He Ru Follow us: Make a7 your Homepage
      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
      Email Me
      Subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed
      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.
      Iyar 23, 5767, 5/11/2007

      Beware of a Possible "Peace" Surprise!



      we might very well find ourselves in a situation where the Government will be willing to make far-reaching concessions to our neighbors not because they believe them to be in the broader national interest, but rather because they serve their own narrow political self-interest.
      Ehud Olmert is in trouble. Big trouble.
      Between the findings of the Winograd Commission, and the slew of criminal investigations being conducted against him, the Prime Minister's popularity has sunk to all-time lows. His governing coalition appears increasingly fragile, and calls for him to resign grow louder with each passing day.
      And this should have us all very, very worried - because in his hopelessly weakened state, the premier may very well decide to take rash or desperate steps in the diplomatic sphere in an attempt to stave off the possibility of being forced from office.
      And the spurt of diplomatic activity over the past few days may just point in such a direction. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and agreed to a visit by an Arab League delegation in Israel. King Abdullah of Jordan will be meeting soon with PA Chairman Abu Mazen, and the Lebanese Prime Minister published an op-ed in the New York Times calling on Israel to accept the Saudi peace plan.
      And so, we might very well find ourselves in a situation where the Government will be willing to make far-reaching concessions to our neighbors not because they believe them to be in the broader national interest, but rather because they serve their own narrow political self-interest.
      Sound cynical? Perhaps. But it wouldn't be the first time that a prime minister made fateful decisions based on political, rather than strategic, calculations. So brace yourselves for a possible diplomatic surprise - one that is likely to be detrimental, rather than advantageous, to Israel and its interests.
      -----------------------
      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


      Iyar 15, 5767, 5/3/2007

      How About a Winograd Commission for the Oslo process?



      with the Israeli media and public now busy talking about topics such as failed leadership, lack of strategic acumen and disastrous policymaking, perhaps it is at last time for a full-blown investigation of an even greater mess: the Oslo "peace process" with the Palestinians?
      What a mess.

      Essentially, the findings of the Winograd Commission only confirm what most of us have suspected all along: that the Government failed miserably in the prosecution of last summer's Lebanon war.

      Only time will tell if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz will pay the ultimate political price for their actions and be sent into early retirement.

      But with the Israeli media and public now busy talking about topics such as failed leadership, lack of strategic acumen and disastrous policymaking, perhaps it is at last time for a full-blown investigation of an even greater mess: the Oslo "peace process" with the Palestinians?

      Since the signing of the Oslo Accords back in September 1993, Israel has endured increasing Palestinian terror and violence, yet successive governments have continued down the path of concessions, withdrawal and retreat.

      Even more than the fiasco in Lebanon, this series of pull-outs has damaged Israel's security, weakened its deterrence, and underminded the nation's morale. Worse yet - it has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis, thanks to the misguided and short-sighted policies that have been carried out over the years, from Yitzhak Rabin's handshake with Yasser Arafat down to Ariel Sharon's expulsion of Gaza Jewry.

      I say it is time for a commission of inquiry to be established to investigate just how the country has been led down the Oslo path of disaster over the past 14 years.

      We the people deserve to know just why and how our government chose to give away parts of the homeland, even as our enemies continued to perpetrate unprecedented atrocities.

      I have no illusions that this will occur any time soon - but that should not stop us from continuing to press for a full and complete accounting.



      Iyar 8, 5767, 4/26/2007

      Are There Really Limits to Israel's Restraint?



      Sitting with folded hands won't stop Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad from attacking the Jewish state
      Talk about a bombshell revelation.

      Speaking at the UN the other day, Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman let the international community in on an amazing little secret.

      To the astonishment of those in attendance, and the surprise of those who live here in Israel, Mr. Gillerman declared, "There is a limit to Israel's restraint".

      Gosh.

      Mr. Gillerman's announcement will come as news to those of us who have been following the events of the past few months with increasing concern, apprehension and dismay, as Israel has failed to respond to numerous Palestinian terror attacks.

      These have included suicide bombings, stabbings, shootings, attempted kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, and the bombardment of the Negev with mortar shells and rocket fire.

      Pardon me for sounding cynical, but in recent months it has begun to seem that there is in fact no limit to Israel's restraint – and that is precisely the problem.

      By failing to hit back at the terrorists, Israel's leadership has demonstrated unpardonable weakness, which only serves to invite further violence and aggression.

      Sitting with folded hands won't stop Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad from attacking the Jewish state – launching a major, counter-terror operation aimed at uprooting the terrorist infrastructure is clearly the way to go, and such a move is long overdue.

      So while I am glad to hear that "There is a limit to Israel's restraint", I'll be more convinced when those words are translated into action.
      --------------
      I am proud to say that this blog - "Fundamentally Freund" - has been nominated for three awards in the annual "Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards". 

      If you have a moment, please go to the following 3 links and cast your ballot for "Fundamentally Freund":

      1 - Best Overall Blog category: http://www.jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=101

      2 - Best Right-Wing Blog category: http://www.jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=143

      3 - Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog category: http://www.jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=138

      thanks,

      Michael Freund



      Iyar 6, 5767, 4/24/2007

      A Broom & A Flag - The Meaning of Independence Day



      "Master of the Universe, may I yet merit to raise the flag of Israel over a high place in the Land of Israel."
      Sometimes, amid the rush of events here in Israel, it becomes easy to lose sight of the significance of the rebirth of the Jewish State.

      We often get so caught up in the headlines, with its political intrigue, diplomatic challenges and security threats, that we fail to keep things in their proper perspective.

      So here is a true short story that should jar us into appreciating just how fortunate we are to live in an era of renewed Jewish sovereignty and independence:

      "The righteous Rabbi Avraham Yaakov, the late Rebbe of Sadigora, who lived in Tel Aviv, would customarily attend the city's Great Synagogue on Israel's Independence Day and recite the Hallel (prayer of thanksgiving) in public. And when the worshippers danced in the plaza in front of the synagogue, he joined them in the circle and danced with great enthusiasm. And there was a feeling that the Rebbe experienced a special sense of joy on this day. Subsequently, when one of his Hasidim (followers) went to speak with him, the Rebbe told him about the time when he had lived in Vienna, during the period when the Nazis entered the city. Their first order of business was to persecute and humiliate the Jews. And since the Rebbe was considered the leader of the Vienna's Jews, the Nazis chose him to sweep the streets of the city, and they gave him a large broom. While doing the work, the Rebbe turned his gaze heavenward and said, "Master of the Universe, may I yet merit to sweep the streets of the Land of Israel." The Nazis then handed the Rebbe a Nazi flag, and forced him to raise it over a large building in the city. And while he was doing so, the Rebbe again turned to G-d and said, "Master of the Universe, may I yet merit to raise the flag of Israel over a high place in the Land of Israel." Subsequently, after the war, the Rebbe emigrated to the Land of Israel, and wanted to fulfill his promise.... So what did he do on Israel Independence Day? He arose at 3:00am, took a large broom, and went out to sweep the streets. And then he would take an Israeli flag and hoist it high on the roof of the building with great excitement and enthusiasm, for G-d had accepted his prayer. And this was the source of his joy on this day - the day of the establishment of the State of Israel."

      (Excerpted from the book Alei Tamar by Rabbi Yissachar Tamar zt"l)

      So the next time you find yourself down in the dumps, reading the newspapers and wondering about this country and its leadership - think back to the Rebbe of Sadigora, with a broom in one hand, a flag in the other, and a heart full of gratitude to G-d for the miracle that is the modern State of Israel.

      Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day)!!

       

       



      Iyar 2, 5767, 4/20/2007

      Why is the US arming the Saudis with advanced weaponry?



      It is simply astonishing that despite its ongoing export of extremism, the Saudis continue to get a free pass from Washington and the West
      There were two particularly disturbing bits of news this week regarding Washington's continued kowtowing to the Wahabist extremists in charge of Saudi Arabia.

      First, as I reported exclusively in the Jerusalem Post (here) on Monday, the Saudis continue to violate the pledge they gave over a year and a half ago to the Bush Administration to drop the Arab boycott of Israel.

      It was based on that promise that the Saudis were granted entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2005, but once they succeeded in joining, they back-tracked on keeping their word. And yet, Washington has done little to call them to account.

      And now, there are reports in the media (here) that despite Israel's objections, the US has agreed to sell advanced, satellite-guided smart bombs to the Saudi regime. This, despite the danger of such weapons falling into the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, and the fact that such a sale will dilute Israel's qualitative edge over its enemies.

      It is simply astonishing that despite its ongoing export of extremism, the Saudis continue to get a free pass from Washington and the West. For far too long, they have overlooked the dictatorial desert kingdom's mischief and misbehavior.

      But as recent years have shown – and particularly the events of September 11, 2001 – such an approach is not only short-sighted, but dangerous too. Instead of strengthening the Saudi regime, the West should be aiming to reform it and replace it.