Defense/Security 4:15 AM 5/23/2013
Middle East 5:44 AM
Global Agenda 6:12 AM
Tammuz 14, 5765, 7/21/2005
For the second time in the past two weeks, terrorists struck again in the heart of London today, setting off a series of blasts on the city’s underground and on a passenger bus. Thankfully, no one was killed in the attacks, and just one person was injured.
The damage and loss of life could, of course, have been far worse, as the July 7 bombings – which claimed 56 lives – made clear. It was nothing short of a miracle that today’s incidents proved far less lethal.
As many commentators have pointed out already, these attacks are a wake-up call for Britain to clamp down on its own home-grown Muslim fundamentalist movement, and to stop currying favor with Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas, with whom British officials have met in recent months.
Anti-Semitism has been rising steeply in Britain in recent years, with the number of incidents targeting the Jewish community continuing to increase. At the same time, British Jewry has been rapidly shrinking as a result of assimilation and intermarriage, casting serious doubts over its long-term viability.
As the recent series of terror attacks in London indicate, Muslim fundamentalists have British society in their sights, seeking to sow death and destruction along the Thames. It is probably just a matter of time before they decide to attack Jewish institutions there as well, G-d forbid, given the prominence and influence which the community there wields.
For these reasons alone, Britain’s Jews need to start thinking about their future. With their Jewish identity facing increasing challenges, and their physical safety less and less secure, the Jews of the UK need to realize that their only hope lies in coming back to their roots, and planting themselves anew in the Land of Israel.
No Diaspora, however comfortable or secure it might seem to be, can ever serve as fruitful ground for Jewish life in the long run. Let us hope that the Jews of Britain realize this, and act on it – for their sake, as well as for Israel’s.
Tammuz 6, 5765, 7/13/2005
The blockade has begun.
In an unprecedented decision, the Government of Israel today sealed off Gush Katif and declared it to be a “closed military zone”, barring entry to Jews who do not officially reside there.
With a single flourish of his pen, Ariel Sharon today sent young Jewish soldiers in uniform on a mission – not to protect their fellow Jews in Gaza, but rather to cut them off from the rest of the country.
The first time I saw an Israeli soldier – I remember the feeling of pride that swelled inside of me, knowing that the Jewish people had arisen back onto the world stage and set up an army of their own.
The Israel Defense Forces – think about that name for a second. A military whose very appellation embodies its primary objective: to defend Israel, the land and the people.
Now contrast this with the mission that Ariel Sharon has in mind for that very same military – to close off Jewish Gaza prior to uprooting it with force next month.
This can not be allowed to pass. This is not what our ancestors dreamed of for the past 2000 years in Exile.
For those of you outside the Land, now is the time to speak out, and to voice your support for the embattled Jews of Gush Katif:
1) Visit: http://english.katif.net/, the English-language website of the struggle against the withdrawal.
2) Contact your elected representatives, call the nearest Israeli consulate or embassy.
3) Cry out to G-d and plead for His Divine intervention.
The clock is ticking, the expulsion is growing dangerously near. We can, and we must prevent it from coming to pass.
Tammuz 6, 5765, 7/13/2005
It was another day of “peace” in Israel: more bombs, more bloodshed, more innocent Israelis slaughtered in the streets, more lives destroyed while our government twiddles its thumbs rather than engaging the enemy.
Today’s suicide bombing in Netanya killed 3 Israelis and injured 89 others, while a car bomb attack in Shavei Shomron just 40 minutes beforehand miraculously failed to cause any injuries.
Ariel Sharon’s government reacted by vowing to respond harshly – vows we have heard so many times before and so few of which have ever been kept. The only promise that Sharon seems intent on keeping is to withdraw, to retreat, to run away from the problem instead of confronting it.
How much longer can this go on? How is it possible for so many people to delude themselves over and over again and to think that pulling out of territory will satisfy the appetite of our foes?
For the past 12 years, Israel has tried the path of concessions, and it has only brought the country an unprecedented wave of death and destruction in its wake.
Under normal circumstances, the people would have (and should have) taken to the streets long ago, and brought down this hapless, ineffective and incompetent regime. Instead, we plunge forward, as though nothing has happened, as if three precious Jewish lives were not cruelly taken today, as if all were quiet on the western front.
We can, and we do, deserve better. The sooner this government is sent packing, the safer Israel will be.
Sivan 30, 5765, 7/7/2005
The scenes emerging from the string of terror attacks today in London are both terrifying and eerily familiar.
A bombed-out shell of a bus, shaken victims covered with blood and soot, emergency services crews evacuating the injured – it was jarringly reminiscent of the carnage that has appeared on the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba over the past several years.
London, England, as it were, has now become London, Israel.
The UK has long been one of the Jewish state’s best friends in Europe – though of course that is not really saying very much. Our hearts go out to the victims – innocent men and women on their way to work, fighting the daily struggle to make a living, improve their lives and take care of their families.
One can only hope that in light of the atrocities carried out in the heart of Britain’s capital today, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government will gain a renewed sense of moral clarity, as well as determination to do battle with terror – wherever it might be.
Sivan 22, 5765, 6/29/2005
Every once in a while, there is a tidbit of news that just about says it all, summarizing a complex situation while highlighting the central, underlying problem in an easy to grasp manner.
Today, in Ha’aretz (of all places) is just such a story, one which makes clear just how dangerous and ill-advised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan truly is.
The paper reports today that:
“One of the most feared Fatah operatives in the Gaza Strip will soon be returning to action there - this time, as head of a special Palestinian Authority security service whose goal is to seize control of the lands evacuated by Israel under the disengagement plan.
So there it is, all in just a few, easy-to-digest sentences:
a) An Israeli withdrawal will mean turning over Gaza to a guy whose CV includes employment experience as leader of a “death squad”;
b) It will mean increasing competition between Fatah and Hamas, with each trying to show the Palestinian public that it is more “extreme” in order to win their support – and that certainly will not result in more peace and quiet;
c) Instead of arresting Mr. Thamus and trying him for murder, the Palestinian Authority is giving him a promotion and placing him in charge of his own police force – is this really the way to build the Palestinian democracy that President George W. Bush speaks about?
There you have it – three darned good reasons why a Gaza pullout is dangerous for Israel, dangerous for the Palestinians themselves, and counter to American interests.
Too bad none of our leaders are really giving any of this much thought – if they did, they might stop and think twice before plunging ahead with a plan that threatens to endanger us all.