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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘line’

Netanyahu Warns the World: A Nuclear Iran Is like a Nuclear Al Qaeda

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

In his dramatic speech to the United Nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed a simple image to make clear home his urgent message to the international community to lay down a “clear red line” before Iran’s nuclear program – or face a reality in which a nuclear Iran would be be as dangerous as a nuclear Al Qaeda.

Netanyahu’s address before the U.N. General Assembly was a forceful appeal to the U.S. and all the other nations who understand the Iranian threat, to join Israel in drawing a line in the sand, beyond which Iran would have to face a military response.

Netanyahu stated that the “security of the world” is at stake.

“I ask, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said to the assembly. “Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?”

“The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.”

“Red lines do not lead to war; red lines prevent war,” he told the United Nations General Assembly.

Netanyahu said the red line needed to be drawn “first and foremost on Iran‘s attempts to enrich uranium to 90 percent.”

After that it‘s too late, he said.

He said that Iran will finish the medium enrichment stage by next summer, and will move on to the final stage. At that point, he said, it would only be a matter of a few more weeks until Iran had enriched enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

The prime minister showed a kind of diagram with a cartoonish bomb, divided into three segments, each one representing a stage of uranium enrichment. Netanyahu drew a red line with a marker before the end of the second stage.

Netanyahu began his address with a heartfelt response to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Jews have no history in the Middle East. The PM related the history of the unbroken ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, and vowed that they would remain there forever.

“Throughout our history the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who sought our destruction,” he said. “The Jewish people have come home. We will never be uprooted again.”

Netanyahu’s insistence that President Obama join him in drawing “red lines” that could spur an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities has been roundly rejected by the Administration and is threatening Israel’s relationship with this White House.

It has been noted that Obama did not meet with Netanyahu this week, even though both leaders were scheduled to speak at the U.N. Obama’s Republican foes were very critical of this presidential snub.

The only comment Obama made in his Tuesday U.N. speech regarding the Iranian nuclear program, was that the U.S. “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” Obama said. “It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who attacked decades of Israeli “racist” policies, received only a short comment from Nwetanyahu, who told the assembly: “We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the U.N. That’s not the way to solve them. We won’t solve our differences with a unilateral declaration of statehood. We have to sit together and negotiate together in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish state.”

All’s Well That Ends Well

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

On August 29, 2011, I took my three kids to a New York Mets baseball game and was sitting in the front row. During the last inning, my 12-year-old son Eliezer was hit in the face by a line drive (the clip is on YouTube, “Baseball hits boy, Mets-Marlins”). He was rushed to the hospital and received eight stitches; he was discharged the next day.

A few days later he started throwing up blood and was rushed by Hatzolah to Long Island Jewish Hospital. They told me he had a fracture in his skull and would need a craniotomy that would be scheduled for Tuesday, because of the Labor Day weekend. My father-in-law called all the yeshivot and shuls and, thanks to their tefillot, we were told on Monday morning that the doctor reviewed the CT-scan and was going to hold off on performing surgery.

They discharged Eliezer again and, to our horror, Hatzolah took him back to the hospital that same night. Due to his internal bleeding, he lost half his blood and needed two blood transfusions.

He had surgery on his nose, which stopped the bleeding. He is, Baruch Hashem, back to good health now. I wish to thank Chai Lifeline for their amazing support and help – and all of you for your prayers.

Miracle of the Crowded Pilgrims

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

The Mishna in “Chapters of our Fathers” 5:5 describes ten miracles that used to occur in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (a couple of feet above the Western Wall in the picture). One of those miracle was that when the pilgrims—hundreds of thousands of them—stood in the Temple courtyard, they were crammed together, like the crowd you see here, photographed Monday night, the eve of Yom Kippur.

But when the time came for every pilgrim to prostrate themselves on the ground, the dimensions of the place morphed and each individual pilgrim had ample space so that no person touched the bodies of their fellow worshippers.

The multitude in the Temple courtyard fell on the ground as the High Priest read out the full name of God, all 72 letters of It. And when he was done, they all cried out: Blessed be the Name of His Kingdom for eternity.

We do both those things on Yom Kippur, during the Mussaf prayer: prostrate ourselves on the floor of the synagogue (on a sheet of paper), and cry out the blessing which, on normal days we only whisper.

It preserves the muscle memory of the ancient ceremony.

During the year, we whisper the “Blessed be the Name of His Kingdom for eternity” line after we say the opening line of the Shma reading. Each day, twice a day, when I say that line, I’m transported in my head to the place where I had last said it out loud, prostrated on the floor.

For an entire year now, I’ve been returning in my head, twice a day, to the Stanton Street Shul on the Lower East Side, where I last kept Yom Kippur.

This year, we’ll be staying with our friends in Tzfat, and will be davening in a Chasidish place in that strange, old town. I’ll be saying good bye to the last spiritual vestige of the Diaspora inside my head.

Possibly…

Have a meaningful fast. If you wish, this can be the most fun day of the year.

Senate Overwhelmingly Endorses ‘Capability’ Red Line on Iran

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly endorsed language that sets a red line for Iran “nuclear capability.”

The non-binding resolution, introduced in February by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), says that “it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”

The resolution passed late Friday by a vote of 90-1, with only Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voting against.

The language is in line with Israel’s red lines and goes further than the Obama administration, which has set as a red line Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

It is not precisely clear what “capability” entails. A number of experts believe Iran already has crossed that threshold and is capable of manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the resolution’s passage.

“AIPAC applauds the Senate for rejecting a policy of containment of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability and calling for an increase in sanctions against the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” the group said in a statement.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed similar language in May, and the term “capability” has made it into other legislation, including the most recent sanctions legislation.

America’s Ambivalent Iran Doctrine

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Is Washington’s refusal to set red lines over Iran’s nuclear military program spurring Tehran to continue onward, towards nuclear weapons possession, at full speed?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has issued a call for clear red lines to be defined by the international community. The idea behind the lines is simple: A breach of them by Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons will trigger action against it.

Jerusalem presumably believes that without red lines, Iran will simply not take the threat of military force seriously enough to freeze its uranium enrichment, or enter into further negotiations in any meaningful way.

Washington, saying that the only red line it abides by is the production of nuclear weapons, rejected this call. Any further red lines, President Barack Obama said earlier this month, would constrain the U.S.’s room to maneuver.

Furthermore, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, countries are not governed by red lines.

However, as Dr. Emily Landau, a senior arms control expert from Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies pointed out Obama himself used red lines twice this year — and did so effectively.

In the first instance, when Iran threatened to respond to economic sanctions by closing off the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane, through which much of the world’s oil passes, Obama said that doing so would constitute an unacceptable breach of a red line. Sure enough, Iran backed off, and downplayed its own threat within a few weeks.

The second use of a red line came after it emerged that Syrian dictator Basher Assad was moving deadly chemical weapons around Syria. Obama said that any further movements of the unconventional weapons, or signs that they were about to be used, would constitute a breach of a red line. There have been no further reports of chemical weapons on the move in war-torn Syria.

Iran knows that the U.S. is being selective about its use of red lines, and that the Obama Administration is reluctant to use this same pressure mechanism on its nuclear program.

What conclusion is Iran likely to take away? One need look no farther than Iran’s rapidly progressing uranium enrichment drive, its continuing refusal to allow IAEA experts access to nuclear facilities, and the fact that no serious negotiations between the P5+1 representatives (the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany) and Iran are on the horizon.

The threat of military force is supposed to be one of three critical pillars of a comprehensive policy to persuade the Iranian regime to stop its march towards atomic bombs.

The second pillar, biting sanctions, is in place, and is taking its toll on the Iranian economy. But the sanctions have utterly failed to convince Tehran to change course on its nuclear program. So long as the worsening Iranian economy does not influence the rate of uranium enrichment, sanctions cannot be considered to have worked.

The third and last pillar, diplomacy, is currently dead in the water, after three failed rounds of negotiations this year.

All three pillars are tied to each other – a structural weakness in one means the other two cannot function properly. In this instance, it is the pillar of a credible military threat that is looking weak, and a refusal to discuss red lines is contributing to that weakness.

Ironically, the less credible the threat of military force is, the more likely it is that military force will eventually have to be used.

Some in the Obama Administration, such as Defense Secretary Panetta, have pointed out that Israel too has not set red lines on Iran. But Israel is not involved in negotiations with Iran, and a red line pressure mechanism would be of no use to Israel — a fact that makes Panetta’s claim appear rather cynical in the eyes of Israeli national security analysts.

There are other factors leading Iran to confirm its belief that the international community is not serious about stopping its nuclear program.

One of them is the public spat between Netanyahu and Obama over these very issues. The open argument, which has escalated into unprecedented feuding via international media outlets, will surely give Iran more cause to trivialize international resolve and unity.

When chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said last month that an Israeli strike would only delay Iranian nuclear progress, but not destroy the program, he seemed to be stating the obvious. Read between the lines, however, and Dempsey appeared to be hinting that a delay caused by an Israeli strike would not be significant.

The comment seemed to be part of an open U.S. media campaign to dissuade Israel from striking. What it may have done instead was damage Israeli deterrence in Iranian eyes.

The lack of red lines, diplomatic arguments among allies, and an unconvincing threat of military force will all lead Iran to move forward on its nuclear program.

In the meantime, it seems fair to believe that Iran is quickly approaching Israel’s own, unannounced red line.

Aussies, Danes, Swedes Turks, and Bedouins Learn New Media & Public Diplomacy at Ariel University

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The delegates arrived from all over the world including Denmark, Sweden, Turkey and Australia, to take part in the New Media & Public Diplomacy Seminar at Ariel University in Samaria. Their formal goal is to “gain a better understanding of how public diplomacy shapes the Middle East conflict,” but they are also counting on having a lot of fun.

“It is wonderful to be here again,” said Turkish delegate Aga Beck. Although he had recently visited Israel two months ago, this was his first time over the 1967 green line.

“I’m not shocked to be here, since I don’t believe the news in Turkey” he said. But his friends from home see it differently: “My friends are shocked that I came to Israel, because they have really ‘interesting’ views concerning Israel.”

I met Diana Nujidaat, from the Galilee, at the entrance to the dormitories. She’s in her last year of high school and dreams of becoming a member of the Israeli parliament. She has lived her entire life in Israel yet she’s never been over the 1967 green line. “It’s my first time here and I’m very excited to be here.” Nujidaat hails from a Bedouin tribe in Israel and explained that “It’s an Israeli state, the majority is Jewish, and I accept that, but this is also my state.”

Magnos Frank, a delegate from Denmark, is very exited to have come to Israel. “I’m very glad to be here, and I’m looking forward to this seminar.”

The program’s field trips are of special interest to him as he pointed out that “it’s a rare opportunity, you can’t just call the army and ask to be shown around.”

The seminar is sponsored by the Communications School at Ariel university and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs. It is taking place throughout this coming week, concluding on September 14th.

As part of the program, delegates will meet with Israeli officials, reporters, professors and political activists such as the ‘watch’ women and settlers. The delegates will also travel in the West Bank and visit sensitive area in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hikind Thrown Off Conservative Party Line

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

New York State Appellate Court Second Judicial Department ruled in favor of Assembly candidate Moshe Tischler and ordered that the NYC Board of Elections remove Dov Hikind from the Conservative ballot line for November’s General Election. Assemblyman Hikind is running for reelection in the 48th assembly district in Brooklyn. In a unanimous ruling, the four judge panel wrote “The Board of elections in the city of New Yorkis ordered to remove the name of Dov Hikind from the appropriate ballot.”

Mr. Hikind was found by the court to have insufficient valid signatures necessary by law to make the ballot line.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hikind-thrown-off-conservative-party-line/2012/09/12/

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