More on the Nation-State Law

The longer the time that passes, the more we hear about the Nation-State Law (aka the Jewish State Law). And the more we hear and read, the more confused we become.

The Knesset

Here are a some voices which may help clear up some of the hysteria and confusion surrounding the law.

First we have Evelyn Gordon, always a level-headed clear thinker, explaining how critics of the law have misunderstood Israel’s constitutional system:

Israel’s new nation-state law has elicited a storm of criticism since it passed on July 19. Some of this criticism is justified; a law that manages to unite virtually the entire Druze community against it, despite this community’s longstanding support for Israel as a Jewish state in principle, clearly wasn’t drafted with sufficient care, as even the heads of two parties that backed the law (Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett and Kulanu’s Moshe Kahlon) now admit. Nevertheless, much of the criticism stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of Israel’s constitutional system.

Israel doesn’t have a constitution. What it has is a series of Basic Laws to which the Supreme Court unilaterally accorded constitutional status. Many people, myself included, disagree with that decision, inter alia because constitutional legislation should reflect a broad consensus, whereas many Basic Laws were approved by only narrow majorities or even minorities of the Knesset. Nevertheless, both sides in this dispute agree on one thing: Each Basic Law is merely one article in Israel’s constitution or constitution-to-be. They cannot be read in isolation, but only as part of a greater whole.

Consequently, it’s ridiculous to claim that the nation-state law undermines democracy, equality or minority rights merely because those terms don’t appear in it, given that several other Basic Laws already address these issues. The new law doesn’t supersede the earlier ones; it’s meant to be read in concert with them.

Several Basic Laws, including those on the Knesset, the government and the judiciary, detail the mechanisms of Israeli democracy and enshrine fundamental democratic principles like free elections and judicial independence. There are also two Basic Laws on human rights, both of which explicitly define Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.”

Thus to argue that the nation-state law is undemocratic because it doesn’t mention equality or minority rights is like arguing that the U.S. Constitution is undemocratic because Articles I and II confer broad powers on the legislature and executive without mentioning the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Nor are any of the law’s specific provisions undemocratic. For instance, the provision stating that “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people” doesn’t deprive Arabs of individual rights within Israel, nor does it bar the possibility of Palestinian self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza, which aren’t part of the State of Israel. The only thing it prohibits is an Arab state within Israel’s borders, which is problematic only if you favor replacing Israel with another Arab state.

As for the provision making Hebrew the state’s only official language, many other democracies also have a single official language despite having large minorities with different mother tongues.

And here we get to the crux of the matter (emphasis added):

The law was meant to solve a specific constitutional problem: The courts have frequently interpreted the Jewish half of “Jewish and democratic” at a “level of abstraction so high that it becomes identical to the state’s democratic nature,” as former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak famously said. Yet no definition of “Jewish” can be complete without recognizing that Judaism has particularist, as well as universal, aspects because it’s the religion of a particular people with a particular history, culture and traditions. By emphasizing some of those particularist aspects, the law is supposed to restore the intended balance between the Jewish and democratic components of Israel’s identity. But it doesn’t eliminate those democratic components, which are enshrined in numerous other Basic Laws, nor was it intended to do so.

Jonathan Tobin in the National Review similarly asserts that there is nothing wrong with the Nation State Law: (emphasis added):

The idea of a country that is not solely the state of its citizens but the patrimony of an ethno-religious community strikes some in the West as inherently racist. But Israel is hardly alone in seeing in seeing itself as a nation whose primary purpose is to allow one people to express their national identity.

The Menorah & Magen David situated between the Knesset and the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Ubiquitous symbols of Israel, old and new.

The constitutions of many other countries make clear that they exist as vehicles for a national idea in this same manner. …

The only thing that is really unique about Israel’s insistence that it is a Jewish state is that it is the only one on a planet with dozens of states that are avowedly Muslim, Christian, or associated with another faith. Indeed, according to the Pew Research Center in October 2017, some 27 nations designate Islam as their official state religion, while 13 (including nine in Europe) do the same for Christianity. Another 40 nations give preferred or favored status to a particular faith.

 

There is nothing inherently repulsive about, or redolent of apartheid in, a law that establishes national symbols: a flag with a blue Star of David, and a national anthem, “Hatikva,” which speaks of the 2,000-year-old “hope” of the Jews to “to be a free people” in “the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” Nor is it apartheid to use the Hebrew calendar or to state the nation’s interest in ensuring the safety of Jews throughout the world.

Or at least there is nothing offensive unless you happen to think the Jews deserve to be denied basic rights of settlement, sovereignty, and self-defense in their own country — rights that no one would think of denying to anyone else. That is why such anti-Zionist bias is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism.

Here too is Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of International Law at Northwest University, telling people to “Get over it: Israel is the Jewish State”: (WSJ has a paywall but you can read the entire article at Tom Gross’s Facebook post):

In reality, Israel’s Basic Law would not be out of place among the liberal democratic constitutions of Europe—which include similar provisions that have not aroused controversy. The law does not infringe on the individual rights of any Israeli citizen, including Arabs; nor does it create individual privileges. The illiberalism here lies with the law’s critics, who would deny the Jewish state the freedom to legislate like a normal country.

The nation-state law declares that Israel is a country established to instantiate the Jewish people’s “right to national self-determination.” It constitutionalizes symbols of that objective—the national anthem, holidays and so forth. There is nothing undemocratic or even unusual about this. Among European states, seven have similar “nationhood” constitutional provisions.

The new Basic Law also establishes Hebrew, the primary language of 80% of Israel’s population, as the official language. Previously, Israel relied on a holdover British Mandate provision that gave official status to Hebrew, Arabic and English. Far from undermining democracy, the Basic Law puts Israel in line with other Western nations. Most multiethnic, multilingual European Union states give official status only to the majority language. Spain’s Constitution, for example, makes Castilian Spanish the official national language, and requires all citizens to know it, even if their mother tongue is Basque or Catalan.

