Global Agenda 8:22 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 5:43 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 3:13 AM 3/7/2014
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
And today, of all days, the country received a potent reminder regarding the intolerance and bigotry being fostered by ascendant Palestinian nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism.
When a small group of Jews ascended the Temple Mount this morning to visit Judaism’s holiest site, they were set upon by a group of Palestinians, who emerged from the gold-roofed Dome of the Rock and attacked them with stones, slightly injuring two of them.
The police were forced to step in and restore calm, but only after resorting to the use of stun grenades to quell the attackers.
The Temple Mount, of course, is effectively under the control of the Muslim Wakf, which is an arm of the Palestinian Authority. And so, while Israel is sovereign over the area, in practice the government allows the Palestinians to dictate what happens on the site of the ancient Temples of Jerusalem.
This is not only an affront to Jewish history – but as the attack today demonstrated, it is also an outrageous and absurd situation, in which Jews can not safely visit our holiest of sites.
The world media will undoubtedly distort today’s incident beyond recognition – but the key point to bear in mind is this: why is it that Palestinians feel they can riot because Jews visit a holy place?
And, more importantly, why does Israel tolerate such a situation?
The time has come for Israel to take back the Temple Mount, once and for all, and to reassert its control over the area. That is the only way to ensure that Jews, as well as others, are free to visit the site and worship there freely.
I am off to Portugal, where Shavei Israel (the organization I head) is convening a special seminar for Bnai Anousim (people whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition). To read more about it, check out the story below.
I will try to continue posting while I am away, so keep on checking back for more. But in case I don't, or can't, I will make sure to resume late next week.
On the eve of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s arrival in the Middle East, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has demonstrated that no concession is too inane when it comes to trying to appease the Palestinians.
In a development sure to bring a smile to Palestinian bomb-makers throughout the region, Mofaz told the Cabinet today that the Israeli Army was temporarily suspending all operations to hunt down and arrest some 300 wanted Palestinian terrorists.
This, apparently, is intended as a “good-will gesture” toward newly-elected Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen).
In practice, of course, all it does is give the terrorists a respite, allowing them to regroup and reorganize without fear of being arrested or tracked down by Israel. Heck, it seems they can even take the family out on a little vacation, as far as Mr. Mofaz is concerned.
But adding to the inexplicable nature of this move was the other announcement that the Defense Minister made this morning – namely, that Palestinian terrorist organizations are planning to carry out attacks in an effort to torpedo Tuesday’s planned summit of regional leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh.
So, let’s see if we understand this correctly. The terrorists are moving ahead with plans to launch attacks in the next 48 hours, so Israel responds by… calling off military action against them?
Is this making sense to anyone out there? Because it sure doesn’t make any to me. Indeed, the message it is sending is that gestures to Abu Mazen are somehow more important than safeguarding Israeli lives.
Just one more compelling reason why the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon needs to be sent packing. The sooner, the better.
Ariel Sharon and his plan to uproot the Jews of Gaza received a big boost yesterday, when the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party formally decided to join the government.
The move provides the Prime Minister with far more than just the majority in parliament that he wanted – it also enables him to say that he is presiding over a broad coalition, one that combines religious and secular representatives, rather than just a narrow sector of society.
It paves the way for passage of the 2005 budget, and might also make it easier for the religious Shas party, with 10 seats, to join the government at a later stage, thereby boosting Sharon’s majority still further.
Had UTJ decided against entering the coalition, it most likely would have resulted in new elections, which might have delayed, or possibly even thwarted, the disengagement from taking place in the near future, if at all.
In other words, barring any unforeseen events, Sharon now has the government and the parliamentary majority he needs to move ahead with his ill-conceived plan to uproot Jews from their homes and expel them from Gaza.
For opponents of the plan, the political options for halting it suddenly grew far fewer yesterday.
Months of protests, demonstrations, petitions and letter-writing campaigns have thus far failed to have the desired effect. Demands for a national referendum on the Gaza plan have been met with refusal by the Prime Minister, and he seems intent on moving ahead.
Where, then, does that leave us? What can each of us possibly do to stop this terrible decree from coming to pass?
It may sound simplistic, and even naïve, but the answer is really very straightforward. It is time for each of us to turn to G-d, and to plead for His intervention and salvation.
The politicians have failed us, the parties have disappointed us, and our leadership is confused and divided. We have done our best, we have raised our voices in protest and made our opposition clear, with little or nothing to show for it.
The Land of Israel is in danger, and the people of Israel are also in great peril. It is time that we turn our cries heavenward, and put our faith where it truly belongs: in the One who guides all of human destiny. Only through prayer can we avert the expulsion hanging over our people.
If his appearance in the Knesset yesterday is any indication, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon seems to think that the expulsion of thousands of Jews from their homes is just one big joke.
Speaking to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the premier was grilled with some tough questions about his planned withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, but instead of addressing these gravely serious issues, he chose to stoop to humor instead.
As Yediot Aharonot put it:
Sharon evades pullout questions
Knesset committee members present prime minister with tough questions; Sharon replies with jokes
By Ilan Marciano
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Ariel Sharon chose to resort to humor as he faced tough questions from members of the Knesset State Control Committee Monday.
Sharon spoke before the committee today in response to criticism expressed in the State Comptroller’s report over preparatory work at the Prime Minister’s Office ahead of the pullout.
During the session, right-wing Knesset members presented Sharon with a series of questions regarding the upcoming settlement evacuation and the decision-making process that led to it.
The prime minister, known as a public relations wizard, mostly read pre-written answers and refused to address the preparatory work undertaken ahead of the disengagement.
If the people of Israel wanted a stand-up routine, they would put on Seinfeld. Sharon’s responsibility is to provide the country with answers – not to dodge their questions with smart-aleck responses.
Throwing people out of their homes is no laughing matter – and it is a shame that the leaders of this country lack the sensitivity to even realize that.