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September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘destruction’

Some Residents Have Barricaded Themselves, But Migron Evacuation Is Proceeding as Planned

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

After the Supreme Court finally ordered to evacuate the residents of the Judea and Samaria village of Migron from their homes by September 4, some families have begun on Saturday night to leave their homes voluntarily, Maariv reports.

On Sunday morning, security forces have entered the scene and began to issue evacuation orders, against strong opposition from some residents, whose number was bolstered by a few right-wing supporters.

For the first time since the court’s decision, dozens of police officers and IDF soldiers have moved into the community. The soldiers arrived before dawn and blocked the village entrance. Some residents have barricaded themselves in their homes and refuse to leave.

Police began to move among the trailer homes, knocking on doors and handing out eviction notices. Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch, dean of Maale Adumim yeshiva, was waiting for the cops with his grandson, who lives with his family in one of the trailers.

Rabinowitz began yelling at the officers: “This is an illegal order, you are committing an immoral crime, stop and think, stop this injustice.”

During the night, about 30 masked, young, right-wing activists reached the entrance to the outpost and set up barricades of rocks and tires. where they waited for the arrival of the security forces.

The community leaders reacted vehemently to the evacuation order, condemning Netanyahu and the Likud party: “This week Netanyahu, Begin and Yaalon agents of destruction will come up this week to demolish Migron,” they said.

“The residents of Migron are feeling hurt and betrayed, and protest the needless and miserable destruction that will take place here. The Residents of Migron never collaborated nor will ever collaborate with the destruction of their village. We call on every sane and honest person to come out of his house to protest, rage and cry out with us against the terrible injustice and miserable destruction the Likud government is perpetrating these days,” they added.

“We’ll say to all our adversaries: we will not consent and will not capitulate. Today everyone knows: The Migron story will result in at least two communities,” they stressed.

Some residents have left their homes in their private cars to a hostel in nearby Ofra, rather than to the alternative site built for them at Givat HaYekev. But many are yet to pack up their belongings.

The High Court stressed in its decision that even if the land had been purchased legally, that fact in itself is not enough to prevent evacuation and demolition, since the use of the land-—legally owned or not—has not been in accordance with the government plans for the area.

Since the village is not within the jurisdiction of any local municipality, the decision on its planning, from settlement to any future land use, had to come from the government—which never bothered to decide on the matter.

In essence, the justices enforced the evacuation because the Netanyahu government—and all the governments the preceded it.

A Letter to the Corries: Your Daughter was Exploited, Don’t Blame Israel

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

An Israeli court has ruled (an English summary of the decision is here) that the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 was accidental.

Here is the judge’s description of the actual event that caused her death:

When the decedent saw the pile of dirt moving towards her, she did not move, as any reasonable person would have. She began to climb the pile of dirt. Therefore, both because the pile of dirt continued to move as a result of the pushing of the bulldozer, and because the dirt was loose, the decedent was trapped in the pile of dirt and fell.

At this stage, the decedent’s legs were buried in the pile of dirt, and when her colleagues saw from where they stood that the decedent was trapped in the pile of dirt, they ran towards the bulldozer and gestured towards its operator and yelled at him to stop. By the time the bulldozer’s operator and his commander noticed the decedent’s colleagues and stopped the bulldozer, a significant portion of the decedent’s body was already covered in dirt.

The decedent’s entire body was not covered in dirt. In fact, when the bulldozer backed up, the decedent’s body was seen to free itself from the pile of dirt and the decedent was still alive.

The decedent was evacuated to the hospital [in Gaza] and after 20 minutes, her death was declared.

——– Dear Craig and Cindy Corrie,

As a parent, I can’t imagine an experience that could compare with the loss of a child. I know that if it happened to me I would be desolated. I thought about the possibility constantly during the period of the Second Intifada, when my son volunteered to serve in a special counter-terror unit and traveled around Israel on a daily basis to try to intercept terrorists — many of them sent by the same Hamas organization that your daughter defended — on their way to kill Israelis.

Some of these succeeded despite the efforts of my son and his comrades, and hundreds of Israelis, many of them children with parents like you and me, were burned to death, penetrated by nails and ball bearings, or had their lungs destroyed by blast.

I thank God that my son survived, that the bullets, grenades and mortar shells that were deliberately aimed at him missed. Other Israelis, soldiers and civilians, were not so lucky.

You’ve worked hard to place blame on Israel and the IDF for your daughter’s death. That’s understandable, because if Israel wasn’t responsible, who was? I can only suppose that you struggle to keep from blaming yourselves.

You [Cindy] told the Guardian,

It felt a little unnerving … At first we hoped it wouldn’t happen. But Rachel was 23 years old, and was very much making her own decisions, as we thought she should. We had always supported our kids in whatever steps they wanted to take. Some people say: ‘Why did you let her go?’ That was not ever something I felt was my role.

