Sukkot 5777 – Chag Same’ach!

חג סוכות שמח Happy Sukkot!

The festival of Sukkot, the most joyous festival in the Jewish calendar, begins tonight, lasting for 7 days (8 outside of Israel), running straight into the Simchat Torah festival on the 8th day (9th day outside Israel).

Sukkot is the last of the Shalosh R’galim (three pilgrimage festivals). Like Passover and Shavu’ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif Chag Ha-Asif (in Hebrew), the Festival of Ingathering.

Inside our Sukkah

Inside our Sukkah

On this festival Jewish households build a sukkah (pl. sukkot), a booth-like structure, where all meals are eaten, and people (usually the menfolk but not solely) even sleep there. The flimsy roof consists of leaves or branches, widely enough spaced so that one can see the stars at night, but close enough to provide shade during the day. It is considered “hidur mitzvah” – glorifying the mitzvah – if the sukkah is beautifully decorated, so of course this provides much entertainment, not to mention arts-and-crafts time, for the children to beautify their sukkah.

The sukkah is a commemoration of the flimsy huts that the Children of Israel dwelt in during their 40 years of wandering in the desert, with only the ענן הכבוד, the Cloud of Glory, to protect them by day and the עמוד האש, the Pillar of Fire, by night.

By leaving our safe and warm (or cool) houses just when autumn and the rainy season starts and going to live in a fragile hut for a whole week, it is also meant to remind us how fragile is our existence on this earth, and it is only by the grace and protection of G-d that we survive.

Arba Minim – the Four Species

On Sukkot we also bundle together the Arba Minim – “The Four Species” consisting of a Lulav (branch of palm), branches of Hadass (myrtle), Aravot (weeping willow) and an Etrog (a citron, related to the citrus family) and during Shacharit (morning prayers) wave them together in all 6 directions to show G-d’s presence everywhere. Between Yom Kippur and Sukkot the streets of Israel are packed with markets and stalls selling the Arba Minim and sukka decorations. Many people take extra care when buying their lulav and etrog, examining them minutely as if they were buying a precious diamond.

The weekdays of Sukkot, as on Pesach, are called Chol Hamo’ed (lit. the weekdays of the festival) which are a semi-holiday in Israel. Schools are closed, and many places of work are either closed or work half day, giving families the chance to go on trips, hiking or visiting. On the intermediate Shabbat (Shabbat chol hamo’ed) of Sukkot, Megillat Kohelet (the book of Ecclesiastes) is read in shul. We will have the pleasure of hearing our son reading the megillah in his shul this year, as in previous years.

Since I mentioned the frailty of the sukkah, I read an interesting explanation about the meaning of Sukkot and the Sukkah in Arutz Sheva: The Sukkah – symbol of life’s shadows:

In fact, Halacha makes it clear that the Sukka must be built in such a way that it’s not able to stand up against a strong wind, that its roof must leak when it rains, and that it must contain more shadow than sunlight. These conditions should make us feel distressed, since the Sukka represents the vulnerability of life.

So why does the Torah command us to be joyful, precisely at a time when we are confronted with all that can go wrong in life?

Since the Sukka teaches us about life’s problems, we would expect that the interior of the Sukka should reflect a similar message. The Sukka should be empty of all comfort. It should contain some flimsy chairs, a shaky table and some meager stale food.

However, Halacha stipulates that the Sukka’s interior should reflect a most optimistic lifestyle. Its frail walls should be decorated with beautiful objects.

A very-well decorated Sukkah at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem

A very-well decorated Sukkah at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem

The leaking roof should be made attractive by hanging colorful fruits and decorations from it. We are required to bring our best food and have feasts in the Sukka. We should eat from the most beautiful plates and use fancy silverware.

All this seems to reflect a feeling that this world is a most pleasant place made for our enjoyment. So why do we sit in a weather-beaten frail hut?

The message of the Sukka is clear. The outside walls and the leaking roof reveal our vulnerability and uncertainty of life. But inside the Sukka walls, we need to make our life as attractive and comfortable as possible, and to enjoy its great benefits and blessings. Instead of becoming depressed, we should make the best out of life and as Tehillim states, “serve G-D with joy”.

To help us celebrate in a truly joyful fashion there are loads of attractions and activities for all ages and families all over Israel. Israel21C has a list of 15 things to do in Israel during Sukkot while the City of David has a special Sukkot schedule. Tourist Israel also has a good overview of the activities over the festival.  Many municipalities hold a “beautiful sukkah” competition

While my festival posts are always joyful, this year I can’t help but mention that the first yahrzeit of the murder of Naama and Eitam Henkin Hy’d will occur on Sukkot. Who can forget that dreadful day? This year, to mark the first yahrzeit, a project, “Aguda Achat” was launched in the memory of the Henkins. Naama Henkin z”l was a graphic artist and had prepared decorative posters for the Sukkah. This project includes all kinds of sukkah posters, including by Naama herself.  The pictures can be printed out and hung in your sukkah. This is a wonderful way to commemorate her and to accentuate the positive and celebrate her life.

This Dry Bones cartoon really sums up the contradictions and fragility of Jewish history and our life in Israel and yet stresses our optimism:

Chag Same'ach!

Chag Same’ach!

May this Sukkot be a festival of pure joy, and may we merit to celebrate it in the rebuilt Temple speedily in our days.

I wish all those celebrating a chag Sukkot sameach!

!חג סוכות שמח

Posted in Israel news, Judaism, Slice of Israeli life, Terrorism | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Good News Friday

Despite the frustration and anger over UNESCO’s insane resolution yesterday, or maybe because of it, I feel I must post a Good News Friday installment today to soothe our frazzled nerves.

Techiya Litman and Ariel Biegel at their wedding

Techiya Litman and Ariel Biegel at their wedding

The first item is the wonderful news that Techiya Sarah Beigel, the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Litman who was murdered just a year ago together with his son Netanel, Techiya’s brother, when the family were on their way to celebrate the Shabbat Chatan before Techiya’s wedding, gave birth to a baby girl – on Yom Kippur!

Mazal Tov!

A daughter was born this evening to Sarah Tehiya Beigel and her husband Ariel. Tehiya’s father, Rabbi Yaakov Litman, as well as her brother, Netanel, were murdered 11 months ago by terrorists as they drove south of Hevron towards Meitar, where they were to attend a traditional pre-wedding Shabbat celebration which the groom is called to the Torah during the morning service.

This wonderful news brought tears to my eyes. After the horrific terror attack and the loss of her father and brother, and then the postponed wedding, what better way to start the year, and to bring healing to the family and to Am Yisrael who participated in their mourning and in their joy.

I wish heartiest mazal tov to Techiya and Ariel. May your baby daughter grow up to be a strong, healthy, and continue in the steadfast Torah way of her grandfather Hy’d and her family. יהי רצון שתזכו לגדלה לתורה, לחופה ולמעשים טובים.

Still Yom Kippur related, here is a beautiful story about the generous spirit of one Israeli congregation, posted by Marshall Deltoff in the Only in Israel Facebook group:

Our shul decided to hold yizkor services at 5:30 yesterday afternoon, instead of the typical morning timeslot right before Mussaf, in order to allow more non-observant people to attend and remain for Neilah. As the chazan was just starting into the introductory prayer for Mussaf, an elderly gentleman with a walker, accompanied by a caregiver, entered the sanctuary from the back door and started to make his way up the central aisle toward the bimah. He asked a few of us at the back when Yizkor was starting, and when we told him it would be at 5:30, he was visibly distraught. We called the gabbai over, and the elderly gentleman explained that he was handicapped, and it was quite an effort for him to get over to shul, in order for him to say Yizkor for his father. The gabbai walked over to the chazan, whispered something in his ear, and the chazan then announced to the over 200 congregants that we were going to hold the “first” yizkor service now. The gabbai directed the old man to a seat next to the bimah, and the entire congregation watched silently as the man recited Yizkor for his father in russian and hebrew. No one complained, commented or said a thing. It was beautiful and powerful. The old man and his aide then went to the back of the auditorium and took a seat. Without batting an eyelash, the chazan picked up right where he left off. It was a privilege to see this, and made our Yom Kippur special. ONLY IN ISRAEL.

According to Marshall’s comment the shul service was run by the Amit congregation B’reishit at the Yad L’Banim in Karmiel, led by Rabbi Jaron Englemeyer.

Truly this is the spirit of Yom Kippur and this is the true spirit of Am Yisrael at its best. Kol hakavod to the entire Kehilla on their generosity and patience. Tizku Lemitzvot!

And one more item still (sort of) in the spirit of Yom Kippur (via Israellycool) –  Israeli girls apologize to the world. Really!😀

After that giggle, or even a healthy guffaw, I’m sure you’re all feeling much more in the mood to welcome another Shabbat squashed in between two festivals, as we rush headlong into Sukkot on Sunday night.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

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

UNESCO Shmunesco: denying history one fact at a time

The Kotel - to be renamed as the Muslim site Al Buraq according to UNESCO

The Kotel – to be renamed as the Muslim site Al Buraq according to UNESCO

It looks like Yom Kippur came a day too early for the UN, who have yet more apologizing and atoning to do. UNESCO voted today to deny any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Yes, you read that right.

The UN passed a resolution Thursday denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall

The resolution was supported by 24 states, including Russia and China. 6 countries opposed and 26 abstained.

The resolution maintains that the Western Wall and Temple Mount will be referred to by their Arabic names and the Hebrew terms for the sites will only appear in quotation marks in UN references.

Earlier Israel had tried to prevent the decision, even asking the Vatican to help prevent the resolution. The Vatican enjoys observer status in UNESCO.

This vote differs only marginally, and more egregiously, from a previous vote taken in April: From the first link:

In a recent UNESCO meeting, Arab states and the Palestinian Authority have pushed a new resolution, explicitly describing the Temple Mount as an exclusively Muslim holy site, referring to the site of both ancient Jewish temples by its Arabic name: Haram a-Sharif.

This time, however, the proposed UNESCO resolution also touches upon the Western Wall that surrounds the Temple Mount. Like the Temple Mount, the Western Wall is also referred to by the Arabic name, with the Hebrew name included in brackets.

Israeli diplomats called the move an attempt to discredit the ancient Jewish connection to the Western Wall in the eyes of the international community.

The resolution does recognize the importance of Jerusalem in general to the three major Abrahamic faiths, but observers noted that this was likely an attempt to make an otherwise transparently anti-Israel measure appear more balanced. The order of faiths mentioned in connection to Jerusalem is Islam, Christianity, and Judaism last.

It seems that UNESCO just can’t get enough of denying Judaism’s connection to its holiest site and capital city.

If you want to get a glimpse of the insanity, take a look at Israellycool who posts the draft resolution – which in my anger I read as “daft resolution” which is surely a better descriptor. Some of the highlights:

Deeply deplores the failure of Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City, and reiterates its request to Israel, the occupying Power, to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;

Excuse me? Who is illegally excavating and destroying priceless artefacts from the First and Second Temple period? The Waqf, on the Temple Mount, that’s who! If Israel is responsible for any failure, it is of failing to stop the Waqf and throw them out for destroying our heritage and that of Christianity.

Calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic status quo that prevailed until September 2000, under which the Jordanian Awqaf (Religious Foundation) Department exercised exclusive authority on Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, and its mandate extended to all affairs relating to the unimpeded administration of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, including maintenance, restoration and regulating access;

I was not aware that the status quo had been changed. In fact the only people changing the status quo are the Waqf themselves who refuse to allow the slightest sign of Jewish prayer, and hardly a Jewish presence at all, on the Temple Mount. Again the Israeli police and government are complicit in this Waqf denial of religious rights, but since it is anti-Jewish denial I am surprised that UNESCO are objecting! (I am being sarcastic here in case anyone misses my British sense of humour).

Firmly deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif;

Let’s have a look at those storming Jews:

“Storming” Jews on the Temple Mount. Some storm!

I do not think “storming” means what you think it means.

Deprecates the continuing Israeli unilateral measures and decisions regarding the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate, including the latest works conducted at the Mughrabi Gate entrance in February 2015, the instalment of an umbrella at that entrance as well as the enforced creation of a new Jewish prayer platform south of the Mughrabi Ascent in Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza”, and the removal of the Islamic remains at the site, and reaffirms that no Israeli unilateral measures, shall be taken in conformity with its status and obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;

OK, as soon as I saw the words “Al Buraq” I stopped reading. Anyone who believes in a flying horse but not in the retaining wall of Solomon’s Temple needs their head examined.

Israellycool remarks:

For our part, Israel’s Mission to UNESCO in Paris has given board members and international diplomats a brochure detailing the deep historical connections Judaism has to those sites. You can see the brochure here.

“These facts and evidence will leave no doubt, and without undermining other connection of other religions to the holy places in Jerusalem, of the deepest and longest Jewish presence in Jerusalem since ancient times,” Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen wrote.

It has come to this, Israel having to send out brochures to somehow prove our connection to sites Jews have been praying, crying and mourning at for thousands of years? I doubt a glossy brochure will convince anyone who does not already see the truth.

I think it is pathetic that Israel has to give out brochures to explain the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  Since this connection forms the core basis of Judaeo-Christian Western civilization, anyone who does not know is not interested in knowing, and no amount of propaganda or educational leaflets will change their minds.

In my opinion Israel should make a dignified withdrawal from UNESCO and cut off all contact with that corrupt, absurd, ridiculous and shameful organization. When they come to their senses, maybe we can consider returning. I can see absolutely no upside to belonging to an institution that not only denies history, but denies current events that are taking place in full view of the international media in real time.

As I type these words I can hear the banging and clanging of Sukkot being built in our parking lot, as well as in neighbours’ gardens. On Sunday night the festival of Sukkot will begin, one of the three pilgrimage festivals when the ancient Jews made their way to – gasp – Jerusalem! To – gasp! – The Temple! Not to Haram al Sharif. Not to Al Aqsa. The Temple.

Their they brought offerings from their harvest to give thanks to G-d for His bounty. The offerings were presented, not to Sheikhs and Imams at the al Aqsa Mosque but to the Priests, the Cohanim, in the Temple, there on that very same Temple Mount, the Har Habayit.

No amount of renaming sites and rewriting history will change those facts.

Shame on the UN, shame on UNESCO and shame on every one of those countries who voted yes and even those who abstained. (What? They couldn’t make up their minds? My mind boggles).

My mother had a good suggestion: Let us present a draft resolution that Mecca is a holiday spa in Arabia. Let’s see how they like that!

Here is a selection of Twitter reactions:

I’ll let the final word go to the Board of Deputies of British Jews:

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

Yom Kippur 5777 – Gmar Hatima Tova!

Gmar Hatima Tova May you be inscribed in the Book of Life

Gmar Hatima Tova
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is upon us once again, beginning in a few hours time here in Israel, when we will be entering a 25-hour fast with day-long prayer services, composed of beautiful, spiritual and emotional prayers and songs, being held in shuls and community centers throughout the Jewish world. It is a day when we must ask forgiveness from our fellow man if we have wronged them, forgive those who have wronged us if they ask to be forgiven, and pray that Hashem will seal us in the Book of Life.

In Israel, traffic comes to a complete halt throughout the country, even in the most secular towns, and a serene and holy calmness pervades throughout the land. Even the international airport and public transport close down for the day, starting from a few hours before the fast until an hour or so after the fast ends.

You can read more about Yom Kippur at who have a great Yom Kippur info-graphic.

Sadly, as in previous years, the serenity and holiness of the day will be challenged davka in Jerusalem where heightened security is necessary following the deadly terror attack which took place on Sunday, and on the heels of a thwarted Hamas suicide bombing campaign.

But let’s not dwell on the sad and depressing. Here are some uplifting words from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Britain: Yom Kippur – how it changes us:

To those who fully open themselves to it, Yom Kippur is a life-transforming experience. It tells us that God, who created the universe in love and forgiveness, reaches out to us in love and forgiveness, asking us to love and forgive others. God never asked us not to make mistakes. All He asks is that we acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, grow through them, and make amends where we can.

No religion has held such a high view of human possibility. The God who created us in His image, gave us freedom. We are not tainted by original sin, destined to fail, caught in the grip of an evil only divine grace can defeat. To the contrary we have within us the power to choose life. Together we have the power to change the world.

So high does Judaism set the bar that it is inevitable that we should fall short time and again. Which means that forgiveness was written into the script from the beginning. God, said the sages, sought to create the world under the attribute of strict justice but He saw that it could not stand. What did He do? He added mercy to justice, compassion to retribution, forbearance to the strict rule of law. God forgives. Judaism is a religion, the world’s first, of forgiveness.

The majesty and mystery of Judaism is that though at best Jews were a small people in a small land, no match for the circumambient empires that periodically assaulted them, Jews did not give way to self-hate, self-disesteem or despair. Beneath the awe and solemnity of Yom Kippur one fact shines radiant throughout: that God loves us more than we love ourselves. He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. He never gives up on us, however many times we slip and fall. The story of Judaism from beginning to end is the tale of a love of God for a people who rarely fully reciprocated that love, yet never altogether failed to be moved by it.

Rabbi Akiva put it best in a mere two words: Avinu malkenu. Yes, You are our sovereign, God almighty, maker of the cosmos, king of kings. But You are also our father. You told Moses to say to Pharaoh in Your name: “My child, my firstborn, Israel.” That love continues to make Jews a symbol of hope to humanity, testifying that a nation does not need to be large to be great, nor powerful to have influence. Each of us can, by a single act of kindness or generosity of spirit, cause a ray of the Divine light to shine in the human darkness, allowing the Shekhinah, at least for a moment, to be at home in our world.

Those words, Avinu Malkenu, are repeated in a set of pleas to G-d throughout the Yom Kippur liturgy. Here is the wonderful Barbara Streisand singing Avinu Malkenu against a background of beautiful pictures of Jewish life:

In the spirit of the day, I would like to ask forgiveness from anyone whom I might have offended or hurt.

To those who are fasting I wish an easy and meaningful fast.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my family, friends and readers Gmar Hatima Tova – May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

גמר חתימה טובה

Posted in Israel news | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Terror attack in Jerusalem, 2 Israelis killed, Palestinians celebrate

Levana Malichi (r) and Yosef Kirma (l) HY'D, murdered in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorist

Levana Malichi (r) and Yosef Kirma (l) HY’D, murdered in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorist

Hardly had my previous post been published when news came in of a terror attack in Jerusalem, at the Ammunition Hill light rail station, in which two Israelis were killed and 5 injured. As more details emerge about the attack, the incident becomes all the more outrageous as we learn of possible police or judicial incompetence in that the terrorist was supposed to start a jail sentence that very morning and obviously decided to go out in a blaze of “glory”. From the above link:

The attacker was shot and killed. He was identified as a 39-year-old resident of Silwan in East Jerusalem, police said.

According to reports, he was to report to prison on Sunday to serve a sentence for incitement.

He possessed an Israeli identification card, according to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

“There were no prior warnings ahead of a focused attack like this,” Erdan said.

Scene of Sunday's shooting attack in Jerusalem

Scene of Sunday’s shooting attack in Jerusalem

The attack began as the assailant drove by police headquarters on Haim Bar-Lev Street, a main artery also served by the city’s light rail, and opened fire at a group of people, hitting one woman, police said.

He sped off toward Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau Street and shot a woman who was in her car, critically wounding her.

He continued toward the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Police officers on motorcycles from the city’s Special Patrol Unit saw the shooting and gave chase, police said.

The assailant then opened fire at the officers, who shot and “neutralized him,” police said.

During the shootout, one officer was fatally injured and another lightly to moderately injured, police said.

A video that was released on social media (below) appeared to show the shootout between police officers and the terrorist.

You can watch the video at the link. The usual suspects took credit for the attack:

The Hamas terrorist organization praised the shooting, calling it “heroic,” “brave” and a “natural response to the occupation,” Army Radio reported.

As we have come to expect, the Palestinians reacted in their usual bestial manner (with apologies to beasts) by celebrating the murders:

While Israelis and Jews around the world were mourning Sunday’s deadly terror attack in the Israeli capital, some Jerusalem Arabs celebrated the murders – including a very public display of rejoicing in a café next to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Alon Karko, a 24-year old law student at Hebrew University, was dining with his mother at Café Aroma on Mount Scopus, next to one of the university’s two main campuses, when news broke that two of the shooting victims in Sunday’s attack had succumbed to their injuries.

At a certain point, Karko recounted, two Arabs made their way over from the nearby Hadassah Hospital – the same hospital where the most critically injured of the shooting attack victims were being treated – and offered their ‘congratulations’ to the Arabs siting in the café.

“It took a second for it to dawn on me what was happening – all of the sudden I saw the news flash saying ‘Two of the wounded declared dead’. Then I put two and two together and understood that, okay, this [their celebrating] is because of this [the deaths], and there was no question any longer why they were laughing together in Arabic.”

“My grasp of Arabic isn’t great,” continued Karko, “but my mother said that she heard [their conversation]. I did hear ‘Allahu Ackbar’ and all of that, both from the group [cheering] out in the street and those sitting in the café expressing their satisfaction.”

“Then they started to sing and clap,” Karko recalled. “You could see the joy on their faces, really.” The celebrations continued for some time, he said, making an already tense atmosphere unbearable.

“There will always be nuts and crazies who will take out a knife and stab. But when they get support from a whole sector…and I didn’t see any one of them try to stop this. No one in the group thought to even let the dead bodies get cold before they escalated to shouting and screaming.”

Kay Wilson is spot-on in her condemnation of Palestinian society as sick and morally bankrupt.

The one slight improvement over previous such reactions is that the police arrested the Arabs who filmed the attacks or who expressed support:

Police on Sunday evening conducted a series of arrests of Arabs who expressed support for the terrorist attack in Jerusalem in which two Israelis were murdered.

Sources close to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said that in the hours after the attack, police acted throughout Jerusalem and arrested Arabs who handed out candies, prevented the establishment of a mourning tent near the home of the terrorist in Silwan, arrested Arabs who demanded that stores be closed in solidarity with the terrorist and arrested Arabs who filmed the attack while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

Erdan has instructed the police to prosecute and take action against any act or demonstration of support for the shooting attack.

This is a step in the right direction but is a drop in the ocean. We need to examine our overly liberal attitude to Palestinian incitement and the laxness with which offenders are treated. As commenter YJ Draiman remarked in my previous post:

… A response with no holds barred and zero tolerance must be taken – less talk and more action and action speak louder than words – take off the glove and destroy the enemy and the threat once and for all. The British and Americans after rockets hit London in WWII sent bombers on a daily basis and destroyed German infrastructure and leveled cities. Israel must do what is necessary to protect its people with no restraint whatsoever.
It is your duty and responsibility to protect the people of Israel at all costs. Do your duty. Death to all terrorists must be mandatory.

Indeed, questions are being asked as to why the terrorist was outrageously still free to commit murder after having been convicted of a crime and about to start his jail sentence:

The terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem Sunday morning, leaving two dead and five injured was supposed to begin a four-month prison sentence the same day for attacking a police officer.

Moreover, Hamas announced shortly after that attack that the 39-year-old terrorist from Silwan, whose name is currently under a gag order and who held full Israeli citizenship, was “one of ours.”

In a photograph circulated of the the terrorist, he can be seen wearing a Hamas scarf while holding a picture of Hamas’s spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Given his history as a repeat offender, questions have been raised as to why he was able to walk around freely. While he had previously served a number of prison sentences for a variety of offenses including aggravated battery, illicit military training and setting fire to vehicles. He has been photographed wearing Hamas paraphernaliaand support Hamas in general.

Between January 2015 and January 2016, the terrorist sat in prison for incitement to violence and terror. During his term he was also tried for attacking a police officer on a separate occasion. Last May he received an additional four months in prison. However, after submitting a request to postpone the commencement of the sentence the court ruled that he would begin his term on October 16.

The state subsequently requested that the date be moved forward the ninth of the month. However, it was never requested that he remain detained in remand in the interim. Given that he had already been released during the investigative stage therefore, when the indictment was issued against him the option of extending his arrest was precluded.

It is imperative that this confusion, lack of clarity and almost blase attitude between the police and the courts must be clarified and regulated immediately, to prevent future similar attacks. An investigation should also reveal whether there was negligence involved, a failure to maintain regulations or any other kind of oversight.

The two victims, Yosef Kirma Hy’d and Levana Malihi Hy’d were laid to rest this afternoon in heart-breaking funerals:

The wife of the police officer murdered on Sunday by the Palestinian terrorist he was trying to neutralize said her “heart is crumbling into little pieces,” the Hebrew news site nrg reported from Yosef Kirma’s funeral at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem a few hours after the mass shooting attack.

Noy Kirma speaking at the funeral of her husband, First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, who was killed during a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, October 9, 2016. (Screen capture: Ynet)

Noy Kirma speaking at the funeral of her husband, First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, who was killed during a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, October 9, 2016. (Screen capture: Ynet)

In her eulogy, Noy Kirma, whose husband had been awarded a medal of honor last December for thwarting a Palestinian stabbing attack on kindergarten kids, continued: “How many plans we had — for a home and children. You loved me more than I love myself.”

“You were my shoulder to lean on…” said the young widow, who had been married to the Israeli hero for only six months before his life was cut short. “You were loved by all. You were number one in their eyes. Number one in my eyes. I don’t know how the world will turn without you…You will be in my heart until the day I die.”

Kirma’s father, Uzi, vowed to his dead son that he would protect and support his daughter-in-law, whom he said he considers a child of his own. “Yossi, I love you. People here know what a good soul you were…Rest in peace. It’s impossible to go on without you.”

As was reported in The Algemeiner, Kirma, 29, was one of two Israelis slain by the 40-year-old terrorist from the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem. The other was 60-year-old Lavana Malihi, who – like Kirma – died of the gunshot wounds she sustained in the attack after she was evacuated to the Hadassah Medical Center, with the other victims of the shooting spree near police headquarters in northern Jerusalem.

Malihi was a pensioner who had worked for more than 30 years in the Knesset, first in its cafeteria and then in housekeeping. According to nrg, she was remembered fondly by all as a devoted and caring person and employee. Even after retiring in 2010, the report said, she remained in touch with coworkers and participated in various Knesset events. She is survived by a husband, three daughters and six grandchildren.

Her funeral, which was held on Sunday evening, was not open to the press at the request of the family.

“We are mourning and in pain.” Malihi’s nephew said. “We are trying to absorb this bitter news. We send condolences to the family of the other person murdered and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

The families’ loss of their loved ones is almost unbearable. May the families of both victims be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more sorrow.

Last year began with the wave of stabbings and shootings which later became known as the “knife intifada”. Yesterday’s attack, coming as it did just after Rosh Hashana, gives us the dreadful, sinking feeling that this year will be no different.

Posted in Incitement, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Britain suspends £25 million in aid to the Palestinians because PA funnels cash to terrorists

Some very good news to start the week, brought to us initially by The Sun and followed afterwards by all the other media: Britain suspends its aid payments to the Palestinians following claims that the aid money is funnelled to terrorists:

BRITAIN is suspending millions of pounds-worth of aid payments to the Palestinian Authority amid staggering claims taxpayers cash is ending up in the hands of terrorists.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a freeze pending an investigation.

Priti Patel, British Secretary for International Development

Priti Patel, British Secretary for International Development

Earlier this summer furious MPs demanded action after revelations UK aid supposedly paying for civil servants in Gaza was being transferred to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

One Hamas master bomber was alleged to have been given £100,000 by the PLO.

Other ‘salaries’ is said to have gone to families of suicide bombers and teenagers attacking Israel.

Dfid has previously admitted the PLO makes “social welfare” provisions for prisoners’ families but ruled out the idea UK cash is being diverted in this way.

Government sources yesterday conceded that many of the civil servants were doing other jobs while pocketing UK taxpayers’ cash.

The decision by the Department for International Development means £25 million in cash is being withheld this year – a third of the total aid sent to Palestine. The majority goes to charities in the region.

The Daily Mail adds more:

t was reported that one Hamas master bomber had been given £100,000; while other ‘salaries’ are said to have gone to families of suicide bombers and teenagers attacking Israel.

And it emerged that some charities funded by taxpayers’ money were ‘promoting violence on social media pages’.

Ms Patel, who was sent to the Department for International Development by Theresa May in July, has already launched a crackdown on the way British aid money is spent.

She told the Mail last month that British aid money was being wasted and stolen, and promised a major overhaul of the £12billion aid budget to make it finally ‘deliver for our national interests’.

The minister pledged to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into foreign hotspots to deter ‘mass migration’ to the UK and mainland Europe, and using aid cash to boost UK trade and exports in the wake of Brexit.

Ms Patel’s predecessor, Justine Greening, had previously refused to take action on Palestine.

This move by the British government cannot be praised highly enough. Firstly it sets a clear red line which it now refuses to cross: aiding terrorists.

Secondly it sets a loud and clear precedent and a shining example for the multiple other countries who all heap aid on those “poor” Palestinians, the most spoiled and cossetted – and fake – refugees in the entire world that they must carry out due diligence on their aid money to check where it ends up.

Huge kudos are due to British-Israeli Kay Wilson who has told and retold her horrific story of how she and her friend Kristine Luken were ambushed in 2010 by two Palestinian terrorists while they were hiking in the Judean Hills, tied up, chopped up by machetes, and left for dead. Tragically, Kristine Luken lost her life while Kay heroically managed to crawl over a kilometer to safety where passers-by alerted the security forces.  It was Kay’s heroism, bravery and preparedness that enabled her to lightly stab one of the terrorists with her pen-knife, thus providing an invaluable DNA sample which enabled the IDF to locate the terrorists and bring them to justice.

Kay Wilson confronts her attackers in court

Kay Wilson confronts her attackers in court

Here is Kay speaking out at the UNHRC about cash payments to terrorist murderers and their families, rebuking for their anti-Israel agenda and for enabling :

She also recounted the actual attack in horrific graphic detail:

Recently Kay was in England where she once again recounted her dreadful attack and the aftermath, and the story was picked up in the British press, where she pointedly asked noted:

You pay two Palestinian terrorists who left this British woman for dead and killed her friend £9,000 each every year – as a ‘REWARD’

That article was a natural follow-up to the Daily Mail’s earlier expose of the way UK taxpayers’ money was being used, via British international aid, to pay salaries to terrorists.

These stories ultimately led to a Parliamentary inquiry which culminated in the British government’s suspension of aid to the Palestinians.

Now all that remains to be seen is how long this suspension of aid will last, what shape will the counter-fight from the Palestinians and their supporters take, and most importantly, how many, if any, other countries will follow suit?

One more small step in the right direction came davka from Ireland, not exactly known as being a bastion of Zionism as The Bank of Ireland shut down anti-Israel BDS accounts:

The Bank of Ireland, the country’s oldest financial institution, closed the accounts of the pro-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions organization’s Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in late September. The group’s accounts were terminated in Ireland and Northern Ireland, according to a report Sunday in the Irish news outlet RTÉ.

According to RTÉ, the PSC said the bank closed its accounts because it defined transfers to Palestinian territories as high-risk. The PSC said it transfers funds to a factory in the West Bank that produces Palestinian scarves that the PSC buys to promote solidarity, wrote RTÉ.

The PSC had held accounts at the Bank of Ireland for 15 years.

The Irish pro-Palestinian group opened a new account with the Allied Irish Banks (AIB). A Post query to the AIB was not immediately returned on Monday.

According to RTÉ, the PSC believes it is vulnerable to a new closure.

… The AIB and the Bank of Ireland are considered to be part of the “Big Four” Irish financial organizations. SPC also maintains a PayPal account.

The SPC branch in Ireland is a hardcore BDS group targeting the Jewish state.

The closure of the SPC account appears to be part of a larger trend within the European banking system to sever ties with pro-BDS groups.

RTÉ wrote, “It [closure of the SPC account] follows similar decisions in other European countries including Austria, Germany, France and the UK where banks have closed down accounts of Palestinian campaign groups.”

Ireland is considered one of the strongholds of BDS activity in Western Europe. The termination of the SPC could result in growing financial actions to end relationships with pro-BDS groups.

The Post reported first on the closures of bank accounts in France, Germany and Austria in 2016.

May all these anti-terror actions, whether suspension of aid to terrorists or closing down BDS accounts, be the welcome harbingers of a more pro-Israel, indeed pro-freedom and pro-democracy, stance in Europe.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, International relations, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments