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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Protective Edge’

US State Dept Attacks Its Ally, Israel Over UNRWA Human Shields

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

The U.S. State Department has attacked its ally, Israel, for returning fire in combat when Hamas and allied terrorists shelled its soldiers or fired rockets at Israeli civilians from within and around UNWRA facilities.

It is standard military practice that American own troops have carried out thousands of times in Afghanistan, Mosul and elsewhere around the world without ever issuing even one leaflet of warning to the population, let alone a phone call requesting residents to leave.

The buildings under discussion are owned by the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) and were sheltering Gazans who were displaced by the combat initiated by Hamas. The situation made a very juicy, deliberate photo op for the terrorists, as noted in the terrorist training manual captured earlier in the summer by the IDF.

The terrorists were exploiting the United Nations facilities as rocket launching sites and in some cases, as weapons storage facilities, and were operating very close to the buildings where the Gaza civilians were staying, in a deliberate and cynical use of human shields. All this has been documented.

An UNRWA health center and attached distribution center in Jabaliya were exploited by Hamas terrorists for use as a rocket firing site from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. Satellite imagery documented the evidence.

An UNRWA health center and attached distribution center in Jabaliya were exploited by Hamas terrorists for use as a rocket firing site from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. Satellite imagery documented the evidence.

And all of which seemingly has been ignored by the State Department, which scored Israel for returning fire to the source of attacks on its civilians and soldiers.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at a briefing this past Thursday, “We were horrified by the strikes that hit UNWRA facilities.”

As a matter of fact, it is not at all clear that any Israeli shells actually hit UNRWA facilities while they were occupied. There is satellite imagery and video documentation that the buildings were empty at the time that a single Israeli shell struck an UNWRA building.

Other shells that struck around UNRWA buildings and in a courtyard and were aimed directly with surgical precision at the terrorists who were being targeted precisely because they were firing rockets at Israeli civilians, and at Israeli soldiers.

Synagogue in Ashdod destroyed by Hamas rocket fire launched from Gaza.

Synagogue in Ashdod destroyed by Hamas rocket fire launched from Gaza.

None of which apparently mattered to the United States, even though the use of human shields does not preclude the legal right to wage war against a legitimate military target in international law.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” Harf said. “Israeli authorities say they’re investigating. We expect these to be investigated thoroughly and promptly, and we’ll continue pushing them to do so.”

A bit hostile for a representative of a nation that bills itself as Israel’s “greatest friend in the world,” no? She’s starting to sound a lot more like a few other leaders we could name, none of whom are friends of Israel these days.

Harf’s remarks followed a report issued earlier in the day by the Human Rights Watch organization, which has accused Israel of committing war crimes with “indiscriminate targeting of civilians” at three UNRWA schools — without offering evidence to back up its claims, of course.

Human Rights Expert: UN Source of Legal Pogrom (And More) to Destroy Israel [video]

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

In a room at the United Nations on Monday, Sept. 8, an extraordinary conference was held. The conference: “The Threat Anti-Semitism Poses to Global Peace and Security.”  That’s right, there, in the United Nations there was a serious discussion about the rising, roiling tsunami of global anti-Semitism.

For those who are blinking their eyes and rubbing their glasses at the irony, rest assured that the august institution did neither sponsor, nor participate in this conference. The room in which the event was held was located in the UN building, but it was sponsored solely by the UN Permanent Mission of Palau and the Aja Eze Foundation.

But never mind the irony of the UN “declining” to host the event, the content is what mattered and it did not disappoint.

The central speaker was renowned human rights expert (and – for good reason – UN critic) Anne Bayefsky, who’s is the director of the Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust at Touro College and senior editor at Human Rights Voices.

In a devastating critique, filled with facts, statistics and fury, Bayefsky called out the UN itself for not just ignoring the rise of anti-Semitism and the threat it poses to global peace and security, but for legitimizing and promoting it.

According to Bayefsky, the answer to the question why the UN was not sponsoring and participating in the conference addressing Anti-Semitism was: “the United Nations itself is the leading purveyor of Anti-Semitism.”

Not only did she give the back of her hand to the well-publicized “photo ops” of the UN Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the gates of Auschwitz, Bayefsky fairly spat out that such hollow gestures are “not an alibi” for “inciting murderous intolerance towards the remnants of the Jewish people in the here and now.”

UN MASS PRODUCES INEQUALITY FOR JEWS AND THE JEWISH NATION

Bayefsky said that the UN “mass produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation,” and she gave specific examples: 35 percent of all resolutions ever adopted by the UN’s Human Rights Council condemn Israel; 50 percent of all emergency special sessions convened by the UN’s General Assembly were called to denounce Israel, while not one emergency special session has been called to condemn the actions of another country in over thirty years!

She goes on with still more astounding facts to bolster her otherwise shocking (to those who don’t follow this as closely as do the very few stalwart but exhausted supporters of the Jewish State) accusation that the UN itself is at least in large part responsible for the self-satisfied and ever-growing hordes of haters of Israel.

The entire video of her less than seven minute speech follows this article, and it should be required viewing for every single Jewish institution, every synagogue, every day school, every Hebrew school, every Jewish Federation event. But two final point needs to be reinforced.

Bayefsky said that “modern anti-Semitism targets Israel’s exercise of the right to self-defense, because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty.” She goes on, stating that with “the demonization and delegitimization of self-defense, the plan is to end the viability of the Jewish State.”

THE UN’S ‘LEGAL POGROM’ AGAINST ISRAEL

And the latest appointment by the United Nations of a commission to review whether human rights violations were committed by Israel during Operation Protective Edge, is a “legal pogrom” against the Jewish state.

“Hired guns, posing as independent arbiters, like William Schabes, are appointed to discover what they’ve already decided – Guilty!”  And Bayefsky wields the heavily-freighted term with precision, “Sermons about Never Again? Then never forget that perversion of the legal system is how genocide begins.”

Our Righteous IDF Soldiers‏

Monday, September 8th, 2014

This past war, the poorly named “Operation Protective Edge,” there were many contradictory stories about how chareidim* were reacting/relating to IDF soldiers, those from their own “ranks,” and others.

While the very anti-Chareidi Jerusalem Post’s “In Jerusalem” had a piece about an injured chareidi soldier being shunned by his family, there were many more stories about how chareidim were filling the hospital wards trying to support and aid IDF wounded and their families. Those were the stories I heard from neighbors whose son was wounded.

Older stories about how very distinguished rabbis, accepted and respected as chareidi had reacted in the past honoring IDF soldiers and the uniform were also back “in print.”

You have to be blind not to notice how many of the families of dead and injured soldiers and also the recent war heroes are religious. Kippot and hair-covering were seen in such numbers on the media. You’d think that the IDF was made up almost only of what’s known as the dati le’umi, national religious.

What surprised me the most was the amount of religious staff in the media. I had never seen so many men in kippot or women with various hair-coverings holding the microphone interviewing people and reporting on the situation.

For the past couple of decades, our dati le’umi youth have been encouraged to enter the media as their profession. My own children didn’t, but it’s clear that many others did take that advice. And during the weeks of the war the veteran news-media stars couldn’t be everyplace, so the lower tiers of workers had their chance in front of the camera. And they proved themselves very competent.

Back to the IDF and the point of this article… This war was a very modern media in your face war. Everything seemed to be on camera or just a shout away. Everyone affected had their 15 minutes of fame, and we heard horrendous, though brave, stories of attempts to rescue body parts of dead soldiers. Wounded soldiers in hospital beds, bandaged and connected by tubes could only say that they waited to recover and join their comrades to defeat the enemy.

This level of pikuach nefesh, risking one’s life to save another Jew is the highest mitzvah, Torah commandment one can do. It doesn’t matter what hechshar, rabbinic supervision you have on your milk or meat if you won’t risk your life for your fellow Jew. The IDF soldiers, the IDF medics, the hospital staff, not only the doctors, worked so hard to preserve Jewish Life and to also preserve the State of Israel.

More and more chareidim are seeing this. That’s why it was a chareidi Jew who established Zaka, and that’s why you see so many chareidim as medics in the various first aide NPs here in Israel. And that’s one of the reasons there has been in increase in the amount of chareidim joining the IDF as soldiers. It’s getting harder for the anti-Israel element in the chareidi world to declare the IDF as evil sinners. Not only Israel, but World Jewry owes everything to the holy bravery of the IDF and its soldiers.

