Friday, 11 December 2009

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

It's the Sabbath, but it's also the first night of Chanuka, so here are two classic Chanuka songs with a pretty amazing video.

Let's go to the videotape.




Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Love of the Land: The Palestinians Tell the World Their Strategy: Why Make Peace with Israel When We Can Get Everything from You Instead?

The Palestinians Tell the World Their Strategy: Why Make Peace with Israel When We Can Get Everything from You Instead?


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
10 December 09

If you want to understand what’s really going on in the alleged Israel-Palestinian peace process—beyond the babble that progress is being made, it’s all Israel’s fault, and everyone is working hard on it—here’s what you need to know.

For the present, the Palestinian leadership isn’t interested in pursuing negotiations with Israel because it has a different strategy: get everything it wants from others without making any concessions.

First, the Palestinian Authority (PA) came very close to obtaining a European Union (EU) resolution which made it sound like the Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem is an accomplished fact. The rejection of the Swedish-sponsored proposal by more moderate European states staved this off, along with a U.S. reminder that this kind of issue was supposed to be resolved by a negotiated agreement between the PA and Israel.

Nevertheless, the PA no doubt drew hope—albeit erroneously so--from this experience that with a little more time the EU will back its position completely and give it a state on a silver platter.

The other front is the UN. On December 15, a meeting of the Fatah leadership will discuss and probably endorse a plan to seek UN recognition of their state, with no preconditions.

(Continue reading)


Love of the Land: The Palestinians Tell the World Their Strategy: Why Make Peace with Israel When We Can Get Everything from You Instead?

Love of the Land: UK foreign policy establishment’s hostility to Israel threatening MidEast peace process, and undermining Britain’s own national interests

UK foreign policy establishment’s hostility to Israel threatening MidEast peace process, and undermining Britain’s own national interests


Robin Shepherd
RobinShepherdonline.com
11 December 09

What on earth is going on in Great Britain? Earlier this week, the Foreign Office emerged as the strongest supporter in Europe of an almost unbelievably reckless proposal from Sweden — which holds the EU’s rotating presidency — for a European Union resolution on the Middle East which would have recognised, in advance of any negotiations, East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. Worse still, it called for the EU to recognise a Palestinian state should the Palestinians declare one unilaterally.


Any such moves would have so incensed the Israelis that the EU would, in all likelihood, have been excluded from any future role in peace talks. It even risked undermining the peace process by encouraging the Palestinians to believe that the EU would rubber stamp a declaration of statehood regardless of their approach to negotiations. Why bother holding serious talks with Israel if a member of the MidEast quartet has already said you’ll get what you want in advance? Mind blowing.


Fortunately, the resolution was watered down somewhat. But we have reached a pretty pass when the British Foreign Office has become so overcome with anti-Israeli hysteria that it is prepared to take measures which threaten the very peace agreement that the government has always said it supported. Make no mistake about it, the UK foreign policy establishment is thus working against the UK’s own national interests.

Read the rest of this entry »


Related: The Inconvenient Truth


Love of the Land: UK foreign policy establishment’s hostility to Israel threatening MidEast peace process, and undermining Britain’s own national interests

Love of the Land: The 3A Booby Trap Must Be removed From Referendum Law

The 3A Booby Trap Must Be removed From Referendum Law


Weekly Commentary
Dr. Aaron Lerner
www.imra.org.il

10 December 09

Media coverage of the proposed law requiring a national referendum in the instance that less than 80 MKs support transferring sovereign Israeli territory has for the most part ignored the potentially critical Subparagraph 3A.

Here is a rough translation:

"Despite what is written in Paragraph 3(A), if the Knesset approved the Government decision as per Paragraph 2, and within 180 days from the day that the Knesset approved [AL: with less than 80 MKs] there are Knesset elections, a national referendum will not be held; The said Government decision will be considered as if it was approved by a national referendum on the thirtieth day after the formation of the Government that was formed after the election, or at an earlier date that the Government decided on it, unless it decided to cancel said Government decision as per Paragraph 2."

The explanatory commentary accompanying the proposed law takes the position that the Knesset elections would in effect be a national referendum since it would no doubt be a major issue of the election campaign.

But - and this could be a very big but - nothing would stop a ruling coalition that came to power by promising voters that "a vote for party X is a vote against deal Y" from defying its mandate and declining to cancel the previous Government's decision within the 30 days.

In fact, since the prime minister has absolute control over the agenda of cabinet meetings, he can simply refuse to bring up cancellation of the previous Government's decision to a vote for 30 days.

And this when, no doubt, the prime minister would be facing tremendous world pressure not to cancel the decision.

Far fetched?

Hardly. And the media would no doubt praise the prime minister for "acting
responsibly".

OK.

So let's assume for a moment that a newly elected Government brought to power because it opposed the agreement the previous Government reached would actually honor and respect its mandate and vote to cancel the deal.

What does the country gain by requiring a cabinet vote?

Let's think this through:

By definition we would have a new prime minister heading a ruling coalition that defeated the previous coalition that supported the deal.

So which scenario would better serve Israel's interests?

That the new prime minister can tell the world that his "hands are tied" by the outcome of the referendum and the deal is off?

Or

That the new prime minister has to raise his own hand to cancel an agreement that, no doubt, enjoyed the backing of the United States and other important countries?

That's a no brainer.

Here's an idea.

Instead of dropping the referendum in the instance that there are elections, why not have citizens cast their ballots in the referendum at the same as they vote in the Knesset elections?

Related: Referendum law would apply to "border adjustments" - but referendum avoidable via elections

Love of the Land: The 3A Booby Trap Must Be removed From Referendum Law

Love of the Land: Chanukah 5770

Chanukah 5770



Hannuka, Chanukah, Chanukkah . . . however you spell it, it stands for our eight-day "Festival of Lights".

And it begins tonight!

Have a Happy!!

.


Love of the Land: Chanukah 5770

Call the Bluff

Call the Bluff

Some of you have noted that I've said nothing, so far, on the settlement freeze. My hesitation stems from my wariness: while this may be a very large story, or not, I'm not convinced how anyone can know yet. So even though the primary purpose of blogs is to respond to everything immediately, and only later if ever to think about it, on this one I'm waiting.

The Economist, however, while also not being sure what's going on, hits the nail on its head: It doesn't really make any difference if Netanyahu is serious or not. The Palestinians need to call his bluff, if bluff it is, or grasp the moment, if the moment is real.

The weirdest thing about this particular moment is that while a Likud-led Israeli government is at the very least creating an impression of willingness to go well beyond what might have been expected of it, the other side is not reciprocating in any discernible way. Netanyahu says he's giving negotiations ten months of opportunity; one of them has already passed. The Palestinians seem to be sitting in Rammallah nursing their grievances. I fail to see what they gain thereby. The Americans, meanwhile, have turned their attention elsewhere.

Odd.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Israel Matzav: IDF calls 30 of Goldstone's 36 'war crimes' claims 'baseless'

IDF calls 30 of Goldstone's 36 'war crimes' claims 'baseless'

An IDF review of the 36 incidents that Richard Goldstone called the 'worst' of Operation Cast Lead has concluded that 30 of those incidents are 'baseless.'

The other six were found to relate to genuine instances, where operational errors and mistakes were involved.

The IDF is currently finalizing a report in response to the allegations leveled by the Goldstone mission on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is expected to be completed and submitted to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi for review in the coming weeks. The army has yet to decide what it will do with the report and whether it will be released to the public.

The IDF has, however, already launched a diplomatic campaign to present some of the results of its probe.

On Wednesday, Military Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit met in New York with representatives of 10 different countries, as well as with officials from the UN secretariat and the Obama administration, to present some of Israel's findings.

Read the whole thing.

If it can possibly be done, the IDF ought to release the report to the public. While it will not reduce the furor over Goldstone in countries that will never give us a fair shake, it might help on the margins in some of the European countries, in Latin America and in some Western countries other than the US (which is already in our court on this).


Israel Matzav: IDF calls 30 of Goldstone's 36 'war crimes' claims 'baseless'

Israel Matzav: France leads drive to sanction Iran, US silent

France leads drive to sanction Iran, US silent

You know things are going badly in international affairs when the US is waffling or silent and France has to take the lead.

In a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, France adopted a harsh stance, calling on the Council to take immediate action on sanctions against Iran.

"There is no longer any reason to wait," France's permanent UN representative, Gérard Araud, told the Council.

"The clock is ticking," Araud told reporters after the Council meeting. "Iran has never entered into a negotiation," he said. "If Iran does not do it in the short term, France will propose a new resolution on sanctions."

...

US Ambassador Susan Rice said there was "unity and resolve" in the P5+1 group, which includes China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US. Rice said the US had "grave concerns about the breadth and frequency of Iran's violations" and was not shy about the possibility of "further actions, further pressure and further sanctions."

Though the US is committed to a dual-track policy of engagement and pressure, Rice said "time is short," and "the choice is now Iran's." Absent forthcoming negotiations, she said, "The emphasis will increase substantially in that dual-track program to pressure."

On the one hand..... On the other hand.... What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: France leads drive to sanction Iran, US silent

Israel Matzav: New York demonstration against 'settlement freeze'

New York demonstration against 'settlement freeze'

This is unusual. The pro-Israel crowd is going to be demonstrating outside the Israeli consulate in New York on Sunday (Hat Tip: Ted Belman).

AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL/AFSI
will lead a demonstration on

Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009,
from 11AM-12 noon,
Israeli Consulate, 42nd Street and Second Ave, NYC.

People of conscience will gather to protest against the immoral, illegal, discriminatory construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, ordered by PM Bibi Netanyahu.

Participants will carry menorahs to signify that on this second day of Chanukah, the warmth and courage of the Chanukah lights will melt the freeze.

Signs will read:
"Let My People Grow",
"End the Freeze of Appeasement",
"Likud - Honor Your Mandate to Preserve the Land of Israel",
"Bibi - You were elected to save Israel, not sell it out."

Speakers will be grass roots activists following the cry of Judah Maccabee -

"All who are faithful follow me!"

Contact the AFSI office, 212-828-2424; 1-800-235-3658; afsi@rcn.com for additional information. www.afsi.org.

That should leave you all enough time to get home for candle lighting.

Israel Matzav: New York demonstration against 'settlement freeze'

Israel Matzav: UK to mark imports from Judea, Samaria and Golan

UK to mark imports from Judea, Samaria and Golan

Keeping with their tradition of favoring the Arab side, 'our friends the Brits' announced on Thursday that all imports to the UK from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights must be marked as coming from those areas and not from Israel.

The British government advised all food chains in the UK to clearly mark any imported products made in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights, Ynet learned Thursday.

The UK stressed that the move does not constitute a consumers' ban, but was put in place to help consumers, who are not interested in purchasing such products, make an informed decision.

How smug and self-righteous of them.

Israel's Foreign Ministry and the Yesha Council responded.

Israeli officials and leaders of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria criticized the British government Thursday evening for a recommendation by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), that food labels for products made in Judea and Samaria say either "Israeli settlement produce" or "Palestinian produce", according to the Guardian. DEFRA said that traders would be committing an offense if they declared produce from the area as "produce of Israel".

Spokesman Yigal Palmor of the Foreign Ministry said, "It looks like it is catering to the demands of those whose ultimate goal is the boycott of Israeli products." Chairman Dani Dayan of the Yesha Council, which represents the Jewish communities, said the decision was the "latest hostile step" from Britain. He added, "Products from our communities in Judea and Samaria should be treated as any other Israeli product." Israeli officials said they feared this was a slide towards a broader boycott of Israeli goods. It is a matter of concern."

There's only one way to respond to this: Since they are now going to be separately marked, Britain's Jews and others who sympathize with Israel should conduct a buycott of products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. Ask the Canadians how to do it.

Israel Matzav: UK to mark imports from Judea, Samaria and Golan

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' blasts Hamas travel restrictions

'Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' blasts Hamas travel restrictions

The 'Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' has blasted Gaza's Hamas rulers for the restrictions they place on 'Palestinians' leaving Gaza.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns external travel restrictions imposed on the population of the Gaza Strip. These restrictions also apply to patients seeking medical treatment unavailable in the Gaza Strip. PCHR calls upon the Government in Gaza to remove all travel restrictions imposed, in particular the obligation to obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior in Gaza; these obligations contradict the provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law and international standards related to the freedom of movement.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Monday morning, 07 December 2009, the Palestinian police stationed at the Customs Checkpoint near Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing prevented 37 patients and their companions from heading towards the crossing to travel to hospitals in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and Israel. The police claimed that these patients did not obtain exit permits from the Office of Traveling Registration in the Ministry of Interior. According to a number of these patients, they were forced to travel back to the governmental complex to apply for permission, where they were forced to wait for more than three hours. A number of these patients are scheduled for surgery in Palestinian or Israeli hospitals today, these measures have obstructed their travel to hospital, raising concerns regarding their health.

Of course, the mainstream media, which has been condemning Israel for 'blockading' Gaza for more than two years, didn't even notice.

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' blasts Hamas travel restrictions

Israel Matzav: Good news: Carter grandson running for Georgia Senate seat

Good news: Carter grandson running for Georgia Senate seat

Debbie Schlussel reports that 34-year old Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is running for a seat in the Georgia state Senate. And when it comes to his views on Israel....

“You and I both know that the Georgia Senate doesn’t set Middle East policy. And I don’t think anybody would want it to,” Jason Carter said in an interview that preceded his Wednesday kickoff.

What could go wrong? Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Good news: Carter grandson running for Georgia Senate seat

Israel Matzav: Ahmadinejad losing support even among his conservative base

Ahmadinejad losing support even among his conservative base

Foreign Policy reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad is losing support even among his conservative base.

The demonstrations that erupted on Dec. 7 in cities across Iran included not only Westernized students but conservative Iranians as well. The Islamic Republic attempted to thwart the rally by shutting down Internet access, but thousands of Iranians nevertheless marched in the streets. The protests included not only Westernized students, but religious and conservative Iranians as well -- evidence that conservative Iranians are becoming more and more opposed to the state, even if their response is not usually to participate in social unrest.

It's not just protesters, either. A groundbreaking Iranian survey, first published on insideIRAN.org, shows that, in provinces where Ahmadinejad once held widespread support, Iranians now say they wished they had not voted for him.

The polling surveyed more than 11,000 people from 11 rural and small villages in the provinces of Fars and Isfahan. Polling was conducted in four intervals from the summer of 2008, before the contested June 12 presidential election, to the fall of 2009. In the two pre-election polls, respondents were asked to state their choice of candidate. In the two post-election polls, respondents were asked for their views on the disputed election.

Before the election, Ahmadinejad had enjoyed 58 percent support in rural areas and 44 percent support in the small urban areas. After the election, however, it was a different story. The two post-election polls showed that 39 percent of the youth and 23 percent of those over 45 who had voted for Ahmadinejad now regretted their vote. The reasons for this included the rape, murder, and torture of young men and women who participated in demonstrations after the June presidential election and the belief that Ahmadinejad was to blame for the country's economic crisis. In fact, 57 percent of those who said they no longer supported Ahmadinejad admitted that they had received money from Ahmadinejad's subsidy program, which was designed to solidify the president's support among poorer segments of Iran's population. Still, they said, even the money wasn't enough to keep their support.

Read the whole thing.

If Ahmadinejad keeps up like this, he could yet catch up to Obama. Heh.
Israel Matzav: Ahmadinejad losing support even among his conservative base

Israel Matzav: Terror can be defeated

Terror can be defeated

BBC Reporter Alan Johnston, who was 'kidnapped' in Gaza two years ago and held by Hamas, returns to Shchem (Nablus) and discovers that Israel has defeated the terrorists - or at least forced them to put down their guns.

Over the years I had often interviewed men like Abu Ahmed. But what was different this time was the way he spoke when we talked of the future. He explained why he had put down his gun. He said it had been a political decision, but he gave every impression of having been ground down by the conflict.

Abu Ahmed described what it had meant to live on the Israeli army's wanted list. "There was fear 24 hours a day. You might be only moments from death or jail. You would fear for yourself and for those around you."

He described how militants would try to escape an army operation – scrambling from house to house in a frantic search for a place to hide. "Sometimes when a wanted man was cornered he would say his prayers, knowing he would die."

Abu Ahmed had been wounded more than once, and he wanted a way out. "My mother has no other children but me. My brothers are dead and I have got married." He would live for his family now, he said.

Like many militants in Nablus over the past two years, Abu Ahmed has taken advantage of an amnesty programme. In line with agreements worked out between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, former militants are often allowed to join the regular Palestinian security forces.

You no longer see gunmen on the streets and al-Aqsa is not launching attacks. To the Israeli Defence Forces, this looks like victory. "Nablus was a city that exported terror," Lieutenant-Colonel Avi Shalev said. "We faced a very difficult situation whereby nearly every second day there was an attack in an Israeli city. And a lot this wave of terrorism came from Nablus."

Over the years, he said, the army's raids and arrests had eradicated the threat. "This was a very successful campaign." I asked if he regarded Nablus as posing any danger to Israel now. He replied that the army was "satisfied", but that the situation was reversible. He said the IDF had created conditions that had allowed the Palestinian Authority security forces to take control.

Read it all.

Yes, there is a military solution to control - and ultimately defeat - terror.

Israel Matzav: Terror can be defeated

Israel Matzav: Bolton blasts Obama speech

Bolton blasts Obama speech

Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton blasted President Obama's Nobel acceptance speech in Oslo on Thursday.
“It followed the standard international leftist line,” says Bolton. “He played to the crowd and filled the speech with clichés from the American and international left by saying ‘America cannot act alone’ and that he ‘prohibited torture.’ The speech was also typical of Obama in its self-centeredness and ‘something for everybody’ approach.”

“It was so diffuse that though I wouldn’t call it incoherent, it was getting close,” says Bolton. “It was a lot about him, again, especially with his comments about being at the ‘beginning, not end’ of his labors for the world.”

Obama made some “breathtakingly simpleminded statements in his section on humanity’s history of war and the ‘hard truth’ that war will not end in our lifetimes,” adds Bolton. “No kidding. I don’t know what that is supposed to prove.”
And to think that some people actually fall for that stuff.
Israel Matzav: Bolton blasts Obama speech

Israel Matzav: Israel's (not even) fair weather friend

Israel's (not even) fair weather friend

Melanie Philips reproduces without comment a speech given by historian Andrew Roberts to the Anglo Israel Association on Tuesday night (Hat Tip: Daled Amos). I will give you a small excerpt and then you should read the whole thing.

One area of policy over which the FO has traditionally held great sway is in the question of Royal Visits. It is no therefore coincidence that although HMQ has made over 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries during her reign, neither she nor one single member of the British royal family has ever been to Israel on an official visit. Even though Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Greece, who was recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" for sheltering a Jewish family in her Athens home during the Holocaust, was buried on the Mount of Olives, the Duke of Edinburgh was not allowed by the FO to visit her grave until 1994, and then only on a private visit.

"Official visits are organized and taken on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth office," a press officer for the royal family explained when Prince Edward visited Israel recently privately - and a spokesman for the Foreign Office replied that [quote] ‘Israel is not unique" in not having received an official royal visit, because [quote] ‘Many countries have not had an official visit.’ That might be true for Burkino Faso and Chad, but the FO has somehow managed to find the time over the years to send the Queen on State visits to Libya, Iran, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan & Turkey. So it can’t have been that she wasn’t in the area.

Perhaps Her Majesty hasn’t been on the throne long enough, at 57 years, for the Foreign Office to get round to allowing her to visit one of the only democracies in the Middle East. At least she could be certain of a warm welcome in Israel, unlike in Morocco where she was kept waiting by the King for three hours in 90 degree heat, or at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda the time before last, where they hadn’t even finished building her hotel.

The true reason of course, is that the Foreign Office has a ban on official Royal visits to Israel, which is even more powerful for its being unwritten and unacknowledged. As an act of delegitimization of Israel, this effective boycott is quite as serious as other similar acts, such as the academic boycott, and is the direct fault of the FO Arabists.



Israel Matzav: Israel's (not even) fair weather friend

Israel Matzav: State Department blames Goldstone for lack of 'peace talks'

State Department blames Goldstone for lack of 'peace talks'

In a comment to reporters at the State Department on Tuesday, spokesman PJ Crowley blamed the Goldstone Report for the lack of negotiations between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'

The aside by Assistant U.S. Secretary of State PJ Crowley in a briefing for reporters on Tuesday was the clearest signal of U.S. frustration with the United Nations Human Rights Council report into last winter's Gaza war, authored by Judge Richard Goldstone, that recommended war crimes charges against Israel and Hamas.

"It’s not a failure, because the process isn’t over," Crowley said of Palestinian-Israel talks. "The process is ongoing. But clearly, in the aftermath of the Goldstone report, we’ve seen this fairly substantial gap emerge and we’re seeing what we can do to move both sides closer to a decision to enter into negotiations."

After its publication in September, Israel insisted on quashing the report as a precondition for going forward with the peace process; the Palestinian Authority has insisted it be addressed.

A very bright silver lining in the Goldstone Report cloud. Heh.
Israel Matzav: State Department blames Goldstone for lack of 'peace talks'

Israel Matzav: St. Pancake's congressman retires

St. Pancake's congressman retires

Representative Brian Baird (D-Wash) has announced that he will retire from Congress at the end of the current term. Since 1988, Baird has represented the district in which St. Pancake - Rachel Corrie - grew up (Hat Tip: Instapundit).

It’s a D+0 seat: contra the New York Times, Cook had it as being competitive (Likely Democratic), and that will be almost certainly be upgraded rather quickly. Baird’s reasoning? He wants to spend more time with his family. Judging from the reactions of his colleagues, this sudden desire comes as a bit of a surprise.

After a trip to Gaza with Keith Ellison, America's first Muslim congressman, in February of this year, Baird called for a 'reassessment' of American aid to Israel.

Good riddance.


Israel Matzav: St. Pancake's congressman retires

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's the Miami Boys Choir again singing Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh la'Zeh (all Jews are responsible for each other).

Let's go to the videotape.



Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Sweden fails to divide Jerusalem, demands that Israel not divide the EU

Sweden fails to divide Jerusalem, demands that Israel not divide the EU

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt warned Israel against trying to divide the European Union after Sweden failed to get the European Union to recognize 'east' Jerusalem as the capital of 'Palestine.'

The European Union says Israel must not play "divide and rule" with the 27-member bloc over a recent resolution calling for Jerusalem to become the shared capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said Thursday the bloc was united and would not "remain shy" on so crucial an issue.

Bildt was apparently referring to a statement made by Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

The Prime Minister's office also ripped Sweden using particularly harsh language.

A senior source in the Prime Minister's Office said that "Israel is profoundly disappointed with Sweden's term as EU president. The Swedes have been biased since the Aftonbladet report accusing the IDF of harvesting Palestinian organs. Not one Swedish delegate visited Israel during the term. Sweden acted like it was one of the participants of the Fatah convention."

Don't expect Spain, which assumes the Presidency on January 1, to be any better.

Of course, if we had an administration that was more favorably disposed to Israel in Washington, none of this would matter.

Israel Matzav: Sweden fails to divide Jerusalem, demands that Israel not divide the EU

Israel Matzav: J Street's pollster finds 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably

J Street's pollster finds 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably

Desperate to make President Obama appear beloved by Israelis, Haaretz publishes poll results that purport to show that 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably, while 37% view him unfavorably.

U.S. President Barack Obama has a higher approval rating among Israelis than is widely believed, undercutting arguments he has lost Israeli public support for new peace efforts, a poll said on Thursday.

The poll by the Washington-based New America Foundation found that 41 percent of Israelis had a favorable rating of Obama against 37 percent who rated him unfavorably.

Despite this, 55 percent of Israelis polled said they thought Obama did not support Israel against 42 percent who said he did - a reflection of the "complexity of views" about the U.S. leader as he presses both Israel and the Palestinians to resume stalled peace talks.

"They genuinely admire and like him ... but at the same time they also want to feel that he is in their corner, and they have concerns over this," pollster Jim Gerstein said in an email message.

Politico reports based on this poll that 39% of Israelis still believe Obama is a Muslim (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Haaretz also reports that the poll showed that Israelis still support the 'peace process.'

Gerstein said that, in contrast to widespread media reports of low Israeli public support for Obama, the poll of 1,000 Israelis showed more support and solid backing for a possible future U.S.-brokered peace deal with the Palestinians.

"Israelis believe peace is necessary, but they currently do not feel a sense of urgency to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians," Gerstein said in his report, adding that Obama had a chance now to persuade Israelis it was time to
reach an agreement.

"There are real opportunities for the president and his team to speak directly and convincingly to the Israeli people," the report said.

And the poll makes Prime Minister Netanyahu seem less popular than Israeli polls have shown.

The poll found that while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a modest 48 percent approval rating, he was deemed strong on all issues related to security -- indicating potential support for any deal he might strike with the Palestinians.

"Netanyahu's security image translates into 59 percent support for 'any agreement Netanyahu reaches with our enemies,'" the poll report said.

The poll found that while Israelis were largely confident of U.S. backing, there was widespread fear that this support could crumble if Israel rejects a future U.S.- sponsored deal with the Palestinians.

"Ultimately, the public is evenly split (48 percent each) over whether to support or oppose the prime minister if he rejects the U.S. proposal," it said.

So what's odd about this poll? Perhaps the least odd thing is that the poll was carried out a month ago (November 8-15) and the results are only now being published.

But the biggest question is why was this poll taken by an American pollster and not an Israeli one? Haaretz doesn't tell you that, but I will. The New America Foundation is run by Daniel Levy, who was a co-founder of J Street. And the pollster interviewed is Jim Gerstein, whom Politico describes in a different post as "a key figure in the left-leaning Jewish group J Street." Gerstein is far more than that. He's J Street's fixer.

Haaretz, all Left, all the time.

More on the poll here.


Israel Matzav: J Street's pollster finds 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably

Israel Matzav: Michael Oren blasts J Street

Michael Oren blasts J Street

In a shift, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, blasted the pro-Israel, 'pro-peace' J Street lobby at a Monday breakfast meeting of the United Synagogue annual convention (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Addressing a breakfast session at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial convention December 7, Ambassador Michael Oren described J Street as “a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.”

After a speech that touched on the spiritual basis for and the threats to the state of Israel, Oren issued an unscripted condemnation of J Street.

“This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion,” Oren said. “But when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion. You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke.”

...

But at the USCJ breakfast, Oren criticized J Street after an audience member asked him how synagogues should respond if congregants requested that the group be invited to make a presentation.

“Engage with them,” he said. “But I think it’s very important that you be up-front with them and say why these policies are outside the mainstream and why they are inimical to Israel’s fundamental interests.”

J Street is significantly outside the Israeli Jewish mainstream. Its policies are somewhere between those of Meretz and the Arab parties. Meretz has three seats in the current Knesset. The Labor politicians who showed up to J Street's convention are those who are outside the government (while the Israeli public overwhelmingly supported Labor going into the government). J Street seems to be willing to do anything for publicity. Hopefully, when Barack Obama is defeated in 2012, his 'pro-peace' lobby will disappear too.


Israel Matzav: Michael Oren blasts J Street

Israel Matzav: Tom Friedman's 'Narrative'

Tom Friedman's 'Narrative'

Remember that Tom Friedman piece about ten days ago called the Narrative? Over at Pajamas Media, Moshe Dann rips him to shreds by applying the Narrative to Israel.

For many, Israel is the “oppressor of Muslims” and the “occupier of Arab land.” A reasonable conclusion might suggest the U.S. drop relations with Israel in order to improve relationships with Arabs and Muslims. This seems to be Obama’s policy — weaken Israel, force it back to the armistice lines of 1949, and arm Palestinians to the teeth.

Then, miraculously, Arabs and Muslims will embrace America’s “crusade” against Muslim countries. No more 9/11s and Ft. Hoods. A second Arab Palestinian state will make things better! No more nasty jihad!

Hardly. As smart as Friedman is, he distorts the conflict (and “The Narrative”) between Israel and Arab Palestinians by defining it as territorial rather than existential. He and his colleagues at the New York Times fail to understand the true nature of “Palestinianism,” in which Maj. Nidal Hasan believed, and its jihadist roots. Israel’s presence in any form is unacceptable, and anyone who supports Israel deserves death.

The “occupation of Palestine” did not begin in 1967; it began in 1948, when Israel was established. The root of “Palestinianism,” as Matthias Kuntzel points out in Jihad and Jew-hatred, Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, is “the narrative” of jihad. Israel represents everything America and Western civilization stand for — democracy, tolerance, modernity — which is precisely what Islamists and jihadists despise.

Naively, Friedman calls on Muslims to promote a “positive interpretation” of Islam. Nice, if you don’t get murdered trying. And what about “liberating Palestine”?

If “ending the occupation” is a prerequisite for rapprochement, as Friedman proposes, let’s get that narrative straight. If “Palestinianism,” wiping out Israel, is simply another form of jihadism, then why not include that in “The Narrative”?



Israel Matzav: Tom Friedman's 'Narrative'

Israel Matzav: CAIR Street, Davie, Florida

CAIR Street, Davie, Florida

Pamela Geller reports that CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) has 'adopted' a street in the city of Davie, in heavily Jewish Broward County, Florida. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial currently taking place in Texas for its role in financing the Hamas terror organization.

On noon Friday, December 18th, Americans Against Hate (AAH), the anti-bigotry, terrorism watchdog group, will be holding a rally against the Broward County government for giving a public street sign to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-associated organization. The sign, which is located in Davie, Florida just outside Broward Community College and Nova Southeastern University, is part of Broward’s “Adopt-A-Street” program.

CAIR was created by Hamas operatives in 1994 and was recently named by the U.S. Justice Department a co-conspirator for a Hamas financing trial taking place in Dallas, Texas. Since the trial, the FBI has refused formal contact with CAIR.

The demonstration will take place toward the end of Hanukkah, a fact whose symbolic nature is not overlooked by AAH.

AAH Chairman Joe Kaufman stated, “On Hanukkah, millions of people around the world celebrate the triumph of the Jewish people over those who wished to destroy them. We want Broward County to recognize the fact that those involved with Hamas, like the Greeks 2000 years before them, have a similar goal to destroy the Jews. And we want Broward County to know that it allowed a sign to be ‘adopted’ by a group connected to Hamas.”

Read the whole thing.

What was the county executive thinking when they agreed to this?


Israel Matzav: CAIR Street, Davie, Florida

Israel Matzav: 'Obama awarded Nobel because he's a Democrat, liberal and black'

'Obama awarded Nobel because he's a Democrat, liberal and black'

This article probably by Ari Shavit could not have been written in the United States, certainly not in the New York Times to which Haaretz is often compared. But it's dead on.

Today a grotesque ceremony will be held in Oslo. An American president who has not yet managed to make peace anywhere in the world will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He will be awarded the prize even though he is personally responsible for scores of targeted killings and much slaughter of civilians in aerial bombardments. He will be awarded the prize even though he has just decided to escalate one of the two ineffectual wars he is conducting. He will be awarded the prize only because he is a Democrat, a liberal and a black man who defeated the Republicans and cast George W. Bush out of the White House.

Oslo has provided us with many amusing jokes in recent decades. However, the joke of Obama as peace prize laureate is the funniest of all. It proves the absurdity of the lengths to which the self-righteous European culture of political correctness can go. Obama is not to blame for the Norwegians having decided to act foolishly. However, if he had any courage he would have refused to accept a Nobel prematurely. He would have asked the prize committee to judge him at the end of his term in office and not at its start.

Obama hasn't done so, and this isn't surprising. Thus far the glamorous president has not shown courage on any issue or in any area. True, Obama is intelligent, articulate and charismatic. However, he hasn't really done anything yet in the international arena. He has orchestrated neither confrontations nor reconciliations. He has neither won a victory nor made peace. He has not evinced willingness to pay any sort of price for any sort of achievement. In his first year as president of the world, Obama has not proved he has a backbone. He has not yet manifested himself as a leader.

Read the whole thing.

Even Haaretz is right twice a day.


Israel Matzav: 'Obama awarded Nobel because he's a Democrat, liberal and black'

Israel Matzav: Islamism is popular in Turkey

Islamism is popular in Turkey

Lest anyone get the idea that the Islamist direction being pursued by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is unpopular....

More than half of the population of Muslim-majority Turkey opposes members of other religions holding meetings or publishing materials to explain their faith, according to a recently issued survey.

Fully 59 percent of those surveyed said non-Muslims either "should not" or "absolutely should not" be allowed to hold open meetings where they can discuss their ideas. Fifty-four percent said non-Muslims either "should not" or "absolutely should not" be allowed to publish literature that describes their faith.

The survey also found that almost 40 percent of the population of Turkey said they had "very negative" or "negative" views of Christians. In the random survey, 60 percent of those polled said there is one true religion; over 90 percent of the population of Turkey is Sunni Muslim.

...

The survey includes significant nuance. While 42 percent of the population agreed with the statement that religious people should be tolerant, 49 percent of those surveyed said they would either "absolutely" or "most likely" not support a political party that accepted people from another religion. But 20 percent of those surveyed said they had "very positive" or "positive" views of Christians - 13 percent "very positive," and 7 percent "positive."

Erdogan threatened Israel again in an interview with an Egyptian journalist that was published on Thursday morning.

Responding to a question concerning rumors that Israel had entered Turkey's airspace for espionage purposes, Erdogan said that such a thing had never happened, but that the consequences would be dire if it did.

"[Israel] will receive a response equal to that of an earthquake," he cautioned, urging Israel's leaders to refrain from "using the relationship they have with [Turkey] as a card to wage aggression on a third party."

Ankara would not be a neutral party and stand aside with its arms folded, he said.

It's time to stop pretending: Turkey has gone Islamist. They no longer behave like a Western nation.

Israel Matzav: Islamism is popular in Turkey

Israel Matzav: What Israel's 'referendum law' would do

What Israel's 'referendum law' would do

Haaretz's Aluf Benn, who is not very pleased about it, explains what the 'referendum law,' which was advanced in the Knesset on Wednesday night, would do.

The "Referendum Law" that the Knesset voted to advance Wednesday would restrict the government's freedom of action in negotiations with the Palestinians, Syria and even Lebanon by making it harder to cede East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or even Shaba Farms, whether unilaterally or by agreement.

The bill creates an onerous ratification procedure for any agreement that involves ceding sovereign Israeli territory: approval by the cabinet, by an absolute majority of 61 MKs and finally by a referendum in which voters would be asked whether they are for or against the agreement. The referendum itself would be decided by a simple majority. Only if the Knesset approved an agreement by a majority of 80 MKs - as it did the treaty with Jordan, for instance - would the referendum requirement be waived.

The bill would also eliminate the "constitutional lacuna" that currently enables unilateral withdrawals from sovereign Israeli territory. Currently, a simple majority of the Knesset could reverse the annexation of all or part of the Golan, and a 61-MK majority would be enough to alter Jerusalem's municipal boundaries. But the bill would require a referendum on any cession of territory to which Israeli law has been applied, even a unilateral one.

Thus Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who once again called Wednesday for renewed talks with the Palestinians, is binding himself with constitutional chains. In Netanyahu's view, it is important that diplomatic agreements be supported by a majority of the public, and not just the coalition's majority in the Knesset. But he is also signaling the Syrians, the Palestinians and the international community that he will have trouble passing any significant concessions - and trying to strengthen his hand in the negotiations. In addition, he is thereby pressing his negotiating partners to close a deal quickly, before the bill becomes law.

These requirements don't seem onerous at all. The treaties with both Egypt and Jordan would have passed. The Oslo 2 agreements with the 'Palestinians' (which passed 61-59) would have required a referendum, except that they did not cede territory in the Golan (pictured) or Jerusalem.

The decision to cede territory to enemies is an existential decision. It ought to be decided on by overwhelming majorities of both the people and their elected representatives. If an agreement cannot jump that hurdle, we should not be entering into it.

Israel Matzav: What Israel's 'referendum law' would do

Israel Matzav: Hamas learns the Goldstone lessons

Hamas learns the Goldstone lessons

Hamas has read Richard Richard Goldstone's report on Operation Cast Lead, and has learned its lessons well. For example, Goldstone concluded that Hamas was not using mosques to store weapons.

Hamas has also increased its use of civilian infrastructure, particularly mosques, which the terror group already used quite extensively for storage and launching rockets during the operation. Hamas is believed to have taken control of almost 80 percent of the mosques in Gaza, using them to store weapons and set up command-and-control centers.

Goldstone accused the IDF of deliberately targeting civilians. So Hamas is establishing a basis to make claims like that in the next war:

Hamas, is "padding" itself as well by setting up its command centers in large apartment buildings. This way, it believes, the IDF will not attack them by air, and will need to send ground forces deep into the population centers, where it will lose its technological advantage.

It's not easy to work your way up an apartment building floor by floor, is it?

Goldstone all but ignored the kidnapping of IDF corporal Gilad Shalit.

Hamas has also recently increased its efforts to dig what the IDF calls "offensive tunnels" close to the border with Israel, which the terror group could use to infiltrate into Israel and kidnap soldiers.

These tunnels are believed to be of strategic value for Hamas, which would only use them for large-scale attacks and high-value targets.

And on top of everything else, Hamas has managed to smuggle many new weapons into Gaza despite the 'blockade.'

Since Operation Cast Lead ended almost a year ago, Hamas has increased its weapons smuggling and today operates hundreds of tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor. It has smuggled in dozens of long-range Iranian-made rockets that can reach Tel Aviv as well as advanced anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles.

Hamas is believed to have a significant number of shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles and 9M113 Konkurs, which have a range of four kilometers and are capable of penetrating heavy armor.

In addition, Hamas is believed to have today a few thousand rockets, including several hundred with a range of 40 kilometers and several dozen with a range of between 60 and 80 km. Intelligence assessments are that Hamas smuggled the missiles into the Gaza Strip through tunnels, possibly in several components.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Hamas learns the Goldstone lessons

Israel Matzav: US House passes bill declaring al-Manar, al-Aksa TV terrorist organizations

US House passes bill declaring al-Manar, al-Aksa TV terrorist organizations

By a vote of 395-3, the US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would declare several satellite television channels in the Middle East, including Hezbullah's al-Manar and Hamas' al-Aksa, designated terror organizations. The bill would also require the president to file an annual report with Congress on anti-American incitement to violence in Middle East media.

The legislation, sponsored by Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida), Joseph Crowley (D-New York) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), also singled out Hamas's Al-Aksa TV and Al-Rafidayn TV as candidates for becoming Specially Designated Global Terrorists should the bill become law. Any such satellite carrier would accordingly be sanctioned under the measure.

For that to happen, though, the Senate must pass its own version, and it must then be signed by the president.

Still, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies hailed the House move as an important step in countering the influence of terror groups' media presence.

"We applaud the US House of Representatives for recognizing the danger that terrorist-owned and -operated media poses and for taking steps to limit the transmission of broadcasts that incite violence," he said. "Free speech protections should not cover the role of these media outlets as operational weapons."

It's about time.

Those who voted against were Michael Honda (D-Cal), Ron Paul (R-Tex) and Eddie Johnson (D-Tex).


Israel Matzav: US House passes bill declaring al-Manar, al-Aksa TV terrorist organizations

Israel Matzav: iPhone launched in Israel

iPhone launched in Israel

Well, it certainly took long enough.

Hat Tip: JPost.


Israel Matzav: iPhone launched in Israel

Israel Matzav: Iran's 'green revolution' outpacing its leaders

Iran's 'green revolution' outpacing its leaders

Amir Taheri reports that Iran's 'green revolution' is outpacing its leaders who wanted to work within the system. Not only is it now in open revolt against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also against 'Supreme Leader' Ayatollah Ali Khameni.

[T]he official calendar of the Islamic Republic includes 22 days during which the regime organizes massive public demonstrations to flex its muscles. Since the controversial presidential election last June, the pro-democracy movement, in a jujitsu-style move, has used the official days to undermine the regime.

On Jerusalem Day, Sept. 18, officially intended to express anti-Semitism, the opposition showed that Iranians have no hostility toward Jews or Israel. One popular slogan was "Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah! I give my life for Iran!" Another was "Forget about Palestine! Think about our Iran!"

On Nov. 4, the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, the opposition distanced itself from the regime's anti-American rhetoric. The democrats instead expressed anger against Russia and China, which are perceived as allies of the Islamic Republic. One slogan was "The Russian Embassy is a nest of spies!"

Most significantly, the movement that started as a protest against the alleged rigging of the election that gave a second term to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been evolving. The crowds' initial slogan was "Where Is My Vote?" and the movement's accidental leaders, including former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, tried hard to keep the protest confined to demands such as a recount of the votes and, ultimately, a runoff in accordance with the law.

The slogans of the protestors are no longer about election fraud. Today they include "Death to the Dictator," "Freedom Now," and "Iranian Republic, Not Islamic Republic!" One slogan is a direct message to President Barack Obama: "Obama, Are You With Us or With Them?"

...

Both Mr. Mousavi and Ayatollah Mahdi Karroubi, another defeated presidential candidate, tried to prevent attacks on the "Supreme Guide" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the hope of eventually making a deal with him. As part of such a deal, they promised to defend the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, according to sources close to the opposition. The crowds have rejected that by shouting: "Abandon uranium enrichment! Do something about the poor!"

If Taheri is correct about that last one, why is Moussavi preventing any compromise on Iran's nuclear weapons program? Why is he still pushing for enrichment? Is he still lagging behind the crowd?

Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: Iran's 'green revolution' outpacing its leaders

Israel Matzav: How crowded is Gaza?

Israel Matzav: How crowded is Gaza?

Israel Matzav: Pay attention: Iran is serious

Pay attention: Iran is serious

PJTV interviews Caroline Glick on Iran. It's worth watching the interview (it's about 11 minutes long and cannot be embedded, so click over). Caroline's sharp as always. Here are some highlights:

She criticizes the 'global warming' nuts for ignoring the Iranian nuclear threat.

Caroline slams the Obama administration for its ineffective policies on Iran.

She says that the sanctions being considered by the 'international community' will have 'absolutely no effect' on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Caroline says that Obama doesn't understand the Turkish regime (more on Turkey later today).

Interviewer Bill Whittle assures us that if there is an Iranian nuclear bomb in Tel Aviv (God forbid), there will be a very strongly worded letter delivered to the United Nations the next morning.

Caroline discusses the Harvard simulation.

Caroline notes that Hezbullah controls the Lebanese foreign ministry. As reported earlier this week, Lebanon will join the UN Security Council for a two-year term starting January 1, so effectively Hezbullah will be sitting in the Security Council. That leaves little chance of sanctions against Iran.

This one is really worth watching.


Israel Matzav: Pay attention: Iran is serious

Israel Matzav: Dictator of the Year

Dictator of the Year

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khameni has been named Dictator of the Year.

The University of Oslo in Norway named Iran's supreme leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "dictator of the year."

Khamenei was chosen out of a list of 11 candidates, put together by various human rights groups. Khamenei was "honored" for "showing the most hostility towards his people and other nations and for substantially increasing human suffering."

Unfortunately, all too true. What's worse is that most of us can probably guess the names of the other candidates and most of them are from this region.


Israel Matzav: Dictator of the Year

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' faking cancer to flee Gaza

'Palestinians' faking cancer to flee Gaza

JPost reports on 'Palestinians' who fake cancer and other serious illnesses in a bid to leave Gaza permanently.

Israel allows passage to top business people and a limited number of Gazans seeking treatment for serious illnesses. Egypt sporadically opens its border for university students and those with residency abroad.

Everyone else is stuck, even as Palestinian polls suggest nearly half the population would like to leave if they could. Deepening the Gazans' sense of imprisonment, they must now also obtain permission from the Hamas government before attempting to leave, further complicating an obstacle-ridden path to freedom.

Those trying to bribe their way out usually approach middlemen who put them in touch with local doctors, Palestinian health officials or Egyptian bureaucrats and military officials.

Akram Ghneim, 31, an unemployed father of six living off food handouts, told The Associated Press he promised $260 to a Palestinian middleman, who obtained for him a bogus medical report saying he had cancer. Ghneim said he hoped he'd get a rare spot on the list of Gaza patients with life-threatening illnesses who are allowed to enter Israel for treatment.

Once in Israel, he planned to disappear and work illegally. But Israeli intelligence officials, who review applications, rejected him last summer, saying his cancer report was forged.

"This is what the blockade does," said Ran Yaron, of the Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights, which helps bring Gazans into Israel for treatment by lobbing Israeli defense officials. "Most are frustrated and devastated people."

This has nothing to do with the 'blockade.' As has been demonstrated numerous times, no one is starving in Gaza. It has to do with the fact that life under Hamas is hell for anyone who does not want to live under an Islamic Caliphate.

In my view, Israel ought to encourage these people to leave Gaza, provided that they don't stay in Israel, they don't move to Judea or Samaria and they don't return to Gaza. I would allow anyone with a one-way ticket to a third country passage through Ben Gurion Airport.

Shy Guy suggested that this song might be appropriate to go along with this story.

Let's go to the videotape.


Heh.
Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' faking cancer to flee Gaza

Israel Matzav: Rahm Emanuel's rabbi making aliya

Rahm Emanuel's rabbi making aliya

The JPost reports that Rabbi Asher Lopatin is making aliya (immigrating to Israel) in 2011 to a new community in the Negev. What the Post doesn't mention is any reaction from Rabbi Lopatin's best-known congregant: Rahm Emanuel.

Lopatin, the rabbi of Cong. Anshe Sholom, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, will leave the Windy City in 2011 for the dry air of Carmit, located 15 kilometers northeast of Beersheba.

He would settle there now, except Carmit does not yet exist.

One of the towns that former prime minister Sharon had planned for the Negev to achieve a strategic presence near the Green Line, Carmit quickly became a project of the Jewish National Fund and the Or Movement in their quest to make settling in the Negev a viable option for American Jews.

"If you bring 200 such families to a place like Carmit, people will come here - not necessarily for the idealism, but for quality of life," JNF Executive Officer Russell Robinson told The Jerusalem Post in 2006.

But since then, Lopatin, who became involved in Carmit through the JNF, has shifted the focus back to the idealism.

Lopatin is trying to found Carmit on the basis of "environmental friendliness, egalitarianism and nonjudgmentalism." I wish him all the luck in the world. He will need it.

Maybe he can convince his best-known congregant to become a toshav chozer (returning resident) with him? At least that way, Rahm would make less trouble for us in the White House.

By the way, I believe Lopatin grew up in the same community as I did and may have attended the same synagogue as my parents (I had already left the Boston area by then).


Israel Matzav: Rahm Emanuel's rabbi making aliya
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