Saturday, March 02, 2013

Germans Lurching towards Anti-Semitism

Isi Leibler

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, successive German governments have meticulously upheld their obligations to the Jewish people. Study of the Holocaust is a mandatory component of the German state education curriculum, Holocaust denial is classified as a crime and restitution commitments were honored and even exceeded.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is a genuine friend of the Jews and despite intense political pressures and occasional minor vacillations, has consistently supported Israel, describing its security as “part of my country’s raison d’etre”. However in recent years, as in other European countries, German public opinion has turned against Israel, perceiving it as the principal threat to global stability and peace. This hostility has increasingly assumed overt anti-Semitic tones.
There is growing resentment against Jews, who are blamed for imposing excessive emphasis on collective German national guilt for the Holocaust.

U.S. Helping Israel's Defense

Yaakov Lappin

Cooperation between the two countries today is at an unprecedented level. The other part involves devastating offensive capabilities, designed to surprise adversaries, bringing any war to a swift conclusion.
The cheering and the hugs exchanged by Israeli and American teams this week at Palmahim Air Force base, south of Tel Aviv, marked a historical turn of events.
For the first time ever, a successful test launch had been carried out of the Arrow 3 missile defense system, designed to stop Iranian long-range ballistic missiles – even those carrying nuclear warheads – in space.
The product of Israeli-American cooperation, and years of research and development led by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), together with the US Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency, the successful test represented a leap forward in missile defense technology, and a key development in the ongoing Israeli-Iranian arms race.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Israeli Politics: On the Edge of the Precipice

Isi Leibler
There is madness in the air. Israel faces extraordinary challenges whilst virtually all our leaders uninhibitedly continue their intrigues and machinations in pursuit of power. They regard their responsibility to the national interest as a distant mirage uttering occasional hypocritical rhetoric.
Our friends and allies rub their eyes in disbelief and the barbarians at our gates rejoice as they observe such irresponsible posturing.
Enough is enough. We must convey the message that if our politicians fail to behave responsibly and get their act together, we will send them home at the next elections.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"A Mess"

The mess is of considerable proportions, as I see it.  Redeemable, yes.  With determination, inner confidence, strength and faith.  But are we seeing these factors in play sufficiently?  A friend told me today that she's feeling demoralized, and she's not alone.
I actually had hopes a day ago, that by the time I sat down to write today, late in my day, there would have been an announcement about Bennett having signed on to the coalition.  Yesterday Likud was saying that it was coming any minute -- maybe last night, maybe during the day today.  Now reports have it that it will be in the "next few days."  Obviously, while there has been progress, everything is not going quite as smoothly as certain parties would have us believe. I believe the catch is Livni's role in the government.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#24h In the Life of a Soldier: Facing Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese Border

Episode 1 - Facing Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese Border
The area near the Israeli-Lebanese border is beautiful. The rainy season has painted the area green. We’re joining a group from the Herev Battalion, most of whom are Druze soldiers permanently stationed at Israel’s northern border. Their base is only ten meters away from the border. You can clearly see the Lebanese villages on the other side.
Israeli-Lebanese border
These soldiers know every square foot of the area. “We need to be ready to respond at any given time,” says Osama, a company commander. “Our soldiers are brave and willing to give everything for the mission. Our strength is everything we’ve got.”
They aren’t playing around – the danger on the northern border is real. “Each of my soldiers is defending his own home,” Osama says. “Almost all of us live less than 30 minutes away from the border. During the Second Lebanon War, in 2006, rockets hit our villages.”
We joined the battalion for 24 hours – a day in their lives. Here’s what we saw:
Early Hours of the Morning – Night Patrol
For several soldiers, the day actually starts at nightfall. In the early hours of the morning, the night patrol meets for a briefing. The commander talks about the current threats at the border and peppers his soldiers with questions. He divides the patrol into three teams. We set out.
It’s a windy night – a tree falls and crashes into the border fence. The soldiers are about to remove the tree when a vehicle arrives from the Lebanese side of the border, flashing its lights in our direction.
We leave the area, and inspect every inch of the road. “This road is very dangerous,” says the patrol commander. “We’re in a valley, a vulnerable position to be in. We don’t stay here long, but it’s still part of the patrol area.”
The group continues its patrol, and repeats the same route several times. Another group replaces them a few hours later.

Truly creepy moments from the 2013 Oscars (with bonus reviewlet of Les Misérables)

Confessions up front: I rarely watch the Oscars broadcast, and I had to do a search on Seth McFarlane to find out what his day job is.  That’s just how immersed I am in popular culture.  (I still don’t understand who the Kardashians are, and why Bruce Jenner seems to be involved, in spite of having it explained to me more than once by my younger, hipper sisters.)
So I don’t know if last night’s broadcast differed significantly from previous Oscar productions.  I do know it had some very jarring moments, and not in a good way.  Here are my top two:
1.  Michelle Obama’s appearance – surrounded by military members in their dinner dress uniforms – via video-teleconference.  What was with the service members in dinner dress?  What point was this tableau trying to make?
Inserting the First Lady into the Oscars would have been weird – political, off-key – to begin with.  (Frankly, for me, the right jokes would have compared her Oscar moment to Nixon’s path-breaking turn on Laugh-In).  But the presence of the military transformed weird into proto-fascist.  Mrs. Obama talked about nurturing the arts in our young people, against a backdrop of military members in dress uniforms.  She also threw in a drive-by allusion to the hype-cause of the moment, same-sex marriage.

Landau: If Terrorists Want to Starve Themselves, Let 'Em

Water and Energy Minister Uzi Landau said that Israel should respect the wishes of terrorists who preferred to starve themselves 

Water and Energy Minister Uzi Landau – who has a rich defense background, having served in the past as Public Security Minister – said that Israel should respect the wishes of terrorists who preferred to starve themselves, and not try to figure out ways to convince them to eat. “This hunger strike and the riots in their wake is just another provocation by the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “We must not panic.”

Speaking to Arutz Sheva Monday, Landau said that the PA was going out of its way to cause riots, as a “greeting,” and a message, to U.S. President Barack H. Obama, due here for a visit in several weeks. “The riots in 'protest' over the prisoner who died in Megiddo Prison are just a pretext,” he said. “They would have found another reason to riot had he not died.” Landau said that the PA has never honored the agreements it signed with Israel, and has constantly promoted terror by honoring terrorists, naming streets and squares after them, providing them with pensions, etc.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rise of the Militias in the Middle East

“Hey! think the time is right for a palace revolution, but where I live the game to play is compromise solution…

–The Rolling Stones, “Street-Fighting Man”
Quite a bit of the recent news flowing out of the Middle East has an interesting common thread. Whether it’s Syria, Iraq, Egypt, or Tunisia, all states once known for their strong military leadership, the new power players may not be wearing the uniforms, but they’ve still got the guns.

On the Syrian front it was recently reported that Iran and Hezbollah are preparing a militia,
with as many as 50,000 fighters
,according to the Iranians, to deal with the potential post-Assad era.  If Assad does fall, the goal would be to use these militiamen to secure key Syrian territory, enabling Iran to continue to control supply lines to Hezbollah in Lebanon and maintain its influence. Despite suffering from financial sanctions, Iran is reportedly funneling millions of dollars in cash and equipment to their newest proxies.

Jihad or Criminality?

Daniel Pipes
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

A recent spate of killings in the United States of non-Muslims by Muslims has gone unnoticed by the major media. Here are four cases I know of:
Feb. 5: Yusuf Ibrahim, 27, Egyptian born and living in Jersey City, stands accused of shooting, then cutting off the heads and hands of two Copts, Hanny F. Tawadros and Amgad A. Konds, and burying them in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey. He is charged with two counts of murder and with desecrating human remains. He is also wanted for a Sep. 20, 2012, armed robbery in Jersey City in which a victim was shot in the foot.

Ziad AbuZayyad: Even a tenth of a percent of land is dear to us

Dr. Aaron Lerner   25 February 2013
Ziad AbuZayyad a former member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Minister of State in the Palestinian Authority, told Israel Radio in a live interview on the noon news program today that “even a tenth of a percent of land is dear to us” and thus the Palestinians cannot be expected to compromise.  AbuZayyad compared the importance of a tenth of a percent of land to the importance of eyes to a body.