On today’s Israel Uncensored with Josh Hasten, Rabbi Guy Avihod says that he was actually inspired heading towards the start of the Jewish New Year thanks to the positive and optimistic speech delivered this past week at the UN by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Avihod also discusses how the Jewish holidays are a time to reflect as individuals to better ourselves personally but at the same time are an opportunity to better ourselves as a nation. Listen also to hear how Avihod suggests that the bitter US election race between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton can actually be used by the Jewish nation as a catalyst for positive change heading into the high holidays.The Land of Israel
Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu’
In their press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz insisted that we won the war against Hamas. They correctly pointed out that Hamas, and the entire Gaza strip, suffered unprecedented damage that will take many years to repair, that Hamas lost around 1000 fighters, some of its most senior leaders, and most of its rockets, tunnels and other weaponry, and that Israel benefitted from wide-ranging international understanding. They also pointed out that Hamas was forced to capitulate, eventually accepting the very same cease-fire proposal that they refused before the ground invasion.
Netanyahu made the decision to avoid a full-scale reconquest of the Strip, which would probably have led to the deaths of many of our soldiers and subjected Israel to significant international pressure. Apparently, he also doesn’t want to have to rule the Gaza strip again.
On the other hand, several members of his cabinet – most notably Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett – argue that because of that very decision, the operation was a failure. They correctly point out that while Hamas has been weakened it has not been destroyed, and that if they are able to replenish their supplies and reinforce their control as they have after previous cease-fires, the next round of fighting is inevitable, and it will be even more difficult next time. Additionally, at least in Bennett’s opinion, the prospect of regaining control over the Gaza strip, including the ruins of Gush Katif, would not be a negative thing.
So who is right? Did we win or lose?
The answer will be clear only with time. If we are able to keep Hamas weak and prevent it from rearming, and if sustained quiet prevails on our southern border for a significant period of time, then Netanyahu’s tactical decision will be vindicated. If not, then we indeed failed to achieve our objective. Personally, while my world-view is closer to Bennett’s, I’m willing to wait and see.
But regardless of who turns out to be correct, at this point a few things should be exceptionally clear:
We can never agree to a Palestinian state with total sovereignty over any land west of the Jordan River. This war we just fought against a fairly powerful Hamas army was a direct result of our disastrous withdrawal from Gaza nine years ago. Even if Netanyahu is right that reconquering the Strip isn’t wise right now, we can never allow any Palestinian entity, or anyone else for that matter, to have sovereignty there. Even more so, we cannot entertain any such thoughts regarding any parts of Judea and Samaria, which are significantly closer to our population centers. On a day when Al Qaeda militants just captured the border crossing between Israel and Syria and imprisoned 43 UN peacekeeping soldiers, we should be asking ourselves what things would look like if, God forbid, these guys were sitting on the hills overlooking Tiberias. Thank God we never made a deal with Syria and withdrew from the Golan. Any such ideas should be removed from the table permanently.
And if Netanyahu is right, it’s only because the world tied our hands. If we had international support, we could and would have recaptured the Gaza strip and destroyed Hamas long ago (or probably would never have left in the first place) – and the Arab population of Gaza would be much better off. We must therefore hold the UN, the Europeans, and even the Americans, partially responsible for this mess – even if President Obama and Secretary Kerry are insulted when we say that.Rabbi Alan Haber
For years, Binyamin Netanyahu’s views on negotiating with terrorists, and on negotiating under fire have been clear: In his defining treatise on the subject Terrorism: How the West Can Win, Netanyahu spelled out clear guidelines for dealing with the scourge of attacks on civilians. Amongst other principles, the then up-and-coming Likud leader said clearly that terrorists must be fought and beaten, not negotiated with and cajoled. He also wrote that by negotiating under fire Western governments ensure ongoing conflict and encourage future attacks.
As recently as 2009, Netanyahu criticised then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
What a difference a decade makes: Jordanian media reported Thursday that Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen – senior member of the Palestinian Unity Government that includes Hamas – met secretly in Amman several days ago, at a session likely sponsored by King Abdallah.
So much for principle.Meir Halevi Siegel
There is much to say about last week’s Wall Street Journal report on the further deterioration of U.S.-Israel relations under President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. But there’s one aspect in particular that stands out. And that is the fact that if the basic structure of arms transfers from the U.S. to Israel is described accurately in the story – and it appears it is – the last refuge of Barack Obama’s defenders on his attitude toward Israel has evaporated.
Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters. Even as a candidate in 2008 he let loose, ranting about Likud in a way that showed his lack of understanding of the basics of Israeli political life as well as his desire to push back on Israel’s supporters in the U.S.
After he became president, only the most dedicated leftists were surprised when he, in entirely predictable fashion, picked silly fights with Israel and tried to collapse its elected governing coalition. (Though it can also be argued that those leftists were cheered by this course of action.)
