Archive for May, 2010

Flotilla delayed by glitches again

May 30, 2010

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// // Flotilla delayed by glitches again
Photo by: Associated Press

Flotilla delayed by glitches again

By YAAKOV KATZ AND JPOST.COM STAFF
05/30/2010 18:51

Ships said to be in Cypriot waters; activist: We’re unarmed.

Talkbacks (16)

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Technical problems delayed the Gaza protest flotilla for ten minutes on Sunday evening as it continued to make its way to Israeli waters, but the organizers aboard the ships claimed it had resumed its voyage.

The Israeli Navy, monitoring the ships, reported there was “hardly any movement” among the group.

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An activist of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which is involved in the campaign, said in an interview with Army Radio that the ships were on the open sea, still within the territorial waters of Cyprus.

The activist said the purpose of the flotilla was only to deliver humanitarian aid. “We have no weapons on board and do not intend to offer resistance [to Israeli forces] in cases where self-defense is not necessary,” he said, adding that “if Jews were being blockaded anywhere in the world, Israel would respond exactly as we have.”

The IHH was previously blamed for channeling funds to a global Jihadist organization, a matter the activist refused to comment on.

Also Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon criticized the effort, saying anti-Semitic chants voiced by the activists on board earlier in the day showed the “real motivation” for the campaign, which he termed an “armada of hate.”

‘Activists chant slogans that threaten Jews’

According to a Foreign Ministry press release, participants on the flotilla were recorded shouting “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad saya’ud,” which means “Jews, remember Khyabar, the army of Mohammed is returning.” This cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

“Israel condemns the anti-Semitic chants that were publicized this morning,” Ayalon said. “This amply demonstrates that many are not against a particular policy of the Israeli government, but have very real and dangerous hatred for Jews and the Jewish State.”

He further noted that “the main organizer of the flotilla is an extremist Islamic organization with ties to Hamas and global Jihad and it is unfortunate that there are those who are duped into thinking that this exercise has anything to do with humanitarianism or human rights.”

The organizers of the protest flotilla said the ships were set to arrive in Israeli waters on Monday. The flotilla was originally slated to arrive in Gaza on Saturday but faced several delays because of technical difficulties.

While eight ships were initially scheduled to sail to Gaza, in the end a total of five ships were reported to be on their way after three suffered technical malfunctions.

Danon demands MK Zoabi’s arrest upon arrival

One of the highest profile figures on the ships is Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, who said she was proud to do her part to end what she called a siege on Gaza. Right-wing MKs called for Zoabi’s arrest and ouster from the Knesset.

“Zoabi is working together with Israel’s enemies to encourage terrorism and harm Israel’s image internationally, and these acts constitute treason,” Likud MK Danny Danon wrote to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein in his request for him to order Zoabi’s arrest upon her arrival in Israel.

The navy is prepared to stop the ships before they reach Gaza and has put most of its forces on operational standby since Friday. The ships will receive a number of warnings as they begin to approach the Gaza Strip, starting from a distance of about 65 kilometers. If the ships are commandeered, they will be sailed to the Ashdod Port, where the government has set up tents to hold the activists.

The activists will be taken to the tents for identification and medical attention, and asked to leave the country voluntarily. If they refuse, they will be arrested and transferred to the custody of the Prisons Service and the Interior Ministry.

Gil Hoffman and AP contributed to this report

MidEastTruth :: View topic – Nakba Day and the Fraud – By Ben-Dror Yemini

May 27, 2010

MidEastTruth :: View topic – Nakba Day and the Fraud – By Ben-Dror Yemini.

Nakba Day and the Fraud

By Ben-Dror Yemini
May 2010

The Palestinians have been holding the title of “refugees” for over six decades . They have succeeded in creating a unique historical narrative for themselves . This myth is growing, so it should be shattered and the real facts presented: the Palestinian population before the first Aliya was sparse, hundreds of thousands of Jews were also expelled from Arab countries, and there is no precedent anywhere in the world for the right of return.

The Nakba – the story of the Palestinian refugees is the greatest success story in the history of modern times – a success that is a complete fraud. There is no other group of “refugees” in the world that has gotten such broad global coverage. Not a week goes by without a conference, another conference, about the wretched state of the Palestinians. There is not a campus in the West that does not devote countless events, conferences and publications, each year or each month to the issue of the Palestinian refugees. They have become the ultimate victims. A million calamities and injustices and expulsions and population exchanges and acts of genocide and slaughter and wars have befallen the world since the Arabs, among them the Palestinians, declared a war of annihilation on Israel – but the Nakba of the Palestinians takes up most of the space. A visitor from another planet would think that it was the greatest injustice suffered by the entire universe since the Second World War. So it is best to shatter this lie. It is best to present the real facts. It is best to expose the fraud.

The Jews came to the area of the Land of Israel, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, in many small waves, back before the First Aliya. Did they really expel millions of Arabs? Well, there is no debating the fact that in those years there were no “Palestinians” and there was no “Palestine” and there was no “Palestinian identity.” And, mainly, there was no real boundary between Arabs from Syria, Egypt or Jordan. There was a steady stream of people. In the years in which Muhammad Ali and his son conquered this region in 1831 – 1840, they sent many Arabs from Egypt to Gaza, Jaffa and other cities. The Jews who also arrived in Jaffa during those years helped to develop the city as well.

Forgotten research findings

There is a debate among historians over the number of Arabs who lived during those years in the area of “Palestine,” which, in effect, was composed of districts (Sanjaks) that were subject to Damascus or Beirut, as part of the Ottoman Empire. The most serious testimony about what existed before the First Aliya is a forgotten one. It’s known to many scholars, but it doesn’t exist in the public discourse. It was made by a delegation of British researchers – the Palestine Exploration Fund – which traveled through the western Land of Israel in 1871 – 1878, from Dan to Beer Sheba, and published a precise and authentic map of settlements in 26 parts, which is rare for its size, type and authenticity. The researchers found a small number of sparse settlements here. The journalist Zeev Galili published a comprehensive investigation following publication of the map, and found that Haifa, for example, was a settlement of 440 x 190 meters. No more than that. Acre and Nazareth were larger settlements, whose area was 600 x 300 meters. The size of Jaffa was 540 x 240 meters. Jerusalem was situated between the walls, and was relatively huge, about 1,000 meters x 1,000 meters. There were a total of about 100,000 residents. A rare collection of photographs of the Land of Israel in those years clarifies the size of the settlements, and gives another fascinating look at those times.

There are those who bring up the famous tour of the Land of Israel in 1891 by Achad Ha’am, who also found cultivated and flourishing fields. It seems, however, that the impressions of Achad Ha’am are dwarfed by a series of well-established findings from that era. Another visitor, like Achad Ha’am, was Mark Twain, who toured the land in 1865. “….A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse… A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We reached Tabor safely… We never saw a human being on the whole route. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes… desolate and unlovely… these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness…that melancholy ruin of Capernaum; this stupid village of Tiberias slumbering under its six funereal plumes of palms” Of the same mind was Henry Baker Tristram, who made several visits to the Holy Land during those same years, and his descriptions are very close to those of Twain’s.

More well-established testimonies are given in the book of James Finn, the British consul in Jerusalem for 17 years (1845-1862), who traveled the length and breadth of the country and published a book describing the land, which was settled with appalling sparseness, waiting for residents that would redeem it. In a memorandum that he sent in 1857, he noted that “Palestine is mostly empty of residents.”

It appears, however, that the findings of the research delegation are above any dispute. These were not chance visitors. They were researchers who stayed here for years, researched the land, went from settlement to settlement, measured every mountain, settlement and hill, and published six volumes. One of the researchers, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, said about the Judea region that “mile after mile not a living thing is to be seen.”

Despite these findings, there is a sharp debate among researchers, historians and demographers about the number of Arabs who lived in the area before the First Aliya. The estimates range from 100,000 according to the British research delegation and hundreds of thousands according to other researchers. There is another dispute on the question of the extent of Arab immigration to Israel following the advent of Zionism. This issue also occupied other researchers, among them Moshe Braver and Moshe Sharon.

Winston Churchill said in 1939, “Despite the fact that they were not persecuted, masses of Arabs streamed into Palestine and multiplied there until the Arab population increased more than all the Jews of the world could have added to the Jewish population.” There are dozens of information sources on both the sparse Arab population before the First Aliya and on the Arab immigration, the size of which is in dispute, after the advent of Zionism.

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The book by Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, which provides a great deal of data on Palestinian immigration, is very controversial. Some of the findings that appear in the book have been refuted, but more serious researchers, such as Arieh Avneri (who refutes the claim of eviction and colonialism) and Fred Gottheil present a reliable picture which actually establishes most of the claims made by Peters. When this is added to the testimony of the research delegation, and to the book and memorandum by Finn – the result is unequivocal: before the First Zionist Aliya, there was an appallingly sparse population in the Land of Israel.

With regard to the immigration, we should add that as long as the government was Arab or Muslim, the people sought a better place to live. The Arabs of the region were under Egyptian and Jordanian rule for two decades (1948-1967), and they never demanded a state for themselves. They lived under a cruel régime (a subject for a separate article) and made every effort to emigrate to other countries. The change began in 1967. The Israeli government caused another attraction. That is the reason that many Palestinians prefer to return to the territories of Judea and Samaria, and that is the reason that many of them want to immigrate to Israel and become citizens (hundreds of thousands have already done so).

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Throughout the years of the British Mandate, there were two populations here – Jews and Arabs. The original area of the Mandate, according to the Balfour Declaration, included the eastern side of the Jordan. As mentioned, the area was very sparsely populated. The establishment of a national homeland for the Jews would not have caused any injustice because there was no state here and there was no nation here. That was the real background to the Balfour Declaration. In 1922, the League of Nations cut off part of the promised area to give to the Hashemite family, and one year later the Golan Heights was also cut off to give to the French government in Syria.

