Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The 1967 war's impact


By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

The expanded strategic cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia and other ‎pro-U.S. Arab Gulf states in 2017 -- in the face of clear, present and lethal ‎threats posed by Iran's ayatollahs and Islamic terrorism -- has its roots in the ‎June 1967 Six-Day War and the civil war in Yemen during the early 1960s.‎

The impact of the Six-Day War transcended the Arab-Israeli ‎conflict. It highlighted Israel as a unique national security producer for the U.S., ‎extending the strategic hand of the U.S. and upgrading the U.S. posture of ‎deterrence, without requiring U.S. personnel or bases. ‎

In June 1967, the Israeli beachhead delivered a critical geo-strategic bonus to ‎the U.S., while dealing a major setback to the Soviet Union, devastating the military ‎power of the anti-U.S., pro-Soviet Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was fully ‎engaged in his megalomaniacal goal to dominate the Arab world. Nasser ‎transformed Egypt from a conservative pro-Western monarchy (until the 1952 ‎revolution) to a hotbed of anti-U.S., intra-Arab revolutionary fire, which almost ‎consumed the conservative Jordanian Hashemite regime in 1956 and ‎did consume the conservative regimes of Iraq and Yemen in 1958 and 1962. ‎

Supported by the Soviets, Nasser harnessed terrorism, subversion and ‎conventional military means, mostly in Yemen, the Achilles' heel of Saudi ‎Arabia, which he sought to control as a platform to surge into the Arabian ‎Peninsula and bring-down the pro-U.S., oil-producing Arab regimes in ‎Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Nasser ‎aspired to gain control of the vitally strategic straits of Bab-el-Mandeb (Red ‎Sea) and Hormuz (Persian Gulf), which would have dealt the U.S. and the West ‎a major military and economic blow in the Middle East, Persian Gulf, Indian ‎Ocean, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea. ‎

While intra-Arab terrorism and subversion has remained an integral part of the ‎Middle East, the resounding defeat of Nasser in 1967 shattered the regional ‎profile of the Egyptian dictator, forced him to withdraw his substantial military ‎force from Yemen, ended the five-year Egypt-Saudi Arabia war by proxy, and ‎tilted the intra-Arab balance of power against the pro-Soviet radical Arab ‎regimes in favor of the pro-U.S. conservative Arab regimes. ‎

It snatched Saudi King Faisal from the jaws of a potential defeat in Yemen ‎‎-- which could have toppled the House of Saud -- and bolstered the ‎life expectancy of the Saudi royal family, Saudi Arabia's power-projection, ‎Riyadh's intra-Arab prestige, and U.S.-Saudi Arabian strategic cooperation. The ‎same applies to the other pro-U.S. Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula.‎

The 1967 war also terminated Nasser's military training of Iranian Arab ‎separatists in Khuzestan (western Iran) and Iranian dissidents, opposing the ‎shah of Iran, who was America's "policeman of the Gulf."‎

Simultaneously, Israel defeated the military force of pro-Soviet Syria -- ‎which was a major Arab power until the 1967 war -- thus denying President Hafez ‎Assad’s regime an opportunity to invade and annex the pro-U.S., militarily ‎inferior Jordan, which Damascus considered part of ‎Greater Syria. Furthermore, a September 1970 Syrian invasion of Jordan -- ‎during the civil war between Jordan's King Hussein and the ‎Palestinians -- was withdrawn after three days due to U.S. mobilization in the ‎Mediterranean Sea, the effective Jordanian military performance, and the ‎deployment of Israeli troops to the Israel-Syria-Jordan border, as well as ‎Israel's readiness to activate its air force (at the request of the U.S. and Jordan).‎

While King Faisal condemned Israel and the U.S. in a fury of talk -- "We ‎consider any state or country supporting or aiding Zionist-Israeli aggression against the ‎Arabs as aggression against us" -- the Saudi walk took a different turn, as ‎highlighted by University of Michigan Professor John Ciorciari. Realizing the ‎regional impact of the Six-Day War, the Saudis extended mere symbolic support to ‎Egypt (dispatching a military brigade that arrived after the war had ‎ended), refrained from switching to any anti-U.S. or nonaligned international ‎bloc, and minimized the economic consequences of the short-lived oil embargo ‎‎(fully lifted on Sept. 2, 1967), focusing on the critical long-term ‎relationship with the U.S. and on the real threat (that had just been crippled by ‎Israel): Arab radicalism and communist penetration.

While proclaiming publicly and feverishly its allegiance to the Palestinian cause, ‎Riyadh -- just like all other Arab capitals -- made it clear that the Palestinian ‎issue was not a crown jewel of the House of Saud (notwithstanding Saudi/Arab ‎rhetoric, which overwhelms most Western policymakers and media), and ‎expelled hundreds of Palestinian activists from the kingdom in order to keep ‎dissent in close check. ‎

Ciorciari submits the following assessment of the U.S. strategic priorities ‎made on May 23, 1967, by Professor Eugene Rostow, special assistant to U.S. President Lyndon ‎Johnson: "The main issue in the Middle East today is whether Nasser, the ‎radical states and their Soviet backers are going to dominate the area. A ‎related issue is whether the U.S. is going to stand up for its friends, the ‎moderates, or back down as a major power in the Middle East." ‎

Will the U.S. foreign policy establishment heed Rostow's assessment, which is as ‎accurate in 2017 as it was in 1967, scrutinize the larger context of U.S.-Israel ‎relations, concentrate on the Arab walk and not on the Arab talk, and focus ‎on top -- and not low -- national security priorities?‎

Trump and Israel: Enemies of the System

By Caroline Glick

The United States is sailing in uncharted waters today as the intelligence-security community wages an all-but-declared rebellion against President Donald Trump.

Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein’s decision on Wednesday to appoint former FBI director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel charged with investigating allegations of “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” is the latest and so far most significant development in this grave saga.

Who are the people seeking to unseat Trump? This week we learned that the powers at play are deeply familiar. Trump’s nameless opponents are some of Israel’s greatest antagonists in the US security establishment.

This reality was exposed this week with intelligence leaks related to Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. To understand what happened, let’s start with the facts that are undisputed about that meeting.

The main thing that is not in dispute is that during his meeting with Lavrov, Trump discussed Islamic State’s plan to blow up passenger flights with bombs hidden in laptop computers.

It’s hard to find fault with Trump’s actions. First of all, the ISIS plot has been public knowledge for several weeks.

Second, the Russians are enemies of ISIS. Moreover, Russia has a specific interest in diminishing ISIS’s capacity to harm civilian air traffic. In October 2015, ISIS terrorists in Egypt downed a Moscow-bound jetliner, killing all 254 people on board with a bomb smuggled on board in a soda can.

And now on to the issues that are in dispute.

Hours after the Trump-Lavrov meeting, The Washington Post reported that in sharing information about ISIS’s plans, Trump exposed intelligence sources and methods to Russia and in so doing, he imperiled ongoing intelligence operations carried out by a foreign government.

The next day, The New York Times reported that the sources and methods involved were Israeli. In sharing information about the ISIS plot with Lavrov, the media reported, Trump endangered Israel.

There are two problems with this narrative.

First, Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster insisted that there was no way that Trump could have exposed sources and methods, because he didn’t know where the information on the ISIS plot that he discussed with Lavrov originated.

Second, if McMaster’s version is true – and it’s hard to imagine that McMaster would effectively say that his boss is an ignoramus if it weren’t true – then the people who harmed Israel’s security were the leakers, not Trump.

Now who are these leakers? According to the Washington Post, the leakers are members of the US intelligence community and former members of the US intelligence community, (the latter, presumably were political appointees in senior intelligence positions during the Obama administration who resigned when Trump came into office).

Israel is no stranger to this sort of operation. Throughout the Obama administration, US officials illegally leaked top secret information about Israeli operations to the media.

In 2010, a senior defense source exposed the Stuxnet computer worm to the New York Times. Stuxnet was reportedly a cyber weapon developed jointly by the US and Israel. It was infiltrated into the computer system at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. It reportedly sabotaged a large quantity of centrifuges at the installation.

The revelation of Stuxnet’s existence and purpose ended the operation. Moreover, much of Iran’s significant cyber capabilities were reportedly developed by reverse engineering the Stuxnet.

Obama made his support for the leak clear three days before he left office. On January 17, 2017, Obama pardoned Marine Gen. James Cartwright for his role in illegally divulging the Stuxnet program to the Times.

In 2012, US officials told the media that Israel had struck targets in Syria. The leak, which was repeated several times in subsequent years, made it more dangerous for Israel to operate against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria.

Also in 2012, ahead of the presidential election, US officials informed journalists that Israel was operating in air bases in Azerbaijan with the purpose of attacking Iran’s nuclear sites in air strikes originating from those bases.

Israel’s alleged plan to attack Iran was abruptly canceled.

In all of these cases, the goal of the leak was to harm Israel.

In contrast, the goal of this week’s leaks was to harm Trump. Israel was collateral damage.

The key point is that the leaks are coming from the same places in both cases.

All of them are members of the US intelligence community with exceedingly high security clearances. And all of them willingly committed felony offenses when they shared top secret information with reporters.

That is, all of them believe that it is perfectly all right to make political use of intelligence to advance a political goal. In the case of the anti-Israel leaks under Obama, their purpose was to prevent Israel from degrading Iran’s nuclear capacity and military power at a time that Obama was working to empower Iran at Israel’s expense.

In the case of the Trump-Lavrov leak, the purpose was to undermine Israel’s security as a means of harming Trump politically.

What happened to the US intelligence community? How did its members come to believe that they have the right to abuse the knowledge they gained as intelligence officers in order to advance a partisan agenda? As former CIA station chief Scott Uehlinger explained in an article published in March in The Hill, the Obama administration oversaw a program of deliberate politicization of the US intelligence community.

The first major step toward this end was initiated by then-US attorney general Eric Holder in August 2009.

Holder announced then that he intended to appoint a special counsel to investigate claims that CIA officers tortured terrorists while interrogating them.

The purpose of Holder’s announcement wasn’t to secure indictments. The points was to transform the CIA politically and culturally.

And it worked.

Shortly after Holder’s announcement, an exodus began of the CIA’s best operations officers. Men and women with years of experience operating in enemy territory resigned.

Uehlinger’s article related that during the Obama years, intelligence officers were required to abide by strict rules of political correctness.

In his words, “In this PC world, all diversity is embraced – except diversity of thought. Federal workers have been partisan for years, but combined with the rigid Obama PC mindset, it has created a Frankenstein of politicization that has never been seen before.”

Over the years, US intelligence officers at all levels have come to view themselves as soldiers in an army with its own agenda – which largely overlapped Obama’s.

Trump’s agenda on the other hand is viewed as anathema by members of this powerful group. Likewise, the notion of a strong Israel capable of defending its interests without American help and permission is more dangerous than the notion of Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

Given these convictions, it is no surprise that unnamed intelligence sources are leaking a tsunami of selective and deceptive intelligence against Trump and his advisers.

The sense of entitlement that prevails in the intelligence community was on prominent display in an astounding interview that Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, gave to MSNBS in early March.

Farkas, who resigned her position in late 2015 to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, admitted to her interviewer that the intelligence community was spying on Trump and his associates and that ahead of Obama’s departure from office, they were transferring massive amounts of intelligence information about Trump and his associates to Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill in order to ensure that those Democratic politicians would use the information gathered to harm Trump.

In her words, “The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff’s dealings with Russians… would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that information.”

Farkas then explained that the constant leaks of Trump’s actions to the media were part of the initiative that she had urged her counterparts to undertake.

And Farkas was proud of what her colleagues had done and were doing.

Two days after Farkas’s interview, Trump published his tweet accusing former president Barack Obama of spying on him.

Although the media and the intelligence community angrily and contemptuously denied Trump’s assertion, the fact is that both Farkas’s statement and information that became public both before and since Trump’s inauguration lends credence to his claim.

In the days ahead of the inauguration we learned that in the summer of 2016, Obama’s Justice Department conducted a criminal probe into suspicions that Trump’s senior aides had committed crimes in their dealings with Russian banks. Those suspicions, upon investigation, were dismissed. In other words, the criminal probe led nowhere.

Rather than drop the matter, Obama’s Justice Department decided to continue the probe but transform it into a national security investigation.

After a failed attempt in July 2016, in October 2016, a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court approved a Justice Department request to monitor the communications of Trump’s senior advisers. Since the subjects of the probe were working from Trump’s office and communicating with him by phone and email, the warrant requested – which the FISA court granted – also subjected Trump’s direct communications to incidental collection.

So from at least October 2016 through Trump’s inauguration, the US intelligence community was spying on Trump and his advisers, despite the fact that they were not suspected of committing any crimes.

This brings us back to this week’s Russia story which together with the media hysteria following Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, precipitated Rosenstein’s decision to appoint Mueller to serve as a special counsel charged with investigating the allegations that Trump and or his advisers acted unlawfully or in a manner that endangered the US in their dealings with Russia.

It is too early to judge how Mueller will conduct his investigation. But if the past is any guide, he is liable to keep the investigation going indefinitely, paralyzing Trump’s ability to conduct foreign policy in relation to Russia and a host of other issues.

This then brings us to Trump and Israel – the twin targets of the US intelligence community’s felonious and injurious leaks.

The fact that Trump will be coming to Israel next week may be a bit of fortuitous timing. Given the stakes involved for Trump, for Israel and for US national security, perhaps Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can develop a method of fighting this cabal of faceless, lawless foes together.

How such a fight would look and what it would involve is not immediately apparent and anyways should never be openly discussed. But the fact is that working together, Israel and Trump may accomplish more than either can accomplish on their own. And with so much hanging in the balance, it makes sense to at least try.

Yerushalayim

By Rabbi Mordechai Willig

I

Avraham called the name of that place "Hashem will see (yireh)" (Breishis 22:14.) The Medrash Rabba (56:10) states, "Avraham called it Yireh. Shem called it Shalem, as it says (14:18), 'Malkitzedek (i.e. Shem, Rashi) king of Shalem.' Hashem said, 'if I call it Yireh, Shem will complain. If I call it Shalem, Avraham will complain. I will call it Yerushalayim - Yireh Shalem.'"

The Meshech Chochma (22:14) explains that Shem lived in the generation of the flood, when the earth became filled with robbery (6:11), and all flesh (even animals, Rashi) perverted its way on the earth (6:12). His life's work was to correct the evil traits and actions. He called his city Shalem, complete, to emphasize that all of mankind is one complete whole. Each person needs the other, influences and is influenced by him. Thus, Shalem represents interpersonal propriety and wholesome character.

Avraham taught monotheism and Divine Providence. He called his city Yireh, (He) will see, to emphasize that Hashem sees and controls world and personal events. He added "Hashem will be seen" when all will recognize that Hashem exists and sustains. This was his life's work (See Rashi 21:33).

Hashem combined both names, because both our character and our intellect are purified in Yerushalayim. Yireh means that Hashem sees, and we respond by observing His precepts, bein adam la-Makom. Shalem means that we perfect our character traits, bein adam le-chaveiro.

If either of these components is lacking, Yerushalayim is imperiled. The first Beis Hamikdash was destroyed primarily because of Avoda Zara and arayos (Sanhedrin 63b, 64a), which are aveiros bein adam la-Makom. The second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred (Yoma 9b), an aveira bein adam le-chaveiro. The resultant fast days will become holidays only when we will love both truth, bein adam la-Makom, and peace, bein adam le-chaveiro (Zecharya9:19, see Radak).

The Beis Hamikdash was rebuilt shortly after the first destruction. The second state of destruction is nearly two thousand years old. This indicates that interpersonal sins are more severe (Yoma 9b).

Hashem spreads peace, "upon us, upon all of His nation Yisrael, and upon Yerushalayim" (ma'ariv on Shabbos). Apparently Yerushalayim requires an additional blessing of peace (Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld).

Unfortunately, we have not yet merited this blessing. Yerushalayim is the center of the ongoing conflict between Jews and Arabs. Sadly, it suffers from serious conflicts and even occasional ugly clashes between Jews and Jews, over religious and other issues.

II

Fifty years ago, after two days of intense warfare in and around the city, Yerushalayim was reunified with the liberation of the Old City. When the cities of Yehuda were conquered, the obligation to tear one's garment when seeing them in a state of destruction ceased (Magen Avraham 561:1). In Jewish hands they are considered built. This may apply to Yerushalayim as well (Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim vol. 4, 70:11).

"The built Yerushalayim is like a city that is connected together (chubra la yachdav)" (Tehilim 122:3). The Yerushalmi (Bava Kama 7:7) interprets this to mean that Yerushalayim is a city that connects (shemchaberes) Yisrael one to the other. Technically, this refers to laws of ritual impurity which are relaxed on holidays. When the tribes go up [for aliyah l'regel] (122:4), all of Yisrael are chaveirim (Yerushalmi Chagiga 3:6). Homiletically, the literal translation teaches that Yerushalayimconnects Jews to one another. The theme of this year's jubilee commemoration, Yerushalayim Hame'uchedes V'hami'achedes, the unified and that unifies, reflects this idea.

Yerushalayim was reunified on the twenty eight of Iyar fifty years ago. Exactly one week after Yom Yerushalayim, at dawn on Shavuos, the public was allowed to enter the Old City and daven at the Kosel Hama'aravi. I was privileged to attend that unforgettable event. After the traditional mishmar and shacharis k'vasikin, the talmidim of Kerem B'Yavne joined the early morning crowd. We sang and danced to the words of Tehillim 122 as we entered the Old City. The words of Musaf at the Kosel, "Bring us to Tziyon Your city with joy" were recited with great emotion and exultation.

Among the most remarkable and unforgettable highlights of that march was the fulfillment of "Yerushalayim the built, a city that connects Jews to one another." Chasidim in their holiday shtreimels, Yeshiva students wearing knitted kipot, and bare-headed Jews with cameras slung over their shoulders danced together on that day. It was a taste of the unity of Messianic times, and was followed by the ba'al teshuva movement.

Many tribulations and conflicts have come upon Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael since those heady days of 1967. As we commemorate Yom Yerusahalyim and prepare for Shavuos fifty years later, we aspire for the unity of the first Shavuos, as one man with one heart (Rashi, Shemos 19:2), as we pray for the ultimate rebuilding of Yerushalyim, speedily in our days.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rav Kook on Jerusalem Day: Windows to World Peace


By Rabbi Chanan Morrison





Over the millennia, Jews have faced the holy city of Jerusalem when praying. The Talmud in Berachot 34b derives this practice from how Daniel would pray in Babylon:

“One should only pray in a house which has windows, as it says, ‘And Daniel would enter his house, where there were open windows in his upper chamber facing Jerusalem; three times a day he would kneel and pray’ (Daniel 6:11).”

Why are windows needed for prayer? Is not prayer a private exercise of the soul, where one concentrates inward? And why did Daniel have his windows facing Jerusalem?

Engaged Prayer

Prayer is an intensely introspective activity, but it should not lead us to belittle the value of being part of the world around us. If meditation and private prayer lead us to withdraw from the outside world, then we have missed prayer’s ultimate goal. The full import of prayer cannot be properly realized by those secluded in a monastery, cut off from the world. Prayer should inspire us to take action for just and worthy causes. For this reason, the Sages taught that we should pray in a room with windows, thus indicating our ties and moral obligations to the greater world.

As we affirm our connection to the world, it is important that we turn toward the city of Jerusalem. Our aspirations for perfecting the world should be channeled through the goal of universal peace. This is the significance of directing our prayers toward Jerusalem, whose name means “the city of peace.” Jerusalem is the focal point from which God’s prophetic message emanates to the world - “For the Torah shall come forth from Zion, and God’s word from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).

Balance and equality in nature: Parashat Bamidbar and Yom Yerushalayim 5777

BS”D 
Parashat Bamidbar and Yom Yerushalayim 5777
By HaRav Nachman Kahana

Balance and Equality in Nature

Nature does not relish or encourage imbalance or inequality.

The most elementary atom and molecule achieve stability through their equal number of positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. However, when they become positively ionized by losing a negative electron, for example, they readily bond with an atom or molecule which became negatively ionized by losing a positive proton in order to regain stability.

HaShem created nature as a duality of equal parts, which when taken together create uniformity, equilibrium, and symmetry; imbalance in any of nature’s systems creates havoc.

Doctors cannot always understand why one’s immune system suddenly fails to function and serious disease ensues.

