Jonathan Pollard – free at last, but the injustice continues

First picture in freedom: Jonathan and Esther Pollard on his release after 30 years in prison

On Friday we were greeted with the very good news that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was finally released after 30 years languishing in prison on espionage charges that would have entailed at maximum a 10 year sentence for any other spy. (You can read all about the injustice of Pollard’s sentencing and prison conditions in my posts here).

His wife Esther greeted him at the prison and flew with him to New York, where they spent Shabbat together in Manhattan.

The couple released a statement saying they were grateful to everyone who worked for his release. Pollard, who suffers from diabetes and chronic leg and ankle swelling, was examined by a doctor.

President Reuven Rivlin on Friday welcomed the news of his release.

“We all welcome the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison after so many long and hard years,” Rivlin said. “Throughout the years, our pain was Pollard’s pain… we felt the responsibility and obligation to secure his release.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying he had been looking forward to this day for many years after repeatedly raising Pollard’s fate with many American presidents.

Netanyahu wished Pollard well and said he hoped he could enjoy Shabbat and the rest of his life with peace of mind.

However, his release is not all it’s cracked up to be. The terms of his parole are positively draconian, vindictive and cruel, as Arlene Kushner notes, and the injustice screams to the heavens:

In the end, I cannot find any rationale for how he was treated other than antisemitism. And now a hostile attitude seems to pervade the draconian terms of his parole, as well: He must check in regularly with his parole officer and cannot leave New York City (never mind come to Israel); he must wear an electronic bracelet so that he can be tracked, and is subject to unfettered surveillance of his computers (which will inhibit his ability to get a job). All of this stringency is supposed to be to prevent him from passing classified information. But he has had no access to classified information for 30 years, and anything he knew back then would be worthless now. What sort of charade is this?

Pollard’s lawyers will be challenging these terms. He is prepared to renounce US citizenship, if allowed to come to Israel; there is precedence for this.

Pollard’s lawyers are indeed appealing these terms of his parole, asserting that among other things it will be impossible for him to find a job:

According to Israel’s Ynet news website, the lawyers say that the restrictions — among them an anklet for 24-hour GPS tracking and the monitoring of his and any future employer’s computers — are illegal, and that no employer would agree to their computers being monitored in this manner.

Pollard’s attorneys also claim that there is no cause to believe that Pollard will pass on further classified information or commit any other crime, as the data he gleaned is outdated and he can barely recall it, the Walla website reported.

And today we learn that the lawyers’ fears were well-grounded, as it was announced that Jonathan had lost his first chance at a job because of those very conditions. The conditions also impinge very much on his personal life, apparently for no good reason:

An employer who had intended to give a salaried position to Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard retracted the offer Monday, because the conditions of his parole would have prevented him from doing his job.

Pollard received an offer to become a research analyst in the finance department of a respected investment firm. But his parole conditions require him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet at all times for GPS tracking of his whereabouts and to be subjected to unfettered monitoring and inspection of his computers and those of his employer.

He cannot leave his home in New York City before 7 a.m. or come home after 7 p.m., which makes it difficult to travel to and from work, to attend prayer services, or to accept invitations to dinner on the Sabbath and holidays from friends and relatives.

“The parole commission’s unnecessary conditions make it virtually impossible for him to obtain a normal job in New York City,” Lauer said. “The employer who offered him work took back the offer because federal authorities asked to install monitoring devices in the company’s computer system if it employed him.”

Some of the conditions sound almost Stalinesque:

Pollard must also answer every phone call or knock on his door in the middle of the night, because it could be a test by a parole officer that if failed could lead to him being sent back to prison.

And if he sleeps through a knock on the door? It sounds like the Americans are looking for the slightest excuse to send him back to prison.

The Israeli government is keeping a low profile in order not to complicate matters further for Pollard, and the Free Pollard campaign is acting likewise at the request of the Pollards:

( Jonathan Pollard and his family posted a notice on the Justice for Pollard website, asking his supporters to refrain from public activities regarding his release (from US parole), saying it may be harmful to his cause.

In keeping with this request, Pollard’s close circle has decided to find a way in which “the dear public who acted, prayed and fought for Jonathan’s release through the years, could send him directly a huge hug which would empower him and Esther to face the complicated challenges that still remain in their path.”

To this end, they established an mail account:, intended to receive letters (in Hebrew, too), which will be printed in the US by the staff and be personally delivered to Jonathan as soon as possible. “You are welcome to send Jonathan all that’s in your heart, tell him about your activities and your prayers for him over the years, and it is also possible to attach a photo.”

The group has also asked people to pray for his complete recovery using his Hebrew name: Yehonatan ben Malka.

And though I linked above (at the top of this post) to my previous posts about Jonathan Pollard, here is a short recap and reminder of his story:

Korb said that many people exaggerated the importance of the information Pollard gave Israel and the damage it caused to the United States. Clinton, he noted, actually did want to commute Pollard’s sentence, but senior intelligence officials feared this would send the wrong message and then-CIA director George Tenet threatened to resign, so Clinton ultimately backed down.

Pollard was arrested on November 21, 1985 after the conclusion of an investigation into suspicion he was spying for Israel while serving as a U.S. naval intelligence analyst. He was convicted in 1987 to a life sentence for one count of espionage.

Because his crime occurred prior to November 1, 1987, he was eligible for parole after 30 years in prison.

Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally and the only American citizen convicted of such a crime to be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

Arutz Sheva adds more about the perfidy of the Americans in Pollard’s case:

Pollard was handed a now commuted life-sentence, unlike spies from other allied or even enemy nations that got off with a tiny fraction of his sentence.

In a previous parole hearing held in July 2014 his release was rejected on the basis of a now declassified document, that critics say revealed the largely trumped up charges against Pollard, who passed information on regional threats to Israel.

For now let us say Baruch Matir Asurim – Blessed is G-d who releases prisoners. May Jonathan Pollard merit to return to Israel to live out the rest of his days as a properly free man.

Posted in Antisemitism, Defence and Military, International relations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

4 injured in stabbing last night, one Israeli killed, several injured in 3 more terror attacks in Israel today

This is a really depressing start to the week. It just doesn’t stop. Last night (Saturday night) a Palestinian terrorist stabbed 4 people, including a 13 year old girl, seriously injuring them, in the southern city of Kiryat Gat.

Four people were wounded in the attack: A 51-year-old man, a 56-year-old woman, a 44-year-old woman, and a 13-year-old girl.

All were treated at the scene and evacuated to nearby hospitals in stable condition.

The teenage girl recounted her ordeal:

Liel Yotko, the 13-year-old girl injured in the terror stabbing in Kiryat Gat on Saturday night, recounted to Channel 2 on Sunday the harrowing moments of the attack.

Four people, including Yotko, were injured when a Palestinian terrorist stabbed them outside a soccer stadium in the southern city. They are being treated at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

Yotko had been walking with a friend on Saturday evening when they noticed a suspicious-looking man behind them. “He had his hand in his pocket. He looked suspicious to me so we began to walk faster. He started chasing after us so we began to run.”

She and her friend were not able to shake the knife-wielding terrorist and he succeeded in stabbing Yotko twice in the back and once more in the stomach.

