Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Report on the Yesha Council at AIPAC

The settlement movement is not about to take over AIPAC or the U.S. pro-Israel community any time soon. But it did manage to seize control of a couple hours of Policy Conference, at least for some tiny but vocal minority of the confab’s participants.
On Monday afternoon, the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization representing Jewish communities in the West Bank, held an event at a rented space on F Street, about a half-mile away from the convention center. It wasn’t really counter-programming—none of the half-dozen speakers that I stayed for criticized AIPAC in their talks. But it was at least concurrent programming.
About half the attendees wore Policy Conference lanyards, with a few red Congress Club ribbons scattered among the crowd. Views of the lobby itself tended to be mixed. For some, AIPAC isn’t pro-settlement enough. Marc Provisor, a Policy Conference attendee and activist from the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, said he is “proud of AIPAC,” but still thinks it’s less accepting of the settlers’ perspectives than it should be. “AIPAC has to be open to all sides of Israel rather than being limited,” he said. What’s needed in discussions of Israel, he said, is “informed opinion, rather than manipulated opinion.” Others were less generous. “My sense is that AIPAC wants to do what’s good for the two-state solution…and the two-state solution is the property of people who say Israel is an occupier,” one attendee told me me.
Although he didn’t mention AIPAC by name, Yishai Fleisher, a spokesperson for Hebron’s Jewish community, implied that the Yesha Council event was carrying out the kind of messaging work that other groups were either unwilling or unable to do. “You can’t answer ‘You stole someone’s land’ with ‘We invented a cell phone.’ The answer is, ‘It’s our ancestral homeland and we’re going to hold onto it’” he told me—a line he then repeated almost verbatim for a packed room a few moments later, while introducing the afternoon’s speakers.

The event drew about 1oo people, meaning the vast majority of Policy Conference’s 18,000 participants were somewhere else at the time. But the speaking lineup included prominent Israeli political figures: Housing minister Yoav Gallant, New York consul general Dani Dayan, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, and regional cooperation minister Tzachi Hanegbi all spoke, giving the gathering a higher-powered roster than all but a few of the actual AIPAC breakouts happening during the same time period.
Policy conference largely deals within areas of broad agreement—at the plenary sessions, Israeli policy in the West Bank is usually discussed indirectly or in passing. At the Yesha event, with its promises of like-minded people and free kosher sushi, supporters of the settlement movement didn’t have to hide behind the requirements of maintaining shalom bayit within the broader pro-Israel movement. The Israeli speakers spoke a little more freely than they might have in front of a more diverse or more skeptical English-speaking audience: “We’re at half a million now. We need to get to one million settlers,” Hotovely said. Dayan boasted that the settler population increased by 40 percent during his six years as head of the Yesha Council. “If that’s not my entrance ticket to Gan Eden,” he quipped, “I don’t know what is.” Gallant, a retired IDF general, called his settlement advocacy “a correction” after a career partly dedicated to destroying things in battle.

Official Policy Conference events can have a dour, perfunctory feel to them at times, partly because of the inevitably dulling and anonymizing effect of any long and crowded event, and partly because of the speakers’ finely honed instinct for staying within the AIPAC consensus. The Yesha meetup was far outside of that consensus, giving the proceedings a freer and slightly raucous feel. “Let’s give it up for Judea and Samaria!” Fleisher happily bellowed before introducing Gallant. Fleisher was in a buoyant mood—the settlement movement had gotten its point across, asserting its presence during the biggest pro-Israel event of the year. “Our people could have only dreamed about eating Sushi at a Yesha event in DC 2,000 years ago,” he said between speakers. “And it was good sushi! Maybe we’ll eat sushi at the third temple. Korban sushi.”


Monday, March 27, 2017

My Hurrah for Hartzler

Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District Vicky Hartzler was attacked.

I responded:

"The writer, expert in biology, asks: why a Congress Representative would act "in support of the settlement enterprise".

Well, that has a long history. We could start with President John Adams who thought in a 1808 letter to Dutch Patriot leader and American immigrant Fran├žois Adriaan van der Kemp that "I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations" and added in a 1819 letter to Mordechai Noah that "I could find it in my heart to wish that you had been at the head of a hundred thousand Israelites indeed as well disciplined as a French Army-& marching with them into Judea & making a conquest of that country & restoring your nation to the dominion of it. For I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.'

In 1922, Congress approved of the Mandate for Palestine to reconstitute the historic Jewish National Home which, at that time, included Judea, Samaria and even Gaza in its territory. In 1924, Congress authorized the Anglo-American Convention for Palestine which also included that territory, with special emphasis on American citizens' rights. There are at least 30,000 American citizens living in the Judea & Samaria communities, excluding Jerusalem (see below).

Further, to "What U.S. or Missouri interests are served by this pro-settler activism?", I could add that economic interests of local industries are a possible factor as well as extending American values to the area for Jews and Christians and Muslims just like other foreign aid programs. Check the FB page of the US Consulate in Jerusalem to see how much taxpayer dollars go for "Palestinian Arabs". Also, Israel's security is well served by a Jewish presence in the hills overlooking Israel. Remove that and regional stability collapses.

And as for "Is she even serving the interests of American Jews, the majority of whom oppose the settlements while supporting Israel?" well, she is and I doubt the majority do oppose "the settlements" but simply want peace. Don't forget, "settlements" for Arabs and maybe Jews like the write also include 205,000 Jews who live in post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods. They are to be ethnically cleansed just like the Jews who lived in Judea, Samaria and Gaza were cleansed by Arabs during 1920-1948?



The professor.

Demographics of Jerusalem's Post-1967 Neighborhoods

Following the publication of statistics on the population figures for the Jews resident in Judea and Samaria as per this report

The complete West Bank Jewish Population Stats report was released today with data updated to January 1, 2017. The report is available to the public in English via the mailing list at the West Bank Jewish Population Stats website.

The West Bank Jewish Population Stats report is compiled each year by Former Member of Knesset Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz based on precise data from the population registry in Israel’s Ministry of the Interior. As of January 1, 2017, according to the report, 420,899 Jews live in West Bank towns, not including the some 300,000 Jewish residents of the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which are technically part of the West Bank as well.

I rechecked sources for Jerusalem.

I added up all the neighborhoods post-67 at the Jerusalem Yearbook for end of 2014.

Neveh Yaakov 21,260
Pisgat Zeev N. 18,500
Pisgat Zeev E. 22,150
Ramat Shlomo 15,070
Ramat Alon N. 26,320
Ramat Alon S. 17,783
Ramot Eshkol/Givat Mivtar 11,190
Givat Shapira 7,950
E. Talpiot 14,020
Har Shlomo 18,940
Gilo E. 19,250
Gilo W. 11,060
Jewish Quarter 2,900

The sum of those figures equals 204,390 at the end of 2014.

Missing may be Maaleh Hazeitim and Kidmat Tzion with Har Hazeitim. But that would be around 500 so let's round off at 205,000.

The average yearly growth of the Jewish population, found hereseems for past 5 years to be 1.42.

That would provide a total approximate figure of 208,000  Jews residing in the post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods which the Arabs and the UN declares territory slated for a future Arab state in the former area of the Palestine Mandate.



It is now being reported as "over 200,00" for Jerusalem


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jabotinsky's Mention in New Film

"We, warriors of the Zionist Revisionist movement, 
in the name of Vladimir Jabotinsky, 
promise to fight to the end and we will never surrender..."


From "Chosen".

Trailer here.

Thanks to Dovid S.

A review.

Tolkien Talmud

Sound familiar?

R. Abbahu said that R. Eleazar said: The fire of Gehinnom has no power over the Scholars. It is an ad majus conclusion [to be drawn] from the salamander.* 
If now [in the case of] the salamander, which is [only] an offspring of fire, he who anoints himself with its blood is not affected by fire, how much more so the Scholars, whose whole body is fire, for it is written [Jer. 23, 29]: "Is not My word like as fire? saith the Lord". 
Resh Lakish said. The fire of Gehinnom has no power over the transgressors of Israel. 

Tractate Chagigah 27A.


A fabulous animal generated in fire which, according to the Midrash, must burn incessantly for seven days and nights; but Rashi here postulates seven years, and the Aruch (s.v.) seventy years. For a fun account of the legend, v. J. E. vol. X, pp. 646-7


A Shiloh Synagogue Roof

The roof of Shiloh's main synagogue, Mishkan Shiloh, appears at approximately 1:19 in this amazing from-the-air clip:


The Story of the Looped Tzitzit

As is the custom, I wear a tallit katan, vernacularly know as "tzitzit", under my shirt.

Today, something rather unique happened (although it may have happened to me previously some decades ago I think).

I usually dress in our darkened bedroom (wake-up for me is 5:20 as shacharit is at 6) but go into another room to select a shirt.  Which is what I did this morning.

It was there that I discovered I had managed to do this:

For those wondering what the "this" is: I seem to have slipped my belt through the part of the tzitzit that connects the fringes to the actual material that creates a four-cornered garment.

Wonders of wonders.

It meant, however, that I had to reloop myself so as to put on my camera and cellphone.

Being Jewish.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Is Jordan a Moderating Force?

Despite Article 9 of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty:


  1. Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
  2. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
  3. The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

Jordan is not fulfilling its responsibilities.

Consider these headlines in the official Petra News Agency I found in a search:

That language and terminology violates the treaty.

Will Israel's government call in Jordan's Ambassador to convey a reprimand or a note of dissatisfaction?


A Ticking Firebomber Killed

Gideon Levy has a pro-firebomber piece in Haaretz.  It drips empathy for the terrorist.

Okay, he doesn't suggest outright that Arabs throw fire-bombs at IDF soldiers of Israeli civilians but he does attack the army's attempts to protect themselves and Israel's civilians.

He claims the attacker who was killed outside of Bet El, Murad Abu Razi, was shot in the back (although Levy's actual words are "The soldiers shot at them from behind") and

He was obviously not endangering the soldiers as he fled.

Obviously?  Did they know he did not have a gun and maybe would have turned and fire at them?

Although the post-mortem examination found 

that he had been shot with one bullet that entered his back and exited via the chest, on the left side

I won't attempt to argue whether at the time, early evening when the visibility is not perfect, Abu Razi perhaps had also been seen at an angle, turning to his left, rather than at a 90-degree angle,  But I will say that the shot that killed him obviously save a Jewish life in the future.

The dead youth was a terrorist.  He refused at least two attempts to dissuade him from throwing the firebomb.  He was a ticking firebomber.

There are no moral doubts.

Would that his death convince other youths to leave the path of terror.


Friday, March 24, 2017

'Concerns' vs. 'Interests'

Language is always an issue in social contact and discourse, especially in diplomacy.

For example, instead of "concerns" here:

Joint readout on the United States-Israeli ConsultationsTHE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press SecretaryFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 23, 2017

Senior-level United States and Israeli delegations concluded today four days of intensive discussions...

The two delegations also discussed Israeli settlement construction, following up on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington and Mr. Greenblatt’s recent visit to Israel. The United States delegation reiterated President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement. The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration. The talks were serious and constructive, and they are ongoing.

...the term "interests" or "attention" would have been employed.


Was Khalid Masood Eliminated Elor Aazariah-style?

An IDF soldier, Elor Azariah, shot dead a neutralized terrorist in Hebron last year.

After stabbing a soldier, the terrorist was wounded, seriously, and then Azariah, claiming he felt threatened by perceived movement by the terrorist, shot him dead.  It sent off a storm in Israel, politicians' declarations, and a trial.

What happened in London on Wednesday?

A terrorist rammed dozens of pedestrians, stabbed a policemen (who died), was shot and seriously wounded.

But was he shot after wounded and on the ground?  By two policemen?

Credit: UK DailyMail


And yes, I am, aware that some 10 minutes passed between the downing of the Hebron terrorist and Azariah's shot, unlike the incident in London.

But morally, it doesn't make a difference.  The terrorist was down and need not have been shot again, if that indeed was the case.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

And the "Dumb Jew Award" Goes to...Peter Beinart

Here's the screenshot of Peter Beinart's tweet (p.s. he's blocked me) responding to Brigitte Gabriel's tweet:

Now, most Jews and many non-Jews know that the Purim story involves Jews defending themselves from a state-sponsored program of elimination, eradication and extirpation.

It cannot be compared to supremacist radical Islamism killing non-Muslims in a terror campaign that has no rhyme nor reason.

He later attempted to link his remarks in a smug fashion to the Israeli administration of portions of the Land of Israel not (yet) under full sovereignty:

Verified account @PeterBeinart · 18h18 hours ago18 hours ago18 hours agoMore@ACTBrigitte we do. And luckily, there's nothing violent about a military occupation that denies millions of Palestinians basic rights for 50 years

(Added paragraph below)

What Beinart does in that tweet is mask that a) the Pals. are the ones who have been avoiding closing a deal, since 1993's Oslo Accords including Clinton Parameters, Netanyahu's construction moratorium, Olmerts's and Livni's swaps, etc.;  b) ignoring that there is a security aspect in Israel's administration;  c) that so-called "occupation" is legal in that it responded to a war of aggression in a defensive fashion.

Beinart, besides exploiting anti-Semitic tropes against his ideological foes and misrepresenting Zionism in his poorly researched book, see here and here, is now turning Judaism upside-down.

For that, he truly deserves the Dumb Jew Award.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A World War One "L'chayim" Tale

As has been announced:

Hundreds of Liquor Bottles belonging to British Soldiers from World War I were Exposed near Ramla
The surprising find was discovered in excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of Highway 200, which was initiated and financed by the Netivei Israel Company

An unexpected discovery was made a few weeks ago in an archaeological excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted in the vicinity of Ramla. Together with flint tools that are 250,000 years old from the Middle Palaeolithic period, archaeologists were astounded to find a fascinating reminder from the First World War that included, among other things, hundreds of liquor bottles that are 100 years old. These were found near a building where British soldiers were garrisoned during the war.

According to Ron Toueg, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "...We exposed a building whose upper part was not preserved, which was apparently the foundations of a barracks...Inside the building we discovered dozens of uniform buttons, belt buckles, parts of riding equipment, and other artifacts that were the property of the British soldiers. The building caught fire and collapsed for a reason which at this point is unclear. The place where the soldiers discarded debris was revealed just a few meters from the building. We were surprised to discover that along with broken crockery and cutlery there was an enormous number of soft drink and liquor bottles. In fact, about 70% of the waste that was discarded in the refuse pit were liquor bottles. It seems that the soldiers took advantage of the respite given them to release the tension by frequently drinking alcohol”. 

...According to Sary Mark, an architect, conservator and an authority on the British army’s occupation of the area, “On November 15, 1917 the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under the command of General Allenby conquered the area around the towns of Lod and Ramla. Before occupying Jerusalem the army encamped in the area where the archaeological excavation took place: the headquarters at Bir Salam – Ramla Camp and Sarafand Camp. The army was based there for about nine months until a decision was made to continue the conquest of the country further north. The building that was discovered in the excavation was used by the British soldiers, and it is rare authentic evidence and the first of its kind of the day-to-day life of the expeditionary forces for a very brief period during the First World War”.

Thanks to Eriola Jakoel, media coordinator of the Central Region, Israel Antiquities Authority.