The Internet-based war between Israeli and Arab hackers heated up this week, solidifying the online space as the newest battlefield in the regional conflict.
As they proceeded to take down the Saudi Stock Exchange and other Arab financial websites, Israeli hackers declared themselves the new front-line warriors in defense of the Jewish state.
“They brought war, but we are better at this,” one of the members of the Israeli hacker team known as “idf team” told Yediot Ahronot. Referencing Israel’s prowess in various hi-tech fields, he noted that “Israel’s largest export sector is made up of hackers.”
Just hours earlier, idf team had managed to make good on its promise to black out the websites of the Saudi Stock Exchange and the Saudi foreign currency exchange market. The hackers said the move was a warning, and that the Saudi websites would only be brought down for one day. They also grabbed the credit card numbers and personal details of 5,000 Saudi citizens, but said they would not leak them at this time.
“We have no desire to hurt innocent people, so we see no reason to leak this information at this time,” said one of the idf team members. “We are only trying to deter additional attacks against Israeli websites.”
On Monday, a group of pro-Palestinian hackers known as “Nightmare” managed to bring down the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al and First International Bank of Israel. Earlier this month, a Saudi hacker using the handle “0xOmar” stole the credit card information of thousands of Israelis and leaked the details on the Internet, creating a brief panic in the Israeli financial sector.
0xOmar and Nightmare are now working together, and are determined to do as much harm to Israel as possible. “I’ll keep attacking and publishing everything related to military or credit cards of normal people,” 0xOmar said in an email to Israeli media. “I want to hurt Israel in any way possible.”
A Jewish hacker known as “Hannibal” has warned that if 0xOmar and his cohorts do not back off, there will be painful reprisals. Already Hannibal has leaked the email details of thousand of Saudi citizens. “I am preparing huge surprises for the Arabs that are attacking Israel,” Hannibal told Israeli media.
Israeli hacker “Prx3RO” and a team known as “Anonymous972″ have also leaked the email and credit card details of thousands of Saudi and United Arab Emirates citizens in response to the attacks on Israeli websites.
In addition to expanding the Israeli-Arab conflict to an entirely new battlefield (previous hacker incidents had been few and far between), the current hacker war also represents a shift in the defensive and offensive mechanisms of both sides. The hacker war is being carried out by regular citizens, not soldiers or security professionals, and they are doing it solely out of national pride and a desire to defend their nation.
If it continues, the hacker war could transform the Israeli-Arab conflict into something that a much broader cross-section of society is actively involved in and which has a far greater impact on the day-to-day lives of the entire population.
– Prophecy News Watch
Next March, the Bible College in Bethlehem will host dozens of US theologians, activists and ministries for the “Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 Conference”.
It is to be a major religious and political event meant to demonize Israel and to support the Palestinian Intifada against the “ethnocentric” Jewish State.
The impressive range of Christian theologians and pastors from many churches located in the United States make the gravity of the upcoming conference clear.
Samuel Rodriguez, President of the US National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, is a speaker.
Also attending are popular US preacher and “spiritual adviser” to Bill Clinton, Tony Campolo, and President of the World Evangelical Alliance and Asia Evangelical Alliance, Sang-Bok David Kim.
Two of the conference organisers, Stephen Sizer and Sami Awad, adamantly defended the Gaza flotilla sent in May 2010 by the Turkish terror group IHH.
Another speaker, Ben White, has shared a political platform with Azzam Tamimi, who has endorsed suicide bombings against Jewish civilians in the past.
In the last few months we have seen an increase of attacks on Israel by many Christian denominations. While the United States is home to millions of Christian supporters of Israel, these are anti-Jewish Churches which are more closely attached to global public opinion, European bureaucracy, the media industry, the United Nations and various legal forums.
In fact, the “Bethlehem Call” manifesto, which serves as platform for the Bethlehem 2012 Conference, has just been published on the websites of the Would Council of Churches, the Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.
The Bethlehem Call defines Israel as an “illegal regime” and a “crime against humanity”, it promotes “international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns” against Israel, labels the more neutral Churches as “accomplices in crimes against humanity” and attacks Christian Zionism as “a crime and sin as defying the core of the Gospel”.
The Bethlehem Call also updates the “Kairos Palestine”, the major document used as global tool for the Christian struggle against Israel speaking in the behalf of “us Christian Palestinians”. Even the name of the Catholic Custodian of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, prominently appears among the most important signatures in this website: http://www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf
In 2007, the World Council of Churches, the umbrella organization of liberal Protestants claiming a membership of 580 million worshippers, also produced the “Amman Call”, which denies Israel’s right to continue to exist as a Jewish State by insisting that millions of Palestinians have the “right of return” to Israel.
In 2008, the World Council of Churches convened a group of Protestant and Catholic theologians to review the underpinnings of Christian attitudes about Israel. The group published the “Bern Perspective”, which, among other things, instructed Christians to understand all biblical references to Israel only “metaphorically”.
The theological meeting also marked a return to “replacement theology”, the medieval view that the Church has replaced the people of Israel in God’s plan and that all biblical references to Israel refer to the “new Israel”—that is, to Christians.
Replacement calumny has changed its language, yet still is basically a death sentence for the Jewish people. Now it is Israelis, like Lucifer, who were God’s chosen but were cast out for their rebellious and evil ways, and deserve to be obliterated from the “Holy Land”, according to this macabre theology.
Taken together, it seems these Churches are now breathing new life into a kind of demonology which criminalizes all the Jews living between the Jordan River and the Meditarranean.
– Prophecy News Watch
January 8, 2012
On the eve of the Second World War, Chaim Weizmann, who was to become Israel’s first president, wrote the following about the persecutions taking place in Nazi Germany:
It would require the eloquence of a Jeremiah to picture the horrors, the human anguish, of this new Destruction and of a new book of Lamentations to depict the present plight of Israel among the nations.
Several decades earlier, Max Nordau, one of the most noted European philosophers of the 19th century, and supporter of Theodore Herzl, once told the great Zionist leader and Jewish patriot, Vladimir Jabotinsky, that “the Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won’t buy an umbrella merely because he sees clouds in the sky. He waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia.”
This prescient observation foreshadowed the many anti-Jewish pogroms that followed in the bloodiest of all centuries: the twentieth. It also led, inexorably, to the swallowing up of the Jews of Europe by the calamitous German Nazi juggernaut, complete with enforced ghettoes, roving killing squads (the einsatzgruppen), the death camps, the gas chambers, and the starvation and horrors that forever will darken the face of Europe.
Before the Second World War broke out on September 3, 1939, Jabotinsky repeatedly warned the leaders of the Jewish communities what lay in store for them. He begged them to defend themselves and endeavor to send as many people as possible to safety amongst their fellow Jews in British Mandatory Palestine. This was before the British government slammed shut the gates of Mandatory Palestine to the desperate Jews fleeing Nazi genocide.
Both Max Nordau and Theodore Herzl had, many years earlier, warned the Jews that their future lay not in Europe, but in a reborn Jewish state, hopefully arising in the ancestral and biblical homeland, then known as Palestine and suffering under a 400-year-old Turkish Ottoman occupation.
In his book on the life of Jabotinsky, Shmuel Katz quoted from the great man’s article, “Rattling off the Doloys,” in which Jabotinsky condemned the leaders of the Jewish communities and the assimilationists who refused to consider leaving Europe even as the ground was beginning to burn under their feet. He pleaded with them thus in July 1939:
And I tell you, my dear colleagues, that this means going forward to destruction. D-E-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-O-N. Learn the word by heart; and God grant that I am mistaken. If such words as treachery are being flung around, I regard every one as a traitor who helps to obscure the urgency of the most urgent of all the problems besetting the Jews in Eastern Europe.
And he referred to latent anti-Semitism as the sleeping “beast” which soon will again awaken and show itself among the Jews with redoubled appetite. He added, “May God protect His people from a thousandth part of the pleasures the beast is promising himself in his brief sleep.”
Jabotinsky’s appeals fell on mostly deaf ears, and he was accused of being an alarmist. After all, these leaders countered, how could a civilized nation like Germany do such terrible things? It was unthinkable. And the result — the Holocaust — was unthinkable, with the almost total destruction of European Jewry.
But decades before, the same Jabotinsky saw his dreams of a secure Jewish State in the lands both west and east of the Jordan River eroded by many of his fellow Jewish leaders in the Zionist movement. They preferred to ignore or shrug off the steady betrayal of the Balfour Declaration by successive British politicians.
These Jewish leaders preferred passivity and a reluctance to confront His Majesty’s government even as it diluted its obligations to the League of Nations’ mandate for Palestine, which instructed Great Britain as the mandatory power to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish National Home on both sides of the Jordan River.
Jabotinsky died from a massive heart attack — but also from a broken heart — at a Betar youth camp near the town of Hunter in New York State in 1940. It is no wonder that his profound disappointment at the way Britain reneged on its promises to the Jewish people, and the way many of his own colleagues let him down over many years, led him to sum it all up in the Latin phrase “homo homini lupus – man to his fellow man is a wolf.”
Jabotinsky is buried next to Theodore Herzl on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion. But his life’s work on behalf of the ever-persecuted Jewish masses was undone by far too many of his Jewish and Zionist contemporaries.
Jabotinsky, who almost singlehandedly created the Jewish Legion — which fought heroically and helped liberate the geographical territory of Palestine from the Turkish yoke — forever was forced to fight those of his colleagues who were faint of heart or obscurantist.
Elias Gilner, the author of War and Hope, The history of the Jewish Legion, described Jabotinsky’s Herculean efforts as follows:
He had reached the soul of his people; he had overcome the stolidity and short-sightedness of small men in high places; he had defeated the myopic Zionist “friends” and prevaricating assimilationist foes. He had triumphed.
But, as the above shows, his triumph was fleeting.
Now fast-forward one hundred and seven years to 2012 and to what Jabotinsky would see if he were able to miraculously return to life. The State of Israel, despite often suffering from the same “shortsightedness of small men in high places,” has nevertheless managed wondrous achievements since its rebirth in 1948 in its ancestral and biblical homeland.
But acts so antithetical to all that Jabotinsky stood for continue unabated. Successive Israeli governments expel Jewish villagers and townsfolk from ancestral territory. They have done it both in Gaza and throughout Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank). In Gaza, their homes, farms, and schools — and even their cemeteries, where many victims of Arab terror had been buried — were given away to the ever-hostile Muslim Arabs — the same ones who call themselves Palestinians but who are a fraudulent and invented people.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who now lies in a coma, created this plan, which he called “disengagement.” He felt that by arbitrarily retreating from areas of the Land of Israel he would reduce or even end international pressure for further withdrawals. But the United States administration under George Bush and now under Barack Hussein Obama, as well as the international community, jumped upon this concept of retreat and predictably demanded further withdrawals without end.
President Bush, despite claims by Prime Minister Sharon that the president recognized Israel’s communities across the green line, such as Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel, expected Israel to make additional withdrawals. Under President Obama, the demand is for Israel to return to the 1949 armistice lines — described by former Foreign Minister Abba Eban as the Auschwitz borders. This threat still hangs over Israel.
Sharon thus opened a monstrous can of worms and set in motion an unholy precedent. The discredited idea of “land for peace,” whereby Israel always gives away land but never receives peace, was bad enough, but then “disengagement” became a euphemism for all that Jabotinsky fought against in his lifetime.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader and Holocaust-denier, embraced by Presidents Bush and Obama as a “man of peace,” has no intention of ending the appalling anti-Jewish incitement broadcast by his Palestinian Authority-controlled media — in itself a broken Palestinian obligation under the Oslo Accords.
Abbas will continue to press for the U.N.’s acceptance of a state called Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem. If he succeeds, with the willing connivance of an ever more anti-Israel United Nations, the city will be divided again, and — for the first time in history — Arabs and the Islamic world may yet celebrate Jerusalem as the capital of an Arab state. Abbas will still call for Israel to be flooded with the millions of descendants of those Arabs who were urged to leave by their corrupt leadership in the 1948 Arab-Israel war. This, the entire world knows, will mark the end of the one and only sovereign Jewish state — what the fifty-seven Muslim states and so many other nations in the world relish.
Endless concessions to the late Yasser Arafat were greeted by him and by all Arabs as signs of Israeli weakness. Doing the same with Abbas is no different — the practice merely reveals the absence of logic by far too many Israeli politicians and follows the dreary and myopic tradition exemplified by the “short-sightedness of small men in high places.”
In a depressing way, Max Nordau was right about many of his fellow Jews. The present Israeli government, like the leaders of European Jewry before them who spurned and derided the impassioned and desperate pleas of Jabotinsky, the “Jewish Garibaldi,” is in danger of again ignoring the heavy rain clouds above.
But I fear that the world today, especially with Barack Hussein Obama as president and commander in chief of the United States, will repeat what happened to the isolated Jews during the Holocaust: it will look away.
The world, which is still so foolishly dependent on its oil supplies from hate-filled Middle Eastern mullahs, sheikhs, kings, dictators, and tyrants, may for economic reasons — and, sadly, thanks to endemic anti-Jewish prejudices — again do nothing or actively embrace and assist yet another holocaust, this time enveloping the six million Jews of the reconstituted and embattled State of Israel.
Let us hope that, empty White House assurances aside, the Jewish state will finally learn from history and act before it suffers not pneumonia, but an Iranian nuclear winter.
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of the trilogy Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.
January 3, 2012
Misinformation about Israel and her dealings with her Arab neighbors abounds. Even highly regarded news sources are prone to publish articles that are full of bogus “facts.” For instance, an article in Tuesday’s BBC by Martin Asser titled “Obstacles to peace: Borders and settlements” is loaded with factual errors, and the title itself points to the two most disturbing inaccuracies of all. Israel’s problem isn’t borders with her Arab neighbors, and it’s not settlements. The problem that Israel faces and the problem that the Western media fails to recognize is that Muslims, especially but not exclusively Arab Muslims, want to destroy Israel completely.
In the BBC article, Asser says,
“The fact that complete, permanent borders still have not yet been drawn around Israel 60 years later is testimony to the rancour of its relations with neighbouring Arab states.
Jordan and Egypt have signed treaties with Israel, turning some of the 1949 ceasefire lines into state borders. But the absence of final settlements with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians mean most of Israel’s boundaries remain potential flashpoints and the state itself is unstable.”
It’s true that Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but those treaties didn’t settle a thing. They were nothing more than lulls in the fighting. The latest report out of Egypt suggests that “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says it won’t recognize Israel.” If Islamists (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood) take control of Egypt, and they probably will, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt coul become null and void.
Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan is on more solid footing today, or so it would seem, but what about tomorrow? Jordan’s King Abdullah is facing a crisis of his own. In 2011, Islamists called for an “end to authoritarian rule” in Jordan, so the king ousted his cabinet and his prime minister. That didn’t work, so the king threw out his new cabinet and prime minister. If that’s not an indication of political turmoil, I don’t know what is.
Throughout 2011, Abdullah tried to curry favor with the mullahs in Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited him to Tehran for a state visit, but that meeting was nixed by Iran’s parliament. This much is certain: King Abdullah is feeling the heat at home, and he’s trying to salvage what’s left of his “royal” authority. Will he throw Israel under the bus if the survival of his regime is threatened? The most likely answer is “yes.” That doesn’t bode well for Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan.
Hamas controls Gaza. Its leaders have made it clear that they will never recognize Israel. In Lebanon, Hezb’allah chief Hassan Nasrallah is preparing for war with Israel. Syria’s dictator/president, Bashar al-Assad, is fighting a civil war which he probably won’t win. Former Israeli Prime Minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Assad will be “toppled within weeks.” Things are so bad in Syria that the Arab League was called in to quell the unrest, but their presence precipitated even more bloodshed across the country. Who will take over in Syria when/if Assad falls? The answer should be obvious: Islamists of one sort or another.
That leaves only the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority. What is the likelihood that Israel will make peace with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his followers? Let’s take a look:
Abbas appointed a recently released terrorist as his advisor.
Palestinians leaders are taking “diplomatic steps to put Israel under ‘international siege.'”
Palestinian leaders held their first meeting with Israeli leaders in more than a year in Jordan yesterday, and they let it be known ahead of the meeting that they had “low expectations.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the meeting “doesn’t signal resumption of negotiations.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that the meeting was a “grave mistake.”
The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said that the “campaign against Zionists is main priority of [the] Muslim world.”
Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that “Hamas must be part of negotiations” with Israel.
That doesn’t sound like movement toward peace to me. In fact, it sounds like a prelude to war.
Israel is totally surrounded by enemies and would be enemies who want to annihilate her. Both the Hamas and Palestinian charters call for Israel’s destruction. The Arab Spring has unleashed heretofore restrained Islamist elements in North Africa and the Middle East. Iran is trying to establish hegemony over the entire region, and Iran’s leaders have openly declared that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” Turkey engineered a split with Israel in an effort to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. President Obama’s ambassador to Belgium blames Israel for the situation. President Obama has ingratiated himself with Muslims, Arabs, and Islamists, and he has snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu so many times that I stopped counting. Just as unsettling from my point of view, Ron Paul has lashed out at Israel with a vengeance, and he has a sizable and growing following.
Several years ago, PA President Yasser Arafat said, “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.” (Yasser Arafat speaking on Jordanian television, September 13, 1993 — the same day the Oslo Peace Accord ceremony was held in Washington D.C.) He also said, “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations. Since January 1965, when Fatah was born, we have become the most dangerous enemy that Israel has…. We shall not rest until the day when we return to our home, and until we destroy Israel.” (El Mundo, Caracas, Venezuela, February 11, 1980).
From my perspective, it looks as though the time Arafat referred to may have come. Now more than ever before Israel needs the United States, and as peculiar as this may seem to some, we need Israel even more than she needs us. Israel is the frontline between the West and Islamist extremism. If she falls, there will be hell to pay.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You’re Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You’re Not an Idiot.
December 28, 2011
Non Government Organization Monitor which, as it name implies, monitors private, non government organizations (NGO’s) working in Israel, researched and reported how the NGOs stole Christmas in Israel.And how did they do that? By taking the holiday’s theme of love and one of the foundations of Christianity and twisting it into hate and lies.The Christmas season is being exploited by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advance anti-peace agendas and to delegitimize Israel, says NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution. By manipulating traditional Christmas songs, images, and messages, NGOs such as Sabeel, War on Want (UK), Amos Trust, and Adalah-NY continue to demonize Israel with crude, antisemitic rhetoric.“These NGOs have hijacked Christmas to promote their extremely divisive boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) and demonization campaigns,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Manipulating religious symbols and images in this manner is deeply offensive, and clearly does not foster an environment of coexistence among Israelis and Palestinians. These NGOs are pursuing hate-filled agendas.”
Will Christians protest the perversion of one of their most important holidays done in the name of Christianity by other Christians?
December 4, 2011
Since beginning to write for the American Thinker, I have “met” some incredible people via e-mail. I was recently sent this letter that reflects the poignant thoughts of an Israeli citizen-soldier who must battle the physical toll of incessant war, as well as the ongoing assault by an indifferent world that cries crocodile tears, all the while ignoring genuine humanitarian problems. Marilyn and Josh Adler shared this letter from their son Aron and asked that it be passed on “for the world to see.”
My name is Aron Adler.
I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in Efrat, Israel. Though very busy, I don’t view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service. At night, I’m in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit.
Fifteen to twenty days out of every year, I’m called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve whenever responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24 year old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight.
This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called “Kerem Shalom.” Above and beyond the “typical” things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., – this year we were confronted by a new challenge. Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur.
What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin “guides,” these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea, and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.
We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder, and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt’s soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It’s an almost nightly event.
For those who finally get across the border, the first people they encounter are Israeli soldiers, people like me and those in my unit, who are tasked with a primary mission of defending the lives of the Israeli people. On one side of the border soldiers shoot to kill. On the other side, they know they will be treated with more respect than in any of the countries they crossed to get to this point.
The region where it all happens is highly sensitive and risky from a security point of view, an area stricken with terror at every turn. It’s just a few miles south of the place where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. And yet the Israeli soldiers who are confronted with these refugees do it not with rifles aimed at them, but with a helping hand and an open heart. The refugees are taken to a nearby IDF base, given clean clothes, a hot drink, food and medical attention. They are finally safe.
Even though I live in Israel and am aware through media reports of the events that take place on the Egyptian border, I never understood the intensity and complexity of the scenario until I experienced it myself.
In the course of the past few nights, I have witnessed much. At 9:00 p.m. last night, the first reports came in of gunfire heard from the Egyptian border. Minutes later, IDF scouts spotted small groups of people trying to get across the fence. In the period of about one hour, we picked up 13 men – cold, barefoot, dehydrated – some wearing nothing except underpants. Their bodies were covered with lacerations and other wounds. We gathered them in a room, gave them blankets, tea and treated their wounds. I don’t speak a word of their language, but the look on their faces said it all and reminded me once again why I am so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. Sadly, it was later determined that the gunshots we heard were deadly, killing three others fleeing for their lives.
During the 350 days a year when I am not on active duty, when I am just another man trying to get by, the people tasked with doing this amazing job, this amazing deed, the people witnessing these events, are mostly young Israeli soldiers just out of high school, serving their compulsory time in the IDF, some only 18 years old.
The refugees flooding into Israel are a heavy burden on our small country. More than 100,000 refugees have fled this way, and hundreds more cross the border every month. The social, economic, and humanitarian issues created by this influx of refugees are immense.
There are serious security consequences for Israel as well. This influx of African refugees poses a crisis for Israel. Israel has yet to come up with the solutions required to deal with this crisis effectively, balancing its’ sensitive social, economic, and security issues, at the same time striving to care for the refugees.
I don’t have the answers to these complex problems which desperately need to be resolved. I’m not writing these words with the intention of taking a political position or a tactical stand on the issue.
I am writing to tell you and the entire world what’s really happening down here on the Egyptian/Israeli border. And to tell you that despite all the serious problems created by this national crisis, these refugees have no reason to fear us. Because they know, as the entire world needs to know, that Israel has not shut its eyes to their suffering and pain. Israel has not looked the other way. The State of Israel has put politics aside to take the ethical and humane path as it has so often done before, in every instance of human suffering and natural disasters around the globe. We Jews know only too well about suffering and pain. The Jewish people have been there. We have been the refugees and the persecuted so many times, over thousands of years, all over the world.
Today, when African refugees flood our borders in search of freedom and better lives, and some for fear of their lives, it is particularly noteworthy how Israel deals with them, despite the enormous strain it puts on our country on so many levels. Our young and thriving Jewish people and country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, do not turn their backs on humanity. Though I already knew that, this week I once again experienced it firsthand. I am overwhelmed with emotion and immensely proud to be a member of this nation.
With love of Israel,
Aron Adler writing from the Israel/Gaza/Egyptian border.
November 6, 2011
Identity theft, in most jurisdictions, is a punishable offense. But in the United Nations, Palestinians are free — indeed, encouraged — to rob Israel of its history, heritage, and homeland.
At times the United Nations seems to exist for no reason other than to stoke Palestinian fantasies. UNRWA, its benevolent Relief and Works Agency created solely for Palestinian refugees,” was established after the 1948 war when Israel secured its independence and Palestinians proclaimed their eternal dependence.
During the fighting instigated by five Arab nations, 700,000 Palestinians abandoned their homes, some in fear of the Israeli army and others in obedience to the instructions of their own leaders. (A similar number of Jews, expelled from Arab countries, found safe refuge in Israel.) By now, the number of Palestinian “refugee” claimants is nearly 5 million, all of whom receive UNRWA funding and none of whom seem inclined to leave their refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or even the West Bank and Gaza, which Palestinians control.
The Arab states, in conjunction with the U.N., decided that it was better that Palestinians fester in poverty, misery, and rage (at Israel) than be absorbed as citizens of the nations where they reside. By now nearly 30,000 UNRWA workers have a vested interest in preserving their own jobs, which require that Palestinians remain unprepared for life outside their refugee camps.
If UNRWA has functioned as the world’s largest welfare scam, it is about to be joined by UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It recently approved a Palestinian membership bid even though — unlike all other UNESCO members — the Palestinians are not a state and show few signs of taking meaningful steps to become one.
UNESCO exists to identify and conserve sites of international cultural significance, a worthy objective. But it is about to be rolled by the Palestinian Authority, which — hardly coincidentally — claims Jewish (and even Christian) holy sites as its own. Just last year the Palestinian Authority claimed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, from which it has driven away most Arab Christians, as a heritage site. It insisted — predictably — that Jesus was a Palestinian. But the PA was not then a UNESCO member, and its request was denied.
With Palestinian membership in UNESCO voted for overwhelmingly at the end of October, the Palestinians are prepared to resume their plundering of Jewish history. At the top of their list of “Palestinian” sites deserving of world heritage status are the tombs of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people in Hebron. Along with Rachel’s tomb outside Bethlehem, and Joseph’s tomb in Nablus (biblical Shechem), these were among the most revered Jewish holy sites in the world for two millennia before the birth of Muhammad and the rise of Islam. They still are.
Now, in its most fanciful claim, the Palestinian Authority is prepared to request that UNESCO designate the Dead Sea as Palestine’s own “heritage site.” What the Palestinian historical claims to the Dead Sea might be are undisclosed. The famous Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in the caves near Qumran at the northern edge of the Dead Sea, comprise nearly one thousand biblical texts and other ancient Jewish documents recounting Jewish life in the centuries preceding the destruction of the Second Temple — millennia before the appearance of Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority has yet to reveal any historical connection of its people to the Dead Sea for the simple reason that there is none. But its minister of tourism has indicated that its claim would confirm Palestinian ownership of part of the Dead Sea, thereby preventing Israel, which has developed its western shore and environs, from claiming full control.
Plundering Jewish history and claiming Israeli land is, of course, the raison d’être of Palestinian existence. It is nothing new; Palestiniannational identity has always been built on the foundation of biblical and Zionist sources. Shortly before the birth of the State of Israel, a prominent Arab historian conceded: “There is no such thing as Palestine in history.”
Without a history of their own, Palestinians have pillaged Jewish history to create an imaginary national narrative. They cite the biblical Canaanites as their ancient ancestors and embrace Ishmael, born to Abraham’s servant Hagar, as their “biblical” forebear. The “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, predictably, is modeled after the Israeli Right of Return extended to Jews everywhere by the Knesset in 1950.
Claiming the Land of Israel and the history of the Jewish people as their own, Palestinians have engaged in nothing less than identity theft. Their leaders inhabit a land of their imagination, no less fanciful than Oz, Wonderland, or Shangri-La. And, with their remarkable penchant for damaging their own cause — never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, as Abba Eban memorably said — they have now deprived UNESCO of its $60-million annual payment from the United States, prohibited by law from funding an international organization that includes “Palestine” as a member before peace is negotiated with Israel.
Despite the shameless complicity of UNRWA, UNESCO, and the United Nations itself, Palestinian fantasies of seizing Jewish history in the Land of Israel are unlikely to float — even on the Dead Sea.
Jerold S. Auerbach, professor emeritus of history at Wellesley College, blogs at www.jacobsvoice.tumblr.com.
November 2, 2011
The story in Israel’s leading liberal newspaper sounds pretty solid. And, given the circumstances, makes total sense.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a “small advantage” in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack.
Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.
Although more than a million Israelis have had to seek shelter during a week of rockets raining down on the south, political leaders have diverted their attention to arguing over a possible war with Iran. Leading ministers were publicly dropping hints on Tuesday that Israeli could attack Iran, although a member of the forum of eight senior ministers said no such decision had been taken.
Senior ministers and diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report, due to be released on November 8, will have a decisive effect on the decisions Israel makes.
The Director General of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, is no ElBaradei. He is considerably more skeptical about Iran’s possible dual use nuclear program and has been pretty single minded in his determination to get to the bottom of things.
But the IAEA is constrained by how cooperative the Iranians are. Still, previous reports have raised questions about how transparent the Iranians have been and have included speculation about a possible bomb building program.
It is unlikely that the November 8 report will say much different. Ergo, the cabinet will probably be back to square one.
Millions of Israelis are rejoicing today after one of their beloved sons has been returned home after being held hostage for more than five years by the Hamas terrorist group. IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was released Tuesday in a deal brokered by Egypt. He had been held by Hamas for a horrifying 1,941 days after being captured on June 25, 2006 in an attack that triggered the Second Lebanon War. The deal is not without controversy, however. Israel has released 477 Palestinian prisoners in the first swap, and will ultimately release more than 1,000. Some have been involved in deadly attacks on Israeli citizens and not a few Israelis are deeply concerned these terrorists will be back to capture, torture and kill more Israelis soon.
Those issues will be debated in the weeks ahead, but today is truly a day to rejoice. The Joshua Fund has been encouraging evangelical Christians around the world to pray for the Lord to protect Gilad’s physical, spiritual and emotional health and praying that the Lord would set him free — and pray for the Lord to comfort and strengthen his family and friends — all this time. Today, we are rejoicing with the nation of Israel that the God of Israel is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God, a wonder-working God. We’re also praying for the protection of all Israelis in the days and months ahead and for wisd om for the Prime Minister and his security advisors.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners, yo proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
· Ynet News: Gilad Shalit returns home
· Sky News video: First interview with Gilad Shalit
· Jerusalem Post: Prisoner list includes planners of mass atrocities
October 13, 2011
“If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days.”
These were the words spoken by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu after meeting with his cabinet advisors through the early hours of Wednesday morning, October 12. But it was only a few days earlier, in public forums and press statements, that Hamas leaders began threatening that more Israeli soldiers were going to be kidnapped.
On Monday, October 3, a senior Hamas official warned that Israel’s continued refusal to be flexible in its position regarding the Shalit prisoner deal will only fuel Hamas’s “need” for the abduction of more Israeli soldiers to be used as bargaining chips. Hamas lawmaker Ismail al-Ashqar vowed: “More of Shalit’s kind are coming,” and”efforts to kidnap soldiers will continue until all Palestinian prisoners are freed.”
Four days later, Ahmed Bahar, a Gaza-based Hamas leader and deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, also called for Palestinian militants to seize more Israeli soldiers for future exchanges with Palestinians held in Israeli jails. “The popular, political, media and diplomatic efforts inside and outside can never be an alternative to the military efforts to rescue our prisoners from the oppressive occupation’s prisons,” he said. “We should be tireless of making every possible effort to seize Zionist soldiers and exchange them through prisoners swap deals.”
In addition, Bahar called upon the Arab League, its secretary general, and international rights organizations to intervene and help release their imprisoned people as the Israeli government began a new and tougher approach to the kidnapping negotiations by tightening measures imposed on Palestinian prisoners. In protest of their privileges being taken away and a much stricter enforcement of the prison rules by the Israeli prison authorities, around 6,000 Arab and Palestinian prisoners had been holding a hunger strike in all the 25 Israeli jails for ten days.
Bahar then claimed: “It’s unreasonable that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited Shalit’s family but ignored thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.” It should be quite apparent to Americans, as well as to the rest of the world, that Shalit is a pawn in the Palestinian prisoner-trading game.
Corporal Gilad Shalit is a French-Israeli IDF soldier who was seized in June 2006 by Hamas terrorists after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza. These terrorists had tunneled into an IDF post along the border, killed two Israeli soldiers, and captured Shalit. The Hamas leadership determined that Shalit’s life would be worth the freedom of a thousand Palestinian captives in exchange for his release and have been completely unwilling to negotiate for anything less.
The efforts of Shalit’s parents and friends around the world, as well as international organizations and emissaries trying to obtain his release, have been unrelenting. The Shalit capture has become a very high-profile offense, with consequences affecting all Israeli citizens, and it has not been easy for them to come to terms with Hamas’s enormous demands. The stipulations of Hamas’s exchange plans are always far beyond unreasonable, and their outlandish request for Israel to release a thousand prisoners back into society had previously been a major controversy in the government’s decision to agree to the swap.
In the past five years, PM Netanyahu’s reticence in the face of public pressure to make a deal with Hamas for Shalit’s release has accounted for the real danger that such a swap would free militants and put the security of Israel at risk. However, the specifics of this new agreement must be a little different, because PM Netanyahu said that the new deal reached had “the right balance between all these considerations.” However, one must also take into consideration that the Israeli government realizes that the window of opportunity to bring Shalit home may close in the very near future as the Middle East, and especially Egypt, continues to destabilize in the surrounding area.
A Time Magazine report indicated some of the details for the exchange of the Palestinian prisoners. The first 450 are to be identified by Hamas and will include as many as 315 men convicted of killing hundreds of Israelis in terror attacks, and the next 550 will be chosen by Israel.
During these five years of Gilad’s captivity, the leaders of Hamas have stuck to their very tough bargaining position, believing that they had the upper hand and that, eventually, Israeli would succumb to the high price. Their correct assessment of the situation was not hard to come by, as they had recently experienced the Israeli government responding in a similar manner when two soldiers went missing after an attack along the Lebanese border in July 2008.
In that exchange, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert traded five Lebanese prisoners, including the murderer Samir Kuntar, along with the bodies of 199 others, for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured in the Hezbollah border attack that sparked the 2006 Lebanon War. In this case, although Israeli officials thought that both soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were killed in the attack, getting their bodies back was the only way to be sure that they were dead.
Both of these completely lopsided swap deals serve as a testament to the Jewish people and the values of life that they hold so dear. A passage from the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 4:1 [22a]), one of the most sacred texts of ancient Judaism, as well as written in three other places in rabbinic literature, extols the virtues of saving a life. The English translation is “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” This is a belief that the sanctity of each person’s life is one of the bedrocks of the Jewish faith binding the citizens of Israel. It also represents a true contrast between the values of Israel and the Jewish people and those of the enemies who surround them. In fact, on the day that Gilad Shalit is returned to Israel, the world will witness Israel’s celebration of life as every Israeli citizen participates in a national day of joy.
This biblical concept of the value of life is still in the heart and soul of Jewish people, entrusting the Israelis with the highest standards applied towards the defense of life. But at the same time, it has made the Israeli government and its people extremely vulnerable to this form of extortion. The Palestinian Arab leadership has learned how to play the Israeli government for all its worth, knowing how Israel’s citizens will respond. As a consequence, it is feared that capturing soldiers has become part of Hamas’s arsenal to terrorize the Israeli society.