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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘israel’s’

A Soldier’s Mother: The Fundamental Truth About Israel’s Soldiers

Friday, January 6th, 2017

On the worst days, comes the need to remember the greatest blessings. That is my thought as this difficult day fades away and we look to tomorrow.

I’m angry, I’m sad. I can’t believe the idiocy of punishing a soldier for shooting a terrorist and I’m terrified of the time I know is coming – when a soldier will hesitate and, God forbid, pay the ultimate price. The “victim” in this incident was no victim. He was a confirmed terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier.

And as Israel stood braced and waiting for the verdict, the media and the police were made to look like fools. As the morning dragged on and elements of the verdict were announced, the nation of Israel, once again, stood in unity. As we do for all times we are hit, though usually the strikes come from our enemies, not from our own judges.

Reporters stood outside the building where the verdict predicting that violence would rage…not even close. Some of the commentators even said, “they’re just singing and dancing.”

The police tore down a sign that they said promoted incitement. The sign said, “We love you, Elor”. What incitement? What violence? More importantly, why? Why would you want to stop our sons from defending themselves? Why do you value a terrorist’s life over the danger of a soldier’s death?

Yesterday, the Chief of Staff said this young man was not a boy, but a soldier and he was not “everyone’s son.” By and large, Israel rejected that notion, which speaks more about how little Gadi Eisenkot knows about Israel, than about the feelings of our nation.

What Eisenkot and the reporters missed is that one of the reasons that the army is so strong is because of the motivation of our soldiers and the loyalty and dedication of the commanders. A soldier must have absolute faith in his commanding officer – and today, that faith was shaken. Our soldiers don’t have the luxuty of fighting in some war thousands of miles from where they live. In every sense of the word, they are defending their families, their homes.

On the day Elie was called to leave his wife and mobilize with his unit to fight in Operation Pillar of Defense, as he was quickly packing his things, our city was attacked. Sirens wailed as we rushed to the bomb shelter and a few days later, it happened again and we heard the explosion of the Iron Dome knocking a missile out of the sky.

It was my son, Elie, that day and on many other days who stood on Israel’s border. Then it was Shmulik. And now it is my son, David, every day and for the next year. And even after David returns to civilian life, to be called up occasionally, like his brothers, even then, it will be my sons (and daughers) on the borders of Israel. All of them. Every one of them, mine. That is the foundation upon which this country is built. The collective soul of our people, our land.

Anyone who does not feel this intense connection with our soldiers is, to my mind, missing the essence of what it is to be an Israeli. Elor Azarya is a soldier of Israel. Ten months ago, we sent him into battle. His friend was stabbed in that battle. And he raised his gun and shot a terrorist in that battle. It wasn’t murder. It wasn’t even manslaughter. Slaughter is what the Arabs did when they went into a synagogue in Har Nof and cut men down as they prayed. Slaughter is what the Arabs did when they opened fire on children in Maalot. Slaugther is what Arabs did in Itamar when they butchered five members of the Fogel family, in Jerusalem when they blew up the Sbarro pizzeria

I won’t rehash why I think the accusations against Elor Azarya were unfounded, the trial speedy and unfair. I won’t repeat the slanted publicity and the vicious ways he and his family were treated. I also won’t readily forget how quickly some judged him and how those same people condemn others for being judgmental.

Despite the accusation that Azarya is a murderer, that charge never made it through even the first round of accusations. Quickly, the lawyers were informed that the courts would not accept such an indictment and so it was never made. Azarya did not murder the Palestinian terrorist. At best, the judges warned, an accusation of manslaughter would be entertained by the courts. Even that was wrong.

There will be an appeal; hopefully one that will balance the evidence with the action. And hopefully those who are responsible for setting the stage for Azarya’s actions will be held accountable.

There will perhaps, come a time when the so-called journalists are held accountable. After all, I firmly believe that the media in the United States and around the world had a strong role in handing Donald Trump the presidency. I think America was fed up with listening to the media tell them what they think and I can only hope the same feeling is coming to Israel.

Today certainly, Israelis were, for the most part, wondering why the police sent 300 security forces and a helicopter to guard against 200 non-violent protesters; why a sign that said “We love you, Elor” was considered incitement and why that idiot blonde reporter kept shivering and speaking about how at any moment violence was going to break out.

