Friday, 16 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

Here's Ohad Moskowitz singing Bo'i b'Shalom (Come in Peace [O Sabbath Queen].

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Israel Matzav: George Herbert Walker Obama?

George Herbert Walker Obama?

Earlier this week, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel compared President Obama to George H.W. Bush (also known as Bush 41 or Bush, the father) on foreign policy.

Foreign Policy (the blog) asked several academics what they thought of Emanuel's comparison. Here are a few of their answers.

Robert Kagan
Senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

I will leave it to the self-described realists to explain in greater detail the origins and meaning of "realism" and "realpolitik" to our confused journalists and politicos. But here is what realism is not: It is not a plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons through common agreement by all the world's powers. And it is not a foreign policy built on the premise that if only the United States reduces its nuclear arsenal, this will somehow persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program, or persuade China and other reluctant nations in the world to redouble their pressure on Iran to do so. That is idealism of a high order. It is a 21st-century Wilsonian vision. And it is precisely the kind of idealism that realists in the middle of the 20th century rose up to challenge. Realists would point out that the divergent interests of the great powers, not to mention those of Iran, will not be affected in the slightest by marginal cuts in American and Russian nuclear forces.

The confusion no doubt stems from the fact that President Obama is attempting to work with autocratic governments to achieve his ends. But that does not make him Henry Kissinger. When Kissinger pursued diplomacy with China, it was to gain strategic leverage over the Soviet Union. When he sought détente with the Soviets, it was to gain breathing space for the United States after Vietnam. Right or wrong, that was "realpolitik." Global nuclear disarmament may or may not be a worthy goal, but it is nothing if not idealistic.


Danielle Pletka
Vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute

There is a certain weird irony in the Obama administration's efforts to portray the U.S. president as the successful son George H.W. Bush never had. In 2008, before Rahm Emanuel labeled his boss more "realpolitik, like Bush 41," the Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne memorably announced that in "electing Barack Obama, the country traded the foreign policy of the second President Bush for the foreign policy of the first President Bush."

Those eager to take a cheap shot would remember that among the hallmarks of George H. W. Bush's foreign policy were (hmmm) antipathy to Israel, an eagerness to kowtow to creepy dictators, and a lack of the "vision thing" that will forever relegate him to being that guy Americans elected because they couldn't give Ronald Reagan another term.

But Barack Obama isn't a realpolitician, and I fear he does indeed have a vision. Obama has embraced the foreign policy of an ideologue, a worshipper at the altar of American decline. The framework seems a simple repudiation of American global leadership, a devaluation of alliances, and a penchant for paper agreements and empty dialogue that articulate grand aims (Disarmament! Global zero! Proximity talks!) but ignore the practical threats to the United States that exist in the real world.


Peter Feaver
Alexander F. Hehmeyer professor of political science at Duke University; contributing editor to Foreign Policy and blogger at Shadow Government

Emanuel's quote is puzzling. President Obama may be more "realpolitik" than George W. Bush in the sense that he has downgraded the place of human rights and support for democracy in his foreign policy. But it is certainly not "realpolitik" to slight the personal relationships of presidential diplomacy -- and it would be hard to identify something more unlike George H.W. Bush than this feature of the Obama approach to foreign policy. In any case, the rewards for this alleged "realpolitik" turn are still hard to measure. President Obama is significantly more popular with the general publics in the other great powers (except possibly in Asia), but if measured cold-bloodedly by American "self-interest," the last President Bush had at least as good and probably more effective and cooperative relations with the governments of those great powers (except possibly with Russia). Relations with Britain, China, France, Germany, India, and Japan were more troubled in 2009 than they were in 2008.


Michael Lind
Policy director for the economic growth program at the New America Foundation; author of The American Way of Strategy

Rahm Emanuel is right. In many areas, ranging from his caution about escalating the war in Afghanistan to his firm approach to Israel, Barack Obama shows more affinities with the moderate Republican realist tradition of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and the first Bush than with the Cold War liberal tradition of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson that spawned the neoconservative combination of hawkishness and crusading rhetoric. This reflects not only Obama's worldview but also the migration into the Democratic Party of many former moderate Republican voters. Their influence is seen as much in the Democratic health-care bill, which rejects New Deal-style social democracy for an approach of subsidizing private insurance that Eisenhower and Nixon pioneered, as in the Obama administration's cost-conscious, realist foreign policy.

I didn't particularly care for George H.W. Bush, but I cannot see him going on a worldwide apology tour and bowing to world leaders, nor can I see him being afraid to pull the trigger on Iran. In fact, the only foreign policy area in which this comparison seems valid is that Bush 41 was also hard on Israel.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: George Herbert Walker Obama?

Israel Matzav: Patriotic journalists?

Patriotic journalists?

The Journalists' Association in Tel Aviv, which represents reporters from all the media outlets in Israel, refused on Thursday to back the Haaretz daily over the classified documents its reporter Uri Blau received from Walla website reporter Anat Kam.

Arutz Sheva has learned that Haaretz publisher Amose Shocken asked the organization to back the newspaper in its dealings with the Shabak Israel Security Agency and to help Blau, but the association refused and called on Shocken to bring the reporter back to Israel and to return the documents to the security establishment.

When your own union won't back you, it ought to make you stop and think that maybe you're really wrong. But don't expect Haaretz to even consider that.

Israel Matzav: Patriotic journalists?

Israel Matzav: Eric Cantor lashes out at Obama

Eric Cantor lashes out at Obama

You will recall that earlier this week, at the press conference concluding his nuclear summit, President Obama defined a resolution of the Israeli - 'Palestinian' conflict as a 'vital national security interest' of the United States.

"It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."

You will also recall that Senator John McCain (R-Az.) went on Fox News to rip Obama for those comments.

Now it's Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) turn. Cantor is the House Minority Whip and he issued a statement about US - Israel relations on Thursday.

The true barrier to ending the Mideast conflict is the widespread Palestinian refusal to accept and to live alongside Israel as a Jewish state. While Israel continues its search for a reliable partner in peace, Palestinian terrorism is still celebrated in the West Bank and Gaza. Despite this reality, since day one the White House has applied a severe double standard that refuses to hold the Palestinians accountable for their many provocations. It makes one wonder where the responsible adults are in the administration?

The administration’s troubling policy of manufacturing fights with Israel to ingratiate itself with some in the Arab world is no way to advance the cause of Mideast peace. What kind of message is sent to the world when our country appears to turn its back on key strategic allies who share our values?

“The list of grievances supposedly stoking the hatred of Islamic terrorists is endless and evolving. Before Al Qaeda used our support for Israel against us, Bin Laden’s main grievance was the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and sanctions against Saddam’s Iraq – both of which no longer exist. The suggestion that terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan will lay down their weapons if we distance ourselves from Israel is blindingly naïve. We know this because it’s been tried before. For example, Russia has sided with Israel’s Arab enemies since the days of the Cold War, and today it condemns Israel at the U.N., sells arms to Israel’s arch-enemies Syria and Iran, and is attempting to block meaningful international sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. Did this stop Islamist suicide bombers from murdering 38 in an attack on two Moscow subway stations last month?

“With each passing day, more Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the deteriorating state of U.S.-Israel relations. This concern was expressed succinctly by a letter today from World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder to President Obama, who wrote, ‘Our great country and the tiny State of Israel have long shared the core values of freedom and democracy. It is a bond much treasured by the Jewish people. In that spirit I submit, most respectfully, that it is time to end our public feud with Israel and to confront the real challenges that we face together.’ I couldn’t agree more.

Laura Rozen adds:

Last month, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told Cantor that Vice President Joe Biden never told Israeli leaders that Israeli settlement activity imperils the lives of U.S. troops.

I don't know why she threw that line into her post - it's seemingly out of place. But assuming that it's true, you have to wonder why Secretary of Defense Gates said that the fact that the conflict is not resolved endangers US troops, and why General David Petraeus has had to engage in acrobatics to disclaim being the source for Biden's imaginary remarks.

Just wondering....

Israel Matzav: Eric Cantor lashes out at Obama

Israel Matzav: IAF looking for practice space

IAF looking for practice space

With Israel's relations with Turkey on the rocks, Israel is looking for another country in the region whose airspace it can use for IAF drills.

In recent years, due to the various threats it faces, primarily from Iran, the IAF has increased its long-range training missions. Most notable was in 2008, when 100 IAF aircraft flew over Greece in an exercise that was perceived as a dress rehearsal for a strike against Iran.

Until Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, the IAF frequently flew over Turkey, and it had participated in several annual exercises with the Turkish Air Force. Following the offensive against Hamas and the deterioration in Israeli-Turkish relations, Ankara has refused to allow Israel to deploy its fighter jets in Turkey.

“We are looking for new places where we can fly,” a senior IAF officer said recently.

As a result, the Defense Ministry is looking to continue an agreement it signed in 2006 that allows Israeli fighter jets to deploy in Romania. The IAF has sent jets to Romania for training in 2007 and plans to deploy aircraft there again later this year.


It is possible that the flyover by two IAF Gulfstream reconnaissance aircraft in Hungary last month was also part of an air force exercise in Europe. The appearance of Israeli military aircraft in Hungarian airspace triggered a political controversy that culminated this week in the dismissal of the head of the air traffic department at Hungary’s Transportation Ministry.

“Our ties with Turkey will never return to be the way they once were,” a senior defense official said on Thursday. “It is unlikely that under the current government in Ankara we will be allowed to fly there again.”

Why not just fly over the Persian Gulf? Heh.

Israel Matzav: IAF looking for practice space

Israel Matzav: Jews wake up? Only 42% would vote for Obama in 2012

Jews wake up? Only 42% would vote for Obama in 2012

Could it be that for many of my fellow Jews in the US, yarad ha'asimon (the token dropped) at last? A new survey shows that a plurality of US Jews would consider voting for someone other than Barack Hussein Obama in 2012. In 2008, 78% of American Jews voted for the Democratic candidate (Hat Tip: Mona Charen).

I. A plurality of Jewish voters would consider someone else for President.

According to the 2008 exit polls, Barack Obama won 78% to 21% among Jewish voters. Now, in the second year of Obama’s presidency, only 42% of voters would re-elect him, while the plurality (46%) would consider voting for someone else.

Would you vote to re-elect Barack Obama as President or would you consider voting for someone else?
Re-Elect 42
Someone Else 46
Don’t Know/Refused 12


III. Jewish voters do not support President Obama’s plan to recognize a Palestinian state

The majority of voters (52%) disapproves of the Obama Administration supporting a plan to recognize a Palestinian state within two years. The majority of voters (64%) says that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, while only 13% say that the United States should force Israel to give up parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Six in ten voters (62%) say that the Palestinians would continue their campaign of terror to destroy Israel if they were given a Palestinian state, while only 19% say they would live peacefully with Israel. More than seven in ten voters (73%) say Israel is right to insist upon the Palestinians accepting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state before there are any negotiations about a Palestinian state.

And for those wondering how the survey was done:

McLaughlin & Associates conducted a national survey of 600 likely Jewish voters on
April 7th and 8th, 2010. All interviews were conducted via telephone by professional
interviewers. Respondents were randomly selected within predetermined geographic
units structured to correlate with actual voter turnout. The survey of 600 likely Jewish voters has an accuracy of +/- 4.0% at a 95% confidence interval.

So what does it all mean? Well, it doesn't necessarily mean that if the elections were held today, 46% would vote for a Republican and 42% for Obama. But given Jewish voting patterns over the last 80 years or so, with Obama the presumptive Democratic nominee, the fact that 46% of Jews would consider voting for someone else would be major progress. Since FDR, the only Democrat not to get a majority of Jewish votes was Jimmy Carter in 1980, and much of the vote that was siphoned off went to Independent John Anderson and not to the eventual winner of that election, Ronald Reagan. As Jennifer Rubin notes:

Given the sentiments about the components of Obama’s approach to Israel, it is still remarkable that a full 50 percent approve of his handling of relations with Israel. This suggests, as did the AJC poll, that Jews still can’t quite break the habit of agreeing with whatever Obama is up to. But this is a sign, a significant one, I think, that the Jews’ views are not fixed and that the policies and tone of the administration do impact Jewish support. The movement in Jewish public opinion may in turn spur Jewish leaders to step forward, as Lauder did. After all, they wouldn’t want to be seen as lagging behind their members, or worse yet, as irrelevant.


Israel Matzav: Jews wake up? Only 42% would vote for Obama in 2012

Israel Matzav: Scud transfer from Syria to Hezbullah just the latest chapter

Scud transfer from Syria to Hezbullah just the latest chapter

This week's transfer of long-range Scud missiles from Syria to Hezbullah is just the latest installment in a long list of weapons transfers from Syria to the terror organization. Here are some other recent transfers.

Weapons have been flowing from Syria to Lebanon for decades. However, in recent months, reports have indicated that the sophistication of the weapons systems provided to Hezbollah has grown. In October 2009, the British military magazine Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Syria had supplied Hezbollah with M-600 rockets, a Syrian variant of the Iranian Fatah 110, whose rudimentary guidance system can carry a 500-kilogram payload to a target 250 kilometers away.

In early March, the head of the research division of the Israel Defense Forces' Military Intelligence, Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that Syria had recently provided Hezbollah with the Igla-S man-portable air defense systems. The shoulder-fired weapon can bring down the Israeli drones, helicopter gunships, and low-flying fighter aircraft that routinely fly over Lebanon to gather intelligence.

Reports of increased weapons transfers surfaced again following Ford's nomination hearing on March 16. Rumors circulated around Capitol Hill that Syria had delivered Scud-D missiles to Lebanon. These reports did not specify whether the missiles were Russian Scud-Ds or Syrian varieties of Scud-Ds, which are upgraded versions of older Scud models that Syria reportedly began producing in mass quantities during the last year. Both missiles have a range of up to 700 kilometers, which means they could hit most, if not all, Israeli cities even if fired from northern Lebanon. Both can carry chemical or biological warheads.

Less than a week after a Feb. 17 visit by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns -- the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Damascus in more than five years -- Assad hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah at a banquet in Damascus. During the visit, Assad openly mocked U.S. efforts to distance Syria from Iran and stated that his government is "preparing ourselves for any Israeli aggression."

These weapons transfers appear to mark a continuation of Assad's belligerent stance. While Lebanon has long been the battlefield between Syria and Israel, the transfer of these weapons may indicate that the Syrian president is calculating that the next war with Israel could involve strikes on Syrian territory. Conversely, others have postulated that the transfers could also be designed to put pressure on the United States to get Israel back to the negotiating table -- a bizarre tactic that is clearly not working.

'Engagement' with Syria has really put a stop to all those arms transfers, hasn't it?

Israel Matzav: Scud transfer from Syria to Hezbullah just the latest chapter

Israel Matzav: Assad shill: Syria will stop arming Hezbullah if it gets the Golan back

Assad shill: Syria will stop arming Hezbullah if it gets the Golan back

Assad shill Josh Landis claims not to know whether Syria delivered long-range scud missiles to Hezbullah this week (despite Hezbullah's admission that it did). He dismisses the scuds as 'wobbly rockets' and claims that the Mossad's data about them was 'worthless.' And then he comes up with this:

The larger question, however, is not whether Syria has delivered Scuds to Hezbollah. Syria has been rebuilding Hezbollah's missile supplies ever since they were largely exhausted during Israel's 2006 incursion into Lebanon. It will continue to do so as long as Israel refuses to trade land for peace. Syria says it will no longer have any reason to arm Hezbollah once it gets the Golan back and can sign a peace agreement with Israel.

That's curious. Because what Israel has asked in return for the deal that 'everyone knows' will bring peace on the Syrian border is that Syria declare the conflict to be over and that it drop its relationships with Iran, Hezbullah and other terrorist organizations. If Landis is correct, that's a slam dunk to happen. So if Syria wants peace, as Landis claims, why does Syria keep saying it won't drop those relations?

Syria understands that the reason Israel will not return the Golan Heights is because of the terrible imbalance in power between the two countries. So long as there is no peace, Syria will feel compelled to arm itself and its allies. Only this week at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, we were reminded that Israel has hundreds of atomic warheads that can be delivered by missile, plane, and submarine. What's more, Washington continues to supply Israel with large amounts of military aid and cutting-edge military technology. Israel accuses Syria of trying to change the balance of power by introducing Scuds to Lebanon, but from Syria's point of view, it is Israel that has skewed the regional balance.

Actually, Syria took a better shot at changing the balance of power in the region by trying to build a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar. Landis conveniently forgets that. Fortunately, Israel destroyed that reactor in 2007.

Israel Matzav: Assad shill: Syria will stop arming Hezbullah if it gets the Golan back

Israel Matzav: And now a little incitement from the 'Palestinian Authority'

And now a little incitement from the 'Palestinian Authority'

The 'Palestinian Authority' keeps telling us how they have 'ended incitement' against Israel and that therefore they are ready to live in 'peace.' Not quite.

Amaryeh, who previously has accused the United States of being in cohorts with the Palestinian Authority, also says it and Israel are in an unholy alliance.

Attacking Koch for criticizing President Obama’s demands that Israel stop building for Jews in united Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Amaryeh wrote, “For Koch and like-minded Zionists, asking Israel to rein in Nazi-minded Jewish settlers, stop stealing occupied Arab land and freeze the expansion of Jewish-only colonies on land belonging to another people is tantamount to throwing Israel under the bus, according to these arrogant dogs and sick thugs.”

Besides calling Koch “an aggregate Zionist racist and liar," he termed former U.S. President George W. Bush “another pathological liar, former President Bush who claimed that Muslims and Arabs hated the U.S. because of our freedoms and liberties’ not because of America’s dark embrace of Israeli Nazism….

“One can argue rather candidly that Koch is either an irredeemable, willful ignoramus…or a pornographically odious liar that lies as often as he breathes oxygen, which is the more likely probability.”

The article was disseminated on the "Palestine Free Voice" website despite the PA commitment to cease incitement against Israel.

Of course, Obama may agree with Amaryeh's characterization of former President Bush, so don't expect this diatribe to come up in discussions with the PA.

Actually, now that I look at it, the domain called 'Palestine Free Voice' is for sale, so I'm not sure we can blame the 'Palestinian Authority for this one. There's also a blog by the same name (which I won't link), but it's not clear who writes it.


Israel Matzav: And now a little incitement from the 'Palestinian Authority'

Israel Matzav: Which comes first?

Which comes first?

David Hazony has a brief piece on the Anat Kam case in London's Jewish Chronicle. While I don't agree with everything he writes there, this paragraph is spot-on:

Because you can’t have journalism without security. Secrets should be uncovered, but not at any price. Freedom of the press is a minimum condition for a healthy society, but security is a minimum condition for life itself. A watchdog that bites its master will end up hungry indeed.

It's sometimes easy for a lot of you in the West to forget that the kinds of secrets Kam exposed are life and death matters. We Israelis cannot forget it.

Israel Matzav: Which comes first?

Israel Matzav: Things to ponder

Things to ponder

Fifteen months into the Obama administration, Victor Davis Hanson suggests some things to ponder. In each case, the question to be answered is "have things improved?"

Here are the items that are connected with our region: In other words, are Palestinians and Israelis, and the region at large, closer to peace or further from it? And is there a greater or lesser chance for another war involving Hezbollah and Hamas? Is Syria more or less likely to fuel regional tension? Is Lebanon more likely to erupt in sectarian violence or stay tranquil? Is Iran closer or more distant to getting the bomb, and is its behavior more conciliatory or provocative? Has Turkey warmed to the U.S., or is it continuing its Islamic distancing? Is Israel more or less secure?


