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.
Dec 04, 2018 0
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
New immigrants to Israel arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 17, 2016. Photo: Reuters / Baz Ratner.
A top Israeli minister called on the government on Sunday to craft a “comprehensive plan” to encourage the aliyah of French Jews.
In Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett’s view, there has been a “historic missed opportunity” in recent years to bring more French Jews to Israel as immigrants.
“There are 200,000 French Jews who want to come here, and the state bureaucracies simply aren’t prepared for it,” Bennett, who also serves as education minister and head of the right-wing HaBayit HaYehudi party, claimed at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “These are ethical people, Zionists, lovers of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, and it is our moral obligation to help them.”
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)