“I told my friend to run away,” Yotko recounted. “I sat on the ground and tied my [wounds] with a scarf in order to prevent the bleeding. I called the police and my mother.”

According to Yotko, after he stabbed and moderately wounded her, the terrorist tried to run after her friend, but stopped when he encountered an elderly woman. He then stabbed her as well before targeting several other people who couldn’t escape in time.

Liel’s quick thinking probably saved her life. Kol hakavod to her on her courage. I wish her an dthe other victims a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile the terrorist fled the scene and was only captured hours later when he was found hiding in the garden of a private house, much to the shock and consternation of the owner.

After stabbing the Israeli civilians, the terrorist, armed with a knife and wearing bloodstained clothes, fled and hid in the dark area of a yard belonging to local resident Ami Lahiani.

Lahiani, who had no idea the terrorist was hiding on his property, only realized something was amiss when he heard the sound of broken glass from the front door of his house.

“I heard someone trying to enter the house,” Lahiani told Channel 10 on Sunday. “I shouted ‘Who is it?’ but no sound came out.”

“I went downstairs and suddenly I saw [security forces] with their weapons drawn,” he continued. “I asked what had happened and they told me the terrorist was in my house.”

“The police told me to ‘stop,'” Lahiani also recounted to Channel 2. “I answered that I was the homeowner; then they told me to stay inside. The terrorist was hiding in the years behind the wall of the house. One wall separate us. I’m still in shock.”

The terrorist has been identified as Mohammed Tarada, a Palestinian Arab teenager from the Yatir village near Hevron who was working illegally in Israeli sovereign territory.

The violence didn’t stop there and there were three more attacks today. This morning saw a dramatic incident in which a terrorist who tried to stab two young girls was himself run over by a civilian in order to prevent the attack, and was then shot dead by soldiers. There was another attempted car-ramming and stabbing near Maaleh Adumim, and the day came to a dismal close with the murder of a young Israeli woman in Gush Etzion, at the same spot as the deadly attack on Thursday.

The hero of the first attack was Gershon Mesika, former head of the Shomron Regional Council, who ran over the terrorist to stop her reaching her targets and stabbing them:

A female Palestinian Arab terrorist attempted to stab pedestrians at Brigade Square in Samaria Sunday morning, just after 9:15 am.

Her attempt was thwarted after former Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika, who lives in Elon Moreh close to the intersection, plowed his car into her. Soldiers on duty then shot her, neutralizing her on-site.

Gershon Mesika’s car after running over the terrorist

The terrorist is listed as in serious condition; she was later declared dead at the scene. Mesika suffered nothing but a few scratches in stopping the attack.

There are no other injuries reported.

“I heard someone shout ‘terrorist’ and run toward a girl from Har Bracha, wielding a knife,” Mesika stated in an interview with Army Radio in the minutes after the attack. “I made a quick decision: I veered to the right and slammed into her.”

“A soldier then came and finished it.”

Death threats issued against Mesika by Palestinians

Mesika deserves a medal for his quick thinking and courage, but instead, the Palestinians are accusing him of “war crimes” for running over the terrorist and have issued death threats against him on Twitter and Facebook. The Palestinians’ chutzpah is breathtaking and outrageous. How is it that their car-rammers are celebrated as “heroes” carrying out “martyrdom operations” but an Israeli acting in defence of other civilians is called a war criminal? (Don’t bother answering, it is  a rhetorical question whose answer is “antisemitism”).

Shortly afterwards a Palestinian taxi driver tried to run over Israel pedestrians near Kfar Adumim, and when he didn’t succeed, he jumped out of his car and tried to stab them. Thankfully only one Israeli was slightly injured.

Tragically the day ended on a bitter note with the murder of 21 year old Hadar Buchris at the Gush Etzion junction, site of the murderous shooting rampage on Thursday in which 3 people were killed.

Hadar Buchris Hy’d, stabbed to death in Gush Etzion

A young woman gravely wounded in a stabbing attack at Gush Etzion Junction earlier Sunday has died of her wounds, officials have confirmed.

She has been identified as 21-year-old Hadar Buchris, a resident of Tzfat in northern Israel.

In the third such attack of the day Sunday, an Arab terrorist stabbed and critically wounded her as she waited for a ride; she was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaarei Tzedek hospital under sedation and on a ventilator, but doctors were forced to pronounce her dead as she lay on the operating table.

Hadar’s former teacher eulogized her movingly:

Hadar Buchris, 21, the latest victim of surging Arab terror, who was murdered at the Gush Etzion Junction Sunday, studied at Zohar College for Women in Bat Ayin. The students of the college planned to convene Sunday evening and then head to the Gush Etzion Junction to protest.

Ayala Eretz Hatzvi, who was Hadar’s theater teacher at Ulpenat Nov in the Golan, said that Hadar graduated after majoring in theater. “She was a charming girl, radiant and friendly, a true woman of merit and a kind of psychologist to her friends, who could always turn to her and talk until the middle of the night.

“She was very talented at theater, both in drama and comedy,” the teacher recalled. “When energy was lacking in the group, she always managed to wake everyone up.”

What a sad loss to her family, friends and the whole nation. May her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more sorrow.

Her funeral is set for 3 pm tomorrow in Jerusalem. May Hashem avenge her blood and the blood of all the 21 victims that have been killed so far in this terror wave.

Ezra Schwartz Hy’d, murdered in Gush Etzion and laid to rest in the US

Meanwhile, Ezra Schwartz Hy’d, the other young victim of Palestinian terror who was murdered at the same spot in Gush Etzion was brought back to the US by his parents for burial.  Hundreds of people attended the ceremony at Ben Gurion airport to pay tribute to the young man who came to Israel to study for a year and gave his life in Israel’s war against Palestinian hatred.

Several hundred people were on hand at the Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv to say goodbye to Ezra Schwartz, 18, before his body was loaded on to a plane to be flown back to his native Sharon, Massachusetts on Saturday night. Schwartz was one of three people killed Thursday when a Palestinian man opened fire at vehicles outside the settlement of Alon Shvut, just south of Jerusalem.

Among the mourners, who prayed and sang the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikva,” at the airport were dozens of his fellow students at Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, where Schwartz was spending his post-high school gap year.

During the ceremony, a letter was read from Schwartz’s father, Ari.

“I cannot help but be happy for Ezra,” he wrote. “We know that he is okay right now and that gives us peace.”

The letter continued, “We have no regrets. I am happy for him because of all the places he went and all the people he was able to touch. Some people live long lives but have unfortunate circumstances that make life hard. Ezra had a wonderful life and he died a happy person, and that is more important than anything else.”

What wonderful, strong parents Ezra z”l had. Instead of expressing bitterness or demanding revenge they simply accept his terrible death and celebrate his short but good life.

Schwartz, the second of five children, was a recent graduate of the Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and had been a counselor at Camp Yavneh, a Jewish summer camp in Northwood, New Hampshire.

Five other members of Schwartz’s yeshiva were lightly injured in the attack. Besides delivering supplies to soldiers, the group had also visited a nearby memorial to three Israeli teenagers killed by Palestinian terrorists in the area last summer.

