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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘war’

Test Rocket Fired From Gaza [video]

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

A video of a rocket being launched from Gaza on Friday was caught by Rotter.net citizen reporter Reshet HaDarom and filmed from Netiv Ha’asara, an Israeli community near the Gaza border.

The rocket was launched from northern Gaza towards the sea, and is apparently part of Hamas training exercises and attempts to improve their rockets’ accuracy ahead of the next war.

Video by Reshet Darom / Rotter.net (Posted to YNet)

Jewish Press News Briefs

UNESCO, Uman, and the Final War on Jerusalem

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Israel Rising website}

It is written in chapter 12 of Zecharia:

1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The saying of the LORD, who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him:
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of staggering unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it fall to be in the siege against Jerusalem.
3 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.

and again in chapter 14:

1 Behold, a day of the LORD cometh, when thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, but the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fighteth in the day of battle.
4 And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, so that there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azel; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the LORD my God shall come, and all the holy ones with Thee.

UNESCO has finally gone ahead and used its majority Arab membership to rewrite history and erase the deep and unwavering connection between the Jewish nation and Jerusalem. While it states in the text, which can be read in full here, “Affirming the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions…” it clearly and unequivocally only acknowledges Jerusalem’s Old City as having Palestinian heritage. Instead of viewing the Jewish return to Jerusalem and the national rectification of recieving back that which was stolen from it during theyears of forced Arab occupation as legitimate these regrown Jewish roots are seen through the veil of increased “occupation”.

Being a world body UNESCO has opened the first shot in the world’s war against Jerusalem as prophesized thousands of years ago. Israeli politicians, religious leaders, and activists have responded with anger and declarations. After all, nearly all Jews that have some sort of connection to the broader national belief set hold a bond that is unbreakable with Jerusalem. Despite the outcry, there is not much on a political level we can do. That in of itself may be the most painful aspect of all.

Rectifying Our Past, Reconnecting Our Future

As someone who considers himself a follower of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, I journeyed to Uman, Ukraine to be by Rebbe Nachman’s grave for Rosh Hoshanah. Rebbe Nachman made it clear that his followers should continue to visit him for Rosh Hoshonah even after his departure from this world. “There is nothing greater that my Rosh Hoshanah,” Rebbe Nachman stated to his followers.

Of all of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, none is more powerful than his exhortation to spend at least an hour a day in personal solitude in direct conversation with the Almighty. While in Uman I spent most of my time like many others next to Rebbe Nachman’s grave, yet when I wanted to be alone I walked quite a ways from the central area of rebuilt Jewish Uman. Just prior to Rosh Hoshanah I reached a quiet spot overlooking a river flowing out of Uman. It was at this spot I chose to speak to G-d. My hour long session was so meaningful I decided to return near to the same spot the next day, yet chose a different route to get there.

As I approached the area I noticed the color of the earth changed to black beneath my feet and there were broken tombstones all around for as far as I could see. I felt a sense of deep anguish in the area and after my hour long seclusion I located the rebuilt graves of Rebbe Nachman’s grandson and one of his chief students Reb Naftali. Nearby I found a sign noting the area was a the burial place for 3000 Jews slaughtered by the Ukrainians in the pogroms of 1920.

Jewish blood flows throughout Uman. From the Chmielnicki massacre of 1648 that saw nearly 30,000 Jews killed in Uman with over 500,000 in the rest of the Ukraine to the pogroms of 1920 to the Nazi exterminations in WW2. Rebbe Nachman stated clearly his ability to rectify the souls of the dead and the torments of the souls lying in Uman were clearly far greater than other places. Yet, I believe Rebbe Nachman has another agenda (one of many) by asking us to return to Uman year in and year out.

In many ways we are the rectification. After he leaves, the Tzaddik (rightous one) has no physical presence in our world, yet he continues to have an impact due to the fullfillment of his lessons and advice by his followers who are called his legs. It is our praying, singing, and dancing in a place of such pain that rectifies the broken souls left in the area.

