Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A picture of Muslims bowing--and a Jewish prophecy

Perhaps you've seen recent news from Israel about the Temple Mount (Udi Shaham , "Muslim authority protests Temple Mount security measures, blocks entrance" jerusalempost, July 16, 2017). The Muslim Waqf, the authority referred to above, is angry. So far as it is concerned, the Jews are the cause of that anger.

Here's the story: on Friday morning, July 14, 2017, three Arabs shot and killed two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Liel Leibovitz, "Palestinian terrorists murder two Israeli police officers  in shooting attack on Temple Mount", tablet, July 14, 2017). Moments later, the three attackers were killed by other police on the Mount (ibid). As a consequence of the attack, Israeli officials shut down all access to the Mount (ibid). 

The Temple Mount was shut down for less than two days. During that shut-down, Israeli police searched the Temple Mount area for weapons other Muslims might have hidden there to use in future attacks against police and Jews on the Mount.  Police also initiated an investigation into who might have assisted the attackers. 

Two days isn't enough to do a complete search of the Temple Mount, so the search wasn't as thorough as it might have been. Still, police found dozens of  hidden weapons, including knives, cudgels, spikes, unexploded munitions and stun grenades (Judah Ari gross, "Police uncover weapons, but no guns, in Temple Mount searches", timesofisrael, July 16, 2017). Police arrested eight Arabs, including 3 Waqf officials who work on the Temple Mount ("Temple Mount terror weapons hidden days in advance", jewishpress, July 16, 2017).  Police also concluded that the terrorists had brought their weapons up to the Temple Mount in the days leading up to the attack (ibid). 

In the end, with Arab outrage growing over the closing of the Mount, Israeli authorities reopened the Temple Mount on Sunday, July 16, 2017--with new metal detectors installed at all points leading up to the Temple  Mount ("Israel to reopen Temple Mt.on Sunday; 3 Waqf officials held", timesofisrael, July 14, 2017). 

This was done for obvious reasons. Weapons had been found hidden on the Temple Mount, a serious attack against police had just taken place on the Temple Mount and Arab incitement against Jews on the Temple Mount was beginning to grow.

Israelis are accustomed to passing through a metal detector. Municipal buildings, public transportation centers, many stores and government buildings in Israel use them. They are not offensive to Jews.

But these same metal detectors are very offensive to the Muslim authority which runs the Temple Mount. Even though the metal detectors the Israeli police installed were not located on the Temple Mount itself--but at entrances to the Temple Mount--Muslims became outraged (Judah Ari Gross, "Worshipers protest metal detectors as Israel reopens Temple Mount", timesofisrael, July 16, 2017).  

Arab anger at Israeli defensive actions following an Arab terror attack is nothing new for Israel. Apparently, Arabs get very offended when Jews do something to make Israel safer for Jews. 

To protest this horrific Jewish offense (installing metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount), the Waqf ordered that Muslim prayers on Sunday should not be done at the Temple Mount, but at the entrance to the Mount.   

Here's a picture (from the timesofisrael) of that protest worship outside one Temple Mount entrance.   

Muslim worshippers stage a prayer protest outside the Temple Mount compound against metal detectors that were set up at the entrance to the holy site after a terror attack two days prior, on July 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

This picture is the focal point of this essay. Consider how the worshipers bow as Israeli police stand before them. 

Israel MK (Member of Knesset) Bezalal Smotrich saw this picture and remembered a posuk (sentence) from the Prophet Yeshayahu. He remembered Yeshayahu 60:14, and the words, "The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; and those who despise you will bow down at your feet" (loose translation, but accurate). 

Look at this picture. What do you see?

MK Smotrich superimposed words from this quote onto the picture and sent it to the internet. The picture certainly seemed to show those who despise us bowing down at our feet.

I found this picture at the blogsite, lifeinisrael, dated July 17, 2017 as 'Tweet of the Day". 

What are we looking at in this photo--a scene of outdoor prayer? A protest? A Biblical prophecy come true? Some kind of eerie coincidence?  Or, a harbinger of a Biblical-driven future?

Stay tuned to get the answer.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Israel Fund cries 'foul'. We shouldn't care

The New Israel Fund (NIF) is an organization that dedicates itself to one goal: to strengthen and expand what it calls pro-democracy, progressive forces in Israel (NGO Monitor-homepage-search-New Israel Fund-New Israel Fund-NGO Monitor,  January 15, 2017). To achieve this goal, the NIF puts its money where its mouth is. It's backed more than 900 organizations over the last 38 years. 

The NIF wants social justice (New Israel Fund homepage-About). It's paid out more than $300 million US dollars to get it (ibid). It's still waiting to get it. 

In practice, however, the NIF isn't about justice of any kind for Israel . It's about funding organizations that are closer to the viciously anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (NGO Monitor, ibid) than to Israel. 

The NIF is comfortable with its anti-Israel bed-fellows. It's given financial backing to such Israeli anti-Israel NGOs as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, +972 Magazine and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (ibid). It has also backed the Israeli anti-Israel NGO, B'tselem (NGO  Monitor-search- B'tselem-B'tselem-NGO Monitor, November 24, 2016).

These organizations are not pro-Israel. They don't help Israel. They delegitimize it.

B'Tselem, in particular, makes a regular habit of accusing Israel of Apartheid, war crimes, forced deportations and abusing 'Palestinians' (ibid). Like all its brothers-in-slime who receive NIF money, it operates to harm Israel by using unsupported (and sometimes false) allegations of deliberate and systematic abuses against innocent 'Palestinians' (New Israel Fund-NGO Monitor, ibid). 

If there's one unifying statement that captures what these NIF-backed organizations aim to do, it's this: they aim to delegitimize and criminalize the State of Israel.

The NIF is, in other words, a bona fide 'progressive'. Like all progressives, it's decidedly anti-Israel. It's hard to tell if there's an anti-Israeli Leftist cause in Israel the NIF doesn't like.

You may wish to make note of this 'resume' because Talia Sasson, current president of the New Israel Fund, is almost screaming mad (Ido Ben Porat, "NIF president fries back at Netanyahu", arutzsheva, July 17, 2017). She's angry that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempts to delegitimize the NIF.

How ironic. The most prominent organization to fund efforts in Israel to delegitimize Israel is outraged that the Prime Minister of Israel should attempt to delegitimize it. 

What's Tali Sasson's problem? There are protests popping up all over Israel concerning an investigation against Netanyahu for supposedly inappropriate behavior during the purchase of submarines from Germany. The protesters don't like the way Israel's Attorney General (Avichai Mandelblit) has been handling the investigations (ibid). Protesters claim he hasn't been tough enough on Netanyahu.

They don't clamor for an honest investigation. They clamor for Mandelblit to indict Netanyahu (ibid). They'll settle for nothing less.

These protests have popped up in Petah Tikva, Be'er Sheva, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nahariya, Netanya and Haifa (Oded Shalom "From a small Petah Tikva square to a nationwide protest", ynet, July 17, 2017). They could be the major anti-Netanyahu Leftist effort this year. 

The Prime Minister has gone on TV about all of this. He's said these protests are financed by the New Israel Fund (ibid). He claimed the protests are designed to exert improper pressure on Mandelblit (ibid). 

He may be right. He may also be responding to a Leftist-generated swell that appears to be growing against him (from what I have seen, most Israelis see this scandal as just more politicking). But the more tired Israelis get about this 'scandal', the louder the protests get. 

Netanyahu suggests that the NIF is working to 'bring down a Prime Minister' (ibid). He's said these protests are irresponsible and illegal--because protesters may not have requested proper permits to protest (ibid).

The New Israel Fund cries 'foul'. Yes, at first, Sasson simply denied the allegations (News Brief: "NIF director: we would consider funding A-G protests", arutzsheva, July 16, 2017).  But then, the next day, she expressed outrage that, as she said, Netanyahu was trying to 'delegitimize' the NIF (Porat, above) .  

How ironic.  Talia Sasson has no problem backing the delegitimaztion and criminalization of the sovereign State of Israel. But she becomes outraged that the Prime Minister of this sovereign State should try to delegitimize her anti-Israel efforts. 

The Left everywhere is like that. Leftists seem to feel they have an unfettered entitlement to libel anyone they wish. But should anyone use the same harsh words against them, they cry. 

Like many who are self-centered and arrogant, Leftists love to 'dish it out'. But as soon as someone criticizes them, they turn into two-year old's throwing a tantrum. 

The NIF is no different. We shouldn't care if it cries. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday cartoon from Israel: get Netanyahu!

Today is Friday.  It's time for another cartoon. This cartoon is from Israel.

For background, consider that there's a media frenzy gripping Israel's media industry. The frenzy focuses on at least two supposed corruption scandals that center on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Although nothing of substance has emerged against Netanyahu, some in the media write as if Netanyahu's corruption is as obvious as the nose on his face. True, there's no evidence (so far) of criminal activity (Adiv Sterman, "The media closes in on Netanyahu", timesofisrael, July 14, 2017). But that hasn't stopped some in Israel from covering these stories as if it's patently obvious the PM belongs in jail (ibid). 

The frenzy to get Netanyahu reminds one of the anti-Trump media frenzy in the US. That frenzy wants to get Trump impeached. In both instances, the frenzy is ugly.

Today's cartoon comes from Haaretz, a Left-leaning paper which is no fan of the Rightist Netanyahu. This cartoon portrays Netanyahu and his 'cronies' sweating over police investigations--and in the process, getting all tied up by their telephone records (at least, that's  my interpretation). 

The  cartoon is  by Eran Wolkowski. It appeared in Haaretz July 13, 2017.                                         . 

 Illustration: Israel's Submarine Scandal: 'Suspicions grow stronger' as Netanyahu lawyer remains in custody

I don't recognize the 'cronies' portrayed in the cartoon. But the figure in the foreground is, I'd say, Netanyahu. They're all worried. 

Israel politics can get nasty. It's unpleasant, to say the least. It's also embarrassing because the media, which should be unbiased, makes itself look like gaggle of clowns by portraying Netanyahu prematurely as a criminal just seconds away from getting arrested. 

It's gotten so bad, it doesn't matter  any more if Netanyahu is actually guilty of something. The frenzy is so outrageous that, if Netanyahu is guilty of a crime, there will be plenty of people in Israel who will claim he's been railroaded by a vicious Left that'll do anything to remove him from office.

But then, Israel takes heart. The US is no better. The media there can't wait to lynch Trump in some way or other. 

Why are two allied leaders under such horrific pressure? It's been said that the days before Redemption will be wild. Perhaps these political witch-hunts are harbingers.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, there'll be plenty of work for cartoonist in Israel--and the US.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Is there a difference between Arutz Sheva, Times of Israel?

(Last update: July 14, 2017)

In Israel, most newspapers seem to have a core point-of-view. From the way a paper presents its 'top headlines', a reader might argue that an Israeli paper has a tendency to highlight headlines that fit--even showcase--the paper's political vision. 

Political bias seems to be an Israeli hallmark. One might even say that a Leftist newspaper typically prints stories that support a Leftist point of view. A Rightist paper will typically print stories that support a Rightist point of view. A religious paper will do the same, with stories typically written with some aspect of Judaism in mind.

Is this correct? Do news outlets in Israel promote political advocacy in place of something more neutral, like reporting the news? 

There are news-days when one cannot see a political slant in the headlines. Put another way, on some days, a reader cannot easily see a political slant. It's either not there--or it isn't obvious. But there are also too many days when one can feel a suspicious politics-at-play appearing in the headlines.  

At least, that's the way main-page headlines looked the other day at the Times of Israel. To see how a bias can creep onto a front page, take a look at the headlines the Times of Israel ran at 11:10 am on July 10, 2017. Then compare those headlines with what Arutz Sheva did that day. The difference is telling.

Here's the Times of Israel:    
-"Ex-IDF major general questioned in submarine fraud probe";

-"After interrogation, police remand 3 suspects in submarine probe";

-"Bennett defends PM on submarine probe as suspects grilled for hours.

There was a fourth, similar submarine-corruption story. But as I prepared this piece, this four-story group was replaced with a new four-group arrangement--about another scandal, this one in the US. The new four-group arrangement was about US President Donald Trump's son and the supposed Russia-Trump connection. 

The four submarine stories in the Times of Israel were about scandal licking at the coat-tails of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The stories all tested the idea that scandal was tainting the leadership of the Prime Minister. The stories were all negative. 

