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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘israel’s’

Fighting Israel’s Battle Online An Interview with Influential Blogger: ‘Elder of Ziyon’

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

On March 1, “Elder of Ziyon” – the anonymous author behind www.ElderofZiyon.blogspot.com – posted a map from a McGraw Hill college textbook purporting to show “Palestinian loss of land 1946 to 2000.” Considering that Jews were often called “Palestinians” before 1948, and that Palestinian Arabs – as a “nation” – never owned any territory until Israel carved out autonomous regions for them in 1993, the map was highly misleading.

Elder of Ziyon demanded that McGraw Hill “be held accountable for pushing such propaganda in college classrooms” and called on his readers to e-mail the publisher. Remarkably, within a week, McGraw Hill had removed the book from circulation and promised to destroy all remaining copies.

It is victories like these, and many smaller ones, that motivate Elder of Ziyon – the name is “meant to be ironic,” he says – to continue blogging daily, as he has for over 12 years.

 

The Jewish Press: Why do you blog under an alias?

Elder of Ziyon: I’m not worried about death threats or anything like that. The main reason is professional. I work in a high-tech industry and it doesn’t help my career potential to use my real name. For any future jobs, people would see my name and think I’m not doing any work – that I blog all day.

Do you?

No. I blog early in the morning, on the train to work, and often before I go to bed.

There is no shortage of pro-Israel websites and blogs. Why the need for your site?

A lot of the analysis I do, I don’t see anybody else doing. For example, there was a report the other week that 51 percent of Palestinians support a two-state solution. Instead of just reading the news story, though, I took the time to look up the actual questions of the survey and noticed one of the questions they didn’t report on. The question was: Would you support a two-state solution if it meant the conflict was completely over and no more claims could be made?

To that question, the vast majority of Palestinians said “No.” And I was able to relate that to an earlier survey that showed that when Palestinians say they want a two-state solution, they only mean that as a stage to the entire destruction of Israel.

How many readers do you have?

I get about 250,000 readers, or hits, a month. And I have influential readers too. Sometimes, for example, Tablet magazine or Commentary will see my stories and run with them.

Where do you get your news stories?

Many of them come from Arabic sites. Every day I look for certain key words in Arab media that might indicate an interesting story. I don’t know Arabic, but I use Google Translate – which I’ve gotten good at over the years – and I’ll [confirm translations] with experts in Arabic if the story looks very important.

Occasionally I just post material that other people might not have seen. For example, the other night I posted a link to the Israel Air Force website, which had a piece on the 50th anniversary of Operation Yahalom in which the Mossad helped an Iraqi defect to Israel with a Soviet MiG-21 fighter jet [an operation that eventually helped Israel win the Six-Day War]. It was on the IAF site for two weeks, but I didn’t see anybody else cover it.

Many of these stories I find on my own, but others come from fans of the site. When they see something unusual, they’ll send it to me. That’s how I got the story of the [anti-Israel map in the] McGraw Hill textbook. One of my contacts saw it over somebody’s shoulder on the subway and told me about it.

What would you say are some of the highlights of your 12-year blogging career?

One of them came during the 2012 war Operation Pillar of Defense. Two times during that war there were stories of children killed by Israeli rockets and both of those times I was able to prove, with the help of military experts, that it was actually Hamas rockets that killed them. One of the children was actually the kid of a BBC reporter.

Another highlight was revealing that Human Rights Watch researcher Marc Garlasco was actually a connoisseur and collector of Nazi memorabilia. It was a joint effort of several bloggers but I got the original tip. And once we started publicizing the news, Human Rights Watch, in its attempt to defend him, ended up doing what’s called “sock puppetry,” which means they started commenting on all these blogs pretending to be ordinary people even though we saw that the IP address was coming from Human Rights Watch. That of course made the story additionally interesting. In the end, Garlasco had to resign.

Probably the biggest story I broke, though, was about an NGO called MIFTAH founded by Hanan Ashrawi, who’s always on TV blasting Israel as a representative of the PLO. Her organization had articles in Arabic supporting terrorism and claiming that Jews were killing Christian children to use their blood for matzah. This is a well-known Western human rights organization – an NGO – that gets money from major Western governments. So the story became very big, and in the end they had to apologize.

What’s next for you?

I would love to make the stuff I write more permanent. I want to put together more of a reference-type website; there’s a lot of information on my site, but I need to make it easier for people to find things and use it as a resource.

I also started writing a book about the supposed Palestinian right of return. I was doing an analysis – both historic and legal – to see if there’s any merit whatsoever to the claim because I’m very concerned that even if there’s a peace plan one day, people will use this right of return as their next step in delegitimizing Israel. So I want to make sure all the history and legal arguments about it are known ahead of time.

I have lots of ideas and lots of things I’d love to do, but it requires more resources, more funding, and partnership. I’m really hoping to be able to take this to the next level.

