The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
We have in the past expressed our dismay at U.S. pressure on Israel to release Palestinians from prison – many of them serving life sentences for murdering Israeli citizens – as confidence-building gestures to promote the peace process. That dismay was only exacerbated by the unwillingness of the U.S. to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned now for nearly three decades.
After all, as Edward Snowden recently confirmed, countries spy on each other (friend and foe alike) all the time; the murder of civilians for political gain, on the other hand, still strikes civilized people as far from routine. So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.
The issue came into focus again this week with the news that Israel and the U.S. may be close to a deal in which Pollard would be freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, a settlement freeze, and an Israeli commitment to extend negotiations well beyond Secretary of State Kerry’s original sell-by date.
Whether or not Mr. Pollard ends up in Israel as part of a release agreement, there is still something unseemly about Israel’s repeated and wholesale freeing of so many hard-core terrorists and criminals, a practice that subverts any notion of justice having been served and that turns the released monsters into heroic figures in the minds of impressionable young Palestinians.
And it’s not just young Palestinians who are given to romanticizing the deeds of freed killers. Naïve Western liberals are susceptible to falling hard for the well-worn trope of the political revolutionary who stoically serves his time only to emerge from his jail cell a better person. Exhibit A: New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, whose front-page mash note to a freed Palestinian prisoner this past Sunday read more like a cheesy romance novel than a dispatch by a foreign correspondent for a once great and still influential American newspaper.
Titled “Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison,” Ms. Rudoren’s long article was filled with passages of the following cringe-inducing quality:
Muqdad Salah is a man in a hurry.
He inhales food, and bristles at lateness. His wife, Kefaya, said he expected her to make rooms immaculate immediately, “like a magician.” They married in November, and he is already pressing her to start fertility treatments.
“I want a son – or a daughter – I want someone to inherit me,” said Mr. Salah, 47, one of 78 long-serving Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails as part of the American-brokered peace talks that started last summer….
It has been seven months since Mr. Salah was welcomed before dawn by a cacophonous crowd in this village of 4,000 near the Palestinian financial hub of Nablus….
Demonized as terrorists by Israelis and lionized as freedom fighters by Palestinians, prisoners like Mr. Salah have become a flash point in the troubled peace talks…. Amid the charged debate, these middle-aged men – 69 of them convicted of murder, 59 of them escaping life sentences – have begun to rebuild disrupted lives. They are earning their first drivers licenses, leveraging $50,000 grants from the Palestinian Authority to build apartments or start businesses, searching for wives and struggling to start families.
Mr. Salah was flush with more than $100,000 saved from the Palestinian Authority’s monthly payments to prisoners’ families. He remodeled and refurnished his mother’s home. He bulldozed the rocky slope out back and built a 2,400-square-foot pen for livestock. He invested in a Nablus money-changing storefront in December, and, last month, bought his first car, a silver 2007 Kia Pride.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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