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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.
      Cheshvan 13, 5769, 11/11/2008

      Obama cuddles up with Hamas



      Most American Jews chose to vote for the Democrats, but what they got instead are the Defeatocrats, and ultimately it is Israel that will be made to pay the price.
      In the weeks leading up to the US election, various reports surfaced suggesting that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was the favored candidate among the terrorists of Hamas.

      Nonetheless, an estimated 78 percent of US Jews went ahead and cast their ballots for him anyway.

      Well, now there is confirmation from Hamas that they have been holding talks for some time with Obama's advisers.

      Ahmed Yousuf, political adviser to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat that "We were in contact with a number of Obama's aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as they may have a negative effect on his election campaign and be used by Republican candidate John McCain (to attack Obama)."

      Yousuf described the contacts with Obama's aides as "ongoing", said he is still in touch with them, and went on to suggest that Obama's Middle East policy "will differ from that of his predecessor George W. Bush".

      There you have it - proof positive that Obama just can't wait to start talking with Hamas, cuddling up with them, and ultimately appeasing them, despite their bloody record of terror against the Jewish state.

      Most American Jews chose to vote for the Democrats, but what they got instead are the Defeatocrats, and ultimately it is Israel that will be made to pay the price.

      Don't say we didn't warn you.



      Cheshvan 8, 5769, 11/6/2008

      It's Raining Rockets in Israel



      More than 35 Palestinian rockets slammed into the Negev yesterda, including three which hit the port city of Ashkelon, sparking panic among parents of schoolchildren
      While much of the world is busy marveling over the election results in the US, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are exploiting the opportunity to fire salvos of rockets and projectiles at Israel's southern towns and cities.

      More than 35 Palestinian rockets slammed into the Negev yesterda, including three which hit the port city of Ashkelon, sparking panic among parents of schoolchildren. Since the rockets were fired during the day, and the schools in Ashkelon are not specially reinforced, many rushed to take their children home to safety.

      Quite a way to live, isn't it?

      And just how did Israel's government react to this violation of the "truce" by Hamas, which has been in place for several months?

      Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told reporters in response that Israel "does not plan to violate the truce."

      In other words: don't expect the caretaker government now in place to actually take measures to defend the public. Sure, they might launch a pinpoint operation here and there, but a full-blown operation to subdue the terrorists?

      Apparently, that is asking for too much.



      Cheshvan 5, 5769, 11/3/2008

      Look Who's Rooting for Obama



      The bottom line is that Obama makes Teheran, Tripoli and Gaza convulse with excitement, and that alone should make the rest of us shudder with fear
      As Americans prepare to vote in a particularly fateful election, it behooves them to take a moment to consider that some of the world's biggest rogues are hoping and praying for an Obama victory.

      From Libya to Iran to the sand dunes of Gaza, the most vehemently anti-American and anti-Israeli forces are rubbing their hands together in glee at the prospect of the Democratic nominee becoming president.

      As I suggest in the column below, any pro-Israel Jews and Christians still sitting on the fence, wondering how to cast their ballot on November 4, would do well to bear in mind who is rooting for Obama.

      Look who's rooting for Obama

      By Michael Freund

      What do Iran's ayatollahs, Hamas terrorists, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have in common?

      They are all pulling for Barack Obama to win the US presidential election.

      When Israel's disparate foes manage to rally behind a single candidate, it should set off alarm bells for anyone who cares about the Jewish state.

      If you think this is just Republican scaremongering, consider the following.

      Last week, Ali Larijani, the hard-line speaker of the Iranian parliament, told a press conference in Bahrain that "we are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational" (Agence France Presse, October 22).

      And then there is the October 19 endorsement that Obama received from Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef, who told WABC radio host John Batchelor and World Net Daily's Aaron Klein that "we as Palestinians are thinking that we might have better luck with a new administration, maybe, if Obama wins the election... I do believe he will change the American foreign policy in the way they are handling the Middle East."

      There you have it. Two clear expressions of preference for Obama from two of the leading anti-Israel and anti-Western forces in the Middle East. Both the Iranian regime and the Hamas terrorist organization view Obama in a positive light and hope he will be elected.

      Their enthusiasm for the senator from Illinois is shared by a number of other long-time enemies of the Jewish state on both sides of the Atlantic.

      On June 11, Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, in a speech broadcast on Al-Jazeera, spoke glowingly of the Democratic nominee. According to a translation provided by MEMRI, Gaddafi said, "His name is Obama. All the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa applauded this man. They welcomed him and prayed for him and for his success, and they may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him to win the American presidency."

      Back in the US, anti-Semitic firebrand Louis Farrakhan earlier this year labeled Obama "the hope of the entire world" and compared him to the founder of the Nation of Islam, the group Farrakhan heads (Associated Press, February 25).

      Normally, one would expect that such a motley collection of rogues would be enough to send shivers down the spine of even the most spineless of voters. In the end, who wants to be cheering for the same outcome as Gaddafi and Farrakhan?

      Nonetheless, if two recent polls are to be believed, Obama seems poised to capture a significant majority of the Jewish vote.

      A SURVEY released last week by Quinnipiac University found that Jews in the battleground state of Florida are backing Obama by a margin of 77 percent to 20%, while a Gallup survey revealed that nationwide, Jews favor him over Sen. John McCain by 74% to 22%.

      While that is less than the 80% that Democrats Al Gore and Joe Lieberman garnered in the 2000 election, it is similar to the 75% that John Kerry captured four years ago.

      One can only shake one's head in bewilderment at such a predilection, particularly in light of Obama's flip-flop on Jerusalem back in June, when he told the annual AIPAC policy conference that he supports the city remaining Israel's united capital, only to back-track from that position the following day.

      If Obama can't stand firm on the campaign trail on such a basic issue of fundamental importance to Israel and its supporters, how can he be counted on to do so if given the keys to the White House?

      Any pro-Israel Jews and Christians still sitting on the fence, wondering how to cast their ballot on November 4, would therefore do well to bear in mind the revealing comments made recently by Jesse Jackson.

      Speaking at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France two weeks ago, Jackson promised that the "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" will lose influence once Obama is in charge, as he will stop "putting Israel's interests first."

      "Obama is about change," Jackson observed, "and the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it" (New York Post, October 14).

      If that type of change scares the daylights out of you, and it darn well should, then think long and hard about whether you want to throw your support behind such a person.

      The bottom line is that Obama makes Teheran, Tripoli and Gaza convulse with excitement, and that alone should make the rest of us shudder with fear.

      --- from the October 29th Jerusalem Post



      Cheshvan 2, 5769, 10/31/2008

      Anti-Semitism in Israel



      Where is the outrage? Where is the outcry over this wanton desecration of Jewish religious sites?
      Another day, another attack on a Jewish house of worship in the Jewish state.

      Two Arab teenagers were arrested yesterday by police on suspicion of having firebombed a synagogue in the Israeli city of Lod. On Wednesday morning, a synagogue official arrived to discover that someone had thrown a Molotov cocktail into the Adat Moshe Ve'Yisrael synagogue, which caught fire and damaged chairs as well as the interior of the building.

      Earlier this week, on Sunday, the Hesder Yeshiva in Akko (Acre) was torched, causing heavy damage to the religious school in what is believed to have been a continuation of the Arab attacks on Jews in the city, which had previously erupted into rioting on Yom Kippur.

      Where is the outrage? Where is the outcry over this wanton desecration of Jewish religious sites?

      When these kinds of incidents take place in any other country in the world, they are rightly and roundly denounced as anti-Semitism, and Jewish organizations clamor for the microphones to make statements and demand justice. Yet when they happen in Israel, for some reason, everyone seems to fall silent.

      But Jew-hatred is Jew-hatred, wherever it takes place. There is anti-Semitism in Israel, and we need to counter it. And when someone sets a synagogue on fire, or attacks a yeshiva, it should elicit our harshest of condemnations and our insistence that the perpetrators be brought to justice forthwith.



      Tishrei 24, 5769, 10/23/2008

      The Growing Al-Qaida Threat to Israel



      here in the heart of the Middle East, right under Israel's nose, Osama Bin Laden's henchmen are busy setting up shop in Gaza virtually unmolested
      While Osama Bin-Laden's followers are on the run in various locales around the world, his supporters among the Palestinians in Gaza are operating with virtual impunity - launching an increasing number of attacks on Israel in recent months and spreading their hateful ideology.
      As I suggest in the column below, this underlines just how much Israel is on the front lines of the war on terror and how essential it is that the Jewish state refrain from any further territorial withdrawals.
      With Islamic fundamentalism on the march along our borders, the last thing Israel can afford is to bring that threat any closer to home.
       
      The Growing Al-Qaida Threat to Israel
      by Michael Freund

      By all accounts, the once vaunted terrorist organization known as al-Qaida now finds itself largely on the run.

      In places as far afield as Iraq, Somalia and Yemen, the Islamist terror network has suffered painful setbacks in its deadly campaign for world hegemony. Its redoubts are under attack, its ideology is increasingly discredited and it has little to show for its efforts beyond a gruesome trail of murder and mayhem.

      But here in the heart of the Middle East, right under Israel's nose, Osama Bin Laden's henchmen are busy setting up shop in Gaza virtually unmolested.

      Indeed, the growing presence of al-Qaida offshoots along Israel's southern border is quite possibly one of the most ominous, yet least discussed threats, currently facing the Jewish state, and it is time we started taking this danger more seriously.

      Earlier this month, on October 6, a shadowy group calling itself the "Hizbullah Brigades in Palestine" attempted to fire a rocket at Sderot which failed to reach its target. The previously unknown faction is reported to be one of at least a dozen al-Qaida-inspired radical Islamic terror cells that have sprouted up in Gaza in the past two years (Yediot Aharonot, October 17).

      THESE GROUPS, with names such as "the Sword of Islam," "the Army of Islam" and "Soldiers of Allah," reject Hamas's occasional tactical decisions to forge cease-fire agreements with Israel and instead call for uncompromising confrontation with the Zionists.

      In the past four months alone, these al-Qaida affiliates have fired 21 rockets and 18 mortar shells from Gaza at Israel, and they have planted explosive devices near the security fence in an attempt to kill and maim Israeli soldiers.

      They have not shied away from trying to hit Western targets, too.

      In January, during US President George W. Bush's visit to Israel, "the Army of Believers - al-Qaida in Palestine" attacked the American International School in Gaza twice in a three-day period (Reuters, January 12).

      And in July, the police announced that they had arrested six people, including two Israeli Arabs, with links to al-Qaida who had plotted earlier this year to assassinate Bush during his return visit to take part in Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations (Associated Press, July 18).

      Clearly, Osama's minions in Gaza are stepping up their activity as part of their ambitious plan to rid the Middle East of any Western or Jewish presence.

      BUT JUST how exactly did they manage to take root in the area and plant a new network of terror?

      The growing al-Qaida presence in Gaza is a direct consequence of Israel's August 2005 withdrawal and the security vacuum that it created. Just a few weeks after the IDF retreat was complete, Maj.-Gen. Aharon (Zeevi) Farkash, head of IDF Military Intelligence, told a Tel Aviv University audience that al-Qaida had exploited the chaos along the Egyptian-Gaza border to move operatives into the area. "Al-Qaida is in Gaza," Farkash said (Yediot Aharonot, Sept. 29, 2005).

      In an interview several months later, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas concurred, telling the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that, "We have signs about the presence of al-Qaida in Gaza and the West Bank."

      In the intervening three years, al-Qaida sympathizers in Gaza have been able to establish a foothold, forge alliances with local radicals and begin to spread their poisonous ideology of hate throughout the region even as they build an infrastructure with which to attack Israel.

      Nonetheless, Israel has inexplicably done little to impede this dangerous development, despite the growing threat that it poses.

      And while at least one of the Gaza-based al-Qaida groups has recently run afoul of the Hamas regime, it would be a mistake to think that Hamas will take care of the problem for us.

      Last month, even after armed clashes between Hamas and the "Army of Islam" in Gaza left nine Palestinians dead, Hamas leaders made clear that they had no intention of preventing the group from targeting the Jewish state.

      "The Army of Islam is allowed to act against the Israeli occupation but it must stay away from internal affairs which is the job of the Hamas security services," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters (Reuters, September 26).

      Hence, if anyone is going to stamp out the al-Qaida presence in Gaza, it will have to be Israel, which needs to move expeditiously to confront this menace.

      THE FACT that al-Qaida is actively working to establish forward bases with which to attack us underlines just how much Israel is on the front lines of the global war on terror - and how essential it is that we stand firm and confront them.

      Likewise, we need to start making it abundantly clear to friends and allies in the West that they can not expect Israel to carry out additional retreats when the threat posed by Islamist fundamentalism along our borders continues to mount.

      Pulling out of territory only creates a void that radical groups such as Hamas and al-Qaida will gladly, and rapidly, fill.

      Most importantly, though, Israel must start taking the danger of a possible al-Qaida attack more seriously, and adopt an aggressive pre-emptive posture to eliminate their infrastructure in places such as Gaza.

      Failure to do so in a timely fashion will only allow this looming threat to continue to grow. And if past experience is any guide, such inaction will inevitably come back to haunt us in the months and years that lie ahead.

      --- from the October 22 Jerusalem Post