This has been a week. Nobody really knows where healthcare is headed, regardless of the crazy Pelosi who promised that the bill had to pass so everyone would know what it contained. Pass it did, but the truth is still very murky.
And then there is this quote from Bert Prelutsky:
“Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house inIsraelthan with Muslims building a nuclear bomb inIran."
There is so much news out there this week that we will attempt to dig through it and give you the gems.
3/30/2010 - Druze, Apples, IDF, NO Israel?
HAG SAMEACH (hag samek)
The phrase is in essence, Happy Holiday. This is Passover Week around the world.
In our Jerusalem neighborhood, it also means that the quiet is broken by a flood of neighbors. The apartment we rent is in a place where many of the places are owned by foreigners who only come for visits on the High Holidays, in particular Passover and Succoth or the Feast of Tabernacles.
During these days, the promenade is filled with families visiting and entertaining visitors. Their kids unlimber their bikes which have been stashed in storage rooms – or empty living rooms. Couples young and old, dressed in flower-children garbs of jeans, loose sweaters, sandals and a variety of hats or Hassidic couples in their traditional black suits and conservative dresses pour in and out. Laughter echoes off the high stone walls, and the security guards are more alert than usual.
Sadly, these days are also the times when terrorists want to kill the greatest numbers of Jews, as they did in March of 2002. The Passover massacre of the Park Hotel (in Netanya) was carried out by Hamas terrorists and claimed thirty dead and one hundred-forty injured.
These are more peaceful days, much to the credit of Israel’s great security forces as anything, but still, the times are more relaxed.
Every year, thousands of Jews from around the world travel to Israel to celebrate Passover. During the Passover and Easter holidays, which overlap this year, Israel’s tourism ministry expects more than 105,000 tourists to arrive – roughly 17 percent more than in 2009.
Passover begins at sundown on Monday (March 29) and lasts seven days in Israel and eight days everywhere else. Easter is April 4. For centuries, Jews have concluded the Passover service by proclaiming, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Only since 1967, when Israel won full control of Jerusalem in a defensive war, have Jews been able to celebrate Passover freely in all of Jerusalem. Since then all religions have had free, open and secure passage to their holy sites in Jerusalem.
The Israel Airports Authority estimates that Passover passenger traffic at Ben Gurion International Airport will be 17 percent higher this year than during the same period last year.
Additionally, in response to the British Airways cabin crew strike, Israeli airline El Al has added seven extra flights between London Luton Airport and Tel Aviv between March 22 and March 27.
Passover is one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar and begins with a festive meal, the seder, on the eve of the first day of the holiday. During that time, the biblical account of the Israelites’ release from slavery in Egypt is recounted in detail. Throughout the holiday, unleavened bread, or matzah, is eaten instead of traditional bread in accordance with what the Bible says the Israelites ate when they escaped from Egypt.
Security in Israel will be heightened during Passover, as is common during Jewish holidays when terrorist organizations often increase their efforts to perpetrate attacks against Israelis. Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued its annual pre-Passover travel advisory on Feb. 14, warning Israelis traveling abroad in more than 30 countries that they face an increased risk of abduction and attack by terrorist organizations.
One of the worst attacks carried out by terrorists in more than three decades occurred on the first night of Passover in 2002, when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 30 people as they gathered for the festive seder meal in the Park Hotel in the city of Netanya. Two years later, in October 2004, Palestinian terrorists targeted Israeli tourists vacationing in resorts in the Sinai in Egypt during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. A total of 34 people were killed in the attacks, including 12 Israelis.
As Jews around the world prepare to celebrate their ancestors’ freedom from slavery in Egypt and their return to the Land of Israel, the following information outlines the much more recent – but less widely known – exodus of Jews from Arab and Muslim lands since the establishment of the modern State of Israel.(Courtesy of our friends at The Israel Project.)
Parallel to Passover is Easter for Christians. We see the Passover story in Exodus as being a prophecy of the coming Messiah, whose shed blood on the cross is foretold in the blood of the Passover lamb that was applied to the door posts.
The Passover Lamb protected the Jews from the death angel as the Messiah’s shed blood protects the believer from death and eternity in Hell.
In Israel, the 15-30,000 Jewish believers in Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour will celebrate both the Passover and Resurrection Day. Both demonstrate the love of God for those who will believe Him and follow His instructions for salvation.
GET READY FOR TAXES
The brilliant Charles Krauthammer writes about his prediction on a new tax. Remember that you heard it from hizzoner.
March 26, 2010 12:00 A.M.
The VAT Cometh
This massive new entitlement needs a cash cow.
As the night follows the day, the VAT cometh.
With the passage of Obamacare, which created a vast new middle-class entitlement, a national sales tax of the kind almost universal in Europe is inevitable.
We are now $8 trillion in debt. The Congressional Budget Office projects that another $12 trillion will be added over the next decade. Obamacare, when stripped of its budgetary gimmicks — the unfunded $200 billion–plus doctor fix, the double-counting of Medicare cuts, the ten-six sleight-of-hand (counting ten years of revenue and only six years of outflows) — is, at minimum, a $2 trillion new entitlement.
The Full Article Here: http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE59E0Q920091015
GUN BAN, NOT BY LEGISLATION BUT BY TREATY!!
Read the following carefully. For years the UN has wanted to ban firearms worldwide. Only the Bush Administration’s opposition kept it from growing legs.
Now, of course, the “un-Bush” Obamanistas are in charge, and so the Europeans and UN are to be bowed to like they were a Muslim potentate.
U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto.
The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush's administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better.
On Wednesday Obama Took the First Major Step in a Plan to Ban All Firearms in the United States. The Obama administration intends to force gun control and a complete ban on all weapons for US citizens through the signing of international treaties with foreign nations. By signing international treaties on gun control, the Obama administration can use the US State Department to bypass the normal legislative process in Congress. Once the US Government signs these international treaties, all US citizens will be subject to those gun laws created by foreign governments. These are laws that have been developed and promoted by organizations such as the United Nations and individuals such as George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. The laws are designed and intended to lead to the complete ban and confiscation of all firearms.
The Obama administration is attempting to use tactics and methods of gun control that will inflict major damage to our 2nd Amendment before US citizens even understand what has happened.
Obama can appear before the public and tell them that he does not intend to pursue any legislation (in the United States) that will lead to new gun control laws, while cloaked in secrecy, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is committing the US to international treaties and foreign gun control laws. Does that mean Obama is telling the truth? What it means is that there will be no publicized gun control debates in the media or votes in Congress. We will wake up one morning and find that the United States has signed a treaty that prohibits firearm and ammunition manufacturers from selling to the public. We will wake up another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that prohibits any transfer of firearm ownership. And then, we will wake up yet another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that requires US citizens to deliver any firearm they own to the local government collection and destruction center or face imprisonment.
This is not a joke nor a false warning. As sure as government health care will be forced on us by the Obama administration through whatever means necessary, so will gun control.
“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”
THE SKINNY KID HAS CHOKED AGAIN
For a long time now, in speeches and articles I have maintained that our president is similar to a skinny, big-eared kid standing beside a basketball court where the big boys play. He wants to be accepted, so he will step-and-fetch-it for the worst thugs in the neighborhood, just to be accepted.
Hillary has been mocked and abused by the Russians, the North Koreans are flexing their muscles even more by putting nukes in Syria, Iran, and other places we sure don’t want them.
And now the feeling among those inside the beltway is that Obama has reconciled himself to a nuclear Iran.
The JPost editorial staff put together a very interesting read on what happened with Bibi’s visit to the White House recently.
I think you might find it worth your time.
'Obama resigned to nuclear Iran'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Former UN envoy Bolton says Washington pressuring Israel not to strike nuke facilities.
Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton expressed concern Sunday that Washington was coming to terms with a nuclear Iran.
“I very much worry the Obama administration is willing to accept a nuclear Iran, that's why there's this extraordinary pressure on Israel not to attack in Iran,” Bolton told Army Radio.
The former envoy claimed that this pressure was the focus of last week's meetings in Washington between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US officials, including President Barack Obama.
Bolton said that the Obama administration had embraced the view, prevalent in Europe, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the key to the resolution of all other conflicts throughout the Middle East, including the Iranian conflict.
He added that the rift in US-Israel relations stemmed from a fundamental difference in the understanding of the Middle East and Israel's role in the Middle East, and is not really about east Jerusalem at all.
Bolton said that the treatment Netanyahu received during his visit "should tell the people of Israel how difficult it's going to be dealing with Washington for the next couple of years."
On Saturday, meanwhile, The New York Times reported that international inspectors and Western intelligence agencies suspect that Teheran is preparing to build more sites in defiance of United Nations demands.
According to the report, half a year after the revelation of a secret Iranian nuclear enrichment site northeast of Qom the UN inspectors assigned to monitor Iran’s nuclear program are now searching for evidence of two such sites, prompted by Israeli assessments as well as by recent comments by a top Iranian official that drew little attention in the West.
The paper said that the inspectors were looking into a mystery about the whereabouts of recently manufactured uranium enrichment equipment.
In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency, the official, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ordered work to begin soon on two new plants. The plants, he said, “will be built inside mountains,” presumably to protect them from attacks.
“God willing,” Mr. Salehi was quoted as saying, “we may start the construction of two new enrichment sites” in the Iranian new year, which began March 21.
One European official noted to the Times that “while we have some evidence,” Iran’s heavy restrictions on where inspectors can travel and the existence of numerous tunneling projects were making the detection of any new enrichment plants especially difficult.
The paper went on to quote American officials as saying that Israel had "pressed the case" with their American counterparts that evidence points to what one senior administration official called “Qom lookalikes.”
The revelation that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, now believe that there may be two new sites comes at a crucial moment in the White House’s attempts to impose tough new sanctions against Iran, the Times report added.
Now consider this… the bunker-buster bombs that Obama sidelined to keep Israel from having them become even more important.
But, we have this itch that won’t go away that the Israelis will not be deterred by this. They have a lot of friends in the US arms establishment and in other places. Even Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia quiver at a nuclear Iran.
While they won’t have the guts to act, they will do what they can below the surface to assist Israel when the time comes to dump explosives onto the sites in Iran.
APPLES, SCUDS AND A COMMON CROSSING
In our Traveling Israel with Your Bible, we have a blurb from Fodor’s about the Druze.
"Distinct from the Muslims, although their religionis said to be an offshoot of Islam, are over 500,000 Druze, a fierce group of mountaindwellers in the Galilee and Golan. Part of a larger community spread through Syriaand Lebanon and known for their bravery on the battlefield, their men are drafted, like Jews, into the armyand often serve with distinction. Their religion teaches that they be loyal to whichever nation they call home. In Israel their firm allegiance to the Statehas been tested in recent years as a result of the war in Lebanon when Druzesoldiersfrom Israel sometimes found themselves in confrontation with the Druze of Lebanon. Furthermore, in the Golan communities there is the added pressure of wondering if their land will ever become a part of Syria and call for a change in loyalties.
"Intriguingly, the Druzereligion, which apparently began in the 10th century AD, is secret and only chosen members are introduced to all its mysteries. What is known is that they revere Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, and make a yearly pilgrimage to his tomb in the Galilee. With sweeping mustaches for the men and gauzy white headscarves for the women, they make up one of Israel's more colorful groups."
(Mike Rogoff, ed., Fodor's Israel, (New York: Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc., 1988), 24)
In a briefing by the UN officer in charge of the Syrian-Israel border a couple of years ago, we were told of all the exchanges between Druze in Israel, Lebanon and Syria.
The Golan Heights Druze as well as those below Haifa grow some very tasty apples. In fact we stopped at a restaurant in a Druze village for a briefing by some of the Druze leaders and were treated to a magnificent apple desert full of cinnamon and other spices, and a cup of their tar-black coffee. On that chilly day, it was too good for words.
Quneitra (Ernie Moore)
Golan IDF Base (Ernie Moore)
Now Yaakov Katz offers an up close look at the Quneitra crossing.
A fragile calm
By YAAKOV KATZ
Jerusalem and Damascus may not speak, but the Quneitra crossing works 24/7 to shuttle people and produce across the border.
Spring is in the air and the Golan Heights is in bloom. Its mountains and pastures – painted a bright green – are filled with grazing cows, Jewish cowboys and tourists from around the world.
The silence is broken by a tank or artillery shell, fired by IDF soldiers training on some distant field. Overhead, the occasional military transport helicopter flies by.
To the north, one takes in a clear view of the Hermon, still lined with streaks of snow, giving off the impression that we are in Switzerland, not the volatile Middle East.
But underneath the seemingly tranquil atmosphere is a feeling of tension along the Israeli-Syrian border, which until just a month ago appeared to be on the verge of erupting. It was then, that during a tour of the northern border, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that peace talks with Damascus were critical for Israeli security. Otherwise, he warned, a full-blown war was possible.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem’s response was immediate. “Israel knows that if it declares war on Syria, such a war will reach its cities,” he threatened.
In response, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that in the event of a war with Israel “not only will you lose the war, but you and your family will no longer be in power.”
Behind the Israeli declarations was a growing concern within the defense establishment that Syria was planning to transfer advanced weapons to Hizbullah.
Amidst the threats exchanged between the sides, in early March, a few dozen trucks made their way from the Druse villages of Majdal Shams and Mas’ada to the Quneitra crossing between Israel and Syria. Arriving at the crossing, the trucks unloaded 10,000 tons of apples – mostly golden delicious – which were then loaded onto the backs of Red Cross (ICRC) trucks and ferried across the border into Syria, where they made their way to “souqs” – old marketplaces – throughout the country.
Several months earlier, in September 2009, 550 Druse residents of the Golan traversed the Quneitra crossing into Syria for a five-day trip, which included a visit to the tomb of the Prophet Habil, the biblical Abel, located southwest of Damascus. Coordinated between the IDF, the Red Cross and the Israeli and Syrian interior ministries, this was the 14th crossing of its kind in as many years, and included a larger number of pilgrims than had taken part in previous visits.
This is not to mention the 200 Druse students – most of whom study medicine, dentistry and engineering – who annually pass through the Quneitra crossing to attend Syrian universities. They are allowed to return to Israel every few months, where they usually end up settling down after receiving their degrees.
“The Druse who study in Syria are no different than Russian doctors who make aliya to Israel,” explained one senior IDF officer. “After getting their degree, they return to Israel, take a test, get certified and then can work here.”
There is also the occasional Druse bride who leaves Israel via the Quneitra crossing to marry a family member in Syria, a story depicted in the award-winning 2004 film The Syrian Bride.
WHILE ISRAEL and Syria are still officially at a state of war, the Quneitra crossing works around the clock, serving as the only means of communication, even if indirect, between the countries.
The crossing’s history dates back to the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Following the war, throughout which Israel held onto the Golan Heights – which it had conquered during the 1967 Six Day War – the United Nations established the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which set up headquarters along the border and began enforcing the Security Council-imposed ceasefire.
In order to facilitate its work, UNDOF required a crossing that would allow it to move freely between Israel and Syria, as it maintains bases and outposts in both countries. This is how the Quneitra crossing was born. Its name is derived from its location, just a stones-throw away from the ruins of the city Quneitra, located in Syria, just northwest of the crossing.
A popular tourist site, Syria has purposely left the city of Quneitra in ruins – it was largely destroyed during the Yom Kippur War – and built a museum to memorialize its destruction and Israel’s aggression.
UNDOF mans more than 40 outposts and patrols an 80-kilometer long, 10-km. wide buffer zone running from Lebanon to Jordan. This zone splits the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria, with the Israeli border known as “Line Alpha” – the original armistice line – and the Syrian border known as “Line Bravo.”
Consisting of three battalions, UNDOF is comprised by Japanese, Polish, Austrian, Indian and Filipino soldiers. The commanding officer is Major-General Natalio C. Ecarma from the Philippines, who was appointed to the post by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on February 1.
UNDOF also maintains “areas of limitation” – some running 35-km. deep into Israel and Syria – in which the two countries are only allowed to deploy agreed-upon numbers of troops and weaponry. Ecarma and his men conduct periodic inspections within these areas and go base-to-base counting the number of tanks, soldiers and weapons each side has amassed.
Today, the Israeli side of the crossing sits directly on Line Alpha and consists of a few small, dilapidated structures which are occupied by soldiers and customs officers. Fifty meters beyond this and past a yellow gate – which is opened and closed by a soldier from the Military Police – is the UNDOF side of the crossing. Another 50 meters down the road is already the Syrian side.
FOLLOWING ITS establishment, the crossing was used strictly by UNDOF officers, dozens of whom cross through daily, transferring supplies, vehicles and sometimes ammunition. But in recent years, the crossing has taken on a humanitarian role, helping the Druse population in the Israeli Golan Heights.
“The crossing was created to provide a service for the UN officers,” explains Col. Eshkol Shukran, commander of the IDF’s Golan Brigade, which is responsible for Israel’s border with Syria, including the Quneitra crossing.
[EDM: Interestingly this colonel’s last name is the Arabic word for “thank you.”]
A native of northern Israel, Shukran has held several posts in the IDF that focus on Hizbullah and Syria. He grew up in the Golani Brigade and climbed the ranks, serving in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 as deputy commander of Brigade 769, which was responsible for the eastern sector of southern Lebanon, including Mount Dov.
In early 2009 he was appointed commander of the Golan Brigade, a position which he says requires a high degree of vigilance and restraint.
“The crossing is important since it helps Israel provide for the humanitarian needs of its citizens,” he explains.
The best example is the transfer of apples to Syria, an initiative that began in 2004.
Following complaints by Druse farmers that the Israeli market was already flooded with domestically-grown apples, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry decided to allow the sale of apples to Syria, a move that has enabled Druse farmers to successfully sell their produce, which would otherwise go to waste at stands throughout the North.
In addition, the farmers can sell their apples at a higher price, since the Syrian market is less competitive; and, Syria is able to show its loyalty to the Druse, many of whom still hold onto their Syrian citizenship.
IN 2009, a cumulative 18,000 UN cars, 700 students, 43,000 UN soldiers and 550 Druse sheikhs crossed through Quneitra.
Responsible for coordinating all of these crossings is Maj. Uzi Maor, the IDF’s liaison officer at the Quneitra crossing. A former military intelligence officer, Maor says that his job mostly entails “coordinating different interests” – Israeli, UN and Syrian.
“Our job is to find mutual interests and to work to advance them,” he says.
This has not always been easy considering that Syria believes Israel is illegally occupying the Golan Heights and as a result refuses to meet with Israeli officers in face-to-face meetings like the ones UNIFIL – the UN force in Lebanon – holds every month in Naquora between the IDF and the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Nevertheless, except for the occasional incident, Israel’s border with Syria is the quietest of all its borders, though drug smuggling has become a growing problem. Last year, the IDF confiscated several dozen kilograms of heroin along the border.
The last terror-related incident along the border occurred in January 2009, on the sidelines of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, when a Syrian military officer suddenly opened fire on an IDF patrol. No one was hurt in the shooting and the IDF returned fire.
But despite the seemingly open border crossing, relations between Israel and Syria are far from peaceful, and defense officials in Israel regularly warn of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s membership in the so-called Iranian-led “axis of evil.” Syria is the main supplier of weaponry to Hizbullah and is home to top Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.
Israel has also become increasingly concerned with the construction taking place on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. The Syrians are in the midst of building seven different villages right along the border. The IDF fears that the villages, whose construction intensified following the 2006 Lebanon War, will be used as “death traps” for IDF troops in future Hizbullah-inspired attacks.
As the IDF understands, Syria drew three major lessons from the Lebanon War. The first was that missiles – 4,000 struck northern Israel during the 33 days of fighting in 2006 – can paralyze the Israeli home front. The second is that anti-tank missiles can penetrate the IDF’s Merkava battle tank and force infantry units to abandon armored personnel carriers and trek into enemy territory on foot. And the third is that the Israel Air Force’s superior capabilities are limited in villages and cities where IDF ground forces can also be toppled.
SINCE ITS defeat in 1973, Syria has been investing in missile development. According to Western security sources, Syria now has the ability to independently manufacture Scud missiles, of which it has an arsenal of several hundred, deployed just north of the demilitarized zone in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights.
A division of some 10,000 troops is responsible for operating the missiles, which include an isolated number of Scud-Ds, with a range of 700 kilometers and said to be capable of carrying non-conventional warheads. According to foreign sources, its missiles are stored in bunkers in various locations, but most are located in a valley near the city of Hama, where the Syrians have also built a missile assembly facility.
Syria has a massive military, with 12 divisions and close to 400,000 soldiers at full mobilization. One of the divisions is made up of 10,000 elite commando units – a formidable force that would serve as Syria’s first line in an offensive against the IDF. Since the Lebanon War, the Syrians have established additional commando units, armed with Russian-made advanced anti-tank missiles, and are even said to have increased urban and guerrilla warfare training for troops.
The IDF has taken note of increased training on the Syrian side as well as the fortification of various military positions. This is without mentioning Syria’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities, which ended in Israel’s bombing of the nuclear reactor in 2007.
While the IDF does not believe that Syria is currently interested in war, the defense establishment is concerned that in the event of an American or Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear reactors, Syria would feel compelled to retaliate against Israel on Teheran’s behalf.
In addition, the IDF is concerned that Syria might be considering sending a small force of commandos across the border to take hold of an Israeli site and conduct negotiations for the release of hostages, with the aim of putting the Golan Heights on the global agenda.
Since taking up his post three years ago, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has been a major proponent of peace talks with Syria. He silently backed the last government’s indirect peace talks with the Syrians in Turkey and has said on more than one occasion that in his opinion a peace treaty with Syria could have a positive ripple effect through the region by helping to isolate Iran and stabilize Lebanon.
[EDM: We happen to agree with Gen. Ashkenazi. Syria and Israel could both profit from peace talks, seriously done. It would likely mean transfer of at least part of the Golan back to Syria, and interestingly, the “settlers,” there, primarily kibbutzniks, are divided almost in half on whether to give the Golan back.]
Currently in the throes of a profound economic crisis – Syria is running out of crude oil and Assad recently rejected an offer to sign an economic agreement with the European Union that would have boosted foreign investments – the Israeli defense establishment believes that billions of dollars in aid from Europe and the United States could also be instrumental in pushing Bashar Assad back toward the West.
The objective behind the IDF’s desire to make peace with Syria has changed over the past few decades and is no longer just about preventing war with Israel’s neighbor to the North – it is now based on the belief that peace with Syria would isolate Iran and increase the effectiveness of diplomatic efforts to stop Teheran’s nuclear build-up.
With the right assurances, peace could also mean the cutting off of weaponry supplies to Hamas and Hizbullah, two Iranian proxies that currently enjoy full Syrian support.
This, however, is all pending political decisions in Jerusalem and Damascus. Until any sort of agreement is reached, the Quneitra crossing will continue to serve as the only line of communication between Syria and the state of Israel.
US researchers postulate Israeli tactical nuclear strike on Iran
DEBKAfile Special Report March 28, 2010, 11:30 PM (GMT+02:00)
We wrote recently about the uneven-handedness in Israel’s dealing with Arab neighborhoods and towns as opposed to Israeli ones. Perhaps the government is getting the message.
March 18, 2010 Israel Today Staff
Israel approves plan to boost Arab towns
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday signed off on a plan to invest $215 million in 10 Israeli Arab towns over the next five years.
The plan, put forward by Israel's Ministry for Minority Affairs, will see significant upgrades in infrastructure, transportation and building development, as well as investment in occupational development.
Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman said the plan was evidence that rather than oppress its minorities, as many claim, "Israel's government sees the importance of giving equal civil rights to Israeli Arabs."
The towns chosen for the project are Nazareth, Shfaram, Sakhnin, Umm al-Fahm, Qalansuwa, Maghar, Tamra, Tira, Kfar Kassem and Rahat.
LABOR’S BARAK SOUNDS TOUGH
The most decorated Israeli soldier ever, Ehud Barak is not at the head of the military as Defense Minister. He plays an important part in the Netanyahu government, and has to balance siding with the PM against pleasing the liberals in his party.
For years all military officers in Israel were Labor Party members when they retired. Then Ari Sharon upset that apple cart and joined Menachem Begin and played an integral part in the forming of a larger more comprehensive Likud Party. It cost him dearly with his military counterparts.
Recently Barak has some things to say I believe will interest you.
Israel, the United States, and the Military Option against Iran,
Shalom, Zaki and Schachter, Jonathan
In a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on February 26, 2010, Defense Minister Ehud Barak made extensive reference to Iran, its attempts to obtain nuclear capabilities, and the policy ramifications for the major powers and Israel towards Iran. Despite a certain measure of opacity in his address, Barak did make some unequivocal statements of interest. These express the situation assessment prevalent in Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear goal and the gaps between Israel and the American administration and their implications from Israel’s perspective.What followsare highlights:
a. Iran is a threat challenging not only Israel but also the entire international community. It is hard to imagine a stable world order with a nuclear Iran. Iran is attempting to “defy, deceive, and deter” the entire world with its nuclear ambitions and gain time in order to attain military nuclear capabilities.
b. Iran’s objective is not merely the construction of a “Manhattan project-like crude nuclear device.” Its goal is to skip to the “second or second and a half generation” of nuclear warheads that can be mounted on surface-to-surface missiles with ranges covering not only Israel but also Moscow and Paris.
c. A nuclear Iran will lead to the elimination of the non-proliferation regime. Saudi Arabia, and perhaps another state or two in the region, will also feel obligated to acquire nuclear capabilities of their own. At a later stage this might lead to third-tier dictators acting in the same manner.
d. The model Iran looks to is that of Pakistan rather than that of North Korea. The meaning of this distinction is almost certainly that Iran strives for a solid nuclear capability based on a large number of nuclear warheads and the capacity for launching them at remote targets rather than on single launchers for purposes of show.
e. These circumstances obligate adoption of a clear policy toward Iran before it manages to realize its nuclear ambitions. Such a policy must be “intensive, concrete and conclusive.”
f. There is real activity aimed at instituting sanctions against Iran. The severity of these sanctions – from “targeted," to "hurting," "crippling," and "paralyzing" – remains unclear. Israel prefers the most severe option.
g. Israel will not deny its own responsibility or enter into a cycle of self-delusion and turn a blind eye to what is happening right before it. Therefore, it recommends not removing any option – i.e., the military option – from the table.
Barak’s statements suggest a gap between US and Israeli perspectives on Iran’s nuclear activity, in terms of its significance and severity. The United States, so it seems from Barak’s address, can live with a nuclear Iran – despite its declarations to the contrary. Israel, by contrast, cannot accept such a reality. In any event, Israel must first and foremost see to its own existential interests, even to the point of not coordinating its every move with the American administration.
Barak and other senior Israeli government figures have presumably transmitted similar messages, if not even more unequivocal ones, to senior personnel in the administration. The visible result is that Israel has succeeded in convincing the administration that its threat of a unilateral move against Iran is a credible one. If so, this constitutes an impressive Israeli strategic achievement and implies that the American administration assumes that Israel has first, sufficient military capability in order to create a real threat to Iran’s nuclear project, and second, the requisite determination to carry this option out. This means that Israel’s threats to attack Iran do not only express a tactic of “hold me back” intended to force the administration to take aggressive measures against Iran; rather, it is necessary to relate to Israel’s threats as having a high degree of credibility.
This assessment explains the sequential visits of senior American administration personnel to Israel in recent months:
a. CIA director Leon Panetta visited Israel in May 2009 and again in January 2010.
b. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen has visited Israel three times since assuming his post, most recently in March 2010 at the height of the extensive US ground offensive in Afghanistan.
c. President Obama’s national security advisor, Jim Jones, visited Israel in July 2009 and again in January 2010.
d. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, visited Israel in February 2010. He spoke explicitly about the administration’s intention of preventing an Israeli attack against Iran.
e. Similarly motivated, Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel in early March 2010.
The officials' meetings in Israel complement the many meetings held by senior Israeli personnel in the United States, including Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
At the same time, this strategic achievement on Israel’s part creates great expectations regarding a military action against Iran. Should it emerge – as is likely – that the efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear activity have failed, Israel will find it difficult to avoid acting. Absent any unusual circumstances, an Israeli avoidance of fulfilling its threats against Iran is liable to damage the nation’s credibility and deterrent capability.
INSS - The Institute for National Security Studies
The Real Issue Is…
Elimination of ALL of Israel, not who controls the West Bank.
The above photo is of a plaque in the office of a television station owner in Bethlehem. Notice that there is no Israel.
TEMPLE MOUNT NEWS
I spoke yesterday (Monday) with a friend who was in Israel when the dust up occurred. They were in the Davidson Archeological Park on the south west and southern wall of the Temple Mount.
As their guide was teaching, suddenly there were the popping of gas canisters and then a bit later shots being fired atop the mount. Their guide was very nervous and wanted to get them out of there. As my friend said it, “We didn’t want to leave. We wanted to listen.”
Everywhere we speak there is tremendous interest in the Temple Mount, the 3rd Temple and End Times prophecy.
We actually have developed a series on the subject that we recently preached.
There are reports that the “new” Sanhedrin has plans to sacrifice a Passover lamb. Actually if they did it it would have happened already. My research causes me to doubt the integrity of the whole thing. I won’t go in to it all here, but perhaps when we lecture somewhere I can develop my reasons.
Now a group in Jerusalem has bought advertising posters for the sides of buses that run through East Jerusalem. It will serve only one purpose: to incite fury among the Arab population in that part of the city. See below:
Bus posters replace Al-Aqsa with temple
Rightist group posts ads on buses in Jerusalem calling to build third temple in place of mosque
Two hundred Egged buses were plastered with posters Sunday that call for the construction of the third temple "quickly and in our time". The posters carry a drawing of Temple Mount without the mosques situated there.
The posters were made by an extreme right-wing group called Eretz Israel Shelanu (Our Land of Israel), headed by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo and Baruch Marzel.
Build the Temple Quickly and In our Time
3rd Temple Mount Poster
Despite the negative emotions the campaign has stirred up in the capital's non-Jewish sectors, Rabbi Wolpo told Ynet, "The people of Israel look forward on Passover to the construction of the temple and the coming if the messiah.
"The Arabs and US President Barack Obama know that the third temple will be established at Temple Mount and that the mosque is there temporarily."
It was the second time the drawing had appeared in public in integrated cities. Two weeks ago an unknown person distributed Passover haggadahs sporting a drawing of Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock removed to kindergartens and other locations in Jaffa.
In place of the mosque was a model of the temple. The haggadahs sparked anger among the Arab residents of the city and Kamel Agbaria, chairman of the Ajami neighborhood council, said, "I hope someone will stop those who are inciting in time, so that the already tense situation won’t boil over."
The news out of Moscow is that female Chechen homicide bombers are responsible for blowing up some of the subway system in Moscow.
While we are never in favor of terrorism, it is no doubt payback for all the years of Russia’s funding, training and arming terrorists under the guise of “freedom fighters.”
I well remember Robert Mugabe’s national liberation army murdering Christian missionaries in the name of freedom. Funded in part by Russia, and also by the National Council of Churches I was furious. When the NCC was confronted by their part in the murder of missionaries, the disingenuous answer was that they were only buying food and medical supplies for the terrorists. As if that didn’t leave other funds for the tools of murder!
In the 16th century Chechnya converted to Islam. The old USSR kept a lid on territorial divisions, but when that broke up, the pot boiled over and the mass killings got worse and worse. Russia has actually had two wars with the country since 1994.
Putin says he will wipe out the terrorists, and no doubt he will kill piles of people in his retribution. That he will not stop the conflict goes without saying.
It is disappointing to me that our President would treat Israel’s PM like a rag picker, while bowing to our enemies and surrendering more and more territory.
For all his “go for it” rhetoric, about the only people he really seems willing to stand up to are our allies, and conservatives in America. But then, we should not be shocked. He ran on the platform of socialism, and too many people voted for him for a garden variety of liberal and liberated reasons.
HAPPY EASTER and Happy Passover
It is our sincere wish that whether you celebrate one or both holidays, it will be a blessed time for you and yours.
Thanks again, for your love, friendship, support and loyalty to our work.
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
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