Maybe it’s a day for blondes (no offense, really I know some very smart blondes…some of my best friends are blonde) but by far, the stupidest post I saw today was the one by a “noted” blogger/journalist, well know for her radical left-wing posts.

not-my-son

“He is not my son,” she posted. Sadly, that statement says more about her than it does about Azarya. It says that while she may call herself an Israeli, she really has no clue what it means to be Israeli. Sure, she has a son who is like…7 or 8 years old…and the army is a distant and far off thing, if she even remains in Israel…and IF he even enters the army…

If all those things happen, though I doubt that they will, she will learn that even on the worst days in Israel, our greatest strength is that our soldiers ARE our sons. IF her son ever becomes a soldier, he will become part of one of the most loved armies in the world. No, not by the world, but by the people who he will promise to defend…if.

If she will choose to deny her son the love of a nation, that makes her a fool. If she would deny that our sons are hers, that just makes her pathetic.

On the worst of day, our greatest blessing is our children and our greatest truth and that which separates us from our enemies, is the collective soul of the Jewish people.

They are all our sons and daughters – when they are little and they fall in the playground and a dozen mothers rush to pick up the child, when they stand at their first army ceremony and promise to serve in honor, and even when they are called to raise a gun against our enemies. They ARE our sons. Azarya is ours.

Paula Stern

The Issue is Israel’s Existence

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

The U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements is perceived throughout the entire Muslim world as a giant victory and a historic achievement for the rights of Palestinians. Indeed, the resolution, which “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations,” renders negotiations pointless because the international community rejects outright any Israeli legitimacy over any land beyond the lines drawn before the Six-Day War. In other words: Israel must withdraw from the Jewish Quarter, from Jerusalem’s new neighborhoods and from all of Judea and Samaria.

The common denominator in the Palestinian reaction — whether Fatah, Hamas or Islamic Jihad — is that this victory has to be leveraged, with vigor. A Palestinian Authority spokesman said actions must be taken to isolate Israel in the international arena, and called on the international community to take the necessary steps to implement the resolution ratified by the United Nations. The PA foreign minister called for actions that would put an end to the “Judaization” of Judea and Samaria. Other mouthpieces noted the need for legal action against Israelis for war crimes.

From the onset of Israel’s creation, the Muslim world without exception has sought to exterminate the Zionist entity. Its initial efforts focused on classical armed conflict: from the War of Independence to the Lebanon War, the enemies’ armies suffered staggering defeats, even if exacting from us a painful price. From the mid-1980s, the Muslim world shifted to a different strategy: intifadas. Here, too, Israel paid a heavy price, but was able to withstand the threat. For years now, calls for another intifada in Judea and Samaria and among Israeli Arabs have fallen on deaf ears. The third wave of terrorism, which is still ongoing, has introduced a new method of resistance: lone-wolf attackers, armed with knives or behind the wheel of a careening vehicle, seeking to terrorize the civilian population. However, a series of measures implemented by Israel’s security forces, alongside quick and effective action by civilians at the scene of attacks, have suppressed the phenomenon significantly.

The current phase is no less dangerous: diplomatic, legal and public relations warfare against Israel — a variety of initiatives aiming to present it as an immoral, apartheid, “illegal” country that must be denounced. Lest we delude ourselves: The goal of the public diplomacy war is the collapse of the Jewish state. International pressure demanding that Israel return to the June 4, 1967, borders is understood as the first stage, not the last. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently declared that he will never recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. And that he will never surrender the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The heated argument between the Israeli Left and Right overlooks the essence of the problem: The issue is not the territories but the very existence of the State of Israel. It is imperative that Israel find effective ways to counter this new type of warfare, which is no less an existential threat than classic wars, intifadas and knives.

Dr. Ephraïm Herrera

Israel’s Dismal Public-Relations Record

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Editor’s Note: Rebbetzin Jungreis, a”h, is no longer with us in a physical sense, but her message is eternal and The Jewish Press will continue to present the columns that for more than half a century have inspired countless readers around the world.

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Why is Israel demonized all over the world?

Perhaps a more puzzling question is: Why has Israel has done such a dismal PR job of making its case to the international community?

How is it that Jews, who are otherwise so literate and articulate, seem absolutely inept at imparting to the world the glorious history and priestly calling of our nation?

Who, if not we, should be able to address the nations of the world and communicate our true essence?

No matter how noble Israel’s intent, no matter how caring its soldiers may be, the most outrageous accusations are leveled against the country. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be laughable. There is nothing Israel can do that is right. No matter that Israel tries to accommodate its Arab citizens and neighbors; no matter that Israeli Arabs enjoy greater freedoms and benefits than their brethren in any neighboring Muslim country. Israel is still portrayed as a warmongering apartheid nation.

It matters little that Israel is always among the first responders whenever and wherever there is a world crisis – tsunami, earthquake, etc. Israel’s outreach goes unrecognized and most often is rejected.

I recall when, many moons ago, Israel attained statehood and was in its infancy. I remember the first Israeli ships that docked in New York Harbor and the elation and celebration with which Israeli sailors were greeted. I recall when soldiers from the various branches of the IDF visited New York. Everyone vied to host them, honor them, and pay them tribute. They were heroes who reminded the world that David was still capable of defeating Goliath, that the ancient dream had been realized, that the Bible had come alive. After almost 2,000 years of non-stop persecution and oppression, the Jewish people had returned to their homeland.

And then, as if overnight, everything changed. After a brief respite following the Holocaust, anti-Semitism once again began to spread. The new anti-Semites of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have made their venom palatable by exchanging anti-Jewish sentiment for anti-Israel feeling. In a world where racism in polite society is anathema, overt Jew-baiting is politically incorrect. So the new anti-Semites loudly proclaim that they have nothing against Jews. It is Israel, the Zionist entity, that is the problem.

Incredibly, many Jews happily buy into this lie and comfort themselves with the thought that the world has matured and anti-Semitism is no longer a factor. Israel is the villain, and that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. So it is that we find many Jews joining, and in many cases even leading, those who denounce Israel in the most vituperative terms.

So again, how can we understand this insane wave of hatred against Israel and Israel’s inability to present itself to the world in its true prophetic light?

The question is all the more perplexing when you consider that radical Muslims are terrorizing the world. And yet instead of identifying the scourge for what it is, it is all whitewashed. The words “Islamic terror” are virtually off-limits to progressives and liberals of all stripes.

The irrationality of that which is unfolding before our eyes boggles the imagination, but it also should imbue us with strength, for it reminds us that we are living in pre-Messianic times and that our only solution can come from Hashem.

Only if we turn to Him, only by assuming our G-d given roles and living by the Torah, will we bring an end to the surreal and frightening situation that envelops us.

If our leadership has failed to present Israel in its true light, it is because, sadly, they are not familiar with that light. Alas, they can no longer recall that light of Torah Hashem kindled in our neshamos at Sinai.

The founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, believed that once the Jewish people were settled in their own land and a nation like all other nations, anti-Semitism would cease to exist. But today, that homeland has become the prime cause of anti-Semitism. Who would have believed it?

The answer to this, as well as to all our other challenges and dilemmas, is found in the Torah.

Rashi, the great commentator, wrote that G-d commences the Torah with the creation of the world rather than with the giving of the Commandments so that when the nations accuse Israel of taking the Holy Land by force, our response is that G-d created the world. It belongs to Him, and in His infinite wisdom He deeded the land to the Jewish people for all eternity.

Until such time as our Israeli representatives make that proclamation to the world, anti-Semitism camouflaged as anti-Zionism will prevail.

So simple – and yet so difficult if you do not know Hashem and His Torah.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Defending The ‘Fourth Front’: An Interview with Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A year and a half ago his appointment as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations made headlines around the world. This week Danny Danon sat down with The Jewish Press to talk about his experiences on the job.

The Jewish Press: What does a UN ambassador do all day?

Danon: Coming from Israeli politics, I thought it would be more relaxed here in the UN but actually that’s not the case. There are so many initiatives and resolutions regarding Israel we are constantly busy blocking, but at the same time we must promote our agenda.

Almost every week we have a positive event about Israel – like last night’s Chanukah party, or taking delegations of ambassadors to Israel, or the innovation event the prime minister attended. I call it soft diplomacy.

What’s it like carrying the responsibility of representing your country in what is often a hostile environment?

