Saturday, September 27, 2008

Readers of my blog ( know that over this past week, as a maelstrom of buffeting economic crises has sucked the air out of the news a

While thousands of Muslims in Iran and elsewhere are busy condemning Israel today, at least one imprisoned ayatollah is beseeching the aid of Rabbis. "Muslims around the world mark Al Quds Day," from Gulf News, September 26: Tehran: Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied on Friday to join millions of Muslims around the world to mark Al Quds Day, according to media reports.

Press TV reported that a massive rally was held in Tehran in support of Palestinian people's rights. Many demonstrators carried banners expressing resentment of Israel's control of Occupied Jerusalem.

Demonstrations were also being held in Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

In Iraq, thousands of people staged massive demonstrations in key cities, including Baghdad and Basra.

Besides, it gives Iraqis a break from fighting each other.

In Indonesia, Muslim women rallied outside the US embassy in Jakarta to mark Al Quds Day.

Al Quds Day is held on the fourth Friday of Ramadan and is being observed to show support for Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A road paved on reality


Listening to the news in Israel these days, it is hard to escape the feeling that the Israeli political discourse has become dangerously irrelevant. Take Iran for example. On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the heads of UN member states, "The dignity, integrity and rights of the European and American people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a minuscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner."

Ahmadinejad then promised that Israel will soon be destroyed - for the benefit of humanity.

For these remarks, he received enthusiastic applause from the world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly.

And how has Israel responded? It hasn't done anything in particular. And it has no intention of doing anything in particular.

This point was made clear to the public on Wednesday when Israel's new UN ambassador, Gavriela Shalev, gave an interview to Army Radio. While bemoaning Ahmadinejad's warm reception, she said that the world leaders were probably just being diplomatic. She noted that many of their ambassadors say nice things about Israel to her in private.

Israel's woman at the UN devoted most of her interview to defending the UN. In fact, she said she believes it is her duty not simply to defend Israel to the world body, but to defend the UN to Israelis. As she put it, her job is "correcting the UN's image in the eyes of the people of Israel."

Shalev's appointment to the UN was the work of Foreign Minister - and would-be prime minister - Tzipi Livni. And her view of her role as Israel's ambassador is strictly in keeping with what Livni perceives as the job of Israel's top diplomats. They are the world's emissaries to Israel.

Livni has spent the better part of the past three years at the Foreign Ministry telling us that the UN is our friend, the Europeans are our friends and that the Americans and Europeans and the UN will take care of Iran for us. The Palestinians are also our friends.

As anti-Semitic forces grow throughout the world, Livni has not communicated one single policy for defending Israel abroad that doesn't involve the kindness of strangers. Her response to Ahmadinejad's speech was a case in point.

The one thing the woman who believes that she has the right to lead the country without being elected by anyone thinks that Israel should do in response to Ahmadinejad's call for our physical destruction is to object to Iran's bid to join the UN Security Council. Livni's only concrete response to Ahmadinejad's promise to annihilate us was to issue a directive to Israel's embassies telling our diplomats to ask their host governments not to support Iran's bid for Security Council membership.

Livni doesn't actually think Iran is Israel's greatest challenge. The Palestinians are. And as far as she is concerned, giving the Palestinians a state by handing over Judea and Samaria (and Jerusalem, although she never says it outright), as quickly as possible is Israel's most urgent task. We need a two-state solution and we need it NOW, she says.

Neither Livni nor her colleagues in Kadima, Labor and Meretz, nor her supporters in the Israeli media ever bother to acknowledge the troublesome, inconvenient fact that the Palestinians don't want a state. They want to destroy our state.

This basic fact was made clear - yet again - on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Livni took time out of her busy schedule of political meetings with Labor, Shas and Meretz leaders with whom she is attempting to build a government without being elected by anyone, to meet with Fatah's chief negotiator Ahmed Qurei. Although Livni refused to tell us what she talked about, she promised that progress was made toward the urgent imperative of forming a Palestinian state.

But Qurei was not so enthusiastic. In fact, he was contemptuous of Livni and of the very notion of peaceful coexistence between the Palestinians and Israel. After the negotiating session, Qurei told Reuters that if the talks toward an Israeli surrender of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem collapse, the Palestinians will renew their terror war against Israel. In his words, "If the talks reached a dead end, what do we do? Capitulate? Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right."

Just to make sure he understood Qurei properly, the reporter asked whether that meant that the Palestinians would renew their suicide bombing campaign against Israelis. Qurei responded, "All forms of resistance."

We have been here, of course, a million times before. This is the same threat that Yassir Arafat and his men have made - and implemented - repeatedly since signing the Oslo Accords with Israel 15 years ago. They use terror and negotiations in tandem to squeeze Israel into giving away more and more of its land. And it works.

When Livni heard about Qurei's remarks, she called him and reportedly told him that they were unacceptable. So he said he was taken out of context. No skin off his back.

He knew Livni wouldn't do anything. At the same time that Livni said his remarks were unacceptable, she pledged to continue negotiating Israel's surrender of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem with him for as long as she remains in power.

Today, Livni and her colleagues in Kadima, Labor, Meretz and Shas are working fervently toward forming a new government that will continue holding irrelevant but dangerous negotiations with the Palestinians and the Syrians, and pretending that Iran's nuclear weapons are not going to be used against Israel. They argue that we need the "political stability" that they can provide us in this dangerous time.

The Israeli media gives these fantasies their full support. Indeed, anyone who notices that the world is sitting back and allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons or points out that the Palestinians don't want a state is immediately shot down as an alarmist and an extremist.

This national discourse - which has been the only one permitted in the country since the advent of the "peace process" with the PLO 15 years ago - is Israel's Achilles' heel. Until the general public is set clear on the reality of the world confronting the country, there is no chance that Israel will take the necessary steps to defend itself and ensure that it survives.

Understanding this basic fact, former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon has taken it upon himself to tell the Israeli public the truth about the world we live in. Ya'alon is a rare bird among Israel's current pantheon of luminaries. He is an honest man who lives by his principles, and he doesn't bend them, ever.

Last week Ya'alon published a book called The Longer Shorter Road in Hebrew. Ya'alon, whose tour of duty as Chief of Staff was unceremoniously cut short by former prime minister Ariel Sharon in June 2005 due to his trenchant opposition to Sharon's planned withdrawal of IDF forces and Israeli civilians from the Gaza Strip, has written a book that sets out the facts of life clearly, credibly and passionately.

The book's title is derived from a speech that Ya'alon's commander, Yoram Ya'ir, gave to his officers during the First Lebanon War. Ya'ir explained that short-cuts are not necessarily better than long roads. In fact, it is often better to take the longest route. As Ya'ir put it, "There is a long road that is short and there are short roads that are long."

Ya'alon uses Ya'ir's point to demonstrate that the Israeli Left's insistence on peace "now" and a solution to the Arab-Israel conflict "now" has placed Israel on a strategic trajectory that has brought it, and will continue to bring it only bloodshed and danger. Israel's enemies in the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria and Iran view Israel's insistence on finding immediate solutions to the threats it faces as a sign that Israeli society is collapsing.

As a consequence, every step that Israel has made toward appeasing its neighbors - from recognizing the PLO and bringing Arafat and his legions into Judea, Samaria and Gaza; to retreating from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005; to failing to properly prosecute the Second Lebanon War in 2006; to doing nothing to combat Hamas's regime in Gaza since 2007; to embracing the false paradigm of peace at Annapolis last November - has strengthened their conviction that Israel can and will be destroyed.

Ya'alon also dwells on the moral collapse of Israel's political and media elite and that collapse's adverse impact on the senior command echelons of the IDF. The abandonment of Zionist values and public and private integrity by our politicians and media has cast and kept Israel on a path of self-delusion, where the only thing that matters is immediate gratification. Politicians promise the public "hope" based on illusions of peace-around-the-corner to win their votes. The media support the politicians' lies both because of the media's post-Zionist ideological uniformity and due to their refusal to acknowledge that their populist demands for peace "now" have brought Israel only war and danger.

Ya'alon's book is part memoir and part polemic. He reminds Israelis of what it is about us that makes us a great people, worthy of our land and privileged to defend it. At the same time, he chastises our failed leaders who have tricked the public into following a strategic path that endangers us. His book's greatest contribution is not in providing a set path forward, but in courageously and unrelentingly explaining the reality that surrounds us today and in showing the public how it is that we have arrived in our current predicament.

In exposing himself, his values and his beliefs to the public, and juxtaposing his own leadership experience and personal integrity with the corruption and weakness of our political and intellectual leaders, Ya'alon is telling the public in a very clear way that there is an alternative to defeatism and self-delusion, and that he - and we the public - represent that alternative, that "longer shorter road."

Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their colleagues on the Left in the Knesset and the media insist that we not take that longer road to security and peace. In fact, they deny that it even exists. They attempt to convince us that elections are unnecessary by arguing that there is no difference between political parties today, because their short cut to defeat is the only path available to us.

It must be fervently hoped that Ya'alon will soon enter the political fray. Like the Likud under Binyamin Netanyahu, Ya'alon is proof positive that Livni and her cronies are lying. There are great differences between those that would lead us and the paths they would take.

And the only road to safety is the long road that is paved on reality.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017398112&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

"Not a Done Deal"

Arlene Kushner

At least not yet: The coalition agreement between Kadima and Labor. According to my information, this is the scenario as it's playing out so far:

Barak had criticized Livni in various regards before the primary. But when Livni, uneasy about a Barak-Netanyahu meeting, decided to more actively entice him into a coalition with Kadima, he expressed interest. "A full partnership" was what she was said to be offering.
But the terms of understanding still had to be hammered out. Livni knew she wasn't coming from strength because she had won the Kadima primary with such a slim margin, and Barak was enticed in part because he felt there was a great deal he would be able to demand. Negotiations -- which included some secret talks between representatives of the parties in addition to the public meetings -- went well to a point, but have hit snags.


Barak has now told his faction that he was "very far from joining the government" and that he was "not interested in a short-term government that would last only a few months or a collapsing coalition of 60 MKs." And indeed this has been an issue: Not whether Livni can patch together a coalition, but whether it will be stable enough to last for two years.

Barak says he will go to elections if he's not convinced she can do this. But Barak says lots of things.

He defines a "real partnership" as being "...everything that there was in the national-unity governments of the 1980s except for a rotation at the Prime Minister's Office." It's a solid bet that he's not going to get this, and the question remains as to whether he'll settle for less.

His request for a 2.5% increase in the State budget to boost the Defense Ministry budget and increase spending for retirees, university students, and immigrants has been turned down. As was his request to head the negotiating team dealing with Syria. He expressed concern about the need for more work regarding sanctions on Iran -- an implied criticism of Livni, as this has fallen within her bailiwick as foreign minister.


I should mention here that the Kadima court has rejected an appeal for a temporary injunction that would have invalidated the results of the Kadima primary. This is not a surprise.

An October 5 date has been set, however, for a hearing regarding demands for a new primary or a recount because of alleged irregularities, that include such things as more people voting at one polling station than were registered at that station. I am too cynical to feel confident that anything will come of this. But -- if the evidence of major irregularities is strong -- who knows?


The evidence that the PA is not a negotiating partner is close to endless. This is the latest, from Palestinian Media Watch (

"[a] music video currently broadcast on Palestinian Television denies any historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem:

"Oh [Sons of] Zion, no matter how much you dig and no matter how much you destroy, your imaginary Temple will not come into being."

The repeated refrain, "Al-Aksa is ours," is meant to emphasize this statement... And the inciteful fabrication that we are planning on destroying the Al-Aksa mosque is repeated. Clips show Jews wearing kippahs, Israeli police and military, Israeli excavations of Old Jerusalem, the Israeli flag, and the Western Wall. The lyrics accompanying this say,

"How you [Al-Aksa] suffer! How you have bled for years! How you scream! How you call out to the millions!"

PA TV, which is under the authority of Mahmoud Abbas, ran this on the day we suffered a terrorist attack in Jerusalem this week


A matter of serious concern.

The Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco has just released a lengthy report on a five year study on textbooks in the US. According to a summary of the report:

"It is shocking to discover that history and geography textbooks widely used in America's elementary and secondary classrooms contain some of the very same inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism and the Middle East as those [used] in Iran.

Researchers Dr. Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra examined the 28 most widely-used history, geography and social studies textbooks in America, -- books used by tens of millions of schoolchildren in all 50 states -- and found some 500 instances of "errors, inaccuracies and even propaganda" on these matters.

"Textbooks include negative stereotypes of Jews, Judaism and Israel. For example, textbooks tend to discredit the ties between Jews and the land of Israel."
Most troubling is this situation that Ybarra describes::

"The textbooks tend to be critical of Jews and Israel, disrespectful about Christianity, and rather than represent Islam in an objective way, tend to glorify it. Textbook publishers often defer completely to Muslim groups for their content [on Islam] because they want to be sensitive to Muslim concerns."

This story, which first appeared in The Jerusalem Post, can be found on IMRA at:

Please read the entire lengthy piece, which explains more about what is happening, and give thought to what can be done to address this.


Shabbat approaches and times is running out. More -- especially on Iran and the UN -- after Shabbat.

see my website

PA Bash Jews' 'Imaginary Temple'

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The Palestinian Authority, run by PLO Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas, is again making efforts to popularize Muslim denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, especially to the site of the two Jewish Temples. The PA claims fly in the face of the archaeological evidence, as well as the history of Jerusalem as endorsed by the most authoritative Muslim sources. According to Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of the Palestinian Media Watch organization, Fatah-controlled television broadcasts have been promoting a music video that "denies any historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem." Building on the denial of Jewish rights in Jerusalem and the claim that the Temple Mount is "ours," meaning it is Muslim, PMW explains, that "the lyrics repeat the Palestinian fabrication that Israel is planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and therefore it needs protection."

As translated by PMW, the video clip that appeared on PA TV on September 23, 2008, includes the lyrics, "Oh [Sons of] Zion, no matter how much you dig and no matter how much you destroy, your imaginary Temple will not come into being, Al-Aqsa is ours. Al-Aqsa is ours, Oh Muslims, Al-Aqsa is ours." It goes on to call for another Saladin, the Muslim conqueror of Jerusalem in 1187, according to PMW.

Marcus and Crook explain that the clip has appeared on both Fatah and Hamas TV "intermittently during the last 18 months, and it constitutes part of a prolonged hate campaign against Israel. The campaign denies the historical fact of the connection between the Jewish people, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, while infusing hatred and fear by pretending that Islam's holy site, as well as its adherents, are in great danger."

Jerusalem Muslim Council: Temples in Jerusalem 'Beyond Dispute'
In complete opposition to the claims promoted by the PA today, as reported by Israel National News earlier this year, a tourist guide published by the Supreme Muslim Council (the Waqf) of Jerusalem in 1925 declares of the Temple Mount, "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the L-rd....' "

In addition, on page 16 the pamphlet makes reference to the underground area in the south-east corner of the Mount, which it refers to as Solomon's Stables. "Little is known for certain of the history of the chamber itself," the guide reads. "It dates probably as far back as the construction of Solomon's Temple. According to Josephus, it was in existence and was used as a place of refuge by the Jews at the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70 A.D."

Islam's Founder Muhammad: The Temple is in Jerusalem
Throughout the religious, behavioral and doctrinal codebooks Muslims believe were transmitted from Muhammad or his immediate associates, known as Hadith, Jerusalem is primarily called Bayt al-Makdis in Arabic. The term is an Arabic translation of the Hebrew Bait HaMikdash, which means "the Temple" in English.

Jerusalem, however, is not mentioned by name in the primary Islamic scripture, the Koran. However, Muslim apologists often point to a description in the Koran of a mystical journey Muhammad made to "the furthest mosque," which they claim is al-Aqsa mosque currently located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

However, the Hadith that provide more details of the mystical journey also refer to Jerusalem as the location of the Jewish Temple. As the Hadith collection Sahih Muslim states: "[The] Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I was brought al-Buraq who is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of vision. I mounted it and came to the Temple (Bait al-Maqdis in Jerusalem), then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets." To this day, the Muslims refer to the Western Wall as "Al-Buraq Wall".

Archaeological Evidence: The Temples Were in Jerusalem
Archaeological finds in recent years in and around Jerusalem have been providing physical evidence for the history as presented by the earliest Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources. Some examples follow:

* In 2005, following painstaking archaeological work carried out in a dump from an illegal Wakf construction project on the Temple Mount, researchers discovered: a coin from the period of the First Revolt against the Romans, which preceded the destruction of the Second Temple, bearing the phrase "For the Redemption of Zion"; an inscription chiseled on a jar fragment of the First Temple period, with the ancient Hebrew letters heh, ayin and kof; A seal with five-pointed star with ancient Hebrew letters spelling "Jerusalem" spaced between the points; a Hasmonean coin bearing inscription "Yehonathan High Priest, friend of the Jews"; a coin of Alexander Jannaeus; a Scytho-Iranian arrowhead, of the type used by the Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar that destroyed the First Temple in 586 BCE; and more.

* In 2005, a Hebrew University archaeologist uncovered a clay seal dated from about 580 BCE bearing the name Yehuchal Ben-Sheleimiya, who is identified as a royal envoy and court minister sent by King Zedekiah to the prophet Jeremiah (in chapters 37 and 38 of the Bible's Book of Jeremiah).

Several years earlier, another circa-580 BCE royal seal was found at the same site. It had the name of Gemaryahu, son of Shafan, who is also mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah as a top official in the court of King Zedekiah's predecessor, King Yehoyachim. Another seal found among dozens of others bears the name of Azaryahu Ben-Hilkiyahu, a member of a priestly family, who served in the Temple before Jerusalem's destruction, according to I Chronicles, 9:10.

* In May 2007 archaeologists revealed a number of seals and signet rings from the time of the Biblical Kings David and Solomon, unearthed in the City of David, below Jerusalem's Old City.

* In July 2007 an expert in ancient Babylon discovered a small clay tablet that records a donation of gold by "the chief eunuch of King Nebuchadnezzar," a man named Nabu-sharrussu-ukin. In Jeremiah 39, the researcher noted, the man's name is listed as one of Nebuchadnezzar's top ministers, who took part in the destruction of the First Holy Temple 2,500 years ago.

* In January 2008 archaeologists discovered a stone seal that includes the name of a family, Temech, whose members were servants during the First Temple, were exiled to Babylonia and then returned to Jerusalem. The seal was found near the Dung Gate walls of the Old City. The Book of Nehemiah (Chapter 7) refers to the Temech family by name.

* In March 2008 a coin from the Second Temple used during the turbulent Second Temple period to pay the Biblical half-shekel head-tax was found in excavations in the City of David.

* In August of 2008 archaeologists unearthed a completely intact seal impression bearing the name of another minister to King Zedekiah, Gedaliahu son of Pashur, a few meters away from the site where a the seal of Yehuchal Ben-Sheleimiya was found three years earlier.

Global jihad forum to be established Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

While the Europeans and the United States are busy denying that there even is a global jihad threat, Israel -- at least in this particular -- is much more realistic.

The government has decided to establish a special forum that will deal with threats to Israelis posed by global jihad organizations, both locally and abroad, Army Radio reported Thursday. The National Security Council's Counterterrorism Bureau chief, Nitzan Nuriel, is expected to head the forum, which will have members from the Mossad, Shin Bet, IDF and other relevant security apparatuses.

The forum will convene at least once every two months, according to the scale of the threats, with the goal of assisting the collaboration of all the security forces in the face of the growing terror attack warnings.

The Security Cabinet ministers approved the forum's establishment in the hope that institutionalization of the cooperation and coordination between security and intelligence apparatuses would improve Israel's management of the global jihad threat.

Over the years, al-Qaida has succeeded in establishing widespread terror infrastructures around the world.

In 2002, just one year after the 9/11 terror attacks, twelve people, three of them Israelis, were killed in an attack on a Mombasa hotel in Kenya. Al-Qaida was also linked to the 2004 terror attack in Sinai.

The Shin Bet has expressed fears that the group was laying foundations in the West Bank. Israeli security forces recently warned that terrorists associated with al-Qaida would join forces with groups linked to Hizbullah in an attack to avenge the murder of arch terrorist Imad Mugniyeh.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017389929&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Different Blog Focus (DBF):Dr. Frankenstein's Wall Street

Victor Davis Hanson
Thursday, September 25, 2008

When the mortgage bubble burst, Americans were “shocked” at how many Wall Street buccaneers had been gambling in a vast pyramid scheme with someone else’s money. Paper fortunes were made buying and selling questionable sub-prime mortgages on the silly assumption that such gargantuan inside profiting would always expand — even as the number of homebuyers able to buy overpriced properties was shrinking. Now after the recent crash in sub-prime mortgages and the stock of several investment firms, a trillion dollars in “assets” could be nearly worthless. An already indebted American government must restore some sort of trust to banks and markets by either printing money or borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign creditors to guarantee loans.

All that remains of this Ponzi scheme is the election-year blame game. Republicans charge that important financial firewalls were dismantled by the Clinton administration while insider liberal senators got shady campaign donations in exchange for aiding Wall Street. Democrats counter that the laissez-faire capitalism espoused by Republicans for two decades encouraged financial piracy while tax policy favored the rich speculator over the middle-class wage earner.

But no one dares to ask what really drove the wheeler-dealer portfolio managers. Who re-elected these shady politicians of both parties? Who fostered the cash-in culture in which both Wall Street profit mongering and Washington lobbying are nourished and thrive? We citizens did — red-state conservatives and blue-state liberals, Republicans and Democrats, alike. We may be victims of Wall Street greed — but not quite innocent victims.

Let me explain. The profiteering was not just the result of a few thousand scoundrels on Wall Street or in Washington, as greedy and as bonus-hungry as many of them no doubt were. Look at the housing market as a sort of musical chairs in which everyone profited as long he grabbed a seat when the music stopped. Then those left standing — with high-priced loans and negative equity when the crash came — defaulted and stuck taxpayers with debt in the billions of dollars. But until then, most owners who had sold homes cashed out beyond their wildest dreams.

Thousands of dollars in past profits are still in sellers’ bank accounts or were spent on their own consumption. If the shaky buyer at the bottom of the pyramid should not have borrowed to buy an overpriced house, then the luckier seller higher up hardly worried that the cash-strapped fool was paying him way too much with unsecured borrowed money.

We created the cultural climate for this shared madness. Television shows advised how to “flip” a house after putting in cosmetic improvements. Real-estate seminars and popular videos convinced us that homes were not places to live in and raise a family but rather no different from piles of chips on a Vegas table.

We created the phony populist creed that everyone deserved to own a house. So lawmakers got the message to relax lending standards in service to “fairness.” But Americans forgot that historically nearly four in 10 of us aren’t ever ready, or able, to sacrifice for a down payment, monthly mortgage bills, home maintenance and yearly taxes — and so should stick to renting.

The problem went way beyond real-estate fantasies. Five-percent interest as a return on our money was once considered pretty good — especially inasmuch as a factory or farm on the other side of the banking equation could not really stay in business paying 10 percent in interest to banks for its necessary borrowing.

But soon retirement-account holders and institutional investors began to expect as a given 7, 10 — and even 20 — percent “return” on their portfolios. Wage earners and professionals alike compared the glossy brochures that appeared in the mail, and then jumped to this 401(k) investment or that mutual fund to “maximize” retirement portfolio earnings.

How Wall Street managers, eager for more multimillion-dollar bonuses, planned to deliver on their promised sky-high returns no one asked. But it often proved to be more by hook-and-crook shell games than by financing new productive businesses or by extending credit for the production of real goods in vital plants.

In a larger sense, this zeal for quick profits and easy money reflected an oblivious too-good-to-be-true culture in which we drove larger cars but demanded more oil drilling from everyone except ourselves. We expected both expanded government entitlements and lower taxes.

Our government borrowed ever more money from foreign creditors, because it was a collective reflection of our own profligate financial habits. Of course, we should reform Wall Street and Washington — and punish severely the crooks in both places. But Americans should remember that Frankenstein was not the name of the monster but of its creator.

Time to thank the Orthodox

Haredim instrumental in promoting key national interest: Maintaining Jewish majority

Tali Farkash
Israel Opinion

Earlier this week I took a cab, and before I had a chance to stare out the window and fake deep interest in highway signs – a well-known hint that I want to be left alone – the taxi driver started talking. “You’re ultra-Orthodox,” he said. I nodded, hoping to end the conversation right there. After all, what do haredi women know about the Wall Street crisis? (They were talking about it on the radio at the time.)

Yet to my regret, my hopes were premature. “What do you think about this woman?” the driver asked, and passed over to me an old copy of Yedioth Ahronoth from last week. “Is she bored or what?” he added, pointing to the photo of Sima Zalmanov hugging her 19th child.

I didn’t need to hear anything else to get upset. “Do you even know her?” I said. “Did you ever speak to her? She’s a smart woman, with university education, but you think she’s problematic just because she has too many children in your view?”

“Look,” the driver tried to defend himself. “If the ultra-Orthodox were serving in the army and working, I wouldn’t care. But as they don’t do those things, they should not be making children at our expense.” At that point, I was seeing red. “She is a high school principal, and her husband is a member of the security forces. Did you approve it now? Her personal decision contributes to the Jewish demographic balance in the State of Israel. It’s too bad that instead of thanking her you’re making her out to be a freak.”

If we listen to Tel Aviv taxi drivers, the Israeli public is still a captive to old slogans that are no longer relevant. In their view, today too the IDF is supposed to get us out of trouble. Yet there’s one “tiny problem” about this. Many of us forget that for many years now the IDF is being restrained by the sour expression of some kind of European minister or another, and any legitimate operation requires “permission from above,” “international understanding,” “global consensus,” or however you wish to call it. Money is also not the solution for surviving in the Middle East’s hostile environment. The rule of a wealthy minority is doomed for failure. They attempted this method unsuccessfully in South Africa – Jews are hated, and wealthy Jews are hated even more.

Majority rules

What will ultimately guarantee our existence in the Middle East in the next 100 years is, hold tight, the ultra-Orthodox; the only sector willing to pay the real price for living in this country and promote the national interest of all of us – a country with a Jewish majority. If it wasn’t for those large families, Jerusalem would have a good chance of seeing an Arab mayor elected in the upcoming elections. Moreover, the Knesset would have turned into an Arab institution with a Jewish minority a long time ago. It appears that while worrying about the economic burden and the security burden, we forgot a simple fundamental rule – majority rules.

With all the pain this entails, one bi-national state will become a certainty in the future if we keep on having 1.6 children per family. Indeed, it isn’t easy to raise 19 children while pursuing a magnificent career – Sima Zalmanov can tell you all about it. And indeed, those who know Sima can tell you that she’s unique. However, we should note, even if this is unpleasant to hear, that one or two children per family are not enough for a people fighting for survival.

This is not about issuing decrees or establishing organizations that condemn “birth refusal.” I’m not in favor of forcing anyone to take part in the national mission of guaranteeing a Jewish majority around here. “Be fruitful and multiply” comes on a volunteer basis only, because children should be made with love, or not made at all. Yet if there’s one sector here that has honorably met the challenge, why isn’t it cited or appreciated?

Interview with researcher Lt. Col. (res) Dr. Anat Berko

a guest lecturer at Georgetown University in Washington DC and an expert on terrorism and especially on female terrorists, following acid attack on soldier at Hawara crossing by a Palestinian woman
Israel Radio – September 23, 2008
Anat Dolev: Did the acid attack surprise you?
Dr. Anat Berko: The attack did not surprise me, since we see a rising trend in using women for terror attacks. I am now in Washington, and I see the same thing in the reports on what’s happening in Iraq – female suicide bombers. We see more and more 15-year-old girls all the time who are being used for suicide attacks, and the same holds true here. If there used to be a pattern of stabbing attacks, we might be seeing the trend changing to regaining lost honor through throwing bleach or acid on the soldier at the checkpoint.
Anat Dolev: You speak of regaining lost honor. You mean you found in your research that these women have a similar profile?
Dr. Anat Berko: In the last three of the 15 years that I have been conducting research in the jails among security and criminal prisoners, as well as drawing comparisons between them, I have actually seen that many of the women have very difficult personal problems. They are looking for a way to run away from home because of incest, sexual assault, family problems or forced marriages. They reach the checkpoint and sometimes don’t even try to stab the soldier at the checkpoint but just throw a knife at him to get themselves arrested.
Anat Dolev: So you’re saying it’s somewhat absurd because they are actually crying out for help and/or looking for legitimacy from the society that rejected them?
Dr. Anat Berko: In some cases, they are looking and crying out for help; and there have even been cases where they came back twice.
Anat Dolev: Even the woman who threw acid yesterday, that’s the second time she’s done it.
Dr. Anat Berko: Correct. The first time, unfortunately, they didn’t manage to catch her. And the terrible thing is that sometimes, with all the negotiations, even people like these know that eventually they will be released from jail.
Anat Dolev: That means they count on being released?
Dr. Anat Berko: I haven’t encountered any male or female security prisoners, whether young or old, including parliamentary or Hamas people, who didn’t think they wouldn’t be let out at some point.
Anat Dolev: What do the women hope to accomplish with this deed?
Dr. Anat Berko: First of all, if there’s some kind of problem having to do with family honor, then afterwards this problem will no longer be discussed. That’s how they define it.
Anat Dolev: Now they become shahids and then what? Heroines, when they go back home?
Dr. Anat Berko: When they return home, they just don’t mention the reason for doing what they did. But that’s just on the surface, because according to my research findings, and all the research that I did with Professor Edna Erez of the University of Illinois at Chicago, they don’t really succeed in winning prestige and honor like the men do. The question of why they did the deed, which wasn’t their job to do, is always hanging in the air.
Anat Dolev: It wasn’t their job - you mean, as they see it?
Dr. Anat Berko: No. Even Sheikh Yassin, whom I interviewed in ’96, made that assertion, and repeatedly told me that it’s not a job for women when there are enough men who can do it. He didn’t see women integrating into the struggle actively, but rather through education, support and childcare.
Anat Dolev: And that’s actually because these women are not fit to be shahids according to the rules of Palestinian society because they have sinned.
Dr. Anat Berko: They have sinned. Senior figures, even from Hamas, whom I have interviewed, said that they would under no circumstances send their daughter to carry out an attack. One Hamas leader went on to say that he wouldn’t even send his daughter to a demonstration.
Anat Dolev: So they make up their own minds to do it. But if they’re carrying explosives or some kind of weapon, they at least had to contact someone from a terrorist organization.
Dr. Anat Berko: Obviously. No one makes up his or her own mind to do this. A suicide bomber doesn’t just wake up in the morning and decide this is the day he’s going to blow himself up. Someone has to locate him, prepare him, launch him, lead him. And the women too. Often, they volunteer. They know exactly who the operatives in the organizations are, but they have no terrorist career like we see the men having. It’s usually a one-shot deal and as soon as it’s over, it ends with her incarceration or her being blown up and that’s it.
Anat Dolev: Is there a way of stopping these women before it happens, in your estimation?
Dr. Anat Berko: I think, in general, that the whole shift to thinking about why the women do this and delegitimizing the deed is very important, because many times, in indictments as well, we discover the real reason and don’t disclose it for reasons of privacy. So I think it’s high time to reveal the true reason and, if there are also things connected to the right to privacy, as soon as a woman or man decides to blow themselves up or hurt IDF soldiers or harm innocent civilians, then it’s best they know they’re also in danger of having the underlying matter divulged. It’s not just the religious or political issue, but also things sometimes connected to male-female relations, morality, etc.
Anat Dolev: How do the other prisoners treat these women in prison?
Dr. Anat Berko: These women are isolated. They are put in separate wings for security prisoners.
Anat Dolev: And is a kind of way of life created among the security prisoners – is there some chance they’ll repeat their actions after they get out of jail?
Dr. Anat Berko: They don’t usually repeat them, since unlike the men, their biological clock is ticking and the dream of a husband and children is their heart’s desire.
Anat Dolev: But you say this actually doesn’t help them achieve that.
Dr. Anat Berko: It doesn’t get them anywhere because in a great many cases there will be people who see them as damaged goods, and actually unworthy of marriage and childbearing.
Anat Dolev: That means this deed will not help them receive legitimization.
Dr. Anat Berko: Superficially yes, and they will also be mentioned at Ramadan. Many people say that having women in jail is the most painful thing – they always ask for the women to be released first, but actually, as one of the sheikhs phrased it for me: “Neither my brother nor my son will marry a woman like that.”
Anat Dolev: But you still don’t predict that these attacks perpetrated by women will cease?
Dr. Anat Berko: No, I expect these attacks to increase, as well as the use of women and children. We see a learning process taking place through terror attacks. An example of this is using a vehicle to run people over, which has already happened three times in Jerusalem. And it spreads to include women as well, from the same residential area, sometimes even from the same family, in this case Jabal Mukaber. But we also see patterns of brother and sister, cousin, uncle, relatives who are all deeply involved in terrorism. Learning takes place by imitating terror, so if this time it was a woman at a checkpoint throwing acid at an IDF soldier, that’s something that has to be prepared for. I believe it will be repeated.
Anat Dolev: Well, that’s not very optimistic, yet we need to face the truth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peres: Iran stands at center of world's violence and fanaticism

Iran is "at the center" of the world's "violence and fanaticism," President Shimon Peres told the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

"It built a danger to the entire world. Its quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance divides the Middle East and holds back chances for peace, while undermining human rights," he said. The president specified that the people of Iran are not Israel's enemies, but rather the Islamic Republic's "fanatic leadership," who he accused of developing nuclear weapons and spreading a "religion of fear."

He noted also the country's funding of terror organizations, saying "Iranian support for Hizbullah divided Lebanon. Its support for Hamas split the Palestinians and postpones the establishment of the Palestinian State."

Peres slammed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated questioning of the Holocaust, calling it "a mockery of indisputable evidence, a cynical offense to survivors of the horror."

The peace process of with the Palestinians was also brought up in his speech, where he expressed confidence that a "full peace" could be negotiated by the end of 2009. "We tried to conclude the negotiations this year. It will take longer. But, I believe it can be accomplished within the next year," he told the General Assembly.

Peres also called on Hamas to immediately release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, claiming that "holding a hostage in Gaza determines its isolation and further deterioration."

The president ended his UN address with a quote by Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, and wished all a "Shana tova."
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017381259&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


It feels as if the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Barak seems to have forgotten that he once said he wouldn't want to trust Livni "when a call comes in at 3 AM." Can't say what she has promised him, but he apparently has found it enticing. For he has now announced his readiness to join a coalition with Kadima. It's "a shame," he laments, that Netanyahu won't join in an emergency government.


For his part, opposition leader and head of Likud Binyamin Netanyahu is having no part of this government. At a press conference yesterday he explained his position:

"We are not joining the failure. We are the alternative to the failure.

"What we need is a change of policy, not more of the same failed policy. This is why this government should be replaced.

"After a dramatic development such as the resignation of a prime minister, only one thing should happen, and that is going to general elections.

"It is unprecedented that a small group of Kadima members should determine who Israel's prime minister is. The decision must be given to the people. Setting a date for general elections is the responsible, the decent and the democratic thing to do. The nation should decide who leads it, and in which direction."

Amen to this.


Right now, Livni is waiting on Shas to decide; that decision might make or break the chances for a solid, stable coalition. Reports have it that there is a split within Shas on whether to join the coalition, with Shas faction head Yeshai opposed and second in command, Ariel Atias, inclined to go along (or "give Livni a chance").

Once again: the Shas stipulations are an increase in child allowances (the first priority), and a promise that there will be no negotiations on Jerusalem -- not just now but in the future, something Livni cannot really promise in good faith.

All bets are off, as it's anyone's guess how much Livni can concede and how much Shas will compromise.

Ideologically, Shas would be much more at home with Likud than with Kadima. Netanyahu has urged the party not to join with Kadima.


Meanwhile, the aggrieved Shmuel Mofaz, who said he was taking a break from politics, has now announced that he's had enough vacation: He's returning to business as usual after Rosh Hashana, on October 2. I cannot say precisely what enticed him, but something did.


And Livni? She has declared that even with coalition meetings she will take the time to continue as chief negotiator in meetings with Ahmed Qurei of the PA, and indeed met with him yesterday.

There are several reasons why she shouldn't be doing this.

The very first is that, now that Olmert has resigned, she represents a transitional government. Such a government, according to Attorney-General Mazuz, is supposed to serve caretaker functions only, not make major decisions that are not urgent.

This government has no business continuing negotiations at this point. The question (and this has been posed by Aaron Lerner of IMRA) is when Mazuz will weigh in on this.


But there is another reason why negotiations should be shut down forthwith:

We are being threatened.

Qurei waxed enthusiastic about Livni's presumed primary victory, and expressed confidence that she would continue working with him productively to advance negotiations.

But just hours after meeting with her, he declared:

"The Palestinians will continue to negotiate. But, if the talks reach a dead end, what do we do? Capitulate? Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right."

Please be very clear: "Resistance" is a code for terrorism, including suicide bombings. When asked very specifically if this is what he was referring to, he said, "All forms of resistance."

This is the Palestinian style -- it's what Dennis Ross referred to, years ago with regard to Arafat, as "the terrorist card." They always hold it close to their chests and bring it out when it suits them; it's their default position. But people who do this are not legitimate peace partners.

There is no "right" to commit terrorist acts. Not ever.


According to Israel Radio, Haim Ramon stated yesterday at a lecture in Tel Aviv that the Palestinians representing the PA at the last minute got "cold feet" and decided not to sign a declaration of principles that would have outlined progress made in the negotiations.

They will always "get cold feet."

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, former head of the National Security Council, has just delivered a paper to a conference for the National Institute for Near East Policy, in which he says that the current formulation of the two-state solution is untenable:

Simply put (and you've certainly heard it here), he says that the maximum that Israel is politically able to give is less than the Palestinians are politically able to accept.

Right now the PA is gearing up to defend itself in the event that Hamas attacks Ramallah. Is Abbas about to go on record as having conceded anything?


The Palestinian news agency Maan has reported that yesterday's terrorist, who ran down Israelis at Kikar Tzahal, is a member of Hamas.

Our security people are indicating that there is an increase in Hamas influence in eastern Jerusalem and that this is, indeed, generating more terrorism.

Areas of the city that are particularly problematic are the neighborhoods of Sur Bahir, Jebl Mukaber (where yesterday's terrorist came from), and Issawiya, and the Shuafat refugee camp -- all historically associated with a high level of terrorism.

The Shin Bet is calling for increased patrols by border police in these places, and for increased action against families of terrorists -- not just demolition of their homes, but also canceling state insurance payments.

According to the police, since the beginning of 2008, 250 Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem have been arrested for terror-related offenses, a very significant increase over last year.


Just this afternoon, four Palestinians were arrested for trying to run over IDF soldiers in Ma'ale Levona, near Ramallah, using two cars and a bulldozer. They were stopped before they injured anyone, and arrested.


Also today, it was announced that the Shin Bet and police have arrested seven members of a terror cell in eastern Jerusalem that is alleged to have been involved with two shootings in which police officers were killed and others wounded. Additionally, it is said that they were planning to assassinate a police officer in the Old City, initiatie a terror attack at a bus stop in French Hill, and carry out the kidnapping of security officials.


After yesterday's terror attack, Olmert stated that the only way this can be avoided in the future is if the city is divided: "there is no...way to prevent this...unless at the end of the day you say to the Arabs in the Arab neighborhoods, you will live in your neighborhoods, and won't come into ours." What he's talking about is giving the Jerusalem neighborhoods that are Arab to the PA.

Allow me to explain why it won't work:

1) Anyone who knows Jerusalem neighborhoods -- and presumably Olmert, as former mayor of Jerusalem, does -- knows that the Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are incredibly intertwined. It's not a question of drawing a straight line, with Arabs on one side and Jews on the other. What Olmert proposes is simply logistically impossible.

2) Having access to intelligence in these areas and being able to do patrols is important. Once the areas were in PA hands, we would lose the ability to do these things and Hamas influence would grow even greater, with more terrorism following. Even if there were a fence separating Jewish and Arab neighborhoods -- a nightmare and a logistical impossibility -- there would be porosity with terrorists getting across and having the ability, I should add, to shoot rockets over fences.

This is exactly the wrong attitude and has gotten us in the trouble we find ourselves in today on our western flank, certainly. Having trouble with terrorists? Let's not cope with getting rid of them, let's withdraw to a smaller area and leave them to their devious devices.

3) The PA will never, ever consent to just taking problematic neighborhoods in Jerusalem. If there is to be a deal, they want ALL of eastern Jerusalem, which means Jewish neighborhoods such as French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and Gilo, and, most significantly, the Old City, including our holiest sites.


I believe this is something worth a note of attention:

Lt. Elad Amar, the young officer who shot the terrorist yesterday, is a product of dati leumi (religious nationalist) education and wears a knitted kippah (kippah srugah) -- the mark of men associated with this viewpoint. This is of more than passing interest, because this is the third consecutive time that someone out of this world moved to take out a terrorist in Jerusalem.

This world view, the combination of religious and Zionist conviction, seems to produce young people who are particularly committed. They are among the very finest of our soldiers and more likely to volunteer for elite units.


As to Iran and what's going on in the US and the UN, I have very little to say here. The response of certain individuals is heartening, but the conduct of the left wing in the US and of the international community -- of any one and any group that gives Ahmadinejad legitimacy -- is shameful and vile beyond words. I am aghast, and enraged.

As "Eye on the UN" -- -- put it:
"Tuesday, September 23, 2008 will go down in history as the day the UN General Assembly provided a platform for a head of state to spew unadulterated, vile anti-Semitism to the applause of the assembled nations of the world. The United Nations has become the largest global purveyor of anti-Semitism in the world today. In the full knowledge that the President of Iran advocates the destruction of the UN member state of Israel, the UN invited him to mount
the dais and gave him a megaphone."

See a video of Ahmadinejad's talk (with subtitles) here:

This speech met with enthusiastic applause.

How does one continue to hope, in the face of this, that humankind has learned significant and necessary lessons or that decency will prevail?

see my website

Four Palestinians arrested after trying to run over soldiers

Four Palestinians were arrested on Wednesday afternoon after they tried to run over IDF soldiers near Ma'ale Levona north of Ramallah. No one was wounded and no damage was done. The Palestinians drove to an earth barrier near the settlement in 3 vehicles - 2 cars and one bulldozer - and tried to break the barrier and run over the soldiers.

The soldiers shot in the air and arrested the assailants, who were being questioned by police.

Many police and IDF troops were at the scene, investigating the incident.

On Monday night, 19-year-old Qassem Mughrabi from east Jerusalem rammed his BMW into a group of soldiers at a central Jerusalem thoroughfare, wounding fifteen people before being shot dead by an off-duty IDF officer.

Monday's attack came after two back-to-back bulldozer attacks in Jerusalem in July which left three Israelis dead and dozens wounded.

Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report

Some Jews Ain't So Smart

Ben Shapiro
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jews, according to both anti-Semites and philo-Semites, are smart folks. Anti-Semites claim that Jews are highly intelligent -- and therefore threaten the world via conspiratorial monetary and political control. Philo-Semites point out that Jews have provided a vastly disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners, as well as various leading scientists, philosophers, writers and artists. Virtually everyone agrees, then, that Jews are intelligent. And yet for all of our intelligence (I am an Orthodox Jew), large groups of American Jews lack the most basic instinct for self-preservation; they lack the understanding to protect Jews by acting to protect Israel.

The non-religious Jewish community demonstrates particular blindness. Most non-religious Jews, who see no special value in Jewish identity, distract themselves with "social justice" policies -- policies like abortion-on-demand and gay marriage -- that directly contravene traditional Jewish values. Meanwhile, they ignore existential threats to Jews worldwide -- threats they cannot escape with protestations that they aren't practicing Jews, or that their Judaism only goes as far as the occasional bagel.

For many non-religious Jews, political liberalism trumps both Jewish values and Jewish existence. How else to explain the disastrous series of events last week in New York? The United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York scheduled an anti-Iran rally highlighting the blatant Jew-hatred of visiting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Federation invited both Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R-AK). Palin accepted. So, at first, did Clinton -- but when she learned that she would be appearing on the same stage as Palin, she backed out. At that point, the organizers of the rally made a terrible decision: They disinvited Palin. reported that the decision was made after Democrats complained that they did not want the rally turned into a partisan event. This is the height of idiocy.

In the possibility of a nuclear Iran, Jews face the gravest menace since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They must mobilize every ally, unearth every friend, in order to create a groundswell of support for a military strike against Iran by Israel -- the only true solution to Iranian nuclear ambition. And yet they turned away Sarah Palin -- perhaps the future vice president of the United States, and at the moment, the most popular female politician in the United States -- because they feared offending Democrats. Only a baseline allegiance to the Democratic Party -- only a deep-rooted leftist partisanship -- can explain such behavior. Any rational group, seeking to draw attention to the Iranian situation, would leap at the opportunity to host Palin, who routinely draws tens of thousands of fans. More than that, any rational group would recognize that if high-ranking Democrats withdraw from anti-Iran rallies simply to avoid being seen in public with high-ranking Republicans, then perhaps Democrats aren't the friends of Israel they purport to be. Any rational group would be suspicious that Hillary Clinton is more concerned with Sarah Palin than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Any rational group would use their anti-Iran rally as a forum for candidates, allowing those with the most pro-Israel message to capitalize politically. Instead, the organizers disinvited Palin. In doing so, they demonstrated a political bias unworthy of a pro-Israel organization. More than that: In rejecting Palin, they demonstrated loyalty to Democrats over loyalty to Jewish causes. That became especially clear when the text of Palin's un-given speech was released. "We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator's intentions and to call for action to thwart him," the speech reads. "He must be stopped. The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a 'Final Solution' -- the elimination of the Jewish people.

He has called Israel a 'stinking corpse' that is 'on its way to annihilation.' … Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!" This is strong stuff. And it is stuff that the rally organizers abandoned when they kowtowed to Democrats rather than recognizing that support for Israel must be a non-partisan issue. It was foolish. It was dangerous. And most of all, it was dishonorable.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Ahmed Qureia: Violence 'legitimate' if talks fail

Top Palestinian negotiator warns violence may erupt if current round of negoiations with Israel go under. 'Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right,' says Ahmed Qureia

Israel News

The Palestinian chief negotiator with Israel cautioned on Tuesday that violence could erupt if peace talks collapse. "The Palestinians will continue to negotiate. But, if the talks reached a dead end, what do we do? Capitulate? Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right," said Ahmed Qureia in a message to newly-elected Kadima chairwoman, Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni.

Earlier in the day Livni met with Qureia. Livni was recently chosen by President Shimon Peres to form a new government. This was the first meeting between the two since the Kadima primaries, however Livni's office insisted it was a routine appointment.

Livni assured Qureia that peace talks will not stall while she tries to form a new coalition government. Speaking with the Reuters news agency after the meeting, Qureia said the meeting had been positive.

"It was a good meeting. Livni reassured me she would continue the peace process without accepting any conditions."

Israeli officials confirmed the meeting had taken place but gave no details.

Referring to the goal set by US President George W. Bush last November, Qureia said he had "great doubts about finalising a deal this year." He said Palestinian leaders were considering their options if talks failed to produce a deal that would lead to independence. If they lost hope in negotiations and became convinced Israel was not prepared to end its occupation, renewed attacks against Israelis were possible.

Asked whether he was saying the Palestinians might resume suicide bombings and attacks inside Israel, Qurie responded: "All forms of resistance."

On Sunday senior PA officials conveyed a clear threat to Livni. Rafik Husseini, the top adviser to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told The Sunday Telegraph that Palestinian politicians may take the drastic step of disbanding the authority if a lasting agreement is not reached during the current peace negotiations.

Such a move would mark the end of the US-backed talks launched with much fanfare at Annapolis last November, the report said, and put day-to-day Palestinian governance back in Israeli hands, almost certainly igniting fresh violence in the process.

"The Palestinian Authority is only a vehicle to achieve the interests and rights of the Palestinian people. Vehicles come and go," said the senior Palestinian official.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Behind the Lovely Face

Rachel Saperstein
Her face is sweet. Her blond hair falls casually over her eyes and she sweeps the wisps back behind her ears. Her head is angled to the side. Her designer pantsuits appear well cut. A few bulges appear here and there, but we forgive her. They've nicknamed her "Mrs. Clean" Behind that lovely face and soft voice there lies a cruelty that only those from Gush Katif seem to remember. Her name is Tzipi Livni and she is front-runner to replace Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister of Israel.

I remember Tzipi Livni when she bolted from the Likud party in 2005 and joined Ariel Sharon in his hastily formed Kadima party. She became his protégé and willing partner in the crime of expelling Jews from Gush Katif. As Justice Minister, she gave legal backing to Ariel Sharon, his son Omri and their advisors, whose single aim was to protect the Sharons from prosecution by destroying the twenty-three communities of Gush Katif.

Tzipi Livni, who was raised in a right-wing Likud family, turned her back on her heritage and began her descent into perfidy. And she was the cruelest of them all.

In my book Eviction (Pavilion Press, 2005), a compilation of my blogs, I included a chapter titled "Imagery of the Holocaust". In this chapter, I described the plans being developed by the Kadima party to harass the people of Gush Katif. Livni was quoted from the Jerusalem Post of that period. These are excerpts of quotes attributed to Justice Minister Livni:

"Internment camps are being made ready for those who refuse to leave willingly."

"The Jews will be relocated."

"All possessions of those who oppose the expulsion will become state property."

"Children of demonstrators will be removed from their parents homes and sent to be re-educated."

"Parents will be indicted for putting their children into danger."

The internment camps for families were built deep in the Negev area. Activists who fought for Gush Katif were imprisoned there without trial. Today, the camps are used for African refugees who have entered illegally from Egypt. These primitive camps, in a sweltering climate, are a testament to the perversity of Tzipi Livni.

The Left, Peace Now, Amnesty International, et al. never once complained when these pronouncements were made and the camps were built. But more important than the words is the person behind them - Tzipi Livni. If these were her plans as Justice Minister, what will be her ability to thwart justice as a ruling Prime Minister?

Behind the sweet, self-effacing face is a crafty woman capable of implementing her plans for the destruction of Jewish communities when and where she pleases.

She must not become Prime Minister. She must be punished for past atrocities and planned future atrocities against her own people.
© Copyright

Psychologists Cited for UnEthics

Hillel Fendel
Was the IDF brainwashed into carrying out the Disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Shomron in 2005? A complaint has been filed with the Ethics Committee of the Israel Board of Psychologists against two psychologists for "using their psychological and hypnotic skills" to facilitate the Disengagement-expulsion. The complaint was filed by psychologist Dr. Amira Dor of Raanana, in light of a recently-published report entitled, "The Mental Preparation for the Disengagement and its Aftermath in the IDF." The 230-page report details the systematic manner in which the army, with the help of the two psychologists - Nachi Ayalon and Chaim Omer - allowed itself and its soldiers to be brainwashed into expelling thousands of Jews from their homes.

Dr. Dor, one of the authors of the report, wrote in her complaint that the two psychologists had behaved "unethically and damagingly."
How were tens of thousands of IDF soldiers brought to the point where they marched en-masse and robotically with glassy eyes to throw out family after family of their countrymen from their homes, 'with sensitivity and determination'?

The report's point of departure, as stated in its introduction, is: How were tens of thousands of IDF soldiers brought to the point where they marched en-masse and robotically with glassy eyes to throw out family after family of their countrymen from their homes, 'with sensitivity and determination' [as the government boasted at the time]?

Dr. Dor's letter to the Ethics Board stated that the two psychologists, who spoke publicly of their methodology after the Disengagement, "trained the officers and psychologists of the army and the police, and taught them various techniques of emotional manipulation, instilling ideas, and massive influence upon the soldiers' behavior, opinions and emotions. The purpose of the training was to nullify the soldiers' and policemen's instinctive opposition to the expulsion, and to bring them to the point of obedience to any command that would be given."

"The behavior of these two psychologists stands in clear opposition to the principles of the psychologists' ethical code," Dr. Dor wrote.

The report quotes a ruling by former Chief Justice Aharon Barak in which he vetoed the expulsion of terrorists from Shechem to Gaza. Barak wrote at the time, "The basic principle is that taking a person from his home and forcibly transferring him to another place is a great blow to his dignity, freedom, and property."

The report continues, "Everyone who saw the parades of sodiers in Gush Katif wearing their black uniforms, with the country's emblem on their shirts and hats; whoever saw them chasing and persecuting, in close coordination with the police, the country's best youth as 'infiltrators'; and whoever heard the IDF's top generals calling the 'orange camp' more dangerous than Hizbullah - could not help but marvel: How did this wonder occur? How was the IDF turned into an army of expulsion?"

"The astonishment increases after the Second Lebanon War. Just ten months after the most efficient operation in IDF history, the army suffered a dismal failure in Lebanon in the real thing - war against an external enemy. Was it just bad luck?... Clearly not. It was rather the necessary outcome - because the same mental preparation that worked so well for expulsion is exactly that which castrated the army's fighting abilities."

The report states that a secret team of psychologists was convened by OC Southern Command Gen. Dan Harel, to prepare a large-scale strategy to mentally and ideologically sway the army in general, and the soldiers in particular. Their work was completed in July 2004 - seven full months before the Disengagement Law was passed in the Knesset.
The same mental preparation that worked so well for expulsion is exactly that which castrated the army's fighting abilities in the 2nd Lebanon War.

IDF kits entitled "Mental Preparations for the Disengagement Mission" were disseminated throughout the army, published by the IDF Behaviorial Sciences Wing, the Psychological Wing of the Ground Forces, the Israel Police, and the IDF Education and Youth Wing.

The report's authors interviewed many soldiers who took part in the preparation process, and studied thousands of pages of the "mental preparation" kits and political briefings. They wrote that they found that a new ideology was being taught in the army: "Democracy is the most important ideal; the State is democratic more than it is Jewish; the Disengagement is democratic and legal; the IDF is the protector of the democratic regime and therefore may legally be used against civilians."

In fact, one of the teachings in the kit stated, "Failure to carry out the mission of evacuation will be a failure of democracy. Guarding over the principles of democracy and the rule of law are what will guarantee the continued existence of the State of Israel. The sovereignty of the State of Israel is expressed by the ability of the IDF to carry out the decisions of the government. And this is what is being tested in this mission."

The authors noted that this stands in stark opposition to the basic creed of the IDF, which demands adherence only to legal orders, emphasizes the importance of love of homeland and Jewish national values, and does not mention at all the need to protect the regime or democracy.

Selected quotes in the report from testimony by those who planned and participated in the mental preparation of the IDF:

"During pilot training, the red lines were a type of a 'pistol in the drawer.' There is no need to discuss them publicly. It was clear that any cadet who refused to participate would be expelled from the course, and even without any other punishment the possibility of being dropped from the course was a very serious threat which meant giving up all of one's dreams and personal challenges."

"Look, part of the image included the masses of people, the badges, the uniforms. The maintenance of outward appearances was very important. The soldiers felt proud. This was part of their psychological preparation. You are in uniform, you are demonstrating your pride in the Israeli flag that you wear. It did something for you. You were not part of a crowd of riffraff."
The newspeak that was created was loaded with definitions stemming from a new world of concepts and terminology.

"The organization of the soldiers into tight-knit groups provided a protective feeling of belonging and support."

"For a year and a half, the officers were involved in transforming a narrow mission-oriented language into a way of speaking that would allow those with difficulties to participate in the mission... The newspeak that was created was loaded with definitions stemming from a new world of concepts and terminology: 'A mission within the family'; 'contributing to the community'; 'support'. Use of these terms decreased conflicts and allowed the flight school cadets and the Golani soldiers to say to themselves, 'We came to provide support and not to destroy' and to replace the phrase 'we are part of the enemy who came to destroy' by saying, 'we are part of the supporting force.'"
"This was sophisticated creation of a massive force. Instead of creating an image of a huge and very powerful bear, the eviction forces were painted as a bear that is friendly, considerate, weeping, noncombatant, and embracing. However, in practice, the embrace was that of a terrifying bear, which led to the surrender of the evacuees, prevented physical resistance, and suppressed thoughts of disobeying among the evacuation forces themselves... In practice, this allowed a dual meaning, by means of a double manipulation both with respect to the evacuees, who felt embraced but were at the same time put through a mechanism of cooptation, and with respect to the soldiers, who were forced to adopt feelings which included... the embracing bear, with all of its double meaning. This emotional manipulation was seen in the slogan, 'with sensitivity and determination.'"

"My sensitivity was a fraud... It could be compared to the distant empathy that I feel for the victims of the natural disaster in New Orleans."

"In addition, we exploited the officers of the Gaza Division of the IDF, based on their broad range of links to the population of Gush Katif... They helped... establish a discussion and calm the atmosphere. They worked behind the scenes, concealed from the community... In this way they contributed to decreasing the resistance of the evacuees and to decrease the negative identity that had evolved for the IDF... Internal civil functions were created, consisting of people who served as mediators or as channels for passing on messages. They included security coordinators of the settlements, rabbis, and social workers. All of these people were part of the evacuated population, but they were given glowing orange vests which separated them from the local people and allowed them legitimate freedom of movement... They worked behind the scenes and helped channel the frustration and the anger of those who were evacuated."

"The process of mental preparation is being taught in the IDF mainly to prepare for actions against the... Jewish civilian population."

"Mental preparation is a key element in preparing the forces... The purpose of the mental preparation is spiritual inoculation in order to counter the attempts by the evacuees to divert them from their missions."

"What is needed is much training and a significant strengthening of spiritual forces. The common mechanism for this is... emotional disconnect and to focus on the technical and operational aspects of the mission. This will provide the soldier with 'spiritual inoculation' and 'thought control'."

"Those soldiers who evacuated the people were subjected to a full month aimed at creating a team spirit hikes, swimming, a day of fun, joint dormitories. The conditions were unbelievable in terms of living quarters, food, recreation, air-conditioned tents, television in every tent, club houses with games such as backgammon, checkers, ping pong, and books. And the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers provided many gifts. In the two-day training sessions in Latrun there were fantastic conditions: air-conditioned rooms, trips to restaurants, and more..."

"Soldiers who participated did not really understand what was in store for them. During the preparation, they felt as if they were playing a game. There were social and sports activities, and team building activities which did not seem to be connected directly to the expulsion."

"Yet Again"

Arlene Kushner

There was a terrorist attack about 11 PM last night. An Arab, Kasem Mugrabi, 19, from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber ran his BMW up onto the sidewalk into a crowd of people, at Kikar Tzahal, a square near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. He injured at least 15 people, mostly soldiers, and was promptly shot dead by an off-duty IDF officer. Thank G-d, no one was killed, although three were injured seriously enough to require surgery and 13 are still in the hospital.

Jebl Mukaber, which is not a poor neighborhood, is where the infamous Yeshivat HaRav terrorist came from. It is in south eastern Jerusalem near the Jewish neighborhood of Talpiot.

This is the third attack in Jerusalem in three months involving Jerusalem Arabs who used vehicles as weapons. The last two times it was tractors/bulldozers, and there was talk about security checks before Arabs could use heavy construction equipment. But this time a car was used.

Now, once again, there is talk about methods of deterrence, such as the speedy razing of the homes of terrorists from Jerusalem. Potential terrorists, it is said, must know their families will pay a serious price after the fact.


It should come as no surprise to any of us how quickly matters appear to shift in the world of politics. I say "appear" because we're getting what the politicians say publicly and what the media report -- not necessarily what's going on behind this.

On Sunday I reported that Barak had met with Netanyahu and there was allegedly discussion of a national emergency government (which would have come together after an election), with Barak aides saying that Barak might prefer this to joining a Livni coalition.

But this was before Livni saw the light, and, instead of simply saying the current coalition should continue as it has been (no need for change as long as Olmert is gone), she began to seriously court various members of the current coalition. She has offered Barak a "partnership," though I cannot tell you what this really means.


Now begins the horse-trading, the political blackmail, at which Shas, in particular, excels: You want us in your coalition, this is what you must give us. Shas right now is saying that if Livni removes the current finance minister, Bar-On, who has blocked increased child allowances, the chances of their joining are greater. (Shas represents religious Sephardim with large families.) Do not ask me what happened with regard to Shas insistence that there be a promise of no future negotiations on Jerusalem -- something Livni cannot honestly promise.

This is coalition politics, in a situation in which no one party has enough seats to establish a government by itself. It has, sadly, very little to do with what is good for the nation, and a good deal to do with what is good for particular parties and persons. For anyone accustomed to the American system this is difficult.

At this point, I am assuming that what is involved is not simply deals Livni will seek to strike with various parties, but unofficial promises Netanyahu will make to parties to entice them not to join the Livni coalition -- based, of course, on the expectation that he would win the election that would ensue.

All the cheap talk about doing what is good for the nation...

Right now we desperately need genuine leaders who will work for the good of the nation.


Livni's responsibility in forming that coalition is now official, by the way. President Peres met with a delegation from each faction, which had an opportunity to recommend who should try to form the government, and then appointed Livni. This, it should be noted, was not because she was resoundingly supported by various factions, but sort of by default.

One of the first things she did was call for a unity government that would include Likud. Netanyahu isn't interested, because he's hoping for an election that he will win outright. Sharing power with Livni and Barak does not appeal to him particularly.

Will she be able to form a coalition? It wouldn't be easy, but it's impossible at this juncture to say for certain that she won't. One of the serious questions being asked is how stable it would be -- she might cobble together enough seats to govern, only to have one or more parties bolt not far down the road. She has a month.


Meanwhile a petition has been filed with an internal Kadima court on behalf of Ze'ev Elkin, a strong Mofaz supporter, asking that alleged irregularities in the primary polling be investigated. Another group of Mofaz supporters filed a separate petition. Charging that there were irregularities in 80 polling places, out of 114, they are vowing to take this all the way to the High Court if the results are not overturned.

Do I think they may have a very legitimate grievance. Yes. Do I expect the petition to succeed? No. I'll be happy to say I was wrong if it does.

see my website

Officer who killed Jerusalem terrorist: I did what was expected of me

Lieutenant who shot dead east Jerusalem resident who plowed into crowd with BMW recounts incident. 'I was afraid terrorist would put vehicle in reverse and run over more soldiers and civilians, so I aimed for his head and shot him 11 times through the windshield,' he says

Efrat Weiss
Israel News

"I realized that it was a terror attack, so I cocked my weapon and shot the perpetrator," recounted Lieutenant Elad, 23, the officer who killed the east Jerusalem resident who plowed a BMW into a crowd of pedestrians at a busy intersection in central Jerusalem near the Old City on Monday evening. At least 17 people were reportedly wounded in the attack, most of them soldiers belonging to the Artillery Corps.

"I did what is expected of every soldier or officer," he said.

A few hours after the incident Lieutenant Elad, who serves as deputy company commander in the Artillery Corps, said "We left for a 'Selichot Tour' in Jerusalem (Selichot are Jewish penitential prayers said during the High Holidays) on two armed buses carrying some 80 soldiers. We walked from Jaffa Street toward the Old City walls.

"I was walking with a group of soldiers. We arrived at Tzahal Square, where a large group of soldiers was situated on a small traffic island. Then I saw a BMW speeding toward the soldiers, and then soldiers flying over the car, which eventually hit the wall of a building; I understood it was a terror attack and immediately cocked my rifle."

The officer said that he feared the terrorist would recuperate and resume the attack. "I noticed that the terrorist was beginning to recover and I was afraid he would put the vehicle in reverse and run over more soldiers and civilians, so I aimed for his head and shot him 11 times through the windshield," he said.

According to Lieutenant Elad, at this point a civilian and police officer approached the vehicle and fired one or two bullets each at the terrorist.

"I continued to point my rifle at the terrorist and ordered the soldiers to seal off the area for fear the car was booby-trapped," recalled the officer, a married father of two from Givat Shmuel.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Soldier attacked with acid loses an eye


An IDF soldier lost one of his eyes following a Monday morning attack by a Palestinian woman at the Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus. The IDF said the woman threw an acidic substance in the face of the soldier, who was guarding the checkpoint.

The soldier was hospitalized with light-to-moderate wounds.

The woman who attacked the soldier was responsible for a similar attack on September 10, the army said.

She escaped at that attack, but was arrested Monday.

Dr. Anan Abd el-Haq of Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus said soldiers wounded three bystanders with gunfire and shrapnel immediately after the incident.

The military said, however, that soldiers fired only one shot in the air to keep the crowd at bay.

Comment: OK you peaceniks, this is who you are supporting, this is the behavior you justify-how dare you!

Israel is Under Media Occupation

Gil Ronen

Noted Middle East expert and commentator Dr. Guy Bechor accuses Israel's media of turning itself into an "occupying force" within Israel and behaving like an unelected, yet all-powerful, political machine. In an article entitled "Down with the Occupation" that appears on his Hebrew-language website, Dr. Bechor – one of Israel's top experts on Middle Eastern affairs and a popular lecturer and interviewee – identifies a process that he says began after 2000.

"With the collapse of the Left in Israel's political system... and the tremendous disappointment from the 'peace process'," he says, "a strange process began gathering force in Israel's media, which was, to begin with, a closed club numbering about 20 movers and shakers. Strange as it may sound, this media, which is supposed to cover events and report them, took a step forward and took upon itself to represent the Left which had collapsed in the Israeli populace. It became a political party."

Media crossed the lines
"No one gave [the media] this mandate," writes Bechor – who was himself a journalist for Army Radio and other news organizations. "No Divine order was given here, and in this act, it did not represent any
"The more the Left in Israel shrank in size, the greater its influence became in the media."
democratic process, because at its core, the media in Israel is not elected and does not change. It is made up of several 'gurus' who carry on for decades, without any real change in its personal makeup."

The media in Israel, he emphasizes, "has turned into an active political force that serves as a substitute for the political parties of the past. The more the Left in Israel shrank in size, the greater its influence became in the media, although [this influence] was always hidden and camouflaged."

"Thus the Israeli media crossed the lines, and moved away from its western counterparts. Thus it also betrayed the Israeli public, which expected, and expects to this day, that it will cover events."

Anti-sephardic but Arab-idolizing
Bechor claims that young journalists who do not toe the leftist line know that they will not be promoted. While they do not tout themselves as leftists, he says, "their entire essence is just that. The disparagement of patriotism and of the military, the dislike of the government… the self-praise as a 'peace' camp, the revulsion from Middle Eastern Judaism combined with an idolization of the Arabs, and the deep-seated grudge against the Right, against Netanyahu (the Waldemort of Israeli politics) and capitalism.

Even the state-run media – Channel 1 TV, Voice of Israel Radio, IDF Radio and Educational TV – has come under the control of "the party," Bechor notes, as have Channel 10, Ha'aretz and recently Ma'ariv. "As the
"The media in Israel is made up of several 'gurus' who carry on for decades."
Israeli government is weakened and scorned, and talented people stay away from it, a vacuum is formed, into which this party media enters with great force," he says.

The media crowned Livni
The political media served as investigator and judge in the latest war in Lebanon, Bechor states, and now it has decided who will be Israel's prime minister, too, while cancelling democracy, in effect. The media, he says, strengthened Tzipi Livni, "hoisted her up with false polls, and cheered when she appeared to win. It is true that some feeble protests were heard here and there in view of the unbelievable scandals in the latest elections, but the caravan moved on, needless to say. It is easy to surmise how the same media party would have reacted if [Transport Minister Shaul] Mofaz had beat his rival by one percentage point. Indeed, the media is manipulating politicians instead of being manipulated by them."
"The politicians are terrified because these same 'commentators' and 'journalists' are stronger and more stable then they are."

Politicians terrified
The change in Israel's media over the last three decades is one that induces despair, Dr. Bechor says. "The politicians are terrified of this process, which they view with fear, because these same 'commentators' and 'journalists' are stronger and more stable then they are. The politicians depend on them and so they are afraid to talk." Bechor even adds that certain prominent female television reporters, whom he does not name, supplement their incomes by holding news panels on Sabbaths, which the politicians know they must participate in, or else.

"Because we are not a healthy society, this process proceeds smoothly," Bechor sums up. "The more powerful it becomes, the more the undemocratic disease spreads. It is time to say 'no more.'" He recommends abstaining from Israel's Hebrew language mainstream press and says that alternative media channels hold the hope for a better future.

Olmert Quits--and Remains PM

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now is officially a lame duck head of government after he resigned Sunday night. He remains in power until newly-elected Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni forms a coalition or is forced to go to the polls. His legal position has changed in that he cannot be suspended from office, but he still can fire Cabinet ministers. President Shimon Peres received Olmert's resignation by stating he appreciated "the respectful way in which he is handing over his power." The president added that several actions that Prime Minister Olmert made for the "safety of the state of Israel and the welfare of its citizens…will remain unknown."

President Peres invited all of the heads of the 13 Knesset factions for consultations, a formal act before asking Livni, as head of the largest party, to form a new coalition.

Livni already has gone into action to attempt to win over opposition parties, although she has not yet received the formal go-ahead from the President, after which she will have 42 days in which to accomplish her task. If she does not, President Peres can ask another party to form a coalition, which would be highly unlikely, or call for new elections within 90 days.

Livni has made it clear she does not intend to drag out the process. "If it soon becomes clear that a coalition cannot be formed, we will go to elections and we will win," Foreign Minister Livni said. She stated her hope for a national unity government but faces an apparent rocky road.
If it soon becomes clear that a coalition cannot be formed, we will go to elections and we will win.

Likud chairman and Opposition leader Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has said he will not join a coalition led by Kadima, which he said would be like joining the bankrupt Lehman Brothers financial firm.

The keys to a coalition government remain in the hands of Labor party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Industry Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai, chairman of Shas. The Labor party chairman favors a unity government, but senior party members fear that Livni will establish a power base with a new government and call spot elections.

Shas chairman Yishai has two cards in his hands--the demand for an increase in child welfare payments, or some other alternative way to help lower income families, and the status of Jerusalem. He and Foreign Minister Livni have been verbally sparring back and forth for weeks on the issue of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the capital. He has threatened to pull his party out of the government if the Olmert proposal to divide Jerusalem reaches the discussion stage with the PA.

For its part, the PA has repeatedly claimed the issue has been discussed numerous times, but Foreign Minister Livni, the senior Israeli negotiator, has denied the charges. However, the last time the PA repeated the claim was when Prime Minister Olmert, and not Foreign Minister Livni, was present at the talks.