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Latest News in Israel – 5 August

Updates from Israel and the Jewish World
compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman

Hamas terrorist breaches Gaza border, shoots IDF officer, two infantrymen

An IDF officer and two soldiers were wounded on Wednesday night after a terrorist from the Gaza Strip breached the security fence into Israel and fired at the forces. The troops responded by shooting and killing the terrorist.

The officer, of the Golani Brigade, sustained moderate injuries, and the other troops were lightly injured. They were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.

Responding to the severe incident, the IDF targeted a Hamas military post near the Gaza border.

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis stated that the terrorist belonged to the Hamas terror organization and was wearing a uniform during the attack. He added that the terrorist was carrying several hand grenades and used one of them before being killed by IDF fire.

The IDF said that it appears that the terrorist acted on his own initiative.

Gazan sources identified the terrorist as Hanny Abu Saleh, a member of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, as well as a member of Hamas’ police. He belonged to a force whose purpose is to prevent rocket launches by non-Hamas terror groups and to stop infiltration into Israel.

His brother Fadi was killed in a clash with Israeli forces last May during the Hamas-organized riots known as the “March of Return.” As Fadi was a cripple and confined to a wheelchair it led to widespread anger among Arab residents, Ynet reports. The IDF did not comment on whether it thought Hanny’s attack was in revenge for his brother’s killing.

The incident occurred just hours after the IDF completed a large-scale exercise to improve its readiness in combating threats posed by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the largest such drill since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

“We have strengthened our preparedness for a possible campaign in Gaza… which could break out any day,” said IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi on Wednesday at the conclusion of the exercise.(WIN)

Two attacks on two borders in one day: Is the IDF ready for war on 3 fronts?

What’s the connection? Iran, Iran, Iran.

by Anna Ahronheim The Jerusalem Post

Two attacks on two borders in less than 24 hours. One targeted IDF troops stationed along Gaza, while another targeted Hezbollah positions in Syria’s Golan Heights. Two incidents, miles apart. Just a small indication of the major challenge Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi faces in the next war.

Before dawn on Thursday, hours after the army completed the largest drill since Operation Protective Edge five years ago, a Hamas terrorist armed with grenades and a Kalashnikov infiltrated into southern Israel near the community of Kissufim and injured an officer and two soldiers before being killed by IDF reinforcements.

Several hours later, Israel was accused of striking a Syrian Arab Army position in al-Bariqa west of Queintra on the Golan Heights.

What’s the connection?

Iran, Iran, Iran.

With fronts ripe for conflict to break out at any moment, the IDF’s ability to operate effectively on multiple fronts simultaneously is crucial for Israel to deal with the region’s unpredictable and explosive nature.

According to a report in Haaretz, Iran and Hamas have agreed to open a southern front should a war break out in the North. Israeli officials have warned that any northern war will not be confined to one border, but rather both the Lebanese and Syrian border.

That means war on three fronts.

The IDF, which has put Gaza as a top priority, is concerned that should a war break out in both the North and South, the military’s air defense might not be as available, leaving whole communities and cities vulnerable to rocket fire.

Israel has accused Iran of growing involvement in Gaza, both financially and militarily.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has boasted about his close ties to Hezbollah and Iran, including with Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Hamas delegations have visited Tehran and met with Solemani and other senior Iranian officials following his appointment.

Despite facing its own economic crises, the Islamic Republic has increased its funding to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to the tune of $100 million, to have more influence in Gaza. And in the West Bank, Israeli officials foiled around 130 Hamas terror cells in 2018 alone, up from the 40 foiled the previous year.

While the past few months have been “relatively” quiet in southern Israel, tensions with Gaza have significantly risen over the past year of weekly riots and occasional rounds of conflict, with thousands of rockets and mortars being fired at Israeli communities.

The IDF, in return, has struck hundreds of targets belonging to Hamas and PIJ (a group fully subservient to Iran) throughout the Strip.

Hamas, which itself is under intense public pressure due to the humanitarian situation in its territory, knows it cannot militarily survive another conflict with the IDF. But the army knows that another confrontation in Gaza, despite it being more prepared than before, will not end with it being a clear victor.

On top of that, the army is not too keen on another military operation in Gaza until the upgraded barrier to remove the threat of terror tunnels is completed, which is expected to be done by next summer.

And as Israel keeps its eyes warily on Hezbollah and Iran’s entrenchment in the Syrian Golan Heights, it is also looking toward Iraq. Iran is believed to have transferred ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel to terrorist groups there.

Despite Israel’s missile defense capabilities being at an all-time high after successful trials of the Arrow 3 over Alaska this week, defense officials believe the advanced technological capabilities coupled with intensive firepower by the country’s enemies – be it from the South or North – will lead to unprecedented damage and fatalities.

Israel fought simultaneously in Lebanon and Gaza in 2006. But 12 years later Israel’s enemies have changed, and their military capabilities have increased tremendously.

“I get the impression that there is very high readiness for a possible campaign in Gaza,” Kochavi said during the four-day exercise this past week. “We will continue preparing, on the assumption that a conflict could erupt any day.”

The army under Kochavi needs to be ready: while the most imminent threat for war is on the southern front, the risk of a military confrontation in the northern arena, from three different countries at the same time, is not farfetched.

Israel attacks Syrian border town of Qunetria, report says

Israel launched a rocket around 2:00 p.m. local time toward the western countryside of Quneitra Province, Syria’s SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

The rocket targeted Tal Braiqa in Rasm al-Sadd, which is to the west of the city of Quneitra, the Syrian news outlet reports. It’s not known if the missile was fired from the ground or from a fighter plane.

If the story is accurate, it is unusual for Israel to carry out such attacks during daytime.

Saudi news channel Al Majd Hadith said the strike occurred after movements of Hezbollah fighters were spotted in the area.

Tal Braiqa is known as an area when Hezbollah and Iranian advisers are active. It’s one of the Syrian locations where Iran is attempting to establish military infrastructure, including listening posts for monitoring Israeli Army activity on the Golan Heights, Ynet news reports.

Last week, SANA reported that the Israeli Air Force launched an attack on the Tel al Hara area in the Dara’a district in southern Syria. That attack occurred in the early morning hours.

Reports earlier this week said that Israel carried out an attack in Iraq on Iranian targets, indicating that the Jewish State is expanding the area it is willing to operate. (WIN

32 parties register electoral slates for September vote, down from 47 last time

With 47 days to go until the September 17 national vote, all 32 parties set to run in the election, and their electoral slates, have been registered with the Central Elections Committee.

The committee’s doors opened Wednesday for the parties jostling for the Knesset’s 120 seats and closed at midnight Thursday.

The total of 32 factions is down from the last election cycle, when a record 47 parties registered for the April 9 vote. The smaller number is partially a result of mergers between parties after several weeks of horse-trading.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the list for his Likud party, followed by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, whose Kulanu party merged with Likud in May, was placed 5th. Gideon Sa’ar, Miri Regev, Yariv Levin, Yoav Gallant and Nir Barkat round out the top 10 for Likud.

The electoral ticket submitted by Blue and White was almost identical to the one that competed in April’s elections, with changes made only to the order of candidates below number 30 on the slate. Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi occupy the top four slots.

Lapid, who merged his Yesh Atid party with Gantz’s Israel Resilience to form Blue and White ahead of the previous elections in April, is set to take over as prime minister from Gantz during the term as part of a rotation deal, if Blue and White forms the next government.

Likud and Blue and White are expected to dominate the vote, with polls predicting around 30 seats for each, roughly the same as in April.

The newly-formed United Right, an amalgamation of the New Right and the Union of Right-Wing Parties, is headed by former justice minister and New Right leader Ayelet Shaked, followed by URWP’s Rafi Peretz and Bezalel Smotrich, with former New Right chair Naftali Bennett placed at four. Latest polls suggest it may be headed for about 11 seats.

Ayman Odeh, Mtanes Shihadeh, Ahmad Tibi and Mansour Abbas lead the newly reunited Joint (Arab) List, which is also polling at around 11.

On the center-left of the spectrum, and polling at around six seats, Labor-Gesher is headed by Labor chief Amir Peretz, followed by Gesher’s Orly Levy-Abekasis, and Itzik Shmuli and Merav Michaeli of Labor.

Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz leads the Democratic Camp’s list, followed by ex-Labor MK Stav Shaffir, Israel Democratic Party’s Yair Golan and Meretz’s Tamar Zandberg. Former PM Ehud Barak was placed 10th on the list. This alliance is seen heading for about nine seats.

Avigdor Liberman, who helped precipitate the upcoming election by refusing to join a Netanyahu-led coalition, heads his Yisrael Beytenu party, which could be the kingmaker between the blocs, polling at around 10-11 seats.

The religious Mizrahi Shas party will once again run under the helm of party leader Aryeh Deri, while its Ashkenazi UTJ counterpart will once again be headed by Yaakov Litzman. The two ultra-Orthodox parties are seen heading for 13 seats between them.

Most polls show no other parties beyond these nine with a realistic chance of garnering enough support to enter the Knesset. That includes the far-right Otzma Yehudit and Moshe Feiglin’s quasi-libertarian hard-right Zehut.

The Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party faced immense pressure to join forces with United Right, but in the end filed to run on its own slate. The party’s list of candidates is headed by Itamar Ben Gvir, followed by former Kahane spokesman and current Hebron community leader Baruch Marzel.

Next on the slate is activist Adva Biton, whose daughter Adele was killed as a result of a 2013 West Bank terror attack, Otzma Yehudit director-general Yitzhak Wasserlauf, and Benzi Gopstein, who heads the Lehava anti-miscegenation group.

Negotiations regarding the submissions continued until the last minute, notably the protracted effort to merge the extremist Otzma Yehudit party with the newly-formed United Right union.

Pressure to reach an agreement continued right up until the deadline, with party leader Ben Gvir saying he had been asked to hold out a little while longer by Netanyahu, who has been pushing for the merger on the grounds that right-wing votes could be wasted if Otzma Yehudit, whose name means Jewish Power, failed to clear the 3.25% electoral threshold.

Thursday also saw hopes dashed for a grand left-wing union made up of the Democratic Camp — itself a merger between Meretz, Barak’s Israel Democratic Party and Shaffir — and the recently announced Labor-Gesher partnership.

Despite significant internal criticism over the decision, newly-elected Labor leader Peretz opted to run independently of the Democratic Camp, and instead position Labor as a left-leaning socio-economic party less focused on diplomatic and peace issues.

Below are all parties set to run in the election, in the order in which they registered:

1. The Da’am: Green Economy – One State
2. Social Leadership
3. Economic Power
4. Yisrael Beytenu
5. Zechuyoteinu Bekoleinu (“Our Rights Are in our Vote/Voice”)
6. Zehut
7. Uncorrupted Red White
8. Pirate Party
9. Mitkademet
10. The Gush Hatanachi (Bible Bloc)
11. Shas
12. Justice, headed by Avi Yalou
13. Kama
14. Kavod HaAdam
15. United Torah Judaism
16. Respect and Equality
17. Democracy Party
18. Noam
19. Blue and White
20. Israel Brothers for Social Justice
21. Seder Hadash
22. Likud
23. Popular Unity
24. Democratic Camp
25. Tzomet
26. Ichud Bnei HaBrit
27. Joint List
28. Otzma Yehudit
29. Secular Right
30. Tzafon
31. United Right
32. Labor-Gesher

The Kama (Advancing Individual Rights) party is headed by four wives of a polygamous cult leader, Daniel Ambash, who was convicted of sadistic abuse of his family members six years ago. Most of the wives have never renounced Ambash, a Bratslav ultra-Orthodox Jew. They still live together, view themselves as his wives and revere him. Aderet Ambash, chair of the new pro-polygamy party, said that the new faction aims to fight to keep the government from intervening in Israelis’ private lives.

A political party aiming to free Yigal Amir, the man who assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally nearly 24 years ago, did not register. It wasn’t immediately clear why the party, Nura Deliba, did not submit its list.

Orly Adas, the director of the Central Elections Committee, had earlier told Channel 13 there was no legal precedent to ban the party from registering to run, but said the Knesset panel would try to prevent it.

The effort to form the party, whose name means “fire of the heart in Aramaic,” was condemned by Labor’s Peretz, who said the party celebrating the assassination of the Labor prime minister “crossed a red line.” (the Times of Israel)

Is this Netanyahu’s last hurrah?

Although Netanyahu has now become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, projections suggest that Avigdor Liberman will achieve his objective and bring about his political demise.

by Isi Leibler The Jerusalem post

Although Benjamin Netanyahu has now become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, projections suggest that MK and former defense minister Avigdor Liberman will achieve his objective and bring about Netanyahu’s political demise. If, as appears almost certain, Liberman’s strident anti-haredi (anti-ultra-Orthodox) positions will gain him additional seats, he will continue to hold the balance of power. His role is strengthened with polls predicting another deadlock with neither Netanyahu nor Blue and White head Benny Gantz able to cobble together sufficient seats to form a government.

On top of that, should Netanyahu be indicted, it is likely that Likud would be divided as to whether he can retain his position as party leader.

Paradoxically, Netanyahu is currently at the peak of his achievements. He courageously overcame the stormy, confrontational era of former US president Barack Obama with subsequent events totally vindicating him. He has managed to expand the alliance with the United States to an all-time high, while simultaneously developing an unprecedented positive relationship with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (despite his support of Syria). He has advanced relations with India and deftly penetrated barriers and created relationships in South America, Africa and Asia, including China. He has also broken through what seemed an insurmountable barrier and developed covert and even not-so-covert associations with the Saudis and moderate Sunni states. Israel today, largely due to Netanyahu’s diplomacy, has better relations with the international community than at any time since its inception.

In addition, he can take much of the credit for Israel’s booming economy and for the country being ranked as one of the world’s most successful hi-tech innovators. Under his leadership, the IDF has achieved new peaks and is capable of defeating any threat from Israel’s adversaries.

But after Netanyahu’s 13 years in office – extraordinary longevity for any elected leader – many Israelis seek a change. This attitude is exacerbated by media that have unceasingly demonized him personally as well as politically in a manner unprecedented in any democratic country. His hedonistic lifestyle, which the court is unlikely to deem a crime, has intensified public opposition.

His constant kowtowing to extremist haredi demands, particularly outraging Israelis with his concessions on draft exemptions, has created a backlash and according to the polls, diverted many voters to Liberman’s party, since he is perceived as the only one standing up to ultra-Orthodox extortion. Unless the merger with the New Right led by Ayelet Shaked can change the environment, a Netanyahu government including haredim would ensure that religious extremism will intensify, even beyond their efforts to enforce total gender separation and imposing obstacles to conversion.

Even more critical has been the exclusion of all secular elements from the haredi core educational agenda, making most graduates unfit for anything other than the most menial work. The ever-expanding haredi population will lead to dire consequences when the state is economically unable to finance the increased demand for social services for those unable or unwilling to engage in productive labor.

To make matters worse, the formerly moderate religious Zionism has now become largely dominated by “national haredim” (hardal) who, while fully supportive of national goals, ally themselves with the extremist haredim on questions of religious observance.

NETANYAHU HAS also been accused of eliminating those with the potential to displace him as head of the party. Getting close to the prime minister is likened to a moth attracted to a flame and leads to destruction. A striking example of Netanyahu’s petty-mindedness was his decision to sack Shaked and Naftali Bennett from their cabinet positions and his frenzied efforts to destroy them.

Under current circumstances, even if Likud gains more seats than Blue and White and Netanyahu overcomes his legal problems, if none of the opposition parties or enough individual MKs can be seduced into joining him, we could face an ongoing deadlock. Neither side may be able to obtain a majority. Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu Party could double its previous electoral strength because of the attractions of its anti-haredi stance and will continue to hold the balance of power.

The only solution is for Likud to propose a national unity government, offering Gantz a rotating premiership with Netanyahu retiring at the end of his term. But this will fail if Blue and White remains true to its pledge not to consider serving under Netanyahu under any circumstances.

If that happens, the president could step in and invite Gantz to form a government. Likud would then have no alternative but to oblige Netanyahu to step down. And once he does, Likud under a new leader would negotiate a unity government with Blue and White – with or without the inclusion of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. This should pose no obstacles because Gantz shares the same basic policies as the current government in relation to security and defense.

Most Israelis would be relieved by such an outcome, which would help unite the nation and bring an end to haredi extortion. Such a merger would also destroy the current distorted perception that Israel is governed by an “extreme” right-wing government but enjoys the overwhelming support of the Israeli people.

There remains one problem with such a solution: Does Gantz possess the qualities to lead the country? Could he, like Netanyahu, successfully walk the diplomatic tightrope between Trump and Putin? Gantz displays neither charisma nor a strong leadership image. A big question mark hangs over his ability to effectively lead the country over the next 12 months, when critical decisions will need to be made.

And if not Gantz, who in either party does have the qualifications to lead? The brutal truth is nobody!

This is why, despite the fact Netanyahu does not endear himself to most Israelis, at the same time polls show that even today many consider him the only competent candidate for prime minister. Indeed, there are many who detest him but would still opt for him to retain the reins of leadership over the coming crucial year.

So while many are predicting that this is Netanyahu’s last hurrah, they could be wrong. Today the odds are against him, but on previous occasions he used his extraordinary political skills and overcame what seemed to be hopeless situations. Don’t write him off yet!

Reasons Why Peaceful Resolutions for the Arab-Israeli Conflict Always Fail

by Tawfik Hamid The Gatestone Institute

§ The cause of the problem is NOT the land. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, several Arab nations were created by fiat. The Arab world accepted this without any problem, as these were Muslim-majority countries. Rejecting the state of Israel was related to the fact that it is a Jewish rather than a Muslim country.
§ In this manner, despite the clear discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in most of the Arab and Muslim world (denying equal rights in church construction, for example), many in the Arab world point the finger only at Israel when they talk about discrimination.
§ The European Union is currently funding a study into Palestinians textbooks, brought about by the findings of the non-governmental organization IMPACT-se, which found in May that “the new Palestinian school [material] for the 2018–19 academic year… was ‘more radical than those previously published.'” … Meanwhile, no one is being educated for peace.
§ When we add onto all that the sad reality that Palestinian politicians are using the conflict to get billions of dollars in donations, we can understand why this conflict has so far not been solved.
We must salute Jared Kushner’s attempt to bring a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. That said, the Palestinians’ unsurprising rejection of the peace offer requires some scrutiny, especially the true causes of the perennial failure to achieve lasting peace.
Without understanding them, every attempt to solve this conflict, every attempt to make true peace in the Middle East, will always fail.
As an insider with a background as both a Muslim and an Arab, please allow me share with you some insight into the problem.
1. The Arab-Israeli conflict is not about borders. It is about the existence of the state of Israel.
In 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan — Resolution 181 — gave the Palestinians and Arabs control over most of the Holy Land. The rejection of the plan by the Arab nations, and their declaration of war against Israel rather than their acceptance of peace, was the first clear indication that the Arabs’ desire was never to provide a state for the Palestinian people, but rather has been from the beginning to erase Israel from the map. This destructive intent is memorialized in the Hamas Charter, which unashamedly asks for the eradication of the State of Israel. This intent is also aligned with the Iranian leaders’ continuous entreaties to destroy Israel. An evaluation of relevant social media commentary in the Arab world demonstrates a genuine desire by many — if not most — of the Arab population to see the destruction of Israel and the killing not just of all Israeli Jews but of all Jews:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar:
I heard Allah’s Apostle [Muhammad] saying, “The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!’ ” — Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 791
2. The cause of the problem is NOT the land
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, several Arab nations were created by fiat. The Arab world accepted this without any problem, as these were Muslim-majority countries. Rejecting the state of Israel was related to the fact that it is a Jewish rather than a Muslim country. In fact, on several occasions I have asked Arab Muslims (including raising the point on Aljazeera TV) [See: 40:44 – 41:04] whether they would continue fighting Israel if its entire population converted to Islam. The answer is a unanimous “NO.” My answer to that is always, “Then the problem has nothing to do with the land, as many claim, but with the Jewishnessof the State of Israel.”
3. Delusional way of thinking
Delusions are defined as fixed beliefs that contradict reality. This way of thinking among many in the Arab world impedes any peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. For example, many in the Arab world strongly believe that the Jews are the cause of the economic collapse of nations. This idea is belied by the fact that when the Jewish community was a viable component of Egypt prior to 1952 revolution, the Egyptian economy was in far better condition than it was after President Nasser expelled the Jews from the country. Any rational person can see that if the Jews were the cause of the economic collapse of nations, the economy of Egypt should have improved significantly after they were kicked out of the country. Delusional people do not see (nor do they want to see) such logic
4. Inability of the Arab mind to admit its wrongdoings
Many in the Arab world falsely believe that Israel expelled all Arabs. In fact, there are nearly two million Israeli Arabs who live in Israel as citizens, making up 20% of the population. Many in the Arab world tend to ignore that it was the Arabs who expelled the Jews — in a humiliating way — from countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Algeria. Arabs’ failure to admit their own mistakes and crimes against their Jewish communities adds another obstacle to peaceful resolutions to the problem.
5. Conspiracy theories
Analysis of the Arab and Muslim media and honest evaluation of comments on social media in the Arab and Muslim world show that Arab street tends to believe that any problem that occurs in the Arab world must be an “Israeli conspiracy,” or, at very least, “It can’t be the Arabs’ fault!” For example, When, for example, sharks attacked several tourists at Egypt’s Red Sea coast in 2010, many Arabs, including officials, originally accused Israel of planning the attack. Shortly after that, Saudi Arabia detained a vulture on “charges” of spying for Israel. When rats were accused of being trained by Israelis to drive Arabs from the Old City of Jerusalem, the award-winning journalist Khaled Abu Toameh drily noted , “It is not clear how these rats were taught to stay away from Jews, who also happen to live in the Old City.”
Such terrible self-deception, which must stem from a feeling of supremacy (or inadequacy), and the shifting of blame for all problems in the Arab world onto Israel instead of admitting one’s own wrongdoings, have reached pathological and self-destructive levels in the Arab world.
6. Psychological projection
Psychological projection is a mental mechanism in which people defend themselves against unconscious impulses that they might consider unflattering or forbidden, by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who has wishes that he does not want to admit to, will accuse other people of having them, such as greed, bigotry or sexual urges that might frighten him — as a way of shifting the blame.
In this manner, despite the clear discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in most of the Arab and Muslim world (denying equal rights in church construction, for example), many in the Arab world point the finger only at Israel when they talk about discrimination.
It would be hard not mention in this context that the only place I have found discrimination in Israel was by Muslims, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where non-Muslims are not permitted to enter. (Sadly, because non-Muslims are seen as unclean). By contrast, I — with my Muslim background — was freely allowed to visit the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem without any objection from the Israeli authorities.
7. Unprecedented levels of antisemitism
Nothing better illustrates the level of antisemitism in the Muslim world more than the statement of Soad Saleh when she justified Muslims raping Jewish women to humiliate them. Soad Saleh is a well-known scholar at Al-Azhar University, the most reputable Islamic university in the world. She is actually considered by many in the Arab street to be “moderate”!
Not a single well-known Islamic scholar stood up against her evil views. She remains in her position at Al-Azhar University and was not punished at all.
Such barbaric views are not limited to people like Soad Saleh. Unfortunately, careful evaluation of social media comments on issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict shows beyond doubt that these beliefs are widespread in the Arab world.
It would be extremely difficult — perhaps impossible — to reach any peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict without first addressing this unrepentant antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world.
8. Lack of Pragmatism
Another factor that impedes any peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is a general lack of pragmatism in the Arab world. For example, despite the many economic benefits to Egypt from the peace treaty with Israel (such as the return of the Sinai Peninsula and renewed access to the Suez Canal, both of which were a boon to trade and tourism), many Egyptians and the Arab of other nations still reject and refuse to follow the peaceful path of President Anwar Sadat. Arab resistance to peace with the Jewish people, despite the economic gains that resulted from the Camp David Accords, was clearly demonstrated when tens of thousands of Egyptians attacked and burned the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.
This kind of unpragmatic approach to the problem will always be an obstacle to solving the conflict only via economic incentives.
9. Ideological Factors
The strong ideological belief held by many Muslims that they MUST fight the Jews before the end days, and kill all of them, is another major obstacle to achieving true peace in the Middle East. It is important to note that such a belief is mainly based on a Hadith of Prophet Mohamed rather than the Quran itself.
10. Lack of Reformed Understanding of Islam
Traditional interpretations of Islam tend to limit the verses that speak positively about Jews to the past and on the contrary generalize the verses that were critical of the Jews in specific situations.
For example, many Muslims see the following verse as limited to the past: “Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over mankind” (Quran 2: 122). By contrast, the verse that has been used to call all Jews “pigs and monkeys” was actually limited only to specific group among the Children of Israel who refused to obey the Torah in a particular situation at a particular time and place. Without going into sophisticated theological analysis, the main point is that if such verses are understood in a different way so that the first verse is not limited to the past and the second one is seen in it its historical context, Arab-Israeli relations would be much better today.
11. Education
While a bias against Jews starts at home — it is not as if this view appears only on the first day of school — children are fed a curriculum in much if the Arab and Muslim world that reinforces these prejudices. Saudi textbooks, for instance, while recently banning all influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, have not yet done the same for anti-Jewish, anti-Christian or anti-Sufi bias.
A Saudi textbook from 2016-2017, for instance, on Hadith (the sayings and actions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad), “baselessly alleges that Zionism aspires to world domination and a ‘global Jewish government.'” (Now that is projection: world domination is what Salafi Islam aspires to; Judaism does not).
Palestinian textbooks are basically no different. The European Union is currently funding a study into Palestinian textbooks, brought about by the findings of the non-governmental organization IMPACT-se, which found in May that “the new Palestinian school [material] for the 2018–19 academic year… was ‘more radical than those previously published.'”
“Most troubling,” the NGO reported, “there is a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in a more extensive and sophisticated manner…”
Meanwhile, no one is being educated for peace.
When we add onto all that the sad reality that Palestinian politicians are using the conflict to get billions of dollars in donations, we can understand why this conflict has so far not been solved.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid, the author of Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.