Elliot Resnick

FATCA is Here to Stay Regardless of Israel’s Supreme Court’s Temporary

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

{Special to The Jewish Press Online}

If you think that the order by Israel’s Supreme Court to delay the release of personal financial information to the Americans will last, ask yourself:

Do you really think Israel will jeopardize its relationship with the United States to protect information about Americans’ accounts here that those Americans are supposed to be reporting to the IRS anyway?

While the case is waiting to be heard, it is possible to project two possible outcomes:

1. The Court won’t let its citizens’ financial privacy jeopardize its overall relationship with America and will in good faith transfer information that law-abiding dual citizens should have been reporting anyway.

2. The Court will prioritize the personal privacy of Israel’s citizens and block the transfer of information, which will potentially create a 30% withholding penalty of U.S. transactions by Israeli financial firms.

Israel’s Supreme Court Trying to Stop Privacy Violations

“Israel’s highest court has temporarily blocked the government from transferring the financial information of every American citizen to the U.S. Treasury in accordance with FATCA regulations, pending a September 12 hearing contending the regulation is unfair,” reports The Jewish Press.

“Unfair regulation?” Probably. But ultimately, the transfer of financial information is a major policy goal of the Obama administration. They’ve been successful at getting bastions of confidentiality, including Switzerland, perhaps the most secret banking jurisdiction of all, to hand over details of its American clients to the U.S. government, so why should Israel be any different?

Countries not cooperating with America’s imperial FATCA decree (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) include real winners like Afghanistan, Botswana, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Does Israel belong on this list?

What Americans in Israel Need to Do

American tax-payers have been required for years to submit an FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) to the United States, informing the government of accounts held outside the U.S. Those who don’t file are subject to harsh penalties.

Many have decided that the risk of non-compliance and the hassle of being kicked out of their banks has made investing in Israel – or anywhere in the world

other than the United States – too much trouble. On the other hand, they’ve also discovered that brokerage firms and banks in America don’t want to open accounts for them either. As a result of an October 1, 2016 deadline implemented by some big U.S. brokerage firms, many clients have had to move their investment relationships somewhere else. They’ve been left in a lurch, since they can’t invest normally in Israel, and their American firm has locked them out.

How to Open a U.S. Account from Israel

In my office in Jerusalem where we help people in Israel with their U.S. investment, IRA (Individual Retirement Accounts), and brokerage accounts, we’ve seen a great demand for guidance about how to open a U.S. brokerage account when you don’t live in the United States. We even produced an online toolkit to give people the resources they need to solve the problem. Anyone can download the toolkit for free by clicking here.

Since I deal with investments, I’m not a constitutional law expert, so I can’t predict the outcome of the current Supreme Court case in Israel. However, given the fact that Israel signed a deal with the United States in 2014 to engage in information sharing, and since banking centers around the world, from Australia and Brazil to the United Kingdom and the Vatican have made FATCA a norm in the banking world, I don’t think that this court case will do anything more than delay implementation for a short time.

What should you do now?

Americans overseas need to get their financial affairs set up properly and transparently (learn how to do this here) and they need to speak with their accountants to make sure that they are in compliance with all tax reporting obligations.

Some people describe the FATCA information sharing agreement as “Google for the tax authorities.” They will simply type your name into a search engine and find out everything about you. Though we may have philosophical disagreements about the sanctity of privacy, the reality is that there is none.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

UN Report on Failed Gaza, PA Governments: It’s All Israel’s Fault

Monday, September 5th, 2016

If a visitor from outer space were to read the new Report of the “United Nations Conference on Trade and Development assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to be issued Tuesday, they would have walked away with an image of a nation of industrious, democratic, peace-loving people named the “Palestinians” who are intentionally and on a daily basis prevented from thriving and achieving the economic success they so richly deserve by a cruel and capricious Israeli occupation that sets out to torpedo every shred of goodness those peaceful folks manage to sustain.

This horrifying image is only enhanced by the fact that this report comes from the principal organ of the UN General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization’s goals are to: “maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.”

With that in mind, here is the opening paragraph of the Executive summary of the UNCTAD report, meaning the gist of whatever else comes below:

“In 2015, Israel withheld Palestinian fiscal revenue for four months, donor aid declined and Israeli settlements continued to expand into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while poverty and unemployment remained high. The Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to be a captive market for exports from Israel, while occupation neutralized the potential development impact of donor aid. Genuine reconstruction has yet to take off in the Gaza Strip despite $3.5 billion in donor pledges. Gaza’s socioeconomic conditions worsened and the infant mortality rate increased for the first time in 50 years.”

It’s an executive summary, so one cannot argue that so many of these assertions are being lumped together out of context. And yet, for a report that should provide an overview of the economic and social situation in the PA and Gaza to cite the withholding of revenues without mentioning that Israel was forced to freeze those funds after the PA had accumulated half a billion dollars in unpaid electric bills; and for the same executive summary to make the construction of a smattering of Jewish apartment units as a top-level cause for Arab decline — signals the point of view and general inclination of the authors.

You’re welcome to read the entire report if you wish. We went looking for those items that best reflect how the report turns facts and figures on their head to come up with the preconceived conclusion: it’s all the fault of the Israeli occupation, and once Israel is out of the picture you’ll see how those Palestinians will become Switzerland of the Middle East.

UN Blames Israel for Unemployment

Take, for instance, item 5, dealing with Arab unemployment. In 2015, the unemployment rate in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” was 26%, compared with 12% in 1999.

What happened in 1999? Well, for some unknown reason, there was an Israeli “tightening of restrictions on movement and access of Palestinian labor and goods.”

What a capricious, wicked nation those Israelis must be. Of course, 1999-2000 marked the eruption of the second intifada, which made the current plague of shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing look like a day at the fair. Israeli employers were done with hiring Arabs from the PA and Gaza who would turn on them one morning and slash their throat, thank you very much. Israel imported foreign labor from Asia, and other migrants started cutting through the border illegally in the Sinai, and the Arabs were pushed out of the Israeli labor market. God is in the context.

UN Blames Israel for PA Arabs Wanting to Work for Israelis

Next, the report offers a blatant lie (Item 6): “Lack of employment opportunities in the domestic economy forces thousands of unemployed Palestinians to seek employment in Israel and in settlements in low-skill, low-wage manual activities.”

The reality is that those “lowly” jobs in Israel pay three times what the average job pays inside the PA, and if Israel only issued more work permits, those PA Arabs would have gladly abandoned their lousy jobs in Ramallah and Shechem and flooded Israel’s construction sites.

But the report is unhappy with the fact that as many as 12% of the PA Arabs find decent employment in Israel, because, let’s face it, “this forced dependence on employment in Israel and in settlements magnifies the vulnerability of the Palestinian economy to political shocks, as Israel can at any time bar Palestinian workers, even those with Israeli permits, from entering Israel and settlements.”

On that assertion, there is one surefire way to make sure Israel would never, ever bar those workers and take away their permits: if Arabs from the PA not start shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing. It’s a scientific correlation, proven by 50 years of Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza: Arab violence leads to Arab poverty; Arab civility leads to Arab prosperity. It’s such a simple message, one must attend many anti-Semitic incitement sessions at one’s local mosque to be able to ignore it.

Israel’s Response to Arab Terror and Illegal Construction Harms the PA Economy

Here’s Item 9, which does not belong in an economic report, because it covers a negligible issue in terms of costs to the Arab economy, but it’s there to make a political point, and tell another lie: “In April 2016, the Secretary-General of the United Nations advised the Security Council that demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses in the West Bank was continuing at an alarming rate.” How alarming? “By early April, the number of Palestinian structures demolished had exceeded the total of those destroyed in 2015, displacing 840 people.”

Israel demolishes Arab homes in Area C for two reasons: illegal construction, and participation of one of the occupants in a terror attack. In terms of numbers, the vast majority of the structures are destroyed for lack of building permits. Israel is the recognized sovereign in Area C, according to the Oslo accords, and you can’t defy the sovereign power by building whatever and wherever you want. But Israel also demolishes Jewish structures in Area C, for a variety of legally contested issues, a fact that is completely ignored by the report which prefers to repeat the mantra that Israel demolished those Arab homes “while accelerated settlement activity created facts on the ground.”

Now, what was the economic effect of those 840 demolitions on the PA, whose citizens reside in Areas A and B? Probably negligible, but a point scored is a point earned.

In Item 14, UNCTAD supports the World Bank’s assessment of a problem they named “the Palestinian fiscal leakage.” What it means is that while the Arab earnings are meager and sub-standard in the PA, the PA Arabs working in Israel make triple those wages and get to keep a lot more after taxes, some of which Israel transfers to Ramallah. But the World Bank and now the UNCTAD want those PA laborers in Israel to pay higher taxes, which would go to their government. Indeed, Israel has promised to collect and transfer to Ramallah “$128 million to cover some of the losses accumulated over the years by the Authority.” That money, as the Israeli Finance Ministry explained to the Knesset Finance Committee this summer, will be coming out of the wages of PA Arabs working in Israel.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Internal Problems

Now we get to what the report names, “Slow reconstruction in Gaza and disregard for the productive base.”

It has been documented by every major news outlet and at least two recent court cases in Israel that Hamas has completely usurped the $3.5 billion in donations for the digging of new terror tunnels and for rebuilding Hamas leaders’ homes destroyed in the 2014 war. It is also understood by most rational people in the world that as long as the Gaza Strip is governed by a terrorist organization whose major stated aim is to destroy the Jewish State, Israel has no choice but to impose a blockade on the free flow of goods into Gaza, because those goods would inevitably be used to prepare for the next attack on Israel.

Not on planet UNCTAD.