Did all the new euphemisms, the serial promises to close down Guantanamo, the envisioned civilian trial of KSM, the Middle East interviews, the Cairo-like speechmaking, and general reach-out to the Muslim world result in 2009 in fewer efforts on the part of Islamic extremists to kill Americans here at home, relative to the annual average since 2001, or more?

Has the United States gained greater good will with our immediate northern and southern neighbors, and is the Clinton diplomatic team more or less likely to commit diplomatic gaffes than was the team of Secretary of State Rice?

And are Chinese, Russian, and Middle East leaders more or less likely now, than in the past, to test an American president? Fifteen months is still early, but answers to these questions are becoming clearer. Not all of these issues involve the United States, but the Obama administration in one manner or another has addressed all of them — usually on the premise that America's prior eight years were the problem and the next four are the solution. Such exultation only makes the contrast more stark.

From the answers to those questions, it is obvious to me that Obama's foreign policy is a complete and utter failure where it concerns Israel. And if you read the rest of it, you will see that Obama is a complete and utter failure in the rest of the world as well.

33 more months (and hopefully not more).

Israel Matzav: Things to ponder

Israel Matzav: The difference between Orthodox and other Jews on politics

The difference between Orthodox and other Jews on politics

Shmuel Rosner comes up with this observation.

I warned you this will not be a surprise, but look how the Jewish Orthodox answer the questions on Obama's handling of Israel: 17% approve (compared to 55% of Jews generally), 74% disapprove (37% for Jews generally). Interestingly, when it comes to Netanyahu's handling of the relations the Orthodox aren't as forgiving as one might assume: 30% of American Orthodox Jews disapprove of the way Netanyahu is handling his relations with Obama and the US. In fact, the number of Orthodox approving of Netanyahu (57%) is lower (!) than the number of Conservatives (61%) and identical to the number of Reform who think Netanyahu handles the relations properly (also 57% - 31% of Reform disapprove).

There is likely a difference between why the Orthodox disapprove of Netanyahu's handling of Obama and why the others disapprove. Those Conservative and Reform Jews who disapprove of Netanyahu's handling of Obama likely do so because Netanyahu is not accommodating enough to Obama and because Obama is obviously displeased with Netanyahu. Those Orthodox Jews who disapprove of Netanyahu's handling of Obama likely do so because Netanyahu is not tough enough - for example, because Netanyahu caved in on the 'settlement freeze' in Judea and Samaria. Thus the disapproval numbers on Netanyahu - even if they are similar - are not comparable.

Israel Matzav: The difference between Orthodox and other Jews on politics

Israel Matzav: Obama's personality traits

Obama's personality traits

You've got to be kidding me. He could not have said that. But he did.

Read it all.

Israel Matzav: Obama's personality traits

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah admits it, Syria denies it

Hezbullah admits it, Syria denies it

Hezbullah admitted on Thursday that it did receive long-range scud missiles from Syria. Syria is still denying it.

Hizbullah sources confirmed Thursday that the terror group received a shipment of Scud missiles from Syria, the Kuwaiti paper Al-Rai reported.

According to the report, the missiles were claimed to be old and unusable. Hizbullah also accused Israel of blowing the incident out of proportion in order to provoke a media ruckus.

The sources added, "Our organization has many surface-to-surface missiles spread across all of Lebanon, in case Israel attacks the country again.”

In spite of this confirmation, the Syrian Foreign Ministry denied the reports, saying Israel was trying to stoke tensions in the Middle East and could be setting the stage for a possible Israeli "aggression" to avoid Middle East peace requirements.

Here's the most interesting part:

At the same time, according to the Wall Street Journal, the IDF came very close recently to attacking a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon, but at the last moment decided against it.


And here's the bad news:

In related news, Col. Ronen Cohen, former head of the Northern Front in Military Intelligence and the current chief intelligence officer for the IDF’s Central Command, said in a research paper that an Israeli bombing of Lebanese national infrastructure would likely unite the Lebanese people behind Hizbullah and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

As if they're not already.

When we go to war with Hezbullah again (which will happen), I believe we should hit Lebanon's infrastructure regardless of whether it unifies them behind Hezbullah.

Here's more on the Syrian reaction.

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah admits it, Syria denies it

Love of the Land: Secretary Clinton at Dedication of Center: Israel must jump higher, remain silent (insatiable demands)

Secretary Clinton at Dedication of Center: Israel must jump higher, remain silent (insatiable demands)

Dr. Aaron Lerner
16 April '10

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Here are Secretary of State Clinton's marching orders to Israel:

"But easing up on access and movement in the West Bank, in response to credible Palestinian security performance, is not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere. So we encourage Israel to continue building momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity, and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza, and to refrain from unilateral statements and actions that could undermine trust or risk prejudicing the outcome of talks."

There is a reason she doesn't just say "prejudicing the outcome of talks" because she knows what that means.

It means that Israel cannot annex territories during the course of negotiations.

That's the same limitation Israel accepted at the start of the Oslo process.

It is the only limitation.

What about settlement construction?

Oh, that's "spirit of Oslo".

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Secretary Clinton at Dedication of Center: Israel must jump higher, remain silent (insatiable demands)

Love of the Land: I Blame You, Ron Lauder

I Blame You, Ron Lauder

Shmuel Sackett
International Director
Manhigut Yehudit
1 Iyar, 5770 (15 April '10)

Most of the Jewish world is applauding the bold and brave move by World Jewish Congress president, Ronald S. Lauder, who printed an open letter to US President Obama in today’s Wall St Journal and Washington Post. In this letter, Ron Lauder asked the president to end the public feud with Israel, to focus more attention on the Iranian nuclear threat and to commit to Israel’s security.

While the letter sounds nice and defensive of Israel, it is actually nothing more than a hypocritical bunch of nonsense written by one of the people mainly responsible for the dangerous situation in which Israel finds itself!

Allow me to explain – using the same style as Mr. Lauder – only this time writing a hypothetical open letter from US President Obama to WJC President Lauder:

15 April 2010

Dear President Ronald S. Lauder,

I read your open letter today in the Washington Post and have the following reply:

By the time I was born, you already had a degree in International Business from the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of PA.
In 1984 you were appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO policy at the Pentagon.

In 1986 President Ronald Reagan appointed you as US Ambassador to Austria.

In 1989 you ran for mayor of NYC.

In 1998 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed you as his personal representative in peace negotiations with Syria. During your tenure at this position, you authored the work, “Treaty of Peace between Israel and Syria,” which advocated Israeli surrender of significant amounts of land in exchange for peace.

