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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.
      Shevat 18, 5766, 2/16/2006

      Olmert Zigs and Zags on Hamas


      With breathtaking speed, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has once again backtracked on his own policy towards Hamas, leaving heads spinning in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Washington.

      Confusing_street_sign Just days after Israeli officials began talking about imposing an “economic siege” on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA), the Government has now apparently decided to permit international funding to reach the PA.

      This flip-flop follows shortly on the heels of Olmert’s previous zig-zag regarding aid to Hamas. Shortly after the terrorist group won last month’s Palestinian elections, Israel said it would not transfer any more money to the PA, but then Olmert changed his mind last week and approved the handover of 240 million shekels in taxes and customs duties.

      Even more ridiculous is the argument being put forth by Israeli officials to justify the continued flow of international aid to the newest rogue state in the Middle East.

      The goal, unnamed Israeli Foreign Ministry officials told Yediot Aharonot, is to prevent Iranian and Islamist funding of the PA.

      Huh?

      Unless Hamas’ bank account has a limit on accepting donations, just how exactly will permitting international aid preclude the Iranians and Islamists from continuing to support their terrorist friends in Gaza?

      Moreover – the Government’s position makes no sense. It is almost like saying that one should buy drugs from a dealer just so someone else won’t do it, as though that will stop the dealer from continuing with his crimes.

      It’s bad enough that Olmert continues to bounce back and forth from one policy to another on this issue. But frankly what is even more troubling is that he doesn’t seem to have a clue as to what he is trying to achieve.



      Tevet 29, 5766, 1/29/2006

      Why is the Mastermind of the Munich Massacre Roaming Free?


      With all the attention focused on Steven Spielberg’s controversial new film about the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, barely a peep has been said about the mastermind of the carnage.

      Until now.

      Munich Speaking to Germany’s Spiegel TV, Mohammad Oudeh (known also by his nom de guerre Abu Daoud), said he “regrets nothing” about the incident. 11 Israelis and one German police officer were killed after Oudeh and his fellow members of the Black September Palestinian terrorist group took Israeli Olympians hostage.

      “You can only dream that I would apologize,” he said defiantly.

      According to the German TV station, the interview with the 68-year old Oudeh, who lives openly in Damascus, Syria, was conducted in Cairo.

      This means that not only is Oudeh being allowed to live out his days in peaceful retirement, but he also does not fear traveling abroad or visiting other countries on holiday.

      This is nothing less than an outrage. German police issued a warrant for Oudeh’s arrest seven years ago, after he admitted in his autobiography that he was involved in the Munich attack.

      Why, then, are the Egyptian authorities allowing him to visit Cairo undisturbed? And why isn’t the US government, which gives Egypt $2 billion in aid each year, or the Israeli government, which maintains relations with the Egyptians, insisting on Oudeh’s arrest?

      Justice demands that Oudeh be made to pay for his crime. There is no statute of limitations when it comes to murder, and it is time for the aging Abu Daoud to at last see the inside of a prison cell for his gruesome offense.

      -----------------------------

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      Tevet 27, 5766, 1/27/2006

      The Great Unmasking


      The overwhelming Hamas victory in this week’s Palestinian elections is a political earthquake – the kind of seismic event whose aftershocks and repercussions will be felt throughout the region for a long time to come.

      But the most immediate result – and the one least talked about by the mainstream media, of course – is that this turn of events constitutes the great unmasking, both of the Palestinians and of Israel’s left.

      Hamas_election_victory No longer can it be said that “the majority of Palestinians are interested in peace”, or that it is just “a small band of extremists” on the Palestinian side that stand in the way of regional reconciliation.

      The Palestinian electorate has expressed itself loudly and unequivocally – they voted a movement into power whose political agenda amounts to mass murder. It was not a close race or a narrow election victory for Hamas – it was a sweeping and comprehensive triumph, one that was granted to the terrorists by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian voters.

      The only possible conclusion one can draw from this is that most Palestinians want to see Israel destroyed, and most Palestinians want a political leadership that will actively advance that goal.

      Needless to say, that is precisely what the Israeli Right has been saying all along for the past decade, warning against the creation of a Palestinian entity or its continued empowerment by Israeli retreats.

      And that is also precisely what the Israeli Left has refused to believe in its delusory quest to appease our neighbors.

      But now, the facts speak for themselves, and they are there for all to see. The withdrawal from Gaza has led directly to the creation of a “Hamastan” alongside Israel.

      The only question now is whether this turn of events will at last wake up the Left and cause them to realize the folly of their ways.

      If past experience is any indication – don’t count on it.

      -----------------------------

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      Tevet 25, 5766, 1/25/2006

      What Olmert Didn't Say


      Olmert In one of his first major policy addresses since becoming Acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert delivered a wide-ranging speech at the Herzliya Conference yesterday covering topics such as economic policy and the future of Israel’s relations with the Palestinians.

      But the really interesting part of his remarks was not so much what he said – but what he didn’t say.

      Toward the end of his speech, Olmert declared: “I believe in the people of Israel and in the State of Israel. I believe in the genuine will of the citizens of Israel to live in peace, security and tranquillity, and I believe in our ability to achieve this goal when we are united.”

      When I heard this, I thought to myself: nice rhetoric. Uplifting, hopeful and even somewhat inspiring.

      But then it immediately occurred to me - the leader of the Jewish state failed to mention the most important thing of all: what about the G-d of Israel? What about the Land of Israel? What about the Torah of Israel and the faith of Israel?

      Does Olmert not believe in any of those too?

      And that, my friends, is precisely the problem in Israel today. Most of our leaders are not men anchored in faith or guided by eternal principles of right and wrong. Instead, they put their trust in man and turn their backs on all that is sacred and revered by our people and our tradition.

      As long as that is the case, I’m afraid, this country will only continue to stumble along. After all, we are here by Divine right, and we must not shy away from acknowledging this fact openly and proudly. We need to return to ourselves and to G-d, for unlike our politicians, He will surely not disappoint.

      ---------------------------

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      Tevet 24, 5766, 1/24/2006

      Who Cares About Fighting Terror?


      Palestinian rockets may still be landing near Israel’s cities, but that hasn’t stopped the Government from remaining focused on – what else? – destroying more Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.

      Speaking before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said that over 1,300 soldiers and policemen will be deployed next week to uproot the Jewish community of Amona, near Ofra, which numbers some 40 families.

      Kassam_rocket Just hours prior to Halutz’ appearance, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot, underscoring the Government’s continuing failure to stop such attacks.

      Nonetheless, Halutz was apparently more interested in discussing the “threat” posed by Jewish families living on Jewish-owned land, rather than ongoing Palestinian attempts to target Israelis.

      It is simply mind-boggling that just days after Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv, the Government and army would be expending time, resources and energy to throw more Jews off their land.

      Wouldn’t be it more useful to be hunting down terrorists instead?

      This is little more than a transparent political ploy, aimed at attracting left-wing voters back to the Kadima party now that it is being headed by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

      With elections just two months away, Olmert apparently has no qualms about (mis-)using the tools of the state to advance his own political ambitions.

      And so, once again, it is the valiant and brave pioneers settling the Land of Israel who might just have to pay the price.

      ---------------------------

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