Well, it’s not easy. I came back from Israel last week. We visited the borders of Syria and Lebanon. Every morning the commander there has to wake up and make sure everything is OK, the fence is fine, etc. Same here; you wake up and you have the responsibility to make sure everything is OK.

People in Israel know about the fronts in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza. But there is another front – a “fourth front” – right here, in New York, at the UN.

You had several diplomats accompany you to Israel last week, as you did last summer. What do these visits accomplish?

We took a helicopter trip. In the morning we flew to the Gaza border. Then we flew to the Golan Heights. I told them “That’s Netanya on the left, and here’s the ‘green line’ on the right, and that’s my house here in the middle.” They look down at the narrow waist of Israel and can’t believe it. That’s something you can’t explain from a podium at the UN.

I wish I could take every ambassador and every UN official to Israel because it’s so effective. It doesn’t mean they’d all vote with us, but at least they would know the issues.

I’ll give you an example. At the Security Council, I bring up Hizbullah at almost every meeting and the fact that they are ignoring resolution 1701 by building bases and bringing missiles to the border. Now, the next time one of those ambassadors who went on our trip and actually saw Hizbullah across the border hears me speak in the Security Council, he’ll know what I’m talking about.

In your 2012 book Israel: The Will to Prevail, you describe how your father, who sustained life-changing injuries during the Yom Kippur War, instilled in you two qualities: a deep connection to the Land of Israel and a willingness to speak out.

I was never exposed to another reality so for me it was normal to live with a father who was wounded and deaf. He taught me to speak up and not to be afraid to make bold decisions.

As Israel’s UN ambassador you constantly deal with conflict. Does it ever get you down on a personal level?

It can get exhausting sometimes when you sit in the Security Council for eight hours and one after another the other representatives get up and speak against us. But it’s like army service: you just have to keep blocking attempts to hurt Israel.

What are the chances Israel will get elected to a seat on the Security Council?

The prime minister’s recent declaration that we are running for a seat on the Council is a game-changer for Israel at the UN. It will obviously be a difficult campaign, but we proved when I ran for the chair of the Legal Committee that when it comes to a secret ballot at the UN, quiet diplomacy can lead to surprising results.

Your election to chair the Sixth Committee – the primary forum for the consideration of legal questions in the General Assembly – in the face of a strong opposition campaign mounted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was viewed as near miraculous. What factors do you think contributed to your victory?

We had a lot of opposition but we also had friends. For example, Iran, which is chair of the Non-Alliance Movement [NAM], circulated a letter saying that all member states should oppose my nomination. If no one opposes within 24 hours, it becomes the official position of NAM. Usually people are afraid to go against the chairman but we saw friends of Israel standing up. I think Singapore was first. Then India, Rwanda, Panama. For me it was amazing, because they sent a letter saying, Listen, you should not circulate that letter because it does not represent us; we support Danny Danon…

It was a remarkable experience, real proof of the relations we have been building with countries like India. The vote at the General Assembly was a secret ballot. Some 109 member states wrote my name on the ballot, while 44 countries opposed my nomination. But since there are 56 voting members of the OIC, it shows that maybe some of the Muslim countries are not really against us, and maybe some of that private diplomacy is paying off.

How are the Islamic Coalition states behaving? Do they accept your authority?

The first day they made a lot of comments against me. But I said, So what? I’ve heard worse in my life. I did not respond. And the next day, they came. They participated. They were part of the process, and that was it.

How does chairing a major UN committee compare to chairing a Knesset committee?

I was chairman of two committees in the Knesset and it’s different because here you have 193 members on the committee. There are long meetings; each one has a statement to make. It’s challenging but for me it’s a great experience, the fact that I’m sitting at the head of the table with a gavel in my hand. At the Chanukah party last night one of the members came up and told me, “I wanted to say thank you, the way you run the committee is so professional.”

Does the UN ever remind you of the Knesset?

Well, really it’s quite different. In the Knesset you have more energy, people don’t read their statements. Here in the UN, people come to the meeting and read a prepared speech. In the Knesset you have more of a dialogue, you can argue, you can try to convince.

You’ve spoken of a “private UN” that exists alongside the public one – backroom meetings where appreciation for Israel is expressed by representatives of countries formally recognized as opponents. Do you find this to be a source of frustration or of hope?

