web analytics
October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘president’

US-Israel Ties and the Next US President

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

The long-term trends of US-Israel relations do not hinge solely/mostly on US presidents, as has been documented since Israel’s establishment in 1948, and especially since the early 1980s, when – in spite of systematic presidential pressure on Israel – bilateral industrial, commercial, scientific, technological, agricultural, homeland security and defense cooperation have surged beyond expectations.

For instance, President Truman pressured Prime Minister Ben Gurion to end the “occupation” of West Jerusalem and parts of the Negev and Galilee; President Johnson pressured Prime Minister Eshkol to refrain from preempting the concerted Arab attack, reuniting Jerusalem and building in “occupied areas”; President Nixon pressured Prime Minister Golda Meir to end “occupation” and refrain from building in East Jerusalem; President Carter pressured Prime Minister Begin to focus on withdrawal from Judea & Samaria, rather than on peace with Egypt; President Reagan pressured Prime Minister Begin to rescind the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights and end the hot-pursuit of the PLO in Lebanon; President Bush pressured Prime Minister Shamir to recognize the PLO and refrain from construction in Judea & Samaria.But, notwithstanding presidential pressure – which entailed arms-embargos, suspended deliveries of advanced military systems, denial of loan guarantees and brutal condemnations – Israel’s role as America’s Major Non-NATO Ally and the most effective and unconditional geo-strategic ally has catapulted to unprecedented levels.

The assumption that US-Israel relations are shaped from the top down, and determined by US presidents and “elites,” constitutes a slap in the face of the US democracy, which highlights the American constituent as its chief axis, emitting the thundering battle cry, which no elected official can afford to ignore: “we shall remember in November!” According to the annual February Gallup poll of country-favorability – despite the tension between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the ongoing criticism by the Department of State (since 1948!) and the “elite” US media and academia – Israel ranks systematically among the most favorable countries, enjoying the support of 71% of the US constituency, compared with the Palestinian Authority’s 19%.

In fact, US-Israel relations are shaped from the 400-year-old foundations (of history, tradition and values) to the top. These foundations were established in the 17th century, upon the arrival of the early Pilgrims on the “Mayflower” and the “Arabella” to the shores of the “modern day Promised Land” (America), following weeks of sailing across the “modern day Red Sea” (the Atlantic Ocean), after the rebellious departure from “modern day Egypt” (Britain). These values were perpetuated by the Founding Fathers, who considered themselves “the people of the modern day Covenant.” In 2016, these values feature prominently in the House of Representative, the US Supreme Court and America’s “secular religion”: the centrality of Judeo-Christian values in the US political, judicial and legal discourse.

Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, US-Israel relations have not hinged solely, or mostly, on the non-omnipotent US Executive, but – at least as much – on the co-equal, co-determining US Legislature, and many times in defiance of the Executive. According to the US Constitution and Congressional track record, Congress possesses the Power of the Purse. Furthermore, both Congressional chambers have demonstrated their awesome muscle in critical junctions of recent US history, including in the areas of foreign policy and national security, such as ending the US military involvement in Cambodia/Vietnam (1973), Angola (1976) and Nicaragua (1982-85); bringing down the White Regime in South Africa (1986); castrating the US intelligence community (1975); and forcing free emigration upon Moscow (1974).Congress – as well as many State Legislatures – has always been the most authentic reflection of the will of the constituency in the 435 districts and 50 states. Thus, Congress has reflected, authoritatively, the 400-year-old special affinity by the US public toward the Jewish state. Therefore, some House Members from districts without a single synagogue are urged by their constituents: “Don’t forsake the Jewish state.”

Furthermore, the future of US-Israel relations hinges less on the next US president’s policies toward the Palestinian issue, Jerusalem or settlements, than on his/her national security worldview; the increasingly anti-US, unpredictable, unstable, intolerant and violent international arena; the intensifying threats (especially Islamic terrorism) to the national security and homeland security of the US and its Arab allies; Israel’s military and commercial capabilities as “the largest US aircraft carrier” which does not require a single US soldier on board; and Israel as the battle-tested laboratory for the US military forces and defense industries in a most critical region to the US national and homeland security.

Irrespective of the outcome of the November US presidential election, 2017 will experience a sustained enhancement of the mutually-beneficial, two-way-street, win-win US-Israel cooperation, in response to global threats and opportunities, consistent with the 3,500-year-old shared values of justice and liberty, which bind the US and its unconditional, junior partner, Israel.