Item 22 states without benefit of context or recognition of regional realities: “Israel’s blockade of Gaza, in its ninth year, continues to exert a heavy toll. The population of Gaza is locked in, denied access to the West Bank and the rest of the world. … The blockade has affected Gaza’s once vibrant export sector.” Ah, those capricious Israelis and their obsession with not getting killed.

UN Report Straight Out Lies

The same item adds a nasty line: “Even people in need of medical treatment are not allowed to travel to obtain essential health care.” The author of this blatant lie should come visit Israeli hospitals in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beer Sheva, where Gazan patients are a regular feature, including family members of top Hamas officials.

Israel Refuses to Be Annihilated

Item 23 is also about Israel’s refusal to be annihilated: “A prominent element of Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian productive activities is the dual-use list, which prohibits the importation of civilian goods deemed by Israel as potentially having other, harmful uses. The list includes essential factors of production, raw materials, agricultural fertilizers, telecommunications equipment, steel, pipes, spare parts and other capital goods.”

Yes, because Hamas engineers have skillfully turned all those highly useful items into highly murderous weapons.

The same item complains that “recently, more items have been added to the list, and the thickness of wood classified as dual-use has been reduced from 5 to 3 cm, then to 1 cm. This has far-reaching implications for Gaza’s furniture industry, among other harmful effects. Enforcement of the stringent dual-use restrictions obstructs reconstruction efforts, raises production costs and forces Palestinian firms out of business.”

Again, let Hamas officially abandon its murderous designs on Israel, let it sign a document recognizing Israel’s right to exist and watch how the Gaza Strip becomes paradise in a month. The fact is, with the right investments and without the Islamic extremists’ threat, Gaza could become as pretty and as prosperous as Sad Diego. Parts of it already are, even today.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Now Rising Infant Mortality Rate

Item 25 is a tour de force of convoluted logic: “A shocking indicator of the grim situation in Gaza is the rising infant mortality rate, one of the best indicators for the health of a community. Infant mortality has risen for the first time in 50 years. The rate of neonatal mortality has also risen significantly, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.”

The sad truth is that Israel was investing in Judea and Samaria and Gaza infrastructure and social services to the point where they exceeded the standards in all other Arab countries. It is safe to say that had Israel continued to run those territories, today they would have been its equal in terms of social services and levels of income.

The relatively low baby mortality cited for Gaza in 2008 did not appear out of thin air — Israel, that hated occupier, pushed it on with heavy investments and years of government effort. The progressive decline in both parts of the Arab-run territories is not the result of “the occupation,” but of the utter failure of local Arab governments to manage modern state systems. We can illustrate this point:

On June 16, 1994, the Israeli Civil Administration in the Territories issued a report comparing the state of the Arab infrastructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1970 with 1990. According to that report, in 1970 Gaza had 3 community clinics. In 1990 there were 28. Each of the Israeli built Community Clinics in the Gaza Strip offered mother and child health services, family care units, and pharmacies. Several of the centers offered 24-hour a day delivery units and emergency services, and minor x-ray units.

Major renovations and/or additions were made to almost every hospital in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza since 1967. Thus, for example, Rafidiah Hospital in Shechem received a radiology center in 1987 and an out-patient department in 1988. Wattani Hospital in Shechem received an intensive care unit in 1987. Ramallah Hospital received a diagnostic radiology center in 1987 and a neo-natal and premature intensive care unit in 1986. Beit Jala Hospital received a radiology center in 1987. Hebron Hospital received an outpatient and laboratory wing in 1988. The Bethlehem Mental Hospital received a chronic care department for male patients in 1986. The dialysis department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was completely renovated in 1989. Khan Yunis Hospital’s surgical suite was refurbished in 1987. The Opthalmic Hospital in Gaza City was renovated and re-equipped in 1989.

And infant mortality in Gaza declined from approximately 85 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 26.1 in 1990. In Judea and Samaria, infant mortality declined from approximately 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968, to 18.1 in 1991.

For comparison, in 1991 deaths per 1,000 births in Libya stood at 62, Egypt 82, Turkey 54, Iraq 66, Syria 37, Tunisia 38, Jordan 38, Lebanon 50 and Saudi Arabia 69.

Together with the decline in infant mortality, great progress was made by Israel in controlling and eliminating major childhood diseases, due mainly to immunization programs instituted since 1967. Twelve nursing schools, two of which offer BA degree programs were opened between 1971 and 1991. The numbers of both doctors and nurses more than doubled from 1967 to 1991.

Voluntary health insurance plans which were unavailable before 1967 were first offered in Judea and Samaria in 1973, and in Gaza in 1976. In 1978, a new comprehensive plan was introduced; it was automatically applied to Civil Administration workers and to area residents working in Israel and was offered to all other area residents on a voluntary basis.

Israel greatly improved and expanded sewage treatment facilities in the liberated areas. Before 1967, there were no sewage treatment plants in Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, modern installations were built in Jenin (1971), Tulkarem (1972), Ramallah (1979), and Kalkilya (1986). The first stage of the Hebron sewage treatment plant was completed in 1991. In Gaza, sewage was managed through local septic tanks. Since 1967, treatment facilities were improved and/or constructed in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Jabalya, Rafiah, and the Shati refugee camp. Routine testing of sewage for various enteric bacteria was begun in 1981.

Judea and Samaria were recognized as malaria-free areas in 1971.

UN Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Authority’s Failure in Self-Government 

Item 37 in the UNCTAD report unwittingly makes this point: “Palestinian economic indicators have deteriorated in the last two decades, with serious ramifications for the welfare of the Palestinian people. In 1995-2014, the population grew by 3.6 per cent annually, while real GDP per capita grew by only 1 per cent. In addition, productivity failed to grow and unemployment increased by 9 percentage points to 27%.”

What else happened between 1994 and 2014?

Yes, governing of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was handed over to the local Arab leadership, which proceeded to mess things up while inciting to violence against the only country on earth that actually took the trouble to help them. With numbers like these, and the report heaps them in multicolored tables, the Arab record of self-government is nothing short of abysmal.

Naturally, UN reports that tell the world these failed regimes aren’t to blame, it’s all Israel’s fault, are not helping anyone, least of all the local Arabs who by now are telling survey takers openly they would rather live under Israeli rule or escape to Canada, whichever comes first.

JNi.Media

Rightwing Pundit: A Vote for Donald Trump Is a Vote for Israel’s Enemies

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Louis René Beres, the son of Austrian Jewish refugees, a professor of Political Science at Purdue University, and a long time advocate of rightwing Jewish and Israeli causes, is afraid of a Donald Trump presidency. Writing in US News & World Report (Israel Wouldn’t Survive Trump), Beres defies the “conventional wisdom” that sees presidential candidate Donald Trump as better for Israel than Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. For starters, the PoliSci professor is aghast at Trump’s lack of intellectual discipline, citing his August 15 foreign policy speech from which one could conclude that he would enthusiastically be willing to “work with” Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, and which couldn’t be a good thing for Israel.

Beres warns that “Trump’s proposals would go so far as to put Israel’s physical survival at a tangibly greater risk,” seeing as the candidate is prepared to collaborate with Hezbollah and support Russian military cooperation with Iran. “How else ought anyone interpret Trump’s stunningly naive call for combating the Islamic State group at all costs?” Beres asks, calling Trump’s ideas “a seemingly random patchwork of ready-made phrases.”

Beres has no illusions about a Hillary Clinton presidency when it comes to Israel’s interests, but he is deeply concerned by the Republican candidate’s foreign policy being little more than an “endless litany of barren clichés, emotional arguments and thoroughly empty witticisms.” Or as he puts it politely: “Donald Trump is manifestly and incontestably imperfect.”

Talk about the art of the understatement…

“For Israel,” Beres suggests, judging by Trump’s “enthusiastic words of support for Jerusalem’s chief enemies,” the conclusion must be that “a Trump presidency could be irremediably catastrophic.” This is because “crafting a nation’s foreign policy is never a job for narrowly educated political operatives,” as it “calls for a deep and genuine appreciation of strategic interdependencies and also of assorted and corresponding legal obligations” — which Trump, apparently, does not bring to the table.

“The ultimate irony of Trump’s disjointed preferences” regarding US foreign policy and his perceived threat of radical Islam—as opposed to all the other, bigger threats out there, Beres asserts, “is that they would actually work on behalf of the Islamic State group, while at the same time strengthening America’s most formidable enemies.” Indeed, when it comes to foreign policy, Beres says the only voters who should support a Trump presidency are Americans who “prefer Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah to Israel and America.”

JNi.Media

Israel’s Wix Teams Up with New York Yankees in Sponsorship Deal

Monday, August 29th, 2016

By Anav Silverman/TPS

An Israeli cloud-based web development platform announced last week a sports sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees. Wix, headquartered in Tel Aviv, will be the official website design partner for the New York Yankees during their 2016 baseball season.

Founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan, Wix provides a free website building platform with a wide range of tools and features, which are utilized by over 90 million users in 190 countries. Wix has offices in Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Francisco, Berlin, Beer Sheva, and the Ukraine.

The New York Yankees is not the Israeli company’s first sports sponsorship deal. Half a year ago, following a sponsorship deal with the City Football Group (CFG), Wix became the official website design and hosting partner of CFG’s Manchester City Football Club in the UK. In light of their team sponsorship with Manchester City and two successful Super Bowl advertisements, Wix set its sights on the New York Yankees.

“We wanted to see how we could expand our activities in the United States and looked at different NFL and MLB teams,” Wix CMO, Omer Shai told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

“We saw that the New York Yankees had a very engaged fan base and we wanted to work with that,” said Shai, who noted that through web and social media platforms, Wix finds innovative ways for sports clubs and teams to engage with fans.

