Saturday, May 31, 2014

Israel solves water woes with desalination

Agressive desalination program has transformed perennially parched land into perhaps the most well-hydrated country in the region.
Associated Press
Published:  Israel News
After experiencing its driest winter on record, Israel is responding as never before - by doing nothing.
While previous droughts have been accompanied by impassioned public service advertisements to conserve, this time around it has been greeted with a shrug - thanks in large part to an aggressive desalination program that has transformed this perennially parched land into perhaps the most well-hydrated country in the region.

"We have all the water we need, even in the year which was the worst year ever regarding precipitation," said Avraham Tenne, head of the desalination division of Israel's Water Authority. "This is a huge revolution."

Into the Fray: The rout of the Right


The Israeli leadership would do well to bear in mind that commitment to the principle of democratic governance is not a suicide pact.

Lawmakers gather for a session in the Knesset. Photo: REUTERS
Incredibly, today, except for detail in nuance and tone, the formal positions of the major “right-wing” faction, the Likud, has become indistinguishable from positions expounded by the far-left Meretz faction.

In terms of political affiliation, 51 percent of respondents said they were right-wing, 22% said they were in the Center and 27% defined themselves as left-wing. Among young people, a greater percentage called themselves right-wing than left-wing

– Recent opinion poll, “Israel today – the state of the nation,” Ynetnews, May 5.

At first glance, the findings of the poll conducted over the last week of April should be cause of great encouragement and satisfaction for the political “Right.” That is until you examine political realities and take a long, hard look at the political “Right’s” performance over the past two-and-a-half decades.

Organizational victory, ideological defeat

According to the survey, over half the population holds views presumably compatible with what might be expected of “right-wing” political platforms – almost double that found for what presumably might be expected of the political platforms of its “left-wing” rivals. No less significant, the “Right” enjoys greater support than the “Left” among the young.It seem the younger the age group, the stronger the support for the “Right.”

Obama Affirms U.S. Commitment for Establishment of Palestinian state

RAMALLAH,  (WAFA) – U.S. president Barrack Obama, in a letter sent to President Mahmoud abbas, affirmed the U.S. commitment for the establishment of the state of Palestine living in peace alongside the state of Israel.
“It was a pleasure to welcome you to the white house in March, and I send my thanks for your kind gifts,” said Obama.
“As I emphasized during our meeting, the United States remains deeply committed to a negotiated outcome between Palestinians and Israelis that result in an independent, viable, and contiguous Palestinian state living in peace alongside the state of Israel,” stressed Obama.
“I am hopeful we can continue to work closely together to achieve this goal and further strengthen the bonds between our two people,” the letter concluded.

The Afghan War’s Dismal End; Blame Bush Too

Ted Belman

Were the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan the right response to 9/11 but badly executed? If not, what should the response have been? I don’t think the war against Afghanistan could have been won even with unbridled rules of engagement or using more troops. The weeds always come back.Ted Belman
by Daniel Pipes
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

Barack Obama’s announcement today that the number of U.S. troops will be reduced to 9,800 by year’s end and to zero two years later virtually declares that this war, which will have lasted slightly over 15 years and nearly all of four presidential administrations, will end in total American failure.
That’s because the Taliban and other Islamist forces have already made a substantial comeback; because the coalition-sponsored Afghan leaders have proven themselves corrupt and inept; and because Americans and other Westerner populations remain unconvinced that this war is worth their lives and treasury. As I have often predicted, about both Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s only a matter of a few more years before the impact of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars devoted to their liberation will disappear with little more than a trace.

Friday, May 30, 2014

IDF Manhunt After Terror Cell at Large in Samaria

Ari Yashar

The IDF on Friday afternoon began a manhunt in Samaria. Their target: the terror cell that is believed to have been behind the foiled suicide bombing at Tapuach Junction near Ariel which took place Friday morning.

The assumption at this stage is that the suicide terrorist who was captured wearing a bomb belt was brought to Tapuach Junction by three other Arab terrorists, reports Walla!.

The three terrorists reportedly gave the apprehended terrorist clear instructions as to how to detonate the bomb belt.

IDF forces suspect that the three terrorists may have more bomb belts or other weapons, lending a true urgency to the pursuit.

The IDF’s Best of the Best: Krav Maga Competition

kran maga cover 2
The IDF’s most elite soldiers battled it out to see who is the best of the best in Krav Maga.
The IDF’s top units – including Sayeret Matkal, Duvdevan and Shayetet 13  each chose their top fighters to battle against each other in the second annual Krav Maga competition, which took place at the IDF’s School for Combat Fitness in Netanya.

Op-Ed: Poof, the Magic Settlements!

Those settlements have unbelievable powers.

When Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA) signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, a recognized terrorist group that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, the State Department’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, observed, “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.” 
Despite the obvious truth of this statement, Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel. As he told the Congress, “700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem. And poof! That was sort of the moment.”
Again the claim is that “magical” settlements can “magically” destroy a major peace negotiation. Somehow, the PA promoting hatred and violence, not arresting terrorists, allying itself with Hamas, refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state are not the destroyers of peace –– it is the announcement of construction of Jewish homes within the boundaries of settlements that existed when Oslo began. Specifically, in Gilo, a southern Jerusalem neighborhood of 40,000, which would remain Israel’s under any conceivable peace agreement.

Salafism: An Egoistic Alternative for Muslims

Raymond Ibrahim
Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, vice president of Egypt’s Salafi party – the nation’s premiere Islamist party since the Muslim Brotherhood was banned – recently issued a controversial fatwa, or Islamic decree.
Burhami’s earlier fatwas include banning Muslim cab drivers and bus drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar”; banning Mother’s Day as a Western innovation; and insisting that Muslims cannot apostatize from Islam – a phenomenon often in the news.   Indeed, Burhami was author to some of Egypt’s most controversial fatwas in 2012.
Now, according to Dr. Burhami, a pediatrician by training, if a Muslim husband ever finds it expedient to abandon his wife to rapists in order to save his own life, he is permitted to do so.  
This should not be surprising, considering that Burhami earlier insisted that, although a Muslim man may marry non-Muslim women, specifically Christians and Jews, he must hate them – and show them that he hates them – because they are “infidels,” even while he may enjoy them sexually.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Al-Qaeda in Syria Reaches Israel's Border

IPT News 
Violence from the Syrian Civil War has periodically spilled over onto Israeli territory. Now, Syrian Islamist fighters hoist the al-Qaida flag and praise Osama bin Laden just a few miles from Israeli troops.
According to the Jerusalem Post, a video posted by al-Qaeda's Nusra Front shows the terrorists in sight of Israeli vehicles patrolling the border.
"This view reminds us of the lion of the Mujahideen, Osama bin Laden, on the mountains of Tora Bora", stated a leader of the Nusra Front in the video.
Last year, rebels briefly conquered the Quneitra border crossing with Israel.
The rebels currently control many rural villages in the surrounding area.

Israeli Doctors Use Mother's Liver to Save Infant

Yosef Berger

Israeli doctors on Wednesday successfully transplanted a portion of a liver into the body of a seven month old infant. Doctors said that the operation saved the infant's life. A day later, the infant was awake and in good shape, they said.

The operation took place in Schneider Children’s Hospital early Wednesday, to replace a non-functioning liver that was unable to process bile. The infant has been hospitalized since birth, and it was kept alive by daily draining of bile. Doctors decided that the infant's best chance was to transplant a portion of his mother's liver to replace the non-functioning one in his body. While doctors would have preferred to wait on the operation, a sudden serious deterioration in the infant's condition made the operation an immediate necessity.

Turnaround: Is Saudi Arabia Shifting Course Towards Iran?

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and US President Barack Obama inspect an honour guard
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and US President Barack Obama inspect an honour guard
Jerusalem Post, 23/5
A number of recent Saudi moves and official statements have led to speculation regarding a possible shift on the kingdom’s stance toward Iran.
The Saudis appear to be moving at least on a declarative level away from a position according to which Iranian ambitions are a threat to be resisted, toward an attempt to accommodate Teheran.
The speculation regarding a changed Saudi stance rests largely on three recent public events.
The first was the meeting last month between newly-minted Saudi ambassador to Teheran Rahman al-Shehri and former Iranian President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani.
Al-Shehri demonstrably kissed Rafsanjani on the forehead during the meeting. In addition to demonstrating the depth of the ambassador’s patriotism, this act was held by some commentators to portend a renewed Saudi determination to set relations with Iran on a new footing.


Taliban religious police beating a woman in Kabul filmed by RAWA on August 26, 2001.
This article reevaluates the April 2013 PEW data on “The World’s Muslims” covering 23 countries and comprising at least 56.6 percent of the total global Muslim population. It presents population-weighted estimates of the 18 PEW indicators for the entire adult Muslim population in these 23 countries. The article also presents a UNDP type Index of Muslim Tolerance (Index of the emancipation of Muslim publics from authoritarian and Islamist thought patterns), which is based on 18 sub-indicators of the PEW study. Kazakhstan, Albania, and Bosnia are the best performers, while Afghanistan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories are at the bottom. Gender issues and human rights should receive a top priority regarding the EU membership perspectives for Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Turkey.

In 2005, on the pages of this journal, Hayat Alvi[1] maintained that there was considerable evidence of trends in regressive social transformation regarding the situation of women in Arab countries. One such manifestation, Alvi quite correctly said at that time was “the prevailing attitudes and social policies that continue to deny women their fundamental human rights and freedoms.” Alvi already predicted “cultural and nationalistic attitudes, which engender a degree of suspicion towards, and perhaps outright rejection in principle of, anything perceived as Western-modeled human development programs.” Traditions, the author maintained, were deeply entrenched, and “[w]hat the traditional Islamic establishment calls for today is more reminiscent of the patriarchal attitudes, practices, and beliefs that actually predate Islam, in many cases rendering to contemporary Islamic societies an anachronistic medieval aura, totally incompatible with modernity.”

Too bad the Pope did not see this!‏

Is it not obvious that stones and firecrackers 'grow' on the Temple Mount?  They are available to the Muslim worshippers who use them and then hide in their mosque.  
While Jews are not permitted to even utter a prayer at that place that is holy to us the worshippers also use the Temple Mount compound for playing ball and picnics.  This must change!
in beloved Jerusalem

63% of the Middle East thinks the Holocaust is a Myth

About a quarter of the world's population agrees that a number of negative statements about Jews are "probably true," according to a poll aimed at providing a statistical underpinning to the question of how widespread anti-Semitism is globally. In the survey to be released Tuesday, which covered 101 countries, 26% of respondents agreed with at least six of 11 negative statements—what its sponsor called stereotypes—about Jews. The questions included "Jews are more loyal to Israel than [their home] country," and "Jews have too much power in the business world." The poll was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, a leading organization for fighting anti-Semitism and other prejudice, and funded by New York business leader and philanthropist Leonard Stern.

Israel's high tech leader... no, it's not Tel Aviv
10 years ago tonight, son # 5, child #8 was born (you may notice a small change to my profile to account for that event).

47 years ago tomorrow night, I sat with my parents z"l (of blessed memory) and my brother watching television reports in Boston that Israel had liberated the Temple Mount and the remainder of Jerusalem. It was a heady time.

Tonight and tomorrow are Jerusalem Day, marking the day on which the 'eastern' part of the city of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is more than Israel's spiritual capital. It's also the country's leading high tech center and one of the most optimistic places on earth.
While Israeli hi-tech, so central to the nation's economy, is often linked to the central coastal region, revenue from the industry in Jerusalem is in fact nearly 12 billion shekels (around $3.5 billion), almost as much as the revenue Tel Aviv (6.7 billion shekels) and Haifa (7 billion shekels) combined.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Is the U.S. Willing to React Effectively?

Peter Huessy
May 28, 2014 

Supporters of a deal with Iran assume three things, all questionable.
The clandestine production of nuclear weapons by rogue states promises to create what Yale Professor Paul Bracken terms an "exceedingly volatile poly-nuclear Middle East."[1]
Against the backdrop of negotiations between the United States, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany, (known as the P5+1), on the one hand and Iran on the other, his warning is particularly important.
In 1961, a leading defense analyst, Fred Ikle, wrote, "In entering into an arms-control agreement, we must know not only that we are technically capable of detecting a violation but also that we or the rest of the world will be... in a position to react effectively if a violation is discovered."
At least five states have sought to build nuclear bombs clandestinely: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea. All are or were signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], which prohibits all except the permanent five members of the UN Security Council from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Pope Francis’s unfriendly visit

pope security barrier
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman were right when they blamed the noxious anti-Israel incitement rampant in Europe for Saturday’s murderous shooting attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and the assault and battery of two Jewish brothers outside their synagogue in a Paris suburb later that day.

Anti-Israel incitement is ubiquitous in Europe and is appearing in ever-widening circles of the Western world as a whole.

Until this week, the Catholic Church stayed out of the campaign to dehumanize Jews and malign the Jewish state.

Islamophobia or Going the Route of Rationality

Culture, or Climate, of Fear is a term used to indicate that an innocent culture or religion or approach-to-life is evil or at least threatening and that this term is ultimately employed to incite fear amongst the public, usually to achieve a political goal to quash or eliminate or restrict this culture. This is done by exaggerating the potential danger and more often than not, portrays the fears in an irrational manner.

Muslims face what is called Islamophobia which is presented so:

Latent and manifest Islamophobia: An inception of ideas
Has the Islamophobia industry used fear to lull our intellect to sleep and implant racist ideas about Muslims?

Over at Berkeley's Center for Race & Gender's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project, we are informed that

The term "Islamophobia" was first introduced as a concept in a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report and defined as "unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims." The term...incorporate[s] the following beliefs:

Yom Yerushalayim

Isi Leibler
May 28, 2014

In the spirit of Yom Yerushalayim, I would like to share with you a remarkable sermon which I have just come across which was delivered by my father in law, Rabbi Israel Porush z”l,* at the Great Synagogue in Sydney, one year after the Six Day War. The main message is as relevant today as it was then.
'.... Israel stood alone in that hour of crisis, surrounded by a ring of modern armour of terrible deadliness, and beleaguered by the armies of seven nations who were united in the hate of Israel and in their sinister plot to destroy it. The rest of the world played cynically a waiting game. Is it surprising that we view with a measure of cynicism the advice given us by our friends now?
And what of Churches? Not a word of comfort in the hour of danger, not a sound of condemnation of the threats to our existence. The so-called ecumenical spirit, or the so-called dialogue between Church and Synagogue, which was promoted in some quarters, especially in the United States, has suffered a setback from which it will not so easily recover.
Did I say Israel stood alone? Israel never stands alone. “The Guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps”. And the people of Israel in all their dispersion were roused as never before in prayer and in action and stood united by the side of Medinat [the State of] Israel.

Data and Statistics on Jerusalem : Young People are Choosing Jerusalem

For immediate release:

The 47th Jerusalem Day
Brachie Sprung, Mayor's Adviser for Foreign Affairs & International Media
Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics: Young People are Choosing
*The growth in Zionist education is continuing after a decade and a half of
* Half of the people moving to Jerusalem are young people aged 20-34
* The number of young people leaving the city has declined by approximately
70% in the last 4 years
* A record number of new building projects began in the capital during 2013 ,
breaking the previous record which stood for 20 years
* Approximately 7 million people visited cultural events, festivals and
cultural institutions in the city during 2013
* 92% of Jerusalem's residents are happy with their lives
* Jerusalem's residents are the most optimistic in Israel in regard to their
Mayor Nir Barkat: "The residents of Jerusalem feel the youthful energy =
coursing through Israel's capital, and are enjoying the great wave of =
development enveloping Jerusalem."

Syria’s Eliyahu HaNavi Synagogue Destroyed (Video)

Eliyahu HaNavi Shul Inside View

The 400+ year old Eliyahu HaNavi Synagogue, one of the oldest surviving shuls in Syria, was flattened and destroyed by Assad’s forces in Syria over the weekend. The synagogue is located in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus. Eliyahu HaNavi Synagogue Destroyed Exclusive full-size photos of the destroyed synagogue are available on The Daily Beast.
Syria used to have a large, vibrant and ancient Jewish community.
Here is a video of the synagogue before it was destroyed:
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Op-Ed: Pope's Visit to Israel A Victory for Islamic Terrorism

This Pope is Islam's brother. The trip was all about Islam's grievances and we let them get away with it.

If anyone was infallible during the Pope’s visit to Israel, it was terrorist president Mahmoud Abbas. He got everything he wanted from the Pope.
Abbas choreographed the entire thing. Showtime started when the Pope bypassed Israel proper and went straight to PA controlled Bethlehem…and of course the entire trip was a show. It was about symbols. Otherwise what was the purpose and frankly, hardly anyone remembers the purpose.
If the Pope’s journey to the Holy Land was to justify terrorism, mission accomplished.
Mercifully it is over. But the damage has been done.
Whose Holy Land is it anyway? The deed was given to the Hebrews. God’s contract is in every page of Scriptures read in every church and synagogue.
If that pledge given to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob was ever abrogated, “Show me the paper,” Rabbi Kook used to say.

PA daily romanticizes suicide bomber's last hours before attack

Abbas' newspaper devotes full op-ed to suicide bomber,
with sentimental recount of terrorist's last hours
before terror attack that wounded 20 in 2001

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The official Palestinian Authority daily chose to devote a full op-ed to a long, romanticized description of the last hours in suicide bomber Raed Barghouti's life. The terrorist's bombing in Jerusalem wounded dozens in 2001.

"Raed Barghouti... held the arm of his young brother, Rayyan, and took him to the market to buy him school supplies for the new school year. Later, he took him to a [photo] studio to have their picture taken together. Rayyan didn't know that this was to be his brother Raed's last picture, before he joined the procession of Martyrdom (Shahada) and Martyrs (Shahids)."
 [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 13, 2014]

These were the opening lines of the op-ed, which went on to describe the bomber's last kind deeds (paying another brother's university tuition) and his mother's devastated reaction to the news of his "Martyrdom":

Pope Francis’s unfriendly visit

Caroline Glick 

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
pope security barrier

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman were right when they blamed the noxious anti-Israel incitement rampant in Europe for Saturday’s murderous shooting attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and the assault and battery of two Jewish brothers outside their synagogue in a Paris suburb later that day.

Anti-Israel incitement is ubiquitous in Europe and is appearing in ever-widening circles of the Western world as a whole.

Until this week, the Catholic Church stayed out of the campaign to dehumanize Jews and malign the Jewish state.

Pope Benedict XVI was perceived as a friend of Israel, despite his childhood membership in the Hitler Youth. His opposition to Islam’s rejection of reason, eloquently expressed at his speech at the University of Regensburg in 2006, positioned him as a religious champion of reason, individual responsibility and law – Judaism’s primary contributions to humanity.

His predecessor Pope John Paul II was less willing to confront Islamic violence. But his opposition to Communism made him respect Israel as freedom’s outpost in the Middle East. John Paul’s visit to Israel in 2000 was in some ways an historic gesture of friendship to the Jewish people of Israel.

Both Benedict and John Paul II were outspoken champions of the Second Vatican Council and maintained doctrinal allegiance to the Church’s rejection of anti-Judaism, including the charge of deicide, and its denunciation of replacement theology.

Alas, the Golden Age of Catholic-Jewish relations seems to have come to an end during Francis’s visit to the Promised Land this week.

In one of his blander pronouncements during the papal visit, Netanyahu mentioned on Monday that Jesus spoke Hebrew. There was nothing incorrect about Netanyahu’s statement. Jesus was after all, an Israeli Jew.

But Francis couldn’t take the truth. So he indelicately interrupted his host, interjecting, “Aramaic.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BDS Movement boycotts online peace discussions among Israeli and Arab youth

 ▪  Tuesday, May 27, 2014 
BDS is a war council, and student councils should reject it.
One of the many big lies of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, and its supporters on campus, is that it wants peace. In fact, it wants war by other means, boycotts of various stripes to destroy Israel.
The YaLa Young Leaders Conference seeks to have youth from around the Middle East talk online as a means of advancing peaceful relations. The YaLa Facebook page has over 450,000 likes. It’s 2013 Annual Report (pdf.) details its activities and student involvement throughout the Middle East:
YaLa Young Leaders 2013 Report members map
Shimon Peres gave a speech at this year’s conference held May 25, 2014. Other speakers were a mixed group, not all of whom (like Desmond Tutu) are considered favorable to Israel:
Maybe it’s a fool’s errand, but at least it’s an attempt to get youth talking to each other.
Which is why it has been attacked since it’s inception by BDS movement supporters.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is the official international boycott organization. The American Studies Association adheres to its academic boycott guidelines.

Pope Francis and his Invitation for Peace

Michael Curtis
To try successfully to separate religion and politics in the Middle East is an illusion. You can’t have one without the other. The brief three-day visit of Pope Francis I to the Holy Land in May 2014 is the latest example of the inevitable interaction between the two. His “pilgrimage for prayer” had significant political overtones in his plea for revitalizing the peace process between Israel and Palestinians.
The official reason for the visit was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem in January 1964 of Pope Paul VI and the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras.  This occasion was a historic one aiming to heal the acrimonious rift and mutual excommunication in the Christian Catholic Church that started with the different theological and geopolitical disputes in the Great Schism of 1054.  The meeting opened the way to reconciliation after 900 years of separation and antagonism between East and West, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. As a result the mutual excommunication was ended in 1965. The meeting in Jerusalem on May 25, 2014 between Pope Francis and Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch continues the process of reconciliation.

Premature suicide belt explosion dampens jihadi party

Thomas Lifson

It’s the feel-good video of the day. I’d trade it for six cute puppy or kitten videos. (WeIl, except maybe this one.) It happened in Syria, when a bunch of terrorists, said to be from abroad, got together for a little party.  (Video below)
Sean Brown of Mad World News reports:
The Syrian-based terror group is all sitting around singing, rifles stacked in the middle of the room in a menacing manner and their flag draped on the wall above. As their celebration continues, all of the sudden there’s a massive BOOM and the camera is shot off the screen.
Panic ensues, and the men run around like madmen screaming “Allahu akbar!”
These men are said to be a group of Takfiri terrorists, a foreign-sponsored group that’s claimed responsibility for numerous attacks across Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Click here to view video
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

The Latest Blood Libel

Ted Belman

Laura: Another day, another blood libel against the Jews. The latest pallywood staged death scene.
Who shot them?
Were two Palestinian teenagers shot to death in cold blood by Israeli soldiers on May 15, nakba day?
Palestinians say that video evidence shows that two youths were shot far from any action, when they were not threatening soldiers or Border Patrol officers in any way. This is in effect an accusation of murder.

While we don’t know (yet) for certain what did happen, it seems clear that the Israelis that were accused of shooting them did not do so — and most likely they were not shot with an Israeli military weapon.

There are two videos in question. One is taken by security cameras at a nearby business, and another was taken by a Palestinian cameraman working for CNN, Kareem Khadder.

For Want of a Camera

Last week’s incident in which two Palestinians were killed in the West Bank–allegedly by Israel Defense Forces soldiers who opened fire without provocation–is still under investigation. But the IDF continues to maintain that the video footage purporting to back this allegation was doctored.
As Jonathan Tobin noted on Wednesday, this isn’t inconceivable; such things have happened before. Even Amnesty researcher Donatella Rovera recently admitted that Palestinians have been known to falsify evidence (though it doesn’t seem to stop her organization from treating every Palestinian claim as gospel truth). Nevertheless, the IDF’s claim would undeniably be more credible if it could produce its own footage showing what really happened.
But of course, it can’t–because one of the most technologically sophisticated armies in the world has somehow proven incapable of equipping its soldiers with the kind of simple cameras found on every cell phone. And so, day after day, week after week, it’s confronted with Palestinian allegations to which the only response it can offer is its soldiers’ unsupported testimony. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Islamism's Trajectory

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

Andrew C. McCarthy, former U.S. prosecutor.
Andrew C. McCarthy and I are allies over the long term, fighting the Islamist scourge in the same trench for two decades. But alliance does not mean singlemindedness and he responded critically today at NRO in "Can Islamism Evolve?" to my earlier NRO article, "The Growth of 'Moderate' Islamism."
I wrote there that while Islamism – the radical utopian movement aspiring to a consistent and global application of Islamic law under the rule of a caliph – remains in large part violent and tyrannical, developments in several countries suggest the slight possibility that this ideology will evolve in a more benign and decent direction. To which, Andy responded with three main observations, which I shall briefly answer:
1. Andy observes: "Western democracy is regressing away from a culture of individual liberty protected by limited government. If it now seems conceivable that Islamism could democratize, it can only be owing to modern democracy's accommodation of more centralized and intrusive government."
I reply: Indeed, democracy is a flexible concept and recent developments have mostly been negative; think of the pseudo-democratic nature of the European Union. But I am not so much talking about a debased form of democracy as an evolution toward something civilized; I am not being technical about democracy but political about freedom and the rule of law.

Armed with Holocaust memory and guns, L.A. Jews aim true

'We talk about defending ourselves, but we have to do something aside from sharing email articles,' says president of the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.


Itamar Gelbman helps Lea Rosenfeld take aim
Itamar Gelbman helps Lea Rosenfeld aim at the target during a shooting class for Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Los Angeles. Photo by Anthony Weiss / JTA Photo Service

Anthony Weiss / JTA Photo Service
Itamar Gelbman and Sam Shink inspect the target during a shooting lesson. Photo by Anthony Weiss / JTA Photo Service
Anthony Weiss / JTA Photo Service
Itamar Gelbman adjusts Les Hajnal's stance as he fires an AR15 rifle. Photo by Anthony Weiss / JTA Photo Service
It’s a sunny morning in Southern California and Lea Rosenfeld, a soft-spoken, bespectacled woman who looks like a Jewish grandmother, squares her feet, faces her target and squeezes off five shots with a handgun.
All of them miss.
“I never even held a gun in my hands before,” she later confesses. “I’m still shaking.”
Still, Rosenfeld keeps shooting in the hot sun. She says she’s doing it because of her parents and what they endured. Both were Holocaust survivors.
“My question has always been why they didn’t fight back, and my mother could never give me a good answer,” Rosenfeld told JTA. “They weren’t prepared for it, they didn’t believe it was going to happen and they didn’t have anything to fight back with.”
That’s what motivated Doris Wise Montrose, president of the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, to organize the recent day of firearms instruction at the Angeles Shooting Range in northeast Los Angeles.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today in History: IDF Airlifts 14,500 Ethiopian Jews to Israel

IDF Blog

IDF, Operation Solomon
“Next year in Jerusalem” are words spoken by Jews all over the world. For the Jews of Ethiopia, this dream was a promise.
Exactly 23 years ago today, the IDF carried out Operation Solomon, a massive airlift that brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. After 34 planes and 36 hours, the Israel Air Force safely carried 14,500 Jews to Israeli soil. The mission remains the largest aerial expedition in Israel’s history.
Ethiopians awaiting a flight to Israel during Operation Solomon in 1991
Ethiopians awaiting a flight to Israel during Operation Solomon in 1991
In the 1970′s, the Israeli government made the decision to authorize the use of the IDF to enable the immigration of thousands of Jews who were living in Ethiopia, a country that at the time prohibited its citizens from emigrating to Israel. Beginning in 1984, the IDF brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel in three airlift operations, the last of which was Operation Solomon in 1991.
“Operation Solomon truly represents what Zionism is,” said Israel’s air force commander of the time, Maj. Gen. Avihu Ben-Nun. “It demonstrates the purpose for the State of Israel: to provide a home and shelter for Jews around the world who have suffered and were prosecuted merely for bearing the Jewish religion.”
It was a great operation on a global scale. “Never before, did so few pilots transport such a great number of people in such a short time,” Maj. Gen. Ben-Nun said.

Who shot them?

Vic Rosenthal
Were two Palestinian teenagers shot to death in cold blood by Israeli soldiers on May 15, nakba day?
Palestinians say that video evidence shows that two youths were shot far from any action, when they were not threatening soldiers or Border Patrol officers in any way. This is in effect an accusation of murder.

While we don’t know (yet) for certain what did happen, it seems clear that the Israelis that were accused of shooting them did not do so — and most likely they were not shot with an Israeli military weapon.
There are two videos in question. One is taken by security cameras at a nearby business, and another was taken by a Palestinian cameraman working for CNN, Kareem Khadder.
Nadeem Nouwareh
The security camera footage shows two Palestinians falling to the ground (about 73 minutes apart). It does not show their faces. The first one is Nadeem Nouwareh (also called Nadeem Abu Qaraa in some reports).
Nouwareh, who is supposed to have been hit in the chest, falls forward and puts his hands out to break his fall. Experts say that this is unlikely, that someone hit in the chest with a high-powered bullet will normally be pushed back by the force of the bullet.