Yoram Ettinger

‘President’ Hillary Clinton: Definition of a Nightmare

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

I rarely write about American politics. Here in Israel, existential national threats prevent me from dwelling on America’s problems. In Israel, Arabs butcher our thirteen-year-old daughters in their bedrooms and gun down our brothers and fathers, and the impotent leadership responds in typical fashion— with powerful speeches to comfort the bereaved. So naturally the demise of America cannot take up much of my time.

But that doesn’t mean I’m disinterested. I am concerned with America’s welfare. As a Jew with a sense of history, I appreciate the haven America provided us throughout the last few centuries, when most countries offered nothing but death and despair. And I feel the need to occasionally opine when I see criminal politicians in America destroying a moral country that treated Jews far better than any other country in history. Furthermore, short of a nation of gentiles following the “7 Laws of Noah” (ideally), no nation in history has ever created a system of government so humane to her citizens. And shame on the Jew who forgets that.

Europe deserves her fate, since Europe is the world’s largest Jewish graveyard. They hated their loyal Jews. So let the Europeans live and die with their ever growing hordes of Islamic migrants. There is justice in that. America deserves better. And with the astounding revelation by the FBI that despite the overwhelming evidence of gross misconduct in handling her emails, Hillary Clinton will not be indicted for endangering national security, the message is clear. The land of the free is bleeding. Tyranny is knocking down the door.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump: What’s the Question?

The impending American elections are a portrait of insanity. When was the last time the nominated presidential candidate was the subject of a criminal investigation involving the FBI? How naked is the double standard when the Clintons get to skate from the most egregious of scandals for which the common man would be incarcerated for life? Lunacy aside, the ultimate battle will boil down to Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton, as shameful as that is, since the latter deserves a ball and chain.

This is an easy choice, if not an ideal one, for anyone with a sense of decency. I don’t know about you, but if I must choose between a nasty crippling cold and a flesh-eating virus, I choose the former 10 times out of 10. There are indeed degrees of bad, and my decision to choose the lesser “bad” in no way indicates my approval. Those simpletons who choose to equate a flawed Donald Trump with Hillary Clinton, and throw their hands in the air with their own version of “what difference does it make?” commit a grave error. Those who see Trump as the more odious candidate are deranged, and more than a few disgruntled ‘RINOS’ are actually looking her way, as astounding as this seems. And those who dismiss, ignore, or lie about Hillary’s crooked behavior and vicious nature betray themselves.

Trump is indeed flawed, and hardly an ideal candidate for the already un-principled Republican Party, but to equate him with Hillary Clinton is the height of insanity. Hillary is a malevolent personality who will destroy America. Open borders, amnesty for all illegals, the continued march of the death cult of liberalism. This can only mean one thing: the eventual death of the Republic. No country that murders the innocent in the womb, marries homosexuals, and releases murderers can survive very long. Hillary will continue Obama’s ravaging of everything decent in America, and continue the downward spiral. There will be no recovery. America will be changed forever.

Hillary the Radical Leftist

Since her youth, Hillary was a liberal menace. As a young activist, Hillary Clinton assisted and aided Black Panthers on trial for torture and murder. Let’s be clear: this racist terrorist organization from the late 1960’s and 70’s was responsible for the murder of police officers. While a new revitalized Black Panther Party and the Black Klan of the Black Lives Matter movement is sowing violence and racial hatred in Obama’s America, we should remind ourselves that many years ago, Hillary was involved with the original incarnation of these thugs. Additionally, over the years, in her capacity as a lawyer, Hillary defended some of the most repugnant criminals who preyed upon the innocent, including a child rapist she knew to be guilty.

Hillary the Jew-Hater

Several years back, former Arkansas State troopers alleged that on several occasions Hillary called people “f***ing Jew bastards.”  Not hard to imagine, since she has a reputation for being foul mouthed and she is notorious for losing her temper at the drop of a hat. And those who remember when Hillary kissed Suha Arafat, moments after the latter woman gave a public speech accusing Israel of poisoning Arab children, can surely believe the claims of Jew hatred. After all, blood libels are the domain of anti-Semites.

During Bill Clinton’s two terms, Hillary helped her husband twist Israel’s arm, even as Arab terror increased and Arafat openly encouraged Jihad against Israel. Hillary frequently invited Arab terrorist front groups to the White House for dinners and celebrations. And who can forget when the crafty Hillary took one thousand dollars from the American Muslim Council and fifty thousand dollars from the American Muslim Alliance during her Senate campaign in 2000? Both groups openly support terror against Israel and praised Hamas. She was forced to return the money when word got out, despite her attempt to hide the donation by writing down the “American Museum Council” on the donor report.

Some notable Hillary moments as Secretary of State include:
• Raising money for Gaza- which went straight to Hamas.
• Demanding that Israel open up the Gaza borders, despite Hamas’s continued smuggling of weapons into the country.
• Calling Israel’s destruction of Arab homes built without permits “unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the roadmap.” (The Arab’s consistent violation of the Oslo sham never bothers Jew haters.)
• Relentless efforts to strengthen Fatah and create a “Palestinian State.”

And then we have the never-ending scandals of cover-ups, betrayals, and general dishonesty relating to her tenure as Secretary of State. The notorious Benghazi cover-up where her actions led to the murder of Americans. The more recent investigation into her personal server boggles the mind when one considers how much she endangered American security. And yet the recent FBI decision not to indict her despite mountains of evidence shows the degree of corruption rooted in Obama’s Department of Justice and the FBI. And the financial scandals documented in the recent book “Clinton Cash” and upcoming movie prove that the Clinton’s are a veritable mafia.

Hillary is a clever chameleon, but at the core she’s a vindictive, nasty, shrill, Jew-hating bigot, a peripatetic predator from Illinois, Arkansas, a carpetbagger Senator from NY, and Washington D.C. A racist liberal who exploits the easily exploited for political gain. A ruthless shark who will do anything to obtain power, flout the law with haughty disregard to retain it, and continue to wreak havoc on American society.

President Hillary Clinton would be the death rattle for the United States of America  it does not deserve. It is a moral nation in a world of evil. And yet, the desire to keep her from obtaining the presidency is not enough, since an unfettered Hillary is a disgrace to every decent standard of justice. Just like Obama, Hillary deserves nothing less than a prison jumpsuit. This should be the ultimate goal: disgraced and incarcerated for life, at the very least. The Founding Fathers would surely have had another suggestion for justice. Political correctness be damned. If ever someone in high office deserved such a fate…

My ultimate interest is for the survival of Israel, as a strong, independent, G-d-fearing nation based upon Torah principles. Yet every Jew who lived in America with a sense of hakarat hatov, should wish the best for a country that offered millions of Jews something no other nation in history gave them: a rare reprieve from death and government legislated anti-Semitism. Had the Founding Fathers been not made of such fine character, America could have easily replicated the European model of anti-Semitism. And this is not to ignore or minimize American anti-Semitism past and present. It existed and continues to exist. In government the State Department remains one of the most Jew hating branches. Yet the country as it was established allowed for the accommodation of Jews. This is not to present the notion that America should remain a homeland for Jews. History has taught the Jew that things can change, and that change will eventually happen. But we should be appreciative….

We Jews will survive. Israel will survive, because of the Divine promise. America may not. Righteous gentiles deserve to survive and thrive in America, if they stand up for what’s right and face the G-dless threats in their midst. America’s leadership has set the country upon the path of Sodom and Gomorrah. America must choose the best of the worst, because the worst is a veritable virus. America must support Israel if it desires the Divine promise, rather than the curses of those who curse us.

A warning to sane Americans who want to see their country recover from eight years of Obama’s destruction: Obama will leave America hemorrhaging on all fronts. A Clinton presidency will see America irrevocably changed, economically, socially, and militarily. Israel too will suffer, because Hillary hates Jews and Israel. The fact that she can always trot out the familiar cadre of Jewish faces to support her, even Orthodox ones with rabbinical ordination, does nothing to change this fact. (And Heaven Forbid if she is elected, it is very likely that the same Orthodox rabbi who accepted Obama’s invite, will attend her swearing in ceremony at the National Church.) This is the age that we live in. Yet, Hillary’s true legacy should alarm sensible Jews and gentiles, who appreciate that most of contemporary liberalism’s basic tenets are anathema to decency.

Aleynu L’Shabeyach

A call to all American gentiles who have a cognizance of a Creator:

America’s descent into the cesspool of deviance, deprivations, and immorality will not be stifled by the continued worship of a pagan Man-G-d. Only The Almighty, the One True G-d will save a once great nation from destruction. Will Bible believers finally wake up and use their intellect to return to the true worship of G-d?

It is time for American gentiles to evolve and abandon higher paganism. G-d fearing gentiles need to embrace the “7 Laws of Noah” as an ever-growing number of righteous gentiles’ world-wide have. This represents the only antidote for the rampant secularization which leads to societal depravities legislated by government, and the ironic growth and appeasement of savage Islam. By doing so, America will merit The Almighty’s blessings as promised to Abraham. If Americans fail to heed the call, the country will ultimately fall prey to the monotheistic murderers who worship a blood deity. Jesus will not save anyone.

Donald Trump is a necessary Band-Aid for the time being, since man does not rely on miracles. But recognize the import of this historical moment. Populism will not stop the bleeding nor will it make America “great again,” nor will Christian solutions. Three may be better than thirty, but true monotheism eludes most Americans, and this is anathema to G-d’s Will. The true bible precludes the possibility of replacement. The Master of All remains the ultimate solution, for Jew and gentile alike.

To all gentiles, who may not want to hear this last point, I say these words with respect and concern for decent gentiles, and out of a sense of Jewish duty. As Jews we have a mandate to spread a message to the world, but it’s not to advocate for “woman’s rights” (abortion on demand) or act as shameless surrogates for liberal politicians. This is what happens when Judaism is turned on its head. We have a mission to bring the knowledge of G-d to the world. It started with the patriarch Abraham, who epitomized intelligent man’s true quest for G-d.

In the meantime, Hillary Clinton looms like a monsoon on the horizon. Corruption personified. A cruel person with the blood of so many on her negligent, incompetent hands. May we see her downfall.

Donny Fuchs

Thousands Attend Rabbi Mark’s Funeral; President, Mossad Chief and Chief Rabbis Deliver Eulogies [video]

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) — Rabbi Michael (Miki) Mark, who was killed on Friday in a terrorist shooting attack, was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon in Jerusalem. Thousands attended his funeral, which began in his home town of Otniel and ended with his burial in the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Givat Shaul.

Rabbi Mark was the director of the Otniel Yeshiva and a teacher at Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshiva University’s post-high-school yeshiva for American students in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife, Chava Rachel Mark, who sustained serious injuries in the attack and remains hospitalized, and ten children, two of whom were also wounded in the attack.

“When he started as principal this past year, he took a real interest in the overseas students,” Phil Katz, the head of the overseas program at the Otniel Yeshiva, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “He would constantly speak to us, and he put a major effort into improving our learning experience in Israel. It’s a terrible loss.”

The funeral service began at the Otniel Yeshiva, where many current and former students came to pay their last respects. President Reuven Rivlin, a distant cousin of Mark’s, delivered a eulogy.

“I stand here today before your bier, Michael, Miki, in sadness and pain. With me stands an entire grieving nation,” President Rivlin said. “You were a pillar of the Otniel community and the whole Hebron hills region. The Hebron hills region, the historic cradle of Jewish civilization, keeps losing the best of its children to terrorism. But our roots here are strong, and terrorism will not defeat us.”

Once the eulogies at the Otniel Yeshiva were completed, the Mark family, accompanied by hundreds of mourners, supporters, and an army escort, traveled in a funeral procession to Jerusalem, where Mark was laid to rest.

On the way to Jerusalem, the family stopped at the site on Route 60 where the terror attack took place.

By the time the procession reached Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery, thousands of mourners had arrived. A police spokesman told TPS that in his estimation, at least 4,000 people attended Rabbi Mark’s burial.

According to Hadassah Medical Center spokesperson Hadar Elboim, Chava Rachel Mark remains in serious but stable condition, though she is breathing on her own.

The Marks’ 14-year-old daughter, Tehila, who also sustained serious injuries in the attack and is confined to a wheelchair, was released from the hospital to attend her father’s funeral.

Both of Israel’s chief rabbis eulogized Rabbi Mark at the burial, as did Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, Mark’s first cousin.

“I swear in the name of the Israeli defense establishment to keep the State of Israel, which you loved so much, united within and protected from without,” Cohen said. “Farewell, my dearest Miki. You were a man of peace, and I loved you with all my soul.”

Michael Bachner and Tzvi Yedidyah Lev contributed to this article.

Video of the Day

Thousands Attend Funeral for Miki Mark

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Thousands attended the funeral of Miki Mark in Otniel on Sunday morning. Mark was murdered by Islamic terrorists on Friday after they opened fire on his family car. His wife was seriously wounded. One of his daughters was moderately wounded. Both are still in the hospital.

One of his sons was lightly wounded, and was able to attend his father’s funeral.

The couple have 10 children.

President Ruby Rivlin spoke and said, “Our best continue to fall in the mountains of Hebron, the cradle of Jewish settlement. Our roots are deep in this land. Terrorism is not undermining our hold on our land and will not. Jewish blood is not free. We promise to fight without fear, and we will win. The IDF and the security forces will cut off the hands of the murderers. Michi, the light of the way you paved will not be extinguished.”

Rivlin speaks at Mark Funeral

Miki Mark Funeral 1

Miki Mark Funeral 2

Photos by Hillel Meier / TPS

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu: World Must Pressure PA President to Condemn Terror Attack, Stop Incitement

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement condemning the murder of a 13-year-old Israeli girl by a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist in Kiryat Arba on Thursday morning, calling on the Palestinian Authorty leadership, and the world, to unequivocally join in the condemnation. The terrorist broke into the Ariel family’s home and stabbed the daughter, Hallel, to death in her bed.

“The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing,” Netanyahu said. “The entire nation deeply identifies with the family’s pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us. We will continue to take strong and determined action against terrorism everywhere and at all times.”

Seventeen-year-old Mohammed Tarayra from the nearby Arab village of Bani Na’im breached the security fence of Kiryat Arba’s Harsina neighborhood Thursday morning and stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel to death as she slept in her bed. A security volunteer responding to the incident was also wounded by the terrorist, and is now in moderate condition.

Tarayra was killed at the scene.

Netanyahu held a security consultation with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman after the attack, and ordered to cordon off the Bani Na’im village, revoke work permits for members of his clan, and to begin the procedure of getting official approval to demolish the terrorist’s family home.

“I expect the Palestinian leadership to clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement,” Netanyahu added.

Netanyahu also called upon the world at-large to speak out against the attack, saying: “The entire world needs to condemn this murder just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels.”

“Enlightened nations must join in this demand. They must pressure the one who heads the network of incitement that leads to the murder of children in their beds and not the State of Israel, which is working to protect its children and its citizens,” he added, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Netanyahu frequently accuse of inciting violence against Jews.

Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s official spokesperson to the Arab media, expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority’s response to the attack, tweeting: “Official PA media outlets call the Palestinian terrorist who murdered 13 y/o Hallel Ariel in her bed ‘a martyr.’”

Yael Kabilio, Hallel’s aunt, expressed deep despair over the family’s loss and called upon Netanyahu to take direct action.

“Today the most wonderful girl in the world was murdered. We are in deep mourning, feeling great sorrow,” she said. “I have many things to say to the prime minister. He should come to his senses. The home front is on fire today. Today it’s our house, tomorrow it’s another. Take matters into your own hands and come to your senses.”

The victim was a cousin of MK Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of agriculture and rural development, who tweeted: “Arab terror has struck our family, but the response must be national. Deterring terrorists, redoubling building and planting in Judea and Samaria, and applying Israeli sovereignty to Area C,” referring to territory in Judea and Samaria that the Oslo Accords assign to Israeli civilian and military control.

MK Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor party, shared in the Ariel family’s loss, saying: “my heart breaks looking at the photo of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, smiling an innocent and calm smile.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli President to EU Parliament: No More ‘Negotiations for Negotiations’ Sake’

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday, including foreign ministers of the EU member states, and issued a sharp rebuke of the international community’s approach toward Israeli-“Palestinian” peacemaking, arguing that the recent French initiative “suffers from fundamental flaws” and that efforts should be focused on building trust among the parties rather than striving for a permanent peace deal, which he described as a “chronicle of a predictable failure.”

Rivlin, a former right-wing parliamentarian who has refashioned himself in the presidency as a strong voice for unity and tolerance, pointedly dismissed recent European peacemaking endeavors, including the French initiative conference adopted by the European Union Council last week.

“The attempt to return to negotiations for negotiations’ sake, not only does not bring us near the long-awaited solution, but rather drags us further away from it,” Rivlin said. “The French initiative suffers from fundamental flaws.”

“If the international community really wishes and truly aspires to be a constructive player, it must divert its efforts away from the renewal of negotiations for negotiations’ sake, and toward building trust between the parties, and to creating the necessary terms for the success of negotiations in the future,” Rivlin added. “In the current circumstances, we must all ask ourselves ‘what can be done today’, rather than, ‘what cannot be done.’”

Rivlin argued that a true peace deal is not practical today and its pursuit is a doomed enterprise.

“Currently the practical conditions, the political and regional circumstances, which would enable us to reach a permanent agreement between us – the Israelis and the Palestinians – are failing to materialize,” Rivlin claimed, citing the split between the Palestinian Fatah party and the Hamas terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, as well as the “total lack of trust between the parties, at all levels, between the leaders and the nations.”

“One cannot hope to achieve better results while resorting to the same outlooks and tools which have failed time after time previously,” Rivlin said.

Rivlin also addressed European criticism of Israel, which he described as misguided and at times unfair.

“I feel that the massive criticism aimed at Israel in Europe stems from, inter alia, a misunderstanding and an impatience toward this existential need of the Jewish Nation and the State of Israel,” he said. “There are those who feel anger and frustration toward certain European actions, vis-à-vis what they perceive as sometimes unfair criticism, sometimes even contaminated by elements of condescension, and some would even say double standard.”

“If Europe is interested in serving as a constructive factor in striving for a future agreement, it will be incumbent upon you its leaders, to focus efforts at this time in a patient and methodic building of trust. Not through divestments, but through investment; not by boycotts, but by cooperation,” Rivlin added.

Despite his blistering critique of Europe’s attitude toward Israel and his stark assessment of the possibility of a long-term peace deal in the near future, Rivlin stressed that Israel seeks peace.

“I speak to you today in the name of a nation which abhors war and desires life and peace,” he said. “Being well versed in the Israeli Parliament, I do know that any political agreement brought before the Israeli Knesset by an elected government will be approved.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

President Rivlin: Israel Is Democratic and Jewish and Tribal, and There Are Arabs, Too

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The 16th Annual Herzliya conference opened at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, with a discussion by Israeli senior ministers and political party leaders on the joint initiative “Shared Israeli Hope.” President Reuven Rivlin opened his keynote address saying Israeli society has transitioned from being made up of a clear majority and minorities into a society made up of four main sectors or tribes, which are becoming more and more equal in size: secular, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Arab.

“We must speak the truth; this is not something that we expected,” he said, noting that many had called him a post-Zionist following his previous Herzliya conference address and questioned, “Is anyone who discusses the issues of Israeli identity, post-Zionist?” He explained that Israel was “Four tribes, four competing, different stories, about who we are, and what we want to be.” He noted that “the headline of the conference should have been, ‘Israeli hope: to be or not to be.’” He said that “a year ago there were those that interpreted my words as yet another typical, joyful presidential call… but first and foremost, my words were intended to serve as a call to wake up to the gaps and inadequacies between the reality of Israeli society and the system of Israeli institutions.” Looking ahead he said, “We are obliged to strive for institutional and systematic changes which must be conducted as a national effort… we must recognize that there are material and structural barriers to forming shared rules of the game for the different sectors… The creation of a shared Israeli identity and a shared Israeli hope is a mighty and noble process which will take a generation.”

One of the main engines for change Rivlin discussed was that of academia and employment. “Academia and the Israeli labor market will become an engine of real change, only when academic institutions and employers view the establishment of the Israeli dream – for a young man from Ofakim, a young woman from Bnei Brak, a young man from Jatt and a young woman from Binyamin – as a national mission of paramount professional and economic interests… Academia and the labor market today cater mainly to two tribes, but there are two more.”

He noted that if Israeli society were willing to embrace the necessary changes, the State of Israel would serve as a model for others, “A Jewish and democratic state; democratic and Jewish is one in the same.”

Following the president’s keynote address, senior ministers and political party leaders were given the opportunity to respond.

MK Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs, and Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party, began his address by taking the audience on a journey to 3,000 years in the past: “We are in a sovereign state. A Jewish State under the rule of King David with great economic and political power.” He traced Jewish history through the periods, explaining how Jews in the Diaspora lived in survival mode, “Zionism was based on survival and security.” He noted that now, back in the Jewish homeland, Jews no longer needed to be afraid and could “break into a new creativity without being afraid,” adding that the new generation of Zionism needed to be based on “destiny.” He stressed that Judaism was a religion focused on contending “with the reality of the world and bringing values into it.”

Directing his address to his role as minister of education, Bennett said, “I am the minister of education of all children in Israel… they are all my children and they are equal regardless of their color, religion, politics or anything else. We express this with an intensity unlike anything else in Israel.” He also noted how his office had adjusted budget allocations to ensure that adequate funds were appropriated to areas in need in Robin Hood fashion: “We take from the strong and give to the week… when I took on my position… per capita more funds were invested in wealthier areas.”

MK Aryeh Deri, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Chairman of the Shas Party, said, possibly ignoring the entire books of Numbers and Deuteronomy: “It was never the dream that one [nation] should get rid of the other.” He stressed that the Arab citizens “truly want to integrate within us and be a part and parcel with us… We need to show them that we respect their culture, heritage and history… We have no desire to mix cultures but rather to live together in one state” with full equality and egalitarian rights. Also paying an homage to the man from Sherwood Forest, Deri said, “There are steps, even as painful as they may be, where we will take from the big… and give to the smaller ones.” He added that any “discourse of hatred” needed to immediately be stopped. To a round of applause he stated, “In our state it is prohibited that we should accept any racism or discourse of racism.” He should have possibly share this with the minister of Religious Services from his own party, who announced a while back (I paraphrase) that non-Orthodox Jews are not really Jewish.

MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, opened his address noting all the ideals and values that he shared with the president: “Bringing the various populations closer to one another. Advancing the general welfare of all citizens. Building shared citizenship.” But he added that there are “important things that we cannot ignore… The basic thing that guides me in politics is my deep internal conviction that the guiding interests of both people are equal. Everyone wants the blessing of life.”

He emphasized the principles of nationalism: “What does it mean to be a citizen? What does it mean to be a national? We want complete equality on the national level and the civil social level.” He said that it was impossible to only talk about the economy and citizenship without nationalism. He also noted how he was always steered to discuss the future rather than the past: “We have a deep pain. In the heart of every Arab. The injustices of the past. And it hurts me so much when I hear narratives of 3,000, 4,000 years and I am told not to talk about the narratives of 60 years but to look into the future.”

By that narrative, MK Odeh referred to the fact that the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine had a chance to receive two thirds of the land if only they accepted that the Jews could have one third — and they refused. They wanted instead to murder all the Jews of the land with the help of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. They failed and have yet to recover from the shame and disappointment of that terrible failure.

Odeh focused specific attention on the subjects of unrecognized villages and said that it would not hurt anyone for the state to “state recognizes the terrible massacre of Kafir Qasim and the massive injustices and confiscation of land.” He stated that his party’s stance was two states for two people, side by side with complete equality for both but “crimes occurred and we have to talk about that… There are citizens of the State of Israel who are not allowed to return to their land… Will it harm one Jewish person…. If people of Mahalul are returned to Mahalul… To build 80 villages… Will it harm one Jewish person?… We need to talk about civil and national rights for Arabs in Israel and it doesn’t have to harm anyone. The opposite. That is what will heal these two people.”

Naturally, when MK Odeh speaks of two states, he really means four states: three purely Arab — Jordan, the PA and Gaza, and one 20% Arab — Israel.

MK Zahava Galon, Chairman of Meretz, said that the “elephant in the room” was that the Arabs do not have their own state and we are “50 years into the occupation of the territories.” She said that no discussion could take place regarding the demographic question without talking about occupying this nation and controlling their lives.

Taking on the judicial perspective of “Shared Israeli Hope,” Chief Justice Miriam Naor, president of the Supreme Court, noted that “Our image as a democratic society requires a balance between the individual and society.” She said that the legal system plays a role in advancing Israeli partnerships and creating boundaries. “Discrimination undermines social solidarity. The courts are responsible for eradicating discrimination.”

Which is why they are appointing their own judges, evading the control of the legislator on judicial selections — because as soon as you let the people make their own decisions they’re bound to start discriminating.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-rivlin-democratic-and-jewish-is-one-and-the-same/2016/06/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: