Tuesday, June 30, 2009
As a friend of ours once said: Want to know if we're being welcomed home? Walk through Machaneh Yehudah!
Moshav Mishmeret Farm N.o 9 40695
Tel: +972-9-7965990 | Fax: +972-9-7963273
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Gadi Taub concerned by Israeli elite’s shift from solidarity-based identity to individualism
A people that has realized its right for self-determination and that lives in a state that gives expression to its identity sometimes forgets how life looks without realizing this right. Such people finds it difficult to remember how relevant this right – which is collective in essence – is for one’s personal life.
Here’s a reminder taken from a biographical tale of a woman I never met. I saw her recorded testimonial at the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv. She described the feeling she experienced when she boarded an illegal immigration ship before Israel’s establishment, and spotted a sign reading “Entrance” above the door.
An Israel-born individual may find it difficult to guess what is so touching here. Something symbolic perhaps? An entrance into a new world? A different future? An entrance into one’s home? No, none of the above.
What amazed this woman and truly left her breathless, she said, was the public, functional usage of Hebrew. She never saw Hebrew letters of this size, that is, part of the public sphere. Up until that moment, Hebrew for her was a language written in small, private letters; an embarrassing text that must be hidden.
This simple experience comprises a deep Zionist insight: There is no such thing as private self-determination. Privatizing identity undermines the individual, rather than liberate him. This is why the dreams of emancipation failed - because there is no such thing as being Jewish at your own home, and just a “regular person” in the outside world. If you cannot be Jewish upon leaving your home, it means you are not a free man.
Part of the shift undergone by Israel’s elite from a world premised on values of solidarity to a world of individualist values manifests itself through the rejection of this deep insight. The new liberal elite offers us a different, privatized perception of identity. In its view, identity will not be shared by the collective, but rather, the opposite is true; a unique mixture each one of us will be formulating for ourselves. It will be a sort of colorful puzzle that each one of us creates privately.
Each one of us will travel through the great supermarket of various identity components (professional, gender-based, ethnic, religious, and folkloristic) while being free to build our own unique and one-time identity; an identity that would only belong to us. This is the only way, they tell us, to safeguard the private realm against public coercion. This is the only way to complement political freedom (protected by civil rights) by cultural freedom (which is the possibility to choose one’s identity.)
Yet this is no new freedom, but rather, old slavery. This is not a case of protecting the individual against collective tyranny, but rather, it is the ancient ban on Jews to step out from their homes as Jews. This is a case of going back to the emancipation that offered “Jews as individuals” everything while offering “Jews as a collective” nothing.
Emancipation did not fail coincidently. It failed because it privatized what is in essence public; because it deprived people of what it seemingly gave them. It granted Jews partnership in the right for self-determination, as long as they don’t define themselves as they see fit.
This entire mess can be undone via a small sign that reads “Entrance” in Hebrew. And not because of the metaphorical meaning seen by an Israeli-born person such as myself, but rather, because of the absence of such meaning; because for all of us it’s simple, functional, natural, and taken for granted that our public sphere needs to be managed in Hebrew.
Gadi Taub is an Israeli author, historian, and op-ed columnist.
The Ayalon Institute presents the story of a secret factory that manufactured ammunition, built underneath a limestone hill. On the surface it was used for training groups of young people (garinim) for Kibbutz life. It was built and operated during the years 1946-1948. Established by the "Haganah", the largest Jewish underground movement during the British Mandate. This factory would develop into what is today called IMI (Israel Military Industries) or "TAAS". This special clandestine factory was prepared secretly in less than a month, 8 meters (25 feet) underground. Its openings were covered by a 10 ton oven and a large washing machine that camouflaged the noise of manufacturing bullets. The Ayalon institute was the largest IMI factory to operate underground and produced over 2,500,000 9mm bullets mostly for Sten guns during its three years of operation
Visit upon request only
Kiryat Ha-Mada, Rechovot, 76326
Giv’at Ha-Kibbutzim, near industrial park T.M.R.
"With her and [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak you can make history," Sarkozy told Netanyahu, according to a Monday night report on Israel TV's Channel 2 News. "I have always accepted Israeli foreign ministers, and I loved to have Tzipi Livni here at the Elysee [Palace], but with [Lieberman] I can't." The French leader allegedly also made a dismissive hand gesture when mentioning the Israeli Foreign Minister. Livni, he added, made a strategic mistake in refusing to join Netanyahu's cabinet.
Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau, a leader in Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu party, reacted to the Channel 2 report on Tuesday morning in an interview on IDF Radio."It's difficult for me to believe that a leader of a friendly country could make such remarks," Landau said, "but were I the Prime Minister, and such comments were made in my presence, I would bang on the table and object. That's how a prime minister should conduct himself to defend his country's honor."
MK Ahmed Tibi of the Arab nationalist Ra'am-Ta'al party had a very different reaction. "The international community has started to absorb the danger of the fascism being taught by Lieberman," he said.
And how would Nicolas Sarkozy answer someone similiar to MK Ahmed Tibi?
If living in France bothers some people, they should feel free to leave a country they don't like.
UMP meeting 22 April 2007.
June 30, 2009
The wonders of evolution:
Desert rhubarb - a self-irrigating plant
*Researchers from the University of Haifa-Oranim have managed to decipher
the unique self-watering mechanism of this plant in the Negev desert, which
harvests 16 times more water than other plants in the region*
Researchers from the Department of Science Education-Biology at the
University of Haifa-Oranim have managed to make out the "self-irrigating"
mechanism of the desert rhubarb, which enables it to harvest 16 times the
amount of water than otherwise expected for a plant in this region based on
the quantities of rain in the desert. This is the first example of a
self-irrigating plant worldwide.
The desert rhubarb grows in the mountains of Israel's Negev desert, where
average precipitation is particularly low (75 mm per year). Unlike most of
the other desert plant species, which have small leaves so as to minimize
moisture loss, this plant is unique in that its leaves are particularly
large; each plant's rosette of one to four leaves reaches a total diameter
of up to one meter. Prof. Simcha Lev-Yadun, Prof. Gidi Ne'eman and Prof.
Gadi Katzir came across this unique plant growing in the desert while
studying the field area with students of the Department of Science
Education-Biology of the University of Haifa-Oranim, and noticed that its
leaves are unusually large and covered with a waxy cuticle. They observed an
exceptionally ridged structure on each leaf, forming a leaf structure that
resembles the habitat's mountainous topography.
The scientists explained that these deep and wide depressions in the leaves
create a "channeling" mountain-like system by which the rain water is
channeled toward the ground surrounding the plant's deep root. Other desert
plants simply suffice with the rain water that penetrates the ground in its
The findings have shown that the natural selection process has resulted in
the evolution of this plant's extremely large leaves, which improved its
ability to survive in the arid climate of the desert. The results of
experiments and analysis of the plant's growth - in an area with an average
annual rainfall of 75 mm - showed that the desert rhubarb is able to harvest
quantities of water that are closer to that of Mediterranean plants,
reaching up to 426 mm per year. This is 16 times the amount of water
harvested by the small-leafed plants of the Negev desert region. When the
research team watered the plant artificially, they observed how the water
flows along the course of the leave's depressed veins to the ground
surrounding the plant's single root and then penetrates the ground to a
depth of 10 cm or more. Under the experimental conditions, water penetrated
the ground only as deep as 1 cm.
"We know of no other plant in the deserts of the world that functions in
this manner," the researchers concluded.
Amir Gilat, Ph.D.
Communications and Media Relations
University of Haifa
Jun. 29, 2009
THE JERUSALEM POST
For a brief moment it seemed that US President Barack Obama was moved by the recent events in Iran. On Friday, he issued his harshest statement yet on the mullocracy's barbaric clampdown against its brave citizens who dared to demand freedom in the aftermath of June 12's stolen presidential elections.
Speaking of the protesters Obama said, "Their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. In spite of the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it."
While some noted the oddity of Obama's attribution of the protesters' struggle to the "pursuit of justice," rather than the pursuit of freedom - which is what they are actually fighting for - most Iran watchers in Washington and beyond were satisfied with his statement.
Alas, it was a false alarm. On Sunday Obama dispatched his surrogates - presidential adviser David Axelrod and UN Ambassador Susan Rice - to the morning talk shows to make clear that he has not allowed mere events to influence his policies.
After paying lip service to the Iranian dissidents, Rice and Axelrod quickly cut to the chase. The Obama administration does not care about the Iranian people or their struggle with the theocratic totalitarians who repress them. Whether Iran is an Islamic revolutionary state dedicated to the overthrow of the world order or a liberal democracy dedicated to strengthening it, is none of the administration's business.
Obama's emissaries wouldn't even admit that after stealing the election and killing hundreds of its own citizens, the regime is illegitimate. As Rice put it, "Legitimacy obviously is in the eyes of the people. And obviously the government's legitimacy has been called into question by the protests in the streets. But that's not the critical issue in terms of our dealings with Iran."
No, whether an America-hating regime is legitimate or not is completely insignificant to the White House. All the Obama administration wants to do is go back to its plan to appease the mullahs into reaching an agreement about their nuclear aspirations. And for some yet-to-be-explained reason, Obama and his associates believe they can make this regime -- which as recently as Friday called for the mass murder of its own citizens, and as recently as Saturday blamed the US for the Iranian people's decision to rise up against the mullahs -- reach such an agreement.
IN STAKING out a seemingly hard-nosed, unsentimental position on Iran, Obama and his advisers would have us believe that unlike their predecessors, they are foreign policy "realists." Unlike Jimmy Carter, who supported the America-hating mullahs against the America-supporting shah 30 years ago in the name of his moralistic post-Vietnam War aversion to American exceptionalism, Obama supports the America-hating mullahs against the America-supporting freedom protesters because all he cares about are "real"
So too, unlike George W. Bush, who openly supported Iran's pro-American democratic dissidents against the mullahs due to his belief that the advance of freedom in Iran and throughout the world promoted US national interests, Obama supports the anti-American mullahs who butcher these dissidents in the streets and abduct and imprison them by the thousands due to his "hard-nosed" belief that doing so will pave the way for a meeting of the minds with their oppressors.
Yet Obama's policy is anything but realistic. By refusing to support the dissidents, he is not demonstrating that he is a realist. He is showing that he is immune to reality. He is so committed to appeasing the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei that he is incapable of responding to actual events, or even of taking them into account for anything other than fleeting media appearances meant to neutralize his critics.
Rice and Axelrod demonstrated the administration's determination to eschew reality when they proclaimed that Ahmadinejad's "reelection" is immaterial. As they see it, appeasement isn't dead since it is Khamenei - whom they deferentially refer to as "the supreme leader" - who sets Iran's foreign policy.
While Khamenei is inarguably the decision maker on foreign policy, his behavior since June 12 has shown that he is no moderate. Indeed, as his post-election Friday "sermon" 10 days ago demonstrated, he is a paranoid, delusional America-bashing tyrant. In that speech he called Americans "morons" and accused them of being the worst human-rights violators in the world, in part because of the Clinton administration's raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993.
Perhaps what is most significant about Obama's decision to side with anti-American tyrants against pro-American democrats in Iran is that it is utterly consistent with his policies throughout the world. From Latin America to Asia to the Middle East and beyond, after six months of the Obama administration it is clear that in its pursuit of good ties with America's adversaries at the expense of America's allies, it will not allow actual
events to influence its "hard-nosed" judgments.
TAKE THE ADMINISTRATION'S response to the Honduran military coup on Sunday. While the term "military coup" has a lousy ring to it, the Honduran military ejected president Manuel Zelaya from office after he ignored a Supreme Court ruling backed by the Honduran Congress which barred him from holding a referendum this week that would have empowered him to endanger democracy.
Taking a page out of his mentor Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's playbook, Zelaya acted in contempt of his country's democratic institutions to move forward with his plan to empower himself to serve another term in office. To push forward with his illegal goal, Zelaya fired the army's chief of staff. And so, in an apparent bid to prevent Honduras from going the way of Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua and becoming yet another anti-American Venezuelan satellite, the military - backed by Congress and the Supreme Court - ejected Zelaya from office.
And how did Obama respond? By seemingly siding with Zelaya against the democratic forces in Honduras who are fighting him. Obama said in a written statement: "I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of president Mel Zelaya."
His apparent decision to side with an anti-American would-be dictator is unfortunately par for the course. As South and Central America come increasingly under the control of far-left America-hating dictators, as in Iran, Obama and his team have abandoned democratic dissidents in the hope of currying favor with anti-American thugs. As Mary Anastasia O'Grady has documented in *The Wall Street Journal*, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have refused to say a word about democracy promotion in Latin America.
Rather than speak of liberties and freedoms, Clinton and Obama have waxed poetic about social justice and diminishing the gaps between rich and poor. In a recent interview with the El Salvadoran media, Clinton said, "Some might say President Obama is left-of-center. And of course that means we are going to work well with countries that share our commitment to improving and enhancing the human potential."
But not, apparently, enhancing human freedoms.
FROM IRAN to Venezuela to Cuba, from Myanmar to North Korea to China, from Sudan to Afghanistan to Iraq to Russia to Syria to Saudi Arabia, the Obama administration has systematically taken human rights and democracy promotion off America's agenda. In their place, it has advocated "improving America's image," multilateralism and a moral relativism that either sees no distinction between dictators and their victims or deems the distinctions immaterial to the advancement of US interests.
While Obama's supporters champion his "realist" policies as a welcome departure from the "cowboy diplomacy" of the Bush years, the fact of the matter is that in country after country, Obama's supposedly pragmatic and nonideological policy has either already failed - as it has in North Korea - or is in the process of failing. The only place where Obama may soon be able to point to a success is in his policy of coercing Israel to adopt his anti-Semitic demand to bar Jews from building homes in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. According to media reports, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has authorized Defense Minister Ehud Barak to offer to freeze all settlement construction for three months during his visit to Washington this week.
Of course, in the event that Obama has achieved his immediate goal of forcing Netanyahu to his knees, its accomplishment will hinder rather than advance his wider goal of achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors. Watching Obama strong-arm the US's closest ally in the region, the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab states have become convinced that there is no reason to make peace with the Jews. After all, Obama is demonstrating that he will deliver Israel without their having to so much as wink in the direction of peaceful coexistence.
So if Obama's foreign policy has already failed or is in the process of failing throughout the world, why is he refusing to reassess it? Why, with blood running through the streets of Iran, is he still interested in appeasing the mullahs? Why, with Venezuela threatening to invade Honduras for Zelaya, is he siding with Zelaya against Honduran democrats? Why, with the Palestinians refusing to accept the Jewish people's right to self-determination, is he seeking to expel some 500,000 Jews from their homes in the interest of appeasing the Palestinians? Why, with North Korea threatening to attack the US with ballistic missiles, is he refusing to order the USS John McCain to interdict the suspected North Korean missile ship it has been trailing for the past two weeks? Why, when the Sudanese government continues to sponsor the murder of Darfuris, is the administration claiming that the genocide in Darfur has ended?
The only reasonable answer to all of these questions is that far from being nonideological, Obama's foreign policy is the most ideologically driven since Carter's tenure in office. If when Obama came into office there was a question about whether he was a foreign policy pragmatist or an ideologue, his behavior in his first six months in office has dispelled all doubt. Obama is moved by a radical, anti-American ideology that motivates him to dismiss the importance of democracy and side with anti-American dictators against US allies.
For his efforts, although he is causing the US to fail to secure its aims as he himself has defined them in arena after arena, he is successfully securing the support of the most radical, extreme leftist factions in American politics.
Like Carter before him, Obama may succeed for a time in evading public scrutiny for his foreign-policy failures because the public will be too concerned with his domestic failures to notice them. But in the end, his slavish devotion to his radical ideological agenda will ensure that his failures reach a critical mass.
And then they will sink him.
For the first time, gap year students studying at yeshivas in Israel are being exposed to curriculum teaching leadership and Israel advocacy
More than 400 English-speaking yeshiva students have recently completed an educational curriculum dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict and titled, "Understanding, Advocating, and Inspiring."
The program, which brings courses on the modern State of Israel and Israel advocacy into yeshiva classrooms, was created by The David Project in cooperation with MASA, and Taglit-Birthright.
This year's graduating class is made up of gap year students, who will be able to bring their Jewish leadership experience to college campuses and speak up for Israel.
Turning theory into practice
The program has been implemented in sixteen yeshivot and seminaries across Israel.
Rabbi Yamim Goldsmith, head of the Sha'alvim women's seminary told Ynet, "We are proud to teach our students a love for the Land of Israel and the State of Israel- an integral component of our girls' year in Israel.
Project participants (Photo courtesy of The David Project)
"Through its talented staff and advanced teaching techniques, The David Project reinforces those ideals, making them real and turning theory into practice".
The 16-lesson curriculum is designed to combine history of the Arab-Israeli conflict with Zionism and leadership development. Executive director of the David Project Anna Kolodner explained, "The students' time in the country places them in a unique and opportune position to become effective, life long advocates for Israel… deepening the students' connection with Israel by educating them on Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and inspiring them to take leadership roles back home".
Inspiring young activistsDavid Project alumni Nava Friedman, a student from the Midreshet Nishmat seminary in Jerusalem, told Ynet, "There is a lot of value to learning the David Project curriculum. When you learn the facts in an environment that is pro-Israel and accepting, you are able to apply what you learned in other environments that are not as supportive of Israel". Next fall Nava will bring her leadership skills to the campus of Princeton University.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Israeli Exoskeleton Suit Enables Paralyzed People To Walk
From the Mission Statement
of Manhigut Yehudit
The Secular Roots of Zionism
The Land of Israel was given by God to the Jewish People. This gift of the holiest of lands brings with it great responsibility to fulfill God's word and to bring His light to the entire world.
Throughout the centuries of exile, the Jewish People longed and prayed to return to the Holy Land as a holy nation.
The Jewish People longed and prayed to return to the Holy Land.
The Zionist movement, which founded the State of Israel, was the result of these centuries of longing. However, it was a product of the times and place in which it was born. It is based on secular, 19th century Western views and ideologies. Miraculously, the Zionist movement succeeded in building the complete infrastructure of a modern state - replete with a strong army, high tech, immigration and absorption out of the wilderness.
An Israel Devoid of Divine Purpose
In its very essence, though, modern Zionism negates holiness. God and Israel's Divine destiny were left out of the equation. The holy Torah was deemed totally irrelevant to the state of Israel. It was relegated to purely ceremonial status while Western standards and ideas dictate every significant facet of Israeli life.
This secular orientation has stripped Israel of the tools necessary to reflect the Jewishness of the state and its ultimate holy purpose.
The very Zionist ideology that built the modern state of Israel has now turned against itself as it seeks to purge itself of its Biblical roots and Divine purpose. This self-destructive bent is the ultimate conclusion of the secular ideology upon which Zionism is based. It also explains the zeal of Israeli governments -- both left and right -- to divest Israel of its heartland. "Peace" has become a euphemism for the desire to rid Israel of its Jewish identity.
From "Safe Haven" to Surrender
Modern Israel's obsession with international recognition derives from the very foundation of Zionism. Theodore Herzl saw international recognition as a cornerstone of the Zionist movement and as integral to Israel's declared purpose as a safe haven for the Jewish People. This explains the near fixation that the state of Israel still displays to this very day with international approval. Israel has been willing to do almost anything (relinquish vital land, release terrorists, evade pre-emptive strikes or even refrain from counter-attack) making many grave and costly concessions at the expense of the very lives of its citizens in order to achieve this elusive endorsement. Ironically, it is this obsessive desire for international approval that has seriously compromised the security of the residents of the "safe haven."
A State of All its Citizens
In modern Western thought, nationalism is now passé. Modern countries of the "global village" are comprised of citizens from various cultures and places of origin. What binds them together is the mere fact that they all live in the same place, and eventually adopt a common language, and later, a common culture and history. This trend has also been adopted in modern day Israel. The momentum toward citizenship for all residents of Israel, regardless of their religion, is part of the Zionist ideology based on Western culture. If not checked, it will effectively transform Israel from a Jewish state to a state with some Jewish citizens.
From "The Eye of the Storm"
Yes, my wrist no longer proclaims/advertises my opposition to one of the most evil government decrees ever.
The "orange leadership" never provided good leadership. Its monument is the Arab terror base where Jews once lived and thrived in Gush Katif. The DP's, evictees, are trying, despite their poverty and the apathy of the Israeli Government and most of the Jewish People, to rebuild their lives.
There was never a mass movement for Jewish civil rights in Gush Katif, unlike the support for Jews in the Golan. That's why we're still in the Golan instead of it being a Syrian base for anti-Israeli terrorism, the way it was prior to the 1967 Six Days War.
By MEREDITH PRICE LEVITT
Tucked away in a dilapidated, one-story building in the sprawling Sheba Hospital complex at Tel Hashomer, the headquarters of the nonprofit MILBAT organization are small and unassuming - especially considering the number of innovative products it churns out every year.
Unlike companies who create, design and manufacture new products with the specific goal of making a profit, MILBAT has a different objective: to better the lives of physically and mentally disabled people and the elderly.
Yael Shaked-Bregman, one of the relatively few salaried employees, greets me in the spacious entrance to tour the facility. A tall blonde with a smile that lights up her entire face, she shares her personal experiences over the last 14 years at MILBAT with the pride and passion of a dedicated professional who fully believes in the benefits of her work. One of about 20 therapists on staff, she arrived at the organization as a student of occupational therapy and never left.
As we tour several rooms brimming with prototypes and sample products, it is clear that this is no ordinary organization. A wooden baby crib for mothers in wheelchairs has doors that open to the side instead of up; special computer keyboards are fitted with a metal grate to allow people with tremors to type; a remote control car for disabled children has giant plastic buttons; and an electric organ specially designed for the handicapped is fitted with large keys and colorful, round knobs so that it can be used as both a musical instrument and a therapeutic device.
"If a solution to a problem already exists on the market, then we don't make it, but if someone has a special request for something that isn't already out there, we do our best to develop it for his unique needs," she says.
One good example is a long lighter with a round piece of metal affixed at one end. "We made this for an elderly woman in Jerusalem who is visually impaired but wanted to continue to light the Shabbat candles herself," Shaked-Bregman says, showing me how the metal piece is designed to fit over the candle. "This way she doesn't have to see the candles to light them. She can feel them instead."
For full article click here
THE JERUSALEM POST
Jun. 25, 2009
When I grew up, got to meet and even strike up a friendship with my childhood idol Dosh (the late Kariel Gardosh), I asked him which, to his mind, was his most enduring political caricature. For that, he replied, we need to return to December 1956, approximately a month after the Sinai Campaign and the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Dosh noticed that while the international community was seething about Israel's feisty self-defense, it wasn't overly perturbed about the human rights and self-determination brazenly crushed beneath heavy military armor right in Central Europe.
The hypocrisy, Dosh recalled, was hardly surprising but nevertheless galling, particularly the shamelessness of it. So he compressed it all into one frame. In the background a house labeled Hungary is going up in flames. In the foreground UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold, in firefighter gear, wields a hose labeled UN. But he's not dousing the blaze. He's drenching little Israel - Dosh's iconic sandal-clad Srulik - who stands soaked, angry and perplexed as he's subjected to more wet punishment.
Dosh produced way more dramatic and memorable cartoons, but he estimated that the situation portrayed in this one would always stay topical. He predicted that Israel would always be the world's whipping boy, thrashed for the misdeeds of others and used for diversionary tactics. Instead of dealing with urgent crises and genuinely alarming dangers, the powers-that-be will rage at Israel to draw attention away from their own dereliction and cowardice.
"The old czars," Dosh noted, "used to say, 'Beat the Jews and save Russia.' Today it's 'beat the Jews and save the world.'" He reckoned "this would stay true even when nobody remembers Hammarskjold."
IF DOSH only knew how right he was. Today he'd probably have produced a very similar pen-and-ink commentary, but with Iran burning and Barack Obama extinguishing - Israel. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As pro-democracy demonstrators are killed in Teheran and as its ayatollahs further their designs to arm themselves with nukes, the leader of the free world harps on Israeli settlements. You can almost understand where he's coming from. Iran is a tough customer, and crazy too. It's tempting not to rile it and to deflect criticism by focusing on some lonely remote outposts in the middle of Judea and Samaria's barren moonscape.
Not only isn't Israel scary like Iran, it'll broadmindedly collaborate in an effort to appease its detractors. How facile it therefore is to claim that peace and bliss on earth hinge on tearing down a few Jewish tents, rickety lean-tos, ramshackle sheds and decrepit trailers. It's true heroism to take them on in the guise of securing global propriety. It's plain to see that no greater peril plagues humanity - if we only avert our gaze from Iran, that is.
Accordingly, to stress the need to downplay the Iranian fuss, Obama gave his people a lesson in moral relativism: "It's important to understand that, although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised." Not unexpectedly, Obama informed the unenlightened masses that he won't take sides:" I take a wait-and-see approach... It is not productive, given the history of US-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections."
Of course it's one thing to entertain such notions, but quite another to broadcast them out loud. All sorts of perceptions may prevail in the Oval Office and shape policy, so long as they're not ballyhooed. Blabbermouth statecraft, however, is a bad idea. Noisy hype doesn't go unnoticed, especially not in the nuance-sensitive Mideast. Obama may arrogantly consider himself superclever, but his overtly declared nonintervention is equivalent to intervention. His error is eerily reminiscent of the series of egregious errors toward Teheran during the term of Jimmy Carter, the past-president most like Obama, though hardly as radical.
IN HIS MEMOIRS, Ayatollah Khomeini's first foreign minister Ebrahim Yazdi writes that "the shah was doomed the minute Carter entered the White House." The novice president indiscreetly sent all the wrong signals, beginning with an exceedingly public cold-shoulder to the shah. The mullahs were heartened and exuded confidence. Increasingly shaken, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi sought to ingratiate himself to Carter by relaxing restrictions on opposition agitators. That further emboldened the religious fanatics and spawned unrest. Carter admonished the shah against quelling the disturbances by force.
Willy-nilly, Carter's bungling was instrumental in installing a reactionary, repressive theocracy in Teheran. Under the banner of freedom, Carter helped the forces of medieval darkness. The shah was a goner and the ayatollahs repaid Carter by holding 52 American embassy staffers hostage for 444 days until he was replaced by Ronald Reagan.
Carter's indisputable legacy was the bloodshed of the Iran-Iraq War, the carnage at the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center and Israeli Embassy, the burgeoning of Hizbullah and Hamas, the co-option of Syria/Lebanon and Gaza into Iran's evil sphere, massive worldwide terror-mongering and lately nuclear ambitions and rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map.
During the entire embassy standoff fiasco, strikingly ineffectual Carter dithered piteously. Yet he compensated for inaction on one front by hyperactivity on another. As per the Dosh depiction, he turned the water-jets on Israel.
CARTER'S ENTIRE diplomatic energy reserves were misspent on pressuring Menachem Begin at Camp David, and quite ruthlessly. His latent anti-Semitism would finally manifest itself with the publication of his Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. His misguided liberalism in international affairs led Carter to bolster the worst despots in our time while lashing out at one of the most intrinsically democratic of societies anywhere - Israel.
Unrepentant, same said Carter hobnobbed with Gaza's terror-kingpins last week and spuriously censured Israel for treating Gazans "more like animals than human beings... Never before in history has a large community been savaged by bombs and missiles and then deprived of the means to repair itself... This abuse must cease. The crimes must be investigated. The wall must be brought down, and the basic right of freedom must come to you," he told Hamastan's ayatollah-proxies, without a word about Israel's pullback from Gaza, the uprooting of 21 settlements and the atrocities that Gaza subsequently unleashed on Israel.
Carter is Obama's mentor and Obama is the new Carter. Their motto is: In democracy's name be kind to democracy's most rabid enemies and be nasty to embattled democrats. Hence, while it's "not productive" for Obama to meddle in Iran, it's imperative he meddle in Israel. Deja vu. As in Carter's administration, a lopsided artificial balance must be struck in pseudo-sophisticated statesmanship.
In other words, no matter where fires flare uncontrollably, the fire hoses will be aimed at Israel. This is why Dosh's nearly 53-year-old caricature remains ever-relevant - just as he predicted.
Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date: 28 June 2009
"The crazy war on the Gaza Strip wiped out everything so we don't know
if Shalit is still alive or if he has died," Osama al-Muzini, a Hamas
official authorized to speak on this issue, told Xinhua, referring to a
22-day Israeli offensive against the Hamas-controlled territory in January.
Al-Muzini, however, said Israel has to go ahead with talks to exchange
Shalit for a number of Arab prisoners "whether the soldier was dead or
Xinhau News Agency 25 June 2009
Is Israel being sucked into a repeat of the dead Israeli soldiers for live
terrorist swap the Olmert administration made with Hezbollah?
One troubling common thread?: Until the moment that the caskets were
broadcast live, the Israeli media related to the IDF soldier being held by
Hezbollah as alive despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary - in
large part in order to maintain pressure on the Olmert administration to go
through with a trade. When last week Hamas officials warned that Shalit may
be dead, the Israeli media buried the story - with essentially all coverage
taking on faith that Shalit is still alive.
Is it somehow immoral to take the words of Hamas officials seriously when
they say Shalit may be dead?
Or is the opposite the case?
Is it immoral to press for the release of very much alive and dangerous
Palestinian terrorists in a trade without requiring that such a release be
only in return for a live Israeli?
Sunday, June 28, 2009
A film by Richard Landes. International news media extract a few convincing instants of staged scenes - sight-bytes, and present them as news...
Good ideas never die, they just get recycled.
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Date: 27 / 06 / 2009 Time: 09:23
Hebron - Ma'an - An Israeli and a Palestinian woman were severely beaten? and between 15 and 24 Israeli activists were arrested as the group attempted to access Palestinian agricultural lands near the Bat Ayin settlement north of Hebron Saturday.
A Palestinian’s leg was broken as soldiers beat him with rifle butts, and an Israeli activist had her wrist fractured. (Anybody buy this? If you want to follow this nonsense through, click on http://www.maanimages.com/index.php, in Find Image write Safa in text and past 2 days for time frame.You will find 11 photographs by Mamoun Wazwaz of Maan Images. Sorry to disappoint, but no rifle butt beatings.From this Youtube it would seem the chayalim are exercising far more patience then is appropriate to this collection.)
The group had entered an area long declared a “closed military zone” after the nearby Israeli settlement expanded. The no-go zone is a buffer between the settlement fence and the Palestinian agricultural area.
The area around the settlement, next to Safa village, was declared a "closed military zone" since 2 April when an unidentified man, thought to be a Palestinian, attacked a settler youth with an axe, killing the boy. (No, actually identified, caught, Arab from the village, murderer,attempted to kill 2nd boy, see article below)
The attempted entrance into the closed zone was organized by Palestinian solidarity group ISM, which hired two Palestinian-Israeli's to drive vehicles into the West Bank so 35 solidarity activists could assist the local farmers in accessing their land.
Suspect in Bat Ayin stabbing attack in custody
Apr. 26, 2009
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST
The suspected murderer of 13-year-old Bat Ayin resident Shlomo Nativ was arrested earlier this month by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF, it was announced on Sunday.
Mousa Tiet allegedly infiltrated the settlement in Gush Etzion on April 2 while carrying a knife and an ax. He attacked Nativ with the knife and killed him. He then attacked and wounded seven-year-old Yair Gamliel with the ax.
On April 14, the Shin Bet succeeded in locating and capturing the 26-year-old Tiet, a resident of Khirbet Tzafah, 2 km. south of Bat Ayin.
The Shin Bet said that during his interrogation, Tiet confessed and reenacted the attack for investigators, and revealed the location of the murder weapon, which he had hidden near the scene. Tiet told investigators he had planned and carried out the attack for "religious purposes" and in order to die a shahid, or martyr.
He said he had purchased the weapons and hid them in a valley near Bat Ayin. On the morning of the attack, he collected them and infiltrated the settlement, first stabbing Nativ and then attacking Gamliel. He tried to attack a third child, who ran away.
When residents tried to apprehend him, Tiet fled to his village. He told interrogators that he had destroyed some of the evidence and continued with his regular life out of the belief that he would not be captured.
THE JERUSALEM POST
Jun. 27, 2009
After decades of avoiding public exposure, the Israel Defense Forces's Medical Corps has realized that in the 21st century it should be getting its message out. The most prominent controversies involving soldiers' health in the past decade have been claims that Navy divers contracted cancer from training in Haifa's Kishon River despite its being polluted with heavy metals; plans for the construction of a large military training base near the Ramat Hovav chemical dumping site in the Negev; and clinical testing of anthrax vaccine on soldiers without their informed consent.
And with the growing shortage of military physicians, public scrutiny and involvement of soldiers' parents, the Medical Corps has in the past year or two begun to let the sunlight in. Tat-Aluf Nachman Ash, the OC Medical Corps for almost two years, is behind its increasingly activist and open media policy. He recently invited medical correspondents to a briefing at the Tzrifin IDF base on what is new in the corps, and discussed trends and plans.
THE BRIEFING was followed by an exercise in which IDF commandos wearing "war paint" stormed hideouts of "terrorists" in a simulated Palestinian village built inside the IDF base. Four Israeli soldiers were "wounded," and medics trained on the base appeared out of nowhere, assessing which of the "victims" required the most urgent help. The "victims" playing the part moaned and called for help, pierced plastic bags full of red liquid that simulated hemorrhaging, and wore makeup that made the "bullet wounds" so realistic that for a moment this reporter wanted to run onto the "battlefield" and offer first aid.
But it was unnecessary. The medics pulled blue rubber gloves onto their hands, held bloody legs up to reduce hemorrhaging, bandaged the soldiers, opened airways with breathing tubes and slashed uniforms with a special cutter. When the exercise ended successfully, the "wounded" stood up in their underpants and happily posed with the medics and other soldiers.
ASH, WHO earned his MD degree at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Medical School and specialized in internal medicine, noted that the Medical Corps is doing everything it can to bring the best emergency treatment to soldiers on the battlefield and to speed evacuation to hospitals. It has purchased high-quality foldable aluminum stretchers to keep soldiers with spinal injuries immobile; "smart" bandages that stop bleeding; developed a compact, portable device with ceramic pipes that produces oxygen in the field for treating the wounded, replacing heavy balloons that had to be carried; a thin blanket that when removed from a plastic bag turns warm in a chemical reaction; and a small battery-operated field device that ventilates the wounded on the battlefield and is so simple to operate that any medic can use it.
ANOTHER PROJECT being carried out with Core Dynamics, a Nes Ziona biotechnology company, is the development of freeze-dried blood processed from a pint of each soldier's blood at enlistment and then taken in a small bag to the battlefield to be reconstituted if he is wounded for immediate life-saving infusion. Ash said that wounded soldiers are now evacuated much more quickly, often undergoing blood transfusions and other procedures en route to the hospital.
For full article click here
THE JERUSALEM POST
Jun. 28, 2009
World renowned Moroccan singer Yosef "Jo" Amar passed away in New York on Friday. He was 79 years old. Amar was an Israeli icon during the early years of the state, a favorite of the newly arrived Sephardic immigrants.
Amar immigrated to Israel in 1956. He pioneered the fusion of classical Jewish Sephardic and Arabic tunes with Western musical sensibilities, thereby helping give birth to the style labeled Mizrahi music today.
The lyrics usually discussed the personal and social angst and joys of Middle Eastern immigrants who sought to find a place in Israeli society. Amar was also a highly-regarded cantor.
The casket of Amar, who recently joined his children in the United States, was brought to Israel Saturday night. His funeral will take place Sunday afternoon at Yad Rambam, the moshav where he stayed on visits to Israel in recent years.
Amar made aliya in 1956, but later left Israel and divided his time between Europe and the United States. However, he continued to visit Israel to perform.
After the death of his wife Remond, Amar returned to Israel. He was wheelchair-bound after having suffered a stroke in 2000, and two years ago, suffered a second stroke, which worsened the condition of his Parkinson's disease, from which he also suffered at a late age.
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: OK. So anyone with an attention span beyond 20 seconds and a willingness to think beyond the next moment can understand the incredibly dangerous tinderbox that the proposal to create a sovereignty vacuum in Jerusalem is.One that could plunge the region into bloody war after an equally bloody war of attrition.
But let's not forget.
This is Ehud Olmert.
Ehud Olmert as in Olmert-Sharon and the retreat from Gaza.
The half baked idea (let's not even call it a plan) that was born thanks to
a 20 second attention span and a 24 hour planning horizon.
Just this week Elliot Abrams reminded us as to just how fast and loose the
retreat was handled when he revealed in an op ed in the 25 June Wall Street
Journal that Washington exploited the failure of the Sharon team to secure
an understanding over the continued IDF presence on the critical Philadelphi
Corridor before Sharon publicly committed to the retreat. The Sharon team
knew damn well that Israel had to stay there in order to prevent weapons
smuggling - but it forfeited the Jewish State's security interests at
At the end of Olmert's term he tried one last maneuver in an effort to
secure a legacy. Olmert told me he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas in September 2008 and unfurled a map of Israel and the Palestinian
territories. He says he offered Abbas 93.5 to 93.7 percent of the
Palestinian territories, along with a land swap of 5.8 percent and a
safe-passage corridor from Gaza to the West Bank that he says would make up
the rest. The Holy Basin of Jerusalem would be under no sovereignty at all
and administered by a consortium of Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis,
Palestinians and Americans. Regarding refugees, Olmert says he rejected the
right of return and instead offered, as a "humanitarian gesture," a small
number of returnees, although "smaller than the Palestinians wanted-a very,
very limited number."
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is proof of the perils of reining in
settlements. He's also proof of why Washington should try.
From the magazine issue dated Jun 22, 2009
As the sun rose over New York City on Thursday, June 4, Ehud Olmert, the
former prime minister of Israel, lay anesthetized on a Manhattan operating
table. A cancerous tumor on his prostate had recently grown in size. His
doctors had "all kinds of suspicions" about it, Olmert explained when we met
at his house outside Jerusalem shortly before the surgery. Olmert, 63,
looked terrible. He told me he hadn't been working out lately. He had put on
a paunch, his eyes had a glassy quality and he had a persistent cough. I
asked whether he was feeling any symptoms. "I sometimes feel tired," he
said. "But there are so many reasons for being tired." Olmert explained that
he had settled on a new, robotic-assisted surgery designed to avoid damaging
key nerves. An aide later said that the goal was to limit the risk that the
operation would harm Olmert's ability to "function as a man."
At the very same moment that doctors were removing Olmert's prostate, Barack
Obama was standing before a raucous crowd of Egyptians across the Atlantic
Ocean. Obama's speech at Cairo University was wide-ranging, but officials in
Israel zeroed in on the president's stern criticisms of Israeli settlements
in the Palestinian territories. Obama warned that ongoing construction
undermined the peace process-and, by implication, U.S. interests. "It is
time for these settlements to stop," he declared. After Israeli officials
protested that they had reached secret agreements with the Bush White House
allowing for some "natural growth" in existing settlements, Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton shot back that there was "no memorialization" of any
backroom deals, infuriating her Israeli counterparts.
Following the debate from his recovery bed, Olmert must have felt betrayed.
In recent years the former prime minister had tried to cast himself as a
reformed hawk, a onetime expansionist who had turned against the "Greater
Israel" settlement movement. One of Olmert's few political assets as prime
minister was the perception that he could effectively manage the critical
relationship with the United States. Now the Americans seemed to be
challenging his policies, too. In two lengthy interviews for this
story-Olmert's first since he left office in March-the former prime minister
was defiant and sometimes combative, but also seemed exhausted and slightly
desperate. "I'm not dead," he told me at one point, banging a finger on his
desk. He almost seemed to be trying to convince himself. "I'm not in power,
but my ideas are in power. And my ideas will prevail."
For full article click here
Quartet Statement: No Jewish construction, unrestricted illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem, facilitate Hamas bunker building and weapons .....
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:
Saturday, June 27, 2009
#1. No Jewish construction: The Quartet urged the government of Israel to
freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth
#2. Unrestricted illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem: "to refrain from
provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including home demolition and
#3. Facilitate Hamas bunker building and weapons manufacturing: " The
Quartet called for a....sustained reopening of all crossings points to
ensure regular flow of ....commercial goods." (so that they can manufacture
their own weapons and ammunition).]
Quartet Statement from the June 26, 2009 Meeting in Trieste
Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of the Spokesman
June 26, 2009
The following statement was issued today by the Middle East Quartet (United
Nations, European Union, Russian Federation, and the United States).
The Quartet - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of
the European Union Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External
Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, U.S
Under Secretary of State William Burns, and U.S. Special Envoy for Middle
East Peace George Mitchell - met in Trieste on June 26, 2009. They were
joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
The Quartet affirmed its determination to actively and vigorously seek a
comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of UN
Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850, the Madrid
principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, and the agreements
previously reached between the parties. The Quartet underscored that the
only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that ends
the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfils the aspirations of both
parties for independent homelands through two states for two peoples, Israel
and an independent, contiguous, and viable state of Palestine, living side
by side in peace and security. The Quartet welcomed the commitment of Prime
Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to the two-state solution, and
reiterated that lasting peace throughout the region can only be based on an
enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence,
incitement, and terror; and the two-state solution, building upon previous
agreements and obligations. The Quartet underscored the importance of
fostering peaceful coexistence throughout the region through the conclusion
of peace agreements between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon, in a
manner that is mutually reinforcing with efforts to establish the state of
Palestine, and through the full normalization of relations between all
states based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
The U.S. briefed the Quartet on its intensive, ongoing discussions with all
parties in the region to create the conditions for the prompt resumption and
early conclusion of negotiations to resolve all permanent status issues,
without preconditions. The Quartet affirmed that these negotiations must
result in an end to all claims. It agreed that Arab-Israeli peace and the
establishment of a state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza in which the
Palestinian people can determine their own destiny is in the fundamental
interests of the international community. The Quartet called on all parties
concerned to take meaningful steps to support this objective.
In that context, the Quartet called on Israel and the Palestinians to
implement their obligations under the Roadmap and affirmed that unilateral
actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations
and will not be recognized by the international community. The Quartet urged
the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including
natural growth; to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001; and to
refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including home
demolition and evictions. The Quartet acknowledged progress made by the
Palestinian Authority to reform the Palestinian security sector and called
on the Palestinian Authority to continue to make every effort to improve law
and order and to fight violent extremism. It encouraged further Israeli
cooperation for the success of Palestinian security reform. It also urged
the Palestinian government to enhance its efforts to build the institutions
of the future Palestinian state. Both sides have to stop incitement and
violence against civilians. Taking note of the June 24 meeting of the Arab
League ministers and underscoring its commitment to comprehensive peace on
all tracks, the Quartet expressed support for dialogue among all states in
the region in the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative and called on Arab
states to take steps to recognize Israel's rightful place in the region; to
affirm that violence cannot achieve regional peace and security; and to
assist the Palestinian people in building their future state through
consistent support for the Palestinian Authority.
For full text click here