It depends. When I deal with the Arab countries it’s a different ballgame because the leadership understands the importance of Israel, that Israel is a solution and not the problem, but they have a problem with their constituencies. So you have this phenomenon where publicly they speak against Israel but privately they will tell me what they really think.

I don’t like it, but I can understand it. One of them told me, “If we will be seen together I will have a problem flying to my capital tomorrow.” And that’s true.

Stephanie Granot

Vatican’s Emissary Distorts, then Maligns Israel’s ‘Muezzin Law’

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

The apostolic administrator of the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, told a pre-Christmas press conference on Monday, at the headquarters of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, that he condemns “the project supported by the Israeli government to take away the speakers from Israel mosques used to spread the Adhan, the call to Islamic prayer, usually made by the muezzin five times a day from the minaret,” the Vatican’s propaganda arm Agenzia Fides reported on Tuesday.

“I believe that this is a dangerous precedent. I hope that this bill does not go ahead,” Archbishop Pizzaballa said, adding, “There are other ways to solve the problem of noise pollution.”

According to the Vatican, the bill, approved by the Ministerial Commission for legislation in mid-November and now under consideration of the Knesset, “was motivated by the need to protect Israeli citizens from the ‘noise’ (sic),” however, “The legislative initiative was defined by Palestinians as a provocation, which – according to Palestinian President Abu Mazen – is likely to ‘make the region plunge into an abyss.'”

Talk about keeping calm in stressful times…

Of course, other than the reference to noise pollution, the Vatican’s report is virtually fact free, seeing as the new bill does not conspire to take away the loudspeaker systems of Israeli mosques – which, in most cases, were paid for with Israeli taxpayers’ money – but merely requiring that they curb their religious enthusiasm from 11 PM to 7 AM, when the faithful of all faiths would like to asleep.

As to “Palestinian President Abu Mazen” warning regarding the Muezzin Law and the abyss, it turns out, according to Arab News, that despite the fact that there are 800,000 Muslims living in Italy, Islam is not recognized as an official religion, unlike Judaism or the Mormon faith, and local municipalities make it impossible for their Muslim communities to build mosques there – let alone rattle the neighborhood with their bass monotone from 11 PM to 7 AM.

Nevertheless, the Archbishop had something nice to say at his press conference, when he outlined the assignment guidelines he had received from the Pope, stressing that “our local church here in the Holy Land also recognizes its own need for spiritual renewal, and is entering a period of reform in terms of administration, organization and pastoral work.”

Let’s hope this will include a special resolution to stop lying to the press about Israeli legislation.

JNi.Media

Israel’s Biometric Database Law Passes Preliminary Vote

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

The Knesset plenum passed in a preliminary vote a bill to include biometric verification methods and biometric verification data in ID documents and in the national database. 41 MK supported the bill, 25 opposed, and the bill was forwarded to the House Committee to decide which Knesset Committees will ready it for the next vote.

The bill includes several stipulations: citizens must give their approval to the inclusion of their fingerprints in the national database; the database will contain biometric facial images only; Citizens who participated in the pilot program can request that their data be deleted within a period to be determined; and, most important, the bill stresses the need to provide state-of-the-art technology to guarantee the prevention of identity theft.

Incidentally, during the pilot program, more than one million Israeli citizens, or close to a third of those requesting ID documents agreed to participate in the biometric verification program.

Deputy Interior Minister Meshulam Nahari (Shas), who introduced the bill at the plenum, assured the Knesset that all the national security agencies have tested the issue in depth and most experts have recommended the establishment of a biometric verification data center.

MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) objected to the new bill on the grounds that it ushers in a Big Brother society. He argued that there shouldn’t be a connection between smart ID documents, which are a good idea, to prevent identity theft, and the inclusion of the collected data in a center that’s available to the state at will. “Like every other database, the biometric verification center is bound to be broken into, sooner or later,” Khenin notes.

All the objections at the plenum debate, including from MKs Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) had to do with the fear of government abusing the collected data.