The United Synagogue Youth program, which Ezra joined in 2013, released a statement saying he would be “remembered as being a warm and funny member of the… community. Staff on his trip recalled today that he used his deep experience in Judaism to teach other teens how to participate in Jewish ritual.”

At the funeral the family’s Rabbi and also Ezra’s father eulogized his son:

Rabbi Dr. Meir Sendor, the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Sharon, MA, eulogized Schwartz.

Ezra chose the yeshiva at Beit Shemesh because the program there included volunteer work and he wanted to experience Israel, according to Rabbi Sendor. He was murdered as he distributed food to the soldiers guarding over Israel against terror attacks. “Ezra would have it no other way,” said the rabbi. “He was a young man of courage and heart. He was brave. He was there to help. This is what he chose. This is who he was. This is where he had to be. He is a holy martyr.

Rabbi Sendor added: “Our Torah has profound things to say about the neshama (soul) that has suffered death for Kiddush Hashem (the sanctification of God – ed.). I know that Ezra in the way he lived and the way he died is close to God. We’ve always known that Ezra is a person of holiness. His life is a meaningful life, and his death is a meaningful death.”

Ezra’s father, Ari Schwartz, held back tears as he said: “We are so proud of who he was. We are proud to be proud of the greater Jewish community that connects us throughout the world.” He thanked the Israeli and US government for calling and expressing their condolences, saying: “It made us feel that he was important. Every person is important.”

“Ezra had a great life,” he said. “We are proud of who he was and what he accomplished. He had 18 great years. We had a great son and a great brother. His grandparents and his cousins, his aunts and uncles and his friends, will miss him greatly. And he will miss you. We did great things together and he did great things on his own.” He spoke of his son’s love of sports, especially baseball, and his connection to children, which came into play when he served as a counselor in summer camp.

Ezra Schwartz and the other students who were hurt in the attack had come to help build the Oz Vegaon site, which was established in memory of the three yeshiva students who were abducted and murdered last summer.

ברוך דיין אמת. יהי זכרם של כל הקרבנות הקדושים ברוך.

May these be the last funerals of Jewish victims of this murderous Arab nationalism and antisemitism. It is getting too hard to bear. May Hashem give our leaders the strength of character to make wise decisions; may He give our army the courage and strength to successfully fight our enemies, and may He bring peace to all of Am Yisrael.

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

Guest Post: Despite it all – Good News Friday

This is a guest post by frequent contributor Brian Goldfarb. I had second and third thoughts about posting it today, after the dreadful news this week, which seems to get worse and worse. But weeping and wailing won’t help us overcome our troubles, and – as I have stated on so many occasions these last few weeks – Shabbat is still approaching and we need some good news to lift our spirits.

So here is this week’s Good News Friday installment, courtesy of Brian.

At a time like this, my inclination is to try and find the positive. However, this is increasingly hard to do, what with the mounting number of deaths and serious injuries in Israel since the start of the “stabbings”, and peaked for me last week (on 13 November)  with the massacres in Paris. Fortunately, none of my family or friends have so far been attacked, and, I hope, this will continue to be the case. Which doesn’t make the situation any the less appalling.

Less than happy Iranian Revolutionary Guards

So, after that, where’s the good news? Oddly enough, it’s not that far away, and nor is it that difficult to find. Let me start with this: it would appear that members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on secondment to Syria are less that happy bunnies in the Ayatollahs chosen battleground. Indeed, some reports (such as this one linked here) are suggesting that these highly dedicated to the Ayatollahs’ desire to rule the world soldiers of the revolution are actually mutinying! Actually refusing to fight the opponents of the blessed Assad. The report asserts that:

A rising death toll within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria is leading to a mutiny among some senior commanders, who have refused to obey orders to fight in the war-torn country, according to a source close to the Revolutionary Guard

and it goes on to claim that

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat the commanders, who are also joined by a number of junior officers, have now been referred to a court-marshal(sic) on charges of “mutiny and treason.”

Couldn’t, in my humble view, happen to nice clerico-fascists. Well, if they will support, with their bodies and lives people like the Ayatollahs…

Of course:

Iran, which alongside Russia is Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s main international ally, has denied it has combat troops in Syria, claiming it has only sent officers and generals within an advisory capacity to assist both the Syrian army and Hezbollah militias.

Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin – not such good friends after all

While still, sort of, on the subject of Syria, it would appear that not everyone is convinced that Bashar Al-Assad is Vladimir Putin’s new best friend. Who’d have thought it? Well, The Times of Israel, for one. Linking to a London Daily Telegraph article suggests that:

A senior Iranian general has hinted at a growing rift with Russia over the future of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

Back to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Yet again, couldn’t happen to nicer clerico-fascists (you will gather that I rather like that label!). Indeed, the source went as far as to suggest that:

“The northern friend who came to Syria to provide military support recently [did so to serve] its interests,” said Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari. He added that Moscow “may not care if Assad stays as we do”.

Long may dissent reign between such “friends”!

It seems that I can’t get away from Syria (journalistically speaking), because the next item keeps us in that benighted country. It would appear that Hezbollah is being drawn ever further into the war to keep Assad on his throne, at least according to this Times of Israel article, which argues that

...Hezbollah is redeploying its fighters in Syria to help embattled ally President Bashar Assad defend Damascus, Lebanese news agency NOW reported Saturday. The report says that the Assad regime is struggling to defeat opposition forces around the Syrian capital.

It’s the old argument: while they are struggling to defend Assad and Damascus, they can’t be in any state of readiness to attack Israel. The report continues:

Quoting Arabic-language pro-opposition website All4Syria, NOW says that Hezbollah fighters and Syrian National Defense Force militiamen are redeploying “en masse” from positions in the mountains west of Zabadani, a former rebel bastion near the Lebanese border that has been reclaimed by Assad-allied forces. Much of Hezbollah’s fighting had been concentrated in that area.

According to NOW, a rebel source told All4Syria that the forces were headed toward Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, where the Islamic State-allied Jaysh al-Islam has bisected the Damascus-Homs highway, and Darayya, a suburb of the capital that the regime recently failed to retake.

As many have noted on this conflict, this is one civil war that the Israelis (among many others) devoutly hope both sides lose…badly.

Moving on, I found this next article very encouraging, in that it claims that archaeological evidence for the existence of King Josiah (7th century BCE) has turned up. Why is this so interesting (to say nothing of vitally important to the likes of Anne and me)? Because it demonstrates, yet again (as if it needed demonstrating, and sadly, it does), the historicity of the Jewish people. The article, (linked above) appears to be all about the natural wonders of a site now known as Palmachim…until you get half-way through it, when you come to the following:

Settlement at Yavne Yam began about 3,500 years ago, and continued off and on until the Middle Ages. In the beginning, it was populated by Canaanites who were under Egyptian control, but during the late 7th century BCE, the region came under Judean rule. Residents were a mixed bunch, ranging from Israelites to Phoenicians.

The bathhouse at Tel Yavne Yam (Shmuel Bar-Am)

There follows a brief history of the place before coming to the Maccabees, who were responsible for:

…the Jewish Revolt against the Greeks, Yavne Yam apparently favored the Greeks. Judah Maccabee set fire to the town (according to the Second Book of Maccabees, to save the city’s Jews) but it was only conquered and finally destroyed later, by one of the Hasmonean kings.

This was, for those unaware of when this was, about 148BCE, and gives us the festival of Chanukah (the festival of lights). It’s due soon in the Jewish calendar and I’m sure that Anne will want to write about it then. However, it takes until we are at least three-quarters of the way through this article before we come to the bit that started this segment off: King Josiah!

A vastly important pottery shard was discovered immediately south of Yavne Yam, as well. Written in biblical Hebrew, it dates back to King Josiah (end of the 7th century BCE) In the shard, a field hand appeals to the governor about an unjust confiscation of his cloak and mentions finishing his work before the Sabbath (Shabbat). This is the oldest known reference to the Sabbath, outside of the bible.

Another place to visit when we next visit Israel, hopefully next year for Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Anne noted in an earlier article that evidence had been found of mention of King David, some 300 or so years earlier than this, so here is evidence this continuity later – up to about the time of the Assyrian Chronicles, which historians of the Ancient Near East accept as both eminently datable and mostly reliable as to the events of this period.

Yet another Times of Israel article informs us that a new bridge is to be constructed across the Jordan River, connecting Israeli and Jordanian business zones:

Tenders have been published for the construction of a new bridge across the Jordan River that will connect Israel and Jordan, the Ministry for Regional Cooperation announced Sunday. The bridge is a key part the Jordan Gateway project — a joint industrial and business area spanning the river that is a natural border between the two countries.

Present Jordan River crossing between Israel and Jordan

As I noted to myself, you make peace with your enemies, but you build bridges to your friends – and this demonstrates, yet again, that despite the bumpy ride, Jordan and Israel are friends. This development is important because:

Relations between the neighboring countries have become increasingly frayed against the backdrop of violent clashes on the Temple Mount in the Old city of Jerusalem.

The Deputy Minister for Regional Development, MK Ayoub Kara, said that:

“The Jordan Gate project is one of the most important in the relations between Israel-Jordan and will greatly contribute to improving the relations between the two peoples,” Kara said.

“I am happy that the tenders are published specifically at this period, as it is proof that the peace between Israel and Jordan is stronger than any extremists who are trying to drive a wedge between the countries and damage our joint attempts to bring a better future to the peoples of the area.”

From the map provided, it appears that the bridge will be in the north, not too far from Beit Shean, while the existing bridges are both between the West bank and Jordan, hardly a  reliable site for development due to be a joint Israel/Jordan effort and to persist over time.

Ugly outside, ugly inside: anti-Semitic “comedian” Dieudonne

My reaction to the next item was a mixture of the unprintable and fist-pumping joy. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the antisemitic “comedian” Dieudonne. In a brief item reprinted from Associated press, The Times of Israel reports that:

Europe’s top human rights court has ruled against the controversial French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, saying the right to free expression does not protect anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial

and continues by noting that:

Dieudonne, as the comic is known, finished up a December 2008 show by inviting a prominent Holocaust denier on stage, then having an actor dressed to resemble a concentration camp detainee offer him a prize. He was convicted by a French court in October 2009 of hate crime charges and fined 10,000 euros. He lost repeated appeals, until finally bringing it before the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.

The court noted Dieudonne’s stated desire to stage “the biggest anti-Semitic meeting since the last World War” and ruled Tuesday that the show was not a show but the expression of an ideology.

Sadly. it has taken 6 years to get to this stage, but at least we know that, in some parts of Europe, antisemitism is, as with other blatant forms of racism, not a fit topic for “a show”.

Anne adds:

Brian, thank you so much for providing us with good news precisely at a time when I was not in the mood to look for such, and even had second thoughts about posting it. When I read through your post, it gave me such a lift that I feel a black cloud has lifted from me.

I want to add some other good news that I found this week, (h/t Hadassah via Facebook) similar to your item about the archaeological find on Palmachim.  An exquisite 1,700 year old mosaic was unveiled this week in the central Israeli city of Lod – which was itself found while a visitor center for another mosaic was being constructed!

A breathtaking ancient mosaic in Lod – unearthed by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) while building a visitor center for another famous mosaic – will be opened to the public for the first time this week.

The find came during an excavation from June to November 2014, when IAA archaeologists worked in the Neve Yarak neighborhood of Lod where the previously discovered mosaic was found. That earlier mosaic was the living room floor of a villa some 1,700 years ago, and is being exhibited in museums around the world.

The new excavation was meant to prepare a visitor center to house the mosaic when it returns from its tour of world museums – but during the new excavation, another colorful mosaic 11 x 13 meters in dimension was found, which served as the courtyard pavement of the same villa.

“The villa we found was part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods,” explained Dr. Amir Gorzalczany, excavation director on behalf of the IAA.

“At that time Lod was called Diospolis and was the district capital, until it was replaced by Ramla after the Muslim conquest. The building was used for a very long time.”

The previously discovered mosaic in the northern part of the complex, where the “Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Center” will be constructed, was exposed when the IAA was inspecting development work being carried out in the early 1990s prior to the construction of Highway 90.

That mosaic, which was discovered and excavated in the 1990s by the late Miriam Avissar, is among the most beautiful in the country, and has been exhibited in recent years in some of the world’s leading museums, including the Metropolitan, the Louvre and the State Hermitage. It is currently on display at the Cini Gallery in Venice, Italy, and in the future it will be housed in the main building to be erected in Lod.

As for the southern part of the complex where the new mosaic was found, it includes a large magnificent courtyard that is paved with the mosaic and surrounded by porticos (stoas – covered galleries open to the courtyard) whose ceiling was supported by columns.

This story demonstrates what an amazing country Israel is, with layers upon layers of history waiting to be discovered – even underneath other archaeological excavations!

I hope this week’s post brings some uplift to your souls and calm to frayed nerves.

May we have a week of better news, may the Shabbat bring comfort and solace to the bereaved and the injured.

May we all have a Shabbat Shalom, a Shabbat of peace and safety.

Posted in Defence and Military, International relations, Israel news, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

3 Israelis, an American and a Palestinian killed in 2 attacks across Israel today

After a “hiatus” in the wave of terror, in which we witnessed “only” rock and stone throwing and the odd stabbing attempt, today saw a series of vicious terror attacks which left 3 Israelis, one Jewish US citizen and a Palestinian civilian murdered in cold blood.

The first attack occurred in south Tel Aviv, in a makeshift synagogue where lunchtime Mincha (afternoon) prayers were being held. A terrorist managed to burst his way in, stabbing to death 2 Israelis and injuring a few more.

Two people have been killed and one other person was injured in a stabbing attack at a synagogue in south Tel Aviv.

The scene of the Tel Aviv synagogue stabbing

The two victims were later identified as Yisayev Aharon, a 32-year-old from Holon, and Aviram Reuven, a 51-year-old from Ramle.

The injured victim, a man in his 50s, is in moderate condition. He was treated at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics before being evacuated to Ichilov hospital.

The Arab terrorist who carried out the attack was tackled and held by a civilian until police arrived to arrest him, and sustained light injuries in the course of being captured.

