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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Kislev 3, 5769, 11/30/2008

      The Abandonment of Gilad Shalit



      The Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas is essentially a government in name only - it has no power beyond the edge of Abbas' desk, has done nothing to fight terror, and regularly incites against Israel and Jews.
      Israel's government this morning essentially ignored the ongoing plight of kidnapped Israeli serviceman Gilad Shalit and voted in favor of releasing an additional 250 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for..... nothing.

      Absolutely nothing.

      The move was described as a "goodwill gesture" to the Palestinian Authority (PA), but no explanation was given as to just why Israel owes the PA any "goodwill", let alone any more "gestures".

      The Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas is essentially a government in name only - it has no power beyond the edge of Abbas' desk, has done nothing to fight terror, and regularly incites against Israel and Jews. So there is simply no point in appeasing it or trying to curry favor with its leaders.

      Meanwhile, Shalit has been held by Hamas for over two years. The prisoners being released by Israel could have been used as "bargaining chips" to try and win the kidnapped soldier's freedom. Instead, the criminals and terrorists will now be set free, while Shalit remains in captivity.

      What a complete and utter disgrace.



      Kislev 1, 5769, 11/28/2008

      The Mumbai Massacre



      While the terror in Mumbai's streets may seem thousands of kilometers away, the drama unfolding there as Indian commandos battle the gunmen is all too familiar.
      The carnage in Mumbai (Bombay), India's financial center, is a dreadful reminder of the threat still posed by jihadist terror to the world's democracies.

      Over 125 people have been killed, and hundreds of others injured, in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that began on Thursday on civilian targets throughout the city.

      Watching the scenes unfold (there is a live feed available at: http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/video_streaming.php), I recall the numerous times I have visited the city, with its bustling streets, beautiful synagogues, and kind and warm people.

      Indeed, India and Israel share a great deal in common: both are vibrant democracies in seas of tyranny, both have restive Muslim populations, and both have been the targets of Islamist fundamentalist terror.

      While the terror in Mumbai's streets may seem thousands of kilometers away, the drama unfolding there as Indian commandos battle the gunmen is all too familiar.

      We pray that the Indian forces will prevail over the terrorists as quickly as possible, and that the hostages being held by the gunmen - including Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah - will soon be set free.



      Cheshvan 21, 5769, 11/19/2008

      Don't Watch Where You're Going



      what the prez is suggesting is that we just have to "close our eyes" to reality and put our faith in our enemies - which is hardly the wisest way to go about anything, let alone negotiating away the future of the country
      Shimon Peres has done it.

      He has succeeded far beyond any of his predecessors, and made one of the most remarkably obtuse public statements ever made by an Israeli president (and there's plenty of competition for that coveted title).

      Speaking to a group of Diaspora Jewish leaders in Jerusalem on Monday, Peres said that "making peace is a little bit like marriage - you have to close your eyes and accept what is possible to accept."

      Leaving aside what the remark says about the president's view of his own wife, Peres' statement is highly revealing about what the father of Oslo sees as the best way to forge a deal with our enemies.

      Essentially, what the prez is suggesting is that we just have to "close our eyes" to reality and put our faith in our enemies - which is hardly the wisest way to go about anything, let alone negotiating away the future of the country.

      I wouldn't want a bus driver who "closes his eyes", nor a surgeon, a quarterback or any other professional who slams shut his lids before proceeding. 

      Why, then, would we want our political leadership to do so?

      If this is the kind of thinking that guides Israel's would-be peacemakers, then the kind of peace they are after is most certainly one that we can all do without.



      Cheshvan 20, 5769, 11/18/2008

      Your tax dollars at work



      The police will be providing security today for reputed criminals planning to attend another criminal's burial. Does this make sense to anybody out there?
      In a classic mob-style hit yesterday in Tel Aviv, reputed mafia chieftain Yaakov Alperon was killed in broad daylight when an explosive device went off as he got into his car.

      According to Israeli media reports, various leading underworld figures are expected to attend Alperon's funeral today, and since police fear the outbreak of an "all-out mob war", they will be out in large numbers to provide security at the event.

      Yes - you read that correctly. The police will be providing security today for reputed criminals planning to attend another criminal's burial.

      Does this make sense to anybody out there?

      Hmmm, let's see. The government says it doesn't have enough money to protect Jewish communities adjacent to Gaza from Palestinian rocket fire, and it claims it lacks the funds to invest in improving the country's hospitals, schools and other vital infrastructure.

      It also insists that the police lack the necessary manpower to enforce traffic laws or crack down on crime.

      But when it comes to safeguarding members of the mob, there seems to be no problem marshalling up the necessary funds.

      It is nice to see our tax dollars being put to good use.

       



      Cheshvan 16, 5769, 11/14/2008

      Time to storm into Gaza



      This is a golden window of opportunity to strike a blow against Palestinian irredentism, especially since the odds are that an Obama White House will be far less inclined to support Israel in its war on terror.
      Not content with firing barrages of rockets at Israeli towns such as Sderot and Netivot, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza this morning turned their attention to the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.

      Shortly after launching 8 Qassam rockets into the western Negev, which left one Israeli injured with shrapnel wounds, the terrorists then unloaded 5 Grad rockets onto Ashkelon in an attempt to sow panic among thousands more Israelis.

      The barrage comes less than 24 hours after Israel passed a message to Hamas via Egyptian intermediaries pleading for a continuation of the cease-fire. Hamas' response came in the form of potentially lethal explosive projectiles.

      Instead of continuing to appease the terrorists, now is precisely the time for Israel to storm into Gaza and put them out of commission, before the Obama administration comes to power. In these, the waning days of the Bush presidency, Israel is far less likely to come under pressure should it launch an extensive counter-terror operation to undermine Hamas.

      This is a golden window of opportunity to strike a blow against Palestinian irredentism, especially since the odds are that an Obama White House will be far less inclined to support Israel in its war on terror.

      But don't get your hopes up, as there seems to be little chance of Israel's leadership undertaking such a bold move. After all, they've done virtually nothing to stop the rocket fire until now, so don't expect a sudden change of course.