The Long-Short Path

In the Talmud, tractacte Eruvin it states that Rebbe Yehoshua ben Hanniyah was travelling and saw a child at a fork in the road. He asked the child which way was the best to the city. The child said that one path was a short-long path and the other was a long short-path.

Rebbe Yehoshua ben Hanniyah took the short long path and very quickly came to the outskirts of the city and found that it was surrounded by gardens and orchards. He returned to the child and and said: “My child you said this was the short path.” The child responded to him: “No I said it was the long path.” Rebbe Yehoshua ben Hanniyah then said the following: “I kissed him on his head and I said to him, happy is Israel that all of them are with from the big to the small.”

This passage has tremendous lessons for our time. We the Jewish nation returned in great haste to our ancient homeland. Miracle after miracle has guided us and yet we insist on playing by the rules of the nations of the world. We rushed back so fast we have gotten lost in gardens and orchards of world politics and forgotten the surest way of crossing the proverbial finish line of redemption. The Jewish people wanted to so much to be back in Jerusalem we set out on the short-long path and cannot truly enter our city in a way that feels lasting. We have been forced to return to the fork in the road and take the other path no matter how long it seems it may take.

For me this path is the path of Uman, which by way of complete and pure faith reminds us that we as a nation are above the normtive rules of time and space. We are forever. Our war is not against UNESCO. They are a pawn played by the Almighty in the march towards fullfiling the prophecies laid out thousands of years ago. Our war is with ourselves; with that part of us that forgot what it means to trust in the Almighty and develop an instrinsic faith in G-d as a real active part of our lives, both personal and national.

Rebbe Nachman said many times that a great flood of anti-faith would rage around the world and at the end our war would be about recovering our own faith. By bringing us back to the geographical point where we had such faith that we were willing to die for it, we the Jewish Nation are able to recapture that part of us which was lost along the way.

UNESCO has no power to change the truth. In fact, it is telling that the sons of Ishmael who are supposedly faithful to G-d rely on earthly political constructs to erase our history. If they have stooped that low, we have only to reach inside ourselves to rise past them. That is our task and of course let G-d do the rest.

David Mark

Did Morocco Help Win Six Day War?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

As Israel prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War next year, it might seem that the basic narrative is already well-known. As Egypt and Syria massed to launch a war to annihilate the Jewish state, Israeli forces pre-emptively struck, destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground and seizing the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip. King Hussein II’s decision to join in the war in order to perhaps have a share of the spoils led to Jordan’s defeat and ultimate expulsion from the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. Israel’s campaign was militarily bold and brilliant. It was a complete victory and reshaped the Middle East to the present day.

Now, it seems, there is more to the story. From the Times of Israel:

Israel largely has Morocco to thank for its victory over its Arab enemies in the 1967 Six Day War, according to revelations by a former Israeli military intelligence chief. In 1965, King Hassan ll passed recordings to Israel of a key meeting between Arab leaders held to discuss whether they were prepared for war against Israel. That meeting not only revealed that Arab ranks were split — heated arguments broke out, for example, between Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Jordan’s King Hussein — but that the Arab nations were ill prepared for war, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Gazit told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper over the weekend.

A few thoughts:

The revelations, if true, reinforce that the divisions within the Arab world often trump hatred of Israel. Many Arab leaders recognize that Israel is a moderating influence in the region. This makes the obsession of successive U.S. administrations that have tried to force Israel to make concessions curious.

The revelations also reinforce just how much of an ally Morocco has been over the decades. Much is known publicly about what Morocco does to counter extremism and promote peace, but that seems to be the tip of the iceberg. This makes the current White House’s repeated efforts to undercut Morocco even more scandalous.

