#Israelisburning while #Arabsarecelebrating

Wildfire in Israel

Wildfire in Israel

A brush-fire which, aided by extremely dry weather and strong winds, turned into a wildfire, caused initially by negligence, set fire to large swathes of the picturesque town of Zichron Yaakov, and in the coexistence village of Neve Shalom and Nataf near Jerusalem. Severe damage and even destruction was caused to several houses, and trees and land were burnt too.

This wildfire ignited another kind of fire in the black hearts of Palestinian and local Arabs.  Inspired by the destructive quality of the earlier fires they proceeded to ignite huge swathes of the country. The worst fire occurred in Haifa, where 6 separate ignition points indicate arson rather than negligence or natural causes. 75,000 residents were evacuated over the course of yesterday, several houses were burnt down completely or very severely damaged.

Residents escaping the massive fire in Haifa

Residents escaping the massive fire in Haifa

The Hesder Yeshiva of Haifa burnt down completely, including its holy books, because the heroic students abandoned their books in order to save the lives of nursery school children on the top floor of their building.

More fires occurred in the Jerusalem hills, in Modiin,


Footage of a fire in the mountainous village of Beit Meir, west of Jerusalem

Footage of a fire in the mountainous village of Beit Meir, west of Jerusalem

Last night fresh fires started in Bet Meir in the Jerusalem Hills, leading to great destruction, as well as outside Carmiel in the Galilee. While most of the fires had been extinguished by this morning, several fresh ones broke out again in Haifa and elsewhere.

The biggest miracle was that there has been no loss of life, although several dozen people have been injured from smoke inhalation.

It now appears that even the initial fire at Zichron Yaakov was caused by arson, as were many if not most of the other fires:

A spokesperson of the Haifa Fire Department said on Friday they have evidence that a fire started near the city’s main fire depot was an act of arson. Speaking to Channel 2, Uri Chibotaro said video evidence proved the cause of the blaze.
Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) said to Israel Radio that the Haifa firestorm, which caused widespread damage on Thursday, was an “intentional act of arson.”
Earlier, Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said that the results of an investigation into Thursday’s fire in Zichron Ya’acov concluded that the blaze was caused by arsonists.
Police reported that in total 12 individuals had been investigated for arson and incitement as a result of their investigations.

While the Israelis have been busy fighting the fires, evacuating residents, foreign countries chipped in with fire-fighting planes. Even our “cold-peace” partners Turkey, Jordan and Egypt are sending helicopters and fire-engines. The Palestinian Authority too is sending in fire-fighting ground teams.

Sadly, many Arabs (definitely not all I am pleased to say) have been celebrating the fire, cheering it on and praying for more destruction and wishing death on us.

Here is a selection of relevant tweets:

The vile reactions of these antisemitic hateful people reveal their true feelings. They are not “for” the Palestinians. They are against the Jews, wherever they live. They are happy to see the land that they claim to cherish burn down rather than let the Jews live in it:

It is so reminiscent of the famed story of King Solomon and the baby that several commentators have remarked on it. Israellycool has an excellent video which summarizes another post of his:

If the analogy was not already obvious enough, the celebrating Arabs and Muslims are woman #1 and the baby is the land of Israel. They claim this land is theirs (despite them having conquered it in the 7th century, way after we had been here) and are thus lying like woman #1. Yet they are happy the land burns because it means possibly depriving us of it.

Just like in this story, allow the wisdom of Solomon to once again demonstrate who the true indigenous people of this land are.

There are no more apt words to finish this post than the words of the beautiful Israeli song: “I have no other country, even if its ground is burning”.

Posted in Antisemitism, Israel news, support Israel | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

All about Amona

A very menacing caravan in Amona

A very menacing caravan in Amona

The community of Amona in the title has been the subject of much controversy over the past couple of years, reaching a head in the last couple of months.

The background to the story is a familiar one in the Israeli domestic landscape. (One caveat – I am writing from memory because I’m having a problem finding links in English. If I have facts wrong, please correct me in the comments and I will edit the post accordingly).

A small settlement, consisting of only about 40 families, was established with government permission or at least without official rejection. The land was purchased by the Jewish settlers (there, I said the bogey-word!) and all was quiet for 20 years (!) until an Arab “owner” was found by Israeli leftists who can’t bear the idea of Jews returning to their ancestral homes. This ostensible Arab owner suddenly “remembered” that part of the land is his and laid a claim to it.

The case went to court, which is where it has been bouncing around ever since. Israel’s hyperactivist High Court ruled in favour of the Arab (of course – it is very rare for the High Court to ever rule in the Jews’ favour). The Israeli government was duly horrified and has tried various tricks of the political trade to try and mitigate the High Court’s ruling.

These tricks have included legislation to retroactively legalize all settlement outposts, (which Sweden expressed deep concern over, as if they have nothing better to be concerned about in their refugee-infused crime-infested cities), setting up a “Cyprus commission” to examine competing land claims in a manner similar to the commission set up in Cyprus to arbitrate between Greek and Turkish claims, and assorted other delaying tactics.

The High Court ordered that compensation be paid to the Arab owner, in which case there is no reason to destroy the community.

Nevertheless it now looks like Amona is going to be destroyed because after all, you cannot have actual Jews living on Jewish land in the Jewish State can you? The world would never be the same!

A very menacing Amona resident with her 2 very dangerous children

An Amona resident with her 2 children

Adding insult to injury, when the government came up with a plan to move the Amona houses a few hundred yards up the road, the US State Department objected to that too! There is no pleasing those Jew-hating politicians.

Meanwhile, the demolition of an illegal Bedouin village in southern Israel has been delayed (via Reality) because of the objections of human rights activists. I wonder if those activists will turn up at Amona on demolition day. Or do human rights only apply to Arabs, and not to Jews?

For more reading on this very painful subject (which I admit I have been avoiding precisely because the outrage at the injustice of the decisions so upsets me), here are some illuminating articles:

Here are eight crucial things you need to know about Amona: (via MP):

1. Jordan had no right to parcel out lands
When the Amona case first reached the Supreme Court, a representative of the land registrar for the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) argued that despite the fact that the location was a bald and abandoned mountaintop, there existed documented parcels of land which had been registered by the Jordanian government as belonging to area sheiks and clans. However, as an invading and occupying power, Jordan had no right to award these lands. Jordan’s rule over the “West Bank” was not recognized by the vast majority of UN member states save for the UK and Pakistan, and so this local Arab “ownership” is based on a lie.

2. Only 0.5% of the Amona land is registered to private Arab owners
… in Jerusalem Magistrate Court it was discovered that out of the nine Arab petitioners, seven own land that is entirely outside the Amona perimeter, and have had no problem working their land had they been so inclined. The remaining two owned only a sliver – about half an acre altogether, out of the 125 acres of the Amona territory – less than .5%. The remaining land is registered to names of non-existent people who do not appear in the 1967 census.

3. COGAT didn’t differentiate between the parcels with known and unknown ownership
Despite the above facts, the COGAT prosecution related to the parcels whose owners are unknown as being privately owned, declaring that some 15 acres in the southern part of the settlement belonged to real private owners. They then told the court that, in fact, there was no difference between the various parts of the community and that the half-acre that became 15 acres was, in effect, indistinguishable from the rest, and the entire community had to come down.

4. The Settlement Arrangements Act does not violate international law
Regarding the Settlement Arrangements Act, which the left, as well as senior Netanyahu cabinet officials, are saying violates international law, former Tel Aviv University president and international law expert Prof. Yoram Dinstein has argued that “when an occupier appropriates the power to legislate in an occupied territory, said power belongs to the occupying state and not to one of its organs (COGAT).” […]

5. International law compels Israel to care for the rights of Jewish and Arab resident
Another popular argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it violates international law because it sanctions the impounding of Arab owned land for the sake of a Jewish community. However, it has been noted that international law compels the occupier to care for the needs of all the civilians under its rule, Jews and Arabs alike, and the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use, with proper payment of compensation (eminent domain) is inherent in exerting such care.

6. The Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the pre-67 law in Judea and Samaria
… the Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the legal systems that were in use in Judea and Samaria before 1967. Both Ottoman law and Jordanian law determine that in a case where a man built and planted in good faith land belonging to another, should the value of the construction exceed the value of the land, the land owner is compelled to receive compensation.

7. Israel legislates retroactively when needed
Another argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it retroactively alters a court ruling. But the state of Israel regularly legislates retroactively, as in the amendment that reversed many hundreds of court sentences of Arab terrorists, to facilitate the Gilad Shalit deal with Hamas.

8. The Settlement Arrangements Act is not unconstitutional
Finally, the most crucial argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it is unconstitutional – the constitution in this case being Israel’s Basic Laws. Setting aside the paradox whereby one Knesset law is inapplicable in the territories while the same Knesset’s basic laws are applicable – does Israel’s basic law really dictate that 40 families with their 200 children who have lived in Amona for 20 years be evicted to satisfy the alleged rights of two claimants who own less than .5% of the land and have never lived there? Has the court become so immoral as to be the enemy of its constituents without any foundation?

Caroline Glick, always a very worthwhile read, writes about Amona and the rule of law: She succinctly summarizes the issue and points out the naked bias in the court’s ruling: (emphases are added):

Yehuda Yifrach reported Friday in Makor Rishon that once the suit was filed, the Jerusalem District Court acted to ascertain the actual scope of the ownership rights under question. It was determined that a mere half-acre of Amona was built on lands to which the Palestinians made claim. The rest of their claims pertained to land outside of the community altogether.

In other words, once the actual claims of ownership were examined it worked out that a mere fraction of the community was built on privately owned land. It further worked out that the precise areas that were owned by claimants are non-contiguous and indiscernible, but all were generally located on smidgens of plots on the southern side of the community.

Others have disputed Yifrach’s findings. But that is part of the problem of ascertaining the validity of ownership claims.

At any rate, as Yifrach noted, rather than say that the owners would be compensated for the half acre, whose specific locations were unclear, the Attorney General’s office decided that all the plots that included privately owned land had to be destroyed. Thus the Attorney General’s lawyers magically transformed a half acre into 15 acres, covering the entire southern part of Amona.

The government then decided it would raze only the homes located on those 15 acres and move the families to new homes in Amona on undisputed plots in the northern half of the community.

The Supreme Court would have none of that, however.

The justices insisted that their initial decision that all 60 acres be razed to the ground still stands.

Glick next addresses the Arrangements Law, which was intended to legalize or regulate “illegal” outposts:

Given the specious nature of Mandelblit’s legal reasoning, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that in writing his opinion he was not acting as a lawyer, but as a political activist. Mandelbilt’s purpose was not to protect the rule of law – which his opinion ignores and distorts. Rather his goal was to protect the rule of lawyers who use their positions as officers of the court to advance their political agenda.

Faced with the specter of Mandelblit’s legally unsupported “legal” opinion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first tried to get the court to delay the deadline for destroying Amona for several months.

Unsurprisingly, the court, which is fighting not for justice but to prove that it is more powerful than the government, rejected his request.

Caroline Glick’s conclusion is one that we should all pay attnetion to – but unfortunately I am pretty sure our government won’t and certainly our judicial system will studiously ignore:

The timing of this showdown between the rule of law and the rule of lawyers couldn’t be worse. It comes in the twilight of the Obama administration which has shown consistently that the actual legal basis for Israel’s actions in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem is irrelevant.

President Barack Obama and his advisers condemn every action Israel takes because they oppose Israel’s presence in the areas for ideological reasons that have nothing to do with law.

Unfortunately, we can’t always pick the timing of our great battles.

Mandelblit and his comrades have left our lawmakers no choice. They must pass the Arrangements Law, and override Mandelblit. This is the only way to ensure the Knesset’s position as Israel’s lawmaking body is respected.

This is the only way to secure Israel’s position as a nation governed by the rule of law, rather than the rule of unelected, unaccountable lawyers.

It is as much the empowering of our enemies (including our enemies within) as the judicial outrage which infuriates me. “צדק צדק תרדוף”, “Justice, Justice shall you pursue” we are enjoined by the Torah. But the Torah did not mean that we should pursue justice right out of our system.

Justice should be meted out to Israeli Jews as well as to Palestinians. Someone should remind our holier-than-thou activist courts of this point.

Posted in indigenous rights, Israel news, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The upside down world of the UN

UN - Useless Nations

UN – Useless Nations

I have written frequently about the upside down, Alice in Wonderland type of world which the UN inhabits.

We see this surrealism at play once again these past couple of weeks as the UN’s World Health Organization awarded the IDF emergency medical team the highest award, and yet mere months ago, that same WHO slammed Israel for violating Palestinians’ health rights.

Could the WHO explain: if Israel cannot be trusted with the health of Palestinians, how can it be trusted to care for civilians in disaster zones? And if the IDF is the world’s best disaster medical team, how does that square with the accusations of violation of health rights?

The WHO should get its own head examined, not to mention its soul.

These accusations against Israel are on a par with the annual accusations against Israel for women’s rights violations – when Israel is the only country in the Middle East with full equal rights for women.

And Syria had the gall to slam Israel in the UN for health rights violations in the Golan!! This, when it is as clear as daylight that Syria is massacring its own people by the hundreds of thousands, and the only nation coming to the rescue on the Golan is Israel.

The wonderful UN Watch reports that earlier this month, Israel was condemned in the General Assembly no less than 10 times (!) while the rest of the world combined received only 4 condemnations. Watch their video below:


From UN Watch’s article:

GENEVA, Nov. 8, 2016 – The U.N. General Assembly adopted 10 resolutions singling out Israel today, with only 4 expected to be adopted later this week for the entire rest of the world combined, with one each on Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea. See UN Watch’s full list and voting records below.

“The U.N.’s assault on Israel today with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental watchdog organization.

“Even as Syrian president Bashar Assad is preparing for the final massacre of his own people in Aleppo, the U.N. adopted a resolution — drafted and co-sponsored by Syria — which falsely condemns Israel for ‘repressive measures’ against Syrian citizens on the Golan Heights. It’s obscene,” said Neuer.

“While there will be a total of 20  resolutions against Israel this session, not a single U.N. General Assembly resolution is planned today for gross human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, China, or Cuba.” 

“At a time when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his state-controlled media incite to the continued stabbing and shooting of Israeli Jews, the UN’s response is to reflexively condemn Israel in ten separate resolutions, each of them one-sided, each of them utterly silent on Palestinian abuses.”

The resolution drafted annually by Syria condemns Israel for holding on to the Golan Heights, and demands Israel hand the land and its people to Syria.

“It’s astonishing,” said Neuer. “At a time when the Syrian regime is killing its own people by the hundreds of thousands, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing of today’s text is morally galling, and logically absurd.”

“Today’s resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. is oblivious to the dozens of Palestinians who in the past month have been slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces, and more than 3,000 victims killed since 2011.”

 “Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the U.N.’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel,” said Neuer.

“The U.N.’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish state undermines the institutional credibility of what is supposed to be an impartial international body. Politicization and selectivity harm its founding mission, eroding the U.N. Charter promise of equal treatment to all nations large and small,” Neuer added.

I’m amazed such a pariah nation is allowed to belong to the UN at all. I’m surprised we’re not all sitting in prison.

More surrealism occurs as the UN finally (only 2 years late) admitted that Palestinian terrorists indeed fired rockets from UNRWA schools in Gaza during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

The UN finally investigated the Palestinian storing of rockets in UNRWA schools and their use of the schools to launch rockets against Israel, all of which constitute grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.

