Gaza War Diary 1 Thurs-Sun. Jan. 26-29, 2017 Day 1238-1241 1 12 midnight
Shabbat Shalom, Hodesh Tov & International Holocaust Remembrance Day for last week
Dear Family & Friends,
My mistake Wednesday Friday, January 27th is actually International Holocaust Remembrance Day!! Several organizations held special occasions. See Below.
Shabbat brought a giant, spectacular wind, rain, hail, thunder & lightning show – drenching showers like waterfalls. Wonderful shows outside my big front windows. It was also the new Month of Shvacht – which means we’ll have flowers on the first trees, the almond trees with white blooms in 2 weeks!
As a result, I lost my Internet Saturday night. So, here is Thursday-Sunday.
All the very best, Gail/Geula/Savta/Savta Raba x 2/Mom
Jewish Wedding, by Jozef Israels, 1903, / Shutterstock
1.How the Admor Stopped an Intermarriage by Naamah Green ‘ טבת התשע”ז | 18.01.1|
“My wife turned me in to the Gestapo and told them I’m Jewish. As far as she was concerned, they could kill me and then she would get all my property”, said the intermarried Jew.
This week’s Torah portion, Shemot (Exodus) discusses the spiritual decline of the Children of Israel in Egypt after Joseph’s passing. The Midrash Rabbah on Shemot writes that “when Joseph passed away the Children of Israel abolished circumcision. They said ‘let’s be like the Egyptians’. Once they did that G-d took the Egyptians favoring the Jews and turned it into hate, looking for clever ways to harm them.”
This Midrash teaches us what history always proves over and over; when a Jew tries to look like the nations around him and follow their customs it causes a boomerang effect and the non-Jews distance, hate and persecute him.
The Dirshu website brings down a story with this same chilling message that happened not long ago.
A woman came crying to the Admor of Kopycznitz O.B.M. in America, and explained her dire situation. She was a widow with an only son who wants to marry a non-Jewish woman forever severing the chain of Judaism in their family. The mother doesn’t know where & how she can stop this & came begging the Admor; “Please! Perhaps the Rabbi can speak to my son & dissuade him from this decision”?
The Admor answered, “But I don’t know him & he doesn’t know me – why should he listen to me! My chances of success are next to nothing especially with my broken English.” The widow answered “my son knows Yiddish so maybe the rabbi can get through to him somehow. This is my last hope!”
The Admor feeling bad for the widow asked her to bring in her son to meet him. The Admor hoped that G-d would put the right words in his mouth to say to the widow’s son. The widow full of hope went home to get her son. Knowing her son, she didn’t say ‘the Admor wants to speak to you’ rather “Let’s go to the Admor so he can bless your upcoming marriage.” The son thought this was suspicious but his mother’s tears & begging wore him down & he agreed to ‘get a blessing’ from the Admor.
The Admor began talking with the young man & told him the following story. “This happened on Kristallnacht in November 1939 when thousands of synagogues were burned down in Germany and Austria, thousands of Jewish owned stores were looted, hundreds of Jews were killed & over 30,000 Jews were imprisoned.”
“I was also amongst those imprisoned that night” the Admor related to the young man. “The Gestapo troops burst into my home & hitting & cursing me threw me into a great dungeon which was full of Jews in shock, scared & bleeding, some crying & some silent.”
“A 40 year old man was one of the prisoners waiting to be questioned. He was perfectly clean shaven, wore fine clothes and his back was turned away from us as he was busy banging his head into the wall from grief. I turned to him & told him; “even if a sharp sword is by your neck do not despair from G-d’s mercy. Don’t torture yourself & trust in G-d. The man ignored me so I grabbed his hand because I feared he would lose his sanity. I told him to calm down”, the Admor told the young man.
“The man turned to me with red eyes & answered with a broken voice: “Let me be! I don’t deserve G-d’s mercy! “I answered G-d forbid! G-d has mercy on every Jew in every situation!” But the Jew stubbornly disagreed & told me his story.”
‘My parents immigrated to Germany from Galicia generations ago & raised me with a very watered down Jewish education. The very little that I know I threw away as I married a non-Jewish woman. I severed connections with my parents & they did the same with me. I sacrificed everything for my non-Jewish wife; I denied my being Jewish to such extreme that no one would suspect I am Jewish. But yesterday my wife turned me in to the Gestapo. Gestapo “law” forbids her marriage to a Jew & as far as she’s concerned they can imprison him, torture him & send him to exile & she will get to keep all of my property!”
The Admor concluded the story & turned to the young man saying: “Remember this story before you cause great pain to your mother & cut off the branch that connects you to the Chosen Nation when you tie your fate with a non-Jewish woman!”
