Friday, April 20, 2018

Israel, the Land I Love - by Justin Amler

Impossible is what Israel is about, and there are few places in the world that are able to take that which can’t be done and do it anyway.

Justin Amler..
19 April '18..

I want to tell you about a special place – perhaps the most unique place on earth, a place where logic is defied and miracles occur.

I want to tell you about this special land. A land of wonder. A land of amazement. A land of dreams. A land of hope. A land of love.

I want to tell you about this special country – a country that breathes with you, and cries with you, and loves with you, and fights with you – a country that is as tough as nails, yet wears its heart on its sleeve.

I want to tell you about this special state – a state forged in war, yet built by devotion and commitment and love and destiny. A state that has to spend every day fighting just to live another day.

This special place, this special land, this special country, this special state has so much meaning for so many people, and yet it’s so personal too.

It’s my Israel, a country like no other, a country that will bring you so much joy and so much pain. It will make you cry and it will make you laugh and will make you weep tears of joy and tears of sorrow.

This small patch of land has witnessed the genesis of time and each bit of dirt is not just dirt, but history itself. It is blessed with landscapes so vast and oceans so blue and sunsets that melt into the sea each night.

Each day, discoveries of long gone eras are unearthed, as the land gives up more of its secrets, and yet each day there’s always more just waiting to be discovered.

In Israel, each grain of sand is loved and battles have been fought across centuries over earth and dust and trees and water.

This is a country whose heartbeat can be felt in the air, whose breath can be felt in the wind, whose tears can be felt in the rain, whose anger can be felt in the storms, whose radiance can be felt in the summer rays beating down.

If you want inspiration, it was invented here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

They followed their hearts, feeling that it was up to their dreams to shape reality - by Nadav Shragai

...The reality at the time was harsh, almost unbearable: disease, swamps, scarce livelihood and dwindling security. But the hands of the few who believed created miracles. They followed their hearts, feeling that it was up to their dreams to shape reality, and not, God forbid, to withdraw from it. It was up to them to let their faith lead while acting wisely, to move forward with feeling and not to listen to the experts. As the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, said: "There are no experts on the future, only experts on the past."

Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
First posted 20 April '15..

I never thanked my grandfather for packing up his meager belongings and coming to Israel in 1924, not to find a place safe from persecution, but simply because he knew that the Jewish people belonged in Israel.

It was not the obvious choice then, and it is not the obvious choice now. He and his ilk were part of the minority of the last few generations who came to the historic homeland not because of persecution and pogroms, but simply because they felt committed to their Jewish genes, to the historical, religious and national baggage that ties them to this place.

Their courage was perhaps different from that of the warriors on the battlefields, but it was no less magnificent. They deserve this belated thanks. Not, God forbid, as a way to diminish those who did come here out of distress and fear. We owe them thanks for our continued existence, for my parents' generation, my own generation and that of my children, as it is doubtful that we would have survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe had they stayed.

They deserve our gratitude for the understanding that they instilled in us that, even before this land became a safe haven for the refugees of the pogroms and the Holocaust, it was our destination; that while we might be here today thanks to our strength, we were here before thanks to the strength of our right; that security, which is today the central subject of discussion when it comes to Israel, is meant to allow us to realize our right to live here (in security, of course).

Many years ago, a member of the British House of Lords asked then-President Chaim Weizmann why the Jews were so insistent upon Israel when there were so many other places for them to settle. Weizmann responded: "That is like my asking you why you drove 20 miles to visit your mother last Sunday when there are so many old ladies living on your street."

And indeed, the land we came to, the land in which we re-established Jewish sovereignty, is above all our motherland. Unfortunately, all we speak about nowadays is security, while the conversation about our rights remains marginalized. Security is not everything. You cannot base domestic or international legitimacy on Jerusalem, Hebron or Beersheba, while ignoring the Bible, the patriarchs and the matriarchs, the Temple Mount, the City of David and the millennia-long story of a people yearning to return to their homeland. After all, we could have had security this past century in Brooklyn, London, or maybe even Uganda.

The students of the Vilna Gaon, who moved to Israel at the beginning of the 19th century, and the Jews of Yemen who came to the transit camps at the end of that century, did not come here because it was safe. They came despite the fact that it was less safe.

The State of Israel was not established because of the Holocaust, but in spite of the Holocaust that tried to destroy us.

On Israel’s first day (15 May 1948) by Sarah Honig

Because its ragtag army stood its ground, despite the worst of odds, Israel is today accused of the crime of surviving and is portrayed as a menacing ogre for having dared to come into the world rather than surrender.

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
First posted 27 April '12..

‘It is with great joy that I hereby close the Mandatory Police record book,” wrote an anonymous duty officer at Tel Aviv’s central precinct precisely as David Ben-Gurion recited the renascent Jewish state’s Declaration of Independence.

Just below that spontaneous hand-inscribed historic annotation, appears the first criminal entry ever in sovereign Israel’s annals. It documents the capture of a thief. He stole a book, perchance pointing to preferences peculiar to the People of the Book.

Several hours later, the first ship docked in the new state. It began its journey furtively five days earlier in Marseilles when Israel was still under British rule. Its 300 young passengers were outfitted with fake IDs, forged at the Hagana “laboratory” in France.

But the Teti would claim special distinction – it became simultaneously the last “illegal” aliya boat and the first legal one. The counterfeit visas proved superfluous. The vessel proudly hoisted the Israeli flag as the new day dawned. Because it was the Sabbath, the newcomers were issued their new country’s entry permits only at sundown.

With such seemingly ordinary bureaucratic yet emotionally charged tasks, the Jewish state adeptly began the business of self-determination. In time that would be presented to world opinion as inherently sinful. By its very brazen determination to be born, it would be asserted, Israel had displaced the Palestinians, condemning them to miserable refugee subsistence.

According to the Arab narrative, Jewish independence, in and of itself, constitutes aggressive belligerence. Incredibly, this perception sank sinister roots. It takes stronger hold abroad now than it did 64 years ago. We may speculate why. We may point to two millennia of merciless anti-Jewish hate-mongering on religious and other mundanely lucrative grounds. But whatever the motive, our legitimacy, alone among the nations, is undermined assiduously.

Expediently forgotten is the fact that never, not for a single solitary day, were Israelis allowed to savor the elation of their newfound freedom. Behind the aforementioned two matter-of-fact exemplars of sovereignty, a frightening reality festered malevolently.

Israel’s birth was legally ordained via the UN Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947. Two states – Jewish and Arab – were to be established between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Jews cheered the patchy territorial crazy-quilt they were accorded, existentially untenable though it was, and proceeded to meet all UN prerequisites for independence. The Arabs vehemently rejected the offer of a Palestinian state and, in vituperative defiance of the UN, set out to destroy the embryonic Jewish state rather than construct one of their own.

On Israel’s first day, Arab League secretary-general Abdul-Rahman Azzam Pasha, articulated Arab priorities. Sending forth seven Arab armies to slay the newborn “Zionist entity,” he declared: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” The Arab agenda and intentions were unmistakable. New Israel’s citizens harbored no misconceptions.

Anyone Surprised? NY Times Greets Israel’s 70th With Piece Claiming 1948 Was ‘Catastrophe’ - by Ira Stoll

...anyone waiting for the Times to correct or even to independently evaluate and assess the inaccurate claim about 1948 and Haifa will have a long wait ahead. If there is a “catastrophe” here, it has to do with the damage done to whatever remains of the Times‘ reputation for accuracy.

Ira Stoll..
18 April '18..

The New York Times is marking Israel’s 70th birthday with an op-ed piece describing the Jewish state’s creation as a “catastrophe.”

The article also offers a historically false account of events in Haifa in 1948.

The Times article, by Ayman Odeh, who leads the vestiges of Israel’s Communist Party, begins:

HAIFA, Israel — Seventy years ago, the world changed around my family. The establishment of the state of Israel represented self-determination for Jews, but a catastrophe — “nakba” in Arabic — for Palestinians. In the area around the Mediterranean city of Haifa, where my family has lived for six generations, only 2,000 Palestinians of a population of 70,000 remained. My grandparents, A’bdel-Hai and A’dla, were among them. Their neighbors were expelled and dispossessed, and never allowed to return.

Luckily, the case of Haifa just so happens to have been the topic of extensive research by the eminent historian Efraim Karsh, who published his findings in 2000 in an authoritative and meticulously documented article in Commentary headlined, “Were The Palestinians Expelled?”

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

(video) Flourishing against All Odds: Israel at 70 - by Amb. Dore Gold

Israel is celebrating 70 years of national independence, and there’s a huge irony in that number. For it was in the year 70 that the last Jewish Commonwealth was destroyed by the Roman Empire, and the Temple, the center of gravity of the Jewish people, was destroyed. The rebirth of Israel is nothing short of a miracle.

Amb. Dore Gold..
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/Institute for Contemporary Affairs..
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation..
17 April '18..

It involved dedication, commitment of a national movement that began with the establishment of Zionism, which is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. That movement, through brilliant diplomacy of our forefathers, like Theodore Herzl and Chaim Weizmann, brought the energies of a people back together and allowed for the Declaration of Independence by David Ben-Gurion in 1948.

At its birth, Israel was attacked by multiple Arab armies around it, and if you look at the data, at just the very statistics of Israel’s situation, we were a country not even today with 8 million people. But our neighbors, who have been at war with us all these years, they have about 300 million. If you look at our territory, territorially Israel is a country with little or no strategic depth. For example, it takes only four minutes for a Soviet Sukhoi 24 jet fighter to cross from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, giving Israel very little early warning time. Ten thousand square miles. You could drop Israel into the Great Lakes, and you wouldn’t even hear the splash. But our Arab neighbors have 650 times the amount of territory. That gives them a distinct strategic advantage. It creates a basic asymmetry between Israel and the countries around it. Yet Israel, over the last 70 years, has managed to persevere.

EU High Representative Mogherini says Jerusalem is "our common Holy City" for Europeans and Arabs, but not for Jews - by Elder of Ziyon

...Israel doesn't even bother to protest these outrageous and false statements. It should be as energetic and angry at them as Arabs are at any public acknowledgement of Jewish ties to Jerusalem. The EU representative in Israel should be called into the Prime Minister's office to explain these statements every single time they are made.

Elder of Ziyon..
17 April '18..

"As Europeans and Arabs we share in particular an interest in preserving the unique status of our common Holy City, Jerusalem."

Those were the words of EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini during the opening session of 29th Summit of the League of Arab States on Sunday.

Not only is the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is not only non-existent, but any claim the Jews have to their capital is less important than that of Europe.

(You know - the continent the Crusaders came from, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews and Muslims. )

Mogherini's outrageous statements to the Arab league didn't end there.

(Continue to Full Post)

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The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out ... by Daniel Greenfield

...All go to one place, said King Solomon, all that lives is of the dust, and all returns to the dust. There is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works. And so memorial day precedes the day of independence. That we rejoice in that which those who sleep in the dust have died to protect. The skyscrapers and the orchards, the sheep ranches and the highways, the schools and the synagogues. For they who drained the swamps and built the roads, who held guard over the air and built the cities, may not have lived to see their works. But we rejoice in their works for them. And a new generation rises to watch over their dust and tend the works that they have built.

Daniel Greenfield..
Sultan Knish..
First Published 14 April '13..

"Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel." Numbers 23:10

The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out and on the busy highways that wend among the hills, the traffic stops, the people stop, and a moment of silence comes to a noisy country. Flags fly at half mast, the torch of remembrance is lit, memorial candles are held in shaking hands and the country's own version of the Flanders Field poppy, the Red Everlasting daisy, dubbed Blood of the Maccabees, adorns lapels. And so begins the Yom Hazikaron, Heroes Remembrance Day, the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror-- Israel's Memorial Day.

What is a memorial day in a country that has always known war and where remembrance means adding the toll of one year's dead and wounded to the scales of history. A country where war never ends, where the sirens may pause but never stop, where each generation grows up knowing that they will have to fight or flee. To stand watch or run away. It is not so much the past that is remembered on this day, but the present and the future. The stillness, a breath in the warm air, before setting out to climb the slopes of tomorrow.

Who can count the dust of Jacob. And yet each memorial day we count the dust. The dust that is a fraction of those who have fallen defending the land for thousands of years. Flesh wears out, blood falls to the earth where the red daisies grow, and bone turns to dust. The dust blows across the graves of soldiers and prophets, the tombs of priests hidden behind brush, the caverns where forefathers rest in sacred silence, laid to rest by their sons, who were laid to rest by their own sons, generations burying the past, standing guard over it, being driven away and returning each time.

On Memorial Day, the hands of memory are dipped in the dust raising it to the blue sky. A prayer, a whisper, a dream of peace. And the wind blows the candles out. War follows. And once again blood flows into the dust. A young lieutenant shading his eyes against the sun. An old man resting with his family on the beach. Children climbing into bed in a village beneath the hills. And more bodies are laid to rest in the dust. Until dust they become.

In this land, the Maker of Stars and Dust vowed to Abraham that his children would be as many as the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven. In their darkest days, they would be as the dust. But there is mercy in the numberless count of the dust. Mercy in not being able to make a full count of the fallen. In remaining ignorant of that full measure of woe. Modern technologies permit us terrible estimates. Databanks store the names of millions, village by village and city by city. Terrible digital cemeteries of ghosts. But there is no counting the dust. And when we walk the length and breadth of the land, as the Maker told Abraham to do, it the dust that supports our feet, we stand upon the shoulders of giants. We walk in the dust of our ancestors.

Some new countries are built to escape from the past, but there is no escaping it in these ancient hills. IDF soldiers patrol over ground once contested by empires, tread over spearheads and the wheels of chariots buried deep in the earth. The Assyrians and the Babylonians came through here in all their glory. Greek and Roman soldiers and mercenaries pitted themselves against the handful of Judeans who came out of the Babylonian exile. The Ottoman and the Arab raged here, and Crusader battering rams and British Enfield rifles still echo in the quiet hills.

Here in the silence of remembrance the present is always the past and the sky hangs like a thin veil fluttering against the future. The believers cast their prayers out of their mouths against the veil. The soldiers cast their lives and their hearts. And still the future flutters on above, like the sky near enough to touch, but out of reach. Beneath it, the sky-blue flag, the stripe of the believer's shawls adorned with the interlocked star of the House of David.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

NY Times Headline Invokes John Lennon Anti-War Lyrics to Describe Hamas - by Gilead Ini

...New York Times headline writers seemed to be unaware of Hamas's firebombs, its attack tunnels, and its defining goal of destroying the Jewish state. Or perhaps they were just confused by the group's calls to tear down the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. It's not that Hamas leaders "imagine there's no countries," as John Lennon put it. It's that they imagine there's no Israel, and that it is replaced by an Islamic state for Palestinians alone.

Gilead Ini..
Camera Media Analyses..
16 April '18..

John Lennon never said he would eat the bodily organs of his enemies.

But Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar did. During a March 31 speech at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Sinwar said Palestinians "can't give up one inch of the land of Palestine," which he reiterated includes all of Israel in Hamas's view. He told Israelis that Palestinians would find work by "shooting you at point-blank range." Rather than starve, he added, they will "eat your liver."

A week later, Sinwar proclaimed that "We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies."

So when, in today's newspaper, the New York Times invoked Lennon's most famous anti-war lyrics to describe Hamas's position — "Battle Weary, Hamas Gives Peaceful Protests a Chance," a headline in the newspaper's April 16 print edition declared — it was a discordant juxtaposition with the terror organization's actual policies, and its continued glorification of violence. Only a day earlier, Israel uncovered yet another of Hamas's cross-border attack tunnels.

The Times article itself was somewhat more equivocal than its print headline.

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Is the cheese on the “free” Palestinian protest pizza imported from Israel? - by Ira Stoll

...So while the international press, including the Times, promotes the myth of Gaza starving under an Israeli “blockade,” nongovernmental organizations simultaneously complain that Gaza is so flooded with cheap Israeli dairy products that local producers can’t afford to compete. Is the cheese on the “free” Palestinian protest pizza imported from Israel? Finding out could be a good New York Times story, but don’t expect to read about it there anytime soon.

Ira Stoll..
16 April '18..

As the pre-planned violent riots in Gaza plod on, The New York Times coverage of them is starting to show its own internal contradictions.

A recent Times editorial had recommended that Israel defend its border with “nonlethal tactics common to law enforcement, such as the use of high-powered fire hoses.”

Lo and behold, it turns out that the Israelis have been doing precisely that already. The Times news columns now report:

After protesters burned tires to obscure the soldiers’ view and rolled them toward the fence, the Israelis brought in giant industrial fans to disperse the thick black smoke and powerful water cannons to douse the fires. Soldiers have fired countless volleys of tear gas to try to push back crowds of demonstrators….nearly 1,000 [rioters] have inhaled tear gas; 300 have been hit by rubber bullets.”

Just as contradictory as the Times reporting on Israel’s use of nonlethal force has been its reporting in economic conditions in Gaza. One Times dispatch managed simultaneously to refer to Gaza’s “collapsing economy” and report as well that at one of the riot sites, “Once a day or so, a delivery arrives with free slices of pizza or cakes.”

(Continue to Full Column)

Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work. 

The World Shrugs at the Weak - by Judith Bergman

The international community abandons the weak – those who rely on others for survival – without so much as an afterthought and leaves them, quite literally, to die. A lesson we know all too well.

Judith Bergman..
16 April '18..

The angry clamoring of the UN, the EU and other international actors over Israel’s actions and policies since the Jewish nation state reappeared on the stage in 1948 has grown increasingly obsessive, approximating a kind of mass hysteria, over the years. This fixation on Israeli actions is especially noteworthy in the context of deadly conflicts playing out all around Israel’s borders.

The international actors who like to think that they are the moral conscience of the international community have mustered little more than a shrug in the direction of the horrors that have played out in Syria, for example, over the last seven years.

Those same actors have barely blinked over the torture, rape, and mass murder of Syrians and Iraqis – Yezidi, Kurd, Christian and Muslim. Most recently, this international community has shown its moral stature by largely ignoring the Turkish military onslaught on Afrin, the Kurdish enclave in the north of Syria.

The lesson – clear to even the most amateurish historian – is that the world at large accepts only one currency: Strength.

The international community abandons the weak – those who rely on others for survival – without so much as an afterthought and leaves them, quite literally, to die. Israel learned that lesson a long time ago, when the international community collectively closed its eyes to the brutal murder of six million Jews.

In the case of Israel, the international community, the majority of the mainstream media and the left’s many political and cultural organizations, all claim to be fighting for the sake of ‘peace’, even if such a concept barely translates into anything meaningful in the region.

Muslims have been killing each other, as well as non-Muslims, along sectarian lines for centuries. The entire Middle East is crisscrossed with the remains of the blood baths of internecine Muslim on Muslim war. And still the false, almost insane, idea that people who fight to death among themselves will accept the presence of a universally hated enemy – the Jews – in their midst is marketed not only as a slightly crazy, optimistic idea, but as an imperative that Israel must accept. Israel took the bait in 1993 – Oslo – and has been paying the price in blood ever since.