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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish State’

Hamas Hates Fatah, Sunnis Hate Shiites, But They All hate Jews So Much More

Monday, December 24th, 2012

There are many points of disagreement between Fatah and Hamas; so many that they fought an ugly civil war in 2007, leaving Hamas in control of Gaza and Fatah in control of the West Bank. It is a mistake, however, to conclude from their often violent enmity, that Fatah, the so-called “moderate” faction, is or can be a partner to Israel in “peacemaking” or in finding the “two state solution” so beloved of Western politicians.

It is also a mistake for the U.S. and the West to push Israel toward concessions to Mahmoud Abbas in the hope of strengthening Fatah against Hamas.

The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. It is entirely possible for two parties to hate each other, but to agree they hate you more. And so it is in this case. Hamas and Fatah are not opposite ends of some mythical Palestinian political spectrum – they are merely different approaches to the same end.

Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, rooted in Sunni expansionism but aligned with Iran for purposes of money, training and weapons.

This is another instance in which two parties (Sunnis and Shiites) can be at war at one level, but agree to make war together on a third party (Israel). Fatah is open to a (very temporary) political settlement with Israel as long as it brings millions of Arabs into Israel over whom Israel would exercise no functional control.

For both Fatah and Hamas, the bottom line is that the establishment of Israel in 1948, with the blessing of the United Nations, was a mistake by the international community that needs to be corrected.

It was a Western delusion to believe that the parameters of the deal the U.S. and Israel were pursuing was also the goal the Palestinians were pursuing.

President Obama, in one of his first speeches on the subject (2009) as president, said:

Let me be clear: The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of goodwill around the world… That is a goal that I will actively pursue as President of the United States.

The President was asserting that the Palestinians agreed that their national aspirations could be satisfied with a split, rump state wedged between a hostile Israel and an even more hostile Jordan.

The Palestinians never agreed to original division of the British Mandate into Jordan under a Hashemite King (77%) and west-of-the-Jordan (23%) for the Jews. The Palestinians also never agreed that west-of-the-Jordan could be further subdivided to give the Jews a permanent, legitimate, sovereign piece of land . Obama was mistaken. Palestinian leadership has yet to be bribed or forced to agree that Israel is a legitimate, permanent player in the region.

Israel seeks recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and Mr. Obama appears to agree, having said only a few months ago, “The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish State of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine.”

Abbas demurs. “I do not accept it. [Israel as a "Jewish state"] It is not my job to give a description of the state. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic – it’s none of my business.” Later he said, “Israel can call itself…the Jewish-Zionist Empire.” Last year he said, “Let me make something clear about the story of the ‘Jewish state’… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’”

This is not a semantic problem. If the United States is wrong about the outline of a future deal, it also wrong about Palestinian internal politics. Hamas and Fatah are seeking “unity;” where they converge is in agreeing that political advances for the Palestinians put Israel at a disadvantage (the Fatah position), and that military advances for the Palestinians also put Israel at a disadvantage (the Hamas position).

So, in an uneasy alliance, Fatah pursues one and Hamas the other.

Unity, however, should not be confused with shared power. Only one faction will ultimately speak for the Palestinians, and Hamas is presently on course to swallow Fatah despite the loss of patronage from Syria.

Fatah’s political advances, including UN General Assembly recognition of “Palestine” as a “non-member state,” attracted little visible enthusiasm from the public, and Abbas’s PA is mired economic disarray compounded by corruption.

Hamas, on the other hand, is basking in local glory for its attacks on Israel and its breakout from diplomatic isolation.

Abbas and company understand that Hamas may ultimately succeed in taking control of the Palestinian Authority. For example, Hamas rallies were permitted on the West Bank for the first time since the civil war. Abbas is discussing a possible future confederation with Jordan. Fatah has been curtailing security cooperation with the IDF and there are those who believe a third “intifada” has already begun. [Leaving an odd problem for Israel – would the IDF try to save Abbas and his corrupt administration in the face of popular enthusiasm for Hamas?] Even partial success in allowing Hamas to accede to power with minimal internecine killing might allow Fatah officials to escape to a safe haven — their money having probably already escaped.

Abbas has flown in the face of each request by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton for movement toward an agreement with Israel. It was inevitable because they — and Israel — were asking for something he does not wish to deliver: not a “two state solution,” but a Fatah-Israel alliance against Hamas.

All the years, all the dollars, all the military training and assistance including stewardship by three American generals, all the political acceptance — including an “embassy” in Washington and diplomatic status — could not buy the United States one iota of political clout where it counted. It is an enormous American failure of understanding to think those things would trump the natural morphing of Palestinian leadership toward the convergence of politics, religion and “national origin” against the “foreign.” Rather than face their lack of insight and the concomitant failure of their vision, the default position of the Administration and its European allies is to blame Israel – for a lack of “empathy” and “generosity,” and for “provocation” of Palestinian irritation.

If the Palestinian leadership continues to unify under Hamas, the question will be whether the U.S. and Israel will finally be able to admit the inherent limitations of the “peace process,” or whether the West will continue to push for a “two state solution” at Israel’s expense.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Jewish State from River to Sea a Better Place for Arabs

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

My wife forwarded to me this morning an email from our friend Jill from Oakland, Calif. Jill asked: “What do you and Yori think about a 2 state solution? I am very interested in your opinions.” All love, Jille.

Hi Ya, Jill!

The 2-state solution – which seems an obvious idea, what could be more logical than a case in which two people are disputing ownership of the same land – they should split it – has been proposed and tried several times:

In 1936, a British fact finding committee recommended it, and the publication resulted in an Arab rebellion that spread across the Middle east, flamed by Nazi support.

In 1947, the UN voted in favor of just such a plan, resulting in immediate hostilities, developing into the 1948-49 war in which local Arabs and invaders from 5 Arab states attempted to annihilate the Jews of Palestine.

In 1994, the Oslo Accords to split the land resulted in several years of the worst terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.

In 2000, the Camp David agreement negotiated by Clinton between then Israeli PM Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat resulted in the Second Intifada, once again, rivers of blood.

Remember what Albert Einstein said about the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Mind you, I’m not branding the Arabs in this conflict as the bad guys and the Jews as angels. Israel, for reasons of stupidity, greed, chauvinism – you name it – has missed as many opportunities as the Arabs have to resolve the problem in ways that would be beneficial to everyone living here. But what is the common theme in all the past abysmal failures to turn that very logical 2-state solution into anything other than a bloody mess?

It requires a straight forward, honest and sincere acceptance of a Jewish state in some recognized borders in the area somewhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. So far, every single Arab leader who actually supported this position openly and bravely — was found by an assassin’s knife or bullet or car bomb.

Mahmoud Abbas, the current President of the Palestinian Authority, has been cleverly playing a double game, avoiding an actual recognition of an Israeli state with full rights, but appearing as a man of peace and of law, while the other half of the Palestinian nation, the one in Gaza which is ruled by Hamas, is vowing to eliminate the “Zionist entity” by fire. One hand offers an illusive peace, the other promises – and delivers – death to the Jews.

I’ve lived for almost sixty years and learned at least one thing: There are no spontaneous, popular movements, demonstrations, or eruptions of violence. If those things happen, it means someone wanted them to happen and was willing to pay, be it the U.S., Europe, Iran, the Saudis, the Egyptians, Israel.

The fact is no one actually wants a democratic, independent Palestinian state. Everybody wants and badly needs hordes of Palestinians vying for such a state but never getting one. When they’re in a dynamic state, they can be used – by everyone, including Israel. And each time a Palestinian leader tries to actually go seriously about having a state – he or she meet a bullet.

In my opinion, the best thing for the region would be a Jewish, Democratic state from the river to the sea, with equal rights for everybody. It exists as Israel right now, where some 20 percent of the citizens are non-Jews, mostly Muslim and Christian Arabs. They vote and get elected (11 Knesset seats are held by Arabs), many of them serve in the military, go to university and work as professionals. On Shabbat and Jewish holidays, the Israeli medical system is run almost exclusively by Arabs. Arab municipalities are thriving.

They all recognize that they’re living in a Jewish state. They all bitch about discrimination. They all have a zillion anecdotal stories about how tough it is to live as an Arab minority in a majority Jewish state. But very few of them would rather live in, say, Syria, or Iraq, or Iran, or even Egypt. You may not know this, but Palestinians are kind of the Jews of the Arab world – despised and discriminated against. You may recall that, back in 1991, after the American Desert Storm effort restored the Kuwaiti royal family, the first thing they did was to throw 400 thousand Palestinians out to the desert, punishing all of them for the few who had collaborated with the invading Iraqis.

The Jews of the United States

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Years have passed since Rabbi Kahane penned this essay, but it still rings sadly true today. Rabbi Kahane was known for saying uncomfortable things that comfortable Jews didn’t want to hear. In honor of his yahrtzeit, here’s another one of his brilliant and illuminating writings, which was published almost 25 years ago in The Jewish Press and was recently reprinted in the fabulous, opus, seven-volume collection of Rabbi Kahane’s short writings, “Beyond Words.”

The Jews of the  United States

March 25, 1988

Jewish leaders in Israel and the world have long warned that the Jewish State risks standing bereft of “allies.” That should Israel take “extreme” and provocative action, i.e., be prepared to do the difficult and painful things that it must do in order to survive, it faces the hazard of standing alone against a hostile world. What is just as clear to perceptive Jews is that, should the State of Israel do what is necessary to survive, i.e., take steps that go against the basic grain of liberal, Western democratic views, it risks splitting a large part of the United States Jewish community. And, indeed, the signs of dissent and hostility are there for all to see. They raised their ominous heads during the war in Lebanon, and, emboldened, are louder and more vociferous, today.

Once, in the wake of both the Holocaust and the establishment of the Jewish State, it was simply impossible for any Jew who sought to be recognized as a member of the community, to condemn Israel. The terrible Holocaust and the terror it meant for Jews who lived through that period gave Israel— as the haven for Jews from such future terrors — an immunity from attacks by Jews. But as with all things that are based on emotion, rather than logic and ideology, as times changed and as a generation changed and moved on to make way for another, so did the attitude toward and the status of the Jewish State.

There was always a built-in contradiction within the Jewish Establishment leadership and certainly within the intellectual community. While they supported Israel, they were essentially products of non-Jewish, Western culture and values. They were first and foremost liberals, before they were Jews. Not for them was “my people and Israel, right or wrong.” They wanted “right,” and the standards by which they judged morality were liberal ones. Indeed, they had persuaded themselves that they were also “Jewish,” since peace of mind and conscience — as well as awesome ignorance — demanded the equating of Judaism and Jefferson, the “Hebrew prophets” (sic) and liberalism.

In the first 20 years of the Jewish State, there were few abrasive moments and few opportunities for the ridiculous equation to be tested. But following the Six-Day War, and as the euphoria wore off, as the Yom Kippur War badly tarnished the image of the Israeli Superman, and, most importantly, as the distance from Auschwitz grew longer and a generation grew up that knew not the horrors — things changed. Liberal Jews, with their psychological inability to be winners (losing is so much easier and losers so much more lovable), began to squirm over the “occupied territories,” the use of force by Jews against “civilians, women and children,” albeit to save Jewish lives. Talk began to be heard in certain Jewish circles about Israeli “intransigence” and unwillingness to compromise. The poor “Palestinian” refugees were, more and more, the subject of Jewish concern (though not, apparently, how they had become refugees). The terms “moderate Palestinians” (and even “moderate terrorists”) began to find their place in the lexicon of liberal Jews and certain Jewish Establishment groups.

And then, of course, came Lebanon and Sabra and Shatila, and all the submerged and sublimated liberal hostility to Israel emerged. And that is, of course, the proper term. “Hostility.” And it was hostility on the part of many Jews, especially Reform and Conservative rabbis, who always sensed the impossible contradiction between Zionism and a Jewish State, and the liberal, Westernized values they truly believed in. And so, pulpiteers ordered their congregants to rise at Yom Kippur services and beat their breasts for Israeli sins against helpless “Palestinians.” And more and more Op-Ed pieces by Jews and Jewish leaders began to appear, dissenting from Israel and criticizing her. Until, today, a real and major split is before us. And the question is: What to do about it?

Critical Days with Egypt – On Eroding Force Limits

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

When you interact with a chess player you had better not think like a tic tac toe player.

And Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy is most definitely a chess player.

The decision to temporarily allow Egypt to deploy attack helicopters in Sinai very close to Israel’s border may very well be justified. But with emphasis on “temporary” and with a sincere hope that we were smart enough to formally establish just how unique the circumstances were.

Let’s be clear about the problem:

For years the Egyptians have been trying to erode the Sinai force restrictions set in the peace treaty they signed with Israel. Force restrictions that were a necessary condition for Israel agreeing to restore the Sinai to Egyptian control.

The Egyptians see the force restrictions as impinging on their sovereignty.

We always considered the force restrictions as critical for the Jewish State’s national security and, frankly speaking, with the Moslem Brotherhood leading Egypt, we need the force restrictions more than ever.

When the Egyptians argue for dropping the force restrictions they exploit Israel’s Achilles’ heel: an ongoing Israeli tendency not to chapter-and-verse our agreements and treaties in policy discussions. It’s a tendency to relate to the “spirit” of agreements rather than the actual texts.

In this case, we have the Egyptian narrative that the force limits – in particular in the zone closest to the border with Israel – make it impossible for them to maintain order.

The truth is that, as Mohamed Bassiouny, Egypt’s former ambassador to Israel from 1986 to 2000 told Al-Masry Al-Youm almost a year ago (25/08/2011) “the treaty allows Egypt to put any number of police personnel in this section.”

And the quality and training of those cops is at the discretion of Egypt.

Taken to an extreme: if Egypt wanted to, it could take its most elite commando units and do the paperwork to make them police and deploy them in the border area. A force with both the skill and discipline to be able to do the job without requiring equipment restricted by the treaty. And it could do this without even consulting with Israel.

Again: the treaty, as it stands, provides Egypt the tools to enforce order while still honoring the force restrictions.

And it would be best that Israel makes this point clear both to Egypt and to the relevant elements of the international community.

We simply cannot afford to allow ourselves to be sucked into a situation that these vital force restrictions are eroded.

Originally published at http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=57812

Kosher Hot Dogs and the Dichotomy of Tisha B’Av

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Wailing, fasting and the wearing of ashes, alongside socializing, communing and catching up with old friends in a fun outdoor atmosphere. That is the dichotomy of the 9th of Av in modern day Jerusalem. On the one hand a somber mood, but on the other hand, a paradoxical sense of joviality fills the warm summer night.

It makes sense that some level of happiness is in the air, because after all, we are bewailing the destruction of Jerusalem in a big, beautiful and built Jerusalem. This contrast is highlighted in the Jewish liturgy on the 9th of Av when we say the “Nachem” prayer referring to mournful, destroyed and desolate Jerusalem. However, we say that prayer in one of the hundreds of beautiful Synagogues in the city, or at the courtyard of Jerusalem’s city hall, or at the Western Wall with thousands of our fellow Jewish Israeli citizens who have travelled from other thriving Israeli cities on the paved roads of the Jewish state to pray for the future of Jerusalem.

Indeed, a major change has taken place in Jewish life, and while we keep the same rites as we have kept for 2000 years, our reality is vastly different. To understand the change, here is a parable: Two women are in a room and both are single. One’s husband has just died, while the other is engaged to be married – both are indeed single, but they are in totally different states of mind.

So, too, is the Jewish nation: We have mourned for the last two millennia because we were forcibly dispossessed of our land, our capital was sacked, our Temple destroyed and it was as though our husband was murdered. But now with half the Jewish people in the land of Israel and Jerusalem standing in earthly beauty, we are engaged to be married and await the next stage of fulfillment. Our mourning now is the yearning for a final redemption – like a bride waiting for the wedding canopy, we impatiently await the completion of this great process.

Yet, so many Jews deny the obvious reality. Almost like a mantra, they tell you that nothing has changed, that we are still in exile, that there is no difference between living in Israel and living in the Diaspora. Our own people somehow don’t see the transformation that has opened the doors for our nation to return to lost tradition, speak our national language, fight in a Jewish army, and create a culturally Jewish state on our ancestral land. One gets the impression that some prefer not to see it, lest it break their romance with other dreams, namely, the American Dream.

Recently, I caught an article in the Jewish Journal and it was titled: “They just want kosher Dodger Dogs”. The article went on to say that a consortium of six “accomplished professionals” who are also “season ticket holders” are working to remedy the lack of kosher hot dogs at Dodger Stadium in LA. “We are really just a group of people who feel very strongly that the second-largest Jewish community in the country should have the ability to eat a Jewish hot dog at a ballgame…” said a member of the committee, an attorney.

Seriously? Is this what grown men spend their time on? The Jewish people are engaged in the most exciting project in two thousand years – building a Jewish State. We face enormous challenges to build up, educate, and protect our people, and all this is happening while wealthy season-ticket Kosher-eating Jews are fighting for Kosher hot dogs in Dodger stadium? Are we so comfortable with the status quo that Jewish leaders can spend their time on nonsense?

Even closer to their home, in the great state of California there are serious problems with antisemitism at many colleges, high intermarriage rates, and scores of Jews who are losing all connection with Judaism. Some young Jews don’t stand a chance of getting Jewish schooling, while others are afraid to show their Kippah on campus. Yet a group of wealthy Kosher-eating Jews is not ashamed to go public with their efforts to bring fresh Kosher dogs to their box seats?

Survey: Israelis Think Romney ‘Friendlier’ to Jewish State

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

A survey on American-Israeli relations has concluded that Israelis consider Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to be more ‘friendly’ towards Israel than incumbent Barack Obama, EJP reports.

The poll, commissioned by Bar-Ilan University and the Anti-Defamation League, shows that only 45% of Israeli respondents think Obama is ‘friendly’ towards Israel, and 29% thought Romney would be better for Israel’s interests, compared to 22% who thought the same about Obama.

Surprisingly, after almost four years in office, a full 49% of Israelis polled did not know or would not answer questions regarding Obama’s Israel agenda.

The poll was released ahead of a conference on American-Israeli relations at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday and Monday.

A survey published earlier this year by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), 45% of U.S. Jewish voters would choose Romney on the issue of US-Israel relations, compared to 42% for Obama, with 22% of Jews saying it was the most important issue in deciding which candidate to choose.

EJP reported that Israeli officials are saying Romney’s team are preparing for an early campaign visit to Israel at the end of June. Romney’s campaign staff has so far denied this. Jonny Daniels, senior advisor to Knesset Deputy speaker Danny Danon, told EJP the trip is “definitely being planned.”

Obama visited Israel briefly during his 2008 campaign, but skipped it on his tour of the Middle east as president.

Members of the Bukharian Jewish Community Supporting Israel

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Possibly the most colorful group of Israel-loving Jews parading on Fifth Avenue Sunday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/even-camels-love-israel/2012/06/04/

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