Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Israel builds underground wall after Gaza tunnel trauma

Israel is pressing ahead with construction of an underground barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip in an ambitious project meant to halt the threat of attack tunnels built by the Hamas militant group.

Cranes and work crews are digging holes and installing sensors and other equipment for a structure that is expected to stretch along the entire 60-kilometer (40-mile) border when it is complete.

Gadi Yarkoni, head of the local Eshkol regional council, said the project is a key reason that the area has enjoyed a surge in growth and attracted young families since a devastating war with Hamas three years ago.

“I believe building the barrier is the right thing to do, to build in order to stop and to give an answer to the issue of the tunnels, and to the issue of the communities in the area,” he said. “The surge in development in this area is unbelievable.”

During the 2014 war, Hamas militants on several occasions made their way into Israel through a tunnel network that caught Israel off guard. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations terrified the local population. Israel destroyed 32 tunnels during that conflict, and since then has made neutralizing the tunnel threat a top priority.

Israeli defense officials have said little about the new barrier project or how much has been completed. At one construction zone, a sign said “military zone – no passage,” and Associated Press reporters could not approach as cranes and bulldozers were at work.

Last week, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, head of Israel’s Southern Command, which is responsible for Gaza, told reporters the project would take about two years to complete.

He said the barrier would stretch several meters (yards) above and below ground and be equipped with sophisticated sensors. It’s being built entirely on the Israeli side of the border, to avoid friction with Hamas.

Atai Shelach, a retired colonel and former commander of the Israeli military’s “Yahalom” unit in charge of dismantling the militants’ tunnels, said the new barrier would be a game-changer, but would not solve the problem on its own.

“It is part of a cocktail, or a combination of many other solutions,” he said. Neutralizing the tunnel threat will also require good intelligence and operational decisions by the army, he said. Otherwise, militants will eventually figure out how to get through.

“That barrier can prevent war,” he said, because it will be harder for Hamas and other militant groups to “create surprises” that frighten Israeli residents.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

While Hamas has largely respected a cease-fire that ended the last round of fighting in 2014, it is believed to be building new tunnels and re-arming in preparation for future conflict.

Hamas seeks Israel’s destruction.

“All the measures by the occupation on the border will not provide security for them,” said Hazem Qasem, a spokesman for the group. “As long as they occupy the Palestinian land and put a siege on our people in the Gaza Strip, the resistance will continue to possess all the means of force that enable it to defend the people against Israeli aggression,” he said.

Israeli residents expressed mixed feelings about the new structure.

Miriam Diener, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim, a communal farm near the Gaza border, said Israel must seek peace with its neighbors, and not just build new barriers.

“No fence will solve the problems,” she said. “Only peace will bring the possibility of a good economy, good education, good hospitals, good health. That is what is needed.”

But Shimon Avraham, another kibbutz resident, said the project will put people at ease after the terrifying experience of tunnel attacks.

“Now it makes things feel calmer,” he said.

Associated Press writer Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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Israel builds underground wall after Gaza tunnel trauma

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Last chance to come to Israel with me

Its getting late.

Were still taking reservations for this Novembers WND Israel tour, but we can no longer promise prices on airfares. Its at that point where its hit and miss.

But I dont want you to miss. I want you there.

This will be like no other Israel tour this year. A major Israeli TV broadcaster will be shadowing us as we meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Its a chance for you to tell Israel why you come to visit the land and to be an encouragement to the people.

Remember, when the Messiah returns, every nation will be judged on the basis of how it treated the brethren, meaning the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

Ill even give you an inside look on my teaching theme for this tour.

Yes, of course, I will be talking about the Coming Kingdom of God in which Jesus the Messiah will rule and reign over the entire earth from Jerusalem, the theme of my latest book, The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age. But theres much more.

We will be looking at Israel in a whole new way. Its something Ive never heard anyone else do, and its quite a remarkable observation if I do say so myself.

When you visit Israel, you see two things everywhere you go:

Another way to explain that is this: You see judgment, and you see restoration.

Ten or 20 years ago, you saw plenty of judgment, but today you are seeing more and more restoration, which strongly suggests we are closer than ever to the ultimate restoration that comes with the return of the Messiah.

Its hard to believe, but most of the world still does not see the nation of Israel as physical and spiritual proof of Bible prophecy. For me, its hard to comprehend the reality of the rebirth and resurrection of a nation, culture and language after 2,000 years. Of course, its never happened with any other nation in history, even without any well-documented accompanying prophecies raising the expectation.

It just happened to Israel.

Coincidence?

Thats what you have to believe or, you have to be ignorant or blind to what the Bible clearly said would happen before the final judgment.

Im looking forward to this trip, and I dont want to hear about your regrets later for not coming. I go through this every year. After we come back to the states, people email me and say they are so sorry they missed the trip. Frankly, Im sick of hearing it.

An earlier WND Israel tour

I make it easy for you to visit. I do all the heavy lifting. Ive got no complaints about the size of this group. It will be one of the largest tours from the U.S. this year. But Im still hoping for more.

So, Im putting you on notice: You can still get in on this, but time is running very short. You run the risk of getting smacked with paying higher airfares if you wait another week or two.

Its time to make up your mind now or never!

Right now, you have no excuse. Theres plenty of time still to get your passport in order. Theres plenty of time to go shopping for whatever you need. Theres plenty of time to call my friends at Coral Tours at 1-866-267-2511 to register. Theres plenty of time to visit the website to whet your appetite for visiting Gods special Holy Land and walk where Jesus walked.

It will be the trip of a lifetime, so make up your mind fast.

See you there or be square.

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Last chance to come to Israel with me

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Israel will soon re-open embassy in Cairo – The Jerusalem Post

A poster celebrates the Egyptian army in Cairo.. (photo credit:SETH J. FRANTZMAN)

Israel is expected to shortly reopen its embassy in Cairo, some nine months after it was closed due to security concerns, according to media reports on Tuesday.

The Foreign Ministry, however, would not confirm the reports, saying it does not discuss security arrangements at Israeli embassies.

Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin was pulled out of Cairo with the entire embassy staff in December. He has since been working out of Jerusalem.

Due to security concerns, we have limited the return of the Foreign Ministry embassy team to Cairo, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said at the time. Haaretz reported on Tuesday that an Israeli delegation made up of representatives from the Shin Bet and the Foreign Ministry were in Cairo on Sunday for talks regarding the security arrangements needed at the embassy. These talks have been ongoing for a number of weeks.

Israel pulled the staff from the embassy at the end of 2016, a little more than a year after it reopened the embassy in September 2015. The embassy was opened four years to the day after a mob invaded and trashed it.

On September 9, 2011, during the height of the Arab Spring and half a year after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, thousands of protesters stormed the embassy, using light poles as battering rams to demolish a protective wall around the compound.

That incident forced Israel to airlift its diplomats out of Egypt and plunged the countries into a series of diplomatic crises the worst diplomatic crises between the two neighbors in 30 years.

Six security guards took refuge in a safe room in the embassy, and were finally evacuated hours later by Egyptian commandos, following direct intervention from then-US president Barack Obama.

Even as Israel is on the verge of re-opening the embassy in Cairo, there is no indication of when it will send its ambassador and staff back to Jordan.

Israel removed its embassy staff last month following an incident at the embassy on July 23 when a security guard was stabbed. He then killed his attacker and a bystander.

The Jordanian government said last week it will not allow the return of Ambassador Einat Schlein until Israel guarantees that the guard will be investigated and brought to trial.

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California family moving to Israel finds surprising reasons to go south – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Andy and Emily Katz, who moved to Beersheba with their family in 2010, were drawn to southern Israel for the more affordable cost of living and the idea of building a new community in a place where they felt needed. (Courtesy of Emily Katz)

This story issponsoredbyNefesh BNefesh.

BEERSHEBA, Israel When Emily Katz first immigrated to Israel in 1999, she was 23 and life was easy.

Her greatest concerns were paying the rent for her Jerusalem apartment and getting good grades at Hebrew University. She met her future husband, Andy, also an American student, in Jerusalem, and after marrying in Israel the two moved back to the United States to work as Jewish educators.

By the time Emily and Andy moved back to Israel from San Francisco in 2010, they had two children and much bigger things to worry about than rent and final exams.

Although we had lived in Israel before, it was like making aliyah all over again, Emily said, using the Hebrew term for immigrating to Israel.

Its totally different with kids, she said. Coming back as a family and having to think about the right community, where to send our kids to school, where can we afford to live, where will we work it was much more challenging.

The couples obvious choices were places with large communities of American immigrants where many of their friends had settled, like Jerusalem, Zichron Yaakov or Modiin. But after making a pilot trip before their move to explore their options in Israel, they felt those places werent the right fit.

So they started considering out-of-the-box locations. That led them to Beersheba, the unofficial capital of Israels South. Housing was much more affordable there, but it wasnt just finances that appealed to the Katzes. They fell in love with the idea of building a new community in a place where they felt needed.

