of the victims (at least 15 of the 19 victims of the first weekend of riots were members of the Palestinian jihadist organizations) and the reason for Israel, which thus prevented the outbreak of war (the one in 2014 took off after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli boys).

Everything must evaporate, step aside, get out of the screen and newspaper articles, to leave room only for the unequal and iniquitously described confrontation between a great military force and a people armed with stones and joy.

In these thirty years of wars and frictions between Israelis and Palestinians, nobody remembers the Israeli military missions aborted due to the presence of Palestinian civilians, the checkpoints removed and exploited to carry out attacks, the Israeli humanitarian aid trucks entered in Gaza, the Israeli hospitals always full of injured and sick Palestinians, Palestinian ambulances used to transport weapons and murderers, UN schools from which missiles are launched, tunnels dug under mosques, trials and convictions given to Israeli soldiers who have broken rules of engagement.

The Great Lie has eaten the truth of the conflict, namely that Israel, the besieged at every border, it is the true weak part of the conflict. The conquest of the hearts and minds of the West is the biggest Palestinian booty. This is how the “Palestinian question” has become strategic over the last fifty years and has dominated the UN stage. Without the newspapers, the NGOs, the chanceries, the news of the evening, the social media and the squares, the Palestinians today would be more irrelevant than the Tibetans or the Papuans, their victims yes of an authentic “occupation”, but last in the hierarchy of international compassion. Terror works. Anti-Israel terror also goes viral.





Guy Plopsky

BESA, Apr. 16, 2018

The proliferation of advanced weapons systems across the Middle East has increased significantly over the past decade. Many states in the region are acquiring modern air and air defense systems. These systems, as some experts have correctly observed, present the Israeli Air Force (IAF) with a new qualitative challenge.

To maintain its technological edge, the IAF is investing considerable resources into upgrading its fourth-generation platforms and acquiring new fifth-generation F-35I “Adir” multi-role fighters, which, in addition to stealth, also feature advanced network-centric and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities. The next logical step for the IAF is to expand its standoff precision-strike capabilities through the acquisition of long-range, very low-observable (stealth) air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) capable of engaging targets in heavily contested environments.

A key concern for the IAF is the proliferation of modern long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. Most notable is the acquisition of such systems by Iran, which has procured and introduced into service the Russian-made S-300PMU-2 (SA-20b) “Favorit.” Manufactured by Russia’s Almaz-Antey Aerospace Defense Concern, the road-mobile S-300PMU-2 incorporates advanced electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) features, making the system difficult to jam or spoof. It is armed with long-range 48N6E2 interceptors capable of engaging aerial targets at distances of up to 200 km. Tehran’s S-300 deal also includes advanced 96L6E “all-altitude” 3D target acquisition radars with good ground clutter rejection, enhancing detection and tracking of low-flying targets. Iran currently operates four S-300PMU-2 battalions.

Another Middle Eastern state that recently acquired a modern Russian-made long-range SAM system is Egypt. Though Jerusalem’s relationship with Cairo has improved markedly in recent years, historical grievances coupled with Egypt’s acquisition of modern air defense systems and combat aircraft make the country a potential concern in the long run. Cairo selected Almaz-Antey’s S-300VM (SA-23) “Antey-2500” system, which, like the S-300PMU-2, incorporates advanced ECCM features, is capable of engaging multiple targets simultaneously, and can deploy within a short time period.

The Antey-2500 is a tracked system, offering superior off-road mobility to the Favorit. The system utilizes two types of interceptors: the 9M83ME, which can engage aerial targets at ranges of 120-130 km; and either the 9M82ME or its extended-range 9M82MDE variant, which can engage aerial targets at distances of up to 200 km and 350 km, respectively. (There is no reliable information on whether Cairo procured the standard or the extended range variant of this missile).

While the range figures listed above are impressive, it should be emphasized that they are nominal. The real ranges at which a given target can be intercepted with a high probability of success is dependent on a wide range of factors. The probability of a small, maneuverable target (such as a tactical fighter) being intercepted by a very large, heavy SAM (such as the 9M82ME/MDE) is low, particularly at long ranges. Indeed, the 9M82ME/MDE’s primary purpose is terminal defense against ballistic targets (at ranges of up to 30km) and long-range interception of cumbersome strategic aerial assets (for example, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and aerial-refueling tankers). Nevertheless, even large, heavy SAMs can prove deadly against a tactical fighter over long distances if the latter fails to take appropriate evasive maneuvers, as was recently demonstrated.

On February 10, 2018, following a strike against Tiyas Airbase in Homs Governorate, an IAF F-16I “Sufa” fighter was shot down by a Syrian Soviet-era S-200VE (SA-5b) system using a long-range V-880E SAM. According to a subsequent IAF study, “[t]he aircrew failed to assess the situation, and did not defend itself as needed,” enabling the missile to approach within close proximity to the fighter. The SAM’s proximity-fused blast-fragmentation warhead worked as intended, detonating near the aircraft and showering it with fragments, prompting the crew of two to eject.

Deliveries to Syria of the SA-5b, along with colossal V-880E missiles (which have a 240 km operational range), commenced shortly after the First Lebanon War, during which Syrian air and air defense forces performed abysmally. Although the SA-5b possesses much greater range than other ground-based SAM systems operated by Syria, it was designed primarily to intercept strategic bombers and other cumbersome strategic aerial assets – not small, maneuverable fighters…

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



On Topic Links

Israel Prepares to Remember 23,646 Fallen Soldiers and 3,134 Terror Victims: Michael Bachner, Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2018—Israelis will bow their heads at 8 p.m. Tuesday for a minute of silence as sirens sound in remembrance the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims.

What is Yom HaZikaron and How Does Israel Observe It?: IDF Blog, Apr. 17, 2018—Yom HaZikaron is the day of national remembrance in Israel to commemorate all the soldiers and people who lost their lives during the struggle to defend the State of Israel.

70 Years of the IDF (Photos): IDF Blog, Apr. 16, 2018— For Israel’s 70th anniversary, the Ministry of Defense revealed a rare collection of photographs from the establishment of the State of Israel which can be seen below..

Improving Israeli Military Strategy Through Avant Garde Analysis: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Mar. 25, 2018— One normally thinks of the avant garde with reference to artistic exploration, but it can also be applied to other fields of human learning, including military strategy. A French expression, it is by its very nature activist, and suggests in any context the energizing idea of “marching forward.”



Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in a World of Turmoil: Isi Leibler, Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017 — Israel Independence Day symbolizes the empowerment of all Jews in the wake of the most successful renaissance of a nation after two thousand years of exile.

Israel’s Birthday, Abbas and Balfour: Ruthie Blum, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017 — While Israel gears up to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Palestinian Authority is as busy as ever bemoaning the existence of the Jewish state.

The Fight for Zion: Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, Apr. 4, 2017 — For American Jews, Zionism has become a source of debate, controversy, embarrassment, and guilt as they try to come to terms with the activities of the Jewish state and its elected officials.

A Return to Israel from Egypt: More Than Geography: Allan Levine, CIJR, Apr. 27, 2017 — As our bus crossed the Gaza border back into lsrael at Rafiach after spending eight days in Egypt


On Topic Links


The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Jewish Virtual Library

UNESCO’s Anti-Israel Resolution Gets Least Votes Ever: UNWatch, May 2, 2017

Ex-Canadian PM Harper: Popularity of My Support for Israel Among Electorate Makes It Difficult for Trudeau to Go in Different Direction: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, May 1, 2017

Moments in History: What Led up to the Declaration of Israel: Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2017


Isi Leibler                                          

Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017


Israel Independence Day symbolizes the empowerment of all Jews in the wake of the most successful renaissance of a nation after two thousand years of exile. It highlights the dramatic contrast between our status today and that of our powerless kinsmen facing doom on the eve of the Holocaust. It is not a celebration exclusively for Israelis but for Jews throughout the world. But as we celebrate, we should be under no illusions. Our remarkable status is due to our independent power and the fact that we do not rely on the goodwill of others for our survival.


The world has not changed or learnt from the tragic consequences of appeasement in the 1930’s which led to Nazi aggression and the Holocaust. Today we witness again a state of global turmoil, confronted by an evil Islamist menace which threatens to undermine the Judeo-Christian moral structures of our civilization.


Europe is in a state of near anarchy. The decision by Chancellor Merkel to open Europe to “refugees,” most of whom are anti-democratic and fiercely antisemitic, has created massive demographic and social upheaval. Conventional political parties are disintegrating and populist and radical right wing parties are on the upsurge, with governments obliged to restrict civil liberties to strengthen security.


In the US, the liberal left has still not come to terms with the fact that the populist Donald Trump was elected as their president. But he has astounded them by showing that despite his America First policy, he was not reticent in employing force to bring vicious war criminals like Assad to heel and sending a clear message to the North Koreans and Iranians that the days of Obama groveling were over.


What is the status of Jews in this insane world? Jews who remain in the diaspora have forfeited the privilege of being part of the greatest miracle of the last 2000 years: the ultimate realization of the most sacred Jewish prayers, faith and hope during endless years of exile and persecution. And today, the high cost of remaining in the diaspora is becoming all too clear. Antisemitism is at an all-time high with Jews in most European countries treated like pariahs, facing constant terror threats and in many cases requiring security forces to guard them at their synagogues and their children in their schools.


In the United States madness prevails with far left “liberal” Jews spearheading “Jewish religious” campaigns against Trump. Even mainstream groups like the ADL and sectors of the Reform movement sought to accuse Trump and his administration of either supporting or harboring antisemites. The problem with many of these Jews is that they are utterly ignorant of their Jewish heritage and view Israel through the far-left prism in which regarding it as a colonialist implant is a critical component of their DNA.


But despite this dismal picture of Diaspora Jewry, most Jews are reassured that with the existence of an empowered Jewish state always ready and willing to accept them, they will never face the horror that their ancestors experienced in Europe in the 1930’s when no country would grant them haven. But at the end of the day, it is inevitable that it will be a struggle for Jews outside of Israel to retain their identity, whether because of antisemitism or assimilation, and as their commitment to Israel diminishes, so too will their connection to the Jewish people and Judaism. Yom Haatzmaut should be more than a holiday and barbecues. We should focus on the spiritual aspects and seek to convey to younger generations that the rebirth of their nation – which so many seem to take for granted – is truly miraculous.


We need only remind ourselves of the incredible devastation that took place 75 years ago following 2000 years of wretched dispersion, persecution, expulsion and murder and climaxing with the Holocaust. We should view this in the light of our resurrected nation which has grown from 600,000 Jews in 1948 to over 6 million Jews today. We should remind ourselves that our vibrant nation state revived the sacred tongue of our ancestors and molded broken refugees and survivors from all corners of the globe into a thriving national culture. Despite being one of the smallest states in the world, Israel has created one of the most powerful global military forces which has defeated superior forces seeking its destruction and today deters its enemies.


Israel is an economic miracle with one of the most successful economies in the world, creating more startups in the technological and medical arena per capita than any other country. Over recent years, Israel has discovered vast gas fields which will make it an exporter rather than an importer of energy. And it has produced the most efficient desalinization program in the world which enabled it to overcome the water shortage and provide assistance to other nations.


Never in their wildest dreams could those who survived the Holocaust ever have imagined the miraculous success of the recreated nation state based primarily on refugees from Eastern European pogroms, Nazism or Arab persecution. It was a wise decision, reflecting compassion and insight, to directly precede Yom Haatzmaut with Yom Hazikaron, a day to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in defense of our homeland. Above all, as we celebrate we should pledge to ensure that as a nation we must continue strengthening ourselves militarily, economically and socially. The reason for our extraordinary success in nation-building flows from our inner strength and determination.


Israel today has been blessed with an American leader who is deeply sensitive to Jews and has displayed unprecedented support for Israel. We should seek to continue improving our relationship with the Trump administration and cooperate with his efforts to renew peace negotiations. We can hopefully progress toward reaching an accommodation on the settlements, annexing the Golan and have Washington formally recognize Jerusalem as our capital by relocating its embassy.


Where appropriate, we should continue building both covert and open alliances even with countries traditionally hostile towards us who share the common threat facing the region from the Iranian terror state. Despite living in a region where barbarism is rampant and facing threats from religious fanatics pledged to our destruction, Israel has never been as strong and secure as it is today. We have every reason to count our blessings, rejoice and give thanks to the Almighty. Chag Sameach.    





Ruthie Blum       

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017


While Israel gears up to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Palestinian Authority is as busy as ever bemoaning the existence of the Jewish state. PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not admit to this, however, particularly when speaking to members of the administration in Washington. The last thing he wants at this moment is to have his invitation to the White House rescinded. He also hopes to continue to manipulate the US State Department into playing the shuttle diplomacy game as a means of keeping himself relevant and blaming Israel for any lack of progress on the peace front.


But even his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for May 3, did not deter the aging rejectionist from reiterating his threat to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration, the November 2, 1917, letter sent by British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Jewish community leader Walter Rothschild, stating, “His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” This week, the PA received written confirmation from the British government that no apology for the “historic” Balfour Declaration would be issued. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel,” it declared. “The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”


The Palestinian campaign to criminalize the Balfour Declaration was launched last summer, with Abbas announcing plans to engage in an international campaign against the United Kingdom. At the end of June, PA Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki attended the Arab League summit in Mauritania – in place of Abbas, whose brother had just died in Qatar – and conveyed his bereaved boss’s message to the Muslim-Arab honchos gathered in Nouakchott: the PA intended to file a lawsuit against Britain for the Balfour Declaration and wanted to enlist the support and assistance of their brethren in this endeavor. A few months later, in September, Abbas demanded an apology for the document in his address to the UN General Assembly, as the UK and Israel began preparations to mark its centennial in 2017.


In a piece in The Washington Post in October, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the Balfour Declaration the “symbolic beginning of the denial of our rights.” He failed to mention that it is actually the leaders in the West Bank and Gaza who have ever denied the Arabs of the PA their rights. Well before the Six Day War, when the term “Palestinian people” was coined, Arabs rejected the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine – the original “two-state solution.” They have been refusing to reach any peaceful arrangement with Israel since then.


The end result is on display for all to see. Israel has spent nearly seven decades building a booming democratic country, while the Arabs of Palestine have frittered away the time by engaging in acts of destruction. Yes, as the Jewish state marks 69 years since its establishment, 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem and 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the PA is threatening to take Britain to court. Let Trump be reminded of this before hosting Abbas in the Oval Office and listening to his lies. The rest of us should take a break from discussions of war and peace to toast Balfour – and Israel’s success in a region otherwise characterized by failure.            






Asaf Romirowsky                                                          

BESA, Apr. 4, 2017


For American Jews, Zionism has become a source of debate, controversy, embarrassment, and guilt as they try to come to terms with the activities of the Jewish state and its elected officials. Consequently, many seek to detach themselves from what used to embody the core of Jewish identity. A case in point is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a pro-BDS Jewish group that uses its “Jewishness” to validate its cause.


While JVP’s desire to persuade the Israeli government to change its policies is legitimate, the growing strength of the BDS movement at large makes the demise of the two-state solution ever more likely. JVP’s executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, is notorious for her hard leftist views, as illustrated in her Washington Post op-ed entitled “I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel.” So strong is JVP’s antipathy to Israel that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called it “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group” in the US. Yet the true essence of Zionism lies in its ability to encapsulate both religious and secular Jewish identities. The current challenge is to identify the component of renewal. The Zionist enterprise did not end with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Each generation must redefine Zionism as it is relevant to them.


Theodor Herzl famously wrote in his diary, “Were I to sum up the [1897] Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: ‘At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. If not in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.’” The difference between Herzl’s generation and post-1948 generations was a first-hand understanding of what the absence of a Jewish state means for Jewish survival. The state represents the difference between autonomy and servility, indeed between life and death. But today’s millennial generation has no memory of a time when Israel did not exist or was ever on the “right side of history.”


Given the wedge that has been pushed between Zionism and Judaism, one might even suggest that were Herzl to raise the question of a Jewish homeland today, he might not receive support. The irony is that what initially led Zionist leaders to bond over the idea of a homeland was the growing threat of antisemitism. Today, even as antisemitism is on the rise around the world, anti-Zionism is often viewed as legitimate criticism.


Abba Eban dispelled this notion eloquently, stating, “There is no difference whatever between antisemitism and the denial of Israel’s statehood. Classical antisemitism denies the equal right of Jews as citizens within society. Anti-Zionism denies the equal rights of the Jewish people its lawful sovereignty within the community of nations. The common principle in the two cases is discrimination.”


But with the popularity of the BDS movement’s crusade against Israel, some American Jews on the left have placed other Jews beyond the pale, as people who cannot be debated due to their abominable views. Moreover, an insidious double standard applies: Jewish organizations like Hillel must include anti-Israel voices or be deemed intolerant or racist. Jewish intellectuals must engage in dialogue with BDS representatives or other Palestinian advocates who demand the ethnic cleansing of Israel, lest they be called cowards and be subjected to insults. And now, leading American Jewish intellectuals have adopted the rhetoric and methods of BDS, to be applied to Jews only. Perhaps the next move will be to follow the Palestinian lead and charge Israelis in international courts.


Individuals like Peter Beinart, in his book The Crisis of Zionism, purport to offer so-called “tough love,” an approach that is supposedly required to curb the alleged expansion of the “occupation.” Driven by guilt, Beinart has embraced the left’s move to distance itself from Israel and the Zionist enterprise at large. For Beinart, the answer is a “Zionist” boycott of Israeli settlements and products. Beinart, like many post-Zionists and revisionists, only opposes the “occupation,” which leads him to place all the onus for the lingering Palestinian-Israeli problem on Israel. In this distorted narrative, Israel is largely to blame for the collapse of the Oslo/Camp David process of the 1990s-2000s and for the subsequent failures to revive the peace process. But the centrality of the “settlements” is an empty issue. It deflects from the core problem that truly obstructs a negotiated settlement: the Palestinians’ century-long rejection of a sovereign Jewish state.


There is little debate that there will be a redistribution of land in the event that a peace agreement is achieved. Most of the bargaining will be about whether these exchanges will take the shape of a total phased Israeli withdrawal, or an exchange of land annexing the more populous Israeli towns to Israel for other land in the Jordan Valley or Negev Desert. But this must be left to the parties to decide, not imposed by outside powers or guilt-ridden American Jews.


Anti-Zionist American Jews have found Israeli counterparts even in the Knesset. This was on display at the AIPAC Policy Conference in late March, at which Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, whose trip to the conference had been paid by AIPAC, decided to join a protest outside the conference. At the protest, organized by the Jewish anti-establishment group IfNotNow, demonstrators held up signs reading “Reject AIPAC” and “Reject Occupation.” Zandberg justified her decision to participate by saying, “there is no greater deed of patriotism than opposing the occupation.”


Stronger Zionist anchors are needed within the Jewish community to overcome the guilt over Israel’s existence rather than its actions. Collective historical memory is absent from today’s discourse on Zionism, especially in America. While there are Zionists on the left and right who still appreciate Jewish history and believe in Jewish destiny, Zionist renewal outside Zion is needed. There is a serious need to teach and appreciate both Herzl’s Zionism and “Start-Up Zionism” if the dream is to be kept alive.




A RETURN TO ISRAEL FROM EGYPT: MORE THAN GEOGRAPHY                                                  

Allan Levine                                                                                                                    

CIJR, Apr. 27, 2017


As our bus crossed the Gaza border back into Israel at Rafiach after spending eight days in Egypt, on an Academic Study Mission of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, I was filled with a sense of relief and joy knowing we had returned to Israel and deeply moved at the sight of "green" Israel and the realization that we were "home again" and secure. I was happy at seeing young Israeli men and women soldiers at the border and those who climbed aboard our bus to welcome us. Part of their routine was, of course, checking under our bus and under our seats and in the overhead, to be sure there were no bombs or explosives on board that might endanger us or anyone else. It was the Eve of Purim, 1985.


Young, friendly, tense, citizen soldiers.


In home spun costumes whose originality

   tells us much more than uniforms and

Absence of militarism and alone

   can convey,


They peek in and under, check our bus


Patient, pleasant

   and serious.


Knowing too well the cost of smuggled danger,

   and the daily price they pay

For fresh food and water, freedom,

    self-government and civil society.


And we applaud the flowers

   anemone, goldenrod and narcissus fields full,

Telling us

   welcome home.



Allan Levine is Professor Emeritus – Psychology, Los Angeles Valley College and

 contributor to the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Happy Yom Ha’atzmaut!





On Topic Links


The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Jewish Virtual Library—On the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired – Friday, May 14, 1948 – the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum to declare the establishment of the State of Israel. There is no record of who attended the meeting, but 350 invitations were sent out instructing the recipients to keep the information secret.

UNESCO’s Anti-Israel Resolution Gets Least Votes Ever: UNWatch, May 2, 2017—“Israel lost the vote today, but it did score a small moral victory: despite reported fears that Germany’s negotiations with the Palestinians would erode support, Israel in the end won more votes than ever before, including from major democracies like the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Ex-Canadian PM Harper: Popularity of My Support for Israel Among Electorate Makes It Difficult for Trudeau to Go in Different Direction: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, May 1, 2017—Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Sunday that the pro-Israel stand he took while in office has made his successor, Justin Trudeau, cautious about moving in a different direction.

Moments in History: What Led up to the Declaration of Israel: Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2017—As Israel's Independence Day arrives – its 69th edition is celebrated on Tuesday, May 2 – let's face it: Not everyone knows exactly what happened when. Ask a given millennial how Israel arose, and as likely as not, the answer will be, "Uh, we were in exile for 2,000 years and then the British left and we had a State."






















PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony at Yad Labanim: Prime Minister’s Office, Apr. 30, 2017 — A cloud of grief hangs over the State of Israel today.

Where is World Outrage Over Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul?: Richard Kemp, Jim Molan & Arsen Ostrovsky, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017— On May 1, Israelis will observe Remembrance Day, honoring soldiers who fell in defense of the Jewish state, and victims of terrorism.

Israel's Covert War Against Hezbollah's Artillery: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet, Apr. 28, 2017 — Reports of attacks in Syria attributed to Israel may indicate—one could certainly assume—a new stage in Israel's defense against Hezbollah and Iran.

No Nuclear Weapons in Syria? Go Thank Israel: Louis René Beres, Israel Defense, Apr. 27, 2017 — Plausibly, it is only because of Israel's earlier preemptions against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities that the Middle East is not presently awash in Arab nuclear weapons.


On Topic Links


Tell the UN: Jerusalem is Israel’s Eternal Capital (Petition): The Israel Project, May 1, 2017

Such a Moving Video Commemorating the Fallen Heroes of the Israel Defense Forces: Israel Video Network, May 1, 2017

In Our Forgetfulness, We Turned Our Children Into Heroes: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times Of Israel, Apr. 30, 2017

Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers: Tami Shelach, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017


AS WE GO TO PRESS: UNESCO TO FIRE ANOTHER VOLLEY AT ISRAEL – ON INDEPENDENCE DAY — The UN cultural agency is set to pass a resolution on Tuesday — Israel’s 69th Independence Day — that indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip. Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine” will most likely pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body. According to Israeli officials, Germany was a driving force behind a deal that would see all EU states abstain in exchange for the removal of the most incendiary anti-Israel passages. But on Monday, Italy announced that it would vote against the resolution, apparently ending the effort to forge a European consensus. (Times of Israel, May 1, 2017)




MEMORIAL CEREMONY AT YAD LABANIM                                                     

Prime Minister’s Office, Apr. 30, 2017


A cloud of grief hangs over the State of Israel today. It always hangs over the families, the parents, the widows and partners, the brothers and sisters. Our loved ones fell in Israel’s battles in the line of duty, in battles and in brutal terror attacks. Ever since the dagger of bereavement pierced our hearts, the course of our lives has been forever changed, but today we commemorate our mutual guarantee and shared fate, which connect all parts of the nation to the family of bereavement. This is the true source of our strength, and to a high degree unique to the State of Israel. It is our unique source of resilience and strength.


Together we bow our heads in memory of the 23,544 who fell in our nation’s battles and the thousands more who were killed by murderous terrorists. We are one people, and it is clear to all of us that were it not for the sacrifice of these men and women – we would not be free in our own land. In fact, we would not be here at all. It is thanks to them that we exist, thanks to them that we live.


This morning at Mount Herzl we inaugurated the new National Hall of Remembrance. It is a splendid building that commemorates all the fallen. I see it as an important symbol emphasizing the foundations of our existence in our land. I see it as an important symbol expressing the unity of bereavement. This small country is all we have – home and homeland, future and hope. Our roots were planted deep into this land thousands of years ago, and for generations we were loyal to it. We renewed our national sovereignty in this land seven decades ago.


The State of Israel is a miracle of history – in its rebirth and in its tremendous achievements. This miracle and these achievements are also especially notable given our ongoing resilience in the test of fire and blood. We stand as a fortified wall against our enemies. We do not show weakness. We do not loosen our grip from the weapons in our hands because we know that this is the only way to push back the thickets of evil that refuse to accept our existence. This is the only way we will achieve peace with those of our neighbors who want peace. At the same time, during this long campaign, we maintain our humanity. We just heard the tremendously moving stories of the fallen. One feels not only the loss, but also their humanity. Simultaneously, we maintain our democratic, free, vibrant and moral society. However, there is a heavy price for this – a personal price for you, the families, and a national price for all of us. We have experienced it personally, and you know: each family and its pain.


It is actually our loved ones who went to battle from whom we draw comfort. The wick of their lives was cut off in a moment, but the spark of the sense of mission that burned in them still glows. During the War of Independence, before he died, Zvi Guber wrote, “Can a lead bullet kill courage and purity of spirit?”


Sixty-nine years have passed and that purity of spirit has remained unchanged: Each generation and the magnificence of its spirit, each generation and the discovery of its strength. Brothers and sisters in the family of bereavement, you are the foundation of Israeli society. You raised exemplary sons and daughters, you instilled in them the values of man and nation, and you serve as a bridge between all sectors of Israeli society: Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouins, Circassians – citizens of Israel are profoundly grateful to you.


Together, we will continue to defend our land, protect it, build it. This is the true legacy of the fallen. The people of Israel hold its fallen soldiers in their hearts, and every day we pay them honor and wish them eternal glory. May the memory of our children be forever blessed. We will remember them all forever.






Richard Kemp, Jim Molan & Arsen Ostrovsky            

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017


On May 1, Israelis will observe Remembrance Day, honoring soldiers who fell in defense of the Jewish state, and victims of terrorism. At an age when most teenagers are getting ready to go off to university or travel abroad, Israelis devote at least two to three years of their lives to defending and protecting their country, the only Jewish state, and by extension the West’s front line of defense in the global war against Islamic terrorism.


Two such soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the State of Israel were Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in action by Hamas during Israel’s defensive 2014 war with the terrorist group, Operation Protective Edge. On August 1, 2014, hours after a United Nations- and US-brokered humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Gaza, ambushed an IDF unit and killed Hadar, who was only 23 years old. Hamas then took his body and have been holding it hostage in Gaza since, treating it contemptuously as both a bargaining chip and an instrument to torment his family.


Shaul, who was only 20 years old at the time, was also killed by Hamas, when he left his armored personnel carrier to repair the vehicle and Hamas fired on his unit, killing him, and likewise taking his body and malignly holding it in Gaza. Holding the bodies of soldiers killed in action and refusing their return to their next of kin for burial is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law. As is using the soldiers’ bodies as bargaining chips, which Hamas continues to do. Only last week, the terrorist group released a morbid video including a song in Hebrew, taunting the families of Goldin and Shaul, again in breach of international law. To this day, almost three years since their abduction, Hamas refuses even to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access.


That Hamas, a fanatical Iran-funded Islamist terrorist organization, does not abide by even a modicum of international law and basic human decency is beyond dispute. But where is the international outcry? Only last week, the international community was up in arms over a large group of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israel. These were however violent murderers convicted of terrorism-related offenses. Moreover, Israel affords these prisoners full rights under international law, including access to ICRC, and returns bodies of terrorists killed attacking Israelis.


Yet the same international community, overflowing with concern over the welfare of Palestinian terrorists, can’t even feign interest in the Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hamas. Where is the Red Cross? Virtual silence. Where is the UN, under whose auspices the cease-fire during which Hadar was killed and kidnapped was brokered? Silence. Awaking only occasionally to condemn Israel in New York or Geneva, but turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism. Where are self-professed human rights groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch? Silence again.


Perhaps to them the human rights of Jews and Israelis are not worthy? What about Mahmoud Abbas? The Palestinian Authority president claims he wants peace, yet instead seeks to embrace Hamas and glorify those who kill Israelis. You can be certain that if Goldin and Shaul were British, Australian, American, French or Russian soldiers, there would be an international outcry. But only silence and sheer neglect when it comes to the lives of Israelis.


We understand there are many pressing humanitarian concerns facing the world today, not least in the Middle East, but the world must not forget Hadar Goldin, who was killed and taken hostage during a UN cease-fire, as well as Oron Shaul. This is not only a matter for Israelis, but a basic humanitarian issue. These young soldiers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, could be any of our soldiers, defending the West from global jihad.


The international community, which is seeking to rebuild Gaza and promote peace in the region, should make any further efforts conditional upon the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers’ bodies. The Red Cross also has a fundamental duty to speak up. Meantime, the UN, aided and abetted by the Obama administration, exerted great pressure on Israel to accept this cease-fire, and therefore bears primary responsibility for ensuring the return of the bodies of Goldin and Shaul. The families of these young men deserve, and by law are entitled to, a proper decent burial at home in Israel. It is time the world showed that Israeli lives matter too.                                   





Ron Ben-Yishai                                                            

Ynet, Apr. 28, 2017


Reports of attacks in Syria attributed to Israel may indicate—one could certainly assume—a new stage in Israel's defense against Hezbollah and Iran. This self-defense has lasted for more than a decade, but now it seems that it focuses on one particular thing: defense against artillery; mainly, the missiles and rockets that Iran provides the Hezbollah to strike a critical blow against Israel's home front. Hezbollah and Iran's goal is to be able to threaten vital infrastructures—water, electricity, healthcare services, transport, airfields and emergency supplies—in a way that Israel will have a difficulty to recover from should a strike occur.


The new stage in Israel's strategic defense may have not started today, but is now picking up pace as Israel has completed its multi-layer missile defense system David's Sling, which became operational several weeks ago—completing what may be the most important layer in Israel's defense system. This system, formerly known as Magic Wand, is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 km to 300 km, which essentially covers most of Israel's territories.


The Iranians and Hezbollah understand that the IDF's missile defense system, which is the first and only of its kind, challenges them and their ability to threaten and deter Israel. Even if they are not interested in starting a war with Israel at the moment, they always seek to preserve their level of deterrence against it. For that reason, Iran has decided to change course and instead of arming Hezbollah with hundreds of thousands of imprecise missiles, they are now transitioning to an arsenal comprised mostly of precise missiles and rockets, some of which are even GPS-guided.


The explanation for that is simple: The Iranians and Hezbollah understand that David's Sling is capable of intercepting more than 80% of their rockets, and so they intend to battle it using sheer volume—making it so that the IDF's defense system has too many threats to defend against than it possibly could. The Iranians also want to make sure that at least some of the missiles that will manage to pierce through Israel's defense system will not just land in open fields, and so they are upgrading Hezbollah's massive artillery—which is estimated to have more than 130 thousand missiles and rockets.


The aim is for the arsenal to be comprised of a larger percentage of guided and precise missiles and rockets, which even if only a few of them manage to avoid being shot down they will still inflict massive amount of damage. This strategy is obvious to the IDF and worries Israel's security operators a great deal. In fact, due to Iran's increasing potential of nuclear capabilities it is now considered to be the main and most dangerous threat to the State of Israel due to its potential for large devastation in Israel's home front.


Israel is fully aware of these threats, and is therefore making efforts to gain intelligence on Iran's attempts to arm Hezbollah with precise artillery and prevent Israel from stopping those shipments, sent to Hezbollah forces through Syria. The attacks attributed to Israel on arms depots in Syria, if indeed carried out by it, show the increases efforts by both the Iranians to arm Hezbollah and by Israel to prevent it from taking place. Iran is sending these shipments by—among other methods—commercial flights of Iranian or Iranian-owned airlines out of the assumption that Israel won't know that a regular commercial flight from Tehran to Damascus will also carry missiles and rockets, most of which in pieces.


It is not unthinkable that Israel's intelligence is working to learn of these attempts. The battle between Iran and Israel's intelligence systems is held behind a thick cover of secrecy. The Iranians don't want to admit that they are arming Hezbollah through Syria since it breaches rules made by the United Nations Security Council. On its end, Israel is not admitting or denying that it is sabotaging these shipments. And so, both sides are exploiting plausible deniability for their own interests, even if these "military installations" are hard to hide or ignore once they catch fire do to some "unknown missile strike."                




NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN SYRIA? GO THANK ISRAEL                                                                    

Louis René Beres                                                                                                 

Israel Defense, Apr. 27, 2017


Plausibly, it is only because of Israel's earlier preemptions against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities that the Middle East is not presently awash in Arab nuclear weapons. In this connection, US President Donald Trump might have had to make far more risky calculations in launching his recent retaliation for the Syrian chemical weapons attack if Bashar al-Assad had already acquired a recognizable nuclear counter-retaliatory capability. Also worth noting is that if the long-lasting Damascus regime had not been the object of very successful Israeli defensive strikes back in 2007, nuclear weapons could eventually have fallen into the fanatical hands of Shi'ite Hezbollah, or – if the al-Assad regime should fall – Sunni ISIS.


Israel's first use of anticipatory self-defense against a potentially nuclear Middle Eastern adversary was directed at Saddam Hussein's Osiraq reactor near Baghdad on June 7, 1981. Precisely because of Israel's courageous and correspondingly international law-enforcing operations in both Iraq and Syria, America and its allies do not currently have to face enemy nuclear regimes or their terrorist nuclear proxies. Significantly, as corollary, it was the world community's failure to act in a similarly timely fashion against North Korea that contributed mightily to our now expanding security woes regarding Kim Jong-un.


In essence, thanks to Israel's Operation Opera on June 7, 1981, and also its later Operation Orchard on September 6, 2007, neither Iraq nor Syria will be able to provide Islamist terrorists with game-changing kinds of destructive technology. To be sure, nuclear weapons in these countries could conceivably have made End Times theology a meaningfully palpable strategic reality. We may now be more operationally precise. On June 7, 1981, and without any prior forms of international approval, Israel destroyed Osiraq. Left intact, this Saddam Hussein-era reactor would have been able to produce enough fuel for an Iraqi nuclear weapon. Moreover, had Prime Minister Menachem Begin first pleadingly sought formal approvals from the "international community," that residually vital expression of self-defense would assuredly have failed.


Law also matters. Under international law, war and genocide need not be mutually exclusive. Although it had been conceived by Mr. Begin as an indispensable national security corrective for Israel, one desperately needed to prevent an entirely new form of Holocaust, Operation Opera ultimately saved the lives of thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of Americans. These were and still remain US soldiers fighting in all the subsequent "Iraqi wars."


During the attack on Osiraq, Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor before it was ready to go "on line." Ironically, immediately following the attack, the general global community reaction had been overwhelmingly hostile. The UN Security Council, in Resolution 487 of June 19, 1981, expressly indicated that it "strongly condemns" the attack, and even that "Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered."


Officially, the United States, perhaps not yet aware that it would become a distinctly primary beneficiary of this unilaterally defensive Israeli action, issued multiple statements of conspicuously stern rebuke. Today, of course, particularly as we worry about both al-Assad war crimes and prospective ISIS advances, matters look very different. Indeed, in June 1991, during a visit to Israel after the first Gulf War, then-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney presented Maj. Gen. David Ivry, commander of the Israel Air Force (IAF), a satellite photograph of the destroyed reactor. On the photograph, Cheney inscribed: "For General David Ivry, with thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981, which made our (American) job much easier in Desert Storm."


International law is not a suicide pact. Israel did not act illegally at Osiraq. Under the long-standing customary right known as anticipatory self-defense, every state is entitled to strike first whenever the danger posed is "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation." For such manifestly compelling action, it does not require any antecedent approvals by the United Nations.


It was the United States, not Israel, which issued a unilateral policy statement, in 2002, declaring that the traditional right of anticipatory self-defense should immediately be expanded. Here, Washington's strategic and jurisprudential argument hinged, correctly, on the starkly unique dangers of any nuclear-endowed enemy. The National Security Strategy of the United States was issued by the most powerful country on earth. In comparison, Israel, which had claimed a substantially more narrow and conservative view of anticipatory self-defense back in 1981, is small enough to fit into a single county in California, or twice into Lake Michigan.


Serious students of world affairs are more or less familiar with what happened at Osiraq back in 1981. But what about the attack that took place in Syria, during Operation Orchard, in 2007? In this second and later case of an Israeli preemption designed to prevent enemy nuclear weapons, the operational details are much more hazy. In brief, the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, consciously reasserted the 1981 "Begin Doctrine," this time within the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. Several years later, in April 2011, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) authoritatively confirmed that the bombed Syrian site had indeed been the start of a nuclear reactor. Olmert's decision, like Begin's earlier on, turned out to be "right on the money."


It's not complicated. International law is not a suicide pact. All things considered, Israel's 1981 and 2007 defensive strikes against enemy rogue states were not only lawful, but distinctly law enforcing. After all, in the incontestable absence of any truly centralized enforcement capability, international law must continue to rely upon the willingness of certain individual and powerful states to act forcefully on behalf of the entire global community. This is exactly what took place on June 7, 1981, and, again, on September 6, 2007.


Going forward, Jerusalem and Washington now need to inquire further: What about Iran? Should Tehran sometime agree to provide its surrogate Hezbollah militias with some of its own evolving nuclear technologies, Iran could find itself marshaling considerable and potentially decisive influence in regional terror wars. Then, endlessly sectarian conflicts raging throughout Iraq, Syria, and other places could continue to grow until every remaining flower of human society were irremediably crushed. If that should actually happen – an even more plausible scenario if there should be a simultaneous or near-simultaneous coup d'état in already-nuclear Pakistan – we might then all still bear impotent witness to a world spinning further out of control… [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





On Topic Links


Tell the UN: Jerusalem is Israel’s Eternal Capital (Petition): The Israel Project, May 1, 2017—Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital — but the UN is set to ERASE Israel’s right to any of the city. Demand the un stop its war of lies against Israel. Sign the petition here.

Such a Moving Video Commemorating the Fallen Heroes of the Israel Defense Forces: Israel Video Network, May 1, 2017—The 23,144 thousands of Israeli soldiers and citizens who have been killed in the Land of Israel were the best and the finest of Israel’s youth. It is due to their bravery that we live the lives we live today in the Land of Israel. Their sacrifices are a beacon of light for all to learn from. They serve as role models of self-sacrifice to all for what we as an old nation, in an ancient land who have built up a modern-day State – need to do in order to preserve our way of life. May their memories be blessed.

In Our Forgetfulness, We Turned Our Children Into Heroes: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times Of Israel, Apr. 30, 2017—On Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance, let the politicians and generals talk of “heroes” and “commemoration.” I can speak only of children. Heroes, after all, are just children who grew old enough that we forgot their childhoods. In this forgetfulness, we put rifles in their hands, ran their sore feet through mud and sand, and sent them out to fight.

Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers: Tami Shelach, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017—Israeli society is built in such a way that there is no one who is not connected to someone who fell during their IDF service, either during or between wars. Sometimes it’s a loved one from your immediate or extended family, a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker, or a fellow soldier. They may be secular or religious Jews, Druse, or members of other religions.























Stop Supporting Saudi Apartheid: Tasha Kheiriddin, National Post, May 5, 2016— Imagine if, back in 1985, a delegation from South Africa set up camp at the Ottawa Congress Centre, in order to showcase the country’s wine, cuisine and culture.

How Saudi Arabia Dangerously Undermines the United States: Ralph Peters, New York Post, Apr. 16, 2016— Iran is our external enemy of the moment.

In Yemen, Missing the Forest: Max Boot, Commentary, May 9, 2016 — Yemen doesn’t get nearly as much attention as other battlefields in the war on terror, but there is an important struggle going on there with some fascinating recent developments.

An Open Letter to Israel’s Widows and Orphans on Remembrance Day: Nava Shoham-Solan, Jerusalem Post, May 9, 2016— Dear widows and orphans, Remembrance Day is almost here again.


On Topic Links


Saudi Arabia Slides as King of Asia’s Oil Suppliers: Dan Strumpf & Jenny W. Hsu, Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2016

How US Covered up Saudi Role in 9/11: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Apr. 17, 2016

When You’ve Lost Your Leverage (Saudis On The Ropes): Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, Apr. 17, 2016

Israel Prepares to Remember 23,447 Fallen Since Zionism's Inception: Yoav Zitun, Ynet, May 6, 2016





Tasha Kheiriddin                                                  

National Post, May 5, 2016


Imagine if, back in 1985, a delegation from South Africa set up camp at the Ottawa Congress Centre, in order to showcase the country’s wine, cuisine and culture. Imagine it displayed images of beautiful national parks, where tourists gazed at lions, giraffes and gazelles gambolling in the setting sun, while glossing over the fact that more than half its population lived in a state of brutal racial repression, known as apartheid. This would never have been tolerated.


Back then, prime minister Brian Mulroney was steadfastly denouncing the apartheid regime. “If there is no progress in the dismantling of apartheid, our relations with South Africa may have to be severed completely,” he said in a speech to the United Nations. Mulroney pushed the British and the Americans to impose stiffer sanctions. Countries, including Canada, boycotted South African products. Celebrities organized concerts demanding that Nelson Mandela be let out of prison. And in a span of less than a decade, Mandela was freed, became South Africa’s first black president and oversaw the dismantling of apartheid.


In 2016, there is another state that brutally oppresses half its population. If you’re a woman in Saudi Arabia, you might as well be living under South African apartheid in 1985. You cannot leave your house alone, you cannot have the job of your choice, you cannot drive a car, you cannot own property and you cannot walk about in public unless you are cloaked head to foot in black cloth. Your children can be taken from you, your husband can divorce you by saying the words, “I divorce thee” three times, and if you are raped, you can be stoned for committing “adultery.”


Yet the current Canadian government does not say boo about this state of affairs. Instead, it ratified the previous government’s shameful sale of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia. Scratch that – it has fallen all over itself to say that it had no choice but to give the contract the green light, despite the fact that Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion still had to sign the export permits, and despite growing evidence that the Saudi government used previously purchased LAVs not for defence, but to oppress its own people.


Later this month, the Liberals will host Saudi folk dancing on the lawn of Parliament Hill, as part of Saudi Cultural Days, which is set to take place May 18-21 in Ottawa. The celebrations will include exhibits on henna design, music, Arab cuisine and “traditional costume.” How quaint. Perhaps the Saudis will give Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and the Trudeaus’ daughter, Ella-Grace, a pair of niqabs, the better to experience life as a woman in Saudi Arabia. Then again, perhaps not.


Defenders of Canada’s relationship with Saudi Arabia will say that we can’t base trade on human rights; that lots of countries commit horrible violations and we still do business with them; that, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeated ad nauseam, thousands of Canadian jobs depend on this LAV contract; that if we pull out, Saudi Arabia will just buy its vehicles elsewhere; and finally, that we need the Saudis to help fight the spread of Muslim extremism in the Middle East.


Many of those same arguments could have been made just as well in the 1980s about South Africa. At the time, it was a major mining hub with the highest per capita gross domestic product in Africa. Politically, it was one of the continent’s few functioning democracies. It had never had a coup, nor fallen prey to civil war, and its government was not mired in corruption. With the Cold War still raging, the South African regime stood against the spread of communism on the continent, which was a very real threat — Mandela himself had been a member of the Communist party.


Yet none of this mattered. Canada and the world had had enough. And we should take the same position today. We cannot condemn the medieval, primitive regime of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which decapitates hostages and enslaves women in the name of Allah, while we sell arms to the Saudis and applaud their folk dances. To the next Liberal who chirps, “I am a feminist (like my prime minister),” I say: don’t make me laugh. Grow a spine, Trudeau, and tell the world Canada will not accept Saudi apartheid against women in 2016.





Ralph Peters                                                                    

New York Post, Apr. 16, 2016


Iran is our external enemy of the moment. Saudi Arabia is our enduring internal enemy, already within our borders and permitted to poison American Muslims with its Wahhabi cult. Oh, and Saudi Arabia’s also the spring from which the bloody waters of global jihad flowed.


Iran humiliates our sailors, but the Saudis are the spiritual jailers of hundreds of millions of Muslims, committed to intolerance, barbarity and preventing Muslims from joining the modern world. And we help. Firm figures are elusive, but estimates are that the Saudis fund up to 80% of American mosques, at least in part. And their goal is the same here as it is elsewhere in the world where Islam must compete with other religions: to prevent Muslims from integrating into the host society.


The Saudis love having Muslims in America, since that stakes Islam’s claim, but it doesn’t want Muslims to become Americans and stray from the hate-riddled cult they’ve imposed upon a great religion. The tragedy for the Arabs, especially, has been who got the oil wealth. It wasn’t the sophisticates of Beirut or even the religious scholars of Cairo, but Bedouins with a bitter view of faith. The Saudis and their fellow fanatics in the oil-rich Gulf states have used those riches to drag Muslims backward into the past and to spread violent jihad.


