Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Work Accident

Few phrases in news related to Israel upset me as much as the title of this post. 

A "work accident" gives the impression that someone going about their daily, legal, legitimate business has been injured or killed in a regrettable incident. 

In this brief report in "Haaretz", along with many others in various news outlets in the past, it refers to terrorists, in this case three members of Hamas, being killed by their own explosives. They were, undoubtedly, preparing them for use against the Israeli population. 

This sort of activity may be "work" for Hamas, but to call such incidents "Work Accidents" lends them an air of legitimacy. 

Perhaps "Reverse Engineering" or "Boomerang Terrorism" would be more appropriate? 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Obama's Lines

So, Obama thinks Israel should pull back to the 1967 borders?

a) They aren't borders - the Green Line is the 1949 armistice line.

b) Maybe he should watch this video.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


It's been a very busy few days, consisting of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Remembrance Day, immediately followed by Israel Independence Day), and I wrote about neither. 

Then, over this past Shabbat, I met members of a delegation of Israeli political high-fliers, about whom I was going to post, and will do soon. 

Today, I attended what seemed to be the very highly successful "We Believe in Israel" conference. I've taken so many notes, and wasn't sure where to start. I've got several days' worth of material to write about. 

And then, as I finally sat down to see, hear and read about today's news, once again I'm left writing about turmoil in Israel. 

In the morning rush-hour in Tel Aviv, an Israeli-Arab truck driver seems to have purposely driven into several other cars and ended up crashing into a primary school. A 27-year-old man was killed, and over a dozen injured. 

Around Israel's borders, in particular on the Golan border with Syria, and at the Erez border crossing into Gaza, large numbers of people started violent protests. The BBC has reported that twelve people have been  killed. They've managed to miss the fact that ten of them were killed by the Lebanese army. Their headline, as usual, speaks initially of Israeli aggression, and only mentions the Palestinians' initiating actions as a secondary detail.

All this, in the name of marking the "Nakba", the Arab description of Israel's independence - Catastrophe. 

The real catastrophe is that this can all have been avoided, and could certainly come to an end. All it will take is some very brave decision-makers, and the acceptance of one simple fact: Israel is there, always will be there, and will always remain, an independent, democratic, Jewish state. 

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Make mine a Double

Double standard, that is. 

In the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden's death, the West in the form of European leaders and the United Nations have gone out of their way to congratulate America on this triumph over terror. 

The hypocrisy of the West is shocking, but unsurprising. The very fact of his death, in a targeted killing, has brought what can only be described as joy to millions. Whilst watching scenes of jubilation across the United States, I have to admit that I understood that joy, but felt a little uncomfortable with how much these scenes of celebration reminded me of the celebrations held in Gaza and other parts of the Arab world after September 11th 2001, and more recently after the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar. Having said that, I'm not comparing the events. In the latter cases people were celebrating evil and the murder of innocents, whilst in New York and Washington they were celebrating the demise of one of the purveyors of that evil. 

His death, as the news has been slowly revealed over the last few days, came about in a combat action, despite the fact that he was unarmed and reportedly ill at the time. The comparisons with Sheikh Yassin, the Hamas leader killed in 2004, are inevitable. Yet the United Nations along with several Western leaders have lauded the death of Bin Laden as a strike at the heart of terrorism. 

When Israel killed Sheikh Yassin, who was also supposedly ill and unarmed, it was accused of war crimes, of illegal executions and wrongful assassinations. His death was even described as tragic by the now, thankfully, defunct UN Commission on Human Rights. This was a man who was directly responsible for ongoing terrorism against the people of Israel, and multiple lethal attacks prior to his death. Israel's actions were said to "...not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution." (Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General at the time.)

You can't have it both ways. Either the death of a terrorist is a good thing, or it is a bad thing. 

Either the extra-judicial killing of an arch-terrorist is a move towards peace or a step away from it. 

If the USofA was right in its actions, then so was Israel. 

The West, its leaders and its people, owe themselves as well as Israel, a little honesty. It shouldn't be that difficult, but seeing the inevitable hypocrisy rear its ugly head, it could drive a man to drink. 

Just make mine a double. 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Yom Hashoah

Tonight marks the start of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial day, in Israel. It is the day when, as a nation, the Jewish people mourn the loss of six million souls of their brothers and sisters in a systematic slaughter designed to wipe out the Jewish people, particularly in Europe. The Holocaust was part of a war that took the lives of millions more, and neither should be forgotten.

Only a few days ago, on Seder night, we read a short part of the Hagadda, that reminds us that throughout the generations there has always been somebody who wanted to do the same, and how, against all the odds, the Jews triumph, rise from the ashes, and continue to grow and develop. 

Our generation has no shortage of enemies who would love to claim to have completed Hitler's final solution, not least amongst whom are Hamas. In just a few short pages, StandWithUs show key parts of Hamas's charter, publicly declaring their aim at destroying Israel as a Jewish state, and the Jews within it. 

Jewish people have much to be proud of, as do all Israelis - not least of which is the power of their collective memory and determination to prevent the history of evil from repeating itself. 

The concept of remembering six million people is almost impossible, but it's easy to remember and pass on the heritage of one or two people at a time. You can search the database at Yad Vashem's website, and light a candle in the memory of one person. Maybe choose someone who had a similar name to yours, was a similar age, but choose someone. Learn what you can about them, even if it is only their name, and make sure that their memory is cherished by at least one other person. 

יהי זכרם ברוך -Yehi Zichram Baruch - May their memory bring a blessing for us all, and may we never forget what is so important for us all, Jews and non-Jews alike, to remember.