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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

France Snubbed Israeli Offer of Advanced Counter Terror Technology

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Nearly a year before Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists tore apart a beautiful Paris night, an Israeli company offered terrorist tracking software to France.

It was just after the January 2015 slaughter by a dual Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda terrorist cells at the Paris offices of the satiric Charlie Hebdo magazine, where 12 people were killed, and the Jewish Hyper Cacher kosher market, just before the start of the Sabbath, where four people died.

Nearly a year prior, four people died at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in a similar attack, also by a Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist with French citizenship.

The advanced technology could have allowed French security officials pick up the signals that would have red-flagged the terrorists who murdered 130 people and wounded 368 more on November 13, 2015.  It was only last month that the mastermind of that attack was finally tracked down and caught.

According to a report this week on the U.S.-based Fox News network, the data-mining technology would have helped French authorities “connect all the dots” in the Islamist extremist community, because it works by analyzing and matching up fragmented intelligence reports from several different national and international databases. The software then provides the most up-to-date information available on potential terrorists for its clients, such as counter terrorism agents.

The offer was made to the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) of France, the country’s main intelligence agency, in accordance with a pledge made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work closely with Europe on enhancing security following attacks in France and Brussels. In Israel, that was seen as a call to share intelligence and technology.

“In Paris or Brussels or San Bernardino or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, terror must be condemned equally and it must be fought equally,” Netanyahu warned at the time.

But Israel’s offer was rejected.

An Israeli counter terror specialist familiar with the technology and the company told FoxNews.com, “French authorities liked it but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology.

“The discussion just stopped.”

Instead, Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists carried out a series of eight attacks terror attacks, including several suicide bombings, on November 13, 2015, in central Paris. President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war” by ISIS. They were planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and carried out with help from citizens of France. All of the known attackers were EU citizens who had fought with Da’esh in Syria.

The European Union is now paying the price for its unswerving commitment to uphold the “rights” of the Palestinian Authority, right or wrong, against Israel even at the cost of its own security. The EU has been directly involved in the funding and construction of infrastructure, homes and schools by Palestinian Authority Arabs on Israeli-controlled land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, despite its illegality. The EU has also been supportive of a boycott against Israeli-produced goods, even going so far as to issue guidelines urging its member states to label products manufactured in post-1967 Jewish communities as non-Israeli, regardless of the citizenship of the producers.

The European Union has just barely avoided an outright stance supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

France complied – it obviously agreed with the stance, nor is President Hollande’s dislike for Prime Minister Netanyahu any national secret – and the bill has now come due for French hatred at the top.

The British Labour Party is similarly afflicted with rampant anti-Semitism. What price will the UK end up paying for its love of Arab hatred?

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Police to Advise AG Not to Indict Isaac Herzog on Corruption

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Israel Police say they plan to advise Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to close the department’s investigation into the allegations of wrongdoing by Opposition Leader and MK Isaac Herzog.

News of the impending recommendation was broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 television news on Sunday night (April 24).

The probe into accusations of possible fundraising violations in Herzog’s 2013 campaign for Labor Party leadership by the Zionist Union leader began last month.

Herzog was questioned under caution by investigators on April 17, Channel 2 reported, and there have been no deliberations thus far on the case in the attorney general’s office.

Although police do not make the decision about whether or not to file an indictment, they can and often do make recommendations to the attorney general based on the evidence amassed during their investigation. The Israel Police LAHAV 433 branch is in charge of this investigation.

Hana Levi Julian

Organization of Islamic Cooperation to Meet on Israeli ‘Escalation’ in Golan Heights

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will meet Tuesday to discuss what is being called “the Israeli escalation against the occupied Syrian Golan.” The driving force behind the meeting was a request by Kuwait, which holds the rotating chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

Kuwait wants the group to ‘take a unified and strong position… on the Israeli government’s [cabinet meeting] held in the occupied Syrian Golan” — that is, the government held its cabinet meeting last week for the first time on the Israeli Golan Heights, ruffling just about everyone’s feathers that day except those in Israel.

The Arab nation was likewise upset by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks on that day, in which he stated “the Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

This is not news to any Israeli — after all,the Golan was annexed to Israel decades ago, in 1981 – but the OIC considered the statement a provocation. A statement released by the Arab organization named it a “serious escalation and flagrant violation of the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law.”

In fact, every single bit of territory won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day war – a defensive, existential war for survival – is still in fact considered by the international community a violation of some resolution or regulation decided in the global forum.

Last Thursday a similar meeting was held by the Arab League, calling for a special criminal court to hold a session on Israel. European nations such as Germany joined the United States – Israel’s “best friend” – and Syria in their condemnation of Netanyahu’s statement.

The move by the U.S. was particularly odd, given that Netanyahu has been especially careful not to criticize President Barack Obama publicly in any way despite provocations by his staff.

For half a century, half of the Golan Heights has been a sovereign part of the State of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu simply reiterated the fact that it is not realistic nor sane to expect the state to return such a strategic territory to an enemy nation bent upon Israel’s destruction.

Hana Levi Julian

Beyond Politics: Shabbos with Mr. Cruz

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

I read Nick Muzin’s heartfelt piece about his friend and boss Senator Ted Cruz and Jews and decided to echo it with one of my own experiences with Cruz – from before he was a presidential candidate, or even a senator.

For many years off and on I attended the first day or two of CPAC – the annual massive gathering of American conservatives – in Washington. It started midweek and ran through Saturday night, but, of course, I would have to leave midway to get back to New York before Shabbos.

In 2012, hearing of a group that was bringing a number of Jewish college students to CPAC, I called the leaders and told them that if they would urge the kids to attend, I would organize a private Shabbos program onsite – meals and davening and leining. “SHABBAT@CPAC” was an instant success and Shabbat meal registration is now an option on CPAC’s official program.

That first CPAC Shabbos was revelatory. We hoped for 20-25 people, but ended up with well over 100. (Fortunately, a magnificent spread for the entire Shabbos was supplied by my friend Yanky Brach, who insisted on providing lavish, simcha-worthy food for even more people than that, because “You never know – and you don’t want to turn anybody away from Shabbos!”.) It was all word of mouth. Our suite was tucked away far from the main action – but the word kept spreading and people kept coming. I remember a sublime moment when a bunch of college kids were hustling over before my wife lit candles to help us set up the room – their arrival was preceded by an excited “Shabbos is coming” song echoing down the halls of CPAC.

I remember the guy dressed like he was in a rock band sitting quietly and taking it all in. We were going around the room and introducing ourselves and when it was his turn he stood up and said “This is my first Shabbos meal since my grandfather died when I was seven. I’m 22 now and I’m sitting here thinking of how much I missed. I am going to put Shabbos back in my life.” And, as it turns out, he was in a rock band – a new band playing songs that promote patriotism.

Talk show hosts, campaign operatives, policy wonks, Hill staffers and journalists who otherwise would have had no Shabbos spent hour after hour enjoying a real heimishe Shabbos with divrei Torah, zmiros and, endless, amazing food. Throughout Friday night politicians and pundits came by, drank a l’chaim, said a few words, then headed back to hobnob and socialize at CPAC.

But for me, the standout visitor that Shabbos was a relative unknown. A candidate for the US Senate – outsider and Tea Party darling Ted Cruz.

Mr. Cruz came and sat modestly towards the foot of the long table. But unlike the other politicians, his wasn’t a “drop-by”. He came before Kabbolas Shabbos and he stayed for the meal and he was still there almost three hours later after most of the crowd had gone out to enjoy the more political offerings of CPAC.

At that point, according to the schedule, I was to give a 45 minute shiur on the parsha, just in case anyone wanted to stick around. There was a group of perhaps 20 or so mostly observant Jews…and this fellow Cruz. It was Shabbos Yisro and my topic was the structure of the Aseres Hadibros. Ted Cruz engaged immediately. In describing one shitah as to why the Luchos and Dibros are structured the way they are, I introduced to the otherwise almost entirely Jewish group the fact that Christians count the “10 Commandments” differently than we do and, in fact, Catholics and Protestants differ amongst themselves. Cruz already knew. “My father ‘s a pastor and I’ve argued 10 Commandments cases,” he explained. “I love this.” He was totally knowledgeable, engaged and at home and his participation turned the session into an animated, vibrant, informed discussion that went on nearly two hours.

There were many places a candidate for Senate from Texas should have been that night if his first priority was political ambition. But Ted Cruz prefered to spend his time with us, with Jews enjoying Shabbos.

Since then, I’ve had a chance to be with Senator Cruz at a number of non-political events, for example a lunch visit of Jewish Yale students to his office organized by an alumni group to which Nick and I both belong. The Senator was actually scheduled for a midday “drop-by” this time, no more. But his connection to the politically diverse students was real. He wanted to talk about Israel, then under global onslaught for responding to the terror from Gaza, and about BDS and anti-Semitism and what it feels like to be Jewish today on a liberal college campus. He shared with us his concern over the normalization and intensification of international anti-Semitism and the impact of the widespread perception of America distancing itself from Israel under the Obama administration. Cruz pushed off other meetings and stayed for lunch and beyond. Republican, Democrat and Independent, the young impressionable Jewish students were deeply impacted by the senator from Texas’ knowledge, insight, empathy and passion.

The usual rap that the Left gives conservative candidates is that they are unintelligent. It doesn’t matter if they have academic and professional accomplishments that far outstrip their Democratic opponents. That spin simply wasn’t available with Ted Cruz, whom liberal Jewish icon Alan Dershowitz has publicly proclaimed to be “off-the-charts brilliant.” So instead they spun as a negative what should have been a positive – Cruz’ willingness to stand on principle and not surrender to DC politics as usual. The knock against Cruz now is that he is “unlikeable” because he isn’t popular with the establishment. Nonsense. In the larger social settings I’ve seen and in private one-on-ones, I’ve never found Cruz to be anything other than warm, open, intimate and inspiring. That many in Washington resent his principled service is a badge of honor. As Winston Churchill famously observed – and as Jews know very well – “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

Politics is a rough business and it takes guts to stand up for what is right. The Ted Cruz I’ve seen is driven by idealism and principle – above all, a fierce love for America as an exceptional country whose uniqueness derives from its moral leadership. It is equally clear that for Ted Cruz the wellbeing of Jews is a deeply personal commitment and that in the face of rising anti-Semitism, America’s moral leadership only exists inasmuch as it is committed to protecting Jews in Israel and around the world. Rest assured, in private as in public, Ted Cruz is a true Oheiv Yisroel and the kind of unyielding moral warrior we need in the White House.

Jeff Ballabon

Singapore Prime Minister on Historic First Visit to Israel

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived Monday for an historic first-ever four-day visit from Singapore, accompanied by a 60-member delegation.

The prime minister entered Israel via the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan.

​A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Israel and Singapore was signed in the morning by Ambassador Gil Haskel, the Head of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation — and Singapore’s ambassador to the State of Israel, Ambassador Winston Choo Wee Leong. The memorandum descsribes the cooperation between MASHAV and the Technical Cooperation Directorate (TCD) of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was signed in the run-up to the visit to Israel of the Prime Minister of Singapore.

The MOU signing ceremony signaled the successful conclusion of the discussions and development dialogues held by the two sides, beginning in 2013 in Singapore and their subsequent resumption in 2015 in Jerusalem. According to the MOU, the two countries will cooperate by providing training in various spheres of development (economic development, innovation, health and sustainable development) to professionals from developing countries around the world. The training courses will take place in Singapore, in Israel, or in a third country, and will be funded by both states.

Prime Minister Loong is to be honored at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Sunday afternoon with an honorary doctorate from the institution.

Later in the day, Loong will tour the Old City of Jerusalem, visiting the Jaffa Gate entrance to the ancient city, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Jewish Quarter, and the Western Wall.

On Tuesday the Singapore prime minister will meet with media at a reception in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, prior to a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the afternoon Loong is expected to make the traditional diplomatic visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, and then visit the Israel Museum to view the Shrine of the Book and the Dead Sea Scrolls, among other exhibits.

Loong is slated to visit the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah on Wednesday morning. In the afternoon he is scheduled to meet with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin at the presidential residence in Jerusalem. The Singapore will follow that meeting with a visit to Tel Aviv and the Yitzhak Rabin memorial in Rabin Square, and a meet-and-greet with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Hulda.

On Thursday, Loon will follow a meeting with former President Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace with a tour of Old Yafo (Jaffa).

This is the first-ever visit to Israel by a Singapore prime minister. That nation was founded 51 years ago, just a few years more than a decade after the rebirth of the State of Israel. Diplomatic relations between the two nations were established in 1969.

Hana Levi Julian

Cabinet Meeting on Golan Heights Underlining Sovereignty, Protection

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Israel’s government Cabinet is to meet Sunday (April 17) on the Golan Heights to underscore its sovereignty and determination to protect the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly raised the issue in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week.

He is expected to do the same next week when he travels to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Israeli radio.

The Golan Heights was annexed to Israel in a law that was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981.

The international community did not recognize the annexation and later determined it null and void via United Nations Security Council Resolution 497. The law was passed six months before Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula.

Hana Levi Julian

Biden at AIPAC Says Jews, Arabs Have No Desire for Peace

Monday, March 21st, 2016

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden blamed both Jews and Arabs Sunday night for the current terror wave wracking Israel, and the lack of peace with the Palestinian Authority.

Biden said in a speech to the annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington that both sides lacked the political will to find peace.

The vice president said he has never been so pessimistic. “I didn’t walk away encouraged,” he said in the wake of his recent visit to the country. “The current prospects for peace are not heartening… There is no political will among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward at this moment with serious negotiations, and that’s incredibly disappointing.

Biden’s wife and grandchildren were meters away eating dinner on the beach when a Arab terrorist murdered a U.S. tourist and wounded nearly a dozen others during that visit.

He did criticize Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for failing to condemn the terror attacks in Israel, tearing up as he spoke of bringing his late son’s Jewish children to the country of their heritage (their mother is Jewish).

One might have expected him to have a bit more clarity about the situation as a result of that experience. But apparently Biden learned nothing more than a greater need for peace – something Israel has sought since the signing of the declaration of independence in 1948.

The vice president insisted that both sides still had to do a little “show me” – a comment not well received by the audience.

He talked about the efforts by the Palestinian Authority and its supporters to secure sanctions against the Jewish State in various international forums, and pledged the United States would continue to block those moves.

But he also criticized the Israeli policy of “building settlements and seizing land.” The reference is to the process of legalizing land already designated in an international document as Israeli under Area C as state land, allowing existing Jewish communities to continue natural growth and letting families repair or add needed items to their homes within the boundaries of their properties.

“Israel’s government’s steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts, seizing land, is eroding in my view the prospect of a two-state solution,” Biden said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly pointed out that the conflict with Arab enemies long preceded the 1967 war, and has little or nothing to do with these areas. In fact, the Arabs themselves say it repeatedly in their harangues to their own people – in Arabic, of course – referring to the entire geographic area “from the river to the sea” as their own land.

Biden said these activities take Israel towards a “one-state reality, a reality that is dangerous.”

The vice president also attempted to convince those present that Israel should sign a military memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration prior to the elections.

“It will, without a doubt, be the most generous security assistance package in the history of the United States,” Biden said.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/biden-at-aipac-says-jews-arabs-have-no-desire-for-peace/2016/03/21/

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