“We are very excited to begin our relationship with Wix as the “Official Website Design Partner,” said Michael J. Tusiani, New York Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales & Sponsorships. “Wix is offering our fans, worldwide, an innovative way to exhibit passion for the team through its unique website design and mobile platforms.”

“We also look forward to working with Wix to strengthen its already established global brand,” said Tusiani.

As part of the sponsorship deal with the New York Yankees, Wix is campaigning to locate the number one New York Yankees fan, asking die hard fans to post a video showing their Yankee pride with the hashtag #BiggestYankeesFan to Wix’s Facebook page by September 5. Among the many videos posted so far, one Yankees fan demonstrated her team spirit by baking blueberry, lemon, and coffee cream pies in homage to different Yankee players, while another fan covered his entire kitchen with classic Yankee pinstripes.

The winner of the Wix video contest will be introduced to fellow fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, September 13 when the Yankees host the Los Angeles Dodgers, and will have the opportunity to build a personal fan page with the help of Wix under the domain, thebiggestyankeesfan.com.

Shai told TPS that he believes Wix is the first Israeli company to work with a Major League Baseball team. “It’s amazing to see what can be done with the passion of sports,” he said.

“Sports unite not only fans but entire cities and a global community,” pointed out Shai. “The strength of the bond lies in the team’s ability to deliver results, and fans in turn respond with love and loyalty. We applaud and admire the passionate, creative and voracious fandom and can’t wait to celebrate at the greatest address in sports.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel’s First Patient Advocate

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

When someone in Israel receives a medical diagnosis that is going to change his or her life forever, Dr. Jasmine Kilim wants to be there.

This desire to help people with serious medical illnesses was inspired by Kilim’s friend Liora. Calling her “a unique and amazing woman,” Kilim recalled that “when she found out that her cancer was incurable, she decided to avoid life-prolonging attempts and to focus on the quality of the end of her life. She got her affairs and home in order, even wrote letters to her future grandchildren. She also held a ‘living shiva,’ inviting friends to visit her on Shabbat afternoons to talk.”

At one of these “living shiva” visits, Liora told Kilim how overwhelming it was to serve as her own case manager in the midst of her own illness and suffering. There were so many things to manage: specialists, paramedical services, medication for pain management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition and more. Liora believed there should be a designated person to help those with serious illnesses cope with all their medical, emotional and practical realities.

Inspired by Liora’s experience, Kilim, a UK-trained family medicine physician, is building a companion career as Israel’s first Patient Advocate, supporting people, like Liora, who are going through serious, identity-changing illnesses such as cancer, loss of vision or paralysis.

Kilim helps people “get the most out of their interactions with the medical system.” This includes “keeping their information well-organized, helping them research and understand their options, preparing them for specialist consultations so that they get the answers they need to questions that matter to them, and, perhaps most importantly, giving them the space and time to be heard.”

Patients who have “barriers to care,” such as cultural or language differences or physical disabilities, are particularly interesting to Kilim. In addition to managing all the medical details and the psychological difficulty of accepting that their lives have changed, often permanently, patients with barriers to care are unable to communicate easily with their care team. For example, an English-speaking immigrant who is not yet fluent in Hebrew nor acculturated to the Israeli medical system has linguistic and cultural barriers to overcome.

Kilim is ideally suited for such sensitive work. She’s been a physician for 10 years, including four years practicing in Israel, so she has the necessary medical knowledge. She is also acutely aware that “every patient in healthcare is in a vulnerable position – scared and uncertain.”

She sees the Patient Advocate role as similar to a doula, “acting in a support capacity when the patient is in pain and there are medical professionals involved. Sometimes the reassurance that there is someone on your side is enough to ease you through,” Kilim explained.

Dr. Jasmine Kilim

Dr. Jasmine Kilim

Illustrating a case where her services as a Patient Advocate would have been helpful, Kilim described a middle-aged woman who, in the course of a normal day, tripped over a curb. A year later, she’s effectively disabled. She can’t work. She can’t pick up her grandchildren. She’s already had two surgeries and concomitant infections. Connecting with a Patient Advocate right after her injury might have made this woman’s interactions with Israel’s medical system much less traumatic.

In these sorts of medical transitions, “you go from a place where you’re in control of your life to where you lose control,” Kilim commented. She believes that, “the smoother the journey, the easier it is to rebuild your identity moving forward. That’s really the end goal.” A patient advocate can’t stop people from having strokes, for example, but can help them rebuild the healthiest life they can have post-stroke.

Rivkah Lambert Adler

INTO THE FRAY- To: “Bogy” Yaalon; cc: Dore Gold; Re: Israel’s Security Imperatives

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

What are the political ramifications of the security prescription authored by the former Defense Minister and the current Director-General of the Foreign Ministry?

Israel’s security depends on its retaining defensible borders. This means maintaining control over key areas of Judea and Samaria and certainly over an undivided Jerusalem…This is also why it is crucial for Israel to control the strategically vital Jordan Valley. If it does not do so, the situation along the Jordan border may become similar to that of the Gaza-Egyptian border…[S]afeguarding Israel’s vital security requirements is the only path to a viable and durable peace …This includes defensible borders, a demilitarized Palestinian entity, control of a unified airspace with Judea and Samaria, electromagnetic communications frequency security. -Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe “Bogy” Yaalon, Former Defense Minister, and IDF Chief-of-Staff, 2014.

This week, Moshe “Bogy” Yaalon took an additional step to further his declared intention to mount a challenge for the national leadership, after being rather abruptly removed from his position as Defense Minister in a highly controversial move by Benyamin Netanyahu. He announced the formation of a new non-profit entity, called “Different Leadership” (presumably to convey the idea that should he be at the helm, things would be very different than they are at present under Netanyahu), which will serve as the organizational platform for his public activities in the near future.

Owes a moral debt

I have been personally acquainted with “Bogy” Yaalon for almost a decade and a half, ever since, soon after his appointment as Chief of Staff, he kindly invited me for a one-on-one meeting at the IDF General Staff Headquarters in Tel Aviv. Although I cannot claim that we became “bosom buddies”, over the years I did develop both a sense of personal esteem and liking for him—and greatly appreciated his willingness to make himself available for events I was involved with, whenever I extended an invitation to him.

Yet, for all my personal bias in his favor, I must confess that I have been disturbed, disappointed and, at times, even dismayed at some of his decisions in the last few months of his term.

However, for the present I do not wish to dwell on the whole gamut of issues of disagreement I have with him but rather focus on one cardinal point, regarding which he owes the Israeli public clarification and the removal of any ambiguity or internal contradictions in his positions concerning it.

This pertains to the question of the future of Judea-Samaria in light of Yaalon’s own very detailed and tightly argued stipulation of Israel’s security imperatives vis-à-vis these areas.

“Israel’s critical security requirements…”

In 2005, a study began at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), headed by Dr. Dore Gold, currently Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to determine what Israel’s critical security requirements in Judea-Samaria were, in order to ensure it defensible borders—as a crucial foundation for a durable peace. The study continued for a good number of years and—in the words of Gold himself in an October 2014 interview to “Mosaic” magazine—produced “a series of monographs on the subject published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Copiously illustrated with maps and photographs, they featured essays by such prominent authors as Moshe Yaalon, now Israel’s defense minister, Yaakov Amidror, until recently Israel’s national security adviser, and Major General (ret.) Uzi Dayan [former deputy chief of staff and national security adviser]. The latest edition in the series was released this year…”

The endeavor did, indeed, include an impressive array of participants with unimpeachable security and diplomatic credentials. Apart from those mentioned above, the list included Gold himself, as former ambassador to the UN; Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, former head of Military Intelligence; the late Meir Rosenne, formerly Israel’s ambassador to France and the US; Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly head of the IDF’s Intelligence Research and Assessment Division; Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel, formerly head of the IDF’s Strategic Planning Division, and Dan Diker, former secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress.

“Israel’s security depends on defensible borders”

The underlying theme of the series of studies was that unless Israel’s borders were defensible, the country would be so vulnerable that temptation to launch attacks against it would be irresistibly strong—resulting in inevitable instability, which would preclude any chance of durable peace.

Reflecting this fundamental perspective, in 2014, Gold’s JCPA produced a 160-page ` (an updated version of an earlier 2011 publication), with elaborate maps, photos, and instructive illustrations, entitled “Israel’s Critical Requirements For Defensible Borders:The Foundation For A Secure Peace”. The document (much like its 2011 predecessor), provided detailed explanations of the rationale for these requirements and the imperative for fulfilling them.

Significantly, the authors elaborate on why the decline of the former state-structure and the rise of non-state actors, such as the terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Nusra, as well as the proliferation of high trajectory weapons (particularly the more primitive and readily available variety) do not diminish the importance of the territorial component of these requirements—but in fact enhance them. Indeed, Gold himself underscores the “robust” martial capabilities developed by these organizations, which in both Iraq and Syria, have shown themselves capable of defeating regular army divisions—including those equipped with armored forces.

Like Gold, Yaalon was a prominent contributor to the monograph, authoring the 10 page introduction entitled “Restoring a Security-First Peace Policy”, which set the tone for the ensuing chapters.

Among other topics, these dealt with designating the territory across the 1967 Green Line that Israel must retain in any future political arrangement, the rejection of reliance on foreign troops to ensure security and the need for Israel to maintain control of the airspace above, and the electromagnetic spectrum throughout, Judea Samaria.

Graphic visual illustration

To complement the written papers, Gold’s JCPA also produced a series of incisive videos to illustrate the points made in the study, which were sharply critical of the conventional paradigm of territorial withdrawals as the sine qua non for peace. For example Maj-Gen (res) Uzi Dayan devoted a considerable portion of his analysis to “The Implosion of the Land for Peace Formula and its Consequences” and “Defensible Borders in the Age of Rocket Terror”.

Arguably the most notable of these videos was the five minute long “Israel’s Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace”, which visually encapsulates the essence of the major arguments made in the more detailed written work and conveys them graphically to the public.

The video enjoyed wide public exposure, totaling over 2 million views in its various postings on YouTube. It vividly demonstrates what Israel’s “critical security needs” are—and the deadly dangers almost certain to materialize if they are not met. It condenses the findings of JCPA studies into four concise points: To defend itself Israel must retain control over:

– The Jordan Valley

– Key areas of the mountain ridge [in Judea-Samaria]

– The air space over the “West Bank”

– Its main arteries of transportation [dominated by the western slopes of said mountain ridge] Several participants—including Yaalon (see introductory excerpt)—stressed the importance of retaining control over the electromagnetic spectrum as well. Thus Brig.Gen. (res) Dekel cautions: “Israel must guarantee that the Palestinians do not exploit their topographical advantage to block or neutralize Israel’s communication systems, or to gather intelligence on their own behalf or on behalf of hostile states” and Uzi Dayan warns: “Western analysts…predict that the electromagnetic spectrum will become one of the main targets of future weapons, stripping away the advantages in surveillance”

Summarizing JCPA’s security prescription

Accordingly, the JCPA security prescription reduces to the following: To fulfill its critical security imperatives, Israel must continue to control:

– The Western slopes of the mountain ridge in Judea-Samaria to protect the heavily populated urban coastal plain, its only international airport, major infrastructure installations such as power generation and desalination plants; its main transportational arteries—including

the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway (Route 1), the Coastal Highway (Route 2) and the adjacent Route 4; as well as the Trans-Israel Highway (Route 6)

– The Eastern slopes of the mountain ridge in Judea-Samaria (including the Jordan Valley) to contend with any aggression from the East, whether future hostile military action, terrorist infiltration, or smuggling of arms and ammunition, as is the case in Gaza. This is becoming particularly acute as the current regime in Jordan appears to be increasingly threatened by ascendant Islamist adversaries.

– The airspace above, and the electromagnetic spectrum throughout, Judea-Samaria to facilitate the ability of the IAF to intercept any hostile aerial intrusion before Israeli population centers are threatened; to forestall disruption of Israeli communication and surveillance systems; and to deny such capabilities from foreign entities, inimical to Israel.

These are the core elements of the security prescription that Yaalon and Gold have subscribed to both implicitly and explicitly. Their commitment to it has—or at least should have—self-evident ramifications.

JCPA’s security prescription: What are the political ramifications?

For anyone with a smidgeon of familiarity with the Arab-Israeli conflict, in general, and the Israel-Palestinian one, in particular, one thing should be undeniably clear: If Israel is to fulfill what the JCPA prescription deems to be its “critical security needs”, the chances of reaching a political resolution through negotiation are—to greatly overstate the case—somewhere between extremely remote to imperceptibly slim. After all, if Israel is to retain control of both the Western and the Eastern slopes of Judea-Samaria, the sky above it, and the “ether” that surrounds it, then there is precious little room for instituting Palestinian self-rule—much less sovereignty.

Under these conditions, there is equally precious little chance of finding any Palestinian negotiating partner, who would even contemplate acquiescing to such conditions—much less signing an agreement to comply with them.

Accordingly, given the persuasive case the JCPA experts make for their security prescription, Israel is confronted with the predicament of having to decide what the political ramifications that arise from it are. What kind of political arrangements, if any, does it facilitate? Should Israel forego some, or all, of its critical security requirement to maintain the hope of a negotiated settlement? If it does, how can any future Israeli government justify playing “Russian roulette” with its citizens’ lives for the sake of such a forlorn hope? If not, what will be the fate of the Palestinian-Arabs, resident in Judea-Samaria?

Need for urgent debate

These and other trenchant questions emerge inevitably from the JCPA’s security prescription—precisely because it is so compelling. They are questions that its authors have a duty to address—precisely because they have made their case so compellingly.

The need to debate them is urgent. After all, if the land-for-peace concept has indeed “imploded” permanently, what is to take its place? How is any alternative to be advanced and implemented? What are the ramifications for the future of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews – and for the Zionist ideal? In recent months I have tried to prod several of the study’s participants into initiating discussion of these questions but sadly found little enthusiasm for broaching them. Indeed, quite the opposite, there seems to be a surprising (or not) reluctance to do so.

I am left to hope that perhaps this essay may pique some interest in projecting the political ramifications of JCPA’s persuasive security prescription into the public discourse; and that Yaalon’s newly formed non-profit “Different Leadership” will take the lead—by picking up the gauntlet…

 

Dr. Martin Sherman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-to-bogy-yaalon-cc-dore-gold-re-israels-security-imperatives/2016/08/21/

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