Harassment of Jews also existed during the Ottoman period, and increased during the time of the British Mandate. The opposition was led by the Supreme Muslim Council, headed by Haj Amin Al-Husseini. The Palestinian leader attached himself to the Axis countries. He preached hatred and extermination of the Jews and spent World War II in Berlin. “The Mufti and Hitler have a common enemy – the Jews,” declared a German film clip about a meeting between the two. The Mufti did more than just talk – he also acted. He established the Muslim Hanzar Brigades, which were sent into action in the service of Hitler.

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The only remaining refugees

Parallel to the UN resolution on partition, the Arab countries declared a war of annihilation on Israel. The result is well known. The declaration of war led to hundreds of thousands of Arabs being forced to move to neighboring countries. Many of them fled. Many testified that they were forced to leave under pressure of their leaders. There were also some who were evicted in the heat of battle. About 600,000 people became refugees.

The experience undergone by the Arabs became the “Nakba,” a story that has inflated over the years. They became the only exiled people among all the disputes in the world. And there is no greater lie than that. First of all, because the “Jewish Nakba” occurred at the same time. With the same background, in the same conflict, more Jews in Arab countries – over 800,000 people – were forced to face eviction and expulsion. And they did not declare a war of annihilation on the countries in which they lived. Second, and even more important, more than 50 million people have undergone population exchanges as a result of national conflicts or the creation of new nation states. There is no difference between the Arabs of Palestine and the rest of the refugees, including the Jewish refugees. Just in the decade after World War II, and in Europe alone, more than 20 million people experienced population exchanges. That also happened later, in conflicts between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus; between Armenia and Azerbaijan (the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), between the states that were created as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia and in many other conflicts around the world.

But only the Palestinians, out of all those groups, have held the title of “refugees” for over six decades. They have succeeded in creating a unique historical narrative for themselves. This myth is also growing with the help of UNRWA, a group dedicated to taking care of the Palestinian refugees, separate from the care given to all the other refugees in the world by the UNHCR. Many countries, including Israel, help to maintain the UNRWA, which deals not only with assisting and perpetuating the refugee problem, but also with incitement. The tragedy is that if the Palestinians were to receive such treatment from the international community, their situation today would be far better.

The fraud that is called the right of return

In the many discussions in which I have participated, I asked my colleagues, devotees of the Palestinian narrative, when have deportees who declared war, and lost that war, been granted the “right of return?” Is there one among the dozens of groups and the tens of millions who experienced expulsion in the past century that has been granted a “right of return” in a manner that caused the political annihilation of a nation state? To this day I have not received an answer. Because there is no such right.

The Palestinian Authority presents a document which claims that there are precedents for a “right of return.” The most serious example presented there is the Dayton Agreement of 1995 which allows the return, for example, of Serbs to Croatia. The circumstances, however, are different. First, the return was never implemented. Croatia allowed the return of Croatians but placed barriers on the return of Serbs. Second, even if it had been implemented, the return would not have undermined the existence of Croatia as the national state of the Croatian people. Another example presented by the Palestinians is an agreement from 1997 regarding Azerbaijan. This is also a fraud because a report from 2002 shows that the Muslims who were exiled to Azerbaijan did not return to Armenia, and the Armenians who arrived as refugees did not return to Azerbaijan. In effect, the Armenian constitution grants the right of return only to Armenians (similar to the Israeli Law of Return, which exists in other countries around the world). The other examples presented by the Palestinians, from Africa and South America, are also irrelevant to the many population exchanges around the world and certainly to the population exchanges between the Arab countries and Israel.

The most serious reference to the issue of the right of return is in the Cypress agreement initiated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The agreement does not recognize the right of return, despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights recognized the rights of petitioners on the Greek side of Turkey to return and to the restoration of property. In other words, not every legal precedent becomes a political truth. The agreement was welcomed by the international community in general and by the European Union in particular. There is a reason why the Palestinians do not mention the Cypress precedent because the right of return there was limited so that the Turkish majority, on the Turkish side, would always be at least eighty percent.

The Palestinians are also relying on resolution 194, so it should be recalled that the Arabs presented a united front in opposition to the resolution. They knew why. Because it is a resolution which, in effect, is based on recognition in a previous resolution – the partition resolution – which grants international legitimacy to recognition of the Jewish state. There are other stipulations in that resolution, such as the creation of suitable conditions and pre-agreement to the fact that candidates for return must agree to live in peace with their neighbors. Needless to say, the Palestinians are insisting on non-recognition of the Jewish state, which shows that the conditions have not been created and certainly that the return is for the purpose of eliminating the Jewish entity and not for the purpose of peace. And as Abu-Mazen stated in May 2009, he does not recognize the Jewish state because it is liable to prevent the return of the masses.

Is there a Palestinian people?

Azmi Bishara has stated in the past that “There is no Palestinian people. That is a colonial invention. There were never Palestinians.”

