Posts Tagged With: Politics

Why Jerusalem Day Is Important For Jews

                  

Last night and today Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day, or Yom Yerushalayim, as its called in Hebrew. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this momentous day.

Just why are they celebrating and why should Jews everywhere celebrate the day? This day marks the high point of the Six Day War, in 1967, when Israeli soldiers liberated eastern Jerusalem and the Old City and were finally able to see, touch and pray at the Western Wall, the Kotel.

Why is this important? Tuesday of this week Trump paid respects to the holiest site in Jerusalem by praying there. Prior to this, during the illegal Jordanian occupation  of the eastern half of Jerusalem (from 1948-1967). Jews were expelled from the area and were barred from praying at the Wall. Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs were also off limits. Jerusalem was a divided city, divided in half by a concrete wall topped by barbed wire. Jordanian snippers regularly fired into Western Jerusalem. As a result of the Six Day War, Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. It reunified the city and extended Israeli law to all its parts. It also guaranteed freedom of worship and protection of the holy sites of all religions.

Is this the only reason the Six Day war is important? Not all all. As a result of the war, Israel more than tripled the size of the area under its jurisdiction, from 8,000 to 26,000 square miles, about the size of New Jersey. Israel captured the SInai (which it later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights (from Syria), the Gaza Strip (which was controlled by Egypt) and from which Israel withdrew its forces and expelled its citizens in 2005, and the West Bank.

It was a momentous miraculous victory. Three armies- Egypt, Jordan and Syria were massed to attack Israel. Frenzied mobs called for its destruction. The United Nations peacekeeping force assigned to Sinai to keep peace between Egypt and Israel was forced to leave by the Egyptians. Israel stood alone against three armies. A victory by those forces would have, Heaven forbid, resulted in the elimination of the Jewish State. This was one war Israel had to win. And win it did, but the victory came at a high cost. Israel lost twice as many men in proportion to its population as the United States lost in its eight year war in Vietnam.

And what if Israel had won, but had not captured any territory. Well, the Golan Heights would have remained under Syrian control. That means that Israel would have been infested with Hezbollah and ISIS fighters. Jerusalem would have remained a divided city, with the Old City of Jerusalem remaining under Jordanian control. Jews would have been barred from the Wall and from living in East Jerusalem. Israel would, in fact, have been hard pressed to remain stable and safe. Without ’67, Israel’s enemies would be demanding their rights to Tel Avi, Haifa and of course the western part of Jerusalem. The ’67 war turned Israel into a viable nation.

Why is a united Jerusalem important to all Jews? Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel, the land of the Jews. It was Israel’s capital thousands of years ago and has never been the capital of any other country. It is the heart and soul of Israel. Jerusalem cannot be divided. Asking Israel to do so, is not only against Israel’s interests, but also against the world’s interests. Israel safeguards all holy places and allows freedom of access to all. In contrast, the Jordanians who control the Temple Mount refuse to let Jews even mumble a prayer on the Mount, but they let their children play sports on the plaza. So much for its holiness. Control of the holy places by the Palestinians, or even international forces which can be expelled by the host country, will not ensure freedom of access to all. Rachel’s Tomb, which is in Bethlehem, is now covered by concrete and barred wire to ensure the safety of its visitors. The Tomb of Joseph in Nablus is not safe for Jews to visit. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron requires an armed Israeli presence to protect worshippers. In short, only Israel guarantees the safety of Holy Places under its rule. Furthermore, it would not take long for Hamas to take control of any area ceded to the Palestinians  by Israel. Those would be dangerous times for Israel and its neighbors.

But there’s more. In order for Israel to remain viable, it needs to have defensible borders. It’s neighbors have waged war against it and while Israel has signed peace treaties with some, others are waiting to pounce on it. And Israel must remain strong, very strong. Israel is the last place of refuge for Jews. As anti semitism and terror raise their ugly heads in all parts of the world, Jews now have place of refuge, a place where they can live openly and freely as Jews and where all can pray at the holiest of all synagogues. Those are real reasons to celebrate.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Hamas, Israel, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Day, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, religious freedom, Terrorism, Yom Yerushalayim | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 2016 Election-Final Thoughts

hillary-donald    In the final hours before the the majority of the electorate goes to the polls to elect the 45th President of the United States, I thought a final analysis would be in order.

First, the campaign itself. One of the most hotly contested races ever, the two candidates have very different views and the views of their supporters reflect this.

Here are some of the major differences between the Clinton and Trump supporters interviewed and reported on by PEW:

Over 80% of Trump supporters believed that America is worse today than it was 50 years ago. Only 19% of Clinton supporters agreed.

Most of the Clinton supporters interviewed,(72%) believed that it is harder for women to get ahead than men, while only 31% of Trump supporters agreed.

Close to 80% of Clinton supporters believed that white people have advantages that Black people do not and 57% said it’s much more difficult to be black than white in the United States. Only about a quarter of Trump supporters agreed with white advantage and just 11% believed that it’s more difficult to be black.

This trend is also evident in the amount of Clinton supporters who felt that undocumented immigrants are no more apt to commit serious crimes than citizens (84% vs 43%). Of course Trump supporters were far more likely to favour a wall between the US and Mexico (79% vs 10%).

A majority of Trump supporters (57%) felt that Muslims living in the US should be subject to additional scrutiny, while just 15% of Clinton supporters agreed. 66% of Trump supporters thought that terrorists have greater ability to launch a terror attack against the US now than in 2001, while only 24% of Clinton supporters agreed.

The vast majority of Clinton supporters (72%) believed that government should do more to help the needy even if it meant that the US would assume greater debt, while only 21% of Trump supporters agreed.

83% of Trump supporters felt that government is wasteful and inefficient, while only 31% of Clinton supporters agreed.

Other polls show that support for Clinton is much greater among those with a college degree, while Trump is favoured by those with a High School diploma or less. Rural citizens and gun owners tend to prefer Trump, while urbanites favour Clinton.

Most Americans do not trust either candidate or share their values. But tomorrow, they will have to choose.

Tomorrow, the American people will let their voices be heard. No matter who wins, there will be many very unhappy people. The fact that Bernie Sanders was able to seriously challenge Hillary Clinton and that his supporters were so enthusiastic, means that the Democratic party is split between those who like the status quo and those who wish the party were more “progressive” or as some say, more socialist and to the left. If Hillary is elected, she will have to adopt some of these views.

The Republican party is a mess. Many within the party do not support Trump and some are even voting for Hillary. However, the fact that such a large swath of the party support Trump indicates that there is serious dissatisfaction with mainstream Republicans and that party members are looking for an outsider whom they believe will bring about change.

If Hillary wins, I fear the reaction of Trump voters. Trump has indicated he would not accept the final tally, but contest it. Such an action would be disruptive, but America has gone through something somewhat similar in the Bush Gore election of 2000. In that election, Florida ballots were recounted, and the outcome of the election unknown for more than a month afterwards. It also required the intervention of the Supreme Court to rule on the balloting procedures. However, while people were not happy during this period, there was no civil disobedience. Life went on as usual. I’m not sure things will be equally as calm should Hillary win.

Should Trump win, Hillary supporters will be very upset, but I don’t believe the unrest will be as great.

However, no matter who wins, America is now deeply divided and there is a large core of very angry people. My hope is that the election will go smoothly and that supporters of the losing candidate will graciously accept the results. During these last few years, American prestige around the world has plummeted. I only hope that the aftermath of this election will not be another step in its decline.

Let’s join together as Americans and strive for unity, or as a minimum, mutual respect.

Categories: 2016 Election, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The New Year

sunrise

It’s almost Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This year Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday night, October 2nd. The upcoming year according to the Jewish calendar will be 5777.

I don’t know what the New Year will bring, but the one thing I’m sure of is that it will not be a quiet year. This past year was full of surprises and I’m sure the new year will bring even more.

To begin with, last October no one would have predicted that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. Furthermore, while Hillary was expected to be the Democratic candidate, no one would have predicted that she would be distrusted by so many.

Here are a few more of the major events which happened this past year:

Iran was given $400 million in cash after four American hostages were released.

The Iran Nuclear deal went into effect and sanctions against Iran were lifted. This resulted in a huge infusion of funds into Iran which is likely to be used to continue to fund terrorism.

Horrific terror incidents occurred around the world, resulting in the tragic death of so many.

Refugees flocked to Europe and many other parts of the world and their sheer numbers guarantee that the character of many of these countries will be changed.

Russia signed a pact with Syria and now has a foothold in the Middle East.

The Zika virus spread to the United States.

Racial violence reared its ugly head in the United States and seems likely to continue.

Anti semitism has increased throughout the world , as has hatred of Israel. On many college campuses pro Israel students have been attacked, and pro Israeli speakers prevented from speaking.

Violence once again broke out in Israel as Palestinians took to knife attacks, shootings and and car ramming against Israelis.

Shimon Peres died and world leaders, including  Mahmoud Abbas, came to the funeral. However, representatives of the Joint List, the Arab party in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) boycotted the funeral.

Britain citizens voted to leave the European Union. What will happen to the Union without Britain’s participation is unknown.

A number of Arab countries cut their ties with Iran. Some are even starting to dialogue with Israel, albeit under the radar.

Israel and Turkey reconciled their differences and mended relations.

Israel is once again being welcomed by some African nations.

That was last year. So what can we expect in the coming year?

A new president will assume the mantle of leadership of the United States. Where he or she will take the country remains to be seen.

A continuation of terror incidents seems all but certain, given that ISIS has not been defeated. Anti semitic incidents can also be expected to continue.

But since few of the events of 5776 could be predicted, I cannot begin to guess what will happen in 5777. The world is in a state of flux and anything could happen.

So what can we do? Let’s start the new year not only by praying for world peace, but by trying to do what we can to achieve it in a limited way by reconciling with family and friends with whom we have become estranged.

As Jews we must also pledge to support each other and the existence of the State of Israel. While we may not agree with all their policies, wholesale condemnation of Israel results only in whetting the appetites of those who seek its destruction. We must remember that, as the only Jewish state in the world, Israel is the one place that any Jew will be welcomed and accepted. Jews finally have a home of their own and a place to go when their host countries make life difficult for them.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and joyous New Year, a year in which world will finally achieve peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Israel, Politics, Pro Israel Post, Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel “Appropriates West Bank Land” for Its Use

Shalom Y’All:

I, like everyone else, am thrilled that the Gaza War has ended. Of course, I am saddened by the loss of life. Israel destroyed much of Hamas’ rocket supply and tunnels and killed some of its senior leaders, but paid a heavy price. The only thing Hamas gained was perhaps the perception that it can stand up to Israel. Of course the price Gaza citizens paid seems totally disproportionate to Hamas’ gain.

I admit, however, at being surprised by the recent news reports that Israel appropriated Palestinian West Bank land near Bethlehem to build new settlements. It seemed to me that now was the time to bolster the more “moderate” Palestinians, not antagonize them. 

A little research put an entirely different spin on this story. 

The Oslo agreement divided the West Bank into three areas: Area A- under full Palestinian control, Area B -mixed Israeli and Palestinian security control and full Palestinian civil control, and Area C- full Israeli military and civilian control, including the power to zone and plan. The land which Israel now declared as state land to be used for settlements is within Area C. So, in fact, Israel is not taking “Palestinian land,” but rather developing land belonging to Israel. Furthermore, this territory is part of a settlement bloc, south of Jerusalem, known as Gush Etzion. This area was settled by Jews prior to 1948, but lost when it was attacked by Arab forces during the War of Independence.

So we see that once again, the media is trying to stir up anti Israel sentiment. Just as the media failed to report that Hamas was shooting from hospitals, apartment buildings, schools, etc, so they failed to report that Israel actually has the right to build in the territory in question.

 A word to the wise. Anytime a story about Israel’s actions does not seem to make sense, check further. You may well find the facts are different than reported.

Categories: Israel, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UNWRA Foments Hatred Towards Israel

Shalom:

In a previous post, I complained about the United Nations Human Rights Council. Today I would like to address the stance of UNWRA towards Israel.

The formation of the State Of Israel resulted in the creation of both Jewish and Arab refugees.

Between 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jews were forced to flee from the Arab lands in which many of them had lived for over a thousand years. Over half a million of these Jewish refugees were absorbed in the newly created tiny State of Israel without any compensation from the Arab lands who had confiscated their property and possessions. The United Nations also did not provide any assistance.

About 700,000 Arabs living in Palestine either fled or were forced to flee. Unlike Israel, the many neighboring large Arab countries did not absorb these refugees. Instead, in 1949, the United Nations created UNWRA, the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.”

The workload of UNWRA should be lessening each year, as the original refugees pass on. However, the United Nations in its infinite “wisdom”, decided to broaden the definition of a refugee, for Palestinians only, from a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster to include patrilineal descendants of the original refugees as well. So, had the usual definition of refugee been used, the number of Palestinian refugees today would be between 30,000 to 50,000. Instead, the number is between five to six million.

Of course, UNWRA’s staff has had to grow and continues to grow as the number of refugees increases. UNWRA also administers large “Palestinian refugee” camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and provides social services there as well.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 1.25 million “Palestinian refugees,” live in Gaza, about two thirds of its population. About half of Gaza’s residents receive UNWRA food supplies and more than a quarter live in UNRWA refugee camps. UNWRA runs 245 schools, 22 medical facilities and eight refugee camps in Gaza. It employs more than 11,000 people and is Gaza’s second largest employer 

Rather than seeking to resolve the problem by encouraging Arab countries to absorb the “refugees,” maintaining neutrality, or trying to lessen the negative view of Israel held by many in Gaza, UNWRA is perpetuating the tradition of hate by fostering the “refugees” unattainable goal of returning to Israel by any means possible, including violence.

To see a distressing graphic representation of the propaganda UNWRA teaches in their schools, click on the following : UNWRA Teaches Palestinian Students that Israel Is Palestine.

To see an organization, whose raison d’être is to bring peace to the world,  encourage educators to teach this type of propaganda in its schools is kafkaesque and a real tragedy. How can Israel ever make peace with people who have been taught since childhood that destroying Israel is their life’s mission?

Categories: Gaza, Israel, Jewish Blog, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, United Nations, UNWRA, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Use of “Disproportionate Force”

Shalom:

We have been hearing a lot lately about Israel’s use of “disproportionate force.” I would like to pose the question, What is “‘proportionate force?” Should Israel send unguided rockets into civilian areas of Gaza? Should it dig tunnels into areas near Gazan homes and try to kill and/or abduct the arabs living in the home and surrounding areas? Should its soldiers dress like Hamas “fighters” and try to kill members of Hamas and civilians? 

Some have claimed that while Hamas’ methods are lamentable, Hamas basically has no choice since they are fighting a much better equipped force. Hamas does have choices. Its tunnels can lead to military areas, not civilian homes. Its fighters can don uniforms so it will be easy to distinguish civilians from militants. It can store its armaments and weapons in areas other than schools, homes and mosques, and it can fire from less densely populated areas.

Furthermore, Hamas could have used the money and supplies it received to build houses and develop industry to strengthen the economy. However, Hamas, the ruling terrorist entity elected by the population, uses whatever resources it has towards the purchase and manufacture of military supplies and deep concrete tunnels. So Israel blockades Gaza to try to prevent the flow of military equipment and building material.

Moreover, had the Gazans wanted peace, they could have restarted the very profitable agricultural business that existed when the Jews were in Gaza, using the hothouses left by Israel. Their failure to do so and their election of Hamas to lead them shows that their main interest is confrontation, not coexistence. 

But let’s get back to the main point, “disproportionate force.” What did the United States do in Afghanistan post 9/11? Did it send a few planes? Did it hold peace process meetings with Al-Qaeda? Did it just ask for an international boycott of Afghanistan?

No. It sent over a hundred thousand troops to Afghanistan to fight the enemy. Do I fault them? Not in the least. When a small group, such as Al-Qaeda or Hamas, attacks a larger entity such as the United States or Israel, they can and should expect that these countries will do all they can to keep their citizens safe. America had had enough of Al-Qaeda’s terrorism and it set out to destroy it. One of a country’s main functions is to protect its citizens. Less is not acceptable. So yes, if a small entity attacks a larger entity it can be expected to feel the full force of the larger entity directed against it. The only example of disproportionate force I can conceive of is the use of nuclear or chemical weapons.

When a country’s citizens are forced to run to bomb shelters every few minutes, totally disrupting their lives and causing untold numbers of new PTSD cases; when people are loathe to step out of their homes for fear that they will be kidnapped or killed by terrorists popping out of a hole; then yes, it’s Israel’s duty to do all it can to end the terrorism. 

War is a nasty business. Unfortunately, civilians are often caught in the crossfire and many die as a result. In Afghanistan, for example, although almost 2200 US soldiers have died, the death toll for civilians is over 21,000.

Israel has tried to mitigate civilian deaths by warning residents of an area of immanent attack. No other army has ever done so. With all that, there have been many civilian deaths. The number would have been greatly reduced had Hamas cared enough about the safety and security of Gaza residents to build bomb shelters, rather than tunnels;  locate its armaments and tunnels away from civilian facilities; dressed its soldiers in uniforms so they could clearly be distinguished from civilians; shot from non civilian areas; and advised those in danger to leave their homes. 

Israel is fighting for its existence. Its enemies include Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. But let’s not fool ourselves. Those, like Hamas and the other terrorist groups, who want Israel wiped off the map also hate the United States and other freedom loving countries. A less than complete victory by Israel is a victory for terrorists and the forces of evil worldwide.

Categories: Anti Hamas Post, Gaza War, Hamas, Israel, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Middle East, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.