Stop supporting Palestinian moral inversion

An elephant in the room is missing here:

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition that sought the demolition of the homes of the Jewish killers of East Jerusalem teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014.

In response to a petition filed by the victims parents, the state told the court in September 2016 that homes of three murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir need not be demolished, as is common policy with homes of Palestinian terrorists.

The judges determined that house demolitions would be ineffective [as a deterrent vr] in this case due to the time elapsed since the murder and delay in the familys petition. They stressed, however, that contrary to the states position, the home demolition policy is valid for both Jewish and Arab assailants.

Abu Khdeir was murdered by Yosef Haim Ben-David and two underage accomplices in an act of revenge for the murder by Hamas terrorists of three Jewish teens, Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, that June.

The Court (and the State, in a brief filed in June, 2016), are clear about the fact that the demolition of the homes of terrorists is not a punishment, but an action intended to deter similar acts of terrorism. The State argued that there were far more attacks by Arabs against Jews:

In the letter from the Defense Ministry’s legal adviser to the Abu Khdeir family’s lawyer Muhannad Jbara [in June 2016], the ministry argued that because cases of Jewish terror are so infrequent in relation to Arab attacks against Jews, there is no need to establish a deterrent for future Jewish attackers by demolishing the Abu Khdeir killers homes.

The Military Commander should consider the deterrent effect against potential attackers that will be created by the demolition, the letter said. Given the scale of the phenomenon of seriously hostile crimes in the Jewish community, the need to implement this [deterrent] power does not arise.

Lawyer Jbara argued back, citing the Dawabshe case, that there was a recent increase in attacks by Jews against Arabs, and that therefore there was a need for deterrence. But the court wasn’t convinced at the time, and neither was the Supreme Court on appeal.

Do you see the elephant? It is the fact that neither the infrequency of atrocious crimes committed by Jews against Arabs (or even attributed to Jews without proof, like the Dawabshe case) or the amount of time between the commission of a crime and the demolition of a terrorists house should be the most important consideration here. It is that crimes like the Khdeir case are different in a fundamental way from the murders of Shaar, Yifrach and Fraenkel and even from lone-wolf terrorism in which no terrorist organization is directly involved, such as has been endemic in Israel recently.

By saying that the demolition policy could also be applied to Jewish terrorists in some cases, our own Supreme Court is implying that there is an equivalence between Arab terrorism and certain crimes committed by Jews against Arabs. Even the states argument that the [smaller] scale of the phenomenon of Jewish terrorism is the reason that it is not necessary to demolish perpetrators homes implies that the phenomena aresimilar in kind, although different in quantity. But this is wrong.

The difference, in a word, is that Arab terrorists are sent to do their evil deeds, either by organizations like Hamas, or by the Palestinian Arab culture itself as embodied by friends and relatives, media, schools, mosques and other institutions, including their PA and Hamas governing authorities.

Palestinian Arab terrorists are presented as heroic representatives of their people, role models and exemplars of piety and goodness. Jewish terrorists, on the other hand, are seen as deviants, rejected by most of their society and severely punished by its authorities. Arab media praises their terrorists while Jewish media condemns ours.

Arab terrorists and the families of martyrs are not only praised, they are paid for their work by their leadership. Here is a statement on the official Fatah Facebook page(July 2 2017) attributed to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in response to reports that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked Abbas to stop paying them:

Even if I will have to leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary (rawatib) of a Martyr (Shahid) or a prisoner, as I am the president of the entire Palestinian people, including the prisoners, the Martyrs, the injured, the expelled, and the uprooted. [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.

It is necessary to act against the broad social complex that stands behind Arab terrorists in order to deter future terrorism, and actions like home demolitions are only one element of this. But in the case of Jewish attackers, there is no such social complex, and both the larger society and the leadership condemn their crimes in the strongest possible way. Home demolition would therefore not be a useful response to crimes like the Abu Khdeir murder. Unfortunately, the reasons given to reject it in this case actually support the Palestinian contention that the crimes are similar.

Our government and courts do us no favor by promoting the idea that there is an equivalence between evil acts committed by criminally deviant members of the Jewish population, and systematic terrorism which is inspired, incited and paid for by the PA and Hamas and which is applauded throughout Palestinian Arab society.

The view that there is such an equivalence is a form of moral inversion, like the false symmetry between Israels defensive actions and the aggression of terrorist militias and nations that wish to destroy us. Such inversions have been common in history where anti-Jewish elements have blamed the Jews for the pogroms and mass murders that they inflicted on us.

Moral inversion is one of the weapons of cognitive warfare employed by our enemies. Why do our own courts and officials help them use it?

Why they are so angry

This happened in 2011, at the California Reform Temple that I belonged to. A man a Temple Board member, approached me with steam coming out of his ears.

Im finished with Israel. I wont give another dime to the Federation, he said, knowing me to be a strong supporter of Israel.

I asked him why. It seems that he had just read aboutan incident on a busin which male Haredi passengers had demanded that a woman move to the back (there were several similar incidents.Heres another).

What kind of country is it? Just like the Jim Crow South. Im finished, he continued.

I explained that Israels Supreme Court had ruled that women could not be required to sit in any particular part of a public bus, and that the great majority of Israelis, religious or not, opposed the idea of sex-segregated buses. Even when there had been segregated buses, they were found only on a few lines that served Haredi populations. He calmed down but he went on for a while about how the country was a theocracy run by ultra-orthodox fanatics.

The thing I noted about this discussion, which apparently was repeated throughout North America last week after the publication of the news aboutthe governments freezing of the Kotel compromiseand approval of the conversion bill, was that it seemed like the fellow was primed to be angry, and the story about the bus incident set him off. And learning the facts didnt make him less angry.

Last weeks furor, which hasnt yet abated, also had a flavor of preexisting anger triggered by events that had little real significance. After all, the mixed-gender prayer area would continue to be available, and work to improve it would continue. The conversion bill, which only would have affected people convertedin Israelby rabbinical courts that were not approved by the Haredi Rabbinut, would have no effect on conversions outside of Israel by any stream of Judaism, and anyway still has a long road ahead in the Knesset before it has a chance of becoming a law.

Freezing the Kotel compromise seems to have two practical effects: there will not be a committee that includes representatives of non-Orthodox Judaism to manage the area the main issue that inflames the Haredim, who see it as a recognition of the legitimacy of Reform Judaism and there may not (this isnt clear) be a connection made between the entrance to the new area and the existing Kotel plaza.

But like my friend at the Reform Temple, steam was figuratively coming out of the ears of non-Orthodox Jews in North America, and of some in Israel as well. Rick Jacobs, head of the US-based Union for Reform Judaism (URJ),saidthat Prime Minister Netanyahus decision to say no to his previous yes is an unconscionable insult to the majority of world Jewry. Rabbi Denise Eger of Los Angeles Congregation Kol Amireferred toBenjamin Netanyahus crass political move. In Israel, Daniel Gordis, normally Mr. Moderation,furiously advocatedboycotting PM Netanyahu and all other Likud politicians, and even El Al, in order to make Israelis care.

Its not an accident that most of the anger is directed against PM Netanyahu, who is said to have reneged on his promise, even more than against the Haredi parties in his coalition who forced him to do it. The URJ is closely aligned with Netanyahus left-wing opponents in Israel and with the international establishment that wants above all to get Israel out of the territories.

For years, the official line of the URJ has been that Israel needs to do more to bring about peace, and that the main impediment is Netanyahu, who secretly opposes peace. Many URJ rabbis are members of J Street, and Rick Jacobs himself was an active member of J Street and a board member of the left-wing New Israel Fund before he became URJ President. The URJ and Jacobs didnt even oppose Obamas Iran deal, andcriticized Netanyahufor coming to the US to warn against it. Both the focus on Netanyahu and the surprising amount of vitriol that seems to have come out of nowhere can be explained in part by this long-term ideological bias.

But theres a deeper cause for their anger. Sometimes family fights appear to be about one thing but are really about something else entirely. The kind of argument that ends up in divorce court isnt really about taking out the garbage. And in this case, maybe the Kotel issue isnt the real problem.

Reform Jews have built their identities more around their (liberal) politics than their Jewish spirituality, although they insist that they are the same. But almost subconsciously, they sense that there is something attenuated about Reform Judaism. They realize that the doctrine that each individual can rationally choose themitzvot(commandments) that they will observe contradicts the concept of amitzvah; that the anthropological study of Jewish texts is tedious and doesnt yield enlightenment; that they dont have time to learn Hebrew and Aramaic; and that kashrut is a bother and so is keeping Shabbat.

In short, they realize that the despised Haredim are actuallyrightwhen they say that Reform Judaism is not Judaism, and anything that reminds them of that drives them up the wall with anger.

But Bibi has not given them grounds for divorce. They have not been delegitimized by anything Israels government has done. Nothing has changed in the arrangements for mixed prayer at the Kotel, and the conversion bill doesnt affect them.

Rather than vent their anger against the PM and the state, they might better use their energy in introspection about matters of personal identity.

The next war and how to win it

From Posted on by Vic Rosenthal

Israelis are good at Viewing With Alarm. And todays newspaper is full of things to be alarmed about, all the way from the 130,000 missiles aimed at us and controlled by a regime that announces every day that we will soon be destroyed (and has set up a countdown clock to emphasize that), through the millions of Euros spent each day by supposedly civilized European governments to empower barbarians who want to kill us (and who try every day), including the Iranian buildup close to our border in the Syrian Golan heights, and finishing up with the newly paved road built by PA Arabs to bypass the (still unfinished) security fence for the purpose of smuggling weapons, drugs and terrorists across the Green Line.

Weve been viewing some of these with alarm for years, but have done little about them. Why do we allow these things and so many others to fester until they become crises?

Why did we allow Hezbollah forces to rearm and creep almost up to the border in violation of UNSC resolution 1701?

Why is the security barrier in Judea/Samaria unfinished?

Why dont we stop the flow of money from the EU to illegal Palestinian building and subversive Israeli NGOs?

Why does Hezbollah now have so many rockets when they had only a few thousand left after the 2006 war?

Why was Hamas allowed to rebuild its attack tunnels after the 2014 war?

These and other similar questions all have similar answers: because its hard, expensive or complicated, or because powerful interests here or abroad oppose it.

But these chickens will come home to roost, many of them on the same day, the day that Iran decides that it and its proxies are no longer too busy in Syria and Iraq to fulfill its national commitment to wipe us off the map, and we find ourselves in a multi-front war. And what were small problems that could have been dealt with one by one become components of an existentially dangerous complex. Nevertheless, we can prevail if we take control of the situation instead of simply reacting to events.

If you think that there is a good probability that war with Iran/Lebanon/Syria can be avoided, I would like to hear the scenario. Today and a great deal of thanks is due to Barak Obama for this the Iranian project to control the region and its resources is progressing rapidly and with little opposition. Iranian forces and proxies will soon link up at the Iraq-Syria border, creating a corridor for supplying game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and for threatening Jordan and even Jerusalem. In a very short time, Iran will have a nuclear umbrella under which to shelter its aggression. If nobody is willing to challenge the regime now, will they be more likely to do so then?

Analogies abound. Like Hezbollah, Germany after WWI rearmed itself in violation of international law. Could Hitler have been stopped more easily in 1936, when he remilitarized the Rhineland, than in 1939? Almost certainly. But nobody stopped him, and they didnt stop him from taking Czechoslovakia in 1938 either.

There often appear to be good reasons for not doing anything about a threat. North Korea developed nuclear weapons over a period of decades, and manipulated the US into paying it to not do what it did anyway. The risk from Pyongyangs conventional artillery aimed at the South was often cited as the reason for not taking stronger action. But its hard to believe that a power like the US could not find a creative way to neutralize that threat. And now the danger is nuclear.

War is a horrible thing for everyone involved, and starting a war of aggression is a crime. But wars of self-defense are a necessary evil, and it is the obligation of every regime to defend its population. There is no more primordial function of a government than that.

When you are certain that you will be attacked, you can wait for the attack and defend yourself, or you can preemptively attack your enemy (Sanhedrin 72a). Both options have advantages: it requires more firepower to attack an entrenched force than for one to defend itself. But a preemptive attack can benefit from the element of surprise, especially if the enemy is unprepared. A preemptive attack takes place at the time and under the conditions preferred by the attacker. And this is very important for a country with little strategic depth like Israel a preemptive attack puts the war on the enemys territory, not among your own population.

Its likely that the Jewish state will never be the popular favorite in international circles. The longer a war continues, the easier it is for the international community to force Israel to stop fighting before its objectives are realized. So the best way for Israel to fight is to launch a sudden, massive preemptive attack that will destroy the enemys military capability before international opposition can mobilize itself to force an end to the war.

Although a preemptive attack would result in more civilian casualties on the enemy side, waiting to be attacked would shift the burden to our own people. The choice here is clear.

For some years, however, Israel has avoided preemptively attacking its enemies. One reason is that she has been at the mercy of the US for supplies. If Israel is perceived as the aggressor, she could be cut off from receiving resupply of materials it buys and otherwise punished. Thus Henry Kissinger told Moshe Dayan that Israel would not have received as much as a nail from the United States if it had launched preemptive attacks in 1973.

The presence of Russian forces in the region which could intervene quickly is another factor that has to be taken into account.

But winning the coming war with Iran and its proxies may depend on preemption, due to the large number of missiles possessed by Hezbollah, Hezbollahs improved training and quality of weapons, and the number of fronts that might become active. Analysts have pointed to the ability of Hezbollah to make incursions into Israeli territory, something that could be devastating to our small country. So Israeli planners should think about how to manage a preemptive war even without assistance from the US what should be stockpiled, and how to strike massive enough blows to end the war as quickly as possible.

In the very near future, Israel will face one of the greatest military challenges in her history. It will take determined action to survive. It will especially take planning, the same kind of meticulous planning that gave us one of the most successful preemptive air attacks in history, Operation Focus, which destroyed the Arab air forces on the ground in 1967. But if we dont do it now, when will we do it?

The chances of curing cancer improve when it is caught early. And if you are going to perform surgery, you need to cut out the main tumor, not just its metastases. As the previous king of Saudi Arabia said, when you are attacked by a snake, you need to cut off its head, not its tail.

Behind the struggle for the Kotel

From Posted on by Vic Rosenthal

The proposed addition of a mixed-gender prayer area at the Kotel

The proposed addition of a mixed-gender prayer area at the Kotel

The kotel hamaaravi (Western Wall) is not actually the holiest place in Judaism that is the Temple Mount, the actual site of the First and Second Temples but for various reasons it has become the holiest place at which it is practical for Jews to pray. It is administered by an organization called The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, chaired by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, the Rabbi of the Kotel. It is considered an Orthodox synagogue.

In 1988, the Women of the Wall (WoW) organization was founded in order to obtain the right for women to pray at the Kotel with Torah scrolls and wearing a tallit (prayer shawl). They did not ask for mixed prayer with men, just a relaxation of the rules concerning how they could pray with other women in the womens section of the Kotel. This would not violate Orthodox halacha (religious law), but is in opposition to the rules established by the Rabbi of the Kotel and the customs of strictly observant Jews (among others, the prohibition against women chanting out loud in the presence of men).

Customs differ over time and place. While it can be shocking to see a custom that one has grown up with violated consider the (non-religious) customs concerning gender and restrooms changes can and do happen. Over the last 50 years, many of the customs followed by normative Orthodox Jews have become significantly more strict. Halacha is a different matter, and changes are made rarely and depend on decisions by widely recognized rabbinical authorities.

The women held regular monthly prayer sessions and were faced with opposition from the Kotel management and sometimes verbal or physical assaults by Haredim. The group began a legal struggle to force the Kotel authorities to permit them to pray as they wished, in the existing womens section. They continued to pray there regularly, and numerous members were arrested for creating disturbances and disobeying police.