I write all of this to show that – clearly – you are a man of the world. You are a trusted advisor to both Presidents of the United States and Prime Ministers of Israel. Many top leaders in both the USA and Israel consider you their personal friend.

(Read full commentary)

Love of the Land: I Blame You, Ron Lauder

Love of the Land: Mr. President, Your Animus Is Showing

Mr. President, Your Animus Is Showing

John Podhoretz
16 April "10

The declaration this morning on the front page of the New York Times that the Obama administration has made an explicit shift in the U.S.-Israel relationship brings to mind words I published in COMMENTARY 10 months ago about the relationship between the United States and Israel in the Age of Obama: “There is no question that we have entered a new era, one that I expect will be characterized by tensions and unpleasantnesses of a kind unseen since the days when George H. W. Bush was president, James A. Baker III was secretary of state, and the hostility toward Israel oozed from both men like sweat from an intrepid colonial traveler’s brow as he journeyed across the Rub-al-Khali.”

Prophetic? Perhaps, but if you wish to credit me with visionary foresight, I have to confess that the reports of President Obama’s conduct toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their deliberately unphotographed White House meeting in March still came as a cold shock to me. We still don’t know quite what happened, but it appears that the president came into the room with a list of unilateral demands, that he grew impatient with Netanyahu’s answers, and that he left unceremoniously by claiming he was going to have dinner with his wife and kids but that he would “be around” in case the prime minister “changed” his tune.

Even if the meeting was only half as confrontational and chilly as the reports indicated, it would still represent a display of rudeness and high-handedness unprecedented in the annals of American diplomacy. But since the target of Obama’s startling behavior was Israel, something especially complicated was at work. The president’s conduct was so extreme that it would be unthinkable for him to act in such a fashion toward the leader of any other nation, friend or foe. Obama knows that Israel needs the United States so much it is in no position to complain—particularly since the president was supposedly still in a snit over the ham-handed revelation in Israel, in the midst of Vice President Biden’s March visit, of the construction of 1,600 new housing units in Jerusalem.

Maybe Obama was operating, even unconsciously, in the unique spirit of informal aggression that can only be expressed between familial intimates. For who else would feel free to express such open rudeness at a special occasion? More likely, he was behaving in the manner of a liege lord demanding compensation from someone he considers his vassal. This attitude might explain as well the president’s otherwise perplexing treatment of other friendly leaders—Gordon Brown of Great Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy—who may not seem to Obama to possess sufficient rank for him to treat them as allies of comparable stature.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Mr. President, Your Animus Is Showing

Love of the Land: New Israel Fund: Supporting Israel’s Destruction, One NGO at a Time?

New Israel Fund: Supporting Israel’s Destruction, One NGO at a Time?

The New Israel Fund, now under investigation by the Israeli government, has been supporting a phalanx of groups dedicated to destroying Israel.

Abraham H. Miller
15 April '10

Like every person who reads the Jewish Forward, I received an email solicitation on April 1, 2010, from Daniel Sokatch, chief executive officer of the New Israel Fund (NIF). If I want to save Israeli democracy from the threat of the ultra-orthodox and the settlers, the solicitation informs me, I should sign an email petition for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

No, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, and I immediately thought about who would save Israel from Daniel Sokatch and the NIF.

The NIF and the NGOs it funds are under attack in the Israeli Knesset. Sokatch wants American Jews to pressure the Israeli government to call off its investigation of the relationship between the NIF‘s NGO recipients and the infamous Goldstone Report. This is an uphill struggle for NIF, since the loudest calls for investigation are from Kadima, the Israeli centrist party.

As someone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and has experienced firsthand the effects of Sokatch’s work here as the former CEO of the Jewish Community Federation, I strongly believe most of the members of this Jewish community would eagerly sign a petition that would encourage the Israeli government to pursue its investigation with all deliberate speed. If NIF is innocent of the accusations made against it, let it be exonerated within the democratic process it supports.

Sokatch was hired as CEO of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation because some community leaders believed that a person with an ultra-progressive agenda could mobilize donors who shared his views. These community leaders also believed that exposure to the real world of pluralistic community politics would mature a person with well-honed leadership skills who was perceived as highly intelligent and talented, but politically naive.

None of that happened. There really aren’t a lot of George Soroses out there, even in Berkeley, and people who spend their time railing against capitalism never seem to become terribly successful businessmen. But the biggest disappointment to some was that Sokatch, despite his obvious talents, seemed stuck in his ultra-progressive ideology.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: New Israel Fund: Supporting Israel’s Destruction, One NGO at a Time?

Love of the Land: Not quite free

Not quite free

European democracies are spending tens of millions of euros to manipulate Israeli society and politics

Gerald Steinberg
13 April '10

The writer is president of NGO Monitor and professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University.

Sixty-two years after the rebirth of sovereignty following 2,000 years of exile and powerlessness, the Jewish state is still struggling for real independence. Beyond the genocidal threats from the Iranian leadership and its proxies, European democracies are spending tens of millions of euros, pounds and krona to manipulate Israeli society and politics. This largely hidden European money that funds so-called “civil society” organizations, like B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Ir Amim, the Public Committee Against Torture, Peace Now and dozens more, is undermining Jewish sovereignty and the right to determine our own future.

With such large sums at their disposal, self-appointed leaders of these foreign government-funded nongovernmental organizations (appropriately known as GONGOs) often have greater influence than elected officials. They often set the political agenda, promote their goals in the Knesset and UN and dominate media discussions on Israel.

For example, under the civil society façade, and using European taxpayer money, as well as donations from the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem’s offices in London and Washington lobby intensely in support of the blood libels in the Goldstone Report. In parallel, the self-styled Coalition of Women for Peace promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions and to hurt Israeli firms. And a handful of individuals in Breaking the Silence (BTS), were invited to travel (all expenses paid) throughout Europe to tell the journalists, “intellectuals” and left-wing politicians that Israel, and not Hamas or Hizbullah, is the real “war criminal.” BTS films were also shown as part of Israel Apartheid Week activities across campuses last month.

IN THIS form of European neocolonialism, these groups push the policies selected by their patrons, while central topics for Israelis are given short shrift. As a result, few reports by “human rights” groups deal with Gilad Schalit, women victims of Arab honor killings or other issues missing from Europe’s agenda.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Not quite free

Love of the Land: Policy Debate - A Matter of Connecting The Dots

Policy Debate - A Matter of Connecting The Dots

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Weekly Commentary
15 April '10

Dividing Jerusalem and putting the Old City under international administration will bring conflict – not peace.

Israel has to control the Jordan Valley in any deal with the Palestinians.

American guarantees that a Palestinian state would remain demilitarized can’t be relied upon.

A security pact signed by the United State can’t take the place of territory vital for Israel’s security.

It is naïve to think that withdrawing to the ’67 lines will bring Israel an enduring peace.

These are among the “dots” that polls, such as the recent survey carried out for IMRA by Maagar Mochot, consistently indicate the overwhelming majority of Israelis agree on.

And that’s important.

Because while withdrawal advocates may enjoy the support of most of the media as well as financial assistance from foreign governments and their surrogates, the dots back their opponents.

And it is considerably easier to enter a policy debate when all that’s left to do is connect the dots that the public already acknowledges.

That’s not just the situation in Israel.

Here is what American Jews answered last month when asked the most fundamental of questions in an poll commissioned by the AJC:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel.”
Agree 75% Disagree 20% Not Sure 5%

Outright rejection of the working premise of “withdrawal brings peace” religion.

That’s not to say policy advocates should be complacent. If anything, they should be encouraged by the results to make the effort to get the public to connect the dots.

Love of the Land: Policy Debate - A Matter of Connecting The Dots

Love of the Land: A Shocking Secret in Plain Sight: U.S. Policy Sabotages U.S. Policy

A Shocking Secret in Plain Sight: U.S. Policy Sabotages U.S. Policy

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
15 April '10

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff made a fairly good speech in the Security Council. But it contained the following remarkable section:

“The Palestinian Authority is, in effect, a lifeline to more than half a million people in Gaza, making sure that PA salaries are paid and social welfare payments are made on time. The PA plans to devote roughly half of its $3.9 billion budget to Gaza in 2010.”

Now it isn't my job to correct factual mistakes in official speeches made by U.S. government officials. Is half the money the Palestinian Authority (PA) spends, which largely comes from Western donors, going to Gaza where—whatever humanitarian intentions exist—it shores up the Hamas regime? No, that would be around $2 billion. The correct figure in total PA aid is $500 million.

Still, it is the equivalent of sending massive economic assistance to the Taliban government in Afghanistan on the rationale that it is helping poor Afghans. And that this were done while the Taliban was making possible the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Oh yes, and it also means that in per capita terms the Hamas domain is one of the largest recipients of Western aid on a per capita basis in the world. Even when corrected to a half-billion dollars that means that Gaza Strip residents get more Western aid per capita than Israel. Israel's aid all comes from the United States. Most of the money is tied to buying weapons from U.S. companies. In comparison, the money going into Gaza has no strings attached. Of course, it goes to individuals but bolsters the local economy and a lot of it ends up in the pockets of Hamas and its institutions.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: A Shocking Secret in Plain Sight: U.S. Policy Sabotages U.S. Policy

Love of the Land: Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World

Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World

by Jeffrey Herf
Yale University Press, 2009, 352 pages

Reviewed by Daniel Pipes
April '10

The impact of National Socialism in the Middle East used to appear brief and superficial. Unlike with Communism, whose local parties and outside influence through the Soviet bloc lasted over many decades, the Nazis' moment lasted about six years, 1939-45, and they had little regional presence beyond Rommel's armies in North Africa and a fleeting pro-Nazi regime in Iraq.

But two powerful, important books have set the record straight. Djihad und Judenhass (2002) by Matthias Küntzel, translated into English in 2007 as Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, shows the continuing influence of Nazi ideas on Islamists. Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World by Jeffrey Herf focuses on an earlier time, the 1930s-40s, and the major effort by Hitler and his minions to transmit their ideas to the Middle East. After reading Küntzel and Herf, I realize that my education about the modern Middle East was lacking a vital ingredient, the Nazi one.

A specialist in modern German history at the University of Maryland, Herf brings a new corpus of information to light: summary accounts of Nazi shortwave radio broadcasts in the Arabic language that were generated over three years by the U.S. embassy in Cairo. This cache reveals fully, for the first time, what Berlin told the Arabs (and to a lesser extent, the Iranians). As page after page of Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World establishes in mind-numbing but necessary detail, the Germans above all pursued two themes: stopping Zionism and promoting Islamism. Each deserves close consideration.

Nazi propaganda in Arabic portrayed World War II, history's largest and most destructive war, as focused primarily on the sliver of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This interpretation both flattered Arabs and extended Hitler's grand theory that Jews wanted to take over the Arab countries and eventually the whole world, that the Allied powers were but pawns in this Zionist conspiracy, and that Germany was leading the resistance to them.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World

Elder of Ziyon: Hillary's wishful thinking

Hillary's wishful thinking

Here is part of what Hillary Clinton said yesterday at the dedication of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace:

I am one of those people who does believe that peace is possible, not out of any misplaced idealism or whatever remnants of naiveté may still pulse somewhere in one or two cells left in my body – (laughter) – but because it has to happen. It has to happen.

Is this the thinking of the Secretary of State of the United States? That the reason peace is possible is because "it has to happen??"

This sounds like the thinking of an abused woman who married her abuser because, after all, he has to change.

This is not only naivete - it is the triumph of wishful thinking over reality. This is not only a problem with this administration or even this nation, of course, but it has rarely been so succinctly and explicitly put.

To hear one of the most powerful people on the planet spewing such nonsense is a very frightening thought. The reality is that the current generation of Palestinian Arabs are not able to adhere to any real peace with Jews controlling what they consider Arab land forever. The peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, while wonderful in the sense of quieting down the borders, are very far from the real definition of "peace" - in fact, the level of hate for Jews in those countries are higher than in most Arab countries that do not recognize Israel. This is not a problem that can be solved in this generation.

Realizing that some problems are not solvable is not a failure; it is an acknowledgment of reality. Once this is understood, then problems no longer need to be solved - they need to be managed, which is a very different issue and requires a very different approach.

Unlike the illusory "peace," it also has the potential of being possible.

Elder of Ziyon: Hillary's wishful thinking

Elder of Ziyon: "Iran could produce missile that could hit the US"

"Iran could produce missile that could hit the US"

From AP:

Iran could build a nuclear bomb in a year's time if it wants to, but would need more time to make the weapon usable against an enemy, U.S. officials told Congress on Wednesday.

Having said that Iran could amass sufficient highly enriched uranium to build one bomb in roughly a year, Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that a nation driving for a weapon generally needs three to five additional years to make the leap to a bomb it can field.

The timeline Cartwright cited Wednesday could be shortened if Iran pursued ways to deliver a weapon at the same time as it worked to build a bomb.

It seems that Cartwright is saying that Iran is 3-5 years away from having the ability to deliver a nuclear bomb on a missile. (The idea that Iran is not working on a delivery system in concert with building the bomb appears dangerously shortsighted to me as well. Why on earth would the systems have to be developed serially?)

He seems not to be concerned that such a bomb could be delivered easily over land or via a ship.

Imagine, for example, another Iranian weapons ship being discovered by Israel like last year's boat with thousands of tons of weapons. Israel took that ship into port to catalog the weapons. What if one of them was nuclear - with a remote trigger?

Or what about Free Gaza's upcoming flotilla of ships meant to go to Gaza - but with a high probability that Israel will intercept it?

Iran doesn't need a missile to deliver a nuclear bomb to its most likely intended target. It just needs a person willing to kill himself for jihad.

I don't think there is a shortage of such people.

Iran is also pursuing an aggressive ballistic missile program, and with outside help could produce an intercontinental missile capable of reaching the United States, a top intelligence official told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

It already has missiles that can reach much of Europe, as well as most of the Arab world. While I'm not a rocket expert, the fact that Iran has sent satellites into space seems to me to be an indication that they already have the know-how to build an ICBM even without outside help.

Elder of Ziyon: "Iran could produce missile that could hit the US"

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas says yesterday's executions only the beginning

Hamas says yesterday's executions only the beginning

A Hamas politician, Khalil al-Hayya, has said that the executions of two "collaborators" yesterday is only the beginning.

He said that the spies in Gaza has only two choices: "Either to return to the warm bosom of their people to find forgiveness, or the alternative that was seen today."

Of course, those who seek forgiveness also get executed, so the upside seems a little murky.

There was a political aspect to these executions as well. They are a slap in the face of Mahmoud Abbas, as the PA law states that all executions must be approved by the president.

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas says yesterday's executions only the beginning

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab sources reveal latest evil Zionist plans

PalArab sources reveal latest evil Zionist plans

Once again, intrepid and unnamed Palestinian Arab sources have revealed in great detail the evil plans of the Zionists to further Judaize Jerusalem.

The latest report is that Israel plans to build a "Museum of the Temple" directly outside the Al Aqsa Mosque's western side, and also a synagogue that will be even larger than the recently re-opened Hurva. Even worse, this synagogue will be even larger than the Al Aqsa Mosque itself! The synagogue even has a name, "Holy Light."

I have no idea is any of this has the slightest relationship with reality, as apparently Palestinian Arabs manage to find out about Jewish plans before the Jews do.

Although it would be nice.

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab sources reveal latest evil Zionist plans

Elder of Ziyon: Uproar in Saudi Arabia over donkeys on textbook cover

Uproar in Saudi Arabia over donkeys on textbook cover

PalTimes reports that a math textbook in Saudi Arabia is causing a furor.

The cover shows a cartoon image of two donkeys, one large and one small, that seem to represent a teacher and student. Saudi teachers are very upset that they are being represented by a donkey.

Teh undersecretary of education agreed to discuss this serious matter with officials.

Elder of Ziyon: Uproar in Saudi Arabia over donkeys on textbook cover

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab scholar upset at Hebrew-named sites in Jerusalem

PalArab scholar upset at Hebrew-named sites in Jerusalem

I saw variants of this article in a few Palestinian Arab publications over the past few days; this one is from PalTimes.

An Arab researcher has discovered that Jews have been naming many Jerusalem sites with Hebrew names over the past 125 years!

The reason, according to him, is obvious. It is to obliterate those many years of Palestinian Arab history and identity. Because, you see, the idea that Jews really have a historic and emotional connection to Jerusalem is too absurd to even contemplate - every Palestinian Arab knows that everything that Jews do is purely for the purpose of ethnic cleansing.

Naturally, he is calling on the Arab League and the related bodies known as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to take action against this crime of using Hebrew place names in the city whose Hebrew name of Yerushalayim pre-dates Islam.

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab scholar upset at Hebrew-named sites in Jerusalem

Elder of Ziyon: This week's Al Ahram insanity

This week's Al Ahram insanity

Every week, Egypt's English-language edition of Al Ahram Weekly has a sampling of lengthy, virulently anti-Zionist articles, usually written in impeccable English.

This week's example is typical. Galal Nasser attempts to prove, with astonishingly weird logic, that Israel (and the US, of course) is behind the troubles in Yemen, as Israel apparently believes that it is in its strategic interests to use Al Qaeda to foment unrest in Yemen.

Here's but a small sample of the Nasser's intellectual ravings:

The chaos in Yemen elevated this country to a cornerstone in US and Israeli plans to dominate the southern portion of the Middle East, which were moved into high gear at the turn of the millennium when the first Bush administration unveiled its project for a "New Middle East". An easily accessible country, it overlooks the Bab Al-Mandeb, the strait linking the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. This strategic international water is extremely vital to Israel, which is why Israel has done all in its power since 1973 to secure control over it. Its efforts towards this end include:

- Expanding its naval presence in the southern portion of the Red Sea off the coast of Eritrea in order to intercept Iranian naval vessels and monitor the Sudanese coast.

- Stimulating Al-Qaeda activities in Yemen in order to hasten the dismantlement of the state and to be able to use the "war on terrorism" as an excuse to secure a military presence on Yemeni territory.

- Unleashing piracy along the Somali coast and in the vicinity of the Bab Al-Mandeb in order to justify a direct US-Israeli military engagement in the area.

THE RISE OF AL-QAEDA: Before examining this aspect of the Yemeni question, I must first register my belief that the so-called Al-Qaeda organisation was born as and remains a kind of CIA unit....A decade after it was founded, Al-Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in New York, setting off a chain of events that struck the Arab and Islamic worlds harder than anywhere else. The military pursuit of Al-Qaeda beat a path of destruction through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and, most recently, Yemen. These were the names that topped the list of countries designated for the project of the New Middle East, the map for which was captioned by its architects, "Blood borders: How a better Middle East would look". It was precisely in this spirit that former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice remarked, "This project will not succeed without great sacrifices such as a torrent of blood."

...There are other curious aspects to the Somali pirate phenomenon. One is especially struck by the fact that certain major powers seem to be controlling it and regulating its pace. The prime candidates for this role are those with a strategic vision for this region, namely the US, and Israel above all. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden near the Bab Al-Mandeb has the charm of appealing to international intervention in the area on the grounds that it threatens the security of one of the most important maritime routes in the world.

...According to the latest estimates, the pirates have raked in between $25-30 million up to now. Regardless of how they began their operations, they are no longer petty opportunists driven to maritime crime by the civil war and destitution that have ravaged their country; they are big business. It is not surprising that certain powers would seize upon the opportunity to turn the phenomenon to their advantage. Chaos on the high seas serves the schemes of the US administration and Israel to assert their control over strategically sensitive areas. The US-Israeli cordon around the Bab Al-Mandeb is now complete.

Good thing that we Elders created no less than sixteen layers of obfuscation around our real plans for world domination, and Galal has only penetrated to number two. (Kudos for making up a nice Condi Rice quote, though.)

We are amused.

Elder of Ziyon: This week's Al Ahram insanity

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Little Brother

Little Brother

Ehud Manor passed away, aged 60, five years ago this week. Manor probably wrote lyrics for more Israeli songs than anyone else - more than 1,000 by some counts, between the early 1960s and the day of his death. Many are part of the canon, though it must be said that they were generally not high poetry. The Hebrew Songs website I've been using to give English translations of shirim has more than 150 by Manor, of a grand total of 4,600.

Since we're in the week we're in, here's perhaps his most memorable song of bereavement. Achi Hatzair Yehuda, My Younger Brother Yehuda is about life after the death of his younger brother Yehuda, who was killed in 1968, in the War of Attrition that spanned the years of 1968-1970. Manor wrote a number of songs about his brother, including Ben Yaffe Nolad, A Handsome Boy Was Born; this one however isn't about Yehuda, it's about life without him.

Hebrew lyrics
English translation
My young brother Yehudah,
do you hear?
do you know?
The sun still rises every morning
and its light is white,
and in the evening the wind scatters
the leaves of the garden.
The first rain
came down two days ago
on Tuesday evening,
and the sky is visible again,
in the puddle on the main road.

My young brother Yehudah,
do you hear?
do you know?
Your kids are in the garden,
they're learning a new song already,
and in high school the students
are again training on the field,
winds of sunset
howl on the balcony
the songs of autumn,
and Mom secretly waits
that maybe a letter will arrive.

My young brother Yehudah,
do you hear?
do you know?
All your good friends
carry your image with them,
and in all the tanks on the border lines
you are with them.
My good brother,
I remember your eyes,
and they solve riddles.
And my baby son is handsome like you,
I will name him in your name, Yehudah.

Manor's youngest son, by the way, really is named Yehuda (b.1974).

There have been many recordings of this song; I've chosen one sung by Manor himself, who recorded songs only rarely.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Little Brother

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

IDF Women

تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Torat HaRav Aviner: The Obligation to Make Aliyah at this Time

The Obligation to Make Aliyah at this Time


Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook
[Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Bereshit p. 276]

The Pitchei Teshuvah (Even Ha-Ezer 75:10) wrote: "The obligation to fulfill this mitzvah applies at all times, and this is explained by all of the halachic authorities, the Rishonim and Acharonim, based on the ruling of the Ramban (Bemidbar 35:53 and additions to the Sefer Ha-Mitzvot of the Rambam, Positive Mitzvah #4).
There are those who have claimed that there is no mitzvah at this time because of the danger in traveling to Eretz Yisrael, as mentioned in the Tosafot (Ketubot 110b and see Mordechai ibid. and Shulchan Aruch Even Ha-Ezer 75:5). Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Eliyahu Klatzkin wrote a small book of Halachah called "Dvar Halachah" in which he dealt with this strange and even somewhat funny claim, since people make more dangerous trips for business (#38 p. 27a).
And there are those who claim that there is no mitzvah at this time based on what is mentioned in the Poskim that there is no mitzvah to make aliyah when one cannot find a livelihood in Eretz Yisrael (Pitchei Teshuvah ibid. in the name of Terumat Ha-Deshen and Tashbetz). Ha-Rav Klatzkin wrote regarding this idea that in practical terms it is not accurate to say that there is a livelihood outside of Israel but none in Eretz Yisrael. On the contrary, there is a "kosher" livelihood of working the Land in Eretz Yisrael, while the livelihood outside of Israel is through profiteering and the persecution of Israel.
And there are those who claim that there is no mitzvah to make Aliyah since there is a concern that one will become corrupt by being distanced from the Torah. But on the contrary, the Gemara and Poskim explain that one should live in Eretz Yisrael even in a city where the majority of residents are idol worshipers (Ketubot 110b. Shulchan Aruch Even Ha-Ezer 75:3), despite the potential negative influence. Although some authorities write that heretics are worse than non-Jews in this regard and there is a greater chance of negative influence, Ha-Rav Klatzkin explained that the same law applies in a city in Eretz Yisrael where the majority of residents are heretics. His proof is from the Gemara in Eruvin (61b-62a. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim #385) where the law appears that it is impossible to make an "Eruv Chatzerot" (lit. mixed [ownership of] courtyards, which allows one to carry within the courtyard on Shabbat) with a Tzeduki (Saducee, i.e. a heretic), and various options are given if one lives in the same house as a Tzeduki. But there is no mention of a prohibition of living in such a placeor that one is obligated to live in a place solely populated by observant Jews. He adds that one's failure to observe the mitzvot of Hashem based on a concern that spiritual damage will result is discussed by the Gemara in Berachot (10a) regarding King Chizkiyahu, who did not engage in the mitzvah of procreation since he saw through Divine intuition that unvirtuous children would issue from him. The prophet Yeshayahu said to him: "What you are commanded to do, you must do!" And Ha-Rav Klatzkin added (ibid.): As if there is permission to act wiser that Hashem's mitzvot!
There is a story that after the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews from North Africa and Yemen made aliyah and were abandoning traditional observance. The person who headed the Department of Aliyah at the Jewish Agency was a Torah scholar named Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Shragai, and he was being eaten up inside by this fact. He did not know whether it was proper to continue to bring Jews to Israel under such circumstances. He went to the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Tzvi Pesach Frank, and asked him what to do. Rav Frank said to him: Can you do me a favor and hand me the Yalkut Shimoni? He opened it and showed him the words of the Yalkut Shimoni on Megillat Eichah (#1038): "Hashem says: If only my children, my Nation, would be in the Land of Israel, even though they make it impure." And he continued: What do you want from me - to transgress the words of our Sages?! You are not guilty for what is occurring. You must bring Jews to Israel and make every effort to connect them to Torah. Rav Shragai continued to bring Jews to Israel and he mentioned this story various times.
When the Belzer Rebbe (Ha-Rav Aharon Rokeach) made Aliyah, he came to Reb Noson (Ha-Rav Shalom Natan Ra'anan Kook, Maran Ha-Rav Kook's son-in-law) and said: You and we had differences regarding the way to bring Jews on Aliyah. We said that they should first be strengthened in Judaism outside of the Land and only then could they make Aliyah in order to build in holiness, and you said that every one of them should quickly come on Aliyah without calculation. After the Holocaust, it has become clear to us that we erred, and we are greatly distressed over this fact.

Torat HaRav Aviner: The Obligation to Make Aliyah at this Time
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