Subscribe to Breaking Israel News feed
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Huckabee: “I May Buy House in Efrat”

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 10:42

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, attended a ceremony on Wednesday in the Gush Etzion community of Efrat in which he helped lay bricks and pour cement for new houses. Huckabee was so overcome with emotion that he said he may one day come to live in the city.

“I’m building, because I one day might want to purchase a holiday home here in Efrat,” he told journalists.

Speaking in front of a banner that read “Build Israel Great Again,” Huckabee cited President Trump’s background as a real estate developer, saying the president also would have enjoyed the event.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

“If President Trump could be here today, he would be a very happy man, happy because he is a builder and he loves to see construction sites. He loves to see things that are being built. That is his life,” said Huckabee. “What is being built here is really a bridge to peace. For those who might think that is not possible, it is what we are seeing with our own eyes.”

The ceremony celebrated the construction of 900 new homes, 600 of which are in the final stages of building.

His daughter, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, is the president’s spokesperson, however, the former governor insisted his remarks were not directed from the White House.

“I’m not speaking for my government. I’m speaking for myself and God,” Huckabee said.

IAF Kills 7 ISIS Terrorists Crossing Border Into Golan

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 09:19

On Wednesday night, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) killed seven Islamic State (ISIS) fighters who had penetrated into Israeli territory from Syria. It has been reported that the terrorists entered 650 feet past the “alpha line,” which demarcates Israel’s side of a demilitarized zone. IDF troops who surveyed the area in the morning discovered explosive belts and an AK-47 assault rifle.

According to Israel Army Radio, the gunmen had been en route to an attack on Israel.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Assad regime forces are currently operating in the region to eliminate pockets of rebel resistance after securing their presence along the Israeli border. The rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad include ISIS-affiliated forces.

Last night, the IDF tracked 7 armed suspects identified as terrorists most likely affiliated with ISIS. Their movements were tracked in the southern Golan Heights near the area of the triangle of Israel, Jordan, and the DMZ of Syria. An IDF aircraft struck the 7 terrorists pic.twitter.com/ATibSZvL6k

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 2, 2018

The border between Syria and Israel has been unusually problematic in the last week or so. Last tuesday, the IDF fired two patriot missiles at a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that strayed approximately one mile into Israeli airspace. The Russian-made jet was shot down, crashing in Syria and killing the pilot.

One day later, the IAF destroyed a rocket launcher in Syria after two projectiles landed in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The IDF reported the rockets as errant fire from Syrian infighting but some military analysts conjectured that it may have been an intentional attempt by desperate ISIS rebels to draw Israel into the conflict.

Two weeks ago, the IDF completed a large-scale surprise military exercise in the Golan Heights area.The IDF emphasized that the exercise was not tied to current events but was “planned in advance as part of the 2018 training schedule.” The exercise ended Thursday.

The Russian defense ministry announced Thursday, that it will  establish eight Russian military police posts on the border between Israel and Syria in order to “prevent provocations.”

ISAIAH 1:27

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 08:17

Hashem (God) created the world for both man and animal to prosper. Had Hashem desired that only the animals roam the world, there would have been no need for of mishpatecha (משפטיך), ‘your justice’. Man, with the capacity to veer from evil and to become educated, was set on the land to fulfill Hashem’s will. With man as part of the balance, it is necessary for Hashem to judge the world based on man’s actions.

Rabbi: Battle For Joseph’s Tomb is Battle For Sexual Purity

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 07:21

Hundreds of Jews visited the Tomb of Joseph adjacent to the Biblical city of Shechem (Nablus) on Wednesday night, accompanied by a strong IDF contingent. Worshippers arrived in a convoy of heavily guarded armored buses, risking the danger to petition the tzaddik (holy man) buried there, to pray for powerful issues.

Rabbi Levi Sudri, an award-winning Bible expert, made the journey to Joseph’s Tomb to pray for a specific tikkun (fixing) that he believes is essential to our generation: Sexuality.

“Joseph was the epitome of sexual purity,” Rabbi Sudri told Breaking Israel News. “This was demonstrated by his restraint with the wife of Potiphar.”

And much as she coaxed Yosef day after day, he did not yield to her request to lie beside her, to be with her. Genesis 39:10

“It was his control of his sexual desire that gave him the ability to rule over all of Egypt,” Rabbi Sudri said. “It is an essential trait for a leader but we see this trait as being particularly problematic among leaders today.”

Sudri also noted an aspect of the location that is of particular interest in current events.

“Shechem was the place where Dina was raped,” Rabbi Sudri noted.

Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, chief of the country, saw her, and took her and lay with her by force. Being strongly drawn to Dina daughter of Yaakov, and in love with the maiden, he spoke to the maiden tenderly. Genesis 34:2-3

“That is why Joseph was buried here: to fix the power of sexuality for the entire world,” Rabbi Sudri said. He noted that the site is the target of near-constant vandalism including incidents of arson which severely damaged the site.

“The Muslims do not relate to sexual purity,” Rabbi Sudri said. “They prefer to burn the site. So long as they rule over Joseph’s Tomb and do not allow men and women who work on this trait to pray here, this will remain broken in the world.”

Rabbi Sudri noted how the incident of Shechem raping Dina was reflected in the recent #metoo movement in which many women related being sexually abused in the workplace.

“Until purity and prayer is returned to the site, rape will continue to be confused with love,” Rabbi Sudri warned. “Unfortunately, Israel is treating the site as if they have already surrendered it to the Arabs. This is like selling Joseph into slavery yet again.”

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the Rabbi Of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, noted an additional basis for the conflict over Joseph’s Tomb.

“The first stage of the Messiah comes from the House of Joseph,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “By preventing Jews from praying at the site, the Arabs are delaying the completion of that aspect of the Messianic process, which is the practical settling of the land of Israel.”

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Berger also noted that denying Jewish ownership of Shechem was listed as an egregious denial of the Jewish connection to the Land.

“The sages say in the Talmud that there are three places in the land of Israel that the Bible specifically describes as being purchased by the Jews: the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Shechem,” Rabbi Berger said.

The parcel of land where he pitched his tent he purchased from the children of Hamor, Shechem‘s father, for a hundred kesitah. Genesis 33:19

“These places can never be claimed to have been stolen,” Rabbi Berger said. “It is most noteworthy that these are the specific cities the Palestinians claim as their native homeland.”

Eliyahu McLean, founder of Abrahamic Reunion, an apolitical organization that brings together Christians, Muslims, and Jews in prayer, also went to Joseph’s Tomb to pray. He described the harrowing journey to the site. Approximately 10 buses left Jerusalem at nine in the evening. At one point, the people were ordered by an officer to disembark so as not to attract Arab gunfire.

Mclean said he made the precarious journey to Joseph’s Tomb to pray for “deliverance and guidance from the holy prophet,” a subject near and dear to his heart.

“I pray for the day when instead of an army escort, we can have an army of peace,” Mclean told Breaking Israel News. “I pray that my Muslim friend from Nablus will meet me with a box of candies and I can shake his hand. I pray that we can live without the fear and separation. But unfortunately this is the reality right now.”

McLean has held multi-faith prayer sessions on Mount Bental to pray for the benefit of Syrians suffering in the civil war just across the border from Israel. He also organizes a “Jerusalem Hug,” a human chain around the walls of the Old City. But praying at Joseph’s Tomb is necessarily religiously segregated and raises deep disputes among the religions.

“Joseph is held in high esteem by Islam and his story is told in great detail in the Koran but according to the Palestinians, Joseph is actually buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron,” Mclean explained.

This narrative contradicts the Biblical account in which Joseph died in Egypt but was embalmed so that his remains could be brought back for burial in Israel.

The bones of Yosef, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Yaakov had bought for a hundred kesita from the children of Hamor, Shechem‘s father, and which had become a heritage of the Josephites. Joshua 24:32

“Muslims claim this site as the burial place of Sheikh Yousef Dweikat, a local religious figure,” Mclean explained. “Of course, it is not the religious Jewish narrative, but I have to share all narratives.”

When asked why the Palestinians would attempt to destroy a building they believe marks the burial site of one of their holy men, Mclean shrugged, unable to answer.

The site stands between twin mountains surrounding the site: Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. The Bible describes how the Children of Israel stood between the two mountains, receiving instructions about the potential blessings they could receive from Mount Gerizim (holy to this day to Samaritan Jews) and the curses from Mount Ebal.

When Hashem your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and possess, you shall pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at HarEival. Deuteronomy 11:29

Joseph’s Tomb is a point of particularly hot contention between Israel and the Palestinians; located in Samaria, a region conquered by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Although the city came under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction as a result of the Oslo Accords in 1995, the religious site remained under Israeli control to ensure access for all religions. Following multiple incidents of Palestinian violence, the IDF abandoned the site in 2000 and Jews were prohibited from visiting it. Since 2002, Jewish worshipers have only been permitted to visit the site once each month, and only under strict IDF supervision. In 2011, a young Jewish man was shot and killed by a Palestinian policeman when he attempted to visit the site without prior IDF permission.

Netanyahu Cancels Latin America Trip; IDF to Target Arson Kite Commanders

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 06:19

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has canceled a scheduled trip to Colombia in order to oversee developments in Israel’s south, the prime minister’s office reported Thursday. The premier had been scheduled to attend the inauguration of incoming Colombian President Iván Duque and to hold meetings with several Latin American leaders.

The decision comes amidst reports that Netanyahu wants to monitor the visit of Saleh al-Arouri, the founding commander of Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades armed wing who is believed to be the organization’s commander in Judea and Samaria. Al-Arouri will travel to Gaza in the coming days reportedly to participate in Egyptian-sponsored talks to cover a range of Gaza issues, including a ceasefire agreement with Israel and a reconciliation deal with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu’s announcement also followed an announcement by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Israel would begin targeting Palestinian leaders who instruct young people to launch arson kites at Gaza Belt communities, rather than at the launchers themselves.

“We have to hit those who give the orders to launch the balloons, not the underlings who do the actual launching,” Liberman said Thursday morning during a tour of air defense systems in the north of the country.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Liberman also said that last week Hamas leaders ordered Gazans, including children, to launch balloons from populated homes and announced he would reinstitute a ban on fuel and gas being transferred into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing until further notice.

“The decision was made in light of the recent balloon and kite terrorist attacks,” Liberman said in a statement Wednesday.

“The residents of Gaza must understand that as long as there are incendiary balloons on our side and fires, their life will not return to normal,” he said.

Some 600 kites have been launched at Israel since late April, causing 198 separate brush fires and burning about 7,500 acres of forest and farmland.

Referring to the tensions on the northern border, Lieberman also said that Israel is ready for every possible development

“We are prepared, ready and at the moment of truth, we will show what we’ve got. We will not make any concessions on our security interests,” he said.

Referring to the return of Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad army to the Syrian Golan Heights, near the border with Israel, Liberman underlined that Israel will maintain a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Syria.

“As far as we are concerned, the situation has reverted to the way it was before the (Syrian) civil war. I think that is in Assad’s interest (to keep the border quite); I have made clear that we will not compromise our security interests but also that we  have no intention of intervening in their internal affairs if we do not need to.”

End of a Dutch Jewish Community

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:52

A Jewish community in the Netherlands was evicted from their synagogue. Did this happen in the 1940’s? No, it was only three days ago. The synagogue was purchased by a church a long time ago as a form of reparation for the Holocaust. It enabled the remnants of a destroyed Dutch community to continue to worship – although they could not afford the upkeep. These Jews were evicted – not by the church that tried to protect them – but by a developer who wanted the land for a restaurant.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.1'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

The eviciton of a small Jewish community out of the Great Synagogue in Deventer.

The evicton of a small Jewish community out of the Great Synagogue in Deventer (The Netherlands). Video: JTA News.

Posted by Holland4Israel on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Former German President Visits Meir Panim Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchen

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:18

Former German President Christian Wulff recently visited Israel on a fact finding mission. One of his unusual stops was to Meir Panim’s Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchen in the Galilean city of Safed.

Wulff, a staunch and longtime supporter of Israel, had previously visited the country while in office in 2010. His recent visit to Meir Panim was coordinated by Senator h.c. Michael Keller, dedicated board member of Meir Panim’s UK branch, Manna.

During his time at Meir Panim’s Safed soup kitchen, Wulff demonstrated his continued commitment to the Jewish state and referenced the strong relationship between Israel and Germany.

Germany continues to be one of Israel’s staunchest defenders and most dependable allies. Germany’s foreign policy is clear on its position of Israel’s right to exist. In light of Israel’s geographical position as a democracy in the region, Germany’s support has been consistent.

President Wulff spent much of his day at Meir Panim discussing its unique system for operations with Branch Manager Benny Elgad. Elgad pointed out that the Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchen welcomes anyone who walks through its doors, regardless of race or ethnic background. It serves as a true cornerstone in the Safed community where anyone who is hungry can find a hot meal and a friendly face.

“It was a true privilege to speak with President Wulff,” remarked Elgad to Breaking Israel News. “He spent hours here at the restaurant and really dedicated his time to understanding how critical this facility is to the residents of Safed. In fact, he was so inspired by Meir Panim’s work that he made a point to speak to the diners one-on-one and hear their stories.”

Elgad was visibly moved by President Wulff’s visit as tears filled his eyes. “It’s not every day that we get an opportunity like this, to have such a distinguished leader among us,” he said.

President Wulff served as Germany’s youngest president from 2010 to 2012, and is also an attorney. He currently works as a business consultant while dedicating much of his time to philanthropic causes.

Wulff learned how much of a lifeline Meir Panim is for so many Safed residents struggling with poverty. The soup kitchen is unique in that it is run similarly to a restaurant, only without the exchange of cash. Diners are seated and served by volunteer waiters, and served hot, nutritious meals in a dignified setting. No one waits on line.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Those who frequent the Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchen are predominantly Safed’s elderly residents. Most live on fixed incomes, have little money for food and even less for recreational activities. Additionally, many have no family members or friends outside of the soup kitchen, making this place their “second home” of sorts.

Former German President Christian Wulff meets with members of a Meir Panim choir. (Credit: Meir Panim)

Therefore, additional activities and programming are provided including speakers and workshops on subjects such as budgeting and Jewish studies. This branch even maintains an impressive choir, made up of its patrons, many of whom are Holocaust survivors. It a particularly moving moment during President Wulff’s visit, the choir gave an emotional musical performance.

Following Wulff’s visit, diners were touched to learn that the world has not forgotten them. “It made me feel so good inside to understand that we are not alone,” said Elsi, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor who eats at Meir Panim every day and takes a container of food home with her for dinner. “I just don’t know how I would get by without Meir Panim’s restaurant and it is really an honor to have a visit like this.”

Across Israel, 1.8 million citizens go to bed hungry each night including 800,000 children. In addition to Meir Panim’s efforts fighting poverty in Safed, the organization runs a network of Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens in Jerusalem, Or Akiva, Tiberias, and Dimona. Meir Panim also provides Meals-on-Wheels deliveries to the elderly, homebound, and disabled; After-School Youth Centers; school lunch programs; vocational training; and holiday food packages.

“Meir Panim is thankful for President Wulff’s commitment to the Jewish state and for the time he dedicated to learning about the poverty crisis in Israel and the organization’s lifesaving work,” expressed Mimi Rozmaryn, Director of International Relations for Meir Panim to Breaking Israel News. “Meir Panim would like to express its utmost gratitude to President Wulff for his commitment to continuing this friendship and we hope that he will come again to experience some of our other crucial social welfare programs.”

To donate to Meir Panim, click here.

Written in cooperation with Meir Panim.

Giving Thanks to US Volunteer Firefighters in Israel

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 03:53

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was in Sderot to publicly thank 10 American firefighters. They volunteered to help their Israeli colleagues battle raging fires started by arson kites and balloons sent from Hamas-controlled Gaza. “They have shown the amazing solidarity between the American people and the Israeli people,” said Friedman.

צפו בסרטון של שגריר ארה״ב בביקור היום בתחנת כיבוי האש בשדרות שם נפגש עם לוחמי האש שעמלים על כיבוי השרפות בגבול רצועת עזה יחד עם 10 לוחמי אש אמריקאים מתנדבים. השגריר הודה ללוחמים הישראלים וללוחמים האמריקאים שהגיעו מכל רחבי ארה"ב. @EVPIsrael @jfederations pic.twitter.com/d9TB3vPEhg

— USEmbassyJerusalem (@usembassyjlm) August 1, 2018

Trump Donates $400,000 Salary to Repair Military Cemeteries

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 03:33

In a much under-reported move, U.S. President Donald Trump has donated his $400,000 salary for the repair of military cemeteries. In a White House spending report sent to Congress it noted that the president’s salary was sent to the Department of the Interior.

White House sent their spending report to Congress. This was in it:
“Instead of taking his salary, Trump donated all $400,000 to the Department of the Interior where it will be used for construction and repair needs at military cemeteries!”
Media gave this no coverage.

— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) July 31, 2018

Trump’s gesture follows a similar pattern of donating his salary to worthwhile causes and something he promised on the campaign trail. Under existing federal law, the president is compelled to accept the $400,000 salary. He has previously given to; Funding restoration projects at Antietam battlefield; Combating the opioid epidemic; and improving US infrastructure.

Supporters of the president would point to the fact that in addition to his largesse, he has kept a number of other campaign promises, including moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prelude to Genocide: Remembering the Days Before August 2014 and the Yazidi Genocide

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 02:00

JERUSALEM, JUNE 2014 – In June 2014 ISIS attacked Camp Speicher in Iraq. The group captured more than 1,000 mostly Shi’ite cadets and systematically murdered them. In Jerusalem the hot summer of 2014 was dominated by news of the kidnapping of three Jewish teens in the West Bank and their subsequent murder. They were kidnapped on June 12, the same day as the Camp Speicher massacre. On July 2nd Mohammed ABu Khdeir was murdered in Jerusalem. I was living in Jerusalem and these local events were the most important story of the time. In addition Israel and Hamas were preparing for war in Gaza over these tensions. ISIS seemed far away.

I remember sitting with friends in Beit Hanina and watching video from Iraq of ISIS crimes. Many of these videos were openly shared on Facebook and Twitter. They showed the cadets at Camp Speicher being rounded up and executed. Initially I thought they couldn’t be real. But they were very real. Yet media were still calling ISIS “insurgents.” It was surreal. This was mass murder of thousands of people. Yet the world was silent.

ISIS had conquered a swath of Syria and Iraq and was threatening Baghdad. In Mosul and Nineveh ISIS expelled Christian minorities. They fled towards the Kurdistan region. Yet the “insurgents” or “militants” were seen as just another in a long list of extremist groups to emerge from the Syrian Civil War and Iraq. The “insurgency” in Iraq had returned. COIN had failed. The Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki had failed. The US had fatigue from years of war in Iraq. People wanted the conflict to go away.

But it wasn’t going away. Everyday on social media there were numerous posts by ISIS supporters. In Europe English speaking supporters of ISIS were flooding Twitter with posts and discussions. They talked about the “kuffar” and the right to “rape.” They were openly preaching genocide. But no one was paying attention.

JULY, 2014 – I also wasn’t paying attention. I looked back now at some of my posts and screenshots from that period. The earliest mention of ISIS I could find was an image from June 14, 2014. This was ten days after they had taken Mosul.

From that moment there were most posts and screenshots I took. One was about a Saudi doctor who had allegedly joined ISIS and been killed. There was a massive amount of pro-ISIS propaganda on social media. Videos, photos, tweets, everything. Accounts openly calling themselves “Islamic State media” were spreading hatred and celebrating.

Some users even pointed out that while posted about the crimes of ISIS got them banned from Facebook or their posts removed, the pro-ISIS videos and other details did not get banned. It would be as if social media banned images of the death camps and atrocities of the Nazis, but not videos of speeches by Hitler.

AUGUST 2014 – The first day of August brought a long post by Sooud al-Qassemi, an Emirati commentator. In his long discussion about an Egyptian man who joined ISIS. He sketched out a life of this person who seemed so far from the supposedly conservative far-right ISIS mentality. The man had been into westerners, like the Hard Rock Cafe. He had a university degree. Then he showed up wielding a sword with the extremists. But although it seemed like all fun and games, the reality was more brutal. “On July 29 Yaken posts a photo to celebrated Eid with a severed head on top of a corpse that he said belonged to a ‘dog’ later identified as one of the Syrian war criminal Al Assad’s fighters.”

So while we were comfortable in our beds away from Syria and Iraq, supporters were flocking. Qassemi noted that this particular volunteer had little religious knowledge and it was based on “extremist b—-it.” While that may be, this was part of the narrative that painted ISIS members as just crazy and “disturbed” views were not to be taken too seriously. But they were deadly serious.

At the time I was active on Twitter, and I was even blocked by pro-ISIS accounts. I also screenshoted some of the more bizarre discussions the accounts were having, discussing Qatar’s government for instance (above).

Little did we know at the time that ISIS was preparing its assault on Mount Sinjar and the Yazidis in northern Iraq. They had already been massacring Shi’ites and Christians and their policy was clear. The Iraqi army had retreated south and whole divisions had abandoned their equipment. ISIS was well armed and parading its captured humvees and jeeps, of which there were some 2,000, in videos.

In Sinjar, called Shingal in Kurdish, the Kurdish peshmerga had dug in around Yazidi villages and at checkpoints on the roads leading to Mosul and Tal Afar. But the Peshmerga were unprepared for the assault that was coming. When rumors emerged on August 2nd that the attack was imminent and when ISIS supporters in Tal Afar begin targeting Yazidis, the retreat began. Defenses around Yazidi areas were abandoned. Some Yazidi fighters with AK-47s tried to hold off the attack, but within a day parts of Sinjar had fallen and hundreds of thousands were fleeing.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

On August 7th US President Barack Obama would order airstrikes. By then it was too late for 10,000 Yazidis. Women were being sold into slavery and men massacred. ISIS was on the road to Erbil and had taken Mosul Dam on the road to Dohuk. YPG was struggling to open a corridor to Sinjar from Syria to save the Yazidis. Qasim Shesho “the old tiger of Mount Sinjar” and his 17 fighters were at Sharf e-Din shrine vowing to fight to the end. The Kurdistan region of Iraq was threatened. Blame and accusations would follow. Who was at fault. Why hadn’t more been done. Why was Sinjar abandoned.

Four years later, as I write this on August 1, the shame of the silence before the genocide is palpable. The mass murder at Camp Speicher, the Badush prisonmassacre on June 10, the expulsion of Christians in July, all the signs of impending genocide were there. ISIS had not hidden its agenda. Like Nazism in the 1930s, it had proceeded systematically. It was planning the genocide of Sinjar before it happened. But powerful governments that could have done more, did little or nothing. In Europe thousands had gone to join ISIS. They had crossed NATO countries to do so. They were openly recruiting. Online there was little attempt to stop them. By 2017, three years after the genocide, Twitter had closed almost 1 million terrorist-supporting and linked accounts. But when it was most necessary little had been done.

The genocide of Yazidis was the first social media genocide. It happened online, and it happened for real. The Telegrah even spoke to a 17 year oldwoman who was sold into slavery in September 2014 while she was still held by ISiS. It’s as if people were able to call victims in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. The excuse that no one knew what was going on in Sinjar could not be maintained. And yet even though everyone knew, very little was done either to prevent the genocide to to help victims when they had just been captured. For instance thousands of women were transported to Syria to be sold. Nothing was done to track them. Many times their families even spoke to them but no resources were put in by the international community to help track those calls, or track the Telegram and other channels used to sell people and abuse them.

Much more should have been done in the two months leading up to August 3. Today the US-led Coalition has almost 70 countries aiding it to fight ISIS in Syria. The US role in Syria is an outgrowth of August 2014. The refugee crises in Europe is largely an outgrowth. And yet today ISIS has recently carried out attacks in Tajikistan, in Pakistan and the Philippines.

As we approach the fourth anniversary of these terrible crimes, there are recriminations and blame, but there are many questions as well. Questions about the foreign fighters who so easily crossed borders. The technology and social media role. The excuses and whitewashing that took place before the mass murder. The fact that slavery was brought back in 2014, that headlines talked about “six year old slaves.” The tragedy and trauma continue. We still have a chance to do more today, to make right what went wrong in August 2014.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Seth Frantzman

Who Are Europe’s Most Important Politicians?

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 01:00

“Who is the most important European alive today?” I asked in early 2010. Dutch politician Geert Wilders, came my answer, because “he is best placed to deal with the Islamic challenge facing the continent.” I even raised the prospect of his emerging “as a world-historical figure.”

In other words, I focused not on run-of-the-mill political leaders – the UK prime minister, French president, German chancellor, or even the Roman Catholic pope – but on the disruptive politician leading Europe’s revolt against immigration and Islamization. Conventional politicians optimistically assume that the continent will muddle through, that some form of convivencia(Spanish for “coexistence,” a term deriving from medieval Andalusia) will emerge, that multiculturalism somehow will tame the beast of Islamic supremacism.

But as Europe, population 741 million, heads toward cultural crisis, as indigenous birthrates plunge, as Islamist aggression increases, and as the elite made up of the 6Ps (police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors) myopically insists there is nothing to worry about, this happy talk has little basis in reality.

In 2010, Wilders clearly led those individuals and parties who stand up for traditional Western civilization – what the media inaccurately smears as the far-right but more accurately called civilizationist. Wilders remains a prominent spokesman for civilizationism; but he has not wielded power since 2012 and polls show that a competing Dutch civilizationist, Thierry Baudet, now attracts more voters. In retrospect, it appears that Wilders dwelt overly on the nature of Islam rather than on the dangers of migration.

In his place, a number of civilizationist politicians have emerged who wield actual power, especially in formulating their countries’ policies towards migrants and Islam. The key event in their emergence was Angela Merkel’s great folly of 2015-16 when, at her invitation, over a million unvetted mostly-Muslim migrants arrived in Germany and elsewhere. Then, to make matters worse, she insisted on other European Union members take a proportion of the migrants, sparking widespread resentment.

Here, in my estimation, are the ten outstanding civilizationist leaders of this moment, in ascending order of importance (to be clear, this is an assessment, not an endorsement):

10. Siv Jensen– Norway’s minister of finance who leads an immigration-restriction party.

9. Christoph Blocher– Switzerland’s former head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police and still a key figure in the country’s anti-immigration politics.

8. Robert Fico– Slovakia’s former prime minister and still a behind-the-scenes-strongman, who says “Islam has no place” in Slovakia and has taken steps to prevent mosques from opening.

7. Miloš Zeman– Czechia’s president who warns against immigration of Muslims because their integration into Europe is “practically impossible.”

6. Markus Söder– Bavaria’s premier who demands tougher security along Germany’s border with Austria.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

5. Heinz-Christian Strache– Austria’s vice-chancellor wants to end the “policy of Islamization” (i.e., welcoming Muslim migrants) and instead initiate a “minus-immigration policy.”

4. Horst Seehofer– Germany’s interior minister who is battling his prime minister (Merkel) to keep illegal migrants out of the country.

3. Matteo Salvini– Italy’s interior minister who has made stopping uncontrolled emigration his first priority, to be followed by the far more challenging task of expelling 500,000 illegal immigrants.

2. Jarosław Kaczyński– Poland’s former prime minister, now the country’s eminence grise, who formed a government by focusing on the immigration and Islamization issues.

1. Viktor Orbán– Hungary’s visionary and autocratic prime minister since 2010 who won control of parliament by arguing against uncontrolled Muslim immigration, then battled Merkel and offered a vision for a traditional, Christian Europe.

A few observations about this list: Jimmie Åkesson of the Sweden Democrats might jump on it after Sweden’s September elections. Not included are up-and-coming politicians such as Germany’s minister of health, Jens Spahn, or Denmark’s Morten Messerschmidt. Other than Blocher, Zeman, and Kaczyński, these politicians are relatively young, with potentially long careers ahead of them. Jensen is the odd one out, being the only politician who is not male and not from Central Europe.

After many years of getting nowhere, the opposition to lax immigration controls and multiculturalism has now become a significant force in nine countries, seven of them members of the European Union. I predict that this number will substantially increase before long, perhaps making up half of the European Union’s soon-to-be-27 members and changing the direction of Europe as a whole. And one of the figures named here may yet become a world-historical figure.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Daniel Pipes

The Dhimmi in the Mirror

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 00:00

During a recent ceremony that was attended by more than 50 ambassadors and diplomats, many from Western nations, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II reportedly said “that Egypt had a long history and civilization and has been a model for coexistence between Christians and Muslims for 14 centuries,” to quote the online website, Egypt Independent (I cannot locate his original speech in Arabic to confirm his precise words).

This assertion raises a host of questions, from its veracity, to the reason it was uttered by the representative head of the nation’s indigenous Christians.

As to the claim itself—that “Egypt … has been a model of coexistence between Christians and Muslims for 14 centuries”—this is somewhat literally true: from Islam’s initial invasion of Egypt in the late 630s, to the present, Egypt has indeed been a “model”—a paradigm—of what happens to native Christians when Muslims conquer their territory.  Even the word “coexist,” though connoting living peaceably with others, literally only means to live together (including its Arabic form, ta‘ayush).

At any rate, and as documented in my new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, those 14 centuries saw a  continuum of hostility ranging from wholesale persecution (in the worst of times) to mere discrimination (in the best of times) in Egypt.  Much of this is confirmed by the History of the Coptic Patriarchs (which no doubt the latest Coptic patriarch is aware of).  This multivolume account, compiled over the course of a millennium, covers the history of the Coptic Church under Islam till 1894.

Unmitigated Muslim persecution of Christians permeates it pages, including the burning and banning of churches and crosses; the fiscal extortion, slaughter, enslavement, mass rape, and forced conversion of Christians.  Think what the Islamic State (“ISIS”) has been doing to Christians and others but on an exponential scale.  Moreover, the persecutors weren’t “radicals” who have “nothing to do with Islam,” but leading heads of Islamic states, whether Arabs, Fatimids, Ayyubids, Mamluks, or Turks.

Following a brief respite and “golden age” for Christians under colonial rule, when freedom of religion and equality were expected and enforced, the persecution of Egypt’s Copts is back in full force.  Since Tawadros became Pope in late 2012 alone, hundreds of Christians have been massacred in repeated church bombings, monastery attacks, and random killings.  The mere rumor that a church is being renovated or built, or that a home is being used as a church, prompts Muslim mobs to riot and destroy Christian property, often with the support of officials (as happened only recently).  And of course, young Christian girls continue to be targeted for kidnapping, rape, and conversion to Islam.

So why did Tawadros say what he did (whether it was meant as a double entendre or not being irrelevant)?  Because real politick dictates that his speaking the ugly truth would only exacerbate the plight of his flock: most Western diplomats in attendance would at best do nothing, at worst criticize him for being an “Islamophobe.” Either way, he would be left alone to deal with his Muslim overlords; and they would be displeased—and manifest their displeasure in the usual way—because a dhimmi, who is tolerated inasmuch as he meekly submits, dared tarnish Islamic Egypt’s image.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

From the start, many in the West have failed to understand this hostage-like relationship.   For example, years before the First Crusade was launched, Peter the Hermit (b. 1050) went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he finally reached the Holy Sepulchre, “he saw many forbidden and wicked things occurring there. . . . [So] he sought out the patriarch of the holy church of Jerusalem and asked why gentiles and evil men were able to pollute holy places and steal away offerings from the faithful, using the church as if a stable, beating up Christians, despoiling pilgrims through unjust fees, and inflicting on them many sufferings.” The frustrated patriarch threw up his hands in exasperation: “Why do you reprimand me and disturb me in the midst of my fatherly cares? I have but the strength and power of a tiny ant when compared to those proud men. We have to redeem our lives here by regular tribute payments [jizya] or else face death-dealing punishment.”

Then and now, not a few Mideast Christians have also had to “redeem their lives” by, among other forms of “regular tribute,” not tarnishing Islam’s image—even as Westerners wonder why they don’t “speak up.”

Which leads to the real question: If Christian minorities living under Islamic authority have little choice but to speak well of their “coexistence” with Islam, why are Western leaders, politicians, and talking heads of all varieties—who are not under Islamic authority—also behaving like cowed dhimmis?

Put differently, if the Coptic pope is hostage to his Muslim masters, exactly who or what is the Catholic pope—who covers up for Islam even more—a hostage to?

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

Goldin Family Condemns UN; Calls for Return of Son’s Remains

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:33

Lt. Hadar Goldin’s family demonstrated outside the UN headquarters in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, protesting the fact their son’s remains are still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Exactly four year after he was killed by Hamas fighters who ambushed his force during a ceasefire in the summer of 2014, the Goldin family began their protest with a minute of silence, broken only by the sound of the shofar.

Leah Goldin, the fallen soldier’s mother, addressed her comments to UN Envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov.

The Goldin family protests outside the UN building in Jerusalem (Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg)

“We’re here to condemn the violation of human rights and international law, to condemn the four years of silence that has allowed this culture of exemption from punishment. We’re here to note the ongoing failure in ascribing responsibility, which also emboldens those responsible for the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” Goldin said.

Dr. Simacha Goldin, Hadar’s father, also condemned “the UN’s breach of responsibility. It organized a humanitarian ceasefire, but under this ceasefire my son was killed and kidnapped, and two other Givati soldiers were killed. All of this, the UN has forgotten. It doesn’t mention any of this. The UN representative has the audacity to wander around the region and bring billions with him (to the Gaza Strip).”

“We will make sure that before anything else, first and foremost, Hadar and Oron (Shaul) will be returned. None of the UN’s money will go into Gaza before that,” he vowed.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Leah Goldin wrote a letter to Mladenov that will be delivered to him through security officials.

“Today we mark the fourth anniversary of the death and kidnapping of my son, Hadar Goldin, and the death of Liel Gidoni and Benaya Sarel, during the ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ on August 1, 2014, signed by the UN,” she wrote. “My son was not a victim of the war in Gaza, but of the humanitarian ceasefire supported by the UN. We demand the right to carry out the final act of human dignity, the right for proper burial.”

The fallen officer’s mother harshly attacked UN Envoy Mladenov, telling him, “Even though your’e very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, I’ve never heard you call for the return of Hadar for Israel for proper burial, in line with basic human decency, Jewish tradition, Islamic law and international humanitarian law.”

She called on the UN to “treat harshly a regime that ignores the rule of law so blatantly. Those who fail to do so are actually collaborating with them.”

She concluded her letter by calling on the UN to aid in returning her son for burial in Israel.

“As a representative of UN institutions, who is committed to promoting human rights in the Gaza Strip, your job is to demand Hamas and

the Palestinian Authority to remedy the violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, and put an end to this culture of immunity and exemption from punishment. To protect the law and the UN institutions and to truly promote human rights in Gaza and the region, Hadar must be brought back home from Gaza immediately and without conditions,” Leah Goldin wrote to Mladenov.

(Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Last week, Leah Goldin and Zehava Shaul—mother of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, who suffered a similar fate to Goldin’s—arrived at the IDF induction center in Tel HaShomer as part of the public and media campaign to return their sons for burial in Israel.

The two mothers handed out flowers to hundreds of new recruits to the Golani and Givati brigades, where Hadar and Oron served.

“We are here so what happened to us, after four years, will never happen to any soldier in the IDF,” Goldin told Ynet.

(Credit: Motti Kimchi)

She criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying, “The most important value in the army is that of camaraderie: you don’t leave soldiers in the field of battle. You bring them back under any situation. You left two excelling soldiers in Gaza.”

“After disappointing us with the Cairo agreement and the Turkish agreement, now we have the most significant opportunity—when Hamas is at its lowest point and all nations of the world are helping—to set the first condition to any progress in talks as the return of the soldiers. Show them you can, like Trump, like he released the hostages in North Korea before (making concessions). That’s how it should be here.”

As reported by Ynet news

Return of the Biblical Harp

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 08:57

After more than 2,000 years, the prophetic sound David’s harp is heard once again in Jerusalem. When the Third Temple is rebuilt, these biblical harps will return, to be used in Jewish worship.

North Korea Building New Missiles?

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 08:12

The historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un took place in Singapore only seven weeks ago. Hailed as a much-needed breakthrough for the world’s security, U.S. intelligence has cast doubt on the Asian state’s goodwill and intentions. Commercial satellites picked up a suspiciously large movement of supply trucks and other vehicles at a North Korean ICBM facility.

Meet BIN’s New Health & Science Reporter

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:36

Breaking Israel News is excited to inaugurate a new Medical Miracles section that will bring together Israel’s innovative medicine, science and spirituality. The section will feature articles by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich.

Siegel-Itzkovich was health and science reporter and editor of The Jerusalem Post for 34 years and previously covered other fields, writing a total of 31,000 articles for the paper – many more than any other journalist in the world. Born in New York, she completed a master’s degree from Columbia University and immediately made aliyah, launching her journalism career. She has received many awards, including an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University, the Hadassah Women’s Organization of America’s Women of Achievement Award and three citations for her battle against smoking.

A special feature of the Medical Miracles section is that readers can write in and ask Siegel-Itzkovich their medical questions and she will answer them in a weekly column. Send your medical questions to: judy@israel365.com.

Confirming Biblical Prohibition of Gluttony

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:06

Religions do not regard gluttony (from the Latin word for “gulping down”) as a virtue. According to the list compiled by the great Middle Ages Jewish scholar and physician Maimonides (the Rambam), of the 613 commandments that Jews must observe, excessive eating or drinking is prohibited (and is listed as #169). Christianity too regards overindulgence at the dinner table as a transgression and even one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The obesity epidemic in the Western World, including the U.S. and to a lesser extent Israel, shows that there are too many gluttons, and greedy eaters are suffering from chronic diseases from heart attacks and strokes to diabetes and kidney failure as a result.

It has long been suggested that if you serve food on smaller plates, those who eat from them will eat less. Even restaurants have adopted this idea, which was based on an illusion first described by Joseph Delboeuf, a 19th-century Belgian mathematician, psychologist and philosopher. It is an optical illusion of relative size perception. In the best-known version of this illusion, two circles of identical size are placed near to each other and one is surrounded by a ring-shaped object (annulus). The surrounded circle then appears larger than the non-surrounded circle if the annulus is close, while appearing smaller than the non-surrounded circle if the annulus is farther away.

But researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba have concluded that “tricking” the brain into eating less by serving food on a smaller plate does not necessarily work. Writing in the latest edition of the medical journal Appetite, they found that when people are hungry, they are likely to assess the size of a food portion accurately – no matter how it is served.  

Their work was the first study ever to examine the way food deprivation affects the perception of food in different contexts. “Plate size does not matter as much as we think it does,” said Dr. Tzvi Ganel, head of the laboratory for visual perception and action in the university’s psychology department. “Even if you are hungry and have not eaten or are trying to cut back on portions, a serving looks similar whether it fills a smaller plate or is surrounded by empty space on a larger one.”

Ganel and BGU doctoral student Noa Zitron-Emanuel found that people who had not eaten for at least three hours were more likely to identify the proportions of pizza placed on larger and smaller trays correctly than people who had eaten recently.

Interestingly, this worked only when it applied to food; both groups were similarly inaccurate when asked to compare the size of black circles and hubcaps placed within different sized circles. According to the researchers, this indicates that hunger stimulates stronger analytic processing that is not as easily fooled by the illusion.  

“Over the last decade, restaurants and other food businesses have been using progressively smaller dishes to conform to the perceptual bias that it will reduce food consumption,” concludes Ganel. “This study debunks that notion. When people are hungry, especially when dieting, they are less likely to be fooled by the plate size, more likely to realize they are eating less and more prone to overeating later.”

When Judaism’s Greatest Genius Visited the Holy Land

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 05:23

In 1922, 42-year old Albert Einstein – arguably the greatest secular Jewish genius, and one of the most famous and admired people in the world for his publication of his monumental General Theory of Relativity – set off on October 6 of that year, with his second wife, and first cousin, Elsa, on his first, five-and-a-half-month lecture tour of the Far and Middle East.

It was a different age as Jews licked their wounds from persistent European pogroms; the “Great War” between the Allies and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary ended in 1918; only18 years previously, the Wright Brothers sent the first gasoline-powered Flying Machine into the sky; and the British Mandate had just taken over from the Ottoman Empire and ruled the Jews and Arabs in Palestine (Eretz Yisrael).

Although the great Jewish theoretical physicist had left Europe in April 1921 to speak in New York for the first time, he did not document his experiences with pen and paper, and had never before traveled eastward. On that first visit to the U.S., he was accompanied by Chaim Weizmann (then president of the Zionist Organization in London who eventually became first president of the State of Israel in 1949 and a renowned chemist in his own right). The aim was to raise money for the planned Hebrew University in Jerusalem whose cornerstone was laid in 1918 and which opened in 1925, as well as to forge ties with the American scientific community in the wake of the World War I.

These personal connections were fortunate, because with the rise of Hitler and Nazism in 1933 and fearing anti-Semitic persecution, he and his family abandoned Europe forever – settling down at the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study at New Jersey’s Princeton University.

“… the revival of Palestine will mean the liberation and the revival of the soul of the Jewish people. I count it among my treasured experiences that I should have been able to see the country during this period of rebirth and re-inspiration.”

The visit to Palestine followed an invitation from Arthur Ruppin, director of the Zionist Organization’s Palestine Office in Jaffa, who thought the scientist’s visit would have “great propaganda value” not only for Jewish settlements but also for the Hebrew University. Einstein even spent a day in Singapore, specifically to raise money for the Jerusalem campus from Mannaseh Meyer, the wealthy leader of the Jewish community there.

Einstein, however, did keep a record in his diary in German every day of his trip eastward – a total of 182 lined pages, some of them with his own drawings of things he observed. Now, this unique document has been brought to light, with extensive comments by Ze’ev Rosenkranz, senior editor and assistant director of the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and formerly curator of the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University. Published by Princeton University Press, the hardcover, $29.95 book – The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein – presents 357 fascinating pages.

“For the Zionists,” assessed Rosenkranz, “the visit of the most prominent… Jewish personality was an amazing propaganda coup. For Einstein, the tour was mainly a means to satisfy his curiosity about the country whose development he had been supporting for some years. It also afforded him the opportunity to be present at one of the defining moments of the Hebrew University, the Jewish cause that meant the most to him.”

Einstein referred to the news that he was selected to receive a Nobel Prize for Physics, but he did not attend the December 1922 ceremony because he was in the midst of his travels. Instead, a German diplomat spoke at the banquet and praised Einstein as both a scientist and a peacemaker.

The telegraphic-style diary entries record Einstein’s musings on science, philosophy, art and politics, as well as his immediate impressions and broader thoughts on events such as his inaugural lecture at the future site of the university in Jerusalem, a garden party hosted by the Japanese Empress, an audience with the king of Spain and meetings with prominent colleagues and statesmen. Entries also contain passages that reveal Einstein’s stereotyping of members of various nations and raise questions about his attitudes on race.

It includes facsimiles of the diary’s pages, accompanied by an English translation, Rosenkranz’s 77-page historical introduction, numerous illustrations and annotations. Supplementary materials include letters, postcards, speeches, articles, a map of the voyage, a day-by-day chronology of the visit, a bibliography and an index.

“We can be certain that he did not intend [his diary to be kept] for posterity or for publication,” writes Rosenkranz. “It was most likely intended both as a record for himself and as reading matter for his two step-daughters, Ilse and Margot, who remained at home in Berlin.” Both the harsh and positive words he uses “would account for the discrepancy between his more tolerant and guarded public statements and his candid and [at times] offensive private notes. The travel diary allows Einstein to explore his more irrational and instinctual side and to be freer in his expression of his personal prejudices.”

Another explanation is Einstein’s “pronounced elitism with regard to intellect. His humanism ends when he perceives a nation as intellectually inferior. Furthermore, it could be argued that in spite of his public advocacy of human rights, it was science, not humanity, that lay at the center of Einstein’s universe.”

Whatever is the reason, the diary has fortunately been published and opens a window on civilization a century ago, the state of the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine and Einstein’s personality.

The physicist made five more trips abroad (to South America and the US) and kept journals for all of them, but this first volume of his travel diaries offers an initial, intimate glimpse into a brilliant mind encountering the great, wide world. Yet he was not a saint, but a human-being shaped by his childhood experiences, the culture and society that encompassed him as an adult and his prejudices, some of which seem xenophobic and embarrassing to the contemporary reader.

Einstein was not a trained, objective anthropologist. The book’s editor himself notes that “a lot of comments strike us as pretty unpleasant…They’re kind of in contrast to the public image of the great humanitarian icon. I think it’s quite a shock to read those and contrast them with his more public statements. They’re more off guard, he didn’t intend them for publication.”

His reputation of caring about the poor and stateless was even used later by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to promote positive feelings for refugees. “A bundle of belongings isn’t the only thing a refugee brings to his new country. Einstein was a refugee,” was the slogan of its campaign. But although he was regarded as a peace activist, a Zionist, a democratic socialist and a world federalist, the diaries contain various generalized insults to people he had observed for only a few hours or days.

For example, while spending less than a week in China, he describes its citizens as “industrious, filthy, obtuse people… Chinese don’t sit on benches while eating but squat like Europeans do when they relieve themselves out in the leafy woods. All this occurs quietly and demurely. Even the children are spiritless and look obtuse… It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary… A peculiar herd-like nation… often more like automatons than people.”

His views of the Arabs and the Jews of Palestine are also variable and conflicted. He and his wife crossed the Suez Canal by ferry and then took a train on February 1 to Lod, where they were welcomed the next day by Zionist dignitaries, changed trains and went on to Jerusalem, staying with Sir Herbert Samuel, the High Commissioner.

It was the early days of the Mandate, and Jewish newcomers mostly from Eastern Europe made up the Third Aliyah. There were about 86,000 Jews and 600,000 Arabs, with tensions high and Arab attacks on Jewish residents common. The economic conditions after World War I were dire. The landscapes Einstein encountered were very foreign to the eyes of a central European. “In all his accounts,” writes Rosenkranz, “he downplayed the potential explosiveness of the situation. Einstein’s first impression of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine reveals his idealistic (and somewhat condescending) perception of them: ‘extraordinary enchantment of this severe, monumental landscape with its dark, elegant Arabian sons in their rags.’”

Einstein wrote: “We are spending beautiful, unforgettable days in Palestine with the sun shining brightly and in joyous company… The spirit which reigns among the land and building workers is admirable. They take boundless pride in their work and have a feeling of profound love for the country and for the little locality in which they work.”

In the Old City of Jerusalem, he observed both beauty and squalor. “Walked with Sir Samuel into the city (Sabbath!) on footpath past the city wells to picturesque old gate, walk into the city in sunshine. Stern bald hilly landscaped with white, often domed white stone houses and blue sky, stunningly beautiful, likewise the city pressed inside the square walls.”

His view of the ultra-Orthodox who had set down roots before Zionist immigration was negative: “Then downwards to the Temple wall (Wailing Wall), where obtuse ethnic brethren pray loudly, with their faces turned to the wall, bend their bodies to and fro in a swaying motion. Pitiful sight of people with a past but without a present.”

Yet this negative description of religious Jews should not surprise us. His parents, salesman and engineer Hermann Einstein and his wife, Pauline Koch, were secular Jews who sent Albert to a non-Jewish elementary school in Munich between the formative ages of five to eight years old. His observations at the Kotel were probably not very different than those of some secular American Jews coming to the holy site today for the first time.

The physicist strongly supported the goals of labor Zionism, and he had great admiration for young Russian-Jewish pioneers in the collective kibbutzim and moshavim. He also enthused over the builders of homes and institutions in Tel Aviv (founded in 1909) on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the garden suburbs of Jerusalem and of the future site of the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus, where he delivered lectures: “The most blatant symbolic representation of Zionist efforts that would be of great benefit to the peoples of the region. Western knowledge was once again emanating from Zion,” wrote Rosenkranz.

In a letter to Ruppin, Einstein wrote: “We are spending beautiful, unforgettable days in Palestine with the sun shining brightly and in joyous company.” After a visit to Kibbutz Degania, the visitor notes: “The spirit which reigns among the land and building workers is admirable. They take boundless pride in their work and have a feeling of profound love for the country and for the little locality in which they work.”

Additional points on the itinerary were the Mikve Yisrael agricultural school, the “Jewish Rothschild colony, Rishon LeZion,” the Reali School in Haifa, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Jezreel Valley, the Nahalal “colony” under construction (“virtually all Russians”) and Tiberias.

Palestine, wrote Einstein later, “will not solve the Jewish problem, but the revival of Palestine will mean the liberation and the revival of the soul of the Jewish people. I count it among my treasured experiences that I should have been able to see the country during this period of rebirth and re-inspiration.”

Today, the State of Israel has more Jews than any other spot on Earth and a sophisticated, productive and growing population and a healthy if imperfect society. One can only wonder after reading this diary what Einstein would have thought it he had had the opportunity to visit it today.

ISAIAH 46:13

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 05:13

In the Bible, the word Tzion (Zion) often refers to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Reflecting upon the significance of the holy city, Holocaust survivor and Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel said, “Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav said, ‘Everything in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart.’ Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul.”

Time for Some Reality Therapy on the Golan Heights

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:00

As I write these words, news just broke that ISIS launched its first major attack in Syria, targeting a town occupied by Druze, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, killing 100 innocent civilians. israel shot down a syrian fighter jet last week that entered Israeli airspace, and two mortar shells launched from the syrian side of the Golan landed near the Sea of Galilee (miraculously resulting in no injuries).

And this is just within the past 24 hours.

After the seven-year civil war, Syria is failed state. It has been given oxygen to survive from Iran and Russia.

Its inherent instability provides fertile territory for an entire array of terrorist groups from Jabhat al Nussra and ISIS on the Sunni side, to Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the “Al Quds Force” on the Shi’ite side.

Syria depicts the Hobbesian state of war of man against man. The tragic events in Syria have led to at least a half-a-million casualties, approximately 6 million refugees and at least that many internally displaced people.

Iran, with its hegemonic aspirations, has taken advantage of the situation as a pretext for entrenching its military infrastructure into Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assad has enabled this by giving the Iranian terrorist proxies Syrian military uniforms.

It is determined to build a land bridge stretching from Tehran to Beirut to Damascus to the Mediterranean Coast.

Earlier this month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei repeated his ominous exhortation that Israel is “a cancerous tumor that must be removed.”  And Hossein Salami, the deputy Commander of the IRGC in Syria, said he is “awaiting orders to eradicate the evil regime of Israel,” and that Israel has “no strategic depth”; therefore, “this can easily be achieved.”

Contrast this with the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, which provides an island of stability in a sea of chaos.

The Golan Heights—an area that Israel captured during its defensive 1967 Six-Day War and then retained from invading Syrian forces again in its defensive war of 1973—affords Israel a unique topographical and intelligence, affording it the eyes and ears to stare down into Syria and Lebanon.

All of this intelligence is shared readily with the United States.

There is a 1974 agreement mandating the separation of Syrian and Israel forces, which thins out the forces on both sides of the disengagement line.

In 1981, the Israeli government formally annexed the region. The annexation of the Golan Heights is a consensus issue that almost every Israeli, whether politically on the left, right or center agrees with.

As Major Gen. (ret.) Giroa Eiland of the Israel Defense Forces has recently written, “Israel does not possess a plausible solution to its security needs without the Golan Heights.”

The demarcation line of the Golan Heights represents the demarcation of freedom against tyranny—of a failed authoritarian regime against a vibrant, healthy state based on Western democratic values.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

That is why tens of thousands of Syrians would love to flee into Israel, if given the opportunity.

That is why 422 Syrians who are part of the White Helmet Groups, a humanitarian volunteer organization, were rescued by the Israelis and given safe passage way into Jordan.

That is why the IDF was able to provide tons of truckloads of supplies to the Syrian refugees, including medicines, baby formula, food, feel and shoes.

And that is what enabled the IDF to clandestinely arrange for approximately 4,000 Syrians wounded in Syria’s protracted civil war to be treated in Israeli hospitals, without asking which side they were fighting for or why.  And then, the healed were clandestinely delivered back to the Syrian side of the border.

It is in America’s best national security interests to recognize the annexation of the Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory. Israel provides an island of tranquility in the chaotic world of the Middle East, and the line between chaos and stability cuts right through the demarcation line.

After all, after Friday prayers throughout Tehran, the chant is not only “Death to Israel,” but “Death to America.”

By keeping the Golan Heights as part of the lexicon of “occupied territories,” the international community simply perpetuates the conflict and the Syrian-Iran-Russians axis the pernicious delusion that this area is still in play. It keeps Israel’s northern front as a possible area of conflict that can flare up at any point.

American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will finally put an end to these dangerous delusions. In an age when Iran constitutes the greatest menace to the region and one of the greatest to the world, it would constitute an effective and potent form of “reality therapy.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Endowment for Middle East Truth