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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Golan’

Russia Scuttles Anti-Israel Resolutions at UNESCO

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

In a rare instance of breaking step with the Arab world, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) caused the organization to defer condemning Israel in a series of votes on Wednesday.

Five resolutions proposed by the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Syria were scuttled by Russia, which presented a plan to delay the resolutions for 6 months in order to send a UN fact-finding team.  The plan passed, with France the only European country to vote against.

The resolutions accuse Israel of trying to change the character of Jerusalem by conducting archaeological digs without the approval of former occupying country Jordan, allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, allowing Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, neglecting education in Gaza, and alleged mistreatment of the Druze residents of the Golan.

UNESCO considers the entire Old City of Jerusalem and its surrounding walls as a world heritage site.

IDF Prepares to Absorb Syrian Refugees

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

IBA News reports that the IDF, in coordination with the UN, has prepared territories on the Golan along the Syrian border to absorb potential Syrian refugees.

While the goal of the IDF is to prevent any Syrians from crossing the border, they recognize that some refugees might still spill over as internecine fighting expands near the border.

Incoming Fire on the Northern Border

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

It’s the eve of Yom Kippur and though the mood here in Jerusalem is calm (thankfully) and the weather glorious (of course), the reverberations of the war that broke out on that day in 1973 are in the air (inevitably).

In the past hour, mortar fire erupted on Israel’s northern border, causing explosions in what appear, for now, to be open fields. No injuries, but some property damage that’s not yet detailed in the news here. It’s reported that the fire is a kind of spillover from the barbarism unfolding over the past year inside Syria: the source is believed to be forces of the Syrian army “engaged” – as the journalists like to put it – with rebel forces near Syria’s border with Israel. AFP says the mortars crashed into Israel “by accident”. They were intended to hit civilian villages inside Syria.

That ongoing engagement has caused thousands of deaths since it broke out in March 2011. Wikipedia says various sources, including the UN, place the rising death toll at between 26,000 [source] and 39,120 [source] people killed, about half of them civilians. Where is the outrage?

This is not the time to go into the vast difference in response by the international community to the massacre of Arabs by Arabs compared with the constant condemnation of Israel in international forums. But if we’re discussing it, where are the effective steps taken until now by the UN Security Council relating to the Syrian barbarism and calculated to prevent even more people from being killed? Ban Ki-Moon knows and has expressed himself [here for instance]. The torrent of blood continues.

This morning, representatives of Israel’s government filed a complaint with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) operating in the area [report] since 1974. But that’s almost certainly done as a formality rather than out of any expectation that something will result. There are 1,036 UNDOF troops (from Austria, Canada, Croatia, India, Japan and Philippines) in the area as of today, plus 41 non military international staff and 102 local civilian staff members. Multiplied by 38 years, and that amounts to a massive financial outlay. The embattled Syrian villagers who are bombarded daily by the tanks and air force of their own armed forces must be wondering if there wasn’t a better place for that money to be spent all these years.

Note: people outside the area hear the name “Golan Heights” and the bitter demands of the Syrians who want the area back under their control… and think that the Golan is an elevated vantage point that looms over Syria and gives Israel some sort of strategic advantage. The opposite is true. They’re called “Heights” because the ridge looms over northern Israel. But on the Syrian side, they’re not heights at all.

Between 1948, when Israel won back its independence, and 1967 when the Six Day War was fought, the Syrian military was arrayed all along 8 to 12 mile long Golan Heights ridge overlooking Israel and used it as a base for attacks on Israeli farmers and fisherman. Israeli towns below the Golan were routinely bombed from above, and sniper fire was a constant. During those 19 years, some 140 Israelis were killed and many more were injured. Today, many Israelis know the Golan Heights best because of the outstanding world-class wines that are now produced there.

Originally published on September 25, at This Ongoing War.

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.

Israeli Cherries Show up in Iranian Market

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The sweetness of Israel has seeped into the lives of unsuspecting Iranians, in the form of cherries grown in the Holy Land, according to a report from Ynet.

Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported that the head of the Iranian produce association admitted the succulent berries featured in the Iranian market place were indeed Israeli.  Sold for $2.42 per kilo, they cost less than half of what they can fetch in Israeli grocery stores.

In May 2011, Deputy Iranian Trade Minister Hamid Safdel denied reports that Israeli apples and oranges were being imported by Tehran, stating “any kind of trade with the Zionists is forbidden… Since the inception of the Islamic Republic in 1979 no Zionist goods have been granted an import permit, even if they arrive through a third party.”