The best argument for alternative energy sources is to return the Saudis to their traditional powerlessness. I’ve seen Saudi money at work in country after country, from Senegal to Kenya to Pakistan to Indonesia and beyond. Everywhere, their hirelings preach a stern and joyless world, along with the duty to carry out jihad (contrary to our president’s nonsense, jihad’s primary meaning is not “an inner struggle,” but expanding the reach of Islam by fire and sword).


Here’s one of the memories that haunt me. On Kenya’s old Swahili Coast, once the domain of Muslim slavers preying on black Africans, I visited a wretched Muslim slum where children, rather than learning useful skills in a state school, sat amid filth memorizing the Koran in a language they could not understand. According to locals, their parents had been bribed to take their children out of the state schools and put them in madrassas. Naturally, educated Christians from the interior get the good jobs down on the coast. The Muslims rage at the injustice. The Christians reply, “You can’t all be mullahs — learn something!” And behold: The Saudi mission’s accomplished, the society divided.


The basic fact our policy-makers need to grasp about the Saudis is that they couldn’t care less about the welfare of flesh-and-blood Muslims (they refuse to take in Syrian refugees but demand Europe do so). What the Saudis care about is Islam in the abstract. Countless Muslims can suffer to keep the faith pure.


The Saudis build Muslims mosques and madrassas but not hospitals and universities. Another phenomenon I’ve witnessed is that the Saudis rush to plant mosques where there are few or no Muslims, or where the Wahhabi cult still hasn’t found roots. In Senegal, with its long tradition of humane Islam, religious scholars dismiss the Saudis as upstarts. Yet, money ultimately buys souls and the Saudis were opening mosques.


And jihadi violence is now an appealing brand. In Mombasa, Kenya, you drive past miles of near-empty mosques. Pakistan has been utterly poisoned, with Wahhabism pushing back even the radical (but less well-funded) Deobandis, the region’s traditional Islamist hardliners. Shamelessly, the Saudis “offered” to build 200 new mosques in Germany for the wave of migrants. That was too much even for the politically correct Germans, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy had as close to a public fit over the issue as toe-the-line Germans are permitted to do.


But our real problem is here and now, in the United States. Consider how idiotic we’ve been, allowing Saudis to fund hate mosques and madrassas, to provide Jew-baiting texts and to do their best to bully American Muslims into conformity with their misogynistic, 500-lashes worldview. Our leaders and legislators have betrayed our fellow citizens who happen to be Muslim, making it more difficult for them to integrate fully into our society. In the long run, the Saudis will lose. The transformative genius of America will defeat the barbarism. But lives will be wrecked along the way and terror will remain our routine companion.


Why did we let this happen? Greed. Naivete. Political correctness. Inertia. For decades, the Saudis sent ambassadors who were “just like us,” drinking expensive scotch, partying hard, playing tennis with our own political royalty, and making sure that American corporations and key individuals made money. A lot of money.


But they weren’t just like us. First of all, few of us could afford the kind of scotch they drank. More important, they had a deep anti-American, anti-liberty, play-us-for-suckers agenda. And we let the Saudis exert control over America’s Muslim communities through their surrogates. No restrictions beyond an occasional timid request to remove a textbook or pamphlet that went too far.


Think what we’re doing: The Saudis would never let us fund a church or synagogue in Saudi Arabia. There are none. And there won’t be any. Wouldn’t it make sense for Congress to pass a law prohibiting foreign governments, religious establishments, charities and individuals from funding religious institutions here if their countries do not reciprocate and practice religious freedom? Isn’t that common sense? And simply fair?


Saudi money even buys our silence on terrorism. Decades ago, the Saudi royal family realized it had a problem. Even its brutal practices weren’t strict enough for its home-grown zealots. So the king and his thousands of princes gave the budding terrorists money — and aimed them outside the kingdom. Osama bin Laden was just one extremist of thousands. The 9/11 hijackers were overwhelmingly Saudi. The roots of the jihadi movements tearing apart the Middle East today all lie deep in Wahhabism.


Which brings us to 28 pages redacted from the 9/11 Commission’s report. Those pages allegedly document Saudi complicity. Our own government kept those revelations from the American people. Because, even after 9/11, the Saudis were “our friends.” (We won’t even admit that the Saudi goal in the energy sector today is to break American fracking operations, let alone face the damage their zealotry has caused.) There’s now a renewed push to have those 28 pages released. Washington voices “soberly” warn that it shouldn’t be done until after the president’s upcoming encounter with the Saudi king, if at all. Do it now. Stop bowing. Face reality.


If we’re unlucky, we may end up fighting Iran, which remains in the grip of its own corrupt theocracy — although Iranian women can vote and drive cars, and young people are allowed to be young people at about the 1950s level. But if fortune smiles and, eventually, the Iranian hardliners go, we could rebuild a relationship with the Iranians, who are the heirs of a genuine, Persian civilization. Consider how successful and all-American Iranian-Americans have become. War with Iran will remain a tragic possibility. But the Saudi war on our citizens, on mainstream Islam, and on civilization is a here-and-now reality.            




IN YEMEN, MISSING THE FOREST                                                                                            

Max Boot                                                                                                              

Commentary, May 9, 2016


Yemen doesn’t get nearly as much attention as other battlefields in the war on terror, but there is an important struggle going on there with some fascinating recent developments. This is a multi-front war involving the Houthis, an Iranian-backed militia; the nominal government of Yemen, led by president-in-exile Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al-Qaeda outpost most focused on attacking the United States; and a province of the Islamic State.


The U.S. backs the Saudi-UAE alliance — not only with logistical and intelligence support but also, it now emerges, with U.S. Special Operations Forces on the ground as well. The Saudis and Emiratis have been fighting against the Houthis, and the concern has been that in the process they are creating space for AQAP and Islamic State. To somewhat assuage those worries, the Saudi-UAE alliance, with help from U.S. advisers and Yemeni tribes and Yemeni military forces, launched an offensive against the AQAP-held city of Mukalla, the country’s second-largest port and fifth-largest city. On the weekend of April 23-24, Mukalla fell.


Michael Morrell, the CIA’s former acting director, without mentioning the U.S. involvement, hailed this as a major victory that is “the equivalent of the Islamic State losing Mosul or Raqqa”: “The military operation was well planned and executed. The Emiratis worked with local Yemeni tribes to secure their support for the operation, and the Emiratis trained a cadre of Yemeni soldiers to assist in the operation. The attack itself involved choreographed air, naval and ground operations. The operation, which some thought would take weeks, took only days. And now the coalition is shifting to operations to ensure that AQAP cannot return—to include the establishment of good governance in the area. It is a textbook solution of dealing with terrorist groups that hold territory.”


Morrell is certainly right to applaud the success of the anti-AQAP coalition, but I fear he may be exaggerating the significance of Mukalla’s fall. Katherine Zimmerman of the Institute for the Study of War worries — and I share her concerns — that “success will prove transitory.” She points out that AQAP “draws strength from its relationship with the population, posing as the vanguard of Yemen’s marginalized Sunni. Losing ground is a temporary setback for AQAP that does not necessarily erode its popular support.” In fact AQAP apparently withdrew from Mukalla ahead of the offensive, like the smart insurgency that it is, to preserve its strength.


Zimmerman is absolutely right that “defeating AQAP requires destroying its relationship with the population” — and that in turn will require creating a government (or possibly more than one) that can actually govern Yemen. This government will need to represent all the major factions in the country. Only when that happens will the multiple insurgencies that have reduced Yemen to chaos be ended.


Unfortunately the U.S. — and its Saudi and UAE partners — appears to be more focused on tactical military gains rather than the bigger political and strategic picture. That is true not just in Yemen, but in Syria and Iraq as well. As Robert Ford, former U.S. ambassador to Syria, says: “The Americans are so happy every time a village falls, they lose sight of the forest while looking at all the trees.”


The U.S. will never win lasting victories in the war on terror until it acknowledges the basic Clausewitzian truth about the primacy of politics in warfare — a point that is as ignored in real life as much as it is taught at all the military academies and war colleges.                                                                                                                                                              





AND ORPHANS ON REMEMBRANCE DAY                                                                                        

Nava Shoham-Solan                                                                                                                             

Jerusalem Post, May 9, 2016


Dear widows and orphans, Remembrance Day is almost here again. This year, just as every year, many citizens will attend heart-rending ceremonies at the country’s cemeteries to honor their loved ones who departed too soon while defending the Zionist dream, the Jewish state. The citizens of Israel unite on this day behind the screen of sadness, while in the background are the many stories, perhaps too many, of the fallen heroes who gave their lives for their homeland and endangered themselves for all our sakes.

This is a day that brings together all citizens and especially us, the families of the fallen. We don’t have a real need for such a day because we live the loss every day, every hour, at every important crossroads in our lives; when our children begin their military service, get married, and raise a family; when we are successful, progress in a career, or are sad and in need of support. The void becomes greater and takes on a relentless aspect. Yet nevertheless, Remembrance Day is important. We receive a warm hug from all the other citizens and from the state.


We feel that we are not alone in our pain. On this day we very clearly transmit our heritage to future generations in the kindergartens, in schools and everywhere else when everyone stands at attention during the memorial siren; in conversations about the fallen soldiers; in the songs about those who are no longer with us, and more.

For us, the families of the fallen, there are many days of mourning during the year. Even when we are happy, the emptiness in our lives remains with us. This elephant is always in the room, and the deep pit that opened up in a moment will never be filled again. We know that thanks to our loved ones this country exists, and thanks to them most of us can sleep well and without fear. We know that they sacrificed themselves exactly for these goals, in order to ensure our future in our small land, here in the stormy and turbulent Middle East.

During the past year we gladly did not know war, but we still hear almost every day about the terrorism that strikes everywhere, in Israel and abroad. Soldiers and policemen are still a target, and grief and death still impact us. We hear about how terrorism has spread to many places, even in countries that in the past did not experience such horrifying events in which human beings just murder other human beings, without any logical reason. We unfortunately have already been living with that fear for more than 100 years.

What are we asking for after all? We want to live quietly, to allow our children to live in the Promised Land and raise new generations who will continue in our path. We desire to live in a place in which fear is not connected to wars, death and bloodshed.

We ask to live in peace with our neighbors, and not less importantly – with ourselves. For better or for worse, this is our country. We don’t have another one. That was also the thought of our loved ones, who lost their lives to preserve the little that we have, to protect ourselves and our independence. May we never know bloody wars anymore, may we live peaceful lives, and may the family of bereavement no longer continue to grow. We will remember our dear ones. We will remember and will not forget.




On Topic Links


Saudi Arabia Slides as King of Asia’s Oil Suppliers: Dan Strumpf & Jenny W. Hsu, Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2016—Saudi Arabia’s crown as top crude supplier to Asia—home to some the world’s biggest and fastest-growing oil consumers—is slipping. As Saudi Arabia’s long-serving oil minister Ali al-Naimi leaves his job, stiffening competition from countries such as Russia and Iran is threatening Saudi Arabia’s longtime hold over markets including China, Japan and India.

How US Covered up Saudi Role in 9/11: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Apr. 17, 2016—In its report on the still-censored “28 pages” implicating the Saudi government in 9/11, “60 Minutes” last weekend said the Saudi role in the attacks has been “soft-pedaled” to protect America’s delicate alliance with the oil-rich kingdom. That’s quite an understatement.

When You’ve Lost Your Leverage (Saudis On The Ropes): Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, Apr. 17, 2016—My online friend Lisa Schiffrin notes that “As we know from personal relationships, the less you care about your relationship with someone, the more leverage you have.” That’s the lesson, it seems, the Saudis are about to learn.

Israel Prepares to Remember 23,447 Fallen Since Zionism's Inception: Yoav Zitun, Ynet, May 6, 2016— The Ministry of Defense has published the official data of the number of Israel's fallen soldiers and terror victims in advance of  Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), which will begin on the evening of May 10.  According to the statistics, the number of fallen soldiers since 1860 to the present day (May 6) stands at 23,447. Since Memorial Day in 2015, 68 people have joined the list while an additional 59 wounded war veterans who succumbed to their wounds were counted and recognized during the year as fallen soldiers.











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A Day of Agony: Paula R. Stern, Jewish Press, April 15th, 2013—I went last night, as I do almost every year, to our local ceremony remembering Israel’s fallen. I’ve lived in this city going on 12 years. Where at first I knew none of the names, there are now three that I recognize, families that I know. Each year, I am grateful that there aren’t more; desperately, almost embarrassingly grateful not to be sitting up in the front.


Between Cemeteries and Stages: Ariella Ringel-Hoffman, Ynet News,  Apr. 14, 2013—R's son was killed during the Yom Kippur War. He was just over 18 years old; "not long after he completed basic training and was sent to the (Suez) Canal," she told me this week. A's son was also killed in the same war.


Excuse Us for Existing: Elyakim Haetzni, Ynet News, Apr. 10, 2013 —Ramallah has announced that it "doesn’t trust" the Israeli pathologists who ruled that Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a life prisoner terrorist, condemn the medical care the terrorist received in jail. Yet they are not the ones I'm complaining about, but rather the authorities and those influencing our public opinion.


Druse Participate in Israel's Joy and Sorrow: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 15, 2013—Israel’s Druse community is proud to take part in both Remembrance Day and Independence Day, identifying itself as an integral part of the state whose members have served in all of the wars in its history. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are around 130,000 Druse in Israel.


On Topic Links


23,085 Soldiers Have Fallen Protecting Israel: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 12, 2013


We are all Bereaved Families: Danny Danon, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2013

To Remember, Cry and Rejoice: MK Shuli Mualem, Israel Hayom, Apr. 15, 2013
I Am an Israeli Soldier: LATMA (video), Apr. 7, 2013





Paula R. Stern

Jewish Press, April 15th, 2013


I went last night, as I do almost every year, to our local ceremony remembering Israel’s fallen. I’ve lived in this city going on 12 years. Where at first I knew none of the names, there are now three that I recognize, families that I know. Each year, I am grateful that there aren’t more; desperately, almost embarrassingly grateful not to be sitting up in the front.


“Who is sitting there?” Shmulik asked me last night. He’s been to these ceremonies before, but never paid attention. That is where the mayor sits, his assistants and deputies. The chief rabbis of our city and others. But most significantly, this is where the bereaved families sit. They are separated by a low barrier so they won’t be bothered, so they can grieve a bit in private, as they sit among thousands who have come to honor them and the sons and daughters they have lost.


The ceremony begins just moments before 8:00 p.m. It is windy and cool this year; sometimes it is unbearably hot. The park, where tonight there will be singing and dancing and fireworks, was packed last night for the Memorial Day ceremony. It is a unique and amazing yearly event – to cry with all your heart one day and then smile and dance and be happy the next. We sit there knowing we will dance tomorrow night, knowing these families will not.


Young teenagers walk onto the stage, each carrying large Israeli flags. They are divided into two lines, each moving to the side of the stage where they will remain throughout the ceremony. A man comes to the front; I don’t know his name but he has a beautiful, deep voice – he will lead the ceremony, introduce each of the speakers and singers.


He tells us in a moment, the siren will sound and asks us to stand. He asks the parents to watch over the children so that they don’t make noise and for other adults to watch if children here without parents are overly noisy. Then there is silence. Thousands are waiting for the siren. We wait …


It begins with a quiet wail, gaining and reaching the top. Unlike the real air raid siren, the sound does not go up and down – it is an endless cry that reaches into your heart and fills your eyes. They burn and you try to blink them away. I stand beside one son; another is at home with his wife. What right do I have to cry? God has blessed me – my sons are alive and safe.


The siren ends – not abruptly, but as it began, a slow decline to silence. The flag is lowered and we are asked to sit down again.


More teenagers come forward – there are four this time. The two in the middle begin a slow recitation of the names of those we have lost from our city – there are so many, too many. The father of the last to fall is asked to say the mourners prayer and the audience stands again and answers “Amen” at the appropriate times.


The mayor speaks; others as well. Songs – horribly sad songs of love of land and family, of country of life are sung. Your heart breaks and you want it to end. You want to go home and never come to another ceremony, knowing you will be there again next year, and the year after, and after that.


In all the years I have been in Israel, I have missed very few. Perhaps when my children were very young, or I was pregnant and sitting on a hard floor for an hour was torture. I know when Elie was in the army, I couldn’t go. I couldn’t sit there and listen and think. I was ashamed of my cowardice and begged the families to forgive me.


The first time I went was in Elie’s last year in the army – when he went with me. That, somehow, I managed to do. Last night, I sat next to Shmulik and as with Elie, his being there gave me comfort.


Memorial Day in Israel is as it should be – it is not a day of picnics and sales. It is not about barbecues and fun. It is agony; it is pain. It is tears and sad songs on the radio. It is a candle burning in my house in their memory, and it is the constant knowledge that without their sacrifice, we would not sing and dance tonight. We would not be free, here in our land. May God bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and forever keep them in His heart, as they are in ours.


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Ariella Ringel-Hoffman

Ynet News,  Apr. 14, 2013


R's son was killed during the Yom Kippur War. He was just over 18 years old; "not long after he completed basic training and was sent to the (Suez) Canal," she told me this week. A's son was also killed in the same war. He was a reservist in the Armored Corps who joined his unit on Shabbat, "before he was even called up." G's father was killed in the first Lebanon War; so was B's son. A and R, whose mothers I know very well, were killed in the Second Lebanon War.


All these people, the fathers and mothers, as well as several others, have been calling me over the past few days following a previous column in which I said that the grief of Memorial Day should be separated from the celebrations of Independence Day. "Don't let up," said the father of B, who was killed when his convoy drove over on a mine in the security zone in south Lebanon. "We haven't celebrated Independence Day in our house for 18 years." The mother of R, who was killed during the Yom Kippur War, said: "My grandchildren knew from a very young age that Independence Day celebrations are not for our family."


On the radio the other night a woman spoke of her uncle, her father's brother, who was killed in Kiryat Ye'arim during the War of Independence. She said she grew up into this bereavement, a third generation of mourners, and spoke of how difficult things were at home. The hardest day, she said, was Independence Day, which begins on Memorial Day. On this day, when bereaved families are at the cemeteries, municipal workers begin to set up the stages for the Independence Day festivities.


The days must be separated, the woman said on the radio. I can't understand why they don't do it, she said. As though we need this sorrow on the day before Independence Day to be reminded that the State of Israel's independence was, and still is, bought with blood and the price, to those who paid it, it too heavy. Some bereaved families make good arguments against separating the days. For example, the mother of a soldier who was killed during the Second Lebanon War wants the joy of Independence Day to be accompanied with the sorrow of loss. "Even if Independence will be celebrated six months after Memorial Day, I still won't go to see Eyal Golan perform," she told me.


And yet, it is not the justified arguments of the bereaved families which should guide the decision makers, but the understanding that in this case, in contrast to our dramatic tendency to become hysterical whenever it seems that the Israeli ethos may be threatened, the separation no longer threatens it. The issue of separating Memorial Day and Independence Day demands reconsideration and a creative solution, because in this country, tragically, there are always more fallen soldiers and grieving families.





Elyakim Haetzni

Ynet News, Apr. 10, 2013

Ramallah has announced that it "doesn’t trust" the Israeli pathologists who ruled that Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a life prisoner terrorist, died of cancer. Even before the autopsy was completed, they already rushed to condemn the medical care the terrorist received in jail. Yet they are not the ones I'm complaining about, but rather the authorities and those influencing our public opinion. Our hospitals are filled with Arab patients, from the Hamas-ruled Gaza as well. In the Israeli prison murderers enjoy medical treatment which they never dreamed of having, they come out with new, expensive sets of teeth, acquire an education and study languages. And the prison? It's a combination of a sanatorium, an academia and a school of terrorism – both theoretical and practical.


And yet, despite all that, when their leader Mahmoud Abbas impudently and shamelessly disregards the professional integrity of our doctors, we remain silent. Because those are the rules of the game we have set: The "Palestinian" is always the poor person, and in any case the accusing one. Israel's job is to take it in stride, restrain itself, and in the best-case scenario – defend itself unwillingly. We will still apologize to the dead terrorist's family and pay them damages. 


The entire world denounces the "apartheid roads" in Judea and Samaria, although in broad daylight Jews and Arabs share every road open to Jews. On the other hand, large signs in bright red ban Jews from travelling on roads in areas specified by the Oslo Agreements for Palestinians. Route 443 has been opened to Arabs as well following a High Court order, but a nearby road – which would have cut the time it takes to travel from Gush Dolev-Talmonin to Jerusalem by at least 30 minutes – remains closed to Jews to this very day. Both apartheid and racism: Israel's Arab citizens are free to enter Jenin, while a Jew will be prosecuted.

When was the last time a state official took journalists on a tour on the ground, to get them to realize that the apartheid on the roads of Judea and Samaria is exclusively against Jews. And which of our media outlets ever exposed the shamefulness of their apartheid: That God forbid should a Jewish-Israeli set foot in Nablus or in 90% of Hebron or in any Arab village? Because that's the rule: The state of the Jews should be brought to trial. Why? Because it put itself there in the first place.


Ramallah's propaganda mouthpieces won't stop calling us "Nazis." Why hasn't a single government spokesman or Israeli media outlet confronted them with the truth – that their leader, the founder of their national movement who they admire to this very day, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a real Nazi – an associate of Hitler and Himmler, the founder of the SS divisions, the man in charge of Nazi Germany's broadcasts to the Arab world throughout the entire war and an active collaborator in the annihilation of Jews? And who will remind them that the Arabs longed for Hitler to win?


That to this very day they are the biggest consumers of "Mein Kampf" and that their cartoons could give a good fight to "Der Stürmer"? Where did the damned guilt complex come from, preventing us from telling the truth even to ourselves? "Peace is made with enemies"? Would the British and Americans have reconciled with the German enemy had it erected the Heinrich Himmler square in the heart of Berlin or held a statemilitary funeral for Mengele as the Palestinians did for Abu Hamdiyeh? The gentiles are not the ones who invented "peace with enemies." That is our own pathology.


In his speech, Obama told us: "It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.” He also said that "it is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home." Each of these accusations is a lie and libel, and yet we have not heard even a polite tweet of denial. When will we realize that the world will not respect us as long as we do not respect ourselves, and that the material independence, which we are about to celebrate, has no use without mental independence?


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Ariel Ben Solomon

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 15, 2013


Israel’s Druse community is proud to take part in both Remembrance Day and Independence Day, identifying itself as an integral part of the state whose members have served in all of the wars in its history. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are around 130,000 Druse in Israel. Among them, 20,000 live on the Golan and are seen as distinct in terms of national loyalty as they tend to identify with Syria as opposed to Israel.


The Druse originated in the 11th century as an offshoot of the Ismaili Shi’ite Fatimid dynasty in Egypt and its ruler Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, believed to be a messianic, divine figure. The Druse made their way north and settled in the region covered by the modern states of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.


Amal Naser Eldeen, the director of the Druse Yad Lebanim Center in the village of Daliyat al-Karmel and a Likud Knesset member from 1977 to 88, spoke with The Jerusalem Post on the eve of Remembrance Day. “The Druse were the only ones who told the Jews yes, when they were surrounded and attacked by Arab armies,” Eldeen said. “There were agreements between the Jews and the Druse before the existence of the State of Israel,” he added.


The Yad Lebanim Druse Center founded in 1982 maintains the rights and memories of fallen Druse soldiers. Three hundred and ninety two Druse soldiers have been killed while serving in the IDF.

Eldeen fought for recognition and rights for Druse from early on, and made a deal with Menachem Begin when he was the head of the opposition. Begin told Eldeen that he was planning to improve the conditions of the Druse if he won the elections. He joined the Likud in 1977 and was elected to the Knesset that year.


Asked by the Post what he remembered from the 1948 war, he said, “I remember that the Arabs said that they would throw the Jews into the sea and they came with all of their weapons, when there were 600,000 Jews in the country,” emphasizing that “the Druse stood with the Jews…. You have to understand that the Jews are not alone, but with the Druse.”


Eldeen’s son Lutfi fell in a battle while serving Israel in the South in 1969. One of his two daughters then named her son Lutfi and he fell too, during the war in Gaza in 2008. Another son, Saleh, was captured and taken prisoner by Hamas in 1995. His whereabouts are unknown. Eldeen has two other sons, one who just finished his army service and another who is set to join the Israel Air Force. He says that today all positions are open to the Druse in the army.


Yad Lebanim also serves as a military preparation academy, preparing Druse youth for their army service. In 1956, military service became obligatory for the Druse and Circassian populations. Asked about what he thought about the current debate in Israeli society regarding haredim and Arabs in the army, Eldeen said that Arabs should not be forced to serve because they “have family on the other side,” so they should do national service. As to haredim, he said there is no excuse for them not to serve in the army, and that they must also learn professions. Eldeen understood that some haredim will still be allowed to dedicate themselves exclusively to the study of Torah, and pointed out that the Druse also have an arrangement whereby 15 percent are granted army exemptions in favor of religious studies.


Asked about the difference between the Druse in the Golan and those in the rest of Israel, Eldeen said that Israeli Druse were an “inseparable part of the state,” but that the Golan Druse have family in Syria, though he notes that all Druse are the same, like Jews. Bringing up the subject of the Syrian war, Eldeen said, “Syria is an enemy country, with or without Assad.”


Sheikh Samih Natur, the editor of the Druze Magazine Al-Amama and the author of an Arabic Encyclopedia of the Druse, told the Post that the Druse have a connection with the Jews going all the way back to Moses, who was given shelter by the Druse. What has to be understood about the Druse, he said, is that they always respect the place where they live and the ruling authority.


“I have family in Lebanon and Syria and I tell them that I will die for Israel and the one in Lebanon says he will die for Lebanon so if we ever met in battle we would have to kill the other, and we would see that as our destiny,” said Sheikh Natur.


He compares the Druse to the US melting pot, saying that the US is a land of immigrants, where everyone is seen as American. He claims the Druse have this mentality no matter where they are in the world, whether in the Middle East or in the West.


Asked about the conflict in Syria he said that the Israeli Druse should not interfere, stating that the Syrian people should sort out the issue themselves. He gives the same answer regarding the Golan Druse, stating that “every Druse community needs to decide for itself.”


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On Topic



23,085 Soldiers Have Fallen Protecting Israel: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 12, 2013—The Defense Ministry released its annual figures of fallen soldiers on Friday morning ahead of Remembrance Day, stating that 92 soldiers had fallen this year and a total of 23,085 have fallen in Israel's wars since 1860.


We are All Bereaved Families: Danny Danon, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2013—Every year, Israelis of all political and religious persuasions set their differences aside and unite in memory of the heroes whose sacrifices make the very existence of a safe, secure and prosperous Jewish state possible. A few hours before the solemn siren sounds throughout Israel, a sense of silent sorrow permeates the air and a celestial presence is felt that seems to be unique to our tiny nation.


To Remember, Cry and Rejoice: MK Shuli Mualem, Israel Hayom, Apr. 15, 2013—The seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot, during which Jews count the Omer, symbolize the time between the Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Within this Jewish life cycle, there is an additional Israeli-Jewish life cycle, that which occurs from Passover to Independence Day — the two holidays that celebrate Jewish independence. Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism take place within both of these cycles.


I Am an Israeli Soldier: LATMA (video), Apr. 7, 2013


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