Sunday, May 31, 2015

NYTimes Op-ed Protests Transfer of Sacred Site

No, not the handing over of the Temple Mount precincts totally to the Muslim Waqf.

Not at all, although "Jewish" does sneak in.


Selling Off Apache Holy Land

ABOUT an hour east of Phoenix, near a mining town called Superior, men, women and children of the San Carlos Apache tribe have been camped out at a place called Oak Flat for more than three months, protesting the latest assault on their culture.

Three hundred people, mostly Apache, marched 44 miles from tribal headquarters to begin this occupation on Feb. 9. The campground lies at the core of an ancient Apache holy place, where coming-of-age ceremonies, especially for girls, have been performed for many generations, along with traditional acorn gathering. It belongs to the public, under the multiple-use mandate of the Forest Service, and has had special protections since 1955, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower decreed the area closed to mining — which, like cattle grazing, is otherwise common in national forests — because of its cultural and natural value. President Richard M. Nixon’s Interior Department in 1971 renewed this ban.

Despite these protections, in December 2014, Congress promised to hand the title for Oak Flat over to a private, Australian-British mining concern...Congress has handed over a sacred Native American site to a foreign-owned company for what may be the first time in our nation’s history.

The Apache are occupying Oak Flat to protest this action — to them, a sacrilegious and craven sell-off of a place “where Apaches go to pray,” in the words of the San Carlos Apache tribal chairman, Terry Rambler. The site will doubtless be destroyed for any purpose other than mining; Resolution Copper Mining will hollow out a vast chamber that, when it caves in, will leave a two-mile-wide, 1,000-foot-deep pit...

...“Why is this place sacred?” said Wendsler Nosie Sr., a former chairman of the San Carlos Apache, in a recent interview with Cronkite News. “No difference to Mount Sinai. How the holy spirit came to be.” If you don’t want to take his word for it, the archaeological record at Oak Flat contains abundant evidence that the Apache have been here “since well before recorded history,” according to congressional testimony by the Society for American Archaeology.

If Oak Flat were a Christian holy site, or for that matter Jewish or Muslim, no senator who wished to remain in office would dare to sneak a backdoor deal for its destruction into a spending bill — no matter what mining-company profits or jobs might result. But this is Indian religion. Clearly the Arizona congressional delegation isn’t afraid of a couple of million conquered natives.

If only the NYTimes would allow an op-ed that would express pro-Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.

Ah, but by then, Messiah would have come.


Shiloh and War in the South China Sea

War Clouds Over South China Sea As U.S. Declares Right To Waters And U.S. Warship Arrives At Subic

The drumbeat of war on distant horizons is reverberating through Southeast Asia with increasingly strong declarations of U.S. determination to stop the Chinese from expanding their writ over the South China Sea, notably islands claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

While Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was in Singapore vowing that U.S. planes and ships would go wherever they wanted in international waters WAT -0.71%, the U.S. navy missile cruiser Shiloh was hoving into view at the historic Subic Bay port northwest of Manila.

Reports of Carter’s tough remarks at a gathering of defense ministers and the Shiloh’s visit to Subic Bay, the largest U.S. navy base before the Americans were forced to give it all up more than 20 years ago, were couched in euphemisms that scarcely masked the impression of spiraling tensions. “We want a peaceful resolution of all disputes,” Carter began. “A routine port call,” said a Philippine navy spokesman when asked what the Shiloh was doing at Subic Bay, in the once roaring American base town of Olongapo.

How far is the South China Sea from the United States and how far is the 'West Bank' (Judea and Samaria) from Israel?


Correcting A Book Review

Found some errors or rather incomplete information and omissions in a book review:

1.  "It was Lehi that began the terror war against the British in 1940".

Well, if one starts in 1940, correct. But if you want to be historically correct, the blowing up of British objects like phone booths and post-offices and the assassination of British police office (engaged in torturing Jewish prisoners), then it started in 1939 after the publication of the British White Paper in May:

After Raziel's arrest, Hanoch Kalai, his deputy, was appointed Commander in Chief. Avraham Stern, who was then in Poland, was summoned back to Palestine and appointed head of the Information Department. The other members of the General Headquarters remained in their positions. At the first meeting of the General Headquarters under Kalai, it was decided to launch a second front against the British administration in retaliation for the publication of the White Paper. In accordance with Irgun procedure, the jailed commander was not consulted, and Raziel did not take part in decision-making.

The first operations directed against the British took place in Jerusalem. On June 2, 1939, Irgun fighters blew up three telephone network junctions. Close to 1,750 telephones were cut off, including some serving the army and the police. On the same day, a mine exploded near the Old City wall, killing five Arabs and injuring many more. After the Jerusalem operations, telephone network junctions were also blown up in Tel Aviv, and the railway line between Tel Aviv and Lydda was attacked.

Four days later the Irgun fighters again launched an attack on British targets. This time they damaged eight telephone network junctions, and dozens of public telephone structures. They also destroyed four of the British Electricity Corporation transformers, plunging the city into darkness. In all, they attacked 23 sites and dozens of fighters took part in the operation.

And  Cairns and a colleague, Ronald Barker, were assassinated by an Irgun land mine on 26 August 1939 in RehaviaJerusalem, on the orders of then Irgun leader Hanoch Kalai.

2.  "a poem written by Stern, which would become Lehi’s anthem". 

True.  But it was first the Irgun's anthem until Stern split off.  The Irgun then adopted the thrid stanza of the Betar anthem.

3.  "Stern was killed by the British in 1941".

February 1942.  Raziel was killed, in Iraq, in 1941.

4.  "after a successful British counter-terror operation, in which most of the Zionist leadership was rounded up, Ben-Gurion called off the Haganah". 

Even before that operation, the 'Black Sabbath', Chaim Weizmann had been demanding the Hagana halt it terror campaign.  B-G opposed it and he and Moshe Sneh left for Europe to fight for its continuation.  There was a July 30th operation in Tel Aviv but that didn't affect the decision to halt the United Resistance Movement actions by the Hagana and Palmach as on August 22, Palyam frogmen attached a limpet mine to the side of the British cargo ship Empire Rival, which had been used to deport Jewish immigrants to Cyprus. A hole was blown in the ship's side.

5.  "A total of 141 British soldiers and police and 40 terrorists died between August 1945 and August 1947, he writes, “including those executed or who committed suicide awaiting execution.” 

That is quite a narrow time-frame.

The official May 15, 1948 White Paper reads:
Since the war, 338 British subjects had been killed in Palestine, while the military forces there had cost the British taxpayer 100 million pounds.


The Unworthiness of Sternhell

Ze'ev Sternhell gets it backwards but still correct when he writes:

After Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s modest liberalization in 1963, it seemed the days of conquering the land had ended. But the Six-Day War halted the attempts to ratchet down the conquering nationalism and gradually shift to a situation in which tribal particularism could be tamed by the universal principles of democracy.

I have always posited that the 1948 war was but stage one and that the war of 1967 was but a continuation of Zionism's liberation struggle.

This perspective may sound harsh, and Strenhell certainly does his best to besmirch and deprecate Zionism and the intrinsic connection between the Jewish People and the Jewish Homeland, a reality that even fifty-one member countries – the entire League of Nations – unanimously decided and made into international law on July 24, 1922 as declared:
“Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.
and its territory was defined in September 1922, after Britain stole TransJordan as laid out in Article 25 of the “Mandate for Palestine” which entitled the Mandatory to change the terms of the Mandate in the territory east of the Jordan River "temporarily":
“In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provision of this Mandate as he may consider..." 
as so:
On the North it is bounded by the French Mandated Territories of Syria and Lebanon, on the East by Syria and Trans-Jordan, on the South-west by the Egyptian province of Sinai, on the South-east by the Gulf of Aqaba and on the West by the Mediterranean.

So Sternhell's "claim of colonialism", if correct, which it isn't, would define all of the state of Israel as an unworthy project. 

Worse, he attacks by applying abnormality of Zionism:
all Zionism’s goals had been attained within the existing borders. But even that tiny spark of normalization was obliterated by the great victory of ‘67.
Of course, a little matter of the local Arabs not recognizing, never having recognized and so far, still refusing to recognize any border acceptable to them does not configurate his thinking (and I apply that term hesitantly), not to mention the Arab terror.  It's all Israel's/the Jews' fault.  

We took, he implies, what wasn't ours.  The Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-'Palestinans' were, he would have us assume, an equal people, with equal political rights, with an equal national heritage and possessed an entity akin to a state.  And this is a university professor.

So unworthy.

Even hellish.


Friday, May 29, 2015

What Will The Concessionists Say Now?

[after a decade of blogging, I tend to write/comment
concisely, pithily and to the point.
why waste your time and mine?]

One of the central points of those who support the policy that Israel should withdraw from the territories of its historic homeland, yield, surrender and concede and partition land, is that the US will come to our assistance if Israel is threatened.

And you believe that?  That if it would want to, it could?  In time?

Consider the implications of recent developments from this report:

The White House Treats a Foreign Policy Disaster Like a Political Crisis

Nearly one year after the ISIS hordes charged screaming over the Syrian border and sacked Mosul, they’ve repeated the feat in Ramadi – the capital of the restive Anbar province, and a city located just 70 miles from Baghdad. Simultaneously, ISIS forces launched an offensive to the north and captured the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. In the face of this humiliation more than nine months after the start of renewed coalition bombing missions over Iraq, the White House dubiously continued to insist that everything was going according to plan. Except, there never was any plan.

“Look, there were several things that surprised us about ISIL,” outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told PBS reporter Martin Smith in a recent exit interview. “The degree to which they were able to form their own coalition, both inside of Syria — and inside of northwestern Iraq; the military capability that they exhibited — the collapse of the Iraq Security Forces. Yeah, in those initial days, there were a few surprises.”

Are you sure America can perform militarily if Israel requires help if we retreat from the hills of Samaria and Judea?  In time?  Adequately and resolutely?


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Did Netanyahu Off the NYTimes?

Did I read that correctly?

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu berated the New York Times for its coverage of Israel?

That the paper was engaged in meddling in Israel's affairs with a critical editorial, angrily telling the US daily to “know your place”?

Did he blast an “impolite” editorial in the New York Times last week which he said “literally gave orders to the United States”?

Did he say in a televised speech in Jerusalem, “As a newspaper, you [the New York Times] should know your place”?  And "You are meddling in Israel’s affairs by writing something like this. By publishing this editorial, you are overstepping the limits of freedom”?

No.  I did not.

Someone else:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused the New York Times of meddling in Turkey’s affairs with a critical editorial, angrily telling the US daily to “know your place”.

In a growing controversy over media rights in Turkey ahead of 7 June legislative polls, Erdogan blasted an “impolite” editorial in the New York Times last week which he said “literally gave orders to the United States”.

“As a newspaper, you [the New York Times] should know your place,” he said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

“You are meddling in Turkey’s affairs by writing something like this. By publishing this editorial, you are overstepping the limits of freedom,” he said.

Of course, it would have been nice but we're so polite.


When A Soldier Goes On TV

On May 14, I participated as an audience observer in Tim Sebastian's New Arab Debates' series in Jerusalem on the question "MOTION: The occupation is destroying Israel".
It has made some waves if only, unfortunately, due to a soldier sympathetic to "Breaking the Silence" who asked a question about which Gideon Levy wrote a column.  The video:

I even managed to ask a question, at 18:50.

And Tim shook my hand after the show, recalling my appearance on his HardTalk program, back in May 2003.
Getting back to the soldier, Shachar Berrin

Levy has him speaking so:
“...Just the other week, when some Border Police soldiers were rough with Christian tourists, another soldier, a colleague, said she couldn’t believe what they were doing: ‘I mean, come on, they are people, not Palestinians.’ I think that resonates throughout the occupied territories. I serve in the Jordan Valley, and we see every day how soldiers… look at these people not as human beings, not as someone who is equal, but someone who is less than them. And to think that we can just leave the racism and the xenophobia – that they will only be racist when they humiliate Palestinians – of course not… I think that once you are conditioned to think something, you bring it back with you and that it deeply affects Israeli society and causes it, as our president says, to be more racist.”

At his Facebook page, Dani Dayan relates to the fuss and that in his first part, the soldier made unsupported claims, painting with a wide swash of accusation, that most of the army is evil and thn withdrew to make a claim about kicking kids away and not all to shoot, if being bothered.  But Haartz pushed on, and today has an editorial on it.  It's main point:

that same damage from the occupation, against which Berrin warned, pursued him to a conference hall in Jerusalem and then sent him to prison for a week. In the words of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, “The soldier was tried for speaking to the media without authorization and approval, as required by army orders.” Or, put more simply, the soldier was tried and jailed for telling the truth, contrary to the army’s orders.

That formulation is, of course, a perversion.  The rule of not talking to the press applies to all ranks, in all situations and has nothing to do with the topic and certainly not with any so-called 'occupation'. If we take the Haaretz logic to its conclusion, the Bat Ayin soldier, Eldad Sela, who revealed, it is charged, army plans to dismantle outposts, was also simply expressing the truth and is unjustly being punished?  And by the way, he is accused of espionage, a much more severe punishable crime.  Or is only anti-occupation actions and words to be granted a special treatment of unlimited liberty?


Friday, May 22, 2015

Obama, Israel and Anti-Semitism

Selections from the troubling Obama interview

"And when I am then required to come to Israel’s defense internationally, when there is anti-Semitism out there, when there is anti-Israeli policy that is based not on the particulars of the Palestinian cause but [is] based simply on hostility, I have to make sure that I am entirely credible in speaking out against those things, and that requires me then to also be honest with friends about how I view these issues...
...he was adamant that he would not allow the Jewish right, and the Republican Party, to automatically define criticism of the Netanyahu government’s policies as anti-Israel or anti-Semitic...
I also raised another concern—one that the president didn’t seem to fully share. It’s been my belief that it is difficult to negotiate with parties that are captive to a conspiratorial anti-Semitic worldview not because they hold offensive views, but because they hold ridiculous views. As Walter Russell Mead and others have explained, anti-Semites have difficulty understanding the world as it actually works, and don’t comprehend cause-and-effect in politics and economics. Though I would like to see a solid nuclear deal (it is preferable to the alternatives) I don’t believe that the regime with which Obama is negotiating can be counted on to be entirely rational."
...I interjected by suggesting that anti-Semitic European leaders made irrational decisions, to which Obama responded, “They may make irrational decisions with respect to discrimination, with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool. At the margins, where the costs are low, they may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest. But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have. That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents. And so I think it is not at all contradictory to say that there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in the core regime, but that they also are interested in maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their own country, which requires that they get themselves out of what is a deep economic rut that we’ve put them in, and on that basis they are then willing and prepared potentially to strike an agreement on their nuclear program.”
On Israel, Obama endorsed, in moving terms, the underlying rationale for the existence of  a Jewish state, making a direct connection between the battle for African American equality and the fight for Jewish national equality. “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” he said. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”
In discussing the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, he was quite clear in his condemnation of what has become a common trope—that anti-Zionism, the belief that the Jews should not have a state of their own in at least part of their ancestral homeland, is unrelated to anti-Jewish hostility. He gave me his own parameters for judging whether a person is simply critical of certain Israeli policies or harboring more prejudicial feelings.
“Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and are you aware of the particular circumstances of Jewish history that might prompt that need and desire?” he said, in defining the questions that he believes should be asked. “And if your answer is no, if your notion is somehow that that history doesn’t matter, then that’s a problem, in my mind. If, on the other hand, you acknowledge the justness of the Jewish homeland, you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology. If you acknowledge those things, then you should be able to align yourself with Israel where its security is at stake, you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”...
Read it all.

If you can.

Or read this.

“Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is within President Obama’s own State Department definition of anti-Semitism. 


From Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:  5 important observations:

#1. "Prime Minister Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch".  This is the SAME thing Mr. Obama HIMSELF said last week (Al Arabiya 15 May 2015): "And what I think at this point, realistically, we can do is to try to rebuild trust -- not through a big overarching deal, which I don't think isprobably possible in the next year, given the makeup of the Netanyahu government, given the challenges I think that exist for President Abbas."

#2.  The gaping flaws indicated by Iran in the developing Iran nuclear deal require a 5 second attention span to raise - Goldberg declines to mention any of them:
a. Inspection regime to exclude any serious inspection of Iranian military sites that may conceal nuclear program.b. Inspection regime inside nuclear facilities to exclude live monitoring (prohibit video feeds that might provide images of Iranian nuclear scientists)c. Ongoing development and construction of advanced centrifuges to slash break-out time permitted.d. Ongoing development, construction and even deployment of delivery systems for nuclear weapons permitted.

#3. The "rationality" argument vis-à-vis Iranian policy is fundamentally flawed by the refusal to address  Iranian Twelver messianism:
Consider Bernard Lewis The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2006:  “In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead -- hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.”
#4. A profoundly bizarre claim: "They [Iran]  are not a threat to the region because of their hardware. "

#5. A disturbing  remark hinting at a policy of relying on Iran in the neighborhood:  "How do we find effective partners to govern in those parts of Iraq that right now are ungovernable and effectively defeat ISIL, not just in Iraq but in Syria?"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jerusalem As A Nincompoop's Non-Capital

 A professor emeritus of geography, 
Once again Jerusalem Day arrived, and once again the prime minister repeated the clichéd mantra: “Jerusalem was and is the capital city of the Jewish people only.”
Is that really so – or is Benjamin Netanyahu, known for historic declarations that do not always accord with the historical truth, once again mistaken and misleading the masses?
Jerusalem, according to scientific research, has existed for about 4,000 years. During the first 1,000 years it had no connection to the Jewish people. Even in the Bible, the Book of Genesis tells about Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who came out to bless Abraham, who had no connection to Jerusalem. During the time of the patriarchs, Jerusalem did not figure in their activity at all. Even when the Israelites were in Egypt, Jerusalem was never mentioned, and when they wandered in the desert they spoke about the Land of Canaan – but not about Jerusalem.
The conquest of "the land" by Joshua, son of Nun, did not include taking over Jerusalem. It was actually the king of Jerusalem who organized the coalition of five monarchs against Joshua, and at the time the city was apparently the capital of another nation, not the Israelites.
The conquest of Jerusalem by the tribe of Judah, following the death of Joshua, led to the burning of the city rather than to settlement of the tribe there. Later on it was inhabited by the Jebusites, and only 1,000 years after its establishment did King David capture the city and turn it into his capital...

There's more here.

Some comments from friends of mine:

What a staggeringly dumb article.

Come On.  Everyone knows the Capital of the Jews is Boca Raton

"During the time of the patriarchs, Jerusalem did not figure in their activity at all." Are there alternative theories about where Mt Moriah was? Some traditions have an alternative site near Mecca. So yeah - checkmate.

Which is where Abraham offered his son Yishmael as a sacrifice to God.

so David conquered Jerusalem only 3000 years ago. Jews were here through all that time except for periods when various conquerors specifically prevented Jews from being here, as after the crushing of the Bar Kokhba revolt, in the period after Constantine up to the Arab conquest [see, the Arabs did something good, they let Jews come back to Jerusalem] and during the Crusader period. Again, since 1000  BCE, Jews/Israelites were always here except when specifically excluded.

As to the Temple Mount, it is identified in the Bible as Mt Zion. Today's Mt Zion outside the Zion Gate takes its name from a Byzantine church there called the Nea Sion [its ruins are next to the parking lot in the Jewish Quarter]. This is not the original Mt Zion. As to Mt Moriah I don't think anybody knows where it is/was.   The practice of naming Mt Zion/Temple Mt/ as Mt  Moriah started with the Talmud, not the Bible.

Ridiculous.  By this standard, nobody on earth has a valid capital city.

Did Biger get paid to write this?

Embarrassingly stupid. Perhaps he can explain why it appears 669 times in the Tanakh (not counting other equivalent references such as Zion).

How long has Paris  been capital of the French? 2000 years ago, Paris was called Lutetia and was small settlement on a mud spit in the middle of the Seine river. It may have become the capital about 1000 years ago, roughly speaking. But 2000 years ago nobody called the country France, it was just Gaul. Cairo did not exist 2000 years ago. Damascus did exist 2000 years ago, but the people there did not speak Arabic and were not Arabs (there were probably some Arabs around). There was no Tunis and no Algiers.


But Weren't the "Pals." Here First?

The ancient acqueduct was built under the villages?

Word for word:

Press Release
Thursday, May 21, 2015

“With Joy Shall Ye Draw Water…”
A Section of Ancient Jerusalem’s Lower Aqueduct was Exposed in the Eastern Jerusalem Neighborhood of Umm Tuba

A section of Jerusalem’s Lower Aqueduct, which conveyed water to the city more than 2,000 years ago, was exposed in the Umm Tuba quarter (near Har Homa) during the construction of a sewer line in the neighborhood by the Gihon Company. This line is just part of an extensive project directed by Zohar Yinon, CEO of the Gihon Company Ltd, to install a modern sewer system for the benefit of the residents of Umm Tuba and Sur Bahar.

The Israel Antiquities Authority conducted an archaeological excavation there following the discovery of the aqueduct. According to Ya’akov Billig, the excavation director,“The Lower Aqueduct to Jerusalem, which the Hasmonean kings constructed more than two thousand years ago in order to provide water to Jerusalem, operated intermittently until about one hundred years ago. The aqueduct begins at the ‘En ‘Eitam spring, near Solomon’s Pools south of Bethlehem, and is approximately 21 kilometers long. Despite its length, it flows along a very gentle downward slope whereby the water level falls just one meter per kilometer of distance. At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water”.

The aqueduct’s route was built in open areas in the past, but with the expansion of Jerusalem in the modern era, it now runs through a number of neighborhoods: Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor. Since this is one of Jerusalem’s principal sources of water, the city’s rulers took care to preserve it for some two thousand years, until it was replaced about a century ago by a modern electrically operated system. Due to its historical and archaeological importance, the Israel Antiquities Authority is taking steps to prevent any damage to the aqueduct, and is working to expose sections of its remains, study them and make them accessible to the general public.

The Umm Tuba section of the aqueduct was documented, studied, and covered up again for the sake of future generations. 


GraphicZionism: Jewish Footsteps


(with thanks)


Two Halves of the Rambam Together

I was privileged to attend tonight the opening of a special display of a Mishneh Torah, the classic Halachic codex of the Rambam, commissioned and completed ca. 1457 in northern Italy and illustrated in the Renaissance style of the time. 

It was at the Israel Museum in the presence of the Rishon Letzion Yitzchak Yosef, the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto, Msgr. Cesare Pasini, the Vatican's Prefect of its Biblioteca Apostolica with a nice talk by Prof. Moshee Halbertal who spoke of the Rambam's approach that to be religious, one must learn to love, which is beyond fearful respect and can only be achieved through knowing God which, in turn, can only be gained by learning of his works in nature.

The two halves of the volume were separated some two centuries ago and ended up in the Vatican and in Germany and that second Jewish-held half was only recently located and purchased by the Israel Museum jointly with New York's Metropolitan Museum.

The two halves

The Nuncio

and also with James Synder, Museum Director (red tie)

The attendees

The Chief Rabbi and the Nuncio

James Snyder speaking

P.S.  The title of the evening was a play on words - יד ביד - which is 'Hand in Hand' - but refers to the fact that the Rambam's work contained 14 sections which, in gammatria is יד, I think was lost to many of those who attended.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

To Who Was President Rivlin Referring?

He couldn't be referring to President Rivlin here, could he?

I have nothing but regret for the discordant voices that we heard this morning, supporting the separation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of ideas that have no place being heard or said.  Such statements go against the very foundations of the State of Israel, and impact upon our very ability to establish here a Jewish and democratic state.  Such statements cause great damage to the State of Israel, and to the settlement movement.  It is important we remember that our sovereignty obligates us to prove our ability to live side by side."



That was President Rivlin.

(Communicated by the President's Spokesperson)
Wednesday 20 May 2015 / 2 Sivan 5775

President Rivlin's Statements on This Morning's Events

"This morning, (Wednesday May 20th), as we witnessed the terror attack in Jerusalem we received a painful reminder of the complex security situation Israel's faces and the price we pay for our basic principles. We must confront terrorism firmly, whilst defending our democratic values ​​as a country and as a people. I spoke this morning with the Minister of Defense, and I welcomed halting the process that could have led to an unthinkable separation between bus lines for Jews and Arabs.

"As one who loves the Land of Israel, I have nothing but regret for the discordant voices that we heard this morning, supporting the separation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of ideas that have no place being heard or said.  Such statements go against the very foundations of the State of Israel, and impact upon our very ability to establish here a Jewish and democratic state.  Such statements cause great damage to the State of Israel, and to the settlement movement.  It is important we remember that our sovereignty obligates us to prove our ability to live side by side."

Further details: Jason Pearlman, Foreign Media Advisor


What A Difference in Run-overs

Was this in anyway connected to today's terror incident when an Arab resident of Jerusalem ran over two Border Policewomen?

Police officers on Tuesday afternoon shot and wounded a man who accelerated a vehicle in their direction, a spokesman said.  The shooting happened in the parking lot.  They were conducting an investigation when "a suspect accelerated his vehicle in the direction of two of the officers," according to a spokesman.  Both officers opened fire, wounding the suspect. The man, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was taken to a hospital.


The genuine story:

Federal agents on Tuesday afternoon shot and wounded a man who accelerated a vehicle in their direction outside a West Palm Beach furniture store, a spokesman said.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of El Dorado Furniture at 1901 Okeechobee Blvd.

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations were conducting an investigation when "a suspect accelerated his vehicle in the direction of two of the agents," according to Nestor Yglesias, an agency spokesman.

Both agents opened fire, wounding the suspect. The man, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was taken to a hospital.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Operation Brainwash

Just received this:

Join Extend’s Summer Tour of the West Bank! (June 8-12th!)
Have you ever wanted to explore life in the West Bank first-hand? We are offering a chance to meet
Palestinian and Israeli civil society leaders, businessmen, educators, political leaders and activists,
learn their stories, and discover first-hand the touchstones of West Bank life.
Join Extend on its upcoming tour of the West Bank, this June 8-12.
Extend, a non-profit organization offering highly-subsidized tours of the West Bank for young
Jewish Americans, warmly welcomes you on our next tour of the West Bank, this June 8-12th. Join
us as we visit Palestinian families, as well as historic, cultural and religious sites on a journey that
will deepen your understanding of life in the West Bank and in particular, will offer insights into
Palestinian perspectives on the conflict.
Open-minded, enthusiastic American Jewish college students of all political perspectives, eager to
get into deep conversations with people of myriad perspectives, are encouraged to apply.
The cost of the 5-day program is $300.

And here is a Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Jerusalem
Morning: Visit to All For Peace Radio Station, award-winning joint Israeli-Palestinian radio initiative.
Early afternoon: Visit to the Austrian Hospice for a chat with a filmmaker and Ph.D student in George Mason's conflict resolution program, on how to reconcile dueling Israeli-Palestinian narratives on the conflict.
Late afternoon: Walking tour of East Jerusalem with a Palestinian resident of the city. The walk explores the complex politics of the city, divided Arab-Jewish neighborhoods, and home demolitions.
Day 2: Hebron and Bethlehem
Morning: Tour of Hebron with Breaking the Silence, an organization that offers tours of the West Bank led by former IDF soldiers with a critical perspective on Israeli policy in the West Bank.
Late afternoon: Meeting with the English-language spokesperson for the Hebron settler movement and a tour of the Hebron settlement.
Evening: Dinner in Bethlehem with a former Palestinian combatant and member of Hands of Peace.
Day 3: Gush Etzion
Morning: Trail walk through the hills outside of Bethlehem with a settler disciple of Rabbi Froman, a rabbi committed to achieving peace between settlers and Palestinians. During the trail walk participants discuss the Jewish and Palestinian connection to the land.
Early afternoon: Tour of villages within the Gush Etzion settlement. Introductions to a wide array of settlers.
Evening: Dinner outside Ramallah with Palestinian peace activists at a Palestinian home.
Day 4: Nabi Saleh and Bi'lin
Morning: Nabi Saleh: Visit a family in this small village that is at the heart of the protest movement, and learn about the village's weekly protest and tensions with nearby settlements.
Afternoon: Bi'lin: Meet a number of local activists in this village and learn about the nonviolent protests that culminated in an Israeli high court decision to reroute the Wall.
Evening: Discussion with former PA officials on negotiating policy, divides within Palestinian society, and more.
Day 5: Ramallah, South Hebron hills, Jerusalem
Morning: Conference with international lawyers from Military Court Watch on the West Bank legal system. Visits to Palestinian families who have gone through the legal system.
Afternoon: Meeting with prominent Palestinian businessmen on their ideal economic relationship to Israel.
Evening: The tour concludes once everyone has been deposited in Jerusalem!

Everything seems quite clear except whether the "former PA officials" also were terrorists, or are.

(thanks to JN)


Zionist youth movement involvement.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

The First Settlement Swap?

Following the Man of YamhadSettlement and Territory at Old Babylonian Alalah
Jacob Lauinger, The Johns Hopkins University
€162,00     $210.00

Legal texts recording the purchase or exchange of entire settlements are among the most important cuneiform tablets discovered at Old Babylonian/Middle Bronze Age (Level VII) Alalah. Following the Man of Yamhad is the first book-length study of these legal texts and the socio-economic practice that they document. The author explores the nature of the alienated settlements, the rights enjoyed by their owners, the underlying system of land tenure, and the larger political context in which the transactions occurred. The study is supported by extensive collations and up-to-date editions of relevant legal and administrative texts. Its conclusions will be of interest to anyone working on the history, society, and economy of the Bronze Age Near East.

Who knew?

Darn That Danino

Back in November, we learned that Israel's

Police chief won’t let any more MKs on Temple Mount

He explained that
...behavior [going to the Temple Mount] — even by MKs — can endanger public safety and security
and, therefore, despite MKs' immunity, he will not allow such 'behavior'.
We learned, further that the head of the national police, Yochanan Danino,
singled out MKs whose visits to the site have been accompanied by posts on social media...these lawmakers’ intentions were to “provoke and make remarks about changing the law on the Temple Mount [that allows Jewish visitors but bars them from praying there], which is exploited by [Muslim] extremists as a sign of a changing status quo.”
So, you would presume only Jews wish to alter the status quo.

But here can see MK Ahmed Tibi on the Mount - via social media even -
and he is demanding a Muslim-only approach (hear him here).

Isn't that campaigning for the altering of the status quo?

I can only presume that the pro-Mulsim status quo is even more sacred than the Temple Mount's sanctity for the Jews or the lawful right of Jews to pray there.
And that being so, I can further presume that Danino prefers even more anti-Jewish incitement by Muslim Arabs, supported by a MK, rather than the protection of Jewish rights.
That is a very sorry state of affairs.

I would have suggested Danino go back to bed but I feel that would unfairly implicate him in other police activity.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Is Netanyahu Down In the Dumps?

It started in 1996, then the owner of the store over the basement was abducted under orders of Arafat, who was asked by Egypt's Mubarak to persuade him to give basement to Copts but he refused, was then referred to as a Subterranean volcano in 2009 and by 2010, we were updated about the ownership of a long-forgotten medieval cellar that for centuries has been filled with rubbish.

The basics:

The cellar, which dates to at least the 12th century, lies in Jerusalem, and is claimed by both a Palestinian Muslim shopkeeper and Egyptian Coptic Christians who have responsibility over part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity's holiest site.

The legal battle over the centuries-old vaulted stone cellar has been festering for 14 years...Antonios al-Orshaleme, general secretary of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, insists the basement is holy ground and was once part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered by most Christians as the site where Jesus Christ was crucified and buried.

...The church was built in the fourth century. Its destruction seven centuries later provided an impetus for the Crusades. It was rebuilt in 1048 following agreement between the Byzantine Empire and the region's Muslim rulers.  "Here is a monastery, below is also a monastery," says Orshaleme.

Not so, says lawyer Reuven Yehoshua, who represents storekeeper Hazam Hirbawi. "For 800 years this cellar was used as a garbage dump," says Yehoshua.

And, basically, PM Binyamin Netanyahu may have to resolve it.


Israel court stumped by holy row over property near Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The owner is dead but his son and his Israeli lawyers keep on.

This week, a report (in Hebrew) indicates the decision was that thee cellar belongs to ... Hirbawi.

And you thought the Temple Mount was the only troublesome holy site?

(thanks to RH)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When July Becomes June

In Muslim countries, July 4th will be a month early this year:

Ramadan will be starting June 18th and ending mid-July.


Vatican To Lose Mount Zion?

The Vatican will be recognizing some entity that calls itself the 'state of Palestine'.

If it ever thought that after years of negotiations it will now obtain more than just a right of access to the Cenacle on Mount Zion, a revered Jewish site, I think that's a no.

Or that should be a no.


In 1537, Jews managed to expell the Franciscans from the site, which was a Jewish synagogue, after they took it over in the early 14th century.


Monday, May 11, 2015

A Thanksgiving

I attended the thanksgiving celebration of Yehuda Glick, donated by the Terasa Restaurant, last night at the Begin Center:

with friends

From Arutz 7's report:

and from Channel 2's report:


Are Biblical Prayers Permissible?

And now, Qurei is condemning the "storming of Al-Aqsa" and the "performance of Talmudic prayers"

If we perform Biblical prayers, is that okay?

But, of course, using the term "Talmudic" is anti-Semitic.

Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Affairs Department Jerusalem Ahmed Qurei warned of the risks and repercussions of the storming by a radical settler groups to the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Mughrabi Gate, heavily protected and enhanced by special units of the Israeli occupation police, who do many tours and violations.

He stressed the seriousness of the attempt settler extremist perform Talmudic prayers  on the cusp of the series door inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in a provocative step to the feelings of Muslim worshipers, describing it extremism and blunt aggression on Al-Aqsa and the holy sites in Jerusalem, with the aim of desecration, and the imposition of policy the status quo and make a normal intrusion process, all the way to give these extremists an opportunity to establish prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

...He held the Israeli government fully responsible, what is going on in the city of Jerusalem from the daily violations of continuous incursions consecutive Al-Aqsa Mosque and to provide support and protection to the settlers and extremists by the extreme Israeli right-wing government to carry out incursions

And he formulated with Shimon Peres the Oslo Accords as a 'moderate'.


Second Temple Recognition

Well, one should be thankful even for little things:

The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

Following Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained an agreement with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa compound not to allow non-Muslim prayer in the area.

Jewish prayer is allowed at the neighboring Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Second Temple.

However, Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to Al-Aqsa, leading to anger among Muslim worshipers.

At least they acknowledge that denying the Temple is stupid and silly.