“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“:
Here is the latest summary of the aftermath from last night’s six distinct attacks across Paris, compiled from numerous media outlets:
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:
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How the attacks unfolded:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Police say they continue to hunt for any possible accomplices to the attacks. No one has yet claimed responsibility.
* * *
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.
* * *
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.
In the statement Islamic State said “soldiers of Caliphate has targeted the capital of abomination and perversion.”
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:
* * *
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.
* * *
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.
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.
Migrant Attacks In Germany
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.”
“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.
And from Reuters:
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.
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).
Overcoming disabilities to defend the nation
“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.
Setting the record clear.
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.”
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.
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.
Rabbi Lazer Brody, The End of Days-21July2015
You have a choice
Rivka Bond May 6, 2016 http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/on-becoming-un-assimilated/
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.
Shocked anchorman for Channel 2 TV interviews ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ activists who favor boycott on all Israeli products.
By Gil Ronen
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.
August 11, 2015 Benyamin Korn http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/08/11/why-some-american-jews-are-lobbying-for-the-iran-deal/
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.
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.
New Reform curriculum: Further alienating Jews from Israel?
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.
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.”
|From Caroline Glick:
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?
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.
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.
The Sadducees have endured, Non Torah Judaism is modern Sadducees(Ẓadduḳi of the Talmud)
May 6, 2016 Author:Pini Dunner
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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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:
But when asked about specifics, practically none felt that the deal would do what J-Street claims it would do:
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:
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:
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.
Amalek or Palestine?
by Yekutiel Ben Yaakov י״ט כסלו תשע״ו – 2015/12/01
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.
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.
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.
By SAM SOKOL 01/25/2015 http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Netanyahu-presented-with-emergency-plan-to-absorb-120000-French-Jews-388910
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.
January 29, 2015 http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/29/leading-british-jewish-actress-says-antisemitism-may-drive-her-to-leave-uk/
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.”
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.
This 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,
What does Putin want?
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.
Playing offense against BDS
Izzy Tapoohi 3May2015 http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/playing-offense-against-bds/
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.
Israel’s Supreme Court rejects Bedouin have land right claims in Negev “Al Arakib”
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.
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:
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.
The same thing happened during the Mandate. See The Claim of Dispossession, by Ari Avneri.
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
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/17/2015 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-17/vote-your-feet-free-states-are-happier-richer
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.
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.”
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
Located at the nexus of three continents, with a diverse climate, Israel draws some 500 million birds each year from 550 species
Thousands of cranes taking flight in Israel’s Hula Valley, February 2016. (Ben Sales/JTA)
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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 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.”
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.
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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An important piece of evidence: The British Palestine Exploration Fund survey map - 1871-1877 - 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 Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people... to oppose Zionism." Zuheir Muhsein, the late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council.; March 1977, Dutch daily Trouw London cab driver's answer to a request from a Muslim to turn off the radio. (You just got to love the Brits.) A devout Arab Muslim entered a black cab in London . He curtly asked the cabbie to turn off the radio because as decreed by his religious teaching, he must not listen to music because in the time of the prophet there was no music, especially Western music which is the music of the infidel. The cab driver politely switched off the radio, stopped the cab and opened the door. The Arab Muslim asked him, "What are you doing?" The cabbie answered, "In the time of the prophet there were no taxis, so get out and wait for a camel." I wonder how many years (hundreds for sure) Jewish people have lived in Quebec. I don't believe that they have ever demanded that pork be removed from the school's menu where their children attend… Excellent reply by the Mayor of Dorval, Quebec, to the demands of the Muslim population in his community. Put some pork on your fork. Too bad the USA doesn’t have the common sense to publish this nationwide, even if they have a muslim in the white house. Should also be posted on signs all along U.S. borders. Let's hear it for a Quebec mayor. MAYOR REFUSES TO REMOVE PORK FROM SCHOOL CANTEEN MENU. EXPLAINS WHY Muslim parents demanded the abolition of pork in all the school canteens of a Montreal suburb. The mayor of the Montreal suburb of Dorval, has refused, and the town clerk sent a note to all parents to explain why.. “Muslims must understand that they have to adapt to Canada and Quebec, its customs, its traditions, its way of life, because that's where they chose to immigrate. “They must understand that they have to integrate and learn to live in Quebec . “They must understand that it is for them to change their lifestyle, not the Canadians who so generously welcomed them. “They must understand that Canadians are neither racist nor xenophobic, they accepted many immigrants before Muslims (whereas the reverse is not true, in that Muslim states do not accept non-Muslim immigrants). “That no more than other nations, Canadians are not willing to give up their identity, their culture. “And if Canada is a land of welcome, it's not the Mayor of Dorval who welcomes foreigners, but the Canadian-Quebecois people as a whole. “Finally, they must understand that in Canada ( Quebec ) with its Judeo-Christian roots, Christmas trees, churches and religious festivals, religion must remain in the private domain. The municipality of Dorval was right to refuse any concessions to Islam and Sharia. “For Muslims who disagree with secularism and do not feel comfortable in Canada, there are 57 beautiful Muslim countries in the world, most of them under-populated and ready to receive them with open halal arms in accordance with Shariah. “If you left your country for Canada, and not for other Muslim countries, it is because you have considered that life is better in Canada than elsewhere. “Ask yourself the question, just once, “Why is it better here in Canada than where you come from?” “A canteen with pork is part of the answer.” If you feel the same forward it on. This reminds me of a Morty Dolinsky story from the time he was head of the Government Press Office:
When the late Morty Dolinsky was in charge of the Government Press Office in the 1980s, he once famously replied to a reporter, who asked for information about the West Bank, that he knew no West Bank as he banked at Leumi.
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