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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.
      Adar 3, 5766, 3/3/2006

      The Al-Qaeda Threat to Israel

      The writing is on the wall – only Israel’s government refuses to read it.

      In yet the latest bit of evidence to indicate that Al-Qaeda is setting the stage for possible future attacks against the Jewish state, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas admitted to a London-based Arabic newspaper earlier this week that, "We have signs of an al Qaeda presence in the West Bank and Gaza."

      Abbas’ statement confirms what the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence said last September, when he noted that Al-Qaeda had moved in to Gaza and set up shop there right after Israel’s retreat from the area.

      Thus, for several months now, Osama Bin-Laden’s network has been busy establishing a base of operations along Israel’s borders, yet Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has failed to take any steps to stem this growing threat.

      If we know that Al-Qaeda has a presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, then why the heck isn’t Israel going in now to uproot the terrorist infrastructure?

      Must we wait, G-d forbid, for a major Al-Qaeda attack in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem before taking action?

      In early January, Iraqi terrorist chieftain Abu Musab al-Zarqawi posted an audio tape on an Islamist website in which he claimed that 4 Katyusha rockets fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel on December 27 had been the work of Al-Qaeda and came at the instructions of none other than bin Laden himself.

      “The rocket firing at the ancestors of monkeys and pigs from the south of Lebanon was only the start of a blessed in-depth strike against the Zionist enemy”, al-Zarqawi said, adding that “All that was on the instructions of the sheikh of the mujahedeen, Osama bin Laden”.

      It’s time for Mr. Olmert to start taking this danger seriously, and for Israel to take prompt action, before it is too late.

      Adar 2, 5766, 3/2/2006

      Getting Used to Terror?

      Once again, a Palestinian rocket has struck an Israeli city, and once again an assault on innocent Israeli civilians has been met with no reaction from the Government.

      Kassam2_1Palestinian terrorists operating in Hamas-controlled Gaza on Thursday fired a Kassam rocket at Ashkelon, hitting the city’s southern industrial zone. Workers in the area heard a loud explosion, and many were forced to go sit in bomb shelters or secured rooms until police and firemen signaled they could emerge.

      One workman told a reporter: “We sat in the security rooms for about 20 minutes until they allowed us to come out,” he said. “They asked us to be a bit more alert today. To our regret, we're starting to get used to this reality of Kassam attacks in this area.”

      If you’re looking for one of the greatest dangers facing Israel today, it can be found in that workman’s simple statement of hopelessness and despair – “we’re starting to get used to this reality of Kassam attacks”.

      When a society begins to “get used to” being a punching bag for its foes, and when it stops demanding that its own government stand up and defend the country – that is a sure sign that things will only be getting worse before they get better.

      We must never accept terrorism as a routine part of life, like waiting in line at the bank or paying taxes. And we must never allow our government to overlook or ignore the threat that is brewing along our borders.

      Adar 1, 5766, 3/1/2006

      The Next Expulsion of Jews

      Not content with having emptied Gaza of its Jews, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has now turned his sights to a neighborhood in Hebron.

      According to media reports, the Israeli army issued expulsion orders this morning to the 8 Jewish families living in the Shalhevet neighborhood of the ancient Jewish city, giving them until January 15 to leave their homes or be forced out.

      The neighborhood in question is named for Shalhevet Pass, a Jewish infant who was murdered by a Palestinian sniper in 2001. It lies on land that was owned by Jews until 1929, when Hebron’s Arabs massacred 69 Jews and forced the remaining members of the community to leave. Subsequently, Arab squatters moved in to the area, and turned it into a marketplace.

      After young Shalhevet was murdered, Jewish families moved in to the neighborhood to reclaim the land and restore a Jewish presence there.

      Once upon a time in Israel, this was seen as the proper Zionist response to Arab terror: The more they tried to kill us, the more determined we were to cling to this land.

      Sadly, that is no longer the case. Now, it seems the more they try to kill us, the more our leaders seek to run away.

      To learn more about the planned expulsion, visit: www.hebron.org.il. Write your representatives, inform your friends and family, raise your voices in protest and in prayer. The Jews of Hebron need our support.

      Shevat 30, 5766, 2/28/2006

      Europe "Outsources" the Killing of Jews

      This past weekend, Israel came within a matter of meters from disaster, death and destruction, when rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in northern Gaza just missed hitting an elementary school and a gas station.

      And how did the European Union respond to this outrage?

      By agreeing to fund Hamas, of course.

      Terrorists_missile2_232 On Monday, the EU announced that it would provide the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) with some $140 million in “emergency” funds to stave off the financial collapse of the PA.

      And so, Europe now joins with Iran, which has pledged $250 million to the Palestinians, in helping to salvage the solvency of Gaza and Ramallah.

      It does not seem to matter one whit to the enlightened statesmen of Europe that they are helping to keep a terrorist entity afloat, providing it with the wherewithal to continue to threaten Israel and attack Jews, and effectively joining hands with the Ayatollahs of Iran.

      But none of us should really be all that surprised by this turn of events. After all, Europe has spent the better part of the past millennium killing and persecuting Jews.

      Now, instead, they are merely “outsourcing” their efforts to Hamas.

      Shevat 21, 5766, 2/19/2006

      Is Yossi Beilin still rooting for the Seattle Seahawks?

      So now it is official: a Hamas-controlled parliament was formally sworn in yesterday, signifying the Palestinians’ unmistakable and undeniable desire to wipe Israel off the map.

      But has that served to wake up the Israeli left from its trance-like belief in peace at any price?

      Of course not.

      Superbowl The Labor party reacted by declaring that it still “sees Mahmoud Abbas as a partner in peace talks”, which is akin to saying that one still thinks the Seattle Seahawks can win last month’s Superbowl.

      Then there is Dr. Yossi Beilin of Meretz, one of the “brainchilds” of the Oslo process that created the Palestinian entity now under Hamas control.

      Neither contrite nor remorseful over the failure of his policies, Beilin reacted to Hamas’ ascension to power by….. blaming Israel, of course.

      Israel made a terrible mistake by weakening the PA and Abbas in the past few years,” he opined, displaying yet again his uncanny ability to find no fault with Israel’s foes.

      This, of course, is nothing new. Even after the Oslo process quickly descended into unprecedented waves of anti-Israel terror nearly 13 years ago, the hard-core Left refused to acknowledge the error of its ways, so why should now be any different?

      Nonetheless, there is something instructive in all of this, for it serves as a useful reminder to those with short memories that people such as Beilin and his comrades can not and must not be returned to power.

      If they are incapable of recognizing the dangers inherent in a Hamas-led terrorist regime, then they are best left to spin their fantasies far away from the centers of power.