Wednesday, September 20, 2017

  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
(Posting early so my Australian and Israeli readers can see it before the holiday.)


Another year has passed. And it has been a good year for the blog. As far as the rest of the world...hard to say.

Israel is in better diplomatic shape than any time since 1967. Terrorism in Israel is down, again thanks to brilliant IDF intelligence and smart police work.

But Iran is one year closer to the bomb. And it is best friends with North Korea, where it gets much of its missile technology. (And probably nuclear tech as well.) And no one knows what is going to happen with the current resident of the White House.

Praying for two days sounds like a great idea.

On the blog front, I have nearly 25,000 Twitter followers. An article I quickly wrote last week went viral on Facebook and is now my most popular news post ever, with nearly 100,000 views across all platforms. (#1 rule of social media: You never know what will go viral!) I can't even keep up with the comments here any more (if you need to bring something to my attention, please email me!)

I didn't send out my quarterly donation appeal yet, but if you think that this blog is valuable, please use the donation buttons on the sidebar or the subscription Patreon link below.

I created the graphic above a few years ago, to symbolize the 30 mandatory sounds of the shofar as a kind of art (stealing the idea from a mystical artist in Tzfat/Safed.) Feel free to use it as a Sukkah decoration!

May the coming year be one of blessing, health, prosperity, joy and, above all, peace.

I will not be blogging from Wednesday afternoon until at least Saturday night.





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From Ian:

Isi Leibler: Taking stock and looking ahead
We enter Rosh Hashanah 5778 with conflicting emotions.

Israel has never been stronger, but we live in a world of chaos.

North Korea threatens nuclear Armageddon and Europe is now suffering Islamist terrorist attacks the likes of which Israel has endured since its inception.

The Iranians and Hezbollah seek to move in on Israel’s northern frontiers, repeatedly proclaiming an imminent war that will destroy Israel. Prospects are nonexistent for peace with the Palestinians and Hamas has announced a renewal of its relationship with Iran.

We now realize that the apparent decline in anti-Semitism after the Shoah was illusory. Globally, anti-Semitism – frequently expressed as anti-Israelism – has escalated.

Domestically, Israel has been inundated with accusations of corruption implicating the prime minister and leading government officials, prominent businessmen, senior bureaucrats and even the IDF. Although these charges have yet to be proven, the accused have been proclaimed guilty by undisciplined police officers and the sensationalist media.

Despite these challenges, we must thank the Almighty; the Jewish people is stronger than it has ever been since the destruction of the Second Temple, and Israel is a regional superpower.

Whatever one's views about U.S. President Donald Trump and despite some unfulfilled campaign promises, he supports Israel. In addition, support for Israel in Congress and the overall American public stands at an all-time high.
Caroline Glick: Israel and the American Jewish crisis
As the New Year 5778 begins, 88% of Israeli Jews say that they are happy and satisfied with their lives. This makes sense. Israel’s relative security, its prosperity, freedom and spiritual blossoming make Israeli Jews the most successful Jewish community in 3,500 years of Jewish history.

The same cannot be said for the Jews of the Diaspora. In Western Europe, Jewish communities that just a generation ago were considered safe and prosperous are now besieged. Synagogues and Jewish schools look like army barracks. And the severe security cordons Jews need to pass through to pray and study are entirely justified. For where they are absent, as they were at the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket in Paris in 2015, assailants strike.

Western European Jewry’s crisis is exogenous to the Jewish communities. It isn’t the Jews who caused the crisis, which may in time cause the wholesale exodus of the Jews from Europe. The crisis is a function of growing levels of popular antisemitism spurred by mass immigration from the Islamic world and the resurgence of indigenous European Jew-hatred, particularly on the far Left.

The same cannot be said of the American Jewish community, which at the dawn of 5778 also finds itself steeped in an ever deepening crisis. And while antisemitism is a growing problem in America, particularly on university campuses, unlike their European counterparts, American Jews could mount and win a battle against the growing anti-Jewish forces. But in large part, they have chosen not to. And they have chosen not to fight the antisemites because they are in the midst of a self-induced identity crisis.

First, there is the problem of demographic collapse.
Nearing Centennial, Lord Balfour Descendant Shows Pride in Family Support for Jewish Homeland
In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, British and Israeli senior officials convened in Jerusalem last week to discuss the past, present and future of British-Israeli relations.

The Balfour Declaration was a British government public statement, issued on November 2, 1917, that offered support for the establishment of a “national home” in Palestine for the Jewish people. The declaration is credited with galvanizing popular support for Zionism.

The recent UK-Israeli conference was dubbed “From Balfour to Brexit,” and held on September 13 and 14 to inaugurate the new Jerusalem-based Sir Naim Dangoor Centre for UK-Israel Relations. Speakers at the conference, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Mark Regev, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, focused on the history and future of British-Israeli relations. They also discussed the possible political and historical implications of Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union, as mandated by last year’s so-called “Brexit” vote.

At the conference, Lord Roderick Balfour, the 5th Earl of Balfour — and the great-great nephew of former Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour — reminisced fondly about “family folklore” of his ancestor’s “very important letter.”

From Ian:

Trump’s Turtle Bay Triumph
President Trump delivered his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, and it was a triumph.

The speech offered the clearest sign yet that the administration has parted with Steve Bannon and other Breitbart types who wanted to use Trump as a bulldozer against liberal order. At Turtle Bay, Trump recommitted Washington to the defense of a U.S.-led world order. He also called out forcefully the rogue states that seek “to collapse the values, the systems and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom.”

Trump praised the founding of the U.N. and the Marshall Plan, based on the “noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent and free” and the “vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security and promote their prosperity.” Robert Kagan couldn’t have said it better.

Turning to specific global security challenges, Trump similarly telegraphed a return to the GOP’s postwar foreign-policy traditions.
  • On Iran: “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities [in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen] while building dangerous missiles. And we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program . . . Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever. The day will come when the people will face a choice: Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous?”
  • On socialism in Venezuela and beyond: “The problem in Venezuela isn’t that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba, to Venezuela; wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.”
  • On U.N. reform: “Too often, the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution’s noble ends have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.”
  • On the threat from revanchist regimes in Moscow and Beijing: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.”

Netanyahu at UN: Despite Iranian Threats, “The Light of Israel Will Never be Extinguished”
In his speech before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hailed what he called a “revolution” in Israel’s acceptance around the world and warned that despite Iranian threats “the light of Israel will never be extinguished.”

“This is happening because so many countries around the world have finally woken up to what Israel can do for them,” Netanyahu explained. “Those countries now recognize what brilliant investors like Warren Buffet and great companies like Google and Intel, what they’ve recognized and known for years: That Israel is the innovation nation – the place for cutting-edge technology in agriculture, in water, in cyber security, in medicine, in autonomous vehicles – you name it, we’ve got it.”

Netanyahu added that Israel doesn’t just give the world the technology to improve lives, but the information needed to save lives, “Israel has provided intelligence that has prevented dozens of major terrorist attacks around the world. We have saved countless lives. You may not know this, but your governments do, and they are working closely together with Israel to keep your countries safe and your citizens safe.”

After noting that hundreds of foreign dignitaries visited Israel in the past year, Netanyahu said, “After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world.”

Despite the positive changes, the Prime Minister also noted that Israel still isn’t fully accepted, a problem that, he observed, was apparent at the UN.


Pal. activist: Flotillas are for propaganda, not humanitarian goals
Hamas-affiliated flotilla leader Zaher Birawi has admitted that the goal of flotillas sailing toward Gaza is not really humanitarian, but propaganda, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported on Tuesday.

The British-Palestinian activist has also predicted that the next flotilla designed to break Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas in Gaza will take place in summer 2018.

He made the statements in a recent interview by Felesteen, Hamas’s daily newspaper, translated and analyzed by the intelligence center.

Birawi is the chairman of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza, an umbrella organization established to send flotillas to Gaza.

According to the Center, the flotilla leader said the flotillas’ main goal is propaganda aimed at keeping the Palestinians, Gaza and the “siege” as “live” topics in global discourse.

He stated that the objectives of the flotillas are to defame Israel, and to increase the effect of the political and media campaigns accompanying the flotillas.

  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
An abstract of a paper at the British Journal of Criminology:

Child Arrest, Settler Colonialism, and the Israeli Juvenile System: A Case Study of Occupied East Jerusalem
Bella Kovner  Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

The British Journal of Criminology, azx059, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azx059

Published: 15 September 2017

Abstract

Based on three interrelated theoretical frameworksinstitutional racism, settler colonialism and security reasoning—the study examines child arrests in Occupied East Jerusalem (OEJ), addressing how the Israeli justice and law enforcement systems treat Palestinian children. Through analyses of Knesset protocols, court watch participatory observations, review of court proceedings and verdicts, interviews with children, families and professionals in juvenile justice, and a round table discussion, we found that criminalization and punishment are embedded in a systematic, racialized violence that characterizes the Israeli criminal justice system when dealing with Palestinian children in OEJ. The Israeli justice and law enforcement systems categorize Palestinian children as security threats, born terrorists and ideological criminals, lacking all rights.
 This very "study" takes as its starting point that Israel is a racist, colonial state - and then adds a veneer of  "scholarship" based on pure lies and bias. So its conclusion is not surprisingly an affirmation of its initial biased assumptions.

Even the conclusion cannot possibly be based on any empirical evidence. How can anyone prove that the Israeli justice system considers all Arab children terrorists unless there is a court decision that says this - which of course there isn't, because the idea is absurd? Stone throwing and Molotov cocktail throwing 17 year olds who are the ones who get arrested are not the same as all Palestinian children

Even without reading the paper, it is provably garbage.

But good enough to get published by a British journal.



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  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
I haven't yet found the entire show, but here is the beginning at least:



His one minute history of the region is pretty good  - and infinitely better better than some I've seen.

If I get a chance before the holiday I'll add more clips as I find them.

UPDATE: All the clips seem to be here but I can't embed them (legally.)




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  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
If there is any topic that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are known to be concerned with, it is torture (or alleged torture.) The two groups will interview former prisoners and detainees and, often without any corroboration of the stories, publish the most lurid details of the types of tortures endured (or allegedly endured) by the victims.

It is difficult to think of something that human rights groups are better equipped to do than to publicize cases of torture.

There is one group of people that HRW and Amnesty have completely ignored, however.

Last July, the Jerusalem District Court ruled in an 1,800 page decision that some 52 Arabs who were accused of "collaboration" with Israel were entitled to damages for being tortured, often horrifically, by the Palestinian Authority.

The proceedings lasted 14 years. The verdict was announced two months ago. The stories are horrific:

The 1,800-page court decision written by Justice Moshe Drori elaborates on the details of the torture. The gruesome stories, it found, were confirmed by eyewitnesses, the scars on their bodies, and testimony from psychologists.

The victims are being represented by the law office of Barak Kedem, Aryeh Arbus, Netanel Rom and David Zur. Kedem, in an interview with The Times of Israel, described some of the worst cases of torture he can remember from the trial.

For days on end, prisoners were hung upside down. After they lost consciousness, they would be put right side up until they regained consciousness. Then the process would be repeated, he said.

Another method of torture was transferring prisoners back and forth between hot and cold baths. Many had their teeth pulled out with pliers, while some had fingernails extracted. Many spent weeks at a time in a tiny metal closet in which they couldn’t move their bodies.

One man was placed inside a metal barrel and left for five hours in the hot August sun. When they took him out, his interrogators placed salt all over his blistering skin.

Walid himself said that the worst torture method was forcing prisoners to sit on the head of a broken bottle of glass, which tore up their insides.

Though the prisoners were placed in different jails throughout the West Bank, many described the same methods of torture.

Kedem said this showed that these methods “were ordered from up top and not at the discretion of individual interrogators.” In his decision, Justice Drori agreed with this assessment.

At no point while in PA custody were the prisoners brought before a judge.

A few alleged ex-Shin Bet agent prisoners were killed while in jail. (They were represented in the lawsuit by their parents.)

Walid said he witnessed more than one of the executions.
I could not find a single story about torture in Palestinian Authority prisons for any reason on the Amnesty website although there are several that allege Israel tortures Palestinian prisoners.

HRW has a couple of articles about Palestinian rights abuses that mention torture of detainees, but not a word about the "collaborators" with Israel who suffered - provably - the worst kinds of torture, abuse and death.

I mentioned recently that the only people in the world without human rights protection from NGOs   are the Jews of Judea and Samaria, whom these groups are urging to be subject to mass population transfer, an explicit war crime.

This group of "collaborators" with Israel are an even worse example of people whom the NGOs willfully ignore or want to see tortured and dead.

Because they were trying to stop Palestinians from killing Jews.






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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From Ian:

Professors Stand Up to BDS
A new academic year has begun and, with it, we can expect new attempts to demonize Israel on our college campuses. As ever, the immoderation of those who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement should help. The most recent visible move by prominent BDSers has been to try to align their colleagues—in however hedged a manner—with the politically toxic Antifa movement.

So yes, we are not dealing here with strategic masterminds. But, in academia, such people have an advantage, nonetheless. They are “scholar-activists,” distant cousins of the 1960s New Left, who view campuses, as their forebearers did, as grounds from which to assail the powers that be. That is to say, they are there primarily, not incidentally, to engage in political activism. They have an influence far out of proportion to their numbers because most academics are at colleges and universities to teach and engage in research. They don’t, as people say in the movies, want no trouble. So they are inclined to leave politics to the people who care about it, so long as they are allowed to do their work in peace.

It is in part for this reason that organizations like Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the newer Academic Engagement Network exist (full disclosure: I have worked with both organizations). On the one hand, they enable scholars drawn reluctantly into a fight against BDS to learn from and support each other’s efforts. On the other hand, they try to spread the news that BDS is not only unjust to Israel—a fact that may worry those with no dog in the fight only a little—but also damaging to the academic enterprise, for which BDS seeks to substitute propagandizing.

At the beginning of the academic year, it is worth pausing to notice how many professors have been willing to put their reputations on the line to turn back BDS efforts and how often they have been successful. These include figures like Cary Nelson, Russell Berman, Rachel Harris, Sharon Musher, and Jeffrey Herf, to name just a few. These academicians have well-deserved reputations for waging long and successful campaigns for the integrity of their disciplines in the Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association. But they also include physicist Azriel Genacka and biochemist Fred Naider, who, along with many of their colleagues at the City University of New York, stood up and opposed a pro-BDS resolution passed by a graduate student union there, and supported by some CUNY faculty.

Perhaps most impressively, they include scholars like the anthropologist Gila Silverman, who, despite working in a field that includes many BDS supporters and without the protection of tenure, was willing to fight publicly against a BDS resolution that very narrowly failed to win the support of the American Anthropological Association. Credit is due to the Academic Engagement Network for pulling together, as part of a new guide for faculty, these and other examples of faculty efforts to counter BDS.

Most of the participants in these efforts are left-liberals; in a profession in which conservatives have neither numbers nor much influence, that can hardly be surprising. But BDS has inadvertently brought together people on the left and right who have in common, at the very least, an interest in the health and integrity of their universities and professional associations.

Why Does the U.N. Exist? Secret Deals, Sex Scandals and Silence Harm United Nations Mission
For more than seven decades, the United Nations has been a leading international authority on world affairs. However, its credibility has been damaged by allegations of corruption, and political stalemates among leading powers undermine the U.N.'s core values and often produce more talk than change, critics say.

This week, world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York are set to deliver major speeches addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the international community. President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of the U.N., is widely expected to take on rivals Iran and North Korea in his first appearance at the forum. While the gathering is likely to host some fiery rhetoric from all sides, critics such as U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer are more concerned with what's going on behind closed doors, something he says could compromise the integrity of the organization as a whole.

"People don't realize this, but most of what happens at the U.N. is vote-trading," Neuer told Newsweek.

"Sadly, too often European democracies do deals in the darkness; they do secret deals that end up being sort of a deal with the devil," he added.

U.N. Watch is a Geneva-based monitoring group founded in 1993 by lawyer and civil rights activist Morris Berthold Abram. Its stated goal is to hold the U.N. accountable when it fails to live up to its mission. While Neuer cites U.N. inaction on humanitarian crises in Syria and Venezuela as examples of times when states needed to step up and effect real change, he expressed particular indignation toward a recent U.N. scandal that highlighted the practice of nations offering votes for individual political gains, as opposed to dealing on ethical and moral grounds.



Maybe you've heard of the phenomenon known as "only in Israel." It may seem self-explanatory: something that could only happen in Israel, which is true. But it's more than that. It's a flavor, a culture. You only know it's happened when it hits you, and you wouldn't know what you were seeing unless you'd spent some time in Israel, living among Israelis.

"Only in Israel" is so well known a phrase that people often abbreviate it, especially on social media. "OIL," they'll comment, which is ironic, considering that nope: oil was not one of the things God gave Israel. At least not that we're aware, up until now.

There's a Facebook group where people share their moving "Only in Israel" stories. Because they are moving. Besides which sharing and reading "Only in Israel" stories can change a blah, or no-good-very-bad-day to a better one.

The thing is, an "Only in Israel" moment doesn't happen that often. Which is one reason these moments are so beloved, so precious. You have to not be looking for them. They have to catch you unawares. That's part of the charm of "Only in Israel" moments.

The "Only in Israel" moment comes to remind you why you love the land, why you chose to live in Israel instead of your birthplace, in spite of the heat, the terror, and living so far away from family you may have left behind. It comes just when you need it, the "Only in Israel" moment, when you're heart-sore and tense and worried. It's a kind of magic or medicine that completely changes your perspective, without effort, in milliseconds.

As you know, we usher in Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Wednesday night. Since Rosh Hashana, a two-day holiday, is this year followed by Shabbat, we have to prepare for what is, in essence, a three-day holiday. If one is not lucky enough to get invited out for the holiday, the week has been a maelstrom of earnest shopping and cooking the likes of which is difficult to describe.

You worry about how far in advance you can cook chicken, and whether that kugel can be frozen. You worry about buying lettuce, because if you buy it early it will spoil and if you wait too long, there won't be any left. You worry about not having enough air circulating in your fridge because it's so jam-packed, that the lettuce you managed to find might actually freeze, rendering it inedible. You worry about waking up on Shabbos morning and oh no, that chicken you cooked on Wednesday doesn't smell very good.  Most of all, you worry about paying for it all. And if you work for a living, you're hard pressed to get it all done: work, shop, cook, work, shop, and cook some more.

It's a recipe for some serious tension.   

Sunday morning, my husband took my second Rosh Hashana shopping list (I made five, broken down by days and tasks) and failed to come home with ginger root, marzipan, and marmalade. I accused him of being vision-challenged, and he dared me to come with him right there and then to find those things in the store. Huffing and puffing, I slipped on my shoes and jumped into the car with him. Sure enough, I found ginger root, marzipan, and marmalade, no problem. That may have been because it was a different store. Or it may be that my husband is, um, vision-challenged.

At any rate, I brought my loot to the checkout line and it was LONG. The cashier was yelling at a woman, saying, "You can't do that when it's busy like this. You can't just make everyone wait and let the line pile up while you go and look for something when I'm already checking out your items!"

'Oh, great,' I thought. 'This is just lovely. Waiting to buy three items with a gazillion people in front of me, a selfish customer, and a testy cashier.'

The cashier called out, "It's busy, here. We need to open another line," and a guy came over to open another line. Three of us raced over the other line. But MAN, this cashier was slow. I should have stayed in the first line.

I was watching the people in front of me to see how long it would take and I realized both of them were friends with me on Facebook, and neither of them knew me by sight. 'Depressing,' I thought. And sighed.

Right at that moment, the cashier, the new one who'd opened up the line, whistled the opening bars of the Looney Tunes theme song, The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down. "DAH dada da DAH da DAH da dada da DAH. DAH dada da DAH da DAH da dada da DAH."

Without breaking a beat, I puckered up and blew, "Da-a DA-AH da-a DA-AH dada da DAH. Da-a DA-AH da-a DA-AH dada da DAH!"



The cashier looked at  me agog. Everyone in the store stopped and stared. The guy in front of me whipped around, confused. "Who's whistling??" he said.

"Me," I said. "Er, him," I stuttered,  gesturing to the cashier.

The cashier said, "It was a duet!"

Everyone was, by now, smiling and laughing, the tension completely defused. The cashier from the first line, getting in on the fun said, "Everyone knows that song!

No longer was anyone grousing about long lines first thing on a Sunday morning in the supermarket, no longer was anyone worried about paying for the holiday, or getting the cooking done. No longer was anyone panicked about punching a clock at work. All that was gone.

Just like that.

It was an "Only in Israel" moment.

Shana Tova to all my readers! A sweet year.





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When you want to find pearls, you need to be patient and be willing to go deep. They aren’t on the surface, they are in the muck at the bottom of the ocean, created in response to an irritation, a grain of sand or a parasite.

And sometimes they are right in front of you - but you have to know how to see them.

There is a cashier in my grocery store named Pearl.  Pearls are beautiful. She is not. You could easily call her ugly. She is rather unattractive, middle aged with buck teeth. Uneducated and just a little too loud.

Do you pay attention to the cashier at your grocery store? I assume that most people don’t. They are just one more station in the midst of errands and tasks that need to be completed…  One of the invisible people that help us through our day.

The upcoming holiday made me think of a tiny interaction I witnessed in the store. It was before a different holiday (Passover). I suppose it was the similar atmosphere that brought the incident to mind. Or possibly it’s the reflective nature of Rosh Hashana that had me pondering the amount of power each of us has to do good in the world. 

It was a few days before the Passover holiday and the grocery store was packed.

Looking for the fastest check-out line, I picked Pearl.  She works fast.

Pearl was in the midst of a conversation with an elderly Russian man in front of me in line. She talks to everyone. She was explaining that he was entitled to choose a discounted product from a special section in the store. He thanked her but said that he would pass on the discount.

“Why?” she asked. She wanted him to benefit from the offer. It wasn’t a significant discount, nothing that would make a big difference on his bill but she wanted him to have it.

He said that his legs don’t work well, that it would take him a long time to walk to the area dedicated to discounts. It would hold up the line and annoy everyone.

Before he completed his thought Pearl responded: “I’ll go instead of you! What do you want?”

The man replied: “No never mind, don’t worry about the discount.”  

He didn’t want to be given personal, unusual service because his body was weak.

Somehow Pearl instinctively knew what he wanted – gefilte fish for the upcoming holiday. In an instant she figured out how to solve the problem. The people behind me were buying gefilte fish. After quickly verifying with the man that it was ok Pearl swiped through the gefilte fish that the couple behind me were buying. The old man then had the fish on his bill. He could pay, pack his groceries and then go get his own fish - at his own pace.  

In an instant Pearl enabled the man to save the money the discount entitled him to receive, without holding up the other customers AND preserve his dignity.

All this took place so swiftly that the couple behind me was not sure exactly what had happened. They were immigrants from America and their Hebrew was not very good. Seeing their confusion, I explained what Pearl had done. The husband, choked up, said: “That is the good of Israel, the heart”. 
Translating, I explained to Pearl that they were moved by her kindness. At first she wasn’t sure what we were talking about. She’s used to herself and that is just the way she is. All the time.

Israel has taught me to look at the heart of matters big and small. It is always the heart that counts. Content of character - not color, gender, religion, status – is what defines the quality of a person. We can’t control what happens to us in life but we can control our reactions to our experiences. These are the choices that define what kind of person we become.

Often it is the people of Israel who teach me the most powerful lessons. The cashier at my grocery store is like many others in this country – the exterior may be tough, even coarse but that is just the outer shell. Inside is a true Pearl. 





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From Ian:

PMW: Ariel Sharon's birthday wish was that 10 Palestinian children be murdered, says PA TV preacher and Abbas' appointee
One hateful and dangerous Palestinian libel is that Israelis murder Palestinians in cold blood, and deliberately target Palestinian children.

This week, PA TV chose to rebroadcast a version of this lie that was first heard on PA TV as part of a religious lesson. PA TV's Islamic educator taught that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would celebrate his birthday by asking Israelis to murder 10 Palestinian children, before "the end of the day." Imad Hamato, the preacher who taught in his weekly PA TV lesson on religion that the dead children would bring "joy" to Sharon, is not an insignificant figure: Hamato was appointed last year by Mahmoud Abbas to be dean of the Al-Azhar institutes, a system of schools that prepare students for studies at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Imad Hamato: "Read the memoirs of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon who died. When he wanted to celebrate his birthday, he used to say: 'On my birthday I want 10 candles to be blown out, 10 Palestinian children. I want to hear that at the end of the day, so that I can feel joy.'"
[Official PA TV, Sept. 15, 2017, Aug. 7, 2015]

Palestinian children are brought up to hate Israelis who they are told are seeking to murder them. During the Palestinian terror wave in 2015-2016 when young Palestinians attacked Israelis with knives, guns, and in car rammings, the host on PA TV's children's program The Best Home, claimed Israelis are "barbarians" and murderers, warning Palestinian children under 18 and 15 not to go out alone because Israelis were looking for children to kill:

"The occupation [Israel] targets children everywhere. In their schools, near their homes... We must be very careful now. We are confronting the occupiers who act in a very barbaric terrorist way. They are trying to kill people everywhere. These are barbarians, my young friends. They try to kill people for no reason, who are just walking on their land. They make various accusations against them. This is called barbarity, my friends. Be very careful all the time. All children under 18, and children under 15, when you go out, your mom or dad, should accompany you, I mean that an adult should accompany you."
[Official PA TV, Nov. 13, 2015]


Evelyn Gordon: Israel Courts Shield Hamas Officials from Consequences
If you can forfeit citizenship for serving in a foreign government, you can certainly forfeit permanent residency. After all, Hamas officials surely don’t deserve more rights than Israeli ones. Yet that’s exactly what the court gave them: Hamas officials can now retain dual nationality even though their other nationality is Israel’s bitter enemy, while Israeli officials cannot, even when their other nationality is Israel’s close ally.

Moreover, it’s eminently reasonable to expect people who choose to serve in a foreign government to move to that government’s jurisdiction, unless some unusual obstacle prevents them. In this case, no such obstacle existed, as evidenced by the fact that two of them did relocate to Ramallah after losing their Israeli residency (the other two were arrested by Israel on unrelated grounds).

Even the majority justices appeared to realize how irrelevant their argument actually was. In a truly stunning statement, Justice Uzi Vogelman, who wrote the main opinion, said, “Our interpretative decision didn’t focus on the petitioners’ case specifically, but on an interpretive question of general applicability to residents of East Jerusalem.” Quite how any court can decide a case without focusing on that case specifically is beyond me.

Ostensibly, the case at least has limited application. After all, how many East Jerusalem Palestinians are going to become Hamas legislators of cabinet members? But in reality, the implications are broad, because if even swearing allegiance to a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction isn’t enough to make a Palestinian lose his Israeli residency and its attendant benefits, what on earth would be? Nothing I can think of. Thus, Hamas supporters in Jerusalem will now be emboldened to step up all kinds of activity on the organization’s behalf, secure in the knowledge that they need not fear expulsion from the country as a consequence.

The court’s judicial activism impedes the government’s ability to set policy in almost every walk of life, as I detailed in Mosaic last year, and several rulings over the past few months rightly outraged many members of Israel’s ruling parties. But last week’s ruling may have been a tipping point: In response, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and her Jewish Home party submitted legislation to curb the court’s excesses. Whether it will pass remains to be seen. But this outrageous ruling in defense of Hamas legislators amply shows why it should.
The Myth of the Disappearing Two-State Solution
A frequent refrain among those who claim the need for an immediate peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is that soon it will “too late” for compromise. According to this argument, the ongoing increase in the number of Jews living on the West Bank will soon lead to Palestinian and Israeli populations that are hopelessly entangled, rendering any division of territory impossible. But, writes Jackson Diehl, the facts tell a different story:
The annual UN General Assembly is under way this week in New York, so we can expect to hear, again, its most hackneyed rhetorical theme—the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Speaker after speaker will declaim the urgency of settling the conflict once and for all; many will assert that the time for doing so has all but expired. . . . It consequently seems worthwhile to offer a couple of reality checks: no, this is not the time to fashion a Mideast peace deal; and, no, the time for one has not run out.
Of the some 600,000 [Jewish] settlers who live outside Israel’s internationally recognized borders, just 94,000 are outside the border-like barrier that Israel built through the West Bank a decade ago. Just 20,000 of those moved in since 2009, when Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office; in a sea of 2.9 million Palestinians, they are hardly overwhelming. Last year, 43 percent of the settler population growth was in just two towns that sit astride the Israeli border—and that Mahmoud Abbas himself has proposed for Israeli annexation.
If the Palestinians were today to accept the deal they were offered nine years ago by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a state on 94.2 percent of the West Bank, only 20 percent of current settlers would find themselves on the wrong side of the border. . . . It follows that a wise U.S. policy would aim at preserving that option until Israeli and Palestinian leaders emerge who can act on it.

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


Over the years, we've seen a number of different presidents, each with his own approach to the Middle East. For example:
  • Carter favored the Arabs, and even today shows a clear bias against Israel.
  • George W. Bush tried to be more even-handed, and during his 8-year term never invited Arafat to the White House -- unlike his predecessor, Bill Clinton.
  • Obama showed a clear bias towards the Arabs. His first trip was to address the Arab world from Cairo.
But nothing Obama said to the Arab world compares to this appeal, ostensibly by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the Arabs of West Africa:
Praise be unto the only God. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. O ye Moslems. O ye beloved sons of the Maghreb. May the blessing of God be upon you.

This is a great day for you and us, for all the sons of Adam who love freedom. Our numbers are as the leaves on the forest tress and as the grains of sand in the sea.

Behold. We the American Holy Warriors have arrived. We have come here to fight the great Jihad of Freedom.

We have come to set you free. We have sailed across the great sea in many ships, on many beaches we are landing, and our fighters swarm across the sands and into the city streets, and into the wide country sides, and along the highways.

Light fires on the hilltops; shout from your housetops, and from the high places, and say the sound of the drum be heard in the land, and the ululation of the women, and the voices even of small children.

Assemble along the highways to welcome your brothers.

We have come to set you free.

Speak with our fighting men and you will find them pleasing to the eye and gladdening to the heart. We are not as some other Christians whom ye have known, and who trample you under foot. Our soldiers consider you as their brothers, for we have been reared in the way of free men. Our soldiers have been told about your country and about their Moslem brothers and they will treat you with respect and with a friendly spirit in the eyes of God.

Look in their eyes and smiling faces, for they are Holy Warriors happy in their holy work. Greet us therefore as brothers as we will greet you, and help us.

If we are thirsty, show us the way to water. If we lose our way, lead us back to our camping places. Show us the paths over the mountains if need be, and if you see our enemies, the Germans or Italians, making trouble for us, kill them with knives or with stones or with any other weapon that you may have set your hands upon.

Help us as we have come to help you, and rich will be the reward unto us all who love justice and righteousness and freedom.

Pray for our success in battle, and help us, and God will help us both.

Lo, the day of freedom hath come.

May God grant his blessing upon you and upon us.

--Roosevelt [emphasis added]


This is from October 1942, when the British were able to stop Hitler's Afrika Korps at El Alamein during WWII. The Allies were finally confident they could keep the Nazis out of the Middle East. Leaflets containing Arabic translations of the appeal were distributed as part of the effort to exploit the situation by winning over the Muslims to their side.

The text was actually written by 2 US agents with help from one of their Muslim spies. Still, one would imagine that Roosevelt would have had to give his approval since his name appeared at the end of the text.

The text goes pretty far in order to win over his audience:
  • The text uses the phrase "Holy Warriors," likely translated as Mujahideen, a term for those engaged in Jihad.
  • The term Jihad implies more than a war. It was a religious obligation, so calling it a Jihad of Freedom might have sounded a bit strange to the Arab ear. Apparently, unlike today, there was no doubt as to the meaning of the word.
  • Referring to the enemy as "other Christians" seems odd and unnecessary. Later, FDR identifies them as "Germans or Italians." But why identify them by religion? What is to be gained by establishing them as kuffar when the Allied forces themselves were Christian?
  • The phrase "kill them with knives or with stones or with any other weapon that you may have set your hands upon" is one that could easily have been written by Hamas, or ISIS, today. That was a simpler time, when it was acknowledged that a stone was a weapon. Basically, the US itself was encouraging terrorism -- even lone wolf terrorism -- against its enemies.
It's not clear that the leaflets had any effect.

Meanwhile, the Germans made their own attempt to win over the Arabs.

In the spring of 1943, in an attempt to win over the Arabs to the Nazi side, Himmler wanted to "find out which passages of the Qur'an provide Muslims with the basis for the opinion that the Fuhrer has already been forecast in the Qur'an and that he has been authorized to complete the work of the Prophet."

Himmler was disappointed - there were no verses to support that claim, so something a bit more modest was suggested. Hitler could be advertised as “the returned ‘Isa (Jesus), who is forecast in the Qur’an and who, similar to the figure of the Knight George, defeats the giant and Jew-King Dajjal at the end of the world."

That led to printing one million pamphlets in Arabic to convince the Arabs to side with Germany. A sample:
O Arabs, do you see that the time of the Dajjal has come? Do you recognize him, the fat, curly-haired Jew who deceives and rules the whole world and who steals the land of the Arabs?… O Arabs, do you know the servant of God? He [Hitler] has already appeared in the world and already turned his lance against the Dajjal and his allies…. He will kill the Dajjal, as it is written, destroy his places and cast his allies into hell.
The effort was a failure. The Arabs ended up preferring to fight on the side of the British in North Africa and the Middle East.

The efforts of the Nazis to enlist the help of the Arabs were based purely on pragmatic reasons, and not out of admiration for the Muslims themselves.

There are Nazi writing that refer to Islam as "the great retarder, which prevented all progress."

However, Hitler himself preferred Islam over Christianity, and felt that the actual problem was that Arabs didn't make the best Muslims:
...He reportedly described Islam as a more muscular belief system than Christianity and thus better suited for the Germany he wished to build.

According to Albert Speer, Hitler once offered a remarkable counterfactual history of Europe. He speculated about what might have been if the Muslim forces that invaded France during the eighth century had prevailed against their Frankish enemies at the Battle of Tours. “Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate” of Northern Europe. Therefore, “ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.

Whether adopting The Muslim terminology, like the US or adapting and remaking Islam as the Nazis attempted, a lot of effort was put into winning over the Muslims as part of the war effort.

In the end, the Nazis failed miserably and the US pursuit of a 'Jihad of Freedom' is as distant as ever, and even their own "Arab Spring" did not last.

And no president since Roosevelt appears to have any better grasp of the Middle East.




We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
I received a J-Street pseudo-Rosh Hashanah greeting, written by their Rabbi John Friedman, asking
for money and then twisting the Torah for its own ends:
[T]he Torah reading that we hear on the first day of Rosh Hashana provides us with some important lessons -- lessons that ought to resonate with us as we continue to advocate for diplomacy and the pursuit of peace.

In the reading from the Book of Bereshit, we learn of a water dispute between the patriarch Abraham and Abimelech, a local chieftain based in the land of the Philistines. Abraham has dug a well to provide for the needs of his sheep and cattle, but Abimelech’s men have been stealing the water. Abimelech comes to confront Abraham, bringing along with him the head of his military forces. The text describes their negotiations in some detail. Faced with a difficult and hostile opponent and a situation that could easily erupt into violence, Abraham instead chooses a path instead designed to safeguard his community and avoid war.

Abraham offers Abimelech compensation in the form of animals from his flock, in return for an admission that the well belongs to him. Abimelech agrees. The two leaders conclude a treaty and loss of life is avoided.

What lessons does this story have for us? First, that wise leaders resort to diplomacy to resolve their disputes, and see the use of force only as a last resort. According to the text, Abraham is clearly in the right, but also understands that what is most important is securing the long term interests and safety of his family and community. He negotiates a prudent compromise to do so -- and avoids an unnecessary war in which both sides would likely have suffered.
... The biblical text teaches us the crucial lesson that simply winning the dispute is not the highest goal. For Abraham, achieving a durable peace and protecting his tribe is far more important than proving that he is right, or suppressing the arguments and goals of his opponent.
This is a completely backwards description of the story.

Here are the verses for the episode (Genesis 21), which occurred after Abimelech saw that God was on Abraham's side in the previous chapter - after God explicitly told him in a dream that Abraham was special and was protected.

At that time Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything that you do. Therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my kith and kin, but will deal with me and with the land in which you have sojourned as loyally as I have dealt with you.”

And Abraham said, “I swear it.”

Then Abraham reproached Abimelech for the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized.

But Abimelech said, “I do not know who did this; you did not tell me, nor have I heard of it until today.”

Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a pact.

Abraham then set seven ewes of the flock by themselves, and Abimelech said to Abraham, “What mean these seven ewes which you have set apart?”

He replied, “You are to accept these seven ewes from me as proof that I dug this well.”

Hence that place was called Beer-sheba, for there the two of them swore an oath. When they had concluded the pact at Beer-sheba, Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, departed and returned to the land of the Philistines.
[Abraham] planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and invoked there the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.
Abimelech didn't come to "confront" Abraham over the well; he didn't know anything about it. He didn't come with any aggressive intent - on the contrary, he came with his general to pay tribute to Abraham! (See Rashi who lists the things that Abraham did that Abimelech was awed by - he had left Sodom safely, he had fought against the kings and won, and that his wife had been remembered in his old age and gave birth to Isaac.)

Once Abimelech was there, Abraham told him about his troubles with the well and Abimelech took care of the situation. Because that was the right thing to do. In no way did Abimelech claim the well.

Abraham's gift was simply that - a gift - given by the clearly stronger party to the weaker one, as a goodwill gesture. And the seven ewes were a symbol of Abraham's ownership of the well, as well as the surrounding land where he planted the tree (or built an inn according to some.)

This is a dramatic difference from what reform Rabbi John Friedman claims. There was no negotiation and no compromise. Abraham was in the right and everyone knew it. Abimelech has zero desire to mess with Abraham, especially after what happened to him and his court in Chapter 20. Abimelech's language as he comes to pay his respects to Abraham even imply that any land that Abraham traveled through in Philistine belongs to him, and begging to be treated kindly.

Abraham was indeed like Israel today, and Abimelech shows exactly how the Palestinians should act - by trying to work together with Israel, who holds all the cards. Israel, like Abraham, is more than willing to be very generous - after there are assurances of peace!

But the Palestinians do not have the wisdom of Abimelech. They act the way J-Street pretends Abimelech is acting, confronting Abraham without having any real legal claim for their position. And J-Street is saying that such behavior should be rewarded! That Abraham should give up his possessions without any assurance that there will be any real peace!

If Abimelech had actually been aggressive, claiming the well as his own, Abraham would have been offended by the lie and he would never, ever have rewarded that with a gift. He would have fought for his possessions. Abraham knew how to fight a war - and win - which he did earlier (Genesis 14) to rescue his nephew, defeating five kings with a small force. Abraham didn't compromise for peace - he established peace with overwhelming force.

There are a couple of lessons here. One is that you really can learn from the Torah that are relevant today.

Another is that J-Street is eager to twist the Torah for its own narrow, sick political goals.

And yet another is that J-Street's average supporter is too ignorant to even know that J-Street's "rabbi" is purposefully twisting a Torah story.





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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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