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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.
      Sivan 8, 5767, 5/25/2007

      Apartheid, Saudi style


      Just imagine the international outcry that would ensue if Israel were to declare Jerusalem and Tel Aviv off-limits to anyone but Jews.
      Or if Italy were to close off Rome to anyone who isn't a member of the Catholic Church.
      One can only begin to imagine the fury that would erupt, as the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post would no doubt lead the charge against such rancid acts of ethnic and religious discrimination.
      And yet - it is precisely this kind of prejudice that is being practiced in Saudi Arabia on a daily basis, where Wahabi apartheid bars entry to "infidels" to places such as Mecca and Medina, as I note in the news item I wrote below that appears in today's Jerusalem Post.
      Interestingly enough, I checked the US State Department's annual country reports on human rights and religious freedoms, and neither of them even mentions the Saudis' outrageous state-sanctioned policy of segregation.
      And these, of course, are the very same Saudis being touted as "moderates" and "allies" of the US and the West. What sheer and utter hypocrisy. 


      The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2007

      Saudis Arrest Christian for Entering Mecca
      By Michael Freund

      Saudi officials have arrested a man in Mecca for being a Christian, saying that the city, which Muslims consider to be holy, is off-limits to non-Muslims.
      Nirosh Kamanda, a Sri Lankan Christian, was detained by the Saudi Expatriates Monitoring Committee last week after he started to sell goods outside Mecca's Great Mosque.
      After running his fingerprints through a new security system, Saudi police discovered that he was a Christian who had arrived in the country six months earlier to take a job as a truck driver in the city of Dammam. Kamanda had subsequently left his place of work and moved to Mecca.
      "The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims," Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca, told the Saudi daily Arab News. "The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals," he said.
      Similar restrictions apply to the Saudi city of Medina. In a section entitled, "Traveler's Information," the Web site of the Saudi Embassy in Washington states that, "Mecca and Medina hold special religious significance and only persons of the Islamic faith are allowed entry."
      Highway signs at the entrance to Mecca also direct non-Muslims away from the city's environs.

       



      Sivan 5, 5767, 5/22/2007

      Stop the Palestinian Rocket War



      while Peretz is busy chomping on his lip, thousands of other Israelis in the south of the country are living in fear of losing their lives
      Another day, another rocket attack.

      For the first time since the flare-up of the current Palestinian Rocket War against the Jewish state, an Israeli woman was killed yesterday in the southern town of Sderot by a projectile fired from Gaza. 32-year old Shirel Freedman died when her car was struck by a Palestinian Qassam rocket, one of nearly 20 that were launched yesterday against Israel.

      And just how did Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz respond to the latest outrage? Why - with "restraint" of course.

      Speaking to a European Union envoy, Peretz said that Israel was "biting its lips" in order to refrain from carrying out a ground offensive Gaza.

      But while Peretz is busy chomping on his lip, thousands of other Israelis in the south of the country are living in fear of losing their lives. The Government's passivity in the face of the rocket assaults, and their unwillingness to do what is necessary to to bring them to a halt, is a failure on par with last summer's disastrous war in Lebanon. It is time to take aggressive action to end the Palestinian Rocket War once and for all, and to unleash the IDF in all its glory.

       



      Sivan 4, 5767, 5/21/2007

      And the winner is.....


      Thanks to all of you who took part in the annual Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards and who voted for this blog, "Fundamentally Freund". The final results were published today, and I'm proud to say that this blog won the following three "medals":

      1 - Winner - Gold Medal - Best Right-Wing Jewish Blog

      2 - Winner - Silver Medal - Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog

      3 - Winner - Bronze Medal - Best Overall Blog

                   

      Stay tuned, and keep checking in, as we fight the war of ideas one truth at a time.



      Sivan 1, 5767, 5/18/2007

      Israel left Gaza - now Gaza attacks Israel



      at last, it seems, there might be a slight flicker of recognition among senior Israeli officials that the withdrawal itself was a grave mistake and that Israel has no choice but to go back in to Gaza and clean house
      A synagogue, a school and a person's home. These are among the structures in Sderot that have all been hit in the past 24 hours by Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza.

      Hundreds of Israelis have been evacuated from the city in the wake of this latest terrorist assault, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to act with virtual impunity.

      And so, less than two years after Israel pulled out of Gaza, Gaza is now once again attacking Israel.

      Of course, these rocket attacks have been going on nearly continuously since Israeli troops left the area, though you wouldn't know it from the mainstream media, which has downplayed and under-reported the attacks since the very start.

      But at last, it seems, there might be a slight flicker of recognition among senior Israeli officials that the withdrawal itself was a grave mistake and that Israel has no choice but to go back in to Gaza and clean house.

      In an interview yesterday on Israel Army Radio, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said that in the wake of the latest Palestinian rocket attacks, "sooner or later the IDF will have to reenter the territory of the Gaza Strip."

      And in an implicit admission of the failure of the withdrawal from Gaza to bring Israel greater security, Sneh acknowledged that, "a place that you left without an agreement or an arrangement is a place that you will have to return to in the end."

      Of course, we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that the Government has truly woken up to the need to uproot the terrorist infrastructure and topple the Palestinian Authority - that far they have yet to come. But maybe, just maybe, this latest round of Palestinian rocket fire has planted the seeds, and brought our leadership one step closer to confronting the cold, hard truth that pulling out of Gaza and turning it over to our enemies was an act of remarkable folly.



      Iyar 26, 5767, 5/14/2007

      Not Exactly a Cliffhanger of an Election...



      Don't expect a cliffhanger of a result on election night in Damascus, unless you are intensely curious to know whether Mr. Assad's final tally will be 98.9% or 99.9% of the vote
      Remember all that talk of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad being a brash, young reformer who would change the face of his country's politics after the he inherited the throne from his father seven years ago?

      Well, guess what: old habits die hard, especially in dictatorships such as Syria.
      Syria's parliament the other day unanimously approved presidential elections to be held throughout the country on May 27. But lest you think this will be an "election" in the true sense of the word, consider this: there will only be one candidate on the ballot, and his name is - drumroll, please - Bashar al-Assad.

      So don't expect a cliffhanger of a result on election night in Damascus, unless you are intensely curious to know whether Mr. Assad's final tally will be 98.9% or 99.9% of the vote.

      Just one more example of the kind of neighborhood in which Israel finds itself.....
      -----------------------
      Thanks to your support, this blog - "Fundamentally Freund" - has now advanced to the Finals round in the annual "Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards".

      Please take a moment to go to the following 3 links and vote for "Fundamentally Freund":

      1 - Best Overall Blog category: http://www.jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=195

      2 - Best Right-Wing Blog category: http://jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=208

      3 - Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog category: http://jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=206

      thanks,

      Michael Freund