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Monday, February 20, 2017

How Donald Trump is bringing hope to the 'peace process'

After eight years in which most Israelis felt that they weren't getting a fair hearing at the White House, and in which Israel's Prime Minister looked more uncomfortable with each trip to the United States, times have changed. In a White House meeting earlier this week, President Trump allowed Netanyahu to say what nearly all Israelis believe and what former President Hussein Obama would never allow to be heard.
Despite his international protestations, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (like Yasir Arafat before him), has consistently denied that the Jews have a historic connection to the Temple Mount. Far more than arcane arguments over historical minutiae, the Arafat-Abbas tradition of denying a longstanding Jewish link to Jerusalem is the Palestinian’s inimitable way of saying that the Jews are simply the latest wave of Crusaders, that Israel is nothing but a colonialist presence in the Middle East. Just as the crusaders and colonialists of the past ultimately departed, the argument goes, so too will the Jews.
The belief that President Abbas sees the two-state solution as a steppingstone to a one – Arab – state solution leaves many Israelis cynical about the peace process and tiring of the rhetoric about two states. Mr. Trump may have shifted that momentum.
President Trump afforded Prime Minister Netanyahu an opportunity to assert – despite American denials – that Palestinian schools’ textbooks teach Palestinian children to hate Jews. Israelis wholeheartedly believe that accusation to be true. They know of the Fatah Party’s incendiary boast on Facebook that it had killed 11,000 Israelis and that the Palestinian Authority recently named its fourth school for Salah Khalaf, mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes. While President Barack Obama obliquely acknowledged in his eulogy for Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and prime minister, that “Arab youth are taught to hate Israel from an early age,” Mr. Trump gave Mr. Netanyahu a stage from which to make the accusation explicit.
Obama's eulogy for Shimon Peres - perhaps his first acknowledgment of mainstream 'Palestinian' hate for Israelis and Jews - came on September 30, 2016, nearly at the end of Obama's term, and at a point where it was likely designed to help Hillary Clinton's election prospects and not a sincere empathy with Israel's plight.

Daniel Gordis believes that Trump's openness to hear the Israeli point of view can only help the 'peace process.'
Outward appearances of confidence notwithstanding, Palestinian leaders undoubtedly understand that the jig is up – gone (for now) are the days in which they can tell the world one story and their people another. That actually gives Israelis hope that – if the Palestinians want political sovereignty – the Palestinian Authority will have to lay the groundwork by forging an entirely different narrative about Israel and Jews.
There is still no reason to assume that President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu can forge a deal. Mr. Trump’s White House is in disarray, Mr. Netanyahu is under investigation for corruption and politically weakened, Mr. Kushner has not a day of diplomatic experience, the other Arab countries that Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu hope will be part of an agreement may or may not cooperate and Palestinian hatred of Jews may be too deeply entrenched.
Yet there is at least cause for a glimmer of hope. On Wednesday, whatever ambivalences about Mr. Trump many Israelis have, they heard from a United States president sympathetic to their story, sensitive to their fears of Iran and committed to their safety. That may matter a great deal. For Israelis who feel safe and protected are infinitely more likely to make accommodations for peace.
Gordis is right that it's highly unlikely (to say the least) that Trump and Netanyahu can forge a deal. Not now and not in the next eight years. But that has nothing to do with investigations, disarray or weak political positions. Rather, it's because the 'Palestinians' have yet to give any indication that they are ready to accept a Jewish state of any size, shape or form, and that creating a 'Palestinian' state (God Forbid) will not be the end of the conflict, but rather moving on to a new stage against a much weakened Israel.

Don't expect it to happen in your lifetime or mine.

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Breaking: Rockets fired from Sinai at Israel

Within the past hour, two rockets have been fired on Israel from an area of the Sinai desert controlled by the Islamic State terror group. Both rockets fell in open areas.
The rockets landed in the Eshkol Regional Council, according to an initial statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. No injuries or damages were caused.

A Red Alert was not sounded, the statement said, due to the fact that the rockets were fired into open space. 
It was reported on Sunday that an Israeli drone killed five ISIS terrorists in the Sinai near Rafah (the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip).

Nothing else could do a better job of making the world forget about the 'Palestinians.'


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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trump effect: Arabs warn Hezbullah not to attack Israel (with a song you'll remember fondly)

What a difference a month makes.

An 'Arab official' has warned Hezbullah warlord Hassan Nasrallah not to attack Israel in light of President Donald Trump's support for the Jewish state.

According to a report in Al Hayat, published in London, an Arab official warned Hezbollah that Israel would forcefully strike back against any military attack the organization carries out and severely damage Lebanon.

According to the report, the official said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ability to recruit "regional assistance" against Hezbollah is high due to the era of US President Donald Trump. The official further urged Hezbollah to behave cautiously and prudently.
Let's go to the videotape.

I wonder which Arab official warned Nasrallah not to attack....

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Must see: Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) comments at David Friedman confirmation hearing

Several people have sent me this video and it really is a must see. This is Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fl) speaking at the confirmation hearings for David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel. He's awesome. This will be the best five minutes you will spend today.

Let's go to the videotape.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Special Sabbath music video from @BennysMusic

It's been a while since I posted a music video (in fact, I haven't been posting much of anything lately, but it's too close to the Sabbath to start telling you why), but last night my 17-year old son came home from yeshiva and said 'Abba, this video is great - you have to post it on the blog,' and showed me this video, not knowing that Benny Friedman has been one of my Twitter followers for a while.

Anyway, it's really a great video, and when I looked last night, it had garnered over 155,000 hits in about ten days. That's quite an impressive number, and if I can increase that I'm happy. Really worth watching.

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

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JINO's protest David Friedman's nomination to be US Ambaassador to Israel

Several 'as a Jews' protested David Friedman's nomination as US Ambassador to Israel in a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Let's go to the videotape.

One of the things that upsets the JINO's is David's connection to the yeshiva in Beit El (a connection that is likely the result of one of his children studying there - that's usually how these connections are formed).
As the Senate holds a confirmation hearing Thursday on the nomination of David Friedman, he could face grilling about his ties to Beit El, a community north of Jerusalem located in the heart of the occupied territory Palestinians demand for an independent state.
A bankruptcy attorney from the Five Towns area of Long Island, Friedman is a major donor to Beit El and serves as the president of the American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, the U.S. fundraising arm of the settlement’s Jewish seminary and affiliated institutions, including high schools, an Israeli military prep academy, a newspaper for the religious Jewish settler community and the right-wing news site Arutz Sheva.
They make the entire town sound like shnorrers (beggars). In fact, the 'American Friends' setup is entirely legal - nearly every school in Israel that raises money in the US has one in order for donors to qualify for 501(c)(3) deductions. Each of the other institutions likely has its own 'American Friends' with the likely exception of Arutz Sheva, which the last time I checked was a commercial venture.
But even by Trump’s new standards, Friedman appears to be extreme. Friedman is a fervent supporter of the settlements and an outspoken opponent of Palestinian statehood.
“I have expressed my skepticism about two-state state solutions because of what I perceive as the Palestinians inability to denounce terrorism and recognize Israel as a legitimate state,” Friedman said.
If that's 'extreme,' I don't many Orthodox Jews in the United States or Israel who aren't extremists.
In Beit El, the Friedman Faculty House, which bears his and his wife’s names on the facade, is built on private Palestinian land without permission from its Palestinian landowners, according to the anti-settlement watchdog Kerem Navot.
And now CBS is accepting claims by Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' daily as 'facts.' Prove it.

PS Almost forgot to mention that David prayed at the Lubavitcher Rebbe's grave on Sunday. David is not a Lubavitcher chassid.

Here's David's full opening statement. Let's go to the videotape.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Israel's Leftist youth do something good, but would they do it for 'settlers'?

The Jerusalem Post reports that a conglomeration of 'Zionist' youth groups has been collecting winter clothes and blankets for Syrian refugees.
The items have been taken to a collection point, a representative confirmed to JTA. From there, a partner aid organization is facilitating the delivery of the goods to the refugees, who won’t know their country of origin. The representative said the delivery date and method could not be revealed due to the sensitive nature of the situation.
Because if the Syrians found out they were coming from the 'Zionist entity,' they'd probably burn them, even if they didn't really want to turn them away, because... 'Palestine uber alles.'
 “I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not get credit for,” Gilad Perry, Dror Israel’s international collaborations director, said in a statement. “I was amazed to see how wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer from the cold winter on the other side of the border, in an ‘enemy country,’ overwhelmed me.”
Amazing. Leftist Israelis willing to do something for which they won't get any credit except in an article in the JPost.... Oh wait, how do you know they're Leftist? Well, if you're an Israeli, you recognize two of the three names of the groups involved, and there's a hint at the end of the article.
HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed (Youth Who Work and Learn) is a sister movement of Habonim Dror, long affiliated with the Labor Zionist movement.
So please forgive my cynicism. I'm all in favor of helping out Syrian refugees with clothes and blankets (but not with letting them unvetted into Israel, the US or any other western country). And there ought to be a lesson from the fact that Israelis are helping these poor people while they get nothing from any of the oil-rich Gulf countries.

But I have to ask another question. Suppose - just suppose - that there were Jewish revenants (known in the international media as 'settlers') who were expelled from their homes in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, who were out in the cold and the rain today who had no warm clothing and no blankets. Would the Leftist Zionist movements be willing to take up collections for them too? They'd even say thank you. You wouldn't have to cut out all the Israeli labels for them. And you could even get credit for helping them. So would the Labor Zionist movements help them?

Sadly, I think we already know the answer to that question. This is from a post I did in May 2012, citing statistics from the summer of 2011 - six years after the Jews of Gush Katif in Gaza were expelled from their homes. Hint: There were no Labor Zionists lining up to help the Jews of Gush Katif, with or without credit.
Perhaps this is the time to look at some statistics regarding the Jewish refugees from Gaza, who were expelled from their homes seven years ago this summer. This is from a United Nations report(!) from June 2011.
About 230 of the 1,450 families from Gush Katif (16 percent) have moved into permanent homes, according to a December 2010 report released by the Gush Katif “committee”.

Unemployment among former Gush Katif residents is running at about 18 percent, while under-employment is 20 percent, said the “committee”. Before the withdrawal, unemployment was 5 percent, with 85 percent working in Gush Katif, according to JobKatif, an NGO created to help former residents rebuild their livelihoods.

While unemployment is much worse in Gaza, the unemployment rate among the evacuees is about double the rate of the general Israeli population. Children have faced adjustment issues and the divorce rate increased, along with financial problems, say former residents. Government compensation that was received, was lower than the value of the land and did not allow farmers to re-establish their farms, according to the “committee”.

Shilat Kahalani, spokesperson for the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council which covers 42 Israeli settlements in the West Bank (known as Judea and Samaria to Israelis), told IRIN that many former Gush Katif residents wanted to rebuild their homes and lives in the West Bank, but were prevented from doing so by a building moratorium which was only lifted in September 2010, having been in force for 10 months.

About 380 farms existed in Gushi Katif (of which 240 were operational), but only 28 percent of the owners of agricultural land have resumed farming. Most business owners, too, have not returned to their trade and were not appropriately compensated, according to the “committee”.

“Disengaging a community is not something that can be rebuilt easily, and many families never received promised full financial support,” Kahalani said.

A June 2010 report on the findings of the Israeli “State Commission of Inquiry into the Handling of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria by the Authorized Authorities”, placed blame on the state of Israel.

“The State of Israel failed in its handling of the evacuees,” it said. “Five years after, most of the evacuees are still living in temporary caravan sites; the construction of most of the permanent housing has not yet commenced; and the decisive majority of the public structures in the evacuees’ new settlements have not yet been built.”

“It was a mission of the government to settle people in Gaza,” said former Gush Katif resident Debbie Rosen, and “there must be a solution for every settler”. She received half the value of her home in Gush Katif, and she and her six children are still waiting for their new house to be built, she added.
And for those who think that the Ulpana neighborhood is going to be 'evacuated' quietly with the soldiers called in to do the job embracing the residents in tears, consider this.
“People in my community are unwilling to be evacuated because on a personal level they witnessed the awful outcomes of such a disengagement on the lives of the Gush Katif evacuees,” Binyamin council spokesperson Kahalani said.
That might have something to do with the violence in Amona during my last trip to the US a couple of weeks ago (violence that I did not have time to cover).

If only the Labor Zionists cared as much for their own as they do for the other.... 

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Democrats' 'alternate facts' on mistreatment of Muslims

Talk about 'alternate facts.' A Rasmussen poll finds that most Democrats believe that Muslims in the United States are worse off than Christians in Muslim countries.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters believe most Christians living in the Islamic world are treated unfairly because of their religion. Just 17% disagree, while 21% more are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 
By comparison, 39% feel most Muslims living in the United States are treated unfairly because of their religion. That’s up from 31% last year and is the highest finding in surveys to date.  A plurality (46%) still believes Muslims are not treated unfairly because of their faith, while 15% more are not sure.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats, however, believe most Muslims in this country are mistreated, a view shared by only 22% of Republicans and 39% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Fewer Democrats (47%) think most Christians are mistreated in the Islamic world, compared to 76% of GOP voters and 64% of unaffiliateds.
And for those who think women are smarter... they're not - at least when they're Democrats.
Women are more likely than men to think most American Muslims are mistreated here but less likely to believe Christians are mistreated in the Islamic world.

By the way, note that no one talks about mistreatment of Jews despite study after study that shows that attacks on Jews due to their religion far exceed attacks on persons of any other religion.

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