RIP. Britain’s “Schindler”, Sir Nicholas Winton, passes away at 106

Sir Nicholas Winton meets some of the survivors whom he saved during WWII

With all the evil that surrounds us and that abounds in the world today, it is of utmost  importance to make note of the Tzaddikim, the righteous people, who also live amongst us.

One such tzaddik is Sir Nicholas Winton who sadly passed away today at the grand old age of 106 (h/t Henry). Sir Nicholas Winton became a one-man kindertransport during the darkest days of WWII, and rescued more than 650 children from Czechoslovakia. The Times of Israel reports:

Nicholas Winton, a humanitarian who almost single-handedly saved more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, earning himself the label “Britain’s Schindler,” has died. He was 106.

Son-in-law Stephen Watson said Winton died on Wednesday. The Rotary Club of Maidenhead, of which Winton was a former president, said his daughter Barbara and two grandchildren were at his side.

Winton arranged trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends and saving them from almost certain death — and then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.

Born in London in 1909 to parents of German Jewish descent, Winton himself was raised as a Christian. He was a 29-year-old clerk at the London Stock Exchange when a friend contacted him and told him to cancel the skiing holiday they had planned in late 1938 and travel instead to Czechoslovakia.

Alarmed by the influx of refugees from the Sudetenland region recently annexed by Germany, Winton and his friend feared — correctly — that Czechoslovakia soon would be invaded by the Nazis and Jewish residents from there would be sent to concentration camps.

While supporters in Britain were working to get Jewish intellectuals and communists out of Czechoslovakia, no one was trying to save the children, so Winton took the task upon himself.

Returning to Britain, Winton persuaded British officials to accept children, as long as foster homes were found and a 50-pound guarantee was paid for each one to ensure they had enough money to return home later. Their stays were only expected to be temporary.

Setting himself up as the one-man children’s section of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Winton set about finding homes and guarantors, drawing up lists of about 6,000 children, publishing pictures to encourage British families to agree to take them.

The first 20 children arrived by plane, but once the German army reached Prague in March 1939, they could only be brought out by train.

In the months before the outbreak of World War II, eight trains carried children through Germany to Britain. In all, Winton got 669 children out. The largest evacuation was scheduled for Sept. 3, 1939, the day that Britain declared war on Germany. That train never left, and almost none of the 250 children trying to flee on it survived the war.

The children from Prague were among some 10,000 mostly Jewish children who made it to Britain on what were known as the Kindertransports (children’s transports). Few of them would see their parents again. …

We can see Sir Nicholas’ generous character in his voluntary work:

Winton served in the Royal Air Force during the war and continued to support refugee organizations. After the war, he became involved in numerous other charitable organizations, especially in his home town of Maidenhead, west of London.

He was president of the Maidenhead branch of the learning disability charity Mencap for more than 40 years, and also worked with the Abbeyfields organization to set up homes for the elderly in the town. Two of those homes are named for him: Nicholas House and Winton House.

A keen fencer who lost his chance to compete at the Olympics because of the outbreak of war, Winton worked with his younger brother Bobby to found the Winton Cup, still a major team fencing competition in Britain.

Sir Nicholas’s modesty and humility shine through his behaviour:

But for almost 50 years, Winton said nothing about what he had done before the war. It only emerged in 1988 when his wife Grete found documents in the attic of their home.

“There are all kinds of things you don’t talk about, even with your family,” Winton said in 1999. “Everything that happened before the war actually didn’t feel important in the light of the war itself.”

Winton’s wife persuaded him to have his story documented, and it became better-known after the BBC tracked down dozens of “Nicky’s Children” and arranged an emotional reunion on prime-time television.

A film about his heroism, “Nicholas Winton — The Power of Good,” won an International Emmy Award in 2002. Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair praised him as “Britain’s Schindler,” after the German businessman Oskar Schindler, who also saved Jewish lives during the war.

Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 and also honored in the Czech Republic. A statue of Winton stands at Prague’s central station, while a statue commemorating the children of the Kindertransport is a popular sight at London’s Liverpool Street Station. He continued to attend Kindertransport events in Britain and the Czech Republic well beyond his 100th birthday.

Winton rejected the description of himself as a hero, insisting that unlike Schindler, his life had never been in danger. He was always modest about his achievements, and his reasons for acting.

“At the time, everybody said, ‘Isn’t it wonderful what you’ve done for the Jews? You saved all these Jewish people,’” Winton said. “When it was first said to me, it came almost as a revelation because I didn’t do it particularly for that reason. I was there to save children.”

Below is a short segment from a program on British TV in which Winton was reunited with some of “his” children. Get out your hankies:

Here is a trailer for a film made about his life, called Nicky’s Family:

As mentioned above, The Power of Good is the name of the film that was made about Sir Nicholas Winton and his wartime rescue initiative. The website of the same name (linked above) has more details about his story. Sometimes one is left gasping with laughter at his audacity in getting the rescue rolling:

Winton had to find funds to use for repatriation costs, and a foster home for each child. He also had to raise money to pay for the transports when the children’s parents could not cover the costs. He advertised in British newspapers, and in churches and synagogues. He printed groups of children’s photographs all over Britain. He felt certain that seeing the children’s photos would convince potential sponsors and foster families to offer assistance. Finding sponsors was only one of the endless problems in obtaining the necessary documents from German and British authorities.

“Officials at the Home Office worked very slowly with the entry visas. We went to them urgently asking for permits, only to be told languidly, ‘Why rush, old boy? Nothing will happen in Europe.’ This was a few months before the war broke out. So we forged the Home Office entry permits.”
After the war, Nicholas Winton didn’t tell anyone, not even his wife Grete about his wartime rescue efforts. In 1988, a half century later, Grete found a scrapbook from 1939 in their attic, with all the children’s photos, a complete list of names, a few letters from parents of the children to Winton and other documents. She finally learned the whole story. Today the scrapbooks and other papers are held at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, in Israel.

