February 19, 2019

What's the hurry Avichai ?


I’ve never had much respect for the Israeli justice system, particularly the Supreme Court headed by self-appointing elites who regard themselves as an upper chamber of the Knesset legislating from the bench rather than interpreting the laws passed by the people’s will.

Happily this cartel of elites is now being taken down and the justice system reformed by the intrepid justice minister Ayelet Shaked, now of Bennet’s New Right party.

But the current attorney general is one of the good guys. He’s what one would regard an ‘erlicher yid’ (honourable Jew) as distinct from other Haredim in government who have disgraced their ethical upbringing.

Which is why I am so puzzled by his intention not to defer announcement of Netanyahu indictments until after the April elections. At least this is what is reported by the incessant leakers in his own justice department.

What is the urgency Avichai?

Is Bibi a flight risk?

Will those cigars disappear from his humidor?

Is that German submarine at risk of sinking before Election Day?

Is Yediot Achronoth losing readers because of the delay?

More importantly: did Bibi call an election just to delay indictments?

Everyone knows that it was Liberman’s walkout that precipitated the election.
Did Bibi make him do it? Can anyone make that big boy do anything he doesn’t want to?

And what’s clearest of all - other than the utter shallowness of the charges - is Bibi’s absolute determination to face and challenge his accusers in court.
So Mr Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit …. what’s your hurry?

On any objective view, given the total absence of any time prejudice, a decision to announce an indictment weeks before a general election can only amount to one thing.  A blatant interference in that election and an attempt to pervert the course of the democratic process.

This would be the case in any democratic country. How much more so in Israel where so many political indictments spawned by the now infamous Lahav 433 police unit have ultimately failed in court.

You only have to look at the same Avigdor Liberman who was hounded for more than 5 years before acquittal. How many times in that process were interim hearings conveniently timed to coincide with election campaigns? No prizes for guessing who was behind those moves. It sure wasn’t anyone on the Right
.
So Avichai. Do the right thing. Defy the Left-wing pressure, discredit the leakers. Make your own decision. The right decision. The one that’s faithful to the people of Israel and the democratic process.



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February 17, 2019

A Parev Gantz

I've just watched candidate Benny Gantz's first foreign speech, at the Munich Security Conference.
You can see the video on the Ynet website HERE. (Scroll down the page)
Great soldier that he is, can you really see this man speaking to a packed US Congress?
It's quite painful to watch when you have to love the guy for his IDF service and leadership.
Too wooden, no passion and makes Olmert sound like Cicero.
Alas this is not prime ministerial material.
No wonder his handlers delayed his inaugural speech for so long.
It's not as if we've been dazzled by army heavyweights thrust into politics.
Rabin allowed himself to be dragged into the disaster of Oslo by the politically savvy Peres.
Barak fled South Lebanon and handed the keys to Hezbollah.
Then he offered to give away 97% of Judea and Samaria. Only by the grace of G-d did Arafat refuse.
Sharon evicted 8,000 Jews from Gaza and handed the keys to Hamas.
Both territories surrendered by these soldier-politicians are now lethal Iranian rocket bases.
Hopefully Gantz will have the opportunity to serve one day as defence minister.
But for prime minister, we need a man who speaks to the world with eloquence and passion.
That man is Bibi Netanyahu.
He had the guts to take the fight with Obama to the US Congress.
He got 26 standing ovations.
Can you see Gantz doing anything like that?



February 10, 2019

What makes Corbyn Hate ?

Today the Daily Mail published the first extracts of the Jeremy Corbyn biography written by Britain’s top investigative author Tom Bower.
This portrays a failure at school who grew into a seedy little man who cast himself in the image of Lenin and Marx without actually reading their works. His ex-wife claims he never read a single book in the 4 years of their marriage.
This is only Day 1 but the story so far seems to be all about failure in so many areas: school, relationships, marriage and in the choice of friends. His only success seems to have been as a lightning rod to all the worlds most vile extremists and revolutionaries.
I always wonder what actually makes an anti-Semite. What turns someone into a Hitler, an Irving or a Galloway.
The conclusion I usually come to is simple jealousy. It’s either envy of our people’s totally disproportionate success in so many walks of life or of our biblical status as a chosen people.
Reading the Bower extracts I can see the same applies to Corbyn.
It’s just all-consuming jealousy that the founder of Marxism was a Jew as was Trotsky. And that this was just the beginning of a long line of Jewish socialist superheroes all the way down to Ralph Miliband in our present era.
But Corbyn never made the grade. He never even got close. Because he’s an ignoramus who couldn’t come up with an original thought to save his life.
And for all his failures, his response is the same old thing: blame the Jews.




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January 25, 2019

Rest In Peace ?

Last Sunday’s burial of the mortal remains of six Holocaust victims was a poignant and utterly unique event in Jewish history.
For a people whose laws mandate immediate burial, to wait 75 years is an eternity. The ceremony ended with Kaddish, which everyone was invited to join in saying. And they all did – both religious and secular. And even the non-Jews recited it in transliteration.
This event evokes for me the story of Joseph who exacted a solemn promise from his brothers not to be buried in Egypt. His mortal remains had to wait 350 years before being taken by Moses for burial in Shechem in the Land of Canaan – now Israel.
The ceremony at Bushey, with its attendance by so many dignitaries and the outstanding eulogy by Chief Rabbi Mirvis, was a great success and tribute to these unknown martyrs of the Shoah. But I do feel that if those souls had been looking down on the ceremony, and the Britain in which it was held, they might have preferred being buried in the Jewish State of Israel.
After all that they had suffered up to the point of their murder, the hate speech, the synagogue burnings, the yellow stars, the roundups, the family separations, the cattle wagons, the SS selections and finally the steel clang of the gas chamber door behind them… would they ever entrust the safety of their mortal remains anywhere in Europe, amongst people who had turned a blind eye to their genocide on an industrial scale?
Desecrations of Jewish cemeteries in Britain and other European countries are almost a monthly occurrence. The anti-Semites can’t seem to stand us either alive or dead. I fear it is only a question of time before Bushey cemetery becomes another of those statistics and the headstone of these 6 martyrs is targeted.
Some would see this as a fatalist view, but the writing is on the wall with the resurgence of Jew hatred we are seeing here and in the rest of Europe and now in America. And all within living memory of the Shoah when there were still survivors to carry the coffin last Sunday.
My own father, a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, is buried in a London cemetery. He died when I was sixteen, a victim of heart disease contracted in the concentration camp. When my mother’s time comes, I intend to take his remains for reburial in Israel where a plot awaits him in the hills of Beit Shemesh. There he may truly be at peace.
Sadly, this cannot be said for our patriarch Joseph. After waiting 350 years for burial in Israel, the leftists gave Shechem away to the PLO, whose people regularly attack and defile his tomb in the most unspeakable ways.
Plus ça change .....



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January 05, 2019

What is the secret of the Jews ?

We begin 2019 with a horrifying level of antisemitism being openly displayed in Europe and beyond, on a scale unprecedented since the days of Nazi Germany. 

But we must not be disheartened.

Instead we should energize ourselves by revisiting our unique mission statement.

Watch here:  


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December 21, 2018

Trump & Syria

President Trump’s announcement on withdrawing US troops from Syria seems to have taken everyone by surprise, not least General Jim Mattis who is resigning as his Secretary of Defence.
The simple explanation is that it’s simply another election promise he wants to deliver, at the end of an impressive ticked list unmatched by any president in living memory – let alone just halfway through his first term. But to bring back troops from harm’s way and cut America’s losses in blood and treasure one would have expected the first priority would have been Afghanistan, a total basket-case of a campaign where, after 17 years of American engagement, the Taliban still hold more territory than when it all started. Syria has much more strategic value, which is why Russia, Iran and Turkey are so heavily invested there.
OK, so Trump has fired from the hip as usual, the optics are poor and the signalling to Russia, Iran and what’s left of ISIS is bad … but what’s good about this decision?
Well, for one thing it reduces the chance of World War III blowing up on Israel’s doorstep. It’s been terribly worrying to see US, Russian and Israeli warplanes whizzing about in such a cramped airspace, with the most sophisticated S300 antiaircraft missiles deployed on hair-triggers down on the ground where Iranian fanatics pray three times a day for the apocalypse which will usher in the messiah of their ‘Hidden Imam’. The whole scenario looked like a prologue for Armageddon.
Then there is the reality that the existence of 2,000 US servicemen in Syria was only ever symbolic and would never have made much difference on the battlefield. Israel has never wanted American soldiers to die on its behalf – all we ever wanted was America to give us whatever planes and other weaponry and spare parts we needed to defend ourselves, and the all-important QME (qualitative military edge).
I can still remember quite vividly the desperate figure of Golda Meir begging President Nixon for an arms airlift during the heat of the Yom Kippur War and how not one single European country allowed those transport planes to refuel on their territory.
Then there is the Trump ‘deal of the century’ peace plan. It has been said that he would exact a high price for his embassy move to Jerusalem. Well, with this withdrawal – which will be seen by many as abandoning Israel to its fate with Putin and Khomeini on the northern border – the deal calculus may change.
Lastly, I look at Russia and Iran. Putin always wanted a warm water port for his navy and now has it on the Syrian coast at Tartus. This is next to Latakia, on which he’s established a Russian air base. No force of 2,000 or even 200,000 American troops was ever going to dislodge Putin from these prized bases. As for Iran, it’s clear to me that the most effective way to dislodge them from Syria as well as Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza, is to bankrupt the evil regime at home. And the best means of achieving that is through Trump’s crippling sanctions.
The irony is that those European countries which in 1973 refused landing rights to US planes resupplying Israel in her desperate hour of need are the same as those now protecting Iran from Trump’s sanctions. Britain, France and Germany should hang their heads in shame for the Faustian deal they’ve done with the devils in Tehran.
Trump’s knee-jerk decisions may be questionable, but Europe’s considered policies are truly shameful.


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December 14, 2018

Genocide of the unborn

This picture of 'unborn' Amiad Yisrael wrapped in his burial tallit is truly heartbreaking. It is a tragedy for his parents and all of Israel. But the picture must also convey a message to all of us.
The message is that these rabid Arab beasts have gone way beyond the idea of driving us out of our land. Now they don’t even want us born into it.
This and other brazen attacks, including today’s killings in Jerusalem, show very clearly that we are still dealing with the same PLO as before they were gentrified by the Oslo Accords. The difference is that they no longer fear our soldiers or our people. Goldstone probes, prisoner releases and the sacred cow of human rights have worn down our deterrence at every level. Where the IDF used to have news reporters embedded with their units – now they have lawyers. Soldiers have to think twice or three times before defending themselves, whilst their fanatical opponents exploit those vital milliseconds to their most savage advantage.
I have always thought that the fundamental difference between Left and Right is that leftists do not accept that there is such a thing as pure evil in this world. It’s really no more complicated than that.
Unlike realists on the Right, leftists always react to evil acts by blaming anyone or anything other than the perpetrator. For the common killer or rapist the ‘justification’ is usually a broken home, poverty, drugs or abuse by their stepfathers. For suicide bombers and terrorists it’s usually about their hopelessness under grinding poverty and lack of education or civil rights under Western domination or Israeli 'occupation'.
It’s nearly 20 years since 9-11 and leftists have still not internalised the lesson that there is indeed such a thing as pure evil in this world. Evil that cannot be justified at any level. That a so-called human being could stand at an airline departure gate in a queue with smiling families, young children and infants knowing full well that he would be turning them into human bombs within less than an hour. It is the lowest level of evil you can possibly imagine. And yet the 9-11 hijackers were educated middle class men mostly from rich, unoccupied and unoppressed Saudi Arabia.
The same pure evil exists in Tehran, where the ayatollahs call Israel ‘a one-bomb country’. Given a window of opportunity they would not hesitate to seize the moment to incinerate 8 million people – the devil may care if they are Jews or Muslims. It still beggars belief that a US president gifted 150 billion dollars to such genocidal fanatics let alone with the support of 5 major world powers who still oppose Trump’s new sanctions.
And the same evil exists within our homeland, as we end this awful week of killings by our so-called peace partners. The leftists sipping their lattes in Tel Aviv will blame the settlers, the occupation, the right-wing Likud or Jewish Home parties, the Nation State Law … anything but the killers themselves. It’s time they woke up to the stark reality that pure evil exists, can never be justified and must never be trusted to live among us.


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December 02, 2018

Chanuka 1944

I thought on this first night of Chanuka I would share this extract of my late father's book about his time in Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Nieder-Orschel.

The book is called the Yellow Star and was recently republished with a foreword by Colonel Richard Kemp.
It's available at Amazon and other online sellers.

Here is the extract, from December 1944 ......

When writing the little diary in which I entered the Hebrew dates and festivals, I discovered with great delight that Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, the festival on which we commemorate the recapture of the Temple from the mighty Greeks by a handful of faithful Jews, was only a few days ahead. I decided that we should light a little Hanukkah lamp even in Nieder-Orschel, and that this would go a long way towards restoring our morale.
Benzi was immediately consulted because he had become the most reliable and trusted person in the block. Even those at the other two tables—the “intellectuals’ table,” where the doctors, lawyers, dentists, architects, and businessmen ate, and the “free table,” where the non-believers sat—even they came to Benzi to settle their quarrels, which were mostly about the distribution of their rations. Benzi would stand no arguments at his own table. He cut every loaf into eight portions and shared it out indiscriminately. He who complained, received the smallest portion.
“If you are dissatisfied,” Benzi would shout angrily, “go and join another table, where they have scales and judges.”
Nobody ever left our table.
Benzi was enthusiastic about my idea. “Yes, we should get a Hanukkah light burning,” he said. “It will boost our morale and lighten the atmosphere. Work on a plan, but be careful.”
Two problems had to be overcome: oil had to be “organized,” and a place had to be found where the lighted wick would not be seen.
There was no lack of oil in the factory, but how could we smuggle even a few drops into our barrack in time for Monday evening, December 11, the first night of Hanukkah?
We knew, of course, that Jewish law did not compel us to risk our lives for the sake of fulfilling a commandment. But there was an urge in many of us to reveal the spirit of sacrifice implanted in our ancestors throughout the ages. We who were in such great spiritual as well as physical distress felt that a little Hanukkah light would warm our starving souls and inspire us with hope, faith, and courage to keep us going through this long, grim, and icy winter.
Benzi, Grunwald, Stern, Fischhof, and I were in the plot. We decided to draw lots. The first name drawn would have to steal the oil; the third would be responsible for it, and hide it until Monday evening; and the fifth would have to light it under his bunk. I was drawn fifth.
Grunwald, who was to “organize” the oil, did his part magnificently. He persuaded the hated Meister Meyer that his machine would work better if oiled regularly every morning, and that this could best be arranged if a small can of fine machine oil was allotted to us to be kept in our tool box. Meister Meyer agreed, so there was no longer the problem of having to hide it.
On Monday evening after Appell, everyone else sat down to his much-awaited portion of tasteless but hot soup, while I busied myself under the bunk to prepare my Menorah. I put that oil in the empty half of a shoe polish tin, took a few threads from my thin blanket and made them into a wick. When everything was ready I hastily joined the table to eat my dinner before I invited all our friends to the Hanukkah Light Kindling ceremony. Suddenly, as I was eating my soup, I remembered we had forgotten about matches.
I whispered to Benzi.
“Everyone must leave a little soup,” Benzi ordered his hungry table guests, and told them why.
