Saturday, May 26, 2012

Obama object of derision in Israel

Powerline Obama has become an object of derision in Israel across a broad swath of the political spectrum. Consider a recent op-ed in Ha’aretz, a left of center publication, by Ari Shavit, a respected member of the paper’s editorial board. As reported by the Jerusalem Post, Shavit wrote:
[T]he man sitting in the Oval Office is ignoring the possibility that his inaction will make the Middle East go nuclear and undermine the world order. He doesn’t care that he might be responsible for losing the United States’ superpower status and turning the 21st century into a century of nuclear chaos.
The dispassionate man from Chicago is proving every day what rare stuff he’s made of. The president sees how the Iranians mock him – and does nothing. He sees radical Islam approaching the nuclear brink – and does not budge. With amazing courage Barack Obama watches the tsunami rolling toward America’s shores – and smiles. . . .
He is staging a deceptive show of a deal with the Iranians, which will seem to dull the . . . threat. He is trying to make a fool of Jerusalem as Tehran is making a fool of him. The president is pushing Israel into a corner, but is hoping that Israel will accept its fate submissively. He is counting on Benjamin Netanyahu not to surprise him and ruin his election season. Never has the United States had such a gambler for a president. . . .
The international community and international public opinion are preoccupied with King Netanyahu these days – will he or won’t he attack? But instead of focusing on a statesman who isn’t supposed to save the world from Iran’s nuclear program, it would be better to focus on the leader whose historic role is just that. In the past 40 months Barack Obama has been betraying his office. Will he wake up in the next four months, come to his senses and change his ways?
Will Israel attack Iran in the coming months? I don’t know and won’t hazard a guess. The smart move might be to wait until November in the hope that Romney will defeat Obama. After that, Israel may not have to act alone.
But I doubt that Israel would even be contemplating an attack if it considered the U.S., under Obama, a reliable ally.

Is Israel supposed to absorb all African refugees?

 Commentary: ...the idea that tiny Israel should be considered the solution for African poverty is absurd. There are currently approximately 70,000 illegal African immigrants in Israel, roughly one for every 100 Israelis—Jew and Arab alike. In such a small country, that’s a large burden for Israelis to carry. If Americans are upset about undocumented immigrants in this country, the uproar in Israel isn’t hard to understand. Moreover, unlike the bulk of illegal immigration into the United States, the Africans are not merely a function of an economic cycle in which Mexicans and other Central Americans cross the border to fill low-paying jobs such as farm work. The Africans are refugees from war and famine in East African nations like Sudan and Eritrea, who not unnaturally see democratic and prosperous Israel as a haven from suffering that they cannot find anywhere else in the region. It’s also true that unlike the nations they pass through on their way to Israel, the Jewish state has treated newcomers with compassion.
Those who are quick to accuse Israel of racism should remember that it went to great trouble and expense to facilitate the mass immigration of tens of thousands of black Jews from Ethiopia in the past generation. Though the absorption of these immigrants has been a bumpy road for many, the nation took great pride in their coming and has done its often-inadequate best to care for them.
The Jewish tradition of caring for the homeless and the stranger has created a largedegree of sympathy for the African migrants in Israel. But while it was possible for the country to take in the initial small numbers who found their way there, including those seeking political asylum, now that the rate is up to 1,000 new illegals a month, the situation has gotten out of hand. Israel simply hasn’t the ability to care for or employ that many people who have no ties to the place.
Moreover, no matter how immigrant-friendly Israel may be, any nation has the right and the duty to police its borders. As is the case with America’s southern border, there are no easy or simple solutions–people who want to come will find a way to get in. But no nation can be expected to just simply accept such a situation, especially when it brings with it a rise in crime and other social pathologies. Though nothing justifies some of the unfortunate statements made yesterday in Tel Aviv, Israel has a right to ask those who arrive without permission to leave and to ensure that those illegals who keep coming are kept out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How J Street betrays Israel

The Anti-Israel Lobby

‘Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace’ J Street backs congressmen who do not support Israel
BY: Adam Kredo - May 23, 2012 5:00 am
The self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” liberal advocacy group J Street is soliciting funds for congressional candidates who are openly hostile to Israel while simultaneously targeting for defeat explicitly pro-Israel lawmakers who do not agree with its radical Middle East agenda, according to aWashington Free Beacon analysis of J Street’s election year strategy.
Among the more than 50 candidates endorsed by J Street is a sizable delegation of lawmakers who have expressed hostility towards the Jewish state.
At least six of J Street’s candidates have failed to affirm the U.S.-Israel alliance on the House floor, rejected Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorists, and backed a congressional missive demanding that Israel end its siege of the Gaza Strip. All of these positions place the candidates outside the mainstream pro-Israel community.
J Street’s attraction to such fringe candidates—as well as its public efforts to remove Israel’s allies from Congress—has led insiders to question its commitment to both the Jewish state and the core tenets of pro-Israel activism.
“They’re showing their true colors,” said Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who currently runs his own political action committee. “You can forget about what they’re saying, but look at who they’re supporting—it’s people most observers would consider to not be friendly to Israel.”
“They sort of help the bad guys on this issue,” Amitay added.
Enemy number one on J Street’s political hit list is Rep. Joe Walsh (R., Ill.), a first-term legislator who been among Israel’s chief defenders during his two-year tenure in the House.
Walsh attracted J Street’s ire earlier this month when he referred to the two-state solution as a sham and advocated for “one contiguous Israeli state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
His call led J Street to issue a red alert to its supporters calling for Walsh’s ouster from Congress this November.
“The policies endorsed by Representative Walsh are not pro-Israel and are not endorsed by the Israeli mainstream,” the group wrote in a press release. “It is time for the American Jewish community to call him out and make clear that he does not speak for us or for Israel’s democratic, Jewish future.”
Walsh bristled at J Street’s attacks in a recent interview with the Free Beacon.
“For a group like J Street who only claims to be pro-Israel to go after me for being pro-Israel makes no sense,” Walsh said. “They hide under the cover of ‘pro-peace, pro-Israel,’ but they’re pro-Palestinian.”
Walsh went on to deem the group politically irrelevant.
“No one from the middle to the right takes them seriously,” he said. “They’re almost a joke. They’re extremely toxic and so loudly in your face to anyone who takes even a little bit of a pro-Israel stance.”
In a video that has since been scrubbed from the Internet, J Street’s vice president for campaigns admitted that the group has a small political constituency and explained that its ultimate goal is to “move Jews” farther to the left in order to place them more in line with J Street’s own views.
In addition to Walsh, J Street has targeted New Hampshire Reps. Charlie Bass (R) and Frank Guinta (R), who both possess stellar pro-Israel credentials.
Bass, for instance, co-sponsored the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, a bill passed by the House earlier this monthdespite the objectionsof several lawmakers affiliated with J Street.
His challenger, Ann McLane Kuster, who J Street has termed “a progressive hero,” has virtually no public record regarding Israel and is touted by J Street not as a pro-Israel stalwart, but as a “community activist, author, public policy advocate, and attorney.”
“They’re obviously just endorsing the candidate most likely to defeat Bass,” who has staunchly backed Iran sanctions and supported Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorism, said one pro-Israel insider familiar with the race.
Guinta, too, has taken a strong stance against Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms and has vocally expressed support for the Jewish state.
Additionally, J Street is working to defeat Rep. Judy Biggert (R., Ill.), co-sponsor of the America Stands with Israel Act and a regular defender of the U.S.-Israel alliance.
“It is ironic that J Street turns out to want American Jews to be one issue voters,” said Elliott Abrams, a senior official in the George W. Bush administration who tracks opinion in the Jewish community. “J Street supports candidates critical of Israel and opposes candidates who are very pro-Israel. Doesn’t much matter where they stand on anything else.”
“Maybe,” Abrams added, “we should salute J Street’s bipartisanship: They barely care what party you’re in as long as you think undermining the Government of Israel is a good idea.”
As it works to defeat these expressly pro-Israel lawmakers, J Street is raising money for members and candidates who have run counter to the mainstream pro-Israel community’s agenda.
“J Street is much more concerned with pushing their far left agenda on Israel policy than supporting candidates who by all measure actually are pro-Israel,” said one pro-Israel political operative who is familiar with the group’s strategy.
Some of those endorsed by J Street hold positions at odds with J Street’s own principles, which stipulate that, among other things, a candidate must demonstrate “support for the special relationship between the United States and Israel.”
Endorsed Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calif), for instance, refused to sign a 2009 resolution that both affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and also condemned the Goldstone Report, a highly flawed United Nations report that wrongly accused Israel of committing war crimes—a claim that report’s author, Richard Goldstone, later retracted as false.
Capps then declined to join 327 of her colleagues later that year in expressing support for a bi-partisan letter “reaffirming the U.S.-Israel alliance.”
In 2010, Capps become one of the “Gaza 54” when she signed onto a J Street-orchestrated letter that asked President Obama to pressure the Israeli government to ease up on its so-called siege of the Gaza Strip.
Later in 2010, Capps again bucked the majority of Congress when she refused to back a letter reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself in the wake of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” incident, in which Israeli soldiers were attacked and beaten by a delegation of pro-Palestinian terrorists.
J Street has also thrown its support behind Capps’ Californian colleague, Rep. George Miller (D), a fellow “Gaza 54” signer who would not support a congressional missive voicing “solidarity” with Israel. Miller also would not vote in favor of a letter that reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel and recognized Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian attacks.
Another J Street endorsee who appears to run counter to the group’s own mission is Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.), a “Gaza 54” backer who voted against a 2009 Iran sanctions bill and condemned Israel defending against armed militants aboard the “Freedom Flotilla.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) has also been endorsed by J Street; he declined to join a bipartisan cadre of 76 senators who expressed the commitmentof the U.S. government’s alliance with the Israeli government regardless of disagreements over the peace process.
J Street has also endorsed Reps. David Price (D., N.C.) and Peter Welch (D., Vt.), both of whom endorsed the “Gaza 54” letter and spearheaded a letter asking President Obama to continue sending U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority despite its attempts to establish statehood at the United Nations.
“It’s clear from the candidates J Street chooses to support they are not interested in standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and value those who seek to drive a wedge between the Israeli government and the American government,” said the pro-Israel political operative.
Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, said J Street’s election year tactics fit in with its ongoing campaign to undermine the Israeli government.
“I’m surprised J Street didn’t think of doing this sooner because it fits so nicely with the group’s broader program of attacking Israel and her supporters, and promoting her detractors,” Pollak said. “Members of Congress who are singled out by J Street should wear it as a badge of honor.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

USA learned Homeland Security from Israel

In her 25th visit to the holy land, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who served as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, discussed the events surrounding 9/11 and how the war on terrorism brought Israel and the United States closer then ever, the Times of Israel reports.
Speaking at a homeland security conference in Tel Aviv, sponsored by Motorola, Rice noted that although the two nations were always allies, al Qaeda provided the two countries, “with a common cause in the fight against people who would seek political gain by attacking civilians, parents and children.”
Rice discussed the tense and chaotic aftermath of the attacks, and the realization that American security would be changed forever. So, she said, the administration made the decision to turn to their long-time ally in the Middle Eastern. “We realized that Israel, our good friend, was very advanced in this area. Security has been a concern of Israel’s since the day it was born.”
Rice went on to praise the technical advances made by the Jewish state that have become a critical part of the American fight against radical Islamists.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Haredim and service

Legislation to replace the “Tal Law” will be passed by the end of July, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the first cabinet meeting of the newly enlarged coalition, held Sunday morning.

The new law, he said, will divide the burden of military service in a more equal, egalitarian and just basis for all Israelis, Jews and Arab alike, without pitting different communities against each other.

Netanyahu said that an inter-party working group will be formed this week to present alternatives to the Tal Law.

Passed in 2002 as a temporary, five-year law, and renewed in 2007, the High Court of Justice ruled in February of this year that the law allowing haredi men studying full-time in yeshiva to indefinitely postpone their military service contravenes Israel’s Basic Laws. It will expire on August 1.

Netanyahu originally announced back in January that the Tal Law would be extended for another five-year term, but widespread public opposition forced an about-face on the issue.

The prime minister also said that a similar working group would be established in the coming days to lead to a change in the electoral system, another of the commitments made by Netanyahu and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz in their agreement last week to form a national unity government.

He also mentioned the other coalition goals of passing a new budget and advancing the peace process with the Palestinians.

To that end, Netanyahu added, special envoy to the Palestinian Authority Yitzhak Molho met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

“I hope we will be able to advance the dialogue between the two sides in order to resume the diplomatic talks,” the prime minister said.

Despite Netanyahu’s warm words of welcome to Mofaz and Kadima, several MKs from both parties have continued to express their concerns with the new arrangement.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said on Saturday evening, “We certainly need to examine the negative consequences of recent political events. Events like this do not encourage people to be involved in politics and even to not come and vote.”

And senior Kadima MK and former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik said on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program that Kadima’s move to join the government “was a step that looks bad.”

But she added, “The stench will be less important if the results are good... then we will have done good for the State of Israel.

I want to give this opportunity to this move which has started in a negative fashion but could end up finishing well.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time gets it wrong on Israel again

Posted: 17 May 2012 02:52 PM PDT
(John Hinderaker)
Democrats have made much of President Obama’s supposed advantage over Mitt Romney in “likability,” as measured in various polls. My view has been that this edge is almost entirely illusory, because 1) telling a pollster that you like Obama personally is mostly a consolation prize after having expressed disapproval of his policies, and 2) most voters who don’t obsessively follow the Republican primary process have only a vague idea of Romney, but as they see more of him, they will find him plenty likable enough.
This Gallup Poll isn’t precisely on point because it measures overall “approval” as opposed to “likability,” but it illustrates the same phenomenon. Note that Gallup has been testing Romney’s approval rating since late 2006. It has shot up since he clinched the GOP presidential nomination:
Gallup says:
Fifty percent of Americans now have a favorable opinion of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, up from 39% in February and his highest by 10 percentage points. His current 41% unfavorable rating, though, leaves him with a net score of +9, after being at -8 in February.
Why the sudden jump?
Presidential candidates typically get a spike in their favorable ratings in the wake of winning the nomination. … Republicans and independents are fueling the rise in Romney’s favorable rating, with Democrats’ views of him unchanged. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans now view him favorably, up from 65% in February. His favorable rating among independents is 11 points higher, and independents now view Romney more positively (48%) than negatively (43%).
So Republicans who may have favored another candidate didn’t want to be fulsome in expressing their feelings about Romney to pollsters, but now that he is the nominee they are coming around. As for independents, Romney probably benefits both from being the nominee and from the fact that they are now starting to get a look at him. (It is easy to lose sight of the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not spend their evenings watching presidential primary debates.)
Romney is ahead of Obama in net approval in this poll, +9 to +6. Here is where I think Romney has a lot of up-side: there are still a lot of independents who have seen little of him. Many of them won’t really tune in until the fall. When they do form an impression of Romney, I think it is highly likely to be positive, as Romney comes across as reasonable, competent and likable. So I will be surprised if this comparison does not continue trending in his favor from now until the election.

Posted: 17 May 2012 02:14 PM PDT
(Paul Mirengoff)
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games of 11 Israel athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists. As a reminder of this atrocity, the Israeli Olympic Committee asked that there be a moment of silence to honor the victims at the commencement of the Games.
The International Olympic Committee has refused to agree. The best IOC President Jacques Rogge could do was to promise to attend the Israeli delegation’s traditional tribute to the victims. Rogge also told the Israels to “rest assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”
This may or may not be true. But the important thing is that the massacre never fade from public memory. A public moment of silence promotes this goal; Rogge’s attendance at a private ceremony does not. One suspects that that the International Olympic Committee would be pleased enough if the massacre at its Games were forgotten by the public.
In any event, a moment of silence does not seem like too much to ask. As Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: “This rejection told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations.” Just so.
One wonders, though, the extent to which the moment of silence would have been observed by those in attendance.

Posted: 17 May 2012 11:24 AM PDT
(John Hinderaker)
Benjamin Netanyahu is on the cover of this week’s Time magazine. The accompanying article, by the magazine’s managing editor Richard Stengel, is titled “King Bibi.” On the cover next to Netanyahu’s photo are the words: “King Bibi. He’s conquered Israel. But will Netanyahu now make peace–or war?”
The theme of the article is that Netanyahu has consolidated his power in Israel, giving him a golden opportunity to surrender to the Palestinians and leave Iran alone. Conditions in the Middle East are constantly changing, but our journalists’ prescription for the area is fossilized and never changes: if only Israel would give a little more, peace would descend.
Here is this week’s cover. The manner in which Netanyahu is depicted suggests that Stengel and his colleagues are not entirely confident that he will “make peace.”
The article is not yet available online except to subscribers, but the Time staff describes it in a blog on the magazine’s web site:
TIME’s cover story this week, written by TIME managing editor Richard Stengel, profiles Israel’s controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. …
Netanyahu, as Stengel writes, stands on history’s cusp: “The question is whether he is a prisoner of that history or he can write a new narrative.” He bears with him the memory of his military service—and the even more painful memory of the death of his elder brother Yoni, a celebrated Israeli commando. He also carries with him the legacy and learning of his father, the late Benzion Netanyahu, a noted, uncompromising Zionist academic.
Like his father, he sees Jewish history as a succession of holocausts. Like his father, he has an almost mystical belief in the abiding power of anti-Semitism, as though it were more biological than cultural.
Sounds like they think he is a “prisoner of…history.” Where on earth could he get the idea that anti-Semitism is persistent?
That baggage hardly makes Netanyahu the most likely figure, then, to calmly address the two great geo-political questions confronting his nation: the threat of a nuclear Iran and the perennial challenge of forging a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Bibi has adopted a hawkish pose on the former that flies, sometimes, even in the face of the intelligence analyses of his own officials.
Actually, Netanyahu’s position on Iran is the same as President Obama’s: Iran under its present regime must not be permitted to become a nuclear power. The difference is that Netanyahu may mean it.
And, under his watch, the peace process has gone moribund — which compelled the Palestinians to break away from talks and take their cause to the floor of the United Nations General Assembly last year.
Got that? They were “compelled” to stop negotiating. By Netanyahu’s intransigence, apparently; this was the position that has “compelled” them to refuse to talk to Israel for the last two years:
Netanyahu’s proposal to the Palestinians is clear: an immediate renewal of peace talks at the highest level without preconditions “until results are reached and in which all core issues to the conflict are put on the table,” including borders, settlements, refugees, Jerusalem, security arrangements and recognition of Israel’s legitimacy.
Time’s blog post finishes by quoting the cover story’s conclusion:
He has
…a governing coalition that will not leak or collapse if he opens negotiations. He will no longer have to look over his shoulder. He will not have to call elections at the drop of a hat. He has not had that before, and it gives him room to maneuver and room to compromise. “Now he is the emperor … he can do anything,” [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] said last week. “If I were him, I would do it now, now, now.”
Do what now? “Compromise,” apparently. But Israel has compromised again and again, and it is the Palestinians who refuse even to talk.
The choice, writes Stengel, is Bibi’s.
What choice? To withdraw from the West Bank as it did from Lebanon and Gaza? How did those gestures of good faith work out for Israel? For some reason, liberals seem to regard Palestinians as automatons. The choice is never theirs; their conduct, including incessant terrorist attacks, is somehow determined–”compelled”–by others. In reality, it is the Palestinians who need to make a choice: the choice to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to abandon their dreams of driving out or killing the Jews, and to establish themselves as a normal country rather than a band of ersatz “refugees.” When the Palestinians make the choice to lay down their arms, there will be peace; not before. And there is nothing “King Bibi” can do to change that reality.

Barak we cannot afford delegating the responsibility for the future security of Israel even into the hands

Ehud Barak: An International Agreement with the Iranians that Allows Them to Continue a Military Nuclear Program Is Delusional - Piers Morgan (CNN)

In an interview Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said:
  • We are now facing - I don't like the use of words like catastrophe that you have mentioned. It's not about catastrophe. It's about a real challenge to the whole world, not just to Israel. I think that a nuclear Iran will change the whole landscape of the Middle East. We have to do something to block it from happening, be it these sanctions or the negotiations or something else.
  • The real challenge now is these negotiations. And what should be done about the negotiations? We strongly believe and we rely upon the United States and the other members of the P5+1 and expect them to set the bar at the place where it becomes clear that at least once agreed and however long it takes to reach there, it will block Iran from turning militarily nuclear, which means that there is a need to stop enriching uranium to 20% or even to 3.5%, to take all the enriched uranium out of the country....And basically, there is a need to destroy the installation near Qom. So if all these elements are set - and the IAEA has the tightest protocols...that's it.
  • But if the world community will set the threshold in a way that even if fully the still allows them to keep moving toward a military nuclear program, that's ridiculous; it's delusional.
  • We say, and the leaders of the world are saying, including the American president, no option should be removed from the table. And we basically mean it....But at the same time, we cannot afford delegating the responsibility for the future security of Israel even into the hands of our best and most trusted and trustworthy allies.

Christians? Only Israel in the Middle East allows it

New israel cancer vaccine

Jerusalem hospital shows off vaccine that destroys cancer in 2 shots.
Published On Monday, April 09, 2012 11:48 PM  
Early human test results suggest a vaccine can train cancer patients' bodies to seek out and destroy tumour cells.

The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of cancers, eventually could provide an injection that would allowpatients' immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast andprostate cancer.

The first results of trials in people, at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, suggest the vaccine can reduce levels of disease. The human work is so preliminary it has yet to be published in a scientific journal.

The scientists behind the vaccine hope to conduct more extensive trials to prove it can be effective
against a range of cancers. They believe it could be used to fight small tumours if they are detected early or to help prevent the return and spread of disease in patients who have undergone conventionaltreatment.

In the safety trial at Hadassah, 10 patients with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, received the vaccine. Seven have finished the treatment and the developer, drug company Vaxil Biotherapeutics, reported all had greater immunity against cancer cells compared with before they were given the vaccine. Vaxil added that three patients were free of detectable cancer following the treatment.

Cancer cells usually evade a patient's immune system because they are not recognized as a threat. While the immune system usually attacks foreign cells such as bacteria, tumours are formed of the patient's own cells that have malfunctioned.

Scientists have discovered that a molecule called MUC1, which is found on the surface of cancer cells, can be used to help the immune sys-tem detect tumours. The new vaccine, ImMucin, developed by Vaxil and researchers at Tel Aviv University, uses a section of the molecule to prime the immune system so it can identify and thus destroy cancer cells.
Vaxil suggested that if large-scale trials prove as successful, the vaccine could be available within six years. Initial research on the vaccine, in mice, was published in the journal Vaccine, and suggested thetreatment induced "potent" immunity in mice and increased their survival from cancer.
Cancer charities gave the vaccine a cautious welcome. Dr. Kat Arney, at Cancer Research UK, said: "These are very early results that are yet to be fully published, so there's a lot more work to be done to prove that this particular vaccine is safe and effective in cancerpatients."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Iran plays us for the fool again and endangers Israel

    Iran Sees Success in Stalling on Nuclear Issue - Thomas Erdbrink
    As Iran starts a critical round of talks over its nuclear program, its negotiating team may be less interested in reaching a comprehensive settlement than in buying time and establishing the legitimacy of its enrichment program, Iranian officials and analysts said. Iranians say their carefully crafted policy has helped move the goal posts in their favor by making enrichment a reality that the West has been unable to stop - and may now be willing to accept.
    "We have managed to bypass the red lines the West created for us," said Hamidreza Taraghi, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The West had said no to any enrichment, "but here we are, enriching as much as we need for our nuclear energy program," Taraghi said with a smile. (New York Times)

Monday, May 14, 2012

what to do with the haredi in Israel?

The Tal Law: The tip of the iceberg

05/13/2012 21:27

Everyone is aware of the Iranian threat, but we should not ignore the internal haredi threat.

Haredi combat soldiers Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
The crisis that will arise very soon because the Tal Law, which has been declared unconstitutional, is about to expire represents a critical moment for the State of Israel. Even more worrying is the fact that it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Everyone is aware of the existential threat Iran’s nuclear program represents, but we would be foolish to ignore the internal threat to our future represented by the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community’s lack of integration into Israeli life and society. Finding the way to allow them to observe Judaism in the way they have chosen and yet to become integral members of Israel society is the great challenge that we face.

A nation can and must tolerate differences within its population in ways of life and belief, but there are limits and red lines. Ben-Gurion may have thought that exempting a few hundred yeshiva students from army service was no big deal, and Begin may have been able to swallow expanding that to several thousand, but when the numbers reach tens of thousands and will soon become a majority of those eligible, a crisis has been created.

It is a crisis that threatens the security of the nation and the health of the army and it is a moral crisis that undermines the principle of morality and of equality upon which any decent society is built and could lead an internal revolt that will tear Israel apart. There are only two solutions to such a crisis: the elimination of separate rules for the haredi population or creating a voluntary army in which no one is obligated to serve. The feasibility of the latter under current conditions hardly seems possible.

But it is not only army service that is problematic. An equal threat is posed by the very basic concept of an entire society in which work is frowned upon and in which children are deprived of an education that would prepare them for the ability to make a living. This concept is completely new to Jewish life and was introduced into Israel as an innovation that completely contradicts the beliefs and laws of the Torah and the way of life in Jewish communities until the Shoah.

Yes, some students – brilliant students – were always encouraged to devote themselves to Torah study and would be subsidized by others – but these were the exception, not the rule. The community as a whole was expected to work and support itself and to find time for Torah study within that framework. That is exactly what haredim do in New York, London, Brussels and anywhere else that they live and that is what they did in prewar Vilna and Minsk.

Indeed the life of the haredi community in Israel is built upon two false premises that have been sold both to that community and to the general Israeli public as truths. One is that truly observant Jews are forbidden to abandon their yeshiva studies in order to serve in the army and protect the country. The other is that Torah study is the supreme obligation and the normative way of life for all men and therefore normal work is forbidden. Woman can work and support the men, and the State – the State which is not recognized as legitimate – paradox of paradoxes! – has an obligation to support them as well.

Such a concept is only possible in Israel where the State has agreed to play its part in supporting non-working men. The truth is that the Torah itself obligates people to serve in the army, giving only limited exemptions to special cases (see Deuteronomy 20:1-9). Rabbinic law even went so far as to limit those exemptions to wars of choice and to teach that in wars of defense everyone must serve – “even the groom from the huppah and the bride from her room” (Sotah 8:7). They also taught that the proper combination for life was “Torah with Derech Eretz” (normal work).

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his famous remark said that if only we left the haredim and the Arabs out of thepoverty equation we would be on top of the world. The trouble is that we cannot leave them out. The growth of the haredi community indicates that they may indeed become a majority of the population. Can any society tolerate a situation in which that sizable a sector does not work and must – in one way or another – be supported by the rest of the population? Netanyahu has shown that he can stand up to Iran. Can he now stand up to the haredim and to their representatives in the Knesset and in his coalition? That will be the true test of his leadership.

What are the steps that must be taken to bring about the change that is needed?

1. The general haredi exemption from the army must be eliminated and haredim must be obligated as all others are obligated. There may be an exemption or deferment granted to a very small and limited number of exceptional scholars and units similar to the Hesder Yeshivot may be created to enable a combination of study and service.

2. There must be an end to the special subsidies given to yeshiva students and to Kollel students. Yeshivas must be treated no differently than other educational institutions.

3. Haredi education must include the core curriculum studies that will enable their students to work and earn a decent living. No school should receive government recognition or funding if it does not live up to those standards.

4. All housing and child benefits given to the haredi population must be on the same level and standard as those given to the general population.

If these steps are taken, we can hope that sanity will return to Israeli haredi life and the threat to our society will be eliminated.

The writer is a former president of the Rabbinical Assembly, author and lecturer whose most recent book is The Torah Revolution: Fourteen Truths that Changed The World (Jewish Lights).

French ambassador Israel only "s" little country?

ONE Shi... LITTLE COUNTRY The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year. Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder. Israel the 100t h smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following: The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel . Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel. The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel. The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel. The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis. Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U.S. Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita. According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats. Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people -- as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S.! (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech). With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world -- apart from the Silicon Valley, U.S. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S . Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies. Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East. The per capita income in Israel in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK. On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups. Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world ,after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East . In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon and Moses) at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel. When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times. When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day -- and saved three victims from the rubble. Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship -- and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world. Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing| nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union) Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free." Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because, this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert! Israel has more museums per capita than any other country Medicine... Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer. An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes. Israel’s Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders . Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnose heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors. Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well. A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue. An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert. All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth. . . . . AND THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR IN ENGLAND SAID: "ISRAEL IS NOTHING BUT A SHITTY LITTLE COUNTRY

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Coming war with Egypt.

How Obama's incompetency or diabolical policies will lead to war between Israel and Egypt War with Egypt approaches May 9, 2012, 6:44 AM Caroline Glick One of the achievements of his government that Prime Minister Netanyahu took pride in during a recent speech was the tall fence we're building along the 220KM border with Egypt. Only problem is that from the video below, it is pretty clear that we might want to have a clear path to the Sinai so that we can preempt the millions of Egyptians that are planning on marching to Jerusalem. I have said for years that our defensive strategy has got to stop being based on defensive military systems. Our enemies are on the march. We must embrace the only military doctrine that has ever really worked -- preempt them by initiating the war on their territory. We need at least another full active duty division - preferably mechanized infantry -- in the Southern Command. Stop spending money on defense. We need tanks, APCs, MLRS battalions, the works. We can't afford to be taken by surprise. There are two obvious lessons from what is happening in Egypt. First, the land for peace formula is crazy. We gave land for peace and now that they have decided to destroy the peace, they get to keep the land. In the clip below they say their path to invasion goes through Gaza. So here too, they show that all the people who said that Gaza had no value to Israel were wrong twice. As the daily shelling from Gaza into Israel shows, our presence in Gaza prevented attacks on southern Israel. And as their declarations make clear, our presence in Gaza blocked a convergence of Palestinian and Egyptian forces in the Sinai which -- with its 220 km border with Israel, is now the preferred launching point for attacks. The second lesson is of course that all the enthusiasm over "Arab democracy" by Westerners, and particularly by conservatives desperate for a way to make war seem like a redemptive experience or something was irresponsible to the point of maliciousness. We warned you over and over again that this would turn out badly. But you said we were wrong and indeed, somehow immoral to prefer Mubarak to "the people." Now I just have a little request for all of you brilliant ones who lobbied Obama to dump Mubarak. No, I don't expect you to apologize. All I ask is that next time you hug your kids, think about the Israeli children whose lives you placed in danger with your irresponsible pontifications. The clip below is from a campaign rally for the (moderate) Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for Egypt's presidency Muhammad Mursi. Oh, and the Obama administration just transferred another $1.5 billion in US taxpayer funds to Egypt.

Defeating Arab extremism

Radicals can be defeated Op-ed: Alan Dershowitz shares his insights on best approach to use against anti-Israel extremists Alan M. Dershowitz Published: 05.12.12, 13:24 / Israel Opinion I was gratified to read the article by Kasim Hafeez, a former anti-Semite who had become a Zionist. I was particularly gratified to learn that my book, The Case for Israel, played a role in his conversion from irrational hatred to support based on his own observations of the reality of Israel. Hafeez’s article came at a time when I was becoming skeptical of my own ability, and that of others who try to make the civil liberties case for Israel, to influence public opinion. The hatred for Israel in parts of Europe and on many university campuses has become so irrational that no evidence, regardless of how indisputable and powerful it may be, seems to be able to change closed minds hardened by years of unremitting falsehoods. These falsehoods take on an aura of undeserved credibility, particularly when espoused by people who identify themselves as Jewish or Israeli (or even formerly Jewish or formally Israeli.) Transformation Muslim, Zionist and proud / Kasim Hafeez Op-ed: His father praised Hitler, but Kasim Hafeez writes about love for Israel, Jewish people Full Story But whenever I get discouraged, I recall an incident several years ago at the University of California at Irvine, which is a hotbed of anti-Israel hate speech. This is the very same campus where radical Islamic students tried to prevent Israel’s moderate ambassador, Professor Michael Oren, from speaking. Use extremism against radicals About a year before that incident, I spoke to a full audience of students that included some of the same radicals that tried to shut Oren down. About 100 of them sat to my right. Another 100 or so students, wearing pro-Israel shirts and kipot, sat to my left. Several hundred additional students were in the middle - both literally and ideologically. I know that because I asked for a show of hands before I began my remarks. I first asked for students to raise their hands if they generally support Israel. All the students to my left and several in the middle raised their hands. I then asked how many students supported the Palestinian side. All the students to my right and several in the middle raised their hands. I then posed the following question to the pro-Israel group: “How many of you would support a Palestinian state living in peace and without terrorism next to Israel?” Every single pro-Israel hand immediately went up. I then asked how many on the pro-Palestine side would accept a Jewish state within the 1967 borders, with no settlements on territory claimed by the Palestinians. There was some mumbling and brief conversation among the people to my right, but not a single hand was raised. The debate was essentially over, as everyone in the middle now recognized that this was not a conflict between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups, but rather, a conflict between those who would accept a two-state solution and those who would reject any Jewish state anywhere in the Middle East. The pro-Israel view had prevailed because I was able to use the extremism of the anti-Israel group to demonstrate the ugly truth about Israel’s enemies to the large group of students in the middle with open minds. I have now used this heuristic repeatedly on college campuses, and with considerable success. The lesson, I believe, is not to try to persuade irrational anti-Israel extremists, but rather, to use their extremism - which often includes anti-American and anti-Western extremism - against them and in favor of a reasonable and centrist pro-Israel position. The power of truth The reality is that there are many open-minded people, even in Europe and on university campuses. Their voices are often drowned out by the much more vocal anti-Israel extremists. I saw this last year when I was invited to Norway by a Christian Zionist group. The group offered me, as a speaker, to the law faculties of Norway’s three major universities. All three universities refused to invite me to speak, even though my appearance would cost them nothing. One of them said I would be invited, but only if I did not speak about Israel. When students at the universities heard of the faculties’ refusal to invite me, the students themselves asked me to appear. I spoke to packed houses at all three universities, and was told afterwards that I had changed the minds of many students who had never before heard the centrist kind of liberal case for Israel. I will not give up despite, perhaps because of, the increasingly vocal hatred directed against Israel. It is imperative to continue to appeal to the open minds of rational people who want to hear all sides of this complex and nuanced issue. In the end, I have confidence that the power of truth will overcome the lies of anti-Israel extremists. If we believe in the marketplace of ideas, we must persist in our efforts. The conversion of Kasim Hafeez from an irrational anti-Semite to a thoughtful Zionist should encourage us to keep telling the truth.