Winton has received many acknowledgements for his humanitarian pre-war deeds. He received a letter of thanks from the late Ezer Weizman, a former president of the State of Israel. He was made an Honorary Citizen of Prague. In 1993, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, awarded him the MBE (Member of the British Empire), and on October 28, 1998, Václav Havel, then president of the Czech Republic, awarded him the Order of T.G. Masaryk at Hradcany Castle for his heroic achievement. On December 31, 2002, Winton received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to humanity. Winton’s story is also the subject of two films by Czech filmmaker Matej Mináč: All My Loved Ones and the award-winning Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good.

The article finishes with these poignant words:

He still wears a ring given to him by some of the children he saved. It is inscribed with a line from the Talmud, the book of Jewish law. It reads:

“Save one life, save the world.”

His was a generation of giants. Where are our giants of today?

Sir Nicholas Winton’s courage in initiating and operating his rescue program as well as his self-effacing modesty about the magnitude of it all form a true example in this day and age of inflated egos and media manipulation.

May his memory be for a blessing and may his family be comforted in the knowledge that the patriarch of their family was a rare hero in very dark times.

יהי זכרו ברוך. ברוך דיין אמת.

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld HY’D succumbs to his wounds after drive-by shooting

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld HY’D

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld HY’D, the most seriously injured of the four young men in Monday night’s drive-by shooting near Shilo, died earlier today from the wounds he suffered during the terror attack:

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, who was seriously wounded at a drive-by shooting attack near Shilo on Monday night, succumbed to his wounds at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on Tuesday, his family said.

Ynet’s report adds more details about the attack and the IDF response:

Initial investigation found that two terrorists ambushed Israeli vehicles in a car with Palestinian plates on the Alon road, a side road, but relatively well-lit, near the settlement Shilo. Shortly before 11 pm, the terrorists noticed an Israeli vehicle traveling their way, and opened fire at the front of the car from short-range. At least 15 9 mm bullets hit the Israeli car.

The terrorists continued firing at the vehicle even after the driver made a sharp turn towards the settlement Migdalim. After driving for 200 meters more, the Israeli vehicle stopped and its passengers called for help.

The terrorists managed to flee the scene in their car. Palestinians have complete freedom of movement on this road, as they do on all other main roads in the West Bank – this is not expected to change following the attack.

The IDF decided on Tuesday to reinforce its presence in the West Bank with an additional infantry battalion from the Nahal Brigade as a result of the recent spike in terror attacks in the area. The battalion will deal with defensive operations.

A high ranking official in the IDF said, “There is no collective punishment to the Palestinian population, and the steps that have been taken are a direct result of the current situation assessment and intelligence picture.”

“The moment we get our hands on the perpetrators of the recent attacks we believe that the attacks will stop,” he added. “The coordination with the Palestinian security forces continues as do the conversations with the settlers.”

He also stressed that Israel was “far from what happened in the second intifada notwithstanding recent attacks. The recent attacks are a local group, and there is no connection between the attacks. There is no terror infrastructure behind the attacks.”

More importantly, here is more about Malachi Rosenfeld’s short life:

Rosenfeld, the son of popular Israeli clarinetist Eliezer Rosenfeld, was a graduate of the Machon Lev technological yeshiva in Jerusalem, and was studying at the Hebrew University.

To personalise this somewhat, Eliezer Rosenfeld and his band played at our daughter’s wedding a couple of years ago, and our son-in-law, the bridegroom at that wedding, is also a student at the same Machon Lev technological yeshiva.

To humanise the victims still further, the Muqata posted a simple picture of a happy local basketball team which has been shattered by the terror attack:

The fact that the Rosenfeld’s have already lost another son makes this tragedy even harder to bear. The Ynet article continues:

The two parents said that since they lost Malachi’s older brother, an IAF pilot who died on a trip to Tze’elim Stream in the Judean Desert in 2002, “Malachi took the big brother role upon himself. He has a lot of love to the younger children in the family.”

After learning of his son’s passing, Eliezer told Ynet that Malachi “was a exceptional child, very clever, rationalist, genius and sensitive… he was always victorious and was the king of the world. Yesterday he only went to play basketball, came back to the settlement and was murdered in cold blood. This is a terrible tragedy.”

Rosenfeld’s cousin Ariel Bar Asher said that “Malachi was very much like his brother who died, both externally and internally. He had a good soul, friendly, pleasant, a genius and brilliant… he took charge of the family after his brother was killed. He was about to finish his bachelor’s degree in a month.”

The family consented to a request from the National Transplant Center to donate Malachi’s cornea. “This is a big mitzvah,” his father said.

Malachi’s wounded team-mates relate the whole incident and their feelings:

Yair Hoffer, who was lightly wounded in the shooting, recounted the attack on Tuesday morning. “When we returned from the basketball game, a vehicle was slowly driving in front of us, and suddenly we heard the shots and realized we were being shot at,” he said.

“Thank God, we were a few meters away from the junction. If I had been driving, we might have been closer to the junction and it would have been easier for them to aim. I didn’t see how many people were there. I guess they shot about a magazine. When they were done they didn’t drive very fast, they drove slowly, I think they were debating whether to leave the vehicle. I crawled outside through the window.

“When the shots start you just curl up and try to protect your head. I will never forget the feeling, it’s just helplessness. When someone decides to try to take your life, and you didn’t do anything to him. Decided to try taking your life because he realized you’re a Jew. And you’re helpless…

“It’s also important for me to say, they say ‘settlers’, like if it were in Tel Aviv it would be different. I’m a settler, what does that mean? I grew up in Jerusalem and I looked for a nice place with a community to raise my children.”

 

Hoffer’s description of the attack is horrifying and heart-breaking, yet he is right on the nail with the media’s use of the word “settlers” to belittle and delegitimize those Israelis who choose to live over the “Green Line”, that fictitious border which was only a ceasefire line.

I wish continued refuah shlema to the injured victims.

The Rosenfeld family’s courage and forbearance in the face of this tragedy is admirable and humbling. May they be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more sorrow.

May the memory of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld be for a blessing. יהי זכרו ברוך. ברוך דיין אמת.

Posted in Terrorism | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Latest terrorism update

While the world worries about ISIS and Israel worries about Iran (as well as ISIS and Hamas and Hezbollah), the “low-level” Palestinian intifada against Israel has been gradually notching up a level. In the week since I last posted, there have been several more serious attacks:

Last night 4 young men were injured, one critically, in a drive-by shooting in the Binyamin region, near the communities of Shilo and Shvut Rachel:

Four people were wounded in a late-night terror attack Monday off Highway 60 near the Jewish community of Shvut Rachel, located east of Shiloh in the Binyamin region, about 45 kilometers north of Jerusalem.

All four are residents of the Binyamin region and range in age from 20 to 27 years old. Local sources told JewishPress.com the passengers were able to return fire in the midst of the attack despite their wounds.

Three were moderately injured while the fourth man was critically injured:

Three victims were in moderate condition and a fourth suffered serious injuries. Medical teams treated them at the scene and evacuated them to Jerusalem hospitals. Magen David Adom paramedics told Walla News the victims were in their twenties, and had been hit in their legs.

The four had been driving back from a basketball game near Route 60, the main north-south artery running through the West Bank, when they were attacked. Security forces were initially unsure whether the four were shot at from a passing vehicle or a roadside ambush.

Following the attack the army deployed a large number of soldiers to search the vicinity for the suspected perpetrators. The nearby settlements of Migdalim, Tapuah, Rachelim and Nofei Nehemia were placed on high alert status. Troops reportedly set up checkpoints in the area and were checking vehicles for possible suspects.

Ynet news reported that searches would likely be widened to nearby Palestinian villages.

Photos posted on social media showed the victims’ vehicle smeared with blood and riddled with bullet holes.

… The head of the Yesha Council, an umbrella movement of Jewish settlers, said the attack “joins a long line of serious terror incidents that began after the start of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan.”

Avi Roeh said he hoped “security forces will reach the required conclusions and ensure that security and normality are restored.”

Malachi Rosenfeld is the most seriously injured victim:

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, who was critically wounded in the attack, is the brother of an Israeli Air Force pilot who died after getting caught in a flash flood near the Tzeelim river in 2002.

Rosenfeld was sitting in the passenger’s seat and according to another of the victims, Yair Hooper, sustained injuries to his torso and lower body.

Eliezer Rosenfeld, his father, told the press outside of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, “We are in a difficult hour. The entire nation of Israel is in a difficult hour.”

Please pray for the recovery of Malachi Moshe ben sarah Nechama who was critically injured. Prayers also for Chananel ben Shula, Shai Yitzchak ben Nili and Yair ben Shoshana.

Binyamin Netanyahu criticised the PA for not condemning the latest violence:

Netanyahu also called on the Palestinian Authority to denounce the recent wave of terror attacks. “Anyone who doesn’t take an unequivocal stand against terror can never wash his hands clean,” the prime minister said.

I have no expectations at all from the Palestinians – except for more violence of course.

The knife found on the attacker

There was another terror attack earlier yesterday when a female soldier was stabbed and seriously injured by a female terrorist at the Tomb of the Matriarch Rachel near Bethlehem:

A Palestinian woman stabbed a female soldier in the neck on Monday during a security check at the Rachel Crossing, which leads to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. The soldier, who serves in military police, was seriously wounded.

Security forces and Border Police who were at the scene arrested the attacker, 20-year-old Misoun Mussa from Bethlehem. She was not known to security forces and has never been arrested.

Mussa was found to have two other knives on her person. During questioning by the Shin Bet, she said she arrived at the crossing to kill a soldier. The initial assessment was that she acted alone.

Magen David Adam paramedics who arrived at the scene gave the soldier medical treatment and evacuated her to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

I’m pleased to note that the condition of the soldier has improved:

Also yesterday an alert security officer prevented another terror attack in Jerusalem:

Earlier Monday at a different Jerusalem checkpoint, a Border Police officer stopped a Palestinian teenager armed with an assault rifle from entering Israeli territory on the outskirts of the capital.

The 15-year-old, with the weapon hidden under his clothes, tried to pass through an Israeli checkpoint located outside the Shuafat refugee camp, just north of the capital.

The Border Police officer who was manning a metal detector at the checkpoint asked the teen to pass through the security check a second time, after the detector indicated the presence of a metallic object on his person.

When a second inspection also showed the presence of a metal object, the officer asked the youth to remove his shirt, revealing a sub-machine gun.

The youth was taken into police custody for investigation.

The checkpoint’s commander praised the officer for his alertness, adding that Israel’s security forces are determined to prevent terror attacks and the illegal entry of Palestinians into Israel.

“We are witnessing repeated attempts to harm our troops. [Not only the troops. Civilians will do nicely for those terrorists too. -Ed.]  Our soldiers are trained to deal with scenarios exactly like this one. Thankfully, we were able to prevent [an attack], before [it occurred],” Corporal Taliah Amer told the NRG news site.

This past year has seen a rising number of attacks by individual Palestinians against Israeli civilians, including shooting attacks, stabbings and vehicular attacks.

The IDF is on particularly high alert this month due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which usually ushers in a spike in violent incidents. [So much for their holy month when we infidels are supposed to treat them with extra dignity. -Ed.]

On Sunday, the IDF arrested a Palestinian woman who allegedly attempted to enter Israel from the northern West Bank city of Qalqilya with a shotgun concealed on her back.

The Magen David Adom ambulance which was shot up near Bet El on Saturday nightThese attacks follow a drive-by shooting at an MDA ambulance near Bet El on Saturday night (who was it who said that ambulances should be off-limits to violence?):

The damage to the ambulance was clearly evident, apparently from 9mm bullets. After the incident Israeli forces launched searches for suspects in the nearby village of Beitin.

An examination of the scene of the attack near Beit El indicate that a burst of 15 to 19 shots were fired at the Israeli ambulance and at least four of them hit it. The perpetrator fired from the area near the new road that connects Beitin to Ramallah, a road recently paved for the Palestinians. Forces from the all-Haredi Netzach Yehuda Battalion, in charge of the area, led by Colonel Yisrael Shomer, were sent to the scene.

MDA Director General Eli Bin said in response: “Magen David Adom, the national rescue organization of Israel, consider this incident to be a grave one, which represents a crossing of the red line of trying to deliberately harm a vehicle which treats the wounded and sick, and does evacuations.’

“We are sure that the security forces working around the clock will utilize the justice system to the fullest regarding those responsible, and we hope the Palestinian side will act decisively and firmly in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

The Beit El council blamed the security establishement which opened the road to Beitin to Palestinian traffic. “The road was closed for more than ten years due to security problems,” council head Shai Alon said.

“When it was recently decided to reopen the road I warned the general commanding officer (GCO), the minister of defense, the transport minister and the coordinator of West Bank activities, of the security and traffic risks at the site. The GCO decided to reopen the road anyway, but already on Sunday there was a security incident which led to the road’s closing,” he added.

“This evening, the attacks originated from the road and the terrorists fled after attacking the ambulance, whose driver was not miraculously injured. The writing was on the wall, and we demand from the security establishment not to open the road, and to also shut its other end so that terrorists will not be able to approach Beit El and escape,” he concluded.

The security establishment are not entirely to blame. They carry out orders handed to them by the political echelons. It is the politicians who are to blame and who carry responsibility for this. The fact that no one was injured has little to do with the security forces or the politicians. It was an outright miracle. Read Paula Stern’s blog to understand how close a call it really was:

The truth is that yesterday, you fired true and well, gave it your very best shot. No one could expect more – you hit the front passenger door no less than three times. One bullet traveled THROUGH the ambulance, which thankfully did not have someone sitting in the front passenger seat, and the bullet whizzed right past the driver’s head to exit through the front window.

And another bullet traveled THROUGH the ambulance, which thankfully did not have any patient in the rear…and managed to hit mere inches behind the driver’s seat. You could not have come closer before reaching utter failure if you tried…

And, as the driver said, I will say to you. For all that you tried, the God of Israel was watching and protected this man who works to save lives, just as God is forever working to protect Israel.

David bar Kappara HY’D

Sadly, the G-d of Israel did not perform a miracle for Israeli farmer David Ben Kappara who was beaten to death by Palestinian illegals, although the police have yet to designate this as  a terror attack:

Although police are still investigating, there is little doubt who is responsible for the murder of 70-year-old farmer David Bar Kappara as he worked his fields in Israel’s central plain, his family believes.

“It was clearly the illegal Arab workers who were there,” a family member told Arutz Sheva. “Any other direction for the investigation would be a waste of time.”

Police have not drawn any definite conclusions, but they are said to believe that Bar Kappara of Rehovot was beaten by a group of Arabs from among those who regularly enter Israeli cities illegally in search of employment.

A major manhunt has been launched by police, who are currently attempting to locate the perpetrators.

Bar Kappara was found bloodied and beaten in an agricultural field between Pedaya and Carmei Yosef in central Israel and was taken by Magen David Adom paramedics to the Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tzrifin, where he succumbed to his wounds some time later.

To all these well-publicised attacks we must add the string of stonings of cars and buses, firebombings and fire-cracker-throwing at yeshivot, Jewish homes, visitors to the Mount of Olives cemetery, and of course the Temple Mount. where Jews have a very hard time being allowed to go up in the first place, and once there, suffer a litany of curses, insults, pushing and worse, and then get the blame for the violence and are removed from the site instead of their Palestinian attackers:

A father and his two sons were attacked on Monday morning by an Arab, who threw stones and shoes at them, as they visited the Temple Mount.

The father said that a group of Muslim women verbally attacked him and his two sons, while a group of ten policeman sat by doing nothing.

“The police just tried to hurry our visit, but at a certain point, an Arab youth arrived and threw shoes and stones at us,” the father related. “The police just hurried us off the Mount and told us they would deal with the Arab.”

“There is lawlessness on the Temple Mount and an absurd situation in which Jews are arrested, on suspicion of moving their lips to say a blessing, while Arab incitement and verbal and physical attacks on Jews passes quietly under authorities’ noses.”

“We demand that the police remove from the Temple Mount anyone who incites against and/or attacks Jews,” Honenu added.

With regard to the Mount of Olives, here is a video of some of the destruction going on at the Mt. of Olives Jewish cemetery.

And following is the story of a Jewish Press blogger who was stoned when visiting his father’s grave on the Mount of Olives:

Tzvi Fishman at Cemetery of Mount of Olives

Yesterday, I phoned the Chevre Kadisha burial society in charge of the area where my Father is buried and told them what time we would be reaching the Mount of Olives. As a part of their afterlife package, they send a security patrol car along to accompany mourners. The security guards don’t really do anything, but since it’s a mitzvah to guard over one’s life, I always give them a call to alert them when I’ll be coming. Last year, our car was stoned as well, and while no one was physically injured, thank G-d, it isn’t a pleasant feeling hearing rocks clatter on the roof and hood of your car like angry hailstones. People I know have been injured and hospitalized while driving to and from the Mount of Olives. It’s a little like entering Jurassic Park in a safari vehicle when the dinosaurs are on the rampage.

Just after the site of the Beit Orot Yeshiva, the security car took a surprise right turn which leads down the mountain, then up the steep incline toward the walls of the Old City. This route circumvented our having to pass through the one-thousand yard stretch of no-man’s land where Arab school children, and Islamic high-school students, spend their exercise class hurling stones on passing Jewish vehicles. Of course, it isn’t really no-man’s land. Israel is supposedly the ruling authority in Jerusalem, but you wouldn’t know it by the rock-throwing arcade up on the Mount of Olives.

Fishman describes the stoning attack, and in the face of the security personnel’s despairing helplessness he prescribes a pertinent solution:

“You can’t put a soldier behind every tree,” one said, as if there was no remedy to the problem. But, of course, there’s a remedy. First, you can cut down all of the trees in the Arab neighborhood along the road to the Mount of Olives. Then you can bulldoze all of the houses and buildings to the ground like Ariel Sharon did to Gush Katif. Then you can send all of the stone throwers and their families to Washington D.C. where President Obama can host them in tents on the White House lawn. There is a lot you could do to protect Jews on their way to visit their departed on the Mount of Olives, but to do it, you have to be a leader, not a mouse.

Indeed his solution works for the entire Binyamin, Judea and Samaria regions which are suffering from a spike in terrorism. But it’ll never happen.

It is way beyond time that the situation was taken back in hand again – not only on the Mount of Olives, not only on the Temple Mount, but throughout the whole country.

Posted in Defence and Military, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Advisers warn against the Iran deal which will leave it a nuclear threshold state

Members of the P5+1 negotiating team for the Iran nuclear talks

The deadline for the nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran was supposed to have been today, 30th June, but it appears that this deadline will not be met. This does not mean that we can all breathe easier. On the contrary. The Americans are absolutely determined to achieve a deal and are prepared to keep on digging until they reach one, even if they have to keep throwing concessions at the Iranians in order to keep them at the table.

The US is preparing for a “staggeringly consequential deal” with hundreds of clauses and sub-clauses that all need to be worked out. For Israel the deal is consequential in the most negative of ways:

Everyone at the table “feels the burden of the responsibility” for this deal, the US official said. “Making this decision to actually do the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a very, very, very big decision for everybody.”

It’s a decision that Israel hopes the negotiators will postpone.

One of the fundamental disagreements Israel and the US have over a possible deal is that, while Israel views Iran as the main problem in the region, the US views it as part of the solution, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Monday.

Ya’alon, at a briefing with diplomatic reporters in his Tel Aviv office, said that world powers and Iran are headed to a nuclear agreement, even if Tuesday’s deadline is not met, and that despite some last minute delays, the negotiations are not on the verge of collapse.

“What is clear is that this is a bad agreement,” he said. “After it is signed, we will have a nuclear threshold Iran.”

He said that the agreement does not close any Iranian nuclear facilities or dismantle centrifuges, and only suspends the Iranian nuclear program, which he said clearly has a military element.

The world powers are frantically working to ensure that mechanisms are in place in the final deal to ensure access to “sensitive” Iranian sites – but from this article it looks like the West are not strong-willed enough against Iranian obstinacy:

That is what the talks are about: Seeking a deal that brings Iran back in line with its international obligations in a verifiable manner, which will then allow for Iran’s return to the international community.

But Western powers seem to agree that Iran is still entitled to a minimum level of privacy from international inspectors, who may indeed require “managed access” to Iran’s conventional military sites.

Iran argues that such access is a violation of its very sovereignty, and believes it is an extraordinary standard never applied to any other nation.

Under the Additional Protocol, Tehran may attempt to settle the IAEA’s concerns by providing it material without granting it access. Iran may also grant access, but not allow inspectors to leave the facilities with any documents, photo evidence or trace material.

Iranian leaders President Hassan Rohani and Ayatollah Ali Khameni

However the Iranians have good reason to feel very confident (h/t Israel Matzav) since it appears that the US and its partners will provide them with nuclear reactors and equipment!

Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei feels confident enough, only a few days before June 30 (the deadline for a final-status nuclear deal with world powers), to thumb his nose at the international community, including the American government, and declare Iran’s three noes: no to freezing its nuclear program, no to international oversight at its nuclear facilities, no to a phased lifting of sanctions (as proposed by the French). In other words, Khamenei is telling the world: Dear superpowers — bite me.

Meanwhile, almost simultaneously, we have received an Associated Press report from Vienna that the U.S. and its partners conducting the negotiations with Iran are prepared — for the sake of reaching a deal — to even provide the Iranians with advanced nuclear reactors and equipment. This isn’t a joke.

This situation has – finally – begun to alarm parties other than Israel. The question is only whether it is too late.

A nuclear expert has explained how the Iran deal puts Iran much closer to a breakout time than the Obama Administration was claiming (h/t Henry. Emphases added):

The Obama administration has argued that the nuclear deal it is negotiating will keep Iran one year away from being able to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon for a period of 10 years.

But a New York Times opinion piece published Tuesday by Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas, argues that the actual breakout time under an anticipated deal, many of the details of which were announced in early April, is only three months — likely an insufficient span of time for detecting and acting against an Iranian breach of the deal.

Kuperman concludes that “the deal would be unlikely to improve the world’s ability to react to a sudden effort by Iran to build a bomb.”

Finally, Kuperman claims in the op-ed that the Obama administration’s breakout scenario is based on an overestimation of exactly how much weapons-grade uranium is needed for a nuclear bomb. US negotiators are basing their timeline on the construction of a weapon with 59 pounds of weapons-grade uranium. Kuperman says they’d need as little as 29 pounds, although this assumes Iran could master the construction of a relatively compact, low-yield bomb without the aid of weapons-testing data.

Iranian nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi (r) and then-deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Olli Heinonen who objects to the nuclear deal

It is with this information in hand that a bipartisan group of several former advisers from Obama’s inner circle have come out in warning against the impending deal:  These advisers are no lightweights either, consisting of diplomats, legislators and other experts:

In a public statement issued to the press Wednesday, the group said the deal being negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement’” and laid out a series of key requirements it said Iran should agree to ahead of the June 30 target date for the deal.

“The [current] agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability,” the group charged. “It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure…It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and Hamas), its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen (its ‘regional hegemony’), its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people.”

The signatories include Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to the president who oversaw Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the White House’s Iran policy during Obama’s first term; David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA; Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Robert Einhorn, a former special adviser to the Secretary of State for nonproliferation and arms control (2009-2013) who also helped devise sanctions against Iran; Gary Samore, a former coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction under President Obama who now heads United Against a Nuclear Iran; and General James Cartwright, who in 2007-2011 was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Of course Israeli PM Netanyahu has not remained silent and once again expressed his (and our) outrage at the concessions being granted to Iran:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage Sunday at world powers for backtracking on terms they’d set for themselves during nuclear negotiations with Iran.

“We see before us a clear diversion from the red lines set by the world powers recently and publicly,” the prime minister said. “Iran tramples on human rights, spreads terrorism, and is building a huge military infrastructure, yet the talks with [Iran], despite these reports, continue as usual.”

Negotiations between Iran and the US enter a “critical phase” Sunday with tensions rising just three days from a deadline to nail down a deal thwarting any Iranian nuclear arms drive. Netanyahu, for his part, asserted that there was no reason to sign an agreement which was “becoming worse with every passing day.”

The prime minister also pointed out that a recently published US State Department report on terror activity noted that the Islamic Republic’s “state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished.”

Netanyahu also warned that Israel still reserves the right to attack Iran if necessary: (emphases added):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel is still considering an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, even if Tehran and world powers sign a historic deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program next week.

“Whatever happens, Israel will always defend itself, and the Air Force plays a major role in this,” Haaretz daily quoted Netanyahu as saying at a pilots’ course graduation ceremony.

Netanyahu again expressed concern over the agreement and the concessions the world is prepared to do in order for Iran to sign the deal.

“These concessions are increasing Iran’s appetite and every day it raises the bar, with the intention of extorting more concessions,” he said.

“In recent days Iran ruler Ali Khamenei rejected even the most basic conditions in the bad agreement drafted in Lausanne,” Netanyahu added.

“He said no to the restrictions on the nuclear program in the coming decade, no to conditioning the sanctions’ revocation on Iran’s keeping the agreement, no to [supervisors’] access to military sites. Even if Iran waives some of these demands in a few days, the powers’ basic concession will be huge and it will be a clear withdrawal from red lines the powers had publicly set earlier.”

Netanyahu said the supervision method the powers are discussing with Iran is “full of holes” and will enable the Iranians to create a nuclear bomb less than 10 years after the agreement’s signature.

The agreement will bring a flow of billions of dollars to the Iranian economy, enabling Iran to increase its subversion in the Middle East, Netanyahu said.

“It’s still not too late [for the powers] to come to their senses, to insist on a good agreement and it’s certainly not too late not to advance a bad agreement,” he added.

As world leaders always say, no agreement is better than a bad agreement.”

Posted in Defence and Military, International relations, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Flotilla fools’ follies fizzle and flop

Summer time, and the sailing is easy (to paraphrase the song). As was pointed out on Twitter:

Earlier today the Israel Navy intercepted the latest foolish flotilla heading for Gaza with no injuries or violence.

Going back to the beginning of this ridiculous story, yet another “flotilla” set sail last week from Crete in order to “break the blockade” of “besieged” Gaza. (Apologies for all the scare quotes but the deliberate misuse of language by the anti-Israel activists demands a reaction of some sort. Emphases are added).  On board the ship were the usual suspects:

The ship leading a Gaza-bound flotilla that aims to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-held enclave reportedly left the Greek isle of Crete early Friday morning, after unspecified delays.

I sincerely hope the “unspecified delays” were caused by the IDF, whether by outright sabotage or by lawfare (i.e. persuading foreign governments and/or insurance companies that it would not be in their interest to allow the ship to sail).  This is hinted at in the following paragraphs:

An Israeli-born, pro-Palestinian activist on board the Swedish Marianne of Gothenburg confirmed to the Walla news website that the boat had departed, adding that the other four vessels that make up the flotilla were expected to follow suit shortly. Dror Feiler said the flotilla would reach Gaza by Sunday or Monday.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, the flotilla set sail on Friday carrying 70 people, including Arab MK Basel Ghattas and a former Tunisian president, as well as humanitarian supplies and solar panels.

A swell bunch of antisemites on board the flotilla

“At long last, we are on the Marianne. After hardships that will yet be discussed, we are sailing to Gaza,” wrote Ghattas on his Facebook page in Hebrew early Friday.

Just like Arab MK Hanin Zouabi in the last flotilla, MK Ghattas should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for treason. And like Zoabi, he should be suspended from the Knesset. And then, unlike Zoabi, he should be expelled from the Knesset, and Zoabi too.

On Thursday, Feiler claimed that anonymous individuals had sabotaged one of the boats trying to break Israel’s naval blockade. He told a Nazareth-based radio station that “unknown hands” had tampered with one of the boats making its way to the Strip, damaging it.

Some of our worst enemies are Israelis:

Feiler was one of at least three Israelis aboard the flotilla, including Ghattas.

Ghattas told Channel 2 Thursday that he had assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before his departure that the ships bore no weapons, firearms or otherwise — a key issue in Israel’s naval blockade.

He dismissed criticism of the flotilla as a “foolish attempt” by right-wing politicians to impugn “not only Arab representation in the Knesset, but all Arabs as citizens of the State of Israel.”

I think if he took a poll of all Israeli Arabs, they would come out strongly against Hamas.

Zohar Regev, another left-wing Israeli activist, told Channel 2 that she doesn’t think the Israeli government wants more pictures like those from the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, when Israeli forces boarded a Gaza-bound ship sparking a melee that left nine Turkish activists dead.

True. No one wants a violent incident. On the other hand, since the Mavi Marmara not one “flotilla” has dared bring in arms or weapons. So it looks like the IDF taught them a memorable lesson, which they richly deserved. And indeed, the 3 other vessels taking part in the flotilla seem to have lost their nerve, maybe after the Marianne was intercepted, turned round and headed for home.  Returning to the original story:

The activists say the vessels are carrying a cargo of solar panels and medical supplies for Gaza residents, who are still recovering from last summer’s conflict, and are slated to reach the Strip in the coming days, unless they are intercepted.

Oh, boo hoo. What a load of utter tripe.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sarcastically showed up the “activists” (aka terror-supporters) hypocrisy by writing an open letter pointing out that “Syria is thataway”:

“Welcome to Israel!” the letter reads. “It appears you’ve made a mistake along the way. Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere not far from here — Syria. There, Assad’s regime is massacring his own people every day with the help of the murderous Iranian regime.

“In contrast, here in Israel, we are dealing with a situation where terrorist organizations such as Hamas are trying to harm innocent civilians. In the face of these attempts, we are protecting the citizens of Israel in accordance with international law,” the letter says.

The statement calls attention to Israel’s transfer of 1.6 million tons of humanitarian aid to the coastal enclave, while it struggles to be rebuilt after the war last summer. The letter said that Israel facilitated the transfer of the supplies, which, it noted, amounts to approximately one ton for each Gaza resident.

Israel, continued the letter, regularly assisted in humanitarian projects benefiting Palestinians, but would not tolerate the import of weapons for terrorist groups. “Only a year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle by sea hundreds of weapons intended for use against innocent civilians.

“There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip, and you are invited to transfer humanitarian supplies through Israel. Preventing access through the sea is done in accordance with international law, and we even received backing from a committee of the UN secretary-general.

“If human rights really interested you, you wouldn’t sail in solidarity with a terror group that executes Gazans without trial, and uses Gazan children as human shields,” the prime minister’s letter says.

The communique concludes by lamenting that the activists chose not to visit Israel, as they would have been “impressed” by the democracy upheld by the Jewish state that affords equality and religious freedoms for all its citizens.

More seriously, it is an outrage that the funding for the flotilla has indirectly come from European NGOs and politicians. This is a despicable interference in Israel’s security and domestic policy. Arutz Sheva broke the story:

One of the NGOs behind the latest anti-Israel flotilla to Gaza is funded by the French government, Arutz Sheva has learned.

The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine) is among the groups supporting the Freedom Flotilla III, which seeks to directly defy the Israeli government’s blockade of the Hamas-ruled enclave.

But another potentially controversial aspect of the flotilla that has been largely overlooked is the role played by European government-funded NGOs.

The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine is an umbrella organization for more than 40 anti-Israel groups, and is very active in the so-called BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel. Among other things, the Platform demands an end to all agreements and relations between the European Union and Israel.

It is also a regular recipient of French taxpayers’ money, via the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement or AFD), a public aid agency which works on behalf of the French government to carry out “sustainable development programs” around the world.


The Platform has also received thousands of euros in donations from French parliamentarians, according to a 2014 report by the NGO Monitor watchdog.

Two NGOs who are among the organizations who make up the platform – CCFD-Terre Solidaire and Secours Catholique – have received nearly two million euros in French funding as well, according to the same report.

Neither is the Platform the only radical anti-Israel NGO to receive French government funding. For example, the Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) received a grant of €139,550 from the AFD between 2012-2014.

The single-biggest Palestinian recipient of French Development Agency is the NGO Development Center (NDC), which in 2010 received a €5,000,000 AFD grant over the course of three and a half years.

Among other things, the NDC actively works against “normalization” with Israel, and published the “Palestinian NGO Code of Conduct,” which calls on Palestinian NGOs to reject “any normalization activities with the occupier, neither at the political-security nor the cultural or developmental levels.” It also published “A Strategic Framework to Strengthen the Palestinian NGO Sector, 2013-2017,” which “aims to provide a strategic direction to NGOs,” including an “Anti-apartheid wall campaign” and “Anti-normalization campaign.”

The revelations once again shine the spotlight on how European government-funded NGOs are playing a leading role in international efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, even as European politicians pay lip service against the campaign.

I wonder how much influence these anti-Israel NGOs have had on the very dangerous French “peace initiative”.

Posted in Israel news, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

ISIS terror wave hits 3 continents. When will the world wake up?

On Friday, three terror attacks in three very different places on three continents with very different targets and victims were carried out by ISIS or other jihadi terrorists.

  • In Kuwait a mosque was bombed, killing at least 13;
  • In France, in a horrific attack, a factory near Lyon was targeted, one man was beheaded and several others were injured;
  • In Tunisia, a hotel beach was attacked killing 37 foreign tourists.

In Kuwait (Asia), ISIS have claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing of a Shiite mosque during Friday Ramadan prayers, killing 13:

A suicide bomber attacked a Shiite mosque in the Kuwaiti capital during the main weekly prayers Friday, killing and wounding dozens, officials and witnesses said. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State.

Security forces gather outside the bombed mosque in Kuwait

..

The blast hit Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City, security officials and witnesses said. Medics said at least 13 people were killed in the blast.

A witness told AFP “dozens were killed and wounded,” and pictures circulating on social media showed several bloodied bodies in the mosque amid debris.

Friday’s attack is the first such bombing targeting Kuwaiti Shiites, who make up around one-third of the country’s native population of 1.3 million people. IS is a radical Sunni Muslim group and considers Shiites to be heretics.

Friday midday prayers are typically the most crowded of the week, and attendance increases during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which started last week.

In France (Europe), another bloody Jihadist attack took place on its soil when a factory near Lyon was targeted and one man was beheaded!

At least one person was killed and several were injured in a terror attack on a factory in the Lyon region in southeastern France late Friday morning.

Rescue personnel head to the site of the French terror attack

The decapitated body of a man was found on the premises, according to Sky News. It reported that the 30-year-old suspect was known to the foreign intelligence services.

The victim was reportedly an employee of the factory. His head was discovered by police perched on the fence outside the factory, covered in Arabic writing.

The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, a legal source told AFP. Witnesses reported strong explosions at the plant.

“According to the initial findings of the enquiry, one or several individuals on board a vehicle drove into the factory. An explosion then took place,” said one of the sources.

“The decapitated body of a person was found nearby the factory but we do not yet know whether the body was transported to the place or not,” added this source, adding that a “flag with Arabic writing on it was found on the scene.”

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details to the media, said the man’s torso was found near the site of the explosion but that the victim was not decapitated by the blast.

French President Francois Hollande said a man who launched a “terrorist” assault has been identified and that there may have been a second attacker.

“This attack was in a vehicle driven by one person, perhaps accompanied by another,” Hollande said at an EU summit in Brussels. “The individual suspected of committing this attack has been arrested and identified.”

And in Tunisia (Africa) tourists were targeted in a terror attack on the beach at Sousse:

In the absence of armed security, the holidaymakers, packed on the beach and at the pool, were effectively sitting ducks.

The killer strolls on the beach, moments after opening fire on tourists (SKY NEWS)

Nobody seems to have noticed Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, a Tunisian student, who had wandered on to the beach, wearing black T-shirt and shorts. He was clean shaven and dressed like a Western tourist. In the dense fug of confusion, some reports suggested he had arrived by boat; others that he had turned up on a jet ski. Whatever the reality, Rezgui had strolled along the sand, nobody noticing the Kalashnikov assault rifle concealed inside a parasol.

On Saturday, two young Tunisian locals, who organise parasailing and jet ski rides from the beach recalled that some time between 11.30am and 11.45am the gunman approached the sun loungers arranged along the beach.

“I was sitting talking to some guests from the Imperial Marhaba hotel. We are all friends here,” said one of the two men, who identified himself as Wael. He didn’t think much of it when he heard the first bang.

“I heard a kind of hissing clap sound and thought it must be someone messing around with fireworks for a joke,” said Wael. Then the reality dawned.

Reports suggest that Rezgui first shot at a paraglider hovering above the Mediterranean. He then turned his Kalashnikov on the sunbathers.

The British newspapers all have harrowing reports from survivors of the attack, whose victims were chiefly British, but also from several other European countries.

The Times of Israel reminds us that despite being one of the only relative successes fo the Arab Spring, Tunisia still suffers from terrorism:

Tunisia has been battered by terrorist attacks, most recently in March when two Tunisians returning from Libya killed 22 people at the national museum.

Besides these three outrages, ISIS massacred 145 civilians in the Kurdish border town of Kobane, Syria. This received hardly any resonance in the media since such massacres are a daily occurrence nowadays, much like the car bombs and suicide bombings in Iraq.

It is clear from these attacks that ISIS are determined to kill anyone, of any religion, who does not keep to their way of life: they had no compunction in killing Muslim worshippers at prayer in the holiest month of the Muslim year simply because they are the “wrong” kind of Muslim. Of course Europeans are another obvious target of these Muslim extremists, and not for the first time either.

A question that arises immediately from the timing of these attacks is whether they were coordinated, or were they all just “lone wolves” who happened to pick the same day. Legal Insurrection wonders about this Ramadan of Disaster:

It looks coordinated. It feels coordinated; Pentagon officials, however, have been slow to label this an ISIS conspiracy, instead emphasizing that both the Pentagon and the State Department are still investigating. ISIS claimed credit for the attacks in Kuwait, but not the other two attacks.

Still, in terms of the call and response between ISIS and their supporters, it’s reasonable to posit that, even if they’re not responsible for these attacks, they’re surely their ideological driving force:

While there was little to suggest any co-ordination between the atrocities, experts noted that they came shortly after ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani called on supporters to step up their activities.

In fact, despite any lack of evidence, ISIS supporters are certainly celebrating their bloody Friday:

Supporters of the Islamic State are celebrating the wave of terror attacks today in France, Tunisia and Kuwait as “bloody Friday,” tweeting praise using the #bloodyfriday hashtag.

“This Friday is a holiday for the Muslims,” one IS supporter gloats online, according to a Mideast analyst writing on Vocativ.

Beyond the security nightmare that this summer looks like it is turning into, Israelis are asking another very pertinent question: When will the world wake up? Noah Klieger at Ynet rebukes the world for its hypocrisy and blindness (emphases added):

After the massacre at the offices of French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the murder of Jews at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, millions took to the streets of Paris and other cities around the world to protest.

I wondered at the time what was the goal of these “peace marches” and whether they would be followed by additional steps. I estimated that they wouldn’t – and unfortunately, I was right.

How long will it still take world powers to realize that ISIS and the rest of the radical Islamic terror groups are not fighting against Israel, against the occupation or against the settlements? How long will it take the leaders of the free world to realize that the murder sprees in Tunisia, Kuwait and France are directed at Christianity and the Muslim factions that don’t agree with the supporters of radical Islam?

It will be interesting to see how the leaders of France and Britain react now, if they even react. They will likely reward the main funder of Islamic terror, Iran, with a few additional concessions in the impending nuclear agreement.

Unfortunately, it seems that the call on world power to wake up immediately is falling on deaf ears. And anyway, the feeling is that it is already too late. Right now, only drastic measures will be able to save the world from terror.

It certainly looks like Klieger is right. Even if the world acknowledges the threat of extremist Muslim terrorism, their counter-activities are almost worthless in effect. And yet they continue to badger Israel to create yet another terrorist failed state within its borders which is bound to turn into an ISIS-like Muslim extremist state within days of its creation. One only need look at Gaza for a grim example.

Posted in Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments