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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Actually, the Standard Narrative About Israel is Simply Wrong–On Every Count –

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

The standard narrative about Israel these days goes like this: The current government is the most right-wing ever, the public is increasingly racist and anti-democratic, and the prime minister is either a right-wing zealot or a coward afraid to challenge his right-wing base. But the most remarkable part of this narrative is how durable it has proven despite all evidence to the contrary.

The latest such evidence comes from today’s Jerusalem Post report about a massive drop in construction in the settlements. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, housing starts in the settlements plummeted by 53 percent in the first quarter, compared to an 8.1 percent decline in housing starts nationwide. Needless to say, one would expect settlement construction to soar under Israel’s “most right-wing government ever” and a prime minister captive to his right-wing base. Yet in fact, as I’ve written before, the “right-wing” Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently built less in the settlements than any of his left-wing predecessors–a fact that never seems to disturb proponents of the “far-right extremist” narrative.

Even more noteworthy was a pair of reports in the left-wing daily Haaretz earlier this month about two unprecedented moves to boost equality for Israeli Arabs. The first report noted that the Council for Higher Education, chaired by Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the right-of-center Jewish Home party, is advancing plans for Israel’s first ever BA-granting college in an Arab town. Until now, the only institutes of higher education in Arab towns have been teacher’s colleges. But a tender to set up a BA-granting college closed on May 31, and the CHE is now reviewing the five bids it received. The winner is expected to be announced in another few months, and the new institution is slated to open next year. To help it succeed, the government has promised millions of shekels in start-up funds plus an annual budget of 20 to 40 million shekels (depending on enrollment).

The new institution is expected to significantly increase the number of Arabs, and especially Arab women, obtaining BAs, because many will now be able to live at home and commute to college. Not only will this eliminate the expense of renting apartments near campus, but it also solves the access problem for women from conservative Arab families who are barred by social norms from living away from home.

The second report described two moves to ease the housing shortage in Arab communities. First, a government planning committee decided to build a new neighborhood in the Arab city of Taibeh, which “will be one of the largest building plans in the Arab sector to have been approved for many years,” the report noted. Second, the Interior Ministry approved a decision to take land from the Jewish jurisdiction of Misgav and give it to the Arab town of Sakhnin. The report also noted that these decisions are merely the latest in “an increasing number” over the past year and a half intended “to accelerate development in the Arab sector, after many decades of neglect and inaction.”

Like the drop in settlement construction, these efforts on behalf of Israeli Arabs don’t exactly fit the narrative of a government and public mired in right-wing extremism. Indeed, they contradict it so blatantly that even Haaretz reporter Nimrod Bousso couldn’t ignore it. “One cannot help but wonder why this change is finally taking place under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who never seems to miss a chance to demonstrate hostility toward the group that makes up a fifth of Israel’s population … and whose government has a significant number of members with nationalist views,” he wrote in his news story on the Taibeh and Sakhnin decisions.

The answer, of course, is that the narrative is simply wrong on every count. Diplomatically speaking, as I’ve noted before, this government is actually one of the more left-wing in Israel’s history: Though Netanyahu doesn’t consider a two-state solution achievable right now, he does accept the idea in principle; in contrast, during Israel’s first 45 years of existence, all governments from both left and right considered a Palestinian state anathema. And Netanyahu’s policy of restraining settlement construction – which, contrary to his “cowardly” image, he has maintained despite considerable opposition from parts of his base – is consistent with his stated commitment to a two-state solution.

Moreover, as the examples above show, his past three governments have actually been among the most progressive in Israel’s history in terms of their practical efforts to improve Arab integration. And unlike his settlement policy, his efforts to advance Arab equality have sparked no significant opposition from either his cabinet or his electorate, even though Israeli Arabs overwhelmingly vote for his political opponents. The reason is simple: Any government which considers Israeli-Palestinian peace unachievable in the foreseeable future has no choice but to invest in Israel’s internal development, in order to ensure that the country is strong enough to survive without peace. And improving Arab integration is crucial to the country’s internal development because Israeli Arabs, currently underrepresented in both higher education and the work force, represent one of the main potential sources of future economic growth.

But proponents of the “far-right-extremism” narrative seem utterly impervious to the facts. So they can only scratch their heads in puzzlement over why Israel’s “most right-wing government ever” is precisely the one that’s taking far-reaching steps to improve the lot of Israeli Arabs.

Evelyn Gordon

Foreign Ministry Requesting Russians to Rescue Israelis Stuck in Mongolia Blizzard

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Two Israeli and two Russian trekkers are stuck in a blizzard at the Shumakskie Istochniki trek on the border of Mongolia and Russia. The four travelers are located in a rocky area some 6,600 feet above sea level and cannot get out of there on their own..

