Monday, June 30, 2014

The kidnapping: the consequences of Jew-hate

Today is June 30, 2014. Eighteen days ago, three Jewish boys were kidnapped.  Two were 16. One was 19. They were students. Hamas has said repeatedly that the boys were soldiers. They were not.
They were civilians. They had committed no capital crime against the Arab. They had no direct link to any hostilities between Arab and Jew. They were innocent.
Now, they are dead.
They were murdered. Their murdered bodies were found where the IDF (Israel Defence Force) had been looking for them—in the hills surrounding Hevron.
Just a couple of days ago, one anti-Israel reader of a kidnap story mocked us. The kidnapping never happened, he said. They boys were on ‘vacation’, he mocked. The story, he said, was a lie.
Our boys are dead. When we said they had been kidnapped, we hadn’t lied.
The Arab lies. Jew-haters lie. Arabs and Jew-haters mock us.
They want to see us dead. Will they celebrate these murders? Will they hand out candies? Will they laugh at our sorrow?
Last night, Arabs fired rockets at Israel from Gaza. Israeli Intelligence has said that it was Hamas who fired the rockets, not some fringe group. Was that barrage Hamas’ way to celebrate these murders?
Hamas and Fatah officials have repeatedly accused Israel of lying about this incident. They couldn’t stop repeating their accusation. Israel, they said, had made it up.
We do not lie. The Arab lies. Jew-haters lie.
Hamas and Fatah told the nations of the world that Israel was using a fake kidnap story as a pretext to ‘invade’ ‘Palestine’. They claimed there was no evidence the boys were missing. It was a lie, they said.
We do not lie. The Arab lies. Jew-haters lie.
They lie because they do not want peace. They lie because they hate peace. They lie because they want us dead.
Somehow, within their moral code, lying and killing Jews go together. They lie for ‘justice’. They lie so they can kill Jews.
Our three boys are gone. Our children have been torn from us.
They were murdered in cold blood.  They were murdered because they were Jews.
They will never complete their studies. They will never marry. They will never have a family of their own.
Their parents will bury them.
They were children. They were murdered.
Jew-haters did it. For this reason, our boys died sanctifying G-d’s name—because the Jewish people are G-d’s people. Their souls become sanctified. They have given up the last full measure of life because they worshipped the Jewish G-d of Israel.
This afternoon, an IDF Humvee ambulance drove into the Hevron hills to bring our boys back to us. The Humvee ambulance returned to us with its sacred cargo.
As the ambulance drove its way through the Hevron hills, Arabs stoned it. They smashed that ambulance’s windshield. This ambulance was attacked by Jew-haters whose hate is so vicious they would stone a medical evac vehicle.  
That’s how Jew-haters treat Jews. Jew-haters have no compassion. They have only hate. They know only lies. They believe only in killing.
They want Jews dead. They will even stone the dead.
Arab hate has murdered our children. These murders are not only a crime against humanity. They are a crime against G-d.
June 30, 2014 is the second day of the Jewish month, Tammuz. It is a day of mourning for the nation of Israel. Our Heritage teaches that we praise G-d even when terrible things happen; for we do not know or understand evil; we do not know G-d's plan. Therefore, today we say only, Blessed are you the True Judge (Brachot, 60b).
Tomorrow, we will look at the 413 Hamas members we have arrested over the last eighteen days.
In law, all members of a gang who commit crimes are liable even when only one or two members of that gang commit a new crime. We should hold onto those 413 arrestees. We should prepare to act against them.
Hamas now claims that if it is blamed for these murders, then all hell will break loose. They will not accept responsibility for killing a Jew.
Israel should impose that responsibility upon them. If the murderers of our three boys turn out to be Hamas members, Israel should seek the death penalty for all 413 arrestees. We should prosecute them all to the fullest measure of the law.
Israel does not have a death penalty for killing Jews. Perhaps now, our Knesset should pass a new law.
Blessed are you the True Judge.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The kidnapping of three Jews--and war crimes

Last updated: June 30, 2014

If you have been following recent news reports about the kidnapping of three Jewish boys from Israel, you will know that the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have both condemned the kidnapping. You might also know that the EU and the UN have warned Israel that its behaviour in its search for the boys might subject it to accusations of war crimes.

But what the EU and the UN have not told you is that actual war crimes have already been committed in this incident. They remain silent about some very real war crimes, crimes against humanity and the possibility of a genocide crime. They focus only on Israel’s possible war crimes. Why?

The war crimes were committed by Arabs.

The EU and the UN refuse to label Arab actions as prosecutable war crimes and crimes against humanity—as defined in The Rome Statutes (see below). This refusal to ‘call out’ Arab war crimes marks the EU and UN as dishonest brokers in the Arab-Israel war. Their silence demonstrates that they have no interest in morality. That is to say, their silence proves they are neither fair, balanced nor truthful. Their silence does not support their advertised concern for peace. Rather, it supports the Arab against Israel--because that silence helps to validate the lie that Israel is a criminal nation—or a nation bordering on criminality.

In fact, it the Arab who should get this label, not Israel. The Arab, not Israel, commits these crimes. If the EU and the UN were truly honest brokers, they would call a spade a spade—and denounce the war crimes committed by the Arab.

To understand the war crimes committed in this kidnapping, here is a brief review of ‘War Crimes’, ‘Crimes against Humanity’ and ‘Genocide’. The definitions come directly from The Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court.

The Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court were established in order to strengthen and to reaffirm the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (The Rome Statutes, July 2002, Preamble). Most specifically, the Statutes aim to make certain that no state will use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other state (ibid)—and be able to get away with it.

 The Statutes’ purpose is to create an effective means to prosecute both crimes and atrocities that threaten world peace and security (ibid). The Statutes begin by defining ‘Genocide’. Article 6 of the Statutes defines ‘Genocide’ as including (among other things), causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group; and forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.

Article 7 defines ‘Crimes against Humanity’ as “acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. Examples of such acts include:

- Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty; and, the “Enforced disappearance of persons [i.e., kidnapping]”.

Article 8 defines ‘War crimes‘ to include attacks directed against any civilian population, including a course of conduct involving ‘the multiple commission of acts’ against a civilian population; taking hostages; and intentionally directing attacks against  individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities.

There’s more, but you get the point: kidnapping civilians is a  war crime. It is a crime against humanity (Article 7, above). Forcibly tranferring Jewish children from Jewish to Arab hands (that’s what this kidnapping involved) is another war crime called genocide (Article 6). Severely depriving these three children of their liberty is another war crime. It is a crime against humanity (Article 7). Intentionally directing an attack upon these three civilians—who take no direct part in Arab-Israel hostilities—is another war crime (Article 8). Causing these three Jews serious bodily or mental harm because they are members of a ‘group’ is a war crime called genocide (Article 6).

Over the last year, Arabs from Hamas and Fatah areas—with Hamas and Fatah blessing—have committed multiple acts of aggression against Israel’s civilian population (a war crime under Article 8). Arabs have attempted no less than 23 kidnappings against Jews in Israel. These attacks constitute ‘crimes against humanity’ because they represented ‘a widespread or systematic attack directed against [Israel’s] civilian population‘(Article 7).

This is not rocket science. You don’t have to be a legal Einstein to figure this out. A simple google search will do.

Nevertheless, the EU and the UN have swept all of this ‘under the rug’. They have yet to accuse the Arab of anything. But they are quick to warn Israel that it might be committing war crimes.

That’s not right. It reveals that the EU and the UN are not objective ‘peace-makers’. Clearly, they have cast objectivity aside to choose sides.

The UN and EU are not moral arbiters. They are hypocrites. Under the guise of ‘peace’, they support the Arab war against Israel.

They are enemies of truth. They are the enemies of Israel.


The kidnapping: what you don’t know about ‘tremping’

Today is Sunday, June 29, 2014. This is day seventeen since three Jewish boys disappeared.

Two of the boys are only sixteen years old. One is nineteen. All are students. They are not, as Hamas has claimed, ‘soldiers’. They are civilians. They are our children.

Two weeks have passed. We have heard nothing.

We are now into week three of waiting. How long must we wait? How long will the Arab community in the Hevron (kidnap) area support this ugly act of terror?

In Israel, we unite. We unite to pray. We turn to G-d because we need His help here.

When the kidnapping happened on June 12, 2014, the victims had been ‘tremping’. ‘Tremping’ is the Israeli word for ‘hitch-hiking’.

The boys had been standing in the dark beside a highway in an outlying community—where it is very, very dark at night—looking for a ride home from passing drivers. Some who heard that the boys had been kidnapped while ‘hitch-hiking’ accused the boys—the victims—of their crime: if the boys hadn’t been hitch-hiking, the argument went, they wouldn’t have been kidnapped. It’s their fault.

Articles appeared defending the boys’ behaviour.  For example, tremping, we read, is a way of life here in Israel. Because of irregular bus service to-and-from outlying communities, tremping is often a necessity, especially for those who have no car (“Op-Ed:  Why We Won't Stop Hitchhiking”,  Arutz Sheva, June 16, 2014).

For others, who have multiple jobs and no car, tremping is the only way to rush between those jobs. Sometimes, people tremp because they cannot squeeze their lives to match (irregular) bus schedules (“Yes, I'm Still Tremping!”, Arutz Sheva, June 27, 2014). 

But those who would accuse the victims persist: the boys (and their parents) are at fault. They caused this mess and the consequent trauma we all feel. They shouldn’t have been hitch-hiking at night.

But the truth is, the boys’ behaviour is not the problem. Their parents are not the problem. Dark highways aren’t the problem. The problem, we must never forget, is Arab terror (ibid). To follow the logic of those who would accuse the boys, we should not tremp because we might be kidnapped; but neither should we travel on buses--because Arabs might blow them up. We shouldn’t drive a car on the road because Arabs might stone us. We shouldn’t walk in Jerusalem because an Arab might hit us with a baseball bat (which happened the night of our holiday, Shavuot).

But if we behave this way, we allow the terrorist to control our lives. We would, ultimately, allow terrorists to push us into a ghetto (ibid), to do G-d-knows-what to us.

We should not demonize the Jewish victim. We should accuse the demon terrorist.

Until we do that, you should understand that there is another side to this tremping issue, one you might not know about. I certainly didn’t know about it—and neither did my wife and daughter.

Last week, my wife and one of my daughters travelled by bus to an outlying community. Because bus service is minimal to-and-from that area, my wife and daughter were careful to check and re-check bus times.

They left Jerusalem on time. They arrived at their destination—a bus stop alongside the highway.

When, later in the day, they returned to that highway to wait at a bus stop for their return to Jerusalem, they discovered a problem you have probably haven’t read about:

-several buses scheduled to stop at that bus stop never showed up.

-several buses stopped, but the bus drivers, while headed to Jerusalem, would not allow anyone—including a mother with four small children, and soldiers—to board the bus.

-several buses, with seats clearly empty, didn’t pull over at all to pick up passengers. They drove by without stopping.

The only reason my wife and daughter got onto a bus—the last one for the night—was that my daughter (G-d bless her) pushed onto the bus and began to yell at the driver, ‘let us on!’ When the driver refused, she continued, ‘my mother (this doesn’t translate well into English) is a senior citizen and she needs to go home! It’s not appropriate to treat her like this! That lady over there has four small children and we have all been waiting here for two hours. That’s not appropriate! You cannot leave without us!’

The bus driver told her, ‘there’s no place for anyone on the bus.’ My daughter replied, yelling even louder, ‘what are you talking about? There are empty seats in the back of the bus-- and standing room, too!’

The bus driver relented. My wife and daughter boarded the bus. The mother with four small children boarded. So did the soldiers.

Do you understand now why people in Israel tremp?




Friday, June 27, 2014

The kidnapping: what Israel should tell Abbas

Today is Friday, June 27, 2014.  This is day fifteen since three Jewish boys were kidnapped. Two of the boys are just sixteen years old. One is nineteen. They are students. They are civilians. They are our children.

In Israel, we unite. We unite to pray. We ask G-d to bring home our boys—safe.

Since the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than a thousand convicted Jew-killers (in October 2011), Muslims have been clamouring for more kidnappings. Their reasoning is simple. Jews are suckers. They (the Jews) love their children so much, they’d free convicted Jew-killers just to get one of them back.

When the United States asked Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas to open ‘peace talks’ with Israel (July 31, 2013 – April 29, 2014), Abbas said he’d agree to do that only if Israel freed more convicted Jew-killers. Israel agreed.

Israel said it would release 104 Muslims who had been in Israeli prisons since before the 1993 Oslo Accords. These were serious offenders serving long terms for violent crimes against Jews and the state of Israel. Israel said it would divide this group into four releases. But it would stop any scheduled release if Abbas proved to be acting against peace, not for it.

On March 28, 2014, Israel made an offer. Since the purpose of the prisoner releases were to keep the peace talks going, Israel would not release the final group of 26 convicts if Abbas refused to extend the peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline (“Israel shuns Palestinian prisoner deal”, Al Jazeera, March 28, 2014). Israel wanted another six months of talks. To entice Abbas to continue talking, Israel announced that it would release another 400 prisoners. All Abbas had to do was say yes to an extension (“Israel puts off prisoner releases unless peace talks continue”, Deutsch Welle, March 29, 2014).

Abbas rejected the offer. He said he would continue talks only if—among other things—Israel released an additional 1,000 prisoners--whom Abbas would identify by name (ibid). Israel said, no.

Approximately three weeks later—and one week before the official end of the ‘peace talks’—Hamas and Abbas (Fatah) announced that they had formally reconciled. They would create a ‘unity government’. This agreement, coming as it did within the ‘peace talk’ timetable, suggested to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Abbas was more interested in peace with the virulently anti-Jew Hamas than with Israel.

The peace talks died. The final 26 prisoners were not released.

Since then, Muslim internet sites have called for more kidnappings. They want more kidnapping in order to force Israel to free more Muslim prisoners. In the last year alone, Muslims have attempted at least 23 kidnappings. They all failed.  

Now three Jewish boys have been kidnapped. Jews pray for their safety. Jews pray for their return.

Muslims don’t join those prayers. Instead, Muslim-oriented internet sites celebrate the kidnapping (“Social Media Campaigns Glorify Kidnapping of the Three Israeli Teens”,, June 18, 2014).

They celebrate by promoting a three-finger hand-sign. Hold up three fingers, smile for the camera, and show your support for the kidnapping (ibid). The three fingers represent the kidnapped boys. Your smile represents your support for the kidnapping.

Some Muslim sites have morphed the boys into the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, whose kidnapping got 1,027 terrorists out of Israel’s prisons. They call the three boys, ‘the three Shalits’. The message seems clear: as with the one Shalit, these three will get our ‘national heroes’ released.

The Muslim continues to celebrate the kidnapping (ibid). He understands the benefits of kidnapping a Jew. He wants those benefits.

He wants Jews kidnapped. He wants his national heroes (terrorists) freed.

The Muslim knows how to treat such a kidnapping. He denies it. Fatah-Hamas official Riya al-Malki claims that Israel has fabricated the entire story (“PA Unity FM Accuses Israel of Fabricating the Abduction”, Arutz Sheva, June 20, 2014).

The kidnapping is not a kidnapping. It’s a Jewish plot. The real victim here is the Muslim, not the Jew: the kidnapping never happened; Jews are kidnapping ‘Palestinians’, not the other way around (“4 Palestinians Killed, Hundreds Kidnapped”, Al Jazeera, June 22, 2014); the Jews have kidnapped the entire Palestinian society (“After the celebration: Kidnapping and assaulting an entire nation”, Mondoweiss, June 21, 2014); Israel has invaded the West Bank (ibid); the kidnapping of the Jews was only a pretext to inflict ‘collective punishment upon the ‘Palestinian people’ (“PA accuses Israel of ‘collective punishment’ in West Bank”, Arutz Sheva, June 19, 2014).

Today, as we continue to pray for our three boys, Mahmoud Abbas makes an offer: he says he will resume peace talks—if Israel frees terrorists (“Abbas: Free Terrorists and We'll Resume Talks”, Arutz Sheva, June 27, 2014).

Perhaps Israel should respond: Abbas, we will resume peace talks with you—if you release our three boys, alive and well.

Will Israel have the courage to do that?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The kidnapping: have the Arabs won?

 Today is Wednesday, June 25, 2014. This is day thirteen since three Jewish boys were kidnapped.

Two of the boys were 16 years old. One was 19. All three are students in Yeshiva (religious school).

As a result, the Jewish people in Israel continue to unite. We unite to pray.

Last night, youth groups gathered at the Kotel—the Western Wall--to pray for the boys. This morning, as with all other mornings since the kidnapping, special prayers were repeated in synagogues all across the land.

These boys are our children. They are our brothers. We beg our G-d to return them to us.

As each day goes by without good news, our fears grow. With each passing day, we fear to speak the unspeakable. We fear to think the unthinkable.

We pray for their safe return.

But each passing day brings a different emotion to the Arab. Today, especially, the Arab has much to smile about. He has read yesterday’s late news. Ramadan starts on Saturday—and the Jews say they know what that means.

Ramadan brings the Arab pleasure because Ramadan causes the Jew to be afraid. The Jews know that Ramadan is often a time of Arab rioting on the Temple Mount. It is often the time of increased Arab attacks against IDF soldiers. It is often the time for Arabs to line highways and hurl rocks at Jewish cars passing by.

Ramadan is a time for Arab religious celebration—and Jewish fear. We know that because the Israeli government just announced late yesterday afternoon that it will cut back its Operation Brother’s Keeper. It will diminish its ongoing operation against the Hamas infrastructure in Judea-Samaria that created the ‘incubation farm’ for the kidnapping. It will, it says, maintain only its search for the boys.

It will alter its course because it doesn’t want to provoke Arab riots that commonly occur on Ramadan (“Security Cabinet Reduces Hamas Crackdown for Ramadan”, Arutz Sheva, June 24, 2014). It will alter its course also because, government officials say, international pressure against Israel is rising (ibid).

Israel backs off because of the fear of Arab riots and international pressure. Has Israel lost its courage?

Israel has a strong position here. It can defend itself. It can defend the IDF.

When the kidnapping first occurred, and the IDF went into the Palestinian Authority (PA), Arabs tried to accuse Israel of ‘mass arrests’. But it quickly became obvious that those ‘mass arrests’ were virtually all related to Hamas and other virulent anti-Israel groups in the PA. The accusation disappeared.

The same thing happened with the ‘arbitrary detention’ accusation. As Israel announced each day who was arrested, it quickly became obvious that there was nothing arbitrary about those arrests.

The only outstanding accusation against Israel is ‘collective punishment’. But here, too, Israel has a strong position. Because of the behaviour of both Hamas and Fatah after the kidnapping, Israel can make the case that its investigations, while no doubt aggressive, are legitimate—and not a war crime. In addition, the actions of the IDF in the PA are neither arbitrary nor disproportionally cruel, key characteristics of ‘collective punishment’. Moreover, IDF actions in the PA are not random—another characteristic of ‘collective punishment’. IDF activity in the PA is focused and specific.

But Israel’s officials wilt before this accusation. They answer it, then appear quickly to shut up once the accusation is repeated (“The appalling reaction to Israeli teens’ kidnapping”’ Jennifer Rubin,, June 24, 2014)

It looks like Israel was unprepared for international criticism. It looks like Israel naively believed there would be no need to defend itself here. It looks like Israel ignored history and simply assumed that the world would allow it to search for the boys who disappeared, and arrest the people who agitated for—and might have acted for--the kidnapping.

Israel was wrong.

The UN has been only mildly concerned about the missing boys. The UN’s main concern since the June 12th kidnapping has been the response of the Israeli government to the kidnapping (ibid). That response has not been positive or supportive.

Instead of aggressively defending itself, Israel has chosen to back off. It bows submissively before its enemies.

Clearly, this is a ‘win’ for the Arab. It demonstrates that the ends—to demonize Israel—justify the means—kidnap Jews, then accuse Israel of crimes when it responds.

Israel’s Jewish leadership has lost its courage. It no longer understands courage. It gives up its courage because it has given up its religion.

Jews are not like everybody else. They are different. For the Jew, courage comes only from G-d. If you reject or ignore G-d, you lose your courage.

It’s that simple. If you want proof, look at how Israel responds to the Arab and to the UN.

Without G-d, Israel retreats.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The kidnapping, the IDF and the UN

Today is Tuesday, June 24, 2014. This is day twelve since the kidnapping of three Jewish boys.

The boys are still missing. Two are 16 years old. One is 19. We fear for their safety.

We unite. We come together as one nation in prayer. We call to G-d. We beseech Him. We ask for His mercy for these boys.

As we pray, the Arab rushes to the United Nations. He accuses Israel of committing a war crime: the Israel Defence Force (IDF), the Arab says, is inflicting a collective punishment upon the entire ‘Palestinian’ people.

This morning, we read that the UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs now uses language straight from the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. Apparently, he takes his cue from Arabs who wish to destroy Israel. The Arab used this language yesterday to make the accusation.

Now, the UN Undersecretary uses the same words to accuse the victim of this incident. He warns Israel, “to exercise restraint and not to “punish Palestinians for offenses they have not personally committed” (emphasis mine) (“UN Fails to Agree on Condemnation of Israel”, Arutz Sheva, June 24, 2014). He hasn’t investigated the Arab accusation. He doesn’t know what’s true, what’s make-believe. But he willingly—and not so subtly--warns the Jewish state that it could be charged with war crimes.

He ignores the fact that Syrian barrel bombs represent the kind of activity that meets the definition of ‘collective punishment’, not IDF search actions in Arab communities. He ignores the fact that the IDF has not killed at will, the way Syrian barrel bombs have. He ignores the fact that IDF actions in this incident are far closer to an aggressive—but legal--criminal investigation than a war crime.

The UN Undersecretary ignores the fact that virtually all those arrested by the IDF have some connection to Hamas, militant Fatah and other virulent anti-Israel groups, any one  of whom might have knowledge of this kidnapping. He ignores the fact that those connections make those arrests –and the IDF actions leading to those arrests--legitimate.

He ignores the fact that the IDF’s actions within Palestinian Authority communities have been specific and targeted, and have nothing in common with the type of random murder that is so characteristic of ‘collective punishment’—and barrel bombs.

The UN undersecretary ignores the fact that when the Boston police sealed neighbourhoods in their pursuit of the Boston bombers (following the bombings at the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon), no one cried, ‘collective punishment’.

But the Arab cries. He cries without regard to truth or fact. He cries because he knows that he can manipulate the UN to turn on Israel with no serious or objective investigation.

The UN has done just that. It wants to vote to condemn Israel. But the United States at the UN has objected. It says that condemning Israel would be a ‘red line’ for America.

That’s too bad—for America. The Member states of the UN know all about America’s ‘red lines’. They have seen them before, in Iran and Syria. No one at the UN seems particularly impressed with the US’s red lines.

The Times of Israel has reported that the UN failed to condemn Israel because of the US warning (“US prevents UN condemnation of Israel over West Bank deaths”, June 23, 2014). But that wasn’t true. The UN failure to condemn Israel wasn’t due to the US.

Perhaps the UN failed to condemn Israel because it isn’t ready to do so. Perhaps the UN knows that Israel isn’t guilty as charged. Perhaps the UN is not so keen any more to isolate and criminalize Israel, as some have claimed. Perhaps this failure of the UN to condemn Israel means there is still a shred of fairness at the UN.

Don’t bet on any of these possibilities. The UN’s current inability to condemn Israel wasn’t due to any pangs of conscience. It wasn’t due to any desire for fairness. It certainly wasn’t due to any fear of the United States.

Yes, there were some at the UN ready to stand up for Israel—and that US objection does count for something. But the truth is, the UN had the votes to condemn even with dissenters.  The UN failed to condemn Israel mostly for one reason only: it couldn’t decide how harshly that condemnation should be. It couldn’t agree whether the use of the word, ‘deploring’ (as applied to IDF action) was strong enough.

No doubt, the UN will try again.

The G-d of Israel watches all of this. He watches the Arab. He watches the UN. He watches the US. He takes notes. He records names in His Book of Remembrance.
In what part of that Book do you want to find your name?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The kidnapping, the Arab and collective punishment

Today is Monday, June 23, 2014. It is day eleven since three Jewish boys were kidnapped. Hamas and Fatah officials say the boys are soldiers. They are not. They are students.

Two are sixteen years old. One is 19. They are not military personnel. They are simply our children.

Israel unites. Secular and religious unite. Political Parties unite.

We unite because we are all Jews. Whatever our differences, these boys are our children.

We unite to pray. We pray for their safety. We pray for their lives.

Late yesterday afternoon, The Times of Israel reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) now charges Israel of terrorizing ‘a captive population’ (“Palestinians turning to UN Security Council to halt West Bank raids”, June 22,2014). This follows an angry condemnation of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) from the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas (“Abbas Lashes Out at Netanyahu Over Hamas Crackdown”, Arutz Sheva, June 22, 2014).

Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO official, made the accusation.  She said that the Israeli operation ‘is a reign of terror directed against a captive Palestinian population. This is not a systematic search for three abducted boys but collective punishment’ [my emphasis] (Times of Israel, ibid).

In case you missed it, ‘collective punishment’ is a war crime. It is prohibited by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Arab war-plan against Israel has always been simple: start with an act of terror against Israel. Then accuse Israel of war crimes when Israel responds. Then go to the United Nations to use International Law to criminalize Israel.

They’ve done this before. They’re doing it again with this kidnapping incident.

But this kidnapping was not executed by Arab outlaws or Arab social pariahs who hold no connections to ordinary PA communal life. This kidnapping was supported by the entire Arab community.

Kidnapping Jews has been discussed by Arabs for months. During that time, it was not opposed by the population. It was not opposed by the leadership. Quite the reverse: for months, PA officials have joined with Hamas to call for more kidnappings, not less.

The entire Arab collective has been discussing the positive benefits of kidnapping Jews. The Arab collective wants to see Jews kidnapped. The Arab collective has given kidnapping its overwhelmingly support.

Now, three Jewish boys have been kidnapped. No Arab is shocked. Many are jubilant. To sweeten the joy, Arabs now accuse Israel of a war crime--collective punishment.

That’s wrong. It’s immoral. But it’s how the world works.

The world’s laws are flawed. Martin Luther King is reported to have said that there are two kinds of laws in this world, man’s law and G-d’s law; and until man’s law becomes consistent with G-d’s law, there will be no justice in this world.

The case of ‘collective punishment’ proves reverend King’s assertion. Certainly, there is no justice for Israel in the international arena. There will be no justice for Israel so long as man’s laws are used to demonize Israel—and G-d’s laws are rejected.

It is immoral for the Arab to incite his community to kidnap Jews and then claim ‘innocence’ when Israel acts because its Jewish citizens have been kidnapped. Collective punishment is a moral concept. It says you cannot punish every member of a group just because someone in that group has done something wrong. But this moral concept—like so many other moral concepts the Arabs use—is flawed. It assumes that the ‘group’ is innocent of the crime(s) committed. But what happens if the group is as guilty as the transgressor(s)?

Common sense suggests that a group’s collective responsibility should justify a collective punishment. But that doesn’t happen.

Collective responsibility isn’t in international code. It’s not part of International moral law. The Fourth Geneva Convention clearly states that no persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed; collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Collective responsibility is not mentioned.

This means that the prohibition against collective punishment is an absolute. It can never be used, no matter the circumstances.

The writers of the Fourth Geneva Convention were not thinking of an Arab war of terror against Israel when it wrote its code, in 1949. It was thinking of Nazi atrocities in World War Two.

Arab terrorism against Israel has become a moral hole. No one wants to address it. It simply fills up with man-made laws which are inconsistent, flawed and ill-equipped to address what is called ‘asymmetric war’, or, war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differs significantly (Wikipedia).  

The Arab-Israel war is asymmetric. Israel has the power. The Arab has the law. Because of that disparity, Israel will forever be beaten with ‘collective punishment’.
What makes this accusation even more immoral is that it doesn’t even apply to this situation. But that’s another story--for another day.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The kidnapping

Today is June 22, 2014. It is day ten since three Jewish boys were kidnapped by Muslims who hate Jews. The boys are civilians. They are not, as Muslims claim, ‘soldiers’. They are Yeshiva (religious school) students. Two are 16 years old. One is 19.

We unite to pray for these, our sons. We pray for their safety. We pray for their life.

We unite. That’s important. People outside Israel do not understand how we feel here: these boys are not ‘someone else’s kids’. They are truly our children. We unite because of them. We come together as one people, one nation, with one heart: we turn to G-d with a single voice.

Even seculars unite with us to pray. As one example, Israel Finance Minister Yair Lapid has said that he hasn’t prayed since his son’s bar mitzvah some six years ago. But when he heard of the kidnapping, he looked through his house for his grandfather’s siddur (prayer-book). When he found it, he sat down and prayed (“Lapid Prays For First Time in Six Years for the Abductees”, Arutz Sheva, June 20, 2014).

We unite in prayer. We turn to G-d. Was Lapid’s announcement nothing more than a cynical ploy of a cynical politician? It doesn’t matter.

As we unite in prayer, the Muslims around us also unite. They unite to lie about our three boys. They unite to attack Israeli troops.

More important, they unite to declare that kidnapping Jews is good because it is the only message Jews understand. It is, they say, the only way to convince Jews to free captured Muslim Jew-killers from Israeli prison.

The Arabs around us have united: the three Jewish boys are soldiers. For the Arab-Muslim, our children are always ‘soldiers’. They are never civilians. The Arab-Muslim calls our children ‘military targets’.

In Israel, this is the part of June when the school year ends. In June, our children—these so-called military targets-- make plans for the summer. These boys are not making those plans right now. They can’t.

The Arab collective doesn’t care. Kidnappings are too important.  Kidnapping is important because each kidnapping plays a role in the Arab-Muslim war against Israel. It brings joy. It means ‘success’.

This is why Israel should not stand down from its search-and-rescue mission. Israel cannot afford to give this kind of success to the Arab. If Israel stands down, there will be more Jewish suffering.

There is another reason Israel must not stand down. It must defend itself. It must continue to arrest those who are linked to Hamas and militant cells within Fatah. Israel must demonstrate that there will be a truly serious price to pay for kidnapping Jews.

The community of Arabs which surrounds Israel is guilty.  It carries that collective guilt because it has called for these kidnappings. It has wanted these kidnappings. It has supported kidnapping attempts. It has stood silent while neighbours have plotted kidnappings.

Now it has succeeded. That’s why the Arab-Muslim collective celebrates its good fortune. Arab success has brought misery to the Jews.  

For the Arab community, the kidnapping is good. It promises to get better: when the World Cup competition ends, and sports fans all over the world refocus on the news, they’ll wake up to headlines they haven’t yet seen: Jews ‘murder’ Arabs.

By the time the Cup competition ends (or soon after), that’s what the headlines will say. The Arab community will see to it.

For the Arab collective, this kidnapping is very good. So what if Arab youth are killed throwing firebombs at Israeli soldiers? Those headlines are worth it!

The Arab is patient. Soon, more Arab youth, including 12-14 year olds, will be shot as they attack Israeli soldiers. Then the world will read how Arab youth have been ‘murdered in cold blood’ (while attacking Israeli troops).

The world will be shocked. It will be horrified. It will demand sanctions against the ‘Apartheid’ Jew-state.

The world won’t remember the Arab calls to kidnap Jews. It won’t remember Arab guilt in this kidnapping. It won’t remember the three Jewish boys.

Instead, it will remember what it always remembers: to turn against the Jew.

Let them turn. The G-d of Israel watches. He watches Muslim hate and Christian complicity. He watches--and takes names. He records everything in His Book of Remembrance.

He records because every nation will be judged. Every religion will be judged. Those who bless—or help—Israel will be judged. Those who curse--or demonize--Israel will be judged.

We don’t know why this kidnapping happened. We don’t know why these boys and their families must suffer. But we do know this: for the nations of the world, this kidnapping is a test. It’s a test to see who will defend Jewish life—and who won’t.

The G-d of Israel watches. He Records. Soon, He will Judge.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The kidnappings: Abbas is right

Today is Friday, June 20, 2014. It is day eight following the kidnapping of three Jewish boys. The boys, contrary to Arab claims, are not soldiers.
They are 100 per cent civilian. They are students. Two boys are 16. One is 19. They are not military personnel. They attend a Yeshiva (religious school).
They have not yet been found. We unite to pray for them. We pray for their safety. We pray for their return—unharmed.
Today, we look at the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is no friend of Israel. His Fatah (the Party he leads) promotes the destruction of the state of Israel. The Fatah logo reflects this goal: it shows the new Arab ‘Palestine’ replacing Israel.
Abbas promotes the Arab narrative. That narrative about Arabs and Jews is riddled with misrepresentations, incorrect information and lies.
Abbas tells the world he wants peace—then promotes incitement against Jews and Israel. He claims he is non-violent--then celebrates convicted Jew-killers as national heroes.
Virtually everything he says about Israel is—and should be—suspect. For example, he has claimed that his new unity government will adhere to the principle of peace with Israel (“Palestinians form new unity government that includes Hamas”, The Washington Post, June 2, 2014). He has claimed that Hamas will have no influence whatsoever on PA policy (ibid).
Consistent with these declarations, he has criticized Hamas for its connections to this kidnapping. He has also, on June 18, 2014, declared that it is in the PA’s interest to engage in security coordination and cooperation with Israel.
That is a policy statement. It is not something he said in English for foreign consumption. It’s what he said in Arabic to a meeting of PA officials.
But Hamas has objected to this statement. It has stated that, “President Abbas's statements on security coordination with Israel are unjustified, harmful to Palestinian reconciliation” (“Abbas Backtracks on Hamas Criticism, Calls for Unity Elections”, Arutz Sheva, June 20, 2014).
After Hamas objected to an Abbas policy statement, Abbas backtracked. He will not harm the reconciliation. Hamas, which is supposed to have no influence whatsoever on PA policy, has flexed its muscle. Abbas felt the pressure. He has yielded to that pressure. He will do as Hamas demands.
Abbas is a liar. He dissembles before the world so that the world can claim, ‘look, he’s non-violent; he won’t give Hamas any power! He won’t be influenced by Hamas!’
Abbas may be a liar. But he still tells the truth.
That’s why we want to talk about him today. To look at the truth he speaks.
In his June 18, 2014 speech, when he declared that coordination with Israeli security was in the PA’s interest, he meant it. He understands that resisting the IDF will destroy him. When he also said in that same speech that those who executed the kidnapping ‘want to destroy us,’ he meant that, too.
Abbas’ concern for being destroyed may sound like paranoia. Perhaps it is. But he’s right, nonetheless. If Fatah wants to survive as the ruling authority of the PA, it cannot allow someone to provoke the wrath of the IDF.
Fatah has a very tenuous hold on power in the PA. That power depends upon keeping his people satisfied. The consequences for provoking the IDF are disastrous. For one thing, IDF actions inside PA cities will undermine Arab faith in Abbas. It will undermine his people’s belief that he can take care of them.
If the IDF continues to blow doors off people’s homes in the PA during the middle of the night, people will reject anyone who cooperates with that kind of enemy. They will turn to the more militant Hamas. Under IDF pressure, Hamas’ influence will ascend. Fatah will wane.  
If Hamas gets control of the PA, it will not be kind to Fatah.  Abbas will be out. Fatah will be out. The PA will become another Gaza—ruled by the iron fist of Hamas.
If anyone or any event destabilizes Fatah's hold on the PA, the odds increase that Hamas will take over. That’s what Abbas means when he says that this kidnapping was started by those who want to destroy him. IDF actions inside the PA can empower Hamas. That empowerment will threaten Fatah’s hold on the PA. That threat could easily provoke an internal war, Arab versus Arab, Fatah versus Hamas. The purpose of this war will be to determine who will rule in the PA—Hamas or Fatah.
We know what an Arab versus Arab war looks like. We see it every day in Syria. It destroys everything.
Inadvertently, Abbas speaks the truth. He is right. Caught between Hamas and the IDF, he sits on the cusp of destruction.
This is how the G-d of Israel will judge those who seek our destruction. His judgment will take the form of measure-for-measure.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The kidnapping: the Arab counteroffensive begins

Today is Thursday, June 19, 2014. It is day seven following the kidnapping of three Jewish boys last Thursday night. The boys are civilians. They are students at a Yeshiva (religious seminary).

Two of the boys are 16 years old. One is 19.

We unite to pray. We pray for their safety. We pray to see them return to us alive and well.

Today, we awaken to an Arab counter-attack against Israel. It’s not a military offensive. It’s a propaganda campaign.

Don’t laugh at Arab propaganda. The Arab has become an expert at propagandizing against the Jewish state. One may even reasonably argue that the Arab propaganda war against Israel has been far more successful these last ten years than anything Israel has done to defend itself.

Today, we see how the Arab counter-attack comes together. It’s an eye-opening process. It’s driven by Arab hate—and by those who support that hate.

The main moral supporter for the Arab war against Israel in this world is Humanitarianism. Humanitarians have become the moral basis for anti-Zionism. Humanitarians use their carefully-crafted vocabulary to demonize and criminalize Jewish Israel. We know this to be true because Humanitarians no longer attempt seriously objective investigations of anti-Israel Arab claims. They simply parrot Arab accusations.

This is why the Arab press pursues its anti-Israel agenda through a Humanitarian vocabulary. The Arab knows an ally when he sees one.  

Humanitarianism began as a wonderful idea. It aims to help us all. But it has been hijacked. Humanitarianism is no longer a path to peace. It is a weapon of war.

The Arab likes that weapon. It works for him. He wants to destroy the ‘Jewish entity’. He sees how eagerly Humanitarians join his war.

The Arab has learned how to create the vocabulary necessary to keep Humanitarians on his side. He also knows that, for whatever reason, Humanitarians accept every word he utters to demonize Israel.

The Arab has always been a good horse-trader. He will not look a gift-horse in the mouth—especially if he can use that horse to hurt Israel.

The specific anti-Israel Humanitarian vocabulary for this IDF-inspired 2014 campaign against Israel began a couple of days ago. At first, we saw accusations of arbitrary detention, collective punishment and mass arrests—all terms familiar to the Humanitarian industry. Some Arab news stories called IDF arrests of Arabs ‘kidnappings’. But until late yesterday, that label didn’t stick.

Today is a different story. Today, the use of Humanitarian vocabulary in the Arab press to criminalize Israel becomes more focussed. Here’s your chance to judge that process.

For the first time since the kidnapping, we see a concerted effort to establish a Humanitarian legal brief against Israel for its actions in Judea-Samaria: IDF arrests are now ‘abductions’ and ‘mass-kidnaps’. The IDF campaign into Judea-Samaria (where the boys were kidnapped) is no longer a search for missing boys. It’s ‘punishment’ of 'Palestine' for the boys’ disappearance within the Palestinian Authority territories.  

These morally-laden phrases are wrapped within a carefully constructed package designed to excite the Humanitarian: Israel’s behaviour, the Arab press reports, represents the most severe violation of human rights ever (“Minister dubs Gaza siege most notorious Israeli violation of human rights”, Hamas, June 18, 2014).

Arabs want the world to turn against Israel. The Arab press wants the world to see Israel as a brutal violator of Human Rights. That press wants the world to see the IDF’s arrests as mass kidnappings, to suggest a moral depravity far worse than the kidnapping of three boys.

To buttress its case for an immoral, oppressive Israel, the Arab press has begun to describe the IDF search as an ‘invasion’. It no longer calls the IDF actions in Judea-Samaria a ‘search’; it calls the IDF actions a retribution for the kidnappings.

Retribution against an entire people, you see, is supposed to be far worse than kidnapping ‘three army-age boys’ (16-year old boys may be army-age to Hamas, but they are not to Israel).

This propaganda campaign presents an interesting challenge. It attempts to tilt the moral table against Israel. But its premise is not morally sound: we kidnapped three, the propaganda suggests, but Israel has mass-kidnapped more than 300. Israel no longer looks for missing ‘soldiers’; it punishes us with a ‘frenzied’ retribution (apparently, a ‘frenzied’ retribution is far worse that a run-of-the-mill retribution).

Here is today’s bottom line for this Arab propaganda campaign against Israel: the Arab press wants you to contrast the criminal severity of the kidnapping of three Jews against what they call a brutal collective retribution against the entire ‘Palestinian’ people. The Arab press wants you to conclude that the Arab kidnapping of three Jewish ‘soldiers’ is nothing compared to the IDF's so-called mass-kidnapping of Hamas terrorists.

How would you grade that moral argument?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The kidnapping, the Arab press and Israel

Today is Wednesday, June 18, 2014. It is day six for the three Jewish boys kidnapped on Thursday night, June 12. The boys are teenagers. Two are 16 years old. One is 19.

In Israel, we unite to pray. We unite to pray for their safe return.

The Arab press shows us how it views what has happened during these last six days. It does not see things as we do. It does give us details not found in Israel’s press. But it uses those details to demonize Israel and to build a legal case against Israel.

 First, the new details:

According to the Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) news services, Israel’s army, the IDF, has invaded Judea-Samaria (the boys were kidnapped in Judea, near Hevron). The IDF, the Arab press reports, has cut off electricity to Hevron  (“Israeli raid-“hysteria” bursts out in al-Khalil in search of missing soldiers”, June 17, 2014).

According to the Arab press, this news story is not about three missing Jewish boys. It’s about soldiers. The Arab press has turned the Jewish teens into Israeli military personnel.

As of mid-day June 18, the Arab press has reported that the IDF has sent troops into the cities of Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Hevron.  It has also gone into a series of Arab communities most Jews have never heard of: Beit Furik, Audla, Tell, Talfit, Salfit, Beit Awwa, Taffuh, Beit Ula, Dura, Sanjar, Idhna,  Silwad, Wadi al-Maleh, al-Louza, Sheikh, Yatta, Beit Ummar, Bab el-Zawiya, Beit Kahil, al-Bireh and Beitunia .

It reports that one refugee camp, al-Aroub, was sealed. Other refugee camps, notably Balata and Askar, were invaded.  Even the Beit Kahel cemetery, west of Hevron, was invaded.

The Arab press reports that the IDF has been breaking into private homes. To gain entry to those homes, it has not been ringing doorbells or knocking on doors. It fires a rocket. It has blown off scores of doors. The Arab press doesn’t like that. It calls the tactic brutal and abrupt.

The Arab press reports that, as the IDF swept through the region, dozens of Arab youth have sometimes rushed to the scene to pelt the soldiers with stones, bottles and firebombs (“Violent clashes erupt in Bab al-Zawiya, raids reported in Beita, Beit Ummar”’ June 26, 2014). It has reported violent clashes in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jenin, Bitounia, Nablus and the refugee camp called, Jalazoun. Reports say that many Arabs attacked the soldiers. Many of the attackers were wounded. One was shot dead.

The Arab press has reported that the IDF has fired tear-gas, rubber bullets and even live rounds at the attacking youth.

The Israelis were reported to have confiscated a large number of CCTV surveillance cameras. It continued to blow off house doors.  During the first 4 days following the kidnapping, Arab news counted more than 200 Arabs arrested. It counted more than 240 IDF raid-and-search operations in Hevron alone.

The Arab press calls the arrests, ‘arbitrary abductions’ and ‘IDF kidnappings’(“Israeli raid-“hysteria” bursts out in al-Khalil in search of missing soldiers”, June 17, 2014). It called for Humanitarians to attack Israel for Humanitarian Law violations involving arbitrary abductions, kidnapping citizens, mass arrests and arbitrary detention.

The Arab press is not simply reporting news. It is telling a story. It is creating a narrative. It is telling the world that Israel violates international Humanitarian code with ‘arbitrary mass arrests’.

The Arab press is wrong. There was nothing arbitrary, random or unfocused about these arrests. They were not ‘mass arrests’ in the sense that Israel was arbitrarily arresting everyone it saw in a given place. At one point, eighty per cent of those arrested were tied to Hamas; and most of the remaining detainees were ‘liberated prisoners’ (convicted terrorists released to the PA in the 2011 Shalit prisoner-exchange agreement), university lecturers, clerics and former Palestinian Authority officials whom reasonable people could reasonably believe might be connected to the kidnapping (“250 arrested in West Bank”, June 17, 2014).  

On June 18, Israel’s Haaretz published that the IDF had arrested 240 Arabs, 180 of whom were tied to Hamas. Arabs and their Humanitarian friends may be shocked by the speed, scope and number of arrests. They may use that speed and scope to accuse  Israel of having violated Humanitarian code—for how else could the Israelis have arrested so many so quickly? But, again, these arrests were neither random nor arbitrary. The IDF clearly knew who they were looking for—and found them. Virtually all of those arrested were obviously targeted as belonging to the type of ‘interested person’ Israel would want to interrogate.

The Arab press peddles propaganda, not news. It wants to demonize Israel. It wants to criminalize Israel for its search for the missing teenagers.

The Arab press has no other interest.