Together, the stories suggested three notions: first, someone close to the Prime Minister was corrupt; second, the Prime Minister himself was cleverly enough corrupt that only those close to him would be caught; and, third, the only person highlighted as defending Netanyahu's possible corruption was the Religious Zionist Naftali Bennett who, along with Netanyahu, is no favorite of Israel's media elite. 

The suggestions were unsavory. Did they hint that someone was trying to oust Netanyahu? 

By contrast, the top four headlines run by Arutz Sheva at exactly the same moment--11:10 am July 11, 2017--seemed completely different: they weren't about scandal, either in Israel or the US. They were about:  

-"Jews fast, mourn on 17th day of Tammuz";

-Commander of mixed-gender unit  suspended";

"Two new EMT's deliver baby on first-call ever";

-"Stabbing in Beitar Illit";

If you compared the top headlines that moment from these two papers, you'd have no idea they'd been posted online at the same moment on the same day in the same country. 

The Times of Israel didn't seem to be reporting news. Instead, it seemed to be playing partisan politics by splashing 'scandal' all over Israel's leader. 

In comparison with Arutz Sheva that morning, the Times of Israel seemed more a political scandal-monger than a news outlet. It didn't so much taint the Prime Minister as it tainted itself. 

One or two submarine-scandal stories would have sufficed as news. Four such stories suggested an agenda different from 'news'.

There are moments in a week's news when the Times of Israel looks like it's got a political ax to grind. The ax it wields appears to be anti-Right, anti-Nationalistic, not supportive of religious Jewry and overly eager to paint Netanyahu (and anyone who supports him) as a disliked, corrupt leader.  

By contrast, Arutz Sheva seemed to be different on that day at that moment. It didn't focus on scandal. It focused on real news. 

Do these differences suggest a political bias working at the Times of Israel? Or, do these headline differences prove nothing at all?

It's a question you'll have to answer for yourself. In the meantime, here's a suggestion: once a day for a week, at the same minute, look at the main headlines at both the Times of Israel and Arutz Sheva

After a couple of weeks' reading, you might discover something interesting.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The US, the Palestinian Authority and paying to kill Jews

Through a program that has lasted decades, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has subsidized Palestinian families whose members have attacked--or been killed while attacking--both Jews and non-Jews in Israel (Naomi Zeveloff, "Exclusive: does aid to Palestinians subsidize the families of terrorists?", forward, August 23, 2016). This subsidization runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars a year (Brig-Gen (res,) Yossi Kuperwasser, "Incentivizing terrorism: Palestinian Authority allocations to terrorists and their families", Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2016, retrieved July 10, 2017). 

For a PA that has teetered for years on the edge of bankruptcy, such an expense seems outrageous.  Clearly, the PA has no interest in the welfare of anyone living under its control. Instead of committing funds to build a viable nation-state, the Palestinian Authority pays 'Palestinians' to commit an Arab version of suicide-by-cop.  

 Look at what the PA is doing:

-Palestinians who are in Israeli prisons for the murder and the attempted murder of Israelis receive payments (Kuperwasser, ibid).

-Palestinians who have been released from prison for these crimes receive payments (ibid).

-The families of Palestinians who have been killed attempting to murder Israelis receive payments (ibid).

These payments represent a serious financial commitment. For example, in 2013, these payments added up to a total of $270 million (ibid). This amount equaled 7% of the PA's total operating budget for that year, and 20% of that year's foreign aid received by the PA (ibid).

 By 2016, the PA paid out $303 million to these recipients. This amount equaled 6.9% of  the PA's total operating budget, and 29.6% of that year's foreign aid received (ibid). 

On Wednesday, July 12, 2017, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold its first hearing for a Bill that would cut US foreign aid to the PA if it continues to make these payments to terrorists and to the families of deceased terrorists (Michael Wilner, "US Senate to hold hearing on Taylor Force Act next Wednesday", jerusalempost, July 8, 2017). The Bill is named after Taylor Force, a non-Jewish American tourist--and a US Army veteran--who was murdered in Tel Aviv, Israel by a Palestinian terrorist in March, 2016. 

The Bill to enable the Taylor Force Act was introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (ibid). It is supported mostly by Republicans. Senate Democrats are afraid such a Bill would limit the US State Department's ability to negotiate with the PA (ibid). Senate Democrats aren't sure they can support it. They're still thinking about it.

During the Obama administration, no one seemed bothered that Palestinians were being rewarded for killing Israelis. But that official indifference may have ended. During a May 24, 2017 meeting between US President Trump and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Trump told Abbas he has to stop giving financial rewards to Palestinians for killing Israelis and Americans (Katie Pavlich, "Trump tells Abbas: stop paying terrorists and their families to kill innocents", townhall, May 24, 2017). The Taylor Force Act comes forward partly because Abbas has declared he will not stop those payments (Gary Wilig, "Abbas: I'll never stop paying terrorists' salaries", arutzsheva, July 4, 2017).

Now, just days before those Senate hearings were set to begin, the NGO Palestinian Media Watch published (on July 10, 2017) a transcript of an Israeli police interview with a Palestinian captured after trying to kill Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers at two different checkpoints separating the PA and Israel (on the same day at two different locations--see below for details). The transcript illustrates how the PA payment plan truly incentivizes the killing of Israelis. 

This transcript  appears at the palwatch website in an essay written by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jaques Zilberdik, "Interrogation of Palestinian terrorist proves: PA payments motivate terror" (palwatch, July 10, 2017). Here is the transcript, including an introduction by the authors:

In anticipation of the hearing this coming Wednesday in the US Senate on the Taylor Force Act, which would cut all US funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying salaries to terrorists and allowances to families of terrorist "Martyrs," Palestinian Media Watch is releasing a transcript of the Israeli Police's interrogation of a Palestinian terrorist, which PMW received and translated from the original in Arabic.
The terrorist, Khaled Rajoub, was caught after an unsuccessful attempt to murder Israelis. During interrogation, he explained that his motivation for the planned murder was so he himself would also be killed and his family would then receive monthly payments from the PA. In his own words: "... any Israeli target - the important thing is that I will die and they will kill me, so that my children will receive a [PA] allowance and live happily."
Had Khaled Rajoub been killed by Israel during his terror attack, the PA would have declared him a "Martyr" and this would secure his family a monthly PA lifetime allowance of 2,800 shekels/month: 1,400 base pay, 400 for his wife and 200 for each of 5 children.
Khaled Rajoub's statements show that the PA's financial rewards to terrorists and "Martyrs'" families definitely constitute motivation for terror.
Throughout the interrogation, terrorist Rajoub kept emphasizing his determination to kill Israelis in order to receive PA allowances for his family...
Khaled Rajoub: "I am a man with a family of seven, including me and my wife. I don't work, and I've accumulated large debts, and am unable to pay them off. I reached a point where, if my son wants a shekel, I have nothing to give him. Therefore I decided to die - it didn't matter how - by hanging - any way, [just] to die. I thought about it and said to myself that if I die by hanging, or any other way, I won't get anything out of it, so I decided to do something serious, such as committing murder, something in which I will both kill and die, and then my family will get money (i.e., from the PA) and will live comfortably. In other words, something will come out of my death. In the end I decided to kill Israeli soldiers. I got in a car and drove to Al-Fawwar, to the junction, because there's always a military post there, and I said [to myself] that I'll run them [the soldiers] over in my car and kill as many as I can, and they'll shoot me and kill me. However, I didn't find a military post in Al-Fawwar. I continued to drive to a second post, to the gate of [the Israeli town Beit] Hagai because I know there are always soldiers standing there, and I said to myself that I'll run them over and kill as many as possible, and they'll kill me. However, I did not find [any soldiers] there either. I had no other hope or way, so I broke through the gate of the settlement. I said [to myself] I can kill the guard, and then they'll shoot me. I broke in with my car and broke it [the gate] and rammed into the second gate. But I couldn't break it and the guards were behind the second gate. I tried to break it in order to bring it down on them, but it didn't come down, and they didn't shoot me, but captured me instead. I was injured during the incident and they took me to a hospital..."
Israeli interrogator: "Did you try to kill the guards who were behind the gate?"
Khaled Rajoub: "Yes, exactly, I tried to bring down the gate on them. I rammed into it twice, but it didn't come down, and then they captured me and the car remained with them. Too bad I couldn't kill anyone, and I am determined. Meaning if you release me now, I will take a car, look for soldiers, run them over, and kill them. I am determined to do so."
Interrogator: "Do you have a gun?"
Khaled Rajoub: "I've never carried [a gun]."
Interrogator: "Did you consider bringing a gun?"
Khaled Rajoub: "I have nothing to eat, how can I buy a gun?"
Interrogator: "But why did you decide to kill soldiers, and not someone else?"
Khaled Rajoub: "The best is to kill soldiers. That way they have guns and they'll shoot me and kill me. But if I'm not able to kill soldiers, I'll try settlers, guards - in other words any Israeli target - the important thing is that I will die and they will kill me, so that my children will receive a [PA] allowance and live happily."
Interrogator: "What did you want to achieve by killing soldiers or settlers, or any Israeli target?"
Khaled Rajoub: "So they'd shoot me and I'd die, and my children would receive an allowance."
Interrogator: "Are you still determined to do that?"
Khaled Rajoub: "Of course, 100%. I'm telling you - if you'll set me free, I'll do it again as soon as possible. I'll bring another car, and I'll run over [soldiers] at the first military post I see. I'll kill as many as possible, and they'll shoot me, and I'll die. There is no other solution."
Interrogator: "If you have the opportunity to kill soldiers or an Israeli [civilian] in another way - shooting, stabbing, or any other way - will you do it?"
Khaled Rajoub: "I don't know. Something like that requires checking. Why? Because someone like me, small and disabled in his leg - I barely walk - needs a thorough plan to kill in a different way. The easiest way for someone like me is to run over [someone] with a car."
Interrogator: "Do you want to add anything?"
Khaled Rajoub: "No, God bless you. But I say to you again - I don't regret what I did, and if I have the opportunity, I'll do it again, and I'll kill soldiers or any Israeli I come across."
[Israeli Police interrogation of terrorist Khaled Rajoub, Feb. 2, 2014]

The US Senate can act against this terror support plan. Certainly, it can pressure Abbas and his cronies to stop it.

 The murderous Palestinian incentive program you've just seen--which preys on the poor--should not be supported by any nation. Abbas' behavior here is criminal. He creates a true incentive to kill. That's unconscionable. The United States Senate should vote 'yes' for the Taylor Force Act.  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Friday cartoon on Sunday: UNESCO identity theft

(Last updated July 10, 2017)

Today isn't Friday. Nevertheless, I have a  cartoon for you from today's edition of israelhayom. It's a good one. 

Take a look:

from: Shlomo  Cohen, israelhayom, July 9, 2017

Can  you see what's inside this 'UNESCO Bible'?  Inside this 'bible' is a collection of Palestinian flag markers--for use to mark the contents of the Jewish Biblical story as no longer Jewish but 'Palestinian'.

The UN appears to have a plan to use these markers to erase Judaism and Jewish history.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has developed what looks like a three-stage plan for Israel. It has already begun to implement that plan.

First, in 2015, it declared Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs to be Islamic, not Jewish ("UNESCO declares Rachel's Tomb, Cave of the Patriarchs Muslim Holy sites", breakingisraelnews, October 22, 1015). In 2016, it declared the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem to be Islamic, not Jewish (William Watkinson, "UNESCO declares Temple Mount--Judaism's holiest site--as Muslim", internationalbusinesstimes, October 15, 2016). 

In May 2017, UNESCO moved to the second stage of its plan for Israel. It declared that Israel has no sovereignty over Jerusalem (Tovah Lazaroff, Herb Keinon, "UNESCO disavows Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem in 22-10 vote", jerusalempost, May 2, 2017). Since the Temple  Mount is in Jerusalem, this declaration meant that not only is the Temple Mount not Jewish, it is no longer under Israel's sovereign control.

Now we discover a third stage for the UNESCO drive to erase what the history of the Jews in Israel. UNESCO has recently turned against a Jewish landmark in Hevron. But in this newest attack, UNESCO didn't simply say Israel has no sovereignty over this landmark. It went beyond that. It declared the landmark to be 'Palestinian' (Chana Roberts, "UNESCO: cave of Patriarchs belongs to Palestinian Authority", arutzsheva, July 7, 2017). 

As essayist Yishai Fleisher has pointed out, this Cave of the Patriarchs is indisputably Jewish. It dates back 3,800 years. The anti-Semitic UNESCO "expropriates the tombs of the very founders of the Jewish religion" (Yishai Fleisher, "National identity theft at UNESCO", jerusalempost, July 5, 2017). 

You can't get any more anti-Jew than that. Since UNESCO is supposed to preserve national cultural icons, this Jewish erasure in Hevron means that UNESCO abandons its mandate so as to erase a national Jewish treasure, not preserve it.

Fleisher writes, "In the ancient city of Hebron, there stands a colossal 2,000-year old burial monument --a  kind of Taj Mahal of the Middle East. Josephus, the antiquities historian [who wrote for the Roman Empire during the mid-to-late first century CE], records that this monument was built by the Jewish king Herod the Great as an adornment  atop the 3,800-year old tombs of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and most of the founding family of the Jewish People" (ibid).      
The Cave of the Patriarchs is all about Judaism and the Jewish religious narrative of the Jewish people. It's got nothing to do with the 'Palestinian' people or 'Palestinian' history--unless, of course, you want to 'make up' a 'Palestinian' history to erase Jewish history. Then, everything UNESCO is doing to Israel makes sense.

The Arab 'Palestinian' people and an Arab 'Palestine' didn't exist in ancient times. To see this, you need look no further than the Islamic holy text, the Quran. There, you'll see the words 'Jewish' and 'Israel'.  That is, in the Quran, Israel exists as the home of the Jews.

But in that same Islamic Quran, you will not find a single reference to 'Palestinian' or 'Palestine'. Those words do not occur because that people and that Arab place didn't exist--not 3,800 years ago in Abraham's time, nor 1,380 years ago when Islam was founded (Ari Yashar, "allah gave Israel to the Jews, there's no Palestine", arutzsheva, 06/02/14). 

The Jordanian Muslim scholar Sheik Ahmad Adwan has said, "allah has already named [Israel] 'The Holy Land' and bequeathed it to the Children of Israel until the Day of Judgment...There is no such thing as 'Palestine' in the Koran" (ibid).

Yes, the Jewish homeland was conquered by Romans, cleansed of most of its Jews (What Palestinian leaders want to do today), and renamed by Romans with a Latin (not Arabic) name, 'Palestina'. But it has remained the 'land of the Jews'. 

Everyone knew what 'Palestina' was. It was the Jewish land. Arab 'Palestinians' and an Arab 'Palestine' did not exist.

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are thieves. They conspire with UNESCO to steal our Jewish heritage. They work hand-in-hand with UNESCO to erase our Jewish connection to the land of Israel. 

By working to steal our history, UNESCO proves itself to be no better than an identity thief. It rewrites our Jewish Bible as a record of 'Palestine', not Israel. Can you imagine the gall of that? 

Indeed, can you imagine how the nations would respond if Jews attacked the Quran in this way?

For its part, the Palestinian Authority (PA) doesn't condemn UNESCO for trying to steal another's religious narrative. The PA celebrates the theft. 

Palestinian leaders celebrate the UNESCO theft just as they celebrate the murder of Jews. These celebrations reveal the truth. The PA promotes the theft of what's Jewish in Israel. It promotes the murder of Jews. It promotes the destruction of Israel. 

The PA has no interest in peace with Jews. It simply wants to erase all things 'Jew' from Israel--and then rename Israel, 'Palestine'.

This thievery tells us all we need to know about UNESCO. It's name refers to education, culture and science (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). But it doesn't make its name promoting any of that. 

It makes it name stealing from the world's only Jewish state.  

UNESCO and the Palestinian Authority: they're a band of thieves. They live to steal. They live to destroy.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Balak and Bilaam, Abbas and the UN

On Shabbat, July 8, 2017, Jews around the world will read a section of Torah called, Balak (Bamidbar 22:2-25:9). In this Parsha (Torah portion), we learn how king Balak of the nation of Moav sought help from a 'higher authority' to destroy the Jewish nation. It's a story that teaches us something about how Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas uses the United Nations in his own attempt to destroy the Jewish nation.

The Biblical nation of Moav was situated close to the southwestern corner of what is today Jordan. Moav's far-west border was the eastern shore of today's Dead Sea. By the time the nation of Israel (the Biblical 'children of Israel') approached Moav on its way to the land of Canaan, Moav had  been conquered by the Amorite King Sichon, and had become a satellite territory of the Amorite Sichon (Rabbi Mattityahu Clark, "Sichon conquers Moav", yeshiva.co, 2014). 

In his commentary on the Torah, Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) sets the scene for the opening of the story of Balak in his Hirsch commentary on the Torah (translated into English by Isaac Levy, Judaica Press, 1966, volume 5 , Bamidbar, pp. 389-95).  Hirsch writes that, as the Torah story of Balak opens, Moav was terrified by the Jews' approach (ibid). They had good reason to be terrified. The Jews had conquered the powerful Sichon, the powerful leader who had conquered Moav. Now , this mighty Jew-nation was coming towards them (ibid). 

Balak hated the Jews. He wanted to destroy them. But he was powerless. Alone, he knew he couldn't win a fight against them. 

So he went to the nation of Midian, looking for help. Together, Balak and the Midianites came up with a plan. They would fight the Jews by looking for one who had 'higher powers'--the sorcerer, Bilaam. It was believed Bilaam had the power to work 'magic' for Balak (ibid). 

Balak would hire Bilaam for his unique talents. Bilaam would curse the Jews. Those curses would weaken the Jews sufficiently that Moav and Midian could conquer them.

That was the plan. Since Bilaam's reputation was, shall we say, world-class, it looked like an excellent plan. 

Balak hired Bilaam . He instructed the man to curse the Jews.

Today, we live through our own Balak-Bilaam story. This time, however, it's not Moav--or Jordan--and a world-class sorcerer (Bilaam) trying to destroy the Jewish nation. This time, it's Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) seeking out its own 'higher authority'--the United Nations--to curse Israel sufficiently to make Israel weak enough to be destroyed by Abbas and his allies.

Bilaam's attempts to curse the Jews failed. HaShem, the G-d of Israel, changed the words coming out of Bilaam's mouth from curses to blessings. These blessings infuriated Balak, who tried again and again to get curses to come from Bilaam. Each time, however, Bilaam failed. 

The same thing happens today to Israel at the UN. For example, Abbas got his Arab-Muslim friends at the UN to curse the Jews by voting to declare the Temple Mount has never been Jewish, but Islamic. That curse failed. 

As soon as the successful vote took place, nothing changed.  Israel still holds onto the Temple  Mount--and more Jews now ascend the Mount than before that vote.

Abbas got the UN to create a report that declared Israel an Apartheid state.  That curse failed.

As soon as the report was published, the Secretary-General of the UN ordered it removed from the UN webpage. The report disappeared as if it never existed.

Abbas got the UN to curse the Jewish state by declaring the Jews have no sovereignty over major parts of Jerusalem. That curse failed.

As soon as the curse occurred (a successful vote against Israel sovereignty), nothing changed. Israel denounced the UN declaration and stated it will continue to hold sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.

Abbas got the UN to sever all Jewish ties to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron. The UN  has now declared that this site is no longer Jewish ("UNESCO declares Tomb of Jewish Patriarchs a 'Palestinian World Heritage site", jewishpress, July 7, 2017).

This last curse happened just today, July 7, 2017. It's too early to report a fallout from this UN vote.

Nevertheless, we see a pattern here:  as happened with Balak, Abbas and his UN cronies have completely failed to move Israel one centimeter out of Israel. The curses fall on Israel with no effect.

All of this is a modern replay of our Torah story of Balak and Bilaam. A man comes to curse the Jews in order to help destroy what is Jewish. But HaShem, the G-d of Israel, protects his beloved. The  man who seeks to destroy the Jewish nation fails.

But in today's world, these curses still have an impact. As HaShem told our Patriarch Avraham, those who curse you will be cursed themselves.

That's exactly what has happened. Look at the Jewish Israel. It thrives as a modern and successful nation in a sea of misery. It is truly blessed.

Look at the Palestinian Authority. It lives right next door to Israel. It shares the same drought and the same harsh sun. It doesn't thrive. It withers. It wallows in poverty and Olympian-like corruption. It is cursed.

Abbas asks the UN to help him curse Israel. He pays a Biblical price for his Jew-hate.

Will he never learn?