Jewish homes in the Shomron (Samaria)

Another controversial provision of the law declares “the development of Jewish settlement” to be a national value that the government should promote. It is understood to refer to encouraging population dispersion into the periphery of the country. This essentially restates policy adopted by the international community in 1922 in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which sought to “encourage . . . close settlement by Jews.” Again, the provision is only declaratory of values, and does not prescribe or authorize any particular policies. By contrast, the state constitution of Hawaii authorizes land policies to promote homesteading by ethnic Hawaiians, and provides preferential land polices for them.

Moreover, the measure comes against a backdrop of land policies that discriminate against Jews. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled controversially that Arabs have a right to create residential communities in Israel that exclude Jews. A separate case denied the corresponding right to Jews. In Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority prescribes the death penalty for Arabs who sell land to Jews. The new Basic Law does not even negate either of those injustices; it merely creates a normative counterweight.

In his concluding paragraph, Kontorovich puts his finger on the crux of the entire controversy:

Perhaps the best evidence that Israel needs a constitutional affirmation of its status as the sovereign Jewish nation-state is the eagerness of so many to denounce as undemocratic measures that are considered mundane anywhere else.

Since the controversy over the law this week has centered on the anger expressed by the Druze community, who feel they have been discriminated against despite their fierce loyalty to the State of Israel, here is Hazar Gadben, a Druze resident of Daliyat Al-Carmel, reproving her fellow Druze for their antagonism towards the Nation-State Law, telling them they have nothing to fear from Israel or the Law, which essentially changes nothing in their status:

Maybe this Nation-State Law wasn’t such a great idea given that it was passed seemingly in a hurry, without due caution to all the arguments it would raise.

However, as all these commentators and more have pointed out, the Law doesn’t really change anything on the ground. It simply comes to strengthen Israel’s Jewish character and bolster Jewish rights which have been eroded over the years in the name of a spurious “democracy” which apparently deems minority rights more important than majority (i.e. Jewish) rights.

I’m sure this is a play that is going to run for months if not years, especially as election season rolls around.

Posted in Incitement, indigenous rights, Israel news, Judaism, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Good News Friday

This week’s Good News Friday is going to be Zionism week, starring my very own family!

My first item is Aliya, specifically from the United States. This week 232 Olim came to Israel on a Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight (via Reality) – including the daughter of a US Senator:

The daughter of former US senator Joe Lieberman was among 232 new North American immigrants to arrive in Israel on Wednesday on a flight chartered by aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN).

Lieberman’s daughter Hana Lowenstein immigrated to Israel together with her husband Daniel and their four children who range between the ages of two and seven.

Watch this great video of Senator Liberman and his wife saying “Baruch Hashem” that their daughter is making Aliya:

… The Lowenstein children are four of the 127 children who were on the flight, comprising more than half of the new immigrants whose aliyah was facilitated by NBN in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA.

The immigrants range from 6 months to 80 years old, and include 34 families, 18 singles, three sets of twins, six future IDF soldiers and 15 medical professionals.

62 of the olim will be moving to Israel’s periphery, 35 of those to the South, under the joint Nefesh B’Nefesh-KKL “Go Beyond” initiative which supports olim (new immigrants) moving to those areas, as well as Jerusalem.

The new olim hail from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, as well as from the Canadian province of Quebec.

“Each day that brings new olim to Israel is a joyous occasion, especially when there are 130 children on a single aliyah flight. This is the future unfolding before us,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Sofa Landver, who attended a festive welcoming ceremony held for the new immigrants at Ben-Gurion Airport. “These newcomers, together with the country’s veteran olim, are strengthening Israel’s resilience, economic development and society as a whole. I am so pleased that many of today’s olim are joining our Negev-Galilee project which will help strengthen Israel’s periphery.”

The new olim arrived on the first of two Nefesh B’Nefesh charter aliyah flights of the year, which, along with eight group aliyah flights and olim arriving independently on a daily basis, bringing the total to more than 2,000 people immigrating through Nefesh B’Nefesh this summer from North America.

One of those groups that arrived this week had other VIPs on board – my cousins Miriam and Meir Tannenbaum and their children! We have been so excited waiting for them to make the move, and despite the 4 hour (!!) wait in the arrivals hall, we were overjoyed to see the family take their first steps in Israel.

The Tannenbaum family makes Aliya, 1st August 2018, welcomed by myself and my sister-in-law

I want to wish the Tannenbaums, and of course all the other hundreds of Olim arriving over the summer, success and happiness and a יישוב קל – an easy resettling in the Land of Israel.

This Aliya from America is all the more wonderful because American olim, unlike immigrants from other places around the world, have no cause to flee their homes. They have chosen come to Israel out of pure idealism, Zionism, and Ahavat Yisrael. For this alone, American immigrants deserve a huge Kol Hakavod, all the honour and kudos.  They had such comfortable lives in the US, that it takes a great deal of idealism and Zionism (not to mention a modicum of insanity!) to leave all their home comforts to join us on the fantastic adventure that is called Israel.

My cousin Miriam told me that Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau would quote the following verse from Isaiah, 60:8 when speaking about Aliya:

מי אלה כעב תעופנה וכיונים אל ארבתיהם

There are those who fly here as a cloud (pushed by the winds), or as doves to their dovecotes (flying on their own initiative)

In other words, there are olim who are “pushed” here by circumstances and those who choose, like my cousins and the other NBN olim, who chose to “fly home”.

Bruchim Haba’im!

Since we’re on the subject of Zionism, how fitting to mention that my “little” nephew Chanan has all grown up now and gone of to the army! He enlisted this week into the IDF with a large group of Hesder boys (i.e. military service combined with Jewish studies), and has made us all very proud. Nervous but proud. Here he is with a bunch of his comrades on their first day:

New IDF recruits

May Hashem protect Chanan and his friends, and all our soldiers, may their military service be successful and may they come home safely.

Changing the subject slightly, but still on the subject of local patriotism, the Israeli men’s gymnastics team (which I never knew existed!) won its first ever World Championship gold medal!

