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“War In Paris” – ISIS Claims Responsibility For Deadly Attacks Killing 127: The Full Summary

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2015  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-14/war-paris-isis-claims-responsibility-deadly-attacks-killing-127-complete-summary-and

The morning after a truly tragic Friday the 13th, France wakes up to the following front pages, among which one which best captures the atmosphere in Paris at this moment: “war in Paris“:

france wake up_0

 

Here is the latest summary of the aftermath from last night’s six distinct attacks across Paris, compiled from numerous media outlets:

  • At least 127 people are feared to have been killed according to French president Hollande in a series of devastating attacks across Paris.
  • Among the dead are at least two Belgians, two Romanians and a Swedish citizen, with UK prime minister David Cameron warning British casualties are likely.
  • Eight attackers also died, police say, seven of them by detonating explosive suicide belts.
  • Police continue to search for accomplices who might still be at large.
  • Two hundred people were injured, 80 of them seriously.
  • Shootings and explosions were reported in six locations across the city, including the Stade de France in northern Paris, where two suicide attacks and a bombing took place as the national team played Germany in a friendly football match.
  • The majority of victims died after a mass shooting inside the Bataclan concert venue.
  • Shootings also took place in restaurants and other sites in the centre of the city.
  • President François Hollande, who was at the Stade de France at the time of the assaults, said: “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless. Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow.”
  • A state of emergency has been declared across France and security at the country’s borders has been tightened.
  • Paris residents have been told to stay in their homes and authorities say “all of the city’s amenities”, including schools, universities, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and markets, will close on Saturday.
  • US president Barack Obama described the atrocities as “an attack on all of humanity”. Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said the attack “appears to have all the hallmarks of a Daesh [Islamic State] exercise”.
  • Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has cancelled his official visit to France, due to take place next week, in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned “the despicable terrorist attacks carried out in various locations in and around Paris” and demanded “the immediate release of the numerous individuals reportedly being held hostage in the Bataclan theater”;
  • The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, has urged his citizens to avoid going to Paris unless “strictly necessary”. He added that security will be stepped up at public events in Belgium.
  • Paris Deputy Mayor said it is a “terrible, terrible situation … a tragedy we are facing.”
  • Syrian president al-Assad also condemned the attack: “What France suffered from savage terror is what the Syrian people have been enduring for over five years.”
  • Police have raided a Brussels neighbourhood where three of the attackers are believed to have lived, and made a number of arrests.
    One of the attackers at the Bataclan is understood to be a 30-year-old French national, who was known to French police because of links to Islamic radicals.
  • A Syrian and an Egyptian passport were found on the bodies of the two suicide bombers who targeted the Stade de France.
  • The Syrian passport belonged to a refugee who passed through Greece, according to a Greek minister.
  • German authorities say they have ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ a man arrested in Bavaria earlier this month, in a car loaded with explosives, may be linked to the Paris attacks.

Where the attacks took place:

The attacks were launched in six separate locations across the city – five in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, and one close to the Stade de France, in the north of the city, where president François Hollande was attending a football match between the French and German teams. The map below highlights the most prominent ones:

map of attacks_0

* * *

How the attacks unfolded:

  • Stade de France – Bombings

Blasts were heard near the stadium in the north of Paris around 9.30pm local time on Friday. Police later confirmed there were three simultaneous bombings, including two suicide attacks, near the stadium as France played Germany in a friendly match.

French President Francois Hollande, who was at the game, left immediately. A prosecutor said people there had been fatalities, but did not confirm the number. A police union official said three people had died.

The blasts occurred near two of the stadium entrances and at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant.

  • Restaurant And Bar – Shooting

Around 10:30pm, there were reports of a shooting at a restaurant on Rue Alibert in the 10th arrondissement, about five miles away from the Stade de France.

At least 14 people were later confirmed dead in the rampage at Le Carillon, a bar-cafe, and the nearby Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge.

Witnesses said gunmen armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles fired at victims through the plate-glass windows.

  • Bataclan Concert Hall – Bombings And Shooting

By 11pm reports emerged that the popular music venue on Boulevard Voltaire in the nearby 11th arrondissement was under attack.

Early reports suggested 15 people had been shot dead in the concert hall, where American band Eagles of Death Metal was due to play. Dozens of hostages were taken inside the venue.

A short time later, security forces launched an assault on the theatre. The two attackers were killed after detonating explosive belts. It now appears more than 80 concert-goers were killed in the venue. Initial reports suggested 120 people were killed.

According to Guardian, the attackers first sprayed cafes outside the concert hall with machine gunfire, then went inside and opened fire on the panicked audience, according to the Paris police chief. As police closed in, three of them detonated suicide vests, killing themselves and setting off explosions.

Several people inside the venue survived the massacre. The band was also confirmed as safe.

One person was also killed on Boulevard Voltaire, not far from the venue

  • Cafe – Shooting

Less than a mile from the concert hall, at least 18 diners sitting on outdoor terraces at La Belle Equipe in the popular Charonne area were shot dead.  Emergency workers covered bodies on the pavement outside the traditional Parisian cafe.

Le Carillon, a bar-cafe, and the nearby Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge were apparently both targeted with gunfire, killing around 14 people and leaving several gravely injured, according to the prosecutor. They are at the junction of Rue Bichat and Rue Alibert.

Witnesses described sounds like fireworks, before they realised the gravity of the situation and tried to find a place to hide, or flee.

  • Pizzeria – Shooting

Five people were killed in La Casa Nostra pizzeria on Rue de la Fontaine au Roi in the 11th arrondissement.

Witnesses reported seeing a man firing a machine gun.

* * *

The latest death toll

Latest information says that at least 120 people are believed to have been killed in six separate attacks across the city. Two hundred people are injured, 80 seriously.

  • At the Bataclan concert venue, 87 people have been reported dead.
  • At the Stade de France, the Paris prosecutor François Molins said “some” were killed, possibly three. (It is not clear whether this include the attackers thought to have died here.)
  • At the shootings at the Rue de Charonne, 18 are dead.
  • At Boulevard Voltaire, one person is dead.
  • At Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, five are dead.
  • At Rue Alibert, 14 are dead and “many seriously injured”.

Police say they continue to hunt for any possible accomplices to the attacks. No one has yet claimed responsibility.

* * *

Attackers Killed

Eight extremists involved in the attacks have been killed, the prosecutor  said.  Seven died in suicide bombings, while the other was killed in the concert hall.  Some witnesses in the hall said they heard the gunmen shout Islamic chants and slogans condemning France’s role in Syria.

* * *

Attackers still not identified

We sill do not know the identities or nationalities of the attackers involved in the Friday night attacks, though authorities say eight died, seven of them detonating suicide bombs and the final perpetrator shot by police.

Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre has told AP police have not ruled out the possibility that accomplices may still be at large and that is the focus of the investigation now.

Britain is hold its own emergency meeting of the COBRA intelligence committee, called by prime minster David Cameron.

* * *

Hollande Blames Attack on Islamic State

The French president has made an impassioned statement after the emergency security meeting this morning, where he blamed the attack on Islamic State.

Hollande said 127 people were killed in the attacks, which he described as an “act of war”. He said the attacks were co-ordinated, planned and organised from abroad with assistance from inside France.

“I pay homage to the country’s defenders who fought the terrorists yesterday,” he said. “Everyone has given their utmost and will be putting in their best efforts in the day to come.”

He called the attack “cowardly’ and said every measure would be taken to fight “the terrorist menace.”

“In this most serious and uncertain time, I call for unity and courage,” he said, adding that he would address the French parliament on Monday.

“Even if France is wounded, she will rise,” he said. The country will observe three days of mourning.

Hollande’s full remarks from his address to the nation earlier from the Élysée Palace.

What happened yesterday in Paris and in Saint Denis is an act of war and this country needs to make the right decisions to fight this war. This act committed by the terrorist army, Islamic State, is against who we are, against a free country that speaks to the whole world.

 

It is an act of war prepared and planned outside, with outside involvement which this investigation will seek to establish. It is an act of absolute barbarism. France will be ruthless in its response to Islamic State.

 

At this painful and serious time, which is such a decisive one for our country, I call for unity, for a collective spirit and for cool heads. I will address Parliament at Versailles on Monday.

 

France is strong, and even if she is wounded, she will rise once again. Even if we are in grief, nothing will destroy her.

 

France is strong, valiant and will defeat this barbarism. History reminds us of this and the strength we today bear to come together convinces us of this.

 

My compatriots, what we defend is our homeland and much more than that, it is our own values of humanity and France will bear its responsibilities.

* * *

Islamic State takes responsibility for Paris attacks

Shortly after Hollande’s announcement blaming the Islamic State,in an official statement by ISIS, the group said France is the “top target” of the group.

It says it carefully studied the locations for the attacks, which were carried out by fighters wearing suicide belts and carrying machine guns.

Here’s the statement in French.

ISIS takes blame

 

In the statement Islamic State said “soldiers of Caliphate has targeted the capital of abomination and perversion.”

Eight brothers carrying explosive belts and guns targeted areas in the heart of the French capital that were specifically chosen in advance: the Stade de France during a match against Germany which that imbecile Francois Hollande was attending; the Bataclan where hundreds of idolaters were together in a party of perversity as well as other targets in the 10th, 11th and 18th arrondissement

 

France and those who follow its path must know that they remain the principle targets of the Islamic State.

The statement from Islamic State goes on to call the attacks a response to insults directed at the Prophet Mohammed, as well as airstrikes by France on Islamic State-held territory.

The militant group says France is the Islamic State’s key target:

…having dared insult our Prophet, having bragged about fighting Islam in France and striking Muslims in the Caliphate with their planes which have not helped them in any way in the ill-smelling streets of Paris.

 

This attack is just the start of a storm and a warning for those who wish to draw lessons.

* * *

Global Consequences of Attacks

According to FT, the immediate policy and political questions concern French involvement in the Middle East – as well as the impact of the attack on next month’s regional elections.

The terrorists are reported to have shouted comments about the war in Syria. France launched its first airstrikes on ISIS in Syria in September and has been involved in bombing raids on ISIS in Iraq for many months.

 

It is highly unlikely that President Francois Hollande will respond to the terror attacks by calling off French involvement in the war on ISIS. Indeed, in the short term, an intensification of military involvement is more likely.

 

The reaction of French voters will be watched closely. Next month, they go to the polls in regional elections. There were already opinion surveys that suggested that Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, will win in the Nord-Pas de Calais region – while her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen has also topped some polls in the Provence region in the South.

 

The National Front – which has a long history of hostility to Muslim immigration and which has also argued for the restoration of frontier controls – may well benefit in the aftermath of the attacks. Some of its arguments were, in any case, already seeping into the discourse of the traditional centre-right parties.

 

The terror attacks in Paris also come at a time when Europe is in the midst of a “migrant crisis”. With Germany set to receive over 1m refugees this year – most of them from the war-torn Middle East – the domestic pressure on Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to close her country’s borders to new migrants was already mounting. Even before the Paris attacks Sweden – which has taken more migrants per head than any other EU country – had announced a closure of its borders to new refugees, albeit as a temporary measure. In the aftermath of Paris, the German chancellor, will surely be tempted to take a similar measure, so easing the political and social pressure on her government. But Mrs Merkel will also be aware of the dangerous knock-on effects, such an action could have on Balkan countries further down the migrant route.

 

One possible consequence would be for Western policy to focus even more tightly on the defeat of the jihadists of Islamic State – while playing down subsidiary goals, such as the removal of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. But France has been in the forefront of those countries arguing that Assad is at the centre of the problem of Syria. A complete reversal of the anti-Assad policy seems unlikely in the coming weeks. What is more likely is that policy will evolve in the coming months, as the impact, lessons and sheer shock of the Paris terror attacks is absorbed.

* * *

Le Monde journalist Daniel Psenny, whose apartment overlooks the emergency exit of the Bataclan has posted an extraordinary video, of people clambering out of windows to escape from the theatre – a scene he said reminded him of 9/11.

The video is graphic and includes images of what appear to be dead bodies.

Psenny himself was shot in the arm as he attempted to help people shelter in his apartment, and is being treated at the Georges-Pompidou hospital.

Here’s a translation of his piece from Le Monde.

I was trying to do some work at home. The TV was on, playing a cop film starring Jean-Hugues Anglade. I heard a noise which sounded like firecrackers and initially I was convinced that it was in the film. But the noise was so loud, I went to the window. I live on the second floor and my apartment overlooks the emergency exit of the Bataclan.

 

Sometimes there are evacuations [in the past], but everyone was running out from all directions. I saw people on the floor, and blood… I understood then that it was something serious. I asked passersby what was happening. Everyone was running toward the Rue Amelot or the boulevard Voltaire.

 

A woman was clinging to the window of the Bataclan, on the second floor. I thought of those images from September 11.

 

So, I told myself I was going to open up to people, so they could come and take refuge. Therefore, I opened the door to my apartment. There was a man lying on the pavement and an another man whom I did not see again, he was shot as he was trying to take shelter in the lobby.

 

That’s the moment I took a bullet. I don’t remember much after that, I have a blank, but I remember feeling like a firecracker had exploded in my left arm and I saw that it was pissing blood. I think the shooter was at the window of the Bataclan. I went up to some neighbours on the fourth floor.

 

The guy we did get in [to the apartment] was shot in the leg. He was an American. He vomited, he was cold and we thought he was going to die. We called the emergency services but they couldn’t get us out. I called a friend who is a doctor and she explained how to make a tourniquet with my shirt. We were stuck in the apartment until the police raid occurred and they came to find us.


Images de la fusillade au Bataclan – Le monde

 

* * *

Below are some of the most dramatic scene from yesterday’s tragedy captured by Bloomberg:

Forensic police search for evidences inside the Comptoir Voltaire cafe at the site of an attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Forensic police search for evidences inside the Comptoir Voltaire cafe at the site of an attack on November 14, 2015

in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Forensic police search for evidences inside the La Belle Equipe cafe, rue de Charonne, at the site of an attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. More than 100 people were killed in a mass hostage-taking at a Paris concert hall and many more were feared dead in a series of bombings and shootings, as France declared a national state of emergency. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

Forensic police search for evidences inside the La Belle Equipe cafe, rue de Charonne, at the site of an attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. More than 100 people were killed in a mass hostage-taking at a Paris concert hall and many more were feared dead in a series of bombings and shootings, as France declared a national state of emergency. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Personnel of the French Police armed response unit arrive at the site of an attack on Paris on November 14, 2015 after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. A number of people were killed and others injured in a series of gun attacks across Paris on Friday, as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. AFP PHOTO /KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Personnel of the French Police armed response unit arrive at the site of an attack on Paris on November 14, 2015 after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. A number of people were killed and others injured in a series of gun attacks across Paris on Friday, as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. AFP PHOTO /KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

 

French President Francois Hollande (C), flanked by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L) and French Prime Minister manuel Valls (R) addresses reporters near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on November 14, 2015. A number of people were killed in an "unprecedented" series of bombings and shootings across Paris and at the Stade de France stadium on November 13, and the death toll looked likely to rise as sources said dozens had been killed at the Bataclan popular music venue. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande (C), flanked by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L) and French Prime Minister manuel Valls (R) addresses reporters near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on November 14, 2015. A number of people were killed in an “unprecedented” series of bombings and shootings across Paris and at the Stade de France stadium on November 13, and the death toll looked likely to rise as sources said dozens had been killed at the Bataclan popular music venue. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Bataclan concert hall

Police forces, firefighters and rescue workers secure the area near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris in the early morning of Saturday, Nov. 14.

Stade de France stadium

Investigating police officers work outside the Stade de France stadium, in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Friday Nov. 13.

Rue Bichat

French security moves people in the area of Rue Bichat of the 10th arrondissement in Paris on Friday, Nov. 13.

Victims lay on the pavement outside a restaurant in Paris

Victims lay on the pavement outside a restaurant in Paris on Friday, Nov. 13.

Spectators gather on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on November 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. At least 18 people were killed, with at least 15 people had been killed at the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, only around 200 metres from the former offices of Charlie Hebdo which were attacked by jihadists in January. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Spectators gather on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on November 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. At least 18 people were killed, with at least 15 people had been killed at the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, only around 200 metres from the former offices of Charlie Hebdo which were attacked by jihadists in January. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Nazi Propaganda returns in Palestinian incitement

Published on Dec 28, 2015 by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Palestinian incitement uses the very same anti-Semitic motives used by Nazi propaganda in the dark 1930’s. This incitement is translated into actual terror attacks against Jews. 24 people have been slaughtered in terror attacks against Israelis in the current wave of Palestinian violence.

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Migrant Attacks In Germany

Thousands Flood The Streets In Germany As Fury Over Refugee Sex Assaults Reaches Boiling Point

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09January2016 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-09/thousands-flood-streets-germany-fury-over-refugee-sex-assaults-reaches-boiling-point [Pictures have been censored]

Over the last several days, more information has come to light with regard to the wave of sexual assaults that occurred across Europe on New Year’s Eve.

What some observers initially assumed was an set of isolated attacks in Cologne’s city center now appears to have been a bloc-wide phenomenon as women from Austria, to Switzerland, to Finland come forward to report being accosted by what some police say were gangs of drunken Mid-East asylum seekers.

“In Sweden, police said at least 15 young women reported being groped by groups of men on New Year’s Eve in the city of Kalmar,” AP reports, adding that “in Finland, police said they received tipoffs on New Year’s Eve that about 1,000 predominantly Iraqi asylum seekers were intending to gather near the main railway station in Helsinki and harass passing women.”

AttackMap

DailyMail

“Women with or without accompaniment went through a literally ‘gauntlet’ by the heavily intoxicated men masses, as one can not describe it,” a clumsy translation of a report by the German Federal Police reads. Some have suggested that the string of attacks was initially played down by the media and by German authorities in an effort to avoid triggering an anti-migrant backlash. Indeed, the mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, got herself in a bit of hot water for comments which seemed to suggest it is German women’s responsibility to keep would-be attackers at “arm’s length” and to not send the wrong message to “people from other cultures” by acting too “jolly and frisky.”

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel is attempting to salvage the “yes we can” narrative vis-a-vis Berlin’s refugee open-door policy while simultaneously condemning the attacks.

On Friday, Cologne’s police chief Wolfgang Albers was dismissed in connection with his department’s mishandling of the ordeal.

According to a draft document seen by Reuters, Germany may now change its policy with regard to the deportation of refugees. “The paper says refugees and asylum seekers who have been sentenced to prison or probation should be barred from eligibility for asylum,’ Reuters writes. “Why should German taxpayers pay to imprison foreign criminals,” Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel asked. “The threat of having to spend time behind bars in their home country is far more of a deterrent than a prison sentence in Germany.”

“Women’s groups and many politicians have long been arguing that Germany’s sexual assault law is archaic, with loopholes that mean groping and surprise attacks are not necessarily prosecutable unless the woman tries to fight off the attack – which police often advise against,” Deutsche Welle notes. “There have been very many cases that you and I would probably unequivocally describe as rape or sexual assault that haven’t come to a conviction, because the women allegedly didn’t defend themselves enough,” Elke Ferner of the Social Democratic Party’s women’s group told the broadcaster.

That law is about to be changed thanks in part to the attention the New Year’s attacks have brought to the issue.

And speaking of drawing attention to the attacks, protesters are once again massing in Cologne where “thousands” of demonstrators took the streets on Saturday. “The protesters included the Islamophobic Pegida movement and the right-wing extremist Pro Cologne party” USA Today says.

ProtestsCologne-rape-2

ProtestsCologne-rape_0

Cologne police are gearing up for a day of highly charged demonstrations, with 1000 far-right protesters expected to hit the streets in response to the mass sex assaults and thefts targeting women on New Year’s Eve.

Hundred-strong teams of police were deployed on Saturday to locations across the western German city, totalling 1700 officers, a spokesman said.

The Islamophobic Pegida movement and the right-wing extremist Pro Cologne party were to stage a rally on the square in front of the main train station, where about 1000 intoxicated men are thought to have robbed, sexually assaulted and, in some cases, raped women during turn-of-the-year celebrations.

Of the 32 suspects identified by police in Cologne, 22 are asylum seekers, the German Interior Ministry said.

One suspect was carrying a document with Arabic-German translations of sexist phrases and threats, which mass-circulation tabloid Bild published on Saturday.

Several pro-migration counter-protests have also been planned for Saturday, underscoring the division in German society over the government’s open-door migration policy, which allowed more than one million people to enter the country last year.

And from Reuters:

Migrants who commit crimes should lose their right to asylum, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, toughening her tone as crowds gathered in Cologne angered by mass assaults on women on New Year’s Eve.

Nearly two dozen asylum seekers were among those suspected of carrying out the attacks, police said this week, heightening tensions over immigration and fuelling criticism of Merkel’s refusal to place a limit on the numbers of migrants entering the country.

“The right to asylum can be lost if someone is convicted on probation or jailed,” Merkel said after a meeting of the leadership of her Christian Democrats (CDU) party.

“Serial offenders who repeatedly rob or repeatedly affront women must feel the full force of the law,” Merkel told journalists in Mainz, promising a reduction over the longer term in the flow of migrants to Germany.

Under German law, asylum seekers are typically only deported if they have been sentenced to at least three years in prison, and providing their lives are not at risk at home.

About 1,700 police officers were on the streets of Cologne as protesters, including members of the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement, waited for official permission to march through the city.

At a separate left-wing protest, more than 2,000 mostly women gathered close to the train station where many of the attacks, including muggings and sexual assaults, happened.

So once again, we see a deeply divided society, with right-wing demonstrators staging a kind of “we told you so” rally and pro-refugee Germans staging counter protests even as they decry the wave of assaults.

Meanwhile, the flow of asylum seekers continues unabated. “We had an average influx of 3,200 refugees per day arriving in Germany, and the numbers are not declining in the last days,” Ole Schroeder, the deputy German minister, told a briefing in Brussels. “Our problem at the moment in Europe is that we do not have a functioning border control system, especially at the Greece-Turkey border,” he added.
Where things from here is an open question but it appears many Germans are at their breaking point. How TIME’s person of the year responds may ultimately determine how the world remembers one of the most indelible and revered politicians in European history.

Taharrush – the Arab rape ‘game’ that’s been exported to Europe An example of what women have to deal with

What happened in Cologne and other cities in Europe on New Year’s Eve is known in the Arab world as Taharrush. It’s a rape ‘game’ and it’s particularly unpleasant for the women caught up in it (Hat Tip: Ellen S).

The “rape game” Taharrush is about a large group of Arab men surrounding their victim, usually a Western woman or a woman wearing Western-style clothing, and then the women are subjected to sexual abuse.

They surround the victim in circles. The men in the inner circle are the ones who physically abuse the woman, the next circle are the spectators, while the mission of the third circle is to distract and divert attention to what’s going on.

If there is enough men, the woman is dragged along by the mob, while the men take turns ripping her clothes off, grope her, and inserting fingers in her various body orifices.

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Overcoming disabilities to defend the nation


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/209578#.VuvETxzANTA
Lotan was born four months premature – her family spent six months in the intensive care unit with her, and after two months she suffered oxygen deprivation, leaving her with cerebral palsy and a lifelong battle for normalcy.

“All along, they warned us that she wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t dance,” relates her mother. “But all along I insisted, ‘Yes, you will!’”

Not only did Lotan succeed in walking – now through the Special in Uniform program she has fulfilled her dream of enlisting in the IDF like her peers and doing her part to defend the Jewish state.

Lotan’s dream of joining the army began in her senior year in high school when IDF officials visited her school to speak to the students.

Parents, teachers and friends gently tried to dissuade her from her dream so she wouldn’t get hurt, and her parents even went with her to army registration where a doctor determined that she was exempt from army service.

But Lotan’s heart was set, and she said, “I want to serve in army. I want to wear a uniform!”

Her strength of will led her to meet the directors of Special in Uniform, which was developed ten years ago by Maj. Col. (res.) Ariel Almog, former commander of the HFC base in Ramleh.

“‘We’re with you, Lotan. We’ll escort you through this,’ they promised my daughter. It was then that I really began to believe that one day she would serve in the army,” recalls her mother.

With Special in Uniform’s help, Lotan was able to achieve her dream. “It was such a moving experience to see her in uniform. I’m so proud of her. It was a major victory!,” said her mother.

Joining the army, joining society

The groundbreaking initiative of the IDF incorporates young people with disabilities into the army, emphasizes their abilities and skills and helps them in the long-term to integrate into society and the workforce.

Several years ago, Special in Uniform joined forces with Israel’s Lend a Hand to the Special Child Foundation, a grassroots organization established in 2005 by parents of children with disabilities that operates in partnership with the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

They work together to spread awareness of the program so that the thousands of youth eligible for the program can learn of its existence.

“The Special in Uniform program starts in the army, but doesn’t end there. We clearly see how it afterwards effects better integration into society, community and the workforce,” explained Executive Director of Lend a Hand Rabbi Mendy Belinitzki.

Currently Special in Uniform incorporates over 200 special needs youth in the army, in an initiative contributing to the IDF and Israeli society by fostering acceptance and diversity.

An evaluation and assessment by a professional team kicks off the Special in Uniform program, followed by a three-month course on life skills and occupational skills training.

Participants then go through a ten-day basic training program to launch their military service, and then are integrated into a number of functions including preparing protective kits, manning emergency depots, a military store, printing shop, kitchen, shredding mill and more.

“The(se children) were in special education schools…suddenly they reach the age when everyone else joins the army, but the gates are closed. They can’t join. This program allows them to join the army, contribute, and give from themselves. Just like everyone else,” said Lt. Col. (res.) Tiran Attia, director of the program.

With 230 participants and a long waiting list, Special in Uniform’s vision is to quickly expand the program to encompass 1,000 enrolled participants.
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Article 80 of the UN Charter

Setting the record clear.
Wallace Edward Brand, JD, 11/12/16 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19896

The Jewish Agency that was named in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine had a good grasp of the history of that Mandate and its purpose.  It wrote it down for the UN Charter drafting Committee and submitted it in April 1945.  The UN Charter is dated June 24, 1945. The document it submitted was entitled MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION , SAN FRANCISCO , CALIFORNIA , BY THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR PALESTINE APRIL, 1945.  You can find it on-line at:

http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/downloadFile.cfm?FileID=22125  It is part of the legislative history for Article 80 of the UN Charter.  Chaim Weizmann signed it.

The Agency is named in the Mandate as the official advisor to those administering the Mandate.  The Agency describes the intent of this legal instrument as follows:

“The underlying intent and purpose of this international covenant is clear and was authoritatively reaffirmed by the British Royal Commission on Palestine (1937). The declarations, as quoted by the Commission, of leading statesmen responsible for the undertaking leave no doubt that what was intended was to afford the Jewish people the right and opportunity by immigration and settlement to transform Palestine into a Jewish State. Mr. Lloyd George, Prime Minister at the time of the Declaration, was explicit to this effect and other members of the British Government at that time, including Lord Robert Cecil in 1917, Sir Herbert Samuel in 1919, and Mr. Winston Churchill in 1920, “spoke or wrote in terms that could mean only that they contemplated the eventual establishment of a Jewish State.” General Smuts too, who had been a member of the Imperial War Cabinet when the Balfour Declaration  was published, speaking in November, 1919 foretold an increasing stream of Jewish immigration into Palestine and “in generations to come a great Jewish State rising there once more.”

“That this was also the understanding of the American Delegation at the Peace Conference appears from the Outline of Tentative Report and Recommendations prepared by the Intelligence Section of that Delegation, in accordance with instructions, for the President and

Plenipotentiaries at the Peace Conference, dated January 21, 1919,which recommended:

“1. That there be established a separate state of Palestine.

“2. That this state be placed under Great Britain as a

Mandatory of the League of Nations.

“3. That the Jews be invited to return to Palestine and

settle there, being assured by the Conference of all proper assistance in so doing that may be consistent with the protection of the personal (especially the religious) and property rights of the non-Jewish population, and being further assured that it will be the policy of the League of Nations to recognize Palestine

as a Jewish State as soon as it is a Jewish State in fact.”

In line with this President Wilson on March 3, 1919 declared: “I am persuaded that the Allied Nations with the fullest concurrence of our own Government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth.”

“4. The undertaking contained in the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine was thus unique and its objective is without parallel in any of the other League of Nations Mandates. It was an undertaking for the benefit of the Jewish people as a whole; and specific recognition was accorded by the Mandate to a Jewish Agency to speak and act on behalf of the Jewish people in matters affecting the establishment of the Jewish National Home. Thus under Article 4 of the Mandate the Jewish Agency is recognized” as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish National Home and the interests of the Jewish population of Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to assist and take part in the development of the country.” Under Article 6 the Jewish Agency is entitled further to cooperate with the Administration in promoting clo sesettlement by Jews on the land; and by Article 11 it is given a preferred status in respect to the construction and operation of public works and the development of the natural resources of the country.”

“5. The Jewish people responded to this opportunity with eagerness and devotion. The hope that after two thousand years of dispersion and persecution they would once again be restored as a nationin their own land released creative forces which have manifested themselves in a colonizing achievement unique in the history of migrations and settlement. In the course of twenty-five years the Jewish population of Palestine has grown from 60,000 to nearly 600,000. Two hundred and sixty agricultural colonies with a total population of 150,000 have been established; new cities have come into being; 2,000 factories and 4,000 small workshops employing over 60,000 workers have been set up; the Jordan has become a source of electrical power, and the development of the chemical resources of the Dead Sea has constituted a major contribution to the present war effort. Funds running into hundreds of millions of dollars have been provided, through the medium of the Jewish Agency as well as privately, by Jews in all parts of the world for Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine and for the economic development of the country.”

“6. The achievements of the Jewish people in Palestine have accordingly amply justified the wisdom and statesmanship of the representatives of the Allied Powers in the last war in their historic decision to reconstitute the Jewish National Home. At the same time the full opportunity envisaged in the Mandate to rebuild the National Home was not granted to the Jews in practice. In disregard of the express purpose of that document and its explicit provisions favoring Jewish settlement in Palestine, Jewish rights were continuously whittled down on grounds of administrative and political expediency until with the promulgation of the British White Paper on Palestine of May 1939, (Cmd. 6019), the solemn promise made to the Jewish people was virtually nullified and the last hope of millions of homeless Jews was threatened with extinction. The White Paper seeks in effect to terminate all further Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine and to ensure that the Jews shall remain a permanent minority of the population. Already today, apart from an insignificant number of immigration certificates still unused under the White Paper, no further Jewish immigration is possible in terms of the White Paper, and Jewish land acquisition and settlement have been prohibited throughout 95% of Palestine. The Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations has held the White Paper repugnant to the obligations imposed by the Mandate. Reporting to the Council of the League the majority of the Commission held that on no interpretation of the Mandate could the White Paper be deemed to be in conformity therewith, “any contrary conclusion appearing to them to be ruled out by the very terms of the Mandate and by the fundamental intention of its authors״) PMC XXXVI, p. 275). Britain’s own great Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, has characterized the White Paper as constituting “a breach and a repudiation” of Britain’s obligations under the Mandate.

“7. This policy was the more deplorable as it coincided with a catastrophic deterioration in the position of European Jewry. The conditions which made imperative the reestablishment of the Jewish National Home a quarter of a century ago were intensified beyond the darkest forebodings, and the great mass of Europe’s Jews finally fell victim to Nazi brutality. But the doors of Palestine remained closed to the vast majority of those who wished to escape to their National Home. No other haven was offered them and, unable to flee from Europe, some five millions were slaughtered during the years of Nazi occupation.”

“8. Liberation is now coming to the survivors of European Jewry, after millions of Jews have perished. But even today no adequate action is being taken to meet the crying needs of these survivors. Their physical and mental condition is in many cases beyond description. They have been uprooted and deprived of their means of livelihood. The positions which they once occupied have been filled by others, and despite the expulsion of the Nazis, the poison of anti-semitism has bitten too deep for any hope of an early restoration of their former status.In many places they are unwanted, and for the overwhelming majority Europe has become the graveyard of their families, of their fellow-Jews and of their hopes. They are clamoring to be admitted to the land internationally recognized as the Jewish National Home to begin life over again among their own people.

More than ever it is necessary to open Palestine for unrestricted Jewish immigration and without further delay to bring about its transformation into a Jewish State.”

“9. In this connection the Jewish Agency for Palestine wishes to emphasize the determination of the Jewish people to establish the Jewish State as a free and democratic Commonwealth fully integrated within the appropriate international arrangements for the betterment of mankind and a stable and peaceful world. On behalf of the Jewish people it gives solemn assurance that the Jewish State will have scrupulous regard for the preservation of the personal and property rights as well as of the religious, linguistic and cultural rights of the Arab and other non-Jewish population of Palestine, and it pledges further the civiland religious equality of all the inhabitants of Palestine before the law. The inviolability of the holy places of the various religions shall be guaranteed by appropriate international agreement.”

“10. Jewish colonization of Palestine has from a long range point of view already contributed greatly to the economic progress of the Middle East. Since the last war the standards of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, as a result primarily of Jewish immigration and development, have vastly improved. This development begins to reflect itself also in the neighboring Arab countries; and the establishment of the Jewish Commonwealth will further stimulate the process. The Arab countries of the Middle East are for the most part sparsely populated and greatly underdeveloped, and their peoples live in backwardness and poverty. They have before them a task of constructive growth and civilization which may well occupy themfor generations to come. There is no contradiction between the establishment of a strong and firmly rooted Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine and the political and economic development of the Arab countries. On the contrary, though less than one percent in area as compared with these Arab countries, a Jewish Palestine can serve asa creative influence for the whole of that region.”

“11. In line with the original intention of the Mandate and of present day needs the following steps must now be undertaken:

a. The immediate announcement of a determination by the responsible powers to reconstitute Palestine as a free and democratic Jewish Commonwealth, thus carrying out the underlying intent and purpose of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate.

b. The abolition forthwith of all present restrictions and

limitations on free Jewish immigration into Palestine and on the right of Jews to purchase and settle on the land there.

c. The vesting of the Jewish Agency for Palestine with full authority over immigration into Palestine and with the necessary powers for upbuilding the country, including the development of its unoccupied and uncultivated lands.

d. The extension to the Jewish Agency for Palestine of such financial and technical facilities on an intergovernmental basis as may be required to make possible large scale Jewish immigration and settlement.

e. The grant to the Jewish Agency for Palestine of the right of consultation and representation in any international conferences or commissions which may be set up insofar as such conferences or commissions may have before them matters affecting the future status of Palestine and the rights of the Jewish people with respect thereto.

“12. We realize that no determination in this matter may be made at the San Francisco Conference in view of the exclusion of specific territorial questions from the agenda of that meeting. It is, however, imperative that effective safeguards be provided to assure and preserve Jewish rights pending action in fulfillment of the obligation to establish Jewish nationhood in Palestine. To that end we respectfully submit the following proposals for the consideration of the delegates to the San Francisco Conference:

a. In view of the unique character of the Palestine Mandate and the special rights of the Jewish people thereunder, no actionshould be taken at the San Francisco Conference which would be inconsistent with or prejudicial to the special rights of the Jewish people under the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate, and all such rights shall be expressly reserved andsafeguarded. [They had been under Article 80 of the Charter published June 24, 1945]

b. The Jewish Agency for Palestine as the internationally recognized spokesman of the Jewish people shall be consulted and given representation on any international bodies or commissions which may be set up insofar as they may have before them matters affecting the future status of Palestine and the rights of the Jewish people with respect thereto. The present offers a unique opportunity for righting an historic wrong and solving a pressing international problem. The Jewish people which has suffered as has no other at the hands of the common enemy, looks to Allied victory for a solution of the age-old problem of Jewish homelessness. It is imperative that the nations of the earth, meeting to establish stable foundations for a peaceful world, should complete the task left unfinished after the last war, and now ensure the reconstitution of Palestine as a Jewih Commonwealth.”

“Respectfully submitted,

CH. WEIZMANN, President

THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR PALESTINE

April 1945 ”

The foregoing supplements the evidence of intent that the path to Jewish statehood contemplated first building up a population minority in what was to be called a Jewish National Home until the Jews became the majority population in the territory of the National Home and were capable of exercising sovereignty as found by several respected jurists in Rifkind, et al., The Basic Equities of the Palestine Problem, and the excerpt of the US WWI settlement proposal of January 21, 1919.

Harry Sacher had recommended this path to Jewish statehood in his pamphlet  “A Jewish Palestine, the Jewish case for a British trusteeship”.

By 1948 the Jews had such a majority in a part of the mandate area as a consequence of the war the Arabs in Palestine and in the surrounding Arab states based on victory in a defensive war.  In 1967 in another defensive war, the Jews liberated the remainder of Palestine west of the Jordan River from the State of Jordan.  It had won it with the help of the British in 1948.  When this remainder vested in the Jewish people they had the right to annex it but were not required under international law, to do so. Some 52 States and the United States had tacitly recognized all of  Palestine west of the Jordan River as a state when it met the conditions of the Mandate for Palestine.  Article 4 of the contract between the Jews and the Arabs executed by Chaim Weizmann and Prince Feisal recognized the intent for rapid immigration into Palestine of immigrants from the diaspora.

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Jewish Tardis
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Just an ordinary day for an 8th grader in Israel

Just an ordinary day for an 8th grader in Israel 8th Grade Hero-Liel Suissa

Just an ordinary day for an 8th grader in Israel 8th Grade Hero-Liel Suissa

8th Grade Hero: Liel Suissa:Liel Suissa, an 8th grader from Bat Yam, was on his way to his new high school Wendesday morning, when a Palestinian terrorist armed with a knife began to attack people on the number 40 bus in central Tel Aviv.

“The terrorist suddenly began stabbing,” the 13-year-old recalled.

“I was sitting on the bus and I heard people shouting. The terrorist had suddenly gone to the driver and stabbed him. He was shouting things, but I couldn’t hear clearly. I saw him stab the driver, and I ran to the back with the others to get away from him. He approached us, I broke the window and got out.

I threw my bag at the terrorist as he approached so he would not come closer. The driver hit the brakes when the terrorist approached us. The terrorist flew into the air and I used my elbow to break the window so that we could get out. The driver opened the door as well.

He chased us even after we left the bus, with the knife in his hand. I ran behind some cars, and when the security guards came to chase him, I pointed to where he had run.”

We are happy you are safe, Liel, and we thank you for you bravery in this terrifying situation.

— with Israel Jezhi Kadarko and Chun Hee.

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You have a choice: Be proud of being Jewish – I am a Jew

Rabbi Lazer Brody, The End of Days-21July2015

You have a choice

On becoming un-assimilated

Rivka Bond May 6, 2016 http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/on-becoming-un-assimilated/
2014 was the year I became un-assimilated. In my secular American family, Jewish culture was largely a matter of historical and literary interest (my father wrote a book on Jewish writers in America, in which he cheerfully predicted that Jews would become completely assimilated and disappear as a people). I grew up in a secular household — so determinedly so that we celebrated no holidays other than Thanksgiving. With both Sephardi and Ashkenazi ancestry, we represent a great swathe of the Diaspora, but all that came down to me was a love of reading and a smattering of Yiddish. I spent my undergraduate years trying to make sense of the Holocaust, and in 1989 I moved to the UK to pursue a career in archaeology.

I experienced no anti-Semitism in my home-town and very little at University (my parents shielded me from the fact that we had been refused a property deal because the seller did not want Jews in the neighbourhood). Even so, I was always conscious that ‘they’ could come and get me at any time, and that I needed to have a valid passport at all times, ‘just in case’. I was prepared for hatred from neo-Nazis, the KKK, and survivalists who thought I was not quite ‘white’ enough, but nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for the explosion of hatred that came, not from my enemies, but from my friends.

It began with the Gaza war. Suddenly, my facebook pages exploded with bloody images; friends were asking me to join them in hyperbolic tirades against Israel’s ‘genocide’, its temerity for defending itself against the hail of rockets launched by extremists whose declared aim was to wipe Israel off the map. I was asked to sign petitions to throw the Israeli ambassador out of the country. I was assailed by pictures of Israel as a tentacled monster; cartoons of innocent Arab children being brutally murdered by hook-nosed assassins emblazoned with the star of David; hate speech such as I had rarely encountered in my day to day life suddenly became commonplace. A colleague said to my face what a shame it was that Jews have become the new Nazis, that we ‘failed to learn the lesson of the Holocaust’. Another colleague spoke of Israeli ‘pinkwashing’, of Israel hiding its supposed crimes by pretending to be a liberal society. Another simply turned her profile picture to a Palestinian flag, and filled her page with hate towards the Israeli ‘oppressors’.

At first I thought I just needed to explain and to educate. I embarked on countless discussions; I explained Israel’s leaflet drops, the text messages, the phone calls to clear civilians out of areas in which militants were operating, so that they would not be injured by the bombs; I quoted numbers, statistics, reports, evidence. I explained that 20% of the Israeli population are Arab Muslims, Christians, Druze and other minorities, all of whom are able to vote; I explained that Arab Muslims are on the Knesset, and have complete free speech. Universities are training Arab students (their tuition is free), and Israeli Arabs work alongside Jewish doctors in Israeli hospitals. I explained that around 800,000 Jews were evicted from Arab countries, but all were given refuge in tiny Israel; half the population of Israel are native to the Middle East and had nowhere else to go. No one was listening.

I became increasingly desperate as again and again I was met with cold hostility. To the British far-right, Jews are brown people who are trying to infiltrate white culture, corrupting white society with our greed and our mania for power and destruction. To the British left wing, Jews are white people who are oppressing innocent brown people, colonising their country, murdering their children with random abandon and stealing their organs to sell on the black market.

The attacks on Jews across Europe began to mount– but the mainstream papers were not reporting them. Synagogues were firebombed, Jews besieged in a Paris shul, and then the marches– huge swathes of people marching down the streets of European cities shouting ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas’. My friends responded with excuses for the violence, or with silence.

By Rosh Hashanah I was attending the nearest shul, a two hour drive away in Cardiff but worth every moment. I hadn’t set foot in a synagogue since my friend Lori’s Bat Mitzvah, back in the 1970s, but what a blessed relief it was to be somewhere where I belonged, and where other people were sharing my experience, and understood. An anti-Israel march through Cardiff involved, once again, cries of ‘Jews to the gas’, and an old man from shul described the horror of sitting in his shop when the mob marched by. Several of the elders in my shul escaped from this kind of hell when they were rescued by the Kindertransports. Now, it seemed to be happening again.

I wrote on facebook about the smashing up of the kosher food section in a British supermarket, the Palestinian flags flying from County Council halls, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the attacks on anyone with a kippah, the declaration that Bradford was now an ‘Israel-free zone’, the boycott of the Jewish Film Festival. My Union joined the Israel boycott, and I resigned my role as Union rep for my university department and left the Union. An old boyfriend who despised Israel began to post sneering posts about Jews– and then I saw his name on a petition for a complete boycott of Israeli academics. Other colleagues signed as well– people I had known and worked with, travelled with, excavated with.

Shots were fired into a Kosher restaurant in Paris. Shots were fired at another Kosher restaurant a few weeks later. The mainstream papers did not share this information. I shared post after post about the rising tide of anti-Semitism, but my friends responded by saying ‘well, but, it’s all about Israel’s genocide’. Or, ‘Muslims are suffering too, you know.’ One patronising friend wrote, ‘Oh Rivka, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be so terrified’. Terrified? I was not terrified– I was furious, and lonelier than I have ever felt before in my life.

Then came the Charlie Hebdo shootings. The perpetrators were on the run, and Jews across Europe knew that Jews were likely to be next. Sure enough, the getaway car was found outside a kosher restaurant– fortunately closed. Only the Jewish papers reported this. Then, a car exploded outside a synagogue. Only the Jewish papers reported this. Then, the Hypercache shootings– and a BBC reporter, interviewing a distraught Jewish lady on the street, said, ‘the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well’. The woman– the daughter of Polish survivors of the Holocaust– was subjected to the suggestion that ‘Jews’ are to blame for this attack, even as the attack was taking place.

The police came and spoke to our shul, and said that our security door, security fencing and CCTV were inadequate; we needed a new, bomb-proof steel door. We were reminded never to wear anything that would identify us as Jews on the street, and never to congregate outside but to move swiftly away from the building.

That weekend, I went to a vigil in memory of the dead from Charlie and the Hypercache. We were told to bring pens, to signify the importance of free speech. Journalists spoke of the importance of free expression. A local Muslim leader spoke of the importance of peace. We waited — all of the Jewish community waited — for the rabbi to speak, perhaps to say kaddish. The rabbi was brought on stage, the town dignitaries spoke about free speech — and then it was over. NOT ONE WORD was said about the Jews who died in the shootings. By this time I was crying, distraught, and I went to find the rabbi to ask him why, WHY had he remained silent? Why hadn’t he spoken?

‘I was not allowed to speak’, he said. ‘They felt it would be divisive.’

So, we had a vigil to celebrate free speech, but the Jews were not allowed to speak. He looked me in the eye, our young rabbi, and said ‘Some things never change’.

When I was in my early 20s, shortly before I moved from America to the UK, I dreamed I was in Ireland. In my dream I wandered through an ancient hall, and I thought to myself, ‘I want to live here forever, in this beautiful ancestral hall’. Then I went out into the grounds, and there was a family graveyard there. I thought to myself, ‘I want be buried in this ancestral graveyard’. Then I went back into the house.

Soon after, there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and it was my father. He said, ‘you have to come away from here’. I pleaded, I said ‘But I want to live in this ancestral hall, and be buried in the ancestral graveyard’. And he said, ‘this is not our home, and our ancestral graveyard is over there’. And he pointed — and when he pointed, I could see across Ireland, and across the channel, and halfway across the Continent to the chimneys of Auschwitz — and they were still smoking. He said, ‘that is our ancestral graveyard’, and then I understood. I stepped out of the house and I shut the door behind me, and together we walked down the road, towards the smoking chimneys of Auschwitz.

That’s the end of the dream, but it’s not the end of the story, because the fact is we DO have an ancestral home, and that ancestral home is Israel. I have never before felt this attachment so keenly; this recognition that Israel isn’t just the place we pray for at the end of each Seder. It is the ancient, ancestral home of the Jews — first mentioned in a text inscribed on an Egyptian stele in 1208 BCE. Israel is in our blood. What is more, I have come to realise just how much I love my people — my wonderful, outspoken people — so audacious that we argue with God, and wrestle with angels.

I am not ready to leave the UK, this beautiful country that has been my home for 27 years, but I am weary of people saying, ‘but criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitic!’ as if I am so stupid that I can’t distinguish between rational political discourse and screaming, ranting, vitriolic and misinformed hostility.

I am weary of having the same arguments: ‘but I don’t hate Jews! I deplore anti-Semitism! I just hate Israel, because…’ (then there comes a long string of misinformation– Israel is committing genocide, Jews have no history in the Middle East, Israel is an apartheid state). I have found that introducing evidence and verified information never makes the slightest difference. People accuse us of every conceivable crime, and who doesn’t hate crime?

I am weary of seeing confused and hurt young Israeli artists, who come here to perform with their classes and are subject to picket lines and people screaming at them on the streets.

I am weary of articles describing the beatings of French Jews who are attacked on the way home from synagogue; weary of photos of the bloodied faces of the Jews beaten nearly to death.

Before the 2014 war, I had about 135 Facebook friends, and these weren’t random people I met online — these were people I went to school with, to University with, friends I’d lived with, worked with, travelled with and excavated with. Out of all those people, just 9 of them — including my husband– were able to listen to what I was saying. All the rest either sneered, attacked, dismissed, belittled, disparaged or patronised — or they were persistently, resoundingly, silent.

One of my few remaining friends said to me sadly, ‘you never used to use that word, Gentile’. I explained that it was not a pejorative term, but she knew that. What made her sad was that I had never before spoken of her as if she and I were in different groups. We had always been the same — two women, two archaeologists from two different countries but with a deep and lasting friendship that knew no fundamental differences. But that is what has happened: I have become un-assimilated. I am no longer just a person — I am a Jew.
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You have a choice: Return to your G-d and Homeland (Aliyah) or

Watch: Jews Lead Israel Boycott on US Campuses

Shocked anchorman for Channel 2 TV interviews ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ activists who favor boycott on all Israeli products.

By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/19/2015, 3:59 PM http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198333#.Va2yLrb7tTC

Channel 2, Israel’s most widely viewed television channel, devoted an in-depth report on its main weekend newscast to the American Jews who play a prominent role in the movement that calls to boycott Israel and end security assistance to it.

Anchorman and reporter Danny Kushmaro interviewed Candace Graff, a Harvard graduate and activist in Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), who told him: “After spending a year in Israel before I started college, I’ve never felt less Jewish. I’ve never felt less connected to my religion than when I was in Israel. Because my Jewish identity is about justice, freedom and equality.”

A shaky video showed mostly female members of JVP entering the offices of Friends of the IDF and reading out names of Palestinians killed in Gaza, reportedly in a protest against US assistance to Israel.

Graff said that she boycotts all Israeli products, including those made in Tel Aviv. “There is no separation between the Occupation and the economy of Israel,” she explained. A second activist, Brandon Davis, confirmed to a shocked Kushmaro that he has no problem with several million Palestinians entering Israel as part of the “Right of Return.”.

“You want me to gamble on my life,” Kushmaro said to Davis, and explained that the scenario he is supporting would spell the end of a Jewish Israel.

Davis was emphatic, however, and decreed: “We’re talking about the end of a Jewish supremacist Israel.”

“I don’t have anything against you,” Alice Rothschild told Kushmaro. “I feel that Israel has lost its way.” When asked why this is her business, she refers to US military aid to Israel: “I am responsible because I am funding the occupation.”

A young woman called Tali Reskin (or Roskin) spoke to Kushmaro in Boston an hour after the United Church of Christ voted to boycott products made in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, and expressed her excitement over the development. She claimed that JVP is growing fast, and that more and more Jews are supporting BDS.

The report, which is mostly in English, is embedded above.
Jews In Name Only
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Why Some American Jews Are Lobbying for the Iran Deal

August 11, 2015 Benyamin Korn http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/08/11/why-some-american-jews-are-lobbying-for-the-iran-deal/
…In Israel, both the governing Likud coalition and the Labor Party (“Zionist Union”) opposition movement are against the agreement. In the United States, the latest polls show the majority of American Jews oppose it. None of that seems to matter to J Street and others on the Jewish far left, who are spending millions of dollars in search of public and congressional support for the Iran agreement.

Think about it: Israeli Jews, from left to right, oppose the agreement because they recognize that it will put nuclear weapons in the hands of the Iranian theocracy, and it will strengthen Iran’s proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas. Yet a well-funded fringe faction of American Jews is aggressively supporting the agreement. Their actions could pave the way for more rockets to hit Tel Aviv – and that’s just for starters. What motivates such Jews to take steps that will endanger the lives of their fellow-Jews?

A convincing answer is to be found in the remarkable new book, Jews Against Themselves, by Edward Alexander, just published by Transaction Books. Alexander, a professor emeritus at the University of Washington, is a combat veteran of the intra-Jewish quarrels of the past several decades, and he is one of the most skilled. In this, perhaps the most important of his many books, Professor Alexander takes on the painfully relevant topic of what he calls “the new forms taken by Jewish apostasy.”

Classic Jewish apostasy consisted of converting to Christianity or Islam, usually in order to avoid being persecuted. The modern version stems from essentially the same motive, but takes on peculiar forms. Nowadays, Jewish apostasy involves proudly brandishing one’s Jewish identity or associations in order to legitimize actions that undermine Israel – in order to avoid being blamed for unpopular Israeli actions….

Jewish supporters of the Iran deal can’t possibly think that the agreement itself makes America or Israel safer. They are driven by something else – by a desire to find favor with the current occupant of the White House, the news media, and the academic and intellectual elites whom they admire. It’s disturbing, and in some ways hard to understand. Jews Against Themselves sheds much-needed light on the subject and deserves to be on everyone’s “must reading” list.
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The Mindset of Progressive Jews and the ‘Israeli Problem’

August 12, 2015 Abraham H. Miller / JNS.org

She would ambush nearly everyone with some leftist talking point and assume a level of moral superiority when they could not respond because it hadn’t been their foremost concern.

When Israel went into Gaza to stop the random death raining from the skies on its southern cities, she awoke me from a deep sleep one night to start sobbing into the phone about the children dying in Gaza.

I reminded her that in all the exchanges between Israel and Gaza, never once did she ever express any sympathy for Israeli children, and that Gaza was ruled by a bunch of murderous thugs. She merely continued to sob, fixated on horrific pictures of dead children in Gaza, obliviously insisting that the Israeli incursion should stop immediately.

My acquaintance is the epitome of the progressive-minded Jew. With all the rallies she attended, she never once marched for Israel or even for the release of Soviet Jewry. Today, her mantra is the “occupation”—“the root cause of worldwide hostility toward Israel.” The rabbi of her north suburban congregation preaches that Israel must take risks for peace, but after the winter break from her rabbinical studies in Israel, she, unlike the rest of her class, postponed returning to Israel until Saddam’s scuds were no longer a threat—a behavior she repeatedly denies. And the congregation, like many American liberal Jews ensconced in the safety of suburbia, would never allow their children to take public transportation downtown after dark. But Israelis, they reason, should take risks for peace.

You can remind my friend that even before there was a state of Israel, there were Arab pogroms. Israel risked for peace by leaving Gaza. Diaspora Jews even put up money to buy the flourishing, lucrative greenhouses of the Israeli “occupants,” so the people of Gaza would have a thriving industry. They fell upon the greenhouses like barbarians entering Rome, mindless of their value, and vandalized them for their parts and scrap.

In Gaza, Israel unilaterally yielded land for peace, along with a housewarming present, and got Iranian Grad missiles and Qassam rocket fire in return. Not quite the bargain the liberal Jews predicted.

But liberals never give up. You can show them pictures of East Germany, the old Soviet Union, and Venezuela today and tell them communist economies do not work. And they will tell you, it just hasn’t been done right. So, forget Gaza, it just wasn’t done right. Let Israel repeat the same insanity in Judea and Samaria. Israel should leave the disputed territories, and there will be peace. As Arabs tell me, if they control the Judean hills, no plane will ever be assured of landing safely at Ben Gurion Airport. Gaza in comparison will look like a fireworks show.

At interfaith meetings, the good liberal Protestant clergy tell us that it’s all up to Israel, for Israel is the more powerful entity. And ultra-liberal Jews, like my friend, mouth this banality as if one can negotiate with oneself. I always wonder why the Presbyterians are so convinced they have the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict but have been incapable of finding a real solution in Northern Ireland, where the peace is still periodically shattered by a petrol bomb. And the Lutherans might reflect on how much their church has accomplished with ethnic minorities in Europe.

The internal communal dialogue with progressive Jews is a waste of time. They voted twice for President Barack Obama and will support his Iran nuclear deal to the last Israeli. I suspect my friend cannot name one human rights advocate who disappeared in Zimbabwe’s prisons, but rest assured that if there is a demonstration in front of the Zimbabwe consulate in Chicago for Cecil the Lion, she will be there.
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New Reform curriculum: Further alienating Jews from Israel?

Framing Israel: The Distortions of the New Boycott-Driven School Curriculum

Max Samarov & Amanda Botfeld Researchers, StandWithUs  10January2016 http://www.thetower.org/article/framing-israel-the-distortions-of-the-new-bds-driven-school-curriculum/

The next phase in anti-Israel academic indoctrination is already here – at Hebrew schools across the country.
A new curriculum for Reform Hebrew schools in the United States, already being used by more than 10 such schools, is threatening to alienate young Jews further from Israel than they already are.

Produced by Reform Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, the new Kindergarten-12th grade course of study is entitled “Reframing Israel.” Assuming that the default approach to Israel among Jews is positive and sympathetic, the title does not bode well for supporters of Israel.

it is crucial to note that the main author and the majority of contributors to Reframing Israel are part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This includes the writer of the curriculum’s “historical overview of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Below is a short summary of these examples by which the new Reform curriculum attempts to “reframe Israel” in the minds and hearts of young, relatively-uninformed Jews:

  •  The historical relationship between the Jewish people and Israel is downplayed. It is never comprehensively stated that Jews are indigenous to Israel; that Israel is the birthplace of their identity, language, religion, and culture; that Jews maintained a continuous presence in Israel for over 3,000 years; and that exiled Jews maintained their unique connection to the land throughout their history.
  • The overview whitewashes the centuries of the institutionalized oppression, discriminatory taxation, and violence that Jews faced under Muslim rule across the Middle East, including in the Holy Land. Anti-Semitism is mentioned only in relation to Europe, and not the Middle East.
  • In “teaching” about Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the new course states that the Arabs who originally attacked the Jews were “no match for the well-trained and equipped Haganah” – ignoring that these Arab forces were British-equipped and supported, and were able to besiege Jerusalem for weeks at a time. It might be added, too, that the Jewish yishuv did not see great success in repelling the Arab offensives, and only when the British left and the Arab nations attacked did the Jewish side begin, slowly, to emerge victorious.
  • The controversial account of the Deir Yassin “massacre” is covered uncritically, while the numerous accounts of Jewish civilians being killed by Arabs during the war are never mentioned. Deir Yassin is where Arabs shot at Israeli food-transports bringing food to besieged Jerusalem. In addition, it is by now well-known that not 250 villagers were “massacred,” but rather between 100-120 were killed in bitter, house-to-house fighting.
  • Israel is blamed for the Palestinian refugee issue, but Arab leaders are not held responsible for the simultaneous dispossession and plight of 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab states.
  • The curriculum’s overview states that “neither side embraced” the 1937 Peel Report, which called for the establishment of a tiny Jewish state and a much larger Arab state. It does not point out, however, the differences between the parties’ respective “lack of embrace”: The Arab leadership unequivocally rejected any possibility of Jewish statehood, while Zionist leaders signaled that they were interested in negotiating.
  • Regarding the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan, the overview states that the Jews celebrated it, while the Arabs rejected it. It explains the Arabs’ objections – yet does not explain why many Jews did not accept it. For instance, it notes that the “recently-arrived” Jews made up 30% of the population yet were awarded 56% of the area – but does not mention that 70% of the Jewish land was arid desert, or that Jerusalem was to be an internationalized city, or that many of the Arabs were just as recently-arrived as some of the Jews.
  • Yasser Arafat’s rejection of a far-reaching Israeli peace offer in 2000 is presented as an Israeli “claim,” rather than a known fact. Similarly ignored is an Israeli offer in 2008 to give up almost all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza for peace, and its rejection by Mahmoud Abbas.
  • The BDS movement – which calls for the “right of return” for “Palestinian refugees and their descendants” – is presented entirely uncritically: BDS is described as having “attracted significant global support,” with opposition coming only from “Jewish organizations” – when in fact Western political leaders, major American academic institutions, and the mainstream Jewish community oppose BDS.
  • “Most egregious,” write Samarov and Botfeld, “is how the violent racism of prominent Palestinian leaders and organizations is whitewashed or ignored.”

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From Caroline Glick:

At a certain point, you just have to know when draw a line in the sand.

http://carolineglick.com/time-to-draw-lines-and-defend-them/

Sloan and Guy Rachmuth, Jewish parents in Durham, North Carolina, reached that point in 2014 when they opted to walk away from their local Jewish day school and home school their two children.

The Rachmuths pulled their children out of the Lerner School when they concluded the school would not abide by its commitment to assist “all students in developing a positive Jewish identity and pride in their Jewish heritage.”

As committed Zionists, the Rachmuths were dismayed to see that far from fulfilling its commitment, the Lerner school was cultivating a learning environment that questioned the legitimacy of the Jewish national liberation movement and of the State of Israel.

Perhaps the turning point was when the school took down all the maps of Israel from the classroom walls.

Perhaps it was when their five-year-old son came home and asked them why the map of Israel hurt some people’s feelings.

Perhaps it was when they discovered that the school had employed a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist as a Hebrew teacher.


 

Sidebar: A School is connected to a Congregation or a Rabbi. Who are they connected to?

Pro Israel Bona Fides at issue in lawsuit between Jewish School and Parents href=”http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pro-israel-bona-fides-at-issue-in-lawsuit-between-jewish-school-and-parents/2016/02/26/0/
One of the strongest voices in this chorus of Lerner School support comes from Rabbi Larry Bach of Judea Reform Congregation, which is located on the same campus as the Lerner School.
Judea Reform held an Israel Discussion Series in the 2014/15 school year. That sounds promising. Until you look at the topics and who covered them….In November, Temple Judea Reform invited in a member and “summer organizing intern for Jewish Voice for Peace,” Jade Brooks, to speak on the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions 101: A Global Movement for Justice.

In other words, Judea Reform brought in a promoter of BDS, from the single most anti-Israel “Jewish” group in the country, to educate their community about why doing harm to Israel qualifies as a “movement for justice.”…

…So Temple Judea Reform’s entire “Israel Discussion Series” gave the podium to not even one speaker or presentation other than Israel-bashers — with a small dose of criticism for “islamaphobia” added in for flavor. Given the intimate relationship between shul and school, this record should give great pause to those who took comfort in its rabbi’s vouching for the pro-Israel position of the Lerner School.
Comment:Robin Yvonne · Kean University
As soon as I read that this school is affiliated with a Reform synagogue, I knew already what I was about to read. I’m sorry that this sounds so bigoted, but the worst leftist, self hating Jews are associated with the Reform Movement. They spend so much time demonizing Israel, they are convinced that they are “pro-Israel.” It’s a very sad state of affairs.
Perhaps it was when they discovered that the school’s development director and former president of the board was an anti-Israel activist whose group, Jews for a Just Peace, had joined forces with the anti-Semitic and rabidly anti-Israel BDS groups Students for Justice in Palestine and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.


Perhaps it was when the school refused to back Israel during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

Or perhaps the Rachmuths felt obliged to draw their line and walk away when they got the sense that the school rejected not only their Zionism, but vigorously opposed their right to defend their values.

According to Andrew Pessin’s two-part report on the Rachmuth family’s ordeal published by JNS, in internal memos, the current school board president Tal Wittle referred to Sloan Rachmuth’s repeated complaints about the school’s diffident position on Israel, and the dominant role BDS supporters played at the school as “bigotry.”

If the Lerner school had simply let the Rachmuths walk away, the story would have been relegated to the shadows. Instead, it became a matter of importance for the American Jewish community and for Israel because the school decided to punish the Rachmuth’s for their decision.

Last fall the Lerner school sued the couple for breach of contract for their refusal to pay $20,000 in tuition for the 2014-2015 school year, despite the fact that their children did not go to school that year.
School officials told Pessin that it was “a business decision” to sue the family.

Maybe monetary considerations played a role, but Pessin quoted an internal email from Wittle to school principal Allison Oakes making clear that “business” was only one consideration.

“Part of me,” Wittle wrote, “wants to say [to the Rachmuths] fine, keep your money because our school doesn’t need such bigotry anywhere near it. But, one, that sends the message that they are in the right, and two, we run a business.”

In other words, the school decided that it needed to sue the Rachmuths in order to punish them for rejecting the school’s values.

And that isn’t the end of it. Pessin reported that community members are so angry at the Rachmuths that some are calling for the Durham Jewish community to boycott their business.

That is, “A family withdrawing from a school in protest of those who support the boycott against Israel [is now being threatened with] being boycotted by those who support the school.”

Pessin was assured by Oakes that while she had heard the same talk, the community would never really carry out the threat, although she is maintaining the lawsuit.

It’s hard to know the precise moment that unapologetic Zionism became controversial or even, as the president of the board of the Lerner School would have it, a form of bigotry, for a significant portion of American Jews. But there can be no doubt that it happened.

Last month a group of alumni from Oberlin College tried to oppose the rabid anti-Israel and anti-Semitic atmosphere on their alma mater’s campus. They organized a closed Facebook page and sent an open letter to the college’s president demanding action to protect Jewish students.

Among the many incidents that upset the alumni were the student cooperative association’s decision to expel the kosher food co-op. Another low point was when anti-Israel activists planted 2,133 flags in the center of campus to symbolize the Palestinians killed during Operation Protective Edge. They planted the flags on Rosh Hashana.

Rather than thank the alumni for acting to protect them, last week three Jewish student leaders published an op-ed in the Cleveland Jewish News condemning the alumni for failure to take a “nuanced” view of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

The students wrote that they believed that the alumnis’ call for an end to BDS on campus needed to include “a call to end settlement expansion and other obstacles to lasting peace and a two-state solution.”

“We all agreed,” the Jewish student leaders wrote, “that working to end the occupation and achieve a two-state resolution is vital for the future of a Jewish and democratic Israel.”

In other words, you can’t be for Israel without embracing J Street’s moral equivalence – at best – between Hamas, a terrorist group which aspires to murder all Jews, and law abiding Israeli citizens who live in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria.

Perhaps the moment Zionism became a form of bigotry for American Jewry was in September 2007 when Columbia University’s Jewish president Lee Bollinger invited then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on campus. Ahmadinejad broke the post-Holocaust taboo of openly calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

By inviting him to speak on campus, Bollinger effectively said that the Jews have no intrinsic right to life – let alone to freedom and national self-determination. Rather, the determination of whether or not Jews can exist is a legitimate subject for debate and inquiry.

Everyone – including Ahmadinejad – has a right to voice their position on the issue. Moreover, Bollinger indicated through his action, America’s greatest universities have a duty to confer legitimacy and grant a prestigious venue to Ahmadinejad to air his genocidal position.

After Columbia gave legitimacy to a man who seeks to murder every Jew, how could anyone object to anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate groups merely insisting that the US end all assistance and support for Israel? How could it be illegitimate to blame Israel for the suffering of the Palestinians? How could it be illegitimate to teach Jewish kindergarteners that there is something intrinsically hurtful about the map of the Jewish state when a Jewish university president invited a man who called for that state to be wiped of the map to speak to his students?

Last week Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan held a “top secret” conference for Jewish leaders from around the world to develop strategies and action plans to fight BDS.

Pollster Frank Luntz reportedly shared with the 150 conference participants the dismal results of a survey he had taken of American Jewish university students.

According to Luntz, only 42 percent of American Jewish students surveyed said that Israel wants peace.

A mere 31% of the students believe that Israel is a democracy.

According to media accounts, the Strategic Affairs Ministry set out what its experts believe is the sort of language pro-Israel activists should use to counter BDS propaganda. The language, participants were told, should be inclusive, not condemnatory.

For instance, people opposing BDS should say, “Boycotts divide people, and that’s part of the problem, not the solution.”

On the other hand, it would be a big mistake to say, “The BDS movement is not about legitimate criticism. It’s about making Israel illegitimate.”

It’s hard to escape the sense that in advocating these slogans, the government has missed the point, and the boat.

You can’t engage people who believe you are evil.

You cannot cooperate with people who insist that anyone who defends you, or insists that you have a right to be defended is a bigot, whereas anyone who opposes you – including Ahmadinejad – has a right to be heard, and that it is the duty of right thinking people to provide them with prestigious venues to vent their hatred of the Jewish state and those who defend it.

For drawing the line in opposing anti-Israel indoctrination at a Jewish day school, the Rachmuths have been forced to cough up $30,000 in legal fees and endure the condemnation of their Jewish community which shuns them for their Zionism.

For drawing the line in opposing ever-so thinly veiled anti-Semitic intimidation of Jewish students at Oberlin, Jewish alumni have been castigated by the Jewish students they seek to protect.

The government has clearly awakened to the threat of the BDS movement. But our leaders still don’t seem to recognize that the answer to hatred isn’t inclusion.

It is drawing a line and defending it without apology.

Comment:Jerusalem Cats

To the Lerner School Administration from a former Day School Administrator from the U.S.
How many of your students have made Aliyah (immigration to Israel)? How many have actually gotten their Teudat Zehut (Israeli identity card) and lived here for 10 years, of stead of just going on Birthright or a Mission for 2 weeks? How many of your students have raised family here? How many of your families have experienced a missile attack at 2 AM?  How many of your students have had to deal with Arabs daily? Soft Fat & Lazy Bigoted Americans who only get their information from TV or the New York Times. You would not survive 2 weeks here. But if you are not soft and lazy you will actually talk to friends that live here and find out the truth. Visit Israel as a Pilot Trip. Walk the side streets of  Jerusalem, visit the Haredim shuks (Open Air Market places)[Women are to wear Clothes!]. Contact Nefesh B’Nefesh for mor information on Pilot Trips. http://www. nbn.org.il 1-866-4-ALIYAH and find out what the real truth is and live here.

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The Sadducees have endured, Non Torah Judaism is modern Sadducees(Ẓadduḳi of the Talmud)

Interfaith Marriage and Jewish Customs: Doing Away With Something Inconvenient

May 6, 2016 Author:

Seymour Rosenbloom is a Conservative rabbi who gave 36 years of distinguished service to Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1972, and we must assume he studied under both Professors Saul Lieberman and Abraham Joshua Heschel. I mention this only because I had wondered how they might have reacted to the opening line of his most recent article, published on April 6, in which he declared: “The Conservative movement’s leadership must drop its ban on Conservative rabbis officiating at interfaith weddings — before it’s too late.” Apparently the Conservative movement forbids any of its rabbis to officiate at interfaith marriages, and both bride and groom must be Jewish from birth or have converted to Judaism prior to the wedding.

Most Reform rabbis have long abandoned this taboo, and Reform Judaism’s Central Conference of American Rabbis has chosen to tolerate this aberration, with the official Reform website stating that “rabbis are given autonomy in such matters and each rabbi interprets Jewish tradition according to his or her own understanding.” Rosenbloom argues that it is time for Conservatives to move in the same direction. “Reality has overtaken us. Sixty percent of Jews who wed marry someone from another faith. The Conservative movement’s prohibition is ineffective as policy if our goal is to reduce intermarriage.”

He has a point. Marriages between Jews and non-Jews are on the rise, and refusing to embrace such unions has resulted in an alarming demographic decline. Rosenbloom’s own community numbered 1,000 families when he began his tenure in 1978. He retired in 2014, by which time that number had shrunk to 650 families. Moreover, as he admits in the article, this subject is personal — last year his stepdaughter became engaged to a non-Jew and asked him to officiate. “We talked about it. They wanted the ceremony to be as Jewish as possible . . . so I agreed. Looking back, I can’t believe I even gave it a second thought.”

There was another interesting article that appeared just before Pesach, also authored by a Conservative rabbi, Professor David Golinkin. Framed as a halachic ruling, the article explains why the custom for Ashkenazi Jews to refrain from “kitniot” — rice and legumes — on Pesach, can be discarded, as “it causes exorbitant price hikes . . . it emphasizes the insignificant and ignores the significant . . . it causes people to scoff at the commandments . . .[and] it causes unnecessary divisions between Ashkenazim and Sephardim.” You might be thinking that Golinkin, too, has a point, and one that might be closer to your heart than Rosenbloom’s.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch was the rabbi of Frankfurt’s breakaway orthodox community during the late 19th century. This was after it had become evident that the umbrella Jewish community in that city was drifting ever further away from normative Judaism, causing fully observant Jews under its auspices to drift away with it. His commentary on the Torah, published in German between 1867 and 1878, is an absolute tour de force. It contains numerous coded references to his struggles with the Reform, and there is one particularly relevant example in this week’s Torah portion. Rabbi Hirsch notes an anomaly regarding the Sadducee view of the Temple incense offered up by the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The Sadducees were a sect that emerged during the Second Temple period that discarded rabbinic law as practiced by their nemeses, the Pharisee sect. They became ‘purists’ who were only willing to follow laws exactly as they appeared in the text of the Torah, claiming that rabbinic law was entirely human with no basis in the will of God.

When it came to the Yom Kippur incense, however, they made an unusual exception. The Torah states: “He should take a full pan of fire coals from the altar, and a handful of incense, and bring them into the sanctuary, and then put the incense onto the fire.” The order is clear — outside the sanctuary, the incense should remain separate from the fire, and only once the High Priest was inside did he put the incense onto the fire. But the Sadducees insisted that the incense must be placed onto the coals before he entered the sanctuary, in defiance of the Torah’s explicit instructions. The Sadducees explained this inconsistency in their position by saying that it would be disrespectful to treat God differently than one treats a human being. Incense is always lit before someone enters a room, so that the excessive smoke the ignition creates will not be irritating. To do it any differently for God would be extremely rude, they said.

Rabbi Hirsch suggests that this idea is nothing less than a negation of the Torah. To suggest that one should change the incense procedure on the basis of human concerns places man before God. On that basis, says Rabbi Hirsch, it is evident that rather than disappear, the Sadducees have endured, today embodied by people who reject the authority of rabbinic law, and who ridicule or discard any mitzvah or custom that makes no sense to them, or offends their morality or sensibilities. Rather than serve God, they seek God only on their own terms. If something makes no sense, it must be abandoned as an outmoded useless relic.

Interfaith marriage and the consumption of kitniot on Pesach, on the face of it, have very little in common. But the reasons that underpin their advocacy share much. It is all about doing away with something that is inconvenient. In as much as we value our history, and a religious system developed over millennia, we would do well cling to all aspects of it that have preserved us and delivered us as committed Jews into the present, and on to the future.

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Poll indicates that J-Street Jews are JINOs (Jews In Name Only)

18September2015 http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2015/09/poll-indicates-that-j-street-jews-are.html#.Vfvko8rhlTB

The American Jewish Committee just released a poll of US Jews’ opinions on many subjects, including the Iran deal.

It finds that a small majority of American Jews support the deal, although those with strong opinions were far more against it:

Recently, the U.S., along with five other countries, reached a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Do you approve or disapprove of this agreement?
Approve strongly
Approve somewhat
Disapprove somewhat
Disapprove strongly
16.4
34.2
19.8
27.4

But when asked about specifics, practically none felt that the deal would do what J-Street claims it would do:

How confident are you that this agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

ajc1
11. Will Israel’s security be more threatened or less threatened by the Iran nuclear deal?
More Threatened
Less Threatened
Stay the same
42.8
17.9
37.8
12. How confident are you about the ability of the U.S. and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to monitor Iran’s compliance?
Very confident
Somewhat confident
Not so confident
Not at all confident
6.1
37.8
28.2
26.1

– See more at: http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=7oJILSPwFfJSG&b=8479755&ct=14759049#sthash.PgPHBBvQ.dpuf

Here’s the interesting part, though.

Support for the deal plummets among Jews in direct proportion to how much they care about Judaism and Israel.

As the AJC press release says:

While 51 percent of total respondents approve of the deal and 47 percent disapprove, there is a significant split within the community on the issue: those who consider being Jewish very important, those who view caring about Israel as a key part of their Jewish identity, and those belonging to the traditional denominations of Judaism are far more likely to oppose the deal than others. It may, in fact, be appropriate, in light of the data, to speak of two diverging Jewish sub-communities.

Among those who consider their being Jewish “very” important, 61 percent disapprove of the agreement (37 percent “strongly”), while 38 percent approve it (12 percent “strongly”). In contrast, 55 percent of those for whom being Jewish is “fairly” important approve the deal (15 percent “strongly”), as do 59 percent of those for whom being Jewish is not important (22 percent “strongly”).

Similarly, a majority—54 percent—of those for whom caring about Israel is an important component of their Jewish identity disapprove of the deal, 19 percent “strongly,” while 66 percent of those for whom caring about Israel is not an important component agree with the deal, 27 percent “strongly.”

Fully 67 percent of Orthodox and Conservative Jews disapprove of the agreement, 45 percent “strongly.” Yet 54 percent of Reform and Reconstructionist Jews approve of it (19 percent “strongly”), as do 69 percent of those who identify as “just Jewish” (24 percent “strongly”).

Unfortunately, there are many more American Jews who are Jewishly ignorant than those who care about Judaism and Israel. 74% of those surveyed identified with being Reform, Reconstructionist or “just Jewish” – a plurality of 37% for the latter category. (While there are certainly some Reform Jews with strong Jewish identities, most Jews who know nothing about their religion but go to synagogue twice a year will self-identify as Reform.)

So this is how you can find absurd results like the responses to these two questions:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “The goal of the Arabs is not a peaceful two-state agreement with Israel, but rather the destruction of Israel.”
Agree
Disagree
73.1
25.1
Do you favor or oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state?
Favor
Oppose
51.9
46.1

How can this be reconciled? Because so many Jews don’t care about Israel.

And those are the Jews who support the Iran deal.

When J-Street claims to be representing the majority of American Jews, they are still lying – as the poll shows, a plurality of American Jews feel that the deal is dangerous and practically none buy into J-Street’s argument that the Iran deal is actually good. But the Jews who most strongly support the deal are the Jews who don’t give a damn about Israel or Judaism – Jews In Name Only, or JINOs.

And the Jews who don’t give a damn about Israel and Judaism – the ignorant Jews or the Jews who are hostile towards Israel  – are the ones who support J-Street’s positions.

Comment:

Jews are given a choice; either become Torah Jews living in Eretz Israel or die out as a individual and a community. According to the Pew Research Institute http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/ there is a 79% intermarriage rate, 67% of Secular Jews are not raising their children Jewish, 70% of children that didn’t receive a Jewish education (ie, went to public schools) ultimately intermarried. In comparison, of those that attended a Orthodox Jewish Day school or Yeshiva until grade 12 – 2% intermarried. Jews are not having children: with a Jewish Fertility Rate of 1.4 (Replacement is 2) and Jews are now older; the majority of Jew in the US are now over 55. What is really interesting is the Age Distribution among Jews of stead of being a bell curve it is flatly distributed. Compare 2007 to 2014 http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/

% of Jews who are ages
—— 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ Sample Size
2014– 22% 27% 26% 26% 825
2007– 20% 29% 29% 22% 664

In other words “Intermarriage and wives who prefer careers, than children are their demise. Sorry, but one or two children does not increase our numbers.”If many American Jews are abandoning Israel it has more to do with their weakening sense of Jewish peoplehood, as reflected in the 2013 Pew Survey. According Prof. Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York,”The real cause of [community] shrinkage is intermarriage and the decline of ethnic attachment [ie:the high assimilation rate] among American Jews,”

For example today roughly one million American Jews identify with the Conservative Movement a decline of 1/3 in just 25 years.

The Jewish population in the Diaspora is either making Aliyah or dying out. Those Jews that still live in the Diaspora will convert to anything else to hide their Jewishness; http://www.breslev.co.il/articles/breslev/baal_shem_tov_and_students/under_the_tzaddiks_wing.aspx?id=28016&language=english. “…both her parents had assimilated, hiding any signs that led to their Jewish birth and background….”

Or They will be forced to assimilate by the government. for example – Jewish Orthodox school in London ordered to closeInspectors said the school was founded to prevent students from “developing a wider, deeper understanding of different faiths, communities, cultures and lifestyles, including those of England.”

And…Jerusalem no longer anticipates that it can generate support from the American Jewish progressive community,… Remember the Spanish Expulsion of 1492 and the Marranos Jews .

From:If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What’s the Reason?

 “[T]he disappearance of the sort of ethnic solidarity that prior generations enjoyed as a matter of course . . . [and] our high intermarriage rate . . . means that Jews of the next generation will increasingly be people with no childhood Jewish memories and no obvious reason to maintain Jewish friends, associations, and causes at the expense of non-Jewish ones.”reform rabbi Lawrence Hoffman,….

The American Jewish community is more distant from Israel than in past generations because it is changing, is in significant ways growing weaker, and is less inclined and indeed less able to feel and express solidarity with other Jews here and abroad.

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Amalek or Palestine?

Political Cartoon-Arutz Sheva 13December2015

“Tired of your lousy neighbor?”
“Cook them with potatoes.”
“Economical and delicious.”
The Neighborly Cookbook: Cooking with the Supernatural World
http://jerusalemcats.com/neighborly-cookbook-cooking-supernatural-world/
Political Cartoon-Arutz Sheva 13December2015

by Yekutiel Ben Yaakov ‍‍י״ט כסלו תשע״ו –  2015/12/01
It is them or us – coexistence between Jews and Arabs is long dead, if it ever existed.

Too many Arabs are part of the terror murder machine in Israel for us to hope for a better day tomorrow, without some drastic action to be taken by the Israeli government. The Israeli-left and the U.S. State Department would like us to believe that by surrendering more land to the Arabs or by giving the Arabs more control of Judaism’s holiest sites, such as the Temple Mount, that Israel will gain quiet and security. However, rewarding the terrorists never worked before. Israel ran away from Lebanon bringing missiles and rockets closer to her major cities. The same happened after Israel’s concessions in “Oslo” and after the disengagement-expulsion of Jews from Gaza and Northern Shomron. Israel’s good will and concessions only brought about an intensification of Arab aggression and terror, as the terrorists used the lands and guns given them to advance their violent struggle against the Jewish state.The situation is only getting worse. When you have 11 year old Arab terrorist children stabbing Jews as well as 72 year old Arab grandmas partaking in the carnage, running Jews over and wielding their knives, it is time to wake up and understand that the pathological hatred that Arabs possess against Jews in Israel is not something that can be bought off with candies or with indoor toilets. This is not about desperation either. Many of the culprits are educated, professional and from affluent homes. The attacks are intensifying despite Netanyahu’s good will gestures, and his commitment to continue to discriminate against his own people on the Temple Mount, to the point where Israel allows the Arabs to control the mount and arrests any Jews that dare move their lips in prayer. The racist status quo which discriminates against Jews has been maintained and enforced to the point of national nausea, against Jews who seek to exercise basic religious rights.

Palestine, Amalek and Nazi Nation

During some points of the recent wave of terror which has plagued Israel, there were reports showing attacks against Jews every 10 minutes. The official PA schools run by Israel’s “moderate” peace partners openly support terror against Jews as does the Arab media. Arab mothers praise their children who kill Jews and glow with happiness when their martyred offspring die, as long as they kill a Jew along the way. This sweeping type of hatred against Jews is unprecedented in Jewish history. If anyone wants to get a better understanding of the rationale of the mitzvah in the Torah to wipe out Amalek – men women and children or the similar law that applies to the 7 nations, one need only look at the Arabs in Israel, where men, women and children are part of the armed terrorist struggle against the Jews. It is no surprise then that the Gematria – The mathematical sum of the letters that form the word “Phalastin” – “Palestine” and the sum of the word “Amalek” are equal to 240 (239 plus the kolel). The Nazi nation (haleum haNazi) is also equal to 239 (with the kolel).

7 Nations is a concept and not just about genetics

The Or Hachayim says that any nation that lives in the Land and that believes that we are thieves who stole their land, must be wiped out or expelled, because they will never settle for anything less than the expulsion or annihilation of the Jews- the people who they view as thieves – who stole “their land”. Indeed, it is us or them. There will never be peace and security until they are removed from Israel or until we lie down our arms and leave Israel.

Amalek is also a concept

Rabbi Yosef B. Soloveichik Z”L held that Amalek, as well, is not exclusively determined by genetics. He maintained that the German Nazis were halachically classified as Amalek. I know the Arabs have not succeeded in murdering 6million Jews, yet, G-d forbid. However, I also know that the so called “Palestinians” reached new heights when it comes to their level of Jew-hatred. I have yet to hear of Nazi grandmas who were happy to see their grandchildren perish in battle as long as they could aid in the murder of Jews. I have yet to hear of 11 year old German children who brandished weapons to hunt down Jews, or of 72 year-old German women who joined the hunt. These are not people you can reason with. These are not people who you could live side by side in peace with. No Jew will be able to cross a street or walk 4 meters in Israel without turning his back in fear of being attacked by Arabs. That is the reality whether we want to accept it or not.

They must go or we must go

They must go or we must go. Currently it is only legal to speak of expulsion of Jews and surrendering more land in a futile exercise of appeasement that only makes the Arabs more brazen, and thirsty for Jewish blood. To propose the expulsion of Arabs is considered racist according to Israeli law and can land the one espousing such words in prison. That has to change and will change if we wish to retain our Jewish homeland and if we wish to live in peace, security and tranquility. There is no other alternative.

Israel will survive

It is likely that when Israel ultimately takes the type of action that it needs to take to finally quell Arab terror and to distance the hostile Arabs from Israel, that this will bring international condemnation and sanctions against Israel. Better sanctions and life for the Jews and the Jewish state, than accolades, Auschwitz and funerals and flower sympathy wreaths to be laid at a new Yad Vashem that will G-d forbid memorialize the Jewish state that was. Israel will survive, but Israel will need to wise up and legalize the only program that could yet save the state. Legalization of Kahane? Call it whatever you want or show me another alternative that is based on Torah and/or logic that could save Israel.

American Jews Must Come Home To Israel – while they still can

As for Jews in the Exile, they ought to heed the words of Rabbi Kaniyevsky who has called upon Jews not to leave Israel and for the Jews to come home to Israel. Once Israel shows faith in G-d and takes the necessary steps such as expelling her hostile Arab enemies, the Jews will be subject to attacks from Muslims around the world. The governments that will likely condemn Israel and ostracize the Jewish state will not have the will or the ability to control the Muslim mobs and other random Jew haters who will blame Israel – The Pariah State for all of the security and economic ills of the world. This is already happening in Europe and across the United States. But the Jews who come home to Zion will find refugeת Yoel 3:5)..

The Torah Warns About What Will Happen if the Jews do not fulfill the Mitzva to expel their enemies

This is all written clearly in the Torah: Bamidbar 33:52 where it says that if we do not drive the inhabitants out of the land they will end up oppressing us on the land. The commentaries explain that they will do to us that which we should have done to them.
The Talmud teaches us in Sotah page 34 (The page learned in Daf HaYomi on Sunday this week, the very same day the Arabs carried out yet another two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem), that Joshua and the nation of Israel passed through the Jordan River into Israel, with the walls of the water standing 12 mil high on either side of the Jews, who miraculously passed through them. Joshua stopped the nation of Israel while still in the Jordan River and had this to say to them, before they entered into the land: Know the reason that you are going into the Land, for the sake of driving out the enemies of the land and inheriting the land. If you are prepared to do this then everything will be ok, but if not, the water will come crashing down on you and on me to drown us.

WATER, KNIVES AND CARS WILL TURN INTO WEAPONS AGAINST THE JEWS WHO REFUSE TO EXPEL THEIR ENEMIES

The words speak for themselves and require no further explanation. This is a halachic imperative and we will not be able to inherit the land if we do not drive out the inhabitants. We will be washed away. It is not a coincidence that the Arabs speak of driving us into the sea. Interestingly enough the gematria of “bain Mayim” – the water will come = 153, the same gematria as “bSakinai” (with those wielding knives), which is also the same gematria as Veauto LeHasel – and with an auto to kill. And water is the same gematria as the word blades (Mayim and BLahavim) = 90. The point is clear – if we listen to the Torah and drive out our enemies we will have life in the land, and if not we will be washed away into the sea, stabbed and run over, or whatever means the enemy finds to use at his/her disposal to conveniently murder Jews.

Torah, water, swords, vehicles as tools to save Jews or to kill Jews – THE CHOICE IS OURS!

Torah is compared to water – yet the very same water can be turned into a weapon to destroy us. Measure for measure when we reject the Torah way and the Torah solution, we stand to get washed away by water. Safra VEsayfa – Torah and the sword also go together, as we learn that Jewish scholars should use a sword when they need to, holding a sword in one hand and the Torah in the other, like King David. The word for knife in Hebrew is “sakin”. Sakin, too, has two opposite roots and meanings and could be used to save Jews or to kill Jews. The word misken means weak (a nebach) yet also could be used in the opposite context as we see in the words sakana or mesukan – danger and dangerous.
Hebrew is a Divine language, created by G-d – and antonyms and synonyms often derive from the same root, and there is often a thin line that divides between them. Man is given two choices, and freedom to choose between the Torah way of life or self-destruction. The same water can be used like a tree of life or like waters that crash down upon our heads and drown us, if we refuse to follow the Torah way and drive out our enemies. The same sword can be used against us or our enemies. The same vehicle can transport our enemies out of the land or be used to run us over G-d forbid. Every Rosh Hashana we utter the holliest prayer of the “Netane Tokef”, “who will perish in water or in fire”. (Fire is also the same root as blade), Lehava – flame and Lehav – blade. Who by sword? Who by water? At this time in Jewish history that holy prayer takes on another dimension and has additional meaning – who will perish and who will be expelled, – us or them?
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Councilman Greenfield Denounces Anti-Semitic Outburst in NYC Council Chamber

Published on Jan 22, 2015

New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield makes remarks on the floor of the council moments after Pro-Palestine activists protested the commemoration of 1.1 million people killed in Auschwitz. Greenfield is the grandson of holocaust survivors.
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Netanyahu presented with emergency plan to absorb 120,000 French Jews

By SAM SOKOL 01/25/2015 http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Netanyahu-presented-with-emergency-plan-to-absorb-120000-French-Jews-388910
Indicating displeasure with Israel’s immigration promotion and absorption strategy, the Jewish People Policy Institute last week presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with its emergency plan for the absorption of 120,000 French immigrants.According to the high profile Jerusalem think tank, which maintains close ties with the Jewish Agency and senior politicians, Israel has thus far not implemented the necessary policies to compete with the United States, Canada, and various European states in attracting highly educated and business savvy French Jews.

According to JPPI senior fellow Dr. Dov Maimon – himself a French immigrant – despite the increase in French aliya over the past several years, the number of people making the move is relatively small compared to the large numbers of people who have made inquiries with the Jewish Agency.

Agency chairman Natan Sharansky recently told The Jerusalem Post that some 50,000 French Jews had requested information on aliya during 2014.

“When you have 100,000 people who come to your shop to look at a car and only 7,000 buy it at the end of the day, the conversion rate is seven percent. The conversion rate [regarding aliya] is very low,” Maimon told the Post.

“We have made a market study. We have reached out to those people who want to come and didn’t come and asked them ‘why don’t you come?’ and they tell us three things: employment, affordable housing, and social life.”

The JPPI believes Israel can entice 30,000 French Jews to come here annually over the next four years if it implements a policy shift away from the older model used in bringing over Jews from Morocco, Ethiopia, and the Soviet Union, he explained.

“The old paradigm was reaching out to in populations in distress…and you send them to [periphery development towns like ] Dimona and then they have nowhere to go. Today people have a choice. People who are not satisfied in Dimona will move back to France or Canada or America.”

Given that French emigres can work all over Europe and that places like the Canadian province of Quebec recognize their degrees and professional qualifications and actively recruit French graduates to move, Israel’s efforts, unless revamped, may prove insufficient to woo young, educated Jews, he added.

According to Maimon, the most important thing Israel can do to bring French Jews en masse to Israel is to “give tax incentives and job creation incentives” as well as provide subsidies for people who could create jobs here.

In its report, the JPPI recommended that Israel should establish an administrative body within the Prime Minister’s Office to coordinate all immigration from western Europe, a suggestion that Maimon said is significant because such work requires an increase in scope beyond what can be accomplished by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.

“They are not the right people,” commented Maimon.

The report also recommended the establishment of a commission tasked with removing the administrative barriers prevented French professionals from working here.

When someone can use their French diploma anywhere in Europe and moving to Israel requires new testing just to continue working in a field in which one has toiled for years, there is less incentive to move, he explained.

One option, Maimon recommended, is a two-year, temporary measure to allow for the recognition of French degrees without any bureaucratic hassles.

“The committee will deal with, among other things, issues related to education, academics, military service and contact with the IDF, employment, published work permits and recognition of professional degrees, encouraging the relocation business and capital investment and housing,” according to the report.

Tax benefits, the formation of business incubators geared toward French entrepreneurs and the establishment of French communities and neighborhoods centered around Francophone social services and business enterprises would also serve to promote immigration, JPPI asserted.

Others have made such suggestions in the past.

Speaking with the Post in August, Tel Aviv businessman Edouard Cukierman, the son of Roger Cukierman, the president of the French communal umbrella organization CRIF, said that the Israeli business community must do more to attract French workers.

The Jewish Agency “does a good job for the average immigrant,” but does not know how to address the needs of educated classes from affluent Western nations as well as it deals with mass aliya, Cukierman said, adding that “they have very different needs from the standard immigrant.”

Late last year, the cabinet approved a new initiative to reform the byzantine bureaucracy involved in integrating accredited members of white collar professions into the labor market.

Doctors, physiotherapists, architects and other professionals will have easier transitions to Israeli society, the government announced last November, although no results have yet been announced.

In an interview with the Post earlier this month, absorption Minister Sofa Landver called upon the Ministries of Health, Education, Economy and Finance to lower such all barriers immediately, as a temporary measure pending legislation on the issue.

“We must immediately prepare for the absorption of many thousands of Jews from France. The figures we have already gathered show that thousands of Jews will shortly arrive, and we expect 15,000 this year alone, many more than were expected before the wave of terrorist attacks in France. Unless we put together a plan for their absorption from an economic point of view, they will be liable to emigrate to other countries.

The professionals in the government must review the plan and promote it,” Globes cited Natan Sharansky as saying.

Asked about the plan, a Jewish Agency spokesman said they “welcome all constructive discourse surrounding aliya. The activities of The Jewish Agency and of its partners in the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption reflect the range of possibilities and needs at any given time, in order to best address whatever situations may arise – in France as well as elsewhere.

The ongoing discussions regarding aliya involve a variety of parties and documents such as this one and can be helpful in guiding the conversation and serving as a basis for practical planning among all those concerned.”

A spokesman for the Absorption Ministry said he was not familiar with the JPPI plan.
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Leading British Jewish Actress Says Antisemitism May Drive Her to Leave UK

January 29, 2015 http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/29/leading-british-jewish-actress-says-antisemitism-may-drive-her-to-leave-uk/

Maureen Lipman

Maureen Lipman

One of Britain’s best loved actresses has admitted that she is contemplating leaving the country amid a sharp rise in antisemitic attacks against the UK’s Jewish community.

Maureen Lipman, whose extensive credits include a starring role in Roman Polanski’s 2002 film about the Holocaust, The Pianist, was speaking to London radio station LBC following Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies around the world.

“When the going gets tough, the Jews get packing,” Lipman said. “It’s crossed my mind that it’s time to have a look around for another place to live. I’ve thought about going to New York, I’ve thought about going to Israel.”

Lipman described as “very, very depressing” statistics released by the Community Security Trust, the official security body of British Jews, which last year recorded the highest level of antisemitic attacks in Britain in more than three decades.

“There are 245,000 Jews in this country; I’ve been talking like this for a long time, and my kids are very bored with me,” she said. “But it is only in the last few months that they have to begun to say: ‘Mum you may have something’.”

Lipman has become increasingly outspoken on the subjects of antisemitism and the demonization of Israel in recent months. As The Algemeiner reported in October, Lipman launched a fierce attack on Ed Miliband, the leader of the British Labour Party, for supporting British recognition of a Palestinian state independently of any negotiations with Israel. Lipman also accused Miliband, who is Jewish, of “pandering to the antisemitism masking as anti-Zionism, which is once again sweeping across Europe.”

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The Biggest Mistakes Pro-Israel Advocates Make. Number 1: How to Flip the Emotional Switch

Posted by: Alexandra Markus in Alexandra, Hasbara Guide April 21, 2015

I had planned to write a brief and concise Hasbara Guide for college students who are faced, often for the first time, with hostile opposition to the existence the country they love. Somehow though, I got more than a little bit carried away. I’ve just been doing this for way too long, and have a lot of field experience that I would love to impart on the next generation so that you don’t screw up as many times as I did.

I am also in a unique position. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to interact with antizionists and “non-zionists” in university through both my progressive activism (pro-choice, feminist, pro-LGBT, etc.), my budding friendships with my boyfriend’s sister who converted to Islam 30 years ago and her 5 children who are very active in SJP, and my relationship with my longtime best friend who converted to Islam 2 years ago (and yes, she’s still my best friend, although she does cringe at a lot of the things I say on this topic).

So if anyone understands what’s going on inside their heads, it’s me. And I can promise you, every one of those people mentioned above are wonderful people with their hearts definitely in the right place. I just think they’re wrong about this particular issue.

I’ve decided to frame this series in terms of don’ts, because I find that explaining what to do and how to do it is much easier when done so within the bounds of knowing what not to do.

So, without further ado, I present to you: The Biggest Mistakes Pro-Israel Advocates Make. In other words, How Not To Do Israel Advocacy So That You Get A Better Sense of How To Do Israel Advocacy.

In my 7 years of working the campus Israel Advocacy scene, along with my brief interlude as a hardcore leftist during my sophomore year of university, I’m going to come out point blank and say that I’ve been guilty of every single one of these mistakes. We’re all human, and we all have motives, hopes, and fears. We care about our safety, our reputation, and also the truth, and often we have to modify our methods to satisfy each of these to the greatest extent we can.

There is definitely a spectrum of activism, involving different philosophies and approaches, between “taking the high road” (a.k.a. doing nothing) and “fighting fire with fire” (a.k.a. using the tactics of the so-called “Pro-Palestinian” activists right back at them). The quote, “put two Jews in a room and you’ll get three opinions” seems to ring especially true in relation to which method of Hasbara is most effective. Jews can’t agree on anything, what makes you think Hasbara is any different?

The saying goes: you can only reach new heights by standing on the shoulders of giants. I’m going to make a disclaimer here and admit that some of these ideas aren’t exactly mine. Rather, they were conclusions I drew from countless discussions with well-known “giants” in pro-Israel activism, both literal (like Ryan Bellerose) and figurative (like Chloé Valdary). It’s actually quite funny that the most talented and effective pro-Israel activists in my opinion happen to be non-Jews, but when I think about it, it makes sense. We Jews are not very good at selling ourselves, because we don’t have a tradition of proselytizing like Christians and Muslims do. Fortunately, we can learn from them, so that you don’t wind up learning the hard way like I did as a naive, bright-eyed college freshman, all those years ago.

  1. Too many facts, not enough emotion.

light-switchThis error is a committed often by pro-Israel students, especially since on our side we have facts, but on their side they have hyperbole, conspiracy theories, and pictures of dead babies. As my friend Ryan Bellerose always says, “If you respond to pictures of dead babies by talking about computer chips, everyone will think you’re an insensitive jerk.” The anti-Israel side is more effective by flipping an emotional switch in three seconds with a soundbyte or a picture of a dead Syrian baby than we are with our huge walls of text and facts about Israel’s myriad lifesaving technological innovations. Not only is that approach boring in comparison, it also isn’t particularly moving to anyone with a modicum of empathy when compared side by side to the disenfranchised Palestinians. That is unfortunate, because we do have a very compelling and emotionally charged story, we just need to learn how to tell it right. Since college students of the 21st century don’t have the attention span to read our long, dense fact sheets, especially when they have a few hundred pages of reading due by the end of the week, we need to flip their emotional switch. Not only should we debunk their pictures as fake or from other conflicts, but we should also contribute some of our own. Videos of Palestinian leaders admitting they want to kill all Jews, images of children hurt by Hamas rockets and suicide bombers, videos of Israelis running to bomb shelters and taking cover at the side of the road amidst sirens and panic, stories about Palestinians who were thrown off buildings and dragged by motorcycles for being gay or admitting publicly that they want peace with Israel, and maybe a 3-minute soundbyte about our indigenous claim to the land and the 7th century Arab conquest. Here’s a good example of an emotional video that is short and powerful enough to keep anyone’s attention and leave a positive impression of Israel,
but if you look hard enough on sites and YouTube channels like MEMRI, Jerusalem U, StandWithUS, and PalWatch, you’ll find the soundbytes you’re looking for.
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What Does Putin Want?

     Via TheFallingDarkness.com, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-02/what-does-putin-want

Foreword by the Saker:

The analysis below is, by far, the best I have seen since the beginning of the conflict in the Ukraine.  I have regularly posted analyses by Ishchenko on this blog before, because I considered him as one of the best analysts in Russia.  This time, however, Ishchenko has truly produced a masterpiece: a comprehensive analysis of the geostrategic position of Russia and a clear and, I believe, absolutely accurate analysis of the entire “Putin strategy” for the Ukraine.  I have always said that this conflict is not about the Ukraine but about the future of the planet and that there is no “Novorussian” or even “Ukrainian” solution, but that the only possible outcome is a strategic victory of either Russia or the USA which will affect the entire planet.  Ishchenko does a superb overview of the risks and options for both sides and offers the first comprehensive “key” to the apparently incomprehensible behavior of Russia in this conflict.  Finally, Ishchenko also fully understands the complex and subtle dynamics inside Russian society.  When he writes “Russian power is authoritative, rather than authoritarian” he is spot on, and explains more in seven words than what you would get by reading the billions of useless words written by so-called “experts” trying to describe the Russian reality.

 

We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Denis, Gideon and Robin for translating this seminal text, which was very difficult to translate.  The only reason why we can read it in such a good English is because the innumerable hours spent by these volunteers to produce the high quality translation this analysis deserves.

 

I strongly recommend that you all read this text very carefully.  Twice.  It is well worth it.

 

The Saker

What does Putin want?

Rostislav Ishchenko

Source: http://actualcomment.ru/chego-khochet-putin.html

Translated from the Russian by Denis, Gideon, and Robin

It’s gratifying that “patriots” did not instantly blame Putin for the failure to achieve a full-scale rout of Ukrainian troops in Donbass in January and February, or for Moscow’s consultations with Merkel and Hollande.

Even so, they are still impatient for a victory. The most radical are convinced that Putin will “surrender Novorossiya” just the same. And the moderates are afraid that he will as soon as the next truce is signed (if that happens) out of the need to regroup and replenish Novorossiya’s army (which actually could have been done without disengagement from military operations), to come to terms with the new circumstances on the international front, and to get ready for new diplomatic battles.

In fact, despite all the attention that political and/or military dilettantes (the Talleyrands and the Bonapartes of the Internet) are paying to the situation in Donbass and the Ukraine in general, it is only one point on a global front: the outcome of the war is being decided not at the Donetsk airport or in the hills outside Debaltsevo, but at offices on Staraya Square and Smolenskaya Square, at offices in Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Because military action is only one of the many components of the political quarrel.

It is the harshest and the final component, which carries great risk, but the matter doesn’t start with war and it doesn’t end with war. War is only an intermediate step signifying the impossibility of compromise. Its purpose is to create new conditions whereby compromise is possible or to show that there is no longer any need for it, with the disappearance of one side of the conflict. When it is time for compromise, when the fighting is over and the troops go back to their barracks and the generals begin writing their memoirs and preparing for the next war, that is when the real outcome of the confrontation is determined by politicians and diplomats at the negotiating table.

Political decisions are not often understood by the general population or the military. For example, during the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, Prussian chancellor Otto Von Bismarck (later chancellor of the German Empire) disregarded the persistent requests of King Wilhelm I (the future German Emperor) and the demands of the Prussian generals to take Vienna, and he was absolutely correct to do so. In that way he accelerated peace on Prussia’s terms and also ensured that Austro-Hungary forever (well, until its dismemberment in 1918) became a junior partner for Prussia and later the German Empire.

To understand how, when and on what conditions military activity can end, we need to know what the politicians want and how they see the conditions of the postwar compromise. Then it will become clear why military action turned into a low-intensity civil war with occasional truces, not only in the Ukraine but also in Syria.

Obviously, the views of Kiev politicians are of no interest to us because they don’t decide anything. The fact that outsiders govern the Ukraine is no longer concealed. It doesn’t matter whether the cabinet ministers are Estonian or Georgian; they are Americans just the same. It would also be a big mistake to take an interest in how the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) see the future. The republics exist only with Russian support, and as long as Russia supports them, Russia’s interests have to be protected, even from independent decisions and initiatives. There is too much at stake to allow [Alexander] Zakharchenko or [Igor] Plotnitzky, or anyone else for that matter, to make independent decisions.

Nor are we interested in the European Union’s position. Much depended on the EU until the summer of last year, when the war could have been prevented or stopped at the outset. A tough, principled antiwar stance by the EU was needed. It could have blocked U.S. initiatives to start the war and would have turned the EU into a significant independent geopolitical player. The EU passed on that opportunity and instead behaved like a faithful vassal of the United States.

As a result, Europe stands on the brink of frightful internal upheaval. In the coming years, it has every chance of suffering the same fate as the Ukraine, only with a great roar, great bloodshed and less chance that in the near future things will settle down – in other words, that someone will show up and put things in order.

In fact, today the EU can choose whether to remain a tool of the United States or to move closer to Russia. Depending on its choice, Europe can get off with a slight scare, such as a breakup of parts of its periphery and possible fragmentation of some countries, or it could collapse completely. Judging by the European elites’ reluctance to break openly with the United States, collapse is almost inevitable.

What should interest us is the opinions of the two main players that determine the configuration of the geopolitical front and in fact are fighting for victory in the new generation of war – the network-centric Third World War. These players are the United States and Russia.

The U.S. position is clear and transparent. In the second half of the 1990s, Washington missed its only opportunity to reform the Cold War economy without any obstacles and thereby avoid the looming crisis in a system whose development is limited by the finite nature of planet Earth and its resources, including human ones, which conflicts with the need to endlessly print dollars.

After that, the United States could prolong the death throes of the system only by plundering the rest of the world. At first, it went after Third World countries. Then it went for potential competitors. Then for allies and even close friends. Such plundering could continue only as long as the United States remained the world’s undisputed hegemon.

Thus when Russia asserted its right to make independent political decisions – decisions of not global but regional import – , a clash with the United States became inevitable. This clash cannot end in a compromise peace.

For the United States, a compromise with Russia would mean a voluntary renunciation of its hegemony, leading to a quick, systemic catastrophe – not only a political and economic crisis but also a paralysis of state institutions and the inability of the government to function. In other words, its inevitable disintegration.

But if the United States wins, then it is Russia that will experience systemic catastrophe. After a certain type of “rebellion,” Russia’s ruling classes would be punished with asset liquidation and confiscation as well as imprisonment. The state would be fragmented, substantial territories would be annexed, and the country’s military might would be destroyed.

So the war will last until one side wins. Any interim agreement should be viewed only as a temporary truce – a needed respite to regroup, to mobilize new resources and to find (i.e., to poach) additional allies.

To complete the picture of the situation, we only need Russia’s position. It is essential to understand what the Russian leadership wants to achieve, particularly the president, Vladimir Putin. We are talking about the key role that Putin plays in the organization of the Russian power structure. This system is not authoritarian, as many assert, but rather authoritative – meaning it is based not on legislative consolidation of autocracy but on the authority of the person who created the system and, as the head of it, makes it work effectively.

During Putin’s 15 years in power, despite the difficult internal and external situation, he has tried to maximize the role of the government, the legislative assembly, and even the local authorities. These are entirely logical steps that should have given the system completeness, stability, and continuity. Because no politician can rule forever, political continuity, regardless of who comes to power, is the key to a stable system.

Unfortunately, fully autonomous control, namely the ability to function without the president’s oversight, hasn’t been achieved. Putin remains the key component of the system because the people put their trust in him personally. They have far less trust in the system, as represented by public authorities and individual agencies.

Thus Putin’s opinions and political plans become the decisive factor in areas such as Russia’s foreign policy. If the phrase “without Putin, there is no Russia” is an exaggeration, then the phrase “what Putin wants, Russia also wants” reflects the situation quite accurately in my opinion.

First, let’s note that the man who for 15 years has carefully guided Russia to its revival has done so in conditions of U.S. hegemony in world politics along with significant opportunities for Washington to influence Russia’s internal politics. He had to understand the nature of the fight and his opponent. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have lasted so long.

The level of confrontation that Russia allowed itself to get into with the United States grew very slowly and up to a certain point went unnoticed. For example, Russia did not react at all to the first attempt at a color revolution in the Ukraine in 2000-2002 (the Gongadze case, the Cassette Scandal, and the Ukraine without Kuchma protest).

Russia took an opposing position but did not actively intervene in the coups that took place from November 2003 to January 2004 in Georgia and from November 2004 to January 2005 in the Ukraine. In 2008, in Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia used its troops against Georgia, a U.S. ally. In 2012, in Syria, the Russian fleet demonstrated its readiness to confront the United States and its NATO allies.

In 2013, Russia began taking economic measures against [Victor] Yanukovych’s regime, which contributed to his realization of the harmfulness of signing an association agreement [with the EU].

Moscow could not have saved the Ukraine from the coup because of the baseness, cowardice, and stupidity of the Ukraine’s leaders – not only Yanukovych but all of them without exception. After the armed coup in Kiev in February 2014, Russia entered into open confrontation with Washington. Before that, the conflicts were interspersed with improved relations, but at the beginning of 2014 relations between Russia and the United States deteriorated swiftly and almost immediately reached the point where war would have been declared automatically in the prenuclear era.

Thus at any given time Putin engaged in precisely the level of confrontation with the United States that Russia could handle. If Russia isn’t limiting the level of confrontation now, it means Putin believes that, in the war of sanctions, the war of nerves, the information war, the civil war in the Ukraine, and the economic war, Russia can win.

This is the first important conclusion about what Putin wants and what he expects. He expects to win. And considering that he takes a meticulous approach and strives to anticipate any surprises, you can be sure that when the decision was made not to back down under pressure from the United States, but to respond, the Russian leadership had a double, if not a triple, guarantee of victory.

I would like to point out that the decision to enter into a conflict with Washington was not made in 2014, nor was it made in 2013. The war of August 8, 2008, was a challenge that the United States could not leave unpunished. After that, every further stage of the confrontation only raised the stakes. From 2008 to 2010, the United States’ capability – not just military or economic but its overall capability – has declined, whereas Russia’s has improved significantly. So the main objective was to raise the stakes slowly rather than in explosive fashion. In other words, an open confrontation in which all pretences are dropped and everyone understands that a war is going on had to be delayed as long as possible. But it would have been even better to avoid it altogether.

With every passing year, the United States became weaker while Russia became stronger. This process was natural and impossible to arrest, and we could have projected with a high degree of certainty that by 2020 to 2025, without any confrontation, the period of U.S. hegemony would have ended, and the United States would then be best advised to think about not how to rule the world, but how to stave off its own precipitous internal decline.

Thus Putin’s second desire is clear: to keep the peace or the appearance of peace as long as possible. Peace is advantageous for Russia because in conditions of peace, without enormous expense, it obtains the same political result but in a much better geopolitical situation. That is why Russia continually extends the olive branch. Just as the Kiev junta will collapse in conditions of peace in Donbass, in conditions of world peace, the military-industrial complex and the global financial system created by the United States are doomed to self-destruct. In this way, Russia’s actions are aptly described by Sun Tzu’s maxim “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

It is clear that Washington is not run by idiots, no matter what is said on Russian talk shows or written on blogs. The United States understands precisely the situation it is in. Moreover, they also understand that Russia has no plans to destroy them and is really prepared to cooperate as an equal. Even so, because of the political and socioeconomic situation in the United States, such cooperation is not acceptable to them. An economic collapse and a social explosion are likely to occur before Washington (even with the support of Moscow and Beijing) has time to introduce the necessary reforms, especially when we consider that the EU will have to undergo reform at the same time. Moreover, the political elite who have emerged in the United States in the past 25 years have become accustomed to their status as the owners of the world. They sincerely don’t understand how anyone can challenge them.

For the ruling elite in the United States (not so much the business class but the government bureaucracy), to go from being a country that decides of the fate of inferior peoples to one that negotiates with them on an equal footing is intolerable. It is probably tantamount to offering Gladstone or Disraeli the post of prime minister of the Zulu Kingdom under Cetshwayo kaMpande. And so, unlike Russia, which needs peace to develop, the United States regards war as vital.

In principle, any war is a struggle for resources. Typically, the winner is the one that has more resources and can ultimately mobilize more troops and build more tanks, ships, and planes. Even so, sometimes those who are strategically disadvantaged can turn the situation around with a tactical victory on the battlefield. Examples include the wars of Alexander the Great and Frederick the Great, as well as Hitler’s campaign of 1939-1940.

Nuclear powers cannot confront each other directly. Therefore, their resource base is of paramount importance. That is exactly why Russia and the United States have been in a desperate competition for allies over the past year. Russia has won this competition. The United States can count only the EU, Canada, Australia, and Japan as allies (and not always unconditionally so), but Russia has managed to mobilize support from the BRICS, to gain a firm foothold in Latin America, and to begin displacing the United States in Asia and North Africa.

Of course, it’s not patently obvious, but if we consider the results of votes at the UN, assuming that a lack of official support for the United States means dissent and thus support for Russia, it turns out that the countries aligned with Russia together control about 60% of the world’s GDP, have more than two-thirds of its population, and cover more than three-quarters of its surface. Thus Russia has been able to mobilize more resources.

In this regard, the United States had two tactical options.

The first seemed to have great potential and was employed by it from the early days of the Ukrainian crisis.

It was an attempt to force Russia to choose between a bad situation and an even worse one. Russia would be compelled to accept a Nazi state on its borders and therefore a dramatic loss of international authority and of the trust and support of its allies, and after a short time would become vulnerable to internal and external pro-U.S. forces, with no chance of survival. Or else it could send its army into the Ukraine, sweep out the junta before it got organized, and restore the legitimate government of Yanukovych. That, however, would have brought an accusation of aggression against an independent state and of suppression of the people’s revolution. Such a situation would have resulted in a high degree of disapproval on the part of Ukrainians and the need to constantly expend significant military, political, economic, and diplomatic resources to maintain a puppet regime in Kiev, because no other government would have been possible under such conditions.

Russia avoided that dilemma. There was no direct invasion. It is Donbass that is fighting Kiev. It is the Americans who have to devote scarce resources to the doomed puppet regime in Kiev, while Russia can remain on the sidelines making peace proposals.

So now the United States is employing the second option. It’s as old as the hills. That which cannot be held, and will be taken by the enemy, must be damaged as much as possible so that the enemy’s victory is more costly than defeat, as all its resources are used to reconstruct the destroyed territory. The United States has therefore ceased to assist the Ukraine with anything more than political rhetoric while encouraging Kiev to spread civil war throughout the country.

The Ukrainian land must burn, not only in Donetsk and Lugansk but also in Kiev and Lvov. The task is simple: to destroy the social infrastructure as much as possible and to leave the population at the very edge of survival. Then the population of the Ukraine will consist of millions of starving, desperate and heavily armed people who will kill one another for food. The only way to stop this bloodbath would be massive international military intervention in the Ukraine (the militia on its own will not be sufficient) and massive injections of funds to feed the population and to reconstruct the economy until the Ukraine can begin to feed itself.

It is clear that all these costs would fall on Russia. Putin correctly believes that not only the budget, but also public resources in general, including the military, would in this case be overstretched and possibly insufficient. Therefore, the objective is not to allow the Ukraine to explode before the militia can bring the situation under control. It is crucial to minimize casualties and destruction and to salvage as much of the economy as possible and the infrastructure of the large cities so that the population somehow survives and then the Ukrainians themselves will take care of the Nazi thugs.

At this point an ally appears for Putin in the form of the EU. Because the United States always tried to use European resources in its struggle with Russia, the EU, which was already weakened, reaches the point of exhaustion and has to deal with its own long-festering problems.

If Europe now has on its eastern border a completely destroyed Ukraine, from which millions of armed people will flee not only to Russia but also to the EU, taking with them delightful pastimes such as drug trafficking, gunrunning, and terrorism, the EU will not survive. The people’s republics of Novorossiya will serve as a buffer for Russia, however.

Europe cannot confront the United States, but it is deathly afraid of a destroyed Ukraine. Therefore, for the first time in the conflict, Hollande and Merkel are not just trying to sabotage the U.S. demands (by imposing sanctions but not going too far), but they are also undertaking limited independent action with the aim of achieving a compromise – maybe not peace but at least a truce in the Ukraine.

If the Ukraine catches fire, it will burn quickly, and if the EU has become an unreliable partner that is ready if not to move into Russia’s camp then at least to take a neutral position, Washington, faithful to its strategy, would be obliged to set fire to Europe.

It is clear that a series of civil and interstate wars on a continent packed with all sorts of weapons, where more than half a billion people live, is far worse than a civil war in the Ukraine. The Atlantic separates the United States from Europe. Even Britain could hope to sit it out across the Channel. But Russia and the EU share a very long [sic] border.

It is not at all in Russia’s interests to have a conflagration stretching from the Atlantic to the Carpathian Mountains when the territory from the Carpathians to the Dnieper is still smoldering. Therefore, Putin’s other objective is, to the extent possible, to prevent the most negative effects of a conflagration in the Ukraine and a conflagration in Europe. Because it is impossible to completely prevent such an outcome (if the United States wants to ignite the fire, it will), it is necessary to be able to extinguish it quickly to save what is most valuable.

Thus, to protect Russia’s legitimate interests, Putin considers peace to be of vital importance, because it is peace that will make it possible to achieve this goal with maximum effect at minimum cost. But because peace is no longer possible, and the truces are becoming more theoretical and fragile, Putin needs the war to end as quickly as possible.

But I do want to stress that if a compromise could have been reached a year ago on the most favorable terms for the West (Russia would have still obtained its goals, but later – a minor concession), it is no longer possible, and the conditions are progressively worsening. Ostensibly, the situation remains the same; peace on almost any conditions is still beneficial for Russia. Only one thing has changed, but it is of the utmost importance: public opinion. Russian society longs for victory and retribution. As I pointed out above, Russian power is authoritative, rather than authoritarian; therefore, public opinion matters in Russia, in contrast to the “traditional democracies.”

Putin can maintain his role as the linchpin of the system only as long as he has the support of the majority of the population. If he loses this support, because no figures of his stature have emerged from Russia’s political elite, the system will lose its stability. But power can maintain its authority only as long as it successfully embodies the wishes of the masses. Thus the defeat of Nazism in the Ukraine, even if it is diplomatic, must be clear and indisputable – only under such conditions is a Russian compromise possible.

Thus, regardless of Putin’s wishes and Russia’s interests, given the overall balance of power, as well as the protagonists’ priorities and capabilities, a war that should have ended last year within the borders of the Ukraine will almost certainly spill over into Europe. One can only guess who will be more effective – the Americans with their gas can or the Russians with their fire extinguisher? But one thing is absolutely clear: the peace initiatives of the Russian leaders will be limited not by their wishes but their actual capabilities. It is futile to fight either the wishes of the people or the course of history; but when they coincide, the only thing a wise politician can do is to understand the wishes of the people and the direction of the historical process and try to support it at all costs.

The circumstances described above make it extremely unlikely that the proponents of an independent state of Novorossiya will see their wishes fulfilled. Given the scale of the coming conflagration, determining the fate of the Ukraine as a whole is not excessively complicated but, at the same time, it will not come cheap.

It is only logical that the Russian people should ask: if Russians, whom we rescued from the Nazis, live in Novorossiya, why do they have to live in a separate state? If they want to live in a separate state, why should Russia rebuild their cities and factories? To these questions there is only one reasonable answer: Novorossiya should become part of Russia (especially since it has enough fighters, although the governing class is problematic). Well, if part of the Ukraine can join Russia, why not all of it? Especially as in all likelihood by the time this question is on the agenda, the European Union will no longer be an alternative to the Eurasian Union [for the Ukraine].

Consequently, the decision to rejoin Russia will be made by a united federated Ukraine and not by some entity without a clear status. I think that it is premature to redraw the political map. Most likely the conflict in the Ukraine will be concluded by the end of the year. But if the United States manages to extend the conflict to the EU (and it will try), the final resolution of territorial issues will take at least a couple of years and maybe more.

In any situation we benefit from peace. In conditions of peace, as Russia’s resource base grows, as new allies (former partners of the United States) go over to its side, and as Washington becomes progressively marginalized, territorial restructuring will become far simpler and temporarily less significant, especially for those being restructured.
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Playing offense against BDS

Izzy Tapoohi 3May2015 http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/playing-offense-against-bds/
We all know the old adage “the best defense is a good offense.” In an era of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), investing in Israel’s economy has become our greatest form of offense.While it has long been a sound financial decision, today, investing in Israel takes on added relevance as an expression of confidence that the country’s economic resilience will continue despite geopolitical instability and BDS tactics. Through every challenge, Israel’s economy remains an outstanding example of innovation and progress.

The statistics speak for themselves: Israel’s 2014 Q4 growth was 7.2 percent, double initial projections. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio – a key indicator of the strength of the economy that helps determine credit ratings and interest payments – decreased by 0.5 percent to 67.1 percent. This is lower than many developed countries. U.S. debt-to-GDP is 105.6 percent; the Euro Zone average is 107.7percent; and the OECD average is 94 percent.

For a small country like Israel, which has no real export markets in its region and is constantly in a state of heightened military preparedness, this is a considerable accomplishment

The success of Israel’s economy infuriates BDS advocates. Their response includes boycotting Israeli products, companies and social institutions, divesting from corporations that do business with Israel, demanding that companies and institutions rid their portfolios of Israel bonds, and sanctioning Israel in various diplomatic and economic forums.

These actions raise the question of who actually wants Israel boycotted. Certainly not individuals around the world benefiting from Israel’s life-saving advances in science and medicine. Certainly not the millions of people utilizing made-in-Israel technology to make their daily lives more engaging and productive. And certainly not the distressed citizens of nations afflicted by natural disasters – Nepal, Japan, the Philippines, Haiti and more – who rapidly receive vital supplies and essential medical care from Israeli emergency response teams.

While it might seem tempting to engage BDS advocates – who cynically ignore the most egregious abusers of human rights — head-on through internet forums or verbal confrontations, the most appropriate response is this: every call for divestment should be met with an investment in Israel’s economy through Israel bonds.

Investing in Israel bonds defeats the BDS goal of weakening Israel’s economy by doing the exact opposite: helping to keep it strong.

In 2014, the Israel Bonds organization, which has been a cornerstone of Israel’s economy since 1951, exceeded $1.1 billion in U.S. domestic sales for the second consecutive year. Significantly, 84 percent of all retail sales in 2014 were under $25,000, demonstrating an ever-growing trend of individual investors becoming stakeholders in Israel’s economy through Israel bonds.

During this time of geopolitical uncertainty, hypocritical double-standards and calls for divestment and boycotts, an investment in Israel bonds is a definitive and personal response to the actions of those who wish Israel harm.

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Israel’s Supreme Court rejects Bedouin have land right claims in Negev “Al Arakib”

26May2015 http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2015/05/israels-supreme-court-rejects-bedouin.html#.VWUpJaH7tC3

Al Arakib is an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev that Israel has demolished over 50 times. It has become a cause celebre among Israel bashers.The case has been in the courts for years.

In late 2006, seventeen Bedouin of the al-Uqbi family filed six land claims saying that the land they are on, including Al-Araqeeb, belongs to them. After five years of legal proceedings, the court heard extensive testimonies of experts and witnesses on the behalf of both sides, reviewed historical documents, and scrutinized land laws from the Ottoman period, the British mandate period and that of Israel. The country’s leading experts in historical and political geography testified. For the plaintiffs spoke Ben Gurion University’s Prof. Oren Yiftachel, a critical geographer and a social scientist. Testifying for the state was Prof. Ruth Kark, a leading expert on the historical geography of Palestine and Israel from the Hebrew University.[5]

The plaintiffs argued that the state order to expropriate the land in 1951 was made on the erroneous assumption that under Ottoman law, the land was classified as Mawat (uncultivated and not adjacent to settled lands). They said that the land had been cultivated and owned by them, and so classified as Miri land under Ottoman legal terms. In an expert opinion filed to the court, Oren Yiftachel said that these “tribal areas” of scattered tent clusters were not at that time registered with the authorities, but were nevertheless considered settled and met the definition of a “village” in the 1921 Land Ordinance.[5]

The state’s expert witness, Prof. Ruth Kark, said that prior to 1858 there had been no fixed settlements on or near the disputed land. The first permanent settlement had been Beersheba, which the Ottomans founded in 1900 and which is 11 kilometers from Al-Araqeeb – refuting the Beduin’s claims that the land could not have been Mawat because it was both cultivated and next to a settlement.[5] The State presented an aerial shot of the place proving that the Al-Araqeeb area had no cultivated land during the British mandate period.[24]

The verdict was presented by Judge Sarah Dovrat in the Beersheba District court on March 15, 2012.[25] Based on the experts’ testimony and the presented documents, the judge ruled in favor of the State, saying that the land was not “assigned to the plaintiffs, nor held by them under conditions required by law,” and that they still had to “prove their rights to the land by proof of its registration in the Tabu” (Israel Lands Authority). The judge said that the Bedouin knew they were supposed to register but did not. She said, “The state said that although the complainants are not entitled to compensation, it has been willing to negotiate with them,” and that “it is a shame that these negotiations did not reach any agreement.” The court also ordered the Bedouin to pay legal costs of 50,000 NIS (approximately U.S. $13,500).[5]

In its ruling, the court criticized the expert on the behalf of the plaintiffs, stating that his testimony lacked a sufficient factual basis value and reliable basis.[26] In addition, the court held that the Bedouins’ own internal documentation indicates they were well aware of the legal requirement to register the lands in the Land Registry, but chose not to do so.[5] The judge affirmed that the practice of removal of encroached settlements carried out by the State is acceptable and legal.[5]

Last week, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled yet again that Israel was right and the haters are wrong. The full verdict in Hebrew:

From Israel Hayom:

Something happened in the legal world this week. The High Court of Justice rejected out of hand a petition filed by the Bedouin, backed by leftist organizations, about the village of Al-Arakib in the Negev desert. The place has become a symbol and a flashpoint for everything having to do with state lands. The Bedouin claim ownership of land in the northern Negev on the basis of “ancient rights.” The petitioners spoke of “historical land” from which they had been banished, and argued that the Aloukabi clan had worked those lands at the beginning of the 19th century.

Professor Oren Yiftachel lent his assistance to the plaintiffs by serving as an expert witness, arguing that there had been an ancient Bedouin settlement in the area of Al-Arakib, but all his arguments were rejected. Both the district and the High Court of Justice criticized him severely. Judge Sarah Dovrat wrote: “It became clear that he [Yiftachel] was relying on sources and quoting them without having taken the trouble to read them.” In the High Court ruling, Justice Esther Hayut wrote: “An analysis of the evidence reveals that Professor Yiftachel’s argument is not supported by objective perspective.” A Bedouin tribe might have stopped at the place in question during its peregrinations, but this does not prove that there was ever a pre-existing settlement there.

The interesting thing was the discussion about the desolation of the Negev in the 19th century. The expert witness for the prosecution, Professor Ruth Kark, argued that the plots of land at Al-Arakib were not settled and farmed with any regularity until the start of the British Mandate. She made her case using land surveys, historical maps, official documents, and travel logs. The importance of the legal debate goes beyond the individual story of Al-Arakib and pertains to the historic claim to the land of Israel as a whole, which was mostly wilderness, both in terms of agriculture and population.

An important piece of evidence was the British Palestine Exploration Fund survey map, a thorough mapping survey conducted from 1871-1877 and published in seven volumes. The map was so detailed that it was printed in 26 issues (which are available today online.) The PEF people delineated every wadi, every settlement, tree, and home. They crisscrossed the territory, and an examination of the map shows how empty and barren the land was, and how few people lived there.

The Bedouin plaintiffs claimed a right to the lands in question because they were “native sons,” but the court cast doubt on that argument, because according to their own version of events the clan had arrived in the Negev after it was already under the control of the Ottoman Empire, and therefore were not a native minority that had been conquered by a foreign regime. The verdict makes it clear that the Bedouin who filed the suit testified that their tribe, the Aloukabi clan, had fought alongside Arab armies against Israel in the War of Independence. After they lost, some of the tribe were dispersed to the Gaza Strip and Jordan. At no stage was a deed of ownership presented — not even a record that the land had been registered to the tribe under the Ottomans. Nor was any evidence presented that either the Ottomans or the British Mandate government had acknowledged that the Bedouin had any native rights. The High Court struck down in principle the attempt to “generate rights out of nothing.”

This is a ruling of unparalleled importance and it should serve as a basis for settling the matter of Bedouin lawsuits over Negev land. This is a powder keg that has ramifications for our linkage to the land of this country. This issue can’t be left hanging. The new government should take note.

Israel-haters have been using the Bedouin issue over the past few years to delegitimize Israel within the Green Line in the same way that they use spurious Palestinian Arab claims to delegitimize Israel from without. There are dozens of NGOs that pretend to advocate for Bedouin in the Negev when in fact they are simply looking for excuses to bash Israel.

Comment:
The same thing happened during the Mandate. See The Claim of Dispossession, by Ari Avneri.

Important::
One of the 3 supreme court judges who wrote this verdict
is the Arab judge Salim Joubran.
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Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought

By ISABEL KERSHNER 29May2015 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/world/middleeast/water-revolution-in-israel-overcomes-any-threat-of-drought.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

JERUSALEM — At the peak of the drought, Shabi Zvieli, an Israeli gardener, feared for his livelihood.

A hefty tax was placed on excessive household water consumption, penalizing families with lawns, swimming pools or leaky pipes. So many of Mr. Zvieli’s clients went over to synthetic grass and swapped their seasonal blooms for hardy, indigenous plants more suited to a semiarid climate. “I worried about where gardening was going,” said Mr. Zvieli, 56, who has tended people’s yards for about 25 years.

Across the country, Israelis were told to cut their shower time by two minutes. Washing cars with hoses was outlawed and those few wealthy enough to absorb the cost of maintaining a lawn were permitted to water it only at night.

“We were in a situation where we were very, very close to someone opening a tap somewhere in the country and no water would come out,” said Uri Schor, the spokesman and public education director of the government’s Water Authority.

But that was about six years ago. Today, there is plenty of water in Israel. A lighter version of an old “Israel is drying up” campaign has been dusted off to advertise baby diapers. “The fear has gone,” said Mr. Zvieli, whose customers have gone back to planting flowers.

As California and other western areas of the United States grapple with an extreme drought, a revolution has taken place here. A major national effort to desalinate Mediterranean seawater and to recycle wastewater has provided the country with enough water for all its needs, even during severe droughts. More than 50 percent of the water for Israeli households, agriculture and industry is now artificially produced.

During the drought years, farmers at Ramat Rachel, a kibbutz on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, took water-economizing measures like uprooting old apple orchards a few years before their time. With the new plenty, water allocations for Israeli farmers that had been slashed have been raised again, though the price has also gone up.

“Now there is no problem of water,” said Shaul Ben-Dov, an agronomist at Ramat Rachel. “The price is higher, but we can live a normal life in a country that is half desert.”

With its part-Mediterranean, part-desert climate, Israel had suffered from chronic shortages and exploitation of its natural water resources for decades.

The natural fresh water at Israel’s disposal in an average year does not cover its total use of roughly 525 billion gallons. The demand for potable water is projected to rise to 515 billion gallons by 2030, from 317 billion gallons this year.

The turnaround came with a seven-year drought, one of the most severe to hit modern Israel, that began in 2005 and peaked in the winter of 2008 to 2009. The country’s main natural water sources — the Sea of Galilee in the north and the mountain and coastal aquifers — were severely depleted, threatening a potentially irreversible deterioration of the water quality.

Measures to increase the supply and reduce the demand were accelerated, overseen by the Water Authority, a powerful interministerial agency established in 2007.

Desalination emerged as one focus of the government’s efforts, with four major plants going into operation over the past decade. A fifth one should be ready to operate within months. Together, they will produce a total of more than 130 billion gallons of potable water a year, with a goal of 200 billion gallons by 2020.

Israel has, in the meantime, become the world leader in recycling and reusing wastewater for agriculture. It treats 86 percent of its domestic wastewater and recycles it for agricultural use — about 55 percent of the total water used for agriculture. Spain is second to Israel, recycling 17 percent of its effluent, while the United States recycles just 1 percent, according to Water Authority data.

Before the establishment of the Water Authority, various ministries were responsible for different aspects of the water issue, each with its own interests and lobbies.

“There was a lot of hydro-politics,” said Eli Feinerman of the faculty of agriculture, food and environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who served for years as a public representative on the authority’s council. “The right hand did not know what the left was doing.”

The Israeli government began by making huge cuts in the annual water quotas for farmers, ending decades of extravagant overuse of heavily subsidized water for agriculture.

The tax for surplus household use was dropped at the end of 2009 and a two-tiered tariff system was introduced. Regular household water use is now subsidized by a slightly higher rate paid by those who consume more than the basic allotment.

Water Authority representatives went house to house offering to fit free devices on shower heads and taps that inject air into the water stream, saving about a third of the water used while still giving the impression of a strong flow.

Officials say that wiser use of water has led to a reduction in household consumption of up to 18 percent in recent years.

And instead of the municipal authorities being responsible for the maintenance of city pipe networks, local corporations have been formed. The money collected for water is reinvested in the infrastructure.

Mekorot, the national water company, built the national water carrier 50 years ago, a system for transporting water from the Sea of Galilee in the north through the heavily populated center to the arid south. Now it is building new infrastructure to carry water west to east, from the Mediterranean coast inland.

In the parched Middle East, water also has strategic implications. Struggles between Israel and its Arab neighbors over water rights in the Jordan River basin contributed to tensions leading to the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel, which shares the mountain aquifer with the West Bank, says it provides the Palestinians with more water than it is obliged to under the existing peace accords. The Palestinians say it is not enough and too expensive. A new era of water generosity could help foster relations with the Palestinians and with Jordan.

Desalination, long shunned by many as a costly energy-guzzler with a heavy carbon footprint, is becoming cheaper, cleaner and more energy efficient as technologies advance. Sidney Loeb, the American scientist who invented the popular reverse osmosis method, came to live in Israel in 1967 and taught the water professionals here.

The Sorek desalination plant rises out of the sandy ground about nine miles south of Tel Aviv. Said to be the largest plant of its kind in the world, it produces 40 billion gallons of potable water a year, enough for about a sixth of Israel’s roughly eight million citizens.

Miriam Faigon, the director of the solutions department at IDE Technologies, the Israeli company that built three of the plants along the Mediterranean, said that the company had cut energy levels and costs with new technologies and a variety of practical methods.

Under a complex arrangement, the plants will be transferred to state ownership after 25 years. For now, the state buys Sorek’s desalinated water for a relatively cheap 58 cents a cubic meter — more than free rainwater, Ms. Faigon acknowledged, “but that’s only if you have it.”

Israeli environmentalists say the rush to desalination has partly come at the expense of alternatives like treating natural water reserves that have become polluted by industry, particularly the military industries in the coastal plain.

“We definitely felt that Israel did need to move toward desalination,” said Sarit Caspi-Oron, a water expert at the nongovernment Israel Union for Environmental Defense. “But it is a question of how much, and of priorities. Our first priority was conservation and treating and reclaiming our water sources.”

Some environmentalists also say that the open-ocean intake method used by Israel’s desalination plants, in line with local regulations, as opposed to subsurface intakes, has a potentially destructive effect on sea life, sucking in billions of fish eggs and larvae.

But Boaz Mayzel, a marine biologist at the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, said that the effects were not yet known and would have to be checked over time.

Some Israelis are cynical about the water revolution. Tsur Shezaf, an Israeli journalist and the owner of a farm that produces wine and olives in the southern Negev, argues that desalination is essentially a privatization of Israel’s water supply that benefits a few tycoons, while recycling for agriculture allows the state to sell the same water twice.

Mr. Shezaf plants his vines in a way that maximizes the use of natural floodwaters in the area, as in ancient times, and irrigates the rest of the year with a mix of desalinated water and fresh water. He prefers to avoid the cheaper recycled water, he says, because, “You don’t know exactly what you are getting.”

But experts say that the wastewater from Israel’s densely populated Tel Aviv area is treated to such a high level that no harm would come to anyone who accidentally drank it.TOP

Vote With Your Feet: Free States Are Happier & Richer

Submitted by Gabriel Openshaw via The Mises Institute,

The greater the economic freedom, the wealthier and happier the people.

From minimum-wage laws to higher progressive taxation to greater unionization to larger welfare programs to more regulation, left liberals demand a stronger and more economically active central government. Advocates of laissez-faire, on the other hand, favor smaller government, less regulation, lower taxes, and greater individual opportunity and property rights.

But which economic policy approach actually yields the best results?

We’ve already clearly demonstrated — via international and US state migration rates — that people the world over are naturally drawn toward greater economic freedom. Across countries, and even across states, millions of people every year migrate away from greater taxation and more regulation and toward lower taxation and less regulation. But are they better off?

Yes.

Let’s take a look at the fifty US states, ranked by their level of economic freedom. The most highly-ranked states have lower tax burdens, deference to property rights, less government spending, and labor market freedom:

Economic Freedom Ranking

Taking into account cost-of-living differences, the top ten most economically free states have an average $52,334 median household income, which is considerably higher than the $43,090 median income for the ten least free. That’s a 21 percent raise for workers by switching state government policies to a smaller government approach. How much more could it be increased if the same were done at the national level?

openshaw table 1_0

The observed results are not a question of race or country of origin: African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and immigrants also earn substantially more in the more economically free states. While left liberals should be lauded for their apparent concern for the welfare of minorities, the truth is that their policies yield the worst results for them, a standard of living pay cut just for living in a more regulated and heavily taxed state.

One may think that this could be driven by urban vs. rural states more than policies, but the top ten free states are 71 percent urban vs. 72 percent for the bottom ten — a negligible difference. Moreover, the states in between the two are even more urban, at 75 percent, which effectively rules out correlation.

Another objection may be that “the rich” or “the 1 percent” are skewing the numbers — that income inequality is running rampant with less government to level the playing field, as many persistently believe. The exact opposite is the case.

Using median incomes as the measure (instead of average incomes) effectively eliminates the impact of the very wealthy on the numbers. And the “Poverty Measure” is lower in the most free states (13.3 percent) than in the least free (15.1 percent).

But the real measure of income inequality is the Gini index, and we can put aside for now the fact that median incomes are a far better measure of overall economic well-being than inequality of incomes (i.e., 100 people making $1 a day are perfectly equal but not better off than ninety-nine people making $2 a day and 1 making $5 a day, despite the latter’s higher inequality).

openshaw table 2

If we assume inequality to be an important economic measure instead of a normal byproduct of economic growth, the most free states do better, with a .446 Gini index vs. a higher and less equal .462 Gini for the least free states. Not only that, but the rate of growth of inequality over the past forty years is lower in the most free states compared to the least free: 22 percent vs. 30 percent. In other words, heavier government involvement has led to more income inequality and faster growth of such, while less government has created a more equal growth in incomes.

A final argument might be that while there may be greater income in more free-market states, the increased government regulation and intervention provides greater care and increases the population’s happiness and well-being. But the opposite is the case.

Gallup publishes an annual Well Being Index, which measures and ranks each state’s population across five core measures of well-being:

  1.  Purpose (liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals)
  2.  Social (having supportive relationships and love in your life)
  3.  Financial (managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security)
  4.  Community (liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community)
  5.  Physical (having good health and enough energy to get things done daily)

Averaging each state’s Wellness rank for the past seven years we find that states with greater economic freedom also bring greater happiness and well-being.

openshaw table 3

So what happens when you create a more laissez-faire and libertarian environment where people make more money, have less poverty, and find greater happiness in their lives? People want to move there. And indeed, looking at state-to-state migration of Americans between 2006 and 2010, we see a net migration flow of 704,000 from the twenty-five least economically free states to the twenty-five most economically free. That’s hundreds of thousands of Americans choosing to relocate away from more interventionist government to more free market oriented government.

Political Party Just One Factor

On that latter point, it’s important to distinguish small-government ideology from Republican party control in a state. While it’s true that there’s a strong correlation between Republicans and economic freedom — the ten most free states had a Partisan Voter Index (PVI) average of R+10.3 vs. D-6.1 for the ten least free — it’s not a perfect correlation either. Two of the top ten states (Virginia and New Hampshire), for instance, are swing states, and two of the bottom ten economically free states (West Virginia and Mississippi) are solidly Republican.

It’s also worth noting what economic freedom is not: it is not corporatism or crony capitalism, where the government bails out banks and subsidizes politically connected businesses, which both major political parties are heavily guilty of. Rather, it’s smaller, less intrusive government.

The reality on the ground is that states with more libertarian free market policies enjoy better results: greater median incomes, a more equitable distribution, less poverty, greater success for minorities and immigrants, and higher overall levels of happiness and well-being. In the political rhetoric landscape the battle of ideology is fierce and filled with demagoguery; in the real world the difference in results between competing economic policies are strikingly clear.

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Rav Ovadia Yossef on Wigs / Sheitels (with English translation)

Tzniut Posters 012 Peah Nochrit (wigs)
This is Absolutely Forbidden!!!

There are more than 20 poskim who say that this is completely forbidden, it is absolutely forbidden to go out of the house into the public streets wearing a peah nochrit (wig). It is just as if you are going out with a completely uncovered head. Just like it is forbidden for a married woman to go out with her hair uncovered, it is equally forbidden for a married woman to go out with a wig on.
There was a great gaon, Rebbe Pinchas Horovitz, a world sized giant, Rebbe Pinchus Leibush Horovitz, he took his beit din with him and they took a Sefer Torah with them and they pronounced a cherem (a decree of excommunication) on any woman who would wear a peah nochrit (wig). Who can violate a cherem of a man as great as this?! He was a giant, a giant in Torah… To violate his cherem… Who would violate such a persons’ cherem? This is in addition to the fact that there were many Gaonim who have written explicitly that wigs are forbidden.

Tzniut Posters 013

Any Rav who is lenient regarding wigs will face judgement for it in the future!

The Gaon of Vilna writes in his sefer on the Mishnayot explicitly that wigs are forbidden.

The Gaon Yaabetz writes extensively in his sefer ‘Mor Uktziah’ and in his sefer ‘Tshuvot Yaabetz’ very explicitly that wigs are absolutely forbidden!

The Chatam Sofer writes, “After the Gaon Yaabetz has thusly said, it is certainly necessary to forbid wigs.”

The Maharif Chiyut in his sefer ‘Ish Chiyut’ writes in one of his teshuvot (halachic responsas), “It has already been forbidden by the greatest of the world and there is no room for leniency in this matter. Only the apikorsim (heretics), the minim and apikorsim are the ones who are lenient in this matter. Everyone else is very cautious in this matter.”

Rav Chaim MiSanz writes in his sefer ‘Shu”t Divrei Chaim’ as follows, “It is the actresses, wild and immodest women, they began with this practice. Many have learned from them, we have mixed with the goyim and learned from their ways.”
To my great sorrow, I have heard of many good girls who would prefer to wear a cloth head covering, and the boys, those learning in the Yeshivot are making conditions not to date them unless they commit to only wearing a wig after marriage. What Yeshiva students are these? These are ignoramuses, fools, wicked people! They are defaming the name of Hashem. People who ask for things like this learn in a yeshiva?! What Torah are they learning? They will have to face judgement for this in the future.
The author of the sefer ‘Atzei Arazim’ in Even Haezer writes, “I am certain that any Rav who is lenient in the matter of wigs will have to face judgement in the future!”

Ad for Wigs at the OU Center in Jerusalem

From the OU Center Ad in Torah Tibbits OU-ttidbits-1163-pg66-18December2015 http://www.ttidbits.com/1163/1163lite.pdf

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Why Israel is a pilgrimage site for birds — and bird-watchers

Located at the nexus of three continents, with a diverse climate, Israel draws some 500 million birds each year from 550 species
By Ben Sales February 26, 2016,http://www.timesofisrael.com/why-israel-is-a-pilgrimage-site-for-birds-and-birdwatchers/

bird-hula-webThousands of cranes taking flight in Israel’s Hula Valley, February 2016. (Ben Sales/JTA)
JTA — Thousands of cranes sit in pairs in a field here, their outlines approaching the horizon. Then, all at once, they take flight, a cloud of black-and-white feathers filling the sky.

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Shai Agmon isn’t interested in most of these. All he cares about is one pair near the front, slightly shorter than the rest. Most of the birds are common cranes, but these two are demoiselle cranes — a rare find in these parts.

“They can’t sleep in the desert and can’t stop in southern Israel,” said Agmon, director of the Hula Valley Avian Research Center for Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund, which manages the valley’s bird-watching park. “Here they have food and a safe place to rest.”

With 300 bird species passing through each year, the Hula Valley in northern Israel is one of the prime bird-watching spots in a country that has gained a reputation as a mecca for bird-watchers. With a location at the nexus of three continents, and a climatic diversity that ranges from arid desert in the south to a cooler mountainous region in the north, Israel draws about 500 million birds annually from 550 species. The entire continent of North America, which is 1,000 times Israel’s size, sees barely twice as many species.

Israel’s unique geographic features — it is also one of the last green spots before the adjacent Sinai and Sahara deserts — has also made it a destination not only for birds but for people who live for the thrill of identifying a rare species perched on a branch or lake.

“The more I go see places in the world, the more I see how much richness of nature I have in Israel, and some of it is so close to home,” said Yuval Daks, a bird photographer for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. “It’s hard to compete with the richness of Israel because we have so many climates. We have the desert, [Mount] Hermon.”

For the estimated tens of thousands of bird-watchers who come to Israel every year, the must-see sites aren’t the Western Wall or Masada but the Hula Valley and the Eilat Bird-watching Park. Sometimes armed with telephoto lenses, bird-watchers will wake up before dawn and drive for hours to find a species.

When they’re successful, the experience can be electrifying. Dan Alon, director of the Israel Ornithological Center, recalled being overwhelmed the first time he encountered a flock of 200,000 honey buzzards in 1984.

“It filled the sky,” Alon said. “You couldn’t see the sky. You can’t forget that. I love birds. I love this world. I find new things all the time.”

The Hula Valley became a prime bird-watching spot by accident. Drained of its swamps in the 1950s, the valley was re-flooded four decades later when KKL-JNF realized the drainage had damaged the local ecosystem. Farmers began planting corn and peanuts in the newly re-moistened soil — exactly the crops cranes like to eat.
Shai Agmon is director of the Hula Valley Avian Research Center for Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund, which manages the valley’s birdwatching park. (Ben Sales/JTA)

Shai Agmon is director of the Hula Valley Avian Research Center for Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund, which manages the valley’s birdwatching park. (Ben Sales/JTA)

Shai Agmon is director of the Hula Valley Avian Research Center for Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund, which manages the valley’s birdwatching park. (Ben Sales/JTA)

Shai Agmon is director of the Hula Valley Avian Research Center for Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund, which manages the valley’s bird-watching park. (Ben Sales/JTA)Soon, rather than just pass through the valley, 30,000 cranes stayed there every winter, feasting on the crops and sleeping perched in an artificial lake. Now, to protect the farmers’ livelihood, the government feeds the cranes up to eight tons of corn a day.

KKL-JNF is setting up six bird-watching parks throughout Israel in an effort to draw bird-watchers to sites across the country. Every year the society holds Champions of the Flyway in Eilat, in which international teams compete to see how many different species they can spot in one day.

“We’re not going to manage nature,” said Yaron Charka, KKL-JNF’s chief ornithologist. “The most important thing is that there will be interesting birds that come here naturally.”

Some of Israel’s bird-watchers have done more than just look at the winged creatures. Yossi Leshem, director of the Israel-based International Center for the Study of Bird Migration, set up a radar system that detects bird migration patterns to avoid crashes that could down Air Force jets. Leshem pioneered the use of mice-eating birds like kestrels and barn owls as a means of pest control. And he has helped Israeli schoolchildren learn geography by studying bird migration patterns.

“What’s important to me is to preserve nature,” Leshem said. “So I looked for some applied area that’s not just theoretical.”

Some bird-watchers, however, prefer Israeli activists to leave the country’s avian ecosystem as is. Clive Bramham, an avid American bird-watcher who lives in Norway, has visited Israel twice — in 2002 and a decade later. The first visit, with less infrastructure and fewer crowds, was more pleasant.

“You want access, but you want the real experience,” Bramham said. “The Hula was exciting, [but] I would not go there on a Saturday. I would not do that again. There’s more traffic on the weekend. If you really want to see the birds, get there early.”
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 The US forced Israel out of Gaza and Northern Shomron in 2005

The rabbi who knew the real reason for Arik Sharon’s “Disengagement”Reflections on the passing of Rabbi Shaar-Yashuv HaKohen zt”l: The Rabbi who heard the real reason Arik Sharon retreated from Gaza and expelled the Jewish communities from Katif and Northern Shomron.
David Bedein, 06/09/16 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19442
The death of the Chief Rabbi Emeritus of Haifa, Rabbi Shaar-Yashuv Cohen, brings to mind the most stirring episodes in the history of the modern State of Israel.

Rav Shaar-Yashuv Cohen, wounded in the battle for the Old City in Jerusalem, was the last Jewish civilian who left the Old City as it fell, carried on a stretcher into captivity…And Rav Shaar-Yashuv Cohen, who served as the deputy Mayor of Jerusalem in 1967, was given the honor of being the first civilian allowed to enter the Old City in Jerusalem at the time of its liberation during the six day war.

Yet there is yet another mission to Jerusalem which was little known.

In August, 2005, Rabbi Shaar-Yashuv Cohen traveled to Jerusalem to attempt a last minute plea for then Prime Minister Ariiel (Arik) Sharon to reconsider his plan to retreat from Gush Katif, which involved Israel’s obliteration of the 21 Jewish communities there, including 325 thriving Jewish farms and 86 synagogues and Jewish study centers. Rav Shaar-Yashuv Cohen told me at the time that the rapport between Arik Sharon and himself had lasted since his days of captivity in the 1948 war and that Rav Shaar-Yashuv was the only Rabbi who was ready to speak with him at the time.

Sharon gave a clear answer to the rabbi: “This is what the US is demanding that I do and I must do it.”

It did not matter that half of the 9,000 Jews who live in Gush Katif had nowhere to go, and that their relocation plans were still up in the air.

It did not matter that the Israeli government cannot offer more than two containers to each family to help them remove their possessions.

It did not seem to matter that the experts in Israel’s security establishment are warning that the result of Israel’s hasty retreat will be the creation of a new Islamic terror base.

Rav Shaar-Yashuv Cohen heard Sharon making it clear that he was under pressure from the US government and that is that, and that the myth of an autonomous Israeli policy in this regard had nothing to do with reality.

Indeed, one of the common assumptions was that the Sharon government’s plan to expel Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, and unilaterally hand the area over to an independent Palestinian entity, had been an entirely autonomous Israeli decision.

But the US government was behind it all along.

In meetings with concerned American citizens, Danny Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the US at the time, clearly stated that Sharon’s Retreat Plan was part of an overall Israeli-American agreement.

In late June, 2005, Ayalon met with representatives of the Orthodox Union, one of the largest contingents of American Orthodox Jews, and told them clearly that “Prime Minister Sharon is left with no choice. He is doing exactly what the US expects him to do.”

In an interview with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, published on June 22nd, 2005, Ayalon reversed earlier Israeli government statements, saying that Israel does not expect the Palestinian Authority (PA) to dismantle terrorist infrastructure until after the planned expulsion. He mentioned that ending terrorism and anti-Israel incitement had been conditions Israel had demanded from the PA before carrying out the plan; however, Ayalon indicated that the agreement with the US was more important than an agreement with the PA.

The Israeli ambassador said, “Disengagement has to be viewed in the context of Israel-United States relations…. This pullout did not follow an agreement with the Palestinians, but it followed something which is much more important, an agreement with the United States. Disengagement is something that creates a common agenda between us and the United States.”

In the final interview given by Benyamin Netanyahu before his resignation from the Sharon government, he indicated that the current policy pursued by the government of Israel should be perceived as a threat to the security interests of the US and of all Western countries, since it created a terror base in Gaza, and since the Palestinian Authority incorporated the Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations instead of dismantling them.

Yet, the directive of the US State Department remained unaltered: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon must dismantle and withdraw any and all Israeli presence from every Jewish community in the Katif district of Gaza by mid-August.

When Israel did go ahead with the retreat of the IDF and the expulsion of the Jewish communities from Katif and the Northern Shomron, Rav Shaar-Yashuv Cohen told me that he wanted to tell the world that this policy was implemented as a the result of a clear dictate to Arik Sharon issued by the government of the United States. This was not meant as rationalization for Sharon’s policy.

Few people want to hear the warnings of Rav Shaar-Yashuv Cohen that Israeli policy is often dictated from Washington.
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