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Two Zionists walk into an elevator

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on May 18, 2012

an Elevator Pitch is, according to one definition:

 a very concise presentation of an idea covering all of its critical aspects, and delivered within a few seconds (the approximate duration of an elevator ride).

A fascinating debate about the role of Israel, Judaism and elevator pitches, has been taking place online of late.

It all started two weeks ago, during the much-discussed debate between Daniel Gordis and Peter Beinart, when the two were apparently asked the following question:

Both of you have written about the tragedy of young American Jews who have no connection to Judaism and the fate of the Jewish State. So let’s say you were stuck in an elevator with one of the people from that demographic and you had two minutes to sell them about why they should re-engage with Jewishness and Zionism and the Jewish people. What would you say?

Putting aside the ridiculous, oft-repeated concept of a put-you-to-sleep-two-minute elevator pitch (you can get to the top of the CN Tower in 58 seconds; pitches should last 30 seconds max). The question, put in other words, was how do you answer, “Why be Jewish,” briefly? Going back to our original definition, they were asked how to concisely present, “Why be Jewish (and by extension, care about the Jewish people and state)?” covering all of its critical aspects in two minutes.

Gordis and Beinart dodged the question. They simply chose to hear a different question altogether. In their ears, the moderator was not asking for an answer to “why be Jewish?” He was asking, “Can ‘why be Jewish?’ be summarized in a few words or thoughts?” Gordis said no. He wouldn’t engage in this conversation at all:

There are certain conversations that don’t deserve two minutes; they deserve years of upbringing… Let’s spend months and years studying together and then we’ll begin to talk.

Surprising. But what I found even more surprising was that Beinart, the self-appointed representative of young American Jews, agreed. They both essentially answered no to the question they had heard (not that which was asked). Such a noble and complicated idea cannot be summarized, and we should resist attempts to water Judaism or Zionism down.

Leonard Fein takes them both to task in The Forward:

No, there’s no way to summarize the whole Torah in the time available. But there is plenty of time to suggest a course just down the street for would-be converts, or to list with pride some of the extraordinary accomplishments of the Jews and to suggest that there may be a connection between the Torah of the Jews and the ways of the Jews and then to invite the rude skeptic for a leisurely coffee… ‘No,’ I’d say, ‘I’m not going to go the ‘on one foot route,’ which is insulting. But neither am I going to tell you that because you were failed as a child, you’re lost forever.

LA Jewish Journal writer David Suissa chimes in:

Are Gordis and Beinart being too dismissive? Fein thinks so, and I very much agree with him. The sad state of Jewish education today is even more reason why Judaism can’t afford to be too dismissive or pessimistic. As Fein says, our approach should be that it’s never too late to try to light a Jewish spark.

Fein and Suissa are right, of course. The question was, “What is your elevator pitch?” Not, “Can an elevator pitch be formulated?” To have a discussion over whether complex and noble ideas (and ideals) can be watered down to sound bites is archaic. Consider the times we live in, when complex entities such as countries engage in branding, when presidential candidates can “water down” their agenda to one or two words (Change and Hope were much more than that, of course), and when technology significantly decreases the attention span of today’s students. In such times, we can’t afford not to speak about Judaism and Israel in two minutes.

Additionally, one could also argue that pitches, slogans, symbols and short, snappy stories are nothing new. Consider “A Land without a people for a people without a land,” Herzl’s “If you Will it, and the Tanach (supposedly divine revelation watered down into a collection of simple motifs, symbols and catchy narratives). Symbolism is the secret to Christianity’s victory over Paganism (and to a lesser degree, Islam and Judaism’s success too), and, in the end, what is nationalism if not a nation coming together around one common, simple narrative, a land and a symbol. Herzl wrote in 1895 to Baron Hirsch that flags are the only thing people will die for en masse.

What does Israel mean to you? How do you tell a brief story and make your Zionism relevant to other students on campus? What is your elevator pitch?

These are some of the questions we posed on a recent Shabbaton to The David Project Israel Fellows, an impressive group of students ending Masa Israel Journey gap-year programs in Israel and heading back to American college campuses.

Nobody had an answer, but we challenged them to start thinking in these terms; to develop a brief articulation of this entire world of meaning. Not because it will answer all of the questions other students have on campus. On the contrary; it will hopefully lead to more questions, to a follow up conversation over a cup of coffee.

So what would a pitch look like? Why care about Israel?

Here’s one attempt at an elevator pitch:

Were Israel just a state, the high cost it exacts might not be justified. But Israel is not just a state. It breathed life into the Jewish people at precisely the moment when the Jews might have given up. It gives possibility and meaning to a Jewish future. It enables the Jews to reenter the stage of history.

And another:

But comfortable Zionism has become a moral abdication. Let’s hope that (young American) students, in solidarity with their (liberal Israeli) counterparts, can foster an uncomfortable Zionism, a Zionism angry at what Israel risks becoming, and in love with what it still could be. Let’s hope they care enough to try.

Breathing life into the Jewish people? Uncomfortable Zionism? These are catch phrases, sound bites, parts of a 30-second elevator pitch on Zionism.

These are not my words, of course, but those of Daniel Gordis and Peter Beinart in Saving Israel and The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment, respectively. These don’t provide the full answers, but are just enough of a pitch to cover main ideas and lead to followup conversations and engagement.

Now, was that so hard?

May 17, 2012, 6:04 pm 3
 
Ari Applbaum is Director of Israel Operations for The David Project, a non-profit that positively shapes campus opinion on Israel, and has been with the organization since 2007… [More]. Ari manages all aspects of the organization’s work in Israel such as overseeing operations and budget, a staff of three, strategic partnerships with other organizations and all educational programming. He also lectures to thousands of Americans visiting the Jewish state each year.From 2008 to 2010, Ari served as a Middle East Analyst for The David Project. Based out of Boston, MA, Ari travelled extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada to educate and inspire effective supporters of Israel. He spoke to thousands of adults and students and lectured at hundreds of venus, including Ivy League universities such as Harvard and prestigious conferences such as AIPAC’s Saban Leadership conference. While in Boston, Ari also served as marketing and communications manager for the organization. In this role, Ari was responsible for the organization’s overall media, public relations and marketing activities.Prior to The David Project, Ari served as Senior Account Executive at the Israel branch of Ruder Finn, one of the world’s largest marketing and communications consultancies. There he specialized in strategic planning, media and analyst relations, marketing material development, market research, and branding. Ari provided these services to non-profit organizations, global telecommunications and technology companies (including several Fortune 100 companies), Israeli start-ups and financial institutions.As a student activist, Ari was sent numerous times by the MFA, The Jewish Agency for Israel, and other organizations to represent Israel in the U.S., Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and The Netherlands.Ari holds a Master of the Arts degree in Security and Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Communication & Journalism and Islam & Middle-East Studies from Hebrew University. Ari is currently working on his first book, a compilation of inspirational Zionist quotes. He is married to Na’ama; Their twin sons Yuval and Roni were born in Boston but are eighth-generation Jerusalemites. [Less]

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1967 All Over Again?

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on May 13, 2012

Israel’s new coalition echoes the unity government that came together on the eve of the Six Day War

 

 
 

Top: Levi Eshkol and Moshe Dayan touring the West Bank in September 1967. Bottom: Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz during a joint press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 8, 2012. (Top Israel National Photo Collection; bottom Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

One thing’s certain: Tuesday’s sudden and dramatic expansion of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government—he now has the support of 94 Knesset members in the 120-seat house—considerably strengthens Netanyahu’s mandate to take what commentators insist on calling “historic steps.” But it is unclear whether the cooption of Shaul Mofaz and his Kadima faction makes an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities more likely or more remote.
We’ve been here before. Likud’s political coup carries echoes of another fateful moment: the establishment of a national unity government on June 1, 1967, the eve of the Six Day War, when Israel felt threatened by a burgeoning, militant Arab coalition headed by Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Back then, a left-wing government, led by Labor Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, was joined under popular pressure by right-wing parties (Menachem Begin’s Herut and Moshe Dayan’s Rafi) to present a united front mere days before Israel, on June 5, launched its devastating preemptive strike against Egypt.
Eshkol and Dayan could not have been more different. The prime minister was soft-spoken, with a wry sense of humor and European manners. Dayan, on the other hand, was brash, bold, and outspoken. One could only imagine how Eshkol felt when he had to abandon the ministry of defense—following Ben-Gurion’s precedent, the prime minister also claimed for himself what was clearly the Cabinet’s most important portfolio—forced by intense public pressure to hand it over to his polar opposite. But Eshkol made the difficult call for the sake of national security.
Today Israel faces the threat of a nuclear Iran—and the prospect of attacking Iranian nuclear facilities without a green light from Washington. But Mofaz is no Dayan.
The Iranian-born politician is known as “Mr. Zigzag”—the Israeli equivalent of flip-flopper. A former IDF paratroop commander and chief of general staff, back in the early 2000s Mofaz was a Likud stalwart (and defense minister). But he bolted the party, which he had called his “home,” in 2005 for Kadima when he realized he wouldn’t become the head of Likud. Six weeks ago, he was elected by Kadima’s rank and file as the new leader of the party, replacing Tzipi Livni, who had inherited Kadima leadership with the fall of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2009.
Just days ago, Mofaz vowed not to join Netanyahu’s “crumbling” government and had publicly called the prime minister “a liar” in whom he had no trust. During the past months, he has been a public and staunch opponent of bombing Iran anytime soon, arguing that the nuclear problem must be resolved by the international community through sanctions and diplomacy. In any case, he argued, there was still substantial time before the military option had to be considered.
And yet now, Mofaz will join Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a three-man kitchen Cabinet or the fuller eight-man “Inner Cabinet,” where the call of whether or not to launch a military strike against Iran will be decided. Both Netanyahu and Barak are on record as pessimists when it comes to the possibility that sanctions or diplomacy will stop Tehran’s march toward nuclear weapons. Both have made it clear that Israel will have to rely on its armed forces to resolve the problem, whether or not Washington gives Jerusalem a green light.
Thinking in Jerusalem is currently focused on the period between July, when a further round of sanctions against Iran will kick in, and the American presidential elections in November. Netanyahu and Barak believe that President Obama will find it very difficult to punish Israel for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities just before the elections, since Obama will need the help of Jewish donors and voters, and other supporters of Israel, to win. On the other hand, an Israeli strike after the November elections will incur Obama’s wrath—and, some fear, could translate into sanctions against Israel.
No one knows whether Netanyahu elicited from Mofaz a secret promise to support, or at least a vow not to block, a strike against Iran as the price of his entry into the government, where he will serve as a minister without portfolio. But clearly Netanyahu—recently under attack from a number of senior defense figures, including Yuval Diskin, the former head of Shin Bet and ex-Mossad head Meir Dagan, both of whom oppose attacking Iran at present; and, more mutedly, by current IDF chief of general staff Benny Gantz, who said he doesn’t believe Iran will “go the extra mile” and build a bomb—was clearly happy to have Mofaz on board. With the backing of 94 MKs, Netanyahu will present a far more solid antagonist for Obama or any other external or internal doubting Thomases in the coming months.
Mofaz was eager to join the government. The day before striking the deal, the Cabinet had voted for early general elections, to be held on Sept. 4. Opinion polls had predicted that Netanyahu would triumph and emerge as the only politician able to form a new government. Meanwhile, Kadima was predicted to win fewer than 10 seats, which would have relegated Mofaz to political oblivion. (Currently, Kadima has 28 seats, won by Livni in the 2009 elections.) The opinion polls predicted that the lost Kadima seats would have been divided between Labor, with its current leader Shelly Yachimovich replacing Mofaz as leader of the opposition, and Yair Lapid, a popular journalist and son of former center-right politician Tommy Lapid. At least in the short term, Lapid and Yachimovich are the losers in the Netanyahu-Mofaz coup.
Mofaz and Netanyahu—who was not eager to hold general elections because a recent Supreme Court ruling demanded that the government remove an illegal West Bank settlement by July, which would have embroiled the prime minister in bitter controversy with his right-wing allies—have clearly come out the winners. But the Israeli public, too, may well have gained a genuinely unified government, which is why instant opinion polls suggested that the bulk of Israelis supports the Kadima-Likud alliance.
The public opposed early elections as a waste of money that would have delivered no real change. According to the official coalition deal signed between Mofaz and Netanyahu, the new government will promote legislation that will force the ultra-Orthodox community to, at long last, send its sons to do military or other national service and join the labor market (until now, they have basically lived off state subsidies, paid for by the taxes of the largely secular middle and working classes). Getting the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the army and work has been a basic demand of most Israelis, left and right, for decades.
Netanyahu and Mofaz have also agreed to radically change the Israeli political system, which is based on proportional representation. The system has tended to give small, mainly religious parties too much power and the ability to extort political concessions and financial subsidies from the coalitions in which they almost inevitably participate. (Yet most Israeli political commentators have suggested that Netanyahu will balk at implementing such reform, fearing that next time around, the religious parties will take revenge by preferring Labor or a centrist party to the Likud as their potential coalition partners.)
Lastly, Mofaz and Netanyahu agreed to make concessions to last year’s street protesters, who demanded increased government subsidies in education, housing, and other services. Whether the new coalition will indeed deliver is yet to be seen.
Most Israelis are now thinking about their summer vacations in Europe or their unpaid bills (or both). Not Netanyahu. Last week, Netanyahu buried his 102-year-old father, Benzion Netanyahu, a historian of the Spanish Inquisition and, in the 1930s, a vociferous publicist and prophet warning against the impending Holocaust. In interviews in recent years, the elder Netanyahu loudly decried the Iranian nuclear project as a threat to Israel’s very existence. His son, who has in the past three years repeatedly compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler, clearly sees neutralizing the Iranian threat as his historic duty and future legacy. He may well have given his father his word on this.
In 1967, the Eshkol-Dayan coalition was a prelude to war. Was adding Mofaz—and 27 other Kadima members of Knesset—part of Netanyahu’s strategy to carry out a risky mission against a similarly brutal enemy? Stay tuned.
***

