Thursday, 31 December 2009

Israel Matzav: New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo

New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo


For those of you who are too young to remember, sorry.

This was the year after I spent New Year's eve in Times Square. I was there on December 31, 1975/January 1, 1976 in the sleet.

Happy New Year everyone.

Israel Matzav: New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo

Love of the Land: Shalit, Pollard and Jewish Leadership

Shalit, Pollard and Jewish Leadership

30 December 09

On the surface, it looks like Netanyahu said no to the Hamas – albeit not explicitly. If that assessment is correct and Netanyahu is not simply employing delaying tactics to avoid releasing a particular terrorist, then we have witnessed a turning point in Israeli mentality. Israel is in the process of shedding the "peace process" mindset that has been forced upon it in the last generation. As long as we are in the midst of a peace process, what is wrong with freeing terrorists so that we may put an end to the suffering of the Shalit family? But if we are not in a peace process, but rather in a sophisticated form of war, then freeing terrorists is illogical.

Netanyahu saw the polls and knows that the general public is in favor of the deal to release a thousand terrorists for Shalit. But he also saw that he will receive no political dividends from the deal. On the contrary – according to the polls, the public's faith in him will actually decrease.

It is like a young child who is pestering his parents to give him a candy that will also give him a stomach ache. If we would take a poll, we would discover that the child is in favor of the candy – but that he is also opposed to the stomach ache. In any event, his thanks to his parents for the candy will quickly be transformed into anger over his stomach ache.

Both Gilad Shalit and Jonathan Pollard can be quickly redeemed without endangering our soldiers. But for that to happen, we need Jewish leadership that will proudly and fearlessly take the simple steps necessary to release our captives.

Until Israel connects to its Jewish values and mentality, we will not be able to release our captives.
Click here for Moshe Feiglin's article "Why Isn't Gilad Shalit Home Yet?"

Love of the Land: Shalit, Pollard and Jewish Leadership

Israel Matzav: Iranian revolutionaries disappointed with Obama

Iranian revolutionaries disappointed with Obama

There's a fascinating interview with an Iranian revolutionary in the Washington Independent, which includes a couple of videos, and I urge you all to read it. I just want to highlight something at the end.

Ackerman: My last few questions are about the outside world. What do you want from the U.S.? What are you looking to see? Some are saying that the U.S. & its allies could place sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps; others are afraid that even those sanctions would hurt the Iranian people. What do you think?

Mr. A: It is a hard question. We are amazed by Obama’s actions. He talks of democracy, yet he sends a letter to Khamanei and wants to talk to this government.

Ackerman: So you’re disappointed by Obama’s actions?

Mr. A: Up to now, yes. But we hope that like 1978, when the democrats took power [in Iran after the fall of the Shah], the revolution succeeded. This time, it [will] happen again by persuading Russia and China not to support this regime. They still feel they will control the situation, but when Russia and China turns agains them, they’re going to think of backing off a little

Ackerman: What do you think about sanctions? My sources in the Obama administration say that they’re not having any luck talking to Iran and so now are trying to get the international community, including the United Nations, to support sanctions, particularly sanctions targeting the IRGC?

Mr. A: It is a very good move, provided that the people [aren't] affected very much by these sanctions. It’s already hard for us to send and receive packages lately, for instance. Another thing is that there have been so many arrests. Civil rights are the last thing [the regime] cares about. So besides sanctions, we need international pressures to prevent numerous arrests everyday.

Ackerman: Last question. What’s the most important message you want the outside world to know about the Green movement? Or about Iran and the regime?

Mr. A: Please help us make our democracy.

Ackerman: What do we need to do?

Mr. A: Spread the word, so your governments don’t negotiate any deal with this regime.

The revolutionaries favor sanctions, although they'd rather not be affected by them. There's no discussion here of the nuclear program (it doesn't even come up) and no mention of Israel. Are we taking it on blind faith that the Greens won't turn around and develop a nuclear weapon?

My gut feeling is that the man in the street would drop the nuclear program, but the
leadership would not. We've heard a lot lately that the revolution has gone beyond its leadership. Is that true?

Israel Matzav: Iranian revolutionaries disappointed with Obama

Israel Matzav: 'Israelify' airline security

'Israelify' airline security

I think I've pontificated enough about airline security over the last couple of days, so I won't do another long post about it now. Yes, I think the US, Canada and Europe should all adopt Israel's security system (in fact, that's what I thought would happen when Boston Logan hired a former director of El Al's security shortly after 9/11).

But I did want to point you to a few more articles about. First, there's this forum in the New York Times in which the question of whether it's possibly or desirable to adopt the Israeli system is discussed. All of the comments in the top part are worth reading except for the last one, which decides to slam Israel with a whole bunch of ad hominem attacks. But don't worry because that guy gets slammed in the comments below.

The other article I wanted to point out is this one from the Toronto Star, which actually has some details about Ben Gurion Airport security that I had not noticed.

At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area. Sela plays devil's advocate – what if you have escaped the attention of the first four layers of security, and now try to pass a bag with a bomb in it?

"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with Play-Doh in it and two pens stuck in the Play-Doh. That is `Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Duchesneau, `What would you do?' And he said, `Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, `Oh. My. God.'

"Take (Toronto's) Pearson (airport). Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic – which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, `Two days.'"

A screener at Ben Gurion has a pair of better options.

First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.

Second, all the screening areas contain `bomb boxes.' If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.

"This is a very small, simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.

Read the whole thing.

Finally, you should read Michael Totten's description of what happens to him when he flies through Ben Gurion Airport. Michael's been to Lebanon and met with Hezbullah, and Israel's airport security regards with suspicion people who have done that.

Come to think of it, I wonder what happens to Lisa Goldman when she goes through Ben Gurion these days.

Israel Matzav: 'Israelify' airline security

Israel Matzav: How the West is preventing peace

How the West is preventing peace

Khaled Abu Toameh argues that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is negotiating with the 'international community' and not with Israel because he believes that he can get the 'international community' to isolate Israel and bring enough pressure on it to force it to accede to his demands. Abu Toameh argues that the only way to get the 'Palestinians' back to the negotiating table is for the West to stop playing along with Abu Mazen's game, and tell the 'Palestinians' that they will only find peace through direct negotiations with Israel.

Abbas believes that the international community is negotiating with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. He is fully convinced that only increased pressure on Israel, and not negotiations, will bring about a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders.

And since the whole world, with the possible exception of the US Administration, “is on our side,” why bother return to the negotiating table with Israel?

The belief among the Palestinian leadership is that it is only a matter of time before Israel succumbs to the growing international pressure.

By negotiating with Abbas and his government, the Western governments are, in fact, keeping the Palestinians from resuming peace talks with Israel. Instead of negotiating with Abbas, these governments should be urging him to return to the negotiations with Israel as soon as possible and before it is too late.

But for now Abbas does not seem to be in a rush; this is why those who believe that real peace talks could be “revived” in the near future are living under an illusion. Abbas has set out his demands and conditions in a clear and straight manner and he is waiting for the international community to help him achieve all his goals.

There's another issue here. Abu Toameh refers to the need to return to negotiations 'before it is too late.' For the 'Palestinians,' it is never too late. They have turned down a state numerous times, and each time they turn it down, it is reoffered to them on even better terms. The only way the 'Palestinians' will come to the table is if there are consequences that derive from them not coming to the table.

Israel should be annexing land in Judea and Samaria every few months that the 'Palestinians' don't negotiate. It should be founding new Jewish towns and building on that land. Now, I know that many of you think that won't happen, and I realize the odds of Israel's leadership actually finding the courage to do what I suggest are not good. On the other hand, Israel may have no choice because of the 'Supreme Court' ruling relating to Route 443.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Israel has no solution to the dilemma presented by the 'Supreme Court' other than the legislative solution of annexing the highway. If the court insists on doing the same thing with the other highways from which 'Palestinians' are banned for security reasons, it is likely that we will have to annex those highways too. That could open up the possibility of Israel finally getting on with life by annexing land as an antidote to the 'Palestinian' refusal to come to the table. And that might actually force the 'Palestinians' to negotiate.

Israel Matzav: How the West is preventing peace

Israel Matzav: Khameni's vices: Caviar and vulgar jokes

Khameni's vices: Caviar and vulgar jokes

London's Daily Telegraph has a story about Ayatollah Ali Khameni's personal vices based upon interviews (apparently not conducted by the reporters) with an Iranian defector from Khameni's personal guard who is being hidden somewhere in France. As a bonus, the article makes clear that the defector has information regarding Khameni's personal bank accounts, which I am sure will be of interest to Stuart Levey, who is in charge of targeting sanctions against Iran.

Among his claims are that Ayatollah Khamenei has a voracious appetite for trout and caviar; is an avid hoarder of collectables from bejewelled pipes to fine horses; and that he suffers regular bouts of depression which are treated in part by audiences with a mid-ranking mullah who tells vulgar jokes.

Claims from three intelligence officials, who have also fled Iran, have additionally documented the Khamenei family's wide-reaching business connections, including interests in European manufacturers, African mobile phone companies and international commodities markets.

But the glimpse at the imperial lifestyle of an otherwise austere theologan is groundbreaking. Ayatollah Khamenei is said to be a keen collector with a prized assembly of antique walking sticks said to number 170. The Supreme Leader was once a fanatical equestrian enthusiast and his extensive stables reportedly include more than 100 of the country's leading horses. His cloaks are said to be woven from hair of specially bred camels.

Ayatollah Khamenei is claimed to have accumulated a sprawling private court that stretches across six palaces, including Naviran, the former resident of the Shah in Tehran. Two of the palaces - Naviran and Valikabad - are equipped with deep, reinforced concrete nuclear bunkers said to be capable of withstanding nuclear attack. A fully functioning hospital is overseen by a former health minister.


The bodyguard was a member of a 200-strong permanent personal protection team who provide the Supreme Leader's primary security. He is currently staying at a safe house in France organised by the Green Movement's exiled leader, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a film director. The credibility of his account is enhanced by his denial of widespread rumours in Iran the Ayatollah has used opium.

