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The Madness of the Anti-Trump Shrinks

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 03:00

In October, 125 psychologists and assorted mental health professionals marched to New York’s City Hall while wearing red tags warning, “DANGER.” Leading the march was Peter Fraenkel, author of Sync Your Relationship, Save Your Marriage, mournfully beating a drum in a solemn march. Fraenkel, a psychologist and “professional drummer” was able to combine his love of drums and hatred of Trump.

The ‘Duty to Warn’ march had begun at New York Law School where the experts demanded that Trump be removed from office based on their inability to understand the 25th Amendment. And then the mental health experts marched to the beat of Fraenkel’s drum in what they insisted was a “funereal and dignified” procession.

“Please wear professional attire or dark clothing,” the mental health experts were instructed. “There will be a slow drum beat, ‘DANGER’ tape, and flashing warning lights.”

The paperwork urged, “Bring a drum if you have one” and, “come as your solemn, concerned self.”

If only the organizers had put a fraction of their obsessive delusions into actually trying to justify the claim on their shiny blue banner that, “Trump is psychologically unfit to lead this country.”

There were no drums when Bandy X. Lee, the organizer of Yale’s ‘Duty to Warn’ conference showed up on Capitol Hill to “brief” Dem politicians about Trump’s mental illness that she diagnosed over Twitter. Lee, a self-proclaimed expert on the prison system, apparently isn’t even currently licensed to practice.

But on Twitter, Bandy X. Lee explained that she had been “licensed on two continents,” has “excellent credentials,” a “flawless ethics history” and speaks “four languages.” On Vox, Lee claimed that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem was a “pathological” example of him “resorting to violence”. Then she blamed him for “an increase in schoolyard bullying.” Appearing on MSNBC, she warned that Trump “could be the end of humankind.”

All this craziness didn’t stop Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Rep. Jamie Raskin from inviting her for briefings.

Around the same time that Fraenkel was beating his drum in Manhattan, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump was released by Macmillan. The book contained unsolicited accusations and diagnoses from “27 psychiatrists and mental health experts”. It was edited by Bandy X. Lee.

Contributors included Tony Schwartz, a former New York Times reporter who had worked on the Art of the Deal with Trump. His mental health qualifications are unclear. Also included is Gail Sheehy, a former New York Magazine writer, who had written a Hillary biography. The epilogue features Noam Chomsky, whom Lee describes as a “linguist and philosopher-historian”. Not to mention leftist genocide denier.

What makes Tony, Gail, and Noam, mental health experts? In a movement that diagnoses the President of the United States over Twitter and then insists he be removed from office, that doesn’t really matter. And it’s why none of the media accounts have even bothered to note that some of Lee’s mental health experts are actually members of the media with no apparent mental health credentials.

In The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Tony Schwartz diagnoses Trump with a risky “sense of self-worth”. Gail Sheehy accuses him of “narcissism and paranoia” and a “trust deficit.”

In a book already dedicated to violating the professional ethics of the Goldwater Rule, Lee manages to include amateur armchair diagnoses by writers who are even more unqualified than her to make them.

But it’s not as if the professionals are any better.

Bandy X. Lee boasted, “In the book, we have as authors Phil Zimbardo, Judith Herman, and Robert Jay Lifton, who are notable not only for their contributions to mental health but for their amazing ethical record. These are living legends who have also stood on the right side of history.”

Lifton is a “leading psychohistorian” who accuses President Trump of “malignant normality” and urges other “psychological professionals” to confront “the malignant normality of Trump and his administration.” He appears to define “malignant normality” as behavior he disapproves of for political reasons, but that isn’t actually a form of mental illness. That undermines the whole theme of the book.

And it’s in the book’s foreword.

Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword accuse Trump of being a “present hedonist.” And this is “based on Zimbardo’s time perspective theory.” Zimbardo is both the inventor of the theory and the guy writing about it. Rosemary doesn’t seem to have a degree, but as “part of her Hawaiian heritage, she was trained in the Hawaiian psychology based on forgiveness known as ho’oponopono.”

Ho’oponopono was derived from appeasing the Hawaiian gods. The Hawaiian gods must hate Trump.

Zimbardo and Sword claim “that Trump qualifies as among the most extreme present hedonists we have ever witnessed comes from the plethora of written and recorded material on him, including all his interviews, hundreds of hours of video, and his own tweets.”

So there’s a practitioner of the Hawaiian art of ho’oponopono diagnosing Trump over Twitter. And her colleague, a living legend, is accusing him of a condition that appears to emerge from his own theory.

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Everyone in the book agrees that Trump is bad. They just can’t agree on a diagnosis.

Michael Tansey claims it’s a delusional disorder. Laurence Dodes blames sociopathy. Craig Malkin argues it’s narcissism. David Reiss pushes for dementia and cognitive impairment. Steve Wruble claims he has daddy issues. That is, he claims that both he and Trump have daddy issues.

Thomas Singer believes Trump mirrors “our collective attention deficit disorder, our sociopathy” and we must “recognize our own pathology.” Not only is Trump crazy, but we’re crazy for electing him.

Everyone except Singer is probably nuts.

“Donald Trump is so visibly psychologically impaired that it is obvious even to a layman that “something is wrong with him,” John D. Gartner insists. But nobody can diagnose him because “Trump’s is a genuinely complex case.” Even though “many writers have tried to analyze and diagnose Trump, and have gotten pieces of the elephant right. What is missing is the whole elephant.”

What’s the whole pink elephant? According to Gartner, possibly, malignant narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, the bipolar spectrum, hypomania and also maybe, pure evil.

What are his medical sources for these claims?

“Insight into this question comes from, of all sources, Joe Scarborough, host of the popular MSNBC show Morning Joe,” he writes. Then he mentions, “David Brooks is not a mental health professional, but he astutely commented on what appeared to him to be Trump’s increasing hypomania.”

Ho’oponopono looks a whole lot better than a shrink who watches MSNBC and reads the New York Times and then tries to diagnose a man he never met based on media rants. And that is what all these diagnoses are reducible to. They originate from the media and then the media reports on them.

Do we even need psychiatrists to diagnose Trump over Twitter and television?

“We don’t have to rely on psychiatrists to see that this president is not consistent in his thinking or reliably attached to reality. We have had vastly more exposure to Donald Trump’s observable behavior, his writing, and speaking than any psychiatrist would have after listening to him for years,” Gail Sheehy insists.

That’s quite a turnabout in what was supposed to be a book by psychiatrists and mental health experts proving their case. Instead, Sheehy, who isn’t a psychiatrist, insists that we don’t actually need psychiatrists because we’ve seen Trump on television.

But does that mean Sheehy’s readers can start remotely diagnosing her?

James Gilligan insists, “If psychiatrists with decades of experience doing research on violent offenders do not confirm the validity of the conclusion that many nonpsychiatrists have reached, that Trump is extremely dangerous—indeed, by far the most dangerous of any president in our lifetimes—then we are not behaving with appropriate professional restraint and discipline. Rather, we are being either incompetent or irresponsible.” And so psychiatrists must back up lefty biases against Trump.

It’s not medical science, but leftist politics, that’s calling the shots here.

Many of the essays don’t even attempt to diagnose Trump. Instead, they self-diagnose the political trauma that Trump inflicted on them. Jennifer Contarino Panning even invents a “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” The strangest essay belongs to Steve Wruble who attacks his Orthodox Jewish father for supporting Trump in an essay, titled appropriately enough, “Daddy Issues.”

He moans that when he told his father that “Trump was unconsciously sabotaging his chances of winning the election” his father dismissively replied that a Hillary win would be bad for Israel.

“Despite giving my father what I felt was my intellectual gold, he only commented on what was important to him,” Wruble whines. “Donald and I are expert at putting our fathers on pedestals while at the same time trying to knock them off in order to make room for us to have our time being seen as special.”

Steve Wruble’s essay is in its own way the most honest of the bunch. Because it’s not really about Trump. It’s what Wruble and the other mental health professionals and amateurs project onto Trump.

Wruble blames Trump for the conflicts with his father. And identifies with him. These aren’t essays, they’re Rorschach inkblots. The ‘Duty to Warn’ movement tells us nothing about Trump and everything about the sort of people who take to the streets beating a drum against him.

Trump isn’t crazy. But his accusers often don’t seem too sane.

Noam Chomsky concludes the book by suggesting that Trump would perpetuate “some kind of staged or alleged terrorist act.” The epilogue of a book accusing Trump of mental illness ends with a crazy conspiracy theory by one of the accusers.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

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99 Percent of “Palestine Refugees” Are Fake

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 02:00

In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.

Well, it just became urgent.

That’s because President Trump tweeted “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” Then, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).

The American taxpayer is UNRWA’s largest donor, paying in $370 million in 2016. Few expenses would be more satisfying to cut from the federal budget, for UNRWA has a long record of misbehavior: incitement against Israel, supporting violent attacks on Jews, corruption, and perpetuating (rather than ending) the refugee problem. Not surprisingly, many attempts have been made in Congress to cut its funding. But, as Steven J. Rosen documented with regard to ten initiatives in the years 1999-2014, every one of them ended in failure because of Israeli government opposition.

Because of what, you ask? Yes, contrary to what one might expect, the Government of Israel wants continued U.S. payments to UNRWA, fearing that their termination might cause a new intifada, the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, or renewed warfare with Hamas. Also, Jerusalem sees UNRWA as a lesser evil than alternative recipients of the money, such as the PA.

Perhaps this time, with the president wanting funds to be stopped, that will happen? Not likely, because, as a news report from Israel indicates, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has publicly endorsed an American cut, behind the scenes he seeks to block or slow down this move, and for the usual reasons. Should that be so, it’s hard to imagine the president and members of Congress ignoring his wishes, as they never have until now.

Even were U.S. funding to UNRWA ended, plenty of governments – and even individuals – could easily replace the $370 million, and have the incentive to do so. Qatar could consolidate its role as protector of the Palestinians. Beijing could purchase a role at the heart of Arab politics. Moscow could reverse some of the damage of siding with Tehran. Carlos Slim, estimated by Forbes today to be worth $67.9 billion, could decide to burnish his Arab credentials. Worse yet, were any of them to fill the funding gap, the Trump administration would look ineffectual and isolated.

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And even if no one replaced U.S. donations, denying UNRWA money does not get to the heart of the problem, which lies not in its sponsored activities but in its perpetuating and expanding population of “Palestine refugees” in three unique, even bizarre ways: allowing this status to be transferred without limit from generation to generation; maintaining the status after refugees have acquired a nationality (such as the Jordanian); and assigning the status to residents of the West Bank and Gaza, who live in the putative Palestinian homeland. These tricks allowed UNRWA artificially to expand the refugee population from 600,000 in 1949 to 5.3 million now; an accurate count of real refugees now alive numbers around 20,000.

Therefore, while enthusiastically endorsing Trump’s political goals, I suggest that withholding funds are not the right tactic. Better would be to focus on the “Palestine refugee” status. Denying this to all but those who meet the U.S. government’s normal definition of a refugee (in this case, being at least 69 years old, stateless, and living outside the West Bank or Gaza), diminishes the irredentist dagger at Israel’s throat by over 99 percent. It also puts the “Palestine refugee” status into play, permits millions of Palestinians to live more healthily, addresses the dank heart of Arab anti-Zionism, and helps resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Accordingly, I propose that the president adjust U.S. policy to work with Jerusalem and continue to send aid to Palestinians while making it contingent upon the overwhelming majority of recipients formally acknowledging that they are not now and have never been refugees.

The Middle East Forum, which has been working this issue since 2010, has proposed legislation to make such a shift. It’s both simple and feasible, as it does nothing fancier than bringing Washington’s relations with UNRWA into line with U.S. law and policy. About time.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Daniel Pipes

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Months After India Dumped Defense Deal With Israel, $500 Million Project Back on Track

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 01:30

Almost two months after India scrapped a $500 million weapons deal with Israel, Indian media reported Wednesday the deal for 8,000  “Spike” Anti-Tank missiles is back on track through a government-to-government route rather than a direct purchase from state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

According to India’s PTI news agency, the Indian military prefers Rafael’s proven weapon to the indigenous Nag anti-tank guided missile developed by the country’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The Spike, a fourth generation fire and forget, missile has a far longer range than the Nag AGTM and is much lighter.

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According to PTI, the Indian defense ministry originally withdrew from the Spike deal following objection from the DRDO, which has now said that it will not oppose the deal so long as it does not involve transfer of technology.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lead a delegation of some 130 businessmen as he hopes to take ties with India to new heights.

The post Months After India Dumped Defense Deal With Israel, $500 Million Project Back on Track appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Terror Victim Raziel Shevach Laid to Rest in Havat Gilad

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 01:30

Hundreds of people, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, gathered at the Havat Gilad outpost Wednesday to accompany Raziel Shevach on his final journey.  Mourners shouted down Bennett’s calls for mourners not to take the law into their own hands with shouts of “revenge!”, while local religious authorities praised Shevach as a dedicated husband and father and rabbi who was passionate about the Torah and settling the Land of Israel.

Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi (and current Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem) Shlomo Amar said that Shevach was “an angel of God who created beloved souls here on earth, both your children and your students.”

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, chief rabbi of the Samaria District, added that he had meet with Shevach during a Torah lecture two months ago and came to admire his insights.

“Dear Raziel, you were nothing but praise for God – as your named indicated. We are at war and you are a victim of that war. A war between the children of light and the children of darkness,” Levanon said.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau criticised Palestinian leaders, asking why they failed to utter “one word of condemnation for the attack.

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The funeral took place under a cloud of uncertainty: Earlier in the day, Civil Administration officials said they would prevent Shevach’s widow, Yael, from fulfilling her husband’s request to be buried inside the community because there was no functioning cemetery. Residents responded quickly by clearing a patch of land inside the outpost to serve as a regional cemetery – a move they said should serve as a first step towards the authorization of the entire community.

Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, described Shevach as a “man of kindness and love” who had an “enormous soul.” Turning to Shevach’s killers, Dagan said warned that they would not break the Jewish People.

‘You sanctify death, but we sanctify life. You sanctify evil while we sanctify the Torah and the Land of Israel and the Jewish People. We will beat you, you bunch of wretched barbarians.”

Dagan also echoed calls by Agriculture Minister Ariel earlier Wednesday to “unleash” the army in order to more effectively prevent Palestinian terror attacks.

“We have the best army in the world,” he said. “We demand that the army bring these killers to justice. We want our national pride restored. Mr. Prime Minister we demand that you announce full recognition – today – for Havat Gilad as a legitimate part of the State of Israel. Mr. Defense Minister, we demand your approval of 1000 housing units here on the land that Moshe Zar has liberated here at Havat Gilad.

“This is what will stop the terrorists’ motivation. There is no price for six orphans,” Dagan said.

 

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High-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Rail to Launch Within Three Months

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 01:00

 Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz this week announced that a new high-speed rail line connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will become operational within three months.

The rail will launch March 30, exactly as forecasted by the former CEO of Israel Railways, Boaz Tzafrir, in 2014. News of the rail line’s timetable for launching follows reports in October 2017 that the project would not be completed on schedule due to issues with the electrification of Israel’s railway system.

“When I entered the office, I ordered the Transportation Ministry and Israel Railways workers to work immediately to advance the express train between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, after the project had been stalled for four years,” said Katz.

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“I made a promise, and I will fulfill it. This coming Pesach, we will allow all of Israel to come en masse to Jerusalem, via the express train from Tel Aviv,” he said. “We are connecting and strengthening our capital city of Jerusalem, and we are connecting to Jerusalem’s history.”

The new Tel Aviv-Jerusalem line will be able to travel between the two major Israeli cities in 28 minutes. The rail will reach speeds of 100 miles per hour and offer a significantly faster alternative to the 78-minute Jaffa-Jerusalem route that was built during the Ottoman Empire period.

During its initial launch phase, the line will run two trains per hour, and in the future as many as six trains hourly may run on the line during rush hour.

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Moses — The Successful Failure

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 01:00

Throughout history, some of the greatest people often failed time after time before they really made it to the top. Others thought that they had failed but realized at a later stage in life that what they believed to be a failure was, in fact, a grand success. Still, others never succeeded — in the conventional sense of the word — but served as models of extraordinary accomplishments, sometimes without ever being aware of it.

When we carefully study the life of Moshe Rabbenu, we are confronted with a series of failures. Until he was in his 80s, he spent most of his time on the run without getting anywhere. Following a short period of tranquility at Pharaoh’s palace, Moshe had to run for his life after having killed an Egyptian. He spent many years in different countries, often hiding from the soldiers of the Egyptian regime, never enjoying a quiet moment.

He continuously failed to make any impression on his surroundings. There is little doubt that by the time he reached the age of 80, just before God called to him, he must have thought that his life was over and for the most part wasted.

He had accomplished nothing. He was still the same shepherd, trying to obtain some meager food, running around in circles.

And even after God called to him at the burning bush, in his 80th year, and then sent him to liberate his people from the bondage of Pharaoh, his failures seem by far to outdo his successes. His first encounter with Pharaoh was a complete defeat. Instead of getting Pharaoh to agree to let the Jews have their freedom, Moshe’s presence and request caused Pharaoh to harden his heart, and his fellow Jews were then doomed to work even harder.

After each plague brought upon the Egyptians, Moshe was convinced that he had achieved his goal and now he would be able to take the Jews out. But he soon discovered that Pharaoh had once more changed his mind and again Moshe’s high hopes were crushed.

In the desert, he encounters one rebellion after another. The Jews blame him for all sorts of wrongs and even demand to return to Egypt. After the debacle of the golden calf, God tells him that He will destroy the Israelites. No doubt Moshe must have felt that he had completely failed to educate his people to avert such a terrible transgression.

Still later, after he sends 12 “spies” to survey the Land of Canaan, he is told that he will have to walk around in circles and spend another 39 years in the desert!

On another occasion, his opponent Korach wants to undermine his authority, and Moshe is nearly murdered by his own people.

And then there is the great fiasco when Moshe ignores the exact instruction of God, and instead of speaking to the rock in order to produce water, he strikes it and consequently hears that he will never be allowed to enter the Land of Israel.

This devastating news must have been the final blow to all of his expectations. Now that he was not allowed to fulfill his greatest dream, of living in the Land of Israel, he must have felt that “it was all over” and that all his good intentions and deeds were of little value.

It probably never entered his mind that he would become the greatest Jew of all time, that his name would be immortalized in Scripture and on the lips of millions and millions of people for thousands of years. Indeed, he may never have known what an eminent man he really was, and that there would never be a person who could even come close to his accomplishments.

What was Moshe’s secret that enabled him to continue to fight for his goals, in spite of everything, and succeed where so many others would have failed?

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The answer is simple: he knew how to lose. He knew that his failures were, in fact, the building blocks for his future successes. While he may never have known what his accomplishments were, he continued to fight and ultimately prevailed.

According to a Yiddish proverb, one that lies upon the ground cannot fall. Many people who are the most critical of those who failed do not realize that they themselves have never left the ground. Those who never fail, never accomplish, since defeat is the necessary step to success. The famous American philosopher Paul Tillich once remarked: “The awareness of the ambiguity of one’s highest achievements, as well as one’s deepest failures, is a definite symptom of maturity.” (Russ Volckmann, PhD, Phoenix Rising: Embracing and Transcending Failure [Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2002] p. 169)

Above all else, one has to ask oneself what real success is all about.

Let us bring an example from the world of fitness. A fitness center consists of a large hall filled with many pieces of equipment that could take us on long journeys. But they do not.

There are bicycles that go nowhere, no matter how hard we peddle. There are rowboats but no water, skis without snow, and even climbing frames on which you can climb for hours without getting any higher. Still, you will find lots of people throughout most of the day working hard in the fitness center, fully aware that they are getting nowhere. It is all a failure.

This, however, does not sadden them. In fact, many return the next week and try again. The reason is obvious. Success with such equipment is not measured in how far you get but how much you gain in making your body healthier from within. Externally, it seems that there is no success whatsoever, but internally, the human being is growing steadily. The superficial viewer may draw the conclusion that the cyclist, the mountain climber, and the rower are all failures. The wise man smiles and knows that they are great winners.

And so it was with Moshe Rabbenu. Every failure was a building block to his success. He was bicycling, rowing, and climbing mountains, yet getting nowhere. But inwardly he knew he was getting stronger and stronger. He never gave up and finally became the greatest man on earth.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Times of Israel

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US Ambassador to Israel: PA Support for Terror The Reason Why There is no Peace

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 00:30

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted Wednesday that the reason why there is no peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official support for terrorism.

Friedman’s statement came in response to Tuesday’s killing of 35-year-old Israeli father of six Raziel Shevah in a drive-by shooting terror attack near Nablus as well as the Palestinian reaction to the attack.

“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards,” Friedman tweeted. “Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family.”

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely replied to the American envoy’s statement by tweeting, “Dear Ambassador Friedman, we deeply appreciate your solidarity with Israel. We value your partnership in the fight against terror and your understanding that the Palestinian Authority’s support of terrorists lies at the root of the problem.”

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The PA’s payments to terrorists and their families currently total about $300 million annually. Payments to imprisoned terrorists increase in proportion to the length of their sentences.

Following Tuesday’s attack, Palestinian Media Watch reported that PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party posted on Facebook, “The Nablus operation in numbers: The full duration of the operation: 30 seconds. The distance between the cars: 20 meters. The number of bullets that were fired: 22. The one who carried out the operation was skilled and experienced, and escaped the site. The result: a killed settler.”

Hamas said in a statement, “We bless the heroic Nablus operation which comes as a result of the Zionist occupation’s violations and crimes at the expense of our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

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Gal Gadot New Face of Chinese Technology Giant Huawei and Revlon

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 00:00

Huawei Technologies, the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, which this week suffered yet another setback in its attempts to gain a foothold in the US market – with AT&T has backing out of a deal, has followed the advice of the original Chairman of the Board, Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra, picked itself up, dusted itself off, and… launched Gal Gadot, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, as their celebrity spokesperson, according to Tech Crunch.

Huawei gave the former IDF combat instructor the title of Chief Experience Officer, a role in which, according to a company press release, “Ms. Gadot will help shape the company’s brand experiences and play an active role in listening to and providing ongoing ideas to inform how Huawei will bring the best experiences to its consumers.”

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Good enough, she can do it.

Meanwhile—same week! Gadot has just been named a Global Ambassador for Revlon’s Live Boldly campaign.

Gadot announced the move on Instagram Tuesday morning, stressing that she’s always been a fan: “I’ve been familiar with them since I can remember myself wearing makeup,” she told WWD. “They love women, they celebrate women and they’re very accessible.”

Gal Gadot, 33, was born in Petah Tikva and raised in nearby Rosh HaAyin. In Hebrew, her first name means “wave” and her surname (originally Greenstein) means “riverbanks.” Both her parents were born in Israel, one of her grandparents survived Auschwitz. Her high school major was biology. She married Israeli real estate developer Yaron Varsano in 2008. They have two daughters.

 

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That’s a Rabbi!

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 00:00

As a Masorti (Conservative) Jew living in Israel, there’s a lot to be learned from this history of the modern State of Israel’s first chief rabbi, Yitzhak Isaac HaLevi Herzog, who of course was deeply religious.

The Chief Rabbinate has declined to a great extent since Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog’s time. Today, the former (Ashkenazi) chief rabbi sits in prison, paying the price for his hypocritical stint in office, during which he enhanced his lifestyle and his pocketbook. The current chief rabbi is David Lau, who, like his predecessor, is not held in high esteem by Israel’s haredi (ultra-Orthodox) population, nor by the National Religion population. The reason is that he is neither a Torah giant nor a saintly person, just a political functionary.

Rabbi Herzog was cut from different cloth, at a time when being “Chief Rabbi” was an important, influential position, conveying much respect and clout. Yitzhak Herzog was born to a Zionist family in Lomza, Poland in the late 19th century. Before his bar mitzvah, Yitzhak, a prodigy, moved with his parents to Britain, where his father had been appointed chief rabbi of Leeds. Before being ordained as a rabbi at age 22, the young Herzog, a polymath, studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and the University of London.  He earned a doctorate in literature and was fluent in six other languages besides English and Hebrew.

By the time Herzog was 30, he had been appointed chief rabbi of Dublin and eventually chief rabbi of Ireland. It was there that he developed his political acumen and gained the friendship and respect of many political leaders, characteristics which served him well throughout his life. In time, Rabbi Herzog obtained meetings on behalf of Jewry with President Roosevelt, the Pope, and many other prominent personalities.

An ardent Zionist, Herzog immigrated to Palestine in 1935 to succeed the towering Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook as Ashkenazi chief rabbi. Herzog was very attuned to international politics and participated in mass demonstrations in Jerusalem against the British White Paper of 1939, which was very detrimental to European Jews fleeing the Nazis as well as all potential immigrants to Palestine. During the Holocaust and afterward, Herzog embarked on many mission and efforts to save Europe’s Jews from the Holocaust and to rescue its survivors.

Herzog sought to protect and enhance Israel’s yeshivas as a way to rebuild the yeshivas lost in Europe during the Holocaust. He was instrumental in David Ben-Gurion’s decision to continue exemptions from military service to the (compared to today) small number of yeshiva students – about 400 – based on the belief that their devotion to religious studies was essential because so many Jewish scholars had perished in the Holocaust.

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Nevertheless, in 1947 Rabbi Herzog wrote, “In perilous times, yeshiva students are required to take part in the defense of the city. We face an imminent siege, and we must enlist all the manpower at our disposal. And who will fill the shoes of those actually going out to battle other than our brethren who are exempt from full conscription? In a situation such as this, in every country and culture, even fifteen-year-olds would be required to do their duty… the yeshiva heads must come to an arrangement for a partial conscription when the situation requires it…” This is a far cry from what is heard today from Israel’s haredi population, where ultra-religious soldiers face shunning and even worse treatment in their neighborhoods.

Rabbi Herzog was a highly educated and liberal leader. Towards the end, his advocating for women’s national service lead to a loss of clout, due to objections from the haredi rabbinical leadership. He died in 1959, a great loss to Israel and world Jewry.

This book has much to recommend it. Rabbis of Herzog’s distinction are in short supply today, certainly in the position of Chief Rabbi. While reading it, one can’t help but compare Herzog’s integrity, acumen, and liberal outlook with the rigidity of contemporary religious leadership.

I learned a lot about the history of the Yishuv (pre-state Israel) and the first decade of Israel’s independence from this book, as well as an appreciation of what a statesmanlike chief rabbi means for the citizens of Israel.

On the negative side, the book’s large coffee table format makes it hard to hold. A quibble: the chapter celebrating the elevation of Rabbi Herzog to Israel’s Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi is a bit monotonous, with one letter of high praise after another.

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Netanyahu: Israel Stopped Airplane Terror Attacks in Europe

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:04

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of ambassadors from several of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries that Israeli intelligence had prevented “several dozen major terrorist attacks” on European cities, including some 9-11 type plots that “involved civil aviation”.

“When we talk about ISIS it’s important to understand that Israel helps Europe in two fundamental ways,” the prime minister said. “The first is that we have, through our intelligence services, provided information that has stopped several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries. Some of these could have been mass attacks, of the worst kind that you have experienced on the soil of Europe and even worse, because they involve civil aviation. Israel has prevented that, and thereby helped save many European lives,” the prime minister said, without providing details.

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Netanyahu said the second manner Israel is a powerful force in the fight against global terror was closer to home; just across the southern border of Israel in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

“ISIS is being destroyed in Iraq and Syria, but it is trying to establish an alternative territorial base in the Sinai. Israel is contributing to preventing that in myriad ways,” Netanyahu said. “In general, I would say that Israel is the most powerful indigenous force in the Middle East that fights radical Islam.”

Israel is not a NATO member but was designated in 1989 by the US government as a Major Non-NATO Ally, a status which confers a variety of military and financial advantages that otherwise are not obtainable by non-NATO countries. In 2014 the US Congress passed the US-Israel Major Strategic Partner Act which officially placed Israel one notch above the Major Non-NATO Ally classification, adding additional support for defense. This connection to NATO was further strengthened last year when Israel opened its first office at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Netanyahu told the gathered ambassadors that Iran’s goal of “conquest and colonization of Syria” includes plans to bring into the country as many as 100,000 Shiite fighters gathered from other Muslim countries, all operating under Iranian command. Iran is a close ally and supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in the six-year civil war that has cost his country of 250,000 lives. Iran also supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and hope to meld these alliances into a landbridge to the Mediterranean. Iran has recently made several attempts at establishing military bases in Syria towards this end.

“You’ll have the son of ISIS and the grandson of al-Qaida that will be fighting this new Shiite force,” Netanyahu warned the NATO ambassadors. “Where will the spillover [of a Sunni-Shiite clash in Syria] happen? In Europe. Where will the human flow go? To Europe. Who’s preventing that right now? Israel? Right now, Israel alone. But I maintain that it’s a common interest that we have.”

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JEREMIAH 11:16

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 08:23

Olive trees can live for up to 2,000 years and do not shed their leaves, they are God’s eternal evergreens. God called the people of Israel His olive tree: “Hashem named you verdant olive tree, fair, with choice fruit” (Jeremiah 11:16). And He used the olive tree as a symbol of peace when in Genesis 8:11, the dove sent out from the ark by Noah returned with an olive branch. When we plant olive trees in the Land of Israel, we play a part in ushering in the messianic era. Be a part of the restoration of Israel.

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US Houses of Worship Now Eligible to Rebuild With Federal Money

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:56

Religious values are increasingly making its way into public life in the US, as the Trump Administration announced that federal funds may now be used to rebuild houses of worship following natural disasters.

In the first week of 2018, Donald Trump announced new funding rules in a January 2018 policy guide for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The updates state that like other non-profits, religious institutions will be eligible to use FEMA funds, signaling a new age in the interaction between ‘church’ and ‘state’ in America.

Pastor Becky Keenan of the Gulf Meadows Church in Houston Texas, which was restored by an Israeli team of Orthodox Jewish first responders following Hurricane Harvey, believes that this ruling is “a positive step forward.” Although she prefers private funding for restorations rather than depending on the government for funding, she says disasters of magnitude could be an exception and she is “leaning towards yes” in seeking FEMA funding for the two buildings that have yet to be fixed.

“When you strengthen a community’s house of worship, you’re strengthening that community, because a lot of things happen in places of worship,” said Pastor Keenan, who recalled her Gulf Meadows Church rising to the occasion of Hurricane Harvey beyond their means in the time of emergency. The church is still raising funds to give out bedding, cookware, and clothing to the local community who lost nearly everything.

According to The Washington Post, traditional faith groups seeking legitimacy in public life have been requesting this shift from presidents for decades without success. This is not the first time that U.S. President Trump has heeded to Christian voters- many say that Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem came about as a result of strong Evangelical Christian pressure on Trump to fulfill his campaign promises.

“This president has done good with communities of faith across the board, not just Christians,” Pastor Keenan told Breaking Israel News. “When it comes to Houses of Worship, it’s a good thing that President Trump is doing.”

While it seems that the current administration is shifting the role of religion, the Bible, God, and houses of worship in the public arena, their separation has long been controversial among advocates for the divorcing of Church and State who consider using federal funds to rebuild churches, synagogues, and mosques to be an encroachment on the U.S. Constitution. As such, under the Stafford Act, houses of worship were ineligible for FEMA grants for the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of private nonprofit facilities.

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According to Dena Sher, assistant legislative director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, until this week the FEMA guidelines treated religious and nonreligious nonprofits equally, and determined eligibility based on what activities take place. “Now this gives houses of worship special treatment,” she said.

“It’s troubling,” she continued. “We know communities need support as they rebuild and we can’t ignore fundamental principles of religious freedom. But the constitutional principle at stake says each of us gets to decide how and if to support any religion. That’s the promise the constitution makes and we should hold to it in good times and bad.”

But according to the proponents of Trump’s decision, there is precedence for “legislation providing financial assistance to religious nonprofit institutions, including houses of worship, on terms equal to other eligible nonprofit institutions” in the Supreme Court, House, and the Senate.

Pastor Keenan evoked a moral imperative, arguing that houses of worship play an essential role in the lives of nationwide communities during emergency times and they should thus receive public funding for rebuilding when disaster strikes. Her church offers education, enrichment, and social activities that are essential for community building and when disaster struck, her church was there for people of all faiths.

“Nobody is trying to convert anyone else” in times of emergency, Pastor Keenan told Breaking Israel News. “We are here to serve the community. Nobody was asking peoples’ religion and that’s what’s so beautiful of America’s faith community. We help everybody, religion didn’t matter. We helped Buddhist and Hindu people knowing they were not Christians, and we would do it again. Jews helped Christians. ZAKA from Israel came all the way to help. I could think of many reasons why they shouldn’t have come, but they came with 150% commitment and people here still talk about it.”

Other groups that support the change include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Agudath Israel of America, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Jewish Federations of North America.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy at the Orthodox Union, a major U.S. Orthodox Jewish organization, said that after Hurricane Harvey, four or five synagogues and a few dozen churches sought such aid and he has waged a “long fight” to change the policy of “discriminating against disaster-damaged synagogues, and other houses of worship seeking FEMA assistance.”

He thanked the Trump administration “for righting this longtime wrong and treating disaster-damaged churches, synagogues and other houses of worship fairly — on the same terms as other nonprofits such as museums, community centers and libraries stricken by natural disaster.”

Likewise, OU’s President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated, “This critical modification will go a long way toward helping our communities recover from the devastation wrought by recent and future natural disasters. Our synagogues are on the front lines of relief after hurricanes and other natural disasters, and they deserve to be treated fairly.”

With the new legislation, not only will they no longer be excluded from federal disaster assistance just because they are faith based, but applications for FEMA assistance submitted after August 23 will also be resolved.

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Trump Is Messianic Figure, UN Is Gog: Prominent Israeli Rabbi

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 07:50

A highly respected rabbi recently spoke in Jerusalem, labeling US President Donald Trump a “Messianic figure” who will fulfill his campaign promise of making America great by purifying the country in preparation for the Messiah while fighting the United Nations, which the rabbi identified as Gog.

Rabbi Mendel Kessin, a rabbi who interprets modern events from a Torah perspective, gave a lecture two weeks ago in Jerusalem, in which he emphatically stated that US President Donald Trump is bringing the world closer to the Messiah.

“The Messianic process is unfolding literally in front of our eyes,” Rabbi Kessin said, giving the last US presidential election as proof. “Trump’s election was a revealed miracle. He shouldn’t have won since all the politicians and many Americans hated him more than any president before in American history. They hate him because he will cause a Satan to die in America. They don’t want this to happen and this is why they don’t want him to help Israel. But Trump is greater than that.”

The rabbi explained that Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and the ensuing international furor over it was the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, specifically what he called the ‘Tikkun (fixing) of Esau’.

“When Esau is seen helping Israel, it is a sign Moshiach is right around the corner,” Rabbi Kessin said.

In explanation, Rabbi Kessin quoted the Bible concerning the prophesied fate of Jacob and Esau told to their mother, Rivka.

And Hashem answered her, “Two nations are in your womb, Two separate peoples shall issue from your body; One people shall be mightier than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23

The rabbi noted an ambiguity in the Hebrew text that had vastly different import.

“Due to the absence of pronunciation markings, the wording of the Torah text can be read either as ‘va’ya’avod’, meaning he shall serve, or ‘va’ya’aved’,  he shall enslave,” the rabbi explained. “Esau will help Jacob by either serving him or by causing him to suffer since suffering is a way to bring God back into the world.”

Rabbi Kessin stated that this prophecy did not materialize in the Bible but it is destined to come about in the era preceding Messiah.

“In the end, Esau will do a Tikkun by defending Jacob, fighting the nations that come against him,” Rabbi Kessin said. The rabbi stated that Israel and the Jewish people are the descendants of Jacob but Esau’s identity in modern times is more complex.

“Esau is also a patriarch. He became the nation of Edom, which eventually became Rome,” Rabbi Kessin said. “And then it transformed into a religion, Christianity, so that it could spread out into the world.”

Rabbi Kessin noted that historically, Christianity has fulfilled Esau’s prophetic role of causing distress to Israel.

“Christianity has spent an inordinate amount of energy persecuting Jews, though not all of Esau did this,” Rabbi Kessin said. He stated that in its Christian incarnation, three different aspects of Esau developed into three separate national entities.

“The arrogance of Esau became Russia under the communists,” Rabbi Kessin said, citing the decidedly anti-religious aspect of communism. “The ultimate arrogance is when a man becomes an atheist and says there is no God; there is only me.”

“The fraudulent aspect of Esau is Europe,” Rabbi Kessin stated. “On one hand they preach love, while on the other hand, they have had more wars than any other part of the world.”

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He noted that much of this fake love resulted in suffering for Israel.

“The holocaust, the Inquisition, this is all fraudulent piety,” the rabbi said. “To this day [European nations] are incredibly anti-Semitic. They can’t hide it or hold back. They just keep coming out against Israel.”

The rabbi then explained America’s role in this prophetic process.

“The third part of Esau is America, the part that seeks pleasure,” Rabbi Kessin said. “But this is the good part of Esau. In the end of days, this is the part of Esau that will be restored by helping Yaakov. Therefore there has to come a time before Moshiach when this good part of Esau does tshuva (repentance) by helping Israel.”

“Donald Trump is that man, that part of Esau,” Rabbi Kessin said. “He doesn’t know it and he wouldn’t believe it, but he is a messianic figure.”

The rabbi clarified this astounding statement.

“He is not the messiah but he will create a paradigm shift,” Rabbi Kessin stated. “His mission is transformative. He is going to change America, purify it. God wants to clean up America of all its sins before Moshiach. The liberals Especially have caused an incredible moral decay. This what Trump really means when he says he wants to make America great again.”

Rabbi Kessin noted that by announcing to the world that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital, President Trump fulfilled Esau’s Biblical vow.

Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; let what you have remain yours.” Genesis 33:9

“When he made his declaration, Trump recognized that all of Israel was given to the Jews. He is defending the Jews in front of the world to the point where he is willing to punish them.”

The rabbi emphasized that when the US stood up for its Jerusalem declaration in the United Nations General Assembly, that was the prophesied pre-Messianic battle of Gog and Magog. He explained that in gematria (Hebrew numerology), ‘Gog and Magog’ equals 70. 70 is understood to signify all the nations of the world since the Bible lists 70 descendants of Noah.

“Trump defended Israel against the entire world, and that is the prophesied battle of Gog and Magog,” explained Rabbi Kessin, citing Ezekiel.

After a long time you shall be summoned; in the distant future you shall march against the land [of a people] restored from the sword, gathered from the midst of many peoples—against the mountains of Yisrael, which have long lain desolate—[a people] liberated from the nations, and now all dwelling secure. Ezekiel 38:8

“[The prophet] stated that all the nations will gang up against Jerusalem, and isn’t that what they just did in the UN?” Rabbi Kessin asked rhetorically. “The UN is Gog and Magog.”

“This is all part of Esau doing tshuva, becoming great, so he can help Israel. And America will become great,” Rabbi Kessin stated. “God wants America to be prosperous so that they can assist Israel in the next step.”

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The Palestinian’ Race to the Bottom

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 03:00

The PLO and the Palestinian cause more generally are sinking into irrelevance and rather than reform their policies to rebuild their position, they have adopted a scorched earth policy that only intensifies their race to the bottom.

On the face of things, the situation isn’t bad. Last month the PLO got 128 nations to vote in favor of their anti-American resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. One of the states that voted with them was India.

Israel was shocked by India’s move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly touts the growth of Israel’s bilateral ties with the largest democracy in the world. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extraordinary visit to Israel last July highlighted the change. Netanyahu’s visit to New Delhi later this month will cement the new alliance.

Not only has Modi enthusiastically cultivated close ties with Israel, he has moved closer to Israel in its conflict with the PLO than any of his predecessors. In 2015, India abstained from an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. Modi refused to visit the Palestinian Authority during his visit to Israel. And PLO chief and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to India earlier this year, Modi refused to say – as his predecessors have said – that the capital of a Palestinian state should be located in eastern Jerusalem.

And yet, last month at the UN, it felt like none of this had happened. India reverted to its previous posture of blind support for the PLO and joined the chorus in attacking America for recognizing that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

The Palestinians for their part were justifiably elated. Now, they thought, they were back in the driver’s seat. Trump is an aberration and the world – including India, continues to support them no matter what. They are today where they were in 1975 when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3371 defining the Jewish national liberation movement as a form of racism.

Then, less than a week after the UN vote, the PLO’s envoy to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali, shared a stage in Rawalpindi with the mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Lashkar e-Taibi leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is wanted by India not only for the massacre of more than 160 people in the Mumbai attacks. He is also wanted for his involvement in terrorist attacks in the city in 2006, which killed more than 200 people, and for a shooting at the Indian Parliament, an incident in which another 14 were killed in 2001.

Abu Ali didn’t think there would be any price to pay for his decision to embrace a mass-murdering terrorist. It’s what the PLO has always done. And so he posted photos of himself with Saeed online.

But it turns out that despite India’s vote, things have changed. A lot.

Indian social media exploded in rage against the Palestinians and the PLO. The most common sentiment was, “This is how they pay us back for abandoning the US and Israel to support them at the UN.”

Abu Ali’s embraces of Saeed were widely and angrily reported in the Indian media.

In response, Abbas announced that he was recalling Abu Ali. This would have been fine if it were true.

But this week it was reported that Abu Ali is back in business in Islamabad.

The PLO’s behavior with Abu Ali and India indicates three things. First, that the PLO/PA is no longer immune from criticism in quarters where it received five decades of unconditional support. Second, it indicates that the PLO/PA is incapable of changing its behavior, even when it is aware that it ought to. Finally, the PLO/PA is still operating under the impression that nations will continue to support them forever because the basis of that support is unchanged.

The problem for the PLO/PA is that the world has changed fundamentally while they were busy embracing terrorists and getting away with it.

This week, The Economist published its annual data on per capita GDP in countries throughout the world. For the first time, Israel’s GDP per capita has jumped above $40,000. According to the Economist’s data, per capita GDP in Israel jumped from $38,127 in 2016 to $44,019 in 2017. GDP grew 4.4% last year. Today Israel’s GDP per capita is higher than GDP per capita in Japan, Britain, and France. The gap in Israel’s favor is expected to widen in the years to come as Israel’s GDP continues to grow and the GDPs of European states and Japan continue to stagnate due to negative fertility, continued the migration of uneducated newcomers and lack of innovation.

In its own neighborhood, Israel’s neighbors remain economic and political basket cases. As Dr. Guy Bechor noted in his analysis of the data earlier this week, Egypt’s per capita GDP of $2,519 is one-seventeenth of Israel’s. Jordan’s per capita income dropped last year from $4,648 to $4,135 and prospects for 2018 aren’t positive.

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The situation is similarly bleak in the Gulf States, despite their oil and gas reserves. Iran, for instance, is poor and forecasts for the future are terrible. Last year, despite the $100 billion windfalls the regime received from sanctions relief, per capita GDP in Iran dropped from $6,144 in 2016 to $5,879. Wars in Syria, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon and Gaza don’t come cheap.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab states are drawn to Israel not only because of their joint security concerns about Iran. They are also eager to expand ties with Israel to benefit from its civilian technologies in everything from agriculture and water technologies to digital communications. And they are not about to allow the Palestinians to stop their cavalcade to Israel.

As The New York Times reported last week, Egyptian intelligence officer Capt. Ashrag al-Kholi called four different television hosts last and told them that Ramallah can serve as the capital of a Palestinian state just as well as Jerusalem. Kholi was also taped telling them that the Palestinians have to compromise for peace. In his words, “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really? At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won’t be different from Ramallah. What matters is ending the suffering of the Palestinian people. Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby… Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we should go for it.”

Kholi explained that a new Palestinian campaign of terrorism against Israel will harm Egypt by strengthening Islamic State (ISIS), Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

So while it is true that 128 countries – including India, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia – voted with the PLO against Israel and the US at the UN last month, it is also true that their votes don’t signify as much as they used to. It is equally true that the Palestinians can’t try their patience by pushing anti-Israel resolutions every day as they have for the past 45 years. Because as the Palestinians keep playing their old tricks, Israel is becoming a more and more significant regional and global power and the nations of the world aren’t interested in weakening Israel when Israel is helping them survive and prosper.

As Abu Ali’s continued tenure in Pakistan shows, rather than recognize the shifting power balance and update their positions to align with it, the PLO has become even more brittle and reactionary and extreme. If Egypt doesn’t support their war against Israel, then they will take their roadshow to Tehran, or its Lebanese satrapy.

On December 31, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad met with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. After meeting with al-Ahmad, Nasrallah told al Mayadeen TV that Fatah – led by Abbas – agreed to “activate a third intifada,” or terror war, against Israel. PA parliament members also visited Lebanon and met with Iranian-controlled Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Sunday night, Israel Channel 2 reported that terrorist incitement is rising steeply in the official PA media and social media networks. One video, of a faked shooting of a Palestinian teenage girl by an actor dressed in an IDF uniform, has gone viral. Thousands of viewers have responded to the fake scene with pledges to kill Israelis to avenge the fake death.

When later this month Netanyahu meets Modi in Delhi, India’s UN vote and Abu Ali’s embrace of Saeed will be on the agenda. And there is a good reason to believe that Modi will recognize the linkage and vote differently in the future. Like Netanyahu, he recognizes that the PLO’s basic case is wrong. Peace is achieved by defeating terrorists, not by empowering them.

Moreover, Israel beckons. The economic and strategic realities of Israel cannot be ignored. Modi and his counterparts worldwide are now recognizing that the Palestinians have nothing to offer them, not even gratitude. When a critical mass of Palestinians recognize that the PLO’s jig is up, they will make peace with Israel. Until then, they will continue to serve as an irritating irrelevancy and nothing more.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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How Do We Give Struggling Israeli Families a better New Year?

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 02:43

With the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, the New Year is a time usually filled with hopes for good fortune. However, the latest National Council for the Child annual report just published that 33 percent of children living in Israel live in poverty, along with 1.8 million citizens. Food prices in Israel are 20 to 60 percent above the OECD average, including basic necessities like dairy products and eggs. Yet, the average salary is 17 percent lower than that in developed Western countries.

Therefore, the need to subsidize the lives of struggling Israelis is crucial for their survival. Israel’s largest and longest running charity organization, Colel Chabad has been identifying the needs of Israel’s poor, working tirelessly and creatively to help since 1788.

The notable organization just published their end-of-year statistics of last year’s accomplishments, and the numbers are impressive.

  • Colel Chabad runs 20 soup kitchens throughout Israel, serving 1,000,000 meals a year and 3,000 meals daily
  • Their Blavatnik food bank, located in 48 Israeli cities ensures food security for 10,800 families each month
  • 4,000 seniors receive boxes of food and household supplies each month
  • 1,500 seniors receive meals-on-wheels each month
  • 2,500 families, including 100,000 children receive holiday food and clothing shopping vouchers. This program is in partnership with IFCJ Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
  • 1,023 orphans are given tutors, mentors and educational scholarships through the Chesed Menachem Mendel Orphan Intervention Program
  • 119 Bar Mitzvahs and 45 Bat Mitzvahs were arranged for orphans through Chesed Menachem Mendel Orphan Intervention Program
  • 2 State of the art Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Setting the standard for the advanced care of MS patients.
  • 13 Larisa Blavatnik Day Care Centers providing working families with inexpensive care and education for their young children, enabling mothers to go to work with peace of mind.
  • Colel Chabad ensures that children hospitalized during Hanukkah enjoy the holiday by providing entertainment, menorah lighting, traditional foods and gifts to the sick at Schneider Children’s Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Wolfson, Barzilai, Kaplan, Soroka and other hospitals throughout Israel.
  • Public Passover Seders to make sure everyone enjoys the holiday
  • During the summer months, Colel Chabad runs a hospital camp six days a week at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital with 45 pediatric beds and Rehovot’s Kaplan hospital with 80 beds. There was no charge to either the hospitals or the children’s parents for this much needed activity.

Israel’s National Insurance Institute defines living in poverty as having a monthly income of less than NIS 3,158 ($823). A poor family of four makes less than NIS 8,086 ($2,107) a month, and a family of eight makes under NIS 13,139 ($3,423).

Historically, the New Year is a time to turn chaos into order and start fresh by paying off debts, returning borrowed objects, reflecting on one’s shortcomings, mending quarrels, giving charity and praying for a clean slate. Yet, without the dedicated help of Colel Chabad, Israel’s impoverished citizens would not even be able to dream of such a moment in time. “It is only through the generous donations of our supporters that we can maintain our enormous network of charitable operations”, told Rabbi Shmuel Lipsker, administrator for Colel Chabad to Breaking Israel News. “Colel Chabad does all it can to help Israel’s citizens have a good today and an even better tomorrow.”

To donate to Colel Chabad, please visit here.

 

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Palestinian Terror Attack Kills Rabbi in Samaria

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 02:28

Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a 35-year-old father of six, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in a shooting attack on Tuesday night while he drove on a highway near the town of Havat Gilad in Samaria.

Initial reports were that terrorists shot from a passing vehicle and escaped the scene. The victim had several wounds to his neck and upper body from a reported round of 22 bullets, and was taken to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba. The search for the assailants is concentrated on nearby Shechem (Nablus).

Rabbi Raziel Shevach (Photo from Facebook page of David Wilder)

The rabbi leaves behind a wife, 4 daughters and 2 sons, the younger of which is an 8-month-old baby. Rabbi Shevach was a mohel (performs ritual circumcision), chevra kadisha (Jewish burial society), and volunteered with Magen David Adom. About a year ago, he completed his smicha studies (rabbinic certification) and was currently in the midst of studies to be a rabbinical arbiter.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the news of the shooting.

“I am expressing my deep sorrow and sending condolences to the family of Raziel Shevach, who was murdered tonight by a despicable terrorist,” he stated. “Security forces will do everything possible to reach the contemptible murderer and the State of Israel will bring him to justice.”

Hananel Dorani, chairman of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council, said that “full and direct responsibility lies with the Palestinian Authority, which gives life to this terrorism and pays terrorists.”

 

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Christian Tourist Uses Loophole to Recite ‘Shema’ on Temple Mount

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 02:00

A Christian tourist from Germany visited the Temple Mount and under the very noses of the Muslim Waqf guards managed to sidestep the ban on non-Muslim prayer and recite the ‘Shema’, the powerful recognition of God’s kingship, by using sign language.

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Free the Palestinians: End UNRWA Funding

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 02:00

It is time to resolve the issue of the imprisoned Palestinian population. The one imprisoned by the United Nations and its own unrealistic vision of the future.

President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. contribution to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) could be eliminated might be the catalyst important and positive changes if people can get over the moaning and crying about killing poor refugee babies. It’s not likely. The U.S. contributes more than $368 million annually to UNRWA, more than double the next two closest donors and more than quadruple the next several on the list. But the top three donors provide more than half UNRWA’s budget – leaving lots and lots of rich countries that could fill the gap if they choose.

They shouldn’t do it.

UNRWA is a huge impediment to actionable understanding in the Arab world – and particularly among Palestinians – that Israel is a legitimate and permanent part of the Middle East. Making Israel real to people who delude themselves on that point is key to honest negotiations about the future of a Palestinian state.

In 1947-49 a lot of people believed the Arab states would erase the nascent State of Israel. In 1950, 711,000 Arabs registered with UNRWA, the newly created UN organization designed to imprison them until it happened, even if it took forever. They didn’t say it that way. UNRWA’s mission, however, is to take care of them and their children until their “status is resolved.”

In 2011, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness wrote that “Palestinian refugees continue to be refugees because the issues which caused their exile remain outstanding. Only by addressing in a just and durable fashion the underlying causes of conflict… can the refugee issue be laid to rest.”

Try saying, “Vietnamese boat people” instead – no one ever suggested Vietnamese refugees wait until the fall of communism in their homeland in order to return them there. Not even Syrian refugees in Europe are told they can’t be resettled until the war is over and they return to Syria.

But taking at face value Gunness’s concern for “underlying causes,” there are actually two: the lingering, vain hope that Israel can still be erased and UNRWA itself.

First, international Arab wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982; terror wars (so-called intifadas) in 1989 and 2001; and rocket wars in 2006, 2009, and 2014 have left Israel not only standing, but economically strong, militarily strong, and with increased trade, political, and foreign aid programs around the world. Even tourism set a record in 2017. Israel isn’t going anywhere and it is lunacy for a UN agency to perpetuate the fraud that 1947 will come again.

As an aside, to understand how much this is about negating Israel, notice the absence of UNRWA outrage over the government of Iraq’s decision to strip Palestinian “refugees” living there of their “right” to “travel documents, identification papers, free education, healthcare insurance, financial stipends and free homes.”

The second “underlying cause” is UNRWA. It may not believe great-grandchildren of the original refugees will one day claim apartments in Tel Aviv, but as one of the largest UN agencies, it has an interest in self-perpetuation – which means lying to refugees about the chances of a “right of return” ever occurring. UNRWA has an interest in a) keeping the refugees poor enough to need them and b) cozying up to repressive Palestinian governments – Hamas and the Palestinian Authority – and terror organizations including Hezbollah in Lebanon to continue working.

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UNRWA perpetuates the notion that as the refugee population grows, it needs more money. Today UNRWA claims about 30,000 -50,000 original refugees, and 4,950,000 descendants. (Palestinians claim there are 6 million refugees – a number with historic resonance.) But watch out for those numbers. The Jewish Policy Center wrote a recently about an enormous over the count of refugees in Lebanon:

UNRWA in Lebanon reports on its website that 449,957 refugees live under its protection in 12 camps, but a survey by Lebanon’s Central Administration of Statistics, together with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, could only find 174,535.

Notice that UNRWA had nothing to do with that census. Would the same discrepancies emerge if a similarly serious census was taken on the West Bank and in Gaza, where UNRWA claims 2.15 million registered refugees? Is UNRWA taking more and more money for fewer and fewer actual clients?

Rather than trying to unwind a 67-year-old agency, the Trump administration’s policies can render it moot.

First, transfer the U.S. contribution and control of the refugees to the UN High Commission on Refugees – which has the mission of resettling people in countries that will have them. It doesn’t have to be done all at once, but it will have the effect over time of caring for the original refugees and organizing their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for productive citizenship.

Second, to underpin the importance of the change, stop granting “refugee” status to the descendants of the original refugees – no other population is permitted to hand down both status and stipends that way. (Material claims are something else.) Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are in the putative State of Palestine – they are Palestinians, not refugees, not now, not ever. And with fair and clever management, future generations of Palestinians won’t be either.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jewish Policy Center

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Chief Cantor Shai Abramson and the IDF Orchestra Sing “Hallelujah”

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:47

In honor of our brave IDF soldiers, enjoy this special “Hallelujah” and send our soldiers best wishes on a job well done!

The post Chief Cantor Shai Abramson and the IDF Orchestra Sing “Hallelujah” appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

On the Value of Great Declarations

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:00

We had a right to cheer, or at least to be satisfied, by Donald Trump’s announcements that he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that Israel is not the heart of the Middle East’s problems.

We also have a right to question the wisdom of the announcements, their weight in real terms, as well as the balance of costs and benefits associated with them.

It’s a good thing that the major country in the world has finally recognized in an official manner some realities of Israel’s situation.

On the other hand, there is no assurance that the Embassy will ever move to Jerusalem. We can doubt that it’ll come in Trump’s first term. He may not have a second. And his successor may not wish to pursue the matter.

We shouldn’t be too sure that the location of the Embassy is vital. We’re living well despite it’s being in Tel Aviv.

Israelis are also applauding Guatemala for making similar announcements about Israel’s capital and its intention to move its Embassy. But it, too, has not announced when the Embassy will move.

While we can understand the American’s need for time to move a great deal of equipment and a thousand people from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we can only assign politics to whatever is delaying the movement of Guatemala’s facility and people. Or person.

The most prominent costs, to Israel, of the White House announcements, have been manageable. Demonstrations for several weekends of Palestinians and some others across the West Bank, Gaza, and Muslim capitals have caused their casualties, but almost entirely to the demonstrators.

We can assume that the blast of declarations from the Palestinian leadership will not change anything significant. Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues, as well as some of his sworn enemies have been saying that the Peace Process is dead, that the United States can no longer be a broker, and that the Palestinians must proceed to acquire even greater recognition from international organizations and individual countries.

Yet a ranking Egyptian official has said that the Palestinians should make do with Ramallah as their capital.

Perhaps the greatest cost of Trump’s announcements, and hopefully that manageable, is the stimulus the announcements have given to the Israeli right. Likud party activists have been promoting the extension of Israeli law to the entire West Bank. Some of the less extreme extremists have been promoting the extension of Israeli law only to the Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders. Israeli rightists have also managed to legislate a procedural hurdle to complicate any deal that would give Palestinians part of what is currently defined as Jerusalem.

Neither proposal seems capable of changing things on the ground.

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For all significant purposes, Israeli officials determine issues for the Jewish settlements. Except for occasional incursions for security concerns–often with the cooperation of Palestinian security forces who see the Israelis as operating principally against our common enemies (Hamas and those even more extreme)–Israel should have no interest in imposing greater controls over the Palestinian communities.

There’s another effort to legislate a death penalty for terrorists.

There’s already a death penalty on the books, but judges, in both military and civilian courts, have refused to employ it, except in the case of Adolf Eichmann, in 1962.

So far the only result of the Knesset passing in a preliminary vote, a death penalty, is a predicted wave of international protests.

With respect to “Jerusalem,” whose shape has changed countless times since David composed his story, the most recent effort to ensure its future in a peace process comes when there are no peace negotiations anywhere on the horizon.

The results of the Knesset’s efforts may not only be violent demonstrations, but also another round of international condemnations and renewed efforts by BDS activists.

The most direct losses for Israel as a result of BDS have been pop artists who decline to appear here, under pressure from Palestinians and their friends.

A more serious impact seems to be on American Jews, especially students at the colleges where Palestinians and their supporters are active among students and faculty, and where BDS has moved to include more explicit anti-Semitism.

Great declarations, heroic, and otherworldly stories have long been known to move masses of people. We have to go no further than the myths at the heart of the great religions, like what the Biblical Prophets claimed to hear from the Almighty, or the stories of virgin birth and resurrection.

Such symbols are infinitely more fascinating than deciding “What next?” after the President announces that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The slogan of bread and circuses came out of the Roman Empire to express what the people wanted from their rulers. Not all that different are the symbolic utterances that sound great but do not deliver anything tangible. Or whose most tangible results are the feeling of accomplishment for those who are pleased and the feeling of offense among those who may be moved to anger or violence.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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