Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Seeking the Rays of Light"

Arlene Kushner

he news is so abysmal that I've chosen to begin with good things. It's important to be grateful for all that is good, and to take time to pay attention to what is positive. If we don't do this, we run the risk of feeling overwhelmed.


It poured here this evening. Over much of the last several weeks -- after an alarmingly dry winter -- we've been having rain. For Israel, this is a bracha, a true blessing.

It's the beginning of spring, and I can tell because -- even in the heavy rain -- the almond blossoms are out. Trees in flower are all over the countryside and it lifts the heart to see them. ideon Sa'ar, Minister of Education, has announced a new program, "Let's Go Up to Hevron," which would bring thousands of school students to Hevron, starting next year, to visit the Machpelah -- the Cave of the Patriarchs.

This would permit students to be in touch with their Jewish heritage. That appreciation of their roots is essential to their understanding of what it's all about.


An anti-boycott bill -- submitted by coalition chair Ze'ev Elkin and sponsored by 27 MKs from Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas, Habayit Hayehudi, United Torah Judaism and Kadima -- has passed its first reading in the Knesset. It would fine anyone who initiates, encourages or provides assistance to boycotts against a person because of his ties to Israel.

A sign of fighting back. May it pass through to the third reading.


Maybe, just maybe (if the objections don't become too vociferous and everything else pans out), the IDF's academic campus is going to move to Jerusalem, beyond the Green Line. The projected site is south of the Hebrew University Campus on Mount Scopus, extending into the neighborhood of Wadi Joz.

A spokeswoman for the municipality said Jerusalem does not differentiate between lands on different sides of the Green Line because, "as is widely known, Jerusalem was united in 1967."

Love it!

There is much process to see through, including final determination of the ownership of the land in question. In point of fact, the area around the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University remained an Israeli enclave between 1948 and 1967. But we're going to hear plenty from those who accuse us of "occupation."


A poll done for Israel Television Channel One's Politika program and released yesterday shows that right wing parties would garner 66 seats and left wing parties, 54, if elections were held now. Kadima would lose three seats and Likud would gain one. Netanyahu's ratings were better than Livni's. No one polled said he or she would vote for Ehud Barak's new party.


OK, that's enough good stuff for one posting.

Now, I share the not-good stuff -- although this first item qualifies as far more serious than simply "not-good":

According to a report from Yediot Aharonot, Israeli security officials are saying that Iran plans to deploy warships in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Iranian officials have announced plans to deploy warships to areas near Israel and to dock at a Syrian port for a year. An Israeli official says this move would be a "serious provocation," and would be considered "a change in the situation" that "Israel will know how to deal with."

Reports coming out following this report indicate that Iranian ships may be headed for the Suez Canal.


Some of the student leaders of Egypt's popular "democratic" uprising -- from the "April 6 Movement" -- are calling for Egypt to cut off gas supplies to Israel. The gas is supplied as part of our peace treaty with Egypt, because we returned the Sinai, which is where the gas reserves are located.


Richard Falk, that despicable anti-Israel UN special investigator, has said that the International Court of Justice in the Hague should issue an advisory opinion on Israeli acts of "colonialism," "apartheid," and "ethnic cleansing" in the West Bank. This recommendation is included in a report which he will be delivering to the UN Human Rights Council next month.

Admitting that he was recommending strong "emotive" language, he said he thought it was necessary, in order to highlight Israel's denial of Palestinian rights.

It's important to remember that the Human Rights Council is one of the most vociferously anti-Israel agencies within an anti-Israel UN.


Hezbollah's Nasrallah, mocking our new IDF Chief of Staff Gantz, said that "I want to assure you and tell the Israelis that they should be careful because the blood of Imad Mugniyeh will not go to waste."
It is now the third anniversary of the assassination of Mugniyeh, a key Hezbollah military commander.

This week Israeli embassies have been on high alert because of possible retaliatory terrorists acts and four embassies were closed (i.e., not open for business during this interval) because of concrete warnings regarding terrorist attacks. No information has been provided on where these embassies are located.


Please see Barry Rubin's latest piece, "What is the Real Meaning of Egypt's Revolution?"

"'The People Toppled the Government,' is al-Ahram's headline, and the general interpretation of the Egyptian revolution around the world. That's true but only partly true. Mubarak's pedestal was shaken by the people but he was pushed off it by the army and the establishment.

"Let's remember something that nobody wants to hear right now. The revolution in Egypt succeeded because the army didn't want President Hosni Mubarak any more...

"...without stinting the courage and efforts of the urban, middle-class, young, Facebook crowd, the Muslim Brotherhood had more to do with this event than Western observers realize. It was in close touch with the Facebook crowd and knew what was going on at every moment. It was not caught by surprise but simply held back to avoid committing itself to a devastating defeat that would end in harsh repression. (Emphasis added)

"...history has not ended in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood will continue to maneuver patiently for power. The military will set limits and implement them. All the radical dictatorships and movements that hate America, the West, Israel, and real democracy are still working all-out (and far more cleverly than their Western opponents) around the clock.

"If one side is sophisticated and realistic while the other engages in fantasies, who do you expect to win?"


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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