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September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yoram Ettinger’

Yoram Ettinger: For Long-Term Confidence in Israel’s Economy

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Israel’s economic growth during the last five years (21%) is higher than all OECD countries, besides Turkey. Israel’s economy grew 270% over the last 20 years, while Israel’s population grew 145%. Israel’s unemployment is its lowest ever – 5.4%. The strength of Israel’s exports is derived from its multitude of companies, diversified technologies and products, reaching diversified markets, cutting edge technologies, focusing on essential products (medical, telecommunications, Internet, water technologies, energy alternatives, homeland security, defense), preferring high tech over raw material, expanding joint ventures with global giants, bolstering research & development (world leader in percentage of GDP).

Israel is expected to become a net-exporter of natural gas by2018. Israel’s economy receives a tailwind from an annual Aliya (Jewish immigration), reduced emigration, accelerated return by expatriates, an expanding young population (especially due to rising fertility rate of the secular sector), a growing integration of the ultra-orthodox community in Israel’s workforce and military service and the potential for a dramatic wave of Aliya due to economic, political, security, and social circumstances in the former USSR, France, England, Argentina and the USA (Adam Reuter, Financial Immunities, March 14, 2012).

Intel’s exports from Israel – $2.2BN in 2011. Since 1999, Intel’s exports from Israel total $22.5BN (Globes Business Daily, March 19). Intel employs 7,800 persons in Israel – 10% of Intel’s global manpower. 700 were hired in 2011, projecting 600 more in 2012. Abbott Laboratories – which acquired Israel’s SrarLims in 2010 – concluded a 3-year cooperation agreement with Israel’s Weizmann Institute (Globes, February 7).

Credit Suisse reported a 5.35% holding in Israel’s $12BN CheckPoint – $643MN (Globes, February 10). Virginia-based Tamro Capital Partners and San Francisco-based Parnassus Investments announced a 5.9% and a5.7% holding in Israel’s Ceragon – $18MN and $17MN respectively (Globes, February 10). The NJ-based Avaya acquired Israel’s RadVision for $230MN (Globes, March 16). The $21BN Broadcom acquired Israel’s BroadLight for $200MN- Broadcom’s 10th acquisition of an Israeli company in 10 years (5th since 2009), leveraging the top quality Israeli human resource – innovations; which are transformed into cutting-edge technologies, manufacturing lines and exports. Broadcom has intensified its Israel operations during the last two years (Globes, March 21, 2012). Goldman Sachs acquired 10% of Israel’s Viola Group fro $200MN (Globes, February 22). The NYC-based W Capital Partners acquired, from Yozma VC Fund, 3% of Israel/US Conduit for $39MN (March 19).

San Francisco-based Koshla Ventures and Burrill & Co. and Menlo Park-based Triple Point led a $30MN round by Israel’s HCL-Virdia (Globes, March 8). France Télécom, the French Publicis Groupe and Iris Capital co-led a $15MN round of private placement by Israel’s MyThings, joined by Silicon Valley’s Accel Partners and Deutsche Telecom investment arm T-Venture (Globes, March 21). The Boston-based Spark Capital led a $15MN round by Israel’s eToro (Globes, March 14). A West Coast investment bank led a $13MN round by Israel’s Vascular Dynamics (Globes, March 8).

2011 mergers & acquisitions of 85 Israeli high tech companies (27% increase over 2010) – $5.1BN, the highest sum in 10 years, except the 2006 bubble ($11BN).

 

http://www.theettingerreport.com/

Yoram Ettinger: UN Human Rights Council Exposed

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

http://www.theettingerreport.com

 

The Human Rights Council (HRC), on the one hand, and human rights on the other hand, constitutes an oxymoron. The HRC – elected by the majority of the UN members – constitutes an authentic reflection of the UN.

On Friday, the HRC will conclude a month long deliberation by submitting four more resolutions condemning Israel.

The HRC heard testimony from a representative of the Assad regime in formulating one of the resolutions, which denounces Israel for alleged violations of human rights on the Golan Heights. At the same time, the Assad regime has already murdered 8,000 Syrian dissidents and rebels, causing tens of thousands of refugees, some seeking asylum in Israel’s Golan Heights.

The HRC was privy to testimonies from Palestinian representatives, while an increasing number of Palestinians attempt to relocate to Jerusalem, in order to avoid the ruthless rule of the Palestinian Authority. The HRC never discussed intra-Palestinian violence, which has caused substantially more fatalities than those produced during Israel’s confrontation with Palestinian terrorism. It failed to act against the PLO/Hamas-led hate-education, brainwashing Palestinian children to become suicide bombers; rewarding Palestinian mothers for raising suicide bombers; executing rival Palestinians by throwing them off high-rise buildings; spraying them with bullets from the waist down; torturing, maiming and executing Palestinian opponents; abusing Palestinian civilians as human shields; physically abusing critical Palestinian journalists; suppressing Palestinian civil liberties; and systematically and deliberately targeting Israeli civilians for terrorism, missile launching and mortar shelling.

The HRC welcomed a report by Professor Richard Falk – who accused the US Administration of complicity and cover up in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack – on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Prof. Falk – a Hamas sympathizer who has justified suicide bombing as a legitimate struggle – was appointed in 2008 to a six-year term as UN Special Rapporteur. Falk succeeded Professor John Dugard, who shares his worldview.

The HRC is assisted by an advisory committee, chaired by Morocco’s Halima Warzazi, who, in 1988, blocked a UN initiative to condemn Saddam Hussein’s chemical warfare against Iraqi Kurds. The vice-chair is Switzerland’s Jean Ziegler, who co-established the “Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights” and authored books accusing the USA of being responsible for global malaise. Another advisor is Nicaragua’s Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, former President of the UN General Assembly, an admirer of Ahmadinejad, a defender of Omar al-Bashir – Sudan’s president indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, a friend of Fidel Castro and self-hating Americans such as Ramsey Clark and Noam Chomsky.

Since June 2007, Israel has been the only country to be listed on the HRC’s permanent agenda. Out of the ten permanent items on the HRC agenda, eight are organizational and procedural, one deals with global human rights and “item seven” – “the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” – is the only one that is country-specific. The outcome of the investigation is prejudged, not subject to review. Israel – the only Middle Eastern democracy – is also the only UN member to be ostracized annually, while its enemies are exempt from scrutiny.

According to former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, “there are permanent members of the Security Council and non-permanent members, but Israel is the only permanent non-member.”

80% of all 2010 UN resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights violations were directed at Israel. Only six other UN members faced human rights criticism at all, one of which was the United States. The HRC subjected the USA to harsh criticism – by Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Russia – for, supposed, human rights violations. The HRC criticized the elimination of Bin-Laden and Israel’s defense against PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists.

Simultaneously, the HRC has ignored Islamic terrorism, which has afflicted Asia, Africa, Europe, and the USA. No emergency sessions or inquiries were held, and no resolutions were adopted.

55% of the HRC members are Muslim countries, which contribute little to the UN budget, but dominate policy-making. The HRC is formally the guardian of human rights, but its members – e.g., Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Cuba, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, Djibouti, Senegal, Mauritania, Malaysia, Russia, and China – deny their peoples fundamental civil liberties.

In view of the track record of the UN in general, and the HRC in particular, and in light of the intensifying threat of Islamic terrorism, the Free World should become independent of the UN, militarily and policy-wise. The Free World should heed Ambassador Bolton’s assessment that “the UN was marginal during the Cold War, and is well on its way to marginalizing itself when it comes to the world’s greatest threat, terrorism.”

 

Originally published in Israel Hayom

Yoram Ettinger: Defense and Retaliation – Not an Option

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The Background

More than10,000 Gaza-based missiles have been launched, systematically and deliberately, at Israeli cities, kibbutzim, and villages since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in September 2005 (1,700 annually), compared with 700 missiles launched from 2001 to September 2005 (140 annually). In addition, over 5,000 mortar shells have been launched at Israeli civilians since the disengagement.

250 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists between 1978 and the 1993 Oslo Accords, compared with 2,000 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the conclusion of the Oslo Accords.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has transformed its policy of no-Palestinian state-solution to a two-state solution, highlighted by the importation of some 60,000 Palestinian terrorists into Gaza, Judea, and Samaria from Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon and Syria. The two-state solution has been replete with systematic groundbreaking Israeli gestures, concessions, and ideological and territorial retreats. It has yielded unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and terrorism; Palestinian smuggling and manufacturing of tens of thousands of missiles; multi-billion dollar cost of Israeli homeland security measures; severe erosion of Israeli confidence in Israel’s own cause and capability to confront its enemies; and significantly undermined the Israeli posture of deterrence, which is a prerequisite for security and peace. The two-state state of mind has ushered in the assumption that the solution to terrorism is not military force but diplomacy.

In 1993, the architects of the two-state solution dismissed the warning that such a solution would doom Israeli cities to a barrage of Palestinian missiles. In 2012, one million Israelis – in Beer Sheba, Ashdod, Ashqelon, Kiryat-Gat and scores of kibbutzim and villages in southern Israel – have been held hostage by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorism as a result of the 2005 Disengagement. Irregularity and missile alert sirens have dominated their daily lives at work, in kindergartens, schools, and at leisure.

The PLO (now the ruling faction of the Palestinian Authority) was the ally of the USSR and the Communist Bloc, of Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden. The PLO and Hamas are the allies of Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, the trans-national Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, the emerging Islamic leaders in Libya and Tunisia, and the ruling Islamic party of Turkey.

The Solution

The Israeli government is tested – by its citizens, enemies and allies – by its ability to ensure personal and national security, rather than submitting its citizens to periodic terrorism.

Personal and national security will not be advanced by the conclusion of another ceasefire with Palestinian terrorists, but by the destruction of the ideological, educational, political, financial, logistical, and operational infrastructures of Palestinian fire.

Israel’s security will not be enhanced by deterring Palestinians from launching missiles at Israel, but by denying them the capability to launch missiles.

Israel’s security will not be bolstered by the power to retaliate against Palestinian missiles, but by the power to preempt and to prevent the launching of – and to eliminate – Palestinian missiles.

An effective offensive against Palestinian terrorist capabilities should not be surgical and limited in scope and time, but comprehensive, decisive, sustained and disproportionate, aiming to devastate all terrorist infrastructures and capabilities, bringing the enemy to submission.

A limited response to terrorism, and the pursuit of ceasefires, constitutes a prescription for a war of attrition – the dream of terrorists and the nightmare of democracies.

An effective offensive should not strive for engagement and coexistence with – or the suspension of – terrorism, but for uprooting terrorism.

Since Oslo 1993, Israel’s battle against terrorism has been subordinated to the two-state paradigm, entrenching moral and operational ambiguity rather than clarity. Therefore, it has been addicted to defense, the belief that “restraint is strength,” the assumption that there is no military solution to terrorism and the subordination of war on terrorism to the pursuit of peace, international pressure and international public opinion.

However, the nineteen post-Oslo years of unprecedented Palestinian hate-education, terrorism, and non-compliance have documented that there is no political or diplomatic solution to Palestinian terrorism. Ignoring the lessons of the post-Oslo years, by refraining from a resolute, preemptive, preventive, decisive, and disproportionate offensive on Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorist infrastructures, will subject Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa to a terrorist assault that will dwarf the current predicament in southern Israel.

In its battle against terrorism, Israel should reclaim its pre-two-state solution posture, highlighting roots and vision, determination, defiance of odds, the can-do and risk-taking mentality, and gumption. It is that spirit which transformed the Jewish State from the remnants of the Holocaust into the most stable, predictable, reliable, capable, democratic, and unconditional ally of the USA.

 

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1534

Yoram Ettinger: Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

1. Purim’s historical background according to the late historian, Prof. Israel Eldad:

*Xerxes the Great – Achashverosh in Hebrew – succeeded Darius the Great and ruled the Persian Empire during 465-486 BCE, 150 years before the rise of Greek’s Alexander the Great.

*Greece was Persia’s key opponent in its expansion towards the Mediterranean and Europe, hence the alliance between Persia and Carthage, a rival of Greece.

*Greece supported Egypt’s revolt against Persian rule, which was subdued by Persia with the help of the Jewish warriors of Yeb (in Egypt) and Carthage, which had a significant Jewish-Hebrew connection (Hanibal and Barca were a derivative of the Hebrew names, Hananyah and Barak).

*Xerxes was defeated by Greece at the 480 BCE Salamis Battle, but challenged Greece again in 470 BCE.

*According to a Greek translation of the Scroll of Esther, Haman (the Agagi) was a Macedonian by orientation or by birth. Agagi could refer to Agag, the Amalekite King (who intended to annihilate the Jews) or to the Aegean Islands. Haman aspired to annihilate the Jews of Persia and opposed improved relations between Xerxes and the Jews Yeb. He led the pro-Greece and anti-Carthage orientation in Persia. Mordechai was a chief advocate of the pro-Carthage orientation.

2. Purim is celebrated on the 14th/15th days of the Jewish month of Adar.

*Adar (אדר) is the root of the Hebrew adjective Adir (אדיר glorious, awesome, exalted, magnificent). It is, also, a derivative of the Akkadian word Adura (heroism).

*Jewish tradition (Babylonian Talmud) highlights Adar as a month of happiness, singing and dancing.

*The zodiac of Adar is Pisces (fish), which is a symbol of demographic multiplication. Hence, Adar is the only Jewish month, which doubles itself during the 7 leap years, during each 19 year cycle.

*Purim is celebrated on the 14th (in non-walled towns) and on the 15th day of Adar (in Jerusalem), commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish People from the jaws of a holocaust in Persia and the 161 BCE victory of Judah the Maccabee over Nikanor, the Assyrian commander.

*Moses – who delivered the Jewish People from a holocaust in Egypt and whose burial site is unknown – was born, and died (1273 BCE) on the 7th day of Adar, which is Israel’s Memorial Day for soldiers, whose burial site is unknown.

*The events of Purim occurred following the destruction of the 1st Temple by Nebuchadnezzar (586 BCE) and the exile from Zion, during the leadership of Ezra who returned to Jerusalem, and the inauguration of the Second Temple (3rd of Adar, 515 BCE) by Ezra and Nehemiah.

*Nebuchadnezzar died in Adar 561 BCE (Jeremiah 52:31).

*Einstein published the theory of General Relativity in Adar 1916.

3. Purim’s Hebrew root is fate/destiny (פור), as well as “lottery” (to commemorate Haman’s lottery which determined the designated day for the planned annihilation of the Jewish People) “to frustrate”, “to annul”(להפר), “to crumble” and “to shutter” (לפורר), reflecting the demise of Haman.

4. Purim commemorates a Clash of Civilizations between Mordechai the Jew and Haman the Iranian-Amalekite. It constitutes an early edition of the war between Right vs. Wrong, Liberty vs. Tyranny, Justice vs. Evil, Truth vs. Lies, as were/are Adam/Eve vs. the Snake, Abel vs. Cain, Abraham vs. Sodom and Gomorrah, Jacob vs. Esau (grandfather of Amalek), Maccabees vs. Assyrians, Allies vs. Nazis, Western democracies vs. Communist Bloc, and Western democracies vs. Islamic terrorism.

5. Purim is the holiday of contradictions and tenacity-driven-optimism: Grief replaced by joy; Esther’s concealment replaced by the disclosure of her national/religious identity; Haman’s intended genocide of the Jews replaced by redemption; Haman replaced by Mordechai; national and personal pessimism replaced by optimism. A Purim lesson: Life is complex, full of contradictions, ups and downs and difficult dilemmas and worthy of principled-determination.

6. Mordechai, the hero of Purim and one of Ezra’s deputies, was a role model of principle-driven optimism in defiance of colossal odds, in the face of a global power and in spite of the Jewish establishment. He fought Jewish assimilation and urged Jews to return to their Homeland. He was endowed with the bravery of faith-driven individuals, such as Nachshon – who was the first to walk into the Red Sea before it was parted. Mordechai was a politically-incorrect statesman and a retired military leader, who practiced “disproportionate pre-emption” instead of defense, deterrence or retaliation.

*The first three Hebrew letters of Mordechai (מרדכי) spell the Hebrew word Rebellion (מרד), which is consistent with the motto/legacy of the American Founding Fathers: “Rebellion against Tyrants is Obedience to G-D.”

*Mordechai did not bow to Haman, the second most powerful person in the Persian Empire. He was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, the only son of Jacob who did not bow to Esau.

*The name Mordechai is also a derivative of Mordouch, the chief Babylonian god.

*Mordechai was a descendant of King Saul, who defied a clear commandment (to eradicate the Amalekites) and spared the life of Agag, the Amalekite king, thus precipitating further calamities upon the Jewish People. Consequently, Saul lost his royal position and life. Mordechai learned from Saul’s error. He destroyed Haman, a descendant of Agag the Amalekite, and Haman’s entire power base, thus sparing the Jewish People a major disaster.

Yoram Ettinger: When Bibi meets Barack

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

On March 5, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will enter the White House, representing the Jewish state, which has been gaining in popularity among Americans. According to a February 2012 Gallup poll, Israel enjoys a 71% approval rating among Americans, compared with 68% in February 2011, well above Saudi Arabia’s 42% and the Palestinian Authority’s 19%.

Netanyahu will meet U.S. President Barack Obama, who is eager to secure the support of Israel’s friends in the U.S. in order to boost his frail approval rating of 43%, according to a Feb. 27, 2012 Gallup Poll. Unlike previous visits by Netanyahu, this time Obama will be anxious for warm photo opportunities with Israel’s prime minister.

On March 5, Netanyahu will meet a President – as well as presidential candidate, who is engaged in an uphill re-election battle. Just like all his predecessors, Obama is consumed – domestically and internationally – by re-election. The March 5 meeting will be part of that electoral context, irrespective of Netanyahu’s wishes. Therefore, in order to avoid the appearance and accusal of partisanship, Netanyahu should, also, confer with the credible Republican presidential candidates.

Netanyahu should not be intimidated by – and should not subordinate his agenda to – the assumption that Obama has a lock on re-election. The presidential second-term curse, which has haunted every second-term president since George Washington except for James Monroe, has intensified in recent years. Thus, second-term presidents have reached the pinnacle of their clout upon re-election day, followed by a significant setback to their abilities to govern. Furthermore, Obama’s inability to reach the 50% favorability threshold – even when intra-GOP bickering dominates the news – reflects his vulnerability.

Netanyahu should not be perturbed by White House warnings to refrain from an intense strategic/legislative dialogue with Congress lest it be construed as a rude bypass of the president. Such warnings offend the pillars of U.S. democracy: separation of co-determining and co-equal branches of government, independence of the legislature, and checks and balances. Such warnings insult the U.S. constituent, while undermining vital U.S. and Israeli interests. Netanyahu should not tolerate the relegation of Congress – the most authentic representative of the American people and Israel’s most sustained ally in Washington – to a secondary role in the area of national security and foreign policy. While Congress prefers to be preoccupied with domestic matters, it is capable of setting the agenda in any area, including international affairs, in general, and U.S.-Israel relations, in particular.

Netanyahu should not be swayed by the “Palestine Firsters” in the U.S. Administration. U.S.-Israel relations transcend the Arab-Israel conflict and the Palestinian issue. They are based on ancient, shared Judeo-Christian values and contemporary joint interests and mutual threats, irrespective of the Palestinian issue.

Netanyahu should highlight the clear, present and devastating mutual threat to the U.S., as well as to Israel, posed by a nuclear Iran, the seismic Arab street and the surge of Islamic terrorism. All are independent of the Palestinian issue, which has never been the core cause of Middle East unrest, the crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, or the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Netanyahu should not provide a tailwind to American involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The more involved the U.S., the more intensified are Arab expectations and terrorism, and the less likely the attainment of peace. The more involved the U.S. is as an “honest broker,” the less involved it is as Israel’s unique ally, which erodes a mega-billion dollar benefit to U.S. national security, U.S. homeland security and U.S. commercial and defense industries.

Netanyahu should present, to both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, a series of initiatives, which would dramatically expand the mutually-beneficial, win-win U.S.-Israel defense and commercial cooperation, as a derivative of the dramatically destabilized reality on the Arab street. For instance, amending the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, which constrains strategic cooperation with Israel; the pre-positioning in Israel of advanced U.S. military systems – currently deployed in Europe – could prevent the toppling of a series of pro-U.S. regimes in the Middle East; the establishment of a binational foundation for enhanced cooperation between the respective defense industries; the upgrade of the Port of Ashdod for the benefit of the Sixth Fleet and the renewal of regular visits by the Sixth Fleet to Haifa; etc.

Netanyahu should sustain the can-do and independent image of Israel, refusing to subordinate the independence of military action to presidential pressure, promises or electoral concerns. The only way for Israel to refrain from a military preemption against Iran’s lethal nuclear threat is for the U.S. to undertake such preemption. Considering the failed track record of sanctions and diplomacy – which have played into the hands of Iran – the only way to prevent is to preempt, at all costs.

 

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1466 

Yoram Ettinger: Palestinians and Arab policy

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama assumes that the Palestinian issue is a root cause of Middle East turbulence, the crown jewel of Arab policy-making, and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He maintains that the resolution of the Palestinian issue would moderate the Middle East, facilitating the formation of a U.S.-Arab coalition against Iran. On Sept. 21, 2011, he proclaimed at the U.N. General Assembly: “There is one issue that stands as … a test for American foreign policy and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” Is it?

Irrespective of the Palestinian issue, 2011 has catapulted the anti-Western transnational Muslim Brotherhood – the big brother of Hamas terrorists – to political prominence in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and soon in Syria, Jordan, and other Arab countries. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamic parties, is a derivative of the 1,400-year-old supremacy of Islam in the educational, social and political sectors in every Arab country.

Regardless of Israel’s policies and existence, Iran is pursuing nuclear capabilities and confronting the U.S., NATO, and Saudi Arabia, in order to advance its megalomaniac aspirations in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, the Muslim world, Latin America, and the world at-large.

Independent of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, 2011 has exposed the Middle East as the role model of intra-Arab/Muslim violence, volatility, shifty regimes, policies and alliances, instability, uncertainty, unpredictability, corruption, hate education, treachery, non-compliance, and intra-Muslim/Arab fragmentation along tribal, ethnic, religious, ideological and geographic lines.

Notwithstanding the Palestinian issue, the Saudi-Yemen border region, Bahrain, and the Persian Gulf are boiling; intra-Muslim terrorism proliferates; post-Mubarak Egypt trends toward Turkey’s or Iran’s anti-Western path; Syria and Lebanon constitute domestic, intra-Muslim and intra-Arab battlegrounds; Turkey switched from NATO-oriented to Islam-oriented policies, aspiring to reclaim Islamic hegemony, courting Russia and Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas; Russia and China penetrate deeper into the Middle East; and U.S.-evacuated Iraq could become an active volcano, whose fallout could consume Jordan, Kuwait and the Gulf region.

Contrary to conventional Western wisdom, the Palestinian issue has not preoccupied Arab policy-making. Persian Gulf regimes are traumatized by Iran’s nuclear threat, the raging Arab Street, and by the seismic potential of the turmoil in Iraq. Egypt is absorbed with tectonic domestic developments, causing a 10-20 year economic and social setback. Jordan is alarmed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s surge and by the growing discontent among its Bedouin power base in Southern Jordan. Turkey is consumed with its drive for intra-Muslim hegemony. Morocco is imperiled by the ripple effects of the Tunisian, Libyan, and Egyptian turmoil. And the 1,400 years of Islamic terrorism is surging. Could the less than 100-year-old Palestinian issue be the core cause of the 1,400-year-old Middle East reality?

Arab leaders are concerned about potential Palestinian-driven subversion, which caused the expulsion of Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and their PLO associates from Egypt in the late 1950s, from Syria in 1966, from Jordan in 1970, from Lebanon in 1982 and 1983, and from Kuwait in 1991. It is clear that Arab leaders marshal their rhetoric, but not their resources, on behalf of the Palestinians. For example, during the October 2010 Arab Summit, Arab leaders pledged $500 million to the Palestinians, but only seven percent was delivered. More than $2 billion was pledged by the Arabs in support of the First and Second Palestinian Intifada against Israel, but less than $500 million reached the Palestinians. Western financial aid to the Palestinian Authority dramatically exceeds aid from Arab oil-producing countries.

Contrary to Western political correctness, the Palestinian issue is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The 1948-1949 War was not fought by the Arabs because, or for, the Palestinians. That explains why Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria, which occupied Gaza, Samaria, Judea, east Jerusalem, and Hama respectively, did not transfer the area to the Palestinians. The 1967 Six-Day War preempted an Egyptian-orchestrated Arab offensive to destroy Israel, aiming to facilitate Egypt’s subordination of Jordan and Saudi Arabia and domination of the Middle East. The 1982 PLO-Israel War, which was fought in Lebanon but was against the PLO, was Israel’s first war not fought against an Arab country. Arabs are willing to sacrifice rhetoric, but not lives or money, on the altar of the Palestinian issue. Likewise, the 1987-1992 and the 2000-2002, First and Second Palestinian Intifadas, as well as the 2009 Hamas-Israel war in Gaza, were never transformed into Arab-Israeli wars.

Thus, the red carpet, which welcomes Palestinian leaders in the West, is transformed into a shabby rug when they land in Arab capitals. What do Arabs know about the Palestinians that the West has yet to learn?

Originally published  at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1434

Hyacinths And The Jewish Renaissance

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

It’s always hottest at the end of summer. I am not a meteorologist and I have not checked the latest statistics. I just know that right now, the sun’s rays are searing, the ground is dry as a bone and everything (and everyone) outside just seems limp and faded.


That is, everything except the hyacinths. Just when the summer heat seems to have baked our landscape and our senses into a dry, dull yellow, the hyacinths go into full bloom. There is something special about the hyacinths. How do they know – in the middle of this never-ending heat wave – that the seasons are about to change and that autumn is just around the corner? Obviously there is a botanical answer to that question. But for me, the hyacinths are a reminder of God’s Invisible Hand behind the scenes, directing every last detail in our world and bringing these exquisite flowers to bloom just when we have been convinced that the heat and dryness of the summer will be here forever.


Currently, the hyacinth phenomenon is being played out in Israeli society. In the midst of the insufferable dryness and pessimism so prevalent in current Israeli culture, beneath the gloomy headlines and the permanent despair that have become part of our lives, Israeli society has begun to wake up. Behind all the politics and repulsive scandals, we are witnessing a Jewish renaissance.


Let’s take, for example, the Jewish music scene that is in full creative bloom. Aharon Razael, Yonatan Razael, Ehud Banai and Shuli Rand (to name just a few) are regularly featured on mainstream Israeli radio by virtue of their talent and clean, rich compositions and lyrics – and not just to allow the radio stations to claim that they also cater to the religious public.


The authentic Jewish creative culture to which we are being treated is just the tip of the iceberg. Israelis are searching for their Jewish identity. The “Israeliness” that was supposed to have replaced Judaism – instead of endowing it with the depth of statehood – has turned out to be a false savior. So on whom can we rely? On Israeli politics? On its justice system? On the educational system? On our invincible army?


Israelis are returning to their roots. Not in the same way as in the ’70s. Israelis are returning to their Jewish roots without making major changes in their lifestyles. They are remaining in their neighborhoods and in their social circles and workplaces. They are simply putting more emphasis on their Jewish identity. Like the hyacinths, something is blossoming here before the change of seasons. A research poll publicized a few months ago showed that young people in Israel are more traditional than their parents. The researchers expected just the opposite. Once again we see that the typical image of drugged teenagers partying throughout the night conceals what is occurring under the surface. These young people have lost their faith in the system – and are returning to their roots.


What is most surprising – and what you will not see in the media – is the fact that the average number of children per family in Israel is the highest in the Western world. And no, it is not just due to the high birth rates of the religious and the Arabs. “I’m working on my fifth,” an obviously pregnant secular broadcaster recently told me. “Is that unusual in your circles?” I asked her. “Not at all,” she answered, smiling. “In the afternoon, the backyard of our North Tel Aviv [upper- class, secular neighborhood] apartment building is filled with children playing.”


This coincides with what Yoram Ettinger and his staff of researchers have been saying for two years. There is no longer a demographic problem in Israel. Israelis are having at least as many babies as Arabs.


To the best of my memory, the last time that Israel experienced a baby boom was after the Six-Day War. That was a logical occurrence. The great victory and the romance of Israel’s return to the Land of the Bible created a sense of prosperity and national awakening that was reflected in the individual and the family. But now? With all the new Olmert scandals? With the wholesale release of terrorists? With the Iranian threat, the Kassams and all the other reasons for despair? What is the source of the optimism?


We are at the threshold of a new season. Just ask the hyacinths about the Invisible Hand. Somebody up there is waking us up and commanding us to blossom.


Moshe Feiglin is the founder and president of Manhigut Yehudit (the Jewish Leadership movement), dedicated to building authentic Jewish leadership for Israel. For more information or to order Feiglin’s newest book, The War of Dreams, visit www.jewishisrael.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/hyacinths-and-the-jewish-renaissance/2008/09/24/

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