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Amidst Slaughter of Christians, Sisi Boasts of Egypt’s Human Rights Record

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 00:00

It’s always something when the leaders of nations known for abusing human rights preach to others about the need to respect human rights. Take Egyptian President Sisi’s recent admonitions during his address before the United Nations. After saying, “We need to address the major shortcomings in the international community’s handling of human rights  issues,” he proceeded to criticize the UN because “the Palestinian people were denied their legitimate rights to live in dignity and peace.” At the same time, he boasted of how “Egypt has a solid constitutional foundation for the protection of human rights,” adding:

Major strides have been achieved in the field of women and youth empowerment. Women hold 25% of the ministerial posts and more than 15% of seats in parliament. International youth conferences, which are held annually in Egypt in November, have also become a regular forum for the youth to communicate and raise their concerns. We are determined to continue to accord high priority to the issues of women economic empowerment, and the causes of the youth, science, technology … as a practical example of our commitment to the promotion of human rights in a comprehensive manner.

Glaringly missing from Sisi’s “comprehensive” plans is any mention of “commitment to the promotion of human rights” in the context of religious freedom and equality. The reason for this is simple: as with most Muslim countries, non-Muslim minorities are simply not accorded the same religious freedom and equality as their Muslim counterparts.

This is even enshrined in Egypt’s Constitution. Article 2 states, “Islam is the religion of the State … The principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation.” And, as it happens, Islamic Sharia is emphatic that non-Muslims are at best to be treated as second-class citizens.

As one example, Sharia is clear that nations conquered (or “opened”) by Islam are banned from building non-Islamic houses of worship. In Egypt, which was Christian majority before Islam invaded and subjugated it in the Seventh Century (discussed in detail in Chapter 1 of Sword and Scimitar), the building of churches is virtually impossible. Christians are confronted by various legal hurdles in their way to opening a church; these often take years if not decades to overcome. (Needless to say, such red tape does not apply to mosques, ten of which are reportedly opened per week in Egypt.)

In one detailed study, Coptic researcher Adel Guindy estimated that “there is one church per 5,800 Orthodox Copts,” thereby forcing many Christians “to travel far distances outside of their towns for religious services (baptism, marriage, funerals, and regular mass).” On the other hand, based on the number of mosques in Egypt (about 114,000) and estimated Muslim population of about 80 million, there is about one mosque for every 700 Muslims. In other words, even after taking account of the ratio between Muslims to Christians, there are still about eight mosques for every one church. The discrepancy could not be clearer.

On those few occasions where Christian tenacity overcomes the legal jihad, and a church permit is forthcoming, there’s the Muslim mob to contend with. Once local Muslims get wind that a church might be recognized in their neighborhood, they form in large mobs — typically after Friday prayers, when the imam riles them — riot, attack, and sometimes kill Christians, and torch their homes and/or church in question. Then to diffuse the situation, local authorities, some of whom aid or cover for the mob, promptly revoke the church’s pending permit on the claim that it poses a “security concern” for the village.

For example, eight churches have been closed in one Egyptian province alone, Luxor, and all of them “following attacks by Muslim villagers protesting against the church[es] being legally recognized,” to quote from an August 29 report. The most recent of those eight closures occurred on August 22, while Christians were celebrating a feast day at the Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox church.

“A great deal of Muslim young men, aged 16-26, from our village and nearby gathered in front of our church building, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and chanting hostile slogans against Copts and the Church, such as ‘We don’t want a church in our Islamic village,’” recalled Moheb, a church member. “They tried to break the front door … but we locked [it] from the inside. We immediately called the police who arrived and dispersed the demonstrators but they didn’t arrest anyone. They then closed the church building, sealed it and placed security guards with it.”

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Responding to this closure, Gamil Ayed, a local Coptic lawyer, voiced typical Christian sentiment: “We haven’t heard that a mosque was closed down, or that prayer was stopped in it because it was unlicensed. Is that justice? Where is the equality? Where is the religious freedom? Where is the law? Where are the state institutions?”

Two months earlier, in June, another nearby church was shut down under identical circumstances. “There are about 4,000 Christians in our village and we have no place to worship now,” responded another local resident, Rafaat Fawzy. “The nearest church is … 15km [or nine miles] away. It is difficult to go and pray in that church, especially for the old, the sick people and kids.”

He too continued by asking the same questions on the minds of millions of Christians in Egypt: “Where are our rights? There are seven mosques in our village and Muslims can pray in any place freely, but we are prevented from practicing our religious rites in a simple place that we have been dreaming of. Is that justice? We are oppressed in our country and there are no rights for us.”

The above scenario, whereby authorities shut down a church after Muslims riot against it, has played out dozens of times in Egypt in recent months and years. Most recently, on Friday, August 31 — nine days after the aforementioned closure of the Virgin Mary church in Luxor — Muslims assaulted Christians in al-Minya because they “objected to the presence of a church in the area”; three Christians were hospitalized.

The many difficulties Egypt’s Christians encounter in the context of church worship is just one of several violations against their human rights. Whether their daughters are targeted for abduction and forced conversion and marriage, or whether they are arrested and imprisoned on the accusation that they mocked Islam, or whether they must be demonized and hated thanks to the teachings of often government-connected mosques and universities, Christians simply do not share in the same human rights that Muslims do in Egypt.

Worse, those who deny them their rights are not just “radicalized youth” or ignorant villagers, but Egyptian authorities as well. After ranking Egypt as the 17th worst nation in the world where Christians experience “very high persecution,” the World Watch List (2018) found that “officials at any level from local to national” are “strongly responsible” for the “oppression” of Egypt’s Christians. “Government officials,” the report adds, “also act as drivers of persecution through their failure to vindicate the rights of Christians and also through their discriminatory acts which violate the fundamental rights of Christians.” While authorities themselves are sometimes the persecutors — as when Muslim military men beat Christian soldiers to death on account of their faith, most recently in July 2017 — they more often function as enablers, allowing a culture of impunity to thrive.

In short, the Sisi-led Egyptian government — from local police and authorities to top departmental heads and courtroom judges — openly violates the human rights of the nation’s Christian minority, and right under his nose. From here one may understand why Dr. George Gurguis, the president of Coptic Solidarity — a Washington-based organization dedicated to providing Egypt’s Christians their full rights — says that “Sisi’s supposed concern for the human rights of Palestinians who live outside his nation, coupled with his indifference to the human rights abuses of Copts who live inside his nation and sphere of authority, is the epitome of hypocrisy and a continuation of the line of denial the Egyptian government has pursued for decades.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

Before Killing, Terrorist Wrote: “May Allah Send the Message I am Longing For”

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 10:24

Ziv-Hajbi (Photo via Facebook)

Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh Ha’ayin, and Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three from Rishon Letzion, were identified as the two victims killed by a Palestinian armed with a homemade automatic rifle in the Barkan recycling plan in an industrial park near Ariel in Samaria Sunday morning. An initial investigation concluded that a Palestinian man who worked in the factory tied their hands and shot them at close range.

 

Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel (Photo via Facebook)

A 58-year-old woman was moderately wounded in the attack as well.

The assailant, identified as 23-year-old Ashraf Abu Shaham from the village of Shweika, fled and security forces are conducting a manhunt. Israeli security forces raided Shaham’s home in the northern West Bank, Palestinian media reports say. Shaham was employed at the factory for the past seven months as an electrician but had not shown up work for the past few weeks.

Hadashot TV news reported that the attacker left a suicide note. The report claims a friend, who worked at the same factory did not report the letter. He has been arrested.

Before the attack, Shaham posted on his Facebook Page, ” May Allah send the message I am longing for.”

Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad applauded the attack.

“The Hamas movement and the Palestinian people everywhere praise the heroic operation near the Ariel settlement,” Hamas said in a statement. “We applaud this heroic operation and affirm that it comes as a natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes at the expense of the Palestinian people.”

Michael Oren, a Kulanu MK and deputy minister of the Prime Minister’s office, criticized the European Union for its response to the attack.

EU again condemns terrorist murders of innocent Israelis by saying “violence can never be condoned.” The EU never says that when terrorists kill Europeans. Could it be that the EU agrees with the Palestinian terrorist’s motivations just not his methods?

— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) October 7, 2018

Cabinet Approves Move To Bring 1,000 Falash Mura To Israel

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 09:38

Some 1,000 members of Ethiopia’s Falash Mura community with children in Israel, will be allowed to immigrate, after the Cabinet on Sunday ratified a proposal put forward made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

The Interior Minister will be assigned the responsibility of evaluating and approving the entry of candidates who meet the criterion of having children who entered Israel as per previous government decisions regarding the Falash Mura community. Those who meet the criteria will be able to bring with them their partners and their unmarried children who do not have children.

“The decision is a right one. These dear people, who will soon make aliyah have been waiting for over eight years to come here and live with their families,” Kahlon said. “In the Declaration of Independence it says that ‘The State of Israel shall be open to Jewish Aliyah,” and when it comes to Aliyah there are no budgetary, bureaucratic or political considerations. I am reminding you that we are all children and grandchildren of Olim, just as like the sons and grandchildren of these Olim. The State of Israel is proud to take in all who are entitled to make Aliyah.”

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However, the decision was not unanimously welcomed: Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday morning urging him not to allow the Falash Mura to make Aliyah as they do not meet the sufficient criteria and the decision would thus set a legal precedent for anyone with distant Jewish family ties to demand to be allowed to make Aliyah.

“They are not Jewish, they are not married to Jews, are not children of Jews and not grandchildren of Jews. By the same logic, we can make government decisions to allow Aliya for every single person on the face of the globe,” wrote Smotrich, adding that “widening the gap for parents, brothers and grown sons [poses new challenges] to the maintaining of the Jewish identity of the state.”

The Falash Mura are descendants of the Beta Israel Ethiopian Jewish community who converted to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries. They are not eligible to make aliya under the Law of Return which gives automatic eligibility for Israeli citizenship to people recognized as Jewish, people with one Jewish grandparent or people married to a Jew. There are some 8,000 recognized Flash Mura in Ethiopia, most of them in the capital Addis Ababa and in Gondar, in the north.

Gaza Arson Balloon Sets Largest Fire In Six Months

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 09:21

An arson balloon sent from Gaza caused an intense fire in the Israeli community of Ein HaBesor, near the Gaza border Saturday night.  The fire was the largest such arson attack in six months.

Teams of firefighters, security teams, and even farmers battled to stop the fire before it destroyed greenhouses growing vegetables and flowers.

According to reports, a resident saw the balloon land and a fire ignited just minutes later, as the resident went for help. The balloon also ignited a landfill, which could burn for several days.

Spokesman of the southern district’s fire department, Eli Cohen, said the arson attack caused the third landfill fire in the south in the past two days.