Link

Bishara is right. It is even happening to him. Even the third Arab Congress in 1920, which was held in Jaffa, stated that Palestine is southern Syria and that there is no separate Palestinian identity. Ahmad Shukieri, the first chairman of the PLO, stated that “Palestine is just a part of Syria.” The president of Syria, Hafez al Assad, said in 1976 that Palestine was part of greater Syria. Many spokesmen have admitted, exactly like Bishara and Assad, time after time, that there is no separate Palestinian identity. Without Zionist immigration, masses of immigrants would not have come here from Muslim countries, and no Palestinian identity would have been created. But the fact that this does not involve a nation, but rather immigrants from neighboring countries, does not rule out the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. They see themselves as a nation, they have created a separate national identity, and their wishes should be respected.

One of the Palestinian claims is that for the purpose of resolving the conflict, the Palestinian Nakba must be recognized, and primarily the Israeli responsibility for the refugee problem. The truth is the opposite. Cultivating the myth of the Nakba is not what is delaying resolution of the conflict, because the Palestinians are busy reinforcing the problem, inflating it and insisting that it is different from any international precedent. They are forgetting that they are the ones who preferred to support the Nazi axis of evil. They are the ones who refused the partition proposal. They are the ones who declared a war of annihilation. They are the ones who started the war. They are forgetting that a greater number of Jews were persecuted, dispossessed and expelled from Arab countries. As long as they continue the myth of the Nakba, and delete the basic facts, they only perpetuate their suffering. And despite all this, the Palestinians deserve respect, freedom and independence. But alongside of Israel. Not instead of Israel. And not by means of the Nakba, which is no more than a political fraud and that a historical fraud.

Ben-Dror Yemini is a senior columnist in Maariv, daily newspaper
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http://www.MidEastTruth.com

Ben Dror Yemini was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1954. He studied Humanities and History in Tel Aviv University, and later on he studies Law. After his university studies, he was appointed advisor to the Israeli Minister of Immigration Absorption and then became the spokesman of the Ministry. In 1984, he began his career as a journalist and essayist. He worked as a lawyer and was a partner in a law firm. Since 2003 he is the opinion-editor of the daily newspaper Maariv and also published many articles and essays in other journals.

68% of Arab Israelis prefer Israeli products – Israel Business, Ynetnews

May 26, 2010

68% of Arab Israelis prefer Israeli products – Israel Business, Ynetnews.

68% of Arab Israelis prefer Israeli products

Big Zol supermarkets conducts poll, announces it will erect 15 stores in Arab towns within five years. According to figures, 50% of Arab population does grocery shopping in local mini-market, while there is 37% increase in shopping in Jewish towns

Meirav Crystal

Published: 05.26.10, 08:06 / Israel Business

P{margin:0;} UL{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;margin-right: 16; padding-right:0;} OL{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;margin-right: 32; padding-right:0;} H3.pHeader {margin-bottom:3px;COLOR: #192862;font-size: 16px;font-weight: bold;margin-top:0px;} P.pHeader {margin-bottom:3px;COLOR: #192862;font-size: 16px;font-weight: bold;}// The Big Zol supermarket chain plans to open 15 new stores in Arab towns within the next five years with an investment of NIS 80 million (about $20.9 million).

In preparation for the move, the supermarket ordered a survey from the Geocartographic Institute of 500 Arab Israeli respondents. The survey found that 68% of Israel’s Arab citizens prefer to purchase Israeli-made products.

The poll was conducted in Arabic among Muslim, Christian, and Druze respondents in a sample representative of the adult Arab population in Israel.

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The survey also found that 50% of Arab shoppers buy their groceries in local mini-markets. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in Arab patrons making their food purchases at supermarkets in Jewish towns, with a 37% increase.

In addition, the average monthly grocery expenses per family in the sector have remained static for the past four years. The average Arab family spends NIS 2,120 (about $550) on foodstuffs, with the average outlay per capita on groceries 19% lower than the average in the Jewish sector.

It seems that the Arab sector tends to spread its shopping over a relatively high number of sales points – the vegetable seller, the butcher, and the bakery, for instance. On average, the Arab family purchase groceries at 4.2 different sales points, versus the average Jewish family, which visits an average of just 3.2 sales points. Furthermore, nearly half of the households in the Arab sector in Israel purchase foodstuffs at least five different sales points.

‘Arab yuppies make more use of credit cards’

Big Zol seeks to challenge this purchasing habit. The chain intends to open stores in large Arab villages adjacent to Jewish population centers. In addition, the chain asserts that it has identified locations that draw customers from all the sectors, such that the stores will also serve Jewish patrons who travel on Saturdays and holidays.

The list of villages includes: Sakhnin, Pekiin, Nazareth, Tamra, Shfaram, Isfiya, Kfar Qassem, Qalansawe, east Jerusalem, and Rahat. Supermarkets from other chains already operate in some of the towns.

Big Zol reported that the sales forecast for the first three years in the newly opened stores is NIS 105.5 million (about $27.5 million) in the first year, NIS 269.7 (about $70.4 million) in the second year, and NIS 532 million (about $138.9 million) in the third year. The market potential in the foodstuffs market alone in the Arab sector is between NIS 446 million (about $116.4 million) and NIS 490 million (about $128 million) per month.

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According to Big Zol’s business plan, the chain will break even 10 months after it starts operations.

Big Zol CEO Yusuf Ashkar said, “We are the only chain that comes from the sector, we are familiar with its needs and preferences, and understand the heart of the Arab customer. I am well acquainted with the consumption habits in the sector, which, by the way, have changed a lot in recent years as the rest of the chains don’t see this frankly like we do. Already today we serve a sizable section of the sector. We know what kind of personal attention needs to be provided, what to offer, how to address this public, which channels to advertise on, and more. We will know how to match ourselves to the sector better than any other.

“The Arab public is ripe for and expecting to do its grocery shopping at the large supermarkets near its house, as it already does on many occasions in stores located outside of the Arab towns. In the cities and large villages, there is a status of Arab yuppies, which includes young couples and singles, who increasingly use credit cards.”

A spark of Zionism – Israel Opinion, Ynetnews

May 21, 2010

A spark of Zionism – Israel Opinion, Ynetnews.

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// El Al plane Photo: Zvika Tishler

A spark of Zionism

Effort to fly Israelis stranded in Europe to Israel renews Noam Bedein’s belief in our state

Noam Bedein

Published: 04.25.10, 09:37 / Israel Opinion

April 19, 2010: It was Monday, the eve of Israel’s Independence Day and the fifth day in the world’s largest aviation crisis that has paralyzed Europe, following a volcanic explosion in Iceland which left the sky of 23 countries clouded in volcanic dust.

I was left stranded in Holland, but after hearing that El Al had promised to send more Israeli jets to Europe to collect stranded Israelis, I found myself traveling to Rome, halfway across the European continent by train.

After 27 hours of a nerve-racking trip, I remained doggedly determined to join the rest of the people of Israel in celebration of Israel Independence Day. I finally arrived at Terminal 5 in Rome at 23:30.

Much to my amazement, I found a nearly empty terminal, deserted of passengers, aircrafts, and airline employees. Only one ticket counter had a long line of people and that was of course El Al. Exhausted Israelis from all corners of Europe had arrived to board the jumbo plane decked with Israeli flags. El Al specifically sent the plane to gather Israeli travelers and bring them back home to celebrate Independence Day with their families. It was a sort of in gathering of the exiles sponsored and facilitated by El Al.

El Al, Israel’s largest airline, privatized in 2003, serves as the national airline of Israel. It was one of the first if not the only airline that was able to adjust to a state of emergency in less than 24 hours when airports across Europe were forced to shut down.

It is amazing how every time there is a national disaster or international crisis, Israel, somehow, is always among the first countries to act and lend a hand. As such a tiny country, which since its establishment has existed under constant terror and threat, Israel is constantly in a state of preparedness as well.

Zionism still here and kicking

On my way to Rome during the weekend on the train, I heard from many other Israelis that countless airlines on which they had flown did not open emergency centers in order to instruct passengers how to act during this emergency situation.

Israeli media did not stop broadcasting the news that El Al was operating to return stranded Israelis back to Israel and consequently the airline established an emergency information center to receive calls and share information on flight location points where Israelis could verify where to catch a flight back to Israel.

El Al sent 15 additional jets to transport 20,000 Israelis stuck across Europe in places including Munich, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome. El Al also ensured that the same ticket could be used regardless of the country from which travelers were scheduled to fly from in Europe, even if the flight from that particular country had been cancelled to Israel.

In addition, the El-Al crews did an amazing job, working over 20 hours non-stop to provide the best quality of services in this time of emergency.

The flight from Rome to Tel Aviv on April 20, 2010, was the best way to begin celebrating 62 years to the state of Israel. During the soft landing in Ben Gurion Airport at 7 am, I felt that there was something Biblical in the operation, something like “the wings of eagles.”

As I traveled, I had much time to reflect on the country’s current state and where we are today, after 2,000 years of dreaming of returning to our homeland.

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I can honestly say that my experience this past Israel Independence Day renewed my belief in our state. I am back home in Sderot, the world “capital” of bomb shelters, with hope in my heart, that Zionism is still here and kicking, and that the Jewish state will continue to stand up for her citizens both around the world and at home.

Thanks to El Al, 20,000 Israelis made it back home in what was truly a reflection of the spirit that helped make Israel independent 62 years ago.

Noam Bedein is a photojournalist, lecturer and founder/director of Sderot Media Center . He has conducted briefings and tours for government officials, diplomats, foreign press, and students from around the world

Israel ranked 17th-most competitive economy

May 21, 2010

No. 1 for resilience, research expenditure.

Israel’s economy is No. 1 in the world for resilience to economic cycles and No. 17 for competitiveness, according to the latest rankings of the World Competitiveness Yearbook.

“Israel’s ranking in the top place in terms of the economy’s resilience to crises is a direct result of the actions taken by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel, who withstood the pressure and didn’t stream money to failing organizations and financial institutions as was the case in the US and Europe,” Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, said Thursday.

Israel’s No. 17 ranking for competitiveness, out of 58 countries, placed it after Germany and before China. Last year it was No. 24.

The rankings were compiled by the Swiss Institute for Management Development (IMD).

“IMD is a politically independent body, and its rankings are not less important than the ones published by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development,” Lynn said.

IMD analyzes results of its survey according to four categories: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. The countries are then ranked within those categories for quality of research and development, liquidity of capital markets, domestic penetration of high-speed Internet broadband and other parameters.

Israel was ranked No. 1 for its expenditure in research and development as a percentage of gross domestic product, as it was last year, and in the innovative capacity of firms to generate new products, processes and services.

In the business-efficiency category, Israel scored very high in availability of skilled labor, finance skills, entrepreneurship of managers and venture capital.
On the negative side, Israel slipped to No. 54 in workforce participation category, down from No. 51 last year.

In the category for how many days it takes to start up a business, Israel fell to No. 51 from No. 46.

Israel was No. 48, up from No. 51, in government debt-to-GDP.

In the yearbook’s report, a number of challenges for the Israeli economy were identified, including reducing the size of the public sector and its expenditure; reducing bureaucracy and burden on the business sector; investment in infrastructure in the periphery, including education and support of small- and medium-sized enterprises; boosting workforce participation; and decreasing foreign debt.

The global financial crisis pushed the US out of the top spot in this year’s ranking, for the first time in 17 years. It was No. 3 behind Singapore and Hong Kong.

“The US has weathered the risks of the financial and economic crisis thanks to the sheer size of its economy, a strong leadership in business and an unmatched supremacy in technology,” the report said.

“Singapore and Hong Kong have displayed great resilience through the crisis – despite suffering high levels of volatility in their economic performance – and they are now taking full advantage of strong expansion in the surrounding Asian region.” Five of the top 10 economies in the rankings are from the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia (No. 5), Taiwan (No. 8) and Malaysia (No. 10).

European countries fared poorly, mainly due to high levels of government debt, a weakening infrastructure and continued inefficiencies in labor markets. Germany (No. 16) led the larger “traditional” economies such as the UK (No. 22), France (No. 24) and Italy (No. 40).

“Despite a significant budget deficit and growing debt, Germany’s performance is driven by strong trade (second-largest exporter of manufactured goods), excellent infrastructure and a sound financial reputation,” the report said.

The IMD added a debt-stress test that identified which countries have the highest debt levels relative to GDP and will need the most years to pay off those obligations and revert to a level of 60 percent of their respective GDP.

According to the debt-stress test, the largest “old” industrialized nations, including Japan and the UK, will suffer a “debt curse,” in the worst case lasting until 2084. Currently, budget deficits are soaring as a result of the global economic crisis, and it is estimated that the average debt of the G-20 nations, for example, will climb from 76% of their combined GDP in 2007 to 106% in 2010.

Israel with a current debt-to-GDP ratio of about 80%, won’t be able to reduce its ratio to 60% until 2019, the report said.

“Although the ‘great recession’ is over, the consequences of the crisis will continue to be felt for quite some time,” the report said.

Countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain have a credibility problem not only because they have a debt crisis, but also because they lack the means to adequately repay.

“It is unfortunately to be expected that these three nations, which all have significant budget deficits, growing debt and weak trade performance, will suffer from further recession this year,” the report said. “This crisis will test the credibility of the euro. The only good news is that a weak euro can boost exports.”


Industrialists: Palestinians only hurting themselves – Israel News, Ynetnews

May 18, 2010

Industrialists: Palestinians only hurting themselves – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Industrialists: Palestinians only hurting themselves

Factory owners say boycott of their products is ‘hate campaign that will blow up in Fayyad’s face’

Shmulik Grossman

Published: 05.18.10, 17:16 / Israel News
Major factory owners in Israel began to gird for battle against a Palestinian boycott of their products Tuesday, following the distribution of thousands of pamphlets to homes in the West Bank explaining which products were now off-limits.

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In a conversation with Ynet the factory owners called the boycott a “hate campaign” and said it was a political move that would “blow up in Salam Fayyad’s face”.

Avi Elkayam, who represents 300 factory owners in the area of Mishor Adumim, the largest Israeli industrial zone in the West Bank, said the Palestinians were only hurting themselves.

“The Palestinian Authority is playing in a political arena and in the end it will only harm its own citizens. Our industrial zone employs close to 2,000 Palestinian workers who are providing for thousands of children. If our factories get hit economically, they will be the first to go,” he said.

The website ‘My Israel’ has launched a counter-campaign. “We won’t let them subdue us,” one campaign leader explained. “When their products are boycotted they will feel the financial damage ten times worse and come back with their tails between their legs to ask for things return to the way they were. Then the world will see who the enlightened ones are and who the warmongers are.”

Reports from the Shaar Binyamin industrial zone say some factories have established smaller offices outside the West Bank in order to bypass the boycott, which only includes products made in settlements. The website says their campaign will also expose these factories.

But despite the tough stance, some factory owners claim to have already been hurt by the boycott, which

began unofficially a few months ago. “The machines are still and the Palestinian workers have been let go because I just don’t have the money to pay them,” said M. of Mishor Adumim.

But M. doesn’t just blame the Palestinians. He says the Israeli government has a lot to do with his dire financial situation. “Ministers and MKs have come here promising to help, but in actuality, just as the state does nothing to boycott Palestinian goods, it also does nothing to prevent the factories harmed by the boycott from collapsing,” he said, adding that the state must take action to force the PA to capitulate.

Pregnant Jewish Girl

May 12, 2010

A 25 year old Jewish girl tells her Mom that she has missed her period for 2 months. Very worried, the mother goes to the drugstore and buys a pregnancy kit. The test result shows that the girl is pregnant.

Shouting and crying, the mother says, “Who was the pig that did this to you? I want to know!”

Without answering, the girl picks up the phone and makes a call.
Half an hour later, a Mercedes stops in front of their house. A mature and distinguished man with gray hair and wearing a yarmulke steps out of the car and enters the house. He sits in the living room with the father, mother, and the girl and tells them,

“Good morning. Your daughter has informed me of the problem. I can’t marry her because of my personal family situation but I’ll take charge. I will pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life.

Additionally, if a girl is born, I will bequeath two retail furniture stores, a deli, a condo in Miami, and a $1,000,000 bank account. If a boy is
born, my legacy will be a chain of jewelry stores and a $25,000,000 bank account. However, if there is a miscarriage, I’m not sure what to do. What do you suggest?”

All ferklemt at this point, the mother, who had remained silent until now, placed a hand firmly on the man’s shoulder and tells him,

“So, you’ll try again.”

2,000 years of water in Jerusalem

May 11, 2010

A spectacular arched bridge that was part of the ancient aqueduct which conveyed water to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was exposed in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted near the Sultan’s Pool.

(Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Part of the ancient aqueduct which conveyed water to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

Work on the city’s modern water infrastructure uncovered a section of Jerusalem’s ancient aqueduct. While the Gihon Corporation was working on the sewage infrastructure in the vicinity of the Sultan’s Pool in the Jerusalem Walls National Park, a section of Jerusalem’s ancient aqueduct was discovered.

In the wake of this discovery, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted an excavation in which a spectacular arched bridge was revealed that was part of the very old aqueduct that conveyed water to the Temple Mount.

The bridge as seen in the 19th century

According to Yehiel Zelinger, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The bridge, which could still be seen at the end of the 19th century and appears in old photographs, was covered over during the twentieth century. We were thrilled when it suddenly reappeared in all its grandeur during the course of the archaeological excavations.”

Zelinger said, “The route of the low level aqueduct from the time of the Second Temple, beginning at Solomon’s Pools near Bethlehem and ending at the Temple Mount, is well known to scholars: substantial parts of it were documented along the edge of Yemin Moshe neighborhood and on the slope adjacent to the western wall of the Old City. The upper part of the Hinnom Valley passes between the two sections of aqueduct where the Sultan’s Pool was built as a reservoir for flood water. In order to maintain the elevation of the path along which the water flowed, a bridge was erected above the ravine. Two of the original nine arches that were in the bridge were currently excavated to their full height of about three meters.”

“The bridge was built in 1320 CE (in the Mamluke period) by Sultan Nasser al-Din Muhammed Ibn Qalawun, as evidenced by the dedicatory inscription set in it; however, it was apparently constructed to replace an earlier bridge dating to the time of the Second Temple period that was part of the original aqueduct.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, is working to expose the entire length of the arched bridge, conserve it and integrate it in the framework of the overall development of the Sultan’s Pool, as part of underscoring the importance of the water supply to Jerusalem in ancient times.

The Gihon Corporation, whose name preserves that of Jerusalem’s ancient source of water, is assisting in funding excavations that uncover Jerusalem’s ancient water systems.

11 May 2010

MFA Website

Gas Chamber – An American Idea

May 9, 2010

The Nazis’ Murder of Jews, Communists and Gypsies In Gas Chambers Was an AMERICAN Idea

Believe it or not, the Nazis’ murder of Jews, communists and gypsies using gas chambers was actually an American idea.

As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in 2003:

the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing.

Eugenics was the pseudoscience aimed at “improving” the human race. In its extreme, racist form, this meant wiping away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in 27 states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the 20th century’s first decades, California’s eugenicists included potent but little-known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles Goethe, as well as members of the California state Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.

Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation”, in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.

In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations.

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California’s quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as Pasadena’s Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations — which functioned as part of a closely-knit network — published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis.

***

The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in the United States was a “lethal chamber” or public, locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, “Applied Eugenics”, which argued,

“From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution . . . Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated.”

“Applied Eugenics” also devoted a chapter to “Lethal Selection”, which operated “through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.”

Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Ill., fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to 40 percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect.

***

Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote,

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes’ words in their own defense.

Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.

Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti-Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. Hitler’s race hatred sprung from his own mind, but the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.

During the ’20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany’s fascist eugenicists. In “Mein Kampf”, published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics.

“There is today one state”, wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”

***

During the Reich’s early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler’s plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

In 1934, as Germany’s sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe, upon returning from Germany, ebulliently bragged to a colleague,

“You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”

***

More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany’s eugenic institutions.

By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 — almost $4 million in today’s money — to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 toward creation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst Rüdin, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler’s systematic medical repression.

Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute’s complex of eugenics institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the institute, once again, was Hitler’s medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin’s organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.

Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.

Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, declared of Nazism, “While we were pussy-footing around … the Germans were calling a spade a spade.”

A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. For decades,

American eugenicists had craved twins to advance their research into heredity.

The Institute was now prepared to undertake such research on an unprecedented level. On May 13, 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York dispatched a radiogram to its Paris office: JUNE MEETING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS OVER THREE YEAR PERIOD TO KWG INSTITUTE ANTHROPOLOGY FOR RESEARCH ON TWINS AND EFFECTS ON LATER GENERATIONS OF SUBSTANCES TOXIC FOR GERM PLASM.

At the time of Rockefeller’s endowment, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that institute continued both directly and through other research conduits during Verschuer’s early tenure. In 1935, Verschuer left the institute to form a rival eugenics facility in Frankfurt that was much heralded in the American eugenics press. Research on twins in the Third Reich exploded, backed by government decrees. Verschuer wrote in Der Erbarzt, a eugenics doctor’s journal he edited, that Germany’s war would yield a “total solution to the Jewish problem.”

Verschuer had a longtime assistant. His name was Josef Mengele.

***

Rockefeller executives never knew of Mengele. With few exceptions, the foundation had ceased all eugenics studies in Nazi-occupied Europe before the war erupted in 1939. But by that time the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the great institutions they helped found, and the science they helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own.

As Michel Crichton wrote in 2004:

Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was approved by Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, who ruled in its favor. The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; activist Margaret Sanger; botanist Luther Burbank; Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others. Nobel Prize winners gave support. Research was backed by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. The Cold Springs Harbor Institute was built to carry out this research, but important work was also done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California.

These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. It was said that if Jesus were alive, he would have supported this effort.

All in all, the research, legislation and molding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost half a century. Those who opposed the theory were shouted down and called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.

***

The plan was to identify individuals who were feeble-minded — Jews were agreed to be largely feeble-minded, but so were many foreigners, as well as blacks — and stop them from breeding by isolation in institutions or by sterilization.

***

Such views were widely shared. H.G. Wells spoke against “ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens”. Theodore Roosevelt said that “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind.” Luther Burbank” “Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce.” George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.

***

Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, and later by the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter was so enthusiastic that even after the center of the eugenics effort moved to Germany, and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation continued to finance German researchers at a very high level. (The foundation was quiet about it, but they were still funding research in 1939, only months before the onset of World War II.)

Since the 1920s, American eugenicists had been jealous because the Germans had taken leadership of the movement away from them. The Germans were admirably progressive. They set up ordinary-looking houses where “mental defectives” were brought and interviewed one at a time, before being led into a back room, which was, in fact, a gas chamber. There, they were gassed with carbon monoxide, and their bodies disposed of in a crematorium located on the property.

Eventually, this program was expanded into a vast network of concentration camps located near railroad lines, enabling the efficient transport and of killing ten million undesirables.

After World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Biographers of the celebrated and the powerful did not dwell on the attractions of this philosophy to their subjects, and sometimes did not mention it at all. Eugenics ceased to be a subject for college classrooms, although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form.

***

The scientific establishment in both the United States and Germany did not mount any sustained protest. Quite the contrary. In Germany scientists quickly fell into line with the program. Modern German researchers have gone back to review Nazi documents from the 1930s. They expected to find directives telling scientists what research should be done. But none were necessary. In the words of Ute Deichman, “Scientists, including those who were not members of the [Nazi] party, helped to get funding for their work through their modified behavior and direct cooperation with the state.” Deichman speaks of the “active role of scientists themselves in regard to Nazi race policy … where [research] was aimed at confirming the racial doctrine … no external pressure can be documented.” German scientists adjusted their research interests to the new policies. And those few who did not adjust disappeared.

Appendix 1, State of Fear (Avon 2004).

Note: Obviously, not all Americans bought into crazy eugenics theories.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/02/nazis-murder-of-jews-communists-and.html

Understanding Israel in 4 minutes

May 9, 2010

Extracted from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGs75M5LpPc&feature=player_embedded