A collection of the week's news from Israel
A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto
A collection of the week's news from Israel
April 13, 2001 (Pesach Edition) - 20 Nisan 5761
Issue number 321
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
April 22, 2001 at 8:00pm Shaarei Shomayim Are We Waking up from the Zionist Dream?
Leading Terrorist Wiped Out
A leading Islamic Jihad terrorist, Iyad Hardan, was killed this afternoon in what is presumed to be an Israeli liquidation. He was considered to be one of the most widely wanted Palestinian terrorists, responsible for dispatching several suicide terrorists and carbombs over the past several years. Most notably, he directed one of the Machaneh Yehuda market bombings in 1998, in which two people were killed and 21 were wounded.
Hardan was imprisoned for a while by the Palestinian Authority, but was released six months ago when the current war started. He was killed by an explosion in a public phone booth near the former Israeli Administration offices in Jenin. His boss was similarly killed by Israeli forces three months ago. Jihad leaders promised today to avenge the killing. Arutz 7 April 4
AIPAC Applauds House and Senate
(Washington, D.C.) - In light of more than six months of Palestinian violence against Israel, AIPAC applauded the 87 members of the Senate and the 209 members of the House for sending letters today to President Bush urging him to reassess U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority.
"These letters to the president recognize that the continued use of violence by Yasir Arafat and the Palestinians will have consequences impacting the U.S.-Palestinian relationship," Wuliger and Kohr said.
In calling for a reassessment of the U.S.-Palestinian relationship, members of Congress said such a review should examine the following questions: 1) Should Palestinian groups involved in violence, such as the PLO-affiliated groups Force 17 and Tanzim, be designated as foreign terrorist organizations? 2) Is U.S. aid to the Palestinians meeting its goals? 3) Is it appropriate for Arafat to be invited to meet with high-level officials in Washington while the violence continues?
"From our perspective, it is time for the United States to require that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority speak and act against the continuing violence and terrorism, or face a significant change in our relations with them," the lawmakers said in their letters. April 6
Ahmed Yassin on Killing Jews and More - Internet Conversation
Ahmed Yassin Held An Internet Conversation at the Website "Islam Online" on April 1, 2001, With Several Participants. The Following is an Excerpt From the Chat. (Source: IDF Spokesperson's Office
Question: Do you believe that it is best to check the precise timing and location to detonate "Human Bombs" in order to cause the maximum number of people among Jewish enemy, military men and civilians, and for what reason are you not drafting "Human Bombs" from among the Israeli Arab population?
Answer: Indeed it is best to check the exact timing and location in order to cause a maximum number of soldiers and civilians of the Zionist enemy, which is how our warrior brothers in the Az Adin Alkasam have been acting. However there is a difference between theoretical talk and actual operation because there are objective and self-restrictions that determine in many cases the timing and location. In regard to the drafting of "Human Bombs" from the 1948 Arabs, it has been considered. We have done this in the past and we will do this in the future, despite the pressures and psychological and social warfare waged against them, in order to prevent them from entering the Jihad and resistance arena.
Question: How do you assess the experience of the Hizballah and can a similar experience be put into action in conquered Palestinine?
Answer: In the past there was a difference between the conditions in which Hizballah operated in Lebanon and the conditions of resistance operated in Palestine. As opposed to the situation in Lebanon, the Palestinian authority
operated against the resistance while Hizballah won general support. Today, after we have entered the Al-Asqa Intifada, the situation is much improved. The resistance is legitimate and the Authority shuts its eyes and does not pursue the fighters. However, the resources at our people's disposal are very few and we require assistance from the neighboring Arab countries, and for weapons in order to fight the enemy.
Question: What are the priorities of the Hamas in this current situation and what is required of the individual man or woman, when all wish to participate in the Intifada?
Answer: Our priorities require that all children of Palestine, men and women, be ready for conflict, both from the standpoint of training and from the standpoint of armament. They must also be ready to assist the warriors in the arena of battle. The current stage does not allow the entrance of everyone into a military conflict, however everyone must be ready for the day in which it might take place, as the Zionist enemy is planning to attack our people and to control our land once again.
Question: When will the Hamas operate in order to harm Zionist interests outside of Israel while taking advantage of thousands of trained and loyal Muslims around the world?
Answer: The Hamas has taken the path of avoiding causing harm to Zionist interests outside of Palestine, not from weakness or lack of ability to do so, but because Hamas does not wish for further fronts to be opened against it around the world. A country with such internal interests harmed, will not allow damage to its security and stability, and will fight us. We do not want that. We wish that all countries around the world honor our wishes and our Jihad, and we avoid interfering in their business. Our Jihad will remain on Palestinian soil that is wide and large. History has proven that the PLO and its sectors suffered great damage when walking the way of harming Zionist interests in other countries around the world.
Yossi Beilin Defends Arafat on Israel Television Aaron Lerner April 11, 2001
Former Labor MK Yossi Beilin defended Yasser Arafat in an interview on Israel Television Channel One tonight after attending a meeting today win Ramallah with Arafat at Arafat's invitation. Beilin made several points: - Arafat cannot be expected to order the Palestinians to stop the violence since the Palestinians will not honor his order to stop shooting.
While Beilin is now a private citizen, (he left the Knesset when he became Justice Minister in the Barak administration so that the next person in line to become an MK could take his place) but remains a member of the Labor Party. The Labor Party is a member of the ruling coalition.
PM to Generals: 'Less Talk, More Action' By Amos Harel
Prime Minster Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer went to Kibbutz Nahal Oz across a field from the Gaza Strip yesterday to find out what the army plans to do about the escalating use of mortars by Palestinians against settlements in the area, and demanded that the generals spend less time talking and more time taking action.
The briefing, which began with a strategic tour d'horizon by Southern Command Maj. Gen. Doron Almog, was interrupted first by the defense minister, who said, "We know the political agenda. How do we deal with the mortars?"
The general responded he wanted to clarify the background to the situation first, and then Sharon needled him, "When I was commander here, I focused on deeds, not talk."
The defense minister added, "Don't give us a political history lesson. Give us solutions in the field, not the air. How do we stop the mortars?"
There was some discomfort yesterday in the IDF over the criticism from Sharon and Ben-Eliezer, since many officers complain that they propose actions against the Palestinians that the political echelon rejects.
During the session with the generals yesterday, Sharon attacked those who anonymously complained that he had apologized to the Americans over the shooting at the Erez junction after last week's security coordination meeting with the Palestinians. Sharon insisted he did not apologize to anyone, but rather expressed regret over the incident. "Where are the officers who aren't satisfied with that?" he demanded. In a brief off-the-cuff encounter with reporters, Sharon insisted he has a plan to stop the violence. "We know exactly what we are doing. I have a very clear plan. The plan will be executed and security will return to the residents. It just takes a little patience. Ha'aretz. April 10
Mk Hendel: Gov't Has Good Intentions
Prime Minister Sharon met with the Knesset members of the National Union-Yisrael Beitenu party last night to discuss the security situation. One of the participants was MK Tzvi Hendel, who also happens to be a resident of Gush Katif. "We sat and talked with Prime Minister Sharon for almost two hours," Hendel explained today. "It would be wrong to say that I left the meeting more calm, with the sense that everything will be okay...But there is hope. This government has good intentions, but we told Mr. Sharon that the government's actions - its use of [Foreign Minister Shimon] Peres [to meet with PLO officials] for instance, does not reflect the approach we feel Israel should take...You don't speak to murderers, you hit them..."
Hendel said that Sharon assured the concerned MKs "just as he repeated to the media today - that he has a clear plan for battling the Arab terrorism...we didn't leave with clear answers to our concerns, but we were given a promise that we will see practical results in the days to come..." Speaking on Voice of Israel radio earlier in the day, party colleague (Infrastructures Minister) Avigdor Lieberman was more confident of the government's direction. Lieberman asserted that within two months' time, the government will have the situation totally under control. Arutz 7 April 10
Israeli Schools to Promote Palestinian Nationalism
The Israel-Arab tracking committee plans to introduce new material into the Arab-Israeli school curriculum. If implemented, the new program will stress the "Palestinian identity" of Israeli Arabs. Israel's Ministry of Education recently announced that, utilizing parental input, any one of the country's schools may decide on up to 25% of its curriculum. Arab Education Committee head Razi Mansour confirmed today that the slated changes in the Arab-Israeli school system are clearly anti-Zionist in nature. Arutz 7 April 10
PLO Structures Destroyed in Overnight Operation
The IDF continues to strike at the Arab terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. Last night, an IDF team entered the town of Khan Yunis and destroyed several buildings that were discovered to be the source of the mortar fire on IDF posts and civilian communities in Gaza in recent weeks. IDF spokesman Ron Kitri explained today that last night's operation was merely part of a long-term plan to strike at the sources of terrorism. IDF Gaza commander Brig.-Gen. Ya'ir Naveh said that the IDF action was a response to "months of attacks on Neve Dekalim and other Gaza communities...the Palestinian Authority is behind these attacks, either directly, or indirectly - by turning a blind eye to those cells planning them." IDF intelligence sources believe that the PLO has discovered mortars to be effective weaponry, facilitating minor strikes on communities beyond and adjacent to the 1967 "Green Line."