A spokesperson for rescue company Magnus told Israeli media that the Israeli trekkers are well and healthy, but said that plans to send a long distance rescue team after them were scrapped in favor of reaching out to local rescuers.

Magnus teams are on call to carry out policies issued by five leading Israeli insurance companies that offer its services. Founded to provide Israeli travelers and their families with solutions in case of loss of contact and emergency while abroad, Magnus’ skilled teams plan and launch rescue operations at short notice.

Magnus expert in vertical rescue and climbing Eyal Naor told Israeli media that “from the moment we received the signal we’ve been working to effect a quick and safe rescue of the group. The group members are exposed to extreme cold, which is why we must get them out of there quickly.”

The four trekkers started broadcasting a distress signal via satellite phone early Tuesday morning, reporting that they are stuck in the snow, unable to advance, that their equipment is drenched and that the gas in their single burner is about to run out.

The Israeli consul in Russia Jacob Rosh has been in phone contact with Russian authorities in order to receive their assistance in the rescue effort. A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “we are working in tight cooperation and mutual notification with the Magnus company.”

JNi.Media

Only Israel Can Live in Peace with Islam

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

The media reports that the FBI is investigating if the Orlando terrorist belonged to ISIS. But they also reported that minutes before the massacre, the American Islamist terrorist called the police station and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. So what exactly is the question? If he was sent by ISIS or not?

Apparently, ISIS did not directly send him. If he had been sent, he would not have felt the need to pledge his allegiance before he perpetrated his murderous attack.

The entire question, however, is meaningless. It once again highlights the weakness of the West in the face of a war that is not nationalist/territorial, but rather, religious/cultural. After all, the entire essence of the American and French revolutions was the removal of G-d from the political plane. The modern nation states arose on the basis of national – not religious – identity. When the Twin Towers fell in the name of Allah, President Bush sought a return address that was a nation state. What was he supposed to do? Destroy all the mosques in the world? And so, the US army conquered Iraq within a week – but lost the war… The US is incapable of going to war against a religion. Even after 9/11, a man named Hussein was enthusiastically elected as President.

So now, they are investigating whether he was sent by ISIS. Or maybe he wasn’t really sent by them? Who exactly is the enemy? Perhaps they can still find an address that is not blatantly religious? And if not, who can they blame? Maybe the person who gave him his weapon? But he was a security guard. And they knew he was a Moslem. So maybe now they should confiscate weapons from all Moslems in the US? Or from all the police? Or from all the security guards?

Paradoxically, only Israel has the ability to subdue Islam and live with it in peace. Israel, of course, has not actualized this potential because it is attempting to adopt the values that are currently defeating the West. But the potential exists.

Islam is involved in almost all the blood conflicts in the world. What is the essence of Islam? “Allah is great”. Islam puts G-d at the focal point and demands total obedience. Allah condemns those who do not follow suit to death. It is all very simple.

The West, on the other hand, was born of Christianity, which separates G-d from man. The West puts man at the focal point. This threatens Islam and provokes war. It is like the Law of Communicating Vessels: On one side is G-d. On the other side – a vacuum. When that is the case, Moslem expansionism and bloodshed are simply inescapable.

Moslem prayer looks like a military roll call. Rows of orderly worshippers who bow down simultaneously when the directive is given. Their prayer demonstrates total submission and obedience. Prayer in a church? Like watching an opera. All are dressed in their Sunday best, almost completely incidental to the ceremony conducted by the priest, who has forgone the pleasures of this world and with his religion in tow, remains aloof to worldly matters.

And what does Jewish prayer in a synagogue look like? Everyone does more or less what he likes. One sways in fervent prayer, another dozes, a third reads the Sabbath newsletters, a fourth prays at ease and many do not even attend…In Judaism, man is not the focal point and neither is G-d. For the Jews, the dialogue between man and G-d is the center of attention (I heard that from Rabbi Uri Cherki).

As such, the State of the Jews is the only state that is capable of living in peace in the two worlds. “With you I will manage,” an Arab MK said to me after I outlined the Biblical borders of the Land of Israel. “But with the ‘blasphemous Zionists? Never.” “It is not a territorial dispute,” he added. “It is a cultural war.”

Western, Christianity-based civilization is rapidly collapsing before our eyes – just like the Twin Towers. Donald Trump will not be able to stop this process, nor will the extreme Right gaining strength in Europe. Only Israel has the keys for dealing with the new world ISISorder. All it needs is to connect to its Jewish identity.