Herbert Zweibon, Zion’s Champion

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

              Herbert Zweibon, founder and chairman of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, died on Jan. 19 at the age of 84. It was Tu B’Shevat, holiday of the trees, which only seems fitting because Herb was someone who spread his branches wide, sheltering not only his beloved family but an array of people and causes, planting seeds of wisdom and truth.

Psalm 92 tells us, “A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar he will grow tall . They will still be fruitful in old age, vigorous and fresh they will be “
How appropriate this is as a description of Herb Zweibon. He was not a tall man, but he was a giant among men who in his last year of life achieved what he felt was one of his greatest accomplishments – furthering the recognition of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Shmuel Katz as great Zionist heroes.
Herb was often accused of being a “right-wing extremist” because of his views on the preservation of the Jabotinsky ideal of a whole Israel. The national and international organization Herb had begun building in 1970 was seen by the mainstream media, and the liberal Jews who followed their guidelines, as being as far right as possible on the political spectrum.
What we’ve seen over the years is that Herb was indeed always Right – as in correct – because he was educating people about the biblical, historical, and legal entitlement of the Jews to the Holy Land.
I first met Herb in 1995 after receiving a call from him inviting me to his Manhattan office to be interviewed for the position of AFSI executive director. All I’d known about him prior to the meeting was that he opposed the Oslo “peace process” that had been all the rage among Jewish liberals since the famous signing and handshake on the White House lawn in September 1993.
It didn’t seem to matter to people that on the very day Arafat signed the treaty, he spoke to the Arab world in Arabic, boasting that there was no need to honor a treaty with infidels, which included all non-Muslims.
Herb Zweibon understood there could be no peace with an entity that refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. He saw it as his mission to expose the lies, myths and fallacies of the deceitful “peace process,” and to keep educating people with the truth.
Herb and I had our meeting. I was totally charmed by this man with sparkling blue eyes that reflected the keen intelligence, kindness and humor that were his outstanding characteristics. We liked each other immediately, and I agreed to take over as director at AFSI.
The guiding philosophy of the organization, learned by Herb from his mentors, Shmuel Katz and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, was easy to absorb. Shmuel Katz had been a disciple of Jabotinsky, who unhesitatingly proclaimed in 1925 that “the aim of Zionism is the establishment of a Jewish state.”
A Jewish state – a Jewish national home – must mean a Jewish majority, the right of Jews to live everywhere in that homeland, and political control in the hands of Jews. Unfortunately, even in Jabotinsky’s day there were “practical” Zionists who were afraid to deal with the British and the Arabs. Those were the days when euphemisms were adopted to soften the blow of what an “extremist” like Jabotinsky would express.
The appeasers and conciliators are still very much in our midst today. They are compelled to disguise the truth, to reflect an unrealistic optimism, to misguide and misinform Jews who are so eager to be misled into believing the Arab world really doesn’t want their destruction.

Perhaps it is because Jews have lived through so many expulsions, reigns of terror, pogroms and slaughters that they want to believe their enemies can become their friends. It takes a person who is impervious to attack, who has the strength of conviction about his Judaism and his purpose, to continue speaking the truth in the face of the mountain of lies.

Such a man was Herb Zweibon, and he taught me to do the same.
* * * * *
While the world was pushing for the “two-state solution” and the quartet’s road map, Herb and I were working in the opposite direction. It was clear the Arabs were not interested only in Judea and Samaria, half of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Gush Katif. Their textbooks, their maps, and their rhetoric clearly teach their young children that the acquisition of all of Israel is their goal.
We kept pointing out that the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed in 1964, when Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem were in the hands of the Jordanians and the Golan was controlled by Syria.
What lands was Arafat “liberating”? When the Arabs rioted in 1920, 1921, 1929, and in the pogroms of 1936-1938, what were the land disputes then? After the miraculous victories of the 1967 defensive war against the Arabs, Israel regained Judea and Samaria, united Jerusalem, annexed the Golan, and encouraged the development of the communities in Gush Katif/Gaza.
But instead of celebrating these great victories with a declaration of a whole Israel once more in Jewish hands, the policies of appeasement and giveaway began once the immediate afterglow of victory began to wear off.
The lies about the “occupied territories” and the PA narrative about alleged ancient Palestinian Arab ties to the holy land were in full swing. Most of the Jewish establishment organizations began pushing for “solutions.” Herb and I, along with the national and international organization he had built, began working in every way possible to stem the tide.
   Outpost, AFSI’s monthly publication edited by Rael Jean Isaac, one of the founders of AFSI, with the assistance of Ruth King, always featured Herb’s front-page editorial and served as our educational tool to enlighten and inform people. It became a hugely respected publication.
The educational track continued with the publication of Shmuel Katz’s Battleground, detailing the true history of the Jewish people in Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel. AFSI underwrote the publication and distribution of Katz’s definitive two-volume biography of Jabotinsky, Lone Wolf. And we are now distributing Katz’s book The Aaronsohn Saga, the fascinating and tragic biography of Sarah and Aaron Aaronsohn.
In 2010 Herb created the website www.shmuelkatz.comto promote the ideology of Shmuel Katz. In the same year, he began developing Zionism101, a new program of videos featuring the great Zionist leaders. Convinced that there was a dearth of knowledge among Israeli students about Israel’s heroes, in 2010 he sponsored the very successful Jabotinsky essay contest. Hundreds of Jabotinsky essays were submitted with the winners receiving cash prizes. Israel’s minister of education, Gideon Saar, participated in the project and agreed to include the study of Jabotinsky in the school curriculum.
Herb was thrilled with this success. His Israeli assistants on this project were former MK Michael Kleiner, a dear friend with whom Herb had almost daily conversations, and our Jerusalem AFSI chairman, Bill Mehlman, who has been with AFSI for over 15 years.
There was something otherworldly about the fact that Herb completed these projects involving his heroes just before his death. He seemed to know he had to get the job done before it was too late. Since it was Shmuel Katz who had been responsible for the founding of Americans for a Safe Israel, it was only fitting that Katz and Jabotinsky should have been with Herb at the end of his life.
* * * * *
From the very beginning of our relationship, Herb and I agreed it wasn’t enough to “talk the talk;” we also had to “walk the walk.” And so it was that we embarked on an extremely activist-oriented program of press releases, demonstrations, lectures, conferences, TV appearances, radio interviews, visits to our elected officials, including senators and congressmen in Washington, press conferences, working with Knesset members, and the extremely popular and exciting semi-annual Chizuk (strength) missions to Israel, which remain a central focus of the AFSI program.
   One example of our form of activism that stands out strongly in my memory occurred in the early winter of 2000. Then-President Bill Clinton and then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak were making plans to give the Golan to the brutal dictator Assad of Syria. It would cost American taxpayers close to $100 billion to have Assad agree to take the strategically vital Golan and it would mean expelling 18,000 Jews from their homes, farms, and communities. U.S. troops would become “peacekeepers” on the Golan, replacing Israeli soldiers.
Herb and I mobilized the AFSI troops and we took a long bus ride to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to protest the “Leading the Sheep to the Slaughter.” Subsequently, we held a press conference in Washington on Feb. 8 of that year to which we had invited family members of the 242 U.S. Marines who had been murdered in the terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983. Other American lives had been lost in the earlier bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
Following the bombings, President Reagan had withdrawn the remaining “peacekeepers” from Lebanon and the news of the terrible loss of lives disappeared from the front pages and from peoples’ memories. Of course, the families of those killed remained scarred forever. Debbie Peterson, the sister of Cpl. James Chandonnet Knipple, USMC, was one who agreed to speak out. She said, “Politics killed my brother; politics is driving the Golan giveaway – and by paying Assad with American dollars, we will be paying for our own destruction.”
Joining us in our efforts were Christian Congressional friends like Jim Saxton of New Jersey and Tom Davis of Virginia, along with Richard Hellman with members of his group Christians’ Israel Public Action Campaign (CIPAC). Fortunately, our efforts, helped along by so many others, contributed to keeping the Golan in Israeli hands.
Herb was long convinced that evangelical Christians – with their belief in the Bible and the need to preserve the biblical heritage in the land of Israel, the promised homeland of the Jewish people – would be better friends to Israel than many Jews.
Ed McAteer, president of the Religious Roundtable, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Pastor Bob Upton of the Apostolic Congress joined AFSI in June 2003 as we launched the “One State Solution Campaign,” underwritten by Herb and AFSI, to combat the quartet’s road map. Key swing states were targeted and billboards were put up in Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.
“We are trying to explain,” Herb said in a May 2003 interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, “[that the road map] would separate the Jews permanently from their entitlements to the Holy places, such as Hebron, Beit El, Shiloh, Shechem, and Ofra – all the places good Christian bible believers know.”
It is to these holy places that the semi-annual AFSI Chizuk missions travel. We just completed our 30th trip and are planning the next one for May 29-June 7. As always, many of the same members join us on the trips. Not only do they feel inspired by the places we visit, they have formed close attachments to the brave, selfless and devoted people in the disputed areas.
Herb often joined us on the missions. Because of our many visits to the former Gush Katif, and the close friendships formed with the people there, AFSI was in the forefront of protesting the expulsion. We sponsored the Orange Shabbat across America, ran conferences, and brought in delegations from Israel to speak at demonstrations.
It is now five and a half years since the expulsion and those who were cast out are still suffering and living in temporary homes. The Chizuk missions continue to visit the people in their temporary homes, offering as much encouragement as possible. We have taken up their motto: “We will never forget; we will never forgive.”
Sderot, Hebron, the Hebron hills, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, eastern Jerusalem, the Knesset, the Kotel, the communities of Judea and Samaria, the Galilee, the Golan, the Negev, Safed, the Jordan Valley, as well as the new communities that are just beginning to be constructed for the displaced refugees from the destroyed Gush Katif communities – all are on our itinerary at different times.
Renewing the friendships as we travel from place to place is one of the greatest joys of our travels. And it is through these trips that we have also come to know the Knesset members who are our friends and support our ideology. Herb bonded with these men and women, forming close relationships that continued through the years.
The demonstrations we conducted at Annapolis, at the UN, the Israeli embassy in New York, at City College, at the Jewish Museum, in Washington, at Hadassah Headquarters (when we protested the giving of the Henrietta Szold award to Hillary Clinton), against the construction freeze, against the Ground Zero mosque – these were just some of the events we organized in our fight for our beloved Israel.
Just before Herb’s death, he wrote what would be his last editorial for Outpost. There he celebrated the demolition of the Shepherd’s Hotel in Jerusalem, a hotel purchased in 1985 by dear friends of Herb’s, Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, which would finally be developed to provide housing for Jews. He concluded with a clarion call for strength and an assertion of the Jewish people’s legitimate rights to their homeland.
May Herb’s legacy inspire and energize others for generations to come. His memory will always be with us.

Helen Freedman is executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI.

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Specifics Surface On

Possible Syria-Israel Deal
 
   The Obama administration has drawn up a plan for Israel to give much of the strategic Golan Heights to Syria, according to informed Middle East security officials speaking to this column.
 
   Last week, this journalist first reported in this column and at WorldNetDaily that Dennis Ross, an envoy for the White House in the Middle East, visited both Israel and Syria in recent weeks to discuss specifics of a deal in which Syria would eventually take most of the Golan. The specifics of the plan, however, were not disclosed.
 
   Days after this reporter’s article appeared, similar reports surfaced in the Israeli and Arab media. Those reports also did not cite specifics of the plan.
 
   Now this column has learned that Ross proposed that Israel give Syria large swaths of the Golan Heights. Areas of the territory that house Israeli industrial zones will not need to be evacuated, but Israel is expected to lease the land from Syria, according to informed Middle East security officials.
 
   The U.S. plan has Syria declared the owner of most of the Golan while Israelis leasing land from Syria would be expected to pay direct taxes to Syria, the security officials said.
 
   The officials said Ross initiated the process of reaching out to both Israel and Syria in November. The Israeli government apparently neither approved nor rejected the plan.
 
   The officials said Ross is trying to get Syria to pay a price for the deal, such as scaling back its relationship with Iran and its support of Hizbullah.
 
   Thy also hinted that the delay of an international probe investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri is related to regional political dealings, including the talks with Ross.
 
   Syria has been widely blamed for Hariri’s death, although the Iranian-backed Hizbullah is expected to be directly blamed if the probe results are ever released. The results were supposed to be released months ago.
 
   Syria has twice used the Golan Heights to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
 
   Syria is in a strategic and military alliance with Iran and has been accused of helping fuel the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq. Syria is a state sponsor of Hizbullah, reportedly helping it arm itself with more than 10,000 missiles and rockets. Also, leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are based in Syria.
 
   The U.S. plan for the Golan comes as President Obama last week bypassed the U.S. Senate by using a Congressional recess period to directly appoint new ambassadors, including the first U.S. envoy to Syria since 2005.
 
   It marks the second time President Obama bypassed another agency or government branch to appoint a new ambassador to Syria.
 

   This column reported in July that Obama bypassed Hillary Clinton’s State Department in his announcement to send a new ambassador to Syria, even disrupting agency negotiations with the Syrian government aimed at extracting concessions from the Damascus regime for the stepped-up diplomatic relations between the two countries.

 

How Accurate Are Reports About

The ‘Arab’ Golan Heights?
 
   News media accounts routinely bill the Golan Heights as “undisputed Syrian territory” until Israel “captured the region” in 1967. The Golan, however, has been out of Damascus’s control for far longer than the 19 years it was within its rule, from 1948 to 1967.
 
   Even when Syria shortly held the Golan, some of it was stolen from Jews. Tens of thousands of acres of farmland on the Golan were purchased by Jews as far back as the late 19th century. The Turks of the Ottoman Empire kicked out some Jews around the turn of the century.
 
   But some of the Golan was still farmed by Jews until 1947, when Syria first became an independent state. Just before that, the territory was transferred back and forth between France, Britain and even Turkey, before it became a part of the French Mandate of Syria.
 
   When the French Mandate ended in 1944, the Golan Heights became part of the newly independent state of Syria, which quickly seized land that was being worked by the Palestine Colonization Association and the Jewish Colonization Association. A year later, in 1948, Syria, along with other Arab countries, used the Golan to attack Israel in a war to destroy the newly formed Jewish state.
 
   The Golan, steeped in Jewish history, is connected to the Torah and to the periods of the First and Second Jewish Temples. The Golan Heights was referred to in the Torah as “Bashan.” The word “Golan” apparently was derived from the biblical city of “Golan in Bashan.”
 
   The book of Joshua relates that the Golan was assigned to the tribe of Manasseh. Later, during the time of the First Temple, King Solomon appointed three ministers in the region, and the area became contested between the northern Jewish kingdom of Israel and the Aramean kingdom based in Damascus.
 
   The book of Kings relates that King Ahab of Israel defeated Ben-Hadad I of Damascus near the present-day site of Kibbutz Afik in the southern Golan, and the prophet Elisha foretold that King Jehoash of Israel would defeat Ben-Hadad III of Damascus, also near Kibbutz Afik.
 
   In the late 6th and 5th centuries B.C.E., the Golan was settled by Jewish exiles returning from Babylonia, or modern day Iraq. In the mid-2nd century B.C.E., Judah Maccabee’s grandnephew, the Hasmonean King Alexander Jannai, added the Golan Heights to his kingdom.
 

   The Golan hosted some of the most important houses of Torah study in the years following the Second Temple’s destruction and subsequent Jewish exile; some of Judaism’s most revered ancient rabbis are buried in the territory. The remains of some 25 synagogues from the period between the Jewish revolt and the Islamic conquest in 636 have been excavated. The Golan is also dotted with ancient Jewish villages.

 

Recent State Department Appointee

Wants ‘Net Neutrality’
 
   “Net neutrality” rules must be implemented for content control while the government should quintuple federal funding for public and community broadcasting, argues Ben Scott, the State Department’s recently appointed policy adviser for innovation.
 
   This argument appears in an article co-authored by Robert W. McChesney, an avowed Marxist activist who has called for the dismantlement “brick-by-brick” of the U.S. capitalist system, with America being rebuilt as a socialist society.
 
   McChesney is the founder of the George Soros-funded Free Press, which petitions for more government control of the Internet and news media.
 
   Scott and McChesney also recommended that the U.S. impose ownership limits on local radio, TV, and cable channels while pushing for more control of the media by the FCC.
 
   The article appeared in the January/February 2009 edition of Tikkun Magazine, run by avowed Marxist Michael Lerner.Lerner has been accused of using the magazine to justify Palestinian terror and has written articles in which he suggests the 9/11 attacks were a response to U.S. policies.
 
   “Net neutrality” refers to government demands for a principle for users’ access to networks participating in the Internet. The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.
 

   Just last week, FCC commissioners voted 3-2 to approve controversial “net neutrality” rules, with the content of those rules, about 100 pages, still being rolled out.

 
 

   Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/quick-takes-news-you-may-have-missed-75/2011/01/05/

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