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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘settlers’

J Street Poll Shows Obama Out of Touch with US Jews

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

A poll of American Jewish voters carried out by the left-wing J Street lobby shows an overwhelming number of Jew support building in some Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The results of the survey should be a wake-up call to President Barack Obama, who has surrounded himself with left-wing Jewish advisers and has given J Street a free pass to the White House while distancing traditional Jewish lobbies, particularly AIPAC.

J Street has been a consistent opponent of almost everything the Netanyahu government does, as reflected in President president’s holy ghost, otherwise known as the “Peace Process.”

A whopping 72 percent of polled American Jewish voters said they support construction in Jewish communities that are not outside the core settlement blocs. Twenty percent of that number back building for Jews in all of Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem.

Only 28 percent said Israel should freeze all construction in the same areas.

All of the respondents in the poll voted in last week’s mid-term elections. Nearly one-third of the respondents did not describe their affiliation with a stream of Judaism, while the breakdown for the others was 37 percent Reform, 20 percent Conservative and 10 percent Orthodox.

That means that the support for building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has deepened among Reform Jews, previously thought to be heavily left-wing and against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

A majority of American Jews polled also said they have a favorable view of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, contradicting assumptions that most Jews in the United States oppose him and his policies.

The survey also verified other estimates that 69 percent of American Jews voted for Democratic candidates last week, another indication that President Obama cannot assume that Jewish Democrats back his and J Street’s view that settlers are “illegal” and “illegitimate.”

The Obama administration’s constant pointing fingers at Israel for allegedly blocking a peace agreement appears to be wearing thin on American Jews.

While 85 percent support an active role for the United States in the Arab-Israeli conflict, slightly more than half of the respondents “oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States publicly stating its disagreements with Israel.”

In answer to the question, “Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States exerting pressure on Israel to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace?” 54 percent replied in the negative.

The poll also showed massive support for Israel in the Protective Edge counter-terror war with Hamas this past summer. The 80 percent approval showed how little J Street’s lobby against Israel has influenced American Jews.

Most of its influence seems to have been felt inside the White House, and anyone thinking of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in two years will pay close attention to the poll.

Hillary Clinton is the most highly favored candidate among the Jewish who were polled, winning support of 66-69 percent if Jeb Bush were running as the GOP nominee, and 70 percent if Rand Paul were the Republican candidate.

The poll also showed that only 25 percent of U.S. Jews support the Boycott Israel-BDS movement.

As usual, Israel was near the bottom of the list of subjects that concern American Jews, but more significant was that “terrorism and national security” were the number four issue, after the economy, health care and Social Security/Medicare.

The Islamic State beheadings of two Americans, one of the them Jewish, and an increasing number of Islamic-linked attacks on American soil have brought terror closer to home and brought all Americans to better understand Israel’s refusal to consider sponsors of terrorism “peace partners.”

Reflecting the overall mood of the United States, 57 percent of American Jews “feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track” in the United States.

Nevertheless, Obama remains more popular among American Jews than among most other voting blocs. Fifty-seven percent either “somewhat” or “strongly” approve of how Obama is handling his job as president and 53 percent approved the way Congress is functioning.

You Know, Mom, This is the ‘West Bank’

Monday, November 10th, 2014

I’ve been living in Israel, in Gush Etzion, in Efrat, since the end of August. I’m here because one daughter (YD) is studying in a seminary nearby (much more on that, later), and the other (OD) made Aliyah and is going into the IDF in December.

This is our chance to try a pilot project: can this particular family of upper middle class Jewish American Zionists make it in Israel? Do we have more to contribute being here, or is it important for stalwart Israel supporters to remain in the U.S., constantly correcting the myths created by the mainstream media about Israel, the shtachim, the plight of the Arabs, and all the rest.

And does Israel really need more lawyers? Or English-writing journalists? We’ll see. But for now, here I am.

*************

Arriving at Ben Gurion. Nov. 5, 2014.

Arriving at Ben Gurion. Nov. 5, 2014.

My mother came to visit for two weeks. She arrived at Ben Gurion a few days ago. Younger Daughter (YD) and I picked her up. Yes, here I am, driving in Israel. At this point, two months in, I know how to get to the airport without looking at directions. That’s exciting.

