May 30, 2007

Time Lapse

Remember those first paratroopers at the Kotel Maaravi in June 1967 ...



See what they look like 40 years on !
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Different strokes ...

Yesterday Ehud Olmert – a nobody whom Kadima promoted to Prime Minister – told the Knesset that Israel’s strategic position has vastly improved since last year’s Lebanon war.

On the same day Shaul Mofaz – a decorated army general whom Kadima demoted to Transportation Minister – said the Hezbollah had now returned to their full combat strength and capacity in Southern Lebanon.

It’s time Kadima put Olmert on the buses and Mofaz back in defense.

May 29, 2007

Last Exit Before the Ayalon

With the demise of Amir Peretz, the frontrunner for leadership of the Labor party appears to be Ami Ayalon.

For those who worry about the future of Israel as a Jewish state a picture paints a thousand words.

Consider the genteel countenance of Golda Meir.


She looked every bit the kindly grandmother of the Jewish nation.



And the face of Menachem Begin, every bit the Jew.

As proud of his heritage as he was determined to defend it with his life.


And now take a long look at Ami Ayalon.


A face that seems to come out of a Science Fiction movie.

Could this ever be the face of Israel?


May 28, 2007

Hamas salutes Peretz


How fitting that Hamas had the last word on the end of Amir Peretz's ministerial career.

He went down to his hometown of Sderot to vote (presumably for himself) in his Labor party's primaries in which he is sure to be trounced into 3rd or 4th place behind Ayalon or Barak.

As Peretz cast his ballot, Hamas saluted his demise with a salvo of 3 Kassam missiles which thudded into a nearby field.

So it's goodbye to the Defense Minister who will always be remembered by Israelis for for his binocular gaffe (click picture).

If he thinks of looking back on his brief term as Labor party leader and government minister, he is better off keeping the lens caps on again. No amount of Prozac can make it feel like anything less than a complete disaster.


May 27, 2007

The writing on the wall


Today I returned to the Galut of a rainswept England after an enriching Shavuot holiday in Jerusalem. The sight of tens of thousands of morning worshippers thronging the Kotel plaza at daybreak on Shavuot was truly awesome.

To get to the airport I took the faster 443 Modi'in highway which runs through part of the 'West Bank'. Its early stretches just outside Jerusalem are protected from Arab areas by high walls. And for the first time I saw many sections marked withthis kind of graffiti saying: "Kahane Was Right".

[Rabbi Meir Kahane was founder of the Jewish Defense League and the right wing Kach party in Israel. He was asassinated in New York on November 5th 1990 by an Arab gunman wearing a yarmulke. It is thought to be the very first Al Qaeda operation in the US.]

Perhaps Israelis are beginning to realise the unavoidable truth, that peace with these people is an illusion and that Israel s future can only be secure as a purely Jewish State within borders considered defensible by our military rather than the Un or the US state department.

The graffiti reminded me of the TV debate between Kahane and a much younger Ehud Olmert. Kahane's clear vision of the future was as stark as Olmert's 'no problem' mentality which unfortunately endures to this day. Click the photo to see Ted Koppel's Nightline clip.
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May 26, 2007

Save Abbas ... save money


Even as the IDF targets Hamas heads, Airhead Olmert still talks about supporting Abbas with more guns for his Fatah 'preventive security' forces.

If this lunacy has to happen, let us at least save the Defense Ministry some shekels.

Why not load up the Apache helicopters with guns to drop off to Fatah on their way to each targeted killing of Hamas people.

Why make two trips?

Keeping them targeted

In tandem with the campaign of targeted killings in Gaza, the IDF has rounded up a fair number of Hamas ministers and 'personalities' like these.

I thought it might be a good idea to fix them up a detention camp in
Sderot. In one of the open fields in which, thank G-d, most of their missiles land.




May 24, 2007

Open Letter to “The JC”


Until recently, when I walked into my local Sainsbury’s, I would have to zigzag across to the cul-de-sac at the end of aisle 32 for anything Jewish; matzo ball soup mix and tinned gefilte fish. But now it’s up close and personal with “The JC” featuring prominently on the newsstand in the entrance. Every passing gentile sees the front page story. A fortnight ago: a Jewish child molester banned from shul. The previous week: Jews on the Rich List. Last week: Jews cohabiting with non-Jews. For Jewish shoppers, salmonella in the kneidlach would have been a lot less embarrassing.

It prompts me to reflect on what ‘The JC’ is doing for our community. It’s widely acknowledged that the decline of Jewish hasbara (public relations) these days is inversely proportional to the success of the propaganda machine of our enemies – both Islamists and ‘enlightened’ academics - who demonise Israel for every act of self-defence and, to wit, her awfully inconvenient existence.

At a time when we are accused of controlling the banks and world markets, “the JC” has to emblazon a Jewish Rich List on its front page. At a time when we are accused of controlling everything from the neocons in the White House to the peerages conferred by Tony Blair, “the JC” has to publish a league table of England’s 100 most influential Jews. At a time when Jewish homes have been targeted by armed gangs, “the JC” has to print stats of the most populous Jewish boroughs and show how the largest segment of the community pie chart is into property and big business. The fact that the fastest-growing sector is of orthodox families close to the poverty line is reserved for the small print on page 5.

Aside from such reckless and irresponsible reporting, “the JC” seems to give free vent to every self-hating Jewish Israel-basher in search of a soapbox. So much so, that even the wisest and bravest of journalists like Melanie Phillips can’t keep up with the drivel of kooks “the JC” promotes.

Last month “the JC” published an opinion piece boldly entitled: Maimonides was a Racist. I will not recount the daft premise upon which the enlightened Professor Alderman built his egregious conclusion. Suffice it to say, such a headline is deeply offensive and utterly unacceptable in a Jewish community newspaper. That it appeared without even the usual redeeming quotation marks shows, at best, an extraordinary lack of editorial control and sensitivity. At worst it goes a long way to explaining why “the JC” dropped the word ‘Jewish’ from its household name.

Then there was “the JC’s” attack on Cyril Stein; a major builder and benefactor of Jerusalem whose reunification we celebrated just a few days ago. In an editorial entitled “The Wrong Address” the JC branded Stein’s private purchase of a Hebron property as a 'decidedly unhelpful … empty gesture'. In the same issue a news reporter quoted the JNF view that Stein's major contribution to the building of the State should not disqualify him from doing what he feels is right.

I wrote to “the JC” pointing out that, in recent times, Israel has given up land in Lebanon and Gaza to be 'helpful'. Those gestures have been repaid with missiles. I suggested that perhaps Stein's 'decidedly unhelpful' assertion of Jewish rights in Hebron might get us something better: belief in our own 4,000 year-old claim to the land. Needless to say, the letter was never published.

In its latest issue, “the JC” has ratcheted-up what appears to be a determined attack on outreach groups and all for the offence of offering willing JFS students their first ever taste of a true Jewish Shabbat. A few pages on, another columnist tries to establish whether Pete Doherty is Jewish. Instead of vilification, should not “the JC” be applauding and supporting any outreach organisation that offers our youth an enriching alternative to the Doherty drug culture?

So I have to ask myself: “what useful purpose does “the JC” serve to the Jewish community in this country?” It’s certainly doing an astounding job as reference material for all our detractors, vilifiers and the gangs who aim to raid our homes. And it has provided a great platform for all those self-hating Jews of the enlightenment. And true to old style, it never misses an opportunity to attack the Orthodox.

The truth is that “the JC” has long lost its moral compass. It has lost its authority as a mouthpiece of Anglo Jewry. In a week that saw children being evacuated from schools in Sderot, “the JC” should have committed its entire front page to the 2,053 Kassam missiles which have been launched from Gaza since Israel’s ‘decidedly helpful’ but extremely painful gesture of disengagement. Had “the JC” done so, Israel might have got more understanding in this week’s mainstream media for its resumption of targeted killings of terrorist leaders. Instead it was more important for “the JC” to boast where the richest Jews in the UK live and with which non-Jewish partners they are cohabiting.

