Friday, October 29, 2010

A week without Racism

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, published a ruling forbidding residents to sell or rent their homes to Arabs. And Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Spiritual Leader of the Shas Party, tends to the same position. Not that the distinguished rabbis are racists, God forbid. Of course not. The Rabbis just checked and found that under Jewish religious law, Jews may not sell or rent their homes to non-Jews. And rabbis are constrained, of course, to maintain the Jewish religious law.

Oren Milstein, Deputy Mayor of Karmiel, strongly called upon residents not to sell or rent their homes to Arabs, and established the Red Email to which you can inform on a neighbor known to be selling to Arabs. Not that Milstein is a racist, God forbid. Of course not. Milstein just found that the goal of Zionism is to establish towns and villages intended for Jews only, and from which Arabs would be excluded. And public officials are constrained, of course, to realize the goals of Zionism.

Supporters of the late Meir Kahane came to demonstrate at Umm al-Fahm and inform its Arab residents that sooner or later they would be expelled from their homes and that Umm al-Fahm would become a Jewish city as they were willing to explain on the radio. The National Police raised a large force to protect the demonsrators and allow them to exercise their democratic right to call for the expulsion of the Arabs. The police's weapons were directed at the protesting residents of Umm al Fahm. Heavy volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets were shot at the Arab residents and the Arab Knesset Members supporting them. Not that the police supports racists, God forbid. Of course not. The police just noticed that the residents of Umm al-Fahm were demonstrating without a permit. And the police is constrained, of course, to maintain public order.

Kahane fans also held a conference in the luxurious Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem and called for the expulsion of all Arabs from all over the country. The hotel's management is not sympathetic ro racists, God forbid. Of course not. The hotel management just consulted its lawyers and found that the Kahanists already signed a valid contract for the event. And respectable business people are constrained, of course, not to violate contracts.

Members of the Knesset Constitutional Committee approved for the second and third readings the Admission Committees Bill, which would enshrine in law the right of state-funded communities, which get government land at next to nothing, to refuse to admit Arabs. Not that the Knesset Members are racists, God forbid. Of course not. They just checked and found that Arabs joining these communities might disrupt their social fabric. And decent Parliamentarians are constrained, of course, to maintain the integrity of the social fabric.

In the coming days Prime Minister Netanyahu is due to announce the appointment of Gilead Arden as the next Ambassador of Israel to the UN. And Arden will not have any difficulty in fulfilling his new role. Of course not. Ambassador Arden, an articulate and experienced person, will find no difficulty at all in rebutting the assertions that Zionism is racist, and showing this as the infamous anti-Semitic calumny that it is.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Water in an arid land

Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it. For out of that well they watered the flocks, and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered, and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.

And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. (Book of Genesis, Chapter 29).

So begins one of the oldest and most well-known love stories in world culture. A story which was originally told in a society of shepherds for whom the raising of herds and watering them was at the center of daily life. A story which may have been often told when shepherds met at the waterhole, and which was eventually written down, and included in a Holy Book, and translated into all the languages of the world. It is still told to all children in Israeli schools (sometimes they hear it already in the kindergarten). A story which is part of the heritage that the Zionist Movement cited when firmly laying claim to the ancestral land of the Jews.

When arriving in this country as a young pioneer, David Ben Gurion tried his hand at being a shepherd, but did not last in that profession for more than a few months. But, there were still shepherds in this country, whose livelihood it had been from time immemorial - a life not so different from those of the shepherds of Jacob and Rachel's time (and perhaps those ancient shepherds are also among the ancestors of the present ones...)

Noah El-Rajabi is such a shepherd, with a herd of two hundred sheep and goats. He is married, and has seven children. They live near the town of Bani Na'im, 17 kilometers from Hebron. They live under the authority of the Israeli Defense Forces, the army which was established by the state which was established by the movement which firmly demanded that a Jewish state be established in the ancient homeland where Jacob and Rachel once grazed their herds.

Last week - just an ordinary Monday, October 11, at 08:00 am – the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces arrived unannounced at the spot where Noah El-Rajabi was grazing his flock. They destroyed his water cistern and his tent and a small wooden structure Noah used for cooking and storage.

The soldiers also kicked and beat the animals, and one pregnant ewe aborted. Noah's eldest son, 14, tried to protect the sheep. According to the army, he was arrested after assaulting the soldiers.

The Christian Peacemakers Team met Noah in Hebron. He did not know where his son was being held, or where he could get water for his animals. CPTers from Britain and Sweden accompanied Noah in his prolonged running about between three Israeli police stations, finally getting the information that is son was being held at the "Ofer" detention camp. For how long, nobody could or would tell. Nor were the police ready to hear the complaint which Noah tried to lodge about the behavior of the soldiers.

For the time being, Noah's herd is being cared for by his brother, who lives on a nearby hill and whose water cistern is still in tact...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A voice from the past

The "Loyalty Oath Bill" – latest shot in the incitement campaign against the Arab citizens of Israel. Those at the helm are prone to de-legitimize them, ultimately aiming to strip them of citizenship and leave them on the other side of the border.

And just now falls, by the Jewish calendar, the anniversary of the assassination of  Rabin. During the official memorial ceremonies scheduled for tomorrow, representatives of all parties will air the most beautiful cliches, expressing  grief and mourning and shock at the murder of a  Prime Minister in the streets of Tel Aviv.

Few will remember
or remind of the words of Yitzhak Rabin in his last interview, aired on Israeli television on the evening of  November 1, 1995:

- Host: Mr. Prime Minister, your government relies for its parliamentary majority on the vote of Arab Knesset Members. Also in order to approve the Oslo II Agreement you relied on such a majority. How do you answer those who say that a government which relies on Arabs is not legitimate?

- Yitzhak Rabin, angrily: Anyone who says that is a racist.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When the cat is away, the mice can play

How long until the U.S. elections? Three weeks? Quick, quick, how much more can we achieve in three weeks? Hurry, after the election Obama will come back in force, what we don’t achieve now will never get done, quick, quick ... In the settlements hundreds of housing units were already built, and Lieberman's bill of Loyalty to the Jewish State gained a large majority in the cabinet, and also a firm Knesset speech on the Jewish state gained all the headlines, and our boys in Hebron performing a neat assassination of two Hamas people without making too much noise, and a small public insult to the European foreign ministers, well that's just routine, and we destroyed again that Negev Bedouin village, and in Silwan the head of the settlers ran over two Palestinian boys and this also got done more or less quietly, and a bit of burning of olive trees during the harvest ... How long still to the elections in America? More than two weeks left? Good. Good, so there is still time for a lot more. Kill Ahmadinejad when he is close to our border? Hmmm, this would be a great idea. On the other hand, as long as he lives, his idiotic speeches really help us with PR. No, forget about this. But 250 houses in East Jerusalem? Excellent, excellent, now is the opportunity. There will be some yelling, but until the elections in America it will be forgotten.

How long until the elections? Two weeks still? Who has some more good ideas?

 The burning report

The testimony of A., a Palestinian farmer from the village of Far'ata telling of what happened to his olive grove yesterday morning, was written down by peace activist David Nir, who spends much of his time monitoring the situation in the Nablus Area.

On the morning of Friday, October 15, A. And his family were harvesting olives on a plot near the built-up area of Far'ata. At 10.30 he was alerted to smoke rising from his other olive grove, which is near the "Gile'ad's Farm" settler outpost. The olives from the trees in that grove had been stolen by settlers before the Palestinian owners were allowed to visit it, and the settlers had recently started pouring concrete foundations for building a house there.

A. run to the spot, accompanied by two other Far'ata residents who also have trees nearby. All three ran on foot, intending to put off the fire. When the settlers saw the Palestinians approaching, one of them ran in their direction – being followed by four soldiers. The soldiers pushed the settler back from the three Palestiniand but did not detain him. It was the Palestinians who were detained, taken by the soldiers away from the burning trees and kept directly under the sun. (The temperature was about 37 degrees Celsius, and A. eventually required medical treatment for dehydration symptoms.)

While detained by the soldiers, the Palestinians saw the same settler moving between the different plots and personally setting the trees on fire, without interruption from the many soldiers who were nearby and witnessed the scene.. When A. asked the soldiers guarding him why they were not preventing the settlers from putting trees on fire before their eyes, they shouted at him to be quiet. When he said he would complain about their helping the settlers to burn the trees they said they would testify that it was him who had set the fire.

Around 13.30 two of the four soldiers were called to another place. The three Palestinians took advantage of the remaining soldiers' inattentiveness and escaped back to Far'ata, as they were sure the soldiers intended to take them into detention.

Only after hours of burning did the army allow fire trucks to arrive, but it was too late. When TV crews from Israeli, Palestinian and European stations arrived, the soldiers rushed them away to a location from which the fire was not visible.

A. estimates that the fire consumed more than a hundred acres of olive groves with more than 3000 trees, most of which belong to farmers from the nearby village of Tel. When Tel villagers riding donkeys tried to reach the spot, the settlers took away their donkeys and the army chased them away.

When representatives of the Palestinian Authority arrived, the soldiers expelled them, too.

All throughout the fire, there were about 40 settlers running about, as were many policemen and some 150 soldiers. The settlers were demonstratively friendly with the "security forces", who made no attempt to stop them from continuing to put trees on fire.

Something to be proud of

The following segments have been translated from the article "He goes Free" which appeared in Yediot Aharonot newspaper on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - and speak for themselves:

In the middle of a trip to Eilat, Daniel Okev stopped the vehicle, drew his gun and shot the British tourists who had taken a ride with him. 13 years have passed, and now he is already being released from prison.

On August 12, 1997 Okev, an IDF reserve officer, picked up in his car a pair of tourists from England, Max Hunter and Charlotte Gibb, who were in their twenties. In the evening, when they reached the Mitzpe Ramon area, he stopped the car and went out with the tourists to freshen up. The three smoked cigarettes, looked at the stars and Okev explained to them how to find the North Star. Suddenly, for no reason, Okev pulled out the pistol which he carried with a permit and fired five bullets at the two. Hunter was hit in the head and died on the spot. Gibb was hit in the face and survived by pretending to be dead.

Okev, who thought he did kill the couple, went back to his car and sped away, but within days the police managed to track him down. He was arrested, confessed, and was indicted for murder and severe assault.

Okev's attorneys argued in his defense that he had committed the murder under the influence of traumatic experiences from the time of his military service, spent in the Rimon Special Unit which in the seventies carried out hundreds of liquidations in Gaza, in the course of the struggle against Palestinian terrorist organizations

A character witness in favor of Okev was Maj. Gen. (ret.) Meir Dagan, founder and commanding officer of the Rimon Special Unit, who is at present Dircetor of the Mossad. Dagan's testimony was given behind closed doors and its contents remain a mystery.

Okev was sentenced to twenty years in prison after being found guilty of "murder with reduced responsibility". It was decided, however, to deduct one-third of his sentence for good behavior and he is accordingly being released after 13 years in prison.

Upon his release Okev said: "First of all I am going to rebuild my family. I want my children to understand that their real father is not the murderer but the warrior from the Rimon Special Unit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A golden opportunity

Upcoming visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad in Lebanon is a golden PR opportunity for Israel - providing fuel for its ongoing worldwide campaign against Iran, a country which gave a key role in its government to such a person - a vulgar racist provocateur, who incites and crudely insults whereever he goes.

And we have among us just the person to head such a campaign against the President of Iran – Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Catch 44

- Hello, is this the Interior Ministry of the State of Israel?
- Yes, sir. How may I help you?
- I wanted to find out about my request for family unification.
- Family reunification? What do you mean?
- You know what family reunification means! I am a Palestinian living in Nablus, my wife is an Israeli citizen who lives in Nazareth. We got married five years ago, and still you do not allow us to live together and start a family.
- Start a family?
- Yes, a family. You know, buy a house, have children, is it not a natural aspiration?
- There are all kinds of opinions about that, depending on the political situation. Never mind about that now. You know you should provide a lot of documents and certificates?
- I gave you all the certificates, months ago. Everything, exactly according to all your laws and regulations. It took me an enormous lot of effort, running around to get everything. What more do you want?
- You know that we have a new law. You must pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
- Okay, okay, I will declare whatever you want. To end this hell I would even declare that the moon is made of green cheese. Well, then, here goes: I hereby solemnly declare my allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. OK? Can I now go to Nazareth?
- Wait a minute, sir. Do you understand what you have declared?
- I have declared that Israel is a Jewish state. You have rabbis and a Jewish tradition and Jewish holidays, Passover and Hanukkah and Yom Kippur. Very nice. But how does this concern me and my wife and our home in Nazareth?
- It does, very much so. Perhaps you noticed that you also swore allegiance to Israel as  a democracy?
- That certainly does not bother me.
- It might not bother you, but it very much bothers us. We are a democracy. That means that if too many democratic Arabs vote in our democratic elections, it will become difficult to elect a Jewish Knesset which will establish a Jewish government. In short, even without you we have got a bit too many Arabs here, and we don't want any additions. So kindly turn back to Nablus and stop bothering us.
- What is this? You are crooks!
- Sir, you are
posing to me a demographic threat. I have a clear principle, never to talk to anyone who threatens me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Unknown people entered yesterday night the village of Beit Fajr, which is surrounded by settlements on all sides. The unknowns reached the village mosque, set it on fire left graffiti in Hebrew about "Revenge" and "exacting a price".

Shaul Goldstein, the elected leader of the settlers in this area, protested angrily the media assumption that settlers are responsible for the arson. "The investigation is still at its the beginning, all options are open. Why are we blamed? This is part of an incitement campaign!"

Indeed, it is also quite possible that the mosque was torched by aliens who arrived during the night in a spaceship from Mars. This possibility, too, should be looked into.

"Why can't they deport me, instead?"

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire was detained at Ben Gurion Airport. The State of Israel is absolutely unwilling to let her enter the country. Maguire appealed to the Supreme Court, but the state authorities hold firmly to their resolve: no way can she enter the country, not even for a few days. It is dangerous!

"Why can't they deport me, instead?" remarked Mordechai Vanunu, who had come to the Petach Tikva District court to support Maguire.

But: Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear whistleblower, can't get through Ben Gurion Airport, either. The State of Israel is absolutely unwilling to let him leave the country. Vanunu appealed to the Supreme Court, but the state authorities hold firmly to their resolve: no way can he leave the country, not even for a few days. It is dangerous!

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Why am I singled out?"

PM Netanyahu has a bitter complaint to make. For seventeen years the Palestinians are negotiating with Israel, without demanding the freezing of settlement construction. There were lots of festive ceremonies, lots of handshakes in front of TV cameras, multiple peace processes – an all the time, the bulldozers continued their work, and settlements grew and expanded apace. Seventeen years it lasted, and it seemed such a convenient arrangement!

But suddenly, the nasty Palestinians changed the rules. Now they are fiercely demanding a settlement construction freeze. Otherwise, there will be no negotiations, no meetings, no handshakes, no photo opportunities.

"Why does it have to be me? All these headaches, all this trouble with the Americans, and with the coalition partners, and with the settlers. Why me?"