Meanwhile the American Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and its junior partners established an organization called the Israel Religious Action Center to promote its goals in Israel. It hired Anat Hoffman, the chairwoman of the Women of the Wall, as its Executive Director. The negotiations and legal processes between the women and the government now include representatives of the Israeli branches of the Reform and Conservative movements, and the objectives of WoW have been correspondingly broadened as a result of its connection with the Reform movement. What had been a movement to permit women to pray with Torah scrolls in the womens section of the Kotel became a movement to permit mixed-gender prayers, according to Reform and Conservative practice.

For four years, representatives of the government and the other involved parties engaged in negotiations under Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky to find an acceptable compromise. Finally, in January of 2016, a deal was made. An area that is currently occupied by an archaeological park at the south end of the Kotel next to Robinsons arch (see photo above) would be permanently allocated to mixed-gender and other non-Orthodox worship, renovated and made accessible by a single entrance leading to both the new area and the original Kotel plaza. A committee consisting of representatives of the government and non-Orthodox leaders would manage the area, which would be outside of the jurisdiction of the Rabbi of the Kotel.

Hoffman, who had previously vehemently opposed the idea of a prayer area at Robinsons Arch (she had called it the back of the bus) suddenly supported it. The Board of Directors of the Women of the Wall voted to move their services to this area when work would be completed, to the unhappiness of some of its more conservative members who felt that the original goals of the movement had been betrayed. The URJ put its full weight behind the compromise, because it represents an implicit recognition of the legitimacy of non-Orthodox Judaism by the state of Israel.

But the compromise was never implemented for precisely this reason. Although the Haredi parties that are part of the ruling coalition initially agreed (albeit reluctantly) to the compromise, Haredi media exploded with criticism, making sure that the implications of such an agreement with the despised reformim were widely known. The pressure on the Haredi parties was irresistible. They withdrew their support, and even threatened to leave the coalition and precipitate new elections if the compromise went ahead.

On Sunday the cabinet voted with only two opposed (Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz) to indefinitely freeze the implementation of the compromise. Construction on the improvements to the Robinsons Arch area would continue, and it will continue to be available for non-Orthodox worship; but there will be no handing over of authority over any part of the Kotel to a body containing non-Orthodox representatives.

So the demands of a few women for a small change in the rules concerning their Orthodox worship morphed into a challenge by the URJ, the standard-bearer of non-Orthodox Judaism, to the religious establishment and the government of Israel, to accept it as a legitimate partner. And this will never be acceptable to the Haredi parties.

URJ leadership in the US is furious, but its reasonable to ask them what did you expect? The overwhelming opinion of Jewish Israelis not just Haredi, or even religious ones is that Reform Judaism is not Judaism. And they are asking the Haredim to sit down with them as equals! They would as soon drive to the beach on Shabbat to barbecue pork cheeseburgers.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the URJ thundered,

Prime Minister Netanyahus decision to say no to his previous yes is an unconscionable insult to the majority of world Jewry. We are assessing all next steps. The Israeli Supreme Court will rule, but even in waiting for the court we will not be still or silent. The stranglehold that the Chief Rabbinate and the ultra-Orthodox parties have on Israel and the enfranchisement of the majority of Jews in Israel and the world mustand willbe ended.

Jacobs arrogance and presumption to pontificate about what Israel must do perhaps obscures the false assumption he makes about the majority of Jews in Israel and the world. Even the most secular Israelis dont agree that American Reform Jews should decide what Israel does in the holy places that were regained with the blood of its soldiers. They may passionately hate the Rabbinate, but it is our Rabbinate that they hate.

Netanyahus position is clear. On one side there is a tiny minority of voters (no more than 8% of Israeli Jews identify with non-Orthodox Judaism) and only a handful view the WoW as anything more than a curiosity. Most Israelis either dont care what kind of worship at the Kotel is permitted, or support the Orthodox position. The URJ in the US may threaten to withhold financial and political support, but in recent years most of this has gone to Netanyahus political opponents, and even to anti-Zionist groups like J Street and the New Israel Fund organizations in which Jacobs himself was active before he became URJ President. There is absolutely no percentage in it for Netanyahu to try to face down the Haredi parties in order to make Jacobs happy.

What will happen next? The Supreme Court will weigh in, and probably a new compromise will be worked out. The Haredi parties will not give in to anything that they see as legitimizing Reform Judaism, but mixed-gender prayer will probably continue to take place at the Robinsons arch location. The original WoW who want to pray in the womens section with Torah scrolls and tallesim will probably be out of luck. Rick Jacobs will continue to blame Netanyahu for everything, and continue to do his best to undermine Israels democratically elected government (because he understands democracy better than we do).

Who has lost out here are the women who had a reasonable demand, one that many Orthodox rabbis agree does not violate halacha. They might have gotten what they wanted if they had not chosen to ally themselves with an 800-pound left-wing gorilla with ulterior motives, the URJ.

On keeping your suitcases packed

From Posted on by Vic Rosenthal

I have always thought that curiosity about oneself is self-indulgent. Nothing bored me more than people that wanted to tell me what they had discovered about themselves in psychotherapy. Just get on with it, was my motto. I dont care about your childhood, and you shouldnt either.

The same went for Jews who are always picking at the Holocaust. I didnt want to hear about it. They tried to kill us, they only partially succeeded, lets eat. I never visited Yad Vashem; I skipped the trip provided by the absorption center in 1979. I dont go to Holocaust movies, and the last book I read about it was Andr Schwarz-Barts The Last of the Just, which I read in the early 1960s. Who needs this stuff, I thought? I had contempt for those who were seeking emotional titillation at a safe distance from the horrors of 75 years ago, while ignoring the Arabs and Iranians that want to murder us today.

I thought I was a new Jew that had dumped all of that baggage.

But there seems to be something about the aging process that compels reflection. There are things that you did that you wish you had done differently, and things that you wish you hadnt done at all. And I think Im beginning to understand why people investigate their genealogy, or take trips to the places their grandparents lived. What was it like to live under the Czar? My grandfather could have told me, but its almost 50 years too late to ask him. I didnt care then, but today I want to know.

I was born in 1942 and I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. My parents were born in America and were invested in being Americans. They werent interested in religion, in speaking the Yiddish they understood from their childhoods, or in joining Jewish or Zionist organizations. None of that had anything for them. They understood that they were Jewish, almost all of their friends were Jewish too, but when they looked for a house in the suburbs in 1950, they chose a non-Jewish neighborhood. They never talked about the Holocaust, at least not that I heard. In 1948 I asked my father about disturbing things I was hearing on the radio. He explained that there was a war going on between the Jews and the Arabs. But they were different Jews, far away and not connected to us.

My maternal grandparents, with whom we lived, were another story. They had emigrated (from here) in what is now Ukraine, before the revolution. They had relatives who had stayed behind in Europe, whom they kept in touch with until the war. Toward the end of it, they somehow found out that none of them had survived. I overheard conversations that I only partly understood, but I was aware that something terrible had happened.

My grandmother was one of the toughest and hardest-working women Ive known, although she had a soft spot in her heart for her (then) only grandchild. She came to America at the age of 17 not knowing how to read or write, but already a dressmaker by profession. My grandparents both worked as sewing machine operators in the Manhattan garment district; someone told me that my grandfather, who was blind in one eye, had a job because they had to hire him to get her. I inherited my cynical, even slightly paranoid, attitude from her.

Their approach to life, far different from my American parents, was that of Jews who were always looking over their shoulders. The Holocaust was always present, as well as the pogroms of pre-revolutionary Russia. They were the kind of Jews that, at least figuratively, always had their suitcases packed. At one point when I was in college in the 1960s, I told my grandfather that I was thinking about making aliyah. He smiled and patted me on the back, and said to help the Jewish people. I was surprised. I doubt that my parents would have used the expression the Jewish people in any context.

I didnt make aliyah until much later, but theres no doubt that my connection to the Jewish people goes through my grandparents (but probably not my Judaism: the constitution of the Landsmannschaft to which he belonged contains a note that the question of affiliation with a synagogue is never to be raised. Not my conservatism either: he was a regular reader of the Yiddish Daily Forward and once even elected Secretary of his ILGWU local).

The Holocaust, the pogroms of Europe, and the anti-Jewish riots and massacres in the Middle East and North Africa are unfortunately part of the Jewish peoples collective soul. So are the thousands of years of discrimination and ghettoization. Theres no escaping them, even if we pretend to be new Jews for whom history started in the 19th century here in Israel with the arrival of the first Zionists.

And thats not bad. My grandmother could spot a con a mile away. She was suspicious, but in her world, you had to be. She wouldnt trust Mahmoud Abbas or Tzipi Livni as far as she could throw them. She understood that the world was a dangerous place for Jews, and you had to always watch your back. I completely understand her. I still look over my shoulder. Its in my DNA. But there are some ways in which things have finally changed.

In Israel today, we face some very serious threats. We need to look over our shoulders, to Tehran, Gaza, Damascus, Beirut and Ramallah. But after several thousand years, our suitcases are finally unpacked.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

S/Sgt. Hadas Malka, zl, who was murdered on Friday in Jerusalem. She took this selfie some 20 minutes before an Arab terrorist stabbed her to death. She was 23.

S/Sgt. Hadas Malka, zl, who was murdered on Friday in Jerusalem. She took this selfie some 20 minutes before an Arab terrorist stabbed her to death. She was 23.

Every time a Palestinian Arab kills one or two or 30 of us, we take measures to increase security or to deter the next potential terrorist. We deploy police officers and soldiers, we demolish the houses of terrorists, we reduce the number of permits granted to Arabs to work in Israel or to visit the Temple Mount.

We are doing all of these things this time, too. The terrorists that murdered Hadas came in with Arabs from the territories who were allowed to enter Jerusalem to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan. So theyll be checked more carefully next time. Numerous illegal residents of the capital were rounded up and deported.

But all of these measures are like aspirin to a cancer patient. They are aimed at the symptoms. We need to treat the disease. So first, the diagnosis:

Israel, or at least many Israelis, suffer from a severe case of what psychologists call imposter syndrome:

Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

If it is not addressed, victims can develop anxiety, stress, low self-confidence, depression, shame and self-doubt . People [and nations vr] who suffer from impostor syndrome tend to reflect and dwell upon extreme failure, mistakes and negative feedback from others.

The Diaspora experience seems to have left some of us believing that we are unworthy of living in the land of Israel and of being sovereign in Jerusalem. They believe that our victory in the 1967 war was due to luck, and that the negative feedback great expression! we receive from Jew-hating Arabs and Europeans is in fact correct.

The syndrome is more than just a psychological quirk. It has had and continues to have disastrous real-life consequences.

It is bad enough that we are so neurotic, like unhappy little Woody Allens, but when we broadcast our doubts and insecurity to the world, including our deadly enemies, it becomes a direct cause of events like the murder of Hadas Malka.

Some like to say that the cause of terrorism is that the Palestinian Arabs have lost hope, that there is no horizon in view for them. But this is exactly the opposite of the truth. What the Arabs hope for is to finally get rid of us, and analysis shows that terrorism increases whenever the Palestinians become more hopeful. So our failure to act like the conquerors we are doesnt make the Arabs like us any better; it actually encourages terrorism.

A prime example of this was the surrender of the Temple Mount to the Jordanian waqf in 1967. Perhaps Moshe Dayan and others thought this would help bring peace, but it had exactly the opposite effect, sending the message that we hadnt conquered Jerusalem after all, and giving the Arabs hope that they could reverse the outcome of the war.

Theres no question of what the Arabs would do in a similar situation, because they already showed us. In 1948 they expelled every last Jew from the part of the land they controlled, made stables out of our synagogues and turned our gravestones into urinals. They probably expected that we would demolish al-Aqsa and put a synagogue, or even a new Temple, in its place. We had every right to do so, as the original owners of the land who had reasserted their control over it.

But we didnt, and over the years weve behaved as though we lost the war rather than winning it in a rather spectacular fashion. We have little by little allowed pressure from the West and terror from the Arabs to justify concession after concession, with the worst one being the Oslo decision to reintroduce the poisonous PLO into the land that we had won at great cost.

The Arabs, who should long ago have lost hope in the possibility of dislodging us, were encouraged by our weakness, our apparent belief that we really didnt belong here. So naturally, they continue to push against our weak spots.

It will be a long and difficult journey, but we can reverse the process. One good place to start is the place that our neurotic surrender started on the day of our victory in 1967, the Temple Mount. We should reverse the process whereby a status quo has been established in which the Muslims act like the owners of the property and Jews can visit only by their sufferance. It is not acceptable that Jewish visits to the Mount should be so sharply limited, while Muslims can come and go and even play football there if they wish. The absurd and humiliating regulation that Jews may not pray, lift their hands, or even cry on the Temple Mount should be revoked. Ultimately, a synagogue should be constructed on the site, as former IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren wished.

The response to suggestions like the above is always that it will inflame Muslim anger and make the situation worse. The status quo is treated as untouchable (although it seems to inching closer and closer to excluding Jews altogether). But Muslims are quite capable of inflaming their own anger, and the more it is indulged the more inflamed it gets.

Another area in which our behavior needs to change is our perennial cooperation with failed attempts to negotiate a two-state solution with the PLO. Our Prime Minister and even Yitzhak Herzog have had moments of clarity in which they admitted that the idea is chimerical. And yet, we keep giving US Presidents and Secretaries of State hope that we can get them the Nobel Prizes they believe they deserve (and giving the PLO hope that it can weasel new advantages out of the process). Enough.

The struggle we are in is a struggle of wills as much as a military one. Terrorism cant be stopped by force alone, because we share the same piece of land with Arabs and we are not going to wipe them out. It cant be stopped by concessions, because they simply encourage the enemy to push harder. The only practical solution is to eliminate the terrorists will to fight, by proving to them that no matter what they do, we will not retreat, that continued violence will only make life for their people harder and move them farther from their goal.

The same policies that will preserve the country in the diplomatic and military arenas will ultimately end terrorism. Our actions should always be aimed in the direction of more sovereignty, not less. We must never give up territory, never release prisoners before the end of their sentences, and always respond to violence with disproportionate force.

No one who has not lost a child really knows what it is like, but every time someones child like Hadas is lost, it is painful for the whole society. It is every parents worst nightmare. Stopping the nightmares wont be easy or quick, but no magic is required; just an understanding of what has to be done and a will strong enough to do it.

Illuminating Gaza

From Posted on by Vic Rosenthal

Gazas electricity shortage has recently become critical. Gaza gets its power from Israel and Egypt, and has a small power station of its own. But due to a decision of the Palestinian Authority to further reduce the amount it pays Israel for electricity, the 3-4 hours a day during which Gaza is illuminated will be reduced by another 45 minutes or so unless money is found somewhere.

Hamas is threatening that there will be an explosion unless something is done. It is a big problem for the population, because food is not being refrigerated, sewage is not being processed, water is not being pumped, and hospitals are unable to operate. And the weather is getting hotter.

Israel presently supplies Hamas with about 125 megawatt-hours (MWh) per day, and Egypt provides a smaller amount. Gazas own power station is presently not operating due to lack of fuel. Its estimated that a 24-hour supply of electricity would require 400-500 MWh per day.

Negotiations are under way (Wednesday) for Western and Arab countries to pick up some of the slack. After all, think of the children. And nobody wants an explosion.

But there is a solution that nobody seems to have proposed yet. Lets begin by asking a question: why doesnt Hamas have money for electricity? After all, it levies heavy taxes on goods coming into the strip (both legally via the crossings from Israel and illegally via tunnels from Egypt) and on almost every other form of economic activity. It got money from Qatar until recently, and has now started receiving aid from Iran again. International donors pledged large sums for reconstruction after the 2014 war, although there was very little rebuilding done. Where did the money go?

The answer is simple: some of it enriched Hamas insiders, but most of it was used to dig tunnels, to manufacture rockets and for other weapons and military infrastructure. Hamas officials were ready to see their children (well, the children of other Gaza residents) hungry and wading in sewage if it advanced their project to destroy Israel.

In effect money was converted into weapons. And that provides a way to solve the problem: we can convert it back.

For example, what if Israel agreed to provide Hamas with 2 MWh for every stockpiled Qassam rocket turned over to us? They have thousands of these, which could keep the lights on for weeks. Not to mention longer-range rockets, which would be worth more. And tunnels Im sure we would be happy to give them a whole days worth of electricity for the precise location of a terror tunnel. Just give us the coordinates and well do the rest! Anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons are valuable, too. A nice shoulder-fired SAM is probably worth 10 MWh. Even rifles and mortar shells could help keep the juice flowing.

You get the idea. From Israels point of view, it would be far cheaper than the tamir rockets used by Iron Dome to shoot down the Qassams ($50k -$100k each!), and the amount of effort needed to find the tunnels. Hamas would get its electricity and we would get some peace and quiet for a change.

Im calling it the Watts for Weapons program. Im sure theyll go along with it. Only someone who prefers killing Jews to keeping his own people alive could possibly turn it down.

A bug, not a feature

Posted on by Vic Rosenthal

Can you guess what's missing?

Can you guess whats missing?

Dear Apple CEO Tim Cook,

I am writing to report a bug in the Clock application of your iOS operating system (10.3.2), found on my new iPad.

Somehow the country associated with Jerusalem seems to be missing!

Almost every other city, even Ittoqqortoormiit, has a country. But Jerusalem does not (Taipei also lacks a country, but I will leave that to someone else to argue about).

I know this has to be a bug, because Jerusalem is in Israel! Not only is Jerusalem in Israel, it is the capital of Israel, and has been since the modern state was founded in 1948 (it was also the capital of Davids kingdom, back around 1000 BCE). Israels Knesset meets there, its Prime Ministers office is there, and there are even several authorized Apple dealers there. So how can you not know?

I thought this was a new thing, but apparently the bug has been around since iOS version 7 in 2013! Surely it would be easy to fix.

Im beginning to think that this isnt a bug, but something that some of your people think is a feature. Believe me, its not. Its a political statement that most Israelis take as offensive and insulting, whether it comes from the US State Department or Apple. If Jerusalem isnt in Israel, where is it? On Mars?

The suggestion that Israel isnt sovereign in its own capital is outrageous. It is really a way of saying that the legitimacy of the Jewish state is still tentative, after almost 70 years. Dont pretend that it is anything less than that. Yes, we know that some people dont think the Jewish people are a people, or that they should have a state. But is this the position you want your company to take?

I suspect you make a lot of money selling iPhones and other gear here. Israel came in third in the world for smartphone penetration in 2015 (74%, more than the US) and my guess is that its significantly higher today.

More importantly, Israel is one of the most advanced centers of technological development in the world, maybe the most advanced. Intel just bought an Israeli company for $15 billion. With a b.

Your competitor Microsoft has a big presence here, and so does Google. You dont even have a company-owned store. Dont you want us to use your stuff, write software for it and integrate it into our cutting edge developments in such things as medical technology and robotics?

We dont have to, you know. We dont even have to buy your products, and frankly, since you have been pretending at least since 2013 that our capital city is on another planet, I dont see any reason to continue to do so.

So I am personally, in my small way, going to do my best to show you how we feel. I will start by explaining to as many Israelis as possible why they should choose an Android phone or tablet over an iOS device and a PC over a Mac. My next device will be an ABA (Anything But Apple).

Probably stockholders should dump their shares too. Your decision to take a side the wrong one in the conflict over our right to exist may have temporarily helped your sales in some markets, but in the long run will prove to be shortsighted.

Abu Yehuda

Update [1526 IDT]: A reader has informed me that Apple has recently opened a development center in Israel. So they have apparently decided that they can benefit from the talent available here.

Possibly someone there knows what country Jerusalem is in and can fix the bug in iOS.

Millwall 1, Islam 0 (DEFEND YOUR TURF)

If you havent heard about Roy Larner yet, hes the British football fan that is being called a hero for his actions last week at the Borough Market near London Bridge. When three terrorists entered the Black and Blue Steakhouse waving knives and shouting Islam! Islam! Larner charged them, throwing stools and glasses and swinging at them with his fists. Ultimately they left the restaurant, with Larner in pursuit and bleeding from at least 8 stab wounds (he is presently recovering in hospital). He may have saved numerous lives by his actions.

Larner wasnt the only unarmed civilian or police officer that fought with the terrorists, who killed 7 and injured 48 before they were finally and permanently stopped by armed police. But what seems to have placed Larner in the eye of the media is what he said to the terrorists:

I took a few steps towards them and said, F*** you, Im Millwall. So they started attacking me.

Mr Larner added: I stood in front of them trying to fight them off. Everyone else ran to the back.

I was on my own against all three of them, thats why I got hurt so much.

It was just me, trying to grab them with my bare hands and hold on. I was swinging.

I got stabbed and sliced eight times. They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere.

They were saying, Islam, Islam! I said again, F*** you, Im Millwall!

Millwall is a football club in South London whose fans are known for their pugnacity, a nicer word than hooliganism, of which they are sometimes accused.

On Good Morning Britain, presenter Piers Morgan, a fan of rival London club Arsenal, told viewers: Millwall fans get a very bad rap, a lot of it very deserved, but there are times when you really want a lot of Millwall fans, and that was one of them.

So, do I think that the solution to Islamic terrorism is to deputize or even arm English football fans? Not necessarily, although civilian response to terrorism has sometimes saved the day here in Israel. But there is an important clue in Larners statement to the terrorists.

Im Millwall, he said. Or in other words, Im from here, standing my ground and protecting my people on my land. Dont come in here with your knives and your Islam crap, not on my home turf.

Part of what motivated Roy Larner to risk his own life and limb, perhaps in addition to the four or five pints he admits to having consumed, was the very basic human drive to defend ones home and family against foreign invaders; the tribal instinct, so disapproved of by the post-modern John Lennon fans who moved to the back of the restaurant when Roy confronted the terrorists.

As long as Western society tries to suppress the tribal instinct, which provides the emotional drive behind nationalism, patriotism and national solidarity, we will continue to be defeated and humiliated by the Islamic jihad, which is also strongly tribal (although it sees itself as a conqueror rather than a defender).

So-called populist leaders, like Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump and others, have in common an appeal to tribal feelings, regardless of the details of their programs. And one of the reasons people find them attractive at this historical moment is because they see it as a powerful response to the threat of the Islamic jihad against the West.

In order to protect herself from the jihad, Britain (and the rest of Europe and ultimately the US) will have to adopt tribalist policies, such as limiting immigration from significantly different cultures in this case, Muslim ones and perhaps expelling the known bad actors among imams, activists and politicians. Maybe the most radical mosques should be closed altogether. The UK should probably arm all of its police officers, too. But in the end, no number of police on the street, armed or not, can prevent terrorism, only respond to it more quickly. Only the elimination of potential terrorists from the population can actually end it.

Here in Israel one often sees T-shirts with nonsensical, silly or embarrassing things written on them in English. Today we saw one that made a lot of sense, and I think Roy Larner would agree. It read:


Have another pint or five, Roy. Youve certainly earned it.

What do you say to someone who just tried to murder you?

I felt sorry and sad when I saw the 16-year old Arab girl lying in the road after she was shot. She was someones daughter and she could have had a life.

She stabbed a soldier getting off a bus at Mevo Dotan in Samaria and tried to stab another. After she was shot, the soldiers called for medical assistance. Before it arrived, one or two of the soldiers or civilians present cursed her, told her to die and called her a particularly offensive name in Arabic (video here). She received first aid, and was evacuated to a hospital where she later died.

Gideon Levy thinks this incident illustrates our depravity:

There wasnt even one soldier there with a shred of compassion or humanity. One has to recognize the magnitude of hatred felt by soldiers of the occupying army towards the nation they lord over. One has to see the extent to which theyve lost their humanity. How can anyone be joyful over a dying schoolgirl? Cursing someone suffering like that is no less evil than shooting her.

The article claims that she was left to bleed to death and not offered medical attention, which is false. The video is less than a minute long. It did not show her being treated at the scene and placed in the ambulance.

But the most important way in which Levy distorts the truth is this. He wrote:

One has to recognize the magnitude of hatred felt by soldiers of the occupying army towards the nation they lord over.

It has nothing to do with occupying and the soldiers dont see themselves as lord[ing] over another nation. All of that is ideology projected on the inside of Levys eyelids.

What the soldiers feel (ask any soldier) is that here is another one of the countless Arabs with knives, or meat cleavers or automobiles, who have taken the lives of 49 and injured 737 in the last two years, in 386 separate attacks. Or perhaps they have longer memories and are thinking of the 1,323 who have been murdered by bombs, guns, knives and vehicles, since we tried to give away Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 2000. And this one has just spilled the blood of one of your friends in an attempt to kill him.

Maybe she thought she wanted to die or maybe who knows what she thought? But she took a knife and stuck it into a soldier, and changed from a schoolgirl into a terrorist. She changed herself from someones daughter who could have had a life into an instrument of death, no less a terrorist than those that butchered four rabbis and a policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue one Tuesday morning, or the ones who murdered five members of the Fogel family (2 adults and 3 children, including Hadas aged 3 months). She was just less competent.

She made an existential decision when she cut into that soldiers flesh, and there is a price for that action, a price that everyone knows.

The Arabs are responsible for this conflict, and they have been responsible for the countless times they murdered Jews long before the founding of the state, for the wars they started and lost, for the thousands of Jews (and sometimes Arabs) murdered by terrorism, and now for the cynical and astonishingly evil practice of indoctrinating and inciting their children to kill.

This is where the real depravity lies, not with the soldiers who must protect themselves, but with those that orchestrate the Palestinian educational system, praise martyrdom for their cause to impressionable young people, provide heros welcomes (and funerals) for terrorists, name squares, soccer fields and schools after them, and then send children out to kill.

Yes, she should not have been cursed while lying critically wounded, but what do you say to someone who just tried to murder you? Yes, it is a shame that a young person who could have grown up to have children and grandchildren of her own will now only be a memory. But even a 16-year old can make very permanent choices, and with the help of the society that molded her, she made hers.

Maybe the Palestinian Authority will name a school after her.

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