This is a time when Jewish university students are under the most intense pressure from jihadist activists on campus. It’s become so bad that many begin to question their own legitimacy. These kids need a community newspaper that supports them with positive Israel advocacy and pride in Jewish identity and heritage.

Having divested the word ‘Jewish’ from your title, you appear well placed to drop that other badge: Sefer Zikaron. Chronicles are all about reflection on the past. You need to reflect on the extent to which your current output fits with the aspirations of those who originally set up the Jewish Chronicle as a community trust .

So, next time you write a headline, please think of how it will look in Sainsbury’s.



May 19, 2007

Palestinian Media Watch

I guess everyone's heard of Hamas's latest tool of child incitement: a jihadist Mickey Mouse.













He probably wears an Ehud Olmert watch.


May 16, 2007

Hands off Gaza



Don't Take the Gaza Bait

25 Iyar 5767, 13 May 07 01:20

by Zalmi Unsdorfer


Residents of S'derot have had little time to talk politics since the publication of Winograd's interim report on just the first five days of last summer's Lebanon War. Whilst the nation's attention has been on opinion polls, the anxious families of S'derot have had their eyes fixed on the skies above schools and playgrounds. Since the Winograd announcement, the rate of Kassam missiles fired into southern Israel has risen exponentially, and for a very good reason.

For months now, there have been calls within Israel for a new ground offensive into Gaza. The logic has been hard to fault. The success of Operation Defensive Shield in Judea and Samaria endures until today in the IDF's effective control of terrorist enclaves and hot-spots. The argument is that if this can be repeated in Gaza, then militias will no longer have the freedom of movement to smuggle or manufacture missiles, or the open space within which to launch them against Israel with impunity.

The latest salvos of Kassams are clearly intended to sway the doubters and taunt the government of Israel into authorizing an immediate land incursion. I strongly feel this would be a very grave mistake.

After the experience of last summer, it is clear that a Gaza incursion will involve heavy casualties. Hizbullah's trial-run of booby traps and fake IDF uniforms may prove even more deadly in the close-quarter combat environment of the Gaza Casbah. The prospect of friendly-fire losses is particularly daunting.

While IDF commanders are not ones to walk a way from a fight, there are good reasons to consider other less dangerous options to achieve the same result. There is no question that Ariel Sharon's targeted assassinations had a dramatic effect on Palestinian terror groups. The liquidation of Ahmed Yassin and Abdulaziz Rantisi earned Israelis a prolonged period of calm, as terrorist leaders cowered in basements and even Mahmoud Abbas feared for his life.

With the improvement of targeting technology and so many new militia leaders to choose from, there is every reason to renew this campaign as a means of cutting off the heads of this terrorist hydra, rather than trying to bleed it to death by a thousand cuts.

Added to this strategy there could be economic sanctions, the European weapon of choice when it suits their own purposes. It is a truism that no insurgency can survive without support on the street. So long as the average Gazan does not have to pay a price for acts committed in his name, the missile attacks and attempted kidnappings will continue. However, if the Gaza trade crossings were shut shown for a week after every Kassam launch, it would not be long before things started to change.

From the very beginning, I said that the best way to secure the release of Gilad Shalit was to lock up the Erez Crossing and give his father the keys.

Beyond the dangers of casbah combat and the alternative option of targeted killings and economic pressure, there are other considerations to be taken into account. The most obvious is that an Israeli ground assault will – at a stroke - end all the internecine fighting between Palestinian factions, gangs and militias. Nothing will unite Hamas and Fatah more quickly than the sight of IDF tanks rolling into Gaza City. Why on earth should we put our soldiers lives at risk in an enterprise that will only leave our enemies more united and empowered? No matter how much damage we may wreak on the terror infrastructure, all of that can - and will - be rebuilt in a matter of months. But it may take years for our enemies to learn to hate each other again. You only have to look at Iraq to see how Sunnis and Shiites are destroying each other. An enemy divided is an enemy that cannot prevail against us.

Residents of S'derot may say that it is easy for a pundit sitting in London to pontificate on the benefits of restraint when they are on the sharp end of the Kassam campaign. And they would be entirely right. But there is one further function in this equation that is perhaps clearer to evaluate from Europe than it may be from southern Israel. It is perhaps the only positive thing to come out of the entire Disengagement process. It is the ability for Israel to point to Gaza and say to the world:

'Take a good look! This is Phase I of the Palestinian State. They have smashed the greenhouses to make bomb factories, dug up orange groves to plant missile launchers and filled school basements with missiles. They have set about a systematic ethnic cleansing of Christians in Bethlehem and kidnapped journalists. Gaza City has descended to a level of lawlessness not seen since Mogadishu under Somalian warlord Mohammad Farrah Aideed. More significant that anything else, they have used the gift of democracy - which George Bush is so keen to export to the Middle East - to elect a gang of terrorists to power.'

Disengaged Gaza has thus become our trophy argument against the European Union's calls to cede even more territory in Judea and Samaria.

The best way of throwing away this trump card is by launching a Gaza incursion right now. The world would say: 'It's all your fault. If only you had left them alone, they could have built a paradise of peace and goodwill to all men.'

All of which brings us back to Winograd and the question of why rocket attacks have increased so sharply in these last few days. The answer is painfully simple. It's Ehud Olmert. He is the only man Hamas can depend on to launch such a self-defeating campaign. Olmert is surrounded from all sides. Within his own party, Tzipi Livni seeks his job; amongst his coalition partners, Shimon Peres is tipped to lead Kadima with the backing of Yossi Beilin's Meretz party; and from the opposition benches, Binyamin Netanyahu senses his time has finally come.

A Gaza adventure would be a gift for Olmert. Not just as a means of diverting public attention from his political position and all the corruption scandals, but to prove that he really can be an effective war leader. However delusional, he has nothing to lose other than war casualties. As things stand, he is on the way out. After a failed campaign, he would also be out, but however doomed such an incursion would be politically, if it succeeded militarily, then Olmert might survive.

The leaders of Hamas and their Iranian handlers know perfectly well that neither Livni nor Peres are likely to launch hostilities in the south. Olmert has every reason to take the bait. He should not be allowed to make that decision.

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www.zalmi.net

May 13, 2007

Worrying Begins At Home

Meanwhile, in London … I open this morning’s papers to find that our next prime minister Gordon Brown's first policy announcement is that he intends to build 5 environmentally-friendly ‘eco-towns’ which are totally self sufficient in energy generated by solar and wind power.

One would have thought that Brown would have other priorities on taking over from Tony Blair at Number 10.

Immigration is out of control, with bogus asylum seekers, East European ex-cons and sex offenders failing to ‘report back’ to the immigration authorities after their initial processing on arrival. (Last month some minister came up with the daft proposal to serve these people deportation notices by SMS text!). Perhaps linked to that problem is the staggering leap in gun crime and knifings in our streets. (Jewish areas have had to enlist private security to cope with a crime wave of 30 armed raids on Jewish homes in recent weeks.) And perhaps linked to both those problems is that this country has also run out of prison cells. This means that criminals are being let out early to make way for new offenders who may expect even earlier parole as the crime wave rises even higher. All of which goes to less deterrence to criminals who are no longer afraid of being caught.

This of course assumes that the baddies are actually caught. But that’s increasingly unlikely since the government has been closing police stations at breakneck speed as if it were some important target. Over 25% of local police stations have disappeared in the last 10 years.

And let’s not forget that the erosion of border controls and policing is not just attracting criminals. Even more serious is the infiltration of Islamic terrorists and the free movement of the British-born Asian youths they have incited to mass killing on our streets and transit systems. The security services have admitted to the existence of dozens of terror cells under various levels of investigation. One must wonder how many may have escaped their attention.

But despite all of this, the leaders of the two biggest political parties in the UK are battling to save the planet. The vital question is: which party offers the smallest carbon footprint?

Which is why I am more likely to find a council recycling inspector checking my garbage bin than a police officer checking my street.

Whilst our cuddly leaders fret over carbon and ozone, evil despots are busy with other elements in the Periodic Table. Beneath schools and hospitals in Iran, hundreds of German-built centrifuges are humming away 24/7 in reinforced bunkers, refining a new final solution to the Jewish Problem and the means to enslave the West by nuclear blackmail.

Let’s stop worrying about the planet and start worrying about ourselves.

May 07, 2007

Shimon bar None

No drama in Israeli politics is complete without the cameo appearance of its oldest and most experienced exploiter of all crises for his own benefit and advancement; Mr Shimon Peres.


Few knew Peres in politics and in private more
intimately than the late Yitzchak Rabin. Rabin famously described Peres as an inveterate schemer and liar.

Just as he was scheming to take over the presidency from the besieged Moshe Katsav, a new opportunity presented itself in Olmert's difficulties last week.

The wily architect of the Oslo carnage wasted no time. Within hours of praising Olmert as "one of the best prime ministers there has ever been" he was reported to be plotting with Yossi Beilin to take over the leadership of Kadima. The idea is that Beilin's Meretz-Yachad party of the Left will join the coalition and replace the ultra-right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party's support which Avigdor Lieberman would no doubt withdraw in protest.

Once he supplanted Olmert as leader, Peres would shell out the appropriate goodies to coalition members to assure their complete support. To keep the Labor party on board he only needs to promise more land to the Palestinians. To keep Meretz happy he would promise to throw more Jews out of their homes. And to keep Shas to heel, well as usual ... it's only a question of money.

As for the Gil pensioners' party, they will go on supporting any government as long as the cries of evicted settlers don't disturb their afternoon nap.

Peres is the consummate schemer, bar none. He has shown the world how far you can get by losing elections.
Indeed, he might today be congratulating Segolene Royale on losing the French election. "Cherie, if you learn my technique, I can have you sitting in the Elysee Palace within 12-months."

Peres is as happy grubbing around in the filth of corrupt politics as Olmert seems to be in its equivalent in the business world.

But he is at his most dangerous when given the power to dismantle Israel as a Jewish state.

This sinister agenda is tellingly revealed by an exchange with an interviewer for Haaretz after his election defeat by Netanyahu in 1996.

Interviewer: "What happened in these elections?"

Peres: "We lost."

Interviewer: "Who is we?"

Peres: "We, which is the Israelis."

Interviewer: "So who won?”

Peres: “All those who do not have an Israeli mentality.”

Interviewer: "And who are they?”

Peres: "Call it the Jews."




May 06, 2007

A Few Good Men

Shalit, Regev & Goldwasser.
Sounds like a New York law firm.

What a pity.

If they were indeed partners in a law firm kidnapped in the middle of handling some real estate or bank shares deal for Olmert, I'd bet he'd be showing a lot more interest in them.

And who but Olmert - master of underhand dealings - would be better qualified to get them out of trouble?

But sadly they are not attorneys.


Just poor soldiers.

Perhaps forgotten by Olmert as he struggles with the daily problem of staying in power.

But not forgotten by the 99 percent
of Israelis and Jews all over the world, who would gladly trade Olmert for their safe return.

Olmert may brazen it o
ut with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.
But how will he ever face these men?





May 02, 2007

Missed Opportunity

Now that even Olmert feels the ground slipping beneath his feet, the spotlight falls on those who are still proppping up his diescredited government.

Of these, the one that sticks in my kishkas most of all has always been Shas.


When it sprang to prominence with 17 Knesset seats in the 1999 election, Shas had a golden opportunity to shine amongst coalition partners as a refreshing Torah-true contrast to the corrupt and unprincipled ministers of the secular parties.


And Shas blew it !

Perhaps not so much by the conviction of their leader Arieh Deri for corruption. But by their protestation that Deri's crimes were no more serious than those of other secular ministers who had been let off lightly. Shas had the opportunity to introduce the Israeli public to the rare practice of 'tzedek tzedek tirdof' - the pursuit of honesty and righteousness in public service. But instead of aspiring to the Torah's standards, they felt they only needed to measure up to the next nearest political crook.

It's time for Shas to do teshuva and show a good example.
Eli Yishai should be the first to walk out of Olmert's cabinet - before Peretz and Lieberman. The longer he stays, the worse it will look for his party in the long run. People will say that whilst Kadima was willing to trade land for peace, Shas stuck around for as long as they could to trade land for yeshivas.

After suffering the bombardment of last summer, all citizens of Israel - religious or not - deserve the protection and security of a competent government which
is able to to work effectively with the military in defense of their homes and families. Shas has another opportunity here to do the right thing.

Let Yishai and his rabbi Ovadia Yosef not blow it again.

May 01, 2007

"Thank G-d for Olmert"

Ehud Olmert is literally choking on the far harsher censure than he had expected from the Winograd Inquiry on his personal handling of last year's Lebanon war.

Expecting something milder from a judge he had personally chosen to head the enquiry, Olmert had already prepared his 'acceptance speech' long before receiving the report at 4pm yesterday.

And there was still plenty of time for the make-up girl to powder the sweaty brow before the 'lights-camera-action' cue for his televised trot-out of more pious words and platitudes and the promise of an 'inquiry into the inquiry'.

Call me old fashioned, but I have always believed that everything that happens in the Land of Israel - however bad it may appear at the time - is orchestrated by the Almighty.

For Him there must have been two priorities very recently.

First, to punish those who ordered the eviction of their fellow Jews from their homes, the demolition of their synagogues and the uprooting of graves in the Yesha communities. Second, to wake Jews up to the lethal missile threat they were ignoring in the north.

If you are still with me ... marvel at the wondrous works of the Almighty.

Let's start with the architect of the Gaza disengagement - Ariel Sharon.
Perhaps in recognition of his illustrious past, he was given his first stroke as a gentle warning.
But 'pride goeth before a fall' . And instead of heeding that warning, Sharon scoffed at it - barrelling out of the hospital within days in a rush to get back to his new Kadima party which promised to uproot even more Jews and their communities in Judea and Samaria.

And so, the Good Lord decided to finish the job.
But in a very special way.
The second stroke turned Sharon into a vegetable.
A state in which he has remained for over a year.

Ever thought why that might be?
Well there are lots of clues to be found in the Torah.
G-d always repaid those who defied Him 'middah ke-negged middah' (like for like).
That's how, for example, the Pharaoh who drowned Jewish firstborns was himself drowned in the sea.

And so there lies Sharon, fallen hero of Israel. Dead for a year, but still not buried.
Perhaps it is because the hallowed soil of our promised land refuses to receive him.
A man who tore out so many graves from that soil for purely political ends.

Leaving Sharon in this pitiful state of limbo, the Almighty then went on to 'visit the sins of the father' on the party he created.

In short order he has turned the whole of Kadima into a laughingstock.
Utterly discredited as the most inept, useless and corrupt government imaginable.
Hardly a day passes without some new scandal.

And so we now witness the end of Kadima and of Ehud Olmert as its unelected leader.
But not before they had assisted with another priority the Almighty was concerned about.
That small matter of 20,000 missiles in Lebanon.

All analysts have agreed that the Lebanon threat had not been taken seriously enough and, if ignored for another year or so, the danger to Israel may well have reached an existential level.

What's also agreed is that neither Sharon nor most other experienced leaders would have rushed into war over the kidnapped soldiers. And without the war, there may well have been a negotiated settlement, border sanctions or a prisoner exchange to defuse the crisis. That was certainly Nasrallah’s expectation.


So it needed an amateur team like Olmert and Peretz to be ‘in place’ at just the right time to launch the unlikely war which ultimately exposed the true extent of Hizbulla's strength in missiles and reinforced bunkers. It also exposed the serious weaknesses in the IDF command structure, all of which are now being addressed as they should be.

Thank G-d.

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