The young man jumped up as if bitten by a snake flew out the door & when leaving, placed his hand on the mezuzah swearing; “I will never marry a non-Jewish woman!”
If you too know of a potential intermarriage please contact Hidabrut for assistance.
The way to block the Nazis from rising on the Right is to correct both Merkel’s mistake & the larger mistake of the leaders of Europe since 1945.
LEADERS OF far-right European political parties arrive on stage for a meeting in Germany over the weekend to discuss the state of the EU.. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Two days before the leaders of European far-right parties met in Koblentz on January 21, one of the leaders of Germany’s far-right AfD party made clear why so many people fear the rise of nationalist forces in Europe.
Speaking at a rally in Dresden, Bjorn Hocke, AfD’s state leader in Thuringia, attacked the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. In his words, “Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”
Hocke likened German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Eric Honecker, the last leader of East Germany. The crowd responded by chanting, “Merkel must go!” Hocke insisted there must be a “180-degree turnaround” in the way Germany remembers its past. “This laughable policy of coming to terms with the past is crippling us,” he said.
Recalling the Allied bombing of Dresden, Hocke argued Germany’s current policy claims in World War II “there were no German victims, only German perpetrators.” This, he argued, is unjust.
Some of Hocke’s party colleagues criticized his remarks. But reported criticisms did not relate to the substance of what he said. Rather his fellow AfD leaders criticized him for making statements that could scare German voters away.
Frauke Petry, Hocke’s party leader, participated in the Koblentz conference. Sitting next to her fellow nationalist European leaders, Petry was the belle of the ball. Holland’s Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party is expected to win the Dutch elections in March, and France’s Marine Le Pen, who is now leading national polls ahead of April’s presidential elections, both enthused that Petry is the future of Germany.
AfD enjoys the support of between 10%-15% percent of German voters. It is expected to gain seats in the Bundestag for the first time in September’s general elections.
The AfD’s rise has been sudden. It was formed in 2013 and in its short history it has siphoned off voters from nearly every party in Germany. In the 2014 elections for the European Parliament AfD shocked Germany’s political establishment when it won 7.1% of the vote.
In 2015 it won big victories in regional elections. In Merkel’s home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it outperformed the chancellor’s CDU party with 20.8% of the vote. It even won 14.2% of the vote in normally left-wing Berlin.
Like its European counterparts, whose leaders shared a stage in Koblentz with Petry on Saturday, AfD’s steady empowerment is based in large part on its stalwart opposition to Islamic immigration and its concomitant rejection of the intellectual constraints of political correctness and the cultural restraints of multiculturalism.
AfD’s barely disguised xenophobia & Nazi sympathies make its empowerment disconcerting.
It also points to the fact that not all far-right parties are the same.
Le Pen, for instance has taken drastic steps to separate her National Front party from the anti-Semitic & fascist roots her father Jean-Marie Le Pen planted.
Wilders has adopted a decidedly pro-American & pro-Israel platform & record.
In Germany, though, the situation is different.
Many causes exist for absence of a nationalist party in Germany bereft of Nazi sympathies.
Two are particularly worth noting.
First there is Angela Merkel and the political establishment she represents. The AfD’s rise is a direct consequence of the German political establishment’s refusal to consider the wishes of German voters along a whole spectrum of issues. On immigration specifically, rather than listen to her critics Merkel and her allies denounce them as racists and treat them as criminals.
For instance, as Judith Bergman reported last week at Gatestone Institution’s website, in July 2016, 30 people had their homes raided by German police for publishing anti-immigration posts online.
When thousands of German women were raped by Muslim immigrants during the public celebration of New Year’s Eve in Cologne last year, German authorities went to great lengths to cover up & deny what happened. The Cologne police took several days to acknowledge or begin investigating what happened. For 4 days, the German media delayed reporting what had happened.
In September 2015 Merkel was caught on a hot microphone excoriating Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for not erasing anti-immigration posts from Facebook fast enough.
If Merkel spent more time listening to her constituents & less time rejecting their right to their entirely rational opinions, the AfD would probably not be so powerful today. In all likelihood, AfD politicians wouldn’t be embarrassed when colleague mouthed off about Holocaust memorials because their constituents wouldn’t include anyone who had a problem with people like Hocke.
Even if Merkel was willing to listen though, she would still have to worry about Germans that yearn for the glory days of Hitler and the Third Reich.
This leads us to the second reason for resonance of Nazi messaging in Germany & beyond.
In 1945 the Nazis were defeated and Nazism was outlawed in Germany and throughout Europe. But whereas the peoples of Europe were prohibited from denying the fact of the Holocaust, they were never required to conduct a true moral reckoning with what happened. Criminalizing Holocaust denial and outlawing Nazi parties, while reasonable on their own terms, mistook the symptoms of Nazism with the cause of Nazism.
Europeans have been schooled to view the Nazi period as a unique phenomenon unrelated to anything that happened either before 1933 or after 1945.
But the opposite is true.
Adolf Hitler and his Nazis and their collaborators throughout Europe didn’t spring from nothing. They were the natural outcome of centuries of European anti-Semitism. Their genocidal obsession with the Jewish people was a natural progression of a hatred that predated Christianity, and was an integral part of Europe’s development through the ages.
The way to block the Nazis from rising on the Right is to correct both Merkel’s mistake and the larger mistake of the leaders of Europe since 1945.
Merkel empowers Nazi forces by preventing liberal democracy, predicated on limited government, individual freedom and equal protection under the law, from developing in Germany. By demonizing and criminalizing her critics, she forces lawful citizens into the open arms of the political fringe, which resonates their concerns.
More generally, Europe itself facilitates the rise of anti-Semitism as a political force on the Right and Left by conflating European rejection of Jews with a more general, and less meaningful, problem of racism. You do not fight hatred of Jews by pretending away its significance and its roots that go back as far as European civilization itself. You do not block the resurgence of Nazism by pretending that European anti-Semitism was born the day Adolf Hitler came to power.
There is a tendency to believe that all nationalist movements are alike. But this is not true. Each nationalist movement is a reflection of the specific nation it represents. For European nationalists and globalists alike to avoid the fascism that captivated their grandparents, they need to embrace liberal values and meaningfully reject Jew hatred in all its forms.
Why do liberals embrace illiberal players in Arab-Israeli conflict? By Noah Beck, Arutz Sheva 25/01/17 20:51 The writer is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and current geopolitical issues in the Middle East.
Support for Israel among Democrats has plummeted in recent years, a new Pew poll shows, with about as many – 31% – saying they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel, which garnered 33% support.
By contrast, 74% of Republicans surveyed sympathize more with the Jewish state. That is the widest partisan gap since 1978.
A similar poll last year found a deep divide within the party, with conservative & moderate Democrats favoring Israel over the Palestinians by 53-19%.
This trend has accelerated during President Barack Obama’s tenure. During Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas, 61% of Democrats sympathized with Hamas & hundreds of left-wing historians openly sided with the terrorist group.
Bernie Sanders, whose liberal support nearly won him the 2016 Democratic primary, sought to empower anti-Israel figures like Cornel West, a supporter of the boycott, divestment & sanctions (BDS) movement & James Zogby of the Arab American Institute.
President Obama’s refusal to veto an anti-Israel U.N. resolution last month was ranked as the most anti-Semitic incident of 2016 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. When Congress condemned that resolution, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a leading contender to run the Democratic National Committee, voted against it.
This hostility toward Israel is not limited to the American Left.
In the UK, it often coincides with anti-Semitism. As Jonathan Tobin observed, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been “openly sympathetic with Hamas & Hezb’Allah” has “campaigned for the release of terrorists convicted of attacking Jewish targets” & “praised vicious anti-Semites.” The co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club resigned after the organization voted to endorse Israel Apartheid Week. The club has a growing record of anti-Semitic & anti-Israel incidents. Last May, Britain’s Labour Party secretly suspended 50 of its members for anti-Semitic & racist comments.
France’s left-wing government just convened a 70-nation “peace conference” that was hostile to Israel. France has summoned far less international pressure to the exponentially bloodier conflict next door in Syria. Moreover, the French government funds French, Israeli & Palestinian organizations that support & promote BDS campaigns against Israel, a report by NGO Monitor shows. Such boycotts are illegal under French law.
France also funds several other NGOs with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, the report notes.
In the West, the political Left considers itself “progressive” yet it increasingly targets the only Mideast country that actually embraces progressive values such as the rule of law, gender & sexual equality & freedom of religion & speech. “Progressives” attack the only Mideast country making progress for all of humanity in science, technology & medicine – from a crowd-sourced solution to traffic (Waze) to breakthrough research on melanoma & leukemia.
Yet, on university campuses, where the minds of future politicians are formed, hatred of Israel & Jews has become endemic. The AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization that tracks BDS & anti-Semitic activity on U.S. campuses, reported more than 600 instances of such activity in 2016.
So why do liberals embrace illiberal players in the Arab-Israeli conflict? Double standards, underdog favoritism, media bias & group think & prejudice at institutions like the UN.
Because Israel is a country of laws & Western values, Western critics often hold Israel to a standard that no democracy could meet. Alan Dershowitz captures the standard that should apply: “Name a single country in the history of the world faced with internal & external threats comparable to those faced by Israel that has ever had a better record in human rights; a better record with compliance of the rule of law; a better record of concern for civilians?”
In addition, media coverage often is skewed by Palestinian intimidation & deception, by reporters who uncritically favor underdogs, & by sloppy journalism & outright bias.
“Pallywood“ – the practice of staging casualties & defaming Israel – has been deceiving journalists for at least 16 years. A particularly galling Pallywood example from 2015 was the inflammatory lie – by “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – that Israeli forces “executed” a 13-year old [Mohammed el-Dura] after an attempted terrorist attack. The truth: the child was treated in the same Israeli hospital as the boy he tried to murder.
Even Amnesty Int’l acknowledged unreliability of “eyewitnesses” in the conflict.
By contrast, in the 2014 war, Hamas executed 23 Gazans & tortured dozens of others.
In September 2015, Hamas imprisoned Gazans for protesting over a lack of electricity, causing some Gazans to admit that they prefer Israeli rule to Hamas.
Consistently sloppy journalism also poisons public opinion against Israel. News organizations often fail to identify terrorist & victim when reporting on Arabs killed by Israelis trying to defend themselves from a terrorist attack. Such missing context creates the false impression that Israelis wake up every morning asking how they can hurt Arabs.
The BBC’s distortions often turn terrorists into victims. Its bias is so egregious that even its former chief complained: “Regrettably, this is not the first time the standard of reporting and impartiality has been unsatisfactory in recent weeks. On Saturday 3rd October, I was disappointed to see the BBC News website publish a misleading & counter-factual headline: ‘Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attacks kills two’. I note reports that this headline underwent four revisions following public criticism.” The BBC’s horrible headlines continue, describing the terrorist in last month’s Jerusalem track-ramming attack as a “Driver of a lorry…allegedly ramming pedestrians.”
Worse still, mainstream political figures sometimes promote anti-Israel calumnies. Last April, Sanders claimed that Israelis killed “over 10,000 innocents in Gaza” an estimate nearly seven times higher than Hamas’s propaganda estimate of civilian deaths. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes falsely claimed in a recent PBS interview that Israel has built “thousands of new settlements” (rather than about 200). PBS never corrected this falsehood.
Thus, the “free press” which is supposed to act as a check on the government, ends up abetting its misinformation campaign against Israel.
The Obama administration & most of the political Left promote a kind of anti-settlement religion that blames the lack of peace with the Palestinians on settlements. This position ignores the last century of Arab Muslim attacks on Israelis, starting decades before any settlements existed. The anti-settlement religion axiomatically affirms that settlements are illegal, even though legal scholars have concluded otherwise.
The same religion also ignores Israel’s removing the settlement of Yamit for peace with Egypt in 1982 & its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Those actions did nothing to persuade Palestinians to pursue peace, as they responded with more than 10,000 Jihadi rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians.
Liberal support for illiberal players is illogical & counterproductive. If “progressives” choose only to blame Israel & never ask Palestinians to embrace liberal values, stop their incitement to violence, renounce terror & accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, then such “liberals” have mislabeled themselves while making peace less likely.
Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes & other geopolitical issues in the Middle East. This article was originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism
Announcement criticized by top settler body, which calls it a ‘disappointment.’ EU calls Israeli construction plans ‘regrettable’. Palestinians term them a ‘deliberate provocation.’
*Construction in the settlement of Ariel by Ilan Assayag
*Settlers join EU, Palestinians and Jordan in denouncing Netanyahu’s settlement plans
*Netanyahu pledges unrestricted construction in East Jerusalem, settlement blocs
*Netanyahu: I am willing to give Palestinians a ‘state-minus’
*Editorial: A settlement trap for Trump
*Trump tells Netanyahu: Israeli-Palestinian peace only through direct negotiations
*Discover: Avigdor Lieberman Benjamin Netanyahu ‘West Bank’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu & Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman approved the construction & planning of some 2,500 new housing units in the ‘West Bank’ on Tuesday.
Overall, the marketing of lands for immediate construction of 909 new homes has been approved, as well as expediting of planning at relevant committees for an additional 1,642 homes.
According to a Defense Ministry press release, most of the units are located within settlement blocs, while some 100 of them are located in the settlement of Beit El & others in Migron. However, a look at the planned locations shows the construction is slated for outside the settlement blocs, as well.
Number of planned housing units: read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.767203
Number of planned housing units:
In total, 909 units were approved for immediate marketing. These are divided up among the following settlements: Givat Ze’ev, 552 units; Alfei Menashe, 78 units; Beitar Elite, 87 units; Ma’ale Adumim, 90 units; Ariel, 63 units; Efrat, 21 units & Elkana, 18 units.
Another 1,642 units will enter a planning phase in the National Planning & Building Council, divided as follows: Ets Efraim, 81 units; Givat Ze’ev, 100 units; Kokhav Ya’akov, 86 units; Har Gillo, 4 units; Zufim, 292 units; Oranit, 154; Ariel, 899 units; Sha’arei Tikva, 6 units & Beit El, 20 units.
Netanyahu said that “we are building – & will continue to build.” Lieberman said that “We are returning to life as normal in Judea & Samaria.”
The new construction & planning came under fire from the YESHA Council of settlements, which called it a “disappointment” & said the new units “don’t meet demand.”
Most of the units will get caught up in bureaucracy & won’t be constructed, leaving just a few hundred that will, YESHA said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is a deception meant to look like large-scale approval of construction, while in reality, as on previous occasions, only a few hundred will be built & the rest will only be planned.”
“The American government has changed and Israel’s policies also need to change. The Israeli government needs to approve all the plans currently on the table and issue bids to build in all of Judea & Samaria (Shomron) & the Jordan Valley,” said the statement.
The Palestinian Authority rejected the construction plan as a “deliberate provocation by Israel making a mockery of the international community.”
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the decision “damages attempts to restore security and stability to the region and will encourage radicalization and terrorism, and place obstacles before any attempt to create a diplomatic process that would lead to peace & security.”
Jordan also condemned the decision. A statement by the government spokesman, Mohammed al-Momani called the plans a violation of international law that seeks to undermine peace efforts & hurt Palestinian rights.
“It deals a tough blow to efforts to revive the peace process,” Momani said. He urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop the construction.
The European Union called recent Israeli moves for construction in the ‘West Bank’ & ‘East’ Jerusalem “regrettable” saying that they “further seriously undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution.”
“It is regrettable that Israel is proceeding with this policy, despite the continuous serious international concern & objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels,” said the statement.
On Monday, Netanyahu informed members of the inner security cabinet that he has decided to lift all restrictions on Israeli construction in East Jerusalem resulting from international diplomatic pressures, 2 senior officials who’ve been briefed on what transpired at the meeting said.
Netanyahu added that at the same time when construction plans would be promoted in ‘East’ Jerusalem, he intends to also advance construction in ‘West Bank’ settlement blocs.
Jerusalem Local Planning & Building Committee on Sunday approved construction of hundreds of building units beyond the Green Line (or the pre-1967 borders) in Jerusalem. Some committee’s hearings were postponed in recent weeks for fear of pressure from the Obama administration.
In recent years, every approval of this type brought on American condemnation & diplomatic pressures. As a result, building plans in the city have often been frozen, usually due to instructions received from the Prime Minister’s Office. In many cases the plans were removed from the agenda shortly before the hearings in order to prevent diplomatic crises with the Americans.
Peace Now strongly condemned the new housing plans, calling them a “desperate attempt” by Netanyahu to divert the agenda from the corruption cases against him & criticism from the Right about handling of Operation Protective Edge. Netanyahu is “leading Israel into a bi-national state reality. The price of this transparent spin of Netanyahu’s will be exacted solely at the expense of Israeli citizens,” the organization said.
Gili Cohen & Yotam Berger contributed to this report.
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz Correspondent read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.767203
5.Supreme Court freezes Amona outline
Supreme Court temporarily orders state not to construct new homes for Amona residents following petition by Arabs and leftist organization. Arutz Sheva Staff, 23/01/17 18:53
Amona – Flash 90
The Supreme Court issued an injunction Monday evening temporarily freezing the outline to construct new homes for the residents of Amona and forbidding the State from carrying out any work on the plots set aside for the construction after Arabs from the town of Silwad submitted a petition in which they claimed ownership of the plots.
The petition was filed by the leftist organization Yesh Din on behalf of the residents of Silwad who claim ownership of the land near the town of Amona. The mayor of Silwad also participated in the petition.
The petitioners asked the court to halt all proceeding by the State on the plots which were to be carried out in accordance with the agreement reached between the government and the residents of Amona last month.
Under the agreement, the State would provide alternative housing for the residents on the same hill, and they would peacefully evacuate by February 8.
Yesterday, the residents of Amona submitted a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett accusing the government of violating the agreement by not beginning construction of the new housing even though only a few weeks remain until their current homes are scheduled to be destroyed. The residents called on the government to save their current homes by passing the Regulation Bill to retroactively legalize their community in its entirety.
Supreme Court President to discuss demolition of nine homes in Ofra. The residents will launch a hunger strike in protest. By Uzi Baruch, 26/01/17 00:09
Ofra residents protest outside Prime Minister’s Residence – Eliran Aharon
Supreme Court President Justice Miriam Naor will hold an urgent hearing on Monday about the request of 9 families in the town of Ofra to postpone their eviction from their homes by 3 months.
The Court recently ruled that the 9 homes must be demolished by February 8. On Wednesday, the families living in the homes in question submitted a request to postpone the eviction because the homes to which they are planning to move are not yet ready.
Earlier this week, the residents of Ofra announced they would launch a new campaign starting on Sunday to prevent the eviction.
As part of the campaign, the leaders of the community plan to begin a hunger strike in front of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Among the hunger strikers will be former YESHA Council chairman Pinchas Wallerstein, the Secretary General of Amana Ze’ev Hever (Zambish) & Secretary of Ofra, Sami Karsenty.
The words and frightening rhetoric heard since Trump’s ascent to power is deeply troubling.
The hateful terminology and threats on the streets of America resemble the atmosphere that was generated on the streets of Israel in the days leading to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister, Yizchak Rabin.
When I hear inciting remarks from Madonna that she thought about blowing up the White House, or from known senators that Trump is illegitimate, or signs that compare Trump to Hitler I recall exactly these scenes prior to the madman Yigal Alon taking the law, and a gun, into their own hands.
This poisonous environment resulted in the murder of our Prime Minister. Be warned!
The organised and poisonous campaign of anarchy & hate will lead to yet another black act of violence & bloodshed that will shame America unless it gets dialed back soon. Let calm & sanity remove hysteria & bias.
A final reminder. We commemorate Holocaust Day this Friday.
The Holocaust did not start at Auschwitz. It began with words. Hateful words. Words that delegitimate. Words that kill!
Listen & be warned!
9.Jerusalem Commemoration in Memory of Victims of Holocaust (Photo Essay) By: BJLife/Sharon Altshul 1/26/17
International diplomats listen to PM Benjamin Netanyahu at event marking International Day of Commemoration of Holocaust in the Yad Vashem Synagogue
Jerusalem, Israel – Jan. 26, 2017 – In 2005, the United Nations established January 27, the day of liberation of Auschwitz, as a day of commemoration.
Yad Vashem hosted a special event marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust for members of the diplomatic corps in Israel, on Thursday evening. International ambassadors and representatives from over 40 countries attended including, Ambassador of European Union Lars Faaborg-Andersen. France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Uruguay, Albania, the United States and Russia were represented.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the audience assembled In the Yad Vashem Synagogue. His remarks stressed that Jewish persecution began with intolerance, and today it comes from the East, from Iran. “Never forget the victims,” Netanyahu concluded, “We should never need more institutions like this.”
The synagogue is lined with artifacts from desecrated and destroyed, synagogues. Synagogues from which Jews were deported. Items are from Romania, Poland and Germany, with a Torah Mantle from Greece, over a sefer Torah from Transnistria, brought to Czernowitz. A stain glassed window was from a synagogue in Dobris, Czechoslovakia. Each item has a story.
Survivors have many stories. One story retold to BJL was of a Sefer Torah secreted out of Warsaw and hidden in an old age home. After the war, destruction was all around, except for the small area near the roof of the building where the Torah was stored during the war years. That Sefer Torah was brought to Israel and is now in the Heichel Shlomo Museum.
After the formal remarks in the synagogue, guests were given a guided tour of “Stars Without a Heaven”, an exhibition about children in the Holocaust currently on display at Yad Vashem’s Exhibition Pavilion. Of the many stories of child survivors, one featured was of Alfred Lessin & his teddy bear. The bear is not alone, but surrounded by other dolls and toys collected from survivors, some known and some names lost. Every victim has a story. They wanted so much to live.
“The memory is the only paradise that man cannot be expelled from” a visit to Yad Vashem is always a memorable occasion.
The event will conclude with a lecture by Dr. Haim Gertner, Director of the Yad Vashem Archives Division & Fred Hillman Chair for Holocaust Documentation, entitled “Visible Voices: Holocaust Testimonies & the Challenges of Meaningful Remembrance.”
International diplomats listen to PM Benjamin Netanyahu at event marking International Day of Commemoration of Holocaust in the Yad Vashem Synagogue
Aryeh King leads protest against UN occupation of Government House in Jerusalem, failure to pay property taxes & illegal construction. By Gary Willig, 26/01/17 22:16
United Nations team in Jerusalem – Flash90
Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King led a protest outside the Headquarters of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the ‘Government House’ in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The protest was organized by the Israel Land Fund. The protesters demonstrated against the UN’s occupation of the premises without paying property taxes and the construction by the UN organization of illegal structures in Israel’s capital.
Councilman King said at the protest: “They don’t pay Arnona (Municipal Taxes) but use the Municipal services. They are modifying the entrance gate & the Government House Building without authorization from the municipality, both of which are listed buildings according to Israeli Law.”
He added “in the last few months they have put up illegal buildings [without applying for construction permits or receiving any form of permission from the municipality or the State).”
The Government House served the residence of the High Commissioner of the British Mandate in the land of Israel, Lord Herbert Plumer. The International Red Cross took over the facility temporarily during the War of Independence in 1948 before turning the property over to the UN, which continued to manage the property in the No Man’s Land between the Israeli & Jordanian controlled sections of Jerusalem. The Israeli government announced following the Six Day War it was putting Government House at disposal of the UN & it has been under UN control ever since.
11.New initiative to challenge UNRWA by David Bedein
Pro-Israel think tank opens new office near UN in Manhattan to lobby UNRWA donor nations to take steps to reform agency. by Gary Willig, 26/01/17
United Nations Headquarters – Thinkstock
The Center for Near East Policy Research (CNEPR) opened a new office near the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Thursday. The center will promote its UNRWA Reform Initiative out of the new office.
The UNRWA Reform Initiative seeks to change how UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, operates.
UNRWA exists to serve the Arab refugees from Israel’s War of Independence, when the armies of five Arab nations invaded the nascent Jewish State in an attempt to destroy it. Many of them left Israel after Arab radio broadcasts told them to leave their homes, promising they would return shortly, after the Jews were wiped out. Some fled in fear or were told to leave their homes by Israeli forces fighting nearby.
UNRWA is the only UN organization which is dedicated to a single group of refugees. All the other millions of refugees in the world fall under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The definition of a ‘Palestinian refugee’ under the auspices of UNRWA is also very different from the definition which applies to all other refugees in the world. ‘Palestinian refugees’ are the only refugees in the world who inherit that status from their parents and grandparents, rather than becoming refugees by being forced to leave their country of origin. They also do not lose their status as refugees if they receive citizenship in another country, as many of those UNRWA still considers refugees received from the State of Jordan.
As a result of UNRWA’s policies and the refusal of the surrounding Arab nations to integrate the original refugees or their descendants and to grant them citizenship, the number of refugees has increased nearly tenfold, from approximately 700,000 in 1949 to over five million today.
The UNRWA Reform Initiative seeks to change the operations of UNRWA so that the organization focuses on finding solutions for the refugees and their descendants instead of continually perpetuating their refugee status.
The CNEPR stated in its announcement of the initiative that “UNRWA perpetuates stateless status of refugees and their descendants, reinforcing a life of limbo, poverty, anguish and despair,” in addition to promoting violence and hatred against Jews in schools.
David Bedein, Director of CNEPR, stated that “97% of UNRWA’s $1.2 billion budget comes from donor nations, any of whom could initiate a veto of any UNRWA policy which does not support the UN credo that ‘peace starts here.’” He has shown that UNRWA educational facilities employ Hamas members & encourage belligerence against Israel.
“Our agency will now dispatch experts to brief staffers of the U.S. Congress, the Parliaments of the EU, Canada, UK, Australia and Scandinavia, to ask donors to condition further aid to UNRWA on a policy overhaul. Films, reports, studies and previous briefings can be found by visiting the UNRWA Reform Initiative page,” Bedein continued.
The office in New York will allow the CNEPR to present the initiative to UNRWA’s donor nations directly, and to lobby them to use their clout as donors to establish effective supervision over how donations to UNRWA are spent.
Israeli settlers leaders were invited to Trump’s inauguration, the first time they have ever been welcomed at a presidential swearing in. Credit: Epa / Evan Vucci
From his seat at the foot of the US Capitol, Oded Revivi peered through the winter drizzle at the man he hopes will change everything.
Mr Revivi, the mayor of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, had left his home in the ‘occupied West Bank’ early last Thursday clutching a gold embossed invitation to Washington. Friday morn he was watching Donald Trump take the oath of office from one of the best seats in America.
It was the first time that Israeli settlers were invited to a presidential inauguration & Mr Revivi is not shy about the significance of the moment. “You can judge by our seats how important the people that invited us are,” he said.
After 8 long years of opposition from Barack Obama, Mr Revivi & many of his fellow settlers are brimming with optimism that their movement finally has an ally in the White House, or at least a US president who will not stand in the way of their ambitions.
Oded Revivi & several other settler leaders were invited to Trump’s inauguration Credit: Ap Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
They hope that Mr Trump will give the green light for the Israeli government to build more homes & settlements, freeze out the Palestinian Authority & perhaps even allow Israel to formally annex parts of the West Bank.
In just the first week since Mr Trump took office, there are already signs their hopes were well placed.
Over the last 7 days, Israel has approved 3,000 settler housing units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Under the Obama administration such a move would have drawn an angry admonishment but the Trump White House let it pass without criticism.
“We announce that we’re building and we don’t get a negative signal from the US – that’s a nice feeling,” said Yishai Fleisher, a representative of the Israeli settlement in Hebron.
20 of the newly approved homes are in Beit El, an affluent settlement of around 7,000 people just north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah. The settlement’s name means “House of God” & its residents believe it marks the spot where the Biblical patriarch Jacob dreamt of a ladder between earth & heaven.
Mr Trump & several of his advisors have given money to the settlement of Beit El Credit:Menahem Kahana/Afp
Today, Jacob might dream of a ladder between Trump’s Washington and the Israeli settler movement.
Mr Trump donated $10,000 to the settlement in 2003 while his choice for US ambassador to Israel, the Right-wing lawyer David Friedman, led an American support group that raised funds for the settlement. The family of Trump’s powerful son-in-law Jared Kushner have also donated thousands to Beit El.
No American president has ever come into office with such an overtly pro-settler circle of advisors & many in Beit El believe that Mr Trump will clear the way for them to expand.
“For the last 10 years there has been no building here at all because Obama was hostile to us,” said Yael Ben Yasha, a spokeswoman for the settlement.
The 50-year-old has 6 children & said there was no way for them to build new houses & start families of their own. The housing shortage has sent prices skyrocketing, with the average home in the settlement going for around £400,000.
“We hope that Trump will be a supporter of Israel & look with a kind eye on new construction,” Mrs Ben Yasha said.
Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from Naftali Bennett (Right) the leader of a pro-settler party within the coalition government Credit: Afp Photo / Pool / Abir Sultanabir Sultan
For the last 8 years, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to keep an awkward balance between claiming to support a 2-state solution while also presenting himself as a champion of Israeli settlements.
Mr Obama proved a useful foil in that act, allowing Mr. Netanyahu to tell the settlers that he wanted to help them but was being held back by Washington. But with Mr. Trump in power the settlers are now ramping up the pressure on Mr. Netanyahu to unleash a wave of new construction. The PM’s chief antagonist is his own education minister, Naftali Bennett, who heads a pro-settler party within Mr. Netanyahu’s Right-wing coalition government. Speaking in near-perfect English at a security conference this week, Mr. Bennett goaded his boss to seize the opportunities of the Trump administration.
“No alibis, it’s ours to decide,” Mr. Bennett said, as he proposed a radical plan to annex most of the West Bank & forever end the possibility of an independent Palestine.
Western diplomats & Palestinian officials warn that Mr. Bennett’s proposal, or anything like it, could plunge Israelis & Palestinians back into a cycle of violence unseen since the Second Intifada of the early 2000s.
Diplomats fear major moves on settlements could spark new violence between Israelis & Palestinians Credit: Abed Al Hashlamoun / Epa
Some Israeli settlers worry that American diplomats at the US State Department will try to spook Mr. Trump out of supporting the settlements with similar warnings. But they also fear that the businessman-cum-president may be seduced by the prospect of being the one who finally brokers peace between Israelis & Palestinians.
“You can already hear him talking like that sometimes,” said Hillel Manne, a 59-year-old winemaker & father of 7 from the Beit El settlement. “Trump has already said: ‘I’d love to be the person who makes that deal, the impossible deal.’
The new administration has tempered its emphatic public support for Israel with some caution. Mr. Trump promised repeatedly that he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem but this week his spokesman applied the brakes, saying there had been “no decision” on the subject.
Back in his home in the settlement of Efrat, Mr Revivi is still a little jetlagged but energised from his whirlwind trip to Trump’s Washington. When asked what his top priority was – building new homes, annexation of West Bank land, an end to talk of two states – he laughed at the idea the settler’s movement should narrow its ambitions to one policy.
“I don’t have a bucket list, I have a broad view of a better presence & a better future for all the people, living in coexistence” he said. “The sky is the limit.”
14.Earthquake in Crete also felt in Israel 00:43 News Briefs Tevet 28, 5777 , 26/01/17
An earthquake measuring 5.6 degrees on the Richter scale which hit the east coast of Crete on Wednesday evening was also felt in parts of Israel.
The epicenter of the earthquake was 52 kilometers (32 miles) below sea level. There were no reports of injuries or damages in either Crete or Israel.