This should have made much greater headlines in Israel. Watch this fantastic video:

Mazel Tov to our men’s gymnastics team on winning their first ever World Championship gold medal! We are so proud of you. Way to bring it home! 🇮🇱🏆 Watch their wining routine highlights:

Video via International Gymnastics Federation – FIG

Kol hakavod to the entire team for a brilliant display. May they continue on to more successes.

And like last week’s post, we can celebrate not only physical prowess but Israel’s brain-power, as Israeli high school students won 6 medals at the Maths Olympics for teens in Romania: (via Hadassah):

Israeli high-school students won six medals in this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad.

Israel’s winning Maths Olympics High School team

The competition was held between July 3 to July 14 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The competition had 615 contestants representing 116 countries.

Israeli participants claimed two silver and four bronze medals, and as a result, Israel is now ranked 26th in the competition’s overall ranking. Contestants from United States, China and Russia came out on top.

Educational Minister Naftali Bennett praised the Israeli squad: “Israel can be proud! Math and science are the foundation for the continued existence of Israel as a startup nation; this is why in recent years I have put a particular emphasis on those subjects,” he said.

Kol hakavod to our junior maths geniuses! You have done us all proud! May you all go on to ever greater success.

Our maths champions are emblematic of Israel’s thriving hi-tech sector. One incredible new idea (via Hadassah) is the development by Technion students of a mobile phone app that can predict and diagnose a cardiac fibrilliation attack at least 4 minutes ahead of time. Those four minutes could mean the difference between life and death.

In first place, from right to left: winners Noam Kedar and Gal Idelstein, Dr Doron and Liat Adler, Deputy Prof. Netanel Korin and Maria Khouri

Translating roughly from the Hebrew link above, students Noam Kedar and Gal Idelstein won the first prize in the Technion’s Faculty for Bio-Medicine exhibition of end of year projects. They were tutored by Ido Weiser Biton from the laboratory of Deputy Professor Yael Yaniv.

Kol hakavod to the students for this excellent invention which will likely save many lives.

And now coming full circle back to Zionism and love of the land, as you are all aware, the South of Israel has been burning over teh last 3-4 months, caused by the Hamas terrorist arson attacks via incendiary kites, balloons, and even devices tied to falcons. The damage has been dreadful, with thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves destroyed, beehives burnt, animals incinerated, and yet our leaders stand helpless in the face of  these attacks.

I’m pleased to say that some Petach Tikva residents are not prepared to stand idly by while their compatriots suffer, and the Oz VeHadar community organized a planting event and communal garden in the fire-stricken south:

Members of the Oz Vehadar community in the Hadar Ganim neighborhood of Petah Tikva went down to Moshav Shuba in the Negev on Thursday to take an active part in a planting event and set up a communal public garden in the moshav.

From Petach Tikva with love – replanting in the south of Israel

The trees that were planted were bought from the Jewish community’s fundraising campaign for the moshav. The guests from Petah Tikva emphasized that the planting of the trees and seedlings came as a response to the terror attacks that have plagued the area for the last four months.

“In a place of destruction and destruction, we want to grow again,” said Aviat Laufer and Anat Statler, who initiated the volunteer work. “We came to you residents of the Gaza vicinity, with seedlings and a warm embrace from the center, to say simply that we are with you.”

From Petach Tikva with love – replanting in the south of Israel

“The event was carried out with the help of Petah Tikva Mayor Itzik Dayi, [note: Itzik Braverman is the Mayor, Dayi is a Council member -Ed.] chairman of the Jewish Home in the city,” emphasized Laufer. “We are all praying that the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip will soon enjoy real quiet and that all the blackened land will quickly become green again.”

The activity was carried out in cooperation with the Shabeh Group, a community-based community organization that joined and joined the veteran Moshav of Shuba nine years ago. “The organization is active in education and the environment,” said Aharon Ariel Lavie, a member of the group. “We joined the community of Oz Vehadar from Petah Tikvah and held the event together with the veterans of the moshav, in the presence of the head of the council, Tamir Idan. The garden is named after Tita Montin, a rare woman from the founding generation who passed away a year ago.”

“After four months of fires, we want to bring the green back to our eyes and show that resilience is an active thing,” Lavi concluded.

What a wonderful initiative! I am proud to live in a city whose residents worry about others and go to such lengths to provide support to the south.

Watch the video below (Hebrew only).

We get so caught up in the bad news that dominates the news cycles that we forget that we have so much to be grateful for, grateful to our fellow Jews and thankful to Hashem who has brought us to this wonderful country.

With these happy thoughts I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.

Posted in Family, Slice of Israeli life, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A long hot summer on Israel’s borders

The situation on Israel’s major borders is so volatile that it looks like we’re in for a long hot summer in more ways than one.

The South

Let’s have a quick look at the smouldering southern border with Gaza, via Arlene Kushner:

Last [Wednesday] night, Hamas encouraged some 20 young people (children) to protest violently at the fence, drawing the attention of an IDF patrol in the area.  The rioters were used as a cover by snipers, who were behind them and shot at the IDF soldiers.

All together now:  AGAIN?

An officer was hit; thankfully he was wounded and not killed.  Shot in the chest and stomach, he was originally declared critical but his condition has since improved.  Obviously, that high powered Austrian Steyr rifle was not the weapon utilized this time. His mother called it a miracle.

All of this took place about 400 meters from where Aviv Levi was killed last week.
~~~~~~~~~~
Israel retaliated using tanks and planes.  Several Hamas sites were hit and three members of Hamas were killed.  Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, then declared that “Israel will pay in blood for its latest crimes.”

Very early this morning residents of three communities adjacent to Gaza were aroused from their sleep when sirens sounded:  Nine rockets were launched from Gaza.  Eight fell in empty fields and one was shot down by Iron Dome.  Israel then responded with a tank shelling.

****

Oh, then there are the fires.  We’ve had several – in excess of 10 — from incendiary devices in the last few days, including today.
****
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the Security Cabinet, said this morning:

We are being dragged into a broader campaign with Hamas. We are getting closer in big steps…to a situation in which the IDF will need to set out on a broad operation.”

Defense and security heads met last night to consider Israel’s next step.
****
According to journalist Ron Ben Yishai, the political leadership of Hamas does not want Israel in Gaza, it is the military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, that seeks war.

While this distinction may explain some of the mixed messages of Hamas, in the end it will be moot: If the Brigades want to provoke war, they likely will have war.

Added to this miserable mix, in a similar insidious manner to the Gaza terrorists who hid behind innocent children in order to shoot at IDF soldiers, two Palestinian teens were arrested trying to infiltrate into Israel smuggling weapons in a schoolbag:

Border Police caught two Palestinian teens Saturday afternoon that had managed to sneak several hundred feet into Israel from the West Bank with a pair of home-made machine guns.

The Carlo-style machine guns found in a schoolbag carried by two Palestinian teens that snuck into Israel from the West Bank on July 28, 2018. (Border Police)

The Israeli troops had been carrying out a routine foot-patrol of the “Seam Zone” east of the Green Line and west of the security barrier when they noticed two suspects that had managed to cross into Israeli territory near the Oranit settlement.

They chased down the suspects, who tried unsuccessfully to flee. One of them was carrying a backpack, which the Border Police officers opened after apprehending the pair to find two Carlo-style submachine guns along with bullet magazines.

Let us also not forget the constant fires set by Palestinian arsonists launching incendiary kites and balloons despite all their protestations that they want a ceasefire. Adele Raemer from the Gaza border region writes:

July 29th Kite and balloon arson update. According to the Fire and Rescue Dept of the South, there were 7 fires today, including this one, in Erez. (I counted more than that in what I uploaded to the map… but what do I know?)

 

Jerusalem

Moving further north, Jerusalem is still a powder keg on the Temple Mount thanks to the incendiary (there’s that word again) incitement spouted by the Muslim leadership. Dozens of Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount on Friday and police had to use stun and smoke grenades to disperse the violent crowds:

Police arrested 24 Arab worshipers and four officers were wounded after violent clashes broke out between rioters and police following Friday prayers on the Temple Mount.

Police are seen outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque during clashes following Friday afternoon prayers at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2018. (Police Spokesperson)

Jerusalem Police said that at the end of prayers, in an “unclear and inexplicable move,” rioters began throwing fireworks and stones at police forces.

According to police, after dozens of rioters barricaded themselves inside al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem District Asst.-Ch. Yoram Halevy ordered police to clear the site. Police arrested 16 of those barricaded inside the mosque and detained another eight during the clashes.

During the dispersal of the rioters, the police used stun and smoke grenades.

Police said further arrests were planned and that they “intend to work hard and uncompromisingly against the suspects who have been arrested and others who were involved.”

Further fanning the flames, Palestinian officials warned of igniting a religious war – as if they were not the ones doing the igniting, and hyperbolically accusing Israel of yet another “massacre”:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the “dangerous Israeli trespasses against al-Aqsa Mosque” and called on the international community to stop the Israeli “aggression.”

Abbas and several PA officials warned that Israel’s actions in east Jerusalem in general and on the Temple Mount in particular would trigger a “religious war.”

Abbas’s religious affairs adviser, Mahmoud Habbash, described the police intervention against the stone-throwers as a “massacre” against the Haram al-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary].”

The PA’s “Jerusalem governor,” Adnan Husseini, described the actions of the police on the Temple Mount as “dangerous.” He said he expects more “assaults” in the future against Muslim worshipers at the site.

Jordan of course couldn’t let a good riot go to waste and condemned Israel for responding to the riot (as if Jordan never repressed any riot anywhere):

Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat condemned “ongoing Israeli provocations at the mosque compound, including the storming of the site on Friday by Israeli police and their assault on Palestinian worshipers and employees of the Religious Endowments Authority.”

“Such reprehensible practices violate the sanctity of this holy place, provoke the feelings of Muslims around the world, and violate Israel’s legal obligations as an occupying power in East Jerusalem,” she added in a statement quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

Ghneimat also described recent events at Al-Aqsa as “a violation of international conventions that stress the need to respect places of worship.”

Seriously I don’t think Ghneimat has a clue what “violation” “international” or “convention” means, but Jordan is doing its best to jump on the bandwagon of inciting against Israel in order to distract its populace from their domestic misery.

The Northern Border

Heading up to Israel’s northern border now, the border with Syria has been dramatically heating up in recent weeks, with stray missiles landing in or near Israeli territory, including the Sea of Galilee, and Israel even shooting down a Syrian plane (and earlier a drone) which entered Israeli airspace and ignored requests in multiple languages to turn back.

Regarding the missiles:

The former head of the IDF’s military intelligence said Thursday that the firing of a pair of missiles from Syria into the Sea of Galilee a day earlier was likely an effort by the Islamic State group to draw Israel into a confrontation with the Syrian regime.

The missiles crashed into the lake mere dozens of meters from groups of tourists, according to eyewitnesses, and were initially thought to be spillover fighting from intense battles taking place just over the border in Syria, where regime forces backed by Russian air power are attempting to gain control of a last pocket held by jihadists.

But Amos Yadlin, a former IDF general, said it seemed the Islamic State had deliberately targeted Israel, looking to take advantage of the IDF’s policy of striking forces belonging to Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to spillover violence.

However all was not what it seemed. The IDF’s triumphant announcement that the first use of the David’s Sling missile had brought down the Syrian missiles turned out to be premature, not to say exaggerated. Turns out the David’s Sling was more of a miss than a missile:

The decision-making process that led to the first operational use of the David’s Sling anti-missile system last week was correct, the army said Sunday, even though technical issues led to the interceptor missiles missing their targets.

Watching the trail of the David’s Sling interceptor anti-missile in Tsfat, northern Israel ((David Cohen/Flash90)

“In the past few days, a complete operational inquiry was conducted by the Air Force, which found that the decision-making process of identifying the threat, considering the short amount of time, was correct,” the army said, following an investigation into Monday’s incident.

However, the technical reasons for why the missiles failed to hit their targets, which were fired from Syria, could not be published due to security concerns. “The lessons learned from this investigation will be implemented in the air defense system,” the army said.

The Syrian rockets, which were apparently fired as part of internal fighting in the country’s southwest, set off sirens throughout northern Israel on Monday morning.

The projectiles fired from Syria were identified as Russian-made OTR-21 Tochka missiles (also known as SS-21 Scarab missiles) and were in the air for a minute and a half. The missiles can carry a 500 kilogram (half ton) warhead and have a range of 100 kilometers (60 miles).

The army calculated that the missiles were heading for Israeli territory and waited until the last moment to fire the anti-missile interceptors. After David’s Sling was launched, a recalculation showed that one of the missiles was going to land in Syrian territory, so the interceptor was redirected so as not to hit it. The Syrian missile landed one kilometer (3,000 feet) short of the border. The army did not explain what happened with the second missile, which reportedly fell to ground in Syria.

If lessons will indeed be learned then this was at least a valuable exercise, and of course David’s Sling forms a vital part of Israel’s missile defense system once it is perfected.

The bad news from the Syrian front is that Assad’s regime is back on Israel’s doorstep aided by Russia and Iran, after 7 years of being distracted with its civil war:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian government forces on Thursday raised the flag in the buffer zone separating Syrian-held territory from the Israeli Golan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

A picture taken on July 26, 2018, near Ein Zivan in the Israeli Golan Heights, shows smoke rising above buildings across the border in Syria during air strikes backing a government-led offensive in the southern province of Quneitra. (AFP/Jack Guez)

Syria’s southwestern Quneitra province includes the Syrian Golan Heights, on the border of the territory held by Israel.

The part of the province to the east of the buffer zone fell almost totally under regime control after a brief military offensive followed by deals under which the rebels surrendered or were evacuated from the region.

The area has witnessed fierce fighting between rebels and the regime, with fire occasionally hitting Israeli territory and prompting retaliation.

Israel in particular objects to the presence of regime-allied foreign fighters close to its borders: namely, Iranian forces or units from Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

As I ahve mentioned before, Binyamin Netanyahu has been walking a tightrope in negotiating Israel’s security requirements with Russia and the US. So far so good but the situation is exceedingly fragile and volatile. All it takes is one wrong move, one misfired missile from any side, and the whole situation could descend into outright war G-d forbid.

And as if all this was not enough to contend with, the silly season is upon us once more with yet another ridiculous “aid flotilla” being stopped by the Israeli Navy before it could enter Gaza’s waters:

The Israel Navy intercepted the flotilla boat Al Awda on Sunday after it disobeyed commands to stop sailing toward the Gaza Strip.

The latest Gaza flotilla

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Norwegian Government, the national governments of those aboard Al Awda and the Freedom [Flotilla], other national governments, and relevant international organizations to act immediately,” said Torstein Dahle of Ship to Gaza Norway, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

“The international community must assume its responsibilities and demand that Israeli authorities ensure the safety of those on board, the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza, an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza, and to stop impeding our legal right of innocent passage to Gaza to deliver our gift of much-needed medical supplies.”

Right. Because Israel doesn’t deliver hundreds of tons of food and medical aid to Gaza daily. Oh, wait…

The former fishing boat was sailing under a Norwegian flag and took off from Italy with 22 activists on board, including Israeli activist Yonatan Shapira who is on his fourth attempt to break the blockade from the sea.

Other activists came from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK and the United States.

“There are people in the flotilla’s coalition with ties to the campaign in Gaza, but this flotilla was planned before that and with no connections to the campaign,” Zohar Regev told the news site.

Following Al Awda was a Swedish-flagged yacht called Freedom Italy, with 36 activists from 15 different countries, said Zaher Birawi, head of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza.

And look what a nice man Birawi is. Not. He is a despicable terrorist:

Birawi, who is based in London, also heads the “International Coordination Committee for the Great Return March.” He was designated by Israel’s Justice Ministry in 2013 as being a member of a terrorist organization, the Hamas Headquarters in Europe.

So much for their vaunted “humanitarian” aims.

Which brings us back full circle to the beginning – terrorists hiding behind civilians or disguising themselves as “peace activists” in order to destroy Israel.

They won’t succeed of course, and I hope they kill themselves trying, but as I said at the beginning, it is going to be a long hot summer in more ways than one.

Posted in Defence and Military, Incitement, Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Again, Palestinian incitement leads to murder

On Friday I mentioned briefly the brutal murder of Yotam Ovadia in the settlement of Adam by a 17 year old terrorist. First we have a chilling description of the killing:

The father of Yotam Ovadia, who was killed in a stabbing attack in the central West Bank settlement of Adam, sat on a stoop outside of his home Friday morning in a daze.

Friends stopped by to console 66-year-old Avraham Ovadia, but he didn’t seem focused enough to respond to any of them. The lit cigarette wedged between his fingers burn down, unsmoked.

“He’s in complete shock,” said Avraham’s brother Yaakov. “His only son. He lost his only son.”

Yaakov said that his brother had lost both his parents and three siblings in recent years.

“After he got the terrible news last night that his son didn’t make it, he told me, ‘I thought it was supposed to be me who was next.’”

Yotam Ovadia, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam on July 26, 2018 Courtesy)

Yotam’s uncle recalled how his nephew would stop by his parents’ home every day after work before entering his own house down the street.

The 31-year-old had been on his way to their house when he was attacked.

“Yotam was supposed to pick up ingredients for a romantic dinner he had prepared for his wife in honor of Tu B’av,” his uncle said, referring to the Jewish Valentine’s Day.

The deadly incident took place at approximately 9 p.m. Thursday evening.

According to authorities, Mohammad Tareq Yousef, 17, from the village of Kobar near Ramallah further north in the West Bank, climbed over the settlement’s security fence and walked deeper into the settlement, crossing a playground area. Reaching a quiet residential street on the edge of the community, Yousef saw 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper torso.

Daniel Nadav, an across the street neighbor, heard the screams and left his house to find the source of the commotion. Coming down from the steps of his home, he saw Ovadia covered in blood, collapsing to the ground.

As he recalled the experience for The Times of Israel, Nadav pointed to the blood-stained spot on the street where his neighbor had fallen.

At this point, the terrorist saw that he had a new target and started moving toward me,” Nadav recalled.

The Adam resident said he gave Yousef a kick to the chest that threw the attacker several feet backward.

“The terrorist did the math and realized he’d have better luck with someone else,” Nadav said.

As Yousef turned around and spotted another resident half a block away, Nadav’s daughter called the police hysterically to report what she had seen from the family’s window.

During that time, Yousef stabbed a second victim in the upper body. The 58-year-old was rushed to a hospital in serious condition. He was upgraded to moderate after doctors managed to stabilize him later that evening.

Neighbor Asaf Reviv had left his house to put a number of belongings inside of his car when he heard the shouts of the first two stabbings as well as Yousef’s skirmish with Nadav.

“At first I thought it was some sort of fight that had broken out,” the 41-year-old father-of-three said Friday.

“Then a teenager started approaching me. I asked him what had happened, but he didn’t respond,” Reviv said. “When I saw all the blood all over his shirt, I understood.”

But before he could react, Yousef had already drawn the knife back out from under his clothes and stabbed Reviv once in the soldier.

“Luckily I had a gun in my bag with me at the time. I cocked my weapon and fired once at his upper body,” the 41-year-old recalled.

The bullet pierced the terrorist’s shoulder from roughly ten feet away, but Yousef continued to advance toward Reviv. The Adam resident responded with three more bullets that killed the 17-year-old assailant.

Reviv was transferred to the hospital for treatment of his shoulder wound, and was released later Thursday night.

May Yotam Ovadia’s memory be for a blessing. ה’ יקום דמו

At Yotam’s funeral Israeli parliamentarians blamed the Palestinian Authority for the terror attack:

“To those who think that the Palestinian Authority is part of the solution, it is not! It is the problem!” shouted deputy defense minister Eli Ben Dahan. The Jewish Home lawmaker criticized the PA’s policy of payments to security prisoners and accused the PA of inciting Palestinian children in its schools.

“Responsibility lies with the Palestinian Authority. Those who teach hatred will pay a price,” warned Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

“The lowly terrorist will not achieve his goal. We will continue building on our land,” the minister told the crowd of hundreds at Ovadia’s funeral in Jerusalem. He vowed to expand West Bank settlements in response to the attack.

Kobar, north of Ramallah and some 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Adam, was also home to Omar al-Abed, who carried out a similar attack in the settlement of Halamish in July 2017 in which three Israelis were killed.

The IDF said it was investigating a possible link between them, though the mayor of Kobar said he did not know of the two being connected.

Authorities were investigating reports that Yousef posted about his intentions on Facebook ahead of the attack, condemning Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank, and declaring that “the time has come for a great revolt.”

The MKs were absolutely correct in laying the blame for the murder on the PA. Michael Dickson of StandWithUs writes in the Times of Israel about the 17 year old terrorist:

In a normal society, the fact that the terrorist who perpetrated a frenzied stabbing attack was only 17 would be shocking. Climbing over a fence protecting the Israeli community of Adam, a teenage jihadi named Mohammad Tareq Yousef plunged his knife into multiple victims, leaving behind a bloody trail before one of those injured managed to stop and kill him. His brutal attack left a beautiful young family fatherless. But in Palestinian society, a teenage terrorist is not something that is especially shocking. On the contrary, extremism is deliberately saturated into Palestinian Authority education, popular culture and media. While kids in most countries dream of becoming famous sports personalities, music stars, or YouTubers, young Palestinians are indoctrinated to aspire to become “martyrs.”

It brings to mind the murder of Eden Attias, an Israeli 19-year-old young man, murdered by a 16-year-old Palestinian. Standing behind Eden’s teenage murderer who, seeing his victim sleeping on the bus they both rode on, stabbed him repeatedly, was the apparatus of the Palestinian Authority. From cradle to grave, indoctrination against Israelis and Jews is centrally institutionalized by the Palestinian leadership. The propaganda spans genres, from formal education to media and the internet, from official speeches, to provisions for youth to sports and cultural activities.

It also brings to mind the teenage murderer of Dafna Meir in Otniel, repeatedly stabbed in her home in front of her children; and the teenage murderer of 13 year old Hallel Ariel who stabbed her while she slept in her bed in Kiryat Arba.

What motivates teenagers from seemingly normal homes to turn into brutal murderers who slash and kill Israeli civilians simply residing, even sleeping, inside their own homes?

The answer of course is the vicious, poisonous incitement that is drip-fed to them from birth, through the entire Palestinian educational system, and through their TV programs and culture.  Michael Dickson lists and describes some of these vile sources as his article continues:

Health

A Palestinian can be born into this world at the “Alshaheed (Martyr) Thabet Thabet” hospital in Tulkarm, a hospital named for the leader of the violent Palestinian Tanzim group. …

Official Palestinian Authority newspapers often cover wild accusations of Israelis who allegedly harvest organs or conduct medical experiments on Palestinians — claims aimed to dehumanize Israel and Israelis. Indeed, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was recently pictured — while in hospital — with a newspaper featuring one such gross image which would not have seemed out of place in Der Sturmer:

Education

Since Israel-inciting hatred in official Palestinian textbooks has been well-documented (you can read a report on them here), we can only assume that the terrorist was force-fed pride in terrorism as part of this educational school diet. And once high school is over, radicalization continues apace at Palestinian universities, where, like in the allegedly-moderate Al Quds University, radical anti-Israel rallies are held. One of Al Quds founding trustees is Saeb Erekat, the supposed “peace negotiator”, known for his extreme rhetoric when demonizing Israel.

TV

The latest Palestinian teenage terrorist would have been around 5 or 6 when Hamas TV used Mickey Mouse to radicalize children. That’s the same age as the girl in this TV program “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” who preaches Palestinian supremacy while “Mickey” gestures shooting an AK-47.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg. State-funded anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Western propaganda is, unfortunately, nothing new in the Middle East. Although I have focused on how the Palestinian leadership is poisoning hearts and minds daily, we unfortunately see the same tools and messages used in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world, as well as Iran. This incitement is taking place not just under the radical leadership of Hamas, but also in the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of President Abbas who has been touted by some as a legitimate peace partner for Israel. All countries that provide finances to the Palestinian Authority should be demanding: Enough! No more funding until this toxic, dangerous form of education stops.

Jews are understandably sensitive to anti-Semitic propaganda because we know where it can and will lead. The Nazi dictatorship had 12 years to institutionalize anti-Semitism into the fabric of life in Germany. The Palestinian leadership has had decades. We should not be surprised that the result is radical, murderous individuals, even teenagers, who enact what they have been taught to do. But we should be surprised, and shocked, when this occurs at the behest of those with whom Israelis are told to make peace.

Reviewing the Palestinian record of incitement, Golda Meir’s famous quote that “peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us” has never rung as true as it does today. If we look upon these sentiments and acts of incitement as excusable, we are infantalizing the Palestinians and we are the fools. It is a moral imperative for us not to look at American and Israeli flags being burned on the streets of Tehran or Gaza, or kids shows being used to incite hatred and just shrug and say “well, that’s just how they are.” We must call out the duplicity of Palestinian and other Arab leaders who say one thing to the Western world in English and quite another in Arabic that promotes violence and terrorism. We must finally reject the wholesale, rotten, purveyance of hate that permeates Palestinian society.

Besides holding the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian society responsible for the violence they have created and carry out every single day, we must also hold the dozens if not hundreds of international NGOs who interfere with Israel’s ability to control the conflict and prevent more murders. See this excellent article in Friday’s Jerusalem Post by Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor in which he says that it’s time to talk to the EU about NGO funding.

Posted in Antisemitism, Incitement, Israel news, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Good News Friday

I cannot start this week’s post without mentioning some very not good news: yesterday an Israeli civilian, Yotam Ovadia  was stabbed to death and two others injured in a brutal terror attack carried out by a 17 year old Palestinian in the village of Adam in the Binyamin region. Yotam Ovadia Hy’d was laid to rest today in Jerusalem, mourned by his wife, two very small children, his parents and many friends and family members.

I will write more about the attack and the murderous terrorist after Shabbat.

May the family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may Yotam’s blood be avenged.


And now back to some semblance of normal programming.

Israel’s youth basketball team won the European championship this week:

Israel’s national under-20 basketball team won its first European championship on Sunday evening in Chemnitz, Germany, beating the previously undefeated Croatian team 80-66.

Israel’s under-20 basketball team, champions of Europe

After losing their opening game to Germany earlier this month, the Israeli team won six consecutive games in order to bring home the gold for the first time in the country’s history at an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) event.

The game was coach Ariel Beit-Halahmi’s first opportunity to take the European championship and the second year in a row in which the Israeli team overwhelmingly defeated France in the semifinals, this year by a score of 83-57.

“This is an amazing team here, boys from the best of our youth. We are proud to be Israelis and proud that we have inspired such pride,” the coach said.

Kol hakavod to the entire team and their wonderful coach. May they go on to even more wins both locally and internationally.

Another championship was also won by a Israeli players. This time it was the Maths and Physics Olympics in which Israeli students won 10 medals:

Israeli competitors earned a combined ten medals at the International Physics Olympiad which took place in Zurich, Switzerland, and the International Mathematical Olympiad which took place in Hong Kong, China. The Israeli teams, comprised of high school students, were ranked 19th and 22nd, respectively.

The Israeli Maths Olympiad team

The math team jumped 18 places in the ranks from last year, when it finished in 40 place. 109 countries participated in the competition.

This year, Israel won three silver medals and three bronze medals. “Most of the team members participated in the Olympiad last year as well. There’s no doubt that the experience they accumulated helped them in succeeding this year,” said team coach Lev Radzivilovsky. “We prepared very well all year , the students invested a lot of effort and I’m proud of the good result, although it could always be better.”

The Israeli International Physics Olympiad team

Israel’s team at the International Physics Olympiad won four medals – three silver and one bronze. Israel finished in 19th place overall, out of 87. The top three spots went to China, South Korea, and Taiwan. “It’s a great achievement. The team competed in the highest levels and achieved a very dignified result,” said team leader Dr. Eli Raz of the Department of Physics and Optical Engineering at ORT Braude College. “The members of the science teams are excelling students, most of whom – when they later go to universities – reach the president’s list, and are those who will march the sciences forward in general, and physics in particular.”

Kol hakavod to all our young geniuses who did so well and did the country proud. May they go on from strength to strength, forming the nucleus for the next generation of Israeli technological advances.

Today is known in Jewish tradition as Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, commonly known as “the festival of love” in Israel, although it is so much more than that.

Originally a post-biblical day of joy, it served as a matchmaking day for unmarried women in the Second Temple period (before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.). Tu B’Av was almost unnoticed in the Jewish calendar for many centuries but it has been rejuvenated in recent decades, especially in the modern state of Israel. In its modern incarnation it is gradually becoming a Hebrew-Jewish Day of Love, slightly resembling Valentine’s Day in English-speaking countries.

Young women would dress in white and dance in the vineyards hoping to meet a match

There is no way to know exactly how early Tu B’Av began. The first mention of this date is in the Mishnah (compiled and edited in the end of the second century), where Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel is quoted saying:

There were no better (i.e. happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)? (Ta’anit, Chapter 4)

It is a mini-holiday, and as Chabad explain:

The 15th of Av is undoubtedly a most mysterious day. A search of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) reveals no observances or customs for this date, except for the instruction that the tachanun (confession of sins) and similar portions should be omitted from the daily prayers (as is the case with all festive dates), and that one should increase one’s study of Torah, since the nights are begining to grow longer, and “the night was created for study.” And the Talmud tells us that many years ago the “daughters of Jerusalem would go dance in the vineyards” on the 15th of Av, and “whoever did not have a wife would go there” to find himself a bride.

And the Talmud considers this the greatest festival of the year, with Yom Kippur (!) a close second!

Indeed, the 15th of Av cannot but be a mystery. As the “full moon” of the tragic month of Av, it is the festival of the future redemption, and thus a day whose essence, by definition, is unknowable to our unredeemed selves.

How fitting then that tonight we will be able to observe the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, when the moon will appear blood red:

ABC News reported on Monday that this will be the lengthiest total lunar eclipse during this century, and it will make the moon appear to be red-orange in color – a “blood moon.”

A blood moon in the Hague

Time and Date AS, a Norwegian company that runs a popular website listing time zones and time-related events, wrote that the total eclipse – where the moon is “completely red” – will begin in Jerusalem at 10:30 p.m., and the maximum eclipse, where “[the] moon is closest to the center of the shadow [cast by the Earth]” begins at 11:21 p.m.

Bateva, a guiding center based in Mitzpe Ramon near the Ramon Crater, is hosting “The Moon in Love” event, which ties the blood moon to the romantic Jewish holiday of Tu B’Av (15th of Av), which takes place the previous evening. The event will feature observatories, live music, and camping areas.

In a statement on Bateva’s website, tour guide and observatory owner Nadav Silbert said: “No child or adult should miss this rare sight, taking place just once every few decades, at this perfect ideal place… This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the desert around Mitzpe Ramon in all its glory, view the wonders of creation and understand why the Machtesh [crater] was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The fact that the eclipse is viewable from Israel didn’t escape the orbit of the astrology-minded on Twitter.

A search for ‘eclipse Israel’ on Twitter shows that while some are simply treating the event as a sky-high experience, others think it portends tension and trouble for Israel.

“The longest ‘blood moon’ lunar #eclipse of the century will be on Friday and directly visible over Israel the entire time.”

The Jewish Press provides some religious background to the idea of the blood moon, with Biblical quotes from the Old and New Testaments:

The much referenced Christian blood moon prophecy, which appears in two New Testament books, based on the Hebrew text in Joel 3, verses 1-5. The original goes:

“And behold, after that, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and they will prophesy, your sons and your daughters, your elderly, will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. And upon the slaves, and upon the handmaidens in those days I will pour out my spirit. And I shall endow miracles in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun will turn into darkness, and the moon to blood—before the arrival of God’s great and terrible day. And then whomever calls out the name of God shall survive. Because on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem will be refuge, as God has spoken, and for the remnants, as God has called.”

Acts 2:19-21 goes: “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Revelation 6:11-13 goes: “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”

Their last point is the most relevant for us Jews:

From a traditional Jewish point of view, we have no way of deciding with certainty that the messianic era will or will not be ushered in by a blood moon eclipse. On the other hand, we are obligated to anticipate the arrival of the messiah every day, a time frame which absolutely includes Friday, July 27, 2018.

Let us hope that the Mashiach is on his way and about to arrive any minute now, and bring us the complete Geula. Meanwhile, for those of you celebrating, enjoy your Tu B’Av, and may we all know no more sorrow.

Tomorrow is Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Comfort, where we read in the Haftara the famous words of the Prophet Isaiah (ch. 40) “Comfort, Comfort ye my People” in which G-d, through his prophet, brings consolation to the People of Israel after the terrible tragedies of the Destruction which we marked last week.

After yesterday’s dreadful news, and more violence on our borders north and south, we pray for comfort and consolation from Hashem, that this week and all our coming weeks will bring only good news.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

 

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Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People

picture9Last week the Israeli government passed a new basic law called in short “the Jewish Nation State Law”, (full text here) which enshrines in law the basic principles on which the State of Israel was founded, including such uncontroversial facts as the fact that Israel is the national home of the Jewish People, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, that Hebrew is the official national language, that Shabbat and the Jewish holidays are national days of rest, etc.

Nothing new or exceptional was added to this law, and the rights and privileges of minorities are still protected as they were before.

However the world has cried “gevalt!” and pundits, NGOs and governments around the globe are expressing concern (at the very least) at the fragile state of Israel’s democracy, warning direly of Israel’s mad descent into fascism and worse.

If the outside world does not like this law or what it represents about Israel as a state and as a society, they have no one to blame but themselves. If the Left, BDS groups and anti-Israel activists had not worked so hard over the years to chisel away at Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, undermining Jewish civil and religious rights in Israel, there would never have been a need for this law in the first place.

But with demands to change the words of our national anthem Hatikva, or even to replace it altogether, the constant undermining of Jewish Israeli rights to build housing even in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which is under full Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords, the difficulties placed by Muslim leaders Jewish prayer rights in our holy places, and most egregiously the persistent attempts by BDS and others to change Israel’s character from the National Jewish Homeland to a “country of all its citizens” (i.e. turning Israel into yet another Muslim failed state), the government correctly felt it had no choice but to enact this law in order to preserve Israel’s Jewish character for eternity.

As the author of the piece below wrote:

The 2018 Basic Law is seemingly a reaction to world events since early 2014. While Israel has had to contend with an Arab world that rejects coexistence in favor of terrorism for decades, it has been the world’s more recent embrace of fake history and vile antisemitism that necessitated the Basic Law of the Nation State of the Jewish People at this time.

That the Basic Law would include language that Israel will act to protect Jews around the world, gives some insight of how Israel expects antisemitism to play out in the years ahead.

The following blog by First One Through sets out the new law and explains in the clearest way that I have seen what is new and what isn’t, comparing the new status with the status quo ante. You can read it and judge for yourselves how hyperbolic have been the international and Leftist reactions to the new law.

I urge you to click through to his blog and read it all.

FirstOneThrough

On July 19, 2018, Israel signed a new Basic Law called “The Nation-State of the Jewish People.” It has been called controversial by many liberal media outlets in what it purports to do with minority rights.

The notion that there is a major curtailment of Israeli Arabs’ rights is a gross exaggeration. However, what should be discussed is the novel stance whereby Israel has now assumed the responsibility for the security and the “cultural, historical and religious legacy” of Jews in the diaspora.

Below is the text of the latest Basic Law in Israel, with a review below each point.

  1. The State of Israel
    a) Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people in which the state of Israel was established.
    b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it actualizes its natural, religious, and historical right for self-determination.
    c) The actualization…

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