Mr Makmalbaf claimed the Green Movement had gathered information about the Khamenei family's investments abroad. "If the Western governments are serious enough in putting pressure on the regime by applying economic sanctions, then they should follow these leads and find these bank accounts and confiscate their deposits to be returned to the Iranian people at a later time," he said.

Iran's embassy in London refused to comment on the allegations. "I have no comment on those things," a spokesman said.

I am sure that the penultimate paragraph will be of great interest to Mr. Levey. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Khameni's vices: Caviar and vulgar jokes

Israel Matzav: Oops!


When we last saw the Iranian soccer team, they were busy banning four players who took the field in Seoul, South Korea wearing green armbands in support of President Ahmadinejad's opposition. It seems that the soccer team's management has a custom of sending out New Year's greetings at the end of December to every national soccer team in the World. This year, they made a mistake: They sent a New Year's greeting to Israel.

Mohammad Ali Ardebili, director of foreign relations for the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, told Army Radio that he had not intended to send the missive to the Israel Football Association.

"It is a greeting sent to every country in the world," Ardebili said. He quickly then inquired: "Are you talking from Israel? I can't speak with you. It's a mistake, it's a mistake."

The greeting was received in Israel by the head of the Israel Football Association's legal department, Amir Navon.

"He came into my office asking me if I thought it was a mistake," said body spokesman Gil Levanoni/ "So I told him that I didn't know, but that we should send in a reply."

Levanoni and Navon said they replied to the greeting with a "happy new year to all the good people of Iran," and said: "We also added a wink."


Recall this picture from the 2008 Olympics - another 'mistake.'

The Russian coach in the picture with the Iranian basketball player is 'American - Israeli' (just like me - even born in Massachusetts) David Blatt.

I'm not a big fan of Israeli sports, but as many of you know, I am a big fan of American sports. That's partly because of the level of play, and partly because most of the religious Jewish community here shuns Israeli sports because they're Jewish players who for the most part play on the Sabbath (yes, I know there are other reasons why the religious Jewish community here shuns professional sports, but that's another discussion for another time). There's a lot to be said for competitive sports.

The ancient Greeks used to declare a cease fire during the Olympics. Sports have been used to bring countries together who were enemies: recall the famous ping pong match between the United States and Communist China in the early 1970's.

My guess is that were it up to the Iranian soccer team's players, most of them would love to compete against Israel. And I know that the Israeli national soccer team would love to compete against Iran. Maybe someday it will happen. But unfortunately, some other things are going to have to happen first. The mullahs aren't into sports either.

Israel Matzav: Oops!

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel's right to build in Jerusalem

Video: Israel's right to build in Jerusalem

Dore Gold spoke at a workshop at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, on December 29, 2009, on the topic of Israeli construction in Jerusalem. Through his analysis of the history of Jerusalem, Gold argues that Israel has full legal and historical rights to build in all parts of Jerusalem.

Dore Gold addressed the ZOA Young Leaders group a few days ago on the timely topic of Israeli construction in Jerusalem. Gold explains how Israel has full legal and historical rights to build in all parts of Jerusalem:

The Obama administration responded disapprovingly to Israel's decision to build housing in the eastern parts of Jerusalem.The whole notion that Jerusalem is occupied territory and that Israel has to therefore handle it in some kind of special way is also a very difficult argument to accept.

Israel, in a war of self-defense, captured the eastern parts of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Previously, the Jordanians had annexed east Jerusalem, but only Pakistan had recognized Jordanian sovereignty in Jerusalem. It became a springboard for attacking Israel, and Israel recovered it in a war of self-defense. Can you say that Israel is occupying someone else's territory? Whom did it belong to? Jordan?
Israel has a claim to Jerusalem which is stronger than any other claimant. An international legal expert, Steven Schwebel, who was later Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State and President of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, asserted back in 1970 that of all the claimants to Jerusalem, Israel had the strongest claim. If Israel's claim is the strongest claim, then it becomes difficult to understand how Israel could be criticized for building in Jerusalem for both its Jewish and Arab residents.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel's right to build in Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: Obama's anti-terror policy: Blame Bush

Obama's anti-terror policy: Blame Bush

The American Spectator has the appalling story of how the White House is handling last Friday's terror attack over the skies of southern Canada and Detroit. They're blaming Bush.

On December 26, two days after Nigerian Omar Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to use underwear packed with plastic explosives to blow up the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight he was on, and as it became clear internally that the Administration had suffered perhaps its most embarrassing failure in the area of national security, senior Obama White House aides, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and new White House counsel Robert Bauer, ordered staff to begin researching similar breakdowns -- if any -- from the Bush Administration.

"The idea was that we'd show that the Bush Administration had had far worse missteps than we ever could," says a staffer in the counsel's office. "We were told that classified material involving anything related to al Qaeda operating in Yemen or Nigeria was fair game and that we'd declassify it if necessary."

