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Latest News in Israel – 10th May

‘Israel’s population multiplied by 10 since founding of the state’

As Israel prepares to celebrate its 68th birthday, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) released a report on Monday estimating its population on the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut at 8.522 million, up from the 860,000 residents at the time of the founding of the state.

According to the report, the Jewish population in the country represents about 6.337 million residents -74.8 percent of the total population – and the Arab population stands at 1.771 million people – 20.8% of the country’s inhabitants.

The additional 4.4%, approximately 374,000 people, represent non-Arab Christians and people of other religions as well as those with no religious affiliation.

The report also found that on May 15, 1948 there were 11.5 million Jews in the world of which only six percent were living in Israel.

In contrast, in 2014 there were 14.3 million Jews in the world – 43% were living in Israel.

The data also revealed that Israel’s population is expected to hit 11.3 million by 2035.

Since last year, the population in Israel grew by some 182,000 people, marking a 2.2% increase, the report found.

In addition, the figures showed that some 195,000 babies were born this past year while some forty-seven thousand deaths were recorded.

With regards to aliyah, approximately 36,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel this past year.

According to the report approximately 75% of the Jewish population in Israel is considered Sabarim, a term used to describe native born Israelis. This figure indicates a drastic increase since 1948 when only 35% were native born.

This year’s report also offered a unique comparison between modern day Israel and the newly born Jewish State across a number of areas.

For example the report found that in 1948 Israel had only one city – Tel-Aviv-Jaffa – in which the population exceeded 100,000 residents.  Today, 14 cities have populations of more than 100,000 residents, of which eight – Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon LeZion, Ashdod, Petach Tiqwah, Netanya and Be’er Sheba – have over 200,000 residents.

The report found that in 2015, Israel’s GDP stood at NIS 1,108.8 billion – 44 times greater than in 1950 when Israel’s GDP stood at NIS 25.1 billion.

Furthermore, the data found that in November of 1955 Israel faced a 7.2% unemployment rate compared to only 5.3% in 2015.

With regards to what Israelis spend their money on, the data indicated that in 1956/57 Israelis spent 42% of their monthly expenditures on food, compared to 16.2% in 2014.

However in contrast, in 1956/57 Israelis spent only three percent of their monthly expenditures on transportation and communications, compared to 20% in 2014.

The report even offered a comparison of the appliances Israeli households owned then and today.  The data revealed that in 1956/57 12% of Israelis had a washing machine, 57% had an ice box and 37% and a refrigerator. In 2014, 96% of Israelis had washing machines and 99.9% owned a refrigerator.

In 1957 only 10% of the population had air conditioning, while in 2014 87% of Israelis owned an air conditioner.

In 1963, only 13% of Israelis owned a telephone while in 2014 73% own a landline and 96% have at least one cell phone.

With regards to transportation in March of 1951 there were only 34,103 vehicles in Israel.  Since then that number has increased 87 fold, so that in 2014 there were 2,965,727 vehicles on the road in Israel.

In higher education Israel also took a giant step forward.  In the 1949/50 academic year there were only 1,600 students compared to 2014/15 which saw some 310,000 students pursuing higher education degrees.

However, with regards to the civic duty to vote, in January 1949, 86.9% of the population voted compared to only 72.3% in March of 2015.   (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli terror victim to UN: Palestinian neighbors comforted us, but you ignored us

Natan Meir chastised the United Nations for ignoring the pain caused by the loss of his wife, Dafna, whom a Palestinian teenager stabbed to death in front of their children in January.

“You should know that many of my neighbors who are considered Palestinian Arabs have sent condolences, looked me in the eye and came to my house, Meir wrote in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They know and I know that true peace will be achieved by the common people,” Meir continued.

He posted copies of the letter in Hebrew and English on his Facebook page.

In it, he described the disturbing experience he and his oldest daughter, Ranana, had, when they attended the April 19 UN Security Council open debate on the Middle East, that included the airing of issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Both he and his daughter spoke with reporters prior to the meeting. Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon also referenced their story during his speech to the Security Council.

But no one on the council reacted to the story of how a 38-year-old mother of six was murdered in her home, he said.

“Not a single ambassador of the nations of the world bothered to come and comfort my 17-year-old daughter. Not one came up to shake our hands.

No one called or met with us before or after. No one wrote a letter. Even you, Mr. Secretary- General, while sitting at the head of that meeting, did not reach out to us or take notice of our anguished faces,” he wrote.

Meir explained that he understands that the UN believes it is problematic that he lives in a West Bank settlement.

But at the same time, he noted that he is also a pained citizen of the world.

How can the United Nations be relevant, “when there is not a drop of the most basic humanity?” he asked.

“Where are the aspirations for humanity, which form the basis of the establishment of the institution you lead? Is such a body able to prevent hatred, animosity and inequality?” he continued.

“Dear Secretary-General,” Meir wrote further, “as the organization of the Untied Nations celebrates the rights of Palestinians, it is crucial to remember that the Jewish national dream is to inherit the cities which they have dreamed of for thousands of years.”

The resolution of the conflict must take into account both the Palestinians and the Israelis in a way that builds bridges between the two groups rather than divides them, he said.

“The United Nations demands that Israel implement the vision of a political separation by fences and borders,” Meir wrote.

“Where is the peace in this solution?” he asked.

“In this solution, there are no human rights and no democracy. It is based on a shocking element of racism! Would anyone conceive of separating people in a Western city, where riots have occurred, by the ethnic origin of the rioters?” he said.

Meir said that he believes that the roots of the conflict in the Middle East are “religious fanaticism and lack of understanding.

“Therefore, the clergy must lead the process of historical reconciliation between nations. The United Nations, whose secular worldviews are at the base of its existence, could help if you recruited great leaders of different religions to lead the process of promoting peace.

“Make it possible for us to patiently advance our shared lives for posterity. If you would like to help, please help us to build bridges and connections between people, rather than borders and fences,” he said           . (Jerusalem Post)

5 suicide bombings foiled by Shin Bet so far this year

The Shin Bet security agency foiled 77 terror attacks since the beginning of 2016, including five suicide bombings and 10 other bombings, seven kidnappings and 34 shooting attacks, according to figures released on Sunday.

Over 300 Jewish suspects have also been indicted on terror charges since 2013, the report said.

The report detailing the agency’s activities in the past five years came as outgoing director Yoram Cohen stepped down, and was replaced by Nadav Argaman.

In 2015, the security agency foiled some 239 attacks overall, among them 12 suicide bombings, 19 kidnappings, 41 bombings and 120 shootings. In 2014, some 217 attacks were prevented by the security agency, up from 187 in 2013, 112 in 2012 and 88 in 2011.

During the past three years, 302 indictments have been filed against suspected Jewish terrorists, the report said. The number of indictments peaked in 2014 at 116. Some 82 indictments were lodged in 2015, and 70 in 2013.

Since January, 34 Jewish suspects have been indicted on terror charges. The tally includes indictments against the two main suspects in the Duma arson attack, in which three members of the Dawabsha family were killed in the West Bank in July 2015.

In the past five years, 65 Islamic State members were arrested in Israel, the Shin Bet said. Eight attacks on Israelis by members of the IS cells were foiled, it said.

Argaman on Sunday began his tenure as head of the Shin Bet security service, succeeding Cohen at the helm of the domestic intelligence agency.

The agency is chiefly responsible for dealing with Palestinian terror in Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza, gathering intelligence, and taking part in arrest operations and assassinations of terror leaders.  (The Times of Israel)

7 IDF Soldiers Lightly Wounded in Suspected Palestinian Arson Attack on Jerusalem Base

Seven IDF soldiers were evacuated Sunday afternoon to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center-Mount Scopus suffering from smoke inhalation as a result of a fire that broke out on their nearby base, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.

Following the incident, Yoram Levy, spokesman for Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service, told The Algemeiner that the cause of the fire is being investigated as a possible case of arson, “due to the proximity of the base to Palestinian areas.” Levy also said the fire was immediately put out.

This, he said, “is not the first time that Palestinians have committed arson terror against soldiers, both on Mount Scopus and other areas in the country.”

Israel Police spokesman, Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld, told The Algemeiner that the police and fire department are conducting a joint investigation into the incident, “to examine its background and source.”

Hadassah’s Dr. Meir Antopolski told nrg, “All seven of the soldiers were determined to be lightly injured and treated with oxygen upon their arrival in the emergency room.”

(the Algemeiner)

Ex-president Katsav, in jail for rape, asks Rivlin for pardon

Former president Moshe Katsav, who is currently serving a prison sentence after he was convicted of rape, officially submitted a request for a pardon to President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.

By law, the president is empowered to grant pardons to convicted felons sent to prison.

The request from Katsav comes just weeks after the parole commission turned down the former president’s bid for early release. He has served over five years of a seven-year sentence.

Katsav was convicted in December 2010 of two counts of rape, one count of committing an indecent act using force, one count of committing an indecent act, two counts of sexual harassment, one count of harassing a witness and one count of obstructing justice.

He entered Ma’asiyahu Prison near Ramle in December 2011.

One of Katsav’s two lawyers, Zion Amir, told the press after the parole board’s denial that he would appeal the decision.

Katsav has two chances to appeal. First, he can appeal to the Lod District Court, and if he loses that, he can appeal again to the Supreme Court.

When asked how Katsav had received the decision, Amir said that Katsav was in “great pain,” and wanted to go home.

Rivlin told the press last month that he would not interfere with the parole board’s decision, that there was a process for seeking a pardon which runs through the Justice Ministry, and that the process would follow the rules, without special treatment, if Katsav requests a pardon.

Katsav can wait around six months and then try again for an early release before the same parole board.

Channel 10 reported that in the near term Katsav would be assigned a special handler in the prison to ensure that he does not harm himself after losing his first chance for early release, but a Prisons Service spokeswoman said that such special treatment would be decided on an individual basis regarding anyone denied parole. Generally, the key factors for parole board’s decisions are the prisoner’s behavior in jail; absence of danger to commit future offenses; extent of rehabilitation; and the public interest.

The Prisons Service parole board said its 18-page decision was based on its review of the former president’s fitness “to be released with conditions” and of the “dangers” entailed in him being let go.

The board wrote, “Before us is a prisoner who denies that he committed the crimes, who continues to claim his innocence despite the court decisions… which was manifested in his appearance before us.”

On that issue, the board adopted the prosecution’s position, finally officially revealed in the published portion of the decision (some portions will not be published), that Katsav could not be released early since no sexual offender has been released early without expressing regret.

Katsav acted “as if there were no legal proceedings and he continues even today as someone who has not undergone any treatment connected to the crimes which he perpetrated,” the board said.

Further, it noted that the court slammed Katsav for the severity of his crimes, that “the crime victims expressed their position against his release before the board,” and that expert opinions rejected Katsav’s proposed private post-release program as not being “capable… of preventing continued defective conduct.”

The former president’s “obsession with his innocence” damages his ability “to avoid the same risk” of his sexually assaulting more women, it said.

Katsav’s lawyers had countered he should be released early due to his good behavior in prison, his worsening health, age (70) and an argument that he is no danger to society. Along those lines, they argued that his offenses were connected to his power as president, an office he will never return to again.

They also said that legal precedent does not require expressing regret to obtain an early release, and that expressing regret is not decisive for whether someone has been rehabilitated, it is only one of many factors in reducing the danger a prisoner might present in the future.

Ultimately the board trumped general precedent about not needing to express regret with specific precedent that all past sexual offenders who have gotten early release did express regret – as the prosecution argued.

Controversy erupted regarding Katsav’s plea request in early March with rumors that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and President Reuven Rivlin were pushing for an early release and implying that the eighth president of the state’s sentence would be commuted if the parole board did not release him.

Both Shaked and Rivlin denied the rumors, with Rivlin accusing the justice minister of starting them.

Then there were contradictory reports about whether the board would decide on the release request at the two earlier hearings.

When it did not decide, there was speculation that it might be taking longer in the hope that rehabilitation evaluators would switch from opposing Katsav’s early release to being in favor.

The board was presided over by retired judge Moshe Mechlis, who was joined by psychologist Chana Gordon, psychotherapist Chanit Laufer-Fisher and Prisons Service representative Orit Rabinovich.       (Jerusalem Post)

Trial begins for soldier who killed disarmed stabber

The trial of IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria who faces manslaughter charges for shooting dead an incapacitated Palestinian attacker in Hebron in March will begin later Monday at the Jaffa Military Court.

Azaria is accused of violating the rules of engagement when he shot and killed Abdel Fattah al-Sharif on March 24, who a short time beforehand participated in a stabbing attack on Israeli troops.

Al-Sharif and another assailant stabbed and wounded one soldier before troops opened fire on them, wounding al-Sharif and killing the second attacker.

Graphic footage from the scene showed a wounded al-Sharif still alive minutes later, and then Azaria shooting him in the head. Azaria was arrested, with rights groups labeling his action a summary execution.

He was indicted for manslaughter and inappropriate military conduct in the Jaffa Military Court on April 18.

Azaria is expected remain in custody under the legal proceedings end.

On Sunday night, Channel 2 aired footage of the moments leading up to the shooting that contradicts the soldier’s testimony that the attacker still posed a threat to the lives of the troops around him.

Immediately after the incident, the 19-year-old sergeant told military police that, “When I looked at him I saw that he was moving his head, and his hand was within reach of the knife he used in the stabbing — the black knife. He moved his hand towards the knife.”

But the new video clip, aired by Channel 2 on Sunday, showed the black knife in question at least a meter away from the incapacitated assailant appearing to contradict those claims.

Azaria also claimed after the shooting that he had been suspicious of the fact that al-Sharif was wearing an oversized jacket, which the soldier said could have been concealing a bomb.

But the new video shows that several other soldiers and paramedics at the scene were also wearing coats on that March morning in the West Bank.

Channel 2 said the footage would be presented by prosecutors at Azaria’s trial, which starts at Jaffa Military court on Monday, in an effort to cement a criminal conviction against the 19-year-old sergeant.

The case has sparked much controversy and inflamed political tensions in Israel. Despite strong condemnation of Azaria’s actions by top military brass, the defense minister and the chief of staff, far-right supporters and some politicians have accused the defense establishment of abandoning one of its own.

Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek has enlisted a prominent private sector attorney, Lt. Col. (res) Nadav Weisman, to join the team prosecuting Azaria. The move, reported in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper last week, indicates the army has no intention of offering Azaria a plea bargain.            (The Times of Israel)

And back to the ‘wicked son’

by Daniel Gordis    The Jerusalem Post


This week of Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is ironically worth revisiting the Haggada.

For both the Seder and Remembrance Day raise the question of what is required for Jewish survival.

The Haggada surfaces the issue largely through the “wicked son.” The danger, says the Haggada, is that that son positions himself as an outsider. Questioning Jewish tradition or Jews’ attitudes is perfectly legitimate. It is when Jews address the Jewish people as “you,” which the wicked son does, that they threaten Jewish survival. Our future rises and falls, to no small degree, on whether our children stand first with their own people.

Jewish loyalty is going to become more critical – and challenging – in the years to come. I was in my mid-forties before I had my genuine first brush with anti-Semitism in the US. Most American Jewish kids have that “pleasure” much earlier. In all my years as an undergraduate at Columbia, I encountered not one instance of anti-Israel sentiment. The Jewish student groups were housed not far from the Muslim students; I cannot recall a single moment of unpleasantness.

Back then, England’s prime minister was Margaret Thatcher. One could agree or disagree with her, but the headlines from Britain were not about Labor Party characters like Ken Livingstone, Naz Shah or Jeremy Corbyn. The world is changing – fast, and not for the better.

From England to Greece to Austria, from Students for Justice in Palestine to BDS to hostile campuses across the United States, the world is rapidly becoming much more like the world in which my grandparents grew up. It is becoming hostile and mean-spirited, with Jews again in the crosshairs. We can weather this, but only if we stand together and place loyalty to the Jewish people first.

The signs, though, are not good.

Remember Joy Karega? She’s the assistant professor at Oberlin with the vile remarks accusing Israel and “Rothschild-led bankers” of bringing down a Malaysian airliner. She also posted a graphic of Jacob Rothschild that read “We own your news. The media. Your oil. And your government.”

Marvin Krislov, Oberlin’s president, is Jewish. But even though Karega, who does not have tenure, could easily have been sent packing for such noxious postings, Krislov wrote to the Oberlin community that while he is the descendant of rabbis and even lost family in the Shoah, he “respects the right of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views.”

Noble. But when Jews defend the “right” of people to express “personal views” that accuse Jews of bringing down airliners and controlling the government, the Jewish people are in trouble. That’s the point of the “wicked son.”

Krislov also has a right to his views, but the Jewish world can still make Oberlin feel the pressure. What would happen if a few Jewish alumni galvanized all Jewish donors to Oberlin and halted all contributions until Karega was gone? What Oberlin’s president was not willing to do, others must. Either we sanction people like Karega, or we fight them. There is no middle ground.

When Husam El-Qoulaq, a student at Harvard Law School, recently asked Tzipi Livni why she was so “smelly,” the outcry was wall to wall. For having invoked the centuries-old trope of the “smelly Jew,” even other Muslim HLS students denounced Qoulaq. But not everyone did. HLS’s dean, Martha Minow (Jewish, and not long ago mentioned as a possible Obama nominee to the Supreme Court), refused to release Qoulaq’s name. Why? He had a right to what – privacy? Seriously? He has a right to conduct his job search (he’s in his final year of Harvard Law) without his noxiousness trailing him, despite his aligning himself with centuries of Jew-hatred? As if that were not sufficiently worrisome, after Qoulaq’s name was revealed, 11 Jewish HLS students wrote a public letter defending him. He was, they said, the “target of a vicious smear campaign,” a campaign with tactics that are “part of a sadly well-worn playbook aimed at discrediting and defaming those who dare challenge Israel’s abuses against Palestinians.”

All good, except for one thing. Qoulaq did not ask Tzipi Livni anything about Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. That would obviously have been legitimate.

Instead, he chose a different road, an anti- Semitic road. And HLS Jewish law students saw fit to defend him. The Wicked Son, again – Jews rejecting the primacy of loyalty to their own people.

And finally, Simone Zimmerman, who was for several minutes Bernie Sanders’s “Jewish outreach coordinator,” until she was dismissed after it was revealed that she had posted on Facebook comments such as “Bibi Netanyahu is an arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative a**hole.”

That coarse language, posted by someone with aspirations for public position, illustrated just childish instincts and poor parenting. Yet if many Israelis actually agree with her, was dismissing her just Sanders caving in to a right-wing Zionist apparatus that will allow no criticism of Bibi or of Israel? That is what Peter Beinart, defending Zimmerman, chose to imply. “If You Lose Simone Zimmerman, You Lose the Best of Jewish Millennials,” was the headline atop his Haaretz column. “I’m not worried about Simone Zimmerman,” he wrote towards his conclusion. “She’ll do fine. I’m worried about a community that punishes its children for challenging its lies.”

I disagree with Beinart (not the first time, of course – and we’ll be debating each other once again in Tustin, California, on September 11, so we can discuss this further then). Why? Because I think we should hide our lies? Because the Zionist camp should be monolithic? Because I’m a huge Bibi supporter? Obviously not.

It’s because I think that while criticism of Israel is entirely legitimate, when such critique denies the fact that Israel faces real enemies, it crosses a line.

In 2015, Zimmerman posted on Facebook, “F*** you, Bibi… you sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.”

Murder? Whatever one thinks of Netanyahu’s conduct of the 2014 Hamas Gaza War (and many Israelis who usually dislike Netanyahu thought that summer was one of his rare statesmanlike periods), to say that Bibi “murdered” 2,000 people is to suggest that Hamas represented no threat to Israel. Or that Israel’s citizens near Gaza should continue to live in fear and with terrorist tunnels. Or that Israel and Jews have no right to defend themselves.

When someone claims that Jews have no right to defend themselves, we ought to recall – especially on this week of Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we are reminded of how little we can count on others to defend us – they cross a line back into a dark period of Jewish history. One of the points of Jewish sovereignty, which the international community understood for a few brief moments in the 1940s, is that Jews have a right to self-defense. Zimmerman’s “sin” was that she denied Jews that right. She thus positioned herself as an enemy of the progress that Jews have made. She had to go.

To survive, Jews need instinctive loyalty to Jews. Caring about other peoples and defending them are also prime Jewish commitments; but when Jews are under attack, a long-standing instinct that has kept us going has been the instinct of loyalty. That so many prominent Jews do not understand that is a sad indication of to where we have come. Even more ominously, it may indicate where we are headed.

An Invented Palestinian Nation

And the world signs off on a big lie.

By Ziva Dahl                 American Spectator


Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will begin issuing “State of Palestine” passports this year. The made-up “Palestinians” now have a made-up people and a made-up state, fly a made-up flag, and carry passports confirming the ruse.

To promote the fiction of a uniquely Palestinian indigenous population, Abbas pursues a simple strategy begun by Yasser Arafat. Disregarding Biblical, archeological and other well-substantiated facts, the Arabs have rewritten the past to deny the 3,000-year-old connection of Jews to the Land of Israel, supplanting it with a fabricated “Palestinian” narrative. They learned the Nazi lesson well — if you tell big lies and repeat them often enough, people start to believe you. You steal Jewish history and then inherit their homeland.

To promote its goal of eliminating Israel, the PA portrays modern Israelis as lacking any connections to the ancient Hebrews.

“Zionism is the invention of robbers who stole Palestine from its inhabitants… whose lies are not supported by any archeological remnants…. Israel has no right to exist…. The stories of Jewish prophets are a sick invention,” reported the PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, recently. In that same official PA newspaper, columnist Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul remarked, “Religious, historical, and even biblical facts deny any connection between the Jews and Jerusalem” or to “historic Palestine.” Fatah Commissioner Nabil Shaath stated in January, Israel is “a ‎colonialist project on our land.”

The widely accepted Jewish connection to Palestine is substantiated by the Old and New Testaments, the Quran, academic scholarship, archeological evidence, historical records and genetic genealogical research. Jews have a distinct ancient language, culture, and religion that are inextricably linked to the area. There have always been Jews in Jerusalem, a place mentioned in the Bible more than 400 times. The Quran makes no reference either to “Palestinians” or to Jerusalem.

The fabricated “Palestinian” narrative makes claims of Canaanite descent. There is neither genealogical nor genetic evidence connecting Arabs to these peoples, who ceased to exist 2,800 years ago.

There are no ancient Palestinian archaeological sites, monuments, literature, heroes, or coins and no Palestinian language. Most of the newly minted “Palestinians” are descended from Arabs migrating to the area in the early 20th century for economic reasons. Their ethnicity is common with their origins: Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and Saudi. As Hamas Minister Fathi Hammad recently admitted, “Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.”

In January, PA’s Islamic-Christian Council director Hanna Issa stated that Jesus “is the first Palestinian martyr,” and PA Chairman Abbas in 2014 called Jesus “a Palestinian messenger of love.” In this absurd fairytale, Jesus was a Palestinian preaching Islam 550 years before Muhammad was born, rather than a Jew preaching in ancient Judea.

Palestine was a term used by the League of Nations for a portion of the Ottoman Empire called Greater Syria. The League established the British Mandate for Palestine using a version of the Roman Empire’s name for Judea — Syria Palaestina. From 1922 until the establishment of Israel in 1948, the term “Palestinians” was used to describe Jews living in this area.

Between 1948 and 1967, when the “West Bank,” Gaza and Jerusalem were under Jordanian and Egyptian control, there was neither an effort to create a “Palestinian” people nor a “Palestinian” state. Arab leaders referred to the Palestinians as “refugees,” and Arabs of the area called themselves “Palestine Arabs.” United Nations Resolution 242, passed at the end of the 1967 war, makes no mention of “Palestinian.” Only after the 1967 war, once Israel controlled this area, did the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) promote the idea of a Palestinian national identity.

In 1977, Zuheir Mohsen, PLO Executive Council member, articulated the goals of the new “peoplehood” strategy saying, “The Palestinian people does not exist…. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel…. It is only for political and tactical reasons that we speak today about…the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.”

Why has the international community championed the false narrative of the so-called Palestinians at the expense of the Jews? The “Palestinian people” have become the poster child of victimhood, absolved of any moral responsibility for their decisions or behavior. The world ignores its ultimate goal — the destruction of “the Zionist entity.” The West’s guilt over its colonial past and its commitment to multiculturalism, coupled with Soviet-style anti-Semitism which depicts Zionism as racism, Israel as a terrorist regime of Nazi-like oppression, and Jews as the age-old evil-doers, have resulted in Israel being stigmatized as a neo-colonialist project rather than respected as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Do you recall another time when a visceral desire to eliminate a group of people was enabled by the world? Does this sound familiar to you?

The Arabs’ Real Grievance against the Jews

by Fred Maroun          The Gatestone Institute


The Arab world still does not today accept the concept of a Jewish state of any size or any shape. Even Egypt and Jordan, who signed peace agreements with Israel, do not accept that Israel is a Jewish state, and they continue to promote anti-Semitic hatred against Israel.

During Israel’s War of Independence, Jews were ethnically cleansed from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and in the years that followed, they were ethnically cleansed from the rest of the Arab world.

Jews demand the right to exist, and to exist as equals, on the land where they have existed and belonged continuously for more than three thousand years.

We would rather claim that the conflict is about “occupation” and “settlements.” The Jews see what radical Islamists are now doing to Christians and other minorities, who were also in the Middle East for thousands of years before the Muslim Prophet Mohammed was even born.

The real Arab grievance against the Jews is that they exist.

As Arabs, we are very adept at demanding that our human rights be respected, at least when we live in liberal democracies such as in North America, Europe, and Israel. But what about when it comes to our respecting the human rights of others, particularly Jews?

When we examine our attitude towards Jews, both historically and at present, we realize that it is centered on denying Jews the most fundamental human right, the right without which no other human right is relevant: the right to exist.

The right to exist in the Middle East before 1948

Anti-Zionists often repeat the claim that before modern Israel, Jews were able to live in peace in the Middle East, and that it is the establishment of the State of Israel that created Arab hostility towards Jews. That is a lie.

Before modern Israel, as the historian Martin Gilbert wrote, “Jews held the inferior status of dhimmi, which, despite giving them protection to worship according to their own faith, subjected them to many vexatious and humiliating restrictions in their daily lives.” As another historian, G.E. von Grunebaum, wrote, Jews in the Middle East faced “a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.”

The right to exist as an independent state

Zionism stemmed from the need for Jews to be masters of their own fate; no longer to be the victims of discrimination or massacres simply for being Jews. This project was accepted and formally recognized by the British, who had been granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations. The Arab world, however, never accepted the recognition formulated by Britain in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and it never accepted the partition plan approved by the United Nations in 1947, which recognized the right of the Jews to their own state.

The Arab refusal to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist, a right that carries more international legal weight than almost any other country’s right to exist, resulted in several wars, starting with the war of independence in 1948-1949. The Arab world still does not today accept the concept of a Jewish state of any size or any shape. Even Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace agreements with Israel, do not accept that Israel is a Jewish state, and they continue to promote anti-Semitic hatred against Israel.

The right to exist in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem

In 2005, Israel evacuated all its troops and all Jewish inhabitants from Gaza, in the hope that this would bring peace at least on that front, and to allow the Gaza Strip, vacated by Jews, to be a flourishing Arab Riviera, or a second Singapore, and perhaps to serve as a model for the West Bank. The experiment failed miserably. This is a case where Jews willingly gave up their right to exist on a piece of land, but sadly the Palestinians of Gaza took it not as opportunity for peace, but as a sign that if you keep on shooting at Jews, they leave — so let’s keep on shooting.

There are many opinions among Zionists as to what to do about the West Bank. These opinions range from a total unilateral withdrawal as in Gaza, to a full annexation, with many options in between. At the moment, the status quo prevails, with no specific plans for the future.

Everyone, however, despite the treacherous UNESCO’s rewriting of history, knows that before that piece of land was called the West Bank, it was called Judea and Samaria for more than two thousand years.

Everyone knows that Hebron contains the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs, within the Cave of the Patriarchs, and it is considered the second-holiest site in Judaism. Every reasonable person knows that Jews should unquestionably have the right to exist on that land, even if it is under Arab or Muslim jurisdiction. Yet everyone also knows that no Arab regime is capable or even willing to protect the safety of Jews living under its jurisdiction from the anti-Semitic hatred that emanates from the Arab world.

East Jerusalem, which was carved away by the Kingdom of Jordan from the rest of Jerusalem during the war of independence, is part of Jerusalem, and contains the Temple Mount, the Jews’ holiest site. The Old City in East Jerusalem was inhabited by Jews up until they were ethnically cleansed by Jordan in the war of 1948-1949.

In May 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion expelled all of the approximately 2000 Jews who lived in the Old City of Jerusalem, and then turned the Jewish Quarter into rubble.

Although Israel has twice in the past, first under Prime Minister Ehud Barak then under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, offered East Jerusalem as part of a Palestinian state, that offer is not likely to be made again. Jews know that it would mean a new wave of ethnic cleansing, which would deny the Jewish right to exist on the piece of land where that right is more important than anywhere else.

The right to exist in the Middle East now

During Israel’s War of Independence, Jews were ethnically cleansed from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and in the years that followed, they were ethnically cleansed from the rest of the Arab world.

Today, Israel’s enemies, many of them Arab, are challenging its right to exist, and therefore the right of Jews to exist, on two fronts: threats of nuclear annihilation and annihilation through demographic suffocation.

Iran’s Islamist regime has repeated several times its intention to destroy Israel using nuclear weapons. Just in case Iran is not “successful,” the so-called “pro-Palestinian” movement, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has a different plan to destroy the Jewish state: a single state with the “return” of all the descendants of Palestinian refugees. The refusal of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat to accept any two-state solution presented to them is part of that plan.

The right to exist elsewhere

Anti-Zionists claim that Jews are imperialists in the Middle East, as were the British and the French, and like them, they should leave and go back to where they belong. This analogy is of course not true: Jews have an even longer history in the Middle East than do Muslims or Arabs.

Do Jews belong in Europe, which tried only a few decades ago to kill every Jew, man, woman, or child? Do Jews belong in North America where until a few hundred years ago, there were no Europeans, only Indians?

Saying that Jews “belong” in such places is not reality; it is just a convenient claim for anti-Zionists to make.

The Jews will not give up

As Arabs, we complain because Palestinians feel humiliated going through Israeli checkpoints. We complain because Israel is building in the West Bank without Palestinian permission, and we complain because Israel dares to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists. But how many of us have stopped to consider how this situation came to be? How many of us have the courage to admit that waging war after war against the Jews in order to deny them the right to exist, and refusing every reasonable solution to the conflict, has led to the current situation?

Our message to Jews, throughout history and particularly when they had the temerity to want to govern themselves, has been clear: we cannot tolerate your very existence.

Yet the Jews demand the right to exist and to exist as equals on the land where they have existed and belonged continuously for more than three thousand years.

In addition, denying a people the right to exist is a crime of unimaginable proportions. We Arabs pretend that our lack of respect for the right of Jews to exist is not the cause of the conflict between the Jews and us. We would rather claim that the conflict is about “occupation” and “settlements”. They see what radical Islamists are now doing to Christians and other minorities, who were also in the Middle East for thousands of years before the Muslim Prophet Mohammed was even born: Yazidis, Kurds, Christians, Copts, Assyrians, Arameans, and many others. Where are these indigenous people of Iraq, Syria and Egypt now? Are they living freely or are they being persecuted, run out of their own historical land, slaughtered by Islamists? Jews know that this is what would have happened to them if they did not have their own state.

The real Arab grievance against the Jews is that they exist. We want the Jews either to disappear or be subservient to our whims, but the Jews refuse to bend to our bigotry, and they refuse to be swayed by our threats and our slander.

Who in his right mind can blame them?

At 68 – is Israel isolated?

By Yoram Ettinger                              Israel Hayom


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western policymakers, joined by much of the “elite” Western media, have repeatedly argued that 68-year-old Israel is becoming increasingly isolated due to its defiance of global pressure to evacuate the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which tower over Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport and 80% of Israel’s population, transportation, technological and business infrastructure.

Since 1948, global pressure on Israel to commit itself to dramatic concessions has been a fixture of Israel’s foreign policy and public diplomacy, accompanied by warnings that Israel was dooming itself to painful isolation. An examination of Israel’s global position — economically, militarily and diplomatically — reveals that irrespective of Israel’s uphill diplomatic challenges, reality routinely disproved these warnings as Israel demonstrated unprecedented integration into the global street.

Thus, alongside the rough diplomatic talk that has always pounded Israel, there has always been a mutually beneficial, geo-strategic walk. This is highlighted by Israel’s unprecedented civilian and military cooperation with the international community, in response to growing international demand for Israel’s military, economic, technological, scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and agricultural innovations.

Israel’s increasing global integration is clearly reflected in a string of recent developments, which are consistent with Israel’s well-documented 68-year track record:

Notwithstanding Europe’s support of the Palestinian Authority and harsh criticism of Israel, NATO does not subscribe to the “isolate Israel” policy. The organization follows its own order of geo-strategic priorities and therefore refuses to cut off its nose to spite its face. Hence, on May 3, 2016, NATO significantly upgraded its ties with Israel, inviting Jerusalem to establish a permanent mission at their Brussels headquarters. This upgrade serves to expand the mutually beneficial Israel-NATO relationship in the areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence, battle tactics, non-conventional warfare, science, cyber and space technologies and defense industries, where Israel possesses a unique competitive edge.

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continuously blasts Israel in the diplomatic arena, Turkey did not block the recent agreement between NATO and Israel. Moreover, the balance of trade between Israel and Turkey has catapulted from $2.5 billion in 2009 to over $5 billion in 2015. Turkey also has not been able to ignore the unique niches of Israel’s exports in the areas of defense, medicine, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.

India, the seventh largest, and one of the fastest rising economies in the world, has become one of Israel’s closest partners — second only to the U.S. Oblivious to the “isolate Israel” school of thought, India has become the largest consumer of Israel’s defense systems, with Israel trailing only the U.S. and Russia in terms of military sales to India. On March 29, 2016, Israel’s Rafael Advance Defense Systems concluded a long-term agreement with India’s Reliance Defense Systems, which is expected to generate $10 billion in sales. A year and a half ago, Rafael won a $500 million contract to supply missiles to India’s ground forces.

Seeking to leverage the momentum of the “integrate Israel” trend, China’s Kuang-Chi technology conglomerate is launching an Israel-based international innovation fund to invest in early to mid-stage Israeli and global companies, reflecting the vigorous Chinese interest in mature and startup Israeli companies. Chinese investments in Israeli companies has expanded from $70 million in 2010 to $2.7 billion in 2015, while the China-Israel trade balance has surged from $30 million in 1992 to $11 billion in 2015. The trade balance could have been dramatically larger if it weren’t for Israel’s cautious attitude in light of China’s close ties with Israel’s enemies.

China has followed in the footsteps of Hong-Kong-based tycoon Li Ka-Shing, whose venture capital fund, Horizons Ventures, invested in 30 Israeli companies, accounting for almost half of its portfolio.

Reaffirming the “integrate Israel” reality, Fitch Ratings — one of the three credit rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — recently upgraded Israel’s credit rating outlook from “stable” to “positive,” while maintaining its A rating. The upgrade generates a robust tailwind for foreign investments and foreign trade.

In April, while all advanced economies were struggling, Fitch Ratings lauded Israel’s thriving economy in comparison to other OECD countries. Fitch commended Israel for its success in overcoming intense national security and homeland security challenges; reducing the ratio of government debt to GDP from 95.2% in 2000 to 64.9% in 2015; reducing the budget deficit to 2.1% — the lowest figure since 2008; bolstering foreign exchange reserves to $90.6 billion and sustaining the strength of the shekel.

The fact that 250 global high-tech giants have established research and development centers in Israel exposes the lie behind the contention that Israel is risking growing isolation. For instance, on February 22, 2016, Oracle, which operates four centers in Israel, acquired Israel’s five-year-old Ravello for $500 million — the company’s fifth Israeli acquisition. On March 3, 2016, Cisco Systems acquired its 12th Israeli company, Leaba Semiconductor, for $350 million. On March 10, 2016, Intel acquired its ninth Israeli company, Replay Technologies, for $175 million. In 2015, Intel, which is currently investing $130 million in a new center in Israel, exported $4.1 billion worth of products from its manufacturing plant in Israel. Intel Capital’s portfolio includes some 60 Israeli startup companies. In 2015, global pharmaceutical giants such as Merck, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Pfizer, AbbVie, Janssencilag, Roche, and Eli Lilly invested $150 million (compared to $130 million in 2014 and $100 million in 2012) in groundbreaking medical research, conducted in leading Israeli hospitals.

Leading investment funds are veteran supporters of the “integrate Israel” school of thought. For instance, the Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed raised $1.2 billion for its 11th fund dedicated to U.S. and Israeli startups. The Israeli investment funds, FIMI, Vertex Ventures and Israel Secondary Fund-2 raised $1.1 billion, $150 million and $100 million respectively, mostly from overseas investors.

At 68, Israel is highly integrated into the key global disciplines, in defiance of Kerry’s warning that “if we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel.” The secretary’s warning is overwhelmingly squelched by global reality. In fact, 71% of the U.S. public considers Israel favorably, according to the February 2016 annual Gallup poll.

The Israel that Arabs Don’t Know – Ramy Aziz (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited me to visit Israel as part of a delegation of European-based Arab journalists. Arab media coverage of Israel continues to be characterized by a lack of clarity and misrepresentation, making it difficult for Arab citizens to truly understand the country. Do the Jews in Israel actually hate Arabs?

My visits to places of worship were not stopped by either the Israeli army or police force, as they have been rumored to do. I visited the University of Haifa, considered a model and reflection of Israeli society. Within its walls, students of Jewish, Arab, Druze, and Circassian origin study together.

I also visited the Druze village of Daliyat al-Karmel, where the elders recalled the experience of Druze integration into Israeli society and informed me that they now preferred to call themselves Israelis instead of Arab citizens of Israel. They hold Israeli citizenship, enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, and are treated as full citizens with equal rights.

Ben Gurion Street in Haifa is filled with Arab cafes and restaurants, identifiable by the songs they play and their customers’ conversations. I struck up discussions with various restaurant patrons and employees regarding life in Israel, and these Arab Israelis informed me that in Israel, the law is equally applied to everyone without distinction or discrimination.

I heard the call to prayer from mosques in various cities – a religious expression that is banned in Europe. I saw Christians with crosses who had no fear of exposing their identities, a marked contrast to some neighboring states. I saw Baha’i gardens the like of which exist nowhere else in the world.

I saw, without exaggeration, a bright flame in a pitch-black region, a society composed of so many different yet coexisting segments and components.

The writer is an Egyptian journalist based in Europe.

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