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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Time’

El Al Ranked Last in On Time Performance

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

FlightStats, a leading provider of real-time global flight data to companies and individuals across the “travel ecosystem” has issued its June 2016 on-time arrival performance report for major airlines, ranking 40 international companies, in which El Al came in 4oth.

With 2,667 flights in June, only 35.88% of El Al’s flights landed on time, while 64.12% arrived late, and the average delay for those tardy birds was 48.3 minutes.

Japan Airlines, which ranked first, had 22,218 flights, 91.05% of which came in when promised, only 8.95% were late, with an average delay time of 32.5 minutes.

Fort comparison, Ethiopian Airlines, with 7,135 flights in June, ranked 29th, with 71.71% of its flights landing on schedule.

Surprisingly, Delta Airlines, with 166,790 flights in JUne, ranked in 8th place, with 82.92% of its flights arriving on time.

An El Al representative told Ynet that its pilots are to blame, since they are executing labor sanctions that mess with the company’s schedule causing those delays. But a review of El Al’s performance over a longer stretch of time reveals that it has been ranked way back there for many months, including a stint in last place in September.

David Israel

Elie Wiesel Remembered As ‘One Of The Great Moral Voices Of Our Time’

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Author, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel died on Saturday at the age of 87.

Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, is well known for Night, the book that tells the story of his family’s experience during the Holocaust. The book became the first work in a trilogy along with Dawn and Day. Wiesel wrote more than 40 other works of nonfiction and fiction.

Wiesel, who was 15 when he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, was also known for working to help find Nazi war criminals in the years following World War II.

A journalist for various publications, he campaigned for the immigration of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry to Israel and didn’t hesitate to criticize American presidents – Reagan in 1985 for his insistence on visiting a German cemetery that contained the graves of Nazi soldiers and Obama in 2015 for the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In addition to his seminal role in Holocaust remembrance, Wiesel served on the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, the 1990s genocide in Yugoslavia, and other human rights violations around the world.

Wiesel, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “gave expression through his exceptional personality, and fascinating books about the victory of the human spirit over cruelty and evil. In the darkness of the Holocaust in which our brothers and sisters – six million – were murdered, Elie Wiesel was a ray of light and greatness of humanity who believed in the good in man.”

“I was privileged to know Elie and to learn so much from him,” Netanyahu said.

President Obama called Wiesel “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.” The president noted that “Like millions of admirers, I first came to know Elie through his account of the horror he endured during the Holocaust simply because he was Jewish. But I was also honored and deeply humbled to call him a dear friend. I’m especially grateful for all the moments we shared and our talks together, which ranged from the meaning of friendship to our shared commitment to the state of Israel.”

Obama recalled a visit he and Wiesel made to the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp: “After we walked together among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald, where he was held as a teenager and where his father perished, Elie spoke words I’ve never forgotten – ‘Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.’ Upholding that sacred duty was the purpose of Elie’s life. Along with his beloved wife Marion and the foundation that bears his name, he raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms. He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real that pledge of ‘never again.’ ”

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who gave Wiesel the medal of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem earlier this year, said: “Instead of giving in to despair, to the face of evil and cruelty that at the time was the darkest of humanity, he carried all the way through the message of tolerance and peace for all peoples of the world.”

Wiesel was born in in Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), in the Carpathian Mountains, on September 30, 1928. Wiesel’s mother, Sarah, was the daughter of a Vizhnitz chassid. His father, Shlomo, encouraged him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, while his mother encouraged him to study Torah. Wiesel had three siblings – older sisters Beatrice and Hilda, and younger sister Tzipora. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and were reunited with Wiesel at a French orphanage. They eventually emigrated to North America, with Beatrice moving to Canada. Tzipora, Shlomo, and Sarah did not survive the Holocaust.

Combined News Services

It’s About Time: Government Trust Fund for Every Israeli Child

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

For the first time in the history of the state, starting January 1, 2017, every Israeli child below the age of 18 will receive a trust fund in which the National Insurance Administration (Israel’s Social Security) will be making monthly deposits. Parents will be able to select an alternative financial institution for their child and be allowed to invest in the fund from the government child allowance.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the new trust fund for every child will go a long way to “narrow the social gaps in Israel, and promote equal opportunities for middle class and the weaker sectors, as well as raise awareness about saving.”

As it was laid out on Tuesday, the plan will allow an 18-year-old Israeli who has been enrolled all his life to embark on his adulthood with about $5,000. The trust fund plan is based on National Insurance making $14 monthly deposits in the funds. The hope is that with interest and added investments the fund would yield an even higher amount, enough to carry the young person through college, help start a small business or make any other worthwhile investment.

If the young Israeli opts to delay withdrawing the funds until he or she turns 21, National Insurance will add a 500 shekel bonus ($180) to the account at that point and the government would pay all the fees on the fund.

The obvious problem is that $5,000, which will be pulled out of the war on poverty budgets, is not a lot of money, and the future may be paved with Israeli young adult driving cheap cars or going on that incredible trip to India or the Amazon forest, rather than using the money for its intended purpose.

It would have been much more meaningful had government invested those $5,000 in the fund up front, which at 2% would yield more than $7,000, an end amount that could be boosted by the parents and the child over the years. With only $14 monthly deposits by the parents, the fund would be doubled by the end of the 18-year term.

But to do that, with about 200,000 babies born annually, Israel would have to divert about $1 billion from its budget to those funds. Not an impossible figure for a country with a $300 billion annual GDP. The upside would be a population that’s more serious about saving and investing, and young people who have a stake in the stability of the system. Those would include young Israeli Arab, by the way.

David Israel

Time to Dismantle BDS-Hamas Linkages

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

It is heartening to learn the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has voted against a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.( http://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=14768). It has commendably done so in the largest membership turnout of 51 per cent in its history.  I am particularly happy as only the other day I happened to co-author with famous British political scientist Raphael Cohen Almagor an article in a leading Indian newspaper (http://www.pressreader.com/india/the-sunday-guardian/20160605/281934542210825)  arguing there was no justification for a professional association to ban Israel. Any such decision would be unjust, unfair, and counter-productive.

We have asserted in the article the resolution amounts to the worst form of academic freedom denial designed to ban all schools of thought flowing out of Israel, a nation that has throughout history rendered somewhat unparalleled contribution to the development of knowledge in almost every field of human life . Whoever wishes to boycott Israel undercuts academic freedom and betrays values we all hold dear: Freedom of expression, tolerance, equality, justice and peace. A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to the core principles of academic freedom and is antithetical to free exchange of ideas.

I hope this vote against the BDS resolution would help AAA advance  the cause it is believed to be committed to—“advancing scholarly knowledge, finding solutions to human and social problems, giving voice to the underserved.” (http://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=14768). AAA must raise critical awareness of the dynamics of peace and conflict in the region, highlight the  sufferings of all its peoples—Israelis and Palestinians– and expand the space of dialogue for their appropriate solutions.

I would, however , caution AAA against developing any complacency on this issue. The strength of those in favour of the resolution in AAA was not negligible . It was rather substantial . Among the AAA eligible voters while 2,423 persons opposed the resolution,  2,384 voted to support it.  The backers of the resolution might invent ways to assert themselves in future.

AAA must see to it that the atmosphere created by the BDS resolution does not revisit and lead to any ugly incident in future. Reports are that in the recent past at San Francisco State University (SFSU) BDS supporters disrupted a speech by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. In another incident a BDS supporter publicly insulted former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and American diplomat Dennis Ross at Harvard Law School.  In early April this year Harvard law student Husam El-Qoulaq asked Livni at a public conference : “How is it that you are so smelly?  It’s regarding your odor—about the odor of Tzipi Livni, very smelly.”( http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-anti-israel-money-trail-1461624250).

I would also suggest  the larger American society must keep vigilance over anti-Semitism elements at home. There is a strong evidence of linkages between the BDS leadership and Hamas financiers . In his  recent testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittees on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and on the Middle East and North Africa , researcher  Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has revealed  leaders of organizations linked to Hamas have “gravitated to a new organization called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)”. The AMP is “arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign in campuses in the United States.”