The White House, according to the source, is in full defensive spin mode. Other administration sources also say a flurry of memos were generated on December 26th, 27th, and 28th, which developed talking points about how Obama's decision to effectively shut down the Homeland Security Council (it was merged earlier this year into the National Security Council, run by National Security Adviser James Jones) had nothing to do with what Obama called a "catastrophic" failure on Christmas Day.

"This White House doesn't view the Northwest [Airlines] failure as one of national security, it's a political issue," says the White House source. "That's why Axelrod and Emanuel are driving the issue."

Read the whole thing.

In three weeks, it will be a year since the Obumbler took office. When (if ever) will this incompetent boor begin taking responsibility for his own actions? When (if ever) will the American people start laying the responsibility for his incompetence at his doorstep?

Or is Obama destined to be the 'affirmative action President,' the guy in the class who gets cut slack and is allowed to get by with lower grades because he grew up 'disadvantaged'?

America and the World cannot afford an 'affirmative action President.' America needs a President who is a leader who takes responsibility. The World needs America to have such a leader. If Obama can't take the heat he should get out of the kitchen. The buck stops here.

Israel Matzav: Obama's anti-terror policy: Blame Bush

Israel Matzav: Good news: al-Qaeda has full body scanners

Good news: al-Qaeda has full body scanners

Citing a Radio Netherlands report, the Jawa Report says that al-Qaeda already has full body scanners and is practicing how to get around them.

A body scanner at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport would not necessarily have detected the explosives which the would-be syringe bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had sewn into his underwear. A Dutch military intelligence source told De Telegraaf newspaper that Al Qaeda has its own security scanners and has been practicing ways of concealing explosives.

I'm shocked - just shocked. Aren't you?

There are other reasons not to use full body scanners. Here's former El Al CEO Issac Yeffet discussing more reasons why full body scanners won't work and how to beat the terror threat.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Hot Air).

What I found most interesting about this video is that Yeffet doesn't really talk about profiling as if it's race-based. From listening to Yeffet, it's not that they profile every Muslim. They look for psychological signs (hence my references from time to time about the security at Ben Gurion being psychology students and graduates). They look for people who are nervous. They check visas and even a US visa is not going to be enough for you to escape suspicion.

Yes, this could be done in the United States (El Al already does it in foreign airports). As Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air:

Yeffet himself says that the US could use that same system, if we are willing to discard our political correctness and use the right kind of expertise on the problem.

And El Al's record speaks for itself. Let's hope the US and other Western countries wise up. Otherwise, flying won't be safe for a long time to come.

Israel Matzav: Good news: al-Qaeda has full body scanners

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu: IDF would remain on Jordan - 'Palestine' border

Netanyahu: IDF would remain on Jordan - 'Palestine' border

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the recent gathering of Israeli diplomats that the IDF will have to remain along the border between any future 'Palestinian' entity and Jordan to prevent weapons smuggling into Judea and Samaria.

“Iran Is creating a base [in Lebanon] for weapons that are used in areas adjacent to Israel with the intention of attacking Israel," according to Prime Minister Netanyahu. "The problem in Lebanon is not the border. The problem of security is Syria. The same thing is happening in Gaza. The problem is not the border with Gaza….but with the 12 kilometers (eight miles) into Sinai" adjacent to the Philadelphi smugglng route.

He declared that “agreements, signatures and texts have left us with the same problem. We will not have a situation where Judea and Samaria become a third platform for rockets from Iran." The Prime Minister explained that the smuggling of weapons into Judea and Samaria would create a problem far worse than Israel faces on the northern and southern borders.

Preventing arms from entering Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a condition for peace, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued. Without directly calling for an IDF presence in territory that might be part of future PA state, he stated, "I doubt whether anything except a real presence of the State of Israel, of Israeli forces, can accomplish [a halt to importing weapons]. The problem of demilitarization must be resolved effectively and this entails effectively blocking unauthorized entry, first and foremost from the east [of Judea and Samaria], wherever the border is defined.”

Netanyahu specifically rejected the idea of an 'international force' doing the job for the IDF.

The odds of the 'Palestinians' agreeing to any presence of the IDF at their border with Jordan are probably less than none. Maybe it's time to tell President Obumbler, "no we can't."

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu: IDF would remain on Jordan - 'Palestine' border

Israel Matzav: Ayatollah calls for summary executions of Iranian protesters

Ayatollah calls for summary executions of Iranian protesters

I wish I spoke Persian or that someone had fully translated this video, because it's astounding (read some of the comments there as well to see who this Ayatollah is). I'm going to embed this video below, and if anyone happens to speak Persian who can enlighten us, it would be much appreciated.

Let's go to the videotape.

I have a partial translation from Arutz Sheva:

In a live interview broadcast on the Islamic Republic's national television station sometime within the last two weeks, Ayatollah Mehyaddin Haeri Shirazi described a Communist protest movement from the early years of the Islamic Republic, noting how it was effectively crushed by the authorities. The government targeted opposition activists, he said, "arrested them in the afternoon and the same night announced the names of 30 people killed or executed by the government forces."

In reaction to the arrests and killings, Shirazi continued, "nothing happened. Why? Because they killed them."

Expanding on what he sees as the lesson from those events, the ayatollah said,"The more of them [the opposition] are killed, the more beneficial [to the people]. If the armed forces kill some of them, it is to our benefit."

On the other hand, Shirazi continued, "When they are arrested, it is bad [for public opinion], when they are captured [it is bad for public opinion]. Do not make victims out of them."

Killing the opposition protesters, the ayatollah insists, "is sanctioned by obedience to Allah and the prophet and is handed down to the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei]. When it is sanctioned by such a power, there is no need to go through the government powers."

Shirazi warned the opposition forces, "Do not look upon the Supreme Leader [simply] as a person with a soft turban on his head, and that you can beat him. His support comes from the Hidden Imam Mahdi, he [Khamenei] is made of iron. It will come back down to break your own heads."

And the world sits silent. Imagine how much more quiet it would be if the victims were Jews....

Israel Matzav: Ayatollah calls for summary executions of Iranian protesters

Israel Matzav: More Judea and Samaria roads to be opened to 'Palestinians'

More Judea and Samaria roads to be opened to 'Palestinians'

A day after the 'Supreme Court' ruled that the government and the IDF must open Route 443 to 'Palestinian' traffic, the government is preparing to argue in court against opening the remaining 59 kilometers of highway that are currently closed to that traffic due to security concerns.

According to the B'Tselem advocacy organization, there are still 59 kilometers of roads in the West Bank that are off limits to Palestinian traffic. Most notably are the roads that link the Palestinian village of Hawara with the settlement of Elon Moreh, the road that connects the Palestinian town of Salfit with Road 5 and the Kedar road near Ma'aleh Adumim.

Officials said that the Defense Ministry's legal department was preparing defenses for expected petitions by human rights and advocacy organizations against the closure of these roads to Palestinian Authority traffic.

I don't think the government has a shot in hell of getting the 'Supreme Court' to approve keeping those roads closed. Consider the arguments for keeping Route 443 closed that none of these other roads has.

The road was closed to such traffic in 2002 following a spate of terror attacks along the road that killed six people. Until then, the road had served as many as 55,000 Palestinians living in several villages along the length of the highway, including Beit Sira, Safa, Beit Ur a-Tahta and Khirbet el-Misbah.


The court gave the IDF five months to make preparations to open a 14-kilometer section of Road 443 that is between two checkpoints - one called Maccabim near Modi'in, and the other on the opposite side near Jerusalem. To ensure the safety of Israeli drivers, the IDF will likely increase its presence on the highway and erect additional watchtowers to deter and spot potential attackers.

"This is a matter of strategic importance since this is one of only two highways that connects Jerusalem with the center of the country," one IDF source said Wednesday. "We need to make sure that it is safe and open at all times."

In addition to potential shooting attacks on the road, the IDF is also concerned with the possibility that Palestinian terrorists will plant improvised explosive devices near the highway. Two weeks ago, security forces discovered the remains of an IED - made of a gas balloon and firecrackers - that had gone off along the road.

Fortunately, in the Israeli system, you don't need a constitutional amendment to overrule the 'Supreme Court.' The answer to this ruling is legislative and not more judicial proceedings.

Right-wing MKs sprang into action in the wake of the High Court decision, with MK Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) proposing a private member's bill that would annex "the road known as 443 into the authority of the State of Israel as was done with the annexation of the Golan Heights."

At that point, 443 would not be considered by Israel to be part of the West Bank, and thus Israel would not be obligated to allow Palestinians without Israeli identity cards to drive on the road, he said.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) also tried to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court ruling, by calling on the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to meet to discuss the implications "and to find a suitable solution."

If the committee does not hold an urgent hearing on the subject, Danon threatened that he, too, would submit legislation that would allow a security or diplomatic body to bypass the High Court on the decision.

The Knesset is currently controlled by mostly sane people. The Knesset should do whatever needs to be done to keep this decision from ever being implemented. Before someone - God forbid - gets killed out there.

Israel Matzav: More Judea and Samaria roads to be opened to 'Palestinians'

Israel Matzav: Foreign Ministry bureaucrats seething at Lieberman's house cleaning

Foreign Ministry bureaucrats seething at Lieberman's house cleaning

The Leftist careerists at Israel's Foreign Ministry are seething at Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for 'suspending' a top foreign ministry official for leaking confidential information to the media.

Lieberman, in an interview published Wednesday in the Russian-language newspaper Vesti, said that the ministry's deputy director general for strategic affairs, Alon Bar, was suspended after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) found him responsible for a leak that Lieberman said had "created tension" with the US.

He mentioned neither the subject of the alleged leak, nor where it appeared.

The Strategic Affairs department is focused primarily on Iran and on non-proliferation issues.

Why would a 'top foreign ministry official' do something so foolish? Here's a clue:

In the Vesti interview, Lieberman said Bar, who he characterized as "one of our brilliant diplomats," could no longer serve in "such an important position."

Prior to this position, Bar - considered a talented young diplomat with a bright future - served as former minister Tzipi Livni's diplomatic adviser.

As I have noted previously, the foreign ministry's bureaucracy is rife with Leftists who are holdovers from the reigns of Shimon Peres, Shlomo Ben Ami, Sylvan Shalom (before he realized that a Left-leaner has no chance of advancing in the Likud) and Tzipi Livni. The last time we had a Foreign Minister who leaned anywhere near as Rightward as Lieberman was when David Levy was Foreign Minister under Yitzchak Shamir (1990-92).

Lieberman is trying to remake Israel's foreign policy. Any foreign ministry employee who insists on promoting the views of the previous government is going to find him or herself suspended and on the street. There won't be any incidents like this one under Lieberman. It's about time.

Israel Matzav: Foreign Ministry bureaucrats seething at Lieberman's house cleaning

Israel Matzav: Building thaw planned for next week

Building thaw planned for next week

The Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are planning a thaw of the building freeze next week.

The Committee of Residents in Binyamin, a region in central and northern Samaria, plans a massive building program next week to challenge the construction freeze imposed by the Netanyahu government. The projects are to implement principled approved at a conference in the community of Ofrah a month ago.

The plan calls for every Jewish community in the region to at least one building for residents, such as expanding a synagogue, storeroom, or house, all of which are allowed under the freeze. However, several communities are to begin construction n new houses, a move specifically prohibited by the government for 10 months as of a month and a half ago.

How many places can the building inspectors be at the same time? Heh.

Israel Matzav: Building thaw planned for next week

Israel Matzav: In cold blood

In cold blood

In the Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami rips the cold-bloodedness and lack of ideology that makes up President Obumbler's foreign policy. He doesn't mention Israel and I'll get to that at the end, but first you have to read this.

In retrospect, that patina of cosmopolitanism in President Obama's background concealed the isolationism of the liberal coalition that brought him to power. The tide had turned in the congressional elections of 2006. American liberalism was done with its own antecedents—the outlook of Woodrow Wilson and FDR and Harry Truman and John Kennedy. It wasn't quite "Come home, America," but close to it. This was now the foreign policy of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. There was in the land a "liberal orientalism," if you will, a dismissive attitude about the ability of other nations to partake of liberty. It had started with belittling the Iraqis' aptitude for freedom. But there was implicit in it a broader assault on the very idea of freedom's possibilities in distant places. East was East, and West was West, and never the twain shall meet.

We're weary, the disillusioned liberalism maintains, and we're broke, and there are those millions of Americans aching for health care and an economic lifeline. We can't care for both Ohio and the Anbar, Peoria and Peshawar. It is either those embattled people in Iran or a rescue package for Chrysler.

The joke is on the enthralled crowds in Cairo, Ankara, Berlin and Oslo. The new American president they had fallen for had no genuine calling or attachments abroad. In their enthusiasm for Mr. Obama, and their eagerness to proclaim themselves at one with the postracial meaning of his election, they had missed his aloofness from the genuine struggles in the foreign world.

It was easy, that delirium with Mr. Obama: It made no moral demands on those eager to partake of it. It was also false, in many lands.


What a difference three or four years make. The despots have waited out that burst of American power and optimism. No despot fears Mr. Obama, and no blogger in Cairo or Damascus or Tehran, no demonstrator in those cruel Iranian streets, expects Mr. Obama to ride to the rescue. To be sure, it was in the past understood that we can't bear all burdens abroad, or come to the defense of everyone braving tyranny. But there was always that American assertion that when things are in the balance we would always be on freedom's side.

We hadn't ridden to the rescue of Rwanda and Burundi in the 1990s, but we had saved the Bosnians and the Kosovars. We didn't have the power to undo the colossus of Chinese tyranny when the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, but the brave dissidents knew that we were on their side, that we were appalled by the cruelty of official power.

It is different today, there is a cold-bloodedness to American foreign policy. "Ideology is so yesterday," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed not long ago, giving voice to the new sentiment.

History and its furies have their logic, and they have not bent to Mr. Obama's will. He had declared a unilateral end to the "war on terror," but the jihadists and their mentors are yet to call their war to a halt. From Yemen to Fort Hood and Detroit, the terror continues.

But to go by the utterances of the Obama administration and its devotees, one would have thought that our enemies were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, not the preachers and masterminds of terror. The president and his lieutenants spent more time denigrating "rendition" and the Patriot Act than they did tracking down the terror trail and the latest front it had opened at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. Our own leaders spoke poorly of our prerogatives and ways, and they were heard the world over.

Under Mr. Obama, we have pulled back from the foreign world. We're smaller for accepting that false choice between burdens at home and burdens abroad, and the world beyond our shores is more hazardous and cynical for our retrenchment and our self-flagellation.

Read the whole thing.

Ajami doesn't mention Israel. He doesn't have to. For us, the implications of the new foreign policy espoused by Obama and his redistributionists are clear. We have relatively little oil or other natural resources underneath us. What we have is our brains and our creativity - things that are ostensibly replaceable, and that can be transplanted elsewhere if need be. We are no longer a bulwark against Russian Communism because Russian Communism is gone. Obama may even want to bring it back.

In sum, there is no reason for America to support us other than a shared heritage and a commitment to democratic values, and those things don't matter to the new Democrats as much as socialized health care and being loved by tyrants and dictators like Ahmadinejad and Assad and Chavez.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: In cold blood

Israel Matzav: US government targeting bloggers

US government targeting bloggers

The US government is targeting bloggers who wrote about a security directive that was issued in the aftermath of Delta Flight 253 last Friday (Hat Tip: Instapundit).

The Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.

TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive to them. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public.

At Boing Boing, Xeni Jardin has a lot more details and says that the directive was non-classified.

On Friday, December 25, following the incident in which a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a US-bound flight, the TSA issued an urgent, non-classified security directive to thousands of contacts around the world—airlines, airports, and so on. On Saturday, December 26, airlines and airports around the world further circulated that emailed document and began implementing the procedures described. On Sunday December 27, two bloggers published the content of the TSA directive online (some portions had already been showing up on airline websites). And on Tuesday, December 29, Special Agents from the TSA's Office of Inspection showed up at the homes of bloggers Steven Frischling and Christopher Elliott, and interrogated each on where they obtained the document. Both bloggers received civil subpoenas.

Can you say 'chilling effect'? Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: US government targeting bloggers

The Torah Revolution: Now I am angry

The Torah Revolution: Now I am angry

Love of the Land: Another Year, Another Peace Process

Another Year, Another Peace Process

Rick Richman
31 December 09

Carl in Jerusalem has a perceptive analysis of Secretary Clinton’s statement on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, addressing some of the concerns in my post about the omitted phrase “defensible borders” — a diplomatic term of art that has been dropped without explanation from the lexicon of the Obama administration.

Carl notes another significant omission, this time on the Palestinian side: Clinton referred to the goal of an “independent and viable” Palestinian state but omitted a word that has been insisted upon by the Palestinians:

There’s a key word missing here: contiguous. I have argued many times on this blog that if a ‘Palestinian’ state is contiguous, then by definition the Jewish state would be neither contiguous nor secure. Thus Clinton’s omission of the word contiguous from her formulation, if tracked in the [potential] letter to the “Palestinians,” is significant.

There may be a connection here. If a “contiguous” Palestinian state is not consistent with an Israeli one with “defensible” borders — and vice versa — Clinton may have simply ducked the issue by leaving both words out of her statement.

As the year ends, it is time for a broader look at the peace process, which has to date produced three Israeli withdrawals (from Lebanon, Gaza, and part of the West Bank); three Israeli offers of a Palestinian state (at Camp David, in the Clinton Parameters, and during the Annapolis Process); three Palestinian rejections; and three wars – one from each area of the withdrawal. The enterprise is apparently too big to fail, even though it repeatedly does.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Another Year, Another Peace Process

Love of the Land: Code Pink's "Gaza Freedom" Mockery

Code Pink's "Gaza Freedom" Mockery

Eric Trager
30 December 09

If you've been following CODEPINK's so-called "Gaza Freedom March" on the blogosphere, then you probably know what it is against.

First and foremost, it is against the "siege of Gaza." We don't know whether it was similarly against the thousands of rockets that Hamas fired onto Israeli civilians that preceded this "siege," but we are left to assume CODEPINK's indifference -- because, as its most erstwhile participants have indicated, the "Freedom" marchers are overwhelmingly against Israel's very existence.

So, no, the "Freedom" marchers don't support U.S.-led efforts at forging a two-state solution because -- surprise, surprise! -- they are also
against U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, on Monday, the marchers protested in front of the American embassy in downtown Cairo. Of course, they are hardly the first people to protest against the U.S. in Egypt's capital -- but they are probably the first to spend over $1000 on plane tickets to do so.

And now that the Egyptian government is blocking CODEPINK from traveling to Gaza, guess what? They're against the Egyptian government, too. Of course, you never heard from CODEPINK when the Egyptian government was imprisoning opposition leaders, beating bloggers, or televising bigoted programming. That's because CODEPINK's leaders only get angry when autocracy impinges on them.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Code Pink's "Gaza Freedom" Mockery

Love of the Land: The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

Cathal Kelly
Toronto Star
30 December 09

While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.

That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.

"It is mindboggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. He's worked with the RCMP, the U.S. Navy Seals and airports around the world.

"Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take s--- from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for — not for hours — but 30 or 40 minutes, all hell broke loose here. We said, 'We're not going to do this. You're going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport."

That, in a nutshell is "Israelification" - a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.

Despite facing dozens of potential threats each day, the security set-up at Israel's largest hub, Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, has not been breached since 2002, when a passenger mistakenly carried a handgun onto a flight. How do they manage that?

"The first thing you do is to look at who is coming into your airport," said Sela.

The first layer of actual security that greets travellers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from?

"Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," Sela said.

(Read full article)

Related: Sometimes MSM loves the Sabra experts

Love of the Land: The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

Love of the Land: Sometimes, the MSM Loves Sabra Experts

Sometimes, the MSM Loves Sabra Experts

Honest Reporting/Backspin
30 December 09

It's interesting how people naturally relate to "Jewish wisdom" when an Israeli is interviewed about something other than politics or the Mideast conflict. It's been awhile since I've seen a "watchable sabra" on the air.

Just listen to the interplay between the Fox interview team and Isaac Yeffet.

Related: The "Israelification" of airports

Love of the Land: Sometimes, the MSM Loves Sabra Experts

Love of the Land: In defiance of demographic fatalism

In defiance of demographic fatalism

Yoram Ettinger
30 December 09

In 1948, prime minister David Ben-Gurion declared independence in defiance of demographic fatalism, which was perpetrated by the country's leading demographers. He rejected their assumptions that Jews were doomed to be a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, that a massive aliya wave was not feasible, that the Jewish fertility rate was declining to below reproduction levels and that the Arab fertility rate would remain the highest in the world, irrespective of modernity.

Instead, Ben-Gurion highlighted demographic optimism and aliya as top national priorities, coalesced a solid Jewish majority and planted the seeds that catapulted Israel to a Middle East power, highly respected for its civilian and military achievements.

In 2005, in capitulation to demographic fatalism, prime minister Ariel Sharon retreated from Palestinian terrorism, uprooting 10,000 Jews from Gaza and Samaria. Sharon abandoned his lifelong ideology of defiance, subordinating long-term strategy and security concerns to doomsday demography. Thus, he facilitated Hamas's takeover of Gaza and its ripple effects: slackened posture of deterrence, intensified shelling of southern Israel, the 2006 Second Lebanon War, 2008's Operation Cast Lead, the Goldstone Report and the exacerbated global pressure on Israel.

DEMOGRAPHIC ASSUMPTIONS have played an increasing role in shaping national security policy since 1992. But what if these assumptions are dramatically wrong? For example, since the beginning of annual aliya in 1882 - and in contradiction to demographic projections - the Jewish population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has grown 238-fold, while the Arab population increased only sixfold. Since 1948, the Jewish population has increased almost tenfold, and the Arab population has expanded threefold.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: In defiance of demographic fatalism

Love of the Land: From shelled to sheltered: Sderot's new reality

From shelled to sheltered: Sderot's new reality

Jeff Abramowitz
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Sderot Media Center
24 December 09

Sderot, Israel (DPA) - This winter, Eli Asayag has opened the windows of his cafe. A year ago they were tightly shuttered, hopeful protection against rockets that were raining down onto southern Israel and especially on Sderot, located about three kilometres from the Gaza Strip.

Sderot residents are breathing easier today, 12 months after last winter's war between Israel and Gaza militants. Israel had launched the campaign after years of rocket fire from Gaza on its southern towns and villages.

However, even though rocket fire is no longer a feature of daily life in Sderot and other towns and villages close to the Gaza Strip, it is not yet a distant memory. Rockets are still launched from the salient, but in far, far fewer numbers.

"This last year was one of the calmest in the last 10, possibly even 20 years. Only 284 missiles were launched at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, compared to 3,200 in 2008," says Noam Bedein, who heads an NGO in Sderot.

"We feel the conflict has not ended 100 per cent, but we do feel a difference," notes Sderot supermarket owner Yakov Dahan.

"At last our children can go out onto the streets, to join in outdoor activities," he says.

Yet for all the palpable sense of relief residents say they feel after Israel's offensive, the trauma of the past decade, when a total of 12,000 rockets were launched at southern Israel, remains.

(TY to :"Israel Patriot" for Youtube suggestion)

Residents still remember the fear that the constant threat of rocket attacks used to bring.

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: From shelled to sheltered: Sderot's new reality

Love of the Land: UNRWA's John Ging Exaggerates Gaza Destruction

UNRWA's John Ging Exaggerates Gaza Destruction

30 December 09

First it was Jimmy Carter and then came Gideon Levy. Now UNRWA's John Ging jumps on the bandwagon, wildly exaggerating the number of Gaza homes destroyed and damaged during Israel's Operation Cast Lead. A Dec. 29, 2009 UN News Centre report states:

“The Israeli blockade has meant that almost no reconstruction materials have been allowed to move into Gaza even though 60,000 homes were either damaged or completely destroyed. So we in UNRWA have been saying ‘let's lift this senseless blockage,’” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told UN Radio.

It seems that Mr. Ging has not been doing the requisite U.N. reading homework. Paragraph 1238 of the U.N.'s Goldstone report reads:

Figures about the overall damage to residential housing vary according to the source and time of the measurement as well as the methodology. The human rights NGO Al Mezan reports that a total of 11,135 homes were partially or fully destroyed. According to the human rights NGO Al-Dameer-Gaza, 2,011 civilian and cultural premises were destroyed, of which 1,404 were houses that were completely demolished and 453 partially destroyed or damaged. A UNDP survey immediately after the end of military operations reported 3,354 houses completely destroyed and 11,112 partially damaged.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: UNRWA's John Ging Exaggerates Gaza Destruction
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