Moshe Feiglin

Israel Favors UN Treaty to Ban Nuclear Testing, Just Not Now

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo and told her that the State of Israel supports the treaty and its goals, which is why it was happy to sign it. However, as the Prime Minister’s press release put it, “the issue of ratification depends on the regional context and the appropriate timing.”

Or, as Dr. Zerbo told the AP, Netanyahu considers the issue of ratifying the treaty a matter of “when, rather than if.”

Dr. Zerbo arrived in Israel at the invitation of Atomic Energy Commission Director Zeev Senir. It is Dr. Zerbo’s third visit to Israel as CNTBTO Executive Secretary and marks 20 years since the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was opened for signing. According to the prime minister’s office, the visit was “an expression of the longstanding successful cooperation between Israel and the organization.”

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty by states that agree to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 10, 1996 but is yet enter into force. Israel was active in negotiating the treaty and signed it in 1996. It is represented in the organization by an envoy with ambassadorial rank and is taking part in building a verification regime for the treaty.

The Treaty was opened for signature in New York on September 24, 1996, at which point it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states. As of March 2015, 164 states have ratified the CTBT and another 19 states have signed but not ratified it.

The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it. These “Annex 2 states” are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time. As of 2015, eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States, which have signed but not ratified the Treaty; and India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it at all.

JNi.Media

Israel Demolishes Home of Terrorist Who Murdered US Army Vet After PA Praises the Murder [video]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Security forces on Monday night demolished the northern Samaria Hajjah village house belonging to the family of terrorist Bashar Masalha who murdered an American tourist, 29-year-old US Army veteran Taylor Force, and wounded 11 others last March. Masalha embarked on a stabbing spree near the Jaffa harbor promenade on the same night US Vice President Joe Biden was appearing at the nearby Peres Peace Center. In the end, the terrorist was shot by an Israeli policeman and then killed while lying wounded on the grass by an Israeli police volunteer. Both men were commended for their resolute action.

Israel handed Masalha’s body over to the Palestinian Authority, whose official TV channel glorified him by calling him shahid-martyr 11 times, according to Palestinian Media Watch. The PA TV reporter said, among other things, “His family, friends, and people of the region took it upon themselves to ensure that this [burial] would be a large national wedding befitting of martyrs… The martyr was accompanied to his last resting place in the cemetery for martyrs in Hajja.”

The official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also honored the martyr, saying, “Masalha died as a martyr on March 8, after carrying out a stabbing operation in Jaffa, in which he killed an American tourist.”

Or, as the PA TV reporter put it, “Martyr Bashar Masalha, 22, ascended to Heaven in Jaffa on March 8. He returned and was embraced by the soil of his homeland as a martyr.”

Someone should tell the State Dept. how the PA, a recipient of generous US aid, treats the murderer of an American citizen.

David Israel

Rabbi Asher Weiss Calls on All of Klal Israel to Support his Holy Work [video]

Monday, June 20th, 2016

R’ Asher Weiss has dedicated his life to continuing the quest started by his holy father and the Klausenberger Rebbe. As they survived the fires of Auschwitz, to rise up and rebuild Torah after the war, so too is R’ Asher Weiss creating a new army of Torah leaders.

Today Jews around the world have the opportunity to join with him to continue this holy work.

Join him in his life mission to inspire, teach and spread the light of Torah.

Hear R’ Asher Weiss tell in his own words the experience of his father in Auschwitz and how he fought to keep the light of Torah alive.

Jewish Press Staff

Israel Captures Dozens of Hamas SEALS’ Wet Suits [video]

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Dozens of wet suits intended for the Hamas Navy SEALS were captured on Monday by the crossing authority at the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza, before they entered the Hamas controlled territory, the Crossing Authority at the Defense Ministry reported.

The suits were hidden in a shipment of sports clothing and equipment. The wet suits were confiscated and an investigation to locate the perpetrators has been launched.

One of the smuggled wet suits / Courtesy Crossing Authority, Defense Ministry

One of the smuggled wet suits / Courtesy Crossing Authority, Defense Ministry

In the past Hamas has introduced its Navy SEALS unit, and during the 2014 war a few divers from this force were able to penetrate into Israeli territory at the Zikim beach just north of the Gaza border, but were identified immediately by IDF watchers and were eliminated.

In 2014 Hamas revealed its Navy SEALS special operations force in a video paying tribute to one of the unit’s fallen commanders.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-captures-dozens-of-hamas-seals-wet-suits-video/2016/06/20/

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