*Following is the story that inspired me to write this post. I received it in the email bulletin send out by Chabad of Arizona:

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During the month of Elul, a maggid (traveling preacher) came to Beshenkovitz, where Reb Shmuel Munkes’ lived. Reb Shmuel was a beloved chasid of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism. Though known for his sharp wit and “chasidic pranks,” Reb Shmuel was no empty joker. He was a deep personality, one who could abide no falsehood, and whose own ego was completely nullified to perform the will of his Creator.
The townspeople saw the maggid’s letter of introduction which referred to him as a great tzadik (righteous person), who traveled from town to town only to arouse and inspire Jews. Being G-d-fearing people, they immediately invited him to speak and inspire them to serve G-d better.
The maggid began his speech. Over and over again, he accused his audience of committing terrible sins. His entire speech was filled with accusations and descriptions of the terrible punishments awaiting them because their evil behavior had aroused G-d’s anger. Only if they would wholeheartedly repent would they possibly have a chance to be spared. The townspeople were utterly broken by the maggid’s harsh words, and they cried bitterly, fearing the awesome punishment.
After his speech, the maggid, satisfied with himself, retired to the room that the community had arranged for him.
A short while later, Reb Shmuel entered the maggid’s room. He carried with him a long knife and a stone with which to sharpen it. Reb Shmuel closed the door behind him and then bolted it. Without saying a word, Reb Shmuel began to sharpen his knife.
A few tense moments passed. Finally the maggid broke the silence and asked in astonishment, “Sir, could you please tell me what you are doing?”
Without glancing up from the knife he was sharpening, Reb Shmuel answered, “As the honorable, great maggid knows, we are very simple people in this town. Perhaps, it is because of our unintentional sins that we have never merited to have a great, righteous, G-d-fearing scholar in our midst.”
Not knowing what to make of this answer, the maggid replied, “Yes, that is true. Nevertheless, what does that have to do with sharpening the knife?”
Reb Shmuel answered simply, “We were taught by our parents that before Rosh Hashana, one is supposed to pray at the graves of the righteous.”
Still unsure of what Reb Shmuel’s point was, the maggid asked, “That is correct. But why are you sharpening that knife?”
“Oh, that is very simple,” explained Reb Shmuel. “The nearest grave site of a righteous person is very far from our town. For some of us it is extremely troublesome and difficult to make such a long journey.”
With these additional words, the maggid began to feel uneasy. He started sweating and ventured, “But you still have not explained why you are sharpening your knife in this room!”
Reb Shmuel answered, “Quite simply, I am sharpening my knife here because the townspeople want a very righteous person buried in this town.”
Now the maggid had not even a shadow of a doubt as to what Reb Shmuel’s intentions seemed to be. The maggid stammered, “But I am not completely righteous. I have also done some small sins, such as …”
Reb Shmuel dismissed the maggid’s revelation, saying, “Honored maggid, you are still a very righteous and learned person. As for the sins that you mentioned, I did not even know that they were transgressions.”
The maggid trembled and stuttered, “But I did some transgressions that were much more serious, such as …”
Concerning this revelation, as well, Reb Shmuel shrugged, insisting, “But to us you are still a tzadik; for us, you are quite good enough.”
This strange dialogue continued for some time with the maggid, mentioning more and more severe transgressions and Reb Shmuel telling him, “But you are still acceptable to us, since you are far better than we are.”
Finally, the maggid admitted to some extremely serious transgressions and that he was not really the great righteous man that his letter of introduction and credentials claimed him to be. In essence, he was saying, “I am an impostor.”
Now, Reb Shmuel no longer played the simpleton. After putting away the knife, he began chastising the maggid for causing the Jews of the town so much pain and sorrow. After making sure the maggid fully understood how one is to talk to and treat another Jew, Reb Shmuel unbolted the door and let the maggid go on his way, much wiser and more sensitive than before.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Source: Supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from //lchaimweekly.org (#986).
Biographical note: Rabbi Shmuel Munkes (1834-1882)], an elder disciple of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Chabad, was known for his fervent and creative Chasidic service. Stories abound of his sharp wit and “chasidic pranks”. He lived in Beshenkovitz and then in Kalisk (or the reverse?) in (or near?) the district of Polotz.

Gazan Deaths and Destruction Dramatically Drives Popularity for Hamas

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

A Palestinian Arab polling organization found that the popularity of the genocidal terrorist organization Hamas rose amongst Palestinian Arabs following this summer’s war against Israel.

