MIDEAST OUTPOST JANUARY 2013
From his space station at the outer limits of surreal-politik, Shimon Peres has thrown down a gauntlet to Israel on the eve of perhaps its most fateful national election in more than six decades . The Jewish state, its 89 year-old president solemnly informed an audience at the prestigious Globe-Israel Business Conference in Tel-Aviv, “faces a choice between Gaza and the West Bank, between Hamas and [Palestinian Authority] President Abbas… One is wrong, the other is right. We have to choose.”
A Disproportionate Response
With all the concern expressed by the U.S. administration that Israel’s response to the terrorists of Hamas not be “disproportionate,” the true disproportion is being practiced by that same administration–in keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison for what is now 28 years. This is even more outrageous now that new evidence, as a Jerusalem Post editorial says “puts the lie to American allegations that have been used for over a quarter of a century to justify Pollard’s continued incarceration.”
The most important lie is that Pollard did enormous damage to U.S. national security. The Department of Justice’s Victim Impact Statement (VIS), now a matter of public record, which was submitted to the sentencing judge in 1987, states that Pollard’s “unauthorized disclosures have threatened the US relations with numerous Middle East Arab allies” and “deprived the US of bargaining leverage with the Israel government.”
Today I received an e-mail from a prominent Israeli scientist. I had asked him why the same people whose lives are enhanced and lengthened by Israel’s dazzling contributions to medicine, science and technology should want to boycott and divest from Israeli companies and seek to terminate the Jewish state. He responded with his customary wit:
“First, there is the occupation of the laboratory. Then our medical Mossad spies on and locates and diagnoses errant and destructive cells and tumors. Then our assault team targets them and destroys them using all the weapons at our disposal including chemicals, drug protocols, radiation, genes and enzymes. Then when we are successful, we call a cease fire to observe and record the results.”
Editor’s note: Below are excerpts from a 2009 essay by Nadav Shragai on what is known as the E-1 area between Jerusalem and M’aale Adumim.
Netanyahu’s declaration that Israel will build there has produced a firestorm of criticism worldwide, including from the Obama administration, which calls it a “provocative action.” Yet, as this three year old essay makes clear, in saying that he will build in this corridor Netanyahu promises no more than what every Prime Minister since Rabin has undertaken to do. Under U.S. pressure all of them have backed down. The question remains open whether this time building will go beyond planning and rhetoric.
The national census for England and Wales has come out, and, as usual, this once-a-decade event has had all of its most significant points overlooked.
By any measure, what it reveals is a country undergoing seismic change. Over the course of a decade up to four million more people have entered the country to live. In the capital, London, people identifying themselves as “white British” have for the first time become a minority. Perhaps most strikingly, the national Muslim population has doubled.
Surprised that Israelis entering Jordan are required to deposit religious Jewish items, like skullcaps and tefillin, for “security reasons”?
It’s happening in many European countries as well, where Jews are once again in grave danger and Judeophobia has become the common currency of politics.
(Editor’s note: This is another in our series celebrating the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.)
In early 1927, a small group of residents in what was then called Palestine, spurred by the Zionist goal of reclaiming Israel and encouraged by the promises of the Balfour Declaration, established a community south of Jerusalem on land recently bought by a Jewish landholding company. They named it “Migdal Eder” after a site named in the Torah. The community faced continual hardships and the Arab riots of 1929 soon drove them off.
In 1935 Shmuel Holtzman, a Zionist pioneer inspired by the biblical history of the area–the footprints of Abraham and Isaac on the path to Moriah, the fields where Ruth gathered sheaves, the hills where David was a shepherd, and the caves where the Maccabees and the soldiers of Bar Kochba hid– established a village which he named Kfar Etzion. The name derives from the word Etz – Hebrew for “Holtz,” German for “wood,” after the name of the founder.
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