Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Pogroms' and double standards

When young men riot in nearby communities it's a pogrom – unless they're Arab
Jackie Levy

As opposed to the manner in which the media handled the recent events in Akko, the main issue should not have been with the driver who drove on Yom Kippur or the hooligans who attacked him. Rudeness and hooliganism can be found anywhere. It's unpleasant, but it's certainly not fit for a headline story on the evening news. The worrisome development that took place in Akko was manifested through the fact that a moment after that local brawl, someone – and he wasn't Jewish – found it important enough to spread a rumor among Arabs that the driver was killed and that "the Jews are killing us."

We already saw cases, on Holy Days and on regular days as well, where people hurled stones at vehicles. Yet this time around, on Yom Kippur, in Akko, an hour and a half later the streets were teeming with young Arab men armed with sticks and axes.

The Arab spokespeople who brandish the feelings of discrimination that have been accumulated over the years, the lack of equality, and the economic distress are saying things that are true but irrelevant.

According to the same logic, the Jewish residents of Or Akiva were supposed to smash 100 cars in the upscale Caesarea ages ago. The young Arabs in Akko did not chant "death to the rich people." They were talking about the Jews, and in order to stimulate mass riots filled with hatred one needs methodical incitement and an organizing mechanism.

We must admit that destiny has a rather lowly sense of humor. It was destiny that prompted the Akko events to take place a moment after the word "pogrom" turned into a legitimate term among certain strata around here. After an attempted murder of a child in the settlement of Yitzhar (a genuine attempt, rather than a deliberate libel,) youngsters from the community headed to the nearby village and carried out the first "pogrom" in history that did not result in casualties.

Pogrom, therefore, is an incident whereby more than two young people enter an area where they don't live in, in order to express their anger using unfriendly means – as long as those guys are Jewish, of course. If, heaven forbid, they happen to be members of another national group, so we learned, we should immediately note that the word "pogrom" is a harsh term carrying grave historical and associative weight, and therefore it should not be cheapened by being used in this context, etc. etc.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The disappearance of law


The Arab pogrom in Acre on Yom Kippur was yet another wake-up call. The 200 Israeli Arabs who shattered the windshields of 110 Jewish cars, and burned and looted dozens of Jewish businesses in the city on the eve of Yom Kippur while shouting out, "Death to Jews!" "Allah Akbar!" and "We'll kill you if you leave your homes!" couldn't have made their point any more clearly. They don't like Jews. They don't want peaceful coexistence with Israel. They don't recognize the authority of Israel's laws. They don't accept their identity as Israeli citizens.

If the actual violence wasn't enough to clarify matters, then we have the invitations for the Arab theater festival that began on Thursday, and its program.

Acre's Arab leaders decided to organize their festival in response to Mayor Shimon Lancry's decision to postpone indefinitely Acre's annual Alternative Theater Festival. Fearing continued violence, Lancry opted over the weekend to postpone the annual event that was scheduled to take place this week.

The Arabs called their festival, "Acre Is Not Alone." In the invitations distributed to the Arab residents of the city, the organizers wrote: "We will not surrender to the emergency laws that were enacted after the settlers' [that is, the Jewish residents of the city's] attacks. The settlers are trying to enact an ethnic cleansing of the eastern neighborhoods of the city. We call on Acre's Arab residents to come to the Old City and break the siege that has been enacted against the merchants there. We are organizing these activities to preserve the importance of Acre as a center of Palestinian tourism, culture, history and geography."

So in short, "Acre is not Alone" has been organized to raise Arab awareness of Arab suffering at the hands of the Jews in Israel. Its main attractions include a movie that portrays the Arab riots in October 2000 from the perspective of the families of the Arab rioters killed by police trying to quell their violence against Jews; a one-man play fulminating on the victimization of Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian Authority by Jews; and an "artistic" narration of the plight of an Arab who left Acre in 1948 as a result of Jewish "aggression," and died in a UN camp in Lebanon.

It is important to pause for a moment and set out as precisely as possible what happened in Acre on the eve of Yom Kippur and the following night, after the holiday ended.

On Wednesday night, when as is customary, after prayers ended Jews milled about in the streets that were empty of moving cars out of respect for the holiday, Acre resident Jamal Tawfik drove into the city's predominantly Jewish Ben-Gurion neighborhood. Jewish residents claim that Tawfik was driving at high speed with his windows down and music blasting out of his speakers, in a clear provocation of the Jews. Tawfik denied the allegations.

By all accounts, some Jewish youth approached his car. Some accounts claim that a handful of teenagers hit the sides of his car. Some accounts claim that some teenagers pelted his car with stones. All accounts agree that he exited his vehicle unscathed.

Just after this altercation, a still-unidentified Arab in the Old City broadcast that a Jewish mob had murdered Tawfik via the loudspeakers of a mosque. More than 200 Arab residents then descended on the Ben-Gurion neighborhood with axes and knives. They shattered the windshields of some 110 Jewish-owned cars. They then moved into the business district and looted and vandalized the Jewish-owned stores and businesses. Despite multiple calls for help from terrified Jews, it took the police several hours to appear on the scene. And when they arrived, they did nothing to end the Arab rampage.

The next evening, after the holiday ended, the Jewish residents started a spontaneous protest against the Arab riot. Arab rioters returned.

This time, the police, equipped with riot gear, succeeded in separating the Arabs from the Jews. A group of Jewish protesters, demanding revenge, torched a handful of Arab-owned apartments in mixed neighborhoods. The Arabs continued looting Jewish businesses and attacking Jewish cars. Police arrested rioters on both sides.

In the days that followed, Arab leaders published condemnations of violence "on both sides," and asked Jewish leaders to join them in their statements. Most Jewish leaders in the city refused. As Acre's Chief Rabbi Yoseph Yashar told a reporter, "As long as they speak of the Arab rioters from the eve of Yom Kippur in the same breath as the acts of vengeance carried out by Jews in response, it will be very hard to calm matters down."

On the national political level, Kadima and Labor party leaders have embraced the Arabs' moral equivalence. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their subordinates have all decried "acts of violence" and "lawlessness," while refraining from making any special mention of the fact that the violence was carried out almost entirely by Acre's Arabs.

Olmert went further than his colleagues. During a meeting with anti-Israel activists from the Arab sector, including the deputy head of the Hamas-linked northern branch of the Israeli Islamic Movement on Monday, Olmert claimed, "There can be no doubt that for years the Arab population has suffered from discrimination that stemmed from a variety of sources."

By making the statement to some of the most extreme anti-Israel voices in Israeli Arab society, Olmert seemingly justified the lawlessness of their followers.

The police have reacted to the Arab violence with now customary passivity. Decrying the police's belated and feckless response to Wednesday night's violence, Likud MK Yuval Steinitz minced no words: "The public security minister [Avi Dichter] and the chief of police [David Cohen] must resign. The State of Israel has become the only country in the Western world where pogroms are carried out against Jews. Physical assaults are carried out against them and against their property amid calls of 'Death to the Jews.' A police force that is incapable of defending Jewish neighborhoods requires a serious overhaul."

WHILE STARTLING, the events in Acre - and the official response to them - are not new phenomena. Last Yom Kippur, an Arab driver from Shibli in the Galilee mortally wounded nine-year-old Tal Zino from neighboring Kfar Tavor. The driver entered the community at top speed on his all-terrain vehicle. Children playing outside the synagogue ran to evade him. Tal couldn't get out of his way fast enough. He ran her over.

As Tal's mother, Haya Zino, told Ma'ariv last Friday, that incident was the first attack against Jews carried out by an Arab operating a heavy motor vehicle. In her view, the more recent murders of Jews in Jerusalem by Arab bulldozer operators are simply a continuation of the attack on Kfar Tavor that killed her daughter.

Two years ago, an Arab mob in Acre violently attacked yeshiva students dancing in the streets on Simhat Torah. The students were forced to flee to their yeshiva, where the Arabs then besieged them. Rather than disperse the crowd, the police simply helped the students escape to their homes through the yeshiva's backdoor.

And in the riots in Peki'in earlier in October 2007, the police refused to confront the Arab mob that attacked the Jewish homes in the village. They allowed a policewoman to be held hostage for several hours and essentially begged anti-Israeli local leaders to intervene on her behalf.

THE EVER-INCREASING radicalism of Israeli Arabs, who today openly and officially oppose the existence of the Jewish state, shows the imbecility of the government's plan to "separate" from the Palestinians by withdrawing from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

Given that Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs openly identify themselves as one society, there is no way to separate from the Palestinians.

But the fact that Israeli Arabs are indistinguishable from Palestinian Arabs does not mean that there is no way to contend with their rejection of Israel. To the contrary, it points to the only way to contend with both the Palestinian Arab and the Israeli Arab rejection of Israel: By reestablishing law and order and respect for the law both within the 1949 armistice lines and in the areas Israel took control of in 1967.

Here, it is worth pointing out that in their rejection of the authority of Israel, the Israeli Arab rioters in Acre are little different from the French Muslim rioters who set their country ablaze in November 2005. In both cases, the rioters demonstrated their abject contempt and rejection of the state in which they live, at the same time that their governments were doing everything in their power to appease them as a suffering minority.

Responding to the violence, French voters elected President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy campaigned on a law and order platform. Sadly, since taking office, he has done little to abide by his campaign pledges in this regard.

In Israel's case, no political leaders have made the connection between law and order and Israeli Arab or Palestinian Arab irredentism. Indeed, since the Arab riots in 2000, Israel has simply stopped enforcing its laws in the Arab sector. This is true not only with regard to violent crimes and treason, but also in relation to lesser offenses. For instance, polygamy is illegal in Israel. Yet, over the past decade, the prevalence of polygamy among Israeli Beduin has grown to unprecedented levels.

Last spring the government announced its intention to contend with the issue by forming committees and support groups for children of polygamous marriages and women who are involved in these illegal relationships. No thought was given to the obvious remedy of arresting the polygamous husbands and trying them for their crimes.

And this gets to the heart of the matter. While no doubt, historically, Israel has witnessed discrimination against members of its Arab sector, today, the chief form of discrimination they suffer is what US President George W. Bush has referred to as "the soft bigotry of low expectations." This of course causes both Israeli Jews and Arabs to feel contempt for the law and so increases the tendency of both Jews and Arabs to take the law into their own hands.

But more important, the pro-Arab discrimination of Israel's political and law enforcement arms has facilitated the radicalization of Arab Israeli society. Far from appeasing them, Israel has shown them that they are right to reject its authority. And their rejection of Israel - like their Palestinian Arab brethren's rejection of Israel - only increases as Israel seeks to appease them.

By opting not to assert its authority over Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, by refraining from punishing their lawlessness and aggression against Jews, and even rewarding it, Israel guarantees that yet more dangerous attacks will soon follow.

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Shas Says It's Jerusalem or Bust

Gil Ronen

The hareidi-religious Sephardic party Shas wants Tzipi Livni, who heads the ruling party Kadima, to make a commitment not to negotiate over Jerusalem in the talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Shas Chairman, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai, met with Livni Thursday in her office in Jerusalem, and negotiating teams from both parties met in the evening for an extended, four-hour-long session. The main sticking points, according to leaks from both sides, are Shas's demands for NIS 1.5 billion for stipends to aid families with numerous children and the demand regarding Jerusalem. We want it in writing
Shas demands that Livni provide either a written commitment regarding non-negotiation over Jerusalem, or a publicly-stated commitment to that effect. Otherwise it will not join the coalition, Yishai said. "Jerusalem shall not be part of the negotiations," he told the daily paper Ma'ariv. "We want to get a clear commitment from Livni that she does not intend to raise the subject at all during the negotiations with the PA."

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) said, however, on Friday that the disagreement on the subject o
"We want to get a clear commitment from Livni that she does not intend to raise the subject at all during the negotiations with the PA."
f Jerusalem is not difficult to solve and that a mutually acceptable formula will be reached soon.

Kadima's starting offer to Shas was NIS 400 million for the child stipends. This was later amended to NIS 700 million, according to one leak, or 500 million, according to another.

Bar-On says no
Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On reportedly refuses to approve the transfer of funds, however. He claims the Finance Ministry lacks the necessary funds for such a move, and cites the forecasted loss of an NIS 5 billion in tax collection following the losses incurred by private investors in the current global finance crisis.

Yishai is making tougher demands of Livni than he did when he joined the government of Ehud Olmert in 2006. With Olmert, he only wanted a commitment to release Shas of coalitional discipline if and when votes are held regarding the negotiations with the Arabs who claim the Land of Israel.

Yishai has said that the PA leadership under Mahmoud Abbas is not a partner for peace, and he also disapproves of the idea of signing a "shelf agreement" to be implemented at a later date.

Bush Offers Syria Golan for Iran

Hana Levi Julian

U.S. President George W. Bush offered Syrian President Bashar Assad a secret deal to pull Israel out of the Golan Heights in exchange for Damascus breaking off ties with Tehran, according to a report published Friday in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida. A Palestinian Authority (PA) source quoted in the report said Bush reportedly proposed "a quick and satisfactory solution" to Syria's dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights. The "solution" was to be finalized "within several weeks, before the U.S. presidential elections, in order to push the Middle East peace process, an achievement the president will be able to proudly present before leaving the White House in January," according to Cairo-based journalist Abdel-Wahab Al-Nasser.

The offer allegedly came in a letter sent via PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who arrived in Damascus for meetings with Assad and other Syrian officials beginning last Saturday.

Abbas's visit was billed at the time as an attempt by Abbas to shore up his political position within the PA due to the fact that his current term in office ends on January 9, 2009, and as part of his effort to reconcile his Fatah faction with the rival Hamas terrorist organization that took over complete control of Gaza in June 2007.

According to the PA source, the real purpose of Abbas's visit, however, was to deliver the secret letter, the knowledge of which was kept secret from the American Ambassador in Damascus and the members of Abbas's entourage. It was delivered personally by Abbas to Assad, said the source, who added that "the United States stressed the importance of this confidential letter outside the usual official channels."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman David Baker said in response to a call from Israel National News, "We have nothing to comment regarding that report."

Comment: The USA will initially dismiss this claim and say it is not true-it represents but one possibility as we, the USA, try to bring stability to this area. The USA is willing to give up our defense for the sake of a President's A Palestinian Authority (PA) source quoted in the report said Bush reportedly proposed "a quick and satisfactory solution" to Syria's dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights. The "solution" was to be finalized "within several weeks, before the U.S. presidential elections, in order to push the Middle East peace process, an achievement the president will be able to proudly present before leaving the White House in January," according to Cairo-based journalist Abdel-Wahab Al-Nasser.

The offer allegedly came in a letter sent via PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who arrived in Damascus for meetings with Assad and other Syrian officials beginning last Saturday.

Abbas's visit was billed at the time as an attempt by Abbas to shore up his political position within the PA due to the fact that his current term in office ends on January 9, 2009, and as part of his effort to reconcile his Fatah faction with the rival Hamas terrorist organization that took over complete control of Gaza in June 2007.

According to the PA source, the real purpose of Abbas's visit, however, was to deliver the secret letter, the knowledge of which was kept secret from the American Ambassador in Damascus and the members of Abbas's entourage. It was delivered personally by Abbas to Assad, said the source, who added that "the United States stressed the importance of this confidential letter outside the usual official channels."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman David Baker said in response to a call from Israel National News, "We have nothing to comment regarding that report.

Comment: The USA will initially dismiss this as the truth-they will offer it is but one suggestion-they will say, but not mean, the USA will never force anything upon Israel when it comes to its security. do not be taken in by any of this rhetoric and become vigilant in support of the Golan.

The Rage That's Not On Your Front Page

Michelle Malkin

When a few unruly McCain-Palin supporters show their anger at campaign rallies, it's national news. It's an epidemic of "Weimar-like rage" and "violent escalation of rhetoric," according to New York Times columnist Frank Rich. It's the "re-emergence of the far right as a power in American politics," according to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. It's a mass movement of GOP crowds "gripped by insane rage," according to newly minted Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. Too bad they don't give out global awards for the Blindest Eyes in Punditocracy. We've just hit a trifecta.

Are a few activists on the right getting out of hand? Probably. Between massive ACORN voter fraud, Bill Ayers' and Jeremiah Wright's unrepentant hatred of America, and John McCain's inability to nail Barack Obama on his longtime alliances with all of the above, conservatives have plenty to shout about these days.

But a couple of random catcallers do not a mob make. And there's an overflowing abundance of electoral rage on the left that won't make it onto your newspaper's front page.

Last month on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a small, brave contingent of McCain supporters marched through the streets with campaign signs. They were met by a menacing horde of New Yorkers who displayed their disapproval with a barrage of jeers and vulgar gestures. ("The number of middle fingers in the 'progressive crowd' is directly proportional to the number of Ph.D. degrees in the 10-block radius," one of the witnesses wryly observed.) A YouTube video of the confrontation now has nearly half a million views ( and search "Pro-McCain March in Manhattan"). But don't expect to find it on the nightly news. It doesn't fit the Angry Right narrative.

Neither does the near-riotous reaction of Obama supporters to a McCain-Palin sign in Democrat-dominated Prince George's County, Md. Buried in a back local section, The Washington Post reported this week that "pandemonium" broke loose when an unsuspecting businessman erected a "Country First. McCain/Palin." message on the marquee at his Colony South Hotel & Conference Center.

"Operators of neighborhood e-mail group lists cried foul to their memberships. The NAACP logged calls. Community leaders demanded boycotts of the hotel, a common venue for Democratic events," the little-noticed article reported. A black professor called the sign "a stink bomb in the middle of the living room" of Obama land. The poor hotel manager, Alan Vahabzadeh, surrendered. "I didn't even realize it was going to be like this."

Can't blame him for missing the fiery hint from Portland, Ore. -- where two deranged vandals were arrested after throwing a Molotov cocktail at a McCain yard sign in the middle of the night. Nope, that didn't make it into the columns of Rich, Dionne or Krugman. Doesn't fit the Angry Right narrative.

Speaking of "violent escalation of rhetoric" you never hear about:

Obama supporters in Philadelphia sported "Sarah Palin is a [disgusting vulgarism referring to female genitalia]" T-shirts and yelled, "Let's stone her, old school" over the weekend.

An Internet artist has designated Palin an "M.I.L.P." -- "Mother I'd Like to Punch" -- and published a drawing of a man's fist knocking a tooth out of the Alaska governor's mouth and the glasses off her face.

"ABORT Palin" graffiti has sprouted on the sidewalks of Seattle, and "Abort Sarah Palin" bumper stickers are spreading in Web stores.

-- Palin-bashing Madonna performs before an audience of thousands, screeching and threatening to "kick her a**."

-- Getty Images publishes a photo of a man pointing a fake gun at the head of a cardboard cutout of Palin on display at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition building.

And no one blinks. Not a peep from the Obamedia.

But when Palin simply spotlights Obama's longtime relationship with Weather Underground terrorist Bill "We Didn't Do Enough" Ayers?

"Inciting violence," frets NBC reporter Ron Allen. "Concerned for Sen. Obama's safety," agonizes ABC reporter Terry Moran. "Beyond the pale," cries Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. As if the no-holds-barred Obama campaign has ever had a rhetorical pale to stake.

All the world's a Kabuki stage for the selectively outraged over rage.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved

Hebron tunnel was loaded with explosives, weaponry


Several hundred kilograms of explosives and weaponry were found in a tunnel that the IDF blew up in Hebron on Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post learned on Thursday.

The 150-meter-long tunnel was discovered by Palestinian Authority security forces on Monday and was immediately reported to the IDF, which sent an Engineering Corps force to destroy the structure.

IDF sources and defense officials said Tuesday that the tunnel had been found empty and that it was unclear what its purpose was. The Post learned on Thursday, however, that several hundred kilograms of explosives and arms were found in a branch of the tunnel and that the PA security forces confiscated it before informing the IDF of the discovery.

Despite several inquiries, it was unclear Thursday night why the IDF did not reveal this information.

While the army believes that dozens of tunnels have been dug under the border between Gaza and Egypt, the Hebron tunnel destroyed Tuesday - large enough for an average-sized person to stand fully erect inside - was the first of such size discovered in the West Bank.

On Tuesday, the IDF said the tunnel had not yet been completed. According to one source, it was far from both the city's Jewish enclave and the West Bank security barrier and therefore raised speculation regarding its purpose.

The tunnel was being dug in the general direction of Route 35 near Tarkumiya.

One possibility, a defense official said, was that Hamas had been digging the tunnel so its terrorists could move freely through the city without being detected by the IDF or Fatah.

Last year, the IDF uncovered tunnels in the Nablus marketplace, but none was so long or sophisticated.

Hebron Jewish community spokeswoman Orit Struck said Thursday she had heard about the weapons cache from the IDF earlier in the day.

They said "it was very worrisome," said Struck, adding that she was concerned but not surprised.

"We feel very threatened, and the danger from the Palestinians has not decreased. There are no peaceful intentions on the part of the Palestinians here," said Struck.

It is precisely because of discoveries such as this one that area settlers object so strenuously to the IDF plan to allow the deployment of a new battalion of some 700 Palestinian policemen in Hebron, Struck said.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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Caribbean crisis: several Israeli hostages released

Foreign Affairs Ministry confirms that several of the Israeli nationals being held by disgruntled Chinese laborers on isolated Caribbean island freed thanks to negotiations with local law enforcement
Anat Shalev and Roi Mandel

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Thursday evening that the majority of the Israelis held hostage by Chinese laborers on West Caicos, several more remain on the small isolated island.

At present time it remains unclear how many Israelis were on the island, with some of the reports putting the number at 12 and others at 13. At present time it remains unclear how many Israelis were on the island, with some of the reports putting the number at 12 and others at 13.

The hostages were freed following several hours of negotiations between the hostage-takers and local police. Israeli and British diplomats stationed in the Caribbean began working towards resolving the crisis after news of the developing situation was first reported by Ynet in the early afternoon.

One of the 'captive' Israelis spoke with Ynet after his release: "Right now there are six Israelis trapped in a room with the Chinese – and the other six, myself among them, are sitting here in a stationary boat in the marina. There are guys form an unarmed security firm here, and 10 more armed men who are making sure the Chinese don't get to where we are. We're waiting for the other Israelis to be let go so we can leave. The authorities are trying to negotiate with (the Chinese) and get them what they want."

Israel's ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Amos Radian, spoke with Ynet following their release: "In all there were over 10 Israelis on the island, along with four Romanians and three Indians. In all 14 people were let go and six remained. Most of the Israelis were released."

The ambassador said that the negotiations were conducted by local law enforcement officials and a security firm. "To the best of my knowledge some of the payments have already been transferred to them. The authorities here have assured me that none of the hostages are in danger. I believe that in the coming hours the other six will also be released."

The Israelis are employees of the Ashtrom Engineering and Construction firm, which employed the 300 Chinese laborers for a large tourism project. The venture, however, was put on hold due to the collapse of an American.

The laborers had refused to release the hostages until they receive the money promised to them by the Chinese manpower company that hired them for the project. A representative from Ashtrom told Ynet that the company has decided to pay the laborers the full amount demanded.

"The company has decided to pay the Chinese laborers everything, even the money we don't owe them but that the Chinese manpower firm charged them in return for sending them here – just to bring this situation to an end," said an Ashtrom representative, adding that the process was complex and was taking some time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Narrow Govt Could Bring Shas

Aryeh Haffner

Chairman of the Kadima party and Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni held a meeting Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem with Chairman of the Sephardic religious Shas party Eli Yishai about Shas joining the coalition.

"The eyes of nearly a million children are lifted to Shas… That's not just a [campaign slogan].
Political analysts estimate that Prime Minister-designate Livni is working to form a narrow coalition with the far-left Meretz party and the hareidi-religious United Torah Judaism (UTJ) faction in order to pressure the Sephardic religious Shas party into becoming more flexible in its demands. Though the Sephardic religious Shas party does belong to the current coalition, Shas has predicated its participation in the coalition Livni now is forming on a return of previously slashed stipends to families blessed with many children, and a promise not to divide Jerusalem with in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Shas Minister of Religious Services Yitzchak Cohen Thursday morning told Israeli media that Shas will not give in on its demands easily. "The eyes of nearly a million children are lifted to Shas… That's not just a [campaign slogan]. Since 2003 those children have been pushed deep, deep, below the poverty level."

Once a narrow coalition would be in place, however, Shas's bargaining position would be much weakened.

At about the same time Thursday morning representatives of Livni's Kadima party and the far-left Meretz party met in Tel Aviv to negotiate Meretz's joining the coalition. One central issue is Meretz's opposition to Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann being a member of the government. Another issue is the Meretz demand for at least one portfolio in the would-be government that might form with its assistance. IDF Army Radio reported after the meeting that Meretz also demanded a chairmanship of a Knesset committee.

Also at the same time, Kadima runner-up for the party leadership Minister Shaul Mofaz called Shas party Chairman Eli Yishai and invited him to bring Shas into the coalition.

Such a narrow coalition could form. MK (UTJ) Avraham Ravitz quickly dispelled claims that one of the Torah Sages to whose advice UTJ conforms had forbidden the hareidi-religious party to sit in a government led by a woman. Ravitz Thursday morning denied that rabbinic advisor to UTJ Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv had ruled that it would be "difficult" to sit in a government led by a woman.

MK Ravitz said, "Rav Elyashiv is accompanying us… He knows that we are conducting negotiations with the head of Kadima, he knows that she is a woman, and he did not forbid us from doing the thing. "We made our requests. To the extent that we are answered, even partially, we do see a place [for us in the government]. Why shouldn't we join the government?"

Indeed, if UTJ does join, that might mean Shas's demands would be met as well. Chairman of the UTJ Knesset faction Yaakov Litzman Thursday morning said that his party's stipulations for joining the now-forming coalition are "identical" to those of the Sephardic religious Shas party, and therefore if a coalition deal can be reached with UTJ there is no reason why Shas would not also join the coalition.

He called the Kadima negotiating efforts to bring in UTJ but not Shas some sort of a "targil" ("exercise" in Hebrew) or trick, since the conditions set by both parties are basically the same. Both are calling for a return to higher subsidies to large families.

Committee on the Present Danger: Letter to Sec. Rice

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington D.C. 20520

The Honorable Ryan Crocker
Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Rice and Ambassador Crocker:

We, the undersigned members of the Committee on the Present Danger (which seeks to stiffen American resolve to confront terrorism and the ideologies that drive it), wish to express our distress and concern over the Iraq Council of Representatives’ mistreatment of Mithal al-Alusi, leader of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, and to urge you to condemn its action in the strongest terms
For the “crime” of visiting Israel to attend a conference on counter-terrorism – at a time when both Iraq and Israel are attempting to defend themselves from terrorists – Iraq’s parliament stripped Mr. al-Alusi of his parliamentary immunity, cut the salaries of his security staff, and allowed for his prosecution under a 1950s-era law that would make conviction prosecutable by death.

As Iraq joins the community of democracies, the American people and our government should expect it to act like a free nation. It should not persecute nor prosecute its citizens for having done nothing more than visit a neighboring country and attend a conference to discuss the plague of terrorism – a conference attended by representatives of more than 50 nations. What's more, there is no reason for Iraq to regard Israel as an enemy; nor is it in the interest of the United States for it to do so.

Over the years, belligerence between Iraq and Iran has proved far costlier in human life than that between Iraq and Israel. Iraq suffered some 375,000 casualties from its 1980-88 war with Iran. Iran’s intervention in Iraq in recent years, and its support of extremist militias, has cost both Iraqi and American lives. Yet Iraq’s parliament would not consider stripping the immunity of a member who visits Iran.

Mr. al-Alusi has suffered a great deal for his courage. In late 2004, he attended another conference in Israel and was soon threatened by terrorist groups and Iraq’s own intelligence services. In early 2005, his car was attacked by gunmen – two of his sons were murdered in the assault.

Mr. al-Alusi is not alone among Iraqi politicians in suffering for not treating Israel as its enemy. In July of this year, Iraq’s parliamentarians called on the nation’s president, Jalal Talabani, to resign after he shook hands with Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, in Greece.

Mr. al-Alusi – and all Iraqi citizens, not least members of its parliament – should be free to travel to any country unless such travel is formally banned under law.


We urge you to express your concern in the strongest possible terms, and to ask that the Council of Representatives immediately rescind its rash decision to strip Mr. al-Alusi of his parliamentary immunity; it also should restore full salaries to all members of his security staff, and protect him from prosecution, persecution, and terrorism.


The Honorable George Shultz The Honorable R. James Woolsey
Co-Chair Co-Chair

Debra Burlingame Jack David

Jeffrey Gayner Farid N. Ghadry

Lawrence J. Haas Peter Hannaford

The Honorable Jerome M. Hauer Peter R. Huessy

Phyllis Kaminsky Robert J. Lieber

Clifford D. May Andrew McCarthy

The Honorable Robert C. McFarlane Chet Nagle

The Honorable Mark Palmer Robert L. Pfaltzgraff

David Pryce-Jones The Honorable Peter R. Rosenblatt

The Honorable Richard Schifter Ken Schwartz

Max Singer, J.D. The Honorable Stephen J. Solarz

James Strock Raymond J. Tanter

Arnold S. Trebach , J.D., Ph.D. Robert F. Turner, S.J.D.

William R. Van Cleave, Ph.D. Francisco R. Wong-Diaz, Ph.D., Esq.

Moshe Yaalon James G. Zumwalt

Israel to acceptHamas list

Official involved in talks for Gilad Shalit's release says bone of contention between Jewish state, Palestinian group will only be a small number of names on list of prisoners Hamas wants freed
Ali Waked

Israel will become much more flexible in regards to the list of prisoners Hamas wants freed, a source involved in the negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit told Ynet on Thursday. According to the source, several days after a visit to Cairo by Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad, the Israeli side gave the impression that it plans to exercise flexibility over the prisoners' list and that the bone of contention between Hamas and Israel will eventually revolve around a small number of names included in the list.

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian source told the Saudi newspaper Okaz that Amos Gilad expressed Israel's willingness to release all the prisoners on the lists submitted by Hamas.

According to the source, the goal of the Israeli delegation to Egypt was to ensure that Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions holding Shalit have not toughened their conditions for the negotiations.

The official involved in the negotiations said that the fact that Gilad will likely also be in charge of the Shalit negotiations – in addition to the truce issues and matters related to Hamas and the Gaza Strip – will help advance things, as Hamas wants the Shalit issue solved as part of all of its demands in regards to the Strip.

The source estimated that Hamas members and other organization members who carried out terror attacks and were sentenced to long prison terms, including some who received consecutive life terms, will be freed as part of the deal.

"The Israeli side made an important move in approving half of the list of prisoners demanded by Hamas, but the Israelis understand that this is not enough," said the officials.

"If they wish to see Shalit released, the list must be much more generous," he added.

"One of the formulas being considered is increasing the number of prisoners in exchange for Hamas conceding prisoners which will be vetoed by Israel. We are talking about an extremely limited number of names," the source said.

'Israel will have to live with Fatah-Hamas cabinet'

The official added that in recent months, the Shalit issue has become a significant part of the internal Palestinian conflict between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

"Today Hamas first of all demands the release of all of its parliament members jailed in Israel. The problem is that their release could cause trouble for Abbas," the source said, noting that this could help Hamas declare Abbas' reign illegal at the beginning of 2009.

"Israel has a problem. On the one hand, the release of these people is needed for the completion of the Shalit deal, but on the other hand, the release will greatly weaken and critically harm Abbas, (Palestinian Prime Minister) Fayyad and the Palestinian Authority," he said.

The source estimated that this would make Israel change its stance in regards to an intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has threatened that the establishment of a unity government between Abbas and Hamas will bring the Israel-PA negotiations to a halt, but according to the source, "Israel has no other choice but to accept the inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

"If Israel is really interested in seeing Shalit released, this would mean living with a government co-led by Hamas."

Hamas members have recently said they would accept most of Abbas' conditions for a reconciliation, which include waiving the control over the Gaza Strip in return for taking part in the joint formation of security organizations in Gaza and the West Bank – and in particular in exchange for a commitment by Abbas to let Hamas be a full partner in the PLO and its institutions, a condition the Palestinian president finds it difficult to agree to.

It should be noted that the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians were signed between the Israeli government and the PLO, not between the Israeli government and the PA.

Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 844 days ago.

Roee Nahmias contributed to this report

Meretz 'optimistic' after coalition talks with Livni

Party chairman says meeting with Kadima prime minister designate in her Tel Aviv home positive, sees 'a mutual interest to have Meretz in the government.' Meanwhile meeting with Shas postponed
Attila Somfalvi

After Labor and before the ultra-Orthodox parties – is Meretz headed for the coalition?

Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni sat down with Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron for a private two-hour meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the possibility of bringing the latter's left-wing party into a government under Livni, the prime minister designate and minister of foreign affairs MK Oron described the meeting as positive, and the two have arranged for their respective party negotiators to meet on Thursday morning that the Foreign Affairs Ministry offices in Tel Aviv for talks.

Oron said Livni appears interested in having Meretz join Labor in her fledgling coalition. The private meeting between the two touched on the issues Meretz has conditioned its loyalty on. "The meeting went well and I'd say I'm optimistic. There's a mutual interest to have Meretz in the government," said Oron.

Livni greeting guests at her sukkah (Photo: Eli Uzi)

In September Meretz said it "would not sit in a coalition that would just be playing for time. We'd demand the advancement of a peace process with Syria and the Palestinians; for (the coalition) to address the economic crisis, which could be grave, in accordance with our outlook; and a comprehensive change on the previous government's policies in regards to law enforcement and the attempts against the judicial branch."

Kadima has thus far signed a coalition agreement only with Labor, which has 19 MKs. Kadima itself has 29. Livni must now bring in an additional 13 MKs to form a steady government – however Meretz would bring with it only five MKs.

Livni will run out of the initial 28 days allotted to her to form a government early next week. President Shimon Peres tasked her to do so on September 22nd, after she narrowly defeated Minister Shaul Mofaz to succeed resigning Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Livni is also pursuing ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism. She initially sought to meet with Shas Chairman Eli Yishai later Wednesday night, but the latter was forced to cancel while already en

route to her home due to personal reasons. The main point of contention for Shas remains the issue of increasing welfare stipends for children.

Kadima negotiators, who sat with members of United Torah Judaism in Jerusalem earlier on Wednesday for a three-hour meeting, said they believed an agreement could be signed with UTJ even before Shas. Kadima and UTJ representatives are scheduled to meet again over the coming days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Region: Why the Middle East is sick


We now have the perfect metaphor for the Middle East's political situation. In Egypt, a little boy with cystic fibrosis badly needs a certain medicine. Unfortunately for him, that drug is only produced in Israel, and Egypt's health ministry won't let it be imported.

Unless one understands how this story typifies the region, it's impossible to understand the Middle East. Let's remember that Egypt has been at peace with Israel for over 30 years, and that, nevertheless, its government still does much to boycott, not to mention demonize, the Jewish state. By constantly pursuing a hate-Israel campaign, it stokes an atmosphere of hatred and extremism which also gives ammunition to the Muslim Brotherhood that seeks to turn Egypt into a war-oriented, totalitarian Islamist state.

So tightly controlled is the Egyptian media, so extraordinary the Israelphobia, that the English-language Cairo paper Al-Ahram was considered courageous even to mention the sick boy's family's effort to obtain the Israeli-invented medicine.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian wrote recently: "Admission into [a] state-run hospital is likely to cost one his life." This came shortly after a scandal involving a top ruling-party politician who was discovered selling tainted transfusion blood.

Arab countries cannot develop medicines and hi-tech advances precisely because they are too busy using up the resources for battles against various fantasy enemies of Allah.

SOME YEARS ago, a US official told me about funds that had been offered Egyptian officials to implement a program dealing with Red Sea pollution. But the project involved cooperation with Israel. The official was told that anything helping Israel was unacceptable, no matter how much good it might do Egypt.

In pursuit of its vendetta against Israel and the West, the Arab world is committing suicide - not only the individual suicide of the terrorist, but the suicide of entire societies. On a daily basis, this means rejecting the reforms those societies need. In the long run, it means risking takeover by radical Islamists.

The rest of the world, finding such talk incomprehensible, either thinks it's meaningless jabber, or ignores it altogether. Surely the problem must stem from addressable grievances, fixable misunderstandings and emotional exaggeration? Unfortunately, this is all nonsense.

What's the effective voice in the region? Not the "peace process" concept used in talking with the West, but the "resistance" concept, used in talking among themselves.

Even in countries with genuinely moderate governments, no official or state-controlled newspaper (and very few intellectuals) dare say: Israel is not an enemy; America is a friend; the true struggle is to raise living standards and promote freedom. This is as true at 2008's end as it was in 1998, 1988, 1978, 1968 and 1958.

When asked in a recent poll about their feelings toward al-Qaida, 60% of Egyptians answered "positive" or "mixed." The "positives" no doubt think al-Qaida is right and international terrorism is the best - probably only - way to deal with Israel and the West, no matter what the consequences. The "mixed" have reservations about methods, but believe al-Qaida's fundamental world view is accurate.

Analyzing the poll, analyst Doug Miller said such results were "yet another indicator that the US 'war on terror' is not winning hearts and minds."

Yet the fault lies not with America but with the rulers, journalists, clerics, educators and intellectuals in the Arabic-speaking world. The poll's results are yet another indicator that the war on democracy and moderation is what's winning hearts and minds.

Those defending the status quo mobilize the masses on its behalf, diverting them against foreign devils rather than domestic dissatisfactions. Those seeking revolution stir the masses into bloody upheaval against the status quo. The former ride the tiger; the latter want to set the tiger on its historic masters.

How can the United States possibly tame a tiger trained and owned by others who both whip and feed it daily?

WHAT DOES it matter if Arab notables speak soothingly at diplomatic parties or in Western media interviews while millions at home are inundated by a very different message? Even if the tie-and-suit, polished-manners crowd are sincere, they dare not say the same thing to their people that they whisper into the ears of gullible foreigners.

Here's a more typical rhetoric - coming from Hamas member of parliament Fathi Hammad on al-Aksa television, September 7:

"The approaching victory… is not limited to Palestine. You are creating the ethos of victory for all Arabs and Muslims, and Allah willing, even on the global level. Why? Because Allah has chosen you to fight the people he hates most - the Jews." (MEMRI translation)

Nowadays one can even say this kind of thing in front of the UN General Assembly, as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did recently, to tumultuous applause. The clapping drowned out his regime's appalling internal repression and economic failures.

It works. This is how Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks to his subjects. And while Egypt's president and Jordan's king personally detest such ravings, they pay the ravers' salaries.

Is Arab victory approaching? Well, no. But this kind of talk has kept the suckers in line for 60 years now. It's just so useful for rulers and revolutionaries.

The younger generation has already been thoroughly indoctrinated. Yet its victory will be as great as that of the little boy (involuntarily) doing his patriotic and religious "duty" by going without the medicine he needs.

The writer is director of Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal.
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Livni May Face Elections

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Shas and leading Labor and Kadima Knesset Members have sharply criticized Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni's pre-Sukkot deal with Labor chairman Ehud Barak, lessening the likelihood she will be able to form a government before her deadline runs out November 3. Barak, who serves as Defense Minister but is not an MK, put his initials on an agreement with Foreign Minister Livni shortly before the Sukkot holiday. The deal gave him the power to veto proposals on changes in the judicial system as well as other items on the Cabinet agenda, a power that severely upset Shas.

Shas sources said the agreement, which has not been ratified by the Labor and Kadima parties, essentially allows Barak to force his views on the government. Shas is holding out for increases in outlays for large families and for a promise that Jerusalem will not be divided in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

MK Tzachi HaNegbi, a key Kadima MK, predicted Wednesday morning that elections will be held if Shas does not join a government coalition.

The worldwide economic crisis has shrunk the forecast for Israel economic growth and government income, tossing a monkey wrench into demands from Shas and other parties for increased government spending.

Livni already has offered more than $100 million for grants to large families, a proposal Shas turned down. Demands by Shas and Labor will cost more than half a billion dollars, and Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima), a key Livni supporter, has balked at bloating the proposed 2009 budget.

Livni probably will have to ask President Shimon Peres next week for a two-week extension on the deadline to establish a coalition government and replace Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister. The final deadline is November 3, when President Peres will be forced to ask another party to form a government, an unlikely possibility, or order new elections.

Likud chairman and former Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has categorically rejected Livni's appeals that he join a national unity government. He has talked with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in an attempt to convince the Sephardic religious to push for elections.

"At this time we need a government that will bolster Israel's economy and protect Jerusalem… This government cannot do that, and therefore there must be an election," he told the rabbi.

The chances of Livni leaving Shas out of a coalition and going with a government that would include Meretz appear slim. Kadima MK Zev Elkin said that several Kadima MKs would oppose it. "If Livni forms a government with only the Left, it will have no right to exist," he said.

A courageous rabbi talks to the Catholic synod

Isi Leibler
October 15, 2008

Haifa Chief Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen recently became the first Jew to address a synod of bishops at the Vatican. He did so with dignity and diplomacy, and unlike many Jews engaged in interfaith activity, he courageously raised issues that would not have endeared him to his audience.

The achievement of constructive goals in our interfaith activities is frequently undermined by internal handicaps. Many Jewish lay representatives active in the field are ignorant of their own religious heritage and thus incapable of presenting an authentic Jewish position. On the other hand, some rabbis are insufficiently experienced with the world to be able to effectively participate in interfaith encounters. Another problem is that many lay Jewish activists are tempted to regard access to Christian or Muslim groups as an end in itself. They fail to appreciate that sharing platforms and obtaining photo opportunities can be counterproductive if it imposes an obligation to remain silent on "sensitive" issues so as not to "destabilize the relationship."

Cohen was not burdened by such handicaps when he addressed Pope Benedict XVI and a gathering of 253 cardinals, archbishops and bishops. He conveyed to them the meaning of Torah for Jews and also expressed the hope that after such a long and painful history of "blood and tears," his presence at such a gathering was a "signal of hope and love for generations to come." Yet instead of basking in his glory, he diplomatically but forcefully raised the most sensitive issue on the Catholic-Jewish agenda.

Over the past half century, the role of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust has been the subject of bitter controversy. Jewish and other critics have accused him of failing to speak out against the murder of the Jews. They maintain that his silence provided international legitimacy to the Nazis. His critics allege that he was motivated by fear of communism, cowardice and even outright anti-Semitism. Others who say that they have not yet made up their minds on the controversy nonetheless criticize the Vatican for denying independent scholars access to the archives which could shed additional light on the issue.

The prevailing Jewish view is reflected at Yad Vashem by a terse caption under the image of Pope Pius which states: "Even when reports about the murder of Jews reached the Vatican, the pope did not protest either verbally or in writing. In December 1942, he abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews. When the Jews were deported from Rome to Auschwitz, the pope did not intervene."

The defenders of Pope Pius XII, including the current pope, bitterly refute the allegation that he was anti-Semitic, insisting that he "worked secretly and relentlessly trying to save as many Jews as possible." At a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on October 8 to mark the 50th anniversary of Pius's death, Pope Benedict promoted his beatification and rejected all allegations that he had ever acted improperly, insisting that Pius had done all possible to halt the murders.

Clearly the Vatican is determined to proceed with the beatification. Although most Jews remain convinced that Pius was guilty, at the very least of the sin of silence in the face of evil, some Jewish interfaith leaders have recently tended to soft-pedal this issue. They fear that continued public expression of the Jewish position could lead to a breakdown in the positive Jewish-Catholic relationship initiated during the term of Pope John XXIII and followed by his successors. Some also insist that we should not be involved in what is unquestionably an internal matter for the Church to resolve. The International Jewish Commission on Interdenominational Consultations had already agreed not to raise the subject when it meets the pope next month - although that may now change.

It is into this maelstrom that Cohen raised this sensitive issue. Many Jews being honored as he was by the Church would have taken the less hazardous path of avoiding controversy. But Cohen has a track record of courageously expressing his views and refusing to bury his head in the sand. Clearly, he has no interest in meddling in the internal affairs of the Church. But he does have a sense of history and feels that for the record, even if Catholics proceed on the path to beatification, Jews are obliged to make their voices heard on such a burning issue.

Cohen also maintains that if our reconciliation with the Catholic Church is truly meaningful, it should understand the depth of our feelings on such a matter and not take offense or permit such expressions to inhibit ongoing good relations.

It was at a press conference preceding his synod address that Cohen dropped the bombshell, informing journalists that he may not have accepted the invitation had he been aware that the meeting of the synod to which he had been invited coincided with ceremonies honoring Pope Pius XII on the 50th anniversary of his death. He said that Pope Pius "should not be seen as a model and should not be beatified because he did not raise his voice against the Holocaust. He did not speak, either because he was afraid or for other personal reasons."

When he formally addressed the synod, Cohen never explicitly referred to Pope Pius XII by name, although it was obvious to whom he was relating. In the most diplomatic manner, he told the synod that most Jews, especially survivors, felt that the pope had failed to condemn the Holocaust. "He may have helped many of those suffering in secrecy, but the question is, could he have raised his voice and would it have helped or not? Only God can answer that. But I have to make it very clear that we, the rabbis, the leadership of the Jewish people, must take account of the feelings of the deceased and cannot simply say we forgive or we forget. It pains us but we cannot endorse that such a leader of the Church now be honored."

He also urged the synod, as religious leaders, to actively condemn Iranian President's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's obscene call for Israel's destruction. "The problem during World War II was that people did not believe what Hitler was saying. Unfortunately", he said, "we had the Holocaust, and we are pained when we remember that not enough was done by the leadership of world religions and other powerful leaders to stop it then. We expect them to do so today. My being here makes me feel that we can expect your help, and I am sure your message will be listened to by influential people all over the world."

Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen is a remarkable spiritual leader, a great scholar and an authentic voice of national religious Jews that is rarely heard. He is admired and respected by all religious groups, including the haredim. Would that we were blessed with more rabbis of such caliber and outlook.

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Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen: A Rabbinical Role Model

Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen was born in 1927, the eighteenth descendant in a family of Rabbis. He studied at Mercaz Harav and became close to the famous Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. He served in the Haganah and fought with Etzel in Jerusalem in the War of Independence, where he was wounded and became a prisoner of war of the Jordanians.

Subsequently, he founded the Ariel Institute in Jerusalem for the ordination of local and overseas Rabbis. He became Chief Rabbi of Haifa in 1975 and has earned the affection and admiration of all sections of the community, including secular Jews and Arabs.

There is a gentleness and compassion about Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen which is rarely evident amongst his peers. It manifests itself in the manner in which he strives to find Halachic solutions to difficult personal problems, in contrast to those who display their piety by applying the most stringent interpretations. It is also reflected in his approach to contemporary Jewish religious challenges such as conversion, Shmita, divorce and other halachic issues, where without compromising fundamentals, he always strives to harmonize Halacha with the requirements of a modern state.

Being a close personal friend of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he personally pleaded with him ,unsuccessfully, not to proceed with the unilateral disengagement. Later he bitterly condemned the act saying "I cannot consider an act crueler and more evil than what the government of Israel did in Gush Katif"

Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen represents the best of those religious Zionists who helped to mould a generation of youngsters committed to religious observance as well as being willing to take upon themselves the sacrifices required to defend their state. Rabbi Cohen has also always sought to achieve an accommodation with non observant and promotes the maintenance of a tolerant society. He has said on numerous occasions "I don't divide Jews into secular and religious. To me they are all Jews".

Original article available at:

The Jewish Case Against Barack Obama

Ben Shapiro
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barack Obama is the most dangerous candidate for the State of Israel since its creation in 1948. He is not, as Professor Alan Dershowitz recently put it, a "true friend of Israel" any more than Jimmy Carter was. He is certainly not "much better for Israel" than John McCain, as potty-mouthed comic dunce Sarah Silverman put it. Any American Jew who votes for Obama ought to be ashamed of him or herself. He is not in line with a single authentic Jewish principle. (Authentic Judaism, by the way, believes the veracity of the Torah, Oral Torah and Talmud, not bagels, lox, Woody Allen and a copy of the Sunday New York Times.) On abortion, Obama is radically pro-choice. He is radically pro-gay rights, celebrating court-ordered gay marriage in states like California. Authentic Judaism is against abortion unless the mother's life is in danger, and against homosexual activity altogether.

And then there's Israel. Professor Dershowitz believes that American Jews should not vote based on "which party or which candidates support Israel more enthusiastically. They should vote based on more general considerations about what is best for America, the world and the values that they hold dear." I largely agree. I believe, however, that any candidate who does not support Israel demonstrates a disturbing lack of allegiance to our only democratic ally in the Middle East and a perverse moral relativism that will hurt America, not merely Israel.

I do feel, however, that American Jews have a special stake in the State of Israel. Israel does not just represent a family connection for Jews. It represents the ultimate protection for Jews the world over. When Arab nations expelled over 800,000 Jews in the aftermath of the birth of the State of Israel, Israel took the vast majority of them in -- as opposed to the Arab nations, which keep Palestinian Arabs in refugee camps to this day. Israel has saved Jews from South America to Russia to Ethiopia. Israel remains the last refuge for all Jews, and a guarantor of their safety, even abroad.

The future of Israel, then, matters to all Jews. By all indicators, it does not matter to Barack Obama, as detailed in a YouTube video counterpart to this column, "The Jewish Case Against Barack Obama".

Obama's foreign policy advisors have been almost uniformly anti-Israel. Samantha Power, one of Obama's earliest supporters, has suggested that American troops be placed on the ground in Israel to protect Palestinian Arabs against "human rights abuses." Power was a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama until she was forced to resign after calling Senator Hillary Clinton "a monster" in March 2008.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, serves as a foreign policy advisor to Obama. He believes that the Jewish lobby forces America into pro-Israel policy, and he defends Carter's anti-Semitic book, "Peace, Not Apartheid."

General Merrill McPeak, Obama's campaign co-chair, agrees with Brzezinski that the Jewish lobby, based in "New York City, Miami," controls America's Middle East policy.

Robert Malley, who served on President Clinton's National Security Council, has stated that America ought to simply impose its Middle East solution on Israel. He served as an advisor to Obama until the media discovered that he was holding regular meetings with Hamas.

Obama's friends, too, are far too anti-Israel for comfort. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of 20 years, has blamed America's pro-Israel policy for 9/11. Wright is close with notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who has proclaimed Obama "the Messiah."

Obama is also friends with former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi, an ardent foe of the Jewish State. Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama in 2000. In 2003, he told a Palestinian Arab crowd, "You will not have a better Senator under any circumstances."

Obama himself has demonstrated his ambivalence about Israel. Before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in July 2008, he stated that he supported an undivided Jerusalem. After pressure from Palestinians, he backtracked within 24 hours. He also declares that he will meet the leaders of Iran without preconditions, despite the fact that Iran wishes to turn Israel into radioactive wasteland.

Barack Obama is no friend to American Jews. I challenge Professor Dershowitz to a debate, any time, any place, on that question. I would challenge Sarah Silverman as well, but she will undoubtedly ignore the challenge.

Most of all, I challenge American Jews to hear the true facts about Obama before voting. In Barack Obama, they find a Democrat in the mold of Jimmy Carter, not Harry Truman. Jews -- and Americans more broadly -- cannot afford another Jimmy Carter.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Re the videos showing Israeli support for Obama

Here is a commentary on the 2 videos that supposedly told of Israelis who are pro- Obama.
Those videos certainly misled his supporters in the States who would like to think that he has garnered support from people here. Several people from LA forwarded them to me as proof of the extent of the candidate's appeal to Jews. Obama's visit to Israel during his whirlwind 8 countries in 9 days was not a success story for him. Prior to that, following his rousing applause at the AIPAC meeting, he caved in to Arab criticism and went back on his original statement the following day. He arrival just hours after a terrorist attack just a few yards from the Kind David Hotel where he stayed . During the continuation of his trip, when he delivered a speech and spoke on terrorism, he cited those incidents in London and Madrid but neglected to mention the one that had come so close to him - in Jerusalem ; again, it was catering to the Muslims.

Shortly after that, a veteran and highly respected Israeli journalist, Ben Caspit, who writes for Ma'ariv, revealed that Obama had sent an emissary to speak to Assad of Syria and Abbas of the PA and told them to keep up with the 'peace process' because when he would assume the presidency he would 'jump right in' . Israelis considered this arrogant and meddling in the affairs of the country.

It also points to the fact that Obama does not understand that there is no separate solution to the Middle East conflict; several well-intentioned
U.S. administrations have tried unsuccessfully to accomplish this, to no avail. Israel has been coerced into making dangerous concessions to this end and Obama has indicated that he will apply even greater pressure. His statements of being pro-Israel do not mean anything; the expression is fashionable and means different things to different people. The fact is that he has 300 foreign policy advisers and they are left wing. His special adviser to the Middle East is Daniel Kurtzer who, despite being an orthodox Jew, is considered to be anti-Israel by people in the Foreign Office here who know him from his stint in Egypt and also Israel. Sen. Biden, Obama's foreign policy expert, erred in some of his statements, showing that he, too, does not have a full grasp of the situation.

Obama has expressed the view that Iran is a small country and not that dangerous; he does not understand that that country is waiting for him to fulfill his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq. Then Iran will sweep into Iraq, into Syria which is already in its orbit, and Lebanon. Egypt, Jordan, and Israel are next in Ahmadinejad's sight and the whole region would then become regional headquarters for the world network of terrorism from which to attack and subjugate Europe on the way to the United States where there are already sleeper cells ready to be awakened. The lesson from the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in 2005, announced by Sharon well in advance, should have been ample warning that terrorists would move in to the abandoned territory and attack. The West - and that includes Israel - does not learn from the mistakes of others and does not understand the mentality of the enemy the world is facing; yielding land is a sign of weakness and weakness emboldens the enemy.

Obama has stated that the war with al Qaeda began in Afghanistan and it will end there; that he will bring the war to an end. It is both naive and arrogant to believe that he has that kind of power. Is he not aware that al Qaeda is also in the Middle East-that there are terrorist groups around us here in Israel that are affiliated with that organization? Even killing Osama would not stop the terrorism; there is a worldwide network in existence.

A statement by Jesse Jackson was released a short time ago in which he said that in an Obama presidency Israel would not enjoy the support that it has until now. Couple that with the sounds of blaming Jews for the economic situation in the States and one can smell the old anti-Semitism. Those who feel that threat of terrorism in the States takes a very back seat to the economy should consider that if there are terrorist attacks on mainland U.S. that can be catastrophic to the economy also. Obama has not shown that he gets the whole picture. Support from Saudis, the PA, and Hamas are part of that scenario; remarks from them are to effect that he 'understands' what they want and will help them. It certainly won't help us.

Charisma and good speaking skills cannot make up for a realistic assessment of world dynamics and the experience and judgment to make the right decisions. History is surely easier to read than to live through.


A exclusive blog

"A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on," Mark Twain reportedly once said. Perhaps that concept explains the strategy behind the breathtaking dishonesty of the latest propaganda pieces disseminated by Barack Obama's most vocal Jewish supporters.

Two slickly produced videos are circulating over viral email. They both contain segments of interviews and footage with prominent Jewish and Israeli personalities apparently endorsing Barack Obama and seemingly putting their stamp of approval on his policies related to Israel. And both are so replete with misinformation and omissions that they have been termed by interviewees themselves as "deceit."

The first of these was produced by the Jewish Alliance for Change, run by Gidon "Doni" Remba, veteran left-wing Peace Now activist. And what are the political leanings of the prominent Israelis featured? Are they just mainstream Israelis? Hardly. You wouldn't know it from the film, but Naomi Chazan, labeled only as former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, belonged to the Meretz party, members in good standing of the Socialist International, far-left in advocating territorial withdrawal, and proponents of the de-Judaization of Israel. Amos Schocken, labeled only as publisher of Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, has called for the abolition of Ha'tikva as Israel's national anthem because it is too Jewish, and employed as editor David Landau, who told United States Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice that Israel was "a failed state," and that it was his "wet dream" that America "rape" Israel into succumbing to a peace agreement which the Israeli government felt was against Israel's interests. General Amnon Lipkin-Shahak is nowhere mentioned as advocating turning the Golan Heights over to Iran-backed Syria. Ladies and gentlemen, here are your Israeli Obama supporters.

The film also falsely implies an Obama endorsement from Nathan Diament of the Orthodox Union. The implication was strong enough that the OU had to issue a disclaimer and statement of non-endorsement. It also has Obama declared "100% kosher" by Congressman Robert Wexler (D, FL) - the man who started the outrageously false and un-kosher charge that VP candidate Sarah Palin had backed "Nazi-sympathizer" Pat Buchanan for President in 2000 (she was, in fact, an official in the Steve Forbes campaign) and that her candidacy was "an affront to all Jewish Americans."

The second video is even worse. In it, several Israeli generals and security personnel ostensibly endorse Obama. Several generals, however, now having seen the film, have called it "misleading." Uzi Dayan, a retired army general and former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy said they were misled. On Monday, the three said they were unaware they were being interviewed for a political campaign and were given the impression they were simply commenting on the regional strategic affairs that will face the next US president.

All insisted they have not endorsed either US presidential candidate and their comments had been taken out of context and dishonestly edited - for example falsely attributing to Dayan support for Obama's promise to unconditionally meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, as Dayan holds the exact opposite position. Dayan is a former deputy military chief of staff and national security adviser. "I never expressed support for Obama, his approach or his opinions. I've also never expressed support for McCain. I think that these are respectable people, but we should not interfere in the American elections," Dayan said.

Not by coincidence, that second video was created just in time for "The Great Schlep," a celebrity-endorsed effort to encourage young Jews to travel to Florida and "educate" their grandparents into voting for Obama. Also not by coincidence, the eight-minute video was produced by the Jewish Council for Education and Research - the pro-Obama group behind the "Schlep," disseminating the video and other talking points.

The group's co-founder, Mik Moore, is no more honest when it comes to discussing his video. Once confronted with the generals' charges of deceitfully creating the appearance of endorsements, he offered a defense: "It's a film to educate and mobilize the Jewish vote," he said. "It's not to encourage people to vote for Obama." Oh. OK, then. So, why does the video conclude with a black screen reading: "The people who have kept Israel alive offer you their choice"? Just how gullible does Moore expect us to be?

Why must their promotion of Obama be based on such easily uncovered lies and deceit? Can't they make any pro-Israel case for Obama more honestly? It is telling that they feel a need to bolster the security credentials of an Obama administration regarding Israel. It is also telling that they need to hide the radical agendas and political orientations of the leftist Israelis supporting Obama, and misrepresent the positions of the generals interviewed in order to give some Israeli "street cred" to Obama's Mideast policies.

The truth? They can't handle the truth. At least not honestly.

Could it be that those Florida grandparents-and mainstream Israelis-are worried about Obama for legitimate reasons? Maybe it is precisely because Obama is supported by those hard-left Israelis who would like to see the US pressure-or "rape"-Israel into a dangerous settlement that he inspires unease. Or that he was endorsed by Hamas. Or that the Obama campaign had to return $33,000 in donations when it was revealed they had come from Hamas-controlled Gaza. Or that there is an independent Gaza-based call center calling Americans to promote Obama's candidacy. Or that for 20 years he worshipped in and drew inspiration from that sewer of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism that was Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church, only quitting once politically necessary to do so. Or that his friends include former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi and unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers. Or that his past and current foreign policy team (e.g., Daniel Kurtzer, Robert Malley, Samantha Power, Zbigniew Brzezinski) have, to be charitable, a troubled relationship with the pro-Israel community. Or that he has made remarks disparaging the Likud Party, likely to be in power again within months. Or that so many elements hostile to Israel are in his corner. Or that John McCain is projected to get upwards of 80% of the vote from Americans actually in Israel-tens of thousands of patriotic Americans who might know a thing or two about the implications of America's Mideast policies.

With these videos, the lies are already halfway around the world. Is there enough time for the truth to catch up by November? Who knows-maybe some wise Florida grandparents armed with the truth might turn the tables, educating and changing the minds of their young visitors. That would make the schlep worthwhile.
Kory Bardash is the co-chairman of Republicans Abroad Israel; Abraham Katsman is counsel to RAI
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Rice to pursue Mideast peace till leaves office

US secretary of state says will leave 'no stone unturned' to reach Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before January 2009, but concedes time is running out

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday she would leave "no stone unturned" to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before leaving office but conceded time was running out. Speaking to a US conference on business investment in Palestinian areas, Rice said she still hoped to reach the Bush administration's goal of a peace deal by the end of 2008 that was set at a conference in Annapolis nearly a year ago.

"I still believe that we must make every effort in the time that we have to lay this foundation for peace, and that still means that we must do everything that we can ... to find an agreement between these parties by the end of the year," Rice said.

"Know too that until that moment when I leave office, I will leave no stone unturned to see if we can finally resolve this conflict," Rice said.

The Bush administration's term ends in January 2009.

"It is very difficult, there is a hard road ahead, but if we do not try, we certainly will not succeed," she said, adding she was sure negotiations would ultimately lead to a Palestinian state.

Rice has made multiple trips to the Middle East to get a peace agreement. But U.S.-sponsored negotiations have made little progress, and Israeli and Palestinian officials have expressed doubt whether the year-end target is realistic.

An additional problem has been political upheaval in Israel, where Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is trying to form a new government after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned over a corruption scandal.

Rice said the parties should also "redouble their efforts" for peace. The Palestinian Authority must continue to dismantle "the infrastructure of terrorism" while Israel must halt settlement activity and do more to lift restrictions on movement of Palestinian workers and business people, she said.

But she did not get into details of the talks. Major issues are the borders of a future Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and what will happen to Palestinian refugees.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack insisted to reporters after Rice's speech there had been "quite a bit of progress" and the fact this progress was kept quiet was an indication of their seriousness in trying to reach a deal.

The gathering of US business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce headquarters was a follow-up to a Bethlehem conference last May at which private investors pledged to pump $1.4 billion into Palestinian businesses to bolster the economy.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said most investment so far had gone into the West Bank "but we look forward to the day when we will be able to do this in Gaza, for Gaza is, and will always be an integral part of our homeland."

In the West Bank, run by the Palestinian Authority of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, 2.5 million people live under Israeli occupation. In Gaza, run by Hamas since it routed Abbas' forces in 2007, 1.5 million live under an Israeli blockade.

Fayyad said the business investment effort was aimed at preparing for a Palestinian state. "This is not about making the occupation work better. This is about ending it," he said.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PREPARE for a new America

Amir Taheri

PREPARE for a new America: That's the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week.

He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration." The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

"Obama is about change," Jackson told me in a wide-ranging conversation. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."

Jackson warns that he isn't an Obama confidant or adviser, "just a supporter." But he adds that Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.

"We helped him start his career," says Jackson. "And then we were always there to help him move ahead. He is the continuation of our struggle for justice not only for the black people but also for all those who have been wronged."

Will Obama's election close the chapter of black grievances linked to memories of slavery? The reverend takes a deep breath and waits a long time before responding.

"No, that chapter won't be closed," he says. "However, Obama's victory will be a huge step in the direction we have wanted America to take for decades."

Jackson rejects any suggestion that Obama was influenced by Marxist ideas in his youth. "I see no evidence of that," he says. "Obama's thirst for justice and equality is rooted in his black culture."

But is Obama - who's not a descendant of slaves - truly a typical American black?

Jackson emphatically answers yes: "You don't need to be a descendant of slaves to experience the oppression, the suffocating injustice and the ugly racism that exists in our society," he says. "Obama experienced the same environment as all American blacks did. It was nonsense to suggest that he was somehow not black enough to feel the pain."

Is Jackson worried about the "Bradley effect" - that people may be telling pollsters they favor the black candidate, but won't end up voting for him?

More Palestinian women convinced that they "were created to become martyrs for God"

The trend of Islamic female-suicide attackers continues to grow. "Just married and determined to die," from the BBC, October 13: There is a ceasefire in Gaza, but the BBC has found evidence of militant groups preparing for a return to violence. One group, Islamic Jihad, is training female suicide bombers.

Middle East correspondent Paul Wood went to meet a Palestinian woman who has volunteered.

The young, veiled woman was sitting quiet and still as the room bustled around her.

The black flag of Islamic Jihad was pinned on the wall behind her and two Kalashnikovs were carefully placed in camera shot. Her husband, an Islamic Jihad fighter himself, tied on her "martyr's" headband.

Umm Anas - not her real name - had just graduated from a programme to train female suicide bombers in Gaza.

Our meeting was a highly-orchestrated propaganda event laid on by Islamic Jihad. It was almost theatre - and certainly Israel accuses the Palestinian leadership of manipulating young women like 18-year-old Umm Anas.

Yet, although she nervously twisted her wedding ring, Umm Anas did not appear to be a cipher.

She was articulate - more so than the men staging the event - and she knew her own mind.

Secret ambition

When she spoke of becoming a suicide bomber, Umm Anas's voice was strong and steady: "This is a gift from God.

"We were created to become martyrs for God," she continued, her eyes burning behind the full face veil.

"All the Palestinian people were created to fight in God's name. If we just throw stones at the Jews they get scared. Imagine what happens when body parts fly at them."

The bomb belt which she hopes will end her life - and kill many Israelis - rested on the table next to us.

Her main motivation in becoming a suicide bomber appears to be religious rather than nationalistic - the fulfilment of a long-held ambition. Even getting married recently hadn't changed her mind.

"When my husband married me, he knew my way of thinking. He knew exactly who I am and based on this he decided to marry me. Marriage doesn't give me a second's doubt."

I asked if that would alter if she became pregnant.

"I would wait until I delivered the baby," she said. "I would give him to my parents and ask them to look after him... Then I would leave them and the baby would remain behind as a piece of me."

Her parents, brothers and sisters did not know.

"Martyrs - male or female - have to work in secret. No one can know about it. We have to be careful not to give our parents any sign of what we are about to do.

"Sometimes, maybe, they can tell and see on your face the signs of martyrdom. They are suspicious but they don't know for certain."

Ready for death

Umm Anas thinks she knows the manner of her death, but she doesn't know the timing.

World Muslims meet to save al-Quds

Jihad Watch

And implore Fatah and Hamas to "do their utmost to unite the Palestinians, as well as the whole Arabs and Muslims for the Al-Quds cause." In the original Arabic, "do their utmost" was probably "yajhadu" from the root j-h-d -- to "strive to the utmost" -- which of course only connotes the jihad. "World Muslims meet to save Al-Quds," from Haber27, October 13:

Muslims from around the world are coming together in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Sunday, October 12, to save Israel-occupied Al-Quds, home to Islam's third holiest shrine.

Al-Quds is actually facing a real threat of judaization and obliteration of its Islamic identity," Faisal Mawlawi, leader of Lebanon's Islamic Group, and co-founder of Al-Quds International Institution (QII), told

"All Palestinian factions, especially Fatah and Hamas, have to do their utmost to unite the Palestinians, as well as the whole Arabs and Muslims for the Al-Quds cause."

The two-day QII conference brings together more than 300 Muslim dignitaries from 47 countries.

Leading among notables attending are Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, president of the International Union for Islamic Scholars, Iranian presidential adviser Ali Akbar Velayati and former Al-Quds Bishop Attallah Hanna.

"There is a real danger threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the holy city of Al-Quds," said Yoonis Allie, South Africa's executive member of the QII.

"Muslims all over the world must work together to save their sanctities in Palestine."

The AII is a non-profit organization established in Lebanon in 2001 with a permanent headquarters in Al-Quds.

The AII's board of trustees features a cohort of Arab and Muslim figures, who seek to keep Al-Quds cause alive and pass it on from one generation to another.


Muslim leaders warned that the holy city is falling victim to a systematic Israeli judaization policy.

"Peoples of South East Asia and Indian sub-continent are very concerned about the dangers Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing now," said Abdul-Ghafar Aziz, deputy leader of Pakistan's Islamic group Jamaat-e-Isalm.

Abdul-Rasheed Al-Turaby, the head of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir, and board member of the QII, also sounded the alarm.

"Backed by the Americans, Israel wants to eliminate the Islamic existence in Al-Quds and the whole Palestinian state," he said...