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At least 10 arson fires were reported since violent clashes between 20,000 Gaza rioters and IDF soldiers on Friday. Over 8,000 acres of Israeli land have been destroyed by airborne incendiary attacks from Gaza since March.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported being attacked with grenades and explosive devices. The Israeli Air Force responded with two airstrikes on Hamas positions.

Smoke emanating from tires burned by protesters on Friday forced Residents of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom to shutter themselves in their homes.

Morocco’s King Decrees: Schools Will Teach the Holocaust

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 09:05

King Mohammad VI (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Israeli officials praised Morocco’s King Mohammad VI for his decision to incorporate education about the Holocaust into his country’s curriculum. His decision was made public by Morocco’s Education Minister Said Amzazi in a high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly last week. Moroccan news website Le Desk ‎reported on the decision on Wednesday.‎

The message from Mohammad VI was that anti-Semitism it the “antonym of freedom of expression.” The king elaborated that anti-Semitism “manifests the negation of the other and is an admission of failure, insufficiency and inability to coexist.”

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“The battle against this plague can not be handled carelessly,” Mohammad VI’s message continued. “[The battle] is fought neither with the military nor with money, it above all depends on education and culture.” He added, “This battle has a name: education. And in the interest of our children, it is important for us to win it because they will be the beneficiaries and our ambassadors in the future.”

The decision was praised by Michael Oren, Deputy Minister in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Office.

Morocco’s King Muhammad V sent a profound moral message to the world. Anti Semitism & Holocaust denial is rising in the West, the leader of a proud Arab country is introducing Holocaust education into Moroccan schools with the goal of fighting anti-Semitism. There is indeed hope.

— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) October 5, 2018

Audrey Azoulay (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

UNESCO director Audrey Azoulay, the daughter of one ‎of Mohammed’s chief advisers, Andre Azoulay, ‎welcomed the move.‎

‎“To address antisemitism, it is to defend the equal ‎dignity for all human beings,” Azoulay tweeted. ‎‎“Education is the best tool to prevent all forms of ‎discrimination.”

Audrey is the Parisian-born daughter of King Mohammed VI’s his personal adviser, Andre Azulay, who is Jewish.

Ami Horowitz: Liberals, Kavanaugh and the Constitution

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 06:13

Gonzo documentarian Ami Horowitz went to the streets to interview liberals and found out that when it comes to hating new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, their hatred has no boundaries.

72 Years Connect Fallen Heroes Bracha and Ari Fuld

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 05:20

On September 16, 2018, Tishrei 7, 5779, the Jewish nation lost a hero, online warrior Ari Fuld, an American-born resident of Efrat who was murdered at the Gush Etzion Junction, after spending his last breath in an effort to neutralize the terrorist who had stabbed him.

In 1946, German-born Bracha Fuld was the first female Jewish fighter killed in clashes with the soldiers of the British government, in Tel Aviv.

Matzav Haruach editor Chagai Hoberman pointed out on Friday that 72 years ago, on Tishrei 27, 5707 (October 22, 1946), the British army boarded an illegal immigration ship, the S.S. Bracha Fuld, with close to one thousand Holocaust survivors on board. The boat was dragged to Haifa harbor, where a brawl broke out between the British and the Jews. The British soldiers eventually subdued the Jewish refugees, who were taken to His Majesty’s concentration camps on the island of Cyprus, where they remained until the declaration of independence in May, 1948.

The boat was named after a young member of the Palmach shock troops of the Hagana underground, who was born in Berlin in December 1927. Her father, who had served in the German army in WW1, committed suicide in 1938 in response to Kristalnacht. Bracha (who was originally named Barbara by her parents) was smuggled to London, where she got an aliyah certificate and came to Palestine, joined the Palmach in 1944 and was one of a small group of women enrolled in a squad commanders’ course—where she was named outstanding cadet. She was made an officer at the age of 18 and commanded several platoons and military detachments.

In March 1946, a ship of illegal Jewish immigrants from Italy was set to arrive in Palestine, and the Hagana leadership insisted that it throw anchor off the Tel Aviv shore. Fuld and her squad were sent to protect a stretch of road where the Hilton hotel today stands, where rowboats would unload their passengers from the ship on the high seas. The ship was captured and diverted by the British before it managed to make it to Tel Aviv, but the message to abort the mission did not reach Fuld and her squad in time, and they soon faced a British tank unit. Fuld was badly wounded in an exchange of fire with the British crew, which, instead of taking her to hospital, took her to a police station to be interrogated. She died of her injuries shortly thereafter – rumor had it that her captors killed her.

On the same day the Bracha Fuld ship was captured, October 22, 1946, a group of young B’nei Akiva graduates established the third Gush Etzion settlement of Ein Tzurim. Gush Etzion was destroyed in 1948 by the invading Jordanians, only to be rebuilt after the 1967 victory over Jordan. Which marks the eternal line that connects the Jewish heroine Bracha Fuld and the Jewish hero Ari Fuld.

Trump Victory: Kavanaugh Confirmed as Supreme Court Justice

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 04:49

Following a two-month battle in what has been labeled the toughest confirmation of any Supreme Court nominee in U.S. history, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by a Senate vote of 50-48 on Saturday afternoon and was sworn in on Saturday evening.

The president tweeted his joy at the political victory.

I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court. Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2018

Senator Corey Booker (NJ-Dem), who called his opposition to the nomination his “Spartacus moment”, was less enthusiastic about the results.

Right, forever vigilant

Is always stronger than

Wrong, temporarily victorious.

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 6, 2018

Though the final debate concerned an unsubstantiated allegation of sexual harassment by Christine Blasey Ford that supposedly took place 36 years ago, opposition to Kavanaugh was fierce from the outset due to his conservative record on key issues including abortion, environmental protection, and presidential powers. Kavanaugh denied all of the misconduct allegations, calling the attacks on his nomination a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”

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Kavanaugh’s confirmation is seen as a victory for the Republicans coming just in time for the midterm elections.

It should also be noted that one of the seven Noahide laws incumbent upon all of mankind is to establish courts of justice. By appointing a judge, President Trump is performing this commandment as well as the Biblical imperative.

You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that Hashem your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice. Deuteronomy 16:18

Kavanaugh is President Trump’s second appointment to the highest court in the land, the first being Justice Neil Gorsuch. There is speculation that the president may have a third opportunity to nominate yet another of the nine judges on the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now 85 years old but she has stated to the media that she will not resign until a like-minded replacement is assured.

Report: Abbas Seeking Escalation as Thousands Riot in Gaza

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 03:47

As another weekend of violent confrontations along the Gaza border is rolling by, senior Israeli security officials estimate that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is fomenting an escalation in the coming days with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and with Israel, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Saturday night.

According to the same assessment, the Palestinian Authority chairman is furious at the move by Bulgarian UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov, who coordinated the transfer of Qatari money to Hamas above the head of the Palestinian Authority. In response, Abbas will stop the flow of all PA funds into Gaza, which would and Hamas to launch another round of violence against Israel.

Israel is also bracing for the possibility that Abbas is also trying to ignite violence in Judea and Samaria as well.

Some 20,000 Arabs rioted on Shabbat at several locations along the Gaza Strip border fence, torching tires and throwing explosive charges at IDF soldiers, who responded with riot control means.

IDF forces identified ten suspects who crossed the perimeter fence from the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, threw grenades near the fence and immediately returned to the Gaza Strip. In response, IAF aircraft carried out two attacks in the northern Gaza Strip. The Arabs reported three deaths – a 12-year-old boy and two young men ages 24 and 28. There were no casualties among IDF soldiers.

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In Kerem Shalom, near the Gaza fence, Israeli residents closed themselves in their homes because of heavy smoke that enveloped the area, the result of incendiary balloons from Gaza. At least four roads near the border have been blocked.

The defense establishment estimates that the violent incidents at the security fence will continue to exacerbate, and is preparing punitive measures, including the closure of the border crossings.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday ordered the reduction of the fishing area in the Gaza Strip from 9 to 6 nautical miles, as a result of attempts to hit IDF forces and bring out defiance flotillas. The defense minister instructed security forces to prepare additional punitive measures if the violence continues.

German Chancellor Merkel: Palestinians Must Recognize Israel As ‘Jewish State’

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 03:32

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

“There was a series of internal discussions in Israel about this. It’s not like this was the most uncontroversial proposed legislation ever, so I asked several questions,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

She was in Israel accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa.

“And yet, we recognize the Jewish state,” she continued. “And if there is supposed to be peace, an enduring peace, between Israelis and Palestinians, then, of course, it cannot be that all states say Israel should be a Jewish state, with democratic rights for minorities that live here, but the Palestinians don’t say it.”

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She added: “This cannot be the basis for peace. Rather, solutions need to be found, and we are in favor of working on these solutions with full force, as has been discussed here.”

Merkel also stressed the importance of preventing Iran from creating a nuclear bomb, and that the regime’s presence in Syria must move “toward zero,” despite it being “a difficult project.”

“There is absolutely no question that the fact that Iranian forces are standing near the Golan Heights is a threat to Israel,” she said.

Netanyahu echoed some of Merkel’s comments, such as on the Iranian threat. “[We will] continue to block Iran’s efforts to use Syria and Lebanon as forward bases for attacking Israel,” he said. “And we will also continue to engage with new partners in our region.”

Merkel’s visit was reportedly in jeopardy with the anticipated Israeli evacuation of the illegal neighborhood of Khan al-Ahmar. However, Merkel denied the speculation.

Terrorist Attack in Samaria, At Least Three Shot

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 02:13

At least three Israelis were shot by a Palestinian terrorist inside a factory in the Barkan Industrial Park in Samaria near Ariel. A man and a woman in their 30’s are reported in critical condition. A 54-year-old woman is reported in serious condition. The terrorist arrived and fled on a motorcycle. Police are currently conducting a manhunt.

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There are reports that the weapon was an automatic or rifle and not a handgun. There is an unconfirmed report is that the shooter was a former employee of the factory, age 21, from nearby Qalqilya.

Approximately 4,000 Israelis and 4,000 Palestinians work side-by-side at the industrial park.

“This is a very difficult incident. Until now there have not been any security incidents here. For decades, industrial zones have served as a bridge of coexistence,” Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan said to Times of Israel.

In 2015, a Palestinian stabbed two security guards at the Barkan  industrial park. Guards at the site shot and killed the attacker during that incident.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Jewish Federations, We Need to Talk

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 02:00

At the end of the month, the Jewish Federations of North America will hold their annual General Assembly in Israel. And while the Federations’ decision to hold their annual conference in Israel rather than America seems at face value to be a statement of solidarity with Israel, in this case, it isn’t.

Five months after US President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in an extraordinary act of friendship, the Jewish Federations of North America chose to hold their annual General Assembly in… Tel Aviv.
The name the Federations gave their conference is also a stunner.

“Israel and the Diaspora, We Need to Talk.”

What do we “need to talk” about?

The homepage of the conference’s website makes that clear enough. At the very top, it spells out all the differences dividing Israeli and American Jews.

Fifty percent of American Jews define themselves as liberal and only 8% of Israeli Jews define themselves as leftists.

Sixty-one percent of American Jews think that “Israel and an independent Palestinian state can coexist.” Only 43% of Israelis agree.

Eighty percent of American Jews vs. 49% of Israeli Jews think non-Orthodox rabbis should officiate at Jewish ceremonies in Israel.

The odd thing about these data is that they aren’t new, and they certainly don’t point to unbridgeable disputes between two well-intentioned sides to an argument.

Israel has certainly demonstrated its good will.

According to the American Jewish Committee’s survey of Israeli Jewish and American Jewish opinions published in June, a mere 42% of Israeli Jews supported establishing an egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall while 48% opposed it. And yet, out of respect for American Jews who overwhelmingly supported it, the government established an egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall.

The issue of non-Orthodox rabbis in Israel is imaginary. According to the AJC, less than one percent of Israelis define themselves as either Reform or Conservative. And there is no line of Reform and Conservative American Jews demanding to get married in Israel.

As for the issue of a Palestinian state, if the American Jews shared Israel’s good will, they would not pick a fight on the issue.

The AJC poll showed that 68% of Israeli Jews think it is inappropriate for American Jews to attempt to influence Israeli policy on national security issues including the issue of negotiations with the Palestinians. Only 25% of Israeli Jews deem it appropriate. Given the wide majority of Israelis who oppose their meddling, it is clear that no Israeli government is likely to give American Jews a seat at the table as it determines policies for which only Israel’s citizens will bear the consequences. Presuming American Jews have a modicum of respect for Israelis and their government, it would seem reasonable for them to respect the wishes of the people of Israel.

As for the ideological divide between liberal American Jews and right-leaning Israeli Jews, it is true that it is wide. But it is also true that it has been that way for decades. And yet, until recently it was never an obstacle to good relations.

So what is going on? Why did the Federations choose to insult Israelis by holding their conference in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem five months after the US government finally moved the US embassy to Israel’s capital? And why are the Federations demanding that Israeli Jews give them an accounting for the longstanding disparities in the outlooks of the two communities?

The most reasonable explanation for the Federations’ unfriendly behavior is that it doesn’t lay in anger over Israel’s policies regarding non-Orthodox rabbis or the Palestinians or Israel’s rejection of the political Left.

Rather, the Federations decided to highlight these longstanding, workable gaps in order to hide the real source of the anger that their leaders feel towards Israeli Jews. The source of the anger can be summed up in two words: Donald Trump.

Israelis are divided on many issues. But one issue unites them. Israelis love Trump.

This week the Pew Research Center published a new survey analyzing how the nations of the world view Trump and America under Trump. While support for Trump and the US is low and dropping among many key US allies, particularly in Europe, Israelis adore him. And under Trump, their longstanding overwhelming support for the US has increased.

The Pew study found that 83% of Israelis and 94% of Israeli Jews love America. Israel is the only country in the world where a majority – 52% – believes that under Trump, the US is doing more to solve global problems than it was in previous years. Seventy-nine percent of Israelis think US-Israel relations have improved under Trump. Eighty-six percent of Israelis believe that under Trump, the US takes its interests into account.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the situation is almost completely reversed. The AJC poll from June showed that only 26% of American Jews support Trump while 71% oppose him. Seventy percent of American Jews oppose the way Trump is handling US-Israel relations.

As The Wall Street Journal editorialized on Thursday, one of the clarifying aspects of the Democratic bid to dehumanize and destroy Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is that it shows that the Democrats’ rage is not solely directed against Trump personally. Trump is the Democrats’ “foil to regain power.”

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Kavanaugh, after all, is not a “Trump Republican.” The Washingtonian is about as establishment as they come. By trashing Kavanaugh as though he were what the Journal refers to as “part of Mr. Trump’s New York menagerie,” the Democrats revealed that they oppose Trump because he is implementing conservative Republican policies and not because of his unconventional personality.

The Journal explained, “Republicans across America can see, and certainly their Senators voting on Judge Kavanaugh should realize, that the left hates them as much or more than they loathe Mr. Trump. Conservatives understand that, for the American left, they are all deplorables now.”

The Federations’ use of their conference to disrespect Israelis while highlighting longstanding disagreements is a means to express their anger as Democrats at Israelis for supporting Trump.

The fact that Democrats are using Trump as a foil to discredit his policies and demonize his supporters has had a radicalizing effect on Democrats. Since everything Trump supports is bad, Democrats now embrace positions that they had previously rejected.

Growing Democratic hostility towards Israel and effusive support for the PLO are a consequence of that radicalization. Last week, 34 Democratic senators – two thirds of the Democratic Senate caucus – signed a letter to Trump asking that he restore aid to the Palestinian Authority. This, despite the PA’s continued payment of more than $300 million a year to convicted terrorists and their families. That is, the Democrats called for Trump to ignore the Taylor Force Act which requires the administration to deny funding to the PA so long as it continues the payments.

The AJC survey indicated that Jewish Democrats are not lagging far behind their senators.

Consider the US Jewish community’s position on Trump’s transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Eighty-five percent of Israelis supported the move; only 7% opposed it. In contrast, only 46% of American Jews supported Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Israel’s capital, while 48% opposed it.

This position is remarkable because for decades, a solid majority of American Jews supported moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Major Jewish groups played key roles in passing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1996 that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and enjoined the executive branch to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The precipitous drop in American Jewish support for the embassy move – graphically demonstrated by the Jewish Federations’ decision to hold their annual conference in Tel Aviv – shows that like their fellow Democrats, Jewish Democrats view Trump’s supporters – including Israelis – as “deplorables” who deserve their hostility. So their longstanding support for locating the US embassy in Israel in Israel’s capital city flew by the wayside.

The program of the three-day GA is similarly discouraging. The three days of panels, speeches and debates are ostensibly supposed to involve frank discussions between Israelis and American Jews, with the goal of building bridges between them. But the Federations invited no Israelis who represent the religious Israeli establishment that they spend so much time and energy demonizing. They invited no anti-immigration activists from south Tel Aviv who complain that their neighborhoods have been transformed into crime-ridden ghettos due to illegal immigration from Eritrea and Sudan. None of the sponsors of the Nation-State Law, so viciously opposed by the Jewish Federations, was invited to speak. No voices calling for abandoning the quest to establish a Palestinian state were invited.

Most of those invited to speak represent marginal factions in Israeli society. The spectrum of views spans from center-left to far-left with a sizable representation of Israel’s Arab community thrown in, to what is billed as a frank discussion between American Jews and the uninvited Israeli Jews who disagree with them (and support Trump).

The only Israeli speaker representing the positions held by the majority of the country’s citizens who was invited to address the GA is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Given that his is the only representative voice on the program, Netanyahu should use his speech to voice the growing frustrations that Israelis feel towards the American Jewish establishment. He should ask them why they haven’t acknowledged, must less applauded Trump for his unparalleled support for Israel. He should ask them why so few of them support the embassy move – and what possessed them to hold their conference, in this of all years, in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem.

And he should tell them that Israelis are proud to stand with their friends and supporters wherever they may be – and ask them why they find it so difficult to do so.

The American Jewish community’s apparent preference for lawmakers who urge Trump to underwrite Palestinian terrorists over Trump and his voters who refuse to do so makes no sense to Israelis.

Netanyahu should tell them that while Israeli Jews are eager to work with American Jewry on the basis of our shared heritage and values, if American Jewry chooses to abandon those values in favor of their swiftly radicalizing partisan agenda, they are free to make that decision – and live with its consequences.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

US Jews Help Families of Terrorists

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 01:00

On January 4, 2017, a Palestinian-Arab terrorist drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, killing four and injuring 17 others. The attack was immediately identified as terrorism, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene of the attack and said the perpetrator was “by all indications a supporter of the Islamic State.”

Fast forward to October 2018, Israel decided to expel the terrorist’s family from Israel, as they have links to ISIS, are not citizens and present a security concern.  Opposing the state in court is Hamoked, an organization supported by the New Israel Fund, which assisted the relatives of the terrorist to petition against their deportation from Israel.

Thankfully, they lost and this family – and their security concerns – have been expelled.

Israeli soldiers are killed, and American Jews who support the New Israel Fund stand with the family members of the terrorists – sickening and despicable.

The parents of one of the soldiers who was killed in the attack said today in court,  “We are here to prevent the next attack, God forbid. It is delusional that the governments of Europe and the New Israel Fund provide legal protection to the lowly terrorists who murdered our Shir and many other Israelis. We will fight here to the last drop of our blood against those who make their living by murdering Jews.”

Hamoked has received more than $720,000 from New Israel Fund donors, like the Leichtag Foundation,  and Oz Benamram of White & Case while claiming to work “for the enforcement of standards and values of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

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Hamoked – using American Jewish donor money – defends the families of terrorists.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu once said, “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.”

It’s shameful that the New Israel Fund stands with the families of terrorists.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News

Dear Benjamin Netanyahu,

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 00:00

It’s that time a year again when you and other world leaders head to the annual conference at the UN!

I have been a strong supporter of yours for years, I’m always excited to see what you will say when you stand on the podium and speak to the whole world as you represent God’s Holy Land; you always makes me proud.

You are the only leader in the world, that when you speak about “the history of your nation,” you are actually talking about the land of the Bible! What a tremendous honor and privilege that is for you, and I love how you always quote from the Scriptures…

As I write this letter to you, my heart is completely broken because one of my best friends here in Israel was brutally murdered simply for being Jewish, and for living in Biblical Judea!

He was a colleague and close friend in making a passionate stand for Israel, and defending the ancient Biblical promise that was given to Abraham thousands of years ago.

I know that since that day, the Jewish people, despite exile, war and every evil assault imaginable, have continuously lived in Biblical Judea and Samaria, the Shomron. Before Islam came into existence, Israel and her people have lived, died and endured in this Holy and Blessed Land. Nothing or no one will ever take away the Jewish People from here ever again!

And yet, Abu Mazen is going to step onto the podium before you, and spew out his same tired hateful litany of lies and propaganda about Israel, and goes so far as to justify the cold-blooded murder of my dear friend Ari Fuld, because Abu Mazen encourages and pays terrorists and their families for killing Jews!

Abu Mazen is still a terrorist, whether he is in a business suit or not. That is not hate speech, that is historical fact about a man who participated in the massacre in the 1972 Munich Olympics, a Holocaust denier, a guy who says he welcomes Jewish blood to be spilled in Jerusalem, who is not even a legitimate leader of the Palestinian Authority, who now sits in power for his 12th year, despite the fact he was only elected for one four year term

He is a corrupt and selfish man that has done absolutely zero for peace with Israel, because he and his murderous contemporaries do not want peace!

He pays more than $300 million a year for killing the Jewish people, because all of the Muslim world is supporting him, and they keep on throwing money at him, because they are as morally bankrupt as he is!

In contrast, Ari Fuld was a fearless and uncompromising warrior for Israel, whether it was his time serving on active duty in the IDF, or defending against the ideological philosophy that denies Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to exist in her historical land.

He was a uncompromising and unrelenting Zionist who fiercely and boldly defended his Jewish heritage without fear of the cost to himself. When challenged, he accepted that challenge, and took it on bravely and boldly.

He absolutely believed that when God commanded Abraham to walk the length and width of the land, and swore a covenant with Abraham that everywhere he set his foot, the land was his and for his seed as a possession forever (Genesis 13:14-17).

Ari passionately lived according to God’s Word, and defended it passionately, even with his very life! He knew and embraced the Truth, and he refused to compromise or relent from that Truth at all! He held the true heart of Israel within his soul, he treasured it until his final breath on earth!

It’s time, Benjamin Netanyahu, to show to the world that Israel is the one and ONLY Jewish Homeland, history proves it and no longer will we tolerate these heinous terror attacks that happen over and over again because the despicable lies of “occupation” which have been spread around the world for generations.

It’s time to say enough is enough! It’s time to institute the death penalty for terrorists, it’s time to build the Jewish Nation all over Israel, to finally and peacefully settle the land that God spoke about from the beginning! It’s time to stop pretending that the Arabs wants peace, when they only want dead Jews and a “Judenfrie” Palestine!

It’s time to do what’s right for the Jewish people and not bowing for, or pleasing others nations in compromising land that was rightfully given to the Jews!

The United Nation’s numerous resolutions each year have shown over and over again that they oppose Israel, and so have the EU and many nations around the world. Yet, they have no legal standing to dictate what should be decided in Israel.

However, they are under the spell and deception of the Arab world about a fictitious Palestinian people, State and seemingly rightful occupation since 1948, and therefore, they really could care less about yet another heinous terror attack in Israel, and use false claim, such as saying that Ari Fuld was a “right wing settler living/occupying the West Bank, so he had it coming to him,” as far as deadly retribution is concerned.

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How many broken hearts, Mr. Prime Minister, how many families ripped apart, how many tears cried over yet another family member brutally murdered, because of the lies told about the Jewish people?

How many more victims are we going to see being brutally slaughtered, while Abu Mazen pays these despicable terrorists thousands of dollars every month, or making a surviving terrorist a millionaire for the reward of killing a Jew.

It’s stepping on the grave of every single victim!

You and our Government needs to do far better than just demolish the house of the terrorists family, it’s a complete joke that the Arabs just go along with!

Ari Fuld was the proudest Jewish man I have ever met, and he always said, “We should build all over Judea, it shouldn’t take another terror attack before the government allows new construction in Judea and the Shomron.”

Now he’s one of those terror victims!

Bibi, I implore you to be more outspoken than Ari Fuld when you stand boldly on that podium this Thursday, it’s your time to roar like a lion for Israel and proclaim we are home to stay in our God given nation!,

We build all over every foot of the land where Abraham placed his feet, we won’t give away a single inch of our nation; and if you kill us for possessing our land, you will be put to death with the due contempt that you first showed to us!

It’s time for the world to get their heads out from where the sun don’t shine, and stop being deceived from the utterly fake and malicious “Palestinian narrative.”

It is time to do what is right for the Jewish people and for the sake of Israel, for the eyes of the One who watches over Israel, Who never slumbers or sleeps, is watching you also, Sir.

I pray for you and your family Mister Prime Minister,

I’m grateful you are the leader of the Holy Land, but it’s time to take off the gloves and defend your people as if the life of this Nation depended upon it! And in Truth, it does!

As you speak, I will also be thinking of Ari, that if he could stand beside you on that podium, he would passionately say everything I am sharing with you now.

And to my Dear Brother Ari, may your memory be a blessing and may your blood be avenged!

May Bibi rise and speak up for you and every single terror victim before the UN!

I KINGS 4:20

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 02:16

Unlike King David who began his rule only over Yehuda (Judea), King Shlomo (Solomon) ruled over a united kingdom comprising all of Yehuda and Yisrael (Israel). Everyone in the kingdom recognized King Shlomo’s rule, due to the universal recognition of his God-given wisdom. I Kings 4 ends with a reward for unity among the People of Israel: they become as numerous as the sand on the sea shore and successful in the Land of Israel, thereby seeing the fulfillment of the blessing Hashem (God) gave to Avraham (Abraham).

ISAIAH 51:3

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 00:19

The Land of Israel has a supernatural quality to it. While under foreign oc­cu­pation, it resembles an arid desert. However, under Jewish sovereignty, it comes to life, flourishes, and yields great produce. Indeed, for nearly two millennia, as the land switched hands numerous times between various foreign powers, including the Romans, the Arabs and the Turks, the land lay utterly desolate. Amazingly, the modern rebirth of the Jewish state in 1948 has brought with it an astounding development of the land, to the point where once again the Jewish people can claim a flourishing country all their own.

PSALMS 36:7

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 06:26

God created a world in which man and animal alike can live and prosper. Had Hashem (God) desired that only the animals would roam the world, there would have been no notion of mishpatecha, ‘your justice,’ nor tzidkatcha ‘your beneficence.’ However, as the verse says, “Man and beast You deliver, Hashem.” Man, with the capacity to veer from evil and to become educated, was set on the land to fulfill God’s will. With man as part of the balance, it is necessary for Hashem to judge the world based on man’s actions. Similarly, since since man has the ability to choose good, God’s world can also be encompassed by tzedaka, ‘beneficence’ and ‘righteousness.’

Army Chaplains Helping Soldiers Serve Their Country and God Simultaneously

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 05:20

For Jewish soldiers serving in the United States Armed Forces being posted to Afghanistan or Iraq can be tricky from a religious point of view at the best of times. When the festivals of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish News Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) cluster together in a one-month period, celebrating them in a meaningful way can be even more of a challenge.

For Army Chaplain (Capt.) David Becker, the request from the Army’s Chief of Chaplains office under the leadership of Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Paul Hurley to go to Afghanistan on a special six-week temporary duty, or TDA, to administer to soldiers of the Jewish faith serving there, was both a surprise and an honor. With fewer than a dozen rabbis on active duty in the Army, there is not a large pool of people to choose from.

“They sent a rabbi to theater to travel around this country to be specifically catering to Jewish Soldiers, which I’ve had the opportunity to do,” Becker said, adding he has ministered here at Bagram Airfield, Kandahar Airfield, and in Kabul.

Becker is a pulpit rabbi and vice principal in a Jewish day school. He is also assigned to the 640th Aviation Support Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 40th Infantry Division, Army National Guard, Joint Training Base at Los Alamitos, California.

The chaplain said that he was so delighted to be given the opportunity to serve in this way because it allowed him to activate his patriotism and love of his country in conjunction with his “unfathomable spirit for Judaism and my fellow Soldiers in an environment where they would not necessarily get to have that opportunity.”

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“Coupled with those feelings, it’s unlike any mission that I’ve ever experienced outside of the Army. It fills me with a sense of awe and appreciation for the Army, for my country, and for my God,” he added.

Becker was accompanied on his sojourn by Army Master Sgt. Capricia Turner, who has served for 18 years. She is a religious affairs noncommissioned officer, 38th Infantry Division, Indiana National Guard. Although the pairing may seem unusual from the outside – a Jewish and Christian chaplain serving together – but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

For Turner, it allowed her to get a deeper understanding of Jewish roots and how to practically prepare for Jewish festivals. “I think it’s very interesting, and again I go back to it as a Christian. We learn that this is how Jesus worshiped,” Turner said. “And I enjoy seeing and learning the different scriptures that people of the time would have worshiped and read. And, it’s a lot of fun.”

Turner was particularly sensitive to the dietary requests of Jewish soldiers, especially the need for the correct food to enhance the spirit of the festivals. She said that she felt blessed to have been able to serve with a Jewish chaplain. It was the first time that she had experienced working within a different faith group and she found it a deeply enriching experience.

Becker said that his latest deployment had been like no other. “People are absolutely floored I’m here … that the Army cares enough to provide a rabbi for their needs. And I come with a whole wealth of goodies, food, and ritual experiences,” he said. “I put my whole heart and soul into building up our Soldiers.”

IDF Increases Presence Alongside Gaza Border, After Uptick in Hamas Violence

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 04:03

Additional troops and Iron Dome missile-defense systems have been deployed to the Israeli border with Gaza following an uptick in riots along the security fence.

“It was decided to send large numbers of reinforcements in the coming days to the Southern Command and to continue the determined policy of thwarting terror attacks and preventing infiltrations into Israel from the Gaza security fence,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas aimed at brokering a ceasefire, with Hamas ramping up rioting and violence on the border when talks went stale, including new units that perform attacks during the nighttime and early-morning hours.

Hamas’s riots — comprised in part by demonstrators recruited by the terror organization—have been ongoing since March 30, when the Gaza ruling body urged residents to take part in the “March of Return” to lands inside Israel, including Jerusalem.

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Thousands of Gazans have participated by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, and burning tires to cloud the air while others attempt to break through the security fence or fire live rounds at Israeli soldiers. Also, nearly 10,000 acres of Israeli agricultural and protected nature lands have been destroyed by Gazans who have flown incendiary kites and balloons into Israel as part arson terrorism.

The IDF reported that more than 100 improvised bombs and grenades were thrown by protesters on just one day this week at protests attended by 20,000 Gazans.

In an interview with Yediot Achronot on Thursday, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, said he an “eruption is inevitable” due to humanitarian conditions in Gaza. However, Israel and the United States have accused Hamas of misusing Israeli and international funding and aid, redirecting it to military use or withholding or refusing it in order to create a desperate situation among residents.

Both Israel and Egypt control the passageways between Gaza and the two countries, due to previous abuse of travel ways by Hamas to attain illegal arms or supplies for military infrastructure.

Early reports indicate that the IDF believes that Hamas is preparing for war, and has increased its military readiness significantly in recent weeks.

Bolton: “Palestine is a ‘So-Called’ State”

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 03:27

REPORTER: You just addressed Palestine and said it is a “so-called state.” Is that language productive…
BOLTON: It’s accurate. It is not a state. It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries. It doesn’t fulfill the normal functions of government. Calling it the so-called “State of Palestine” defines exactly what it has been — a position that the United States government has pursued uniformly across Democratic and Republican administrations, because it’s not a state.

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Bolton: Calling it the so-called "State of Palestine" defines exactly what it is

REPORTER: You just addressed Palestine and said it is a "so-called state." Is that language productive… BOLTON: It's accurate. It is not a state. It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries. It doesn't fulfill the normal functions of government. Calling it the so-called "State of Palestine" defines exactly what it has been — a position that the United States government has pursued uniformly across Democratic and Republican administrations, because it's not a state.

Posted by Hillel Neuer on Wednesday, October 3, 2018