There was always, however, one defense Obama’s “fanboy”s in the media would fall back on: at least he is dedicated to ensuring Israel has what it needs to defend itself. This was generally thought to be a fair point, though never as compelling as they hoped it would be. After all, “Obama hasn’t abandoned Israel to a bloody genocide at the hands of its neighbors” is quite a low bar to clear.
But the Journal story takes apart the idea that Obama has always had Israel’s back when the chips were down:
White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.
Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and that both sides know it.
The munitions surprise and previously unreported U.S. response added to a string of slights and arguments that have bubbled behind the scenes during the Gaza conflict, according to events related by senior American, Palestinian and Israeli officials involved.
So the essential resupply was not approved by Obama, because it didn’t have to be. It’s simply the default setting: the two countries’ defense departments have military cooperation on autopilot. But when Obama found out, he put a stop to the automatic resupply. In other words, Obama sought to downgrade the U.S.-Israel military relationship.
A general defense of Obama on Israel’s security goes something like this, from Obama’s dedicated press ally Jeffrey Goldberg: “On matters of genuine security, Obama has been a reliable ally, encouraging close military cooperation, helping maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge over its regional rivals and, most important, promising that he won’t allow Iran to cross the nuclear-weapons threshold.”
You tend to hear some variation on that theme from time to time, usually when Obama is busy picking fights with Israeli leaders. Diplomatically, he may be consistently harsh on Israel, so the thinking goes, but at least he’s absolutely committed to Israel’s security. (The Iran part of that Goldberg quote, by the way, is also up in the air, considering the president’s consistent attempts to water down or derail sanctions on Iran and his desperation for a deal that lets Iran drag out the process.)Seth Mandel
IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Monday at an air force base in southern Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “The IDF is making progress in the field according to plan and the operation will be expanded until the goal is achieved – restoring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period. The achievements in the fighting in the field are outstanding. I am impressed by the operation to hit the tunnels; it is achieving results beyond what we expected. On behalf of the people of Israel, I tell all the soldiers in the field that we are proud of their strength of spirit and that we pray for their well-being. A military campaign is a complex thing and it has difficult moments. I am certain that together, united, we will reach the goal.”Meir Halevi Siegel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso celebrated Israel’s entry to Horizon 2020, The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The ceremony, held Sunday in Jerusalem,was attended by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen and Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri, who signed the agreement for the EU and Israel, respectively.
The program has been controversial in Israel. Despite Israel’s prowess in the natural sciences, and in technology research and development, Europe threatened to exclude Israel from Horizon 2020 if the latter did not agree to boycott scientists and researchers from Judea and Samaria. Eventually, Israeli representatives capitulated: Israeli research entities on the “correct” side of the 1949 Armistice Line can apply for European loans, but Israel has committed to ensuring the money is not spent in Judea and Samaria – at least, not amongst Jews.
In real terms, this means Israeli companies or organizations seeking loans from the EU will have to maintain systems that ensure the funds are not spent amongst the “wrong” kinds of Jews.
Horizon 2020 is among the largest programs in the world for scientific and industrial cooperation; Israel will transfer approximately 140 million Euros per annum from the Science, Economy and other ministry budgets. Investments in previous EU plants have proven themselves: The relative return on Israeli investments in the plan is approximately 60%. Israel invested 535 million Euros in the seventh plan; Israeli bodies received 840 million Euros in grants, 579.5 million Euros of which were for university scientists. Under the plan, which ended last year, 1,197 projects – with the participation of 2,124 Israeli scientists from academia and industry – were approved.
To date, approximately 500 proposals with Israeli participants have been submitted. The proposals will be evaluated by September 2014 and grant agreements will be signed by the end of the year.Meir Halevi Siegel
Prime Minister Netanyahu visited a Border Police base in Jerusalem Sunday to thank security personnel and IDF soldiers who foiled a terrorist attacks at Tapuah junction last week.
The prime minister told soldiers, “We assign you difficult and complex tasks. You are called upon to maintain security and, at the same time, allow for daily routine, and this puts you in very tough dilemmas. You have proven an amazing ability to uphold both of these tasks simultaneously. Of course, the first mission is to guard your lives and those of Israeli citizens, who are threatened by relentless terrorism and unending attempted terrorist attacks. We know this, it is not over; and signing this or that document does not change it.”
Netanyahu added: “We all pray for peace. The Jewish People have been praying for peace every day for thousands of years. Until peace comes, we will continue to strengthen you so that you – Border Police personnel and IDF soldiers – may continue to protect the State of Israel. In the end, this is what ensures our future and in the end, this is what will also bring peace. You are at the forefront against these attacks and I know that you need to make decisions in a second. We have been there. We know it is not easy; therefore, we highly appreciate your accomplishments, because we know what you are called upon to do, and you do so in an exceptional manner. We are very impressed by your resourcefulness and your daring. I congratulate you on these two actions that saved who knows how many Israeli lives. Who knows how many innocents were saved thanks to your resourcefulness?”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also told a fighter who was wounded in action: “I know that sometimes it hurts. Know that all of us are binding up your wounds and embracing you among the defenders of Israel.”Meir Halevi Siegel