Last night, too, Arab terrorists fired mortar shells at communities and posts Gush Katif. Gaza Regional Council head Aharon Tzur said that he was pleased with the IDF operation, since it showed "what the army can do if its hands are untied. The real litmus test, though, is consistency; if this was a one-of-a-kind event, then we will not have accomplished anything. If the move represents a change of direction, letting the army enter Area A to do what it has to do to stop terrorism, then it's a welcome development." Y-net reported late this afternoon that PA forces have issued a warning call to residents of Ramallah to "beware of the penetration of Israeli forces into Ramallah, in a manner similar to last night's entry into Khan Yunis." Arutz 7 April 11
Arafat Changes Tune After US Pressure
Yasser Arafat seems to have learned from the zig-zag approach of his former counterpart, Ehud Barak. In the wake of the IDF operation in Khan Yunis overnight, the PLO early today announced that it would not participate in any meetings dealing with security cooperation between itself and Israel. Arafat advisor Nabil Abu Radeina went so far as to condemn what he called the "Israeli attack" saying that such operations are part of "an Israeli plan to weaken the Palestinian Authority and its institutions and to harm the Palestinian people." After pressure was exerted by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the American CIA, and European Union officials, however, Yasser Arafat late this afternoon gave the green light for his representatives to attend the meeting. The US ambassador to Israel is expected to host the gathering in his Herzeliya home this evening. Arutz 7 April 11
Hevron Continues to Draw Crowds
The Hevron Jewish community dedicated the newly-renovated Shavei Hevron yeshiva building today. Communications Minister Ruby Rivlin was on hand for the event, as well as thousands of Jews who came to celebrate another festive day of Passover with the Jewish community there. Spokesman Noam Arnon told Arutz-7 that the Beit Romano building was refurbished to house the yeshiva. "Beit Romano was originally built by a Jewish immigrant from Turkey, Avraham Yisrael Romano, and was called the 'Istanbuli'. It initially served as a home, a study hall and a synagogue," Arnon explained.
He also described the public turnout in Hevron as "above and beyond all expectations. We feared, that given our difficult situation, people would be hesitant to come here. But that's not what happened. A cross-section of Jews: men, women, children, elderly people have come in large numbers to rejoice with us." Arutz 7 April 11
Yisakrov Released, Files Report
Voice of Israel reporter Avi Yisakrov had a hair-raising experience today, when he and his Israeli-Arab driver were arrested by the PA paramilitary police in Ramallah. Arutz-7 correspondent Kobi Sela reports that Yisakrov came to Ramallah to cover a meeting between Oslo architect Yossi Beilin (Labor) and PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat. While travelling on a local road there, the driver hit and lightly injured an Arab boy. The two Israelis brought the boy to PA "police station" and were held and questioned for about an hour by Arab security personnel. By late afternoon, Voice of Israel news hinted that Yisakrovhad been released when it quoted his summing up of the Beilin-Arafat meeting: "Correspondent Avi Yisakrov reports on Beilin's conclusion that the most important message he understood from his talks with Arafat is that the Palestinians are prepared to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions." The station reported that also attending the meeting were Oslo architect Ron Pundak and PLO official Faisel Husseini.
If a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute is any indication, Faisel Husseini envisions further conflict with Israel rather than peace. Late last month, MEMRI reported on a speech delivered by Husseini to a forum of Arab lawyers in Beirut on March 21. During his speech, Husseini said that Sharon must not be allowed to achieve security because that would defeat the Palestinians politically. He added that the Palestinian strategic goal is a state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Following are some excerpts from the Husseini talk:
"Blessed be Beirut who broke the enemy and proved that we can defeat the super powers. Blessed be the resistance [Hizbullah], which gave us the hope that the future is in our hands. The Lebanese victory is the great and most important example of the reality in which the Israeli enemy is living, [the enemy] whose defeat begin a few weeks after the Arabs defeat in '67."
"In Barak's period, despite all the tragedies and the barbaric [Israeli] behavior we have broken many taboos and now Sharon is trying to roll things back. Barak agreed to a withdrawal from 95% of the occupied Palestinian lands and if we now allow Sharon to succeed in his political plans whose point of departure is [Israeli] security, it will mean that we will return to the negotiating table on the basis of a right to only 42% of the territory. On the other hand, if we pull Sharon down from the security standpoint, no other [Israeli] party will be able to conduct a dialogue with us except from the point where Barak stopped, namely, from the right to 95% of the territory. This is why we must not let Sharon succeed..." Arutz 7 April 11
Arab Businessman Targets R. Yosef
A Jordanian businessman has put out a contract, offering 1 million Jordanian dinars (About six million shekels or $1.5 million) for anyone that kills former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The businessman explained that recent statements made by the "Wise Israeli racist," have driven him to offer the reward. In a pre-Passover sermon, Rabbi Yosef called for the "annihilation" of all Arabs, "our enemies," adding they should be eliminated without a trace. Rabbi Yosef later clarified that he was referring only to terrorists and not all Arabs. Arutz 7 April 11
IDF Gaza Incursion Exposes Cabinet Splits Amid Surprise Signs of Palestinian Peace Feelers By Bradley Burston
The largest Israel Defense Forces ground raid on Palestinian-ruled soil to date only widened hawk-dove gaps in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's restive cabinet, as surprising reports surfaced Wednesday of fresh Palestinian peace feelers.
Israeli tanks and bulldozers roared into a refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip overnight, damaging or destroying as many as 30 houses in an operation aimed at smashing suspected bases for mortar attacks on Israeli settlements and army positions, Gazans said. Two Palestinians were reported killed and at least two dozen injured in a fierce fire-fight that ensued between hundreds of armed Palestinians and several dozen troops of IDF Givati infantry brigade.
The raid was cautiously welcomed by settlers and rightists as a first step in jacking up the level of Israeli military activity and "taking the battle to the enemy" after a period of relative Israeli restraint. Hawks like Public Security Minister Uzi Landau said the operation must be followed by a "policy of hitting at them all the time, everywhere, and not necessarily just where the mortars are ... so that the Palestinian Authority will begin to pay such a heavy price that in the course of time, it will become unbearable."
Taking a swipe at dovish Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who recently called Yasser Arafat "a partner who makes blunders," Landau said that the PA chairman was, rather, "the partner of (Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein." Landau said Arafat was "all in all a war criminal, for whom a case should already prepared by which to put him on trial in an international court of law." ...
As mixed signals arced through the broadcast air like exchanges of mortar fire Wednesday, Peres' tough-talking Labor Party colleague, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said in an open message to Palestinian leaders: "If they are under the impression that we will return to the negotiating table while violence is still raging here, they are simply making a mistake."
But Peres' own message, delivered nearly simultaneously, was one of never-say-never diplomacy. He allowed that it was "difficult to negotiate under fire," but said that dialogue was necessary to halt the violence that has claimed hundreds of lives since the uprising began in late September.
Asked if Sharon had given him a green light to establish a secret diplomatic channel to try to halt the bloodshed, Peres replied, "I am certainly holding contacts with the Palestinians to order to see how to reach a cease-fire."
Denying media reports that the army had been ordered to go on the offensive as a matter of policy, he added: "Shooting also constitutes a form of policy; it is simply an incorrect policy. We have to explain why this fire only makes more difficult and negates all chances of reaching dialogue." He said the army's policy remained one of "defense and reaction, not initiation." ...
The Israeli foreign minister might meet Abu Ala for discussions later in the day, Israeli radio stations reported. Arafat, meanwhile, was to hold talks with Peres' one-time protégé Yossi Beilin, who helped give birth to the secret Oslo talks that yielded a landmark PLO-Israel peace deal in 1993.
In fact, Peres Wednesday appeared in some respects more bullish about the chances for peace than for the prospects of a stable Sharon government.
Asked if his partnership with the hawkish Sharon was a conditional one, Peres chose his words with care. "It is a partnership, for as long as it is possible to keep it in existence." Ha’aretz April 11
Bush Says Violence Must End Before Mideast Talks Resume
Meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, President George W. Bush has again insisted that resuming Arab-Israeli peace talks depends on a de-escalation of the violence that has troubled the region for seven months.
The king, considered a moderate among Arab leaders, came to Washington with the purpose of urging Bush and his administration to take an aggressive role in reopening the shelved peace negotiations.
Bush, during a Tuesday picture-taking session with the king in the Oval Office, said, "Our country is very interested in working with all parties."
However, the president added, "First and foremost the violence must stop." In a thinly veiled message to Arab leaders, most of whom back Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians in their uprising against Israel, Bush said it is important that all parties use their influence to stop the violence.
For his part, the king said of Bush, "I believe we're both committed to finding peace and stability in our part of the world."
On an issue vital to the king and his hard-pressed economy, which used to depend heavily on trade with now-sanctioned Iraq, Bush said his administration would do what it could with Congress to try to get a free-trade agreement for Jordan on track.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick sat in on the leaders' private meeting, as did Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Before the meeting, Bush and the king shared lunch. Bush described the session as productive and meant to lay the foundation for peace in the Middle East.
King Abdullah has spent a week lobbying America's power elite for support, pressing his idea that the United States is essential to bringing peace to the Middle East.
The United States has played a tremendously positive and important role in the peace process since its launch in Madrid, Spain, in 1991. Abdullah said shortly before his arrival in Washington, "This role remains essential, and we will be discussing how we can work together, and with regional parties to restore calm and get the peace process back on track."
However, Abdullah stressed in a television interview that the emphasis now was on the Israelis and Palestinians to prove they are trying to end six months of violence.
Abdullah called the perception in the Mideast that the United States has abandoned the peace process wrong, saying the Bush administration was waiting for stronger signs of cooperation from Israel and the Palestinians before plunging in.
"The American administration feels, quite rightly I believe, that both sides need to sit down together and show that they're willing to take the risk to move forward, at which point the Americans would be there to help them,"
Abdullah said Monday night on "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" on PBS. Ha’aretz April 11
The New Global Threat - By Daniel Pipes
Last Friday, a 33-year-old Algerian Islamist (or fundamentalist Moslem) named Ahmed Ressam achieved the possibly unique distinction of being sentenced on the same day in two courtrooms in two countries for roughly the same crime.
Early in the day, a court in Paris convicted Ressam in absentia for belonging to a network of Islamist terrorists and sentenced him to five years in prison. Hours later, a court in Los Angeles convicted him for an act of terror for which he could be sentenced to 130 years in prison.
Ressam is hardly the only Islamist in trouble with the law. Some other prominent cases, all of which had major developments last week, include the following:
The Yemen government announced the arrest of three Islamists in Aden in connection with last October's bombing of the destroyer USS Cole that left 17 American sailors dead and 39 wounded. These arrests brought the total charged with that crime to 15.
The Jordanian military prosecutor named two Islamist suspects in a foiled plot to attack US and Israeli installations; 22 other persons had already been sentenced for this attempt, six of them to death.
A Turkish court sentenced an Islamist to death on charges of "attempting to change the constitutional order by use of arms" - i.e., overthrowing the government.
The Italian police arrested five Islamists from North Africa, all suspected of links to Osama bin Laden, and announced that it had thereby smashed the "nerve center" of an Islamist terrorist group intent on carrying out operations across Europe.
An Islamist of Algerian origin was detained by police in Berlin following raids across Germany that led to the discovery of firearms and bomb materials. In New York, the prosecution rested its case against the four alleged perpetrators of the 1998 Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings.
The news last week also reported on actual terrorism. In Algeria, on one day, Islamist rebels killed 12 people, including six government soldiers and five shepherds (the latter killed by having their throats slashed). The next day, the Islamists fired on a military convoy and over 30 of them were killed.
In Kashmir, the Indian police announced seven deaths on one day and 10 more two days later - just an average week in this Islamist insurgency.
In Bangladesh, the local Islamist party killed two men from another faction during a gun battle.
In the southern Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group threatened to kill an American hostage (and send his head to the Filipino president) but let the deadline slip, hoping the hostage's American mother would pressure the government to call off military attacks against Abu Sayyaf. The ploy failed; instead, government troops killed three Islamists in its declared "all-out war" on the rebels.
Islamic extremists last week also resorted to violence in Nigeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.
Islamist terrorism has a worldwide reach. Eleven of the 29 groups deemed by the US Department of State to be "foreign terrorist organizations" are Islamist. Likewise, 14 of 21 groups outlawed by the British Home Office for links to terrorist activity abroad are Islamist.
Moreover, what once was the tool of rogue states is now a deeply rooted phenomenon, drawing most of its funding from ordinary Moslems. Stefano Dambruoso, an Italian magistrate who uncovered Islamist networks in his country, notes that "It may seem strange, but apart from proceeds from illegal activity such as drug trafficking, one of the main sources of income for the groups is contributions."
This means, Dambruoso explains, that "Islamic terrorismin Europe is a deeply rooted phenomenon that regenerates itself continuously." This far-reaching sponsorship adds greatly to the reach of Islamist violence.
A danger exists that Islamists will acquire weapons of mass destruction, with incalculably dangerous results. Indeed, Osama bin Laden may already possess enriched uranium, a vital component for exploding nuclear bombs.
Ironically, Moslem governments are far ahead of their non-Moslem counterparts in understanding the profound menace of radical action in the name of Islam.
Leaders in Tunisia, Turkey, and elsewhere have taken serious steps to combat this latter-day totalitarianism.
The time has come for Westerners also to understand that Islamism presents a truly global threat, and to devote the mental energy and material resources required to fight it.
In Every Generation They Rise Up Against Us - Don Feder
On Saturday evening during the Passover seder, when I came to the part of the Haggadah that reads, "In every generation, they rise against us and seek our destruction," I thought of a baby buried in Hebron,a shrine desecrated in Nablus and the torrent of Nazi-like anti-Semitism spewed forth by the Arab world.
Funny, how many of our holidays celebrate a near-escape from disaster -- Purim (when Haman almost persuaded the Persian king to slaughter the Jews of his realm), Hanukkah (when Judaism was saved by a Jewish revolt) and Passover.
We were slaves in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. Pharaoh tried to kill our spirits, while keeping bodies alive for his public works program. Or perhaps Egyptian slavery was a forerunner of German forced labor camps, where inmates were literally worked to death.
Jewish history is a chronicle of tragedies avoided and those that weren't -- the deliverance from Pharaoh's host at the Red Sea, the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the Diaspora, ghettos, pogroms and the Holocaust.
The crematoria had hardly cooled when the Arab world launched a jihad on Holocaust survivors and their near relations. It was the century's longest conflict, extending into the next.
The animating force of Israel's enemies, then and now, isn't anti-Zionism, but anti-Semitism of a virulence to match anything in the pages of Der Sturmer.
In a sixth-grade textbook used by the Palestinian Authority, a child muses that perhaps Allah brought the Jews to Palestine so they could all be killed, ridding the world of this troublesome people.
Sheik Ikrama Sabri, Arafat-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, told a German magazine, "It is the art of the Jews to deceive the world." German Jews should go back to Germany, the mufti insisted. "After all (laughs), you like them so much, don't you?" It says much that the Palestinians' chief religious authority is amused by genocide.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, Arafat's official newspaper, regularly cites the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The late king of Saudi Arabia used to give copies to his guests.
The Egyptian government newspaper Al Akhbar says the Holocaust is "a myth" and "the matzah of Atonement Day (sic) must be kneaded with the blood from a non-Jew. The preference is for the blood of youths after raping them."
According to Al-Hayat, "The conflict between the Jews and the Muslims resembles the conflict between man and Satan." Various official Palestinian sources accuse Jews of poisoning food and spreading Mad Cow disease, and declare that Abraham wasn't a Jew, the Jews never had a Temple in Jerusalem, and Jewish settlers living in Biblical Israel are "the descendants of monkeys and pigs."
Their words are written in venom, their deeds in blood.
In the holy city of Hebron, burial place of the Patriarchs, there was another burial last week -- 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass, who was murdered by a Palestinian sniper at she nestled in her father's arms.
With what do the Palestinians knead their bread? In March, a suicide bomber murdered three children at a school bus stop in Northern Israel. In January, 16-year-old Ofir Rahum was lured to the West Bank and slain. In October, two unarmed Israeli reservists were lynched by a mob in Ramallah.
In the same month, Kristallnacht-fashion, Palestinians looted and burned a synagogue built over the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus. When an American-born rabbi rushed into the flames to rescue the Torah scrolls, he was abducted and killed.
Israelis aren't the only Jews in the cross hairs. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has documented an upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe – including shootings, stonings and fire bombings. Haman always starts with the Jews at hand, then moves further afield.
After the third cup of wine and the welcoming of the Prophet Elijah, the seder moves to a call for retribution for the martyrs of millennia: "Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know thee not ... for they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his habitation. ... Pursue them in anger and destroy them." And those who desecrate thy name with unspeakable evil.
Pharaohs, Persians, Romans, czars and Nazis -- all are gone, crushed to dust by the pestle of history and scattered to the winds. How do you say "cautionary note" in Arabic? Jewish World Review April 10
This Year, and Next - in Jerusalem By Gerald M. Steinberg
For 2,000 years, since the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews have ended the Pessah Seder, retelling the story of the liberation from slavery, by repeating the ancient pledge of "next year in Jerusalem."
This year, we will say these words with extra emphasis. Under the illusion that a last-minute deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat could be reached, the Barak government was ready to consider surrendering fundamental Jewish rights in Jerusalem. The pledges that Israeli politicians have repeated since 1967, promising that Jerusalem will not be divided or lost again, were suddenly exposed as fragile and unreliable.
Instead, we discovered that plans for dividing Jerusalem, and allowing Palestinian "police" (the same people who are murdering Jews on the roads and exploding bombs in Israeli cities) to provide "security" for Jewish sacred sites and neighborhoods were being presented.
The Israeli and Jewish version of people power, organized by a group led by Natan Sharansky and strongly supported by Diaspora Jewry, put an end to this
misguided adventure on January 8. On that evening, hundreds of thousands of Israelis, as well as many Jews from around the world who flew in for this historic event, gathered for one of the largest demonstrations in Israel's history.
While turning points in history are usually only visible with the passage of time, this case appears to be exceptional. Already on the night of the demonstration, those who gathered around Jerusalem's walls recognized that they
were part of an historic event, and the importance of that moment has been growing since then.
For the first time in many years, Jews from across the spectrum were moving in the same direction, towards a common goal. In years and generations to come, the rally for Jerusalem will be seen as one of the most important events since 1967.
This sense of unity, determination, and shared purpose marked a fundamental psychological change, after a long period of anxiety and internal conflict. Standing together in front of the ancient Citadel, this united presence was a reminder that a return to the black period before 1967 was absolutely unacceptable. The situation that existed between 1948 and 1967, when the most sacred sites of the Jewish religion were under Arab occupation, snipers fired from the walls, and the Jewish Quarter was desecrated, would not be allowed to happen again.
The evidence, including the secret construction on the Temple Mount in the past year, clearly shows that Palestinian, Arab and Islamic efforts to rewrite history, and to erase the Jewish foundations of Jerusalem, in both the history books and on the ground, have not changed since 1948. Similarly, just as the "international community" ignored the violation of guarantees of free access between 1948 and 1967, the same conditions continue today. Internationalization of Jerusalem means, in practice, the loss of Jewish rights and access.
The number and broad spectrum of participants demonstrated that this outpouring was a reaffirmation of the national consensus on the sanctity of Jerusalem and of fundamental Jewish rights. In contrast to most rallies, this was not a show of power consisting exclusively of any particular group. The crowd included religious and secular Jews, Palmah veterans and new immigrants, haredi black hats and knitted kipot, as well as American and Russian accents.
Every public-opinion poll demonstrates that a majority of Israelis draw the line around Jerusalem's walls.
Our collective presence revived a sense of common purpose and the realization the national consensus on this and other issues has not been destroyed, despite divisions and self-doubts. It also reminded Israelis and the Jewish people of the strength inherent in 3,000 years of history and revitalized the core values of the return to Zion.
The rally also marked the revival of the soul and voice of the Jewish people. Like the slaves in Egypt, who had no collective voice, and no ability to shape their political environment or control their own lives, the public had
been worn down by attractive promises of an unreachable peace and the alluring desire for "normalcy."
In the case of the slavery in Egypt, as portrayed in the biblical narrative, the liberation process began when the people were finally able to express their anger and their "sighs" triggered divine intervention. Only then was Moses sent to start the process of delivery from bondage to freedom. This is the liberation that the Jewish people relive every year during the Pessah Seder.
In the modern version, the liberation from the paralysis and myths of the Oslo "peace" process began with the mass rally in Jerusalem that gave voice to our oppression. Beyond showing the Palestinians and the rest of the world that the Barak government had no mandate to give away Jewish rights in Jerusalem, this rally showed us that we had the strength and the unity to fight for our fundamental interests.
The elections on February 6 that put a decisive end to the Barak government were a further expression of the determination to take control of our destiny, and to insure the continuity of Jewish Jerusalem.
The point of the Pessah Seder is to renew the strength and determination to ensure Jewish and Israeli survival. Similarly, however difficult the situation may be in the upcoming weeks, months, and years, we must continue to speak out, and to demand our liberation from the tyranny of modern terror and oppression. Leshana Haba'a B'Yerushalayim - Next Year in Jerusalem.
Halacha Requires Military Service By Reuven Hammer
The most surrealistic thing happening in these already surrealistic times is the spectacle of a unity government agreeing to the demands of haredi parties that their "yeshiva students" continue to receive exemptions from military service because "they are killing themselves over Torah study."
As we suffer the endless parade of military funerals broadcast on local television, we all know exactly who is being killed and who is not. Most infuriating is that Shas, whose representatives in the government are becoming more extreme in their calls for military strikes and whose leader makes extreme statements concerning action against Arabs, at the same time promulgates the teachings of its "spiritual leader" forbidding its young men - there is no need to speak of its young women - to serve in the army or even to attend hesder yeshivot.
How nice to be able to make war using someone else's sons to do so, and at the same time claim all the financial benefits of yeshiva students, large families, etc. All of this with the kind permission of the representatives of the vast majority of the population who are ready to pass the Tal bill, giving this unjust condition, for the first time, the legitimacy of law.
How is it possible that at a time when reservists are being called up and young men are being taken away from their academic studies to protect the nation against terrorist attacks, "religious leaders" have the gall to continue their falsification of Jewish law to justify what can only be termed the greatest act of inequality and exploitation of other Jews ever?
One wonders if even those who issue these statements really believe them. Does Ovadia Yosef really believe what he has said - that his students are like the ancient tribe of Levi, who guarded the sanctuary and therefore did not fight? How does he justify disregarding the Mishna in Sota 8:7 that teaches specifically that at a time when lives are at stake, a war of self-defense, no one is exempt from military service "even the bridegroom and the bride" must go to battle to defend the people of Israel?
Religious, observant, people should be the first to come forward to serve at such a time. Otherwise they violate at least three commandments of the Torah: (1) to participate in what the Mishna terms a milhemet mitzva - a war of self-defense; (2) pikuah nefesh - saving human lives, which has precedent over all other commandments (Yoma 84b); (3) "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Lev. 19:16).
What is happening is that the rest of the population, which includes religious people who are willing to serve and all the rest of the so-called "secular" population, is being turned into the military equivalent of "Shabbos goyim" for the haredim. Let them fight, let them be sacrificed so that we can live in safety.
It is disgraceful that we have to wait for the likes of Yosef (Tommy) Lapid to tell the truth on this issue and to lead the fight against this injustice that cries out to heaven.
How long does the government and the military think that young men reaching the age of 18 will continue to be drafted willingly when they see that thousands and thousands of their peers are free to roam the streets simply because they are dressed in black?
More urgently, in these difficult times, when our manpower resources are being seriously strained, how long will reservists continue to respond to the call to duty when they know that the only reason they are needed is because there are thousands who have never served at all? ...
"Are your brothers to go to war while you stay here?"... (Numbers 32:6). Jerusalem Post April 11