The Judean Hills

The Judean Hills

This morning I showed my mother around the neighborhood. She thinks it is GORGEOUS. As she raved on and on (“you know, everything is flat in Florida, we have none of these gorgeous hills”), I said to her:

ME: You know, mom, this is the “West Bank.”

MOM: It’s so gorgeous…what? What are you talking about?

ME: Here. This house, this neighborhood, this whole area is what the New York Times and the rest of the planet calls the “West Bank.”

MOM: … (looks around with her eyes squinched up)…no. You mean, this is what they say should be given back?

ME: yes, that’s what ‘they’ say. And they’re also wrong about saying “given back,” as if it was intended to go to people who had control over it before.

We take a brief detour through the history of  the last few hundreds years of control of this area, beginning with the Ottoman Empire and then the British Mandate, and then the slicing up of what was promised for the Jewish State so that the different Arab families could be rewarded with their own countries, and then the refusal to accept the final Arab state if it also meant there would be a Jewish state.

And then back to this being the “West Bank.”

MOM: But how can this be the “West Bank?”

ME: You mean, because the people and the houses and the stores look just like they do everywhere else, including in Florida (where mom lives)? Mom, this is what they call a “settlement.” We’re all “settlers” here.

MOM: That’s ridiculous.

ME: It’s because the media only shows pictures of people who look crazed or violent or both. And the descriptions they connect with what they call “settlers” conjure up images of people foaming at the mouth and walking around with machetes for chopping down Arabs’ olive trees.

MOM: But this (she points around the neighborhood) isn’t what anyone thinks of when they think of the West Bank. When I hear those words, I think of makeshift ramshackle houses and people who…well, people who look nothing like the people around here. Really, this looks like the communities in Florida.

ME: Well, you should start telling all your friends. All those Jews who are proudly Jewish, but who think that the “settlements” are a problem.

Barkat Says Housing Project in Jerusalem ‘Essential’

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat rejected on Thursday a White House statement that building in Jerusalem will “poison the atmosphere” and stated that building in Jerusalem ”is essential, important and will continue with full force.”

He added, “ I will not freeze construction for anyone in Israel’s capital. Discrimination based on religion, race or gender is illegal in the United States and in any other civilized country.

“[The] 2,600 apartments in Givat HaMatos that we approved two years ago will enable more young people from all sectors and religions to live in Jerusalem and build their future here, thereby strengthening the capital of Israel. We will not apologize for that. “

Gov’t Reaches Partial Deal on Givat Assaf

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Residents of the Jewish community of Givat Assaf in Samaria have reached a partial agreement with the Defense Ministry over the fate of their homes.

The talks came in an effort to avoid a traumatic demolition similar to the one that took place Wednesday in Gush Etzion.

The deal, which came Thursday morning, means the residents will begin to dismantle five of their own houses and buildings by themselves. Included among the structures are a mikvah and an electrical utility building. The fate of seven other buildings is still under discussion.

According to the Civil Administration, residents have already removed their personal belongings from the buildings.

Under the agreement the residents are expected to have left their homes by Sunday, when the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, which marks the passing of the great Torah sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, will already have started the night before.

Bonfires will have been kindled after the Shabbat has ended, lighting up the hillsides, valleys and beaches of Israel, including the mountainous regions in Judea and Samaria.

During the daylight hours Jews generally celebrate the holiday in parks and nature reserves, or at the mountaintop Galilee tomb of the sage, near Meron — but for residents of Givat Assaf, the only “celebration” may come in the form moving trucks.

Destruction in Gush Etzion: It’s Only ‘Anatevka’

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

When the IDF soldiers and Border Police officers who destroyed the homes of seven families and a kindergarten in Gush Etzion take off their uniforms to lay down for the night, will they be able to sleep when they close their eyes? What images will they see?

Hundreds of security personnel were involved in today’s (Wednesday) in demolitions, making sure the small playground vanished where Ma’aleh Rehavam’s children once learned and played.

A like number of Arab workers – just pour a little salt on the wounds please — were present to shove their precious few belongings into big metal shipping containers. When it was over they were sent who knew where.

A few scattered pieces of shelving lay broken on the rocky ground, carelessly tossed in the rush to finish the job done before media could report the gory details. Pitiful bits of furniture left here and there gave testimony to the presence of seven families and their small children. They didn’t have much.

It was only Anatevka. Or some Bedouin clans. Frankly, in this day and age, they don’t look much different, do they?

If you live in Israel and travel the Negev or the hills of Judea and Samaria, or around the Galilee and the Golan Heights, you know the truth. You know that Jews who choose to help settle the Land – as Jews are commanded to do in the Bible – don’t do it because it is easy.

They do it out of a commitment to their People and their nation, and to their Creator. They bring their faith and sometimes their small children and whatever few things they manage to pull together for a home. And then they live in a caravan for a while. Eventually, if they’re lucky, the caravan becomes a “real” house – but usually it’s a hut with a corrugated tin roof. Just like those of the Bedouin in the Negev and up north.

We’re basically the same. We’re only different when it comes to how our government treats us.

Fear of the European Union, which generously funds the radical leftist Peace Now movement, has driven the government to discriminate against the settlers. Peace Now files hundreds of lawsuits that whip the courts and the government into expelling Jewish settlers from their homes. They don’t bother to do the same with Arab settlers.

According to Peace Now, Arabs own all the land outside of the 1949 Armistice line. Peace Now would never dare to harass the Palestinian Authority into “enforcing” any law – nor would it attempt to force the PA to formulate a law to control settlement or housing construction.

They are too busy harassing Jews. It’s also safer. Harassing Hamas or Fatah would earn a death sentence for anyone attempting to “enforce” anything and well does the European Union’s proxy agency know it. So they aim at those who are committed to holding the land won in 1967 in a war not even of Israel’s making. Land that was ours decades before, and millenia before, towns whose names were written eons ago in the Bible. They persuade Israel’s military – who rush with an agenda – to clear out the settlers. They figure it will eliminate the “facts on the ground” and create an atmosphere of “peace” with the Arabs.

The saddest and most destructive part of what happened today at Ma’aleh Rehavam, however, is the haste with which the entire demolition was carried out.

What on earth was that about?

Here is a copy of the Supreme Court restraining order, clearly stating that the IDF forces are not to take any steps that carry “irreversible outcomes.”

Fifty Extremist Settlers Ransack IDF Post of Soldiers Defending Them

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Fifty settlers raided and ransacked on Tuesday an IDF outpost that was manned by six soldiers who were deployed there to defend their attackers and neighbors in the community of Yitzhar, in northern Samaria.

An IDF spokesman told The Jewish Press that the soldiers did not suffer any injuries, contrary to a report in Ynet that said two soldiers were “lightly injured.”

The attackers raided the military post in revenge for the destruction of four houses by soldiers and police earlier in the day. Violent youth demonstrated their belief in the Land of Israel by throwing stones at the soldiers and police, injuring at least two of them. The demolitions, not by coincidence, followed the second vandalism of army vehicles in two days.

In the first vandalism attack, a youth age 15 was arrested. He has taken out his anger on the army following last week’s demolition of a home in Yitzhar , four days before it weas to be dedicated.

As usual in Israel, and especially in Judea and Samaria, the facts are not exactly what they seem, but there is one clear and correct conclusion: A bunch of loonies who have settled in several hilltop outposts the past several years have justified their ideology for criminal activity that rabbis and leaders of Judea and Samaria have ignored.

They have done incredible damage to the reputation of the 300,000 settlers, like myself, who live ordinary lives like every other Israeli citizen. This bunch of hooligans, suffering from ADD, XYZ, PTS and perhaps LSD, have armed the anti-nationalists – liberal Jews, journalists and governments – with all they need to justify terming me and every other person in Judea and Samaria as “illegitimate.”

There are approximately 220 families in Yitzhar Regional Council spokeswoman Esther Allush told The Jewish Press, “They are angry at the perpetrators of the violence and are frustrated.”

She harshly criticized the military for the demolition of the houses but emphasized there is no justification for violence, whether against Arabs or Israeli soldiers.