He has been identified as a 36-year-old resident of Dura, close to Hevron, with no previous criminal record and was given a legal work permit to be in Tel Aviv following security checks – he worked at a restaurant in Yafo, a suburb of Tel Aviv to the south.

The attack took place at a synagogue in the Panorama building along Ben Tzvi Street in southern Tel Aviv, as afternoon prayers were being conducted.

One of the worshippers described the synagogue attack:

Shimon Vaknin was attending afternoon prayers along with 20-30 other people when one of the victims staggered into the room and collapsed.

“We were praying the Mincha [afternoon] services,” he recalled. “In the middle of the prayers, suddenly we saw a man fall down wounded at the entrance to the synagogue and behind him a man with a knife who was trying to get inside.

“Someone shouted ‘there’s a terrorist!’” he said.

As some of the worshipers tried to assist the injured man, the rest quickly closed the doors to the room, he said.

“We managed to close the doors and he tried to force them open. If he would have managed to get inside he would have slaughtered the worshipers. We used all of our strength to not let him inside and then he went on to the nearby shops to try and hurt someone there.

After a few minutes, the men armed themselves with bars and left the room, looking for the stabber. As they emerged, they saw another man on the floor, also badly injured. He later died at the hospital.

And those brave heroes of Hamas?

The Palestinian Hamas group said it welcomed the attack. “We welcome the heroic operation in Tel Aviv that killed two people,” read a tweet on the Gaza-based group’s official account read. “We call on the Palestinians to continue such activities.”

Aharon Yisayev Hy’d, one of the victims, was described as a “good-hearted man, murdered by an evil terrorist”:

The two Jewish victims who were stabbed to death at prayer in the Panorama building in southern Tel Aviv on Thursday, in an attack that left a third Jews moderately wounded, have been named as Yisayev Aharon, a 32-year-old from Holon, and Aviram Reuven, a 51-year-old from Ramle.

Aharon Yisayev Hy’d, murdered in a Tel Aviv synagogue by a Palestinian terrorist

Aharon previously returned to Judaism and became observant, moving from Tel Aviv to Holon where he was a member of the local haredi community.

“He was a good hearted man, a true righteous person who went out from mincha (afternoon) prayers and was murdered in cold blood by an evil and cruel terrorist,” said a friend of the victim.

Aharon leaves behind his wife and five children who study at religious educational institutions in Holon.

The date of his funeral has not yet been determined.

What a terrible loss for the family and for the Jewish people! May the families of both victims be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more sorrow. ברוך דיין אמת.

Let it be noted that the murderer was in Israel legally, having no criminal or terrorist background. He had a work permit and held a job at a local restaurant.  This marks the continuation of a troubling trend of Arabs who work legally in Israel and then go on to commit heinous terrorist attacks, murdering innocent Israelis on the most spurious of motives.

A very troubling trend was highlighted by the stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, as the restaurant worker was far from the first Arab worker to manipulatively capitalize on his place of employment and access to Jewish areas to launch lethal attacks.

The list of similar incidents is seemingly endless, even just looking back other the span of a year or two.

Israel is caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue. If we deny these Arabs the chance to work in Israel and earn a decent living then we run the chance of them becoming radicalized out of frustration or hate. But if we do give them work permits we run the chance of being murdered. Even if the murderers are only a small number of the total involved, the risk might become too high for Israel to swallow. And then we’ll be accused of apartheid of course…

The second attack took place in two parts near Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion. A Paletsinian terrorist overtook a long traffic jam on the wrong side of the road and opened fire with an automatic weapon, hitting two vehicles. When he crashed into a vehicle, he got out of the car and shot directly into a tourist minibus as well as other cars:

Rafi Aba, a volunteer with Magen David Adom (MDA) and ZAKA, was at Gush Etzion in Judea on Thursday during the shooting and car attack which left two Jews and an Arab dead, and seven others wounded.

Aba told Arutz Sheva about the attack, saying, “I work at a restaurant in Gush Etzion Junction, and during a switching of shifts suddenly we heard gunfire.”

“At the start we thought it was fire from the shooting range, but then we understood it was too close. Suddenly we heard the roar of a car’s engine traveling at a high speed, and then immediately afterwards a crash.”

“The terrorist fired towards cars that were driving, one of the cars was a transport for people from abroad, and one of them unfortunately was killed,” he said, giving confirmation to reports that US citizens were among the wounded.

Aba noted that the terrorists “apparently fired at another car at another site, but that I didn’t see. Since I’m a MDA volunteer and a ZAKA volunteer, I immediately went to the transport vehicle and treated the wounded.”

“Every day there are traffic jams on this road that leads from Alon Shevut to Gush (Etzion) Junction, what happened is that the terrorist just bypassed (other vehicles) and shot at the cars that were in the jam. I saw the uzi machine gun he fired with.”

“After he crashed into cars people went out towards him (the terrorist) with drawn weapons and he got out of the car with his hands on his head, without any wounds unfortunately. The terrorist was driving in a car with Israeli license plates,” concluded the volunteer.

One of the victims was named as Yaakov Don Hy’d from Alon Shvut. There is a moving tribute to him (in Hebrew) on Facebook:

Yaakov Don Hy’d, murdered by a Palestinian terrorist near Alon Shvut

From comments on the Muqata’s facebook page we learn that Yaakov Don Hy’d was a talented teacher and youth leader, and his death is a huge loss to the community of Alon Shvut and to Israel’s education system. יהי זכרו ברוך. ברוך דיין אמת

In more dreadful news, one of the victims in the Alon Shvut attack is an 18-year old American yeshiva student, in Israel for a year of study.

One of the five people murdered in Thursday’s terrorist attacks is an American student, 18, who has been studying at a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh.

He was in Israel on his own.

ZAKA emergency services have contacted his family in the US, as well as a relative in Israel who is to identify his body.

The Beit Shemesh Municipality announced that it is “shocked and grief-stricken by the murder of the yeshiva student, in the shooting attack at Guush Etzion.”

The students are in Israel as part of a program in which youths volunteer for 9.5 months, studying at yeshiva during the day and volunteering in the evenings.

The young student has now been named as Ezra Schwartz Hy’d from Massachutssetts:

Ezra Schwartz Hy’d, murdered near Alon Shvut by a Palestinian terrorist

Ezra Schwartz, an American student at the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh originally from Massachusetts, is named as a victim of a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, in the Etzion Bloc.

Along with a group of his friends, Schwartz, 18, was on his way to deliver food and candy to IDF soldiers in the area when he was shot.

Several of Schwartz’s friends are hospitalized in the Shaare Tzedek hospital with light wounds.

The students are in Israel as part of a program in which youths volunteer for 9.5 months, studying at yeshiva during the day and volunteering in the evenings.

It seems the height of injustice to be killed while performing a mitzva! But who are we to demand accounting from G-d?

May the parents and family of young Ezra Schwartz Hy’d be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. \

The third victim was a Palestinian, cut down by one of his co-religionists who did not care who was killed as long as he could satisfy his blood lust. My sympathies and condolences to the family of this victim too.

May the families of all today’s victims know no more sorrow.

Israel’s political leaders all expressed their shock and sorrow at today’s attacks and sent condolences to the victims’ families.  They also expressed similar sentiments to Binyamin Netanyahu who said that the same radical Islam behind the Paris attacks also stands behind the attacks in Israel.

But will the world agree? Or will they once again condemn Israel for the arrests, administrative detentions or even military action taken against the terrorists even while they themselves take the exact same actions and more?

Posted in Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Red Cross defends the Red Crescent’s neglect of Israeli murder victims

The news out of Paris has pushed the dreadful murder of Rabbi Yacov Litman and his son Netanel out of the headlines these past few days, but there is one very important detail that must not be ignored.

Red Crescent ambulance (file photo)

We are talking about the role played by the Red Crescent – or rather the role that was NOT played – during the attack.  One of the Litman sons called the security forces for help, and mentioned that a Red Crescent ambulance was approaching, but that they drove on instead of stopping to give assistance, as required by international law:

“We are about a kilometer after Otniel – they shot at our car,” he said.

When the operator asked him “in what direction?” he responded: “Heading south. There is a (Palestinian) Red Crescent ambulance here, we have two casualties. There are seven of us in the car.”

The operator then asked him to clarify the condition of the wounded. “One is wounded in the head,” he answered, at which point his attention was distracted and he broke off – apparently due to the fact that the Palestinian ambulance he had spotted sped away instead of attempting to aid the wounded.

“There is a Red Crescent ambulance here, but he’s driving away from us – I don’t know why,” the teen said.

“I want you to give me details,” the operator responded. “We are dispatching forces and in the meantime I want to know if they will be enough.”

You can listen to the sound recording of the boy’s emergency phone call (in Hebrew) at the link.

Noa Litman, widow of the murdered Rabbi Yacov Hy’d, recounted the traumatic event:

Noa Litman, the widow of Rabbi Yaakov Litman and mother of Netanel Litman, both of whom were murdered in a shooting attack south of Hevron Friday, described acts of heroism performed by her husband and children as a merciless Arab terrorist opened fired on them as they headed to a celebration of the upcoming wedding of their daughter.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Noa Litman said that the family left their home in Kiryat Arba, on the way to their prospective in-laws in Meitar, a suburb of Beersheva. “At a curve in the road they started shooting at us,” she said. “Our car was stuck on the side of the road, but the terrorist came out to the middle of the road and continued firing at us from the front. The first bullet struck my husband Yaakov. Netanel was driving, and Dvir, my other son, screamed ‘save Aba! save Aba!’ But Yaakov did not answer back – that’s when I realized he was no longer alive.”

Netanel, who was still alive, managed to get a call into rescue services, said Noa Litman. “It was too noisy on the phone so he opened the car door to get a more quiet spot, and that’s when the terrorist shot him. He fell down. Dvir still had a phone and he called for help, clearly telling authorities where we were and that two people had been killed.”

At that moment, she said, a Red Crescent ambulance passed by, and Noa Litman flagged it down. “But they refused to do anything. All they did was tell use to call Magen David Adom and they drove on. Dvir told them that there were injured people, but they told him in English to call the emergency phone number 101 and they left.”

In the wake of this disgraceful and criminal conduct, Binyamin Netanyahu has “declared war” on the Red Crescent:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the foreign ministry to lodge a stern complaint with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, under whose auspices the Red Crescent operates, demanding an explanation as to why the Palestinian ambulance ignored Israeli victims, contrary to all humanitarian and ethical practices.

A foreign ministry source told Arutz Sheva that “Israel will enact all necessary sanctions against the Red Crescent.”

Netanyahu himself related to the incident in question this evening, during a press conference in which he condemned the terror attacks by ISIS in Paris.

“There was an incident yesterday, which appears to be very serious. The matter relates to an ambulance of the Red Crescent, which appears to have passed by the Litman family – (passed) by its dead and injured – and did not approach to give treatment.

Netanyahu further noted that “no such thing” had ever occurred with Israeli emergency services “who provide aid without distinction to Jews, to Arabs, to everyone.”

He added that if it became clear the incident was intentional, Israel will not remain silent and will use all the tools at its disposal against the Red Crescent.

Security sources say this is far from the first such incident. Red Crescent ambulances and other Palestinian medics have regularly ignored Israeli victims in need of treatment, in what appears to be a matter of policy.

In a deadly stabbing in October, which occurred right outside a Palestinian medical clinic in Jerusalem’s Old City, Arab doctors and medics simply stood by while the Jewish victims bled to death, and as other Arab passersby abused the wife of one of the victims as she attempted to escape with a knife still embedded in her back.

The Times of Israel makes note of the obligations of the Red Crescent towards Israelis and others:

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Yoav Mordechai, also sent an inquiry to the Palestinian rescue service, the TV station reported.

An understanding between the Red Crescent and Magen David Adom generally sees the rescue services treat wounded people in their respective territories, and while the attack occurred in a West Bank area under Israeli security control, the Red Crescent is still subject to ICRC regulations.

Based on the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the umbrella organization describes itself as an “impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.”

As was to be expected, the Palestinian Red Crescent denied all the allegations:

A Channel 10 report on Friday featured the audio of the distress call placed by one of the gunshot victims, a 16-year-old boy, who said that he saw a Red Crescent ambulance driving away from the scene.

In response to the claims, the Red Crescent issued a denial on its web site late Friday, accusing Gendelman of “disseminating falsehoods and rumors.”

The organization said that its ambulance did in fact reach the scene initially after the shooting.

“A few minutes later, ambulances belonging to the IDF and Magen David Adom arrived,” the organization said. “Once the paramedics approached the victims, they revealed they were carrying weapons,” which prompted the Palestinian first responders to leave.

“In light of the fact that Israeli paramedics arrived on the scene and began treating the wounded, the Red Crescent team left the scene, which had become unsafe in their view,” the statement read.

Magen David Adom ambulance (file photo)

That is the most self-serving statement I have read in a long time. It is not clear whether the Red Crescent implied that the victims were carrying weapons, but even if they were, they were obviously wounded and incapacitated, and they should have offered first aid anyway. Secondly, Israeli Magen David Adom regularly comes under fire from Palestinians – even from the people they are trying to help! And this does not prevent them from carrying out their duty.

Even more outrageously, the International Red Cross came to the defence of the Red Crescent, saying they acted impartially:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday rejected allegations that a Palestinian Red Crescent was at the scene of last Friday’s shooting attack near Hevron but the paramedics did not treat the wounded Israelis and fled the scene.

In a statement on its website, the ICRC said that the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) had “immediately provided factual accounts, firmly rejected these allegations, and unequivocally reaffirmed its commitment to impartial response” to the attack.

“The PRCS’ record of principled and strictly humanitarian action is uncontested and well recognized. The ICRC assessment is that the PRCS operates with professionalism and in full respect of the principles of the RCRC movement, including impartiality. Any question and concern that may require clarification or correction is examined and addressed accordingly, without complacency, by the ICRC, with the national societies, and addressed directly with the concerned authorities,” added the statement.