(http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA18/20160419/104817/HHRG-114-FA18-Wstate-SchanzerJ-20160419.pdf). Schanzer has added  “at least seven individuals who work for or on behalf of AMP have worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas: the Holy Land Foundation [HLF], the Islamic Association for Palestine [IAF], and Kind Hearts.”
Recently, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens, too, has written on the links between BDS leadership and Hamas financiers. He has said , “SJP’s self-declared goal is to end Israel’s ‘occupation and colonization of all Arab lands’ while ‘promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.’ That’s another way of saying destroying the Jewish state.” (http://www.theisraelproject.org/award-winning-columnist-highlights-ties-between-bds-movement-and-hamas-financiers/)

All such BDS-Hamas  linkages have to be dismantled . It is good that members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both parties have demonstrated their commitment to confront growing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment on college campuses. In its recent letter to  U.S. Education Secretary John King (http://teddeutch.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2016.4.18_bipartisan_task_force_for_combating_anti-semitism_-_letter_to_department_of_education.pdf),  the congressional Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism has asked what his department has been doing about these issues. The signatories to this letter said “anti-Semitic intimidation, harassment, and discrimination are manifested not only in easily recognizable anti-Semitic slurs but also in anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment.” The taskforce expressed its alarm about the growth of anti-Israel programs and BDS campaigns on campuses.

And yes, let’s applaud New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo . He has signed an executive order directing divestment of public funds supporting any BDS campaign against Israel. ( https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-first-nation-executive-order-directing-divestment-public-funds-supporting ).

Jagdish N. Singh

Naomi Returns To Bethlehem; Last Time Jew Does So Without Military Escort

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

{Originally posted to the humor website PreOccupied Territory)

Bethlehem, Judah, June 7 – The widow of the late tribal leader Elimelech came back to her hometown today after ten years in the land of Moab, marking the final time for about three millennia that a Jew will enter the city without need of an armed escort, local sources are reporting.

Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth, also widowed from Naomi’s son Mahlon, returned to Bethlehem this morning now that the famine that drove her and Elimelech away has subsided, and hunger no longer hovers over the land. The pair entered the town by themselves, causing a stir, both because the people were shocked to see how Naomi had aged and that they were witnessing the last time a Jew would be able to enter Bethlehem safely not in the company of several men carrying weapons to fend off Arab attackers, at least for three thousand years.

“Is that Naomi?” the townspeople were heard to exclaim, surmising that the withered old woman, once so vigorous and youthful, had decided to come back into the town while it was still possible to do so unaccompanied by soldiers. “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded, according to witnesses.

“Call me embittered, for the LORD has made it exceedingly bitter for me,” presumably referring to her dire economic circumstances and the fact that for many centuries hence, a Jew would need serious protection upon entering her beloved hometown, lest he or she be attacked by hate-filled Palestinians bent on making Bethlehem judenrein again.

“She doesn’t look too good, she and that Moabite woman,” said a bystander who asked to remain nameless, but who described himself as a relative. “They’re going to have a tough time of it now. I imagine they’ll have to sell some of the family’s ancestral holdings, which will eventually be taken over by Arabs as if it had always been theirs, and then those Arabs will resort to violence to keep Jews from reestablishing their presence here. Also, that daughter-in-law of hers is from Moab, and that’s not such a popular thing around here. At least not with me.”

Other observers had a more favorable assessment. “That takes guts, coming back here under such embarrassing circumstances,” said an elder named Boaz. “I imagine that many, many years from now, the descendants of these fine women will similarly disregard the physical dangers of reestablishing their presence in their ancestral homeland. Of course, it can’t hurt to to have a few strong youths, like my field hands, for protection.”

PreOccupied Territory

Jerusalem Day: A Perception of Time and Space

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Sunday was Jerusalem Day, the day we celebrate the miraculous salvation from the Arab threats of destruction that loomed over us by words and deeds, which was avoided by the stunning victories of the Six-Day War in 1967. That war also returned us to the heart of our homeland, Judea and Samaria, and – above all – brought about the reunification of Jerusalem.

When I meet people from Berlin I always ask them: “East Berlin or West Berlin?” The answer, always accompanied by a chuckle, is: “Well, it’s all just Berlin today”. I agree with them, but then I point out: “Berlin has been around a lot less than Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been the Jewish nation’s political and spiritual capital for over 3,000 years. Berlin was artificially divided into east and west as a result of military occupation at the end of WW II. It was divided for 44 years, and now that’s it’s been reunited you say it’s just all Berlin. Jerusalem was artificially divided into east and west as a result of the illegal, Jordanian military invasion and subsequent occupation of part of the city, causing the division of the city for 19 years. Now the city has been reunited for 49 years – and yet some people still insist on using the archaic terms ‘East Jerusalem’ and ‘West Jerusalem’! Do you see the absurd? Using those terms reveals either ignorance of history – or an anti-Semitic agenda to denigrate the Jewish connection to the Holy City.

The same matter of perception can relate to the Golan Heights. In Syrian hands they served as a base for attacking Israel almost incessantly, shelling the Israeli villages below. Since the Golan was taken in 1967, the Israeli villages below know peace, as do the Israeli and Druze villages on the Golan – in stark contrast to the current events in Syria. On the Golan you find ruins of ancient Jewish towns and villages that have in them synagogues dating back over two thousand years. Only under Israeli rule have the Golan Heights become fruitful, prosperous, tranquil and an area of hiking and picnicing for an entire state. The Golan has been part of Israel for 49 years. If you go back 49 years from 1967 you come to 1918. There was no Syria, which didn’t even exist as an independent state until 1946! So the Golan has been in Israeli hands more than twice as long as it was in Syrian hands. Yet some insist on referring to the Golan as Syrian, even though it has been in Israeli hands longer, even though it was in Syrian hands only because of the infamous Sykes-Picot imperialist agreement.

On Jerusalem Day I guided some of my students on a walking tour on Mt. Zion, at the site of King David’s Tomb (or perhaps more properly the tombs of the latter kings from the House of David). As we arrived we met a group of Muslims from Turkey and a group of Christians from Russia, each group with their own guide. I thought to myself: this site is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Yet from 1428 until 1948, the site was controlled by Muslims, and neither Jews nor Christians were allowed to visit freely, only Muslims. Since 1948, under Israeli control, the site of King David’s Tomb has been open to people of all nations and all religions.

As we entered Zion Gate into the Old City I recalled that during 19 years of Arab-Muslim rule between 1948 and 1967, – despite signed armistice agreements – Jews weren’t allowed to visit the Old City, its synagogues (which were all systematically destroyed) or the Western Wall. In contrast, for the last 49 years, under Israeli rule, all nations and all peoples can freely visit the Old City of Jerusalem.

Similarly, I recalled that in Hebron, up until 1967, under Muslim rule, Jews weren’t allowed to enter the Tomb of the patriarchs to pray at the site of our ancestors’ graves. Only since 1967, under Israeli rule, is their freedom of access and freedom of religion, except for one place: the Temple Mount. There, despite being in Jewish hands since 1967, out of Israeli high-minded tolerance the Temple Mount has been left to the supervision of Muslim officials, whose intolerance forbids non-Muslims to pray there. But besides that – I’m always proud to see that in the streets of Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, people from every nation and every religion, can walk safely and happily.

It’s all a question of perception of time and space.

Dovid Ben-Meir

Time to Leave UNESCO – Again

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

On April 11, 2016, the Executive Board of UNESCO adopted a resolution called “Occupied Palestine.” The title immediately exposes it as a biased document. That is not surprising. All the texts adopted by UNESCO concerning the Middle East are biased.

However, those who read it carefully can see that a further step was taken.

UNESCO’s resolution is not only biased: it is negationist. All traces of Jewish presence in Jerusalem and Judea in ancient times are eliminated at the stroke of a pen. The Temple Mount is never mentioned. It is only called by the name al-Aqsa Mosque / Haram al Sharif. The name “Western Wall” is placed between quotation marks, to indicate that it is an invalid name: Al Buraq Wall is used without quotation marks. The graves of Jewish cemeteries are described as “Jewish fake graves.”

It is a radical anti-Semitic resolution: denying historical fact, claiming that what exists does not, presenting the history of Judaism and the Jews as lies. Accusing Jews of “planting Jewish fake graves” is the lie. It is saying that Judaism is a sham and Jews are liars and falsifiers.

The document is absolutely anti-historical, anti-fact and “anti-Zionist”: it tries unambiguously to “prove” that Israel was founded on an imposture and has no reason to exist. The document constantly describes Israel as the “occupying power” and presents it as a predatory and arbitrary country.

Voting for such a text means would endorsing historical negationism, radical anti-Semitism, and absolute “anti-Zionism”.

Correctly deciphering the meaning of the resolution and its implications, the representatives of six Western countries — the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom — voted no.

Representatives of other Western countries — France, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia — accepted the text and voted yes.

The resolution was presented with the support of several Muslim countries — some often described as “moderate”: Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

The text was written by Palestinian Authority (PA) “experts.” Since 2011, the Palestinian Authority has had a seat at UNESCO under the name “State of Palestine.”

The Israeli government immediately expressed its anger. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “anyone, let alone an organization tasked with preserving history, could deny this link which spans thousands of years.”

A petition was circulated by Stand With Us and the International Legal Forum, demanding that UNESCO change its attitude and remains “true to its founding principles.”

The anger of Israel’s government and indignation of others other is legitimate. The petition is fully justified.

However, expecting that UNESCO will change its attitude is illusory. Expecting that UNESCO will remain true to its founding principles is hoping for something that will not happen. UNESCO long ago abandoned its founding principles.

UNESCO is a branch of the United Nations, and the UN is an organization where democracies are in the minority, surrounded by a huge majority of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes imbued with hatred toward the West.[1] Israel is virtually the only country designated as guilty of violating human rights by the so-called Human Rights Council, and where, in 2009, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was welcomed as a hero.

In October, 2015, UNESCO had already started down path it follows today. It defined Rachel’s Tomb as the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque and the Cave of the Patriarchs as the Ibrahimi Mosque, and declared them “Palestinian sites.”

What is worrisome is that only six Western countries were ready to reject a totally poisonous, fraudulent resolution.

The Western countries that voted for the resolution evidently approve of its contents. These countries have lost all legitimacy to claim they want peace in the Middle East. By approving the resolution, they show they are at war: against Judaism, Jews and Israel. One of them, France, claims it will hold a meeting to revive the “peace process”: in this context, the claim is grotesque.

The fact that a group of Muslim countries, often described as “moderate,” supported the resolution can only lead to the question: How can a country that supports such a document be described as “moderate?”

That Palestinian Authority “experts” have written such a resolution should be sufficient to show that the PA is not “moderate.” It clearly has no intention at all of creating a State alongside Israel; instead, as its leaders often openly admit, its plan is that Israel has to be demonized, crushed and replaced.

The underlying problem is that this negationism, anti-Semitism and “anti-Zionism” are deeply rooted in both Europe and Islam.

The Quran says Jews and Christians (“Crusaders”) have falsified their sacred books, and the history of Judaism and the Jewish people is false. Muslim tradition says that Muhammad ascended to heaven from al Aqsa, and that the Al Buraq Wall is the wall where he attached the winged creature on which he flew to heaven. No room is left for the Temple Mount or the Western Wall, even though they were there, with countless archeological artifacts, for more than a thousand years before Muhammad was even born.

Muslim tradition also says that Jews, as disbelievers, are condemned to the humiliating status of dhimmi,[2] and that all territories conquered by Islam have to remain Muslim forever.[3] Muslim tradition cannot accept a country ruled by Jews or Christians on land that was once conquered by Islam — whether Israel, formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, or large swaths of Portugal and Spain.

The resolution adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO on April 11 is “Islamically correct.” “Moderate” Muslim countries cannot contradict the Quran and Muslim tradition without risking being accused of irtidad (apostasy).[4] Palestinian Authority “experts” are being true to the Quran and to Muslim tradition.

Western countries that approved the resolution showed their submission and dhimmitude to “Islamic correctness.” Dhimmis, in Islamic history, are second class, “tolerated” citizens, who are subjected to special laws which remind them of their inferiority as well as a tax, the jizya, to purchase “protection” for their homes, possessions and lives.[5]

Countries that rejected the resolution would be considered insubordinate.

Refusing such a resolution is not enough. It is about time to ask the Muslim world to leave behind its heavy load of noxious traditions, blackmail threats and violence.

It is also time to do more.

Under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the United States left UNESCO in 1984, because UNESCO was obviously subservient to the Soviet Union, and was serving interests contrary to those of freedom, liberty and Western values.

The United States returned to UNESCO in 2003. In 2011, when the Palestinian Authority was admitted to UNESCO, the U.S. froze its financial contribution.

The United States badly needs to leave UNESCO again. UNESCO is obviously subservient to “Islamic correctness,” and serving interests contrary to those of freedom, liberty and Western values. Eighty years ago, negationism and anti-Semitism led to the Holocaust. It is urgent to say, “Enough.”


[1] Dore Gold, Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos, Crown Forum, 2005.

[2] Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001.

[3] Robert Spencer, Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World’s Fastest-Growing Faith, Encounter Books, 2003.

[4] Yohanan Friedmann, Tolerance and Coercion in Islam: Interfaith Relations in the Muslim Tradition, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

[5] Bat Ye’or, op. cit.

 

Guy Millière

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/time-to-leave-unesco-again/2016/05/18/

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