You’re right. I didn’t tell my son not to do what he did, either.

So whose fault is it? The court said that the immediate responsibility lay with Rachel:

The decedent put herself in a dangerous situation. She stood in front of a large bulldozer in a location where the bulldozer’s operator could not see her. Even when she saw the pile of dirt moving towards her and endangering her, she did not remove herself from the situation, as any reasonable person would have.

But if I had to blame someone for making this terrible event happen, it would not be the bulldozer operator, the IDF or Israel, which is in a life-and-death struggle with its enemies. I would blame the ISM, which specializes in brainwashing Western young people, sending them into a war zone and placing them in harm’s way — in full knowledge that the Palestinian cause will benefit if one of them is injured or killed.

Rachel made a choice and took a side in a conflict that she did not fully understand. She had a right to do that, but to a certain extent she was manipulated and exploited. She chose the wrong side, and she paid a terrible price.

Age Appropriate

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

This young person stood with his banner at a rally on Monday against bombing of Iran, held in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. It was the anniversary of the U.S.’ dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The child’s plea for freeing the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction was just the kind of thing we should want our toddlers to promote: peace, love, acceptance, no fighting, time out for anyone who is caught fighting.

We do expect our children’s political worldview to evolve a tad from that point on.

Mordechai Kedar: The Arab World on the Precipice

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Although I do not generally do so, I will open with an Arabic joke, because in the Arab world (and perhaps in other places as well) people often use humor to speak the truth about reality. I will begin by explaining: In Arabic, the term is “weapon of total destruction” instead of “weapon of mass destruction”.

According to the joke, in 2003, President George W. Bush, sent a delegation to search out weapons of mass destruction all over the Arab world, and gave its members authorization to search everywhere. The delegation roamed throughout the entire area for a whole year, and did not find any weapons of mass destruction. The delegation returned to Washington, came to the Oval Office in the White House, and said to Bush: “We checked every place in the whole Middle East, searched everything and we didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction”. The president asked them: “What did you find?” The members of the delegation answered him: “total destruction.”

The point of this ironic story is that the Arab world does not need “weapons of total destruction”, since even without them the area is in total ruins. The situation in Syria these days illustrates this situation, and in live broadcast. With presidents slaughtering their own citizens in the thousands, and their capitals serving as a front in the battle against them, and the state’s military branches fighting against its people, when human dignity – especially that of women and girls – is openly trampled upon and these countries’ economies are collapsing, the Arab world is in an advanced state of systemic collapse, “total destruction.”

Syria of Asad, Hafez as well as Bashar, created for itself an image of Arab nationalism, a fortress of faithfulness to the Arab interest and the spearhead of the Arab battle against the West in general and against Israel in particular. But now, with all the military strength of the Syrian regime turned against its citizens, it becomes clear that this image was like foam floating on the surface of deep water; a pathetic illusion hiding a dark dictatorship that used – or rather abused – Israel as a cover for the bitter truth: the actual, great, threatening enemy was the majority of the Syrian people, who never saw the regime as legitimate.

The situation in Syria is deteriorating quickly, and the state is literally disintegrating. The cracks in the government are widening; ambassadors, generals and soldiers are deserting, some branches of the Ba’ath party are announcing their secession from the regime, the Russian advisers are fleeing for their lives and the feeling that the end is near is taking hold more and more. Not the end of Asad, but of Syria. Not the regime, but the system. The state is approaching systemic collapse and is sinking in a treacherous swamp of blood, fire and tears, and only the Master of the Universe knows how Syria will emerge from this.

The principal force fighting against the regime is the Free Syrian Army, which is said to be acting under the command of Lieutenant General Riad al-Asad, a deserter from Asad’s army. However, the Free Syrian Army, despite the many efforts that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and perhaps even Western countries invest to consolidate and organize it, is really nothing but an incohesive group of weakly coordinated local militias. Its weapons – mainly automatic AK-47 rifles and RPG anti-tank rockets – are light; its strength is combat in urban areas, where it uses the population as human shields. Since the regime’s military can’t tell the difference between a fighter and a non-combatant citizen, it commits mass murder in an effort to eliminate as many fighters as it can, who may be hiding among the citizens. Both sides are up to their ears in human rights abuses, and both sides act with determination and without sensitivity, guided by the logic that “war is hell.”

However the Free Syrian Army is not the only factor among the enemies of the regime, because three additional types of forces are also present.

