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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘terror’

An Ally in the Fight Against Terror and the Questions That Don’t Get Asked

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

With the sale of one of the world’s major repositories of news photographs recently, it has suddenly gotten a lot harder (we discovered just today) to locate many archived images of news events from the recent past.

This is relevant to us. We are passionate about wanting people to be aware of some of the less-well-publicized aspects of terrorism and what it means when it’s done to you.

Three news photos were published in October 2011 that recorded an event connected indirectly to our lives but basically unknown to almost anyone else.

The chief engineer of our daughter’s murder, sentenced a few years before to sixteen terms of life imprisonment, was set free by Israel in October 2011. A day later, she arrived in another country where most of her family had lived since before she was born (and still lives) and where she herself was born. There she was greeted with pomp, ceremony and emotion at an official reception in the Family Court of that country, located in its capital city.

People who know the Middle East and the ins and outs of terrorism probably don’t know any of this, and perhaps don’t care. The photos recording the reception in the court building may be the only evidence that it happened. And with the sale to a Chinese firm of the photo archive that housed them, that evidence is now hard to find.

Before we go into the background, we have just posted those pictures at the foot of this article. We have mentioned them numerous times in this blog. We want them to be seen. People need to appreciate the painful and damaging double-talk that is part of the global conversation about terrorism.

To the backstory:

Our daughter Malki, aged just 15, was murdered in a horrifyingly effective terrorist attack done by Hamas on a pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem on August 9, 2001. The attack’s chief engineer was a woman of 21. Arrested and then convicted, an Israeli court sentenced her to spend several lifetimes behind bars. But she boasted openly of the killings, admitting everything, gloating at the death toll, and asserting that she would soon be free.

Her words were prophetic. Today she lives a charmed life of total freedom in a city located no more than 90 minutes drive from us, in a country which has relatively good diplomatic relations with the United States and virtually all of Europe. It has relations, not so warm but nonetheless proper and ongoing, with Israel.

That country is Jordan.

Jordan says it is opposed to terrorism and to terrorists. As we noted here just three months ago, the State Department of the United States agrees – vigorously. In its annual survey of the war against terror, State singles out Jordan for unique and special praise. The most recent “Country Reports on Terrorism” annual survey, published in Washington in June 2015, says this of the Hashemite Kingdom:

Jordan remained a key ally and a model partner in combating terrorism and extremist ideology… Jordan demonstrated regional leadership in the fight against ISIL… and participated fully on the diplomatic, political, financial, and military fronts… Jordanian prisons have a religiously based de-radicalization program that seeks to re-engage violent extremist inmates into the non-violent mainstream of their faith.

We don’t make foreign policy, and have different priorities. As a result, we can’t exactly understand the State Department’s enthusiasm for its Jordanian key ally and model partner. And frankly, we’re appalled [see “18-Feb-15: Countering Vacuous Euphemisms“] by the vague and cloudy view the State Department’s people have of terrorism. Perhaps it’s because we feel more personally invested in the issues than the official State spokespeople do. Our post (“14-Sep-13: Memo to Secretary of State Kerry: Your staff need some urgent guidance“) tries to convey a sense of how and why that is.

So how opposed is Jordan to terror?

Sometimes – not always – the kingdom looks like a state that has a tough and uncompromising view of terror and its practitioners. In a blog post a year ago (“04-Feb-15: The stunningly different fates of two terrorists in Jordan and what they reveal about how the war against terror is going“) we took a look at how that works.

Jordan hanged a female terrorist that week. and we wrote this at the time:

Regular readers of this blog know about another Jordanian female, an ex-prisoner, also a terrorist, with a different fate: Ahlam al-Tamimi. Unlike Mrs al-Rishawi who was hanged today, Mrs al-Tamimi is a Jordanian, born, bred, educated and (following an 11 year-period spent outside Jordan) now living with her husband/cousin, in Jordan.
Tamimi has never spent time in any Jordanian prison, and never will. Quite the opposite: she was honored with a reception in Jordan’s Family Court in October 2011 when she returned home… She has her own weekly television program… recorded in Jordan by her friends and employers in the Hamas terror organization and beamed throughout the world on the Al-Quds TV Network. And she is free to travel throughout the Arab world which it seems she does often, giving lectures and being an honoured guest…
Tamimi has over and again confessed [via this video interview, among numerous other instances] freely, proudly and happily to the massacre at Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 for the engineering of which she was convicted. She was sentenced to 16 life terms in prison with a judicial recommendation that she live the rest of her life behind bars with no possibility of a commutation of sentence.
That is not how it worked out. She was one of 1,027 terrorists set free in the extortion-driven 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel/Hamas transaction, despite a campaign we personally waged for years. We urged our government to stand firm, to not give in, to keep this particular sociopath behind bars so that justice could be done… Today she is a globally-influential instigator of jihadist terror – an icon of hatred.
What Jordan – a sovereign state at least half of whose population defines itself as Palestinian Arab, and ruled by a dynastic family from Saudi Arabia – ought to do with its terrorists is emphatically not our concern. Jordan’s laws that purportedly outlaw terrorism… don’t get the critical attention in the West that they richly deserve.

Frankly there’s a lot about Jordan that doesn’t get scrutinized and should.

We wish there was wider awareness of the congenial environment Jordan has given the woman who masterminded the murder of our daughter since 2011, allowing her to operate unhindered from within its borders; to speak as an honored guest at its universitiesits professional guilds, its law courts and other venues; and to record her weekly television program in its capital city from where it’s beamed to millions of viewers throughout the global, Arabic-speaking world.

She is a genuine pan-Arab celebrity. The first female to join the ranks of Hamas terrorists, and an eloquent figure who advocates energetically from Jordan for more violence, more murder and more jihad – all of it directed at Jewish and Israeli targets. Inciting via television and a range of social media platforms (TwitterFacebookYouTube) and well-publicized personal appearances, she is a widely-recognized, very public face of the savage Islamist bigotry of Hamas.

Truly, people ought to know more about her.

A person wanting to understand how the war against the jihadists is going might now be asking these questions:

  • So which other key ally and model partner of the United States honors its terrorists via fancy receptions in its official courts?
  • What real messages are those partners and allies conveying to their people when they do it?
  • And why can’t a state (Jordan) that is part of the coalition against the jihadists stop the torrent of bigotry, barbarism and calls to murder that their inaction empowers this woman to issue forth from the heart of their capital city?
  • Why are the parents of a teenage girl murdered by a fanatical agent of jihad the only voices being heard exposing and decrying this appalling state of affairs?

 

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Living In Terror In The Soviet Union: An Interview With Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

“Persecution of the Jewish people.” When young Orthodox Jews hear these words, they tend to think of events like the Crusades, the Inquisition, or, more recently, the Holocaust. If you were to tell them that the 1950s and ‘60s were also years of dark persecution, many would no doubt regard you with a certain degree of puzzlement.

And yet the fact is that while Jews in postwar America were living in the lap of luxury, their brethren in the Soviet Union were still being terrorized for such “sins” as keeping Shabbos and teaching Torah. In his memoir, “Samarkand: The Underground with a Far-Reaching Impact,” Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman, a 76-year-old Lubavitcher chassid, provides insight into the struggles he and other Jews experienced trying to observe Judaism under a government that considered the practice of religion counter-revolutionary.

Rabbi Zaltzman, who left the USSR in 1971, is currently president of Chamah, an organization devoted to helping Jews from the former Soviet Union. He is being honored this week in Washington, DC, as part of American Jewish Heritage Month.

The Jewish Press: You grew up Samarkand, the third largest city in modern-day Uzbekistan. How did your family wind up there?

Rabbi Zaltzman: I was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, but when the Nazis approached Kharkov in World War II, we were told on the radio that we should escape. So my parents decided to go to Samarkand and Tashkent, which is where many Jews found refuge.

You write that your defiance of the Soviet Union began as a boy when it came time to attend school. How so?

The schools in the Soviet Union wanted to build a personality. They used to call it a “Homo Sovietica,” a Soviet personality. No religion, no beliefs, no parents – if you saw your parents practicing religion, you had to tell to the school. There was no private education. The whole Soviet Union was based on Marxism and Leninism, which is against any religion. So my father was scared I would lose my Yiddishkeit if he enrolled me in school.

He hid me and my brother at home so that the neighbors shouldn’t see us and tell the government. For years, I’d walk out with a school briefcase in the morning and go to a friend’s house and then come back in the afternoon after school.

How long did that last?

Until I was nine. Local school officials used to go from house to house looking for children, and one day the neighbors reported there was a child in our home. The government found out I wasn’t going to school for religious reasons, so they told my father, “We’ll take away your son and send him to a foster home for reeducation.”

My father went to a school in a neighborhood with no Jews and told my teacher, “My son is a sick boy who must relax two days a week – Saturday and Sunday.” He also gave her a gift, and that worked for a year until they realized something was wrong and demanded that I come to school on Shabbos.

Did you?

No, never. My father tried to convince me. He said, “You’re not bar mitzvah yet. They’re going to arrest me and take you to a foster home. It will be much worse. Just go. You won’t be forced to write.”

But I didn’t want to go. I woke up early Shabbos morning and went to my friend’s house. So my father decided to take me to another school. It’s a long story, but after a few years I managed to stop attending school without the government noticing.

Elliot Resnick

Apparent Explosion Tore Apart EgyptAir MS804

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

It appears there may have been an explosion on board EgyptAir Flight MS804 that blew apart the aircraft, twisted it into pieces and then sent it crashing into the Mediterranean Sea last week.

Search and recovery personnel have found body parts, unused life vests, bits and pieces of other equipment, and luggage. The images have been released by the Egyptian military. At least one memorial has been held at an Egyptian Coptic Christian church for a flight attendant whose body has yet to be recovered. Her mother called her a “bride for heaven,” media reported.

Flight data filed through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was received from three independent channels, according to The Aviation Herald website.

ACARS is the system used to routinely download flight data to the airline operating the aircraft.

The flight data showed that at 02:26 local time on Thursday (00:26 GMT) smoke was detected in the toilet of the jet. Smoke was reported also in the avionics bay and in one of the lavatories.

One minute later, at 00:27 GMT, there was an avionics alert indicating smoke in the bay below the cockpit which contains aircraft electronics and computers.

The final ACARS message was received at 00:29 GMT, according to the TAH website, and four minutes later the plane lost contact with radar, at 02:33 local time.

France’s Bureau of Investigations and Analysis confirmed the ACARS data but told AFP it was “far too soon to interpret and understand the cause of the accident as long as we have not found the wreckage or the flight data recorders”.

A commercial pilot who flies an A330 similar to the A320 spoke with Britain’s The Telegraph on condition of anonymity, and said, however, “It looks like the right front and side window were blown out, most probably from inside out.”

Until the main body of the plane and the two “black boxes” that reveal flight data and cockpit transmissions are located the rest of the story will remain a mystery; they are still missing, despite news to the contrary.

No group has yet taken responsibility for the downing of the aircraft.

 

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS, Hezbollah Apps and Videos to Indoctrinate Children

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Both Da’esh (ISIS) and Hezbollah are tapping into the cyber industry as a means of ensuring the next generation is indoctrinated into its philosophies from the youngest possible age.

Da’esh released a new mobile app via the ‘Telegram’ chat system that is designed to teach very young children the alphabet in Arabic.

Simultaneously, the app indoctrinates the youngsters with terrorist ideology. Festooned with bright, cheery colors, happy graphics and packed with educational content, the app uses song to facilitate easy rote memorization.

ISIS propaganda app for young children to learn the Arabic alphabet.

ISIS propaganda app for young children to learn the Arabic alphabet.

The objects with which the letters are learned, however, are anything but childish. For example, the letter “Ba” is used with “Bunduqiya” – meaning “rifle” — according to a post on the blog of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization is doing the same thing, according to the ADL. Hezbollah has created several online video games for children, allegedly “to strengthen the culture of resistance.” Among the games are “Special Forces,” and “Special Forces II,” which feature events from the terror group’s 2006 war with Israel. Other more recent, updated games are called “Invaders Graveyard,” “In the Heart of the Enemy” and “House of Spider.”

A 2013 review of the Hezbollah video games for 11 year olds, written by a professional gaming site called “Hardcore Gaming 101″ exists on the internet, and can be accessed by clicking here.   The reviewer rates the video game on its technical merits and lack thereof, and points out that the game is only available by making a phone call, and via a purchase – which would thus count as financial support to Hezbollah.

In addition, last month the Al Manar media arm of Hezbollah launched a new iPhone app called “Trust News.” Al Manar is now listed by the United States as a “specially designated global terrorist entity,” as is Hezbollah itself. The app streams the Al Manar live television broadcasts and social media platforms, as well as the latest speeches by Iranian-backed Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who stays safely tucked away in a hidden underground bunker.

ADL said it has notified Apple about the source of the new app, which does not reveal its connection to Al Manar or Hezbollah.

Hana Levi Julian

Three Israeli Arabs Indicted for Planning Terror Attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Haifa (TPS) – Three Israeli-Arabs are charged with planning stabbing attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem, according to two separate indictments filed on Wednesday in the Haifa District Court.

The three defendants are Ali Subh, Ibrahim Shami, and Mehdi Basal from the village of Jadeidi-Makr in the Galilee. Subh and Shami are charged with attempted murder, conspiring to commit a murder, and arms dealing offenses. The second indictment charges Basal with arms dealing as well as illegally purchasing and possessing a weapon.

According to the first indictment, Subh and Shami made their way to Jerusalem with knives, inspired by the wave of terror attacks in Israel. They intended to commit a stabbing attack at the Damascus Gate of the Old City, where many previous attacks took place. They did not carry out the attack, choosing instead to seek out firearms in order to cause greater damage.

On another occasion, Shami drove to Jerusalem with a knife given to him by Subh, who encouraged him to stab Israelis. The attack was stopped in circumstances not detailed in the indictment.

The two also planned several shooting attacks, and Shami even tried to find out the cost of weapons needed to carry out an attack.

The case was investigated by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), and the indictments were filed by the Haifa district attorney along with requests to detain all three until the end of court proceedings against them.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Terror Victim’s Brother Interrupts Netanyahu During Official Memorial Day Speech

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The brother of an Israeli man critically wounded in a terror attack lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday afternoon during Netanyahu’s speech at the official memorial ceremony for Israel’s terror victims.

“Two months ago a terrorist shattered my brother’s skull, after I was injured 15 years ago, and the wounds still haven’t healed,” shouted Rami Cohen at Netanyahu from the audience, criticizing the government’s handling of the recent wave of terror attacks. “And now, again, we are acting leniently [toward terrorism] and don’t know how to deal with it.”

Rami is the brother of Tzvika Cohen, a security guard who was brutally attacked with an ax by 21-year-old Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad in February in the town of Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem. Cohen was critically wounded in the attack and has not yet woken up from a coma. His life is still in danger.

After his outburst, Cohen sat down and sobbed on his chair.

“I understand you. I belong to the same family,” Netanyahu replied, referring to the loss of his own brother, Jonathan, who was killed during the legendary 1976 raid in Entebbe, Uganda that freed 102 Jewish hostages.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Signs of Genuine Decency and Humanity at the UN? For Israeli Victims of Terror, a Fruitless Search.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

Remember the murder of Dafna Meir, a Jewish nurse and a young mother of six children?

We wrote about it here [“18-Jan-16: Multiple Arab-on-Israeli attacks and a Jewish mother is murdered at her front door“]. We noted at the time that the BBC had managed to report that savage murder – by a youth who stabbed her to death at the door to her Otniel home in the presence of her children – without mentioning the word “terror” (or any variant of it) even once. A death. Maybe a crime. Perhaps an accident. Next.

Mrs Meir’s husband, at the urging of one of the Israeli terror victim groups, went to the United Nations along with his oldest daughter Ranana, aged 17, on April 19, 2016 to be present at a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East that was scheduled to touch on matters concerning the Arab/Israel conflict. (Background at Israel National News and Jerusalem Post.)

How well do you imagine that went? Our own quite negative experiences at the UN gave us reason to be deeply pessimistic when we read about the Meirs’ impending trip. It turned out to be traumatic and upsetting and they want people to know.

Natan Meir has just sent a brief open letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, reflecting on the quite shocking way he and his daughter and their message were treated and making some serious points about how diplomats view real, live, in-the-flesh terror victims when they occupy the same room. It’s searing.

Excerpts from the letter which he has now published via Facebook:

  • “Israel’s UN ambassador introduced me and my daughter and told our story. Not one UN ambassador bothered to come and comfort my 17-year-old daughter. No one came to shake our hands. No one called or met with us before or after. Not one letter.”
  • “Even you, Mr. Secretary General, you were sitting at the front of that meeting and you did not open your mouth nor look in the eyes of someone in who is in anguish and pain.”
  • “In our presence, the Palestinian representative complained that hundreds of Palestinian children are in Israeli prisons. One of the children he talked about murdered my wife! Despite the terrible scandal of misrepresentation, nobody prevented him from continuing his speech…”
  • “How can the United Nations strive to be relevant when there is not a single drop of basic human compassion? How can delegates not look directly in the eyes of a man who has all the right to condemn another person? Where is the honesty? Where is the human aspiration that was the basis of establishing the institution you lead? Can such an organization prevent hatred, animosity and inequality?”
  • “Dear Secretary-General, as the UN celebrates the rights of the Palestinians, they must also remember the Jewish national desire to reclaim their cities, which they have longed for thousands of years. Billions of people worldwide know of the Jews and their deep connection to the Biblical land of Israel. A peaceful solution must also take into account the dream of the Jewish people. “
  • “If you still insist on helping, please help us to build bridges and connections between people without borders and fences.”

We hope Natan Meir and his family take the shattering reality of their close encounter with the very, very ordinary men and women who populate the world’s most important international organization and turn it into additional inspiration to keep speaking out in the name of their loss and their prayers for a better future. What they have to say is far more meaningful than the delegates’ speeches and studied indifference.

Sitting back and waiting for a political or diplomatic process to bring something constructive and sustainable to our side or for that matter to the Arabs is, it has to be said, not only a waste of time but, as we have seen ourselves, deeply humiliating and harmful to the human spirit. This, emphatically, is not how things should be.

We plan to come back to this issue later in the week.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/signs-of-genuine-decency-and-humanity-at-the-un-for-israeli-victims-of-terror-a-fruitless-search/2016/05/10/

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