Key findings gleaned from the UN report:

  • Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad stored rockets in UNRWA schools. The board found, in the case of the UNRWA Jabalia Elementary “C” and Ayyobiya Boys School, referring to the discovery of weapons there on 22 July 2014, that “it was highly likely that a Palestinian armed group might have used the premises to hide weapons.”
  • Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad stored rockets in schools that were in active use by children. During the war, former PLO lawyer Diana Buttu famously said on Al Jazeera that “the rockets that were found in the schools in UNRWA were schools that are not being used by anybody—school is out, I’ll have you know.” However, in the UNRWA Gaza Beach Elementary Co-educational “B” School, on 16 July 2014, the UN Board of Inquiry notes that the school gate was unlocked during the period leading up to the incident “in order to allow children access to the schoolyard.” School was out, but UNRWA was inviting the children back in to play.
  • Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad fired rockets from UNRWA schools. In the Jabalia school listed above, the board found that “it was highly likely that an unidentified Palestinian armed group could have used the school premises to launch attacks on or around 14 July.” Similarly, concerning weaponry stored at the UNRWA Nuseirat Preparatory Co- educational “B” School, the UN inquiry found that “the premises could have been used for an unknown period of time by members of a Palestinian armed group”  — and that “it was likely that such a group may have fired the mortar from within the premises of the school.”

Do you think Israel can expect an apology any time soon for all the baseless accusations, smears and slanders of needlessly targeting schools and hospitals in Gaza?

Don’t make me laugh! That would be the utter absurdest height of surrealism from the UN!


Given this “revelation” – which Israel has been relentlessly pointing out ever since the war – I would like an explanation and a clarification from Canada as to why they have given the discredited UNRWA a $25 million grant.

But since the deed is done, UN Watch has asked Canada to use its donor status to investigate the incitement emanating from UNRWA institutions and its teachers.

The names of the UNRWA staffers and links to their Facebook pages were sent today to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

While the Trudeau government pre-emptively promised to fund training for UNRWA staff “on the proper and neutral use of social media,” UN Watch said that this approach misses the point.

“The core issue is not what UNRWA teachers reveal online, but the fact that racists are being hired in the first place to teach children,” said Hillel Neuer, the Canadian-born lawyer who heads UN Watch, an independent non-governmental monitoring organization accredited to the UN in Geneva.

“We’re not calling merely for hateful posts to be removed—we’re calling for every antisemitic teacher to be fired, and for the senior UNRWA officials who keep recruiting them to be fired too.”

 “Sadly, UNRWA itself refuses to respond to our repeated reports of racist incitement by their school teachers and principals, and so the only recourse is for donor states like Canada to demand accountability,” said Neuer.

Please don’t hold your breath waiting for such an investigation to take place.

Posted in Antisemitism, Defence and Military, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Good News Friday

I must apologize for the lack of posting during this past week. Life simply got in the way. But never mind, thank goodness it’s Friday and time for another Good News Friday post.

First on my list is some good news from Britain’s Labour Party! (via Sussex Friends of Israel). Yes, you thought there could be no such thing with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm, but there are some very good people in the Labour Party after all, and despite their Dear Leader’s refusal of the invitation, the deputy leader, Tom Watson, led a delegation to visit Yad Vashem:

Mr Corbyn was originally invited by the leader of the Israeli Labour Party Isaac Herzog in the wake of the row which erupted earlier this year over anti-Semitic comments by former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mr Watson paid his respects at Yad Vashem alongside fellow Labour MPs Dame Rosie Winterton, Michael Dugher, Ruth Smeeth and Gloria De Piero.

Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson at Yad Vashem

Deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson at Yad Vashem

Mr Watson was quoted as saying: “I wanted to come back to Israel and the Palestinian Territories and to pay respects on behalf of the UK Labour Party at Yad Vashem.

“We remembered those who died in the Holocaust and renewed our determination to fight racism and anti-Semitism – whatever form it takes and wherever it exists.

“We travelled to East Jerusalem to meet inspiring young entrepreneurs from both the Israeli and Palestinian communities studying together.

Now that is the behaviour of a proper leader. If only Tom Watson could depose Corbyn and bring the party back to its former standing. Kol hakavod to Mr. Watson and his fellow MPs who realized the importance of mending fences with the Jewish community and joined him on this important trip.

Another good news item from the world of politics comes from across the ocean, where the US House of Representatives has introduced a bill calling for the extension of the law forbidding the boycott of Israel to apply to BDS anti-settlement initiatives too (via Brian Goldfarb):

Fines for boycotting Israel would be extended to companies complying with the BDS movement, including the boycott of West Bank settlements, under a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Reps. Pete Roskam, R-Ill., and Juan Vargas, D-Calif., introduced the bill Monday. The measure is a companion to one introduced in the Senate in September by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Ben Cardin, D-Md., called the “Protecting Israel Against Discrimination Act.”

The House bill amends language in bills passed in the 1970s to combat the Arab League boycott of Israel to encompass the modern Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement – and to include efforts that would boycott settlement goods.

Whereas the original anti-boycott laws targeted companies cooperating with boycotts that were launched before Israel’s establishment as a means of squeezing its Jews, and then as a means of isolating the new Jewish state, the new bill appears to extend the definition to those who would use boycotts to pressure Israel into giving up territory.

The legislation was sparked in part by the creation of a database by the United Nations Human Rights Council of companies that do business with Israel’s settlements. It extends existing penalties for boycotting Israel to international organizations like the council.

The bill also requires the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that seeks to facilitate American trade overseas, to consider whether a company applying for a loan adheres to the BDS movement.

This is very good news, and it will be even better when and if the legislation is passed. Maybe with Donald Trump at the helm it stands a better chance.

But the best news of all comes from the UN of all places! A few weeks ago I mentioned that the UN’s World Health Organization is considering giving Israel its highest award. Well – it happened! (via Brian Goldfarb).  The WHO has officially ranked Israel’s emergency medical team as No. 1 in the world:

The United Nation’s World Health Organization recognized the Israeli army’s field hospital, which is regularly sent abroad to provide aid at natural disaster sites, as “the number one in the world” in a ceremony last week, classifying it as its first and only “Type 3” field hospital, according to its commander, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin.

A 26-tent IDF field hospital set up during an exercise on December 9, 2013

A 26-tent IDF field hospital set up during an exercise on December 9, 2013

As reported in The Times of Israel last month, the WHO and the Israel Defense Forces had been in talks to determine if the army unit met the demands of a “Type 3” medical team, a status no medical team had ever reached before.

Last Wednesday, the IDF’s field hospital team received the “Type 3” designation, along with some additional “specialized care” recognitions, which technically made it a “Type 3 plus,” though the army kept the information quiet until Sunday.

“We’re going to recommend the director-general verifies [Israel’s team] as a Type 1, Type 2, and also Type 3 and multiple different types of specialty cells,” Dr. Ian Norton, the lead author of the classification system and head of the WHO delegation, said Wednesday at the ceremony in the Medical Corps’ base in Ramat Gan, outside Tel Aviv.

“We haven’t had that ever before,” Norton said, praising the months of work put in by the Israeli team to receive the designation.

Dr. Ian Norton, from the World Health Organization

Dr. Ian Norton, from the World Health Organization

Israel will receive official WHO patches noting the new designation, and members of the IDF’s Medical Corps, including Merin, will meet with the head of the international organization at a formal ceremony in Hong Kong at the end of the month, the army said.

In a phone conversation with reporters on Sunday, Merin, who has personally invested “hundreds of hours” in the recognition process, described the experience of having the work he and his team have done be classified as the best in the world as “emotional.”

“I wish I could sit here and say it’s a ‘Mazal tov’ for me, but it’s a ‘Mazal tov’ for the army, for Israel,” Merin said, using a Hebrew term that literally means “good luck,” but is used as “congratulations.”

The military’s field hospital is “not just some medics and doctors spread out in the field”; rather it is a “national treasure” that has the capabilities of an advanced, permanent hospital but can be set up almost anywhere in under 12 hours, Merin told The Times of Israel last month.

Israeli soldiers set up a field hospital in Nepal after the deadly earthquake in April 2015

Israeli soldiers set up a field hospital in Nepal after the deadly earthquake in April 2015

Israeli disaster relief delegations — some of them led by Merin — have been some of the first and largest to arrive at the scenes of natural disasters. Teams from the IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

This Type 3 classification ensures that Israeli teams will continue to be the first allowed on the scene of future disasters and further cements Israel’s position as a world leader in emergency medicine, proving to friends and foes alike that the Jewish state knows how to handle catastrophes.

“This recognition isn’t just international. It’s also recognition for ourselves, showing us what we can do,” the army spokesperson said Sunday.

The article goes on to explain the importance of this citation to Israel’s emergency medical team. Not every team is so efficient, and sometimes emergency teams actually get in the way of the important work and become a burden to the very country they are trying to help:

For many years there was no internationally recognized system of categorizing emergency response teams — which could operate independently, which needed assistance from the local government in order to function, what services could they offer, etc. — information that can be crucial in a disaster situation.

Rescue workers need to know where they can take patients. When deciding which teams can come in as part of the relief effort, local governments need to know which foreign field hospitals are entirely self-sufficient and which require resources like fuel, oxygen and medications that are often scarce after a disaster.

“They cannot be a burden on the affected country. In the past, teams arrived with no equipment, and local authorities had to look after them; we found that inappropriate,” Norton said.

IDF officials and Nepalese officials in a closing ceremony of the Nepal field hospital on May 10, 2015

IDF officials and Nepalese officials in a closing ceremony of the Nepal field hospital on May 10, 2015

Regarding the meaning of the different rankings:

A Type 1 medical team can offer first aid and other immediate emergency care on an outpatient basis, meaning the victims do not remain in the hospital for extended periods of time; a Type 2 has at least 20 beds for inpatients and can perform 7-15 surgeries per day; and a Type 3 has twice as many inpatient beds, an intensive care unit and can perform 15-30 surgeries per day, as well as provide a host of other services, including rehabilitation.

Israel’s field hospital blows past some of these requirements: A Type 3 field hospital needs 40 inpatient beds, Israel’s has 86. A Type 3 needs two operating rooms, Israel’s has four.

For Type 2 and Type 3 teams there are additional “specialized care team” designation, including burn units, dialysis, obstetrics and gynecology, and reconstructive plastic surgery.

A woman shortly after giving birth at the IDF's field hospital in Bogo City, the Philippines. (Shay Wagner/IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

A woman shortly after giving birth at the IDF’s field hospital in Bogo City, the Philippines. (Shay Wagner/IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Israel, in addition to its Type 3 designation, was also recognized for its abilities in the latter two categories, plastic surgery and OB/GYN care, making it a “Type 3 plus.”

Merin, wary of bragging, said, “We’re already standing on the podium. I don’t think we need that. We’re already recognized as the only Type 3 team in the world. It’s good enough.”

Some aspects of the classification were not simply an issue of which specialists are on staff or the amount of oxygen the facility can produce per minute, but deal with the ethics of emergency care.

And the best part of the article comes at the end:

In addition to being the only Type 3 team in the world, Israel’s is also the only one with a “military component” that has been recognized by the WHO.

“It’s a proud moment for all the Jews around the world and for people from Israel and for people from the IDF Medical Corps. It’s great moment for all of us, really. It’s a great moment,” he said.

Indeed, you have done us all proud. You fulfill the essence of Jewish ethics which is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. You help the needy and the sick, and all with the most advanced medical care and human kindness. What country could ask for more? We really can be proud of our crazy little country.🙂

I would also add a huge kol hakavod to – dare I say it? – the WHO for recognizing Israel’s excellence in this field. Maybe they will now rescind the ridiculous and highly offensive accusations against Israel in that very same WHO that she is the “world’s worst health rights violater”. (!!!)

On that happy but thoughtful note, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, International relations, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Debunking the “indigenous Palestinians” myth

I’ve written about this subject before, and no doubt I’ll be writing about this thorny subject again in the future. But the constant attempts by the Palestinians and their gullible or evil  supporters to undermine Jewish rights in Israel and to steal Jewish history, together with the onslaught on Jewish indigenous rights at the UN and similar institutions, make it imperative to counter these lies with our own declaration of the truth and reclamation of our natural and indigenous rights to the Land of Israel.

The recent demand by the Palestinians for an apology from Britain for the Balfour Declaration is a perfect opportunity to rebut their claims of indigenous heritage in Israel (aka Palestine). Three articles I came upon recently thoroughly refute these lies.

A scholarly analysis by Sheree Roth in the Middle East Forum examines whether the Arabs were indigenous to Mandatory Palestine. The article is quite long but well worth the read. here is a short excerpt:

A number of analyses address the subject of Arab immigration to Palestine: Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial,[4] Arieh Avneri’s The Claim of Dispossession,[5] and Fred M. Gottheil’s essay, “The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931.”[6] But, William B. Ziff’s little remembered The Rape of Palestine, published in 1938, adds an important first-hand source to these recent studies. None of the modern authors used Ziff as a source, so this is new information to present-day analysts.

Ziff (1898-1953) was born in Chicago and co-founded the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, which specialized in technical magazines in such subject areas as aviation, radio, and photography. Active in Zionist politics, his Rape of Palestine was considered by the British Foreign Office “a violent and offensive book,” and for years afterward, the British monitored the Zionist writings and speeches of this “unscrupulous gangster,” fearful that his audiences were “lapping this poison up.”[7]

The thrust of Ziff’s book is on British policy in Palestine during the mandate period, but what is especially interesting today are his comments on the migration of Arabs and the squelching of Jewish immigration by the British…

“Indigenous” Pre-20th Century Foreigners

Ziff notes that foreigners already peopled the land:[8]

Arabs Attracted to Jewish Settled Areas

Ziff reports that Jews invested large sums of money to “facilitate” Jewish immigration and encourage Jewish settlement in Palestine […]

Ziff describes this pattern:

Not until the Zionists had arrived in numbers did the Arab population begin to augment itself. The introduction of European standards of wage and life acted like a magnet on the entire Near East. Abruptly, Palestine became an Arab center of attraction. By 1922, after a quarter century of Jewish colonization, their numbers mushroomed to 488,000. Today they are over a million.

If the English contention were accurate, we should expect to find an exodus of Arabs from areas where Jews are settled into purely Arab regions. But exactly the opposite is true: It is precisely in the vicinity of these Jewish villages that Arab development is most marked. Arab Haifa, profiting by the Zionist boom, grew from 1922 to 1936 by 130%, Jaffa by 80%, and Jerusalem by 55%. The Arab rural settlement in the Tel Aviv district increased by over 135%. The all-Arab city of Nablus, which held 33,000 before the war, has fallen to less than 12,000. Safed which had 20,000, dropped to less than 9,000.[12] […]

British Obstruction of Jewish, Not Arab, Immigration

Peters and Avneri describe how the British obstructed Jewish immigration while facilitating or ignoring Arab immigration. Ziff adds details about immigration certificates, labor visas, taxation, and Hadassah aliyahs…

Hunting down Jews

Though guards kept watch to prevent the entry of “illegal” Jews, Arabs from anywhere entered without any passport investigation. The Peel Commission admitted that Arabs from Syria and Transjordan “are free to enter … Palestine without special formality.” Illegal Arab immigrants were also known to work on road and house construction in Petach Tikvah and Haifa.

Only Ziff mentions the British practice of hunting down “illegal” Jews:

Illegal Arab Immigration

Ziff also writes about futile attempts by Jews to bring the problem of illegal Arab immigrants to the attention of British authorities:

The increase in Arab population due to immigration was no secret. Another important testimony came from Robert Kennedy, the future U.S. attorney general, who traveled at age twenty-two in 1948 to Palestine and reported from there for the Boston Post.He also noted the influx of Arab immigration into Palestine:

While Ziff’s book has lain dormant, his insights regarding the waves of Arab immigration into Palestine substantiates the assertions of later scholars. During the mandate period, Arabs from many lands flowed freely into Palestine while Jewish immigration was severely limited. The truth remains that the native Arab population in Palestine was relatively small before the first Jewish settlers made it an attractive and prosperous place.

Keep all the above facts in mind as you study a Treasury of Photographs of Empty Palestine, compiled by former Yediot editor Zeev Galili. The article below is from 2009 but I only found it now (via Zvi):

Hundreds of rare photographs from the 19th Century reinforce the conclusion emerging from the British Expedition’s map * The photographs were painstakingly collected by Eli Shiller, a Land of Israel researcher, and they can be viewed on the internet * This too is the opportune time to determine which of the terrorist leaders is actually a Palestinian

When I published the article on “The Great Map of the Empty Land”, I had difficulty in finding photographs that would support the conclusion arising from that map.

The map – which was drawn up by a British Expedition that made a comprehensive survey at the close of the 19th Century – proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people arriving in the First Aliyah (1882) found a desolate and empty land, exactly as the author Mark Twain and many other tourists had described.

Galili links to the site which compiled the photos – click on the link and you will indeed find a treasure trove. The photos within prove (in case anyone had any doubt) that the land was indeed empty until the Jews arrived to make it flourish.


On the main road from Shechem (Nablus) to Jerusalem, 1913


What is now East Jerusalem by David Roberts, 1842

There are many more photos at the site. Go and feast your eyes, learn some history and refute those lies that Palestine – aka Israel – was full of Palestinians (who didn’t actually exist until 1964).

The third article, and in a way the most powerful because it is written in layman’s terms, and is also very current, was written this week by Jewish activist and blogger David Collier. He writes about “the science of hating Zionists” and explains why most anti-Zionism is antisemitic. This article fits in with my post’s theme because, by in order to explain the antisemitic underpinning of anti-Zionism he has to explain what Zionism actually is, and therefore to refute the claims of Palestinian indigenous rights.

The Palestinian right of return. An inalienable right. A hereditary condition, with Palestinian ‘nationhood’ passing from parent to child.

In this manner, 70 years later, the struggle, even the violent struggle, is framed as a movement of National liberation rather than a struggle for personal freedoms. The Arab who was born in Lebanon, whose parents were born in Lebanon, does not strive for freedom in Lebanon, but rather to experience the liberation of his ‘homeland’. A land neither he nor his parents ever trod. This movement of national liberation has full time support from a long list of anti-Zionist activists.

Let us go back in history

I was in Rome in August, and saw the Arch of Titus. The arch is almost 2000 years old. Constructed to commemorate Titus’ victories, including the siege of Jerusalem. There embedded into the south panel are representations of the spoils taken from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

So, let us rewind 2000 years. The Romans had sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the 2nd temple. Jews were forbidden entrance to their holy city. The final rebellion in a new uprising to regain their independence (133–135 CE) was crushed.  These Jewish people, were fighting a struggle that was clearly a movement of national liberation.

So, we have two movements of national liberation. One following the Roman military actions the other the current Palestinian cause. (Remember, up to this point our journey was not to question the validity of the narrative).

Contradiction and a mirror of Zionism

Now let us return to the real world and realise that the anti-Zionist position only recognises one of these liberation movements.  What we can call ‘Palestionism’. We call it this because this movement seems to have mirrored the creation of its own narrative on the Jewish experience.  The Palestinians have a ‘diaspora’, they have an ‘expulsion’, they are a persecuted people, claim to have been in the land for ‘millennia’, they suggest the invaders were ‘European’, their fight was against the greatest empire in the world, they use the Nakba as their ‘Holocaust’, they seek to return to their ‘promised land’, Jerusalem is their holy city and so on. It is almost a carbon copy of the Jewish narrative (minus of course much of the historical and factual support).

David Collier continues in this vein, taking Palestinian claims point by point and refuting them by comparing them to the parallel Jewish claims. He unpacks the Palestinian claims, proves that they are untrue, and then goes on to challenge the anti-Zionists by asking why they blindly accept Palestinian claims but dismiss identical Jewish claims. Of course the only possible reason for their dismissal of Jewish claims is plain old antisemitism.

It’s an excellent read and the facts are easily absorbed.

Read and learn – from all three articles, and make sure you have the facts handy when you encounter antisemitic anti-Zionists (or anti-Zionist antisemites for that matter).

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, History, Incitement, indigenous rights, Israel news | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Baruch Dayan Emet: Leonard Cohen, 82

Leonard Cohen, z

Leonard Cohen, z”l

This wasn’t quite the way I would have wished to distract us from the fuss surrounding the American elections. Leonard Cohen, one of America’s  Canada’s greatest, and most Jewish singers, (and one of my favourites) passed away late on Thursday* at the age of 82.

*UPDATE (h/t cba): In fact Leonard Cohen passed away already on Monday, but it was only announced on Thursday. He was buried in the Orthodox Jewish Shaar Ha’Shomayim cemetery in Montreal in a traditional Jewish burial.

“Hineni, hineni, My Lord” (here I am Lord in Hebrew) and other lyrics to the song “You want it Darker” from his latest album released in September were spoken in lieu of a prayer for the poet and musician during a traditional Jewish memorial service.

He was later buried at Jewish Shaar Hashomayim cemetery on the slopes of Mount Royal in his hometown of Montreal, “beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents,” in accordance with his wishes, rabbi Adam Scheier was quoted as saying by La Presse.

The statement went on to note that Cohen had maintained “a lifelong spiritual, musical, and familial connection to the synagogue of his youth.”

A fitting Jewish burial for a man who was proud to be Jewish and proud of his heritage.

The JTA has a short biography and obit:

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter whose Jewish-infused work became a soundtrack for melancholy, has died. He was 82.

Cohen, a Montreal native born in 1934, was playing folk guitar by the time he was 15, when he learned the resistance song “The Partisan” while working at a camp from an older friend.

“We sang together every morning, going through ‘The People’s Song Book’ from cover to cover,” he recalled in his first “Best Of” compilation in 1975. “I developed the curious notion that the Nazis were overthrown by music.”

As a student at McGill University, he became part of Montreal’s burgeoning alternative art scene, one bursting with nervous energy at a time that tensions between Quebec’s French and English speakers were coming to the fore.

His influences included Irving Layton, the seminal Canadian Jewish poet who taught at McGill and, like Cohen, grappled with the tensions between the secular world and the temptations of faith.

Cohen began to publish poetry and then novels, and was noticed by the national Canadian press. Moving to New York in the late 1960s — his song “Chelsea Hotel” is about his stay and that notorious refuge for the inspired, the insane and the indigent — he began to put his words to music.

“Suzanne,” about the devastating platonic affair with a friend’s wife that was a factor in his leaving Montreal, was recorded by Judy Collins and became a hit, launching his career.

Cohen sang in his limited bass and wrote his songs so he could sing them. They would have been dirges but for their surprising lyrical turns and reckoning with joy in unexpected places.

Cohen embraced Buddhism but never stopped saying he was Jewish. His music more often than not dealt directly not just with his faith but with his Jewish people’s story.

His most famous song, covered hundreds of times, is “Hallelujah” – he has said its unpublished verses are endless, but in its recorded version is about the sacred anguish felt by King David as he contemplates the beauty of the forbidden Bathsheba.

…“First We Take Manhattan,” recorded in the late 1980s when Cohen was living much of his time in Europe, plumbs the anger of a modern Jew traveling through a postwar consumerist Europe that has become adept at ignoring its Jewish ghosts:

I love your body and your spirit and your clothes
But you see that line there moving through the station?
I told you, I told you, told you, I was one of those.

Cohen was droll, but also reverent: Each of his explanations of his songs on 1975’s “Best Of” is sardonic except for one, for “Who by Fire.”

“This is based on a prayer recited on the Day of Atonement,” was all he wrote.

Cohen, in his 70s in the late 2000s, again began to tour and record; a manager had bilked him of much of his fortune. He released his final album, “You Want It Darker,” last month.

He often toured Israel, and he expressed his love for the country — Cohen toured for troops in the 1973 Yom Kippur War — but he also expressed sadness at the militarism he encountered there. Under pressure from the boycott Israel movement to cancel a 2009 concert, he instead donated its  proceeds — much needed by him — to a group that advances dialogue between Palestinians and Jews.

Leonard Cohen performs for the troops in the Yom Kippur War of 1973

Leonard Cohen performs for the troops in the Yom Kippur War of 1973

Tickets to the stadium at Ramat Gan sold out in minutes. His Israeli fans embraced him that September night, and he returned the love, sprinkling the concert with Hebrew and readings from scripture and ending it with the priestly blessing.

In August he wrote an emotional letter to his former girlfriend and muse Marianne Ihlen, who died in late July, suggesting he, too, was ready to embrace his death.

Last month, in a profile of Cohen in The New Yorker, Bob Dylan compared his fellow singer-songwriter to Irving Berlin — linking three iconic Jewish musicians in one poignant assessment.

Cohen is survived by a son and a daughter.

It was Cohen’s overt Jewish identification that captivated me. In a world where it has become increasingly un-PC to identify as Jewish, Cohen not only embraced his Jewishness, but he broadcast it in his songs and poems. He also celebrated his heritage as a Cohen, from the priestly tribe of Aharon, for example when he blessed the crowd at his Israeli concert with the Priestly Blessing.

My own personal favourites were the two songs I posted above, which were also mentioned in the obit.

As the article notes, Leonard Cohen came to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, eager to volunteer for the cause. He ended up performing for the troops, not in a great concert hall, but on isolated or war-battered outposts. Israellycool has the story via Israel Hayom:

Everyone who met Cohen and spoke with him during his stay in Israel describes him as modest and gentle man who wanted to connect to and feel the audience he sang for. “On some of the bases we went to, I tried to get him preferential treatment, a room to sleep in, decent food instead of army rations. But he wouldn’t allow it,” Levi says with a smile. “The three of us slept in sleeping bags in the canteen or anywhere else we could sleep. He never complained about anything, not even once.”

Watch Leonard Cohen bless the crowd at his Israeli concert in 2009.

Bless you Leonard Cohen. May your memory be for a blessing. Your songs will edify the heavens and will remain your memory on earth.

יהי זכרו ברוך.

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Judaism | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments