Once again a dreadful terror attack, this time in France, has made me think twice about posting a Good News Friday post, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if I only publish good news posts in a week when nothing happened I might as well close this blog.
With this in mind, here is a somewhat subdued Good News Friday installment, sticking mostly to politics and diplomacy for the moment.
Last week Binyamin Netanyahu scored an impressive success with his four-country visit to Africa. Op-eds from the Times of Israel to the left-of-centre Forward, to the Jerusalem Post all praised Bibi’s visit and expressed wonder at his stunning diplomatic success.
In the lyrically titled “Bless the rains down in Africa”, Herb Keinon notes:
ADDIS ABABA – From people lining the street holding Israeli flags and waving on the road from the Entebbe airport to the presidential palace nearby; to the “Karibu, We Welcome H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu” billboards on some Nairobi streets; to the Rwanda brass band and colorful honor guard that greeted him at the Kigali Airport – East Africa, or more precisely a good chunk of East Africa, clearly embraced Israel this week.
And what was so telling about this embrace is that it was done in public, in broad daylight, and with much enthusiasm.
Which leads to one major question. Why did it take so long? If leader after leader, from Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, all – in their own unique style – extolled the benefits of cooperation with Israel, and if Netanyahu, in numerous speeches and four press conferences, declared the strategic importance of Africa to Israel, then why did it take so long to move this relationship into high gear? Kenyatta supplied the answer: It’s now a different world.
Jerusalem hopes to replicate the type of summit it held in Uganda on Monday in the near future in West Africa, with countries like Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and others participating.
The impression is that Monday’s meeting will open the door and provide a strong “back wind” for replicating this type of event in West Africa.
And most refreshingly, the focus of Africa was on how Israel can benefit them. They weren’t out to “get” Israel over the unending Palestinian “peace” process:
The Palestinians, according to one senior official in the prime minister’s meetings with the African leaders, barely came up.
“They have bigger fish to fry,” he said.
It was refreshing, another senior diplomatic source noted, that the main issue on the table on a foreign visit was not the Palestinians or the diplomatic process, but rather, how to grow more crops, how to more efficiently use more water, and how to use Israeli technology to fight terrorism.
It’s not only Africa where Netanyahu has succeeded. He has restored ties with Turkey, Egypt – which included a visit this week by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry – and has maintained very warm and close relations with the formerly hostile Russia.
It is entirely possible that Netanyahu’s visit to Africa paved the way for the defeat of yet another anti-Israel motion at UNESCO. Unlike back in April, when UNESCO adopted a resolution which denied any and all attachment of the Jewish People to the Temple Mount this week’s vote, engineered by the Palestinians and Jordan, to “restore the historical status quo on the Temple Mount” (whatever that means) was shelved as they realized they weren’t going to receive the support that had hoped for.
Unfortunately, perfidious Europe will not leave well enough alone, and are trying to insert a revision to the resolution which still denies the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Israel singled out France in particular for their interference, particularly as they apologized for their previous support for the earlier resolution. You would think that the French would have learned a lesson from last night’s attack, that you cannot appease the Muslims, but it seems that France, along with the rest of Europe, is impervious to reason.
On the same subject, an Israeli judge has (finally!) decreed that the disgusting screeching of “Allahu Akbar” at Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount is illegal if it is not taking place during actual prayers. However I have yet to see our cowardly police actually enforcing this regulation and will only believe it when I see those vile Jew-haters arrested on the spot as forcefully as Jewish visitors who dare to let a few words of Hebrew prayer cross their lips at the Jews’ holiest shrine.
Earlier this week the parents of the murdered 13-year old Hallel Yaffa Ariel ascended the Temple Mount in her memory in a very moving ceremony. Yet they too were assailed by screams of “Allahu Akbar”, and the only people arrested were…. two Jews. So much for laws. One for Muslims and a whole different set for Jews, even in Israel.
Before I forget myself, let us move back to happier news. Good things seem to happening in Congress and the Senate in recent days.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A week before the one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, the Republican-led House approved measures aimed at blocking U.S. companies from selling commercial passenger aircraft to Tehran.
By voice vote Thursday, lawmakers passed two amendments directed at Chicago-based Boeing, which had offered Iranian airlines three models of new aircraft to replace the country’s aging fleet.
The amendment was added to a financial services spending bill that the House cleared by vote of 239-185. The House must reconcile differences between its bill and the Senate’s version. The Obama administration is certain to threaten to veto any legislation that undermines the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., the amendment’s sponsor, said the aircraft could be used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
“To give these types of planes to the Iranian regime, which still is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, is to give them a product that can be used for a military purpose,” Roskam said. The Boeing aircraft could be reconfigured to carry 100 ballistic missiles or 15,000 rocket-propelled grenades, according to Roskam.
Kol hakavod to Rep. Peter Roskam and all those Representatives who voted for this very important measure. And shame on Obama and his (mis)Administration for protecting Iran at all costs.
In a further challenge, the Jerusalem Post reports that Congress has demanded from UNRWA the true number of Palestinian refugees: (a link to the JPost is not active yet. See screenshot below):
It’s way beyond time that someone challenged the fictitious figures of UNRWA, designed purely to extract more and more money from well-meaning but ignorant Western governments, as well as to perpetuate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in order to demonize Israel.
Kol hakvod to Congress on their initiative. I hope they receive a proper and accurate answer from UNRWA but I would advise not holding your breath.
Reading through my post now, I see that it’s not particularly inspiring for Shabbat, so here is an incredible video which is sure to lift your spirits. Make sure you watch it to the end!
And now I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom, a Shabbat of peace and safety and love and tranquility. May the coming week bring better news.