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There are few places in Israel more serene and relaxing than the spa hotel atop Mount Carmel. As I sit here on the terrace taking in the spectacular view toward Haifa bay, the silence is shattered by the thunderclap of F16s echoing through the mountainside. When this disturbance recurs hourly, some find it slightly unnerving. To me it is so very reassuring.
In the aftermath of this year’s Lebanon War, when the reality of Hizbullah’s threat as a lethal Iranian-trained and equipped force sunk in, the government of Israel immediately swung into action. “Defense” became the buzzword; the number one priority.
Sadly it was not defense of the state, but of a few selfish individuals. Chief of Staff Halutz was defending himself from being fired or forced out by the generals. Defense Minister Peretz was defending himself from a party coup as head of Labor and positioning himself for the next primaries. Deputy Prime Minister Peres was defending himself from corruption proceedings in the last Labor primary and positioning himself as next president to replace Moshe Katsav who, in turn, was defending himself against allegations of rape and wiretapping. Justice minister Ramon was defending himself on sexual harassment charges while Knesset Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi was defending himself from charges of fraud, breach of trust, election bribery, false testimony and perjury.
But none was busier with defense than the prime minister. Ehud Olmert set about limiting the scope and powers of an enquiry to defend himself from the possibility of facing prosecution. At the same time he was defending himself from allegations of election fraud through a suspect real estate deal, charges of unlawful political appointments and a bank share scandal.
So what about the defense of the nation? Was anyone minding the shop?
Fortunately, those outside the government do live in the real world. By this I mean the ordinary citizens of Israel and the IDF officers who are drawn from their families. They have little doubt that they will again be at war, and in a very short time. They accept the reality that this will not merely be a second round with Hizbullah in the North, but also in the Gaza we surrendered to Hamas, whose fighters are now armed with thousands of rockets smuggled through the Philadelphi checkpoint we surrendered to Egypt.
Moreover, the ordinary people seem to accept the high probability that Israel’s performance in Lebanon and the weakness of its leadership will encourage Syria to “have a go” and put its own Iranian training and equipment to the test. This will be no cakewalk.
So yes, I am very reassured by the sound of air force maneuvers, and I pray that we shall have restocked our weapons and ammunition in good time for the next round on those three fronts. And “pray” is the right word in the clear absence of any earthly leadership.
As I write these lines, much of the cabinet and their hangers-on are hobnobbing at the UJC conference in Los Angeles, at some fantastic cost in logistics and all the security paraphernalia that goes with such trips. While they pontificate half a world away, this morning’s Kassam strike kills a Sderot housewife outright and blows the legs off a young security guard.
More than just watching their own backs and enjoying the perks of office, the officials of this government don’t seem to have a policy for anything. Not for Hamas and their Kassams, not for Egypt and the rampant arms smuggling that goes on under its nose. Kadima’s platform of surrendering Judea and Samaria has been shattered by Nasrallah. The religious Shas party supports a government whose attorney general was prepared to defy police warnings and allow an abomination to be paraded in the Holy City. And the government’s other supporting prop, the Gil pensioners’ party, seems content to watch all this government profligacy go unchecked while new soup kitchens seem to open daily.
It’s getting chilly up here, so I venture inside for a hot cup of one of the spa’s exotic teas. I pick up a newspaper and read an absurd story of an “art” exhibition that has opened in the Welsh city of Cardiff. This gallery has nothing but bare walls. The 40-year old artist, Simon Pope, explains that the aim is to encourage people to walk through the empty rooms and conjure up memories of other exhibits and galleries they remember.
About the Author: Zalmi Unsdorfer is chairman of Likud-Herut in the UK
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Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.
We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .
Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.
The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?
The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.
There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”
Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.
Next month I am due to participate in a London debate on the question: Is it OK for Jews to criticize Israel? One of my opponents is a leader of the Peace Now movement who, in a previous debate about the UK’s academic boycott, steered the discussion to his own army service (as an IDF spokesman, no less) and promptly branded Israeli border guards as “paramilitary thugs.”
For American taxpayers, the devil is in the details of the new health care law. But for the Jewish people and the State of Israel the devil is in the comparison between Barack Obama’s steamrollering of health care legislation and his developing Middle East policy.
The passing of Rabbi Menachem Porush in Jerusalem on Sunday night brought to mind many memories of my childhood. He was a close friend and working colleague of my father, Simcha Unsdorfer, z”l, who served as secretary general of British Agudah. Always impeccably dressed in kapota and cufflinks, Rabbi Porush had an almost regal bearing […]
It is hard to imagine a scene as joyous and religiously charged as Machpela on the Friday night of Parshat Chayei Sarah. Every year, many thousands of Jews from all over Israel, and hundreds more from Europe and America, flock to the tomb of our patriarchs, which Abraham purchased for Sarah’s burial nearly 4,000 years ago.
The British government’s ban on Moshe Feiglin from entering the UK is symptomatic of a deep and institutional prejudice against Israel. Feiglin, a Jewish Press columnist, is best known for running second to Benjamin Netanyahu in the last Likud leadership primary.
The throngs of tourists passing Big Ben are unaware of the tunnel beneath their feet, which connects the parliamentary committee rooms in Portcullis House to the British House of Commons. When the division bells ring, members of parliament sprint along the passage to cast their votes in the chamber. It was in one of those committee rooms last Thursday evening that a group of MPs met with foreign lawmakers to discuss boycott, divestment and the indictment of a sovereign nation with the arrest of its officials for breach of international law.
Did you hear the one about Nelson Mandela, the pope, Mother Teresa and the Jew? Turns out they are the only non-Americans ever to have received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congres-sional Medal of Honor. The Jew? None other than our own icon of freedom, Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and prisoner of conscience who earlier this month received his Medal of Freedom at the White House.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/who-defends-israel/2006/11/22/
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