I suggest that the cause is a deep emotional crisis such as anger, sorrow or any of the many negative aspects of one’s personality which in turn create imbalance of the system. As in the words of the illustrious Ramban in his letter to his son Nachman: “One who is angry all sorts of Gehenom abound in him”.

In the same vein of thought, two people who first meet sense a feeling of equality and mutual respect. if A should do a favor for B, then the equality is breached. B becomes beholden to A either legally or morally with an accompanying feeling that the relationship is no longer one of total equality. The feeling of equality can be restored only when B returns the favor to A.

This certainly holds true also with our relationship with HaShem, the Creator. Every pleasure, favor or miracle delivered to us by HaShem generates a requisite obligation upon Am YIsrael.

The God-given emotion of love creates the responsibilities inherent in marriage. The delight in giving birth to a child is accompanied with the responsibilities of bringing up the child. Great wealth provided by HaShem obligates the recipient to share the blessing with those who are less fortunate.

HaShem’s bestowing of a miracle on Am Yisrael is not a freebie, with the resultant obligations equal to the intensity of the miracle.

The exodus from Egyptian slavery was accompanied with the obligation to fulfill the mitzvot of the Torah. When we miraculously entered Eretz Yisrael, three mitzvot obligated the nation: to anoint a king, to destroy Amalek and to erect the Bet Hamikdash.

The miracles of Chanuka and Purim brought in their wake all the halachot which accompany these festive days of thanksgiving.

When the Medina was established in 1948, the obligation to return home came into force on every Jew in the galut. But they did not come. And because of this the obligation stands before the heavenly throne demanding the punishment of those who discarded their God initiated national and religious commitments.

YERUSHALAYIM

In 1967, HaShem blessed the Jewish nation with the greatest miracle since the dividing of the Red Sea – the sovereignty we now enjoy over Yerushalayim. It is HaShem’s gift to his loyal sons and daughters, and evokes upon us the obligation to develop the holy city in all its physical and spiritual aspects, and protect and defend our sovereignty at all costs. Did HaShem not say: “I will not enter the heavenly Yerushalayim until I have entered the earthy Yerushalayim (Taanit 5a)!”

The gentile world has always been cognizant of what is important for the survival of the Jewish nation at any particular time.

The Greeks prohibited the offering of sacrifices, the fulfillment of Shabbat and holidays, prohibited circumcision, and required the Jews to eat non-kosher food.

The Romans prohibited the Jews from having independent batei din (courts of law), from reading from the Torah, consuming matza on Pesach and praying in a bet knesset (synagogue).

The European Christians confiscated our holy books and burn them in the public square, for they knew that in these volumes lay the secret of Jewish survival.

The majority of nations today do not recognize Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel. A baby born to American parents in Yerushalayim will have stamped in his or her passport Jerusalem as the city of birth; but it will not say Israel. Most nations today including the USA do not recognize Yerushalayim as even a part of the Jewish state. The Gentile knows that the centrality of Yerushalayim connects all the dots of the Jewish nation, so Yerushalayim is the target point of the anti-Semite.

On Wednesday of this week we shall celebrate the unbelievable victory of Tzahal in the Six Day War. All the previous miracles wrought by HaShem for his nation Yisrael pale before what transpired in those six days between Monday and Shabbat. What took Yehoshua Bin Nun 7 years to accomplish, Tzahal did in 6 days. Then on Wednesday at 10:30 AM, the breathtaking announcement was made on the radio that General Mota Gur has just declared: “The Temple Mount is in our hands. Hold your fire.”

I lack the words to describe the greatness of those days. Emotions are overpowering, but unfortunately, they cannot accurately be put into words.

As unique and unprecedented as the Six Day War was, it was only a preview of what is yet to transpire here in HaShem’s holy land.

The next series of miracles that HaShem has in store for his loyal and dedicated children in Eretz Yisrael will be played out not in the limited region of the Middle East. They will be boundless and sweep across national borders in order to exhibit to the world that there is a Creator who is a “Religious Zionist”, and Am Yisrael is indeed His chosen people.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5777/2017 Nachman Kahana

The Shamrak Report: Donald Trump Speech in Saudi Arabia and more....

Donald Trump Speech in Saudi Arabia
US president Donald Trump delivered a 36 minute address in Riyadh on Sunday, the first speech during his first foreign trip. 
In a speech billed as an effort to reconcile with the Muslim world, while simultaneously galvanizing Middle Eastern nations to join the United States in an effort to combat terrorism, Trump said:
“Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God ... Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.”.
“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people,” said Trump. “Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of the earth,” he continued. (to view full speech click here)
MOVING EMBASSY is EASY!
In 1995, Congress passed a law mandating the embassy be moved to Jerusalem by 1999. But all US presidents since have signed waivers to suspend the move, amid fears it would destabilize peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, which is the biggest international political/anti-Semitic con!
Because of the 1995 law, president Trump could initiate the move on his own by not signing waivers like former presidents have done.
Logistically speaking, moving the embassy would not be a problem. It may take a few years to build, but in the meantime a section of the existing US consulate in West Jerusalem could be designated an embassy.
"We believe that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would mean the end of the peace process," said Saeb Erekat, second-in-command of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
FOOD for THOUGHT by Steven Shamrak
Proselytizing among Jews and converting Jews to Christianity is a spiritual genocide! It is not better than physical one committed by Inquisition and Nazis! In the beginning Martin Luther was nice to Jews, but 20 years later, when they did not convert, he said burn their synagogue and kill Jews. In a way, any messianic work outside of your own culture is a sign of aggression, superiority or at least disrespect. By doing so one says "I am better than you, join me or burn in hell"! Flash news - Jews do not believe in hell.

Police arrested two Jews who shot their way out of 20-Arab Ambush. Their car was suddenly attacked by dozens of Arab terrorists who started throwing rocks at them. Despite the immediate damage to their car, one of the two Israelis managed to come out with his gun drawn and shot at one of the attackers. Police did not hesitate and immediately arrested the two victims of the terrorist attack. (No Arabs were arrested!) 
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in an interview said US President Donald Trump will arrive next week in Israel "with no specific plan or road map in mind" and that "there are no demands for Israel to freeze building in Judea and Samaria." "The US will not dictate how you need to live together here. That's something that only you will decide.
During his India visit, Mahmoud Abbas praises terrorists, martyrs - but says he wants peace with Israel. "Praise be to our pure-hearted shahids (martyrs), and freedom to our heroic prisoners. Long live free and independent Palestine!" Abbas also called on the international community to pressure Israel into agreeing to the hunger-striking terrorists' demands.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would boost peace efforts by impressing on the Palestinians the city is the capital of the Jewish state. Netanyahu said. “Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem will not only not harm the peace process, it will advance it by correcting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.” Netanyahu said that all foreign embassies in Israel should be located in Jerusalem, chief among them the American embassy. (Talk is cheap - do something about it - Like make it a law of the land! Jerusalem is the only world capital whose status is denied by the international community – Put end to this international anti-Semitic stupidity.)
Tell me, Mr. Barghouti – how do your prison conditions compare with those of Gilad Shalit who was abducted and held by Hamas in Gaza for five years? How do they compare with the conditions Hamas offers to prisoners: Abera Mengistu, Israeli of Ethiopian origin being held in Gaza since September 2014, to Hisham al-Syed, Israeli Bedouin held in Gaza since April 2015, or to Juma Ibrahim Abu Anima, Israeli Bedouin who has been held in Gaza since July last year? (The Red Cross is a deeply anti-Semitic organization! It was co-operating with Nazi Germany. For many decades it refused to accept Israel as a member and it is still not using Red Crystal emblem in non-Christian countries.) 
President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah Party posted a poor showing in Palestinian municipal elections across the West Bank, even though the rival Islamic Hamas movement stayed out of the race. In Hebron, the West Bank's largest city and a Hamas stronghold, Fatah won just seven of 15 seats. Just 53 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
Uniting in opposition to the university's decision to drop Hatikva from a Humanities Faculty graduation ceremony, Israeli politicians and ministers dismiss justification of 'consideration' for Arab participants; PM says 'shameful' decision represents the 'height of subservience' that strengthens need for Nationality Bill, while Bennett calls university to remind it is a public institution and a recipient of government finance. 
The convicted murderer of six Israelis is elected to head Hebron’s municipal council. Abu Sneineh was one of four Palestinian terrorists who on May 2, 1980 attacked a group of Israelis and Jews in a Hebron alley, firing and hurling grenades at them. The four terrorists were all sentenced to life in prison, but were released in prisoner exchanges later in the decade.
Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev turned heads when she appeared at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival in France in a white dress emblazoned with the skyline of Jerusalem. Regev said she “wanted the dress to express in its spirit the beauty of Jerusalem, in honour of the 50th anniversary of its liberation and unification.”
Quote of the Week:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein
Interview with psychiatrist Kenneth Levin
Q: “A number of Jews and Israelis embrace criticism coming from anti-Semites and extreme anti-Israelis. They have many precursors in the lengthy history of the Jewish Diaspora.
A: “This phenomenon reveals great similarity, at the level of human psychology, to the response of children subjected to chronic abuse. Such children tend to blame themselves for their suffering. In their helpless condition, they have two alternatives. They can either acknowledge they are being unfairly victimized and reconcile themselves to being powerless, or they can blame themselves for their predicament. The attraction of the latter - ‘I suffer because I am bad’ - is that it serves the desire of being in control, fantasies that by becoming ‘good’ will elicit a more benign response from their tormentors. Both children and adults invariably seek to avoid hopelessness.”
In The Oslo Syndrome, Levin explains the attitude of Israeli self-haters: [There is] “a wish to believe Israel is in control of profoundly stressful circumstances over which, unfortunately, it has no real control. Genuine peace will come to the Middle East when the Arab world, by far the dominant party in the region, perceives such a peace as in its interest. Israeli policies have in fact, very little impact on Arab perceptions in this regard, much less than the dynamics of domestic politics in the Arab states and of inter-Arab rivalries.”
Levin adds now: “Popular hatred for Israel, which is fanned by Arab governments, education systems, media and Muslim clerics, runs deep in Arab opinion. This is not a totally isolated phenomenon, but fits into a much broader framework. Since the earliest days of the existence of the Arab-Muslim world, there has been widespread animosity against both religious and ethnic minorities in the region...
“While those Jews and Israelis who embrace anti-Jewish arguments typically do so in the hope of ingratiating themselves with the Jews’ enemies, they will rarely acknowledge this motive. Rather, they typically claim that their position reflects a higher moral or ethical position...
“During World War II, particularly after the Nazi extermination program was revealed in late 1942, many American Jewish leaders sought to raise public awareness of the plight of Europe’s Jews and promote rescue efforts. Yet they also limited their campaign out of fear of arousing public anger over Jewish concern with a Jewish issue, and they often rationalized their doing so as reflecting devotion to the greater patriotic task of winning the war. It was largely non-Jewish voices which insisted the Nazi extermination program was not only a crime against the Jews but a crime against civilization and all of humanity and therefore should be of concern to everyone.”
“The psychological dynamics of communities under attack explain why, both abroad and in Israel, the virtual siege placed upon the Jewish state will continue to lead segments of Jewish communities to support the besiegers and to urge Jewish self-reform as the path to winning relief. Yet the path they advocate is no less delusional than that of abused children who blame themselves for the abuse they experience...”

Enough!! Which is more Important – not hurting Muslims’ feelings, or Children being blown up?

Monday, May 22, 2017

As Shavuot Approaches...

By HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

A TIME AND PLACE

"There is a time and place for everything under the heavens." (Kohelet 3:1) According to the Midrash, "there was a time for Adam to enter the Garden of Eden, as it says, 'He [God] placed [Adam] in the Garden of Eden.' (Bereishit 2:15) There was also a time for him to leave there, as it says: 'And He chased him out of the Garden..' (Verse 23) There was a time in which Noah had to enter the ark, as it says (Bereishit 7:1) 'Come into the ark' - and there was a time for him to leave, as it says '[Now] you should leave....' (8: 16) There was a time for Avraham our forefather to be circumcised.... Rabbi Berchiya said: 'There was also a time for the Torah, originating in Heaven, to be given to Israel - as it says, 'And God spoke all of these words to Moshe saying..' (Shmot 20:1)"

Each and every event occurs at the time appropriate for it to happen. This is true even more for an event as central as the Giving of the Torah, since it had universal significance. When was it given? "In the third month after the Children of Israel left Egypt..." (Shmot 19:1) On the timing of Matan Torah , Midrash Tanchumah (Parshat Yitro) observes: "The giving of the Torah occurred in the third month. Why did it take place then, and not in the second or fourth months? Rav Hoshiyah said: The great Rabbi Chiyyah taught me that a woman who converts to Judaism - or a female slave that has been released - must not get married until three months after having undergone conversion or release, respectively. The Jewish people are called 'converts' (' Gerim '). In Shmot 22, we are referred to as " Gerim in the Land of Egypt..."(Shmot 22:20) The Book of Isaiah even terms us "captives." After our Egyptian enslavement, we were freed, as it says 'I am the Lord your God who took you out of the Land of Egypt from your predicament of slavery.' (Vayikra 26:13) Said the Holy One, Blessed be He: 'I'll wait three months for them, and only thereafter will I give them the Torah"'.

The convert, maidservant and freed slave must wait three months before marriage, in order to verify whether any subsequent pregnancy began when she was a non-Jew, servant, etc - or whether she became pregnant only once she became a full-fledged Jew. A Jewish woman who gets divorced must also wait three months before she remarries. The reason: if she gives birth after nine months, we will be able to determine whether the baby was fathered by the first or the second husband.

According to the midrash, then, the Children of Israel required, after being subject for so long to Egyptian slavery, a period of three months before they would be ready to nestle themselves under the wings of the Shechina (Divine Presence). It was simply impossible to quickly transform ourselves from a slave lifestyle to a people ready to unconditionally accept the yoke of Heaven. As a nation, we had to undergo an internal revolution, a distancing of ourselves from the yoke of non-Jews. Although it is true that three complete months did not elapse between Pesach and Shavuot, the Maharal of Prague explains that a portion of the first month, a full second month, and a portion of a third month were sufficient to facilitate this transition. The seven weeks of the Omer was preparation enough for Matan Torah .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Each year, time returns once again to the same point it had reached the previous year. Every season of the year has a special quality unto itself. We presently find ourselves in the period of the Counting of the Omer - a time of preparation, during which we Jews are constantly rising from one level to another, waiting for the big day, Shavuot, Chag Matan Torateinu - the Festival of the Giving of the Torah. Our sages teach that Shavuot possesses its own quality of renewal. This is certainly not an overt phenomenon, but it is present. It is a like a birthday of the Torah.

The Siddur (Jewish Prayer book) says that on a person's birthday, it is fitting for him to receive an Aliyah to the Torah. A birthday is a special day. Regarding the mishna, which asks - "Did Moshe's hands actually fight the war [against Amalek]? Rather, when Israel looks heavenwards, they would begin to be victorious" - the Jerusalem Talmud explains that Amalek would send soldiers to war on their birthdays, since, Amalek understood, a person is not that likely to be killed on his birthday. In other words, even Amalek understood that one is blessed with special Siyata Dishemayah - Divine help - on one's birthday; it is a day of success, of good fortune. What did Moshe do by raising his hands? He confused the mazalot (constellations), preventing Amalek from determining just when each Amalekite soldier's birthday fell.

RELIVING MATAN TORAH
In light of the above, it becomes clear that the dynamic of Matan Torah recurs - is relived each year - on Shavuot. Not everyone is sensitive to this reality or aware of it, but it is a reality. The same holds true for Shabbat, as well, regarding which our sages say that a person earns an extra "Neshama" - or extra soul. Not everyone detects this extra soul, but it still exists. There are many things that, although we don't consciously sense them, are still very much present and influential.

Shavuot brings with it special bounty. During the Torah reading recounting the Giving of Torah on Mt. Sinai, we should attempt to tune in to the renewed power of Matan Torah . To prepare ourselves for our encounter with God, we learn all night long. The Zohar explains that the community of Israel may be compared to a bride; the day before the wedding, great efforts are exerted to clothe her with various adornments. The adornments appropriate for Israel are those of Torah and good deeds.

On the verse in the book of Bereisheet, "It was evening and it was morning, the Sixth day ," our sages explain that at the climax of creation, God issued a condition to the Heavens and Earth. What was that condition? If Israel agrees to receive the Torah on the sixth day of Sivan, then the process of Creation will have meant something and can the world can justifiably remain intact. If Israel were to choose not to receive the Torah, however, God warned, the universe would be thrown back into Tohu Vavohu , or chaos. The message? The world exists by virtue of the Torah.

The Choice of Leaders

By HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l

Introducing the counting of the tribes, the Torah writes: "And with you will be a person each for each tribe, a man who is the head of the households of his fathers he is" (Bamidbar 1:4).The Torah goes on to list the leader of each tribe, who was involved in the counting of that tribe. The simple reading of the p’sukim indicates that the identity of these leaders was spelled out by Hashem at this time and for this purpose. On the other hand, we find these same men serving as the nesi’im (princes/leaders) of their respective tribes at the inauguration of the Mishkan, which was done a month earlier.

The Netziv explains that the people had chosen the leaders previously, and at this point, Hashem’s appointment provided divine confirmation of their choice. This is the meaning of the words, "a man who is the head of the households of his fathers he is." In other words, he already was a leader.

It turns out, then, that the people’s choice had been exactly according to Hashem’s desire. The people were not motivated by narrow personal calculations, but rather those who were fit for the job received it. This was important because there were long and difficult journeys ahead of them in the desert, as the navi expressed Hashem’s appreciation that the people were willing to "go after Me in the desert, in an uncultivated land" (Yirmiya 2:2). There was a lot of uncertainty. Would they be the next day where they had been the previous one? They needed leaders who could be examples of an elevated spirit, of integrity, and of fine personal attributes, from whom the people could learn.

The Torah writes later on: "These are the ones who were called to the assembly, the princes of the tribes of their fathers; the heads of the thousands of Israel were they" (ibid. 16). Beforehand they were heads of their households; now they were princes. Additionally, they are described by the task of the "heads of the thousands of Israel." In other words, they were not motivated by the interest of small groups but by those of the masses. They saw as their job to unify the individual groups into a more cohesive collective of Klal Yisrael.

This is an approach that must be adopted by all who are "called to the assembly." They must fulfill their charges efficiently and trustworthily. Only in that way can there be harmony between the situation of "each man in his encampment and each man by his flag" (Bamidbar 1:52) and that of "the heads of the thousands of Israel."

Desert, Water and Torah

By Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

I have always been fascinated why this book of the Bible and this week’s Torah reading is called Bamidbar – in the desert. The rabbis of Midrash have stated that the lesson involved here is that the Torah only remains in a person who empties all other causes from one’s midst, and is as open and unoccupied as is the desert.

Nevertheless, there may be other insights that may be gleaned from the use of the desert as the backdrop for the events and laws contained in this fourth book of the Torah. One of these different insights has to do with the ability of water to transform a barren desert into a productive place of lush fields and orchards.

Here in Israel, the Negev desert that began fifty years ago just south of Chevron has now expanded many kilometers far south of Beersheba. This is due to the national water carrier system and other means of bringing water to that area of our country. Literally, the desert has bloomed in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of Isaiah.

Water can overcome the arid dryness and barrenness of the desert of the Negev. In California, desert valleys have been transformed into America’s vegetable basket by systems of water diverted from the Colorado River. Again, in that case water was the key to transforming a desert into a garden and orchard. There are plans afloat all over the world to transform deserts into arable land. However, fresh water is a valuable and oftentimes scarce commodity and the struggle to discover and harness more of it for agricultural and human use is a continuous one.

Throughout the books of the prophets of Israel and as well as within the Talmud, the Torah itself is metaphorically compared to and even called water. Just as water has the ability to convert desolate and nonproductive desert land into a veritable Garden of Eden, so too can Torah fill the void in our hearts and souls and make us productive holy people.

Torah, like the water that represents it, has this enormous regenerative power. The book of Bamidbar will, in its narrative of the many sad and tragic events that befell Israel in its sojourn in the desert, constantly remind us of the powers of water/Torah to restore the Jewish people to a purposeful existence with greatly productive achievements in spite of all of its failures and backsliding.

No matter how bleak and barren the desert landscape in which we currently find ourselves, we should always be cognizant of the ability of Torah to refresh and renew us. The Jewish people are an old nation and yet our powers of rejuvenation have never waned. We were and are constantly nourished by the waters of Torah irrespective of whatever desert we found or find ourselves in.

Thus the choice of Jewish tradition to call this book of the Torah by the name of Bamidbar - in the desert – is meant to convey to us this message of hope, constant redemption and rebirth.

Moshe Feiglin: The Problem is Israel, Not Trump


The following are translated excerpts from an interview, broadcast live on Halalit TV, with Moshe Feiglin.


Welcome to Moshe Feiglin.
Thank you, it’s good to be here, with a great view of the American embassy sitting steadfastly here on the Tel Aviv coast.

You know, when you were interviewed here a few months ago, we ended the broadcast with a question that you asked: “Do you really think the US embassy is going to move to Jerusalem?” I thought you were crazy. But now, Donald Trump is the president - as you had predicted two years ago – and he is not moving the embassy.
Yes, I explained that it would not happen – not because he doesn’t want it to – but because Netanyahu doesn’t want it.

And you also said that in a certain way, Trump is bad for Israel.
Not because Trump himself is bad. But Netanyahu has maneuvered him to the positions of Obama. When you have a rightist promoting the Left’s plan, because it is all he has left, that is much more dangerous. We all remember Ariel Sharon, the rightist who destroyed Gush Katif. Because only the ‘rightist’ Likud can destroy settlements and perhaps only Trump can do the same. Now those two factors have united. The embassy will not move to Jerusalem. Trump already understands that Israel cannot think outside the leftist Oslo box. And Trump has already been maneuvered back to the old Oslo diplomatic process idea. By not allowing Trump to move the embassy, Netanyahu let the Oslo genie back out of the bottle and he will not be able to control it.

You have written a political platform that is the most detailed and all-encompassing of any platform ever written in Israel. Why aren’t you talking now about the economy, society? Why are you returning us to the diplomatic plan? We are interested in other things. Surely your advisors have told you to talk about other things – liberalism and the like. Why return us to Oslo?
The platform, 312 pages, is about how we can be truly free Jews in our Land. The Diplomatic Plan is at the end of the book. Our focus should be internal affairs and Jewish identity. But we anticipate that the agenda here in Israel in the coming months is going to be diplomatic. This is the 50th year of the liberation of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. And Trump is also coming to Israel. But in the marketplace of ideas, the People of Israel are familiar with only one solution. The Oslo solution.

But Bennet also has a plan…
Bennet’s plan is identical to Beilin’s plan from 20 years ago. The only difference between Bennet and Netanyahu is in semantics – how they refer to Israeli retreat. Will we call it Area C or Blocs?

Zehut is the first political party in Israel that, since the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, proposes a solution for Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria based on one state – not two. It is the only solution, the only applicable solution, the only just, practical, ethical, democratic solution that will bring the most security and peace to Israel - until the Mashiach comes.

Your diplomatic plan also includes the economic, strategic, security, and demography aspects. It has a plan for a naturalization process, compensation for those who leave and more. So why doesn’t the Israeli political consensus want to accept it?
It is important to understand the basis of all of this. Dr.Ron Pundak, the architect of Oslo, clearly admits that peace is not the goal of Oslo. It is not so hard to understand this. When you set out on a mad Oslo experiment, and you get exploding buses and restaurants blowing up in smithereens, countless dead and injured…

Actually, it is very symbolic that Moshe Feiglin, the first to go out and protest against the nightmare Oslo Accords, will be the person to rid us of it. You were the first one to take to the streets.
Those who surrender to the Oslo mentality, to the Two-State-Solution, those who start to talk about Areas A, B, C – those who are totally mired in the Oslo swamp, cannot pull others out of it. As our Sages say, “A prisoner cannot release himself from prison.”

Those who fought against Oslo, who voiced their liberated opinion against the Oslo concept are the same people who can present a coherent concept today. I really do see this plan as a form of closure. From saying, “This is our Land,” which was the name of the anti-Oslo protest movement, to saying, “This is our Land” – not in the streets, but diplomatically, democratically, in a liberal and authentic manner. We are saying to the Israeli public, “You already understand that no real diplomatic process will be originated by the Left, you already understand that all that you get from the Left’s ideas are more and more rounds of fighting, rockets, cement roadblocks and more. So now is the time to listen to someone who understood where Oslo would lead us from the very start, who is proposing a practical idea that is firmly grounded in the demographic, economic and local and international legal facts. Our plan answers the most significant questions – there is an entire chapter of questions and answers. People ask: To where will the Arabs emigrate? Is any state really willing to accept them? And the answer is that there absolutely are states willing to accept them. People do not know the simple facts.

What do you say about Donald Trump? 
When he began his campaign I said that he would win – both during the Republican primaries and in the general elections. And I said that he would be bad for Israel. Not because he hates Israel – on the contrary – I believe that he loves Israel. I said he would be bad for Israel because I realized that Trump would meet an Israeli government that would force him to be bad for Israel – just as we are seeing now with the embassy issue. The person who prevented the embassy’s move to Jerusalem is not Trump, but Netanyahu. Trump wanted to move the embassy. In other words, the reaction created by a strong and energetic person like Trump, who meets an Israeli government that does not propose any way out of the dead end other than the Oslo process brought to us by the Left –will propel an energetic bulldozer like Trump to find a way out. He will adopt the Left’s plan, but he will do so much more effectively than the Left. He will be more Left than the Left. That is what happened with Sharon and Gush Katif. Now we will have a combination of the Likud, which is the only party that can uproot Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, here in Israel – with Trump in the US. Here, there is no Opposition to uprooting towns because it is the Likud implementing it, in the US the Democrats will certainly not oppose a ‘peace process’ led by the Republicans, the two will meet here and that is a very dangerous situation. For that reason, Trump’s presidency is going to turn out badly for us. And that is why it is critical for us to get our Diplomatic Plan out to the public now. So that the Israeli public will be armed with knowledge. There are answers. There is a good alternative to the Two-State-Solution. One State for One Nation.

If things turn out badly for Israel, it will not be Trump’s fault. It will be our fault.

The Six-Day War: An Inevitable Conflict

By Prof. Efraim Karsh

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, Chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin, Gen. Rehavam Zeevi (R) And Gen. Narkis in the old city of Jerusalem, June 7 1967, photo by Ilan Bruner, GPO
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 470
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: It has long been conventional wisdom to view the June 1967 war as an accidental conflagration that neither Arabs nor Israelis desired, yet none were able to prevent. This could not be further from the truth. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

Secretary Tillerson's political correctness

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

While the election of President Trump represented a setback to political-correctness, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's interview on May 14, 2017 NBC's Meet the Press reflected the State Department's political correctness on US-Israel and US-Arab relations, the Palestinian issue and the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

The interview may have sent a message of US procrastination on the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the ancient core of Judaism and Jewish history, which inspired the early US Pilgrims and Founding Fathers. Procrastination would be interpreted by Arabs as US retreat in the face of Arab pressure and threats, eroding the US posture of deterrence, triggering further pressure and emboldening anti-US Islamic terrorism.

Secretary Tillerson embraced the State Department's zero-sum-game philosophy. He assumes that enhanced US-Israel relations undermine US-Arab relations. However, since 1948, and especially in recent years, US-Israel geo-strategic cooperation has surged dramatically, simultaneously with expanded US-Arab security cooperation, and unprecedented counter-terrorism cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt, despite the lack of progress on the Palestinian front.

Contrary to conventional Western wisdom, the pro-US Arab regimes distinguish between challenges which are primary (e.g., the Iranian threat) and secondary/tertiary (e.g., the Palestinian issue). Therefore, when the machetes of Iran's Ayatollahs and other Islamic terrorists are at their throats, the pro-US Arab regimes recognize that Israel is the only reliable "life insurance agent" in the Middle East, regardless of the Palestinian issue.

Secretary Tillerson insinuated that the relocation of the US Embassy to western Jerusalem - which is within the boundaries of pre-1967 Israel – could undermine the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Thus, he provided tailwind to the 69-year-old Department of State's view – which contradicts the position of the American people and their representatives in the House and Senate - that there is no legitimacy to Israel's sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. It radicalizes the Arabs, forcing them to outflank the US from the maximalist side, deluding themselves that they have nothing to lose and time is, supposedly, on their side.

Tillerson also seems to subscribe to Foggy Bottom's view that the Palestinian issue is a core cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Middle East turbulence, and a top priority for Arab policy-makers. Therefore, he assumes that the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem could fuel anti-US terrorism and undermine US cooperation with pro-US Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, against the mutual threats of the Ayatollahs of Iran and additional sources of Islamic terrorism.

However, anti-US Islamic terrorism has been totally divorced from the Palestinian issue and Israel, as demonstrated by the blowing up of the US Embassy and Marines barracks in Lebanon in 1983 (300 US Marines murdered), at a time when the US brutalized Israel over its hot pursuit of the PLO. In fact, the 1998 suicide car-bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (300 persons murdered), and the October 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen (17 US Marines murdered), occurred while President Clinton refrained from relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, as prescribed by 1995 legislation, and while Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered the Palestinians a full Israeli withdrawal, including Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

Moreover, since 1948, contrary to the Department of State's conventional wisdom, Middle East reality has documented top-heavy pro-Palestinian Arab talk, but anti-Palestinian, or indifferent, Arab walk.

For example, no Arab-Israeli war was ever ignited by the Palestinian issue. It was highlighted by the conclusion of the 1948-49 war, when Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria occupied Gaza, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Al-Hama, but never contemplated transferring these areas to the Palestinians, strictly constraining Palestinian activities.

In addition, none of the recent Arab tectonic eruptions from Tunisia, in Northeastern Africa, through Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf are related, directly or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue or Israel.

The assumption that the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem would undermine US-Saudi cooperation in the face of the Ayatollahs and additional sources of Islamic terrorism, ignores the Saudi – and all other Arab regimes - view of the Palestinians.

They have always considered the Palestinians a role model of intra-Arab treachery and subversion. Hence, the severe constraints of Palestinian maneuverability in their countries, and the meager financial assistance to the Palestinians (compared with the US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority), and the absence of military support. For instance, no Arab regime ever got involved in any of the Palestinian-Israeli wars in Lebanon, Judea and Samaria and Gaza.

In contrast to the recent Arab talk and State Department political correctness, the Arab countries have never considered Jerusalem to be their top holy city – status reserved for Mecca and Medina - capital or cultural center. Jerusalem was largely neglected during Islamic rule, serving – at most – as a political platform in their conflicts with "the infidel."

Reality-based political incorrectness motivated Israel and Egypt, in 1977, in defiance of US President Carter, to negotiate and conclude a bilateral peace accord with no Palestinian, regional or international involvement. It also motivated Israel and Jordan, in 1994, to conclude another bilateral peace accord. The US played a critical deal-closing role in both
cases, but only after the two parties reached the framework of bilateral agreement.

Moreover, a litany of peace initiatives, launched by the US, failed when attempting to subordinate reality to the US own benevolent political correctness, which stipulated a multilateral peace process, focusing on the Palestinian issue.

Will President Trump and Secretary Tillerson embrace Middle East reality, and reject political correctness, by avoiding procrastination on the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, thus sparing the US further erosion of its posture of deterrence in the Middle East and beyond?

Feiglin: Tell Trump 'no thanks'




By Hezki Baruch

Former Likud MK says Trump is arming Saudi Arabia with weapons which may be used against Israel.

"Zehut" party head former MK Moshe Feiglin came out against the weapons deal signed by US President Donald Trump with Saudi Arabia.

Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia at the end of last week, and signed a deal worth $110 billion with the Arab kingdom.

In an official statement, Trump said the deal would "tens of thousands of new jobs in the US defense industry."

"Saudi Arabia is an extremist Muslim country, much more extreme than Iran was prior to the Iranian Revolution," Feiglin said. "Now, a country with a long history of wars against Israel and the West (most of the September 11 terrorists hailed from Saudi Arabia) will receive $350 billion dollars."

"Netanyahu is drunk from the current cooperation with the Saudis, and he will pay a hefty price for this pitiful 'cooperation.' We will lose sovereignty over the Temple Mount, we will lose the opportunity to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we will lose other opportunities.

"We will also grant legitimacy to extreme Islam's storehouse of US weapons, even though these weapons may be used against us in the future. It's exactly what happened before the Iranian Revolution.

"This is the time to tell the US President, 'thanks, but no thanks.' It would be better if the US did not provide aid for anyone in the Middle East, than for them to provide aid to our enemies. We'll be fine either way."

The U.S., Churchill and the Middle East

By Pierre Rehov

  • President Donald Trump has apparently decided that on his visit to Israel this week, he will not announce the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem -- a move that will only make him look less strong to Arab leaders. They may not like all promises that are kept, but they do deeply respect and trust those who keep them. If promises are not kept to a friend, the thinking goes, why would they be kept to us?
  • As Plato, Churchill and even Osama bin Laden understood, people respect only a strong horse, especially when one's adversaries can only survive by creating conflicts to distract their citizens from unaccountable governance.
  • By recognizing the rights of Jerusalem's historical occupants of 3,000 years -- despite the lies of UNESCO and other UN organizations engulfed by the Arabs' automatic majority -- Trump could well demonstrate a new force that would elevate him to the same stature as Churchill.
(Image source: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
In France, everything has been written about the new U.S president, as long as it could relay the most negative image possible. In a country sometimes bathed in an anti-Americanism inherited from Gaullism and communism, major political religions of the post-war era, exacerbated by the Bush years -- it experienced a noticeable lull at the arrival of former President Barack Obama. The election of Donald Trump has the effect of an avalanche.
For many, America had foundered, would never recover and the archetypal image of the uneducated, violent cowboy, fed on hamburgers, would now finally stick to this uncouth country -- too powerful, too capitalist and actually distressed by injustice and inequality.