For those who were hoping that mounting deaths and destruction of their own people will have a moderating effect on the Arabs who live in the Middle East, start barking up a different tree. In fact, a recent poll shows that the vast majority of Arabs in the region (72 percent) actually prefer to have the PA run the territory for which they are responsible the way Hamas runs it in Gaza.

Rockets and violence over diplomacy and passivity is the Palestinian Arab ruling style of choice, as reflected in this latest poll.

During the 50-day summer of 2014 war, more than 2000 of their own people died and many apartment buildings and some entire neighborhoods were destroyed at least largely because the Hamas fighters shot from residential neighborhoods. Nonetheless, such death and destruction actually led to a dramatic increase in popularity for Hamas’s leadership and mode of governance.

In fact, fewer than five percent of Palestinian Arabs believed that Israel “won” the war. In contrast, nearly four out of five respondents believe Hamas was the winner in this summer’s war between Gaza and Israel.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research learned through its poll that if elections were to be held now, well more than half of all Palestinian Arabs (61 percent) would vote for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to lead their people, while only 32 percent would vote for Mahmoud Abbas, the current acting leader of the Palestinian Authority.

While a 61 percent approval rating sounds high, it is even more impressive – if that’s the right word – considering that it is a 20 percentage point surge since June, that is, before this summer’s war. And before the war, those who favored Abbas was 20 percentage points higher. The percentage of Arabs who live in what they call the “West Bank” who would vote for Hamas’s Haniyeh comes in at 66 percent, which is even higher than his standing in Gaza (53 percent).

In fact, this summer’s Gaza war increased Haniyeh’s popularity so much that if he ran against the perennially popular Fatah member Marwan Barghouti, Haniyeh would best Barghouti 49 percent to 45 percent. And, if there were a three-way political race, Abbas would draw down support from Barghouti, so that Haniyeh would prevail decisively with 48% of the vote. Barghouti would receive only 29 percent of the vote, and Abbas only 19% in a three-way vote.

If ever there were an example of perception dictating reality, the vast disparity in the raw numbers of dead on each side did nothing to dissuade the Palestinian Arabs from believing the Hamas war machine was effective in fighting Israel’s Defense Force (94 percent).

Hamas was viewed favorably both in terms of its offense against Israel, but also on defense. Nearly four-fifths of all Palestinian Arabs were satisfied with Hamas’s defense of Gazan civilians during the war (78 percent).

Perhaps the one poll result that will surprise nobody is that nearly nine out of ten Arabs in the region were satisfied with the Gazan leadership’s media and communication performance.

The poll was taken following the cessation of hostilities, and included 1,270 Palestinian Arabs from throughout the territories in which they live.

Last Soldier Killed in Protective Edge Laid to Rest

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The body of 1st Sgt. Shachar Shalev was laid to rest this afternoon in the cemetery in Hipsin. Shalev succumbed yesterday to wounds he sustained on July 23 in Operation Protective Edge, when a roadside bomb detonated in Khan Yunis, killing his commander and two fellow soldiers. He was 20 years old.

Shalev was a sergeant in the Paratroopers’ Brigade, and was promoted upon his burial. He was a resident of Alonei Bashan in the Golan Heights, and is survived by his mother Naomi, his father Shimon and his five siblings.

Last week, Tazpit News Agency reported about the overwhelming public turnout to donate blood platelets for Shalev, who required a daily platelet transfusion daily. He is the latest casualty from this summer’s Gaza war, which has taken 72 lives in Israel, 66 of them IDF soldiers.

Last Friday Sgt. Netanel Maman died of wounds he sustained on August 22 from shrapnel from a rocket that exploded next to Gan Yavneh in the Ashdod region. Maman was on leave from Operation Protective Edge at the time, and was riding in a car driven by his brother when the shrapnel hit the car and critically injured him. He was laid to rest the same Friday at Gan Yavneh cemetery.

Israel’s Economy: Stunned But Still Strong

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Despite the numerous setbacks suffered in Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s economy remains resilient. Amid news of massive budget cuts needed to pay for the latest war and losses to the tourism and retail industries, statistics from many sources project a rapid economic recovery and continued growth of one of the world’s most vibrant small economies.

The war in Gaza has taken a significant economic toll on Israel, felt most sharply by the tourism sector, which comprises some 7 percent of Israel’s economic activity. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism reported that tourism for July dropped by 26 percent from the same period last year, representing a loss of at least $566 million.

Hardest-hit from the ongoing war are the businesses in the south of the country, where the majority of the Hamas rockets hit. Stores and restaurants have suffered from a drop in sales, while manufacturing facilities close to the Gaza border have been impacted by slowdowns in manufacturing due to incessant rocket alerts.

Israel’s Manufacturers Association estimated the total economic impact on Israeli manufacturers for the first round of the conflict at about 1.2 billion shekels.

A number of economic studies indicate, however, that these setbacks are likely to be temporary, with the overall forecast for the country remaining positive. In a study published in early August, Dr. Adam Reuter, former senior officer at the Bank of Israel and the head of several investment firms, found that over the last 30 years Israel’s economy has enjoyed vigorous and sustained growth that continues to this day.

Between 1984 and 2014, Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased tenfold from ‎‎$30 billion to $300 billion, while per-capita GDP rose from $7,000 to ‎‎$38,000. Negative indicators fell likewise: The public debt-to-GDP ratio shrank from 280 percent to 66 percent, the external ‎public debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 55 percent to 10 percent, and the budget deficit-to-‎GDP ratio declined from 17 percent to 3 percent.

Over the same time period the defense budget as a percentage of the GDP went down from ‎‎20 percent to 6 percent, and annual inflation plummeted from 450 percent to 1 percent.

Further numbers from this study reveal Israel’s impressive performance in the global market: Foreign ‎exchange reserves rose from $3 billion to $89 billion, and annual exports climbed from $10 billion to ‎‎$90 billion, of which hi-tech exports accounted for $28 billion in the last year compared to just $1 billion 30 years ago.

The recent war in Gaza is not expected to inflict any lasting damage on economic performance, noted Yoram Ettinger, a former ambassador for Israel and a longtime consultant to the Israeli government. In all three previous wars – the 2006 Lebanon War and the previous two operations in Gaza in 2009 and 2012 – the reaction of the economy has been one of brief downturn followed by rapid and complete recovery, “a ‘V’ and not ‎a ‘U’ shaped graph,” Ettinger wrote in a letter published last week.

The consultant noted that according to the Bank of Israel, “the 2006 war against ‎Hezbollah triggered an immediate drop of GDP from more than 6 percent to a ‎negative growth of 1.5 percent, followed by a swift recovery to almost 10 percent ‎growth in the following quarter.”

Operation Protective Edge is expected to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP by 0.5%, but will likely have “insignificant influence on foreign investors, most of whom seek Israeli high-tech companies, which are minimally vulnerable to rocket and missile fire,” he added. With the Israeli military’s emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties and its focus on defensive rather than offensive technologies, the economy may even receive an incidental benefit from the war: “The ‎expanded global interest in Israeli-developed and manufactured, battle-‎tested defense systems (e.g., Iron Dome, Trophy, etc.) – which ‎demonstrated their unique capabilities during the Gaza war – is expected to ‎bolster a quick recovery and the continued growth of Israel’s economy,” Ettinger explained.

Sharp Budget Cuts to Pay for War

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Fresh off Israel’s latest refusal to erase Hamas from the Gaza Strip,  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Monday he would placate residents of the Gaza Belt region with an NIS 1.5 billion emergency aid package to help the region recover from Operation Protective Edge.

The relief plan applies only to the areas immediately adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Residents of Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod and other cities that sustained near-constant Palestinian rocket fire during the 50 day war slammed the decision, saying the government has abandoned them to deal with the rocket threat alone.

Speaking at the beginning of a government cabinet meeting in Ashkelon, Netanyahu promised to table a similar plan next month for cities farther away from the Gaza border.

“Within a month we will bring forward a similar package to develop the towns and cities of the south,” Netanyahu said. “The appropriate Zionist answer to our enemies is not just to overcome them in any battle, but also to develop our towns.”

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni told Channel 10 his city needs immediate aid to help local businesses recover from the conflict, and warned that many businesses in the town were moving towards bankruptcy “within two weeks or a month’ if they don’t get help.

In order to pay for the war, which coast approximately his 9 billion, Netanyahu also announced a 2 percent budget cuts to a variety of  government ministries, including the education ministry (NIS 695 million cut) and the transportation ministry (NIS 247 million cut).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sharp-budget-cuts-to-pay-for-war/2014/08/31/

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