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August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish State’

2013 Democracy Study in Israel

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Israeli Democracy Institute (not the most rightwing of institutions, in case you were wondering) completed their annual survey of democracy in Israel.

“The project aims at assessing trends in Israeli public opinion regarding realization of democratic values and the performance of government systems and elected officials.”

Some of the major findings are:

- The younger generation are espousing stronger Zionistic views than their elders.

- Younger people believe “Jewish” in more important than “democratic” for the State of Israel. They want a more “Jewish” state.

- Most Israelis want Israel to be more Jewish or “Jewish and Democratic”. Only a 21.8% believe that Israel can not be Jewish and Democratic.

- The survey found that most Israelis were satisfied with the level of freedom of religion and expression they have.

- Many want “Mishpat Ivri” Jewish Law to be the cornerstone of the Israeli Legal System (not the mishmash we currently inherited). Though in a conflict between the democracy and halacha, 42.7% prefer democracy over Jewish law (28.2%).

- Most Israelis (66.7%) believe that only Jews should have final say in critical issues affecting the future of Israel, such as in a referendum about giving away land from Israel in a peace treaty, or critical social and economic issues. Though this percent is in decline from its high of 82.9% in 2010.

- The majority of Israeli consider Jews to be the “chosen people”. Baruch Hashem.

- 73% do not feel there is great tension anymore between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

- 57% of Jews do not want a foreign worker as a neighbor, and 48% would not want an Arab.

- Among Arabs, 46% would not want gay neighbors, and 42% would not want Jewish neighbors.

- 38% of secular (Hiloni) Jews would not want a religious neighbor.

- The majority of Jews, 62.8%, believe that there is no right to refuse to serve in Israel’s territories. While only 50.9% believe that there is no right to refuse regarding evacuating settlements. That’s a number we clearly still need to work on.

- Arabs on the other hand had a healthier attitude, and the majority believed that it is OK to refuse orders you believe are morally wrong – and that includes regarding evacuating settlements.

The entire study, and the IDI’s interpretation of the results can be read here.

A short version with selective infographics can be read here.

Netanyahu Speech a Gamble that Abbas Won’t Call Israel ‘Jewish’

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hammered away at Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas refusal to recognize Israel as Jewish state Sunday night in an address at Bar-Ilan University.

The Prime Minister’s speech, four years after his address to the university when he recognized for the first the idea  of “two states,” was devoted to two subjects – Israel as a Jewish state and the Iranian threat.

He was careful to stay on the good side of President Barack Obama, and he underlined how Israel and the United States “see eye-to-eye” on the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He delivered the same message as in the United Nations last week, but with a  different punch. Prime Minister Netanyahu challenged anyone who believes that Iran is not trying to obtain nuclear weapons to ask it, “Why do you need centrifuges and plutonium?…Seventeen countries have nuclear energy without centrifuges and plutonium. Only someone interested in nuclear weapons wants them.”

In his remarks on the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu showed the other side of the coin from his 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan. On Sunday, Netanyahu did not offer Abbas any plums. He ripped apart the claim that the “settlements” are the heart of the conflict by noting Arab attacks and pogroms on Israel since 1921.

He methodically opened up the past on the Muslim Mufti in Israel who encouraged the Nazi regime to annihilate   Jews, throughout World War II. Prime Minister Netanyahu noted evidence that the Muft once was hosted by Adolf Eichmann during a visit to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

That was his starting point for verbally attacking the Palestinian Authority for a long history of denying that Jews have  a right to their own country in Israel.

He constantly challenged Abbas to compromise and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has turned the demand into a manta and has repeated it so many times that, given the culture of self-pride in the Middle East, Abbas would appear to be bowing down to the “Zionists” if he were to do so.

But Abbas is getting lots of advice from outside the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s leftwing coaches him. The New Israel Fund, Yossi Beilin and J Street officials have taught him to say the right things at the right time.

Netanyahu is gambling that Abbas will continue “not to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” as Israel’s late Ambassador  to the United Nations Abba Eban once said of the Arabs.

If Abbas ever does get up the courage to say what Netanyahu has been goading him to do for three years, the Prime Minister will have a big problem.

The United States and the European Union will put him at the head of the parade to the Nobel Peace Prize and declare, “See! Abbas has made a concession. He proves he wants peace. Don’t ask for anything else. Don’t you know how hard it was for him to say the magic word ‘Jewish’? Now shut up and hand over everything he wants.”

Netanyahu has history with him. The Arabs, and particularly the Palestinian Authority, always respond to winning by concessions with the thinking they can have it all. If Abbas were to blink and concede, his life would be in even more danger than today. He would need to the IDF to protect him.

So long as Abbas does not blink, Israel is safe.

Netanyahu also has one other factor in his favor. Abbas does not read The Jewish Press.

Jewish Agency Hands Gondar School to Ethiopia

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky handed Getnet Amare, the mayor of Gondar, Ethiopia, the keys to the school that had prepared thousands of Jewish Ethiopian children for their subsequent immigration to Israel through education in math, physics, computers and English.

In a ceremony on Monday, the Jewish Agency donated all the school buildings and equipment to the city. “Jews lived in Gondar for 2,500 years. However, their longing to return home never weakened,” Sharansky said at the ceremony marking the conclusion of the Jewish Agency-led Operation Wings of a Dove. Through the operation, launched in 2010, Israel absorbed more about 7,000 people in Ethiopia, the Falash Mura, whose ancestors were Jewish but were forced to convert to Christianity.

“For us it is very symbolic that the Jewish community here is leaving behind a place of study. It’s a promise we make all the countries from which Jews emigrate: that we will leave behind a school for their local community’s children,” Sharansky said.

The final flight of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel will arrive in the Jewish state on Aug. 28 with 400 immigrants.

Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

It’s very difficult to ignore what is going on in Egypt. Daily news coverage of the army slaughtering fellow Egyptians easily engenders sympathy for the victims. One can easily conclude that we are witnessing the actions of a vicious military crushing its unarmed protesting population. Indeed the world community including the United States has been condemning the army for that.

Those daily images of the bloody carnage will generate the same attitude in most people. It is difficult to see dead bodies lined up in makeshift morgues, severely wounded bloody victims, and wives and mothers who cry out in pain at the loss of a husband or child.

It is easy to sympathize with them. The reportage is extremely sympathetic to the underdog victims. But as always the case with media reports – rarely do they see context. It’s always about the underdog. In this case the underdog is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Let us take a moment and look at some historical and religious context.

Egypt’s former dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, was ousted from office after a popular uprising by Egyptian citizens . Democracy was their cry. They had apparently had enough of Mubarak. But he fought back. People were killed. Mubarak was eventually overthrown by his own military and arrested. After a brief military rule elections were held and Musilm Brotherhood candidate Muhamed Morsi was (somewhat surprisingly to me) elected by a majority of Egyptian voters.

Mosri pushed through a new constitution that was largely based on Islamic law. In the meantime Egypt’s economy collapsed and is in shambles. People started protesting again. The Egyptian military once again stepped in and quickly removed Morsi from office.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were outraged seeing themselves robbed of their freely elected leader. They started protesting in huge numbers. The army fought back with live ammunition. The result is what we are now witnessing in the daily news coverage.

The US has wisely not reduced it financial support of Egypt. But it has not been shy about criticizing the Egyptian military’s lethal tactics in trying to suppress Brotherhood protests.

How are we to see what is going on there? How does what is going on in Egypt affect us, the Jewish people? Whose side should we be on… if any?

I think the first thing we have to do is look at what the Egyptian army is really fighting. They are fighting a movement that is extremely anti Semitic as a part of its religious theology. They believe that Israel is a gang, not a country and they will fight it until they destroy it.

The Muslim Brotherhood honors Osama Bin Ladin and condemned his assassination by the United States. Ayman Al Zawahiri the current head of Al Qaida is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood denies the Holocaust while praising Islamic Jihad and martyrdom. They condemn the peace treaty with Israel and they consistently call for the destruction of Israel. In addition, their Arabic website alleges that Jews have created evil in the world throughout history.

It is therefore my view that it does not serve Israel or US interests to support the Muslim Brotherhood – even though the Egyptian military tactic is brutal.

No one supports man’s inhumanity to man which is what it seems like the Egyptian military is doing. But as Chazal tell us – when one is kind to the cruel, they will end up being cruel to the kind. To peace loving democracies like the United States and Israel and to most other Western countries, the Brotherhood should be seen in the same light as Hamas, Hezbollah, and any other Islamist Jihadist group. They should be seen as determined to prevail at all cost. Including at the cost of innocent lives as anyone who lost a loved one on 9/11 can tell you.

What about the Egyptian military? They reflect the will of secular Egypt and have their support. But there is no love lost between Egypt’s secular population and Israel. As Muslims – they are in theory just as opposed to the Jewish State as the Muslim Brotherhood. But they are not in favor of hostilities with the Jewish State and are probably more willing to stand by the peace treaty with Israel as a means of achieving stability in the region. Secular Egyptians are more interested in improving their lives materially and having a government that responds to their needs. Israel’s legitimacy is in their minds a back burner issue for now.

What about the current carnage of Brotherhood members? I’m sorry. I don’t have too much sympathy for religious fanatics whose ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish State and kill Jews… a movement that has spawned the likes Ayman Zawahiri.

They look like innocent victims in the eye of the camera. They portray themselves as devout Muslims whose only goal is to restore their Islamist leader and live religious lives. And they seem to be systematically slaughtered for simply expressing their protest in large numbers. But that is far from the complete picture – to say the least.

In my view the United States should take a ‘hands off’ approach. Let the Egyptian people fight it out. Let nature take its course. The Egyptian military should not be hampered. Financial aid should not be withheld since it helps ensure the continuance of the peace treaty. The Muslim Brotherhood must be defeated. If we allow them to succeed, we allow religious extremism to succeed and increase. And that is the last thing the world needs right now.

I wonder how many secular Egyptians miss Mubarak right about now? He may have been corrupt. But Egypt was a lot better off when he was around. And the Middle East was a lot more stable. The democracy that was hoped for by the west after he was deposed – never happened. Democracy is not only about having a free election. It is about including free and democratic principles that do not force religious law upon all its citizens. That’s what happened with Morsi. And that is why I’m glad he’s gone.

A word about fighting terrorism as perpetrated by the above-mentioned movements .The world should once and for all realize that what they are really fighting is not terrorism but an ideology. I don’t think they do. This is not about supporting a poor underdog… or a brutal military bent on destroying innocent people. This is a holy war initiated by a militant and fanatic religion that loves death more than we love life. How do you fight an idea? I don’t know. But the more the world realizes this fact, the better prepared they will be to deal with it.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

Definition of Insanity: Failed Negotiators Trying Yet Again

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin attempted to conjure arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat into a worthy partner for peace, it seems we have not learned the necessary lessons from the past.

As the “peace process” continued to hit bumps along the way, Israel and its American ally attempted many different variations, all of which led to the same failed result. Perhaps the problem with Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations lies not with the process but with the people involved in representing the parties at the table.

In most professions, when one fails at his job and leaves the project in question in chaos and disarray, he is not asked to keep working on the task at hand. Not so when it comes to the “peace process industry.”

Saeb Erekat is the main representative for the Palestinian delegation. He has held this position in one form or another since 1991 and has not brought the Palestinians one inch closer to peaceful coexistence with Israel. More troubling, it is clear he never really revised his radical views about the Jewish state. During the second intifada, Erekat accused Israel of massacring 500 Palestinians in Jenin, completely ignoring the facts showing that one-tenth of that number had been killed and most of those were armed terrorists. As recently as 2007, Erekat denied the possibility of the Palestinians ever recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Representing the United States at the latest round of talks is former ambassador Martin Indyk. Like Erekat, Indyk has been a major player in the peace industry since the early 1990s, and he also can point to zero achievements in bringing peace and prosperity to our region. On the contrary, when Indyk served as the American ambassador to Israel during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first term, he was known for his disparaging attitude toward the democratically elected government of Israel.

Since leaving public office, Indyk has revealed his true political leanings. Until his recent appointment by Secretary of State Joh

n Kerry, Indyk chaired the International Council of the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization that has refused to stop funding groups that call for boycotting Israel.

Finally, we are left with Israel’s chief negotiator. Compared to Erekat and Indyk, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is a relative newcomer to peace negotiations. Nevertheless, she too has endured countless hours of negotiating with the Palestinians. Most troubling, her views do not represent the majority of the current government and are at odds with the average Likud voter, not to mention the Israeli public, which sharply spurned her in the recent elections.

While serving under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Livni offered the Palestinians more than 95 percent of the historic Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria and the unprecedented division of Jerusalem – an offer that was ultimately rejected by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Erekat.

As a father of three small children, there is nothing I want more than to believe that the latest round of talks will lead to true and lasting peace. But we all know that a definition of insanity is the endless repetition of the same experiment in the hope of obtaining a different result. Therefore, all sides should end the insanity and appoint negotiators who have not failed us in the past and who truly represent the best interests of the people they aspire to represent.

(JNS)

These European and American Ideas May Be Dangerous to your Health

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

In a YNet op-ed, Hagai Segal writes,

Our Declaration of Independence includes 650 words. The word “Jewish,” in its different forms, appears 20 times, while the word “democracy” doesn’t even appear once.

The people who drafted the declaration and signed it had the highest regard for democratic values, but first and foremost they wanted to stress its Jewish side. Perhaps they said to themselves that there are many democracies in the world, but only one Jewish country. It’s important to protect it.

These days it’s even more important. From the outside and from within attempts are being made to undermine the Jewish character of the Jewish state. The dark forces rely on the fatigue of the Zionist material in order to internationalize Israel and declare it a state of all its citizens. They are taking advantage of the fact that over the years the fashion here has changed, and democracy has been emphasized at the expense of Judaism.

The Israeli Left takes its cues from Western Europe and the U.S. From Europe it gets the ideas of multiculturalism, postnationalism, hedonism and hatred of religion. Together these are a recipe for a low native birthrate and a rapidly increasing, non-assimilating Muslim population. Europe is rapidly moving toward a point of no return, in which, paradoxically, the very features of its Enlightenment culture that support openness and egalitarianism will lead to its replacement by a distinctly non-democratic, authoritarian Islamic one.

America is another source of ideas, in this case the absolute maximum of freedom of expression. Where else would the outrageous Westboro Baptist Church be tolerated? American freedom of expression is remarkable in the world, and that may be in part because the US is a large nation both physically and by population, with friendly neighbors, separated by oceans from its enemies. It is also composed of diverse groups that more or less buy into the general narrative of the nation. That doesn’t mean that nothing can bring it down, but it can absorb a great deal of internal and external pressure without breaking.

Israel, on the other hand, is small and surrounded by enemies. One out of every five Israelis is an Arab, the same ethnicity of most of its enemies, who — while he may be loyal to the state — almost certainly believes in a historical narrative in which the state is not only illegitimate, but his oppressor, responsible for the dispossession of his relatives in the great ‘disaster’ of 1948. There are also Jewish Israelis who believe, for religious reasons, that Jewish sovereignty is an abomination.

There are also great external pressures opposed to emphasizing the Jewishness of the state. To a large extent they come from Europe, which is jealous of Israel’s cultural and economic vitality, angered that is succeeding on a path so divergent from Europe’s, and suffused with guilt about the recent genocide of its own Jewish population. Europe is acting on its beliefs, both by explicit pro-Arab diplomacy, and by covertly expending millions of Euros to support NGOs in Israel that promote its anti-nationalist (and even anti-state) line.

Another force is the American Jewish Left, as represented by the New Israel Fund (NIF) and to some extent by the Union for Reform Judaism. The NIF is particularly dangerous, supporting Israeli Arab groups that would like to redefine the state as binational.

A state that requires sacrifice from its people to survive, will only get it if there is a compelling ideological motivation driving its citizens to make the requisite sacrifices. This is how Israel has survived until now. But there is no compelling ideology for maintaining a “state of its citizens” next door to Hizballah, Hamas, the Muslim Brothers and whatever vicious regime will rule Syria.

Jews yearned for Jerusalem for 2000 years, and Zionists have struggled for more than 100 — and are continuing to struggle — to restore and now preserve Jewish sovereignty in Land of Israel, which I believe has become a necessary condition for the survival of the Jews as a people. I can’t see today’s Judaism surviving another diaspora. A great deal is at stake here.

Knesset Bills Would Define Israel as Jewish State

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Two bills submitted to the Knesset on Tuesday would legislate Israel’s Jewish character and as a democratic state.

A bill proposed by coalition chairman Likud Knesset Member Yariv Levin and Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked would create a Basic Law declaring that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people and does not recognize it as a national homeland of any other people. It confirms that Israel is a democracy and says that the country will uphold the rights of all of its citizens no matter what religion.

The bill submitted by Ruth Calderon of the Yesh Atid Party calls for the Declaration of Independence to be adopted as Basic Law. According to the Declaration of Independence, Israel is defined as a democratic state of the Jewish people.

A similar bill was proposed in the last Knesset by former lawmaker Avi Dichter of the Kadima party, though that bill called for Hebrew to be the country’s only official language.

The political significance of the bills would be to preclude any possibility for Israel to accede to Palestinian Authority demands that the country allow the immigration of approximately five million Arabs who live in foreign countries and claim Israel as their home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knesset-bills-would-define-israel-as-jewish-state/2013/06/26/

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