Friday, October 21, 2011

"We Want More Shalits!"

Khaled Abu Toameh

The prisoner exchange in Israel has increased the prospects of another round of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. The deal has sent a message to Palestinians that if you kidnap a soldier you get much more than if you sit at the negotiating table with Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now expected to toughen even more his position regarding the resumption of the peace talks with Israel. The prisoner swap has made it almost impossible for him to return to the negotiating table with Israel, at least not in the near future. The deal is a severe blow to Abbas who, at least in public, says he remains committed to a non-violent and peaceful solution with Israel. In light of Hamas's success to force Israel to free a large number of prisoners, Abbas and his team in Ramallah now look like incompetent and weak leaders who have failed to extract significant concessions from Israel at the negotiating table.

Like the withdrawals from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, the prisoner swap has sent the same message not only to the Palestinians, but to the rest of the Arab world: that violence and kidnappings are the only language that Israel understands, and that the violent struggle against Israel must continue because negotiations do not lead to anything.

Sadly, it is hard to find anyone on the Palestinian side who sees the exchange deal as a sign of Israeli flexibility. On the contrary - Israel's concessions are almost always interpreted as a sign of weakness that eventually leads to more violence. The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was seen as a sign of Israeli weakness in the face of increased rocket and suicide attacks. The withdrawal from southern Lebanon before that was also viewed as a sign of weakness in the face of Hizbollah's attacks on Israel.

Statements made by many of the released prisoners and several Hamas leaders don't bode well for the future. They view the deal as an Israeli capitulation to their demands and are now calling for the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers to trade them for the remaining Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

Chanting "We want more Shalits!," thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to greet the released prisoners and call on Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups to hurry up and launch more operations to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Some of the released prisoners have even announced their intention to pursue the "struggle" against Israel until all the Palestinians' demands are met. One of them, Wafa al-Biss, has even told Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip that she wished they would become "martyrs" in the fight against Israel. Al-Biss had been sentenced to 12 years in prison for planning to blow herself up outside an Israeli hospital in 2005.

Some Western leaders and governments had expressed hope that the prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and Hamas would pave the way for a "new era" in relations between Israelis and Palestinians. Some Israelis have even expressed hope that the deal would lead to peace talks between Israel and Hamas.

In reality, the prisoner swap has achieved the exact opposite. It has once again created the impression understands. Those who see the deal as a sign of Hamas's "moderation" and "pragmatism" are deluding themselves. And those who think that the release of more than 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli prisons would have a moderating effect on the Palestinians are also living under an illusion.

Those who argue that the prisoner exchange is an indication that Hamas wants to negotiate with Israel are obviously living on a different planet. It is clear by now that it is only a matter of time before Hamas or any other Palestinian group try to kidnap another soldier or Israeli civilian in order to copy the Shalit example. The deal has given them a strong incentive to try once again to snatch a soldier or civilian to achieve that goal.

The deal will only strengthen Hamas's resolve to stick to its radical ideology and continue the fight "until the liberation of all of Palestine." If Hamas is going to change as a result of the deal, it will only be for the worse.


Arlene Kushner

A familiar but necessary refrain of mine: Shabbat is early and time for this posting is limited. But I -- along with many others! -- carry the consequences of the Shalit trade heavily on my heart. There are things that must be said, with continuation as necessary after Shabbat.

As it is, there are those outside of Israel who are still celebrating the holiday and will not see this until after Shabbat in any event. There is no one, but no one, who is not glad to see Gilad alive and free. That is, as an issue separate from how his freedom was achieved. He came out in much better shape than had been expected -- which makes it clear not that Hamas has become humanitarian, but that they understood his worth to them in a trade. He has handled himself with intelligence, including in the horrendous interview to which he was subjected in Egypt.

May he heal in soul and body, and go on to live a meaningful and full life. He should never be begrudged this, now that he is out.


My empathy for his parents, however, and in particular his father, Noam Shalit, is considerably less. Not that I am without understanding of his pain, and his longing for his son to return. But, rather, that I am uneasy with how Noam conducted himself these last five years. There are those who say that he did what a father had to do -- this was his job: to make as much noise as possible to help bring his son home.

And I say no. It was not his job to try to influence the prime minister and the entire government with regard to a trade. It was not his place to push the decision-makers of Israel to make the decision they finally did, nor to generate grassroots opinion that would pressure the government. More than once, he suggested publicly that it was the prime minister's "fault" that his son was not home yet -- that if only Netanyahu would agree to the trade Hamas was demanding, all would be well (for the Shalit family, that is).

Quite simply, Noam Shalit's concern was only his son. Fine and good. However, it is the business of the government to be concerned with the wellbeing of all its citizens! And the decision that was made is most decidedly not in the best interests of the Israeli citizenry.


Andrew Friedman, the JPost's new opinion editor, in a piece on Wednesday, addressed this very point:

" [is]...worthwhile to consider the family’s campaign to win their son’s release, and to compare it to other hostage situations.

"From the beginning of the crisis, Noam and Aviva Schalit focused their campaign on the Israeli government, demanding the government bow to Hamas’s demands, rather than demanding on the international stage that their son be afforded the basic human rights afforded all other prisoners-of-war.

"...instead of enlisting the international community to demand Geneva Convention rights like Red Cross visits and a sign of life from the hostage, the Schalits demanded that Israel release terrorists. Instead of demanding that organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch throw the full weight of their influence behind Gilad’s case, the Schalits demonized successive Israeli governments for 'failing' to secure a deal.

"Compare the Schalits’ campaign to that of Avital Sharansky, who pounded Western capitals for nine years to win the freedom of her husband, Natan, from the Soviet Union, but would never have even raised the specter of a 1,027-to-one deal with president Ronald Reagan or British prime minister Margaret Thatcher...

"...In the current instance, one would have expected Noam and Aviva Schalit to have made themselves frequent visitors to Washington, London and Brussels, and especially to Ankara and Oslo, both of which maintain close ties with Hamas and consider the Islamist organization a legitimate player in the Middle East political game, in order to win Gilad’s release.


Other points Friedman makes include these:

[] "There is no proof to support the claim made by supporters of lopsided hostage deals that motivation to serve in the IDF goes down when soldiers are held captive...

"But there is anecdotal evidence that combat solders now question the wisdom of putting their lives on the line in order to arrest suspects in hornet nests like Jenin and Hebron..."

[] "Supporters of the deal...have praised...Netanyahu for his 'brave leadership' by agreeing to violate his stated principles in order to conclude the deal. But the opposite would seem to be the correct analysis of the prime minister's behavior. As a young man, pre-politics, and later as a member of the opposition, Netanyahu spelled out clear stances about prisoner swaps...As prime minister, he has about faced on all these issues..."


I think most important of all is Friedman's comment that:

"It is time now to initiate a full pubic discussion into Israel's policy of terrorists-for-hostages swaps and to publish the 2009 Shamgar Commission findings and to legislate a clear policy to guide future hostage crises... (Emphasis added)

Now that the Schalit hostage crisis is over, the Shamgar Commission should release its findings immediately..."


I could not agree more and I will return to this. It is time to establish guidelines that are publicly known before the fact of another abduction -- not secret guidelines that only the government may be aware of and may not be bound by. Hamas and similar groups need to know that "anything goes" policies by Israeli governments are a thing of the past, and that these governments are bound by restrictions in terms of what can be negotiated.

As Friedman wrote:

"...hostage crises require nerves of steel and a keen eye on the future.

"Decisions, especially in situation of life-and-death, must be made as the result of cold, calculated reasoning. Allowing emotions to overtake rational thinking is a recipe for disaster." (Emphasis added)


The Shamgar Commission was a special committee headed by former chief justice Meir Shamgar and including Professor Asa Kasher and retired general Amos Yaron, which was established at the order of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. It was mandated with establishing recommendations for guidelines for future prisoner exchanges.

Those recommendations were drawn up, but were never ratified by the Cabinet and have been kept secret.

According to Ha'aretz:

"The Shamgar expected to update its report to reflect lessons learned from the deal to free Gilad Shalit. According to an anonymous military source the panel will meet in the next two weeks with special envoy David Meidan and other figures involved in reaching the agreement with Hamas, before submitting its report to Defense Minister Ehud Barak."

Now is the time for a huge amount of noise on this.


For the record, I know of IDF soldiers with great courage and wisdom who have told their parents that, should they be abducted, they would not want to be traded for terrorists.

And here (with thanks to reader Michael P.) is an article that talks about the adamant opposition of Yonah Baumel to the precedent-establishing Jibril deal of 1985, in which over a thousand terrorists were traded for three Israeli soldiers captured in the first Lebanon War, even though his own son, Zack Baumel was held in captivity.,2771?sub_id=2771&print=1


Jonathan Rosen has written an article about the need to institute the death penalty for terrorists in the most extreme cases. He makes some significant points.

Says Rosen:

"The risks [of releasing terrorists] are all very real and, regrettably, are likely to have a personal and painful impact on Israeli individuals in the future, either in the form of violent attacks or kidnappings.

"Beyond that, however, another danger lurks beneath the surface, a danger that is posed to Israeli society as a whole and which threatens its democratic and law abiding nature.

"It should be eminently clear that a recurring decision by the political echelon to circumvent due legal process and to grant clemency to murderers and other convicted terrorists will necessarily produce a loss of public faith in the justice system, which is a pillar of democratic society." (Emphasis added)

"...repeated political intervention in the legal system -- and that is precisely what a government decision to grant clemency en mass in a prisoner exchange deal is -- renders the legal process a farce...the more frequently it recurs, the more inescapable it becomes to all the parties involved...that they are participating in a farce."


With this, my prayers to one and all for a peaceful Shabbat and for wisdom in the days to come.

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Freed Palestinian Terrorist vows to Continue Suicide Attacks

Jameel @ The Muqata at 10/20/2011

Failed Palestinian underwear suicide bomber, Wafa al-Bis who was released from an Israeli prison last week insisted she would seize any opportunity to mount another suicide mission against the Jewish State, and she encouraged dozens of cheering Palestinian schoolchildren to follow her example.

The Telegraph Reports:

Her target, Israel says, was a hospital where she had been given permission to seek treatment for burns she sustained in a gas tank explosion. She never got there. Stopped by suspicious Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on Gaza’s border, she was discovered with 22lb of explosives sewn into a belt inside her underwear. Bis tried to blow herself up but the detonator malfunctioned. Speaking in her bedroom, the shelves of which were lined with soft toys, Bis yesterday maintained that the six years she spent in an Israeli prison cell had left her with no regrets other than her failure to kill herself and her captors, although she insisted that her target was only ever going to be a military one.

“I wanted to be the first female martyr from Gaza to kill Israeli soldiers and I wanted to kill as many as I could,” she said. “I had wanted to be a martyr since I was a kid. I regard what I did as an honourable thing. It was my dream to be a martyr but God didn’t let me.”

If given the opportunity, she added, she would fulfil her destiny to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces. “As long as there is going to be occupation over all of Palestine, martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers,” she said. “This is an honourable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could.”

Bis’s mother Salma said she had no idea of her daughter’s mission — but added that she felt she had no choice but to encourage her in her chosen course of life. “This is Jihad, it is an honourable thing and I am proud of her,” she said.

Note the pathetic attempts of the Huffington Post to garner sympathy for poor Wafa, who has been banished to Gaza (to prevent her from easily attempting yet another suicide attack).

Here's to hoping she manages to blow herself up in a work-related accident, taking throngs of her Jihad-cheering supporters and family along with her.

Update: Yet another freed terrorist announces her desire to continue to commit terror attacks against Jews. "No Regrets, I'd do it again..."

AMMONNEWS - The former released Jordanian prisoner, Ahlam Tamimi called on the Arab youth to continue pressuring their governments for keeping their efforts in using the Palestinian prisoners file as an important pressure element in any negotiations policy with Israel.

‘I have never regretted what I have done, and if given another chance I’ll do it again’ she added.

Tamimi expressed her believes in the rightness of what she has done. AmmonNews

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The New York Times' straw man

Israel Matzav

The New York Times' editorial on Gilad Shalit sets up a straw man and proceeds to attack it (Hat Tip: Debbie R; NY Times straw man by MR, Daughter #3 Child #5).

One has to ask: If Mr. Netanyahu can negotiate with Hamas — which shoots rockets at Israel, refuses to recognize Israel’s existence and, on Tuesday, vowed to take even more hostages — why won’t he negotiate seriously with the Palestinian Authority, which Israel relies on to help keep the peace in the West Bank?Mr. Netanyahu has expressed his readiness to 'negotiate seriously' with the 'Palestinian Authority' - without preconditions - on literally hundreds of occasions since he was elected Prime Minister in 2009. To suggest that Netanyahu won't negotiate seriously with the 'Palestinian Authority' is a straw man, which the Times then proceeds to demolish.

Mr. Netanyahu’s backers claim that his coalition is so fragile that he can’t make the compromises needed to help revive peace negotiations. But he was strong enough to go against the grief-stricken families of those Israelis killed by the Palestinian prisoners he just freed. “I know that the price is very heavy for you,” he wrote to them. Why can’t he make a similarly impassioned appeal for a settlement freeze for the sake of Israel’s security?

The reason Prime Minister Netanyahu (I wonder if the Times will ever call him that rather than 'Mr. Netanyahu') was able to make the deal with Hamas - a deal which I and many other Israelis find abhorrent - is that some 70% of Israelis favored turning over mass murderers in exchange for Gilad Shalit. 70% of Israelis do not favor another 'settlement freeze' after 'Mr. Abbas' allowed the clock to nearly run out on the first one before responding by asking that it be extended. In fact, 70% may be at the low end of estimates of the number of Jewish Israelis who oppose another 'settlement freeze.'

The United States and its partners should keep trying to get negotiations going. Mr. Abbas should see the prisoner swap for what it is — a challenge to his authority and credibility. The best way to bolster his standing is by leading his people in the creation of a Palestinian state, through negotiations. As for Mr. Netanyahu, we saw on Tuesday that the problem is not that he can’t compromise and make tough choices. It’s that he won’t. That won’t make Israel safer.

Of course, the Times doesn't ask the question it should be asking: If 'Mr. Abbas' is a man of peace, as the Times claims that he is, why did he sponsor a massive celebration of the release of mass murderers in Ramallah on Tuesday
, similar to the one sponsored in Gaza by Hamas. In fact, the implications for 'peace' of the orgies of celebration for these mass murderers' release seems totally lost on the Times. They don't even mention it and don't seem to be at all fazed by it. Why?

The lesson of the Shalit deal is that it is Israel not Gaza that remains under siege

The release of Gilad Shalit is a moment for celebration. But it is also a moment to ponder on the extraordinary circumstances of Israeli survival in a desperately hostile region

Written by Robin Shepherd

The release on Tuesday of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas five years ago, in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners is a poignant moment in the recent history of the Middle East.

Emotions are both high, and mixed.

The one thing that everyone, even the BBC, is talking about is the “asymmetry” of the deal.

Imagine if the American or British governments agreed to release such vast numbers of terrorists, child-killers and assorted violent fanatics into the arms of an enemy sworn to destroy them for the return of a single, solitary captured soldier. “Imagine” is the operative word, because it never has happened and it is all but impossible to imagine that it ever would.

Our reasons are clear: however committed we are to the principle of “no soldier left behind” we know that such a deal would merely incentivise further such kidnappings in the future, thus encouraging a never ending cycle of similar such events in which the terrorists would always have the upper hand.

For many in the West, Israel’s actions are therefore perplexing. Surely, they say, Israel must know better. The Jewish state, among all states in the world, knows the dangers of making deals with terrorists. What is going on?

Of course, there are some in Israel – particularly among the many Israeli families who have suffered losses at the hands of terrorists -- who would agree with such sentiments. Nonetheless, the polls show that between 70 and 80 percent of Israelis support the deal, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is nobody’s idea of a soft touch on terrorism. That debate will run and run.

What is, in a sense, more interesting is how the whole affair demonstrates the continued failure of many in the West truly to understand the predicament Israel faces in its dealings with the Palestinians and with the Arab and Muslim world more broadly.

The key issue that needs to be understood is that unlike America, Britain or any other Western country, Israel is and always has been a nation under siege. It is surrounded on all sides by people, movements, terror groups and countries that have never accepted the Jewish state’s legitimacy, many of which actively seek its demise.

That changes the calculus of risk dramatically, and it means Israel needs to respond to events in a radically different manner from the countries that are so quick to judge it.

Even in Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab countries that have signed peace agreements with Israel, polls show extreme hostility to Israel and the Jews, with negative sentiment rising well above 90 percent according to some of the most significant surveys that have been conducted.

In recent months, Turkey – once considered an ally of Israel – has slid back into vicious anti-Israeli discourse as Islamism tightens its grip on the country.

As for the so called “moderate” Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, it continues to name public squares after people who have perpetrated some of the cruellest acts of terrorism imaginable.

There have been others since, but perhaps the most egregious example came in 2010 with the Palestinian Authority’s decision to honour Dalal Mughrabi, perpetrator of the 1978 bus massacres which left 38 Israelis including 13 children dead, by naming a central square in Ramallah after her.

In recent opinion polls, a significant majority of the Palestinian people themselves say they only support a two-state solution with Israel as a stepping stone to a one state solution at some point in the future when Israel is wiped out for good.

Put all this together and you begin to understand what Israel is up against.

It is in that very different context from what is faced by all other Western democracies that the deal for the release of Gilad Shalit was brokered.

To be sure, one can still argue that Israel has got it wrong. But what one cannot do is equate the circumstances in which Israel operates with those in which the rest of the democratic world operates.

Hamas would have attempted to kidnap Israeli soldiers whatever the fate of Gilad Shalit. Large majorities of people across the Arab and Muslim world would have continued to dream of the destruction of Israel regardless of the nature of the deal to release him.

With that in mind, and for the sake of Gilad Shalit’s family in particular and the morale of the people of Israel generally, the Israeli government finally decided to proceed.

The day is joyous, but it is also tinged with anxiety about what might follow.

Such is life in a nation under siege.

Robin Shepherd is owner/publisher of the Commentator. His book, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe's Problem with Israel, is out in paperback.

Comment: As I wrote yesterday there are some unintended consequences to this release of prisoners. The message
I delivered has already begun. What did I suggest? The International community and local political groups will use this trade and communication process to establish a new baseline for negotiation. The message will be something like this: "Now that you have crossed your own red lines never to negotiate with such a terrorist group and now that you have demonstrated the minimal price you are willing to pay, there is no longer any reason for you not to ..." Please note the wonderful "Quartet" of smart ones who yesterday gave us in Israel 3 months to come up with final border decisions. What Bibi needed to do , an hour after greeting Gilad, welcoming him home ,he should have gone back to Jerusalem and spoken to the international community. He should have said: This will not happen again. The terrorist group has extorted a high price from us and our duty to return our soldier drove my decision. The international community was complicit in this extortion and we shall not enable you to do this again to us. Where were the peace groups, the NGO's , human rights groups, where was the UN, Red Cross? In the 5 years of Gilad's captivity he was never allowed a visit to confirm his vialbility or quality of life-you raised not even one shout, a whimper only once or twice. This makes you complicit. Do not talk to us about humanity and human rights given your lack of human behavior. Hamas, Fatah, Hizzbollah and all other groups who have stated their goal is to send us away from our home land, you are hereby on notice. I could have but did not use other measures to bring our soldier home. Do not use the oft repeated "but you can not collectively punish...", this is but a ploy and tactic. You are not the victim so stop acting like one. Your actions are childish, start acting like grown ups. We have multiple possibilities if there is a next time, something within minutes of the exchange your leaders and freed terrorist shouted to the world you would begin again. Dont behave inhumanely, it will not bode well for you.

This is what he should have said!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arab Caught Surveilling Itamar, IDF Frees Him

Unbelievable: Arab, allowed into Itamar's territory "to harvest olives,"
caught looking at Jewish homes through binoculars - and freed.

By Gil Ronen Arutz Sheva

Six months after the shocking murder of five members of the Fogel family in
the settlement of Itamar, residents caught an Arab man conducting
surveillance on their homes and security system.

The man is a resident of Beit Furik who was brought into Itamar's territory,
supposedly to harvest olives, with IDF accompaniment. He was caught
red-handed as he was viewing the settlement's homes and defense setup with
binoculars. The community's security officers and military forces, who spotted the Arab, captured him. However, an officer from the IDF Coordination and Liaison Office who was on location overseeing the olive harvest insisted on freeing him. He claimed that the Arabs were not informed in advance of regulations regarding what they are permitted to bring with them to the olive harvest
and what they may not bring.

The IDF's decision and explanation caused particular anger and frustration
because one of the Fogel's murderers, Hakim Awad, had gathered intelligence
on the community when he was allowed near it for the olive harvest. When he
and his cousin Amjad entered the community and carried out the massacre,
they did so after gaining knowledge and familiarity with the settlement
during the olive harvest.

A week ago, the IDF Civil Administration brought in family members of the
murderers who carried out the slaughter in Itamar -- the Awad clan -- for
the olive harvest, within the border fences of Itamar, a move that caused an
uproar in the settlement and a demonstration by the residents headed by
Tamar Fogel, which forced the Civil Administration to remove the murderers'
clan from within the settlement's territory. The Arabs taunted their Jewish
neighbors and promised them "more Fogels."

The head of the Samaria Regional Council reacted harshly to the way the
olive harvest was conducted:

"This is irresponsibility of the first order and a scandal that cries out to
the heavens. Exactly a year ago I warned the commanders in the military
echelons and the Civil Administration that terrorists are liable to use the
olive harvest to gather intelligence before attacks. Despite all the
warnings, hundreds of Arabs from the village of Awarta freely entered Itamar
for the olive harvest, among them the murderer Hakim Awad, who gathered
intelligence before the slaughter.

"I would expect that at least for this year this matter will be dealt with
logically," Mesika said.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

The Roots of Israel's Capitulation

Arutz Sheva

Gilad Shalit’s drama goes back to the Lebanon invasion of 1982, the first offensive military operation in Israel’s history and "first war of choice”.

Giulio Meotti

What happened? When and why did Israel accept the idea of exchanging thousands of convicted terrorists for one soldier?

Gilad Shalit’s drama goes back to the Lebanon invasion of 1982, the first offensive military operation in Israel’s history and "first war of choice”.

In 1983, six Israeli soldiers were freed from Fatah captivity in Lebanon in exchange for nearly 4.500 prisoners in the Ansar camp and 100 more held in Israeli jails. The released terrorists included those who had carried out the massacre in the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv; the killers of a group of worshippers returning from prayers in Hebron; the hijackers of a Sabena airliner and the perpetrators of other fatal acts of violence.

Another similar exchange came in 1985, when Israel traded 1.150 men for three soldiers. Under the agreement reached with Ahmed Jibril, the government released 167 Arabs convicted of the the coastal highway massacre of 40 Israelis, the murder of the Aroyo children in Gaza, the killing of 15 in Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem and the massacre of 27 at Ben Gurion airport.

800 of those terrorists were returned to their homes in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It was they who formed the hard core of the First Intifada.

To mounting criticism, then defense minister Yitzhak Rabin said: “I want to ask every citizen here, if it were your son being held, what would you expect of me as defense minister?”.

It’s not by chance that we heard the same question about Gilad Shalit.

These two mass exchanges of terrorists, the Shalit deal and the return in 2006 of the coffins of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in exchange for Lebanese butcher Samir Kuntar are both the direct result of the Lebanese war.

According to Israeli statistics, since 1982 17.000 Arab terrorists have been freed in exchange for 17 Israeli soldiers.

Israel’s bloody sojourn in Lebanon left an indelible mark on the Jewish nation. What Ariel Sharon imagined as a triumphal campaign that would change the map of the Middle East turned into what the Israeli Left called “Israel’s Vietnam”.

Actually, it was a victory for Israel and the Jews, since Yasser Arafat and thousands of his terrorists were driven out of Lebanon and forced to take refuge in Tunisia, although that victory was snatched from Israel.

But about 1,000 Israeli soldiers died in the conflict: a roll call of grief and loss that left few untouched in a country of six million people.

Israel’s basic security policy changed forever in 1982: Israel ceased initiating the fighting, it confined itself to responding to enemy attacks and the state accepted these new rules of negotiation with the terrorists.

The Lebanese war fractured the fabric of Israeli society, it eroded the morale of the IDF and since then bewilderment despair, anger and disillusionment haunted the faces of many Israelis.

An entire country was persuaded that it was morally urgent to withdraw from what was termed the “Lebanese mud”.

It was then that “Peace Now” gained in popularity, after more than a quarter-million people jammed Tel Aviv’s main square for a protest rally, termed the largest in the nation’s history.

It was then that “the Four Mothers” movement shaped the Lebanon pullout following a tragic helicopter collision in which 73 soldiers were killed.

It was then that the “Shministim” (12 th grader) objectors won popular support (even the historian Benny Morris refused to serve). About 3,000 reserve soldiers asked not to be sent to Lebanon, including 180 who went to jail for refusing to serve.

It was then that Jewish heroism and Israeli collectivism left the way to a Westerner individualism, self-criticism and hedonism.

When Israel left Lebanon, a thousand families were free to breathe, knowing that their soldier sons had finally come safely home. No more young soldiers weeping for comrades at military funerals, they hoped. No more wrenching videotape of mangled soldiers being flown from the combat zone.

In 2000 Brig.- Gen. Benny Gantz, who is now Israel’s chief of staff in the Shalit’s deal, locked the Fatma crossing gate to Lebanon.

The final troop pullout brought an enormous sense of collective relief. Yediot Acharonot ran a two-page listing the names of every fallen soldier, together with a poem by Israel’s national poet, Yehuda Amichai. “We have no unknown soldiers”, it was titled. It was a mystical event: there was an almost palpable release of tension, a great national sigh, as the metal border gate clanged shut behind the last tank to leave.

But thirty years later, Israel is still choked by the Lebanese mud: the Israeli public and politicians accepted the idea of Israel's having lost its sense of invincibility and righteousness in battle.

Now that another brave Jewish soldier is freed in exchange for another thousand mass murderers, it’s hard to believe that Israel, with its social fabric, army and politics, can really win a centennial war against an enemy ready to sacrifice all of its children in order to throw all the Jews into the sea.

A life-obsessed society, built on the last thirty years of ongoing capitulation to Holocaust-enabler terrorists, can be defeated by a monstrous god of martyrdom.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leave Shalit alone

MK Dr. Nachman Shai

GIlad Shalit's return home is justifiably cause for great celebration. After five and a half years in Hamas captivity, and painstaking efforts to bring him home, there is no doubt that the entire public, especially the Shalit family, can breath a sigh of relief. The media played an active part in bringing him home by encouraging the public struggle - at times even more so than the family, who preferred quieter activism. The media advanced a public campaign featuring the widest possible exposure. This stemmed primarily from the nature of the media and, to a certain extent, from the sense that Israel's governments, one after another, required public support. That being said, it is hard to raise objections and make demands from the media at the sweet moment when Gilad will descend the stairs, as his father Noam describes to himself and to us day and night. It is, however, a moment during which the media needs to overcome its own instincts. It needs to allow Gilad Shalit to gradually and gently go through the process of returning home. No one has any idea which Gilad will return. All the psychologists, psychiatrists and experts who have spoken about the issue in recent days have flooded the air with assumptions, but each case is individual and there is no doubt the shock that Gilad will experience will be grave.

Therefore, especially at this moment, the media needs to take two steps back, clear out of his street in Mitzpe Hila, reduce the zoom on their cameras and turn off the microphones. What little information the public truly needs can be provided by the official report from the Israel Defense Forces' Spokesperson's Unit. Gilad must get the peace and quiet he requires. It is unthinkable that Gilad be imprisoned in his house because media crews are camped outside his door, nor should they accompany him wherever he goes. He should not have to endure another ordeal now that he is home.

I know that to a certain extent these are mere suggestions. It is hard to get today's media to agree to such a request, and even if there is such an agreement, there is always that one person who will upload a random photo to Facebook. What is necessary in this case is not only a rare agreement on the part of the media, but essentially a national effort.

It has been extremely difficult to bring Gilad home. It should be so much easier to give him the last gift we can: quiet.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Arlene Kushner

Who doesn't remember the horrendous, the breathtakingly obscene lynching in Ramallah in 2000 of two IDF soldiers who had lost their way? The picture of one of the lynchers, showing his bloodied hands, was seared in the consciousness of all of us:


The Palestinian Arab in that picture was Abed al-Aziz Salaha. I neglected to mention yesterday that he is one of the terrorists who is now scheduled to be released.

Plain and simple: It shouldn't be.
One of those murdered that day was Nordim Norzich. Now his brother says:

"The government lied to all the bereaved families. They promised the bereaved parents that the terrorists would never get out. Ehud Barak [then prime minister] made a personal promise to me that this terrorist would never see the light of day."


For the complete list of those to be released:


Spurred by what is happening, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to order the death penalty for Ajmad Awad and Hakim Awad, convicted of the heinous murders of five members of the Fogel family -- including a three-month old baby -- in Itamar in March of this year. The cousins -- who mutilated the bodies of at least some of their victims -- have been convicted and are serving multiple life sentences. It was Hakim who spoke about how proud he was of what he had done. Done "for Palestine."

The idea, here, of course, is to guarantee via capital punishment that they can never get "traded" into freedom.

I don't know that the prime minister can "order" death for those already sentenced by a court. Nor -- as much as I happen to believe they deserve it -- do I think it even remotely a possibility that they would be given the death penalty, because they are young. As they are not yet out of their teens, it would be a very difficult sell. When they were first arrested, the mayor of their village declared, "What? They're only children." Yea, sure.

But beyond this particular case there is a principle that it is time to consider. Judaism is not absolutely opposed to the death penalty, but is not predisposed to its frequent use, to say the least. Israel has only executed one person in 63 years: Adolph Eichmann. Maybe it's time for this to change.


See the commentary of Aaron Lerner on a related issue: "Blood and revenge."

Not capital punishment, but actively taking out Hamas leaders instead of shooting at empty buildings.


Yet another issue to be dealt with: Among those being released at Hamas's demand are six Arabs who are Israeli citizens and who will be allowed to return to their homes. This is a bad move.

Yarom London looks at the several reasons why. (He refers to Israel's Arab citizens as "Palestinian Israelis," which I find unsettling even though I know that in recent years this is how they refer to themselves. But his analysis is good.)

As Israel seeks to make its Arab citizens feel truly Israeli -- to identify as Israeli, he says, the key is equality of Arabs and Jews under Israeli law.

"The equality of the law in respect to the breaching of national security directly pertains to the shaping of our Palestinian citizens’ Israeli identity...An Israeli criminal who committed a crime in Israel should serve his sentence in an Israeli prison. Equality under the law also includes the deprivation of freedom under equal terms.

"[But] when the State included Israeli prisoners in the list of detainees to be released, it told Palestinian Israelis that they are not like other Israelis. They are subjected to different kind of laws and are removed from the general public; they are a 'special case.'

"There is no telling how this declaration will be affecting a few or many Palestinian Israelis, yet I assume that it will be entrenched in their consciousness, pushing them further away from us and vice versa.

"The festive celebrations being prepared in the communities of Arab Israelis to be freed in the Shalit swap and the words uttered on the issue by Islamic Movement spokesmen reinforce my estimate. They are saying almost explicitly: Your victory is also our victory in the struggle against the State of Israel, where we constitute one-fifth of the population.",7340,L-4135989,00.html


How awful this is. Pain multiplied upon pain.

Families of those murdered by terrorists implored the High Court today to stop the madness of releasing the terrorists. Bad enough, they say, that they have lost family members. Now those still living will be in greater danger.

The Shalit attorney Gilad Sher observed that, "This is a sensitive, fragile, volatile deal. Any change in it, any court-ordered delay may be catastrophic.

"[The Shalits] are anxious. They fear the unknown ramifications of any delay or change and they plead the court not to grant any petition whose consequences cannot be predicted. "

Noam Shalit responded more directly, that "Unfortunately, suspending the deal won't bring the victims of terror back [to life], but it could condemn Gilad to death."

What else would we expect him to say as the life of his son hangs by a judicial thread? And yet, suspending the deal could save many other lives.

The court ruling is supposed to come tonight. It will not be in favor of the petitioning families.


There is much speculation as to what prompted this deal now. I'm not prepared to sign on to any of the current theories, for there is simply too much speculation, too much that we don't know. There's one theory that says, because of Abbas's intransigence, Israel is trying to diminish the PA by strengthening Hamas. Don't know about that. Another attributes what's been going on to the recent visit here of Defense Secretary Panetta, who's attempting some international power plays. Don't know about this either.

However, mindful of the fact that much more may well be going on than what seems apparent at the surface, I intend to keep my ears and eyes open.


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Israel's Tenured Extremists

Steven Plaut
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2011, pp. 61-70 (view PDF)

Israel is under assault from within and not just from the usual suspects. Its legitimacy and, in many cases, its very existence are being attacked by a domestic academic fifth column. Hundreds of professors and lecturers, employed by Israel's state-financed universities, are building careers as full-time activists working against the very country in which they live. And the problem is growing. Fortunately, the Israeli public has become aware of the problem and is increasingly demanding that something be done about it. A not inconsiderable part of the credit for this belongs to the Middle East Quarterly, probably the first serious journal to discuss the problem a decade ago, sparking a debate that continues to challenge the Israeli academy's offensive against the Jewish state. "Socrates" Blows the Whistle

In fall 2001, the Middle East Quarterly ran a major exposé of anti-Israel academics based inside Israeli universities. Titled "Israel's Academic Extremists,"[1] it shattered the conspiracy of silence that had long been observed in the Israeli media and on Israeli campuses about scholars working against their own country and in support of its enemies. And it opened a floodgate.

Although no longer teaching in Israel, Ilan Pappé, formerly of the University of Haifa, perhaps best exemplifies the internal academic onslaught against the Jewish state. Pappé continues to make a career out of maligning Israel as an "ethnic cleanser" despite all evidence to the contrary.
The article was attributed to "Solomon Socrates," described as "the pen name for a watchdog team of researchers keeping an eye on Israel's universities." The very fact that the authors felt they needed the cloak of anonymity to protect themselves from retaliation from their colleagues within higher education may have been the most dramatic illustration of the sorry state of academic freedom and pluralism in Israel's universities.

Noting that hiring and promotion procedures at Israeli universities were commonly politicized, with leftist faculty who had poor academic publication records getting hired and promoted as acts of political solidarity, the article offered thumbnail characterizations of about two dozen Israeli academic extremists. Today that list seems tame and thin, at least when compared with the dimensions of the problem as it is now understood. A few of the names were of obscure academicians of little interest, evidently spotlighted as a result of some outlandish statements and positions. Two of those named, Benny Morris and Ilan Gur-Ze'ev, would no longer make the list and are generally considered today to be important defenders of Zionism and critics of "post-Zionist" historical revisionism of which they were once key articulators. Morris appears to have jettisoned most of his earlier Israel-bashing and New History revisionism regarding the period of Israel's war of independence, though not everyone is persuaded the rehabilitation is sincere.[2] As a result he has become the favorite whipping boy for much of the anti-Zionist Left, incensed that he no longer spends his days denouncing Israel as the ultimate evil in the world. In February 2010, Morris was even denied the right to speak at a Cambridge University student event on the grounds that he was too pro-Israel and thus supposedly anti-Arab.[3] In June 2011, he was accosted by anti-Israel activists while on his way to lecture at the London School of Economics.[4] Gur-Ze'ev, meanwhile, has been speaking out forcefully against the anti-Semitism and totalitarian inclinations of the radical Left, to the chagrin of those who oppose him.[5]

From Socrates' 2001 list, Baruch Kimmerling, Dan Bar-On, and Israel Shahak are no longer alive while Ilan Pappé and Gabriel Piterberg have emigrated and built careers elsewhere as full-time Israel bashers. The remaining names have, however, been joined by scores, perhaps hundreds, of home-grown academic bashers of Israel over the past decade.
The Internal War against Israel

Most of Israel's anti-Israel academics hold tenured faculty positions at the country's tax-funded public universities. They include people who justify and celebrate Arab terrorism and who help initiate campaigns of boycott and economic divestment directed against their own country in time of war. Today, many of the leaders of the so-called boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are Israeli academics. The phenomenon is near pandemic at the four main Israeli liberal arts universities: Tel Aviv University (TAU), the Hebrew University, the University of Haifa, and Ben-Gurion University. At the two scientific-engineering institutions, the Technion and the Weizmann Institute, there are small numbers of faculty involved in such political activity but they are a minor presence, and this is also true of the religious university, Bar-Ilan. Israeli colleges are less generously funded by the government than universities and so are more dependent on competing for student tuition. This may explain why extremist faculty are more unusual there than in universities, though Sapir College in the Negev may be an exception.

On the eve of the 2003 Iraq war, dozens of Israeli academics warned the world that Israel was planning massive war crimes and genocidal massacres against the Palestinians the moment the first coalition troops were to land in Iraq.[6] When the actual fighting took place and no such crimes were perpetrated by Israel, not a single signer of the petition issued an apology for the smears against the Jewish state.

In other petitions, Israeli academics routinely denounce Israel for carrying out war crimes and human rights violations. In some, they call for suppressing Israeli sovereignty by imposing certain political solutions on the country that are opposed by the vast majority of Israelis.[7] Hundreds of Israeli university professors have been involved in organizing mutiny and insurrection among Israeli soldiers, and some have been arrested for violently attacking police and soldiers or for similar forms of law-breaking. For example, Tel Aviv University's Anat Matar,[8] the Hebrew University's Amiel Vardi, math lecturer Kobi Snitz[9] (who has taught at several institutions), and others have been arrested for law-breaking and for participating in violent, illegal demonstrations. At least one faculty member at Ben-Gurion University has openly called for murder of those who reject his far-leftist opinions.[10] The Israeli university authorities wink at such behavior [11] and sometimes even collaborate with [12] and promote it.

Scores of Israeli academics openly advocate the so-called Palestinian right of return,[13] which would effectively end Israel's existence, while others openly call for Israel to be annihilated altogether. Other Israeli academics signed the so-called Olga document demanding that Israel grant the Palestinians an unrestricted "right of return."[14] Such people often claim to favor a "one-state solution,"[15] in which Israel's existence as a sovereign nation would end, to be enfolded within a larger state with an Arab and Muslim government and majority. A few Israeli academics even campaign on behalf of and promote Holocaust deniers. Articles by Ben-Gurion University's Neve Gordon have been published on the web site of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel[16] and in Iran's state newspaper.[17] Neve has also endorsed Norman Finkelstein,[18] often regarded as a Holocaust denier or at least a Holocaust trivializer while other Israeli academics have praised Holocaust revisionist David Irving.[19]

During the Cast Lead military operation against Hamas in Gaza (winter 2008-09), the visibility of this group grew. While polls showed near-unanimous support for the operations among Israeli Jews,[20] a high proportion of Israeli academics opposed the operation.[21] The Hebrew University professor of linguistic education, Nurit Elhanan-Peled, has devoted much of her career to promoting the political agenda of the very same Palestinian terrorists who murdered her own daughter in a suicide bombing of a civilian Israeli bus.[22] Many anti-Israel academics cheered on Hamas as it launched rockets at the civilians in Israel's south.[23] Others publicly endorsed Hezbollah's "legitimate resistance" when northern Israel was showered by Katyusha rockets during the summer war of 2006.[24] Some are currently among the leaders of marches that call upon the world to prevent Jews from living in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, where, they believe, Jews just do not belong.
The Dershowitz Counterattack

Probably the most dramatic exhibition of the problem came at the national assembly of the governors of Tel Aviv University in the spring of 2010. The keynote speaker invited to the affair was Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. While left of center, Dershowitz is passionately pro-Israel and, at the same time, vehemently opposed to infringements upon academic freedom.

Upon receiving an honorary doctoral degree at Tel Aviv University, Dershowitz gave a dramatic speech denouncing the homegrown, anti-Israel cadre of lecturers dominating Israeli universities.[25] He defended the rights of these academics to exercise freedom of speech—or, in his words, the "right to be wrong." But he also defended the rights of others to denounce and criticize them.

In no time, Dershowitz confronted the all-too-common refrain sounded by these scholars that they are only engaging in legitimate criticism of Israel. To the contrary, Dershowitz contended, these people were actually often engaged in delegitimizing Israel itself, calling for world boycotts against the Jewish state, and at times calling for its annihilation. They go so far, he stated, as to organize boycott campaigns by recruiting and leading teams of anti-Israel radicals. Dershowitz then named several Tel Aviv University faculty, including some who were in Boston that same week attempting to organize a boycott against the Technion, Israel's main engineering university,[26] for supposedly being a cog in the Israeli "war machine."

Without naming names, Dershowitz heaped scorn on TAU professor Shlomo Sand for his recent book, The Invention of the Jewish People,[27] which claims that there is actually no such thing as a Jewish people. Dershowitz went on to denounce those who insist that freedom of speech belongs only to people who agree with them and assailed those at Israeli universities who harass students who dare to disagree with forced-fed ideology, comparing this behavior to teachers who sexually harass students. He insisted that students, too, are entitled to academic freedom, which includes the right to disagree with their professors.

While such a peroration would ignite controversy anywhere, it was downright incendiary at Tel Aviv University, arguably home to the greatest concentration of tenured leftists teaching in Israel.[28] While the audience repeatedly interrupted him with loud applause, faculty members reportedly squirmed in their seats.[29]

It did not take long for these academics to open fire in retaliation; within days, a group of TAU professors denounced Dershowitz and challenged his right to criticize them. Signatures for a petition were collected and published on a left-wing website. The petition essentially denied Dershowitz's right to freedom of speech, despite the pretence of some signatories to the contrary, by deriding his charges against specific academics as "bordering on incitement that can pose a clear and present danger to these members of staff."[30]

A quick look at the names on the petition illustrates the nature of the problem. Among the signatories claiming that Dershowitz's words criticizing the anti-Israel camp reminded them of "the dark regimes" in human history were:

Chaim Gans of TAU law school, who organized a petition demanding that Col. Pnina Baruch-Sharvit, head of the Israel Defense Forces international law division, be prevented from teaching a course in the school after her retirement from military service because her department (allegedly) legitimized strikes in which civilians were hurt or killed during Operation Cast Lead.[31]
Gadi Algazi, a historian at TAU who, among other activities, led a march of Israeli Arabs supporting Hezbollah terror.[32]
Uri Hadar, a psychology professor, who recently organized a conference at TAU to support Hamas and Hezbollah.[33]
Daniel Bar-Tal, an educational psychologist, who produces anti-Jewish propaganda for the U.N. and believes Zionism is an obstacle to peace.[34]

Attack against Freedom of Speech

As starkly demonstrated by the anti-Dershowitz petition, Israel's tenured radicals are not only vehemently anti-Israel but also staunchly anti-democratic. For them, academic freedom and freedom of speech means absolute protection of the right to "criticize" Israel but not to defend it.

McCarthyism has become the favorite rhetorical bludgeon wielded by Israeli academics to deny their critics the freedom of speech. This McCarthyism, they charge, endangers freedom of speech and democracy. So tenured academics should have the sacrosanct right to denounce and demonize all of Israel and also to smear non-leftist Israelis, including private citizens such as army officers, in the most lurid and vulgar ways. But those who respond by criticizing these critics are endangering democracy. In particular, the radical academics have denounced the watchdog web sites that monitor and cite what they say, as well as the Zionist student organization Im Tirtzu (If you will it) and members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) who have criticized the behavior of the radicals. In the strange world of Israeli academic radicals, the worst offense against academic freedom is the verbatim citing of what they actually say or write.

Some professors, most notoriously David Newman, dean of social sciences and humanities at Ben-Gurion University, [35] and Daniel Bar-Tal of the School of Education at Tel Aviv University,[36] have published calls for the suppression and silencing of critics. The president of TAU censored Mark Tanenbaum, a governor of the university's board, when the latter proposed an investigation into professors who use the school's name and funds when participating in forums of a political nature[37]—behavior that is barred by the university's own bylaws. The Israeli media have also reported a growing number of demands from academics that the freedom of expression of their critics—and for that matter, of scholars deviating from politically correct dogmas—be suppressed.[38]

Thus, for example, when Yeruham Leavitt was teaching a class in medical ethics at Ben-Gurion University, he questioned the assertion that children raised by homosexual couples experience no adverse effects. For this he was not only fired for "unacceptable thinking," but the president of Ben-Gurion University, Rivka Carmi, went out of her way to defend the firing.[39] On the other hand, when a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University, Eyal Ben-Ari, was accused by several female students of having raped and sexually molested them, the university at first circled the wagons around him and only years later suspended him for two years without pay.[40]

Tel Aviv University faculty members have participated in protests demanding that the campus Center for Iranian Studies be shut down because they feared its work could assist the United States and Israel in confronting Tehran.[41] The radicals also opposed allowing an Israeli ex-general to speak there.[42] In 2008, the student union at Tel Aviv University wanted to hold an exhibit protesting human rights abuses in China, but university officials ordered it shut down lest it offend Chinese diplomats.[43] Meanwhile, TAU has repeatedly hosted events organized by the Israeli Communist Party, held in campus facilities.

Academics from all across the country are now calling for a boycott of Ariel University Center in Samaria because it is located across the "Green Line."[44] There have been no petitions though to eliminate politicized programs of ideological indoctrination run by the radical Left inside many university departments. There have been petitions by left-wing faculty members to eliminate university programs for Israeli army officers, intelligence service officers, and police, as well as petitions to bar army officers from holding academic positions.[45] Similarly, a group of University of Haifa faculty from its school of education organized a petition to demand that army officers be barred from speaking in schools.

All too often, university administrations have colluded with this mindset. When Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University filed a harassment "strategic lawsuit against public participation" (SLAPP) against this author for criticizing his public, political activities and writings, Gordon was backed by the highest officials at the university. These evidently see nothing amiss with such attempts at suppressing freedom of speech for other academics who happen to dislike Gordon's extremist opinions.[46]
Hiring for Uniformity in Thought

The Israeli campus has become thoroughly politicized with faculty hiring and promotion decisions subordinated to political bias. As noted in the 2001 MEQ article, scholars with mediocre academic records are often hired and promoted as acts of solidarity with the Left. There have also been allegations of malicious blocking and sabotaging of the academic careers of those with political views on the Right. Israeli academics recruited through this politicized process have misused their podiums to impose courses consisting of anti-Israel libel and venom on students.[47]

The manner in which this ideological hegemony is maintained over campuses is well known within the Israeli academic institutions even if the corruption has rarely been aired publicly. Consider a typical hiring or promotion procedure for an academic whose publication record consists mainly, or exclusively, of propaganda articles that bash Israel. Evaluation procedures are typically corrupted and politicized: An evaluation committee for the candidate is appointed, consisting entirely of like-minded faculty members who then typically request assessments from eight to ten "referees" from Israel and around the world. But all, or nearly all, of the referee letter-writers will themselves have identical anti-Israel sympathies and can generally be counted upon to write glowing letters of support out of a sense of political solidarity. Ben-Gurion University seems to be the most accomplished institution in such practices.

Faculty chat lists in which Israeli professors post comments, especially in the social sciences, are invariably dominated by the self-defined "progressives." The author was personally summoned by a rector of the University of Haifa, Yossi Ben Artzi, and threatened with disciplinary actions for using sarcasm in response to "bash-Israel" postings placed on the local professors' chat list. The "Israel Social Science" chat list is routinely censored to limit postings critical of the Left while ideological postings by anti-Israel faculty members suffer from no such handicap and dominate the list.[48] For example, an ideological article by the left-leaning Hebrew University professor Yitzhak Galnoor attacking the exercise of academic freedom by critics of leftists in Israeli universities[49] was posted on the list while list manager David Levi-Faur refused to permit any response to it to appear.

Would-be non-leftist faculty can clearly see the political writing on the wall. They must choose either to toe the political line out of career self-interest or to muzzle themselves and maintain a low profile, at least until they reach senior academic ranks and often after that as well.[50] Thus political uniformity and the campus hegemony are perpetuated.
Abuses in the Classroom

Israeli administrators have long turned a blind eye to anti-Israel courses which are often mandatory for students.[51] They have ignored growing reports that students are being harassed and penalized by faculty members when they dare to disagree with faculty political opining and indoctrination.[52] When the Im Tirtzu movement issued reports documenting classroom intimidation and indoctrination of students,[53] the group was denounced by scores of faculty members and by the rectors at Ben-Gurion University, University of Haifa, and Tel Aviv University as McCarthyists and fascists.[54]

Administrators have also refused to speak out against anti-Israel rallies, misrepresented as academic conferences, which take place almost weekly on Israeli campuses. When Islamist cleric Sheikh Ra'ed Salah spoke at the University of Haifa in June 2009, the university heads ordered that Jewish students be physically barred from entering the auditorium in which he spoke.[55] The cleric then called upon Arab students attending the lecture to become "martyrs." The following year the University of Haifa barred the sheikh from speaking, but Tel Aviv University responded by hosting him.[56]

Meanwhile the level of in-classroom anti-Israel indoctrination conducted in Israeli universities has been steadily growing. Crusading against Israel has become the chief scholarly credential of a growing number of tenured Israeli academics.[57] Rigid, anti-Israel uniformity and monolithic far-left consensus are to be found in many academic departments in Israeli universities, especially in the humanities, the softer social sciences, law, and education. There are some departments in which no Zionist or non-leftist is, in effect, permitted to teach.

In many university departments in Israel, academic pluralism means that anti-Israel opinion is preached and taught by a diverse set of faculty members—leftist Jews, Arabs, men, and women, all holding the same opinions—but not pluralism of ideas and ideological outlooks. All Israeli universities strive to expand the presence of Arab and female faculty members in the name of diversity, using affirmative action preferences. Yet none of them see anything wrong with the existence of entire departments in which there is not a single religiously observant faculty member or someone with writings from the Right side of the political spectrum.[58]

The anti-Israel political activities of faculty often border on open support for treason. Dozens of tenured extremists[59] were active in celebrating Tali Fahima, an Israeli woman arrested for collaborating with terrorists and helping to plan terror attacks.[60] Many openly identified with convicted nuclear spy and traitor Mordechai Vanunu,[61] or with the former Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara, wanted for espionage and now in hiding outside Israel.[62]

In a few cases, Israeli faculty members who have defamed army officers and other public figures as war criminals have caused their targets to cancel study and travel plans outside Israel for fear of being prosecuted on the weight of these smears.[63] Some of the most openly anti-Semitic propaganda on the planet, including much produced by neo-Nazis as well as open calls for the annihilation of Israel, is currently being disseminated via the ALEF List, an anti-Israel chat list operating under the auspices of the University of Haifa. Many of the worst anti-Semitic pronouncements disseminated by that list are posted on the "ALEF Watch" web site, run by IsraCampus.[64] These include endorsements of terrorism, calls for Israel to be exterminated, and Holocaust denial.

This anti-Israel bias and the accompanying suppression of dissident, pro-Israel opinion has been the focus of several recent studies receiving wide attention in the media. These include a survey of syllabi in political science courses, collected by the Im Tirtzu student organization,[65] and a similar report on sociology departments prepared by the Institute for Zionist Strategies.[66] Both studies claim to detect extreme bias and one-sided indoctrination in departmental courses, including mandatory courses.
Change in the Air?

The biggest change that has occurred since the 2001 Socrates article is that the Israeli public now is aware of tenured extremism. Public figures, members of the parliament, journalists, students, alumni, donors, and other academics are speaking up courageously, criticizing anti-Israel academics, and challenging the hegemony of the far Left over Israel's four main liberal arts universities. There have been proposals in Israel's parliament to require disclosure of sources of funding for radical, anti-Israel nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).[67] Israeli radical academics are active in all such groups. There have also been proposals for a law that would deny citizenship to those refusing to declare loyalty to Israel or who engage in extremist, anti-Israel activities.[68] A number of Knesset members and other political leaders in Israel have repeatedly spoken out against the political activities of radical academics, including in NGOs, among them Danny Danon, Gideon Sa'ar (the Israeli minister of education), Alex Miller, and Michael Ben-Ari.[69] Sa'ar held special Knesset committee hearings on the seditious activities of faculty and political biases in Israeli universities.[70]

The Knesset has considered bills directed against Israeli academics who issue calls for anti-Israel boycotts[71] and probing human rights NGOs involved in anti-Israel propaganda activities.[72] Other public figures, such as the mayor of the town of Omer in which many faculty members of Ben-Gurion University reside, have called for sanctions against universities that refuse to act against tenured radicals.[73]

One sign of how far things have been transformed is the widespread willingness today to criticize Israel's tenured foes by name in all of the Israeli mainstream media, with the daily Ma'ariv the most aggressive. The most consistent and effective critics of the anti-Israel radicals have been Ben-Dror Yemini[74] and Kalman Liebskind,[75] both at Ma'ariv. Watchdog web sites have arisen that monitor and document the anti-Israel activities of Israeli faculty members. The main such group is IsraCampus, operating as a sort of Israeli cousin to the Middle East Forum's Campus Watch. Other groups and websites also follow the anti-Israel political activities of academics, including NGO Monitor headed by Gerald M. Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University.

But perhaps the most dramatic change on Israeli campuses has been the emergence over the past few years of a patriotic, Zionist student movement. Until three or four years ago, it was unusual to see Israeli university students take to the barricades except over the price of tuition or cafeteria food. The Arab student unions would regularly hold small anti-Israel protests and political activities, but Jewish students were rarely involved in campus political expression. Thanks to the Im Tirtzu movement, all that has changed. Largely the initiative of two eloquent and prolific Hebrew University students, Ronen Shoval and Erez Tadmor, Im Tirtzu is the dominant student ideological movement today on most Israeli campuses.[76]

The term Im Tirtzu, means, "If you will it," and it is part of a longer mantra originally coined by Theodor Herzl as part of his proposal for creation of a Jewish state. The Im Tirtzu student movement has emerged as the most effective and vocal force drawing public attention to the abuses stemming from campus politicization.[77] Im Tirtzu leaders have testified in the Knesset and write frequently in the media; the movement regularly organizes counter-protests with Israeli flags and patriotic slogans in response to every anti-Israel demonstration organized by Arab and Jewish leftist students. Its members wear T-shirts to class with images of Herzl and Jabotinsky. It has called for pressure on Israeli universities, especially Ben-Gurion University,[78] to force campus officials to act against classroom politicization, and it has threatened to file Supreme Court petitions to achieve this.

Left-wing academics increasingly complain about Im Tirtzu students cataloguing information about political bias, gleaned from course descriptions and syllabi. The group's leaders have highlighted the fact that students from the center and right of the Israeli spectrum experience harassment from left-wing faculty.[79] In one infamous incident, a student at Ben-Gurion University, Rachel Avraham, was threatened with penalties and a lowered grade by the anti-Zionist geography professor Oren Yiftachel if she refused to toe his ideological line.[80] Other harassment of student Zionists is even worse. In another incident, leftist students at Ben-Gurion University were photographed giving Heil Hitler Nazi salutes to pro-Zionist students at a campus rally following the Turkish flotilla raid[81] while Hebrew University students used the Nazi salute during student council electioneering.[82]

The Israeli public is losing patience with radical anti-Israel academics and demanding accountability from the universities regarding the use and misuse of taxpayer funds. Indeed, the awakening of public awareness in Israel (and outside it) over the past decade has been breathtaking. Internet web searches about the subject yield thousands of articles on numerous websites, both inside and outside of Israel, leading many leftist professors increasingly to complain about being "spied upon."[83] Other radicals may be exercising greater caution and circumspection as a result. While difficult to prove numerically, far-leftist academics now seem increasingly to perceive and complain about a drop in the willingness on the part of their fellow travelers in the anti-Israel camp to go public these days with anti-Israel statements and actions, to engage in open incitement against Israel, or to sign their names to openly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic petitions.

Still, the battle rages on. Depoliticizing the Israeli campus is yet a far-off dream. But as anger grows against Israel's tenured extremists, change is in the air.

Steven Plaut teaches at the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Haifa.

[1] Solomon Socrates, "Israel's Academic Extremists," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2001, pp. 5-14.
[2] See, for example, Efraim Karsh, "Benny Morris and the Reign of Error, Revisited," Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2005, pp. 31-42; idem, "Israel's Human Chameleon Strikes Again," The American Thinker, July 10, 2011.
[3] The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 7, 2010.
[4] Makor Rishon (Tel Aviv), June 24, 2011.
[5] Ilan Gur-Ze'ev, The Possibility/Impossibility of a New Critical Language in Education (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2010).
[6] Avraham Oz, "Urgent warning: The Israeli government may be contemplating crimes against humanity," LabourNet.UK, Sept. 24, 2002.
[7] "Anti-Israel Petitions Signed by Israeli Academics," IsraCampus (Haifa), accessed May 27, 2011.
[8] Israel Academia Monitor (Even Yehuda), Sept. 9, 2005.
[9] "PSP Supports Kobi Snitz, an Israeli Activist Beginning Short Prison Term for Anti-Occupation Activity," International Campaign of Solidarity with the Palestinian Prisoners, Sept. 21, 2009.
[10] YNet News (Tel Aviv), June 6, 2011.
[11] Lee Kaplan, "Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University, hails anti-Israel activity on her campus," IsraCampus, accessed May 27, 2011.
[12] "President of Ben-Gurion University Collaborating with Communist Ideologue Jacob Katriel," The Jewish Press Blog, Sept. 29, 2007.
[13] "Jewish Supporters of Refugee Rights Including the Palestinian Right of Return," The Middle East Crisis Committee, Woodbridge, Conn., Nov. 8, 2003.
[14] "Anti-Israel Petitions Signed by Israeli Academics," IsraCampus, July 12, 2004.
[15] See, for example, "Join the One-State Initiative," Palestine Justice Network, Apr. 23, 2011.
[16] See, for example, "Where Truth Is Destiny," Zundelsite, Oct. 27, 2000.
[17] The Tehran Times, Apr. 6, 2009.
[18] Neve Gordon, "Cloud after Auschwitz," The Nation, Nov. 13, 2000.
[19] "Shraga Elam and David Irving," Paul Bogdanor website, Mar. 13, 2003.
[20] The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2008.
[21] Seth J. Frantzman, "The Israeli Academy and the Gaza War," IsraCampus, Mar. 2009.
[22] Gary Katz, "The Case of Nurit Peled-Elhanan," IsraCampus, Jan. 6, 2008.
[23] Shlomo Sharan, "Our Inner Scourge: The Catastrophe of Israel Academics," The Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR, Shaarei Tikva), Sept. 2007; see, also, Arnon Soffer, "Bemalkodet Ha-Radicalizm Ha-Akademi," University of Haifa, 2007.
[24] Ran HaCohen, "A Case for Hizbullah?", Palo Alto, Calif., Aug. 13, 2003.
[25] "Full Text of Alan Dershowitz's Tel Aviv Speech," Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), May, 12, 2010.
[26] Ibid.
[27] New York and London: Verso, 2010.
[28] Sharan, "Our Inner Scourge: The Catastrophe of Israel Academics."
[29] For a webcast of the lecture, see "Opening Night, May 7," Tel Aviv University, May 7, 2010.
[30] "Mikhtav Havrei Segel Beuniversitat Tel Aviv Beinyan Neum Habela shel Alan D Dershowitz," Kibbush Magazine, May 11, 2010.
[31] Ha'aretz, May 21, 2011.
[32] Ynet News, Mar. 31, 2010.
[33] Ben-Dror Yemini, "Incitement at Tel Aviv University or 'Voices from Gaza'?" Ma'ariv (Tel Aviv), Apr. 15, 2010.
[34] Alon Ben Shaul, "It's the Zionists, Stupid," IsraCampus, accessed May 27, 2011.
[35] See, for example, David Newman, "Bashing the Academic Left," The Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2011; "Ben-Gurion University—David Newman," IsraCampus, Apr. 24, 2009.
[36] Gerald Steinberg, "Right of Reply: Israel's Academic Left on the Attack," The Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2010.
[37] The Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2010.
[38] See Benjamin Pogrund, "The Guardians of Israeli Academia," Ha'aretz, Oct. 23, 2009; Nitza Berkovitch, "McCarthyism in Tel Aviv," YNet News, Aug. 17, 2010.
[39] YNet News, July 4, 2010.
[40] Ha'aretz, Aug. 1, Aug. 5, 2008, Feb. 24, 2011.
[41] Israel Academia Monitor, Apr. 23, 2006.
[42] YNet News, Nov. 6, 2006; Israel Academia Monitor, Apr. 23, 2006.
[43] Epoch Times (New York), Mar. 8, 2008.
[44] The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1, 2011.
[45] Seth Frantzman, "Ivory Towers of Critique: The Philosophy and Political Science Departments at Tel Aviv University," IsraCampus, Oct. 15, 2009.
[46] Rivka Carmi, "Universities Are in the Footnotes," The Jerusalem Post, May 28, 2011; Ha'aretz, Sept. 15, 2010. A SLAPP is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by forcing them to bear costs involved in a legal defense.
[47] Jacob Benshimon, "In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of Michigan," FrontPage Magazine, Apr. 29, 2008; Israel Academia Monitor, accessed June 7, 2011.
[48] Steven Plaut, "The Leftwing McCarthyism of Prof. Itzhak Galnoor," IsraCampus, Oct. 13, 2009. Examples of post-Zionist domination of the chat list: "Chaim Gans: Professorim Neged Chofesh Ha-Bitoi," Aug. 2, 2010; "Dubi Kanengisser: Post-Tzionut ba-Akademia Ha-Yisraelit," Aug. 17, 2010.
[49] Itzhak Galnoor, "Academic Freedom under Political Duress: Israel," Social Research, Summer 2009, pp. 541-60.
[50] Carmi, "Universities Are in the Footnotes"; Ha'aretz, Sept. 15, 2010.
[51] Benshimon, "In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of Michigan"; Israel Academia Monitor, accessed June 7, 2011.
[52] Ha'aretz, Nov. 9, 2009.
[53] Dan Illouz, "True Academic Freedom in Israel," Arutz Sheva (Beit El and Petah Tikva), July 23, 2010.
[54] Ha'aretz, Aug. 19, 2010. For negative responses, see The New Centrist, Feb. 7, 2010; "Israel's Drift toward Fascism—More on Im Tirtzu," Jews for Justice for Palestinians (London), Sept. 21, 2010; "When Zionism Is Portrayed at Fascism," Dan Illouz website, Apr. 6, 2010.
[55] Canada Free Press, June 19, 2009.
[56] YNet News, June 24, 2009; ibid., May 24, 2011.
[57] Benshimon, "In-Classroom Indoctrination at the University of Michigan."
[58] Ha'aretz, Aug. 19, 2010.
[59] Free Tali Fahima petition, Oct. 4, 2004.
[60] YNet News, June 8, 2010.
[61] Mordechai Vanunu petition, accessed June 8, 2011.
[62] "Neither Dictates nor War," petition supporting Bishara signed by Israeli academics with the list of signers; Arab News (Jeddah), May 3, 2007.
[63] The Guardian (London), Oct. 27, 2009; Arutz Sheva, June 27, 2011; YNet News, Sept. 11, 2005, Feb. 27, 2006.
[64] ALEF Watch, IsraCampus, accessed June 8, 2011.
[65] Ha'aretz, Aug.17, 2010.
[66] "Post-Zionism in the Academy," Institute for Zionist Strategies, Jerusalem, accessed June 1, 2011.
[67] Alana Goodman, "Is Israel's Controversial NGO Law Simply a Foreign Agent Registration Act?" Commentary, Jan. 6, 2011.
[68] Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct. 12, 2010; YNet News, Feb. 14, 2011.
[69] YNet News, Jan. 5, 2011.
[70] Ibid., Nov. 2, 2010.
[71] The Guardian, Jan. 5, 2011; Joseph Dana, "Will It Soon Be Illegal for Israelis to Support BDS?" +972 website, Feb. 15, 2011.
[72] Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Jan. 12, 2011.
[73] NRG website (Ma'ariv), June 2, 2011.
[74] Ben-Dror Yemini, "Academic Brainwashing," Ma'ariv, IsraCampus trans., Aug. 20, 2010.
[75] Arutz Sheva, Jan. 11, 2011.
[76] Ibid., June 17, 2009.
[77] The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 18, 2010.
[78] Ha'aretz, Aug. 18, 2010.
[79] Martin Sherman, "Channel 10 'Hamakor' on Im Tirtzu's efforts in combating post/anti-Zionist perspectives in Israeli academe," Israel Academia Monitor, Feb. 9, 2011.
[80] Illouz, "True Academic Freedom in Israel"; Rachel Avraham, "Studying under Dr. Oren Yiftachel," Israel Academia Monitor, accessed June 8, 2011.
[81] Haim Misgav, "Freedom to Give Nazi Salute," YNet News, Aug. 19, 2010.
[82] Arutz Sheva, June 9, 2009.
[83] Lincoln Z. Shlensky, "Neve Gordon: Assault on Academic Freedom," Jewish Peace News, Sept. 1, 2010; Neve Gordon, "Struggling over the Right to Struggle—An Assault on Israeli Academic Freedom and Liberal Values," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 26, 2010, and Occupation Magazine, Aug. 30, 2010.

Sukkah Torah and Prayer

JoeSettler at 10/17/2011

I spent yesterday (Sunday) meeting with and listening to different politicians and public figures at various Sukkas I visited. Something the Chief Rabbi said intrigued me. This is what I remember him saying (it's not word-for-word, but rather the general gist of his talk):

This past year Israel faced an incredibly serious threat, a number of them actually. Yet September came and went, and no disaster fell upon is despite vocal cries of the upcoming Tsunami.

So what happened?

The threats were real. September was very real. Even more real and dangerous than the general public knows. But Hashem doesn't turn away a prayer that comes from deep within. Because of the very real threat we faced, in our fear, we the nation increased our prayers, our depth, our concern expressed in those T'fillot, and as a result Hashem listened.

Hopefully our prayers are also helping to free Gilad Shalit soon. And that is a wonderful thing. An important thing.

But his coming home is coming with an awful, horrible price that the nation will have to face.

And we'll need to increase our prayers in response to this, to protect us more.

In was inevitable, that unless Israel launched a rescue operation, or started taking more aggressive steps against our enemy that this was the price we were going to eventually pay once Hamas decided it was ready to make a deal (assuming it happens).

And I think the Chief Rabbi summed it up succinctly. Getting Gilad Shalit back is important for Gilad and important for the nation. But it's now up to us to pray harder to protect us from what comes next as a result of this horrible deal.

"More on Shalit"

Arlene Kushner

My presence at my computer is only intermittent, and will continue to be so until Thursday night, when the holiday is over. Quite simply, it is a mitzvah (a commandment) to dwell -- to eat and sleep -- in the Sukkah. And a source of joy to do so with family.

But in no way does this mean I have forgotten about Gilad Shalit, or other pressing matters of the day. The issue of Shalit in particular weighs heavily upon my mind and heart -- as upon everyone's. As I last wrote just as the news of the deal broke, I share here both additional facts and thoughts.
Let me begin by stating what I hope is obvious: Although there are multiple sound reasons to be thoroughly opposed to the deal that is about to take place, this cannot/should not negate the human gladness at seeing this son of Israel return home. He was grabbed by Hamas because he is an Israeli soldier, and he has suffered greatly for the very same reason. Whatever poor decisions are being made on his behalf, he has had no part in them -- he will simply be brought home. Undoubtedly damaged, although we don't know yet how badly.

If only he were returning by means other than a prisoner swap with Hamas, there would be unmitigated joy. As it is, it's schizoid situation and terribly painful on many counts. Schizoid is quite a good word for what is going on. Conflicted might be another.


Ransoming of captives (pidyon shvuyim) was set out by the Mishna (code of Jewish law) as a mitzvah. Traditionally Jewish communities went to great lengths to redeem captives. However, the rabbis ruled that the good of the community also had to be considered: if ransom was excessively burdensome on the community, or if paying the ransom would motive additional kidnappings, it was discouraged or forbidden.

The parallels here are obvious.


For the record, when the Cabinet voted to proceed with the deal, there were three who voted against: Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon (Likud), Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu), and National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beitenu). Men of integrity.

Ya'alon, reflecting the national struggle, said it so very well:

“My heart says yes, but my head says no. (Emphasis added)

"This issue has ethical, national, security and strategic aspects. On the one hand, we have a responsibility for Gilad – the need to save his life and redeem a captive. But to bring about his release, we would have to free 1,000 terrorists. From experience, we know that the terrorists we release will lead to the murder of dozens and maybe hundreds of Israelis.

"[The Schalit deal] would be a victory for Hamas and a surrender to terror. It would give new spirit to jihadist extremists and harm our deterrence. We are obligated to the life of Gilad Schalit and to return him home, but we are also obligated to protect the citizens of Israel."


Ya'alon spoke about terrorists released in 1985, which sparked the first intifada and caused the death of at least 178 Israelis.

That there is going to be more of the same now is inevitable. Yoram Cohen, head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, admitted this when he said, "We cannot promise that they will not produce terror."

In a 2008 study done for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nadav Shragai reported that Israeli security services have informally estimated that about half of the terrorists set free "returned to the path of terror, either as perpetrator, planner, or accomplice." (With thanks to Dave A. on this.)


Among those who are apparently going to be released (the list is from Hamas and not confirmed by Israel) are Nasser Batima, who was in prison for planning the Passover Seder bombing at the Park hotel in Netanya, in which 30 were killed and 140 wounded, and Husam Badran, who helped plan the bombing of the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv, in which 21 young people were murdered.

These are big guns: planners. They are not about to take up carpentry or become computer repairmen.


And then there's Ahlam Tamimi, complicit in the bombing of the Sbarro Pizza restaurant, in which 15 were killed and many more wounded. She is usually referred to as the one who drove the suicide bomber to the Sbarro, but in fact she helped plan the operation. From prison, she gave an interview in which she declared she regretted nothing.

One of those killed in Sbarro was 15-year old Malki Roth. Her parents were so enraged by the prospect of Tamimi being released that they circulated a petition asking that her name be removed from the list of those to be traded.

The deadline was today, but in any event, it has occurred to me that the anger of the families of those killed during the Seder bombing or at the Dolphinarium or during other attacks can be no less -- even if they did not circulate individual petitions. The issue is far bigger than the removal of one name from that list.

An article in the JPost, for example, cited Hovav Nuriel, whose father, Sasson Nuriel, was murdered by a Hamas cell; his family, he says, has been "shattered" by the news that three of the terrorists convicted of the murder were to be freed.

And then there's Haim Karisi, whose daughter, was killed by a terrorist now slated to be released:

"What they did to us is like a slap in the face. We need to hear about the terrorist who killed our daughter being released from the media? Everyone is happy and dancing in our blood and with all due respect to Gilad's smiling mother, there are hundreds of parents whose heart is bleeding today."

And, so, the Almagor Terror Victims Organization has organized a petition by victims of terror asking that the High Court of Justice stop the trade. It is unprecedented, said the petition, because of the emotional consequences for families of those murdered, and because of the security risks.

Do not count on the Court intervening. But the pain of these families should not be forgotten.


The operation -- called Operation Beit HaShoeva -- has been finalized by David Meidan, in Cairo, on behalf of the Israeli government. Everything is said to be "go" for Tuesday morning: Shalit will be brought from Gaza into the Sinai, likely via Rafah, and will be met by Egyptian soldiers and a small IDF contingent. He will then be brought south to an Egyptian army base. Once his identity and condition have been verified, word will go out to release the first 450 prisoners. Shalit will then be brought into Israel, to the Tel Nof base, by helicopter. There will be a brief, small reception for him and he will then be brought to his home in Mitzpe Hila.

As to the released prisoners, who will have been gathered at a prison in the south of Israel and whose identities will be confirmed by the Red Cross: some 110 will be brought to Ramallah and will be permitted to move into homes in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem. About half of these, including 57 Hamas prisoners, will have security restrictions. Others will go to Gaza or be deported elsewhere. Tamimi is supposed to go to Jordan.

Some 279 of these 450 were serving life sentences.


© 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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Sunday, October 16, 2011


It's a request to sign a petition that we created in the last few hours, petition online here

Under normal circumstances, requests to sign a petition are unlikely to lead to any significant outcomes. In this case, we are hoping to do something important.

The petition asks for the removal of one specific name from the list of more than one thousand terrorists, including hundreds of convicted murderers, to be published by the government of Israel tomorrow, Sunday. That list is the basis of a transaction by which Israel will get back Gilad Shalit, held hostage by the terrorists of Hamas for more than five years. The deal involves Israel throwing open the gates of its top-security prisons and issuing wholesale pardons. My wife Frimet and I have expressed our principled objection to the deal. While others are busy trying to stop it in the courts, we are focusing our energies on one specific person, and getting her off the list. (petition online here)

Her name is Tamimi. An article in today's New York Times [ ] provides some background:

Among those is Ahlam Tamimi, a 31-year-old woman who was a key figure in the pizzeria attack. She is often described as the driver of the car that brought the suicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant and killed 15 people. But the Roths say her role went far beyond that, to the actual planning of the attack. In interviews from prison, Ms. Tamimi, who was a journalist, has told of having brought the suicide bomber to Jerusalem and then going on Palestinian television’s afternoon broadcast to announce the news of the attack without acknowledging her involvement. “I’m not sorry for what I did,” she told an Israeli news organization in 2006. “I will get out of prison, and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”
The Roths said their anger over the prisoner exchange was focused on Ms. Tamimi, who is being sent to Jordan. She is young, fervent and charismatic, Mr. Roth said, and proud of what she did. In a documentary on Palestinian prisoners, she was asked whether she knew how many children had been killed in the attack. She did not. When told the number was eight, she smiled.

There is a fuller background about the circumstances in which our daughter was murdered on the Keren Malki website:

And there are many articles on the web tonight showing her family and supporters celebrating her impending return to freedom and to a full and active life as a heroine and inspiration.

Time is very limited. We really only have until Sunday (16th October) to get a significant number of signatures. If we succeed, we can then put pressure on the Prime Minister's Office and the Justice Ministry and publicize this in the media.

Even if you do not normally sign petitions, or pass them along to friends, we ask you to seriously consider signing this one. Once again, it's online here:

Finally, allow me to mention that Keren Malki, the non-sectarian not-for-profit we created in our daughter's memory in 2001, does very good work in our murdered daughter's name for the benefit of families raising a special-needs child. Your support for that work will be much appreciated. More at

Thank you for reading this far. Together with our friends and their friends, we hope - despite the odds - to do something constructive in the face of the terrible transaction being done with the terrorists of Hamas.

petition online here

Good wishes, Moadim Lesimcha, and Shavua Tov,
Arnold Roth