Trump’s inauguration and the bad losers of the Left

Donald Trump is sworn in as 45th President of the United States

Donald Trump is sworn in as 45th President of the United States

President Donald Trump’s inauguration took place on Friday accompanied by huge crowds of supporters, and – unusually – large and some violent anti-Trump demonstrations. The depth of the hatred for Trump has not surprised me but one would have thought that people would have gotten over their anger and accepted the will of the people expressed at the ballot box.

But it seems that the Leftists of today, having been coddled by the nanny state, with politically correct rules for  protecting students against “triggering” situations, and the promotion of identity politics over merit, do not know how to handle a result that goes against their wishes.

What we saw in those demonstrations was a display of malice, ill-will, and a sinister undertone of violence that bodes ill for America if allowed to fester.

Legal Insurrection covered some of the demonstrations. Rioters pitch massive tantrum during inauguration:

During the inaugural ceremonies, anti-Trump rioters burned things and smashed car windows.


And then there was tear gas:

Besides the riots there were a series of feminist anti-Trump demonstrations which protested Trump’s reported misogyny, or at least his very inappropriate comments and attitudes about women. These demonstrations in themselves would be perfectly acceptable – until you examine who their sponsors and organizers were, and then the picture turns into something much less balanced.

One of the main organizers was Linda Sarsour, about whom Israellycool had this to say:

If you are a woman wanting to protest against Trump, go for it.

I’ll leave aside for a second the fact I do not recall any similar march protesting the disgraceful treatment of women in parts of the Muslim world.

Just be aware of the these things about Linda Sarsour, one of the main organizers of your march.

1. She wants everyone to live under Sharia law.

2. She is not happy “22 states” have banned Sharia, and claims Muslim kids are being executed in the US.

4. She posed for a picture with Salah Sarsour, a member of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and former Hamas operative who was jailed in Israel because of alleged work for Hamas.

In an article written, astonishingly enough by a Muslim woman, it turns out that more than 50 partners of the the massive Women’s March have ties to none other than our old “friend”, the subversive extreme leftist George Soros: (emphases are mine):

… the march really isn’t a “women’s march.” It’s a march for women who are anti-Trump. 

By my draft research, which I’m opening up for crowd-sourcing on GoogleDocs, Soros has funded, or has close relationships with, at least 56 of the march’s “partners,” including “key partners” Planned Parenthood, which opposes Trump’s anti-abortion policy, and the National Resource Defense Council, which opposes Trump’s environmental policies. The other Soros ties with “Women’s March” organizations include the partisan (which was fiercely pro-Clinton), the National Action Network (which has a former executive director lauded by Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as “a leader of tomorrow” as a march co-chair and another official as “the head of logistics”). Other Soros grantees who are “partners” in the march are the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. March organizers and the organizations identified here haven’t yet returned queries for comment.  

On the issues I care about as a Muslim, the “Women’s March,” unfortunately, has taken a stand on the side of partisan politics that has obfuscated the issues of Islamic extremism over the eight years of the Obama administration. “Women’s March” partners include the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has not only deflected on issues of Islamic extremism post-9/11, but opposes Muslim reforms that would allow women to be prayer leaders and pray in the front of mosques, without wearing headscarves as symbols of chastity. Partners also include the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which wrongly designated Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer, an “anti-Muslim extremist” in a biased report released before the election. The SPLC confirmed to me that Soros funded its “anti-Muslim extremists” report targeting Nawaz. (Ironically, CAIR also opposes abortions, but its leader still has a key speaking role.)

Another Soros grantee and march “partner” is the Arab-American Association of New York, whose executive director, Linda Sarsour, is a march co-chair. When I co-wrote a piece, arguing that Muslim women don’t have to wear headscarves as a symbol of “modesty,” she attacked the coauthor and me as “fringe.” 

Much like post-election protests, which included a sign, “Kill Trump,” were not  “spontaneous,” as reported by some media outlets, the “Women’s March” is an extension of strategic identity politics that has so fractured America today, from campuses to communities. On the left or the right, it’s wrong. But, with the inauguration, we know the politics. With the march, “women” have been appropriated for a clearly anti-Trump day.

The blogger Lex who writes at Israellycool expressed similar misgivings about the Women’s March, wondering with whom they are hitching a ride despite her extreme dislike of Donald Trump:

However, I was embarrassed by the behavior of over 2.9 million of my fellow social progressives at the American Women’s March, which replicated itself with other satellite solidarity marches across the world, including one in Tel Aviv. I think the whole concept of the march was silly and melodramatic, and reeked of entitlement that the left built up after being coddled and nourished by Obama for so many years. It also appeared to me as a giant temper tantrum of young children who didn’t get their way in a fair democratic process. There are three major reasons I refused to show any solidarity with the marchers, despite the fact that many of my close friends participated, that I agree on many of their appraisals of the situation, and that I share many of their worries and concerns regarding how Trump will treat his most marginalized and downtrodden citizens.

The Girls Who Cried Wolf

One of the biggest reasons why I am worried, and why I see these protests proof of a gigantic sense of entitlement the left has nurtured and abetted for many years, is because Trump hasn’t actually done anything objectionable yet as president.

These women are protesting Trump because he was elected and they don’t like him.

To any outsider, they seem to be behaving like spoiled brats used to always getting what they want, throwing a tantrum when they didn’t win after a fair process.

…But What About The Other Scumbag Presidents?

… John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and even the much-loved FDR (Franklin D. Roosevelt), had presidencies racked by numerous affairs and cheating scandals, yet went down in history as arguably among the best presidents to ever take office, at least in the 20th century. So no, even if he has a weakness for women and can’t maintain a relationship without being a jerk, that doesn’t mean he will make a bad president.

Dangerous Liaisons

I was very skeptical when I found out that community activist and noted Israel-hater Linda Sarsour was running the movement. Sarsour is a proud Palestinian pro-Sharia Law activist who pretends to be a progressive and uses her charm to endear progressives to the highly regressive Sharia Law (yes, she is probably a genius if she can do that, I’ll give her that).

Throughout her speech at the women’s march, Sarsour injected some pretty subliminal anti-Israel messaging, as did activist Angela Davis and others. There was also some subliminal Islamic proselytizing going on, with a station where march participants were fitted with American flag hijabs. Such an outcome didn’t surprise me in the slightest given Sarsour’s past behaviour and evident agenda. So no, I don’t want anything to do with her or her activism, because I always know that her end goal is to undermine Israel and popularize the anti-Israel movement, which she did empowered under Obama’s mentorship.

Any self-respecting Jew should steer clear of her and anything she is involved in as well, no matter how noble the cause may seem. There is always an ulterior motive to “inject” anti-Israel, terror-apologist, and pro-Islamist rhetoric, no matter how subtle, in all she does.

Concluding my trifecta of commentators, here is Melanie Phillips explaining the pathology in the thinking of the Left, in her article on the Insurgency Against Democracy:

President Donald Trump was brought to power by a cultural counter-revolution: a revolt by millions of Americans against a liberal progressive consensus and the establishment that embodied it.

Those who voted for him want him to overturn that consensus. He promised to do so. In his inaugural address he told them he would keep his word; he would take power away from that establishment and give it back to the people. What we are now seeing, on the streets of America and in its media, is an all-out attempt to stop him.

For in deeming Donald Trump to be unfit to hold public office, in twisting and distorting what he says and does and then turning him into a vile monster on the basis of those distortions and in accusing him of fascism and Nazism and racism and very other form of evil, his opponents are setting themselves against the very democratic system they supposedly want to defend and are themselves unleashing the hatred and violence they affect to despise.

The reason for such disproportionate, indeed almost pathological behaviour is obvious. Left-wing “progressives” regard themselves as the elect who alone are entitled to wield power. This is because they alone know how society must be refashioned to bring about the transformation of human nature and the utopia of universal equality. The fact that they have now lost power is not just a set back. It simply cannot be allowed to happen.

Those who accuse Donald Trump of fascism are not only guilty of what might be called “fascism-denial” by diminishing what fascism actually is and the terrible things it entails. They are also projecting onto the President behaviour which they themselves are guilty of inciting.

The anti-Trump demonstrations in Washington DC, although largely peaceful, were nevertheless marked by thuggery and violence, with masked hooligans hurling bricks and rocks through the windows of shops and offices.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, who blessed the new President at his inauguration, became the target of hundreds of antisemitic messages, including Nazi imagery, from US viewers watching the inaugural events online.

We don’t yet know what kind of President Donald Trump will be. But those accusing him of anti-democratic, hate-fuelled and fascist attitudes are themselves displaying and inciting these very qualities.

And with every single thing they do or say, they are proving over and over again just why he was elected.

As Melanie Phillips says, until the Left “gets it” and internalizes just where they went wrong, they will spend a lot of time waiting to regain power again.

Donald Trump is certainly not the perfect President, and not the person many of us would have voted for, but he is the American people’s choice, and we should wish him the best of luck and great success, not only for America’s sake but for the sake of the West which has deteriorated so egregiously during Obama’s regime.

Posted in International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Good News Friday

Not only is it Friday once more, but today is the last day of Barack Obama’s administration! That in itself is worthy of a good news post but I have other goodies to share besides that.

It is fitting that at a time when Syrian civilians are suffering so horribly in great part because of Obama’s policies, a Syrian mother named her baby Sarah in tribute to the Jewish state that helped her:

A Syrian woman recently gave birth to a girl at a hospital in northern Israel and named the child Sarah as a way of thanking the Jewish state, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

The Syrian mother with her newborn baby Sarah

The Syrian mother with her newborn baby Sarah

According to the report, all the medical facilities near the 29-year-old woman’s home village have been destroyed since the ongoing sectarian war in Syria broke out six years ago. As the birth of her daughter approached, the woman made her way to the Israeli border, where the IDF picked her up and brought her to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed.

“When my husband heard I insisted on going to the border to give birth in a hospital, he asked that if she was born healthy, to give her a Jewish name in gratitude to Israel,” she was quoted by Israel Hayom as saying.

Following the birth, the woman asked to return home to her family in Syria.

“I am worried about them,” she said.

“I’ll never forget what [Israel] did here for my daughter Sarah and for me,” she continued. “When Sarah grows up enough to understand, I’ll tell her where she was born and why, out of all the names in the world, we chose to call her Sarah.”

How wonderful to read such a heart-warming story.  I also found it notable that the woman’s husband mentioned a Jewish name – as opposed to an Israeli name, this despite the religious nature of the conflict between us. It’s mind-boggling to think that a Syrian citizen thought it quite natural to approach the Israeli border when she needed to give birth. Such a move would have been unthinkable a few short years ago. Yet we now take it for granted that our former enemies willingly come to us for medical aid, and our wonderful little country is so big-hearted that it can give humanitarian assistance to all who come in need.

Mazal tov to the Syrian mother and her baby Sarah. May Sarah grow up to live in peace with her Israeli neighbours as well as with her own compatriots. And may the mother stay safe and be a goodwill ambassador for Israel.

Speaking of the Middle East, the Israeli Air Force received its first Arrow 3 missile defence battery this week (via DP-PT):

“We’re entering a new age — the age of the Arrow 3,” Moshe Patel, the head of Israel’s missile defense program, said at the unveiling ceremony for the system.

“Today, we delivered to the air force the first Arrow 3 interceptor, with interception capabilities that are much greater and can be done from much farther away than anything that we have now,” Patel said.

The Arrow 3, which was developed in a joint Israeli-American program, is designed to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, taking out the weapons and their nuclear, biological, chemical or conventional warheads closer to their launch sites.

The system is considered to be one of the most advanced in the world. Its design is the brainchild of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency, but the system was actually produced by the missile division of the Israel Aerospace Industry.

The Arrow 3 has been in development for nearly a decade, starting in 2008.

The Arrow 3 is one part of a multi-layered missile defense system designed to protect Israel from short-, medium- and long-range attacks. The Iron Dome, for instance, is routinely used to knock down short-range missiles from the Gaza Strip. The yet-to be deployed David’s Sling is designed to intercept medium-range missiles.

“I am sure that this system, along with the others that we have and that will join our arsenal in the future, like the David’s Sling, will give us more effective and meaningful capabilities,” said Brig.-Gen. Tzvika Haimovich, head of the army’s Aerial Defense Command.

With the Arrow 3 system declared operational, Israel and the United States may now be the only countries capable of shooting down ballistic missiles in space.

Kol hakavod to all the teams and departments involved in the research and development of this defensive system. May we never need it, but thank G-d that we have it!

Moving to slightly different news, Israel entered the list of the top 10 most innovative economies in the world: (Via Zvi). The link is in Hebrew only so I’ll give a rough translation:

Israel is at no. 10 in the list of innovative economies in the world according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index. She is ahead of countries like France, Austria, Belgium, Norway, Holland, Ireland, Britain and Australia. This is a rise of one position from last year’s spot. Israel earned a general mark of 81.23 and was placed second in the category of investment in research and development; in third place for the proportion of hi-tech companies, and in first place for research.

The top 10 innovative economies are (counting down):

10. Israel
9. USA
8. Denmark
7. Japan
6. Singapore
5. Finland
4. Switzerland
3. Germany
2. Sweden
1. South Korea

Anyone who follows the news (or this blog!) will not be surprised at this great news, but still, it’s very encouraging to see that our efforts are not in vain. This does not give us a free pass however and we must make sure that future generations receive the right education to continue this trend.

And immediately doubling down on this good news, Israellycool reports that Israel is also at no. 9 out of 16 countries with the best health care (which I’m sure the Syrian refugees will confirm):

Days after making Harper Bazaar’s list of the 17 best places to escape to in 2017, Israel finds itself on yet another list, this time a list of the 16 countries with the world’s best healthcare systems

9. Israel — Israel is the highest ranked of any Middle Eastern state on the Legatum Institute’s health sub-index, and the country has the 8th highest life expectancy on the planet, 82.5 years.

I can confirm from personal experience that we have a great healthcare system here.

Having various family members being treated in different departments of the health care systems, plus others who are working there, I can confirm Dave’s assessment. For all that we complain about Kupat Holim and Israeli bureaucracy it seems we still are on the cutting edge of medicine – something we can all be proud of, and thoroughly grateful for.

On a completely different subject now, Israel’s National Library this week made the historic acquisition of thousands of rare Hebrew texts (via Reality) as it acquired around 8,000 texts from the famous Valmadonna Collection:

Israel’s National Library on Wednesday announced the acquisition of thousands of Hebrew manuscripts and books from one of the most significant collections in the world.

The 8,000 or so texts from the Valmadonna Trust Library collection were purchased in collaboration with collectors David and Jemima Jeselsohn in a private sale through Sotheby’s for an undisclosed sum.

A Passover Haggadah printed in Prague in 1556. (National Library)

A Passover Haggadah printed in Prague in 1556. (National Library)

The Valmadonna’s 13,000-book assemblage of Hebrew texts from Amsterdam to Shanghai and a host of historic Jewish communities in between, spanning a millennium, was assembled by the late Jack V. Lunzer, a Jewish British industrialist. Lunzer died in December, at the age of 92.

“The acquisition is an important and exciting addition to the NLI’s collection,” the library said in a statement. “The printed works in the collection are in superb condition and the acquisition has enabled NLI to gain in one acquisition what would have taken decades to collect.”

Sotheby’s described the collection when it first displayed it before auction in 2009 as “the finest private library of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world,” estimated to be valued at no less than $40 million altogether.

Among the highlights are a pre-inquisition Pentateuch printed in Lisbon in 1491; a Passover Haggadah printed in Prague in 1556, one of just two that survive; the Plantin Polyglot “King’s Bible,” a multilingual print of the Bible in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Aramaic and Syriac printed between 1568 and 1573; and over 550 broadsheets dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

What a wonderful new addition for the National Library. Kol hakavod to the Jesselsons for their participation in this amazing acquisition which I am sure will enthrall thousands of Israelis for years to come.

And now, with these items of good news plus the excellent landmark of the end of the Obama mis-administration, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Defence and Military, Israel news, Slice of Israeli life, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Obama’s last day as President – and his last act of spite

The day we have all been praying for for the last 8 years has come: Barack Obama is leaving the White House today, and not a day too soon!

But before Donald Trump can get a foot in the door of the White House, Barack Obama has contravened the normal etiquette of easing the way in for the new President. He has made sure to make life as difficult as possible for the incoming president by leaving a trail of political IED’s behind him.

AF Branco at Legal Insurrection depicts Obama’s malice so precisely.

In a final act of spite against Israel and the Jewish community, Obama appointed his top aide Ben Rhodes to the Holocaust Memorial Council. Just to remind you, Ben Rhodes was the man who “sold” the Iran Deal to the Western world on Obama’s behalf. In response to this appointment Obama was blasted on social media as “a spite machine”:

Outgoing President Barack Obama’s choice on Tuesday of top aide Ben Rhodes to serve on the US Holocaust Memorial Council drew a slew of online ire over Rhodes’ controversial record on Israel-related issues.

Ben Rhodes and Barack Obama

Ben Rhodes and Barack Obama

Rhodes — whose role as Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications will come to an end on Friday with the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump — was a leading advocate of the Iran nuclear deal and a vocal critic of Israeli settlement policies.

“So Ben Rhodes, who is a veritable enemy of Israel, Obama appoints to Holocaust Memorial Council,” American Spectator Managing Editor Melissa Mackenzie tweeted. “The man is a spite machine.”

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer tweeted, “No joke: Obama names aide who bragged of whitewashing Iran’s Holocaust-denying regime to Holocaust memorial council.”

Journalist Lori Lowenthal Marcus tweeted, “The only interest in the Holocaust I’ve seen from @rhodes44 is his effort 2 help create another 1.”  [Ouch!!]


Obama also had the chutzpah to warn Trump once more on any major shift on Israel, while at the same time condemning Israel once more for their “non-democractic” country:

WASHINGTON – In his final session with reporters as president, Barack Obama defended his policy choices on Israel and warned his successor, Donald Trump, to “think through” major shifts that may disrupt the region.

After facing a bipartisan rebuke in the House of Representatives for his decision to abstain from a UN Security Council vote condemning Israel over its settlement enterprise last month, Obama defended the move as a shot across Israel’s bow – a “signal, a wake-up call, that this moment may be passing” for a two-state solution to be a realistic scenario.

“I continue to be significantly worried about the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and I am worried about it both because I think the status quo is unsustainable,” Obama said, “that it is dangerous for Israel, that it is bad for the Palestinians, that it is bad for the region and it is bad for national security.

With this attitude is it any wonder that Obama’s rating amongst Israelis is at the lowest point ever?

Obama exits office on Friday with a 60% approval rating among Americans, but with historically low favorability ratings among Israelis – in the single digits – who believe that he abandoned them at the United Nations, a body seen in the country as hostile and biased against it.

The outgoing president said that the administration failed to make progress on Middle East peace “in light of shifts in Israeli politics and in Palestinian politics – a rightward shift in Israeli politics, [and] a weakening of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas’s ability to make risks on behalf of peace.”

“I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy, because if you do not have two states, then in some form or fashion you are extending an occupation – functionally you have one state,” Obama said.

Not only does he have no loyalty to erstwhile allies like Israel, Obama has no class, as the Diplomad writes:

… but Obama is certainly not going out quietly and with class. He will not replicate George W. Bush’s graceful exit and subsequent political silence. At his FINAL (?) press conference, Obama’s lack of class, grace, and reflection, and the absence of any sense of personal responsibility shone brightly. He performed before the pet journalists of the White House press corpse as though he were taking a victory lap. He proved full of praise for himself, and brimming with “sage” advice for his successor and for the press in dealing with the new President. He wanted them to be as tough on Trump as they had been on him . . . low bar, insert jokes here . . . He could not admit that nearly everything he touched has turned to disaster for America and, ironically, for his own political party which has become irrelevant in huge swathes of the country. He vowed, a la Cortes, to come storming back if he saw his values under attack! Unlike other ex-presidents, he will remain in DC, just so he can try (Good Luck With That!) to steal the spotlight from President Trump. In other words, this final press conference will not be the final press conference from the biggest disaster ever to occupy the White House.

Worse, however, than the evident narcissism and delusion on display at the presser, and in his even more pompous “farewell” address, Obama has taken actions in his last days in power to make life much more difficult for President Trump and for America, including his outrageous commutation of Manning’s 35-year prison sentence. Manning should have been left to rot.

While Trump will quickly dismantle most if not all of Obama’s absurd Presidential Directives, Obama has set down IED’s for the new administration in foreign affairs. Obama’s last minute discovery, for example, that Russia has interests of its own and that they do not necessarily coincide with ours will create long-term problems. The dispatch of US troops, for example, to Poland in the waning days of this horrid misadministration sets up a dilemma for Trump. If he leaves the troops there, the job of reaching out to Russia becomes all the more difficult. If he pulls them out, he will be accused of being a Putin puppet, out to destroy NATO. This is not a problem without resolution, but it is an unnecessary one. Likewise, the Obama/Kerry/ Powers last-minute blitz on the Middle East […] sets up Trump for an immediate clash with the Arabs, the UN, and, potentially, our ally Israel who feels betrayed. Israel and our own interests have been betrayed not only by Obama’s actions at the UN but by the fake Iran deal, (go here, here and here, for example) that legitimizes and helps fund Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Trump will now have to deal with a surging Iran. In East Asia, of course, the Obama misadministration has so mishandled relations with our allies there, including Philippines, that the new administration will have an even more difficult time than necessary in dealing wit the growing threat from China. In the Americas, Obama has up-ended decades of US policy towards the Castro regime, again, in exchange for nothing, and at the price of making America seem weak. I am sure you can spot many more Obama IEDs.

Obama and Putin shake hands

Obama and Putin shake hands

Speaking of the Russian “IED” that Obama laid for Trump, Lee Smith at Tablet Magazine, like the Diplomad above, counters the Democrats’ claim that Trump is in Putin’s pocket, and in a damning indictment of the Obama regime, asserts that it is Obama who owes a debt to Putin, but it is Trump who’s left holding the bag: (emphases added):

Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sure, Obama recently sent 35 Russian diplomats packing and shuttered Russian diplomatic facilities in Maryland and New York, but this was after seven years of looking the other way while Russia seized Crimea, then Donbass; waged cyberattacks on the Baltic countries; brought down a passenger jet over Ukraine; sheltered Edward Snowden; and bombed schools and hospitals in Syria. All of these actions threatened global stability and American interests, yet Obama only puffed his chest after the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails—long after it mattered, and after the moving vans have already started to haul his stuff out of the White House.

The real reason it’s so hard to see how much room the outgoing president gave Putin is because misdirection has been Obama’s guiding principle for seven years.

All this helped obscure the fact that when it really counted, Obama took special care to signal the Russian strongman that their interests were aligned. That wasn’t because he has a man-crush on Putin, but because he had a larger purpose in view—securing the Iran nuclear deal.

Smith details the machinations that went on behind the scenes to cover up for Obama’s true intentions:

For what mattered most to Obama wasn’t Syria, nor even was it the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is typically referred to as Obama’s signature foreign-policy initiative. Even that was a feint, cover for a larger strategy that entailed a realignment of interests in the Middle East and a new form of foreign-policy “realism” that would get American troops out of the Middle East—and put America in the same column as Iran and its allies, including Vladimir Putin.

So the Obama White House made stuff up. No one wanted to side with Iran and downgrade traditional allies like Israel. And so the Obama administration said that wasn’t happening.

Read the rest of the article. It is chilling in its descriptions of the Machiavellian machinations and obfuscations committed by the Obama administration. Here is some more (apologies, I just can’t stop, it’s all so good):

It wasn’t long before foreign officials came to understand that Obama was working two seemingly opposing channels—the trick was figuring out which channel was real. As a source close to the Turkish government explained to me, Turkey’s former prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, eventually concluded that Obama was using Clinton as a prop. Whatever promises she might make on Syria, for instance, were worthless. They were also often actively misleading, as they were unconnected to what the Americans were actually doing on the ground. The White House had sent its top diplomat out to lie, and without informing her she was lying.

No one saw more of the administration’s shell game than Israel.

The reality is that the Russian campaign in Syria served vital Obama interests. There was no point in realigning with Iran if Tehran’s regional position collapsed. Putin saved not only Assad and Iran, but Obama’s realignment policy. It was the second time the Russian president rescued Obama’s realignment policy—the first being when he offered the deal over Assad’s chemical weapons that allowed the commander-in-chief to walk back his red line.

Obama owes Putin, which is why he let the Russians get away with nearly everything it chose to do the last seven years, including its attacks on the American political system. What’s left for Trump is to manage the Russia policy he inherited from Obama—or overturn the table.

Lee Smith’s article gave me the shivers. The thought that the most powerful man in the world could act with such a cavalier attitude towards the tried and tested policies of containment of enemies and support of allies, while aligning his country with the worst of international despots is almost too terrifying to contemplate. And yet this is exactly what Obama has done, all while dangerously weakening America’s standing in the world and enabling the rise of Russia and China, not to mention radical Islam.

It’s not necessarily going to be a bed of roses when Donald Trump takes power, but it surely has to be better now that Obama is out of the door.

I think we can allow ourselves to say a hearty ברוך שפטרנו – Blessed be the One who delivered us from this!

Posted in International relations, Iran, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Radicalization and incitement leads to murder

Another outrageous incident of incitement on the part of Arab activists, even members of the Knesset, all culminated today in the tragic death of an Israeli policeman, Erez Levi, in a car-ramming attack after a violent confrontation during the demolition of illegal structures in the Bedouin town of Umm Al-Hiran:

A police officer was killed and another injured early Wednesday morning, when an Arab terrorist attacked security forces securing the demolition of illegal structures in the Bedouin settlement of Umm Al-Hiran in southern Israel.

IDF forces stand guard as illegal structures are razed in Umm Al-Hiran

IDF forces stand guard as illegal structures are razed in Umm Al-Hiran

Police units were deployed to the Negev settlement before dawn on Wednesday to protect the demolition team from demonstrators who had gathered at the site of the planned eviction.

Before the operation was completed, however, a car driven by a terrorist associated with the Islamic Movement rammed a group of officers.

Police responded to the attack, shooting and killing the attacker.

The murdered officer has been identified by police as 34-year old Sergeant Major Erez Levy.

The wounded officer is reportedly in moderate condition.

Police say the terrorist responsible for Wednesday’s attack was a member of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, and may have ties to the ISIS terror group.

In the wake of the attack, demonstrators clashed with security forces, hurling stones at officers.

Demonstrators protesting the eviction clashed with police in the wake of the attack.

Joint List MK Ayman Oudeh, injured in the demonstration

Joint List MK Ayman Oudeh, injured in the demonstration

Joint List MK Ayman Odeh, who had joined demonstrators to protest the demolition, suffered head injuries during the clashes, most likely from a stone hurled towards police.

After the shocking violence, voices were raised from right and left either defending or accusing the police, as well as the instigators, promoters and funders of the violence.

From the right, NGO Monitor said that irresponsible, EU-funded NGOs contributed to the tensions between the Bedouins and Israeli authorities:

NGO Monitor research shows that the NGOs Adalah, Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), and Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) receive European government funding that contributes to tensions between the Bedouin community and the State of Israel.

NGO Monitor President Professor Gerald Steinberg said, “The irresponsible rhetoric of these NGOs furthers an atmosphere that rejects compromise and leads to violence and disrespect for the rule of law.

“It is important to remember that European governments that financially support these organizations also have a responsibility in this regard. For many years, European-backed NGO political advocacy has stripped away the complexity and nuance of the Bedouin issue, and has contributed significantly to demonization and de-legitimization campaigns.

“NGOs that claim to promote the rule of law and human rights have an obligation to carefully assess their allegations and act responsibly,” continued Prof. Steinberg. “The tragic results of their activities are now on full display.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked accused Arab MKs of inciting to violence, noting the important fact that the State had reached an agreement with Bedouins on compensation and alternate housing in place of the illegal structures:

Speaking in an interview broadcast Wednesday evening, Shaked said: “These [attacks] are very difficult cases which are mainly the result of the incitement of Arab MKs and extreme leftist groups who entered the picture in the last few days.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

She said the demolition was carried out after long negotiations between the state and the residents. “You should know that the residents were in negotiations with the state for several years despite the court order [that the structures be demolished].”

She added that the affected families were to be given extensive compensation and were offered alternate housing.

“In recent days [there has been] agitation and incitement by Arab Knesset Members and by extreme leftist organizations who [took advantage] of the event and caused this radicalization. This was a very difficult occurrence. There was terrible violence committed against the police by citizens of the State of Israel. You have to realize that it was citizens who demonstrated so violently against the police, and unfortunately, one policeman was killed.”

She accused Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh and other Arab MKs of the incitement which led to Wednesday’s attack. “There are Arab Knesset Members who work for their public and do a good job in the Knesset, and some, unfortunately such as the chairman of their party, Ayman Odeh, who who lie and incite [against Israel]. Instead of reassuring his constituents and trying to support coexistence, he does just the opposite.”

The Regavim movement, which monitors illegal Arab construction and settlement, confirmed the generous offer made to the Bedouins which they rejected amid violent protests.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin accused the Supreme Court of encouraging violence by allowing the likes of traitorous Basel Ghattas and Hanin Zouabi to remain in the Knesset

a heavy share of responsibility for the present situation rests on the Supreme Court’s shoulders. This is the same Supreme Court which enabled Zoabi and Ghattas to sit in the Knesset, the same court which allowed the Joint Arab List to compete for election in flagrant violation of the law, the same Supreme Court which instead of ruling that real enforcement should take place on illegal Bedouin construction allowed – time after time – postponements of demolitions while at the same time showing excessive strictness with any Jewish construction. We are paying the price for this today.

“I send condolences and participate in the sorrow of the family of Erez Levi who was murdered this morning in Umm Al-Hiran,” added Levin. “Today it was proved how essential was the decision which I initiated conditioning the transfer of funds to the Bedouin sector on their removing illegal construction and returning stolen lands to the state.”

“This is an unprecedented case which has not occurred before regarding the rule of the law in Israel. What is required is to immediately implement all of the demolition orders issued for illegal buildings in Umm Al-Hiran.”

The minister rejected the analogy between the Bedouins in the Negev and the residents of Amona, calling it “shameful and outrageous”, since “in Amona just like in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, people are sitting with state permission and assistance and every evacuation is accomplished without murderous and hateful violence towards the state like we saw today.”

Binyamin Netanyahu himself implored the Arab MKs to stop the incitement:

the State of Israel is first and foremost a state of law, with equal enforcement. This incident will not only not deter us, it will strengthen us and strengthen our resolve to enforce the law everywhere.

“I ask of everyone, and especially of the members of the Knesset in Israel, to stop fanning the flames and inciting to violence. The Bedouin public is a part of us, we want to integrate it into Israeli society and not to polarize it and cause it to distance itself from the focus of our existence here. Police forces act with full permission and authority and nobody has the right to disturb them in fulfilling their tasks.”

From the left, activists accused the police of shooting at the terrorist’s truck before it rammed the policemen, in other words it was driving away from the incident, not towards it:

One far-left activist, Israeli mathematician Kobi Snitz, said he witnessed the ramming incident, and “saw a white pickup truck that started driving far away from the officers, drove away from them, not toward them.”

Another witness, Uriel Eisner, 26, an activist at the Center for Jewish Non-violence, confirmed to The Times of Israel that police fired at the vehicle before it accelerated toward officers. Eisner speculated that the driver was trying to leave the village in order to avoid confrontation with police.

Hundreds of left-wing activists protested the demolitions and the police violence:

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Tel Aviv and other locations across Israel on Wednesday to protest the government-ordered demolition of several Bedouin homes and what they saw as excessive police force leading to the deadly car-ramming incident.

On Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and Qalansawe hundreds of protesters gathered to demonstrate against “the bloodshed and the destruction of homes in the Negev.”

The protests were peaceful by all accounts, but came after a day of intense clashes and spiking tensions over home demolitions and an alleged car-ramming, in which a resident of Umm al-Hiran ran his car into policeman Erez Levi, killing him.

The demolitions of illegal homes in a Bedouin village were disrupted when a car driven by Yaqoub Mousa Abu al-Qia’an, a local schoolteacher, slammed into police.

Abu al-Qia’an, was killed by police fire, with a video appearing to show officers firing at him before his car accelerated into Levi.

Local residents said al-Qiyan was trying to leave town and only lost control of his vehicle after police shot at him. His brother, Ahmad al-Qiyan, said he was “murdered in cold blood,” and Amnesty International called for a probe into the reports of excessive force by police.

“The police are light on the trigger when it comes to Arab citizens,” the Arab advocacy group Adalah said in a statement that accused the police of a “culture of lying.”

An Arab advocacy group called for a nationwide general strike in the Arab sector on Thursday.

Arab businesses and municipalities will close across the country, but children will go to school for three hours to learn about the demolitions, Joint (Arab) List MK Aida Touma-Sliman said.

The police rejected the accusations against them and at the funeral of the slain policeman Erez Levi Hy’d, Israeli Police chief Roni Alsheich harshly criticised Arab community leaders for inciting to violence:

“Unfortunately, specific leaders from within the [Arab] community have chosen to incite to violence instead of condemning the terror attack,” he said at the funeral for 1st Sgt. Levi at the Yavneh Military Cemetery.

Police Chief Roni Alsheich speaks at the funeral of Erez Levi Hy'd

Police Chief Roni Alsheich speaks at the funeral of Erez Levi Hy’d

Alsheich was one of several Israeli officials who were quick to label the early morning incident at Umm al-Hiran a terror attack, while witnesses and a video from the scene cast some doubts on whether the act was intentional.

At the funeral, Alsheich repeated the claim that the driver had been radicalized, accusing him of goading children into violence.

“[Abu al-Qia’an] spread incitement at a school where six other teachers have been arrested for they affiliation with the Islamic State,” Alsheich said. “The terrorist looked for a group of police officers, accelerated and then hit them.”

Activists at Umm al-Hiran claimed Abu al-Qia’an lost control of the car when he hit Levi, and aerial footage of the incident appears to show police shooting before the crash.

The footage also showed the car appearing to swerve after plowing through Levi. Police officials have maintained that the act was intentional.

Erez Levi Hy’d was only 34 when he was murdered, and he left a widow with two young children:

Erez Levi Hy'd

Erez Levi Hy’d

Warrant officer Erez(Amedi) Levi Hy’s(May G-d avenge his blood), who was murdered in a terror attack in the Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hiran in the Negev, was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon in the military section of the Yavneh regional cemetery. Hundreds of people attended his funeral.

Levi, a member of the Coordinating Enforcement Actions Authority of the Police Operations Branch, joined the Border Police in 2002. He left a wife, two children, parents and brothers.

His widow, Clara Levi, eulogized him: “At 4:20 I texted you to look after yourself, I got up from my sleep and thought that something had happened to you but you answered me. Who would have believed that this was the last thing I would have from you?”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said: “When you grow older, dear Tair and Yair, [Erez’s children] you will know and understand that this was the mission of your father Erez and of the police in which he and his wonderful family served so faithfully.

“Israel is a state of law and the more the law is enforced, the less violence there will be and the entire public will benefit from this. In the name of the Israeli government and police, I promise you, Erez, and commit to continue to follow in your footsteps, we will enforce the law in every place and at all times, we will not give in even when accursed murderers try to stop us.”

What a terrible loss to his family, to the police and to the people of Israel. May the family of Erez Levi Hy’d no know more sorrow, and may his memory be for a blessing.

יהי זכרו ברוך

May the vitally important lessons of the rule of law, the prohibition of incitement and the prevention of radicalization and marginalization of minorities, be learned from this dreadful incident.

Posted in Defence and Military, indigenous rights, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Paris Piece Conference

Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs illustration: International representatives negotiating now among themselves on a text for Sunday’s #ParisConference. They Should instead push Abbas and the Palestinians to negotiate peace directly with Israel.

While the Paris Peace Piece Conference’s aims were ostensibly to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it was quite clear from the start that its only intention was to make Israel give up a piece of this and a piece of that (hence my title) in order to weaken it if not destroy it altogether.

The predictions, the declarations – both for and against – and the outcome, were precisely as expected. Binyamin Netanyahu panned the pointless parley as rigged: while the Palestinians of course welcomed it:

“The conference that is convening today in Paris is a pointless conference,” he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“It was coordinated by the French and the Palestinians and aims to force conditions on Israel that conflict with our national interests,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu has previously claimed the talks were “rigged” against the Jewish state, insisting that direct bilateral talks between Jerusalem and Ramallah was the only way to negotiate a peace agreement.

At the Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reiterated his position that the Paris-sponsored initiative makes the prospect of peace more as it “hardens Palestinians conditions and keeps them from direct negotiations.”

“I have to say that this conference is among the last remnants of the world of yesterday,” Netanyahu said. “Tomorrow will look different, and that tomorrow is very close.”

Unlike Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the bid to reaffirm global support for a two-state solution, and will meet French President Francois Hollande in the coming weeks to be briefed on the conference outcome, diplomats said last week.

Paris officials said that Netanyahu declined a similar invitation.

Likud MK and Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara described the conference in a perfectly snarky way:


The Paris Conference is an old age home collecting politicians on their way to their retirement from a political career as they step off the stage.

Europe needs to understand that Israel is a strong country that will not tolerate diktats.

Foreign ministers before the meeting in Paris REUTERS/Kamil Zihnioglu

Foreign ministers before the meeting in Paris REUTERS/Kamil Zihnioglu

Despite Israeli fears that the conference would lend backing to UNSC Resolution 2334, Israeli officials cheered the weakened declaration that ultimately issued forth:

Israeli officials on Sunday credited the efforts of the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry for a “significant weakening” of the text of the final joint declaration issued by the participants of a peace conference in Paris.

The one-day summit came to a close on Sunday evening with a statement, backed by the 70 countries, calling on Israel and the Palestinians to restate their commitment to a peace settlement and to refrain from unilateral actions.

The statement urged both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” and disassociate from voices that reject that goal. It also called for them not to take one-sided actions that could preclude fruitful talks.

The Israeli officials were jubilant that “problematic passages” in a contentious recent UN Security Council resolution on the settlements were not included in the Paris document. Resolution 2334, passed on December 23, harshly condemned the settlement enterprise, declaring that it has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Furthermore, the Israeli officials expressed satisfaction over the fact that no further action against Israeli settlements is planned at the Security Council. US Secretary of State John Kerry had promised as much to Prime Minister Netanyahu in a phone call from Paris earlier Sunday.

The ostensible success, the officials concluded, was the “result of harsh reactions” voiced by Israel against Resolution 2334.

Wrapping up the conference, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters that the purpose of the meet was to convey a sense of urgency about the threat to the two-state solution.

The Elder of Ziyon quibbles with the Israeli jubilation, saying that while the declaration was better than the original draft, it is not much better:

The good part is that the paragraph about the June 1967 lines being sacrosanct is gone, along with the call to essentially boycott any Israeli person or entity beyond the Green Line. That is probably what Israel is happy about.

The bad part is that they took out the language saying that “solutions cannot be imposed” on the parties along with one of the two mentions insisting on direct negotiations. Also the follow-up conference added in the statement will again be more one-sided pressure on Israel.

So it is somewhat better than the draft but not a whole hell of a lot.

Interestingly, in another show of support for Israel, Britain questioned the purpose and the timing of the conference, and sent only a low-level representative to the conference:

Prime Minister Theresa May sent neither her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, nor her envoy to France to the parlay. Britain instead had observer status at the conference.

“We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them– indeed, which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis– and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement,” a Foreign Office statement read.

For some more commentary on the conference, The Elder of Ziyon links to a series of very interesting related articles.

The Jerusalem Post’s editorial “No tango in Paris” states:

Conferences in Paris will not bring peace. That will only come from negotiations. For peace to happen, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs to first come to Jerusalem and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is that Abbas is a known rejectionist. He rejected the peace deal offered to him by Ehud Olmert in 2008 and has since remained intransigent in his refusal to even meet Netanyahu.
While France might be sincere in its desire to see peace come to the Middle East, holding a conference is misguided. Unfortunately, the more the international community supports Abbas’s unilateral diplomatic delegitimization campaign, the more stubborn he will become in his refusal to sit down for real and sincere negotiations.
Our suggestion – cancel the meeting in Paris.

Unfortunately, that – they didn’t.

Since the conference participants were so concerned with international law, Brian of London at Israellycool recalled an earlier article that he had written in which he reveals that the conference actually ignores French law:

(Update: I discovered that I too had written, way back in April 2013, about the same French law!).

Quoting here from Israellycool:

Today in France 70 nations will come together in Paris and blindly ignore the legal ruling of a highly significant French court (Court of Appeal of Versailles) just a few years ago. They will most likely issue a statement which creates the impression that Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria are illegal.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that there hasn’t been a proper legal case to decide the legality of Jews living in the lands captured back from Jordan in ’67, specifically Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. I was wrong! There was exactly such a case and, even though I’ve written about it, it has received almost no attention and been buried.

As we first reported here on Israellycool last week, a French court has confirmed some aspects of the legal situation regarding Israel and the hills of Judea and Samaria, especially around Jerusalem.

Now the larger news outlets have had time to think about this and get the opinion of greater legal minds than this humble blogger.

And the answer seems to be, it is a victory, but only if you didn’t know anything about international law and the specifics of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Well I’d say that’s just about everyone on earth and doubly so for everyone who is deluded by BDS campaign lies!

Exactly as I noted then, the legacy media completely ignored this ruling or downplayed it because it didn’t fit their lethal narrative: Jews are illegal settlers in what was once their own land. Nobody in the hostile legacy media has referred to it since (try to google for it).

Jean-Patrick Grumberg (the original reporter I linked to back in 2013 on the story) has now re-published a more detailed account of the technicalities of the case which related to the building, in Jerusalem, of the light rail system which connects both predominantly Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods to the centre of Jerusalem.

This is how Jean-Patrick concludes his post (which also includes the entire court decision in French).

The Court of Appeal therefore sentenced the PLO (and Association France Palestine Solidarité AFPS who was co-appellant) to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) to Alstom, 30,000 euros to Alstom Transport and 30,000 euros to Veolia Transport.

Neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority nor the AFPS appealed to the Supreme Court, therefore the judgment has become final.

This is the first time that a Court has legally destroyed all Palestinian legal claim that Israel’s occupation is illegal.

But don’t bother trying to confuse the “experts” with facts. Their minds are closed to any arguments that contradict their received wisdom.

In a similar fashion NGO Monitor exposes how the French are funding NGOs that sponsor BDS campaigns and which have ties to terror groups

An international peace summit, spearheaded by the French government, will be held on January 15, 2017, in Paris. In this report, NGO Monitor documents French government support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and with alleged ties to terror groups. This type of financial support casts doubts on the ability of France to serve as an impartial host of a summit dedicated to peace.

The best part of the whole shindig? The support that Israel received outside of the conference. Col. Richard Kemp was at a rally of support, and you can watch him being interviewed on Israeli i24TV:

The demonstration of support for Israel itself, held outside the conference venue drew hundreds of people:

PARIS – Hundreds of people rallied in support of Israel outside of the Jewish state’s embassy in Paris on Sunday as foreign ministers from dozens of nations gathered for a Middle East peace parley in the French capital.

Pro-Israel rally outside the Paris Peace Conference

Pro-Israel rally outside the Paris Peace Conference

Among those present at the demonstration were Israeli and Jewish leaders, including Israel’s ambassador to France and the president of the French-Jewish umbrella organization CRIF.

CRIF President Francis Kalifat told The Jerusalem Post that upon learning of the scheduling of the Paris summit, “we scheduled our own rally, in support of Israel and in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

“More than that, we are here today to express our objection to the Paris Middle East Conference, which we consider an anti-Israeli tribunal, similar to the negative decisions adopted by UNESCO and the UNSC [United Nations Security Council],” he said.

Rally attendee Jean B., 25, said that “we are here today to tell our own president that Israel has already reached out to the Palestinians in peace. The Palestinians are trying to internationalize the conflict, instead of accepting Israel’s hand and begin unconditional talks.”

Another participant at the demonstration, identified as Elisabeth, a student at the Sorbonne, told the Post that “we are hoping that our leaders will hear an outcry and listen to it. I know that France wants to advance peace, but they are going about it the wrong way.”

Kol hakavod to all the attendees and supporters of Israel.

But seriously, as the British noted, what was the point of the whole exercise? I’ll give the last word to Prof. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor:

Posted in indigenous rights, International relations, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Good News Friday

Despite the hard week we have just gone through, or maybe davka because of it, we need some good news to bring us into Shabbat, so here is my latest Good News Friday installment.

Since so much of the news lately has dealt with the delegitimization of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, it is wonderful news to learn that the Mayors of Efrat and Maale Adumim will be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration as President next week:

The heads of Moetzet Yesha – The Council of Judea and Samaria, received an invitation to President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony in Washington D.C., according to a report in Makor Rishon. The invitation was passed on to them via the Chamber of Commerce of Orthodox Jews (US), who are connected to Trump’s special advisor Jason D. Greenblatt.

“Welcome to Efrat”

The settlement council will most likely be represented at the inauguration by Mayor of Efrat, Oded Revivi, who also heads the foreign desk for Moetzet Yesha, and Beni Kashriel, the Mayor of Maale Adumim.

Maale Adumim

Maale Adumim

In addition, several other people connected to Jewish life in Judea and Samaria have been invited, but according to the report, they prefer not to publicize their invitations.

This is the first time that settlement leaders have been invited to a presidential inauguration.

Yigal Dilmoni, spokesperson for Moetzet Yesha, praised the move, saying it “foretells the new spirit emanating from the US regarding the change in [Washington’s] attitude towards Israel, and in particular, [Jewish] settlement in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. This new spirit was also expressed by the recent visit of Governor Mike Huckabee last week to Maale Adumim, and we are preparing for it.”

This is such exciting news for much maligned communities in Yehuda and Shomron. We are all looking forward to a complete change of atmosphere after Trump takes office. I hope he doesn’t disappoint us!

In vaguely related news, it is extremely heartening to learn (via Israel News Online) that Israel hit an all-time record for incoming tourism over the past year – and this is against the background of the Palestinian terror wave as well international assaults on our legitimacy:

Against the security background in the Middle East and despite the drop in incoming tourism in many countries in the region, Israel has registered a 3.6 percent increase in incoming tourism for 2016, with 2.9 million tourist entries.

Arrivals hall in Ben Gurion Airport

Arrivals hall in Ben Gurion Airport

Tourism Ministry officials say they’re not surprised by these statistics, however; they attribute the increase to a strategic shift in marketing and an increase in the marketing budget.

The marketing program adopted by Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and implemented under the direction of Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi focused on creating demand within Israel — domestic tourism — by building sub-brands suited to different target markets. This was supported by wide-ranging campaigns and including new foreign markets such as India and China, which have each registered major increases in incoming tourism.

The Tourism Ministry also promoted collaborations with the largest international online travel agents such as Expedia and TripAdvisor. In addition, the ministry worked with international airlines to expose them to the economic potential of opening routes to Israel and, among others, by giving incentives for every passenger flying into Ovda Airport near Eilat, and for opening new routes into Ben Gurion International Airport.

With a budget of nearly half a billion shekels, the highest ever for tourism marketing, the focus was placed on campaigns in key markets with the highest numbers of incoming tourism and the largest potential for additional growth.

Those included the United States, Russia, Germany, France, England and others. Focus was also placed on investment in new and significant markets with high potential for increased tourism, particularly India and China, Levin said.

Israel won a prize from the Indian Travel & Leisure Magazine as the best destination for history and heritage, for example, and won the 2016 Best Destination in Chinese media awards.

The figures are almost jaw-dropping, especially considering the previous frosty to non-existent relations with countries like Russia, India and China. Kol hakavod to Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and his staff for their initiative.

Turning now to one of my favourite subjects, Israel’s hi-tech prowess, here is another fantastic life-saving development in the works (via No Camels): a flying ambulance drone:

A revolutionary drone aircraft, big enough to carry people, could be whizzing through the skies within a few years, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Manufacturers of the Cormorant, formerly known as the AirMule, hope to see what has been dubbed a “flying car” on the aviation market by 2020.

The UAV has been in development for 15 years by Yavneh-based Urban Aeronautics, who envision it being used as an air ambulance for tricky rescue missions in tight urban environments or for moving troops around the battlefield.

Weighing in at 1.5 tons, the drone can carry a payload of up to 500 kg (1,100 pounds), uses internal rotors to keep itself aloft and can zoom along at 185 kilometers an hour (115 miles per hour). It can be remotely piloted or set to fly autonomously.

Watch the ambulance in action on a trial take-off:

Speaking to Reuters, Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli said, “Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and chemical substances of something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come into a street and decontaminate an area.”

The company claims the stocky, box-like flying machine has an advantage over helicopters: its internal blades make it safer to fly between buildings and beneath power lines.

What a brilliant idea, and sadly so necessary in this day and age. Kol hakavod to Rafi Yoeli and the whole research and development team at Urban Aeronautics. Let’s hope your prototype become reality very soon in order to save many lives.

And one more life-saving device invented by Israelis: A smartphone app that can warn you about skin cancer (via Reality). Watch the video below.


What an incredible development that has the potential to save thousands of lives! Kol hakavod to all the developers and researchers at Emerald Applications. May their app enjoy great success for the benefit of millions of people worldwide.

And now, with all this uplifting good news, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in International relations, Israel news, support Israel, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment