Saturday, 23 February 2013

Haaretz reporter begs palestinian to condemn Herodian exhibition

I'm lucky to be in Israel for Purim. Where i'm staying I picked up Haaretz  and read an article by a journalist Benny Ziffer who i've not heard of before, but who won some international prize for his journalism in betraying Israel. The few articles I managed to find time to read this shabbat were all devoted to portraying Israel as a racist state stealing land from arabs. Haaretz knows its readership well and long ago abandoned any semblance of objectivity. Haaretz journalists are interested in painting Israel in as negative a light as possible.

Ziffer starts off the article about the illegality of Ehud Netzer digging the archaeological site of Herodian, on "Palestinian territory". Ziffer forgets that the Levy committee found that no international law that would justify this term. Judea and Samaria is territory in dispute full of jewish history, and nothing of the mythical 'palestinian people,' an invention designed to take territory away from Israel. Despite what enemies of Israel constantly repeat, the League of Nations decision to call for 'close settlement' in Judea and Samaria still holds. 

The irony is that having invited "a palestinian archaeologist who somehow managed to arrive at the meeting without being held up", who visited what Ziffer agrees is a "breathtaking exhibition" which reconstructs Herod's grave and the ancient jewish settlement of Herodian, he is confronted by an arab archaeologist who can't see anything wrong with it. The arab says, "I don't understand. Why should I feel antagonistic toward this exhibition?"

Perhaps the arab knows something that self-hating israeli jew Ziffer doesn't.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Syria and Iran the good news and the bad

The bad news is that europe and the US still haven't a clue about Iran. If they think Iran can be bribed away from its race for the bomb they are living in cloud cuckoo land. Whilst europe talks and begs, Iran will continue to whisper sweet nothings, all the while increasing its stockpiles of enriched uranium. 

Of course Iran will not be quizzed too hard about why its scientists were present at North Korea's nuclear test of a miniature device last week. It was capable of being mounted on a ballistic missile.
Of course Obama and his european allies have never heard of 'taqiya' (islamic concept of lying to your enemy to deceive him), so Khameini's assurances that there is a fatwa against muslims making a nuclear device along with other small concessions, will serve to assuage them somewhat. Iran has to be prepared to make some small gestures though, something Ahmadinejad has not been always interested in doing.

As regards a nuclear weapon being 'unislamic',Pakistan's developing an 'islamic' bomb doesn't seem to have been a problem in that godless nation of sunnis. Iranians would never develop such an evil weapon. Their interest in miniaturizing warheads is obviously purely academic.

If Israel can't achieve it any other way, it will have to attack Iran. The EMP route would seem the best, using a technically nuclear weapon, but with the ability to fry Iran's electrics for no human cost. It is surely getting very late in the day, and Israel must look to its security. Sending Iran back to the stone age is a small price to pay for avoiding war and the loss of israeli and iranian lives. Iranians are among the most cultured and educated of people in the region, and anything which will spare their lives must surely be a good thing.

Israel is however waiting too long. Iran will drag the europeans out so long that by the time they realize they've been had, the wiley iranians will have cooked up the next plan to keep the West on the hook, all the whilst increasing those stocks of uranium.

With Israel's defensive rocket systems, Iran can't do much harm to Israel, especially now Iran and Hezbollah are so heavily committed in Syria. The time is getting ripe. Israel must not leave it too late to act.

The good news is that Iran and its sidekick Hezbollah are getting ever deeper into the Syrian quagmire. They have bitten off a lot more than they want to chew, and i'm of the opinion that Hezbollah has signed its death warrant with its bombarding of sunni villages in Syria in the last year.

Increasingly iranians and hezbollah operatives are dying and being buried in secret ceremonies. It is too soon to know if the figure of a thousand dead hezbollah this last year is true but what is certain though is that the hatred of Hezbollah has now reached the point of no return. The Syrian rebels, sunnis and assorted sunni jihadists are not friends with the shia at the best of times, and when they are having missiles fired at them as if they are jews in Sderot? Unlike jews, sunni jihadist terrorists are none to patient, or discriminating in their response. If I was a lebanese shia, or an alawite I would be quaking at the hatred the Assad regime has stacked up in the last couple of years.

Israel might not have such a quiet Syrian border any more, but it will find that the Hezbollah threat will decrease and quite possibly fade away altogether in coming years. It's  time to put out feelers to Nabih Berri and Amal who might just be more accommodating once Israel has settled a few scores with Nasrallah (unless the Syrian sunni rebels get to him first).

Syria, not just the Assad regime is now in terminal decline, being no longer an effective state which can control its borders. Russia and Iran are fighting a lost battle for their ally.

It's time for Israel to plan for Hezbollah's collapse and even for advancing a buffer zone up to the natural border of the Litani river by agreement with future christian or even amal shia allies. This might happen in the wake of civil war breaking out in Lebanon.

Israel must be prepared to seek alliances with the kurds, of christians and indeed any other strategically placed group that reads the omens.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the alawites faced with global jihad came knocking at Israel's door?  Now that's an interesting thought. A post Nasrallah Hezbollah cut off from the Iranian hinterland by a sunni jihadist bloc, faced with destruction might even, allied with alawites, form the northern buffer protecting Israel.

All this whilst remembering that no alliances in the middle east last very long. Alliances get drawn and redrawn at the drop of a hat. Russia learned that fact in the 1970's in Egypt, and Israel learned it with the christians in the 80's in Lebanon. Present allies can become enemies in minutes, so it's wise not to invest too much in any one relationship. New friends must be happy just that you are not working actively against them, happy for whatever support is thrown their way, certainly not the loving bearhug americans give to every jihadist group willing to open up its grubby paws. But the US never learns the lesson, and ambassador Stephens will soon be forgotten as the US trains and supplies even  more jihadist terrorists via the cia and Turkey.

It's too hard to see how the dice will fall in the region, but Israel must be prepared to think laterally, to be prepared to entertain any proposals any alliances that offer even short term security along its borders.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI hasn't been a bad pope

Benedict whose family is not known to have had nazi sympathies, like most german youth joined the Hitler Youth (membership was voluntary at first, but refusing to join the Hitler Youth could bring the unwelcome attention of the authorities to you, so joining the Hitler Jugend can not be held against Benedict. A few brave souls nevertheless did refuse to join).

Benedict visited Auschwitz and acknowleged Germany's special link with jews as the result of their past. This is unlike many germans nowadays who like ex SS member Gunther Grass prefer instead to whitewash their criminal history by way of attacking Israel. Israel defending itself from genocidal arab aggression is supposedly as bad as their nazi parents and grandparents. 

Benedict never took this easy course of absolving himself of feelings of guilt towards the victims of nazism. Benedict instead of attacking jews asked as "a son of Germany" why God was silent whilst 1.5 million victims were put to death in Auschwitz. It's not known what his doctrinal answer to this is however? It is hard to escape the feeling that many catholics even nowadays will ascribe it to Jews having "killed Christ"
(in my own youth I was faced with this accusation a number of times, and each time had to raise my fists to ward off the blows as best I could. Of course that was none to easy as those who attack jews usually like to move in groups).

Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith previously known as the Inquisition. He was the arch enemy of latin american liberation theologist priests who identified with revolutionary peasant movements and the poor in general. They railed against the Roman Catholic Church being seen as identifying itself with human rights abusing dictatorships of generals.

Benedict was not a bad pope as far as Israel and jews are concerned. Despite being conservative he recognized "with great shame" that Christianity had been a violent religion in the past. But Benedict whilst recognizing the evils that emanated from the religion of islam (if the Koran was published nowadays for the first time, its author would be in breach of many countries' hate Speech laws for passages describing jews and christians) was overly indulgent of palestinian arabs involved in the steady ethnic cleansing of christians from territories that they hold in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. Like most christian clerics in the middle-east the pope in reaction to his remarks about islam took the path of appeasing muslim arabs, hoping they would temper their hatred of christians. The opposite is however the case. Just as in the 1930's with the nazis, appeasing arabs never bears pacific fruits. 

When Benedict made comments criticising Islam as being evil and that it was spread by the sword, muslims as if to prove the veracity of his comments burned churches and killed christians in the middle-east, africa and asia.

The pope of course, in the wake of the extreme violence by followers of the 'religion of peace' had to later 'regret' having implicated islam in violence. The pope's conciliatory gesture was to travel to islamist and pray in the Blue Mosque with the grand mufti of Istanbul. Benedict would not have dared demand the prayer to peace be made in ex-church later taken over as a mosque, the byzantine Aya Sofia church. Turkey is now demanding its artifacts back from the west, why does the church not demand restitution of its magnificent church? Appeasement...........

Only when the West is unassailable militarily has the crusading muslim world acted peacably. Islam is a religion which aspires to a caliphate, an islamic empire. Unlike christianity, islam has still not lost its crusading and imperial tendency.

Attacks on christians whether in Gaza, Taibeh, Bet Jala or Bethlehem give the oft repeated lie to that idea, but still christians have not learned. And now it is happeing again in Syria. Christians are being murdered, are fleeing, and are being ethnically cleansed by jihadist fanatics. Appeasment and showing intolerance for Israel is deemed to be the best path to saving christian lives.

Yet Pope Benedict said to palestinian arabs in Bethlehem in 2009:

"The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders."

Ignoring the silly description of Judea and Samaria as the “ land of “ arab “forefathers” (most arabs immigrated to Mandatory Palestine to take advantage of job opportunities created by jews in the 1920's and 30's) palestinian arab terror and constantly repeated threats to destroy Israel were and are ignored. That palestinian arabs have not the slightest interest in living in peace with Israel is similar to arab regimes not having the slightest wish for christians to remain in their countries. From Libya to Syria christians are fleeing, and that's only the arab part of the muslim world. As for the jews they were already ethnically cleansed from arab countries already in the 1950's.

Pope Benedict has not gone out to antagonise the Jewish People. Every now and again he slipped up but it is hard to see these mistakes such as having been deliberately intended by him to upset jewish sensibilities.
Indeed, the Elder of Ziyon notes that with regard to the Judea-Samarian security fence/wall protecting Israel from arab suicide bombers and assorted terrorists, Benedict was careful not to criticize Israel even whilst not directly referring to the arab atrocities which forced the building of the wall. 
How earnestly we pray for an end to the hostilities that have caused this wall to be built."  
It is hard to ascribe good intentions to Benedict's advisers though as the ramifications of policies such as moving forwards on making Pope Pius XII, 'Hitler's Pope' a saint. The Pope signed the infamous Concordat with Hitler, excommunicated all communists whilst never excommunicating one single nazi, or german soldier.

The Vatican always likes to aver that PPXII saved many jews, yet despite doubts as to the veracity of this (many catholic priests, nun and laity did save jews, but there is no evidence that it was at the instigation of PPXII) the records of the time remain under lock and key. Only approved researchers are allowed near them. If there is nothing to hide, why the secrecy?

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger or "God's rottweiler" as he was known when dealing with reformers in his church was staunchly conservative, but this did not mean that he translated this into negativism towards jews or Israel. He showed no special love for the jewish people, but he showed no animus towards jews either, and for this we should be grateful. There has thankfully since the Holocaust been a string of popes who have understood the results of hate speech towards jews.

It is a pity that this understanding of where anti-semitism leads does not seem to have seeped down lower in the cathoic heirarchy, as a reading of my articles about the Latin Patriarchate in Israel will show.

Whilst allowing the reintroduction of the Latin mass Benedict was wrong not to insist on taking out its prayer for the conversion of the Jewish People. We thought that this 'replacement theology' ghost had been exorcised long ago in the 1950's. I might be wrong, but I would be surprised if Benedict personally intended a slight to the jews but wanted rather to impose his own conservative will inside the church, to help bring peace to different factions within the church demanding the reinstitution of the mass in latin. And of course to bring in the errant sheep such as the notorious SSPX back in the fold.

Accepting the anti-semitic and Holocaust denying Society of StPius X back into the church was less of a problem with jews than for catholics themselves. The problem of schism in the Catholic Church is ever present. Eventually the SPX threw out one of its own leaders, British bishop Richard Williamson ostensibly for his Holocaust denial, but most probably because like often the case when convinced nazis fall out, Williamson wanted to be 'fuhrer' in his organisation.

It is sad that Pope Benedict has so quickly aged in his time at the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and I for one wish that his health improves once the heavy burden of his office is removed. Pope Benedict should have a long, healthy and happy retirement.

And of course the question is, when the holy smoke clears, will the next pope be a friend or....... not so much of a friend?

John Paul II's don't come along that frequently.

Exonerating Jews of the charge of deicide Christ's death, repudiating the concept of collective Jewish guilt that haunted Christian-Jewish relations for centuries.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Young and beautiful sister Aziza, kindly teacher of islamic studies

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia but spent her teenage years in Kenya. Her parents were religious and conservative,  but for the most part not extreme in their islam. Ayaan's grandmother was not liked by the children, and she was a traditionalist who made sure that all the tribal and religious precepts were kept. To keep in with the all important clan and not bring 'shame' upon them, a girl had to remain 'pure'. One way of assuring that was to have the girls genitally mutilated. This the grandmother saw to whilst the parents were away one week. The brother was also circumcised. The younger sister's personality changed immediately from that of a boistrous fun loving girl to depressed and insular. She never recovered from the atrocity inflicted on her.

Ayaan at one point had a teacher of islam, sister Aziza who had been 'born again' in Saudi Arabia. The woman was draped from the head to the tip of the toes in cloth of the Abayah. the woman was seemingly charismatic however and didn't believe in forcing children to keep the precepts of islam. She was gentle, and kind, quite unlike any previous islamic studies teachers. The islam classes unlike previous ones did not prepare the children for exams or even follow the syllabus, but were designed to help the children become good muslims. Ayaan seems to have enjoyed this woman's lessons very much, and was the first student who took to wearing the abaya. She says this actually gave her a feeling of empowerment. It was something she decided for herself to do.

Sister Aziza was also an avowed antisemite:
Sister Aziza told us about the Jews. She described them in such a way that I imagined them as physically monstrous: they had horns on their heads, and noses so large they stuck right out of their faces like great beaks. Devils and djinns literally flew out of their heads to mislead Muslims and spread evil. Everything that went wrong was the fault of the Jews. The Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, who had attacked the Islamic Revolution in Iran, was a Jew. The Americans, who were giving money to Saddam, were controlled by the Jews. The Jews controlled the world, and that was why we had to be pure: to resist this evil influence. Islam was under attack, and we should step forward and fight the jews, for only if all Jews were destroyed would peace come for Muslims. 'Infidel' p85-Ayaan Hirsi Ali,Free Press,2007

So now we can understand why there is such hatred of jews in arab countries. The palestinian arabs are not the cause, but the pretext to attack jews and Israel. The hatred of jews is written in the Koran, the extermination of the Jews prescribed in a hadith which muslim scholar after muslim scholar says is a 'good' one, i.e. trustworthy and to be followed as if written in the koran:

The above indoctrination has not faded with the years, but renews itself every day in muslim schools from Jakarta in Indonesia to Birmingham in the UK. Wahabite preachers not only worked their poison into impressionable young muslim minds in Kenya, but do it every day in all muslim and arab countries and also in western countries.

nd this is why Israel must never even contemplate giving away territory to genocidal muslims again.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The running sore of Gush Katif is a reminder that Israel's great leaders also made great mistakes

Jerusalem's Old city was lost in 1948 after Ben-Gurion bombed the Altalena bringing weapons to be shared between the Irgun and Hagana
Mistakes are part of life, and jewish and zionist leaders made their fair share of major mistakes whilst trying to represent their people. Sometimes the dilemma was an impossible one, such as that of the Judenrat in a ghetto under nazi occupation. If the jewish leadership did not represent their community they were afraid the germans would liquidate the whole community overnight. Yet if they co-operated in selecting jews to be sent east to 'labor camps', they then became complicit in their deaths. May we never have to make such awful decisions.

Then there was Weizman who loved the British almost as much as his own people, who let his love of Britain cloud his desire for an Independent Israel (He was ready to accept a rump of territory on the coast, a mere autonomy to be granted by Britain which had abrogated its duties to establish a jewish state under the League of Nations Mandate 1922. This brought about the split between him and Ben-Gurion).

Ben-Gurion lost Jerusalem after picking a murderous and unnecessary fight with Begin and the already disbanding Irgun (the Altalena 'incident'). Before that BG had collaborated with the British during the 'season' in 1945 whereby the Hagana and Palmach were ordered to hand over Irgun fighters to the British occupiers.
The only reason why a terrible civil war did not ensue with the resulting possible defeat of jewish forces by arabs at a critical point in time, was that Menahem Begin was determined that nothing would convince him to take up arms against other jews. 

 Moshe Dayan who organised the 'season', the brutal crackdown on the Irgun and Stern Group (known as a 'gang' by the British was a great general who defeated arab attempts to divert the headwaters of the Jordan, and was architect of the 1956 rout of the  Egyptian army. But Dayan's impressive credentials and public persona belied a twisted and even sadistic personality, a cruelty to his wife and towards his troops. Despite Dayan's unequaled personal bravery he was a moral coward unable to speak up for his ideas even when he knew he was right. He failed to assert his opposition to the building and then maintaining of the disastrous white elephant of the Bar-Lev line. It is forgotten now that from 1968-1970 the Bar Lev line cost a thousand israeli lines.
Dayan also failed when he allowed inexperienced generals to mount disastrous and suicidal attacks unsupported by infantry in the Sinai in the early days of the 1973 War [Dayan who was officially retired from the army but as Defence Minister and still with a colossal stature could then effectively appoint and remove the commanders. He felt that Israel was doomed in the first days when Egypt and Syria were both advancing. Seeing Israeli forces being unable to stop their enemies Dayan had a 'Rabin' moment, being caught sobbing uncontrollably on the Golan heights by one of the commanders]).

Sharon also had his share of mistakes, such as sacrificing the paratroopers in 1956 in an unnecessary action against the egyptians, against orders.The troops fell into a carefully laid ambush. Then there was his leading of Begin by the nose ever deeper into Lebanon, and of Sabra & Shatila massacre by the phalangists. The phalangists 'owed' the palestinians a massacre or two after their people had been previously humiliated and massacred and Bashir Gemayel the Lebanese president was assassinated. Sharon should have realised what the phalangists were about, but as they had been until then useless as fighters, it was thought they could clean out stay-behind PLO terrorists in the camp. And when Sharon was informed by a sniper that he had Arafat in his sights, Sharon refused to give the order to shoot as he had agreed with the americans not to harm the mass murderer during his cruise to Tunis. True to form, Arafat was later to repay this mercy after Oslo by unleashing the suicide bombers against Israel, with over a thousand israelis killed and 10,000 wounded from 2001-4.

If Sharon had not been so determined to remove the PLO from Beirut (not a wholly bad idea as the PLO had been committing constant terror against Israel ever since King Hussein had thrown them out of Jordan in 1970) and had satisfied himself with Israel's taking only southern Lebanon up to the Litani river, arab and islamic terror would have been defeated, and Israel would have had a very secure border at relatively low cost in dead and wounded ( this mistake of withdrawing from Lebanon will need to be rectified at a future date, unless Hezbollah implodes and a peaceful Lebanon arises. Hezbollah might indeed fall apart at some future date owing to the new sunni-shia fault line running through Syria but no arab government will make a durable peace with Israel).

But Sharon's greatest mistake was in withdrawing from Gaza, from Gush Katif, from the 'Philadelphia' buffer between Gaza and Egypt which prevented armaments getting to Hamas. Sharon who above all people knew the importance of land in ensuring the security of Israel, understood that the settlements of Gush Katif were the trip wire against the threat from the south. The Gush Katif settlements broke up the Gaza strip and held the major road junctions. The Gush made it difficult for the Hamas terrorists to organize the terror, to move munitions around, to bombard Israel proper. The settlements took the missile barrages that afterwards were sent directly into israeli towns and cities.

Sharon tried to come to a peace agreement with Hamas but to no avail. They weren't interested in anything but a 10 year truce, as per koranic precepts. The Koran does not allow full peace with non muslims. Non muslims must either pay the jizya (the racist poll tax) or be killed, if weaker. When the 'infidel' enemy is stronger than muslims, peace may reign until they are strong enough to overcome the 'kufar' enemy.

Hamas can not sign a peace, and will never do so. Sharon surrounded with some very able advisers such as Dore Gold must have known this fact. Yet in desperation to have quiet from the palestinian arabs always complaining about 'occupation' Sharon withdrew from Gaza (the 'resisting occupation' phrase arabs never explain in english but when speaking in arabic they make no secret of the fact that 'occupation' refers to all the territory of Israel. 'Removing the occupation' is thus a euphemism for the destruction of Israel). Even before the dust had settled on destroyed Gush Katif, the missiles and mortars began to pound Israel by the hundreds.

Shifra Shomron who was a teenager when Gush Katif was destroyed in 2005 talks about her fictionalized account of the people of Gush Katif, the life they built in the face of constant terror attacks, and the ultimate destruction:

Monday, 4 February 2013

Jews of Yemen (ctd) - Ma'abarot'- The tent camps, Prefab and permanent housing (Sepharadim: Part 6)

From My Life-Golda Meir  pps217-20

But there  had to be priorities, and for me, at least, housing and jobs for the immigrants headed the list. Not all of my colleagues atree.....explained to me.....why a housing programme of the kind I envisaged.....would only lead to inflation. It would be far wiser to put the little money at our disposal into factories or streamlined methods of agriculture. But I couldn't accept or support any recommendation that didn't deal with the absorption of immigrants, first and foremost, from the human point of view...The creation of a good society - depended to an overwhelming degree on how people lived, and there was no point in our talking loftily about social responsibility, education or even public health unless we got at lest some of the new immigrants out of those dreadful tents and into proper housing as soon as possible.....
We couldn't make houses out of milk and honey (not that those commodities were available either), so I took myself off to the States....and once again asked the Jews of America for help..
I went to our Parliament two weeks ago last Tuesday, and presented a project for 30,000 housing units by the end of this year. Parliament approved it, and there was great joy in the country. But actually I did a strange t hing: I presented a project for which I didn't have the money. ....It is an awful thing to do - to forge a signature to a cheque, but I have done it. I have promised the people at home and the people in the camps that the government is going to put up these 30,000 units and we have already started to do so with the little money we have.
 I got the money and we began to build.....Not a single family that entered Israel in those great waves of immigration ever lacked shelter of some kind. Somehow we found or invented accommodation for everyone. When the corrugated metal huts ran out, we used canvas and nailed it to wooden frames and created tens of thousands of fabric shacks; when these ran out we went unhappily back to tents for a while. But no one slept out of doors and we never stopped building.....

If we were not to create two classes of Israelis - the relatively well-established  'oldtimers', on the one hand, and the new immigrants in their crowded, ugly ma'abarot on the other - we would have to supply a lot more than just housing. We would have to see to it, that the new immigrants worked and got paid for their work.... a public works programme.

This was not easy either. the majority of the so-called oriental Jews (those from the Middle East and North Africa) had virtually no skills that were applicable to their circumstances in the new state. We feared that many of them would get used to doing nothing but living on a dole for year.......lauched a massive road-building scheme throughout the country, and hundreds upon hundreds of acres of stony, stubborn land were cleared, terraced and afforested, by hand. And all the time we went onn bilding and training the immigrants, though the tide of immigration didn't slow down until 1952.

I remember how pessimistic..disapproving.. some of my colleagues were about the road-building. Not only didn't we need all those approach roads, but importing the building materials was in itself a luxury, and anyhow the roads would be no good because we didn't have the kind of workers we needed. But I relied on three things: the dedication and ingenuity of the oldtimers; the growing desire of the new immigrants to earn an honest day's wage and not to be turned into perpetual wards of the state or the Jewish Agency;
Looking back, I must say that I was very rarely disappointed, though anyone watching the way way in which those roads were built in 19449  and the early 1950's would have been justified in considering us all to be a little mad. We used to take one skilled construction worker from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, turn him overnight into the foreman of a road-building crew somewhere in the south and leave him to cope with the problem of supervising ten men who spoke ten different languages, came from ten different countries and had only been in Israel for a few intolderably confusing months. But somehow or other, though perhaps inefficiently and too expensively, the roads (wryly nicknamed 'the golden roads' in my honour) were built.

In 1952 when the immigration began to taper off at last - to 1,000 a day - we started to direct newcomers away from the ma'abarot into regular quarters in new development areas and border villages all over Israel and stress agriculture rather than public works. We gave each immigrant family not only a tiny house but also a plot of land, livestock and lessons in farming. We made mistakes about that, too. We tried probably too soon, to turn the pressure cooker into a melting pot. We created villages populated by combinations of people like the road-building crews. They had nothing much in common with each other and found it difficult (sometimes impossible) to live together in a totally isolated part of the country, and they usually had neither any experience nor any taste for farming. Many of them rebelled and drifted away to the towns, where they settled into slums. But most of them stayed and became first-rate farmers whose children today grow the israeli fruit, flowers and vegetables that are bought around the world.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Victims 1956 (Gazan Egyptians and their 'Fedayeen' terror) - Israel: The early years - 3

Prayer book and skull caps lie in pool of dried blood of school synagogue at Shafrir after attack by fedayeen in 1956
Whilst many countries never cease to criticize Israel over its supposedly harsh treatment of palestinian arabs, the constant incitement and terror that is waged against Israel gets hardly a mention. Israel is attacked many times a day by terrorists yet only when Israel responds to an attack will news media publish an account. Usually that account will center around Israel's 'cruel' and 'disproportionate' response.
In modern times, terror against jews in Israel has not ceased since at least the 1920's. The first major attack in 1921, with the collusion of one of the highest ranking officers of the British army Colonel Waters-Taylor resulted in hundreds of jews dead and wounded. This was the first major attack of Haj Amin el Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. He and his nephew Yassir Arafat would be indefatigable in their lust for jewish blood.

The following terror attack was just one out of hundreds. It came just months before the 1956 war caused by Nasser's closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, the constant terror and threats to destroy Israel (Israel had no response to a massive supply of weapons from the USSR, and needed to smash the egyptian army before it could absorb the modern weaponry).

From Deborah Dayan's book, 'Pioneer'

The Habad Hassidim are a religious group. They believe in a life close to the soil, in a life of labor and religion, according to the Laws of the Bible. They have established the beginnings of a small Agricultural School near the village of Shafrir. The small institution has many problems. There is not enough money. The soil suffers from a weed known as chickweed, which spreads and chokes every plant and has to be constantly kept under control.

The students are a problem too. They don't come from settler's circles. Most of them have only been in the country a few months. They come from backward countries in North Africa and most of them reached Israel ahead of their parents. Slum-life has left its stamp on them. They are absolutely illiterate. They are outbursts of fury.

It was these "problem-children" who were chosen by the Habbad Hassidim for their students. They send their representatives to the Immigration Camps and pick out the toughest cases. So far there have been only two dropouts.

All this calls for a lot of responsibility from the instructors. They start out by teaching their students Hebrew, reading and writing. They take care of their education and bring them up to the accepted standard in Israel for their age-groups. After that they keep in touch with them during their Army service.

After about half a year the quiet village life and the work on the little school farm had raised the children's spirits and they had begun to settle down.

One day after the evening prayers, a party of murderous infiltrators from Egypt opened fire on the school. As the children were standing with their instructor, after a day full of work and play, they flung hand grenades at them and sniped at them with automatic weapons. Three were killed on the spot, including the beloved instructor who was himself no more than a boy. There were many wounded.

I saw the pool of blood in the synagogue, the blood stained pages of the prayer book. The mother kissing the doctor's hands and begging him to save the life of her boy, whose legs had been amputated.

Anyone who attended the funeral or even merely read about the horror, must cry aloud from the depth of his hear: "Hack off the hands of these emmissaries of murder, these killers of children!"

During the early days after the murder there was a state of alarm and condfusion amongst the children. Some of them were afraid to stay on and went home to their parents or relatives. But the devotion of the adults, the encouragement they received from the entire community and espectially the continuation of studies had their calming effect.

One week later I found all of them back at school. They were still a little nervous, but they all stayed in their beds at night.

On the First of May the members of the Executive Committee of the Histadruth, Israel's General Federation of Labor, came to Shafrir and helped lay the foundation for a large vocational training school to be established on the spot.

The enemies will never understand us: The more they kill us, the more horrible their acts, the harder we shall work to build up the country. Life must go on.