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Dozens hurt as Christian march attacked in Cairo

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on November 18, 2011

Hundreds of Coptic Christians marching in Cairo on Thursday came under attack by assailants throwing stones and bottles and 25 people were lightly injured in subsequent clashes, a security official said.
They were marching to demand justice for the Christian victims of a clash with soldiers in October that left at least 25 people dead, most of them Christians.
The official said the Copts were attacked in the northern Shoubra neighbourhood with stones and bottles, and that some among them responded in kind.
He said supporters of an Islamist candidate for upcoming parliamentary election joined in the attack on the Copts.
An AFP correspondent on the scene said hundreds of riot police were deployed to the area and that the clashes had eventually subsided.
Copts, who make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, complain of discrimination in the Muslim-majority country.
There has been a spike in sectarian clashes since a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.
The deadliest took place on October 9, when thousands of Christians protesting an attack on a church clashed with soldiers.
Witnesses said the soldiers fired on the demonstrators and ran them over with military vehicles, which the military denies.
The military said a number its soldiers were killed in the clash.

 

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Obama Torpedoed Peace Process

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on May 24, 2011

The plan for a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on the 1967 Israeli border was dealt a serious blow and damaged the global image of the United States, Israeli advocate and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax.TV.

Dershowitz was commenting on Obama’s Thursday address at the State Department in which he pressed Israel to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and set the 1967 border as it existed before the Six-Day War as a starting point. Obama’s position “hurt the peace process gravely,” he said, adding that the president’s declaring such a marker repeated a negotiating error that led to an earlier breakdown in talks when he insisted on a freeze of Israeli settlements in occupied territories.

“He made the same mistake again in this speech,” Dershowitz said. “He put himself ahead of the Palestinians. That is he insisted Israel go back to ’67 borders with land swaps, but he did not demand that the Palestinians give up the right of return.”

The former Supreme Court law clerk and noted defense lawyer believes the speech will have a “terrible impact” on U.S. Israeli relations and increased the level of distrust dramatically, although “polite discourse” will continue.

“The tragedy is during the Obama administration the prospect of peace has gone further away than it’s ever been in recent years since Israel offered to give the Palestinians a state . . . He’s been ham-handed in how he has dealt with the issue of negotiations and the result is we’re further away than ever before from negotiated peace and that’s in large part the fault of President Obama and I think that’s the terrible tragedy of how he’s handled this process.”

Dershowitz also maintained the speech will damage the country’s image.

“I think also the speech was not particularly good for the United States,” he said. “It set us out in a way that showed naiveté and created a situation where neither side will be encouraged to move toward peace by what the president said. So I think on balance it was a net loss rather than a net gain. And I am disappointed because I favor a two-state solution, I voted for Obama and I was hoping he would have a more sophisticated and realistic approach to negotiations which he doesn’t seem to have. He has twice now set back the prospects for negations and a two state solution.”

Dershowitz also criticized how little time Obama spent on the question of Iran and its nuclear weapons program. Obama devoted few words to the issue in his speech, noting at one point that the United States’ “opposition to Iran’s intolerance and Iran’s repressive measures, as well as its illicit nuclear program and its support of terror, is well known.”

“The thousand-pound elephant in the room that threatens Israel’s security more than the Palestinians, or the Syrians or the Egyptians is the prospect that Iran will develop nuclear weapons,” Dershowitz said. “Although he threw a little bone against Iranian development of nuclear weapons he did not guarantee Israel that Iran would not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. In fact he had a big statement saying Israel will have to be prepared to defend itself alone.”

Such language increases the “distress most Israeli’s have in Obama,” Dershowitz said.

“It would have been far better had he not make that speech than that he included the few paragraphs he did about Israel which were ill conceived and I think not helpful to the peace process,” he said.

http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/Dershowitz-Obama-Mideast-Israel/2011/05/20/id/397146

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Obama Administration Gets Tough On Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on May 12, 2011

There are a couple of articles that seemed important to include on IsraelAmerica today. The first is a Jerusalem Post report about the administration’s view about the Fatah-Hamas rerconcilliation agreement.
Next up is a piece on the report that the President is going to address the world’s Muslims in the near future, and ask them to reject radical Islam.
So far, the administration is looking good on Hamas.
It remains to be seen what the President can do to change the outlook of a people, I mean here, the Persians, and the Arabs,President Obama who have practiced a rather brutal and racist version of Islam for hundreds of years.
Prior to Islam the Arabs were described by a fourth century Roman historian thusly:
Fighting and war are their delights.
The man who dies in battle is considered the happiest man of all, one who dies old, and in bed, is considered shamed.”
President Obama is known by many Muslims as the man who triumphed over Bin Laden, who ordered his death.
Arabs respect strength, so perhaps an Obama who is respected in this way may actually get through to these people.
CLINTON: U.S. WON’T DEAL WITH PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT THAT INCLUDES HAMAS
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that the United States will not deal with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless the Islamist group reforms, The Jerusalem Post reported. “We’ve made it very clear that we cannot support any government that consists [sic] of Hamas unless and until Hamas adopts the Quartet principles,”Clinton said. The Quartet conditions require Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and respect previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Clinton’s comments came in the wake of the unity deal signed between Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday.

Obama To Speak to Muslims About Rejecting Islamic Militancy

 By JTA

Published May 11, 2011.

WASHINGTON — President Obama reportedly is planning a new speech to the Muslim world that would call for a rejection of Islamic militancy.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House is planning for such a speech within the next two weeks, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to roll out proposals for reviving peace talks with the Palestinians in a meeting with Obama and in a speech to the U.S. Congress.

The United States and Israel share concerns that the pro-democracy movements now roiling the Arab world could be overtaken in some cases by Islamist forces.

According to the Journal, Obama wants to exploit the recent U.S. killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to deliver a message that the United States embraces democracy but rejects militancy.

“It’s an interesting coincidence of timing,” the newspaper quoted deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes as saying. “That he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model.”

Obama delivered a speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009 proposing a new era of engagement.

Conservatives criticized the speech for not emphasizing democratization.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/137674/#ixzz1MBjioixA

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The U.S. State Department is Chastising the Israeli government

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on May 10, 2011

The U.S. State Department is severely chastising the Israeli government for withholding tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israel is responding to the PA’s creation of a “Unity Government” with Hamas; Hamas, whose stated mission is the destruction of Israel and has been designated by the U.S. as a “terrorist organization.” According to news reports, the State Dept. says it’s “premature” to stop funding the PA – that Israel and the United States should “wait and see” what kind of policies this new terrorist-related government puts in place.  The fact is that the Administration is asking us and Israel to provide taxpayer funds to terrorists. We cannot let this stand. The ACLJ has already sent a team of senior attorneys to Israel. We are mobilizing our legal and legislative teams in Washington, D.C., to meet this challenge at the United Nations (U.N.) and in Congress. And we are calling on President Barack Obama, the United States Senate and House, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to reject any government which embraces Hamas and its radical Islamic terrorists. Please add your voice in this important fight for our national security and the security of Israel. Sign the Petition to Reject Terrorists in “Unity Government” now.

We must take action in this critical fight.  In response to the death of Osama bin Laden, Hamas condemned the United States and called bin Laden a “holy warrior.”  The United States has been providing billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority over the years, with more than $500 million going to them last year alone.  Clearly, it is time for the U.S. to send a very strong message – we cannot send our tax dollars to support a terrorist-linked government. Either the Palestinian Authority rejects Hamas, or we stop sending U.S. funds to them.  The U.N. is currently evaluating whether or not it will officially recognize the Palestinian Authority and this new “Unity Government” with Hamas. While it seems impossible that the U.N. would vote to recognize a Palestinian state governed by any terrorist-based group, we’ve seen things just as outrageous in the past.  We must demand that the United Nations refuse to recognize any government that includes Hamas. To deal with this radical Islamic terrorist group as if it were a legitimate government flies in the face of everything good and honorable in America and represents a grave threat to Israel.  Thank you in advance for standing with us and signing the Petition to Reject Terrorists in “Unity Government.”  We must stand by our ally, Israel, and do all we can to foster peace in the Middle East.  Hamas will only bring further violence to the region and destabilize an already tumultuous landscape.

Petition to Reject Terrorists in “Unity Government”

Sincerely, Jay Sekulow ACLJ Chief Counsel

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Two Arab Terrorists Confess to Fogel Massacre – without Regret

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on April 17, 2011

by Tzvi Ben

Gedalyahu and Gil Ronen Security forces arrested two residents of the village of Awarta near Itamar, who have confessed to murdering the Fogel family last month.

They acted out of Arab nationalist motives and have not expressed regret for their crime.

The commander of the IDF in Samaria (Shomron) said in a video briefing, “The murderers are in our hands.” Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) lifted a gag order on the investigation of the massacre at noon Sunday (5 a.m. EDT). The terrorists were indentified as Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad 18, residents of Awarta, an Arab village neighboring the Jewish community of Itamar, where the Fogel family lived. The teenage terrorists, who are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), were assisted by at least six others, four of them from Awad’s family. The massacre of the Fogels took place at night on Friday night (Sabbath), March 11. The terrorists climbed over the fence surrounding Itamar, a Samaria community, and entered the Fogel family’s home. They stabbed to death Rabbi Ehud (Udi) Fogel, his wife Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas. The terrorists not only expressed no regret for the brutal stabbings of their parents, the baby, and two other young children, but they also said they would have killed two other children, Roi, 8, and Shai, 2 if they had known they were in another room. The sixth child, Tamar, was out of the house at the time of the murders and discovered the shocking scene when she returned home. The terrorists told investigators that before entering the Fogel home, they went into an adjacent home, where the residents were away. The two teenagers stole weapons from the home and also took a gun from the Fogel family after the late Friday night slaughter of their victims. Investigators said they were shocked by the impassionate confessions and description of the murders by the teenagers, one of whom said he has been prepared to become a “martyr.” In an unusual decision, the family agreed to release graphic photographs of the aftermath of the murder, in order to explain Israel’s situation in the face of Arab barbarism. The Prime Minister’s Office was dismayed by the halfhearted and belated denouncements issued by the Palestinian Authority after the massacre, and blamed the PA’s incitement of its populace for enabling the crime. Following the massacre, the government approved the construction of 500 new housing units to be built in Maaleh Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer, adjacent to Modi’in. No new construction was approved in smaller communities, such as Itamar. Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Yishai, the mourning father of Ruth Fogel, told an interviewer that the grandparents of the orphans will will take upon themselves the difficult task of raising them, in order to “pave for them the path so that life will be victorious.” 1. Two Arab Terrorists Confess to Fogel Massacre – without Regret by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Gil Ronen Security forces arrested two residents of the village of Awarta near Itamar, who have confessed to murdering the Fogel family last month. They acted out of Arab nationalist motives and have not expressed regret for their crime. The commander of the IDF in Samaria (Shomron) said in a video briefing, “The murderers are in our hands.” Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) lifted a gag order on the investigation of the massacre at noon Sunday (5 a.m. EDT). The terrorists were indentified as Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad 18, residents of Awarta, an Arab village neighboring the Jewish community of Itamar, where the Fogel family lived. The teenage terrorists, who are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), were assisted by at least six others, four of them from Awad’s family. The massacre of the Fogels took place at night on Friday night (Sabbath), March 11. The terrorists climbed over the fence surrounding Itamar, a Samaria community, and entered the Fogel family’s home. They stabbed to death Rabbi Ehud (Udi) Fogel, his wife Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas. The terrorists not only expressed no regret for the brutal stabbings of their parents, the baby, and two other young children, but they also said they would have killed two other children, Roi, 8, and Shai, 2 if they had known they were in another room. The sixth child, Tamar, was out of the house at the time of the murders and discovered the shocking scene when she returned home. The terrorists told investigators that before entering the Fogel home, they went into an adjacent home, where the residents were away. The two teenagers stole weapons from the home and also took a gun from the Fogel family after the late Friday night slaughter of their victims. Investigators said they were shocked by the impassionate confessions and description of the murders by the teenagers, one of whom said he has been prepared to become a “martyr.” In an unusual decision, the family agreed to release graphic photographs of the aftermath of the murder, in order to explain Israel’s situation in the face of Arab barbarism. The Prime Minister’s Office was dismayed by the halfhearted and belated denouncements issued by the Palestinian Authority after the massacre, and blamed the PA’s incitement of its populace for enabling the crime. Following the massacre, the government approved the construction of 500 new housing units to be built in Maaleh Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer, adjacent to Modi’in. No new construction was approved in smaller communities, such as Itamar. Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Yishai, the mourning father of Ruth Fogel, told an interviewer that the grandparents of the orphans will will take upon themselves the difficult task of raising them, in order to “pave for them the path so that life will be victorious.” “Their mother and father will pray for them from the Heavens, their grandfathers and grandmothers will give them a lot of love, and the People of Israel will hug them and encourage them to grow and continue in the path of their parents,” he said. “Their mother and father will pray for them from the Heavens, their grandfathers and grandmothers will give them a lot of love, and the People of Israel will hug them and encourage them to grow and continue in the path of their parents,” he said.

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It is difficult to hate babies.

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on April 11, 2011

It is very difficult to hate babies.

It takes a special person.

As morally wrong as it is to murder innocent adults, mankind seems to have a built-in revulsion against killing babies. If a baby does not evoke any tenderness, if a baby is regarded as worthy of being deliberately hurt or murdered, we know that we have encountered a degree of evil that few humans — even among murderers — can relate to.

That is why what Palestinian terrorists did to a Jewish family on the West Bank last month deserves far more attention than it received.

Normally, Palestinian atrocities get little attention — certainly far less attention than Israeli apartment-building on the West Bank receives. But this particular atrocity got even less attention than usual because the world was focused on the terrible tsunami that hit Japan.

On a Friday night, Palestinian terrorists slipped into a Jewish settlement, entered a home and stabbed the father, the mother and three of their children to death: an 11-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a three-month-old baby.

In order to understand what those actions mean, a seemingly separate incident needs to be recalled: the prolonged sexual attack by up to 200 Egyptian men on Lara Logan, chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, in Tahrir Square, Cairo a few weeks ago. It was reported that after stripping her naked and then molesting and beating her, the men kept shouting, “Jew, Jew!”

The two incidents tell the same tale. In much of the Arab Muslim and some of the non-Arab Muslim world today (such as Iran), “Jew” is not a person. “Jew” is not even merely the enemy. In fact, there is no parallel on Earth to what “Jew” means to a hundred million, perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims.

Think of any conflict in the world — Pakistan-India, China-Tibet, North Korea-South Korea, Tamil-Sinhalese. There are some deep hatreds there, and atrocities have been committed on one or both sides of those conflicts. But in none of those conflicts nor anywhere else is there something equivalent to what “Jew” means to millions of Muslims.

There really is only one historical parallel, and it, too, involved the word “Jew.” The Nazis also succeeded in fully dehumanizing the word “Jew.” Thus, for Nazism, it was as important (if not more so) to murder Jewish babies and children — often through as cruel a means as possible (being burned alive, buried alive or thrown up in the air and impaled on bayonets) — as it was to murder Jewish adults.

The human being does not have to learn to hate. It seems to come pretty naturally. Nor does the human being have to learn to murder, steal or rape. These, too, seem to be in the natural human repertoire of evils.

But the human being does have to learn to hate children and babies, and to regard the torture and murder of them as morally desirable acts. It takes years of work to undo normal protective human attitudes toward children.

That is precisely what the Nazis did and what significant parts of the Muslim world have done to the word “Jew.” To them, the Jew is not just sub-human; the Jew — and his or her children — is sub-animal.

Palestinian and other Muslim spokesmen and their supporters on the left argue that this unique hatred is the fruit of Israeli policies, not decades of Nazi-like Jew-hatred saturating Islamic education, television, radio and the mosque. But for this to be true, unique hatred would have to be matched by unique evil on the Israelis’ part.

Yet, among the injustices of the world, what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians would not even register on a moral Richter scale. The creation of Israel engendered about 750,000 Palestinian refugees (and an equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries) and the death of perhaps 10 thousand Palestinian Arabs. And all of that came about solely because Arab armies invaded Israel in order to destroy it at birth. Yet, when Pakistan was yanked from India and established as a Muslim state at the very same time Israel was established, that act engendered 12.5 million Muslim refugees and about a million dead Muslims (and similar numbers of Hindu refugees and deaths). Why then doesn’t “Hindu” equal “Jew” in the Muslim lexicon of hate?

Here are some answers in brief:

First, many groups have been hated, but none have been hated as deeply as the Jews.

Second, Jew-hatred is often exterminationist, which is why Jew-hatred has little in common with ethnic bigotry, religious intolerance or even racism. Rarely, if ever, do any of them seek the extermination of the disliked or hated group.

Third, exterminationist Jew-haters are particularly dangerous people. Non-Jews who do not recognize Jew-hatred as the moral cancer it is are fools. Nazism was born in Jew-hatred and led to the death of more than 40 million non-Jews. Islamic terror started against Israeli Jews but has spread around the world. More fellow Muslims have now been murdered by Islamic terror than Jews have.

That is why the tsunami the world ignored this weekend — the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim flood of Jew-hatred — is the one that will prove far more dangerous to it than the Japanese one it understandably focused on.

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The Brutal Murder of an Innocent Jewish Family, Haunts Me Night and Day

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on April 11, 2011

The brutal murder of an innocent Jewish family, while they slept peacefully in bed, haunts me every day and night.  I wish that I had not read the early descriptions of Hadas, the 3 month old baby, whose fists were tightly clenched when his young body was discovered.  His last thought, on leaving this earth, was a nightmare.  Yet we must remember this crime, not only so these innocents will not have died in vain, but so that we can remember what these Arab criminals, who control Fatah and Hamas, would like to do to every living Jew.   Remember also, that “moderate” P.A. head Abbas, although he briefly and perfunctorily condemned the crime, immediately, in the same speech, blamed Israel for building apartments on “disputed” land as the cause for slitting the throats of two harmless adults and three innocent Jewish babies.

This Song Commemorates the Fogel Family, and Salutes the Surviving Daughter . Popular Israeli singer Amir Benayun  got together with the children’s choir of Itamar and recorded with them a special song, which he composed for the observance of 30 days since five members of the Fogel family were murdered by terrorists in their Itamar home on March 11.The song is called “Hitna’ari” (Shake yourself free), a phrase taken from the L’cha Dodi prayer sung on Friday evenings and which was used by Yochai Ben Yishai, brother of victim Ruth Fogel, during his eulogy at the funeral. The song is dedicated to the Fogels’ daughter, Tamar Fogel, who survived the terror attack.

One of the members of the choir was 11-year-old Yoav Fogel, brother of Tamar and one of those killed in the attack. The choir has been renamed Pirchei Yoav (Yoav’s flowers) in his memory.

Lyrics (translated from Hebrew):

You are tired

Two thousand reasons to cry

You are sad

There is no drought year from tears

You are desperate

When you try to just talk

You become silent

When you have no brother, when you have no friend.. Shake yourself free,

rise from the dust

Dress in your garments of splendor

I am a grain of sand

I passed with you all your wanderings

Shake yourself free and live in your blood

You are tired And must stay and guard

You are sad

You did not want to be a hero at all

You do not give up

Even when there is no house to go back toYou insist

And scream and whisper a prayer

Shake yourself free, rise from the dust

Dress in your garments of splendor

I am a grain of sandI passed with you all your wanderings

Shake yourself free and live in your blood

 

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Hamas: Our response has been limited

Posted by Michael F.Blackburn Sr. on April 9, 2011

Terror group accuses Israel of committing war crimes amid relentless rocket fire directed at southern communities

Elior Levy

Published: 04.09.11, 14:55 / Israel News

 

 

Hamas has accused Israel Saturday of committing war crimes against Palestinians, amid relentless rocket fire directed at the Jewish state by Gaza terrorists.

 

The terror group also warned that the Palestinian factions’ response to Israel’s actions thus far has been limited.

 

 

Hamas claimed that since Thursday, Israel has committed war crimes against women, children and the elderly. The group charged that the IDF hit ambulances as part of  its strikes on Gaza.

 

“Israel will not succeed in achieving its political goals and will not break the spirit of the Palestinian people who stand strong in the face of escalation,” Hamas said.

 

The Islamist movement stressed that Israel was responsible for the recent escalation and that unlike the Palestinian factions it does not show restraint. The group warned that it will not sit idly by as the escalation continues and said “Israel must bear the consequences of its actions.”

Attack on Gaza Strip (Photo: AFP)

 

Hamas slams world

Hamas also slammed the international community and claimed that its lack of response enables Israel to “commit crimes.” The group claimed that the “international community bears responsibility for all repercussions and developments stemming from this escalation.”

 

The organization also called on all Arab states to show solidarity and resist Israeli aggression.

 


Hamas spokesmen Sami Abu Zuhri and Fawzi Barhoum praised the Egyptian protestors whoburned Israeli flagson Friday outside the Israeli Embassy in Egypt. They also urged an Arab League meeting following the escalation.

 

The two further called on the US to halt financial and military aid to Israel.

 

Abu Zuhri also said Hamas terrorists did not intend to target Israeli schoolchildren when they fired a rocket at a bus two days ago, critically wounding a teenager and sparking the latest round of border fighting.

 

 

“It was not known that the bus targeted on the outskirts of Gaza carried schoolchildren,” he told Reuters, adding that the road where the bus was travelling was often used by Israeli military vehicles.

 

 

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that more than 70 mortar shells, Qassams and Grad rockets have been fired at Israel in the last two days. Some 15 terrorists were killed and 50 were injured in IDF strikes in the Gaza Strip.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

 

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