The head of the ICRC also called Friday’s attack, in which Rabbi Ya’akov Litman and his son were murdered, “tragic and unacceptable”, adding that “deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians, by whoever, can never be justified.”

We should not be surprised by the rapid defence of the Red Crescent by the Red Cross. Their animus towards Magen David Adom, and towards Israel in general, is well-documented. This does not make their defence of this disgraceful behaviour any less egregious.

If you wish to register your complaint with the Red Cross here are a couple of email addresses to help you:

To end this post on a slightly more cheerful note: the daughter of Rabbi Yacov and Noa Litman was due to have been married yesterday (Tuesday) but instead she is sitting shiva.

Sarah Litman and Ariel Biegel at their engagement

From celebration to mourning: Sarah sitting shiva on the floor, with her fiance Ariel next to her

But Sarah and her fiance Ariel Biegel will not stay beaten. They announced that their wedding will be taking place next week, on Thursday 26th November, at the Binyanei Ha’Uma in Jerusalem – and that all of Israel are invited to come along and join in the celebration, so that our enemies shall not rejoice at our fall.

The re-issued wedding invitation

Read Varda Epstein who has written so beautifully about the Litman murders and the wedding that was cancelled and then re-organized.

Here is the translated text of the Hebrew invitation:

“Don’t make our enemies happy. We fell, we got up, with G-d’s help, our wedding will take place next Thursday, 26 November, 14 Kislev, at Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem. Am Yisrael is invited to get up from the dust and rejoice with us….
Sarah Techiya and Ariel”

What an amazing couple, both from wonderful and strong families. What strength of character and what courage it must have taken to issue this invitation!

I’m sure we will all be taking part in their celebration, in spirit if not in actual attendance, in order to build a new home in Israel and in order to reaffirm what Rabbi Yacov Litman would have wanted for his daughter.

!יהי רצון שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל. ושיהיה במזל טוב

Posted in Israel news, Slice of Israeli life, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How not to fight terrorism – and how it can be fought

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, politicians, the media – old and news – and the chatterati are alive questions on How Did This Happen and What Can Be Done? Here is a short guide:

How not to fight terrorism:

Do not wail that “It was France’s fault for attacking ISIS in Syria and/or not integrating  their Muslim minority” (never mind that the Muslim minority don’t want to be integrated),

Will McCants, an expert on extremism and author of the recent book “The ISIS Apocalypse,” told Business Insider on Saturday that the attack could have been a pointed warning to France to cease strikes in Syria.

A wounded Parisian being led to safety after the Paris terror attacks, 13th November 2015

It could be “to say to France, ‘If you continue to bomb our positions, there’s going to be more of the same and you had better leave off or more of your civilians will die,'” McCants said.

Tensions surrounding France’s Muslim community have long been simmering, as George Packer, a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker who covered the Iraq war, chronicled in an August article. The article, titled “The Other France,” wondered whether Paris suburbs are an “incubator for terrorism.”

Do not assert that “we need a new Enlightenment“:

We may have to retrieve the Enlightenment, as much as religion, from its fundamentalists. … The advocacy of more violence and wars in the face of recurrent failure meets the definition of fanaticism rather than reason. The task for those who cherish freedom is to reimagine it – through an ethos of criticism combined with compassion and ceaseless self-awareness – in our own irreversibly mixed and highly unequal societies and the larger interdependent world. Only then can we capably defend freedom from its true enemies.

Do not underestimate ISIS, as Barack Obama famously once did when comparing it to Al Qaeda calling it “a Jayvee team” (a junior football team):

“I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

Certainly do not say  “It was Israel’s fault“!

Friday’s terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 people were rooted in the frustration of Muslims in the Middle East, including that of Palestinians, Sweden’s foreign minister said this week in a television interview.

“To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” Margot Wallström told Swedish television network SVT2T (link in Swedish) a short while after the November 13 attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State terrorist organization.

Jerusalem reacted angrily to Wallström’s statement. “It would seem that the Swedish foreign minister is afflicted with total political blindness,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel on Monday. “This blindness may lead to tragedy.”

The spokesman is speaking in the wrong tense. This blindness has already lead to tragedy, Paris being a prime example.

Doubly so, do not claim, as our “peace partner” the Palestinian Authority did, that “it was the Joos wot dun it“.  Seriously.

The Fatah movement posted the above image with the headline “Terror is terror.” Fatah implied that Israel is the equivalent of Islamic State by showing the Palestinian flag next to the flags of Russia, Lebanon and France.

… Fatah’s post exploited these terror attacks to demonize Israel, falsely claiming that Israel is perpetrating the same acts of terror against Palestinians:

“Terror is terror and we condemn all terror. Be it destroying houses in Nablus and killing our children by Israel or hitting a Russian plane over Egypt. The Paris attacks are criminal acts done by coward terrorists.” [Official Facebook page of the Fatah Movement, Nov. 14, 2015]

An op-ed in the official PA daily announced that the Israeli secret intelligence service, the Mossad, is behind the attacks in Paris. The writer stated that it is not a coincidence that “blood is spilled in Paris” at the same time as Europe has decided to label Israeli products made in “settlements.” He stated that Israel is the one benefiting from these attacks and that they serve the “goals” of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who “hides in his soul enough evil to burn the world.

Do not think that turning the other cheek, as many Europeans still want to do, will make Islamic terrorism go away either.

“You cannot defeat terrorism by coming to resemble to it,” columnist Jakob Augstein opined on Spiegel Online, the largest news portal in Europe. “That’s the problem with the ‘war on terror’: whoever wages it has already lost it. The only weapon against hate is reconciliation.”…

The best way to face down Islamic terrorism is by welcoming Muslim refugees in Europe, Augstein explained. “Never has the West caused a greater loss to Islamism than when it offered protection to Muslims suffering from war and terror. One can imagine how the IS henchmen were shocked by this disarming act of altruism.”

Many Israelis — nay, every Israeli — imagined quite a different response when they saw the growing stream of Muslim refugees making its way toward Europe. Living in close proximity to IS and facing the group’s bloodthirsty associates on a near-daily basis, Israelis likely imagined the terrorists laughing out loud as they realized that well-intended Europe had opened its borders and its hearts to the refugees without much concern about rotten apples among refugees.

…  But since Friday it can no longer be denied that Europe has a problem with Islamist terrorism, homegrown and imported. Compassion for those in need is warranted. But believing that benevolence to those seeking your annihilation will somehow melt away their resolve, is a deadly mistake.

How Europe can fight terrorism:

  1.   First recognize the problem:

Having read the above items, it becomes clear that the first step in combatting this imported enemy which has taken root in Europe’s heartland, is to simply recognize it for what it is: an implacable enemy which has no compunctions in taking the most violent and sadistic means to achieve its goal. The second step is to understand this enemy’s goal – that is the utter destruction not only of Europe, not only of the Jews, but of Western civilization altogether, and replacing it with a medieval caliphate – or die in the process.

In one simple Facebook post, Iraqi-born public speaker and human rights activist, Faisal Al Mutar sums up the entire problem – inherent in which is the solution too. (If the entire post doesn’t show, click “see more” at the end of the post). His comment is almost Monty Pythonesque, but all the more true for its biting satire:

I was quite astonished to read an article by Paul Mason in the Guardian (!!) who came to a similar conclusion to Al Mutar’s:

To the terrorists, this virtue-signalling is utterly irrelevant. They don’t care about anyone’s profile picture. They demonstrated on Friday that they are happy to kill dozens of ordinary people, regardless of race, religion or political persuasion, then calmly reload their assault rifles and kill dozens more.

This is the message of terror in its purest form: nobody is safe. It could be you. […] . Those who had limited sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo victims on the grounds that they had to some extent provoked violent retribution must now realise that no provocation is necessary, unless communal joy counts as a provocation.

This reasoning should be extended to the Jewish victims of the Hyper Cacher supermarket too. It should also be extended to the Israeli victims of terror at all times, but it never is because somehow, terror against Israelis, never mind Jews, is acceptable, understandable, and is anyway “different” to “our” terror.

    2. Take practical steps

What practical steps can the West take to fight terror? Will they adopt Israel’s strategies? David Horovitz has his doubts:

As bombers and gunmen targeted our buses and our shopping malls and our hotels and our colleges and our restaurants, we did two things that France, the US and the rest of the free world will have to do if they want to defeat this latest, particularly despicable Islamist terror iteration: We learned how to reduce our vulnerability to terrorism, and we tackled the killers in their centers of operation. Short-sightedly, hypocritically, and abidingly, the international community, including most of the Western world, barely understood the need for the former strategy, and castigated us for the latter.

We made it harder for terrorists to kill us by doing what those CNN experts are saying is impossible: yes, protecting all our cafes, and restaurants, and shopping malls, and hotel entrances, and buses, and every other public place where our citizens gather, with barriers and metal detectors and security guards; all these years later, suicide bombers still can’t just walk into our theaters and concert halls. We bolstered our intelligence-gathering in the viciously hostile Palestinian territories, notably including the West Bank cities from which we had withdrawn years before in the vain quest for peaceful coexistence. And to the ongoing fury of misguided critics everywhere, we built a security barrier — a mix of fences and sections of wall — so that Palestinian suicide bombers could not just drive into Israel and blow us up. We became a nation of domestic security analysts, gauging where to shop and whether or not to take the bus as we sought to minimize our exposure to the killers. And we toughed it out.

We also took the offensive, notably after that black March 2002, when we launched a major West Bank military operation to destroy the “infrastructure” of terrorism in the West Bank.

Horovitz certainly hit the nail on the head when he noted how we are castigated for our defensive, counter-terror actions. Just this week, as it does with mind-numbing regularity, once again the UN accused Israel of using excessive force in fighting terror:

Israeli security forces have used “excessive force” and “may have carried out summary executions against Palestinians,” UN experts claimed Monday, blaming the terror war against Israelis and Jews on the victims.


“Cases of excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinians, including some which appear to amount to summary executions, continue to be reported,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territories, Makarim Wibisono, and the expert on summary executions, Christof Heyns.

They called for an “end to the violence by all and strict compliance with international law,” AFP reports.

The UN condemnation follows damning statistics published earlier Monday proving October to be the worst month for terror in Israel since 2006.

According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), Palestinian terrorists have launched 602 attacks in 30 days – more than during Operation Protective Edge (2014), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), or Operation Cast Lead (2009).

Nevertheless, despite the utter stupidity and malice of the UN, France can learn from Israel how to combat terror:

First, it’s time to sacrifice some freedoms of convenience. Most Israelis don’t know what it’s like to walk into a mid-size concert venue of the kind targeted in France without passing through a metal detector and their government intends to keep it that way.  They may gripe about it, but they would feel less free if their government wasn’t inconveniencing them on a daily basis.

Second, go ahead and profile. […]

Third, recognize that deterrence isn’t fair. Since it’s impossible to dissuade suicide bombers with the threat of certain death or bodily harm, you have to threaten things they care about. Israel’s policy of demolishing the family homes of Palestinian terrorists may not be altogether “just,” but it’s necessary to counter the overwhelmingly positive social approval and financial benefits these families receive for contributing “martyrs” to the cause.

Read the rest, or better yet, send the article to any French politicians that you can contact. Maybe they will begin to take back control of their country.

Referring to the last paragraph above concerning deterrence, I have expressed my own doubts about the effective of house demolitions of terrorists’ homes. However this week we were able to see exactly how this threat really is effective, at least sometimes: A Palestinian father turned in his terrorist son because of his fear of his house being demolished: (h/t Brian Goldfarb):

The father and brother of a Palestinian terrorist who shot dead two Israelis in the West Bank on Friday were the ones to inform the Israeli authorities of his involvement, in a bid to prevent the family home being demolished.

Yaakov Litman Hy’d and his son Netanel Hy’d who were murdered near Otniel on Friday. The wedding of Litman’s daughter was to have taken place tonight (Tuesday)

Hebron resident Shadi Ahmad Matua, aged 28 and married with two children, was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces on Saturday night, and is said by Israel to be a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

Following an extensive search, security forces located the gun that killed Rabbi Yaakov Litman, 40, and his 18-year-old son Netanel, as well as a car used in the attack near the settlement of Otniel.

According to a report from the Hebrew-language Ynet website, Shadi Matua told his brother Majidi that he had carried out the shooting. His brother then told their father and the two decided to turn the shooter in, to avoid a possible razing of their home.

One more important point to note: the French have a lot more leeway than Israel in its scope of action precisely because they don’t have the UN on its neck, examining its actions with a distorted microscope, and without a complicit media distorting its methods of self-defence. Therefore there are many things that the French can do that Israelis cannot, as the Elder of Ziyon notes:

On Friday night, French President Francois Hollande said, “To all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless.”

An Israeli leader could never say that against Islamic terrorists. Such language would be used as evidence that Israel desires genocide. “Pitiless,” after all, implies that some innocent will be killed along with the terrorists.

Police took into custody Saturday Mostefai’s father and brother and were searching their homes, a source close to the probe told AFP.

Isn’t that administrative detention, which we are told by human rights groups is a huge crime?

Isn’t that collective punishment, which we are told by human rights groups is a huge crime?

Oh, sorry. Those are only crimes when Israel does it to relatives of Arab terrorists. When it isn’t done by Israel, these moves are a strong signal to the terrorists that we are taking the threat seriously.

The Elder enumerates all the other methods which are acceptable for the French but not for Israel. He goes on to mercilessly lash Roger Cohen of the New York Times who hypocritically condemns Israel when it acts against Hamas in Gaza, but supports France in its fight against ISIS:

But when Western French are slaughtered – now we must fight back. Those victims were innocent human beings!  We must have a ground war! We must be pitiless!

Crushing ISIS in Syria and Iraq will not eliminate the jihadi terrorist threat. But the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. Passivity is a recipe for certain failure. It is time, in the name of humanity, to act with conviction and power against the scourge of the Islamic State.

Except when the victims are just Jews and the perpetrators can be given a “narrative” of victimhood.

Given this leeway that is available to France, and the West in general, maybe we will now finally see some progress in defeating ISIS and its murderous, barbaric medieval ideology.

Posted in Israel news, Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments