A Jewish man covered in a prayer shawl prays in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank, Dec. 18, 2016.
The clash between Israel and Iran in the Syrian arena Feb. 10 has sparked fears of an escalation into all-out war, and rightly so. The risk of thousands of precision missiles fired at Israel resulting in thousands of casualties and devastating the Israeli economy is prompting decision-makers in Jerusalem to step on the brakes. The regime in Tehran also has good reasons to exercise caution: War with Israel would play into the hands of US President Donald Trump and the Republican camp, both seeking to undo the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Its end would result in renewed sanctions on Iran, dealing a severe blow to millions of Iranians.
When neither side has a rational interest in escalation, one can assume each will make every effort to avoid one. However, the same cannot be said when a group of self-appointed warriors of God holds sway over political decisions. Enlightened states hospitalize or incarcerate people who undermine national strategic interests for the sake of “sanctifying God’s name.” The State of Israel, on the other hand, caters to a fundamentalist group willing to sacrifice its sons and daughters for a piece of land. The Jews call them “martyrs,” and for Muslims they’re “shahids,” an Arabic word that also means martyr. Jewish rabbis promise their dead a life in Paradise. Muslim clerics add a bonus: 72 virgins awaiting the shahids in Paradise.
On Feb. 5, Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal of the West Bank settlement Har Bracha was murdered in a terror attack outside Ariel, another settlement. Eliezer Melamed, the rabbi of Har Bracha and founder of the rabbinical seminar located on the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Nablus, delivered a eulogy at his graveside. “Recently, Rabbi Itamar and his wife Miriam spoke about the possibility that one of them would be killed for the sanctification of God’s name, and agreed that they were prepared to courageously rise to the challenge,” Melamed said. This spiritual leader of a significant religious Zionist group, a community rabbi whose salary is paid by Israeli taxpayers, consoled the mourners by saying, “Blessed is one who merits dying for the mitzvah [godly command] of settling the Land of Israel.”
Ordinary people watching four children accompany their father to his grave see a human tragedy. For some, the murder of an Israeli citizen by an Arab is further proof that there’s no partner for peace. For others, it shows that the time has come to vacate the Israeli settlements. Melamed and his disciples view the death of a friend or relative at the hands of a terrorist as the realization of a divine mission. “The best revenge is to keep building, to build another neighborhood and another neighborhood, and to turn Har Bracha into a city,” Melamed exhorted the mourners.
The young widow also wishes to endow her husband’s murder with metaphysical significance by turning her sorrow into a tool with which to dig the foundations of additional settlement homes. “We trust you that in this case, as well, you will help us provide the real answer, which is the expansion and construction of Har Bracha,” Miriam Ben-Gal told Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who came to pay a condolence call. The mother of four small children who will grow up fatherless in a hostile neighborhood explained to her visitor, “Our grip on this land is critical.” Quite right. Every settlement outpost is critical in the settlers’ struggle to scuttle prospects of a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians.
The two-state solution — the only alternative to Israel’s becoming a binational or apartheid state — would involve vacating isolated West Bank settlements such as Har Bracha, Itamar and Havat Gilad to make way for a Palestinian state. However, successive Israeli governments have taught the settlers that every murder of one of their own holds the potential for another outpost, for another obstacle on the road to compromise. For example, following the March 2011 murder of five members of the Fogel family from Itamar, their friends established a new outpost adjacent to the settlement, and the government approved the construction of hundreds of new housing units in the occupied territory. Thirty days after the terror attack, the cornerstone was laid for a rabbinical house of study in Itamar that would bear the name of the head of the family, Ehud Fogel.
Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a Havat Gilad outpost resident who was murdered in a terror attack last month, was interred in a new makeshift cemetery established the day after the attack, a clear sign of the intention to turn the outpost into a permanent settlement. Indeed, on Feb. 4 the government approved plans to make the outpost into an authorized settlement.
A new book by Neima Barzel, “Redemption Now: The beliefs and activities of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Israeli society,” illustrates the central role played by death and war in the messianic plans of national-religious Zionism. She cites remarks by Amnon Shapira, the former secretary-general of the religious Bnei Akiva youth movement, who said, “Judaism does not view life itself as the one and only supreme value.” The book also quotes Yisrael Hess, one-time rabbi of Bar-Ilan University, who pledged, “The day will come when we will all be called upon to carry out a holy war, the mitzvah war to obliterate Amalek,” a reference to the ancient people considered the archenemies of the Israelites.
At a Jan. 21 seminar held by Tel Aviv University’s Steinmetz Center for Peace Research to discuss Barzel’s book, writer Haim Be’er accused the settlers of violating three fundamental Jewish precepts that ban bloodshed, incest and idolatry at all cost. Be’er reminded his listeners of the Jewish Underground, the West Bank settlers who carried out violent attacks in the 1980s against Palestinians, arguing that the settlers had infected Israeli soldiers with violence and vulgarity. “This is a disgrace that I attribute to the control of another people,” said Be’er, himself a graduate of religious Zionist education. Noting the sin of forbidden sexual relations committed in recent years by a handful of rabbis within religious Zionism, he added that attributing sanctity to the biblical Land of Israel — today’s West Bank— was nothing short of idolatry.
When a limited clash with Iran threatened to drag Israel into a bloody war, Russian President Vladimir Putin came to the rescue and calmed both sides. But when a fundamentalist Jewish minority imposes on Israel a religious war to the end — or to the coming of the messiah, whichever happens first — no one comes to Israel’s salvation. The latest contribution by the only man in the position to save Israel from the disaster of its 50-year occupation of another people, Trump, was advice for Israel to be “very careful” with the settlement enterprise. Despite his own advice, the president called his hasty, controversial Dec. 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel his most important achievement since being sworn in.
Protesters rally against Turkey’s attacks on Kurds and others in Afrin, at the White House on January 26, 2018. (Shutterstock)
Armed Syrian militias allied with Turkey have reportedly been demanding that Kurdish Christians in Afrin province convert to Islam or face execution. In a video circulated by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a militia fighter described the Kurds as “infidels” and offered them a choice between converting to Islam or facing decapitation.
“By Allah, if you repent and come back to Allah, then know that you are our brothers,” said the man. “But if you refuse, then we see.”
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda made the following observation during a recent speech: “Having faced for 1,400 years the slow-motion genocide that began long before the ongoing ISIS genocide today, the time for excusing this inhuman behavior and its causes is long since passed.”
That Muslims have cleansed non-Muslim peoples by the sword since the seventh century to the present is of course factually well-documented. But what of the more subtle “slow-motion genocide”? How does that work? The answer is connected to another question: Why did so many non-Muslims become Muslim in the first place?
Many modern day Muslims and Western apologists claim that the ancestors of today’s 1.5 billion Muslims converted to Islam due to its intrinsic appeal; that the modern day coercion and persecution committed by the Islamic State and others is an aberration.
Conversely, many Muslim and non-Muslim historical records make clear that most people embraced Islam, not out of sincere faith, but for a myriad of reasons—from converting in order to enjoy the boons of being on the “winning team” to converting in order to evade the dooms of being on the “losing team.”
A high-ranking defense official revealed to the Senate on Tuesday that Iran has fully incorporated a Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile system into its military, seriously upgrading its ability to threaten the US and Israeli military interests in the region. But the general’s report failed to take into account divine intervention which has plagued the system in the past.
Lieutenant General Robert P. Ashley, Jr., Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday about Iran’s “generational improvement in capabilities,” according to Bloomberg News.
Despite evidence of a serious deterioration in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, one researcher contends that Israeli Arabs continue to show a strong link to a Jewish and democratic Israel.
Israeli Arabs protest the initial approval of a bill to enforce lowering the volume on loudspeakers broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer, Kabul, Israel, March 11, 2017.
In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s school of morality and politics, accepting a bribe is no reason to unseat an elected premier, nor is a hostile takeover of the country’s media. He insists that a prime minister should not be replaced because of criminal indictments or guilty verdicts. According to Netanyahu, a prime minister can only be “replaced at the ballot box,” although what he means is that a prime minister can only be “replaced by Jews at the ballot box.”
March 17 marks two years since his horrible election-day video warning — “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls” — and calling on Jews to turn out en masse. It’s hard to know how many votes he picked up for the Likud with this alarmist message, but the damage he caused to relations between Jews and Arabs is discernible.
The Palestinian security forces in Gaza are just as tough as the Israelis on the youths who try to cross the border looking for work.
Two Palestinian teenagers look at the rubble of destroyed buildings, Gaza City, Gaza, June 10, 2015.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — More Gazans are seeking to flee to Israel in search of jobs in light of the high unemployment rate and the worsening economic conditions in the coastal enclave. On Feb. 16, Palestinian security forces stopped three young Gazans from crossing into Israel through the southern Gaza Strip. Four young men were also arrested Feb. 13 and interrogated by the Ministry of the Interior.
Despite a warning from the security apparatus in Gaza back in August that any Palestinian who attempts to cross over into Israel would be arrested and imprisoned, they keep trying.
Israeli concerns are also growing about the attempts by Gazans to sneak into its territory. The Israel Defense Forces arrested four young men attempting to cross into Israel Feb. 1 and another Feb. 2.
A visit to Morocco shows that the claim
of Palestinians to a “right of return” has little historic, moral or legal basis.
Jews lived in Morocco for centuries before Islam came to Casablanca, Fez, and Marrakesh. The Jews, along with the Berbers, were the backbone of the economy and culture. Now their historic presence can be seen primarily in the hundreds of Jewish cemeteries and abandoned synagogues that are omnipresent in cities and towns throughout the Maghreb.
The Arab press has evinced an inordinate interest in the future of Binyamin Netanyahu over the past few weeks, due to the various ongoing investigations against him and against several people who held key positions in his entourage. Arab interest is motivated by hopes for the prime minister’s downfall and a resulting disintegration of Israel’s Rightist camp, leading to the Left’s assuming the leadership of the Jewish State. The Left, after all, has proven time and time again that it is willing to pay a higher price than Netanyahu for a piece of paper on which the word “peace” appears.
AIPAC’s mission to cultivate and maintain bipartisan support for Israel in the United States is an important mission. Unfortunately, the messages AIPAC’s leaders delivered during the organization’s annual policy convention this week in Washington indicate that they are at a loss for how to achieve their mission in the contentious political environment now prevalent in the post- Obama America.
You’ve undoubtedly heard that Jerusalem represents the third holiest city in Islam.
That is provably untrue.
Or, perhaps you’ve read in Wikipedia or heard on CNN that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest place of worship in Islam.
That, too, is a provable lie.
Or, maybe you heard about the vote by UNESCO in 2016 that denied any Israeli connection to the Temple Mount, referring it only by the Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.”
After weeks of outrage at the close ties between top Democrats and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of an anti-Semitic hate group, the media finally condemned anti-Semitism by a top political official.
President Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney had referred to outgoing NEC Director Gary Cohn as a “globalist.” And “globalist,” according to Think Progress, the Huffington Post, Salon, and Vox, is an “anti-Semitic slur.” Those are the same media outlets that had no problem using “globalist” as a slur when targeting Trump. HuffPo had published a piece tarring him as “Trump: The Globalist Plutocrat” and Vox had described Trump going to Davos, “the world’s biggest party for globalist elites.”