One type is the local Islamic militia, acting according to the Salafi jihadi formula, which is maximum religious adherence integrated with unconstrained holy war against “the devil” Asad, his regime and his infidel ‘Alawi brothers. It seems that it was this sort of group that carried out the attack in Damascus in which the heads of the security establishment were eliminated on Wednesday, July 18, an attack that revealed very great technical, operational, organizational and intelligence-gathering capabilities. The members of these groups are local Syrians who know well how to integrate into the population and act from within it. In every Sunni city at least one such group is active, and overall there are scores of such groups active throughout Syria. The long-range goal of these groups is the establishment of an Islamic Emirate in which Islamic Shari’a will be fully implemented. One of them even claims that its capital will be Jerusalem… Names of such militias are “kitaab al sahabah” (Battalion of Companions of the Prophet Mohammed), “Katibat Ahrar Prat” (Battalion of the Free of the Euphrates), which is part of “Lua’ Sakur al-Shahaba” (Division of the Eagles of Aleppo), “Lua’ al-Haq” (Division of Rights/Truth/G-d), “Katibat Sawt al-Haq” (Battalion of the Voice of Rights/Truth/G-d), “Katibat al-Ahrar al-Sham” (Battalion of the Free of Greater Syria), These names carry a significant traditional-religious meaning with Sunni overtones.

Yad Yair Refugees Recite Lamentations at the Ruins of their Homes

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Tazpit reported that on Saturday night, Tisha B’Av 5772, some 50 men, women and children, members of the settlement nucleus of Yad Yair, together with the Benjamin Settlers Committee and residents of Gush Talmonim, mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, and shared their private grief over the destruction of their settlement more than three years ago by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.

The group read the book of Lamentations and recited mournful odes for the destruction of the Temple. In an atypical fashion, IDF forces did not interfere with the Jewish presence there, which lasted several hours.

The Jewish activists told Tazpit that they chose the ruins of their homes for the recitation of Lamentations in order to remember well the destruction of the Temple. They also emphasized the strategic importance of the place in blocking the spread of the city of Ramallah, and the fact that the place was bought at full price by Jews, and there are no questions regarding their legal ownership.

Ehud Amiton / Tazpit

Ehud Amiton / Tazpit

According to Hakol HaYehudi, more than twenty years ago, on 11 Nissan, 5751, March 26, 1991, Dolev resident Yair Mendelson was murdered, and local residents wanted to establish a new settlement in his memory. Then Defense Minister Moshe Arens did not approve the settlement, and after a political struggle a military base was built on the spot, with a park in memory of Yair Mendelson next to it. In 2004 the base was dismantled, leaving in the area only a civilian presence, which included an active synagogue and the park, where major events were held frequently.

After the army left the area, the synagogue and the park became subject to incessant harassments by Israeli leftists and by Arabs. Over the years the electrical system was destroyed, the synagogue was looted and set on fire, and the memorial stone was vandalized.

After it became clear to the residents of Gush Talmonim that the army is unable to prevent the looting and destruction of the place, it was decided to exercise the right of the Jewish landowners and establish a settlement. In 2008 left-wing activists, Arabs and journalists burned down the synagogue, and replaced the flags of Israel PLO flags.

In response, on the same day, Jewish settlement began in the place, which lasted four months, until Israeli government forces completely destroyed the place, removing the Yair Mendelsohn memorial stone. The evacuation was carried out by IDF commanders in the field in clear violation of a High Court order issued the same day.

What Are We Fasting For?

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

A few years ago, I happened to be in Los Angeles for the fast of Tisha B’Av. Towards the end of the fast, between afternoon and evening prayers, the rabbi of the shul asked if I could say a few words to the congregation to explain the significance of the holy day and the fast.

On Tisha B’(the 9th day of the month of) Av, the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is one of the four mandatory fasts of the Jewish faith, and one of the more difficult ones, since it takes place during the heat of the summer months, starting before sundown and ending after sundown the next day.

On Tisha B’Av, even pregnant women and those who have recently given birth are to fast, although they are not required to do so on the other three fast days. All are forbidden not only from eating, but also from bathing and other pleasantries that are permitted during the other fasts.

The reason that the rules of mourning are so strict is that on this day, the Jewish people are remembering the greatest national catastrophe in our history. The devastation of our army, country, and the leadership of our homeland all culminated in that final tragedy, the burning of our holy Temple in our capital city, Jerusalem. The destruction of the central holy place of the nation of Israel symbolized the taking of our land and all of our dignity with it.

This is what we should consider when trying to understand the suicide of the last remaining Jewish fighters at Masada shortly afterward. They saw no home to return to after the war – nowhere to be proud again.

Throughout the long exile that followed, ever since the destruction of our Temple and sovereign country, Jews in every corner of the Diaspora, be they in Yemen, Poland or Morocco, have prayed three times each day to see the rebuilding of the Temple, the holy city and country of Israel.

How amazing it is now, to live in times when the Jewish people have begun to fulfill that ancient dream of returning to the land and rebuilding our national home and reviving our Hebrew language and culture.

But on that hot summer day in Los Angeles, towards the end of the long and hard day of fasting, I looked around at my fellow Jews sitting on the floor of their magnificent and air-conditioned synagogue in their slippers and suits. Their nice cars were parked in the shul’s private parking lot, all not so far from their beautiful American homes and Jewish community schools and other institutions. And when I realized that they were investing more in building their community’s Jewish services, I became sad. I realized that they feel that they are at home, and not in exile. They are making plans to be there for many more years. They have forgotten the essence of what we have been mourning for, for so long. It is heart breaking.

It dawned on me that my Jewish brothers and sisters are comfortable here in the exile (which they prefer to call “Diaspora”). They are acting out the Jewish custom of fasting on this holy day, but have detached it from its true point, since its meaning is to preserve our national aspiration to return to our land, rebuild it, and treasure it forever. They feel content to go one day without food and fun, and follow it up with a kosher Chinese or Sushi treat.

I felt a real pain for my brothers who have become so absorbed in the comforts of the West that they have become deaf to the inner calling of our national soul, to return to our true home in the East. I had the urge to tell my brothers sitting there on the floor some 24 hours into the longest and hardest fast of our yearly cycle that they, their community and beautiful shul, mikvah and kosher food are the greatest evidence of what we mourn for today, the destruction of our Temple and dispersion of our people.

I pray for their return.

 

Monetizing Debt: A Historically Disastrous Policy

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

As European nations seek economic lifelines, the Germans have a financial history lesson for Europe, America and the rest of the world. It’s found in a revealing self-critical painting, “Eclipse of the Sun,” created by a 1920s Berlin artist, George Grosz, which hangs at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington.

Few understand better than the Germans how economic self-destruction can bring a nation and the world to the edge of abyss. The crushing debt imposed on them at the end of World War I led to unprecedented hyperinflation as they monetized their obligations, running their printing presses to create millions of worthless marks.

Middle-class Germans became destitute as their life savings could no longer buy so much as a loaf of bread, much less secure their retirement. So corrosive was this monetized debt that the marginal Nazi Party, initially dismissed as a group of anti-Semitic street thugs, was voted into office by 1932. That is why Grosz’s post-World War I painting remains so powerful almost a century later. His contorted caricatures capture the revealing self-loathing of an economic and political landscape that would ultimately lead to the rise of the Third Reich.

“Monetizing debt” may sound like economists’ jargon, but it is an economy’s ultimate poison pill when politicians print money to cover government deficits rather than engage in difficult policy decisions. Argentina, Thailand and Zimbabwe have all used this strategy, and it consistently led to chaos. In the America of 2012, far too few appreciate the perils to our citizenry from a national debt in excess of $15 trillion and more than $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Some, such as former presidential hopeful Ron Paul, have suggested we return to the Gold Standard, a proposal that would be a difficult strategy to even consider, given our limited gold reserves. A far more rational idea is for us to get off the Debt Standard, but Washington can’t seem to agree on any course of action.

Economic policy has become a captive of politics, particularly in the House of Representatives, where a two-year term guarantees distraction by a constant campaign for re-election.

There was a time when if you were a Democrat, it was a given that you favored significant deficits for “pump priming” and expanded social programs. If you were a Republican, you advocated for lower taxes and the forces of a free market to create jobs and power the economy. There was room for compromise and negotiation. Our current political environment has become so venomous that an ideological holy war is holding hostage a bipartisan resolution of the debt crisis. We have become incapable of governing through compromise.

There needs to be a dramatic and strategic response to this institutional paralysis. History has repeatedly taught us that otherwise rational people have turned to monetizing debt to achieve a political “quick fix” — an action the Federal Reserve has undertaken since 2008 by printing new currency to buy up bonds. Voters need to alert elected officials on both sides of the aisle that they will judge them on their ability to resolve this emergency.

Meanwhile, though the ongoing European debt crisis seems irrelevant to our own lives, were Europe’s economy to freeze, the results would be immediate and devastating here. Unlike the Germans who now practice budgetary austerity with the pursuit of a converted zealot, there is little in our collective experience that allows us to appreciate the depth of the danger.

History has taught that the collapse of strong nations has traditionally occurred from strategic failures within. It’s a powerful lesson that our founders tried to instill in future generations when Patrick Henry offered, “I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.” Consider it a warning that our nation is in danger from a runaway debt that has the power to eclipse the sun.
Originally published by Newsday and the Gatestone Institute  http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/monetizing-debt-a-historically-disastrous-policy/2012/07/19/

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