They found jobs in Jewish education, and soon after moving to Beersheba joined forces with another American couple to establish a new progressive congregation, Kehilat Beerot, which was an echo of the eclectic, nondenominational Jewish congregation the Katzes founded back in San Francisco, the Mission Minyan. Kehilat Beerot, which organizes Shabbat services, cultural events and charity projects, has since grown to 40 families.

I feel like were pioneers in a certain sense, Andy said.

Israels South constitutes 66 percent of the countrys land mass, but is home to just 8 percent of its population. The vast potential of the Negev has attracted passionate Zionists since the days of David Ben-Gurion, yet it has still not become a central hub for the tens of thousands of English-speaking immigrants who have moved to Israel in recent years.

That has started to change.

Over the last few years, Israel has backed up its talk of encouraging more people to move to the South with some major investments. The countrys main highway, Road 6, now extends deep into the South, significantly cutting travel times to the densely populated center of the country. Rail service in the South is growing. Beersheba is home to a burgeoning world-class university, a new high-tech hub and skyscrapers no longer the dusty desert city once derided as Israels largest development town. Perhaps most significantly, the Israel Defense Forces is centralizing many of its operations at a huge new army base in the South, Ir Habahadim, which is bringing thousands of jobs and career soldiers to the region.

In 2013, Nefesh BNefesh which facilitates aliyah from North America and Britain launched a program together with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA to draw new immigrants to this region where the costs of living and housing are lower. NBNs Go Southoffers immigrants who move to the area stretching from Ashkelon on Israels Mediterranean coast to the Red Sea resort city of Eilat special financial incentives and benefits in addition to those offered to new immigrants from the Israeli government.

Kehilat Beerot, the congregation the Katzes founded in Beersheba, is an eclectic, nondenominational Jewish community that organizes Shabbat services, cultural events and charity projects and has grown to 40 families. (Courtesy of Emily Katz)

Were at this amazing turning point, said Donna Horwitz, director of Go South. There is exponential growth of industries, new communities, the IDF is moving down south, and Prime Minister Netanyahu called Beersheba the cyber capital of Israel. Theres so much room to innovate and initiate, theres great quality of life, its much more affordable than other parts of Israel, and of course theres beautiful nature.

On top of the special financial benefits, Go South offers pre-and post-aliyah employment assistance, social programming and subsidized pilot trips for prospective immigrants interested in the South. Some professionals are eligible for additional financial incentives; for example, physicians, of whom there is a shortage in the South, may be entitled to enhanced grants.

Since its launch, Go South has helped 2,000 immigrants settle in southern communities. In the seven years since the Katzes moves to Beersheba, the change has been palpable.

When we first came here I was like, What the heck are we doing? Emily recalled. I cant tell you how much improvement theres been over the past seven years. Its totally changed.

They moved in 2010, three years before the launch of Go South. Back then, there was no English-speaking representative at the citys Absorption Ministry office, which made navigating the bureaucracy very difficult. Today, that office has an English-speaking staff member and Nefesh BNefesh has its own office in the city.

Most of all, the Katzes have found a wonderful sense of community in Beersheba. They love the progressive congregation they established, and they found a sense of connection to Israel and its people, which they dont think they would have had in cities like Jerusalem or Modiin.

In all the places we visited in Israel before moving, the communities were already built. We didnt really see how we would add any unique value. Wed just be another nice Anglo couple thats taking from the services that already exist, Emily said. Here, my kids are in schools where they are seeing all of Israel. Theyre in class with Ethiopians, Yemenites, Moroccans and Indians. Theyre definitely not living in an Anglo bubble.

Andy says he and his wife see themselves not just as part of a wave of new immigrants to the South, but part of a vanguard helping make the South appealing to native Israelis too.

Were making a part of Israel more livable for certain populations than it was before we got here, Andy said. Making a tangible impact would have been far less likely if we were living in a more central city in Israel.

(This article wassponsoredby and produced in partnership withNefesh BNefesh, which in cooperation with Israels Ministry of Aliyah, The Jewish Agency, KKL and JNF-USA is minimizing the professional, logistical and social obstacles of aliyah, and has brought over 50,000 olim from North America and the United Kingdom over the last 15 years. This article was produced by JTAs native content team.)

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The Potentially Existential Threat to Israel from "Palestine"

Palestinian flag, image by Nicolas Raymond via Flickr CC

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 559, August 14, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Palestine could present a far greater threat to Israel than a third intifada or persistent terrorism. This threat, which would further exacerbate the areascorrelation of forces,is potentially existential. Under certain circumstances, Palestinian statehood could meaningfully enlarge the prospects of both mega-terror attacks and regional nuclear war.

The measure of danger posed to Israel by a future Palestinian state is not subject to casual reflection. It can be ascertained only through the disciplined examination of proper hypotheses conceptually, systematically, and deductively, in the manner of a scientific investigation.

An application of this process shows the threat to Israel of Palestine to be much greater than is typically alleged. The threat is so great, in fact, that it could ultimately prove existential.

This is the case, moreover, despite the fact that the tangible threat posed by Palestine to Israels survival would be indirect. Its a bit like the case of a person who wont die as a direct result of some insignificant illness, but who will be sufficiently weakened by it to become susceptible to more terminal pathologies.

It also remains conceivable, if unlikely, that the Palestinian stateper se would pose lethal hazards to the Jewish state. These hazards would appear in increments, rather than in bolt from the blue military strikes.

By definition, a state of Palestine no matter how it is constituted would be carved from the still-living body of Israel.

It is similarly incontestable that Arab terror against the Jewish State would not subside following Palestinian statehood. This is because the leaders of any future Palestinian state one with more formal juridical status than the current UN nonmemberobserver state designation would continue to regard the now-diminished and more vulnerable Israel as Occupied Palestine. Why would they revise their original concept of the Zionist enemy, especially after they had become irrefutablymore powerful?

There is no way for analysts to assign a numerical probability to this prospect, but no other conclusion can plausibly be extrapolated from Palestinian platforms, maps, charters, and policy positions.

Of further significance, especially as US President Donald Trump clings to the clich of the two-state solution,Arab terror would likely expand even more quickly than if there had been no Palestinian state. This forecast also follows directly from all we know about Palestinian positions. A shallow political mantra, no matter how often it is repeated in Washington, London, Gaza, or Ramallah, is no substitute for reality.

Should anyone still believe the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas would be content with a new state carved entirely from Israeli occupied territory, they need only be reminded that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, three years before there were any Israeli occupied territories. Moreover, the State of Israel as it exists today is smaller than Lake Michigan. Even before the creation of Palestine, the Arab world of 22 states is 672 times the size of Israel.

Much concern is being expressed at the possibility of a third intifada. For Israel, the rational remedy for such a prospect is not to encourage its adversaries to morph into a more organized and structured state enemy. Any juridically enhanced State of Palestine could magnify its cumulative adversarial capacity to inflict great harm on Israel. It is possible that such harm,imposed with a margin of collective impunity, could eventually involve weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, or even nuclear agents.

Palestine, after achieving statehood, could be in an optimal position to assault Israels Dimonareactor. This nuclear facility was attacked in 1991 and again in 2014. Those earlier missile and rocket barrages, which produced no serious damage to the reactor core, originated with Iraqi and Hamas aggressions, respectively.

Regarding expected Palestinian state intentions, there is little mystery to fathom. Palestine could and would provide a ready platform for launching endlessly renewable war and terror attacks against Israel. Significantly, not a single warring Palestinian faction has ever bothered to deny this. On the contrary:aggression has always been openly embraced and cheered as a sacred national incantation.

A September 2015 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, the leading social research organization in the Palestinian territories, found that a majority of Palestinians reject a two-state solution. When asked about their preferred alternate ways to establish an independent Palestinian state, 42% called for armed action. Only 29% favored negotiation or some sort of peaceful resolution.

On all official Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) maps of Palestine, Israel has either been removed altogether or identified as occupied Palestine. In this way, Israel has already been subjected to cartographic genocide. From the standpoint of prospective Palestinian state policies toward Israel, such maps express intent.

It is insufficiently recognized that a Palestinian statecouldplay a role (if indirect) in bringing nuclear conflict to the Middle East. Palestine itself wouldbe non-nuclear, but such renunciation is hardly exculpatory. There would remain other ways in which the new states infringements of Israeli security could render the Jewish state more vulnerable to a nuclear attack from Iran, or, in the more distant future, from a newly nuclear Arab state.

This second prospect would likely have its core origins in Sunni Arab state reactions to the Vienna pact with Shiite Iran. Following the 2015Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA), several Sunni states in the region, most plausibly Egypt and/or Saudi Arabia, will likely feel increasingly compelled to go nuclear.

In essence, any such Sunni Arab nuclear proliferation would represent a more-or-less coherent self-defense response to escalating perils issuing forth from the reciprocally fearful Shiite world.

More could be expected from the Sunni side. ISIS or some subsidiary incarnation could begin a destructive march westward, across Jordan, perhaps all the way to the borders of the West Bank. Should a Palestinian state already be established, Sunni terrorist cadres would pose a serious threat to any deployed Palestinian army. In the event that Palestine had not yet been officially declared (i.e., in a fashion consistent with the Montevideo Convention), invading ISIS/ISIS-type forces not Israel will have become the principal impediment to Palestinian independence.

ISIS has been expanding beyond Iraq and Syria, notably into Yemen, Libya, Egypt, and Somalia. Although Hamas leaders deny any ISIS presence in Gaza, the groups black flag is now seen more regularly there.

In principle, at least, Israel could find itself forced to cooperate with Hamas against ISIS but any reciprocal willingness from theIslamic Resistance Movement, whether visible or below the radar, is implausible. Additionally, Egypt regards Hamas as part of the Muslim Brotherhood and considers it as dangerous as ISIS.

In any event, after Palestine, and in the absence of any takeover of the new Arab state by ISIS-type forces, Israels physical survival would require increasing self-reliance in existential military matters. This would demand 1) a revised nuclear strategy involving enhanced deterrence, defense, preemption, and warfighting capabilities; and 2) a corollary conventional strategy.

The official birth of Palestine could affect these strategies in several disruptive ways. Most ominously, a Palestinian state could render most of Israels conventional capabilities much more problematic. Ultimately, therefore, it could heighten the chances of regional nuclear war.

A nuclear war in the Middle East is by no means out of the question.At some point, such a conflict could reach Israel not only as a missile attack, but also as an intended or inadvertentresult of escalation.

If, for example, enemy states were to begin only with conventional and/or biological attacks on Israel, Jerusalem might respond, sooner or later, with nuclear reprisals. Or if these enemy states were to begin hostilities with conventional attacks on Israel, Jerusalems conventional reprisals might then be met with enemy nuclear counterstrikes.

For now, the second scenario will become possible only if Iran continues its advance toward an independent nuclear capability. It follows that a persuasive Israeli conventional deterrent, at least to the extent that it could prevent enemy state conventional and/or biological attacks, would substantially reduce Israels risk of exposure through escalation to a nuclear war. Israel will always need to maintain and refine its capacity for escalation dominance, but Palestinian statehood, on its face, could impair this strategic obligation.

A subsidiary question comes to mind. Why should Israel need a conventional deterrent at all? Israel, after all, seemingly maintains a nuclear arsenal and corollary doctrine, though both remain deliberately ambiguous.

There arises a further query. Even after Palestine comes into being, wouldnt enemy states desist from launching conventional and/or biological attacks on Israel out of fear of suffering a nuclear retaliation?

Not necessarily. Aware as they are that Israel would cross the nuclear threshold only in extraordinary circumstances, these enemy states could be convinced rightly or wrongly that so long as their attacks remain non-nuclear, Israel will respond only in kind. Faced with such calculations, Israels ordinary security still needs to be sustained by conventional deterrent threats.

A strong conventional capability will be needed by Israel to deter or preempt conventional attacks that could lead quickly, via escalation, to unconventional war.

Palestine could have further deleterious effects on power and peace in the Middle East. As the creation of yet another enemy Arab state would arise from Israels dismemberment, the Jewish States already minimal strategic depth would be further diminished. Over time, Israels conventional capacity to ward off enemy attacks could be correspondingly reduced.

Paradoxically, if enemy states were to perceive Israels sense of growing weakness, it could strengthen Israels nuclear deterrent. If, however, enemy states did not perceive such a sense among Israels decision-makers (a more likely scenario), these states, now animated by Israels conventional force deterioration, could be tempted to attack. The cumulative result, spawned by Israels post-Palestine incapacity to maintain strong conventional deterrence, could become: 1) defeat of Israel in a conventional war; 2) defeat of Israel in an unconventional chemical/biological/nuclear war; 3) defeat of Israel in a combined conventional/unconventional war; or 4) defeat of Arab/Islamic state enemiesbyIsraelin an unconventional war.

For Israel, even the successful fourth possibility could prove intolerable. The consequences of nuclear war, or even merely chemical/biological war, could be calamitous for the victor as well as the vanquished. Moreover, under such exceptional conditions of belligerency, traditional notions of victory and defeat would lose all serious meaning.

Although a meaningful risk of regional nuclear war in the Middle East exists independently of any Palestinian state, this threat would be even greater if a new Arab (terror) state were declared.

There is another worrisome possibility. Palestine could become vulnerable to overthrow by even more militant jihadist forces, a violent transfer of power that could then confront Israel. ISIS, for example, could find itself at the gates of Palestine. In such a scenario, it is conceivable that ISIS fighters would overwhelm any residual Palestinian defense force,PA and/or Hamas, and then absorb Palestine itself into its Islamic caliphate.

Should the endlessly fratricidal Palestinian territories be transformed and institutionalized into yet another corrupt Arab state, Palestine, either itself or as a newly incorporated element of a metastasizing caliphate, would likely become another Syria. Even more ominously, Palestine could indirectly bring the nuclear menace to the wider neighborhood.

As we have learned from Syria, an entire region can find itself facing a uniquely injurious form of chaos, one that is primal, visceral, and self-propelled. To better visualize this form of civilizational breakdown, consider the near-total state of nature described in William Goldings novel,Lord of the Flies. Moreover, long before Golding, Thomas Hobbes warned of lawless circumstances wherein humans must coexist without any authority above them. The 17th-century English philosopher described dire circumstances of rampant chaos in which prevails a suffocating pall of continual fear, and danger of violent death.

As for the life of man in these dark circumstances, HobbessLeviathan foresaw it as inevitably solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. It is just such an intolerably corrosive life that we must expect for Israelis and others in the aftermath of Palestine. This conclusion emerges not from conventional wisdom or common sense, which remains the unsteady basis of presidential policy judgments in Washington, but from the imperatives of a disciplined scientific examination.

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Louis Ren Beres is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue and the author of twelve books and several hundred articles on nuclear strategy and nuclear war. His newest book is Surviving Amid Chaos: Israels Nuclear Strategy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

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The Potentially Existential Threat to Israel from "Palestine"

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Police arrest leader of banned Islamic group in northern Israel – The Times of Israel

Islamic cleric Raed Salah was arrested overnight Tuesday following a raid on his home in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm.

Neighbors said large police forces arrived at the home in the Mahajaneh neighborhood of the city and searched the residence, and took Salah in for questioning. It was not immediately clear why he was arrested.

Salah has spearheaded campaigns asserting that Al-Aqsa is in danger, focused on the claim that Israel intends to change the status quo at the contested Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem. The allegation, denied by Israel, was at the heart of last months violence and tensions surrounding the site.

One neighbor told the Ynet news site that the whole neighborhood was filled with police cars that were blocking the streets. At first, I thought there was a murder, he said.

Salah, the head of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, was released from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence for incitement to violence and racism.

He was convicted over an inflammatory sermon he delivered in 2007 in Jerusalem in which he praised martyrdom for the sake of Jerusalems Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site.

The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement was outlawed in November 2015. The government charged the group with links to terrorist groups and inciting a wave of violence. Any person who belongs to this organization or who provides services to it or who acts within its framework is henceforth committing a criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence, a cabinet statement said at the time. The move also allowed for the confiscation of all property belonging to the group.

The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement rejects the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians and boycotts national elections on the grounds that they give legitimacy to the institutions of the Jewish state.

Founded in the 1970s, the Islamic Movement is a political organization, religious outreach group and social service provider rolled into one. The movements overarching goal is to make Israeli Muslims more religious and owes much of its popularity to providing services often lacking in Israels Arab communities. Today the group runs kindergartens, colleges, health clinics, mosques and even a sports league sometimes under the same roof.

The movement split two decades ago. The more moderate southern branch began fielding candidates for the Knesset in 1996 and is now part of the Joint List, an alliance of several Arab political parties. Three of the Joint Lists 13 current Knesset members are part of the movement.

The northern branch had also funded a group called the Mourabitun, whose protests against Jewish visitors at the Temple Mount have occasionally turned violent. In September last year, Israel banned the group from the Mount.

Umm al-Fahem was the home of the three terrorists who carried out an attack last month at the Temple Mount, emerging from the holy site with guns they had smuggled onto it to shoot dead two Israeli police officers.

Some 3,000 people attended the funerals of the terrorists who perpetrated the July 14 attack. They were hailed as martyrs for al-Aqsa and shahids [martyrs].

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Israeli Delegation Meets With Egyptian Leadership to Discuss Reopening Cairo Embassy – Haaretz

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Talks focus on improving Israeli embassy’s security in wake of December’s staff evacuation over attack warning Tourism minister: ‘The issue is about to be resolved’

An Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo Sunday for discussions with Egyptian officials on security arrangements to bring about the…

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In Israel, Hooliganism Always Comes From the Right – Haaretz

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Politicians from Israels Zionist left and center must join forces in defense of civil society

Immediately after Yitzhak Rabins assassination, influential Israelis joined hands in an effort to cool things down. Figures from…

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Jewish Democrats’ abandonment of Israel could threaten US national security – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

Last week Senator Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), both of whom are considering a presidential run in 2020, moved away from their traditional pro-Israel record.

Despite the Taylor Force Act sailing through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a bill that cuts US funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops payments of salaries to terrorists and their families, Booker voted against its passage.

Gillibrand made her own announcement at a public forum that she was withdrawing her co-sponsorship and would oppose the anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement legislation introduced by US Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), that would make it a federal crime to boycott Israel. As has Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), another democratic presidential hopeful, Gillibrand claims that in theory she supports the premise but is concerned the bill would infringe on civil liberties, despite it only being an update to a 1979 law that criminalized companies knowingly joining the Arab League Boycott of Israel. Furthermore, the US Supreme Court ruled that these types of laws are fully constitutional and do not infringe on free speech.

Frankly, both of their positions are troubling both for Israel and the future of the party; about 70% of Jewish American voters are Democrats. Now to put this into the proper perspective, the Democratic Party as a whole has continued moving further to the far Left, commencing with the Obama administration and culminating with the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont). The moderate forces have become dinosaurs within their own party apparatus. While Jewish Democratic support hasnt waned, the general consensus is that moderates have lost their home. Many now feel closer to the mainstream faction of the Republican Party.

An example would be the centrist US Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida), who has had a meteoric rise within the party, a member of the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus who has managed to gain tremendous support from folks on both sides of the aisle, including well known Democrats like Freddy Balsera, president Barack Obamas 2008 Hispanic media manager and Obama national finance committee member, attorney Ira Leesfield, a staunch democrat, long-time Clinton family friend and financial contributor, as well as Roland Sanchez-Medina, a key Democrat who served as campaign treasurer to former Democratic congressman Joe Garcia.

Frankly, as it relates to Israel the parties have switched roles while the Democrats have pulled back, the Republican Party has become the gold standard for unwavering support for Israel.

In 2012, the platform drafting committee for the Democratic Convention removed the language that identified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and what ensued once the platform hit the floor for a full vote was an unexpected fight. A portion of Democrats asked for the language to be put back into the platform, but when convention chairman and then Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, currently running for governor of California, called for a vote, surprisingly voices that opposed it were equally as loud if not louder as those who supported the change. Fast forward to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when the platform committee proposed deleting a draft of a pledge to oppose delegitimization of Israel at the United Nations or by the Palestinian-led BDS movement. They also proposed removing a reference to Jerusalem as Israels undivided capital.

Fortunately, they failed in an eight-tofive vote, but once it got to the convention floor, mass chaos ensued. The pro-Palestinian contingent was out in full force, raising a Palestinian flag in front of the convention hall cameras, openly displaying their hatred of Israel. The more moderate than presidential candidate Hillary Clinton faction won out, stopping the Sanders camp from getting the demonizing anti-Israel language into the platform, but the damage was already done. It was evident the tide had turned; concessions were made and it became the most anti-Israel platform in the history of the Democratic Party.

Booker and Gillibrand are playing politics, recognizing that the more leftist voters tend to decide a primary election theyre betting on it. Additionally, Jewish mainstream Democratic support that the government of Israel traditionally counted on is no longer dependable, partially because liberal Jews are at odds with an Israeli government that they feel doesnt support their brand of Judaism. Some feel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abandoned them when he reversed course on creating an egalitarian section at the Western Wall, which, in his defense, is an issue most Israelis dont care about; they are more focused on security issues. But American liberal Jews felt like it was a slap in the face on his part Additionally, they have a disdain for the Chief Rabbinate that they feel is out of touch with American Judaism, and have become disillusioned with what they believe is a nationalistic country that occupies and persecutes Palestinians. Despite the anti-Israel media bias that exists, they are still convinced that the Israeli government is the aggressor.

Part of the problem is that American Jews live in a country that encourages assimilation and homogeneity, so the idea of a nationalistic Jewish state doesnt align with an American brand of democracy. Some have even gone as far as questioning the Law of Return, a law that allows Jews from around the world to live and gain citizenship in Israel. They brand the law racist, forgetting our history of persecution that can be traced back from ancient times to the present day. As antisemitism continues to rise, especially in Europe, I wonder what those Jews would do if that law didnt exist.

Jewish Americans cant fully comprehend the level of antisemitism that exists outside of the United States and the significance of a nation that serves as a beacon of hope for Jews around the world, opening its doors, preserving and guaranteeing the future of the Jewish People. While American Jews dont have to serve in the Israel Defense Forces or commit to national service, they often take for granted the Israeli citizens who sacrifice themselves for greater purpose, keeping Jews safe not only in Israel but throughout the world. The reality is that a world without Israel could lead to the eventual demise of the Jewish People.

Furthermore, while Israelis are a far cry from politically monolithic, holding divergent opinions that fall on all points of the spectrum, the one thing that they share is love of country and the hope of an eventual and lasting peace. Fortunately for American Jews, while they have historically been financial contributors to the Jewish state, they dont have to live with constant tension, anxiety and fear, waiting for the next wave of terrorism that might end their lives, tearing their families apart. And while American Jews can certainly empathize, its impossible for them to fully understand the complexities and delicate balancing act of maintaining a democracy while having to protect and defend a nation thats surrounded by enemies that do not recognize Israels right to exist and want to see Jews wiped off the face of the earth.

While all is not yet lost, the old Democratic guard like minority leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and House Minority Whip Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) remain ardently pro-Israel, the younger gunslingers and rising stars of the party are heading in the other direction.

The majority of American Jews are Democrats and despite some minor differences with the Jewish nation, historically they were staunch supporters. As that support deteriorates and their support for Booker, Gillibrand and other anti-Israel democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren remains intact, theres absolutely no reason politically for the senators to shift back in the direction of Israel.

Senator Booker and Senator Gillibrand are gunning for president in 2020. Most likely, they have seen the polling and have assessed the risk factors, since Jewish Democratic support doesnt seem to be peeling off, they recognize that politically, at least in a primary election, an anti-Israel agenda makes good sense. Yet they have made their bed and will have to lay in it; irresponsibly putting politics over the security of the United States is ethically abhorrent. If they make it through a 2020 primary election, the long-term foreign policy backlash could be severe, especially if either of them are elected president.

Most Americans are unknowingly manipulated by a media that spews anti-Israel rhetoric and they do not fully comprehend the delicate chess game the US must play as the leader of the free world.

Many are unaware of how important the US-Israel alliance is in helping the country to maintain its global positioning and power. A prosperous Israel does much to ensure a prosperous US like it or not, their destinies are tied together. According to Congressman Curbelo (R-Florida), whom I interviewed for this column, The strength and stability of Israel is the strength and stability of the United States. A policy that advances US interests in the world must include unwavering support for Israel. In fact, isolating Israel would be a US foreign policy calamity of the worst kind.

While president Obama conducted himself with class even his critics admit that he brought dignity to the White House from a foreign policy perspective he was a colossal failure, not heeding the old adage of dont underestimate your enemy, and today we are experiencing the aftershocks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a ruthless and brilliant thug, is obsessed with humiliating the US. He is vying for control of not only the Pacific, where he is working in conjunction with China, a country maneuvering to replace the US at the top of the global pyramid, propping up the dangerous authoritarian regime of North Korea, but in the Middle East as well where the Russians have worked closely with Iran to ensure the survival of the brutal Syrian Assad regime, humiliating and undermining the US in the process. Israel plays a key strategic role in stopping the hemorrhaging and resolidifying the world order created after WWII.

If the far Left is successful in ostracizing Israel, it sends a clear message to the enemy: the US is divided and distracted, its the perfect time for Putin to strike. And he wants revenge. Thats why the peeling off of support for Israel within the Democratic Party has the propensity to weaken the United States, removing its superpower status.

Nothing would be more disastrous to the US economy as well as the safety and security and economic interests of the US and the allies that make up the world order. Additionally, by abandoning Israel, Democratic Jewish Americans are making themselves irrelevant within the party and they may not realize the danger this poses to Jews in the US. Traditional support for issues that affect Jews in America are in jeopardy unless their support for Democrats like Booker and Gillibrand is reassessed.

Jewish Democrats have the opportunity to use their collective power and voice to reassess their support, demanding that the US stand not only with Israel but our other allies throughout the world like South Korea and Japan.

Its 2017 and antisemitism has reared its ugly head, unlike anything we have seen in many decades. Israel is being irresponsibly and maliciously attacked in the media as well as by the Democratic base, so much so that the former British Broadcasting Network (BBC) chairman Lord Michael Grade addressed the overall media bias during a speech to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, stating; Im not one of those who immediately brands a critic of Israel as an antisemite, far from it. However, some critics of Israel leave themselves open to such accusations when they single out Israel for criticism, but refuse to contextualize.

In 2015 he took BBC to task as well as by calling its anti-Israel bias inexcusable and accusing its of directly misleading viewers regarding terrorist attacks against Israel and the security measures Israel takes to protect its citizens. Yet two traditionally pro-Israel US senators are playing a dangerous and risky game, voting against important bills that serve to remind the world that the US is fully and unequivocally committed to Israel. They are sending a perilous message to the Jewish nation: America may no longer have your back. And thats a security risk the United States cant afford to take. The author is a political commentator and chief booker with the i24NEWS global network.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of i24news. Twitter @FredMenachem.

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August 14, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Israel builds underground wall after Gaza tunnel trauma

Israel is pressing ahead with construction of an underground barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip in an ambitious project meant to halt the threat of attack tunnels built by the Hamas militant group. Cranes and work crews are digging holes and installing sensors and other equipment for a structure that is expected to stretch along the entire 60-kilometer (40-mile) border when it is complete. Gadi Yarkoni, head of the local Eshkol regional council, said the project is a key reason that the area has enjoyed a surge in growth and attracted young families since a devastating war with Hamas three years ago. “I believe building the barrier is the right thing to do, to build in order to stop and to give an answer to the issue of the tunnels, and to the issue of the communities in the area,” he said. “The surge in development in this area is unbelievable.” During the 2014 war, Hamas militants on several occasions made their way into Israel through a tunnel network that caught Israel off guard. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations terrified the local population. Israel destroyed 32 tunnels during that conflict, and since then has made neutralizing the tunnel threat a top priority. Israeli defense officials have said little about the new barrier project or how much has been completed. At one construction zone, a sign said “military zone – no passage,” and Associated Press reporters could not approach as cranes and bulldozers were at work. Last week, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, head of Israel’s Southern Command, which is responsible for Gaza, told reporters the project would take about two years to complete. He said the barrier would stretch several meters (yards) above and below ground and be equipped with sophisticated sensors. It’s being built entirely on the Israeli side of the border, to avoid friction with Hamas. Atai Shelach, a retired colonel and former commander of the Israeli military’s “Yahalom” unit in charge of dismantling the militants’ tunnels, said the new barrier would be a game-changer, but would not solve the problem on its own. “It is part of a cocktail, or a combination of many other solutions,” he said. Neutralizing the tunnel threat will also require good intelligence and operational decisions by the army, he said. Otherwise, militants will eventually figure out how to get through. “That barrier can prevent war,” he said, because it will be harder for Hamas and other militant groups to “create surprises” that frighten Israeli residents. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. While Hamas has largely respected a cease-fire that ended the last round of fighting in 2014, it is believed to be building new tunnels and re-arming in preparation for future conflict. Hamas seeks Israel’s destruction. “All the measures by the occupation on the border will not provide security for them,” said Hazem Qasem, a spokesman for the group. “As long as they occupy the Palestinian land and put a siege on our people in the Gaza Strip, the resistance will continue to possess all the means of force that enable it to defend the people against Israeli aggression,” he said. Israeli residents expressed mixed feelings about the new structure. Miriam Diener, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim, a communal farm near the Gaza border, said Israel must seek peace with its neighbors, and not just build new barriers. “No fence will solve the problems,” she said. “Only peace will bring the possibility of a good economy, good education, good hospitals, good health. That is what is needed.” But Shimon Avraham, another kibbutz resident, said the project will put people at ease after the terrifying experience of tunnel attacks. “Now it makes things feel calmer,” he said. Associated Press writer Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Last chance to come to Israel with me

Its getting late. Were still taking reservations for this Novembers WND Israel tour, but we can no longer promise prices on airfares. Its at that point where its hit and miss. But I dont want you to miss. I want you there. This will be like no other Israel tour this year. A major Israeli TV broadcaster will be shadowing us as we meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Its a chance for you to tell Israel why you come to visit the land and to be an encouragement to the people. Remember, when the Messiah returns, every nation will be judged on the basis of how it treated the brethren, meaning the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Ill even give you an inside look on my teaching theme for this tour. Yes, of course, I will be talking about the Coming Kingdom of God in which Jesus the Messiah will rule and reign over the entire earth from Jerusalem, the theme of my latest book, The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age. But theres much more. We will be looking at Israel in a whole new way. Its something Ive never heard anyone else do, and its quite a remarkable observation if I do say so myself. When you visit Israel, you see two things everywhere you go: Another way to explain that is this: You see judgment, and you see restoration. Ten or 20 years ago, you saw plenty of judgment, but today you are seeing more and more restoration, which strongly suggests we are closer than ever to the ultimate restoration that comes with the return of the Messiah. Its hard to believe, but most of the world still does not see the nation of Israel as physical and spiritual proof of Bible prophecy. For me, its hard to comprehend the reality of the rebirth and resurrection of a nation, culture and language after 2,000 years. Of course, its never happened with any other nation in history, even without any well-documented accompanying prophecies raising the expectation. It just happened to Israel. Coincidence? Thats what you have to believe or, you have to be ignorant or blind to what the Bible clearly said would happen before the final judgment. Im looking forward to this trip, and I dont want to hear about your regrets later for not coming. I go through this every year. After we come back to the states, people email me and say they are so sorry they missed the trip. Frankly, Im sick of hearing it. An earlier WND Israel tour I make it easy for you to visit. I do all the heavy lifting. Ive got no complaints about the size of this group. It will be one of the largest tours from the U.S. this year. But Im still hoping for more. So, Im putting you on notice: You can still get in on this, but time is running very short. You run the risk of getting smacked with paying higher airfares if you wait another week or two. Its time to make up your mind now or never! Right now, you have no excuse. Theres plenty of time still to get your passport in order. Theres plenty of time to go shopping for whatever you need. Theres plenty of time to call my friends at Coral Tours at 1-866-267-2511 to register. Theres plenty of time to visit the website to whet your appetite for visiting Gods special Holy Land and walk where Jesus walked. It will be the trip of a lifetime, so make up your mind fast. See you there or be square.

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Israel will soon re-open embassy in Cairo – The Jerusalem Post

A poster celebrates the Egyptian army in Cairo.. (photo credit:SETH J. FRANTZMAN) Israel is expected to shortly reopen its embassy in Cairo, some nine months after it was closed due to security concerns, according to media reports on Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry, however, would not confirm the reports, saying it does not discuss security arrangements at Israeli embassies. Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin was pulled out of Cairo with the entire embassy staff in December. He has since been working out of Jerusalem. Due to security concerns, we have limited the return of the Foreign Ministry embassy team to Cairo, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said at the time. Haaretz reported on Tuesday that an Israeli delegation made up of representatives from the Shin Bet and the Foreign Ministry were in Cairo on Sunday for talks regarding the security arrangements needed at the embassy. These talks have been ongoing for a number of weeks. Israel pulled the staff from the embassy at the end of 2016, a little more than a year after it reopened the embassy in September 2015. The embassy was opened four years to the day after a mob invaded and trashed it. On September 9, 2011, during the height of the Arab Spring and half a year after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, thousands of protesters stormed the embassy, using light poles as battering rams to demolish a protective wall around the compound. That incident forced Israel to airlift its diplomats out of Egypt and plunged the countries into a series of diplomatic crises the worst diplomatic crises between the two neighbors in 30 years. Six security guards took refuge in a safe room in the embassy, and were finally evacuated hours later by Egyptian commandos, following direct intervention from then-US president Barack Obama. Even as Israel is on the verge of re-opening the embassy in Cairo, there is no indication of when it will send its ambassador and staff back to Jordan. Israel removed its embassy staff last month following an incident at the embassy on July 23 when a security guard was stabbed. He then killed his attacker and a bystander. The Jordanian government said last week it will not allow the return of Ambassador Einat Schlein until Israel guarantees that the guard will be investigated and brought to trial. Share on facebook

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

California family moving to Israel finds surprising reasons to go south – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Andy and Emily Katz, who moved to Beersheba with their family in 2010, were drawn to southern Israel for the more affordable cost of living and the idea of building a new community in a place where they felt needed. (Courtesy of Emily Katz) This story issponsoredbyNefesh BNefesh. BEERSHEBA, Israel When Emily Katz first immigrated to Israel in 1999, she was 23 and life was easy. Her greatest concerns were paying the rent for her Jerusalem apartment and getting good grades at Hebrew University. She met her future husband, Andy, also an American student, in Jerusalem, and after marrying in Israel the two moved back to the United States to work as Jewish educators. By the time Emily and Andy moved back to Israel from San Francisco in 2010, they had two children and much bigger things to worry about than rent and final exams. Although we had lived in Israel before, it was like making aliyah all over again, Emily said, using the Hebrew term for immigrating to Israel. Its totally different with kids, she said. Coming back as a family and having to think about the right community, where to send our kids to school, where can we afford to live, where will we work it was much more challenging. The couples obvious choices were places with large communities of American immigrants where many of their friends had settled, like Jerusalem, Zichron Yaakov or Modiin. But after making a pilot trip before their move to explore their options in Israel, they felt those places werent the right fit. So they started considering out-of-the-box locations. That led them to Beersheba, the unofficial capital of Israels South. Housing was much more affordable there, but it wasnt just finances that appealed to the Katzes. They fell in love with the idea of building a new community in a place where they felt needed. They found jobs in Jewish education, and soon after moving to Beersheba joined forces with another American couple to establish a new progressive congregation, Kehilat Beerot, which was an echo of the eclectic, nondenominational Jewish congregation the Katzes founded back in San Francisco, the Mission Minyan. Kehilat Beerot, which organizes Shabbat services, cultural events and charity projects, has since grown to 40 families. I feel like were pioneers in a certain sense, Andy said. Israels South constitutes 66 percent of the countrys land mass, but is home to just 8 percent of its population. The vast potential of the Negev has attracted passionate Zionists since the days of David Ben-Gurion, yet it has still not become a central hub for the tens of thousands of English-speaking immigrants who have moved to Israel in recent years. That has started to change. Over the last few years, Israel has backed up its talk of encouraging more people to move to the South with some major investments. The countrys main highway, Road 6, now extends deep into the South, significantly cutting travel times to the densely populated center of the country. Rail service in the South is growing. Beersheba is home to a burgeoning world-class university, a new high-tech hub and skyscrapers no longer the dusty desert city once derided as Israels largest development town. Perhaps most significantly, the Israel Defense Forces is centralizing many of its operations at a huge new army base in the South, Ir Habahadim, which is bringing thousands of jobs and career soldiers to the region. In 2013, Nefesh BNefesh which facilitates aliyah from North America and Britain launched a program together with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA to draw new immigrants to this region where the costs of living and housing are lower. NBNs Go Southoffers immigrants who move to the area stretching from Ashkelon on Israels Mediterranean coast to the Red Sea resort city of Eilat special financial incentives and benefits in addition to those offered to new immigrants from the Israeli government. Kehilat Beerot, the congregation the Katzes founded in Beersheba, is an eclectic, nondenominational Jewish community that organizes Shabbat services, cultural events and charity projects and has grown to 40 families. (Courtesy of Emily Katz) Were at this amazing turning point, said Donna Horwitz, director of Go South. There is exponential growth of industries, new communities, the IDF is moving down south, and Prime Minister Netanyahu called Beersheba the cyber capital of Israel. Theres so much room to innovate and initiate, theres great quality of life, its much more affordable than other parts of Israel, and of course theres beautiful nature. On top of the special financial benefits, Go South offers pre-and post-aliyah employment assistance, social programming and subsidized pilot trips for prospective immigrants interested in the South. Some professionals are eligible for additional financial incentives; for example, physicians, of whom there is a shortage in the South, may be entitled to enhanced grants. Since its launch, Go South has helped 2,000 immigrants settle in southern communities. In the seven years since the Katzes moves to Beersheba, the change has been palpable. When we first came here I was like, What the heck are we doing? Emily recalled. I cant tell you how much improvement theres been over the past seven years. Its totally changed. They moved in 2010, three years before the launch of Go South. Back then, there was no English-speaking representative at the citys Absorption Ministry office, which made navigating the bureaucracy very difficult. Today, that office has an English-speaking staff member and Nefesh BNefesh has its own office in the city. Most of all, the Katzes have found a wonderful sense of community in Beersheba. They love the progressive congregation they established, and they found a sense of connection to Israel and its people, which they dont think they would have had in cities like Jerusalem or Modiin. In all the places we visited in Israel before moving, the communities were already built. We didnt really see how we would add any unique value. Wed just be another nice Anglo couple thats taking from the services that already exist, Emily said. Here, my kids are in schools where they are seeing all of Israel. Theyre in class with Ethiopians, Yemenites, Moroccans and Indians. Theyre definitely not living in an Anglo bubble. Andy says he and his wife see themselves not just as part of a wave of new immigrants to the South, but part of a vanguard helping make the South appealing to native Israelis too. Were making a part of Israel more livable for certain populations than it was before we got here, Andy said. Making a tangible impact would have been far less likely if we were living in a more central city in Israel. (This article wassponsoredby and produced in partnership withNefesh BNefesh, which in cooperation with Israels Ministry of Aliyah, The Jewish Agency, KKL and JNF-USA is minimizing the professional, logistical and social obstacles of aliyah, and has brought over 50,000 olim from North America and the United Kingdom over the last 15 years. This article was produced by JTAs native content team.)

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

The Potentially Existential Threat to Israel from "Palestine"

Palestinian flag, image by Nicolas Raymond via Flickr CC BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 559, August 14, 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Palestine could present a far greater threat to Israel than a third intifada or persistent terrorism. This threat, which would further exacerbate the areascorrelation of forces,is potentially existential. Under certain circumstances, Palestinian statehood could meaningfully enlarge the prospects of both mega-terror attacks and regional nuclear war. The measure of danger posed to Israel by a future Palestinian state is not subject to casual reflection. It can be ascertained only through the disciplined examination of proper hypotheses conceptually, systematically, and deductively, in the manner of a scientific investigation. An application of this process shows the threat to Israel of Palestine to be much greater than is typically alleged. The threat is so great, in fact, that it could ultimately prove existential. This is the case, moreover, despite the fact that the tangible threat posed by Palestine to Israels survival would be indirect. Its a bit like the case of a person who wont die as a direct result of some insignificant illness, but who will be sufficiently weakened by it to become susceptible to more terminal pathologies. It also remains conceivable, if unlikely, that the Palestinian stateper se would pose lethal hazards to the Jewish state. These hazards would appear in increments, rather than in bolt from the blue military strikes. By definition, a state of Palestine no matter how it is constituted would be carved from the still-living body of Israel. It is similarly incontestable that Arab terror against the Jewish State would not subside following Palestinian statehood. This is because the leaders of any future Palestinian state one with more formal juridical status than the current UN nonmemberobserver state designation would continue to regard the now-diminished and more vulnerable Israel as Occupied Palestine. Why would they revise their original concept of the Zionist enemy, especially after they had become irrefutablymore powerful? There is no way for analysts to assign a numerical probability to this prospect, but no other conclusion can plausibly be extrapolated from Palestinian platforms, maps, charters, and policy positions. Of further significance, especially as US President Donald Trump clings to the clich of the two-state solution,Arab terror would likely expand even more quickly than if there had been no Palestinian state. This forecast also follows directly from all we know about Palestinian positions. A shallow political mantra, no matter how often it is repeated in Washington, London, Gaza, or Ramallah, is no substitute for reality. Should anyone still believe the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas would be content with a new state carved entirely from Israeli occupied territory, they need only be reminded that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, three years before there were any Israeli occupied territories. Moreover, the State of Israel as it exists today is smaller than Lake Michigan. Even before the creation of Palestine, the Arab world of 22 states is 672 times the size of Israel. Much concern is being expressed at the possibility of a third intifada. For Israel, the rational remedy for such a prospect is not to encourage its adversaries to morph into a more organized and structured state enemy. Any juridically enhanced State of Palestine could magnify its cumulative adversarial capacity to inflict great harm on Israel. It is possible that such harm,imposed with a margin of collective impunity, could eventually involve weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, or even nuclear agents. Palestine, after achieving statehood, could be in an optimal position to assault Israels Dimonareactor. This nuclear facility was attacked in 1991 and again in 2014. Those earlier missile and rocket barrages, which produced no serious damage to the reactor core, originated with Iraqi and Hamas aggressions, respectively. Regarding expected Palestinian state intentions, there is little mystery to fathom. Palestine could and would provide a ready platform for launching endlessly renewable war and terror attacks against Israel. Significantly, not a single warring Palestinian faction has ever bothered to deny this. On the contrary:aggression has always been openly embraced and cheered as a sacred national incantation. A September 2015 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, the leading social research organization in the Palestinian territories, found that a majority of Palestinians reject a two-state solution. When asked about their preferred alternate ways to establish an independent Palestinian state, 42% called for armed action. Only 29% favored negotiation or some sort of peaceful resolution. On all official Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) maps of Palestine, Israel has either been removed altogether or identified as occupied Palestine. In this way, Israel has already been subjected to cartographic genocide. From the standpoint of prospective Palestinian state policies toward Israel, such maps express intent. It is insufficiently recognized that a Palestinian statecouldplay a role (if indirect) in bringing nuclear conflict to the Middle East. Palestine itself wouldbe non-nuclear, but such renunciation is hardly exculpatory. There would remain other ways in which the new states infringements of Israeli security could render the Jewish state more vulnerable to a nuclear attack from Iran, or, in the more distant future, from a newly nuclear Arab state. This second prospect would likely have its core origins in Sunni Arab state reactions to the Vienna pact with Shiite Iran. Following the 2015Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA), several Sunni states in the region, most plausibly Egypt and/or Saudi Arabia, will likely feel increasingly compelled to go nuclear. In essence, any such Sunni Arab nuclear proliferation would represent a more-or-less coherent self-defense response to escalating perils issuing forth from the reciprocally fearful Shiite world. More could be expected from the Sunni side. ISIS or some subsidiary incarnation could begin a destructive march westward, across Jordan, perhaps all the way to the borders of the West Bank. Should a Palestinian state already be established, Sunni terrorist cadres would pose a serious threat to any deployed Palestinian army. In the event that Palestine had not yet been officially declared (i.e., in a fashion consistent with the Montevideo Convention), invading ISIS/ISIS-type forces not Israel will have become the principal impediment to Palestinian independence. ISIS has been expanding beyond Iraq and Syria, notably into Yemen, Libya, Egypt, and Somalia. Although Hamas leaders deny any ISIS presence in Gaza, the groups black flag is now seen more regularly there. In principle, at least, Israel could find itself forced to cooperate with Hamas against ISIS but any reciprocal willingness from theIslamic Resistance Movement, whether visible or below the radar, is implausible. Additionally, Egypt regards Hamas as part of the Muslim Brotherhood and considers it as dangerous as ISIS. In any event, after Palestine, and in the absence of any takeover of the new Arab state by ISIS-type forces, Israels physical survival would require increasing self-reliance in existential military matters. This would demand 1) a revised nuclear strategy involving enhanced deterrence, defense, preemption, and warfighting capabilities; and 2) a corollary conventional strategy. The official birth of Palestine could affect these strategies in several disruptive ways. Most ominously, a Palestinian state could render most of Israels conventional capabilities much more problematic. Ultimately, therefore, it could heighten the chances of regional nuclear war. A nuclear war in the Middle East is by no means out of the question.At some point, such a conflict could reach Israel not only as a missile attack, but also as an intended or inadvertentresult of escalation. If, for example, enemy states were to begin only with conventional and/or biological attacks on Israel, Jerusalem might respond, sooner or later, with nuclear reprisals. Or if these enemy states were to begin hostilities with conventional attacks on Israel, Jerusalems conventional reprisals might then be met with enemy nuclear counterstrikes. For now, the second scenario will become possible only if Iran continues its advance toward an independent nuclear capability. It follows that a persuasive Israeli conventional deterrent, at least to the extent that it could prevent enemy state conventional and/or biological attacks, would substantially reduce Israels risk of exposure through escalation to a nuclear war. Israel will always need to maintain and refine its capacity for escalation dominance, but Palestinian statehood, on its face, could impair this strategic obligation. A subsidiary question comes to mind. Why should Israel need a conventional deterrent at all? Israel, after all, seemingly maintains a nuclear arsenal and corollary doctrine, though both remain deliberately ambiguous. There arises a further query. Even after Palestine comes into being, wouldnt enemy states desist from launching conventional and/or biological attacks on Israel out of fear of suffering a nuclear retaliation? Not necessarily. Aware as they are that Israel would cross the nuclear threshold only in extraordinary circumstances, these enemy states could be convinced rightly or wrongly that so long as their attacks remain non-nuclear, Israel will respond only in kind. Faced with such calculations, Israels ordinary security still needs to be sustained by conventional deterrent threats. A strong conventional capability will be needed by Israel to deter or preempt conventional attacks that could lead quickly, via escalation, to unconventional war. Palestine could have further deleterious effects on power and peace in the Middle East. As the creation of yet another enemy Arab state would arise from Israels dismemberment, the Jewish States already minimal strategic depth would be further diminished. Over time, Israels conventional capacity to ward off enemy attacks could be correspondingly reduced. Paradoxically, if enemy states were to perceive Israels sense of growing weakness, it could strengthen Israels nuclear deterrent. If, however, enemy states did not perceive such a sense among Israels decision-makers (a more likely scenario), these states, now animated by Israels conventional force deterioration, could be tempted to attack. The cumulative result, spawned by Israels post-Palestine incapacity to maintain strong conventional deterrence, could become: 1) defeat of Israel in a conventional war; 2) defeat of Israel in an unconventional chemical/biological/nuclear war; 3) defeat of Israel in a combined conventional/unconventional war; or 4) defeat of Arab/Islamic state enemiesbyIsraelin an unconventional war. For Israel, even the successful fourth possibility could prove intolerable. The consequences of nuclear war, or even merely chemical/biological war, could be calamitous for the victor as well as the vanquished. Moreover, under such exceptional conditions of belligerency, traditional notions of victory and defeat would lose all serious meaning. Although a meaningful risk of regional nuclear war in the Middle East exists independently of any Palestinian state, this threat would be even greater if a new Arab (terror) state were declared. There is another worrisome possibility. Palestine could become vulnerable to overthrow by even more militant jihadist forces, a violent transfer of power that could then confront Israel. ISIS, for example, could find itself at the gates of Palestine. In such a scenario, it is conceivable that ISIS fighters would overwhelm any residual Palestinian defense force,PA and/or Hamas, and then absorb Palestine itself into its Islamic caliphate. Should the endlessly fratricidal Palestinian territories be transformed and institutionalized into yet another corrupt Arab state, Palestine, either itself or as a newly incorporated element of a metastasizing caliphate, would likely become another Syria. Even more ominously, Palestine could indirectly bring the nuclear menace to the wider neighborhood. As we have learned from Syria, an entire region can find itself facing a uniquely injurious form of chaos, one that is primal, visceral, and self-propelled. To better visualize this form of civilizational breakdown, consider the near-total state of nature described in William Goldings novel,Lord of the Flies. Moreover, long before Golding, Thomas Hobbes warned of lawless circumstances wherein humans must coexist without any authority above them. The 17th-century English philosopher described dire circumstances of rampant chaos in which prevails a suffocating pall of continual fear, and danger of violent death. As for the life of man in these dark circumstances, HobbessLeviathan foresaw it as inevitably solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. It is just such an intolerably corrosive life that we must expect for Israelis and others in the aftermath of Palestine. This conclusion emerges not from conventional wisdom or common sense, which remains the unsteady basis of presidential policy judgments in Washington, but from the imperatives of a disciplined scientific examination. View PDF Louis Ren Beres is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue and the author of twelve books and several hundred articles on nuclear strategy and nuclear war. His newest book is Surviving Amid Chaos: Israels Nuclear Strategy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

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Police arrest leader of banned Islamic group in northern Israel – The Times of Israel

Islamic cleric Raed Salah was arrested overnight Tuesday following a raid on his home in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm. Neighbors said large police forces arrived at the home in the Mahajaneh neighborhood of the city and searched the residence, and took Salah in for questioning. It was not immediately clear why he was arrested. Salah has spearheaded campaigns asserting that Al-Aqsa is in danger, focused on the claim that Israel intends to change the status quo at the contested Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem. The allegation, denied by Israel, was at the heart of last months violence and tensions surrounding the site. One neighbor told the Ynet news site that the whole neighborhood was filled with police cars that were blocking the streets. At first, I thought there was a murder, he said. Salah, the head of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, was released from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence for incitement to violence and racism. He was convicted over an inflammatory sermon he delivered in 2007 in Jerusalem in which he praised martyrdom for the sake of Jerusalems Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site. The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement was outlawed in November 2015. The government charged the group with links to terrorist groups and inciting a wave of violence. Any person who belongs to this organization or who provides services to it or who acts within its framework is henceforth committing a criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence, a cabinet statement said at the time. The move also allowed for the confiscation of all property belonging to the group. The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement rejects the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians and boycotts national elections on the grounds that they give legitimacy to the institutions of the Jewish state. Founded in the 1970s, the Islamic Movement is a political organization, religious outreach group and social service provider rolled into one. The movements overarching goal is to make Israeli Muslims more religious and owes much of its popularity to providing services often lacking in Israels Arab communities. Today the group runs kindergartens, colleges, health clinics, mosques and even a sports league sometimes under the same roof. The movement split two decades ago. The more moderate southern branch began fielding candidates for the Knesset in 1996 and is now part of the Joint List, an alliance of several Arab political parties. Three of the Joint Lists 13 current Knesset members are part of the movement. The northern branch had also funded a group called the Mourabitun, whose protests against Jewish visitors at the Temple Mount have occasionally turned violent. In September last year, Israel banned the group from the Mount. Umm al-Fahem was the home of the three terrorists who carried out an attack last month at the Temple Mount, emerging from the holy site with guns they had smuggled onto it to shoot dead two Israeli police officers. Some 3,000 people attended the funerals of the terrorists who perpetrated the July 14 attack. They were hailed as martyrs for al-Aqsa and shahids [martyrs].

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Israeli Delegation Meets With Egyptian Leadership to Discuss Reopening Cairo Embassy – Haaretz

Home > Israel News Talks focus on improving Israeli embassy’s security in wake of December’s staff evacuation over attack warning Tourism minister: ‘The issue is about to be resolved’ An Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo Sunday for discussions with Egyptian officials on security arrangements to bring about the… Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter.

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In Israel, Hooliganism Always Comes From the Right – Haaretz

Home > Opinion Politicians from Israels Zionist left and center must join forces in defense of civil society Immediately after Yitzhak Rabins assassination, influential Israelis joined hands in an effort to cool things down. Figures from… Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter.

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Jewish Democrats’ abandonment of Israel could threaten US national security – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

Last week Senator Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), both of whom are considering a presidential run in 2020, moved away from their traditional pro-Israel record. Despite the Taylor Force Act sailing through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a bill that cuts US funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops payments of salaries to terrorists and their families, Booker voted against its passage. Gillibrand made her own announcement at a public forum that she was withdrawing her co-sponsorship and would oppose the anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement legislation introduced by US Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), that would make it a federal crime to boycott Israel. As has Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), another democratic presidential hopeful, Gillibrand claims that in theory she supports the premise but is concerned the bill would infringe on civil liberties, despite it only being an update to a 1979 law that criminalized companies knowingly joining the Arab League Boycott of Israel. Furthermore, the US Supreme Court ruled that these types of laws are fully constitutional and do not infringe on free speech. Frankly, both of their positions are troubling both for Israel and the future of the party; about 70% of Jewish American voters are Democrats. Now to put this into the proper perspective, the Democratic Party as a whole has continued moving further to the far Left, commencing with the Obama administration and culminating with the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont). The moderate forces have become dinosaurs within their own party apparatus. While Jewish Democratic support hasnt waned, the general consensus is that moderates have lost their home. Many now feel closer to the mainstream faction of the Republican Party. An example would be the centrist US Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida), who has had a meteoric rise within the party, a member of the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus who has managed to gain tremendous support from folks on both sides of the aisle, including well known Democrats like Freddy Balsera, president Barack Obamas 2008 Hispanic media manager and Obama national finance committee member, attorney Ira Leesfield, a staunch democrat, long-time Clinton family friend and financial contributor, as well as Roland Sanchez-Medina, a key Democrat who served as campaign treasurer to former Democratic congressman Joe Garcia. Frankly, as it relates to Israel the parties have switched roles while the Democrats have pulled back, the Republican Party has become the gold standard for unwavering support for Israel. In 2012, the platform drafting committee for the Democratic Convention removed the language that identified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and what ensued once the platform hit the floor for a full vote was an unexpected fight. A portion of Democrats asked for the language to be put back into the platform, but when convention chairman and then Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, currently running for governor of California, called for a vote, surprisingly voices that opposed it were equally as loud if not louder as those who supported the change. Fast forward to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when the platform committee proposed deleting a draft of a pledge to oppose delegitimization of Israel at the United Nations or by the Palestinian-led BDS movement. They also proposed removing a reference to Jerusalem as Israels undivided capital. Fortunately, they failed in an eight-tofive vote, but once it got to the convention floor, mass chaos ensued. The pro-Palestinian contingent was out in full force, raising a Palestinian flag in front of the convention hall cameras, openly displaying their hatred of Israel. The more moderate than presidential candidate Hillary Clinton faction won out, stopping the Sanders camp from getting the demonizing anti-Israel language into the platform, but the damage was already done. It was evident the tide had turned; concessions were made and it became the most anti-Israel platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Booker and Gillibrand are playing politics, recognizing that the more leftist voters tend to decide a primary election theyre betting on it. Additionally, Jewish mainstream Democratic support that the government of Israel traditionally counted on is no longer dependable, partially because liberal Jews are at odds with an Israeli government that they feel doesnt support their brand of Judaism. Some feel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abandoned them when he reversed course on creating an egalitarian section at the Western Wall, which, in his defense, is an issue most Israelis dont care about; they are more focused on security issues. But American liberal Jews felt like it was a slap in the face on his part Additionally, they have a disdain for the Chief Rabbinate that they feel is out of touch with American Judaism, and have become disillusioned with what they believe is a nationalistic country that occupies and persecutes Palestinians. Despite the anti-Israel media bias that exists, they are still convinced that the Israeli government is the aggressor. Part of the problem is that American Jews live in a country that encourages assimilation and homogeneity, so the idea of a nationalistic Jewish state doesnt align with an American brand of democracy. Some have even gone as far as questioning the Law of Return, a law that allows Jews from around the world to live and gain citizenship in Israel. They brand the law racist, forgetting our history of persecution that can be traced back from ancient times to the present day. As antisemitism continues to rise, especially in Europe, I wonder what those Jews would do if that law didnt exist. Jewish Americans cant fully comprehend the level of antisemitism that exists outside of the United States and the significance of a nation that serves as a beacon of hope for Jews around the world, opening its doors, preserving and guaranteeing the future of the Jewish People. While American Jews dont have to serve in the Israel Defense Forces or commit to national service, they often take for granted the Israeli citizens who sacrifice themselves for greater purpose, keeping Jews safe not only in Israel but throughout the world. The reality is that a world without Israel could lead to the eventual demise of the Jewish People. Furthermore, while Israelis are a far cry from politically monolithic, holding divergent opinions that fall on all points of the spectrum, the one thing that they share is love of country and the hope of an eventual and lasting peace. Fortunately for American Jews, while they have historically been financial contributors to the Jewish state, they dont have to live with constant tension, anxiety and fear, waiting for the next wave of terrorism that might end their lives, tearing their families apart. And while American Jews can certainly empathize, its impossible for them to fully understand the complexities and delicate balancing act of maintaining a democracy while having to protect and defend a nation thats surrounded by enemies that do not recognize Israels right to exist and want to see Jews wiped off the face of the earth. While all is not yet lost, the old Democratic guard like minority leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and House Minority Whip Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) remain ardently pro-Israel, the younger gunslingers and rising stars of the party are heading in the other direction. The majority of American Jews are Democrats and despite some minor differences with the Jewish nation, historically they were staunch supporters. As that support deteriorates and their support for Booker, Gillibrand and other anti-Israel democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren remains intact, theres absolutely no reason politically for the senators to shift back in the direction of Israel. Senator Booker and Senator Gillibrand are gunning for president in 2020. Most likely, they have seen the polling and have assessed the risk factors, since Jewish Democratic support doesnt seem to be peeling off, they recognize that politically, at least in a primary election, an anti-Israel agenda makes good sense. Yet they have made their bed and will have to lay in it; irresponsibly putting politics over the security of the United States is ethically abhorrent. If they make it through a 2020 primary election, the long-term foreign policy backlash could be severe, especially if either of them are elected president. Most Americans are unknowingly manipulated by a media that spews anti-Israel rhetoric and they do not fully comprehend the delicate chess game the US must play as the leader of the free world. Many are unaware of how important the US-Israel alliance is in helping the country to maintain its global positioning and power. A prosperous Israel does much to ensure a prosperous US like it or not, their destinies are tied together. According to Congressman Curbelo (R-Florida), whom I interviewed for this column, The strength and stability of Israel is the strength and stability of the United States. A policy that advances US interests in the world must include unwavering support for Israel. In fact, isolating Israel would be a US foreign policy calamity of the worst kind. While president Obama conducted himself with class even his critics admit that he brought dignity to the White House from a foreign policy perspective he was a colossal failure, not heeding the old adage of dont underestimate your enemy, and today we are experiencing the aftershocks. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a ruthless and brilliant thug, is obsessed with humiliating the US. He is vying for control of not only the Pacific, where he is working in conjunction with China, a country maneuvering to replace the US at the top of the global pyramid, propping up the dangerous authoritarian regime of North Korea, but in the Middle East as well where the Russians have worked closely with Iran to ensure the survival of the brutal Syrian Assad regime, humiliating and undermining the US in the process. Israel plays a key strategic role in stopping the hemorrhaging and resolidifying the world order created after WWII. If the far Left is successful in ostracizing Israel, it sends a clear message to the enemy: the US is divided and distracted, its the perfect time for Putin to strike. And he wants revenge. Thats why the peeling off of support for Israel within the Democratic Party has the propensity to weaken the United States, removing its superpower status. Nothing would be more disastrous to the US economy as well as the safety and security and economic interests of the US and the allies that make up the world order. Additionally, by abandoning Israel, Democratic Jewish Americans are making themselves irrelevant within the party and they may not realize the danger this poses to Jews in the US. Traditional support for issues that affect Jews in America are in jeopardy unless their support for Democrats like Booker and Gillibrand is reassessed. Jewish Democrats have the opportunity to use their collective power and voice to reassess their support, demanding that the US stand not only with Israel but our other allies throughout the world like South Korea and Japan. Its 2017 and antisemitism has reared its ugly head, unlike anything we have seen in many decades. Israel is being irresponsibly and maliciously attacked in the media as well as by the Democratic base, so much so that the former British Broadcasting Network (BBC) chairman Lord Michael Grade addressed the overall media bias during a speech to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, stating; Im not one of those who immediately brands a critic of Israel as an antisemite, far from it. However, some critics of Israel leave themselves open to such accusations when they single out Israel for criticism, but refuse to contextualize. In 2015 he took BBC to task as well as by calling its anti-Israel bias inexcusable and accusing its of directly misleading viewers regarding terrorist attacks against Israel and the security measures Israel takes to protect its citizens. Yet two traditionally pro-Israel US senators are playing a dangerous and risky game, voting against important bills that serve to remind the world that the US is fully and unequivocally committed to Israel. They are sending a perilous message to the Jewish nation: America may no longer have your back. And thats a security risk the United States cant afford to take. The author is a political commentator and chief booker with the i24NEWS global network. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of i24news. Twitter @FredMenachem. Share on facebook

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