And, last, the appearance of the story is an indication of how counter-productive ego can be. A Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated party—the Parti de la justice et du développement (PJD)—just won a plurality in Morocco’s parliamentary elections and will likely form the next government. Needless to say, the PJD is anti-Israel and dubious of the United States as well. General Gazit’s revelations will bring no benefit but may give Islamists a tool with which to try to undercut the Moroccan monarchy. Sometimes the value of having secrets remain secrets should trump the desire to tell war stories to grandchildren or eager reporters.

Guest Author

Poll: Israelis More Troubled by Cost of Living than War

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

For openers, according to the new survey conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs on behalf of Walla, with a representative sample of 646 respondents, (542 Jews, 104 Arabs), 56% of the respondents consider the life in Israel to be very good, on the eve of the new year 5777. 40% said it was “mediocre,” and only one percent said their life was “very bad.” The Jewish and Arab data on this question are very similar.

Nevertheless, despite this rosy picture, 23% of the Jewish respondents have considered leaving the country, compared with 77% who said they did not entertain this option. Only 13% of the Arab respondents admitted that they weighed the possibility of immigrating.

The new survey reveals a new trend in the Israeli public — despite the “wave of terror” that began a little over a year ago, only 24% of Israelis agree that security is the most serious problem faced by the country. 36% suggested the cost of living was more worrisome, and 17% believe political corruption is Israel’s biggest problem.

Israelis do not view peace with the Arabs in the PA or in Gaza as a realistic possibility. 64% believe there will never be peace between Israel and the Arabs of Judea and Samaria or Gaza, and the 24% who say it could happen do not expect it in the next five years. A mere 4% say peace is around the corner, and will be here in less than five years.

When asked who are the highest functioning public servants today, the respondents came up  with the following top 10 list (10 points being the best, 0 the worst):

1. Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) — 6.71

2. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot — 6.7

3. President Reuven Rivlin — 6.2

4. Justice Minister (and JNi’s Woman of the Year) Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) — 5.9

5. Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich — 5.8

6. Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett — 5.7

7. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) — 5.4

8. Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) — 5.3

8. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) — 5.3

10. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) — 5.2

Among the Arab respondents, MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List) received the highest score, 7.7, ahead of his Knesset faction’s Chairman Ayman Odeh who scored 7.1.


The Palestinians’ Unsporting and Illegal ‘Football War’ Against Israel

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Washington Post website}

Human Rights Watch published a long, graphics-rich report on Sunday denouncing Israeli semi-pro soccer (football) clubs in towns in the West Bank. A few weeks ago, a group of European Parliament members sent a letter along similar lines to FIFA, the international soccer governing body. The parliament members argue the clubs violate international law, and for good measure, the FIFA constitution, and call for the expulsion of the teams, or Israel itself, from world soccer.

These efforts are all part of a broad Palestinian push to pressure Israeli in international forums. The legal arguments raised in these documents are entirely contrived. They contradict longstanding FIFA practice and create a double standard for Israel. And that’s just not sporting.

The human rights claims in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report are tendentious — they assert that the local soccer leagues (all quite small-time) are “making the settlements more sustainable, thus propping up” the system. Most of the communities in question are just a few kilometers from the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice line and would remain in Israel in all the major two-state proposals; their residents typically commute to work in bigger nearby cities. It is laughable to think anyone would leave them if the football league moved a few kilometers down the road. In any case, contrary to the HRW’s claims, there is simply no support in international law for prohibiting business in occupied territories, as British and French courts have recently affirmed.

Indeed, Morocco maintains a team, part of its national football federation, in occupied Western Sahara. Yet the HRW completely fails to mention this fact in its report. The human rights abuses in Western Sahara — where the majority of the population are Moroccan settlers and the indigenous population has been heavily displaced — are too vast to recount. No one — including the HRW and the Parliament members — has suggested expelling Morocco on account of its team, based deep in land taken from the Sahrawi.

The football-as-human rights-violation arguments against Israel are tendentious and prove too much. So those campaigning against Israel rely principally on a lawyerly claim about FIFA’s rules: The clubs “clearly violate FIFA’s statutes, according to which clubs from one member association cannot play on the territory of another member association without its and FIFA’s consent,” the members claim.

The problem is nothing in the FIFA statutes that equates “territory” with sovereign territory. Indeed, that would be impossible, since many FIFA members are not sovereign states at all. Instead, territory, as is often the case in international texts, means jurisdiction.

This is because the FIFA is not a border demarcation body. That is why FIFA clearly separates any question of sovereign statehood and territory from FIFA membership by not requiring that member federations be recognized states (i.e. Hong Kong, American Samoa, Faroe Islands, Northern Ireland, etc.). The claim that the acceptance of the Palestinian soccer federation into FIFA constituted a recognition of Palestine as a state and a recognition of its maximal border claims is unsupportable. FIFA membership does not imply statehood, nor has FIFA ever taken a position on preexisting border disputes.

Indeed, FIFA practice makes clear that it never gets involved when teams of one federation play on territory that is the subject of sovereign claims by the state of another member. As often happens, Israel’s critics attempt to portray it as a unique situation. It is far from it.

For example, British Gibraltar’s soccer federation is a member of the international soccer system despite being entirely located on what Spain claims as its sovereign territory. Indeed, Spain protested Gibraltar’s membership vigorously on these grounds. Similarly, the Taiwanese (Taipei) federation is recognized — but that hardly means FIFA has decided to reject China’s claim to the island.

Member states have territorial disputes. FIFA’s recognition of teams has never been understood as taking any position on the status of the territory where the team plays. Indeed, if it does, it would be big trouble for FIFA, and big news. Does this mean FIFA rejects Spain’s claim to Gibraltar, or China’s to Taiwan, and accepts Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara? No one has ever suggested that any of this is the case. Conversely, the South American regional football association has refused to admit the Falklands Island Football federation, which prevents it from joining FIFA. But this hardly means the Falklands is occupied territory. This probably explains why only 66 MEPs signed the letter when anti-Israel resolutions routinely command vast majorities of the 751-member body.

Moreover, the Palestinian Federation has been a FIFA member for 20 years. When the Palestinian Federation was recognized in 1998, the event barely made news, because everyone understood that it was neither a recognition of Palestinian statehood (this was well before even the nod from the U.N. General Assembly) or a denial of Israeli teams’ rights to play where they had been playing. Indeed, the Israelis did not even protest Palestinian membership, as no one had yet invented the spin that the membership had anything to do with settlement teams. The Palestinians also failed to complain until a couple of years ago, when they began to use FIFA as part of their overall effort to “internationalize” their dispute with Israel. (The head of the Palestinian football association, Jibril Rajoub, has been accused of mixing football with celebrations of terrorism.)

The longstanding acceptance of the Israeli teams is further evidence that no one really thinks FIFA rules mean what they are now said to mean.

Much reliance is placed on FIFA not recognizing the teams taken over and reorganized by Russia after its 2014 invasion of Crimea. Of course, in that situation, Russia invaded its neighbor and assimilated its teams. In other words, the teams in question were ones that Russia had actually taken over. Here, no Palestinian team has been taken over by Israel — indeed, every single one of them has been created during Israel’s supposed occupation. Nor has Israel invaded and overrun the Palestinian Authority, which was established in 1994 — in short, there has been no change in the status quo.

Moreover, FIFA’s 2014 action was not its last word. It has since allowed the creation of a separate Crimean federation separate from the Russian one — and the Ukrainian one. Does that mean that FIFA recognizes that the area is no longer part of Ukraine? Hardly. It means that it realizes that the football pitch is not the Peace Palace.

Eugene Kontorovich

CAIR’s Awad: Anti-Terror JASTA Bill Part of “War on Islam”

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the IPT website}

It might be one of the few things on which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree: President Obama was wrong Friday when he vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.”

The bill, which passed the U.S. House Sept. 9 after passing the Senate May 17, would allow Americans victimized by foreign terrorist attacks to sue countries responsible. Specifically, 9/11 victims could sue Saudi Arabia, which generated 15 of the 19 hijackers who struck the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

But in an interview with the Arabic-language Al Sharq Al Awsat, Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad cast the legislation as an anti-Muslim attack.

The bill “is a continuation of the series of [actions] attaching terrorism to Islamic societies, the Islamic world and Islamic countries, as well as Islamic personalities, since it aims to demonize Islam,” an Investigative Project on Terrorism translation of Awad’s remarks said. “… so that things have reached the point of attaching the accusation of terrorism against Saudi Arabia, which is the heart of the Muslim world, and accusing it is an accusation of Muslims all over the world.”

He compared the bill to campaigns against mosque construction in the United States and said it is pushed by the same ideology that “supports the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying that those who voted for the resolution in the Congress are those waging war on Islam and they always vote for wars and conflicts, and are exploiting the families of the victims in this crisis.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., co-sponsored and advocated for the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support. In a statement, he pledged to make this President Obama’s first veto to be over-ridden by Congress.

More importantly, Awad’s description that the bill’s supporters “are those waging war on Islam” is especially dangerous and reckless. That message, that the West is at war against Islam, is considered the most effective at radicalizing Muslims.

CAIR officials used to repeatedly invoke that message, but seemed to have backed away from it in recent years. Awad’s revival was directed at an Arabic-speaking audience.
Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who served as co-chairman of a congressional 9/11 inquiry, has long advocated for the release of 28 pages of his committee’s report focusing on the hijackers’ connections to Saudi government officials. Those pages were released in July. In a New York Times oped earlier this month, Graham said they raise more questions and advocated for the release of more investigative material still deemed classified.

His motivation for this campaign, and for supporting JASTA, had nothing to do with Muslims, he explained.

“It can mean justice for the families that have suffered so grievously. It can also mean improving our national security, which has been compromised by the extreme form of Islam that has been promoted by Saudi Arabia,” Graham wrote.

President Obama claims he vetoed the bill out of concern for unintended consequences, that it might open the door to similar litigation against U.S. military and government officials in other countries and “would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

Both Trump and Clinton said they would sign the bill if elected president, CNN reported.

Steve Emerson

Conversations with Heroes – Is Israel Still Fighting the War of Independence? [audio]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The Land of Israel is often referred to as the Promised Land because of The Creator’s repeated promise (Gen. 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 17:8) to give the Land to the descendants of Abraham. Neither this promise nor history’s overabundance of agreements, proclamations, resolutions, wars, and the establishment of The State of Israel itself seems to have convinced the world that the Jewish people have a rightful claim to this Land.

On this week’s show, Heather speaks with three inspiring Israelis who were born outside the Land of Israel, made Aliyah, and overcame many an obstacle to claim their place in the Land and even utilize their unique talents to help their fellow Jews.

Meet Nina Brenner Bukstein, who heroically overcame the challenges of moving to Israel as a single mom with almost no prospects or income, yet courageously and resolutely built a thriving business; Paint Parties Israel. In the most surprising ways, you will hear how her company’s events both entertain and transform participants across the country.

Rivka Aminoff, Founder and Principal of Kol Hadassa High School (and previous show guest!) returns to discuss her unique relationship to the Land of Israel, which began with her upbringing in Australia to her eventual relocation to Israel. It was dear old Dad who helped her reframe a particularly disappointing first visit to the Western Wall. Check out what he told his daughter about the holy site.

Frequent guest contributor, David Olesker, founder of the Jerusalem Center for Communication and Advocacy Training (JCCAT) checks in this week and makes the case for naming all of Israel’s battles, skirmishes, and intifadas: Israel’s War of Independence. If you think Israel’s War of Independence was a fait accompli in 1948, think again says Olesker.

You may contact any of Heather’s guests from today’s show via their websites: Nina Brenner Bukstein paintpartyevents.com Rivka Aminoff kolhadassa.org David Olesker jccat.org

Conversations with Heroes 21Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

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