Thursday, December 31, 2009

For Chicagoans

Lecture and Book-Signing
with George Gilder,
author of The Israel Test
Monday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 PM
Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township
Jewish Congregation
4500 Dempster St. Skokie, Il 60076
Lecture is free to the public.
Books will be available for purchase for $15.
(list price is $27.95)
Private Reception with George Gilder
$50/person at 6:30 pm.
Become a co-sponsor
$100 single $150 a couple
Sponsorship includes Private Reception, signed
book (two signed books for couples) and
select seating at the lecture
RSVP to: Larry Brown
Larry@ camera.org (847)983-8803
Refreshments will be served.
In The Israel Test: Why Israel is the Crucial Battlefield for
Capitalism and Freedom Today (Richard Vigilante Books,
July 22, 2009), technology guru George Gilder looks at
Israel as it transitions into the twenty-first century and sees a
nation that, alongside the United States, is a leader of
human civilization, technological progress, and scientific
advance. “The reason America should continue to „prop
up‟ Israel,” he writes, “is that Israel itself is a crucial prop of
American wealth, freedom, and power.” We must defend
Israel not merely from any religious obligation (as many
often argue) but from a very practical need to defend the
same core values that have built and sustained the United
States.
GEORGE GILDER is author of fifteen books, including
the international best-seller Wealth & Poverty, voted
by National Review as one of the most important
works of the twentieth century, and Microcosm,
selected by Wired as the second most important
technology book of the era. He is contributing writer
for Forbes and Wired, director of the Discovery
Institute‟s Technology Program, and a practicing
venture capitalist. He lives in Tyringham,
Massachusetts with his wife Nini.

Praise for Netanyahu's Settlement position

United States Praises Israeli Settlement Moratorium
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month announced a 10-month West Bank settlement moratorium. The United States praised the unprecedented move, but the Palestinian Authority persists in its refusal to negotiate with Israel until a number of preconditions are met.

Clinton Calls Israeli Actions “Unprecedented”
A few weeks before Netanyahu’s official announcement of the moratorium, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Jerusalem and praised unilateral Israeli concessions on settlement construction as “unprecedented.” She also emphasized that a complete settlement freeze was never, and should never be, a precondition for Israeli-Palestinian talks.

“[Settlements have] always been an issue with negotiations,” Clinton said. “What the prime minister has offered in specifics of a restraint on the policy of settlements which he has just described—no new starts, for example—is unprecedented in the context of prior to negotiations.”

The Arab world was furious with Clinton’s praise of Israel, particularly her use of the word “unprecedented.” But Clinton did not retract her remarks. Speaking in Morocco two days after her visit to Jerusalem, the secretary of state said that Netanyahu’s offer of “restraint” on settlements would have a “significant and meaningful effect” on limiting settlement construction in the West Bank. BACK TO TOP

State Department Praises Israeli Decision
After Netanyahu officially announced the 10-month settlement moratorium on Nov. 25, Clinton again reacted positively. She said the Israeli gesture “helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Mitchell also praised Netanyahu’s decision. In a State Department briefing, Mitchell said the settlement moratorium was “more than any Israeli government has done before” and said the move could “help move toward agreement between the parties.”

“For the first time ever,” Mitchell said, “an Israeli government will stop housing approvals and all new construction of housing units and related infrastructure in West Bank settlements. That’s a positive development.”

airport security

Observations:

What Israel Can Teach Us about Airport Security - Cathal Kelly (Toronto Star)


•While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, the experts keep asking: How can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deals with far greater terror threats with far less inconvenience? "It is mind-boggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy.
•Despite facing dozens of potential threats each day, the security set-up at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport has not been breached since 2002, when a passenger mistakenly carried a handgun onto a flight. How do they manage that?
•The first layer of security that greets travelers is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked: How are you? Where are you coming from? "Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," Sela said.
•Armed guards outside the terminal observe passengers as they move toward the doors, again looking for odd behavior. Inside the terminal, as you approach the airline check-in desk, a trained interviewer asks additional questions. "The whole time, they are looking into your eyes - which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not," said Sela. At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a special area.
•Five security layers down, you now arrive at the body and hand-luggage check. "But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said. "First, it's fast - there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes....They just look at you...and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys."
•Sela maintains that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would not have gotten past Ben-Gurion's behavioral profilers. "You can easily do what we do. You don't have to replace anything. You have to add just a little bit - technology, training...but you have to completely change the way you go about doing airport security."

Terror thwarted

Dozens of Terror Infiltrations by Gazans Foiled in 2009 - Yaakov Katz
Dozens of attempts by Palestinian terror groups from Gaza to infiltrate Israel via the porous Egyptian border were thwarted throughout 2009, the Israel Security Agency revealed on Wednesday in its annual report. The Gaza terrorists crossed into Sinai and then tried to enter Israel armed with explosives or weaponry. A majority of the infiltration attempts across the Egyptian border were made by Palestinian terrorists affiliated with groups in Gaza aligned with al-Qaeda and global Jihad. (Jerusalem Post)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Obama picks extreme left winger as Jewish liason

tp://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1137296.html



U.S. official blasts Israel envoy's 'unfortunate' J-Street remarks

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By Barak Ravid

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif

Tags: Michael Oren, J Street http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/tags/tag_arrow1.gif

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Remarks by Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, against the liberal Jewish lobby J Street were "most unfortunate" according to Hannah Rosenthal, head of the U.S. administration's Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

In an interview with Haaretz in Jerusalem, where Rosenthal was the administration's envoy to the Foreign Ministry's Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Rosenthal, who once served on J street's board of directors, said she opposes blurring the lines between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel.


It is not 1939," she said. "We have the state of Israel. We have laws in countries that are holding people accountable."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif


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When Ambassador Michael Oren turned down J Street's request to be keynote speaker at its first annual conference, and chose not to attend, debate over the group, already intense in the American Jewish community, reached as far as Jerusalem.

J Street was established a few years ago as a new pro-Israel lobby to counterbalance the strong, veteran group AIPAC, considered to toe a more right-wing conservative line.

Under the motto is "pro-Israel, pro-peace," J Street began to promote issues like a freeze on settlement construction and a two-state solution.

While the U.S. administration embraced J Street, which lends its unqualified support to U.S. President Barack Obama, the Israeli government turned a cold shoulder to the group. Obama's national security adviser, General James Jones, gave the keynote speech at the conference, while Israel sent a low-level official, claiming that J Street works against Israel's interests.

Rosenthal, who also served on the board of directors of left-wing group Americans for Peace Now, said she believed Oren "would have learned a lot" if he had participated in J Street's conference.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anti-Israel Boycott Backfires in Canada

Anti-Israel Boycott Backfires in Canada

by Hillel Fendel
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.

(IsraelNN.com) Another anti-Zionist attempted boycott in Canada has backfired, with Israeli products enjoying sales rates much higher than usual.

Anti-Israel groups had threatened MEC – Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op - with a boycott because of its inclusion of Israeli products in its inventory. But barely anyone showed up for the boycott, and instead, large crowds of Israel supporters came to buy Israeli products.

The Canada Jewish Tribune reports that several MEC stores across Canada experienced unusually high sales for its Israeli products on Sunday of last week. Shelves with Israeli-made products – numerous styles of seamless underwear and hydration systems products – had to be re-stocked a couple of times each day.

What had been planned as giant demonstrations against Israel in Toronto and Vancouver resulted in tiny-to-small groups of protestors who were dwarfed by crowds of Zionists purchasing Israeli items. B’nai Brith and the Canada-Israel Committee joined forces to organize a “buy-cott” in response to the boycott.