JNi.Media

The Myth of Israel’s Demographic Doomsday

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

{Reposted from the Middle East Forum}

Critics of Israel love to exploit Jewish fears and anxieties. The most extreme resort to Holocaust inversion, boycotts, blacklists, and other singling-out methods reminiscent of Europe’s anti-Semitic past. Secretary of State John Kerry likes to wave around the threat of Israel’s demographic extinction.

Acute Israeli sensitivity on this matter came to the fore in the late 1960s, when Israeli rule over the newly won Gaza Strip and West Bank was thought by many to be untenable owing to much-higher Palestinian birth rates. If Israel chose to annex the territories, it would be obliged either to disenfranchise their Palestinian inhabitants, making Israel undemocratic, or extend the vote and watch Israel’s Jewish majority turn into a minority. For Israel to remain both a democratic and a Jewish state, according to the conventional wisdom, it would have to give the territories up. “The womb of the Arab woman,” the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat famously said, was his “best weapon.”

Fast-forward five decades. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the number of (non-Jewish) Arabs living in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem (4.62 million) and in Israel (1.68 million) for the first time matches the number of Jews (6.3 million). Taking into account still-higher Palestinian birthrates, as neatly graphed out in a September 2016 full-page New York Times advertisement by a pro-Palestinian group, the Jewish population in the expanse of territory “from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River” is projected to decline to 44 percent in 2030.

In his drive to wrest Israeli concessions he believes will break the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic logjam, Secretary Kerry has repeatedly warned of a demographic doomsday for Israel. “How does Israel possibly maintain its character as a Jewish and democratic state when from the river to the sea, there would not even be a Jewish majority?” he warned last December. Time is “running out” for Israel, Kerry maintains, insinuating that Arabs will be even less likely to accept a Jewish state as part of the former Palestine mandate once they become an overall majority, instead returning to their demand for a “one-state” solution. Israel then winds up “either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or … a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”

But time is not running out, at least not for Israel. There are three big problems with the demographic doomsday argument.

For starters, the central underlying premise of this argument — that the combined ratio of Jews to non-Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza matters — is laughably obsolete. There’s no more reason to include Gaza in the equation than to include Lebanon or Jordan. The Israeli occupation there ended a decade ago, and its 1.6 million residents are pretty much free to determine their own future but for the brutal rule of their own homegrown Islamist regime. Indeed, most Palestinians in the West Bank also live in self-rule areas that Israel has effectively vacated and does not wish to govern.

The real question, then, isn’t what happens if Israel were to suddenly annex all territories where Palestinians live en masse, but what happens if it holds on only to territories that most Israelis want and can be easily defended? Jews currently make up roughly 80 percent of Israeli citizens, and there’s no reason to believe this figure will be appreciably affected by implementation of a final status agreement.

The second problem with Kerry’s alarmism is that the oft-cited official PCBS estimates and projections of Arab population growth have been deliberately inflated to boost the PA’s negotiating stance and qualify for more foreign aid. Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli consul, found that PA numbers are inflated by, among other things, counting roughly 400,000 Palestinians who have lived abroad for a year or more — a large portion of whom won’t be coming back if they can help it — including some 100,000 babies born abroad (ditto).

Third, Kerry seems blithely unaware that the birth rate of Israeli Jews, which reached a low of 2.6 in the 1990s, has been rising steadily in recent years, to 3.1 in 2015 — the same as that of Israeli Arabs — even as Palestinian birth rates have steadily declined, to 3.7. With the highest birth rate in the developed world and substantial Jewish immigration adding to their ranks every year, Israeli Jews are not at risk of becoming a minority in the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately for Secretary Kerry, most Israelis are well aware that time is not running out on Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state. A democratic Jewish state is very much in existence and running strong. For all of the loud condemnations of Israel on Western college campuses, Israel’s diplomatic relations are stronger than ever before, even in the Arab world, and its international trade is massively expanding. It’s kind of hard to rain on that parade. Most Israelis couldn’t care less if Gazans or West Bankers choose to have slightly bigger families than the inhabitants of Tel Aviv.

When John Kerry declares again and again that Israel is “out of time,” what he’s really doing is communicating to Palestinians that the much dreaded Jewish state next door will cease to exist if they simply continue their refusal to compromise.

If the next secretary of state wants to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, he should try appealing to their hopes, not their fears.

Gregg Roman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-myth-of-israels-demographic-doomsday/2016/12/20/

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