The demolitions usually originate with the Defense Ministry and almost always are for political reasons, but that is a subject in and by itself.

Violence by “hilltop youth” has been tolerated for years by leaders of Judea and Samaria and by their rabbis. They almost never encourage it, but they do nothing to stop it. In most cases, they know who the criminals are.

One official in a community in Judea and Samaria, who would be fired on the spot if his name were used, told The Jewish Press, “The vandals are criminals who act in the name of ideology. Leaders of Yesha (The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria) have a problem dealing with them.”

Why can’t someone simply stop providing them with water and electricity? Why don’t the rabbis take them to a Rabbinic Court? Why don’t the regional councils simply order them to get off the land?

The official’s answers to these questions were the same as received by other officials interviewed in the past by The Jewish Press.

In most cases, they knew who these demented imbeciles are. One rabbi told me he really doesn’t believe they are criminals and that the stories in the media are exaggerated. He added, “Every inch of land where they settle is holy and therefore the youth should be praised. The good rabbi is living day and night in the Talmud, but the hilltop youth are not. They are living in a movie, and it is getting uglier every day.

Another rabbi said that only a handful of people are involved.

That was a convenient excuse and may have been true five years ago. It no longer is valid. These young and budding criminals interpret the lack of action against them as a wink and a nod to do was they please, all in the name of God.

To Rally or Not, That is the Question

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

There were two blocks debating each other in many of the settlements this Shabbat, and both sides raised some very valid points.

On one side are the pro-rally settlers who plan to go join in the Haredi anti-draft protest.

Their positions are as follows:

1. Haredim are currently on target for the army’s annual draft expectations from the Haredi community. At this growth rate, they’ll definitely reach the army’s goals in 2017.

So why in the world is the government suddenly introducing criminal sanctions onto the Haredi community, when, despite the difficulties, they’re meeting their numbers?

2. If this were about all citizens sharing the burden, why are Lapid and friends ignoring the Arabs?

3. If this were really only about the draft, then why were Lapid and friends going after Hesder, until Bennett cut some sort of deal with him?

4. If we don’t stand with the Haredim now, when Lapid and friends go after the settlements (and Hesder), we won’t be able to count on the Haredim as allies.

5. If Lapid and friends succeed, in the next elections, they’ll be big enough to not need Bennett and the restrictions he’s placed on them, and then Hesder, the Settlements and the National-Religious community are really going to really be in trouble.

The pro-rally groups raises some very important points, that seem to indicate that this bill and the attacks on the Haredi community are more about populism, elections, hurting the Torah and the religious sector as a whole.

On the anti-Rally side, the following arguments were put forth:

1. Everyone should do the army, and its not fair to everyone else that the Haredim aren’t doing their share.

2. If the Haredi position was really only about Torah learning and how Torah learning protects the State and they’re sharing in the burden by learning – and not based on an anti-Zionist ideology, then why aren’t they at least saying the prayers for the State and IDF soldiers in their shuls.

Since they don’t, it proves this protest is not about being drafted, but rather not wanting to be a partner in the State of Israel itself and not caring for anyone else outside their community.

3. Lapid won’t be able to hurt the Hesder programs and the religious in the army, because we make up 50% of the combat units, so we don’t need the Haredim as allies for that.

4. The Dati-Leumi and Settler communities simply can’t count on the Haredim to stand by us. They didn’t stand with us during Gush Katif, and they only care about their own communities and whoever pays them enough to support their lifestyles. They don’t care about anyone else’s Torah community besides their own (see Gafni’s threats to destroy Hesder and the settlements).

We gain nothing by standing with them, and some people even said, they’re getting what they deserve.

The anti-Rally group also raises some extremely valid points – essentially the isolationist approach of the Haredi community has proven that Haredim are unreliable allies, and incapable of seeing themselves as part of the greater religious and Jewish community in Israel, and acting on that partnership, so why should we act for them, when we think they should be drafted anyway, just like we are.

What do I conclude from all this?

First of all, there’s no doubt the Haredi community has shot itself in the foot, and the Dati-Leumi community may very well follow in their footsteps.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/to-rally-or-not-here-are-the-questions/2014/03/01/

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