Salomon Rayek of B’nai Brith Canada in Vancouver reported total success, saying that only three anti-Israel demonstrators showed up at the MEC store in Calgary on Saturday, while the next day, “a large number of Jews and Israel’s supporters showed up at the stores and spent a good chunk of money buying Israeli products... I understand that in Toronto about 20 protesters showed up to protest, and on the next day there was a very large Jewish and pro-Israel presence [coming] to buy Israeli goods."

Shades of April 2009
The story appears to be a repeat of what occurred in April of this year at a Toronto liquor store.

After a Jewish non-Zionist group tried to organize an anti-Israel protest in front of the store, asking Passover celebrants to mark their holiday without Israeli-made wines, hundreds of pro-Israeli consumers took the opportunity to hold a pro-Israel festival and bought up the store’s entire stock of Israeli wine.

Brands such as Carmel, Barkan, Golan Heights, Gush Etzion (Efrat), Binyamina, Baron, Segal Dalton and others were sold out within a matter of hours.

Carter's apology

[http://www.ynetnews.com/images/whitespace.gif] [ht=
tp://www.ynetnews.com/images/whitespace.gif]
Carter: Grandson's race not reason for apology

Former US president denies apology to US Jews due solely to grandson's deci=
sion to launch political career



WASHINGTON - Former US President Jimmy Carter insists that his letter of ap=
ology addressed to US Jews published on Monday was not simply due to the fa=
ct that his grandson has decided to launch a political career and run for t=
he Georgia state senator.



The former president's grandson, Jason Carter, 34, an Atlanta-area lawyer, =
is considering a run to fill a seat covering suburban DeKalb County should =
the incumbent, David Adelman, be designated ambassador to Singapore.

Mea Culpa

Carter apologizes for 'stigmatizing Israel' / Yitzhak Benhorin

Former US president offers US Jewish community heartfelt apology for any co=
ntribution he may have had to Jewish nation's negative image

Full Story






News of the young Carter's political ambitions has led some to suspect the =
former president's motives behind his apology were insincere.



But Carter senior told the Jewish Telegraph Agency in an interview publishe=
d Tuesday that ethnic electoral considerations were not reason enough to re=
ach out to the Jewish community, although he did not outright deny that it =
was a factor.



"Jason has a district, the number of Jewish voters in it is only 2%," he sa=
id, chuckling.



The senior Carter, who is not a popular character in Israel, enraged the Am=
erican Jewish community in the past with various statements made in his boo=
k "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."



In the book, Carter blamed Israel for impeding the Middle East peace proces=
s via settlement construction, further claiming such a policy will lead to =
apartheid. The publication of the book caused 14 Jews to quit their jobs at=
the Carter Center in 2006.



Since then Carter has been trying to restore relations with the Jewish publ=
ic. He hoped to appear in synagogues or Jewish community centers to explain=
himself and apologize, but his efforts were rejected.




He therefore decided to publish his letter of apology in a Jewish news agen=
cy around the holiday season, in hopes of reaching the public.



In a statement following his grandfather's letter, Jason Carter said: "Whil=
e I was very happy to see my grandfather's letter, it was completely unrela=
ted to my campaign. The letter is a product of discussions with some of his=
friends in the Jewish community that have been going on for a long time. I=
, like many others, see this as a great step towards reconciliation."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

finally some action on Israeli conversions

Haaretz israel news English
Back to Homepage


Threat of suit pressures Rabbinate to reopen conversion annulment issue
By Cnaan Liphshiz

A local nonprofit assisting Jewish converts is for the first time planning to take the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to court for not preventing the retroactive annulment of conversions, Anglo File has learned. The organization's founder asserts "back room" talks convinced him such outside pressure would give rabbinate leaders the impetus to address the issue on its own.

"We've cooperated with the rabbinate for years, building a dialogue and trust with them, but the situation cannot be allowed to go on," said Rabbi Seth Farber, the U.S.-born founder of the Jerusalem-based assistance organization ITIM, which is preparing a petition to the High Court of Justice against the rabbinate.
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Numerous Jews over the past years whose conversions had already been approved by the rabbinate, have encountered officials - primarily municipal rabbis and rabbinical judges - denying their religious status, asserts Farber. In the petition's draft, Farber asks the court to order the rabbinate to ensure that all of its employees and representatives fulfill their duties, namely recognizing all Jews with rabbinate-approved conversions as such.

Sources inside the rabbinate said the outside interference called for by the petition could be "harmful" and said they would "address internally and possibly change" the treatment of converts as early as next week.

Farber, who moved to Israel in 1995 from New York and founded ITIM in 2002 said he would go ahead with the petition unless "the current reality changes." ITIM has a staff of 11 people and assists people in dealing with Israel's religious institutions. "I will do so with a heavy heart, but if we don't stop this now, the ramifications could be far worse."

The decision to litigate came after Farber "saw that the rabbinate would just not confront the rabbis and rabbinical judges who refuse to recognize converts," he said, explaining that when ITIM complains to the chief rabbinate, the chief rabbinate refers ITIM "right back to the rabbi in question - to work it out with him."

This week, Farber sent to Israel's respective Sephardic and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbis, Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger, a letter detailing the basis for the planned petition. In the letter he recounts recent cases where officials retroactively nullified conversions or refused to process marriage requests for converts.

In the letter - which Farber calls a "last plea for action" to avert litigation - he asks what the rabbinate intends to do regarding the actions of Rishon Letzion's chief rabbi, Yehuda David Wolpe, who last summer ruled that four converted couples could not be wed because they were not really Jewish. So far, the rabbinate has not answered his letter.

Hod Hasharon's chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Reuven Hiller, speaks of "a rift within the chief rabbinate" between "National-Orthodox pragmatists," who seek to facilitate the integration of Israel's 300,000 non-Jewish Russian-speaking immigrants into its Jewish population, and ultra-Orthodox, Haredi ideologues. Hiller does not support getting the High Court of Justice involved, because he believes it has "no jurisdiction over Halakhic issues" and is therefore legally futile at best and antagonistic at worst.

Still, he says the petition could be "an effective tactical move which will give the rabbinate's leadership an excuse to clean the stables and lay down the law." Such a solution, however, will be short-lived, he says, because "there is a strong radical contingent that will eventually find ways of making its presence in the rabbinate felt."

Hiller says the "strategic solution" is to bypass the "radical contingent" with Tzohar, a nonprofit of hundreds of volunteer rabbis working to "bridge the gap between religious and secular Jews," as the organization's mission statement says.

"Over the past year, we have set up a network of municipal rabbis who are sympathetic to our cause and can be trusted to fairly process all applicants - converts or not," said Rabbi David Stav, Tzohar's chairman and Shoham's chief rabbi. "In so doing we hope to insulate converts from rabbis who aim to obstruct their path."

Stav and other key figures in the field do not expect conversion-nullifying rabbis to be punished, an idea raised in a recent Knesset discussion. A senior adviser to Sephardi Chief Rabbi Amar said: "If the rabbis who nullify conversions thought for one minute they might get fired for it, then they would not be nullifying conversions."

Amar's advisor also said that "there are other internal means and devices to pressure radical rabbis, who for political reasons decided they needed to show their congregations that they were 'more Catholic than the Pope' by reversing conversions sanctioned by Rabbi Amar and Rabbi Metzger."

The advisor said some of the rabbis in question - including Wolpe of Rishon Letzion and Ashkelon's chief rabbi, Yosef Haim Bloi - will on Monday be called in to explain their decisions to the Supreme Rabbinical Council, presided by the two chief rabbis of Israel and over a dozen city rabbis. "This meeting could change that which needs changing," said the advisor.

He noted that Amar is considering appointing rabbis to oversee and approve the decisions of "problematic" municipal rabbis. "This is a sort of death blow to any municipal rabbi. They fear it like the plague," added the adviser.

Queried by Anglo File for a comment on Farber's intention to petition the High Court of Justice, a spokesperson for the rabbinate said: "The treatment of converts will be discussed on Monday, at a discussion which will yield practical steps - including revoking the authority of rabbis who have misused it."
PROMOTION:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Governed by halacha?

Can Israel be both Jewish and Democratic (Friday's Post)



Can Israel be both Jewish and Democratic?



Reuven Hammer



The controversy over Minister Yaakov Neeman's recent statement concerning the place of Torah law in
Israeli life has once again sparked a debate over the role of religious law in Israeli society.
There have been two interpretations of Neeman's statement. The first, that he would like to see
Torah law become the law of the land, he has denied. The other, which he offers as his explanation,
is that there should be a greater input of Jewish Law into Israeli law. Let us hope that the latter
is correct and that no member of our government envisions the time when Israeli law would be
determined by rabbis rather than by the democratic process. Many others, including Justice Menachem
Alon, have long advocated the use of Jewish Law as precedents in our civil law, no less than other
systems such as British common law. There can be no objection to this since Hamishpat Haivri -
Jewish law in matters of damages and torts- indeed has much about it that is laudable. As long as it
is subject to the interpretation of our civil judges and does not supplant the power of the civil
legislature, the Knesset, that would be a positive development. However if Neeman really hopes to
see Jewish Law enforced through rabbinical authority replace our current system of justice, that
would be a catastrophe.



As a Masorti rabbi I am certainly in favor of Jewish law, but not in place of civil law and not as
coercive legislation. Furthermore Jewish law can be interpreted in many ways, and the way that many
rabbinic authorities interpret it here is not acceptable to me. Which interpretation and which
rabbinic authorities would be put in charge? The revolution that the Western world underwent in the
last few centuries was a revolution in which religion and state were separated, in which power was
given to the people and not to religious authorities, in which individualism and pluralism were
recognized as legitimate. Israel was founded on those principles as well, but unfortunately they
were not carried out fully regarding the religious establishment and religious freedom.



Unfortunately, the current situation in Israel is that Torah law as interpreted by State appointed
rabbinic authorities already controls certain vital aspects of our lives. In matters of marriage and
divorce the civil authorities from the beginning have ceded these areas to the Chief Rabbinate in a
great compromise that avoided conflict with the Orthodox elements in Israel, but created an
intolerable situation for a modern, democratic, secular state. I know of no other nation in the
Western, democratic, world in which such a situation exists. The results are well known. Large
segments of the Israeli population have no way of marrying within the country. The scandalous
situation of Agunot - women unable to obtain a divorce - is too well known to require any
elaboration here.



In addition, the existence of such a Chief Rabbinate discriminates against other rabbis and Jewish
religious organizations, denying them governmental funding and recognition. Tax payers' monies are
distributed in a way that does not reflect the wishes or the beliefs of the tax payers themselves.



The solution to these problems is well known but has been successfully avoided by all the
governments of Israel because of political pressures and lack of resolve. It requires as a first
step the enactment of civil partnership legislation which would then permit people to be registered
as a partnership with all the civil privileges thereof, while any religious marriage would become a
private decision, a religious ceremony to be conducted by whatever religious authority the couple
would choose. Such legislation has already been prepared, but has always been put aside at the
critical moment. It is time for it to be tabled and passed. The second step is the abolishment of
the monopoly of the current Chief Rabbinate - not the abolishment of the Chief Rabbinate but the
change of its status from a governmental monopoly into a privatized NGO which would exist along side
other rabbinates. These would be funded in part by tax money on the basis of the size of those who
adhere to them. Individuals would have the right to chose their own religious affiliation.



What does it mean to say we are a Jewish and democratic country? What does it mean to say that
Israel is a Jewish State? Certainly not that it is a state in which Jewish religious law is the law
of the land. That would be no different from the Islamic nations that enforce Moslem law. Rather it
means that it is a state that will provide a home for Jews and that will support Judaism, its
culture and its religion by making it possible for Jews to live according to their beliefs and help
and encouragement for all elements of Jewish civilization. All of that can be done without
compromising the basic tenets of democracy. It is time for Israel to become truly Jewish and truly
democratic. Establishing a state ruled by rabbinic authorities is exactly the opposite.

J street dangerous for Israel-Oren

Oren blasts J Street

December 10, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Israeli ambassador to the United States blasted J Street, saying the organization was "fooling around with the lives of 7 million people."

Michael Oren, responding to a question during an appearance Monday before the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism's biennial convention, described the left-wing pro-Israel group as "a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It's significantly out of the mainstream," The Forward reported.

"This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there," said Oren. "We understand that there are differences of opinion. But when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion. You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke."

Among the policies Oren pointed to as problematic were J Street's criticism of Israel's attack on Gaza last winter, its refusal to reject the Goldstone report and its failure to support additional sanctions on Iran. The same morning Oren spoke, J Street released a statement announcing that it now backed passage of Iran sanctions legislation in Congress.

Oren's remarks were much more critical than a statement from an Israeli Embassy spokesman in October, when Oren declined an invitation to address J Street's inaugural conference. At that time, the embassy said it would be "privately communicating its concerns over certain policies of the organization that may impair the interests of Israel."

What is coming?

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Wednesday
December 16th, 2009
29 Kislev 5770


Help support Mideast: On Target.


If you would like to advertise on Mideast: On Target or if you would like to sponsor a Newsletter please email us at webmaster@me-ontarget

Yisrael Ne'eman will be visiting the US on a lecture tour from January 27 - February 7. In particular Yisrael will be speaking on the topic of "Understanding the Hamas and Defining Its Policy Objectives - Implications for War and Peace." Other topics concerning Israel and the Middle East can be covered. If you would like to have Yisrael speak to your organization or community, please contact him at syneeman@bezeqint.net

Israel's Next Round With Iran & Co.
By Yisrael Ne'eman

Very unfortunately Israel's next war is looming on the horizon. When exactly, is hard to say – most likely within ten months fitting in perfectly with the settlement "building freeze". The Iranians have rejected all suggestions for compromise over their nuclear weapons program and experts suspect they may have developed a bomb already and if not, then within the immediate future. All threats of sanctions make no impression. Policy positions in both the public and private sphere remain identical, to "wipe Israel of the map". Iranian Pres. Ahmedinejad who enjoys the full backing of Islamic Council leader Khamenei is consolidating a military/police dictatorship within the framework of an Islamic republic.



Iran is moving towards a totalitarian society similar to Mussolini's fascist Italy, Hitler's Nazi Germany, Stalin's Bolshevik Soviet Union and Mao's Peoples Republic of China. With the increasing numbers of internal enemies the Tehran leadership is becoming more repressive daily. On the foreign front the "threat" of Zionism and the West in general are and will continue to be amplified in a desperate effort to unify the Iranian masses against these supposed ultimate evils. Lest one forgets, the reformists led by Mousavi favor nuclear development for military purposes no less than Ahmedinejad and his radical supporters. Israel is the lightning rod for the ultimate extermination of "evil" in the eyes of the Khomeinist Shiite extremist revolutionaries.



Hezbollah has recovered from the 2006 summer war with Israel and is said to have at least 15,000 men, 2.5 times the manpower they had three and a half years ago. If last time their rocket capabilities stood at some 12,000 – 15,000 today estimates hover beyond 50,000 with thousands capable of hitting the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. UN Resolution 1701 proved to be a complete washout despite the deployment of UN and Lebanese government forces on Israel's northern border. All know both forces can be removed in a flash should hostilities break out. The increasingly Shiite influenced Lebanese Army could conceivably join the Hezbollah. In violation of this resolution and previous ones (425 and 1559) Syria and Iran are resupplying the Hezbollah militia/terrorists mostly through the cross border route between Lebanon and Syria. Hezbollah Sec. Gen. Hasan Nasrallah now awaits his orders from Tehran – when to go on the attack.



Hamas took a pounding in last year's Cast Lead Operation and the organization has not fully recovered. If last year there were some 600 tunnels between Gaza and Sinai today the estimates go as high as 1,000 in addition to smuggling at sea. The supposed contraband blockade to be enforced with European assistance agreed upon last winter has come to naught. The Hamas too has tens of thousands of rockets and of longer range than last year. This time Hamas may very join Hebollah in rocketing Tel Aviv.



So far the Israeli response is to prepare for the "fateful moment" through military and civilian exercises. We can call this period "The quiet before the storm". As pointed out yesterday by Gen. Yadlin, Israel's intelligence chief, since the Cast Lead Operation all has been calm. Very few shells have come out of Gaza (mostly mortars) and no Israeli soldiers or civilians have been killed either by rockets or terror attacks in the past year (2009 – not including the Operation itself). But it is very deceptive as all sides rearm and retrain.
In Israel there is the continuing media overemphasis on the deal to release Gilad Shalit. Everyone's heart goes out to him but releasing 1000 terrorists, many of them with multiple murders of Israelis on their hands will not increase security. Supposedly the Israeli armed services and the pro- Fatah Palestinian security apparatus (Gen. Dayton's force) will keep constant watch on those released.



Following the media time dedicated to the demands to release Shalit at "any price" and "immediately" one gets the impression such a move will solve all of Israel's problems. Any opposition to such a heavy price is brushed off. So here is the perfect palliative since very few want to fully delve into what lurks around the corner. The only serious hint of concern by the government is in the upcoming distribution of gas masks to the 70% of the population living in the north and central regions. The south is left out due to lack of funds. Hint – Hezbollah and Iran have chemical weapons, Hamas does not and the government is going on the assumption that the Iranians will not use such weapons on Beersheva and the Negev. Does anyone expect Iran to play by these rules?



Israel, the West or both need to neutralize the Iranian nuclear facilities before weapons can be produced and dropped on the Jewish State. (Note - most of Europe is in Iranian missile range as well.) Then all hell will break loose. Missiles and rockets from Iran, Gaza and south Lebanon can be expected to land all over Israel, completely covering the country, Tel Aviv will lose its bubble status enjoyed over the past 19 years, previously lost in 1991 when Iraq's Saddam Hussein's scuds hit the city.



And what of Syria? That is anyone's guess. They can be expected to weigh the odds of "loss-gain" and then decide whether to join the fray or not. Assad will enjoy his wild card status.



But that's not all. Although there should be contingency plans the expectation in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) is for Gen. Dayton's force to keep the Fatah Palestinians out of the fray and hold back any Hamas challenge. The chances of such an eventuality recede when releasing 1000 Hamas terrorists. With Israel facing a very destructive missile war it is na├»ve to believe they will stay out of the anti-Israel line up. Hamas will be emboldened, garnering more support through the prisoner deal and openly challenging Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and PM Salam Fayyad for control of the West Bank. No one knows whether Gen. Dayton's force and the populace will remain loyal to Fatah. If not, Israel will be forced to put down a major uprising similar to that of the Low Intensity Conflict – LIC (AKA – Second Intifada) of 2000-04. This will involve tens of thousands of troops. The absolute worst case scenario is the Dayton fo rce taking up arms against Israel, a rerun of the Palestinian Authority police actions at the outset of the 2000 LIC.



The ripple effect will hit Israeli Arabs or "Palestinian Arabs with Israeli citizenship" as many define themselves. Will they too rebel, at least in part as happened with the pro-Palestinian demonstrations turned riots in October 2000 in support of Yasir Arafat's LIC? Nine years ago the Triangle in the Wadi Ara region and the central Galilee were completely shut down cutting off much of the north from the rest of the country. During the 2006 Second War in Lebanon there were pro-Hezbollah demonstrations but as aggravating as they were to Israeli Jews (and many Arabs as well) they remained peaceful.



Gilad Shalit as the great smoke screen will continue to dominate public discourse. Life is a bit too calm and most have lapsed into complacency. No real discussion exists about the response of West Bank Palestinians and Israeli Arabs should the Jewish State face an existential threat.



Israel is heading into the great unknown. Iran needs to be derailed from its nuclear plans and everyone else deterred. Anti-Israel ripple effects in the Arab/Moslem world can go much further than discussed above. Hence it is most important to contain and knock out Iran before we are all locked into a no-exit conflict. It is much better for Israel should the West to take action against Iran. Israel's capabilities are quite limited when adding in the necessity of defending against threats from Gaza, south Lebanon, possibly Syria and the unpredictable actions in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs. For Israel to go it alone is extremely dangerous.



Western involvement however, will involve a price in the form of an agreement with the Fatah led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This will inevitably lead to a two-state solution, not exactly with borders or conditions favorable to Israel.

Just shows iran sanctions are a joke

The no’s, votes present, and not voting members can be found here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2009-975 –none from Illinois.

http://jta.org/news/article/2009/12/15/1009752/obama-and-kerry-slowing-sanctions-legislation-push
Obama and Kerry slowing sanctions legislation push

President Obama meeting in the Oval Office on Oct. 21, 2009 with U.S. Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is heeding an appeal from the administration to go slow on Iran sanctions legislation. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama meeting in the Oval Office on Oct. 21, 2009 with U.S. Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is heeding an appeal from the administration to go slow on Iran sanctions legislation. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran are on track, Senate officials say, but taking the slow train.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, needs time to consider the bill, his spokesman, Frederick Jones, told JTA. Jones strongly refuted rumors that Kerry would keep the legislation from reaching the floor, although that is in his power as a committee chairman.

"We're working with the administration to reach a solution that achieves the minimum all parties" want, Jones said. "There's no hold, it's not dead, it's just they're anticipating the legislative process."

That means it's extremely unlikely the Senate will rush the legislation before year's end, as had been reported earlier, especially considering other pressing matters.

The go-slow approach takes some of the wind out of the version of the bill, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, that passed Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives version. Both versions target Iran's import of refined petroleum; the deleterious state of Iran's refining capabilities means it imports up to 40 percent of its refined oil, despite being a major oil producer.

It has become increasingly clear in recent days that the Obama administration wants to slow down the prospect of unilateral sanctions while it attempts to mass international support for multilateral measures aimed at forcing Iran to make its nuclear workings transparent.

The most pronounced language has appeared in a letter from James Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, to Kerry's committee. The letter, Jones said, helped prompt Kerry's concerns about the legislation.

"We are entering a critical period of intense diplomacy to impose significant international pressure on Iran," Steinberg said in the letter, which was first leaked to Foreign Policy magazine. "This requires that we keep the focus on Iran. At this juncture, I am concerned that this legislation, in its current form, might weaken rather than strengthen international unity and support for our efforts. In addition to the timing, we have serious substantive concerns, including the lack of flexibility, inefficient monetary thresholds and penalty levels, and blacklisting that could cause unintended foreign policy consequences."

The pushback comes as many pro-Israel groups have lined up behind the proposed sanctions. One official of a group pushing hard for the legislation cautioned not to lose the forest for the trees -- the bottom line of the White House backing sanctions, now or in the near future, was good news. That Obama wanted tweaks to the legislation was to be expected, the official said.

Still, what exists now is a situation in which many major Jewish groups -- including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Reform movement -- are pushing hard for bills that Obama and Kerry would prefer to work slowly and carefully. Only Americans for Peace Now is publicly aligned with the administration in counseling changes to the proposed sanctions.

In his letter, Steinberg did not elaborate about his concerns, and Jones said Kerry has yet to articulate his concerns. But an analysis of the Senate bill points to specific areas where the broad criticisms Steinberg lays out in his letter would apply.

"Inefficient monetary thresholds," for instance, likely refers to a passage of the Senate bill incorporating language from an earlier version of the measure initiated by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). The passage effectively would reduce the "trigger" to impose sanctions from $20 million in business per year with the energy sector to $1 million a year -- small change in the oil business and hard to track, hence Steinberg's allusion to its "inefficiency."

The "blacklisting" apparently refers to the bill's requirement that the administration report those entities -- individuals, companies or countries -- meeting the $20 million threshold every six months. (The threshold would remain at $20 million for blacklisting.)

Such reporting would have an inhibitive effect on the entities, even were President Obama to waive its provisions. President Clinton, for instance, consistently waived the last major Iran sanctions legislation passed in the mid-1990s, but the fact that the legislation was available to him inhibited companies from dealing with Iran.

Top administration officials have made clear in recent days that they are apprehensive of scaring away potential partners in multilateral sanctions with the threat of punitive sanctions.

"We want to create coalitions," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a Dec. 10 interview with Al Jazeera when she was asked if the United States was nearing the point when it would impose sanctions unilaterally to persuade Iran to make its nuclear program more transparent. "We want to find common ground with people. There are many things we could go off and do unilaterally, as the prior administration certainly demonstrated. That’s not our chosen path. We would prefer to take some more time, to be more patient, to bring people together to make the case."

Clinton rebuffed claims that the United States and Europe had failed to persuade other major powers to make a common cause on the Iran issue, referring to the recent resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, condemning Iran for failing to cooperate with its inspectors.

"The vote that was accumulated condemning Iran, calling for Iran to act, was shocking to some people because it was so unified," she said. "It wasn’t just the United States. It was Russia, it was China and many other countries. That’s because we have spent time listening and working hard to create this common ground and these common interests, and we’ve done it out of a sense of mutual respect."

Clinton's spokesman, Ian Kelly, directly addressed the proposed bills.

"We want to make sure that whatever kind of package is being considered, that it’s the right kind of package," Kelly said in a briefing last Friday. "Any kind of pressure is going to be more effective if it’s implemented broadly and not simply bilaterally."

Representatives of the major powers -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and China -- will meet before year's end to consider the next steps with Iran in the wake of its rejection of an offer to enrich its uranium to medical research levels in exchange for greater nuclear transparency.

On Dec. 11, the White House endorsed a statement issued by the Council of European Union, the EU's foreign policy arm, that warned of a "clear response" to Iranian recalcitrance, an allusion to enhanced sanctions.

"Iran's persistent failure to meet its international obligations and Iran's apparent lack of interest in pursuing negotiations require a clear response, including through appropriate measures," the EU statement said.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicago George Gilder Jan 11 The Israel test

CAMERA, The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation Invites you to a private briefing and book-signing
with George Gilder,
author of the groundbreaking new book,
The Israel Test
Monday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 PM
Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation
4500 Dempster St. Skokie, Il. 60076
www.ehnt.org

Lecture and book signing 7:30pm
Reception with George Gilder and priority book signing 6:30pm
Reception includes hors d'oeurves and Israeli wine
Lecture is free to the public. Reception is $50
Individual Sponsorship available for $100 includes reception and a signed copy of George Gilder's book, The Israel Test
Couples sponsorship is $150 and includes reception for two and two signed copies of George Gilder's book
RSVP to Larry Brown, Larry@CAMERA.org or (847) 983-8803
RSVP by January 7, 2010 for reception required
RSVP for lecture preferred
Walk-ins welcome for lecture

“The Isael Test spoke to me with unexpected power. Apart from being brilliantly, fiercely written,
Its merits lies in clarifying, in a totally new, secular, and intuitive way, why Israel matters.” – David Klinghoffer, The Jerusalem Post
“Gilder’s originality, plus the sheer force of his enthusiasm for the extraordinary virtues of the beleaguered Jewish state, sweep away the prevailing vitriol and make for a book that is nothing less than thrilling to read.” – Norman Podhoretz


In The Israel Test: Why Israel is the Crucial Battlefield for Capitalism and
Freedom Today (Richard Vigilante Books, July 22, 2009), technology guru George Gilder
looks at Israel as it transitions into the twenty-first century and sees a nation that,
alongside the United States, is a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and
scientific advance. “The reason America should continue to ‘prop up’ Israel,” he writes,
“is that Israel itself is a crucial prop of American wealth, freedom, and power.” We must
defend Israel not merely from any religious obligation (as many often argue) but from a
very practical need to defend the same core values that have built and sustained the United
States.


GEORGE GILDER is author of fifteen books, including the international best-seller Wealth & Poverty, voted by National Review as one of the most important works of the twentieth century, and Microcosm, selected by Wired as the second most important technology book of the era. He is contributing writer for Forbes and Wired, director of the Discovery Institute’s Technology Program, and a practicing venture capitalist. He lives in Tyringham, Massachusetts with his wife Nini.
Join Our List as Organizational Co-Sponsors or Individual Co-Sponsors

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Israel is for peace. Are the Arabs?

://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703558004574581672227706980.html


Israel's Settlement Freeze
Prime Minister Netanyahu has broken with his party to restart the peace process.
By MICHAEL B. OREN

Distracted by the crucial debate over Afghanistan, many Americans may have missed a pivotal event in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On Nov. 25, Israel's government announced a 10-month construction freeze in Judea and Samaria—the areas generally known as the West Bank. Though some projects already begun will be completed and essential public buildings like medical clinics and schools will be approved, no new housing permits will be issued.

"We hope that this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations," declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "and finally end the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel." The Obama administration praised the decision and recognized its significance. Special Envoy George Mitchell hailed the decision as "substantial," and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it "unprecedented."

By contrast, Palestinian leaders rejected Israel's gesture as grossly inefficient. Without an indefinite cessation of all Jewish building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, they say, peace talks cannot resume.

What Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Clinton understand, but what the Palestinians miss, is that Mr. Netanyahu has shown more flexibility on this issue than any previous head of his Likud Party, which is staunchly pro-settlement. Indeed, he has gone further than any prime minister in limiting a right that many Israelis consider incontestable and a vital component of their national security.

Twice—in 1948 and 1967—the West Bank served as the staging ground for large-scale attacks against Israel. While defending itself, Israel captured the territory and reunited with its ancestral homeland: Haifa is not in the Bible, but Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jericho decidedly are. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis rushed to resettle their tribal land.

These communities widened Israel's borders, which at points are a mere eight miles wide. American policy makers recognized Israel's need for defensible borders and, in November 1967, they supported U.N. Resolution 242, which called for withdrawals from "territories" captured in the war, but not from "all the territories" or even "the territories."

All successive Israeli governments supported the settlements. Only with the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords did then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agree to restrain construction in outlying communities that he considered unnecessary for Israel's defense. But the settlements continued to expand. Meanwhile the peace process progressed. The Palestinians never made a construction freeze in Jerusalem and the settlements a precondition for talks—until earlier this year.

Mr. Netanyahu initially responded that Jews, like all people, can build legally in Jerusalem, and that it's unreasonable to disallow settlers from building even an extra room for a newborn. Still, he promised not to establish new settlements, not to appropriate additional land for existing ones, nor even to induce Israelis to move to them. Yet the Palestinians balked. The peace process was moribund, awaiting an intrepid stroke.

Mr. Netanyahu has now taken that initiative. By suspending new Israeli construction in all of the West Bank, the prime minister has done what none of his predecessors, including Rabin, ever suggested.

At home, Mr. Netanyahu's decision has been fiercely criticized, even by some members of his own party. The Knesset has considered a vote of no-confidence in his leadership. And the most recent poll shows that more Israelis oppose the freeze than support it.

The prime minister has nevertheless persisted—his coalition is among the strongest and most representative in Israel's history—but the opportunity generated by his action will not endure indefinitely. Together with the Obama administration, which has repeatedly asserted its commitment to restarting talks without preconditions and to achieving a permanent two-state solution, Israelis hope that Palestinians will once again join them in talks.

By taking risks and accomplishing the unprecedented, Mr. Netanyahu has demonstrated his commitment to peace. Now the Palestinians must match that dedication and seize this propitious moment.

Mr. Oren is Israel's ambassador to the United States.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Great news from israel

Good News, Israel
Compliments of Anglo Raanana Real Estate
· National anthems have become a controversial issue in a number of countries. In France, far-right politicians accused immigrant athletes of not knowing how to sing the anthem. During the last U.S. presidential campaign, President Barack Obama no less, forgot to put his hand where his heart is while the “Star-Spangled Banner” played. And in Israel, one MK, nameless, (Labor) attacked another MK also nameless and shall ever remain so (Hadash), claiming he/she does not know “Hatikva.” But the rest of our citizens do far better. When asked what they think of when hearing the anthem, 91% said they think about the Jewish people or that “the song belongs to all of us” and 79% reported they feel patriotism and pride as indeed they do when seeing the flag. Please read on

· It is difficult to think of a more symbolic moment in Israeli sports, not only in this decade, but in the country’s 61 years of independence: Draped in the Israeli flag, and anybody who saw it will never forget it, with the 2002 European Championship gold medal around his neck, pole vaulter, Alex Averbukh, and nobody would dispute that he was one of our greatest ever, wept uncontrollably while the national anthem played at the Munich Olympic Stadium, almost 30 years to the day that 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games. Perhaps that’s what it all means.
· The demand for new apartments in October 2009 totaled about 2,490 units – a 19% rise compared to October 2008, according to figures compiled by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Housing and Construction Ministry. Time to buy, folks.
· Some 25 new immigrants from five South American countries accompanied President Shimon Peres on his return to Israel. The olim from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay left Sao Paulo, Brazil, with Peres following his weeklong visit to Argentina and Brazil [He’s been around to a lot of other places since then but we’re just having a little difficulty keeping pace]. They were scheduled to arrive on the Wednesday at Ben Gurion Airport. In 2009, about 1,200 new immigrants from Latin America will make aliyah to Israel under the auspices of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the agency said and we say; May the tribe increase.
· Consumers racked up 9.1% more on their credit cards between August and October than they did in the three preceding months, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced this week. This follows a 9.2% increase between May and July. The figures include an increase in goods and services purchases, as well as in food and drink bought. Israelis are earning more, are developing greater confidence in the future of our overall situation and are pumping more money back into the economy and what could be better news than that?
· We at GN believe that fur coats look absolutely beautiful…but only when they’re worn by their original owners and we are not, repeat not, bunny-huggers. Now it seems that the vast majority of Israelis agree with us. Eighty-six percent of Israelis believe killing animals for their fur is immoral, according to a recent poll. The survey further showed that 79% of Israelis support a bill that prohibits the fur industry in its entirety, including all importation, production and sales in Israel. Hedad [the Hebrew equivalent of Bravo]! The furriers are not so fond of us but the furry creatures absolutely adore every single one of the eighty-six percent.
· Israel is the most attractive country in the Middle East, and one of the best in the world for venture capital and private equity investment and a lot of other things too, we might add, according to a new survey. Israel comfortably beat regional competitors United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in The Global Venture Capital and Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index, which was published Monday by global accountants Ernst & Young. The index measures a country’s attractiveness to outside investors based on its social, cultural and economic environment, taxation, governance and business infrastructure. Israel showed a major improvement in taxation since the first survey four years ago and also scored high marks for fostering entrepreneurial opportunities.
· One doesn’t discuss fertilizers in company, it just doesn’t seem polite but we thought we’d let you know that ICL [Israel Chemicals and they produce fertilizers] posted revenues of $1.35 billion for the third quarter, slightly beating analysts’ consensus.
· Solaria, will install two solar energy systems on a 1,200-square meter roof at a commercial center at a gas station in Carmiel, and a third system on a 1,000-square meter roof at a commercial center at a gas station in Migdal Ha’Emek. The electricity provided will be sufficient for the entire centers with a little left over and if that isn’t GN, we don’t know what is!
· Vegetarian meat substitute products are in, NIS 881 million in, in fact, thanks to 70% growth in exports, in August and November 2008, respectively. Finland, Norway, Germany and the US all contributed to Osem’s success in the field.
· Is it a bird, is it a plane…? No, it’s a Technion hovercraft that can do all sorts of clever things. Like? Like flying into a building through a window, taking photographs, relaying the pictures to base in real time, detect and avoid barriers, flying right out again and using a three dimensional map, preserving altitude and returning to base with little or no help from its ‘handlers’. Another step towards humanpower-free warfare. And all designed and executed by a team of super brained boffins from our very own Technion!
· Bank Hapoalim will lend Shaul Elovitch NIS 3.9 billion to acquire the controlling interest in Bezeq The Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. The parties are due to sign the agreement next week. NIS 3.9 billion!? $1.033 Billion or near enough as makes no difference!? Now that’s a whole lot of greenbacks. His credit must be really good the last time we wanted to borrow NIS 1000 … Oh well never mind!
· A NIS 60 million water purifier is about to be built that will cleanse the polluted lower waters of the Jordan, returning them to their pristine state and allowing for a large tourist project containing a number of interesting sites including prehistoric villages inhabited by wanderers from Africa and an ancient flour mill. The two sides of the river are due to remain undeveloped, and tourist facilities including holiday villages will be set up in neighboring communities
· Nochi Dankner-controlled Clal Industries and Investments Ltd. have increased the size of its bond issue in response to heavy demand from institutional investors. Bearing 5.7% annual interest Clal Industries obtained heavy orders for NIS 1 billion notes in the institutional stage of the bond offering yesterday. The company originally planned to raise NIS 150 million in this stage, and upped the amount to NIS 205 million in response to the demand. The company plans to raise NIS 250 million altogether and it doesn’t look as if they’re going to have any difficulty doing it either. And we can’t think of a better way to end this weeks GN.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel WSJ Dec 3

Friday, December 4, 2009
Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel WSJ Dec 3
Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel


By SARA TOTH STUB

JERUSALEM -- Immigration into Israel and the Palestinian West Bank is surging after the financial crisis and economic downturn evaporated jobs elsewhere.

After years of a brain drain from the region, and despite the lack of a peace settlement, by the end of this month about 4,000 North American Jews will have immigrated to Israel this year, an increase of 33% over 2008 and the most in one year since 1973, according to Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that oversees and assists with immigration to Israel from North America.


Immigrants to Israel often have a longstanding desire to move, but the economic crisis has pushed them to make the jump this year, said Danny Oberman, executive vice president of Israel operations for Nefesh B'Nefesh. "The economy has a lot to do with it," Mr. Oberman said.

Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel WSJ Dec 3

Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel


By SARA TOTH STUB

JERUSALEM -- Immigration into Israel and the Palestinian West Bank is surging after the financial crisis and economic downturn evaporated jobs elsewhere.

After years of a brain drain from the region, and despite the lack of a peace settlement, by the end of this month about 4,000 North American Jews will have immigrated to Israel this year, an increase of 33% over 2008 and the most in one year since 1973, according to Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that oversees and assists with immigration to Israel from North America.


Immigrants to Israel often have a longstanding desire to move, but the economic crisis has pushed them to make the jump this year, said Danny Oberman, executive vice president of Israel operations for Nefesh B'Nefesh. "The economy has a lot to do with it," Mr. Oberman said.

Why Israel must bomb Iran-because we are too gutless

December 3, 2009 4:00 AM

The War for 21st-Century Freedom
The Islamists are fighting for control of the world. We need a president who knows it.

By Barbara Lerner
Are you worried — like so many Americans after the Fort Hood massacre — about the growing threat of Islamist subversion and terror here at home? Worried, beyond that, about what we’re doing — or not doing — militarily in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq? Worried about the growing reach and power of Islamist movements in Europe and South America, as well as Asia, the Middle East, and Turkey? Worried about the military alliances Islamist governments are forging with their secular mirror images: socialist-god governments in places like North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela?

Then focus like a laser on Iran, now, because Islamists will score major victories in all those places and more if we fail to prevent the ruling mullahs from openly, triumphantly making Iran the world’s first Islamist nuclear power. The danger isn’t only Iran’s own catastrophic recklessness, once she gets the bomb, or the fact that all her Arab neighbors will respond by scrambling to go nuclear too. It’s also that Islamists everywhere — joined by growing masses of previously undecided Muslims — will see Iran’s success in achieving nuclear status the way Iran’s mullahs see it: as a historic defeat for the West, blasting open the gate to a 21st-century world where Islam rules and Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are subservient or worse. Islamist ranks will swell, everywhere, as confidence grows that the Islamist side is the winning side, and victory is near.






THE WAR WE MUST WIN
Most Americans can scarcely imagine an Islamist-ruled world. Most Muslims can, and they respond in one of three ways. Moderate Muslims wholeheartedly reject the Islamist vision and the support for jihad that is inseparable from it; Muslim extremists embrace it, many with growing fervor; and a third group sits on the fence, waiting and watching. Constant politically correct reassurances that only a minority of the world’s Muslims support violence against us are based on the fantasy that only “Islamist extremists” do that; “moderate Islamists” don’t. In fact, there is no such thing as a “moderate Islamist.” All Islamists are extremists. It’s an extreme creed. Moderate Muslims do exist, millions of them, many bravely fighting against the rising Islamist tide, but they aren’t “moderate Islamists.” Moderate Muslims are anti-Islamist Muslims, who oppose the imposition of Sharia and all the oppressive baggage that comes with it. They are on our side — freedom’s side — and we should be on theirs. Instead, we mostly ignore them and fail to heed their warnings, reaching out to “moderate Islamists” instead, welcoming them into our critical institutions — as our military, aided by the FBI, welcomed Major Hasan.

When it comes to Islamists abroad, poll data make it clear that they are the overwhelming majority in the Middle East. Iran and Turkey were the two great Middle Eastern exceptions, as Islamism swamped competing ideologies in all the Arab lands. Iran may still be, if popular majorities in that once great nation were allowed free choice, but they are governed by an Islamist regime more despotic than any Persian shah, ancient or modern. Turkey, once the freest, most proudly westernized and progressive country of them all, is on the verge of the same sorry fate. If you doubt that, look again at the new Turkey, governed by an Islamist party since 2002, a Turkey that is right now preparing to embrace Iran.

Focus like a laser on Iran now, because we have only months — not years — to prevent Iran from blasting through that history-making gate. Don’t waste precious time on the pretense that negotiations and/or sanctions can save us. As John Bolton, Michael Ledeen, Rich Lowry, Andrew McCarthy, and a few other brave souls keep pointing out, we have been negotiating with Islamist Iran for 30 years now, offering the mullahs one sweet deal after another, and getting blow after blow in return. Even if — mirabile dictu — Iran signed an agreement promising to forgo nuclear weapons forever, it would be worth no more than the 1938 Munich agreement. Iran’s mullahs are fanatics, like Hitler, not rational criminals we can make a deal with, as we did with the Soviets. MAD — mutual assured destruction — worked, because the Russians weren’t mad.

As for sanctions, if there ever was a chance they could have worked, even in their most robust form — a complete blockade of Iran’s ports by America and the few allies who might have joined us — that chance is long gone…
WHY WE AREN’T FIGHTING TO WIN
That’s what we need to do, now — deliver a crushing blow to Iran’s Islamists — to begin to turn the tide in the war for the survival of freedom in the world. Religious freedom, after all, is inseparable from freedom itself, the freedom we enjoy because our fathers defended it with America’s full might, twice in the century just past. Tragically, the odds that we will rise to freedom’s defense again in the next few critical months are almost nil. Some in our military and Defense Department are struggling, against the odds, to speed up the delivery of Massive Ordinance Penetrators (MOPs) capable of destroying Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities, but they can’t supply our most critical lack.

Eight years after the bloody attack of September 11, 2001, we still don’t have a commander-in-chief willing to order pilots with MOPs into action. Eight years after 9/11, we still don’t have a president willing to face the scope of this war. Our military is the most formidable on the planet still, but we are forcing it to fight piecemeal wars, tied up in peacetime restraints, with murky goals. Eight years after 9/11, we still don’t have the president we need: a president who will rally the country behind our cause — freedom’s cause — and order our fighting men and women to do everything we must do for the victory we must have.


THE PRESIDENT WE NEED
Discouraged? Don’t be. All is not lost, because those who love freedom have two great trump cards: the fundamental honesty and good sense of the American people, and the back-against-the wall courage of the Israeli people.

Let’s deal with the Israelis first, and face the facts. Israel is a small country; her six million cannot do what our 300 million can and must do. They cannot give Iran’s evil government the overwhelming death blow it merits. But they can forestall total disaster by doing enough damage to Iran’s nuclear sites to buy us a little time, and the odds that they will do just that in the next few months are at least 50-50. They have no choice, if they are to survive. Iran has made it clear to anyone who listens that she will use her nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel first, before she uses them against us, most likely in the form of a terrorist attack. If Israel does act to save herself — along with the home and heritage of the Judeo-Christian world — it will give us a second chance to do what we must do to save ourselves and what is left of the free world. That is what we must concentrate on now: how to rally the American people behind a new leader who will fight for America, and for the survival of religious freedom in the world.

How will Israel defend itself vs Iran?

=Israel Readies Advanced Arms With Iran in Mind

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


JERUSALEM — With cutting-edge anti-missile systems and two new submarines that can carry nuclear weapons, Israel is readying a new generation of armaments designed to defend itself against distant Iran as well as Tehran's proxy armies on its borders.

Having failed to crush Hamas' firepower in its Gaza offensive last winter, or Hezbollah's in its 2006 war in Lebanon, Israel is turning to an increasingly sophisticated mix of defensive technology.

A system that can unleash a metallic cloud to shoot down incoming rockets in the skies over Gaza or Lebanon has already been successfully tested, according to its maker, and is expected to be deployed next year. The army is developing a new generation of its Arrow defense system designed to shoot down Iran's long-range Shihab missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere.

It has three German-made Dolphin submarines and is buying two more. They can be equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles which analysts say could be stationed off the coast of Iran. Israel says Iran, despite its denials, is trying to acquire atomic weapons. It has never confirmed its Dolphin fleet has nuclear capabilities, but senior officials acknowledge that commanders are fast at work devising a strike plan in case diplomacy fails.

The missile projects have their critics in Israel, who question their effectiveness and say they are too costly. And many Israelis would probably agree with U.S. former President Bill Clinton's recent warning to an Israeli audience that the country could achieve true security only by making peace with its enemies, who he said would always be able to improve their ability to attack.

"The trajectory of technology is not your friend," he said. "You need to get this done."

Under their overarching fear of nuclear annihilation by Iran, whose regime has repeatedly called for Israel's extinction, the more immediate threat is seen as coming from Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Hamas.

Israel's military believes Hezbollah has tripled its prewar arsenal to more than 40,000 rockets, some of which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel — a dramatic improvement over the short-range missiles fired in 2006.

Hamas has also increased its rocket arsenal since last winter's fighting, said a senior military official who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with army regulations. Hamas recently test-fired a rocket that can travel up to 60 kilometers (40 miles), putting the Tel Aviv area within range for the first time, according to Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Israel's military intelligence chief.

Israel's defense industry says it is close to deploying Iron Dome, a system that will use cameras and radar to track incoming rockets and shoot them down within seconds of their launch. The system is so sophisticated that it can almost instantly predict where a rocket will land, changing its calculations to account for wind, sun and other conditions in fractions of a second.

Shooting down a missile is a bit like stopping a bullet with a bullet. But Eyal Ron, one of Iron Dome's developers, said his system will fire an interceptor that explodes into a cloud of small pieces which make it unnecessary to score a direct hit.

"It's a great advantage because to bring an interceptor to a target flying at incredible speed to an exact point is very hard," said Ron, a specialist at mPrest Systems Ltd., an Israeli software firm developing the system along with local arms giant Rafael.

He said recent tests in Israel's southern desert were successful, and a final dress rehearsal is expected in December before the system goes live next year.

While Israelis who have endured years of rocket fire from Gaza are sure to welcome Iron Dome, the system does not have wall-to-wall support.

"Maybe it will be good during times like this when you have 10 rockets, but not for a war. If you invest in such a system, I think you're going to go bankrupt," said Gabriel Saboni, the head of the military research program at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies.

Iron Dome is one part of a larger strategy that includes more tanks and dozens of new armored personnel carriers equipped with technology to repel anti-tank missiles.

The ultimate trump card is a nuclear arsenal Israel refuses to acknowledge but which no one doubts exists.

The strategy that became obvious in the Lebanon and Gaza wars was simply one of overwhelming force to deter further attack.

This policy appears to have bought Israel a fragile calm on both its northern and southern borders, but it has come at a heavy price.

The military brass are deeply concerned that international criticism of Israel's conduct of the Gaza war, including allegations of war crimes contained in a high-profile U.N. report, will tie their hands in the future.

Military officials speaking on condition of anonymity said large resources are going into developing increasingly accurate weapons, such as bombs that cause damage over a smaller area and noisemaking explosions that scare away civilians before real bombs are dropped.

Few expect the current quiet to last indefinitely, and muscle-flexing on all sides attests to the elusiveness of a peaceful Middle East.

Iran is conducting large-scale air defense war games this week designed to protect its nuclear facilities from attack. Israel recently moved warships through the Red Sea toward Iran, and three weeks ago the Israeli navy captured a ship, the Francop, that it said was carrying a huge cache of Iranian weapons bound for Hezbollah.

Last week Netanyahu boarded a Dolphin submarine and then the missile ship that led the capture of the Francop. He thanked crew members for seizing the haul and told them that Israel is Iran's first target, "but not the last" — reflecting his contention that Iranian ambitions are not just an Israeli problem.

* See Next Story in World

Huge natural gas find

Israeli Gas Find Tips Energy Balance
The discovery of a major natural gas field off the coast of Israel could help make the country an energy exporter

By Neal Sandler
Europe

A popular quip in Israel's energy industry has it that when Moses left Egypt, he took a wrong turn on his way to the Promised Land: The Biblical figure should have veered right to Saudi Arabia rather than left to Israel, which has long been assumed to lack any petroleum reserves. Now it appears Moses might have had a better nose for energy than previously thought. On Jan. 18, just hours after a cease-fire began in the Gaza Strip, Israel announced the discovery of a major natural gas field off its northern Mediterranean coast.

The news sent the Tel Aviv stock market sharply higher on Sunday as the size of the find appeared to eclipse the negative impact of the recession the country is now facing. Shares of the Israeli partners in the Tamar-1 drilling site jumped between 42% and 124%, though profit-taking pulled some down on Jan. 19. Even the Israeli shekel joined in, climbing by up to 1.6% against the dollar on Monday before settling the day up a half-point.

"This is one of the biggest finds ever, and could even turn Israel into a natural gas exporting country," predicts Yitzhak Tshuva, the majority shareholder in Israel's Delek Group (DELKG.TA), one of the partners in the offshore drilling. That would be a huge change for a country that has been nearly 100% dependent on imported oil and coal. Last year alone Israel spent $12.8 billion on fuel imports.
Significant by Global Standards

The find, located 90 kilometers due west of the port of Haifa, is the first large field discovered in the eastern Mediterranean and is significant even by global standards. "This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested, and appears to be the largest discovery in the company's history," says Charles Davidson, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Noble Energy (NBL), the U.S. partner in the consortium.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

action alert

November 30, 2009


Dear Rabbi Ginsburg,

The House of Representatives is likely to vote on the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanction Act (H.R. 2194) before departing for their December break. The legislation contains sanctions curtailing Iran 's ability to import and produce refined petroleum, measures which could be implemented if Iran rejects U.S. overtures and continues to enrich uranium in defiance of five U.N. Security Council resolutions.

It is vital that the bill pass with overwhelming bipartisan support in order to demonstrate that the United States is serious about stopping Iran 's enrichment of uranium.

With time being of the essence, you can make an impact. Please contact your member of Congress and urge him or her to support this bill. In addition, please email the action alert below to your congregants and encourage them to contact their Representatives as well. The action alert can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF by clicking here.

You can do your part to stop the Islamic Republic's nuclear weapons program by asking your congregants, both in writing and from the bimah, to contact their member of Congress. For more information about Iran , please visit www.aipac.org/Iran.

Thank you in advance,

SSanctions will never happen-Iran is playing us the fool

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/12/chinese_and_russian_officials.asp


Chinese and Russian Officials: No Sanctions on Iran

Last week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs hailed the fact that Russia and China supported an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution criticizing Iran’s continued noncompliance with multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, saying in a statement that Friday’s vote “underscores broad consensus in calling upon Iran to live up to its international obligations and offer transparency in its nuclear program.”

The Obama administration has given Iran until the end of the year to accept one of several proposals it has been offered. Desperate to paint a picture of international unity on Iran, the administration has leaked details about a secret trip by senior NSC officials to China in the run-up to President Obama’s Asia trip to try to gain Chinese support on Iran and it has trumpeted every minor variance in Russian statements on Iran as proof that the “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations is really working.

Now, with some leading Iranian officials threatening to withdraw from the NPT and President Ahmadinejad announcing Iran’s plans to build ten new uranium enrichment facilities, where are our great allies China and Russia on the key question of sanctions?

According to Reuters, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said today that "We believe that in the present circumstances the parties involved should continue intensifying diplomatic efforts…Sanctions are not the goal."

And Russia? It just so happens that Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko is visiting Tehran. Russo-Iranian energy cooperation isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking about pressuring Iran to do anything, but that’s just a minor detail. During a press conference with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Shmatko said, “Based on the Russian Federation's interests, a constructive agreement between Tehran and the [P]five-plus-one is of high importance and we do not want the thing to escalate at all."

That about sums it up. The only broad consensus on Iran is that between Russia and China and it is that they will not support meaningful sanctions anytime soon. It is important to remember that this comes after Iran was revealed to be building a covert enrichment facility and after the IAEA once again criticized Iran for not providing information about its pre-2003 weaponization research. If that doesn’t convince Russia and China to support sanctions, what will?