Within five minutes, five portions of soup were exchanged in the next room for a cigarette. The cigarette was “presented” to the chef, Joseph, for lending us a box of matches without questions.
And so, as soon as dinner was over I made the three traditional blessings, and a little Hanukkah light flickered away slowly under my bunk. Not only my friends from the “religious” table were there with us, but also many others from the room joined us in humming the traditional Hanukkah songs. These songs carried us into the past. As if on a panoramic screen, we saw our homes, with our parents, brothers, sisters, wives, and children gathered round the beautiful silver candelabras, singing happily the Maoz Tzur. That tiny little light under my bunk set our hearts ablaze. Tears poured down our haggard cheeks. By now, every single inmate in the room sat silently on his bunk, or near mine, deeply meditating. For a moment, nothing else mattered. We were celebrating the first night of Hanukkah as we had done in all the years previous to our imprisonment and torture. We were a group of Jewish people fulfilling our religious duties, and dreaming of home and of bygone years.
But alas! Our dream ended much too soon.
A roar of “Achtung” brought our minds back to reality, and our legs to stiff attention. “The Dog”—that skinny little Unterschaarfuehrer—stood silently at the door, as he so often did on his surprise visits, looking anxiously for some excuse, even the slightest, to wield his dog-whip. Suddenly he sniffed as loudly as his Alsatian, and yelled:
“Hier shtinkts ja von Oehl!” (“It stinks of oil in here.”)
My heart missed a few beats as I stared down at the little Hanukkah light flickering away, while “The Dog” and his Alsatian began to parade along the bunks in search of the burning oil.
The Unterschaarfuehrer silently began his search. I did not dare bend down or stamp out the light with my shoes for fear the Alsatian would notice my movements and leap at me.
I gave a quick glance at the death-pale faces round me, and so indeed did “The Dog.” Within a minute or two he would reach our row of bunks. Nothing could save us . . . but sudddenly . . .
Suddenly a roar of sirens, sounding an air raid, brought “The Dog” to a stop and within seconds all lights in the entire camp were switched off from outside.
“Fliegeralarm! Fliegeralarm!” echoed throughout the camp! Like lightning I snuffed out the light with my shoes and following a strict camp rule, we all ran to the open ground, brushing “The Dog” contemptuously aside.
“There will be an investigation. . . . There will be an investigation,” he screamed above the clatter of rushing prisoners who fled out into the Appell ground.
But I did not worry. In delight I grabbed my little Menorah and ran out with it. This was the sign, the miracle of Hanukkah, the recognition of our struggle against the temptations of our affliction. We had been helped by God, even in this forsaken little camp at Nieder-Orschel.
Outside, in the ice-cold, star-studded night, with the heavy drone of Allied bombers over our heads, I kept on muttering the traditional blessing to the God who wrought miracles for His people in past days and in our own time. The bombers seemed to be spreading these words over the host of heaven.


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November 20, 2018

Coalition Crisis

When Liberman walked out of the government last Wednesday he created the biggest coalition crisis I think Netanyahu has ever faced. Both right-wing factions – Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi and Kachlon’s Kulanu demanded to go to elections ASAP. And all the pundits said elections were totally inevitable.
But Bibi dissented, and stuck to his line that elections could be avoided and should be avoided at this sensitive point to deny Hamas and its sponsors in Tehran, the satisfaction of having brought down the government of the ‘Zionist Entity’ with 400 rockets.

And by yesterday, Bibi won. Bennett conceded his claim to the defence ministry ‘or else elections’ with a very responsible statement saying: "It's better that Netanyahu beats me in a political fight than that [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh beats the State of Israel."
Netanyahu may have his faults, just like all of us. But he has proved again and again that he is a brilliant tactician. There can be few things more tortuous and exasperating than Israeli coalition politics. It’s a gorilla pen of massive egos beating their political chests, grasping for their moment of fame. But Netanyahu seems to have the deepest pockets of self-confidence and sticks it out to the end.
Netanyahu holds the record for the longest single term (his second term) of any Israeli prime minister and, if he survives until July 16, 2019, he will tie Ben-Gurion to become the longest serving prime minister in Israel's history.
In today’s Knesset, that’s achieving the impossible.

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November 14, 2018

Liberman and 'The Day After'

There is no doubt that, short of sending in troops on the ground, the IDF dealt Hamas its most lethal blows in this last round of hostilities. It will take a lot more than Qatar's $15m to rebuild and a lot more time than after previous rounds of fighting.
Yes, the average Israeli taxi driver - usually the wisest of all people in Israel - will be baying for full revenge and the total flattening of Gaza or to take the strip back completely.
Isn't that exactly what the US coalition did in Iraq? They never planned for the 'day after' and now - 15 years after the allied invasion, or 'liberation' - Iraq is a basket case of terrorism and political corruption.
There is one person who wants Hamas destroyed even more than our Israeli taxi driver. That is PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. And he desperately wants Israeli soldiers to do his work for him, and deliver him control of the 'other part' of his so-called Palestinian State.
Our mainstream Likud has always been opposed to a Two State Solution. The plain fact is that any serious notion of a viable Palestinian State is a non-starter so long as the leadership of its two parts - Abbas in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza - are in conflict with each other. Relations are now at their bitterest point, with Abbas trying the starve Gaza of salaries and other essentials needed to maintain civic life. This is why Qatar had to come to the rescue last month. Israel is not the bad boy in this game - it is merely a bystander caught in between these two terror enclaves.
It was quite understandable that Liberman resigned in frustration at a cabinet that was preventing him from carrying out the duties of Defence Minister the way he saw fit. But in our view it is not right for him to make this an election issue. This is a time for cool heads, not elections. Nothing makes Hamas and its Iranian paymasters feel more victorious than seeing their 24-hour barrage throwing the "Zionist Entity" into disarray and toppling its government.
Unlike Liberman, living in the moment and wanting to pander to the masses with a show of force to match his physical stature, Prime Minister Netanyahu has much broader considerations in his calculus.
Firstly there is Iran, and the Trump sanctions which are literally crippling the 'ayatocracy' in Tehran. If and when the mullahs come to heel, Trump will almost certainly insist on their withdrawal from Syria and Gaza as two key demands for the removal of sanctions, over and above the imperatives of nuclear inspection. If Iran stops sending money, Hamas ceases to exist. Gazans may soon have to sell their rockets for fuel and food.
Then there is the unpublished Trump peace plan hanging in the firmament. As we have said above, the reality of a Palestinian State is a non-starter without reconciliation between Abbas's PLO and Hamas. We should not help that happen.
Beyond that there is the wider regional picture and our good relationship with Egypt's president Sisi who has significant influence over Hamas, not least in holding the keys to their vital smuggling routes. For the Hamas leadership the two top priorities are killing Jews and making money - lots of it.
And beyond Egypt there's the new relationship with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states opposed to Iran's regional hegemony. A new Gaza War may kill that nascent Israeli-Arab axis in the crib.
All this is not to say that Israel can allow Hamas to fire off hundreds of rockets and then declare a ceasefire every other month. Short of launching a war that may put another 1.7m Arabs under 'occupation', it may be wiser to move a tank division to the Gaza border and keep it permanently stationed there, ready for the army to move in at the next rocket barrage. Hamas needs to know that the IDF can and will roll in and flatten them all within a matter of hours.
The combination of such visible deterrence on the ground, plus the economic pressures coming through Iran seem to be a much smarter means of dealing with the situation than firing from the hip without a clear plan for the day after.


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November 12, 2018

Gaza is is not a city or a country ...

As we retire safely to our beds in London, Paris and New York, our brothers and sisters in Israel will have no sleep this night. 
Some will be in bomb shelters, others will be kept awake by the sound of sirens. Most will be glued to their TVs and phones. And, many parents will be packing up their sons and daughters called up by the army for deployment to the front.
Tomorrow the media will be all over the story, with the usual bias against Jews for daring to defend themselves. They will point to this or that incident which sparked the latest round of fighting - but the consensus will always be the same: "it all started when Israel retaliated".
The truth is that Gaza is is not a city or a country.
It is simply an Iranian rocket base, filled with human shields.
And make no mistake about who is fanning the flames here, in total disregard for civilian life on either side. 
It is the rabid ayatollahs in Tehran.
And right now they are desperate, wounded animals.
Trump's sanctions have all but crippled their precious Islamic Republic. Its currency is in free-fall, its cities are crippled with power cuts for large parts of the day and its citizens are without basic food and medical essentials for lack of hard currency which is being burned unceasingly as rocket propellant in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon.
Their way of getting back at the Great Satan is to unleash, through their Hamas proxies, fire and fury at Little Satan, and Israel is once again having to pay a heavy price.
There is no doubt that this amount of damage and ferocity has crossed a red line with Israel's leadership, and this time there will be no retaliation against soft targets. The vipers' nest will now have to be cleared out once and for all. The Hamas leadership must be sent to their virgins like Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - in scorched bits.
And this time, thank G-d, there will be no calls from Bush and Obama to show restraint and withdraw.


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November 04, 2018

Game set and match to the patriarchs!

This past Shabbat’s Torah reading was Chayei Sarah, in which Abraham comes to Hebron to buy a burial place for his wife Sarah. That burial place is the Cave of Machpela, in which the patriarchs and their wives are all buried, and is the second most sacred shrine in Judaism after the Temple Mount and its Western Wall.

As in most years, I spent this special Shabbat in Hebron with tens of thousands of my Jewish brothers and sisters to have the enormous privilege of hearing the Torah reading and story of the burial of Sarah in the exact place where it actually happened 3,800 years ago. If you’re looking for a means of really “earthing” yourself to Jewish history, this time and place never disappoints.

I returned to Jerusalem after Shabbat to hear of the crowd forming in Tel Aviv to mark the 23rd anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Rabin z’l  in the same square as he had then held a rally in support of the Oslo peace accords.  Rather than ‘mark’ the anniversary, it seems the demonstration was held more to ‘politicise’ it. Failed prime ministerial aspirants like Avi Gabbay (Labour) Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) and Tzipi Livni (no fixed abode) jumped at the chance to make themselves relevant on the podium. No surprise that Hanegbi got booed while far left Meretz leader Tamar Sandberg got the biggest applause. This is after all Tel Aviv!

The biggest story the following morning was about someone who was not there. Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein. He reportedly declined to attend because a “settler in a kippa” would not be welcome to speak at such a gathering. The headlines made a meal of his comment that Rabin’s assassination had “no historical impact” on the peace process. That is of course true. The Oslo process didn’t die at Rabin Square, but collapsed 5 years later at Camp David. Israelis still live with its deadly legacy of thousands of Jewish lives ended or disabled, along with the empowerment of the PLO and the advent of Hamas.

I have a better reason why Speaker Edelstein was not in Tel Aviv. That’s because he was in Hebron, where I spoke to him Friday night in the Cave of Machpela. This is a place where settlers in a kippa are very welcome indeed. Their interest is in deepening their roots to the Jewish homeland and heritage, rather than negotiating it away to Arabs in hopes they will stop stabbing our people in the supermarkets and stop machine-gunning families by the roadside.

And whilst Rabin’s left-wing exploiters managed to garner just a few thousand in Tel Aviv, Abraham and Sarah pulled in 40,000 for Shabbat.
  
Game set and match to the patriarchs!



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