Monday, 15 March 2010

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu criticized for skipping Churva re-dedication

Netanyahu criticized for skipping Churva re-dedication

MK Dr. Michael Ben Ari (National Union) has criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu for skipping the Churva synagogue re-dedication.

MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari said at a Sefer Torah inauguration at the "Churva" synagogue in the Old City that, "Netanyahu has broken the national backbone and brings about the division of Jerusalem. He should have draw forces of restoration from attending this inauguration, to demonstrate power and not to fold on Jerusalem."

Netanyahu's office responds with a lame excuse.

A spokeswoman from the Prime Minister’s Office, however, denied that Netanyahu had ever planned on going to the re-dedication.

The spokeswoman said that the prime minister “didn’t go to every synagogue dedication, and he hadn’t planned on going to this one.”

Sorry, but the re-dedication of the largest synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City, which was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948, and which the Muslims consider an insult because it is taller than any building around it (yes, really) is not 'every synagogue.' It's loaded with symbolism. JPost notes in an editorial in Monday's editions:

More than just a house of prayer, the Hurva was a venue for key historical events – Herzl’s visit to Jerusalem, a recruitment ceremony for Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Jewish Legion, the honoring of pro-Zionist British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel – leading to the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty.

It symbolizes, perhaps more than any other site, the Jewish people’s yearnings to return to its homeland. It is concrete proof that Judaism cannot be reduced solely to an abstract religious faith devoid of national aspirations, as some – most notably German Jews of the the 19th century and contemporary Jewish anti-Zionists – attempted to claim.

While the Western Wall has been the focal point of prayers for redemption, the Hurva has been at the center of Jewish activism to maintain a presence in the Land of Israel.


Twice destroyed and twice rebuilt, the Hurva is a symbol of the Jewish people’s tenacious insistence on returning to its rightful land against all odds. To name something that is built a “ruin” reveals a stubborn unwillingness to accept the present reality as unassailable.

This refusal to be deterred by setbacks, this unfailing hope for redemption – whether physical or spiritual – is the secret of the miracle that is the Jewish state.

Israel's Prime Minister should be present at the dedication of a synagogue that symbolizes the 'secret of the miracle that is the Jewish state.' Here's hoping that Bibi will surprise us and show up there sometime on Monday.

The bottom picture is a Torah scroll being brought from the Western Wall to the Churva synagogue.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu criticized for skipping Churva re-dedication

Israel Matzav: What Israel could use right now

What Israel could use right now

In an earlier post, I noted the isolation that we're feeling here in Israel right now. Interestingly, this weekend I read the chapter in Daniel Gordis' Saving Israel called A Nation that Dwells Alone. Pure coincidence, but it really drove the point home.

A lot of you are probably wondering what you can do for Israel right now. There's one thing I can think of that would probably do more to lift spirits here than anything else: A letter signed by 300+ Representatives and 80+ Senators urging the Obama administration to tone it down. We've had some individual expressions of support, for example from Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) (pictured above) and Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), but a strong letter from a large part of Congress would probably do a lot to bring the Obama administration back to reality. I know that there are some members of Congress who follow me on Twitter - hopefully some of you will grab the ball and run with it.

Here in Israel, the Knesset is trying to get a substantial part of its membership behind Prime Minister Netanyahu on this issue.

Members of the Knesset lobby for the Land of Israel began signing Knesset members on a declaration in an attempt to create a united front against the American rebuke suffered by Prime Minister Netanyahu during the last few days over the Ramat Shlomo diplomatic crisis.

MK Ze'ev Elkin, chairman of the lobby explained the value he finds in such a signing, saying, "We want to give an expression to the fact that there is a broad consensus that on Jerusalem there is no dispute."

Maybe if large majorities of the Knesset and the Congress sign on, the Obama administration will realize that it is picking the wrong fight.

If you are connected to someone in the US Congress (House or Senate), please do pass this on.

Israel Matzav: What Israel could use right now

Israel Matzav: Bullying Netanyahu turns Israelis Right says....

Bullying Netanyahu turns Israelis Right says....

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who is a member of the Leftist Labor party, has some advice for Barack Obama that may make him think twice about bullying Binyamin Netanyahu.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said in reference to the east Jerusalem construction plan that "the more Bibi (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) is reprimanded, the more the people turn Right."

It's a different country than it was during Netanyahu's first term as Prime Minister. And part of that is an American President whom Israelis see as hostile to their interests.

Israel Matzav: Bullying Netanyahu turns Israelis Right says....

RubinReports: Explaining the U.S.-Israel Crisis

Explaining the U.S.-Israel Crisis

Please subscribe as number 9519 so you don't miss a single original article!

By Barry Rubin

It is important to understand that the current controversy over construction in east Jerusalem is neither a public relations’ problem nor a bilateral policy dispute. It arises because of things having nothing directly to do with this specific point.

What are the real issues involved:

1. The U.S. and most European governments are determined not to criticize the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) sabotage of the peace process. The facts are clear: The PA rejects negotiations for fourteen months. No reaction. The PA makes President Barack Obama look foolish by destroying his September 2009 initiative saying there would be talks within two months. The PA broke its promise to Obama not to sponsor the Goldstone report. In the end, the PA still won’t talk directly. Yet during fourteen months in office the Obama administration has not criticized the PA once. The point is clear: The U.S. government will never criticize the PA no matter what it does. (We’ll talk about why this is so in a moment.)

2. Same thing regarding Syria. Dictator Bashar al-Assad supports terrorists who kill the United States in Iraq; kills Lebanese politicians; openly laughs at U.S. policy; and invites Iran’s president immediately after a major U.S. concession. Yet the Obama Administration makes no criticism and in fact offers more concessions.

3. The United States will criticize Iran but will not take a tough and vigorous stand against it. Now it is mid-March and no higher sanctions. Indeed, the administration’s sanctions’ campaign is falling apart.

4. On whom can the Administration’s failures be blamed? Answer: Israel. Since it is a friend of the United States and to some degree dependent on it, no matter what the Obama Administration does to Israel that country has no wish or way to retaliate. It is safe to beat up on Israel.

5. By doing so, the Administration gets Europeans to go alone easily and can say to Arabs and Muslims: See we are tough on Israel so you should be nice to us.

6. What does the U.S. government want? A lot of things. An easier withdrawal from Iraq; popularity; quiet; nobody attacking it verbally or materially (at least not so its constituents will hear the attacks); an ability to claim success or at least claim it would have been successful on the peace process if not for Israel; supposedly, Arab support for its doing something on Iran; hopefully, less terrorism; and so on.

7. There is also an ideological aspect given the Administration’s general worldview, which need not be repeated here at length. But large elements in the government apparently have so accepted the manifestly untrue idea that everything in the region is linked to the Arab-Israeli conflict that high-level officials have reportedly remarked that the construction of apartments in east Jerusalem jeopardize the lives of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan or that Arab states won't cooperate with the United States because of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

The argument that U.S.-Arab relations rests on U.S.-Israel relations has been repeated for a half-century and repeatedly proven wrong. American attempts to resolve the conflict have rarely received help from the Arab world, and often been bitterly opposed. At the same time, Arab states have repetedly functioned on the basis of their own interests to seek U.S. help because they recognized American power: to convoy tankers and deter Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, to reverse Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, to protect them from Iran and revolutionary Islamists today, and in dozens of other cases. They may say that everything depends on Israel but that is propaganda.

By the same token, if the Arab world--that is the relative moderates--isn't being helpful to the United States now, this is due to the fact that such action is often against the interests of states and precisely because they do not view America as a strong and reliable power today. That is the result of Administration policies.

No matter what the Administration does to Israel, these things won't change. In short, the Administration is falling for the oldest trick, the most venerable con-game, in the Middle East book: Move away from Israel, pressure Israel, solve the conflict, and all the Arab governments will love America and do what it wants them to do.

What makes this even more ridiculous is that now the United States is focusing on Iran and Afghanistan, places where Israel-Palestinian issues clearly have zero effect on events. Sunni and Shia Iraqis aren't in conflict because of Israel; Sunni insurgents aren't attacking American troops because of Israel. Al-Qaida and the Taliban aren't fighting to seize power in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of Israel. And al-Qaida isn't seeking to overturn all Arab regimes, create an Islamist government, and destroy any Western role in the Middle East because of Israel.

And even if the Israel issue may be one factor affecting the attitudes of Arabs toward revolutionary Islamism it is only a single factor among many. The people prone to supporting revolutionary Islamism won't interpret an American conflict with Israel as showing the goodness of Obama but the weakness of Obama and the coming triumph of Iran in the region.

8. The handling of this issue is also counterproductive because it ensures Israel-Palestinian talks won't get going again. After all, if the United States is so angry at Israel why should the PA and Arab states defuse the crisis? They will raise their demands because they win either way: If the United States forces Israel to make more concessions then they get something for nothing. But if Israel doesn't make those concessions then it gets blamed for the impasse and the Arab side profits from reduced U.S. support for Israel. As for the radical forces--Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah--they aren't going to become pro-American or support a real peace process no matter what happens.

Consequently, just as with the original demand for a freeze on construction, the Administration has once gain shot itself in the foot. The chances for even indirect talks in 2010 has gone to virtually zero as a result. Israel didn't do it; the U.S. government did. Ironically, the United States will end up losing more from this than Israel because nothing much is going to be altered regarding Israel-Palestinian issues but a great deal is changing in the larger regional situation.

Why is this all not more worrisome for Israel? This is so for several reasons. First, the Administration is not going to do much or anything against Israel in material terms. It is not a tough government and doesn’t want confrontations. Its goal is not to injure Israel but to make itself look good. Moreover, it knows that pushing harder won’t bring any reward since Israel won’t yield and the peace process is going nowhere.

Second, Israel is protected by a very strongly favorable American public opinion and by Congress. At this point, Congress is no longer cowed by Obama. Indeed, the Democrats are angry with him for endangering their survival by the unpopular actions he is pressing on them. They know that the November elections look very bad for them. Taking on Israel will make things even worse. And they also have a better understanding of the radical forces in the region and the threat they pose. In other words, they are not so far left as is the White House. After the November elections, the Administration will be on even weaker political ground, especially vis-à-vis Israel.

Third, the Obama Administration’s strategy won’t work. The radicals will become more aggressive; the more moderate Arabs know that the Administration won’t credibly defend them. Sensing blood (albeit mistakenly) the PA will raise its demands higher. The PA could only exploit the opportunity if it demanded final status talks—something it would never do—and try to get the best possible peace agreement with U.S. support. But since they won’t deliver for the Administration, they won’t collect much from it.

Eventually, the extremism of Iran, Syria, the Iraqi insurgents, Hamas, Hizballah, Libya, and to a lesser degree the PA will force a shift in U.S. strategy. Either the Obama Administration will adjust accordingly—at least partly—or will not survive its own electoral test. (This is not to underrate economic factors, which remain the highest priority for Americans, but it is unlikely that these will “save” the Administration, quite the contrary. A continuing economic mess plus foreign policy disasters would make its situation worse.)

This current crisis will blow over when the Administration grows tired of it and has wrung all the benefits it can from the issue, and not before.

Optional notes: This is not to underrate the importance of the bad timing by an Israeli ministry, letting the PA pretend that Israel wrecked a negotiating opportunity. The one thing a politician can never forgive is someone else making him look bad. Unfortunately, this Administration is only concerned about friends making it look bad, letting enemies get away with it repeatedly.

But a more serious U.S. government would not have let that game happen and would have been more even-handed in attributing blame. Such a government would have seized on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology, asked that the building be postponed, and pushed the two sides together to talk. Instead, the Obama Administration just accepted the PA walk out as if it were powerless to do anything.

I have been informed that on a number of occasions that my criticisms of the Obama Administration have led to my being denied certain opportunities regarding projects and writing venues. I can only repeat that my criticism is a response to the government’s policies. I’d be far happier if they had a better policy and more competent implementation so that it would be possible to praise the government of the United States rather than have to criticize it.

RubinReports: Explaining the U.S.-Israel Crisis

Elder of Ziyon: EgyptAir wipes Israel off the map

EgyptAir wipes Israel off the map

From The Z-Word:

Visit the online route map of EgyptAir, the airline owned by the same state which signed an historic peace agreement with Israel in 1979, and you will see, once you click on the “Middle East & Gulf” section, that Israel has, well, disappeared.

The area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan has been divided down the middle - shades of a “Greater Syria” fantasy here, now that I think about it - and Amman appears to have moved several hundred miles to the west. No Tel Aviv, no Eilat, no Haifa. It’s like they never existed.

Perhaps that’s the point. Meanwhile, I wonder what impact this alternative vision of the Middle East will have on relations between Egypt and the country that provides it with around $2bn annually in assistance.

Here's the map:

If they hadn't bothered to try to put in national borders, the obvious distortion could be chalked up to trying to make it more readable. But being that this is Egypt, the airline is probably more worried about riots that would break out if they would mention Israel, as nutjob anti-Zionists would accuse the airline of the worst insult that anyone can hurl in Egypt - that of supporting "normalization with the Zionist enemy."

Elder of Ziyon: EgyptAir wipes Israel off the map

Israel Matzav: Obama tries to bully Israel into 'concessions'

Obama tries to bully Israel into 'concessions'

Scott Johnson noted on Sunday that the Obama administration's bullying of Israel was likely to be followed by demands that Israel make concessions to the 'Palestinians.'

The apparent purpose of this public display of animosity toward Israel is the extraction of some concession to offer to Israel's Palestinian non-interlocutors. In the purported peace talks that the administration seeks to facilitate with the part of the Palestinian Authority over which Mahhmoud Abbas presides, Abbas's representatives do not deign to meet face to face with Israel. Such obstruction does not elicit condemnation because the administration sympathizes with Abbas's need to keep up appearances with the fans of Hamas who forthrightly pledge the destruction of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post identifies some of those concessions.

The Obama administration refused to let go of the Ramat Shlomo construction controversy Sunday, with two top aides to US President Barack Obama slamming Israel amid a growing sense in Jerusalem that Washington was using the issue to squeeze diplomatic concessions from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

While the Prime Minister’s Office would not confirm the reports, it is widely believed that the US is now pressing Netanyahu to cancel the entire 1,600 housing-unit project in Ramat Shlomo.

In addition, Washington wants Israel to make a confidence building measure – such as releasing Palestinian prisoners – toward Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before US Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrives later this week to try to get proximity talks off the ground; and to agree that the proximity talks will deal with core issues of the negotiations, and not only technical matters as a way into direct talks, as Israel had demanded.

I was thinking this morning that in the George H.W. Bush administration, they would have just kept Mitchell home and told Netanyahu to call when he was ready to talk. But that's not likely to happen in this administration. First, because keeping Mitchell home has already been tried in the month or two leading up to the 'settlement freeze.' Second, because much as Bush Senior hated Israel, he didn't feel a fierce moral urgency to bring about the creation of a 'Palestinian' terror state as Obama feels. So will Netanyahu stand up to Obama? So far, the answer seems to be yes.

One source inside the Prime Minister’s Office said he was unaware of any intention by Netanyahu either to roll back the Ramat Shlomo project, or declare a moratorium on construction in east Jerusalem, something the Palestinians have been demanding for months.

The source denied reports that before the Ramat Shlomo brouhaha erupted there were informal agreements between Mitchell and Netanyahu’s aides that once talks began Israel would make no announcements of new construction in east Jerusalem.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, speaking on Fox News on Sunday, characterized Netanyahu’s comments Sunday as a “good start,” but said more needed to be done to rebuild trust.

“I think what would be an even better start is coming to the table with constructive ideas for constructive and trustful dialogue about moving the peace process forward,” Gibbs said.

“There’s no doubt that events like last week weaken the trust that’s needed for both sides to come together and have honest discussions about peace in the Middle East,” he said. “So there’s no doubt that that was not a bright spot for the Israeli government.”

Well, there are lots of ideas that can be brought to the table that don't involve making concessions to the 'Palestinians.' Both sides can stop inciting in their educational systems.... Oops, Israel did that a long time ago. Israel can offer to reopen road blocks in Judea and.... Oops, Israel did that already too. Perhaps rather than make more concessions, Netanyahu needs to point at what has been done already, and to the fact that the 'Palestinians' have turned down three way-too-generous offers in the last ten years and try to throw the ball back into the 'Palestinians' court. Under what circumstances are they willing to make peace and live side by side in peace next to a Jewish state? We all know the answer to that question: None.

Will this blow over? We await the next headline. Remember Dubai?

Israel Matzav: Obama tries to bully Israel into 'concessions'

Israel Matzav: Kouchner: No Iran sanctions until at least June

Kouchner: No Iran sanctions until at least June

One of the many downsides of the Obama administration's obsessive focus with bullying Israel on the 'Palestinian' question is that other, more important issues are being ignored. Like Iran. The European foreign ministers gathered in Finland this past weekend, and while they too took the time to threaten Israel, they also discussed sanctioning Iran, which is a threat to their interests as well. Bottom line: French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner believes it will be at least June before sanctions are in place, and even that sounds optimistic.

Citing objections from China and Russia, Kouchner said: “We are … talking and talking, trying to get an agreement by negotiation and at the same time working on sanctions. I believe that yes, before June it will be possible, but I’m not so sure.”

Nor is there certainty about the alternative – which, according to the news report, would be unilateral sanctions by the EU and the U.S.

Clearly, there are obstacles on the road to unilateral sanctions – philosophically, many EU countries oppose unilateralism and wish to proceed only after the UN has given the green light. Then, there is the skepticism about sanctions that are not binding on some of Iran’s main trading partners because such measures would fail to bite.

In short, sanctions, even limited ones, are a long way away, and it does not offer any succor to know that EU ministers are “talking about it.”

The Europeans genuinely want to sanction Iran (recall how it was the Europeans who insisted on making a big deal about the Qom nuclear facility). They've seen the map and they know that Iran could eventually reach them. They have three problems: First, they don't want to do it unilaterally because they are constitutionally reluctant to act unilaterally. Second, they fear that sanctioning Iran without the United Nations will mean that China, Russia, Switzerland and other countries will take over their business interests in Iran. Third, they're afraid that sanctions will be a step towards war, and the Europeans don't want to fight another war.

On the other hand, the Obama administration has no interest in enacting real sanctions against Iran. It's more interested in bullying Israel, which Obama has made the centerpiece of his foreign policy. While the Congress keeps trying to take action, the Obama administration keeps throwing monkey wrenches into the wheel, trying to keep the door open for their failed 'engagement' policy. Obama is as constitutionally incapable of acting unilaterally as are the Europeans and perhaps even more so. The US has no real business interests in Iran. But Obama is unwilling to provide leadership on this issue, while he is willing to pay any price to avoid war.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Kouchner: No Iran sanctions until at least June

Israel Matzav: Fatah incites Arabs to barricade themselves on the Temple Mount

Fatah incites Arabs to barricade themselves on the Temple Mount

The 'moderate' Fatah terror organization (our 'peace partner') has joined a call by Sheikh Raed Salleh's Northern Front Islamic organization ('Israeli Arabs') for Arabs to storm the Temple Mount and barricade themselves inside al-Aqsa mosque on the Mount.

Meanwhile, the police have denied a Jewish group's request to hold a cornerstone laying ceremony for a Third Jewish Temple (the first two having been destroyed 2,600 years ago and 2,000 years ago).

Who is spoiling for a fight?

The 'Palestinian' call is linked to Monday's re-dedication of the Churva synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City.

Top Fatah official and holder of the Jerusalem portfolio Khatem Abd el-Kader called Palestinians on Sunday to “converge on al Aksa to save it” from what he called “Israeli attempts to destroy the mosque and replace it with the [Jewish] temple.” Khader was speaking ahead of a dedication of a renovated synagogue in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, planned to take place Tuesday.He called Israel’s renovation of the Hurva Synagogue a “provocation” and warned Israel that it was “playing with fire.”

Is there anything Jews do in Israel that is not a 'provocation' to 'Palestinians'? Probably not. After all, when we die (God save us), we are buried somewhere in the country. Anything we do while alive, the 'Palestinians' consider 'provocative.'

Israel Matzav: Fatah incites Arabs to barricade themselves on the Temple Mount

Israel Matzav: Axelrod calls Ramat Shlomo announcement an 'affront' and an 'insult'

Axelrod calls Ramat Shlomo announcement an 'affront' and an 'insult'

President Obama's top adviser, David Axelrod, told ABC's Jake Tapper on This Week, that Israel's announcement of new housing units in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood during President Biden's visit constitutes an 'affront' and an 'insult' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

“What it did was it made more difficult a very difficult process,” Axelrod said in my “This Week” interview. Axelrod added that the move “seemed calculated to undermine” the so-called proximity talks going on between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

But what you miss if you don't watch the video is the loaded manner in which Tapper asked Axelrod the question.

Let's go to the videotape.

Not satisfied with how badly Axelrod hammered Israel, Tapper follows up:

TAPPER: I hate to say this, but yes or no, David, does the intransigence of the Israeli government on the housing issue, yes or no, does it put U.S. troops lives at risk?

AXELROD: I believe that that region and that issue is a flare point throughout the region, and so I'm not going to put it in those terms. But I do believe that it is absolutely imperative, not just for the security of Israel and the Palestinian people, who were, remember, at war just a year ago, but it is important for our own security that we move forward and resolve this very difficult issue.

Jennifer Rubin attributes Axelrod's attack on Israel and the way in which the White House is orchestrating the fight generally to Chicago style politics.

It’s attack, attack, attack — just as they do any domestic critic (even the Supreme Court Chief Justice). It’s about bullying and discrediting, trying to force the opponent into a corner. And in this case, their opponent is plainly the Israeli government. For that is the party the Obami is now demanding make further concessions to… well, to what end is not clear. Perhaps we are back to regime change — an effort to topple the duly elected government of Israel to obtain a negotiating partner more willing to yield to American bullying.

The language the Obami employ – ”personal,” “insulting,” and “affront” – suggests an unusual degree of personal peevishness and hostility toward an ally. That, I suppose, is the mentality of Chicago pols and of those who regard Israel not as a valued friend but as an irritant. And it is the language not of negotiators but of intimidators.

Jennifer also quotes Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, who is a candidate for President Obama's former Senate seat, who adds:

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, making it official United States policy that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel,” Congressman Kirk said. “As a staff member, I helped draft this historic legislation; as a Congressman I continue to urge its enforcement. History teaches us that a divided Jerusalem leads to conflict while a unified Jerusalem protects the rights of all faiths. I urge the Administration to spend more time working to stop Iran from building nuclear bombs and less time concerned with zoning issues in Jerusalem. As Iran accelerates its uranium enrichment, we should not be condemning one of America’s strongest democratic allies in the Middle East.

Kirk is one of the good guys. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be a whole lot of them these days.

I was in Israel in 1991 when the George H.W. Bush administration withheld loan guarantees from us at the height of the arrival of thousands of Soviet Jews. Israel needed that money to resettle the new immigrants. Instead, it got the White House phone number from James "F**k the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway" Baker, who said that we should call when we were ready to make peace. It was less than a year after Israel took one on the chin for US troops in Iraq. The isolation we feel here today is far worse - in my opinion - than the isolation we felt then.

What should have become clear over the past 16 years is that Israel is not the party that is holding up peace. No offer has ever been enough for the 'Palestinians' and no offer is ever likely to be enough. What the 'Palestinians' really want is to destroy the State of Israel. Most Israeli Jews seem to get that. Very few people outside of Israel understand.

Israel Matzav: Axelrod calls Ramat Shlomo announcement an 'affront' and an 'insult'

Israel Matzav: In the axis of evil

In the axis of evil

This is way too long to really excerpt, but is worth reading. It is an account of a trip to Syria - with brief excursions to Lebanon and Jordan - by an American Jewish couple. Here's one paragraph with food for thought.

I cannot get over the vastness of Syria and how insignificant the Golan Heights should logically be to this new generation of Syrians, too young to remember their loss in 1967. How could the absence of the Golan Heights have any effect on the day-to-day lives of these hard-working, friendly (but suspicious) Syrians? I cannot imagine that the loss of the Golan has any more relevance to the average Syrian than the loss of California to the average Russian or Mexican. However, since I am afraid to talk politics, especially my own, this question remains unanswered.

The answer is obvious. 'Getting back the Golan' isn't really about getting back the Golan. It's about regaining strategic high ground from which Israel could God forbid be harassed and destroyed.

Read the whole thing.

The picture at the top is the aron hakodesh (holy ark) in the Damascus synagogue, taken by a YNet reporter who was there two and a half years ago.

Israel Matzav: In the axis of evil

Elder of Ziyon: Algeria reveals the extent of its participation in 1967, 73 wars

Elder of Ziyon: Algeria reveals the extent of its participation in 1967, 73 wars

Elder of Ziyon: Goldberg slams Sullivan on PalArab propaganda map

Elder of Ziyon: Goldberg slams Sullivan on PalArab propaganda map

Elder of Ziyon: The importance of the ITIC report (guest post)

Elder of Ziyon: The importance of the ITIC report (guest post)

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab lies and true goals revealed by Hurva

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab lies and true goals revealed by Hurva

Elder of Ziyon: A 349 page response to Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: A 349 page response to Goldstone

Torat HaRav Aviner: Dreams



[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah - Vayakel-Pekudei 5770 – translated by R. Blumberg]

Question: People have all sorts of dreams, good, bad, and strange. Do dreams have spiritual significance, or are they meaningless? And even if they do have meaning, is it healthy to pay attention to them?
Answer: Our Master Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook wrote that the Torah distances us from delving into all sorts of unclear visions, and that it forbids Ov, Yidoni, inquiring of the dead, and all sorts of sorcery. Instead, it instructs us to live with the living. The only exception is dreams. The Torah instructs us to relate to dreams during our lives, and it also teaches us that dreams can be significant, just as nature has its own laws (Igeret HaRe’eiyah, Igeret 79). Surely we see from the Torah that there was truth to the dreams of Yosef, Pharaoh, and Nebuchadnezzar. Likewise, regarding bad dreams, the rabbis enacted personal fast days, as well as the “Hatavat Chalom” ceremony for improving a dream’s outcome, and special prayers to be recited during the Priestly Blessings.
Yet all that applied to earlier times.
In recent generations, the great halachic luminaries greatly decreased their interest in dreams (see the Mishnah Berurah 220:1, and the sources I bring later). And also regarding dreams, about which it is written that we should fast for them even on the Sabbath (Orach Chaim 288:5), recent luminaries said not to fast for them on weekdays, not to hold the "Hatavat Chalom" (improving a dream) ceremony, and even not to recite the special prayer during the Priestly blessing. In this regard the Chazon Ish wrote:
“Many times I had such dreams, and I paid them no mind. It is proper to recite the Ribono Shel Olam prayer about dreams during the Priestly Blessing.” (Igrot Chazon Ish 2:149) The reason is that they decided that these are the sort of dreams that our sages determined to lack meaning, as they only reflect one’s own thoughts (Berachot 55b). As Daniel wrote (Daniel 2:29), “Your thoughts came while on your bed.”
For example, Mishnah Berurah writes that a bad dream after a fast day should not arouse worry since it is the result of the affliction from the fast day, and the same applies to any dream that follows great pain (Orach Chaim 220, Sha’arei HaTziyun 1).
Likewise, if someone dreams that his teeth fell out, if he suffers from toothaches he should not worry (Orach Chaim 288, M.B. 18). The same applies if he worried about something by day and then dreamt about it by night (ibid., M.B. 7).
Kaf HaChaim wrote similarly regarding someone who dreams about the end of Yom Kippur during the days leading up to Yom Kippur (Kaf HaChaim 17). And, Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel wrote the same about the bad dreams of people who are not in the best of health (Parashat Miketz).
Today, life has changed greatly from former times, which were more tranquil. Most people lived in villages or small towns, far from the urban crowds, and they were less exposed to earthshaking news.
Today, however, people are bombarded with information day and night from all the media, and they hear about all sorts of terrible happenings. Someone won’t necessarily dream about such things the day after they occur, but such news is stored away in the subconscious, and it bursts forth as dreams from time to time. To the extent that the news is worrisome, it results in nightmares (Piskei Teshuva, ibid.).
Aruch Ha-Shulchan wrote that when people are absorbed with the vanities of this world, those matters find expression in their dreams, especially if they eat a lot before bedtime. Then the digestion process influences the imagination, and such dreams are not real, and they have no meaning (Aruch Ha-Shulchan, Orach Chaim 210:1).
Therefore, one should not worry about his dreams at all. He need not fast over them, and he should further take into account that fasting weakens one’s ability to serve G-d, and sometimes causes anger and nervousness (ibid., 13).
If someone is greatly disturbed by a dream all the same, he can perform a "Hatavat Chalom" ceremony before three friends, or recite the special prayer during the Priestly Blessing. By the way, even in former times, "Hatavat Chalom" was only for people who were distraught over a dream (Orach Chaim 220:1). Certainly the best thing is to learn Torah and give charity, and if one repents, all will be well for him.

Torat HaRav Aviner: Dreams

'US Demands Israel Cancel Ramat Shlomo Construction Plans' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News#replies

'US Demands Israel Cancel Ramat Shlomo Construction Plans' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News#replies

Knesset Members Back Netanyahu on Jerusalem - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Knesset Members Back Netanyahu on Jerusalem - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Sites of Violent Anti-Barrier Protests Closed - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Sites of Violent Anti-Barrier Protests Closed - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

PA Spurs on Riots, 3 Roadway Attacks - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

PA Spurs on Riots, 3 Roadway Attacks - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Brazilian President in Israel, Stirs Controversy - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Brazilian President in Israel, Stirs Controversy - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Security Fears: Police Cancel Upcoming Temple Mount Activities - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Security Fears: Police Cancel Upcoming Temple Mount Activities - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Warnings Sounded Against Importing Chinese Vegetables - Business & Economy - Israel News - Israel National News

Warnings Sounded Against Importing Chinese Vegetables - Business & Economy - Israel News - Israel National News

Love of the Land: US anger at Israel is misplaced, insulting

US anger at Israel is misplaced, insulting
14 March '10

The American reaction to the announcement that Israel would continue to build in Jewish East Jerusalem puts several things in sharp focus. What does it tell us that Joe Biden ‘condemned’ it, Hillary Clinton found it ‘insulting’ and White House political advisor David Axelrod called it both an ‘affront’ and an ‘insult’?

Let’s look at both the substance and the tone of these remarks.

The substance: as many commentators have pointed out, Israel has been building in East Jerusalem since 1967, and negotiated with the Palestinian Authority for 15 years while building there. When Israel agreed to the Obama Administration’s demand for a settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria, it pointedly did not agree to include Jerusalem, which Israel has never considered a ’settlement’. At that time, the US praised Israel for taking a positive step to resolve the conflict. Israel has indicated that it would cede some Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as part of a peace agreement, but has never accepted any prior limitation of its sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: US anger at Israel is misplaced, insulting

Israel Matzav: Another son of a Syrian victim apologizes to Assad

Another son of a Syrian victim apologizes to Assad

Three months after we were treated to the spectacle of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri kissing the man who ordered his father's murder, another Lebanese politician whose father was murdered by the Syrian regime (albeit this time by the previous President) is 'apologizing' to the Assad family: Walid Jumblatt.

After years of alliances with Western-leaning politicians and fierce anti-Syrian rhetoric, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has issued a formal apology to Syrian President Bashar Assad for controversial statements slamming the Alawite regime.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Saturday night, Jumblatt said he had “offended Assad during a moment of anger,” adding that he knew his words must have been intolerable to the Syrian leader. “I used inappropriate language,” he told the news channel. His words were communicated by Al-Nahar.

The Druze politician, who heads Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist party, suggested that it was in both countries’ interests to turn over a new leaf. "In the past I would say: 'forgive but don't forget.' Today I say: 'forgive and forget,'" he was quoted as saying.

Jumblatt’s earlier rhetoric was fueled in part by rumors that Syria had perpetrated the murder of his father, Kamal Jumblatt, in 1977, and later former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. In the past, he had called Assad a dictator and a product of Israeli machinations.


In his Al Jazeera interview, Jumblatt stressed his willingness to visit Damascus were he to receive an invitation from Assad. “I want to tell the Syrian people that we share the same destiny,” he reportedly said. “We are one people, one land.”

Jumblatt went on to speak of pressing regional issues, among them the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Arabs are divided everywhere” in the face of Israeli and Western “aggression,” he said.

He concluded by saying that he hoped his son would grow up to “see a new, secular Middle East.”

I wonder if he checked that last statement with his country's masters from Hezbullah.

In case you are wondering, Jumblatt's turnaround is the result of Obama abandoning the anti-Hezbullah forces in Lebanon, followed by the Saudis reading the writing on the wall and making a deal with Syria to compromise Lebanon's sovereignty. More on that here.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Another son of a Syrian victim apologizes to Assad

Israel Matzav: Father and baby wounded in firebomb attack; Clinton silent

Father and baby wounded in firebomb attack; Clinton silent

A father and his nine-month old son were wounded in a firebomb attack on Route 443 on Saturday night. Yes, that Route 443.

Arab terrorists lightly wounded a father and his nine-month-old baby boy on Saturday night with a firebomb (Molotov cocktail) on “terror highway 443," which connects Jerusalem with the city of Modi’in. The terrorists escaped. Medics treated the father and baby at the scene.

The IDF had closed the road to Palestinian Authority Arabs several years ago because of deadly attacks at the beginning of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, but the High Court ruled two months ago that the order violated the basic human rights of the Arab population.

The army is preparing plans to satisfy the court order, but since the ruling, the number of attacks has increased dramatically. Ten days ago, terrorists from a PA vehicle shot at an IDF checkpost on the key highway.

In 2009, there were 299 firebomb attacks and 22,450 stoning attacks on Israeli roads, all of which are designed to cause fatal accidents. The father and baby in Saturday night's incident were injured after the driver crashed into a guardrail following the firebombing.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not comment on the attack, which was one of thousands of violations of the PA commitment to halt its violence and incitement against Israel.

What the story omits is that the attack took place against a car heading toward Jerusalem after the car had passed the Atarot checkpoint. In other words, the attack took place within the Jerusalem city limits. That's what Israel Radio reported on Sunday morning.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Father and baby wounded in firebomb attack; Clinton silent

Israel Matzav: Shebaneh threatens to expose new scandal involving Sheikh Tamimi

Shebaneh threatens to expose new scandal involving Sheikh Tamimi

The 'Palestinian Authority' sent its security forces to raid the Jericho home of whistleblower Fahmi Shebaneh, seizing the home and destroying furniture. Shebaneh, who lives in Jerusalem and has an Israeli identity card, was not at the Jericho home.

Still, they can't shut him up:

Shabaneh, meanwhile, has threatened to expose a new scandal involving Sheikh Tayseer Bayoud Tamimi, chief judge of the Islamic Courts in the PA.

Shabaneh told the Post that he has issued an ultimatum to Tamimi, the highest-ranking Islamic figure in the PA territories, to resign within a week or else he would publish allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Shabaneh said that when he was still in his job he received a number of complaints against the sheikh and other judges working in the Shari’a courts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He also released a recording of a phone call from last week in which Tamimi pleads with him not to expose details of the scandal he’s allegedly involved in.

“After I publish the case against Judge Tamimi, he will be forced to resign because he has brought shame on the Islamic courts in Palestine,” Shabaneh said. “His fate will be similar to that of Rafik Husseini, whom we filmed naked in the bedroom of an Arab woman from Jerusalem.”

Shabaneh added that he also had incriminating material against a former PA minister who lives in the Jerusalem area. “He will be the next in line,” he said. “This minister has also been begging me not to expose his file.”

For those who have forgotten the vile Sheikh Tamimi, please go here and here.

It ought to be fun to watch this rat squirm. Maybe someone could send the video to the Pope.


Israel Matzav: Shebaneh threatens to expose new scandal involving Sheikh Tamimi



by Angelo Lodetti

model : Hobbycraft's kit in 1:48 scale


(model: Hasegawa's 1/32 A-4E)

Love of the Land: PA TV honors anniversary of terror attack with interview of terrorist's sister

PA TV honors anniversary of terror attack with interview of terrorist's sister

Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)
13 March '10

(Clinton called [xxxxxxx] “to make clear the United States considered the announcement a deeply negative signal about [xxxxxxx] approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president’s trip,” Crowley said. Clinton, he said, emphasized that “this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests.”)

If you guessed that the call was to Abbas and the "deeply negative signal" was this event, you would be incorrect. Also, you are not a member of the Obama administration. Y.

March 11th, 1978 was the date of the worst terror attack in Israel's history, when 37 people were murdered in a bus hijacking known as the "Coastal Road Massacre." Official Palestinian Authority TV opened its broadcasting last week on the 32nd anniversary of the terror attack by praising it as:

"A glorious chapter in the history of the Palestinian people... [near Tel Aviv] in the heart of the occupation state. The operation shocked the occupation entity."

PA TV's praise of the attack was part of the introduction to an interview with Rashida Mughrabi, sister of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who commanded the attack. She also praised the attack and called for further terror against Israel, to whom she referred as "the Zionist enemy":

"This is a day of glory and pride for our Palestinian people and a blow to the Zionists... we must unite, and our rifles must unite, against the enemy who steals our land."

The following is from the PA TV interview with Rashida Mughrabi:

Host: "Now, dear viewers, we move on to a glorious chapter in the history of the Palestinian people. On this day in 1978, the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi prepared to meet her God by carrying out a self-sacrifice operation of Martyrdom-seeking [near Tel Aviv] in the heart of the occupation state. The operation shocked the occupation entity at the time and has left its mark until today and for years to come. Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian Shahida (Martyr), has become a symbol and model of resistance, sacrifice, and Martyrdom-seeking; a model of giving and of redemption of the homeland."

Rashida Mughrabi, sister of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi: "This is a day of glory and pride for our Palestinian people and a blow to the Zionists, who view it as a day of blood for them. It is a day of pride for us, just as the day which they see as [Israeli] Independence Day, is our day of catastrophe...

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: PA TV honors anniversary of terror attack with interview of terrorist's sister

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

As you might imagine, we here in Israel are feeling very alone tonight. The whole World is seemingly out to get us. Here's the Yeshiva Boys Choir singing Mah Navu al HeHarim as we wait for the call of the Messiah.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Muslims targeting Jews in Norway

Muslims targeting Jews in Norway

I guess no one should be surprised by this either.

The Norwegian man tells about how his son was stopped and grabbed on the street by a group of Muslims, where they asked him if he was Jew. When he said yes, they said they would hang him in the forest. Luckily, the Jew somehow managed to get loose and run away.

The Jews are a very anonymous group in Norway. I have never heard a single bad word about them; they have never done anything bad here at all. The ungrateful Muslims have a lot to learn from the Jews.

Well, yes, but when has that ever stopped them from trying to kill us.

Israel Matzav: Muslims targeting Jews in Norway

Love of the Land: Re: They Haven’t Learned the Lesson

Re: They Haven’t Learned the Lesson

Jennifer Rubin
4 March '10

The Obami seem to have adopted, if not encouraged, the Palestinian predilection to see an array of Israeli actions as provocation. Building homes within its capital or protecting biblical sites are all provocative to the Palestinian sensibilities. So in rush the Obami, filled with condemnation for Israel. But frankly, practically everything — including Israel’s existence — is provocative to many Palestinians. A case in point: the restoration of the Hurva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City (destroyed when Jews did not control the site) is now a source of outrage for the Palestinians:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Re: They Haven’t Learned the Lesson
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