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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘fighting’

Is Syria Falling into the Hands of Al-Qaeda?

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The “Arab Spring” in Syria, which began as a popular and non-violent uprising against Bashar Assad’s regime, has been hijacked by Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist organizations.

In the past few weeks, thousands of bearded Muslim fundamentalists from various Arab and Islamic countries have converged on Syria to participate in the fighting against Assad’s forces.

Many of these armed extremists who appear every day on Arab TV stations have made no effort to conceal their aspiration to establish an Islamist caliphate in Syria.

The men who are fighting against Assad’s army are anything but reformists and democracy-loving activists. Most appear to be ruthless terrorists and militiamen who came to Syria to carry out suicide bombings and massacre innocent civilians.

These are the same Al-Qaeda members who have been waging a war of attrition against the Iraqi government – and before that the United States – and who are still trying to take control over Yemen.

Palestinians who fled the fighting in Syria this week said that the some suburbs of Damascus were full of Al-Qaeda militiamen from a number of Arab countries. Others said that many fighters belonged to radical Salafi groups.

The Palestinians said that the Muslim fundamentalists stormed the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus and began recruiting young men to join what they described as the jihad [holy war] against Assad’s regime and all “infidels.”

The jihadists already have their eyes set on neighboring Jordan. Once they get rid of Assad, they will move on to hijack the “Arab Spring” in Jordan in the hope of replacing the monarchy with another Islamist state in the region.

Of course the Sunni jihadists do not represent the entire Syrian opposition, which still includes many secular figures who are struggling to create a democratic and secular regime.

But what is clear now, is that whoever replaces Assad would not be able to ignore the fact that Syria has been swamped with thousands of Al-Qaeda and Salafi terrorists who pose a threat to stability in the Middle East.

The US Administration and other Western countries that are supporting the Syrian opposition need to wake up and make sure that arms and money do not fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda. The Syrian opposition also needs to distance itself immediately from all radical Islamist terrorists operating in Syria.

If this does not happen soon , the day will arrive when many in Syria and the West will miss Bashar Assad.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org 

Weekend Furloughs Canceled

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Many IDF soldiers up in the Golan found their weekend furloughs canceled in light of the unrest in Syria and potential problems along the Syrian border. Sounds of shooting and fighting in Syria can be heard on the Golan. Some 90 Syrians have been killed in the past day. 20 Syrian soldiers went AWOL.

Israel, Iran, And The Shiite Apocalypse (Third of Three Parts)

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
– William Butler Yeats,
“Easter, 1916”

The primary point of Israel’s nuclear forces must be deterrence ex ante, not preemption or reprisal ex post. If, however, nuclear weapons should ever be introduced into a conflict between Israel and one or more of the several states that still wish to destroy it, some form of nuclear war fighting could ensue.

This would be the case so long as: (a) enemy state first-strikes against Israel would not destroy the Jewish state’s second-strike nuclear capability; (b) enemy state retaliations for Israeli conventional preemption would not destroy Israel’s nuclear counter-retaliatory capability; (c) Israeli preemptive strikes involving nuclear weapons would not destroy enemy state second-strike nuclear capabilities; and (d) Israeli retaliation for enemy state conventional first-strikes would not destroy enemy state nuclear counter-retaliatory capabilities.

From the standpoint of protecting its security and survival, this means Israel should now take prompt and immediate steps to ensure the likelihood of (a) and (b) above, and the unlikelihood of (c) and (d). As was clarified by Project Daniel’s final report, “Israel’s Strategic Future” (www.acpr.org.il/ENGLISH-NATIV/03-ISSUE/daniel-3.htm), it’s always in Israel’s interest to avoid nuclear war fighting wherever possible.

For Israel, both nuclear and non-nuclear preemptions of enemy unconventional aggressions could lead to nuclear exchanges. This would depend, in part, upon the effectiveness and breadth of Israeli targeting, the surviving number of enemy nuclear weapons, and the willingness of enemy leaders to risk Israeli nuclear counter-retaliations. Significantly, the likelihood of nuclear exchanges would be greatest wherever potential state aggressors, especially Iran, were allowed to deploy ever-larger numbers of certain unconventional weapons, without eliciting appropriate and effective Israeli preemptions. This point was frequently overlooked by those who persistently opposed still-timely forms of anticipatory self-defense by Israel.

Should enemy nuclear deployments ultimately be allowed, Israel could then effectively forfeit the non-nuclear preemption option. At that point, its only remaining alternatives to nuclear preemption would be: (1) a no-longer viable conventional preemption; or (2) a decision to do nothing, thereby relying for security on the increasingly doubtful logic of nuclear deterrence or “containment,” and the inherently limited protections of ballistic missile defense.

This means, at least in principle, that the risks of any Israeli nuclear preemption, of nuclear exchanges with an enemy state, and of enemy nuclear first strikes, might still be reduced by certain Israeli non-nuclear preemptions.

While still unrecognized in Washington and Jerusalem, there is no greater power in world politics than power over death. The idea of an apocalypse figures scripturally in both Judaism and Christianity, but it very likely appeared for the first time among the Zoroastrians in ancient Persia. Interestingly, but probably without any current conceptual significance, this is basically the same geographic region as modern-day Iran.

For President Ahmadinejad, still in power, and very deeply concerned with power over death, there could be a recognizably “terrible beauty” in transforming the “world of war” into the “world of Islam.” For all who study present-day Iran, this bitter observation is incontestable. After all, for this Iranian president – and more importantly for his assorted clerical masters – an “end of the world” struggle spawned by any such transformation could enticingly open the way, at least for true believers, to a life everlasting.

What promise could conceivably be more satisfying? Though still largely inconspicuous to the generals, the professors, and the political analysts, there can be no greater power on earth than power over death, the incomparable power to overcome mortality. It follows that soon-to-be nuclear Iranian decision-makers, joyously imagining an utterly endless landscape of enemy corpses, could emerge prepared, enthusiastically and unhesitatingly, to become collective martyrs.

In the final analysis, however, we must recall that “irrational” is not the same as “crazy” or “mad,” and that even an irrational Iranian adversary might still be subject to alternate forms of deterrence. Therefore, Iranian leaders who might be willing to sacrifice millions to bring back the missing Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi, could still maintain a consistent and transitive order of different preferences.

In this hierarchy there would be certain core religious institutions and expectations that demand protection. It follows that even an “irrational” Iranian leadership that is willing to absorb massive enemy military strikes against its populations might still not be willing to absorb serious harms to presumably essential core elements of its One true Faith.

Massive Fire Near Jerusalem

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

A fire in Ein Hemed has spread to Mevaseret Zion just outside Jerusalem. 21 firefighting squads and six airplanes are fighting the fire.

A Jewish American Warrior

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Fighting during World War II took on special significance for U. S. Jewish servicemen and women in the 1940′s. They understood that they were fighting a double war – one against the Axis of Evil, and one against blatant world anti-semitism. As Americans, they fought to protect their country, and as Jews they fought to protect their brethren suffering Nazi persecution. According to the Department of Defense, Jews made up 4.3% of the armed forces, while they were only about 3% of the overall population. Some 550,000 American Jews fought during World Ware II; 11,000 of them were killed and 40,000 wounded. They were an integral part of the Allied war effort.

The Jewish Press has been privileged to have one of those former servicemen on its staff for many years. Arthur Federman, our controller, was a member of the 103rd infantry division. The following is his story.

Ita Yankovich: Tell me about your background.

Arthur Federman: I was born in Manhattan, on the Lower East Side in 1922. My parents were both Polish immigrants. My father came in here 1912, when he was 14 and my mother came from Warsaw as an infant in 1900.

As with many of the apartments on the Lower East Side, we had no central hot water or central heat. (We had a coal stove – but rarely had coal!) We had no electricity, but we had a gas pipe hanging from the kitchen ceiling that we used for light. We had no bathroom. There was a toilet in the hallway of the building that all four families used. When it was time to take a bath, we would go to the public bath house on Rivington or Allen Street.

Around 1932 my family moved to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. This was during the Great Depression. A few years later we were lucky enough to move into a public housing development in Red Hook – there we had hot running water and central heat.

There were no shuls in Red Hook then, so my father rented a store on Columbia Street, and with the help of a few neighbors, started a shul which was in use seven days a week. This was the focal point in building the Jewish community there. I am reminded of an amusing incident that occurred soon after the shul opened. One Monday morning a young man walked into the shul. When it was time to layn, my father who was the gabbi, asked this fellow if he was a Kohen or a Levi, he answered, “No, I’m a plumber’s helper.”

Were you afraid to be drafted?

No, I wanted to go. I felt it was my duty. In fact, when I got the draft notice and went down for the physical, the military wouldn’t accept me because I had a hernia. Unbeknownst to my parents, I went to Bellvue Hospital and had surgery so I could enlist.

You and your wife married while you were in the service. How did you meet?

I was first stationed in Fort Bragg in North Carolina. We were then shipped overseas, and landed in Liverpool, England. There was a shul there which posted lists of homes where soldiers could eat a Friday night meal; I went to eat at the Simpson home. The rest as they say is history. I met my lovely wife Anita. We have been happily married for 67 years and are great-grandparents to 22 great-grandchildren.

What was it like being a Jew in the Army?

Life changed for me dramatically, especially during basic training. There was no Shabbos or Yom Tov. Food was a big issue. Kashrus certification was not even a dream, and so for the three years that I was in the Army I survived on a more or less vegetarian diet.

103rd Infantry Division

When we got overseas we were always on the move, either going forward or retreating. We had no barracks or shelter. When we could rest, we slept on the ground in the snow or mud or in a ditch along the road. Regular meals did not exist. Being on the move all the time, we ate when and where we could. The meals consisted of C rations or K rations, which we carried with us. These C and K ration packets contained a variety of items, such as biscuits, cereal, chocolate peanut butter bar, dehydrated soup, hard candy, gum, cigarettes and Spam (a canned pork product) which I always traded for other goodies. Occasionally we got some hot cereal, powdered eggs, and hot coffee from the mess truck, but this did not happen too often.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arab Apartheid Against Palestinians

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are considered the worst in the region in terms of poverty, health, education and living conditions, according to a report published this week by the American Near East Refugee Aid [ANERA], one of the largest American not-for-profit organizations working in the Middle East. This does not mean, of course, that Palestinians living in refugee camps in Jordan and Syria or other Arab countries are happy. But when it comes to Lebanon, the living conditions of the Palestinians are appalling.

The ANERA report coincided with news about mounting tensions between Palestinian residents of refugee camps in Lebanon and the Lebanese army.

The tensions reached their peak last week when Lebanese soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man in Nahr El Bared refugee camp. Later Lebanese soldiers prevented residents from going to the cemetery to attend the funeral.

In 2007, the Lebanese army destroyed most of the camp’s houses during fighting with militiamen belonging to Palestinian armed groups and radical Islamic groups.

Two-thirds of the camp’s 36,000 residents fled the fighting and found shelter in surrounding fields and valleys. Many set up new homes in the nearby Baddawi refugee camp.

Since 2007, the Lebanese army has imposed a strict siege on the camp: residents are allowed to enter and leave only after obtaining permission from Lebanese security authorities. According to the Palestinian residents, they have since been living in a ghetto.

The Lebanese authorities have also banned the residents from rebuilding the houses that were destroyed or damaged in 2007.

Palestinians are convinced that Lebanon has been trying to get rid of them for many years. Lebanon’s apartheid laws deny Palestinians access to the majority of white collar positions in areas such as banking, medicine, management, law and education.

Like many Arab countries, Lebanon has always been treating Palestinians as third-class citizens. Nearly half a million Palestinians live in Lebanon’s 12 camps. Though born and raised in the country, they are denied political, economic and social rights.

Palestinians cannot attend Lebanese public schools or own property. They do not have access to national health services or the social security system. Checkpoints restricting access to most of the camps, according to the ANERA report, thwart trade and commerce with neighboring counties.

“The refugees live in overcrowded camps and have to deal with discrimination, isolation and social exclusion,” the report states. “The refugees often refer to themselves as ‘forgotten people’ and feel they are living in a hostile environment where their basic human rights are not represented or protected.”

The plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and other Arab countries has received little attention in the mainstream media in the West. Although many international aid organizations have been working to assist the Palestinians in the Arab world, Western journalists often turn a blind eye to the misery of these refugees.

The unconscionable condition of the Palestinians in the Arab world will end the day the Arab governments and Palestinian leaders stop lying to them and confront them with reality, namely that they need to get along with their lives and secure a better future for their children. Arab and Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, continue to deceive these people by promising them that if they wait a little longer they will one day “return to the homeland.”

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Days of Mashiach

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Since so many of you enjoyed the story, “The Great America Novelist,” here’s another literary gem from my collection of fun and poignant short stories about the Jewish People in our time, Days of Mashiach.

I wrote the little fable in order to explain the first sentence of Rabbi Kook’s book, Orot, his classic treatise on the Redemption of Israel. The book begins: “Eretz Yisrael is not a peripheral matter, external to the inner essence of the Jewish Nation.” Rabbi Kook wants us to know that the Land of Israel isn’t just a nice place to visit, or merely a place to do extra mitzvot, but that it is an essential part of our lives, attached to us by an inner oneness, like a person’s mother or his wife. It’s not something you give away.

By the way, for readers who thought I was serious about going to LA – I was only kidding in order to make the point that, in our generation, a Jew has to do whatever he or she can to promote the rebuilding of Israel, and not only worry about his personal material pleasures. I’m actually driving to Beit El today to see how I can help out in the struggle to save the Ulpana neighborhood. I made a poster to hold up at demonstrations and I want to drop it off to the local troops who are faithfully trying to save the threatened buildings. Along the way, I’ll drop some posters off on the embattled settlement of Migron. Here’s the story. Let me know what you think.

EHUD

Ehud was a happy man, truly content with his lot. He had a lovely wife, three lovely children, and a lovely house in a lovely community. He had a good job and good friends. He liked and respected all people, and all people liked and respected him. He was friendly, optimistic, and always tried to see the good side of things, believing that everything that happened in life was for the best. He did whatever he could to help people, and he avoided quarrels and fights, believing that peace was life’s most precious value. He was a smart man, an educated man, but humble, never thinking he was better than anyone else. He had his opinions, but he respected all points of view, except for the radical. He kept to the middle path in life and followed the rule, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” He wasn’t a religious man, practicing rituals and the like, but he lived a very moral, principled life.

One quiet evening, while Ehud was reading his newspaper, there was a knock on the door. A man stood outside. He was a tall man, a big man, with a nondescript face. He might have been a Gentile, or an Arab, or a Jew.

Ehud greeted him with a smile and a pleasant hello. The man seemed surprised that Ehud didn’t recognize him.

“The other day in town, I lent you twenty shekels,” he said.

Ehud didn’t remember. He thought and thought, but he couldn’t remember a thing. It wasn’t like him to forget, but the man seemed quite certain. It wouldn’t be polite to argue, Ehud thought. It was only twenty shekels. And apparently he had given the man his address. Ehud apologized for forgetting, gave the man twenty shekels, and said goodnight.

The very next night, he returned. The same man. He appeared at the door while Ehud’s wife, Tzipora, was cooking dinner in the kitchen.

“I came for my television,” the man said.

“Your television?” Ehud asked.

“The television set that I lent you,” the man said. “I want it back. My children don’t have a TV to watch.”

“What will my children watch?” Ehud asked.

“I’m sorry, but that isn’t my problem,” the man replied.

“But the television is mine,” Ehud protested. “I bought it, and I have a warranty to prove it too.”

Ehud walked to the cabinet where he kept all of his papers in alphabetically arranged files. But the television warranty wasn’t there. He searched through his old bank statements, phone bills and medical records, but the warranty was nowhere to be found. Embarrassed, he returned to the door.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/days-of-mashiach/2012/06/19/

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