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Preview: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Conflicts in the Middle East

Updated: 2018-03-18T13:14:04.346+02:00


Election Threat that Passed and ultra-Orthodox Power


We, in Israel, witnessed a real “general electoral trial circus”. Was it “to be or not to be, that is the question?” The reason for holding the elections was the Conscription Bill that the ultra-Orthodox Parties in the Knesset opposed. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who supports compulsory conscription of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) youngsters to the IDF and as a result the government nearly fell with the threat of early elections. The Knesset A compromise was reached and the threat of early elections passed with plenty ado and the ruffling of some coalition feathers and perhaps a sigh of relief from the opposition with the exception of Meretz.It was unclear as to whether beleaguered  PM Netanyahu supported the idea of early general elections or not bearing in mind the various suspect criminal files against him. In any case, the past few days was a charade if not a political circus. The message that this political charade and Knesset filibuster brought to the public is the tremendous powers that the parasitic ultra-Orthodox parties have over the coalition. These parties have great potential of blackmailing any coalition of which they always manage to be part.  The contribution to the wellbeing of Israel is not the priority of the ultra-Orthodox parties. Their agenda is very sectarian especially when it comes to financially feathering the nests of their parasitic yeshivot, which has zero contribution to the State of Israel. Their youngsters are discouraged from serving in the IDF and the extremist Lithuanian cult in their midst hold massive demonstrations against those who serve in the IDF. The few ultra-Orthodox youngsters that do serve in the IDF are ostracised and in many cases are dealt with violently by the extremist ultra-Orthodox sects in their various communities.It is a disgrace that the ultra-Orthodox parasitic bunch of scoundrels and blackmailers in Yahadut Hatorah and Shas Parties have tremendous powers far beyond what they deserve. They can cripple any ruling government on a whim. They do everything in their power to prevent their yeshiva students from serving in the IDF and doing their national duty.“In 1953, as a part of the “Status quo agreement” which was meant to create a stable coexistence between religious and secular elements in Israeli society, the Personal Status Law was passed. Under this law, all issues of personal status were passed over to the exclusive control of the Orthodox religious establishment. This has created enormous tensions within Israel since all sorts of different groups feel marginalised and unrepresented in issues of personal status. Many groups, such as Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, have suffered what they perceive as almost wholesale discrimination and humiliation at the hands of representatives of the Orthodox establishment.” from The Role of Religion In Israeli Society There is no doubt that the establishment ruling Orthodox Rabbinate has caused much pain to those, whose Jewishness is in doubt according to their interpretation of Halacha. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel also blacklists Diaspora rabbis 1. What right do they assume in doing this? Establishment Orthodox Judaism in Israel has become more extreme and less tolerant over the years. There is a dearth of so-called Zionist right-wing rabbinical bigots, who make disparaging remarks about women serving in the army. What right have they got to interfere with the decisions of the IDF as far as women conscripts are concerned? These bigots have taken it upon themselves to be the watchdogs of morals pertaining to their hell and brimstone-style of Judaism. These establishment rabbis, whether Haredi or right-wing Zionist Orthodox are driving a wedge within Israel’s society. I have asked myself if these rabbis have anything to contribute to Israel apart from their narrow world view and their desire to manipulate the naivety and ignorance of many observant Jews. This is where their power lies! They are political, divisive, despicable and hungry for power, influence and financial enrichment. The[...]

Noose is Tightening Around PM Netanyahu & His Cronies


The noose is tightening around PM Netanyahu and his faithful cronies, many of whom are business tycoons, who need his help in further enriching themselves. This is of course at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer. Bibi is as tight as Scrooge and seems to be involved in cupboard love of wealthy business tycoons in order to maintain his decadent lifestyle of luxury. Time will tell when all the investigations against him are completed and the attorney-general comes to a decision once all the evidence is in his hands as to whether Netanyahu will be indicted or not. This will take over a year. If Netanyahu is indicted and found guilty, the possibility of him spending prison time cannot be ruled out. allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" frameborder="0" height="266" src="" width="320">The Cases under which PM Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected to be implicated is now under police investigation:Case 1000 - the “Champagne - Cigars” File.Case 2000 - The “Noni Moses -Yediot Ahronot, Yisrael HaYom” File.Case 3000 - “Submarine File” - Netanyahu not implicated in this file to date.Case 4000 - “Bezeq communications” file in which close Netanyahu aides have been arrested and Netanyahu is due to give evidence under oath. The investigation will revolve around Shaul Elovitch's ties to the prime minister and his close associates and the suspicion he enjoyed benefits for the Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq in return for favourable coverage of Netanyahu on the Walla! 1Case 1207 - alleged attempts on Netanyahu’s behalf to dangle a promotion over former  District Court Judge Hila Gerstel in exchange for her cooperation, Supreme Court Judge President, Esther Hayut tells police former District Court Judge Hila Gerstel confided in her that during her candidacy for the post of state attorney, a PM associate, Nir Hefetz, approached her indirectly to offer the position on condition that she close a case against Sara Netanyahu; 'Gerstel expressed shock to the president about the incident 2.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Shlomo Filber, left, one of Netanyahu's closest allies.Moti Milrod / Maged GozaniFile 1000 and 2000 have been more or less completed and sent to the Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit 3 for his perusal in order to decide whether there is enough evidence to place PM Netanyahu on trial for fraud, bribery and breach of trust. This remains to be seen and can take over a year 4. Case 4000 is under police investigation and this appears to be the most threatening case for Netanyahu’s career as a prime minister in which Netanyahu may be suspect of wrongdoing. Naturally, Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in this case as well. It will take time for the police to complete their investigation in this case before they refer it to the Attorney-General for his decision to indict Netanyahu. Police harness evidence against PM Netanyahu by nearly clinching central suspect—former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber—who is expected to incriminate Netanyahu as he prepares to ink state witness deal in a fresh corruption case involving benefits for more favourable media coverage. According to a report from YNet:“Bezeq majority owner Shaul Elovitch, former media adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nir Hefetz, and former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber are among those arrested Sunday in the Bezeq corruption affair, it was cleared for publication late Monday.19th Feb 2018.Recordings provided by Walla! News CEO Ilan Yeshua to Securities Authority convinced AG Mandelblit to give go-ahead to police to also investigate Bezeq case; recordings reportedly show blatant instruction by Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch to sway news coverage in PM Netanyahu's favour.Or and Iris Elovitch, the son and wife of Bezeq's owner, and CEO Stella Handler were also arrested.Suspects are alleged to have[...]

The Present Israeli Government is an affront to Human Rights


The present Netanyahu Government is filled with right-wing sycophants that are racist, divisive as well as some being potential felons under police investigation.Some are even suspected of felonies such as PM Netanyahu (Case 1000, 2000) and MK David Bitan 1 (both under police investigation) and a few on the “waiting list” (Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Chaim Katz 2 as an example) as well as being surrounded by a plethora of extra-parliamentary tycoons, businessmen and even lawyers David Shimron, (Netanyahu’s cousin) 3, and Yitzchak Molcho 4 are suspected of involvement in an illegal submarine deal (Case 3000).(L-R) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer David Shimron, his former diplomatic envoy Yitzhak Molcho, his former bureau chief David Sharan, former deputy national security adviser Avriel Bar-Yosef and former commander of the Israeli Navy Eliezer Marom (Flash90)Even in culture, the foul-mouthed, screaming Netanyahu sycophant, Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sport 5 is punting and funding what she views as culture and threatens to withhold state funding of cultural projects that do not conform to her Moroccan ancestry and Likud agenda. She doesn't know what culture is, especially western culture. This definitely does threaten Israel's once-vibrant democracy. Having grown up in apartheid South Africa, I remember the censorship or banning of cultural projects that did not conform to white government agendas outright. Surely there is a certain feeling of déjà vu! Israel is a very different Israel to what it was 40 plus years ago. It is becoming less tolerant of those, who are different (non-Jews). The treatment of refugees is appalling. We have forgotten that we were once refugees as well. The settlements in the occupied territories are viewed as holy creations, including the settlers, most of whom are embedded with an extremist religious Zionist ideology. They appear above the law. Many of the settler offspring and their ilk are involved in the destruction of Palestinian property and go unpunished.The present government is passing laws weakening the law courts and the police force in order to protect the potential felons in their midst. They pander to the ultra-Orthodox coalition partner religious coercion by passing laws such as the Minimarket Law making it illegal to open businesses on Shabbat.There is also the Darfur in South Sudan and Eritrean refugee issue. The treatment of refugees from South Sudan and Eritrea is appalling and cruel.These refugees are being deported with some pocket money to countries in Africa where their lives are endangered. This is done because of the fear of Israel’s Jewish citizens being assimilated. It is as if Israel is deporting them to their deaths. Does this not remind us of a very evil power in Germany from 1933 to 1945? Nazi Germany had death camps to exterminate Jews that were not deported. In Israel, those who cooperate with the deportation authorities to send the refugees to their fate are also guilty of being accessories to murder. The Minister of the Interior, Arye Deri, is responsible for signing the orders of the expulsion of asylum seekers from Israel. He, himself, is an ex-convict as well as Shas Party chairman and his wife are under investigation for money laundering, fraud, breach of trust and tax offences. He views himself as a “Shomer Mitzvot” 6 (שומר מצוות) and part of that is “purity” of the Jewish People in his view.Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (l) and his wife Yaffa seen leaving their home in Jerusalem, on May 29, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)This is an unforgivable tragedy. Israel has lost its Jewish heart and soul. The deportation of refugees (the racist right-wing regime refers to them as “infiltrators”) is cruel and heartless. We have lost our humanity preserving it for Jews only. Many of us had family who suffered the devastation and cruelties of the Nazi Holocaust and has forgotten what it is to be a refugee. These people are no threat to Is[...]

The Right-Wing in Israel and Corruption


The year 2017 has ended and if we reflect back on that year we observe that despite PM Netanyahu’s claim that Israel’s diplomatic relations with the moderate Arab States have taken a turn for the better, this is an over-statement. It really is a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. This is certainly the case with Iran that is threatening the Sunni Arab States in the region and is filling the vacuum since the defeat of Daesh (or rather the weakening of Daesh). The Daesh idea of a caliphate still exists and the non-Muslim countries, as well as the Muslim countries, are still under threat as the Daesh tactics are now cells scattered in many countries of Europe. These cells are involved in lone terrorist attacks against innocent people and no country is immune. There will be more of the same in the coming year, unfortunately.The trend all over Europe in their general elections is a strong move towards the centre-right and extreme right, including a move towards neo-fascism and its xenophobic tendencies. The flood of refugees from the Middle East and Africa is a factor that has resulted in this trend.In Israel, this is also true. Israel has the most right-wing government in its history. Those who do not hold the right-wing Israeli Government Coalition view are ostracised and even viewed as traitors to Israel. The left wing in Israel has become weak and ineffective. Even the new leader of the Zionist Camp, Avi Gabbay, is certainly not left of centre. He is really Likud-lite and is dragging the so-called opposition towards a more right-wing direction in his effort to attract disgruntled Likudniks.The main coalition partner - the Likud, has been troubled by a large number of corruption scandals of which much has been written in the Israeli media. The Likud support in Israel is not so high - only 30 seats out of 120 seats in the Knesset. The only reason why they are in power is that they managed to cobble a coalition of extreme right-wing parties including the ultra-Orthodox parties. This  has resulted in various controversial Bills - the Recommendation Bill, which limits the power of the police to investigate suspected felons, who are Knesset members as well as the weakening of the law courts MK David Bitan, the ex-Likud Coalition Chairman 1, is being investigated for bribery, corruption money laundering and every day the case against him thickens as he is being interrogated by the police for the fifth time 2. Bitan and his replacement, MK David (Dudu)  Amsalem, were both very keen on pushing this Bill through. The former appears to have been keen on this Bill as he knew that he was on the road to a criminal investigation and probably wanted to ensure that he would have a trouble-free term in the Knesset. More business people close to Bitan are being questioned 3 by the police and are willingly spilling the beans to save their own skins and incriminating Bitan 4, their”cupboard love friend” even further. PM Netanyahu is also under investigation over receiving gifts for favours (Case 1000) as well as making a deal with the director of Yediot Ahronot, Noni Moses (Case 2000), to publish favourable reports about him in his newspaper. In the shady submarine deals (Case 3000) he still remains clear and is presumed innocent. Even Sara Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyahu’s wife, has been demanding presents from Bibi’s tycoon friends. Apparently, she is Bibi’s keeper and despite Bibi’s denials, she has much influence on her husband and in her own eyes is deserving of massive kickbacks. She may also be facing criminal charges.  Another scandal involving Netanyahu is Case 4000 known as the “Bezeq affair,” this corruption scandal began with a special state comptroller report, published in July, on the problematic relationship between the Communications Ministry and Bezeq, Israel’s telecom giant. The report found that Shlomo Filber, director general of the Communications Ministry and a former top aide to Netanyahu, h[...]

President Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem


President Donald Trump never fails to surprise. It is always the context in which he makes his predictable announcements and the timing that could not be worse. This president is the most unconventional president that the US has ever had in all its history. His announcement that the US will officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and that he will be ordering the US Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem will create repercussions in the Palestinian world if not the whole Arab world and its allies.Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reversing longtime U.S. policy In Israel, these announcements of Trump have met with great applause. Naturally, the Government Coalition is head over heels in euphoria and is close to dancing the hora. Was this Trump announcement really necessary?We are all aware that Israel’s Knesset is in Jerusalem and this makes Jerusalem de facto capital of Israel and this does not warrant Trump’s announcement on this issue. The status quo at present on Jerusalem was never an issue and its final status has been recognized as an essential part of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians when both sides re-negotiate a lasting peace. Trump has put the cart before the horse because of his usual hubris and total lack of foresight. It is doubtful whether he has any plan as to how to get peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian initiated.   What Trump has done may reap praises from the present right-wing in Israel as well as providing an excuse for the Palestinians to threaten Israel with terror attacks that will result in unnecessary suffering for both sides. Trump does not understand that the Palestinians do not resemble the Swiss or any other European nation in their logic and rationality with whom one can negotiate a “peace deal” (to use Trumpist terminology). They are driven by mantras of fantasy and hatred for Israel and if it is not the Jerusalem issue it will be another issue that can ignite the Palestinian leaders to goad their people into committing violence against Israelis. The issue of the status of Jerusalem has been a hot potato since Israel’s establishment. The problem between Israel and the Palestinians is an existential one and will always remain glowing embers until some world statesman puts his/her foot in it by saying things that are best left unsaid for the sake of preventing violence and bloodshed.Already there are threatening rumblings in the Palestinian leadership about Trump’s announcement that will reverberate across the Middle East and may even threaten the trust that is in its very initial stages between Israel and Saudi Arabia and may even threaten Israel’s tenuous relations with Egypt and Jordan. Is this really necessary? We, in Israel, do not need Trump’s announcements on Jerusalem as it is like waving a red rag to a bull. It is also detrimental to the interests of the US as well as Israel. In fact, there are reports of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians who are protesting Trump’s Jerusalem decision. The clashes have already started between the Palestinians and the IDF. Trump has already struck a match on the already glowing embers. This is the first time that a US president must bear the blame for an unnecessary provocation.There is an old Jewish saying that says that it is better to be wise rather than to be right. This is most applicable to Trump, who is far from being wise. There are certain things that are better left unsaid in order to avoid senseless violence and bloodshed. This is so true in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump appears to have blown it.[...]

Corruption in High Places


The Knesset in Israel has been plagued with a new Bill up for the third reading - a notorious Recommendation Bill that prevents the general public from knowing about police enquiries into sitting prime ministers suspected of breaking the law as well as weakening the police system and the law courts. If this Bill becomes law it will be another slap in the face of Israel's democracy. Coalition chair David Bitan leaves his home on his way to be questioned by police on suspicion of corruption, December 6, 2017. (Screen capture: Ynet).The architects of this disgraceful Bill are two of Netanyahu’s loyal supporters or “keepers” - the Two Davids - MKs David Amsalem 1 and David Bitan 2. The former has a shady history with the police and the latter is under investigation by the police for bribery, corruption and money laundering. He was questioned for 14 hours by the police - Lahav 433 3. He will undergo a number of sessions of police enquiries as suspicions of criminal activity against him are high. This resulted in the shelving of this Bill for the present. If MK David Bitan, the Likud Coalition Chairman, is found guilty he will receive a prison sentence. The future of David Bitan in the Knesset is now uncertain.Husam Jarushi, a reported mobster linked to suspected wrongdoing by Likud MK David Bitan,It is quite possible that the Two Davids were in a great hurry to get the undemocratic Recommendation Bill passed into law as soon as possible as both of them had personal issues with the police. Amsalem was questioned by the police some years ago but nothing was found, while Bitan must have known that he is soon to be questioned by the police. Both abrasive, bulldozing Davids were keen to pass this law each for their own reasons, using the Netanyahu investigation as an excuse to get the Bill passed into law. Netanyahu decided that the Recommendation Bill should not apply to him and with David Bitan out of the picture with an uncertain political future, left his partner, Amsalem high and dry, this Bill was shelved for the time being.The present Likud has become a party of arrogant scoundrels involved in all kinds of cartels and scandals directly or indirectly. It is a far cry from the Likud of the Late PM Menachem Begin 4 and the Revisionism 5 of Ze’ev Jabotinsky 6 - who can be viewed as the founding fathers of the Likud ideology. Whether one agrees with the Likud ideology or not, there is no doubt that these founding fathers were true statesmen and had the interests of Israel in their hearts. The present lots of Likud members are far from that mould. They have become self-righteous and arrogant, connected directly or indirectly with all kinds of shady business deals to “make a quick buck” at the expense of the electorate they purport to represent. In a democracy, this incident including the police investigations of a sitting prime minister and the criminal investigations of his close associate and supporter, David Bitan, would result in recommendations for the government to resign and a call for new elections. Israel being Israel this is not going to happen. Even if elections were called, there would be no change for the better. Israel has moved toward the right and extreme right, even the new Zionist Camp leader, Avi Gabbay, is pandering for votes from the Likud by playing populist right-wing politics. PM Benjamin Netanyahu does not seem to be phased by the criminal investigations against him and will probably be re-elected as prime minister in the next elections. The old cry “Benjamin Netanyahu is the best Prime Minister Israel has ever had. There is nobody to replace him!” This mantra will undoubtedly be the case in the next Israeli General Elections.Despite all these misgivings about Israel’s political future under a Likud Government that is becoming increasingly corrupt, we, Citizens of Israel, must draw the necessary conclusions. We must vote against the corrupt Likud a[...]

The "Zumarization" of Israel's Democracy


We have been witnessing an erosion of the rule of law in Israel. The present Coalition Government of Israel wishes to pass a law preventing the Police Force from investigating a serving prime minister suspected of breaking the law (in this case, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been summoned under oath about suspected involvement in various cases under police investigation). Netanyahu’s fellow party cronies are up in arms in the Knesset and wish to pass laws preventing the prime minister from being investigated by the police while in office. Those pictured below are PM Netanyahu's "keepers" in the Knesset:Miri Regev- Lack of Culture MinisterOren Hazan - MK of ill reputeDudu Amsalem - Likud Party HackDavid Bitan - Boorish Likud Coalition Chairman The Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, has expressed his opposition to this Bill as it weakens the power of the Courts of Law. The corrupt President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who also has a number of criminal cases pending against him, has a battery of lawyers and spooks surrounding him. Their job is to keep him out of prison.It appears that Netanyahu has a similar setup in the name of his loyal cabinet ministers, who are the devil’s advocates. Even the Chief of Police has come under criticism on investigations of PM Netanyahu. If this bill is passed into law, it opens the door for felons, with a suspected criminal past, to take a pot shot at becoming the future prime minister of Israel. Mouths will be clamped and draconian laws will be introduced to place the ruling Government Coalition above the law. This is a definite threat to Israel’s democracy. As it is, the buds of fascism have found fertile ground in Israel’s present government. Latest reports of further erosion of checks and balances are reports of MK Bezalel Smotrich, of the extreme right-wing Jewish Home Party, introducing a bill to curtail the activity of the State Comptroller. The role of the State Comptroller is to oversee and inspect the executive branch of Israel's governing administration. The Comptroller is elected by the Knesset by way of the secret ballot to one seven-year term, and the Knesset retains the ability to remove or replace him during his tenure. Fortunately, this Bill to limit the State Comptroller's powers was rejected. MK Smotrich, (even though he will deny this, at the end of the day, this is what he desires), is interested in his strong illegal settler agenda in the occupied territories to give them state funding without any State Comptroller “interference” or condemnation.The present Israeli Government Coalition under Benjamin Netanyahu claims that this is a democracy. Netanyahu views his government as the democratically elected government of Israel which automatically gives them the power to do as they wish. They are the law! The police, law courts, state ombudsman are a challenge to their power and must have their power diminished by law. Bibi Netanyahu has his keepers who are doing all in their power to erode Israel’s institutions of law and order thus allowing potential Likud felons, friends of Netanyahu, to do as they wish. MK David Bitan1 and Dudu Amsalem 2 are Bibi’s protectors and keepers in the Knesset. They are closely followed by Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, who has no idea what culture really is apart from her idea of so-called Sephardi culture, which in her eyes is not against her party’s agenda 3. She threatens to withhold funds for a cultural activity that she, in her narrow perspective, views as inimical to Israel 4. There is also the pleasure-seeking MK, Oren Hassan 5 with his disgraceful, arrogant outbursts against those who disagree with him. MK Miki Zohar is another example of arrogance and boorishness in the Knesset.In South Africa under the corrupt criminal, President Jacob Zuma 6 and his ANC shenanigans and crooks, have been embarking on similar measures for m[...]

An Unholy Alliance with US Neo-Nazi White Supremacists and Israel's Right Wing


This week Richard Spencer 1, the US White Nationalist neo-Nazi Leader uttered a statement that we should all find very disturbing. According to a report in Haaretz 19th Oct 2017, Spencer stated, amidst cries of protest during a controversial speech at the University of Florida on Thursday, that Israel is an example of an “ethno state” he aspires to create in the United States at the University of Florida on Thursday. Hundreds protested Spencer's presence outside the auditorium.Spencer is associated with the Alt-Right 2 movement that is allied with Donald Trump. He stated proudly stated that under his (Trump’s) watch, Spencer’s white supremacist movement has gained strength. The Charlottesville riots in August resulted in the exposure of the macabre mix of Alt-Right Trump supporters, neo-Nazi, White Supremacists going on the rampage against anti-fascist groups resulting in the death of a demonstrator by car-ramming. Trump’s response was a lukewarm condemnation of all sides when in reality his Alt-Right supporters and neo-Nazis were to blame. He acted with an unhealthy expediency in order not to upset his apple cart of Alt-Right Neo-Nazi supporters. allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" frameborder="0" height="266" src="" width="320">At least, on the surface, there seems to be an uncanny similarity between the Spencer ideology and the Netanyahu Coalition ideology when it comes to the occupation settler movement (They have never had it so good under the present Israeli Government) as well as the attitude of the present government towards “legitimate Jews” (Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox) and “illegitimate Jews” (Reform and Conservative). This is bound to backfire on Israel. The apparent macabre alliance between the extreme right wing in the US and Israel’s right-wing extremists seems to be a phenomenon that is beyond logic. This US extreme right-wing or Alt-Right composed of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and racists of all kinds despite their anti-Semitism have shown increased support for Israel's right-wing policies. Apparently, this support is not only from the US Alt-Right but also from similar right-wing Neo-Nazi groups in Europe. Let’s face it, the Bayit Hayehudi Party in the Netanyahu Coalition with extreme right-wingers, such as MK  Bezalel Smotrich, have a very similar ideology to the Alt-Right in the US. Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, and who is widely tipped to become deputy chancellor following last Sunday’s legislative election, was affiliated with neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups in his youth, and once compared the criticism he and fellow members of his racist, anti-immigrant party faced to Kristallnacht. Yet he is also a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and even visited Israel last year at the invitation of Likud MKs. The waltzing of the Netanyahu Government with neo-Fascist Parties in Europe strengthens the hand of the Neo-Nazis of Europe and we in Israel should hang our heads in shame that the present Israeli Government remains silent about these developments including their anti-refugee and Islamophobic attitudes that are gaining support in Israel today.It is quite possible to be pro-Israel as well as being anti-Semitic. The present government of Israel seems to be honeymooning with the extreme right-wing parties in Europe and view it is quite legitimate. They overlook the anti-Semitic nature of these parties because of their “pro-Israeliness”. The reason - these parties are anti-Islam and anti-immigration. So is Israel - even towards their own kind. An example of this is the Jews of Uganda that seem to show an interest in coming to Israel. They will not be made welcome. There are ot[...]

Yom Kippur Thoughts


Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the Holiest Day in the Jewish Calendar, surpassing even Shabbat. On this day, it is customary for religious or even non-observant (“once a year” observant) Jews to fast for 25 hours. The secular Jews, who view themselves as non-believers may or may not fast depending on their motives if any. Some secular do fast and may attend Kol Nidrei (All Vows)1 services and maybe go to synagogue the next day for a bit in order “to identify” with their fellow Jews whatever that means. As for the rest, well, it is the “Day of the Bicycle” when thousands of kids of all ages take advantage of the traffic-free roads and ride their bicycles, many of whom land up in the casualty dept at the various hospitals around the country.Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur The Israeli news website Mako published a provocative article three years ago, questioning whether there is a point in a secular person fasting on Yom Kippur when he or she continues sinning the next day 2. I would go even further and ask if there is a point of pseudo-religious people fasting for the same reason such as the Chief Rabbinate and its political shenanigans in the Knesset? In any case, the day after Yom Kippur, the routine of most people returns and the lesson of Yom Kippur is forgotten very fast the moment the stomachs are full after ending the fast.Many of us sit at home quietly and do not see any purpose in fasting as it has lost its meaning for many of us (including Yours Truly) and has become a frivolous competition to see who can last out the longest, a sort of a competition of physical endurance without any self-examination involved.What is the purpose of Yom Kippur? Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance 3. Leviticus Chapter 16 וַיִּקְרָאgives an idea from where the tradition comes.The Morning Service of Yom Kippur the Torah portion is Leviticus Chapter 16 and Numbers Chapter 29 7-11 בְּמִדְבַּר is read. Both portions explain the rituals involved and are meaningless to many people as it mentions all kinds of animal sacrifices that must be performed. The Haftorah portion Isaiah Chapter 57  -  Isaiah Chapter 58 יְשַׁעְיָהוּ of the Morning Service of Yom Kippur -  is more relevant and is directed towards those who fast as a ritual without Kavanah (Intent) to better oneself is as if he/she has not fasted at all. This applies to the majority of people who fast on Yom Kippur to this day. (See the inserted commentary from the Soncino Press Edition of the Pentateuch and Haftorahs below).From the “The Soncino Press Edition of the Pentateuch and Haftorahs. Hebrew Text, English Translation & Commentary (Second Edition) 1969 p 960” During the Yom Kippur Service, the prayer Ashamnu is recited by the congregation a number of times as well as the prayer Al Het. These prayers are really the heart of the Yom Kippur service. People beat their breasts as they recite these two prayers. I often think to myself “What hypocrisy! What double standards!” Hardly anybody who attends Yom Kippur services intends to better their relationships with their fellowmen or improve themselves or even ask their fellowmen to forgive them for the wrongs they may have committed towards them. According to Jewish tradition, one must be granted forgiveness from one’s neighbour before asking forgiveness from God. This must be done before entering the synagogue for Kol Nidrei.Perhaps the Al Het prayer should be updated to make it more relevant to our modern times. Many people say that one should never mix politics with religion. Here in Israel the establishment certainly does. It starts from the Chief Rabbinate and filters its way down the line. The religious political[...]

Rosh Hashanah Thoughts


While everybody sits with their families on Rosh Hashanah eve, there may be time to even think about the significance of Rosh Hashanah 1 for many of us. Rosh Hashanah and the Ten Days of Repentance 2 afterwards until Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement - the day of fasting) is a time of reflection. It is a time when we should be thinking of all the incidents that have occurred over the past year to the detriment of mankind with an emphasis on where we can improve matters that will be beneficial to all mankind irrespective of race, colour or creed. During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, everyone gets a chance to put things right with other people before asking God's forgiveness 3.Here in Israel, we view ourselves as “a Light unto the Nations” or as in Hebrew “אור לגוים”. In many respects within Israel itself, apart from the amazing contributions to medicine, computer chips, science and technology as well as token missions to countries, who have suffered from wars and natural disasters, we have failed in our relationships with our own population within Israel.If we look at the way Israel has treated the refugees, who have fled their countries of origin, because of severe persecution by despotic regimes that threaten their lives and that of their offspring. Israel has not shown them the mercy that they deserve. They are viewed as and referred to as “infiltrators” which is so derogatory. When Jews fled Nazi Germany and were refused entry into many countries in the West, this was viewed by Jews living in the free world as disgraceful and correctly so. Much lobbying was carried out by Jewish leaders in the free world to get these Jewish refugees entry permits to allow them entry into countries that restricted immigration of Jews. Can one imagine the outcry if these people were referred to as “infiltrators”? Why in Israel, where much of the population’s parents including parents of some members of the present Knesset had to flee their countries of origin for similar reasons, there is such lack of sensitivity towards Sudanese and Eritrean refugees?  Draconian laws are introduced to prevent them from seeking shelter so that their lives could be saved 4. We in Israel have forgotten where we have come from and that we were once refugees in the Diaspora.There is also a trend of increased racism and intolerance towards those who are different from mainstream (or what is accepted as such). There is the concept of “Sinat Hinam”(שנאת חינם) or “Unjustifiable Hatred” This is most visible in Israel’s society of today. The lack of tolerance for those who do not conform to the present government line, whether it is culture, Judaism (used by the various religious parties as an instrument of blackmailing the government for their own narrow religious political interests and agendas). The hatred of non-Orthodox streams in Judaism (Reform and Conservative) by the establishment Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate is deplorable. These streams are not recognized as legitimate and their rabbis cannot marry couples according to their interpretation of Judaism. They have not been allotted a place at the Western Wall, where they can have egalitarian prayer services, despite promises by PM Netanyahu, who reneged on the agreement to give non-Orthodox streams of Judaism a place to pray at the Western Wall 5.  It is a disgrace that the Government of Israel with all its blah-blah about Israel “being the only democracy in the Middle East” denies non-Orthodox streams in Judaism to practice in total freedom and not recognizing their rabbis to perform marriages. Members of Reform 6 and Conservative 7 congregations in the Diaspora applying to marry in Israel must find an Orthodox rabbi to vouch for them since the Chief Rabbinate does not accept le[...]

The Commissars of Israel


The present right-wing Coalition Government of Israel, in the eyes of many of Israel’s right to the extreme right-wing section of Israel’s electorate, which, unfortunately, is the majority of the electorate, who view some of the cabinet ministers as representing Israel’s interests. Those on the left to centre left are increasingly viewed as traitors of Israel. This trend is, unfortunately, on the increase.  Those connected with various criminal files (seen as victims of a hostile left-wing press in right wing eyes) are viewed as “fake news” to use a “Trump Esque” definition. It appears that any news negative to the Likud and its coalition partners, including the latter’s supporters, are viewed as close to treason. The ruling government views the police enquiries of Bibi Netanyahu and the indictment of Sara Netanyahu as a tactic of the left to create a situation conducive to Netanyahu’s downfall.Even the rearguard, Yair Netanyahu,  Bibi and Sara Netanyahu's son, has been using anti-Semitic memes on his Fb page 1. as revenge for the indictment of his beloved mom, Sara. Papa Bibi never even reprimanded him for his shocking behaviour. No comment from Papa Bibi Netanyahu means tacit support for squirt Yair’s nefarious activity on his Fb page. Is it possible that Papa Bibi is priming Yair for becoming part of the “Netanyahu Dynasty” in the future? Who knows and who can predict?What is not even surprising even though it should be is the support that Yair gets from many of Netanyahu’s supporters 2, despite the disgust expressed by many Jewish organizations beyond Israel’s borders and even political leaders within Israel itself.The present Likud is a disgrace to Israel. It is such a far cry from its founding fathers, the Late Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, who were liberals, believers in democracy and idealists that never sought their own personal aggrandizement like the present lot with its Commissars of Justice, Culture and Sport - just to name two outstanding examples. These two individuals - Ayelet Shaked (Justice Commissar) and Miri Regev (Culture and Sports Commissar) are the most outstanding examples. Another Commissar is the suspected fraudster, Arye Deri, Minister of the Interior 3. While the police investigation of Netanyahu and his wife have raised speculation on whether Netanyahu will eventually be forced to step down, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said he would not legally be required to if indicted 4. Ayelet Shaked wants to apply Israeli Legislation to the illegal settlements enterprise within a year and thus have de facto annexation of the settlements that are not recognized as part of Israel according to international law.Shaked wishes to pack the Courts with conservative judges conforming to her and her party’s agenda of justice that is moving towards a fascist interpretation of the Jewish State that comes first and democracy comes second if not third. There are some very disturbing trends in Ayelet Shaked’s Ministry of Justice that are a threat to Israel’s democracy that appears to be moving towards fascism.Ayelet ShakedThe other well-known commissar is the Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev 5. She views her job as that of the national censor. In which country of the free world does the Minister of Culture and Sport decide what cultural projects in theatre, art, film and literature are deserving of state funding? Where does the Minister of Culture unilaterally decide that cultural projects that are not in line with her government agenda must be ostracized and viewed as potential fifth column and not deserving of state subsidies? Our Minister of Culture and Sport has become the Commissar of Culture as in totalitarian states under  Communist or Fascist dictatorships.  She[...]

Corruption on the Periphery of the Netanyahu Government


The present Government Coalition is a disgrace to Israel. The whole government is composed of various political parties and each party has its own agenda. None of them represents the majority of the Israeli electorate. They represent various “pockets” of voters and are far from representing the majority. Hence the party that receives the most votes cobbles up a coalition with partners that together have right wing to extreme right wing views close to the majority party (Likud) that in this case received 30 mandates a mere 23% of total votes cast in the General Elections of 2015.If elections were held today there will be no change. Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history and is still going strong despite the suspicions of various involvements in misdemeanours and possible activities that are against the law. It is as if the noose of justice is very wide and is slowly tightening around Netanyahu’s neck as more evidence is being uncovered as to whether he will be indicted or not. There are four cases under police investigation that may or may not incriminate PM Netanyahu:1.   Case 1000:Hollywood film producer Arnon Milchan provided what was described as “important” testimony late last week during a second round of questioning about expensive cigars and champagne that he allegedly gifted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.2.   Case 2000 is focused on an alleged clandestine quid pro quo deal made between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher and owner Arnon “Noni” Mozes, in which the prime minister is said to have promised Mozes he would advance legislation to reduce the circulation of Yedioth’s main commercial rival, the freebie Israel Hayom, in exchange for friendlier coverage from Yedioth. No such deal was ever implemented. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.3.     Case 3000 - The Submarine Purchase Case:  Netanyahu not implicated The justice ministry on Monday stressed that Netanyahu himself was not a suspect in the case but confirmed that in light of evidence collected by police, a full-fledged investigation was underway.Some evidence raises suspicions that some of the people involved have committed "crimes pertaining to public corruption," a ministry statement said.Both Netanyahu and Shimron have denied any impropriety, while the Kiel-based ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems said it has no contractual connection with the lawyer.     4.  Case 4000: In a fourth corruption case, sometimes called “Case 4000”, police were investigating Shlomo Filber, the director-general of the Communications Ministry, over suspected securities offences related to a merger involving the national telephone company Bezeq.Israel’s state comptroller released a report earlier this month that accused Netanyahu of failing to originally disclose his close ties with Bezeq head Shaul Elovitz, and raised suspicions that the prime minister — who at the time held the post of communications minister — and Filber made decisions at the ministry in favour of Bezeq.When we examine these various cases, one cannot help but question: How come PM Netanyahu was oblivious of case 3000, where many of his close associates, advisers, senior IDF personnel past and present are under suspicion of committing  various crimes of corruption in the hope of enriching themselves on massive kickbacks involving state funds in mega-submarine purchasing deals? This is totally outrageous and it is the kind of behaviour one would expect from a third world banana republic, certainly not from senior PM advisers, past and present IDF personnel, whose main object is to make millions of shekels on submarine deals. Is this the new fa[...]

The Al Aqsa Mosque Violence


Two Israeli Druze Policemen, Staff Sgt. Maj. Hael Sathawi, 30, and Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shanan, 22, was shot on 14th July 2017. Shanan was a son of Shachiv Shanan, a former member of parliament for the Labor Party. Sathawi left a wife and a 3-week-old baby, police said.Unlike the majority of their fellow Arabs in Israel, many Druze serve in the Israeli security forces.Israel's Arab minority enjoys full citizenship rights but sometimes face discrimination in areas like housing and jobs. They are sometimes viewed with suspicion as many identify politically and culturally with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.The closing of the shrine, something that rarely happens, meant the cancellation of noon prayers, which typically draw tens of thousands of Muslims from Israel and the West Bank to the compound on Fridays. The faithful performed prayers in the streets near the Old City instead. width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>The three terrorists, responsible for the murders were identified as Israeli Arabs who lived in Umm al-Fahm: Ahmad Mohammed Jabarin (29), Mohammed Hamed Abdal-Latif Jabarin (19) and Mohammad Ahmad Fadel Jabarin (19). The three Palestinian citizens of Israel who were killed by Israeli police following their attack against Al-Aqsa Mosque that left two Israeli soldiers dead hail from a Muslim-majority town where relatives and the community are trying to preserve the relative calm.1.This was a heinous, tragic act that set off a massive conflagration between Muslim worshippers and the Israeli Security Forces because of the decision of PM Netanyahu to set up metal detectors at the entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque. The ramifications of this unilateral decision by Netanyahu,  which even went against the decisions of Israel’s Intelligence Service was a catalyst causing the unrest. The rash decision by Netanyahu to order the erection of metal detectors without consulting with Jordan and the Jerusalem Wakf was an error.  Israel has no authority over the Al Aqsa Mosque and cannot make unilateral decisions regarding its security. On the other hand, even if Israel had consulted with Jordan and the Jerusalem Wakf, it probably would not have made much difference in curtailing the violence. The Al Aqsa Mosque is a sensitive area, apart from being the third holiest place of worship in Islam; it is also a place of emotional outbursts based on a fantasy that is a strong characteristic of many Palestinian worshippers. These fantasies are fed on lies by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, who claim that Israel prevents Muslim worshippers from going there to pray freely. They also claim that Israel wishes to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque. Fantasies and dreams of many Palestinians are the sources of the basis for unrest coupled with hate for Israel and the desire for Israel to disappear from the map and to be replaced by a Palestinian State under Caliphate rule. The conflict is becoming more religious-oriented with talk of freeing the Al Aqsa Mosque. All these fantasies are the focus for initiating violence and bloodshed, including Palestinian lone-wolf stabbing attacks against Israelis by Palestinian Islamist fanatics, influenced by the social media. The brutal and tragic murder by a Palestinian terrorist of a family in Halamish, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, is an example.Netanyahu had used this opportunity of metal detectors as a political act of populism in order to strengthen his support from his right wing flank - Habayit Hayehudi that never loses an opportunity to sabre rattle without giving[...]

Israel's Chief Rabbinate and Corruption are Blots on Israel's Democracy

2017-07-16T08:50:19.230+03:00 Chief Rabbinate and its branches throughout Israel are a threat to Israel’s democracy. Israel’s so-called democracy is already under threat by a right-wing Coalition Government with its attempts at eroding the power of the Law Courts by attempting to change the system of appointment of judges in favour of appointees, who are conservative and right-wing friendly. We must not forget the added corruption scandals in high places in order to make gigantic profits that give truth to “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts completely”. The bottom line is that Netanyahu and his Government Coalition have been in power for too long. In western democracies, this would be a great excuse to have general elections to remove the corrupt government from power.  Apparently, in Israel, this is a good reason to keep them in power as expressed in the words of Mr Average Israeli: “There is nobody to replace Bibi as a leader! Despite corruption under his watch, he is ruling Israel very well! Corruption is not a good enough reason to replace the present government!”  Do we need more examples of Israel’s democracy threats? Certainly not! However, they do exist. Even in the sphere of culture, the cultural activity must conform to the ruling coalition line or else they will lose state funding. Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, has made this perfectly clear at every public address. She has her own standards as to what cultural loyalty is all about. Her antics and populist tactics reap the fruit that the right-wing desires. Cultural activities that in Regev’s eyes appear anti-Israel (more accurately, anti-right wing or critical of it) are treacherous, serving the interests of Israel’s enemies. The Regularisation law, the lowering of the status of Arabic, the condemnation of NGO human rights groups apart from those sympathetic to the right-wing government and the delegitimization of Reform and Conservative Jews by the Orthodox Establishment Rabbinate. All these elements are eroding Israel’s democracy.  width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>The more powerful the government, the more corrupt it becomes as well. Cases 1000, 2000, 3000, and soon Case 4000 are examples of greed and power, and the desire to make lots of money out of public funds. Perhaps this is modern Zionism and patriotism for the Israel of today in action. Netanyahu has requested that his loyal members of the Likud support him in this trying period of his tenure and accusing the left-wing press and the left of fabrications to orchestrate his downfall. Maybe there is a spark of hope in that there are laws and that nobody is above the law, hence police enquiries into activities of various nefarious government bedfellows, out to make a quick buck at the expense of Israel’s taxpayers.The establishment, monolithic Orthodox Chief Rabbinate and its subsidiaries all over Israel are wedded to power and money. They are always part of the ultra-Orthodox religious parties and can make and break coalitions.They view pluralism in Judaism as a threat to their merciless hegemony. They have euphemisms of course - the most famous is “status quo”, which is also being narrowed in interpretation. The much-publicised issue of Netanyahu’s betrayal of Reform and Conservative Jewry by trying to scrap the agreement for an egalitarian place of prayer at Robinson’s Arch near the Western Wall. The reason - placation of the ultra-O[...]

Apartheid-like Rule of Palestinians under Occupation?


Map showing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in relation to central Israel (situation of 2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Israel is not an apartheid state within the Green-Line. This cannot be stated in areas occupied by Israel after the June Six Day War of 1967. The whole issue of Israel slipping into an apartheid-like regime resembling apartheid South Africa from 1948 until 1994 is, unfortunately, becoming a reality despite the many denials of Danny Danon, Israel’s representative at the UN. We have not reached there yet but with the repressive laws including laws legalizing takeover of Palestinian lands for illegal Jewish settlement and the attempted interference of Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, with Israel’s Courts of Law, and Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, trying to muzzle cultural activities that are not in accordance with her party agenda we unfortunately are moving in that direction.The guidelines conformity with the EU's longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.1Official Israeli and Palestinian population statistics indicate that Jews have been a minority in the territory Israel controls for several years now, and with no repercussions: A majority of the world's nations still speak of undemocratic rule by a Jewish minority as a hypothetical future, not an unacceptable present.2We must not forget that Israel is faced with a very severe security problem that threatens her citizens, the source of which originates in the occupied territories. Israel is also faced with a Palestinian leadership, especially Hamas, which refuses to negotiate any form of peace treaty or agreement with Israel. It is also doubtful whether President Mahmoud Abbas has a mandate from his people to negotiate with Israel let alone sign a peace agreement with Israel. He has been ruling for over 10 years and there have been no elections. The maintenance of human rights for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation and the security risks that Israel has faced since the occupation of June 1967 is a tremendous challenge facing Israel. Some 5.6 million Palestinians now live in this area, which is divided between the State of Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza; these latter areas were captured and occupied by Israel in 1967.3We must also bear in mind that the Palestinians and the Arab States, even prior to June 1967 with Egypt at the helm were never prepared to recognize Israel’s right to exist and were determined to destroy Israel. Israel fought a war of survival and occupied territories in the process. There were no “occupied territories “prior to the June 1967 war. The severe threat to Israel’s existence then was the reason for the war. On the other hand, Israel’s biggest mistake was the colonisation of territory captured in the June 1967 war rather than declaring it a closed military zone and using it as a bargaining chip for peace negotiations that would result in a settlement ending the conflict. The ramification of the occupation as we all know is the rule of Israel over the Palestinians.   “Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” — UN report. It identified the four sets of Palestinians as Palestinian citizens of Israel; Palestinians in East Jerusalem; Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and Palestinians living as refugees or in exile.4Report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 2017.Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue №1Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People a[...]

The Western Wall Fiasco Fractures Diaspora Jewry


English: Western Wall in Jerusalem at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The Jewish religion is an ancient monotheistic faith with a history that goes back nearly 6000 years; Judaism belongs to all Jews. The Torah has seventy faces, which means that it is open to many interpretations. There is nothing in Judaism that states that Halacha is not open to various interpretations. Professional Jewish scholars are in yeshivot argue over various aspects of Jewish Law, re-interpreting many of them to suit the times. Today this progression into the modern age has ceased and any changes or waivers from existing traditions have to receive the authority of recognized and revered rabbis.One of the greatest reformers was Rabbi Hillel, the Elder and his opponent, the more conservative Rabbi Shammai, who was strict and intolerant towards any re-interpretation of Jewish Law.Today, Judaism has become pluralistic with four main streams. Orthodox (ultra-Orthodox and Modern Orthodox), Conservative, Reform and a small stream known as Reconstructionist.  The latter usually aligns itself with the Reform movement.Most affiliated Jews in the Diaspora, especially in the US, are members of non-Orthodox streams and their attitudes toward women are egalitarian. Women have total equality with men and there is no separate seating in non-Orthodox synagogues for men and women. Unfortunately, in Israel, most observant Israeli Jews are affiliated with Orthodox Judaism and the non-Orthodox streams are viewed as unacceptable and are not recognized by the Israeli Rabbinate. They have no rights to marry couples and have no representation at all in the corridors of power. Haredi Orthodox lawmakers and some from the Jewish Home and Likud parties in December submitted a bill to the Knesset to prevent non-Orthodox public prayer at the Western Wall. 1A top ultra-Orthodox lawmaker defended his opposition to an agreement that would have created an official pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall, saying Monday the move would have harmed Jewish unity and decrying Reform Judaism, which had pushed for the solution.2The plan to allow non-Orthodox denominations to pray at the Western Wall in accordance with their own beliefs and traditions was passed in January 2016 with the silent consent of the Cabinet's ultra-Orthodox ministers.3Reform and Conservative Jews are loyal to Israel. They support the fight against BDS and donate large sums of money to Jewish causes in Israel as well as charity. All they received for this was a slap in the face by the present Netanyahu Government. This occurred when the agreement of a space near the Western Wall for egalitarian prayer for both sexes was scrapped after years of negotiation by PM Netanyahu because the ultra-Orthodox Shas, Yahadut Hatorah Parties and Habayit Yehudi threatened to leave the coalition if the deal made with the non-Orthodox streams to have mixed prayer services at a place near the Western Wall allotted for that purpose was signed. Netanyahu backed off.It is a great pity that Netanyahu succumbed to the pressure of his bigoted ultra-Orthodox partners many of whom are from the Chasidei “Gur-nisht mit Gur-nisht” sect and their erstwhile, old fashioned archaic “Custodians of Judaism” partners of the ultra-Orthodox Parties in the Knesset, with their extreme dislike of Reform and Conservative Jews. These ultra-Orthodox party members are experts on religious extortion, dictating their desires on Israel’s Government with Netanyahu at the helm. His promises of an egalitarian place to pray near the Western Wall have been broken. This is another attack on Jewish religious freedom. It appears that the non-Ortho[...]

Permanent Palestinian Residents of Jerusalem are Entitled to Israeli Citizenship


What is the present status of Jerusalem? According to Israel, Jerusalem is a united city and will remain so. In 1980, Israel passed the "Jerusalem Law", stating that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel", thereby formalizing its annexation of East Jerusalem.1 Surely this means that those born in Jerusalem are entitled to Israeli Citizenship by birth. There are many Palestinian permanent residents of East Jerusalem, who do not hold Israeli Citizenship and do not have equal rights to West Jerusalem Israelis even though they were born and lived there for generations. In the 1967 census, the Israeli authorities registered 66,000 Palestinian residents (44,000 residing in the area known before the 1967 war as East Jerusalem; and 22,000, in the West Bank area annexed to Jerusalem after the war).2These East Jerusalem Palestinians were born in East Jerusalem and have been living in Jerusalem for generations. They suffer from discrimination and are disenfranchised. Many live in poverty and the infrastructures in the areas where they live are poor. Their education facilities are not as good as in Israel proper. Jerusalem unity is totally artificial demographically and in practice. East Jerusalemites do have the vote in Municipal ElectionsIf one examines the East Jerusalem Facts and Figures 2017 published by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), this is clear. It is an infringement of human rights when East Jerusalem Palestinians born in Jerusalem are denied Israeli Citizenship. They should have the option of applying for Israeli Citizenship. If East Jerusalem is part of Israel, as the government claims on the grounds that Jerusalem is united, then its citizens should have equal rights to those living in Israel proper. Internationally the status of East Jerusalem is controversial and when it suits Israel to view it as not part of United Jerusalem vis a vis its Palestinian permanent residents, something's not right. Since the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israeli authorities have promoted the two-fold goal of expanding the city’s Jewish population and reducing its Palestinian population. Various steps have been adopted to achieve this objective, including the isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, land appropriation, and discriminatory policies on planning and construction and budget allotment. Furthermore, although the annexation of East Jerusalem and its residents was a decision made by Israel and not by the people who live there, Israeli authorities treat East Jerusalem Palestinians as if they had made a voluntary decision to immigrate to Israel. Therefore, the authorities void Palestinians’ residency status and social benefits if they do not meet the restrictive criteria originally formulated for foreign residents.3Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer specializing in issues related to Jerusalem and its residents, told Al-Monitor that the residency issue for Palestinians in East Jerusalem has been left vague by a collective Israeli decision-making process.4  One cannot really have it both ways. Jerusalem is united when it comes to consideration of automatic citizenship for Jews living there according to the Law of Return, but not for Palestinian permanent residents born there. This is discrimination no matter how one views it. If there was an Arab East Jerusalem not part of the same Jerusalem Municipality and a separate entity, part of Palestine, then the eternal status of being a permanent resident of East Jerusalem would be justified The cabinet this week approved a plan submitted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Jerusale[...]

Occupation has Two Faces - Israeli and Palestinian


The occupation mantra has two faces. We are all familiar with the Israeli Occupation that is opposed by many Israelis, (including Yours Truly,) and the world. The big question is how do we end it when partners on both sides have no interest in negotiating ending the occupation. On the Israeli side, there is PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s lip service to a Two State solution but in reality, this is not the case. This would mean the demise of many illegal settlements in the occupied territories. The heavy pressure of his extremist right wing flank would never support uprooting these settlements under any agreement. On the Palestinian side, there is no partner to negotiate with Israel on ending the occupation. President Mahmoud Abbas is weak and has very little support from his people and Hamas will not recognize Israel’s right to exist and refuses to negotiate with Israel. As mentioned many times in my articles, Hamas views the occupation as Israel’s establishment in 1948. Only Israel’s demise is acceptable in the Hamas Covenant (Revised Version 2017). This revised version has not negated  Israel’s demise as many people believe.Abbas can never sign any agreement with Israel as he knows that his life will be endangered and he will be viewed as a traitor by Hamas. Apart from that, the PA and Hamas are at loggerheads. The Palestinian territories are divided into two entities, Gaza 1. and the West Bank. The former is ruled by Hamas 2. and the latter by the Palestinian Authority (PA) 3. Both Hamas and the PA are “occupying” their people. Both rulers have not had general elections for over 10 years. Both parties are not democratic and rule their people with an iron fist. Opposition to the PA and Hamas is not tolerated or permitted in the territories where they rule. The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continue to restrict freedom of expression by arresting and detaining critics and political opponents 4.There is no press freedom, transparency, and accountability in the occupied territories. Both Hamas and the PA are corrupt and their leaders are extremely wealthy. Funds earmarked for rehabilitation of Palestinian needs in Gaza have landed in the pockets of the corrupt Palestinian leaders, who have foreign bank accounts and live the good life. Their lifestyles are reminiscent of the deceased Communist dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, who was assassinated by the Romanian opposition in 1989. Bearing all this in mind, apart from complaints and international PA antics of Palestinian suffering, the occupation is a source of enrichment for the Palestinian leadership. If the occupation ends and the international community starts monitoring for transparency in funding the fledgling Palestinian State-To-Be, if by some miracle does occur, the Palestinian leaders will not be able to enrich themselves at their peoples' expense as is the case at present. The Hamas and PA leadership are responsible for hate propaganda against Israel and the Jewish People in their education systems, poisoning the minds of young, impressionable schoolchildren. This is their strength as a new generation of Palestinians will grow up with their minds full of hate for Israel and Jews generally. These corrupt and wealthy leaders of the Palestinians will continue to cry crocodile tears over Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation while at the same time pocketing money donated to Palestinian rehabilitation projects by the EU, USA and other world bodies. Transparency, checks, and balances are not in the lexicon of the tw[...]

Islamist Terrorism and its Allies


width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Over the last two weeks, London and Manchester have been subjected to Islamist terrorism, which appears to be escalating. The terrorist tactics involved are similar to Hamas and their Islamist allies’ tactics against Israel. Vehicle ramming of innocent people, stabbings and the use of fake explosive belts, followed by cries of “Allahu Akhbar!” (!الله أكبر) as their evil deeds are committed. There seem to be more similarities between Hezbollah, Hamas and ISIS than so-called Palestinian terrorist organizations wish to admit. While Daesh has suffered a humiliating defeat in Mosul and other parts of Syria and Iraq, they still have active cells operating in Europe and Great Britain waiting for an opportunity to strike.What is it that makes mostly second generation sons and daughters of immigrant parents of Middle Eastern origin so susceptible to the propaganda of Daesh (ISIS)? What is it that even attracts non-Moslem European youth into the ranks of Islamist terror? There are so many theories causing this attraction for many wayward youths, who somehow are failures within their societies and environment in which they grew up. They somehow, never “fitted into” what is considered acceptable norms of behaviour. They seek another way to prove themselves and are very susceptible to social media propaganda, the sources of which come from Daesh and affiliated hatred spewing Islamist terrorist organizations. Another brainwashing source of hatred and glorification of destroying “the infidel”  which they refer to us non-Muslims is the racist, hate- spewing, charismatic Imams that deliver hateful sermons in mosques in their adopted countries in Europe and the US as well as in education. They issue calls to use any means to kill the non-believer. This definition of “infidel” also, includes many Muslims who do not hold radical Islamist views and this happens to include most Muslims, who are law-abiding citizens in their adopted countries.The Manchester and London Bridge terrorist attacks provide further proof that Daesh terrorist cells are alive and kicking in London and Manchester as well as in various cities throughout Europe. The tactics that they have adopted are very similar to the tactics used by Hamas lone terrorists infiltrating into Israel. These tactics are the result of the brainwashing in the social media as well as appeals from radical imams as mentioned earlier. When the UK PM claims that, Islamic terrorism “is a perversion of Islam”, that's cowardice after an attack in which the Islamic killers made a point of proclaiming, “This is for Islam” and “This is for Allah”.1.No matter where you look, you will find that the strongest association between Muslims and terrorism is one in which Muslims are victims of it. 2.Christians must, therefore, recognise that while some Islamist terrorists use Qur'anic verses calling for violence as a theological justification for terrorism, many orthodox Muslims and Islamists totally reject this way of interpreting the Qur'an. 3.The attitude in the EU countries, including Great Britain, over the years, is to show sympathy and understanding towards those immigrants embracing Islam, by being “politically correct and tolerant” and taking this attitude towards extremes. Sweden even went to so far as to forbid journalists reporting the religious back[...]

Jerusalem - A City more Divided than Ever!


Israelis wave flags as they celebrate Jerusalem Day outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City This past week, almost coinciding with the glitch-filled Trump visit, including the notorious, loutish behavior of MK Oren Hazan, who pushed his way through to take a selfie with President Donald Trump, which was the only achievement of Trump’s State visit to Israel. Another celebration took place after Trump and his retinue boarded the plane to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.But as to whether the US considers Jerusalem to be in Israel, whether in the eastern or western part of the city, that question remains unanswered, even after Trump's ceremonial visit.1Some Israeli politicians have felt that Trump's visit to Jerusalem is a sign of obvious recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the city, including the Old City.2This celebration - the 50th Anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967. There was tremendous euphoria when Eastern Jerusalem fell into the hands of Israel at the time and for a few years after that until the Yom Kippur War of October 1973.Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with the additional surrounding territory.3 The cracks in this euphoria began when settlements were built in occupied territories for religious Zionist zealots. These occupied territories are controversial and Israel was not able to enjoy the fruits of victory for very long as a new reality of illegal settlements were established, including in areas around Eastern Jerusalem that belonged to East Jerusalem Palestinians. Jerusalem, while being united territorially, was never united demographically and still remains so to this day. This year, while Israel celebrated the unity of Jerusalem, it became clear that cracks in that unity is growing wider and wider so much so that those who celebrated and made themselves the most felt were the right wing, religious Zionists. An activist with IfNotNow is carried away by Israeli police during a Jerusalem Day protest, Jerusalem, May 24, 2017. (JC/ became a political fanfare of showing who are the bosses of Jerusalem today! The Israeli flag waving, tzitzi-dangling, kippa-cladded youngsters of the extremist right wing Zionist religious, Bayit HaYehudi Party, (whose leader is Naftali Bennett) and the religious, fascist, extremist, MK and Deputy-Speaker, Bezalel Smotrich, were raucously parading the streets.It was a frightening spectacle to watch. These noisy demonstrations’ sole purpose was to provoke the East Jerusalem Palestinians and those who are against the occupation seeking a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Most secular Israelis were not part of this hateful, provocation and there were counter-demonstrations resulting in arrests. The loutish and provocative behavior of the right wing religious, Zionists were left to their own shocking behavior. The message of this whole charade was a message of power and to show the world that Jerusalem is the property of the right to extreme right-wing settler movement that wishes to colonize the West Bank. There was nothing that one could view as promoting peace. There was no hint of good will or a feeling that Jerusalem belongs to everybody who lives in it irrespective of their creed or race. Many of us cringed with shame when we saw how the masses of right-wing Zionist religious youth with their raucous, provocative screaming did their utmost to display their power over the Palestinians an[...]

Right - Wing Threats to Democracy in Israel


Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in Knesset, June 27, 2016. Olivier FitoussiDistrict Six Memory Plaque at the Moravian Church in District Six, Cape Town, South Africa. It commemorates the victims of apartheid-era forced removals through the racially divisive Group Areas Act. Picture by Henry Trotter, 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)It is rare for me to write something about my personal experience in the 1960s and early 70s in South Africa where I was born, brought up and educated. It was in the era of apartheid when people, who opposed the evil white apartheid government, were placed under detention for 90 days, 180 days, and house arrests with no recourse to a lawyer. The criteria for everything were skin colour. Separate and inferior facilities for those who were not white - separate entrances in public buildings, buses and trains and separate beaches for blacks and whites. The Group Areas Act, Immorality Act, and much other heinous legislation were the order of the day Those were chilling days, our phones were tapped by security police as my family opposed apartheid. The definition of a “communist” under the Suppression of the Communist Act of 1950 was very wide to include those opposing apartheid. Democracy in apartheid South Africa was thoroughly compromised. The Black people were disenfranchised. The list went on and on.Demonstrators protesting in solidarity with ‘Breaking the Silence’ and other left-wing NGOs, after the Israeli government proposed a new law governing the financial disclosure of NGOs, in Tel Aviv, Israel, 19 December 2015. Photo activesills/FlickrI had made up my mind in 1974 that I had to leave South Africa as the noose was tightening against those who opposed racism and apartheid in all its evil forms. I chose Israel as my country where I could start a family eventually. Israel is the only democratic country that I felt I could live and be free from the restraints of racism and hate for people of colour.If we are to discuss the right wing threat to democracy in Israel, it is unavoidable not to use the apartheid South Africa comparison.Today over forty years later, and after much water had flowed under the bridge, we are reaching a stage where the similarities between the present Israeli Government Coalition and the apartheid government of the old South Africa are becoming evident when it comes to enacting legislation weakening the law courts in as far as a citizen’s right to address a legal problem is concerned if it is not in line with the ruling government agenda. This is the case when the justification of theft of Palestinian land is concerned. Countless articles have been written on the evils of the occupation since the June 1967 Six Day War on my blog as well as the history of the conflict. There is a growing trend in the Coalition Government to try and pass laws that emphasize Israel as the Jewish State as if we are not aware of it. Perhaps there are Israelis who need reminding by having a law enacted to leave them with no doubt! Is this really necessary? Even the ultra-Orthodox coalition partner, Yahadut Hatorah, opposes this bill for their own partisan, political reasons. The innuendo of this bill is to ensure that non-Jewish citizens of Israel will remain inferior. The status of Arabic as one of Israel’s official languages will also drop. Why?A very good friend of mine said that we, the secular, progressive citizens of Israel, who happen to oppose the present right wing Government Coalition of Israel, are caught up in a trap that is a tw[...]

A Stench of General Elections in the Air as False Alarm


General election fever in democratic countries is a time of excitement. This takes place every four or five years when the citizen gets ready for the one day that he/she feels like a king or queen as the right to vote for a government of one’s choice is exercised. All the political parties gear themselves up by making empty promises and populist statements that can never be fulfilled. Despite these pitfalls, there is a dearth of polls - most of which are misleading with questionable predictions as was in the American Presidential Election of November 2016. The polls in Israel are no less accurate yet they have their pundits. In Israel, election results are predictable, especially today. It is a foregone conclusion that the right and the extreme right wing will win the elections if held today. No party will get an absolute majority, but the right wing block with its plethora of parties with similar ideologies will form the next coalition government that will be even more radically right wing than the present.It all started with PM Netanyahu wishing to close down the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation in order to privatise it and make it more cost-effective as well as being more of a government mouthpiece. This would mean firing 1000 employees.The Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon was prepared to go with Netanyahu on this and in the end, Netanyahu changed his mind after consulting with the employees’ representatives who felt that they were on the firing line. Netanyahu opposed the move but Kahlon was not prepared to back down on Netanyahu’s original decision. The closing down of the IBA is scheduled to occur on 30th April 2017. This would be replaced by a new broadcasting company called Kan that would receive a smaller budget. It would also be run by the Communications Ministry and tow the government line. In other words, Israeli and TV services would be handcuffed to a certain extent and lose their independence. At the time of writing both Netanyahu and Kahlon are on the edge of brinkmanship and no agreement on this issue has been achieved by these two players despite the numerous meetings between the two. According to latest reports, an agreement between Netanyahu and Kahlon has been reached. A compromise has been made. No elections for the time being until the next storm in a teacup when we shall all be getting a feeling of deja vu for the umpteenth time.National elections for the Knesset must take place once every four years, though early elections have occurred more often and few governments have reached the four-year limit.General Elections in Israel have a habit of being very predictable. The Israeli electorate for the most part over the years has moved away from the left of centre and towards the right and extreme right. There are no signs that this trend will change in the foreseeable future.The right wing parties - Likud, Kulanu, Jewish Home Party, Yisrael Beitenu, Yesh Atid (a sitting on the fence party that could under certain circumstances move to the right as its leader, Yair Lapid, is a shallow populist and adapts his views to suit his electorate) would probably form the next government. Yesh Atid has a problem with sitting in the same coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties, who are not well disposed towards Yesh Atid. Nevertheless with a little push and shove and monies pledged to their ultra-Orthodox yeshivot as a bonus, this problem will undoubtedly be solved. The present government is the most right-wing government in Israel’s his[...]

"The Jewish Home" of Racism and Intolerance


The title of this post is not the true Israel but a fair section of the Israeli population that have placed their eggs in the basket of Mifleget Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home Party). They received 8 seats out of 120 seats. This party is the diabolical metamorphosis of the now defunct National Religious Party (Mafdal). It is a macabre mix of extreme right wing, religious Zionist ideology laced with hatred for the Arab Community of Israel and those who do not share their intolerant and bigoted world view. It is an illegal settler ideological party that is against the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Those, who disagree with their worldview are considered traitors to Israel.This party, despite its relatively small representation in the Knesset, is the fear of PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud. It drags the Likud (once the liberal, moderate right wing party of Menahem Begin also known as Herut or Revisionists) into an extreme right wing direction. The leader of this political, pseudo-fascist abomination, Naftali Bennett (Minister of Education) is the pet fear of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who views him as a threat to his power base. Netanyahu and his party hacks are moving more to the extreme right, giving these party members much influence over the machinations of passing laws with a racist and anti-democratic edge. An example was the recent passing of the Regularisation Law as a result of a populist desire of Bennett and his MK hacks. The difference in ideology between the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi is marginal.  Speaking after the law was finalised, Bezalel Smotrich of the far-right Jewish Home, who was one of the forces behind the legislation, thanked the American people for electing Donald Trump as president, "without whom the law would have probably not passed". 1Another bill instituted by Moti Yogev MK of the Bayit Hayehudi Party called the Muezzin Law forbidding the call to prayer using loudspeakers between the hours of 11.00 pm and 7.00am. This law was aimed at the Muslim Arab Community of Israel and is another example of the hate that this extreme right wing party has for observant Muslims. There are enough laws in Israel against noise pollution that are not enforced. If the existing Noise Pollution Law was enforced then it would prevent the disturbing ear-splitting Muslim “call to prayer” from the minarets. Why single out the Muslim Community for their “call for prayer”? It is a populist law aimed to gain more support for the right-wing Jewish Home Party. Even the Attorney-General of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit, is opposed to this law. There are many mixed cities with both Arab and Jewish residents such as Haifa, Akko and Tel Aviv-Jaffa. The Jewish citizens’ representatives living in these cities managed through dialogue with the Muslim religious authorities to arrive at an agreement and there was never any problem between the Muslim and Jewish Communities on this issue in the past. The observant Muslim Arab Community is a minority group in Israel and as such are sensitive towards discrimination as well as any threat towards the “call to prayer” by the muezzin. The government showed a total lack of sensitivity to the needs of this community by trying to pass a law forbidding or curtailing their traditional custom of calling their faithful to prayer from the minarets of their mosques. HaBayit Hayehudi has done a great disservice to Israel by introducing bills that are discrimina[...]

Elor Azaria is Sentenced to 18 Months Imprisonment for Manslaughter


The balance of deterrence. Eran Wolkowski Haaretz It makes no sense, despite what many think (including many right-wing politicians in the Knesset, who exploit this tragedy for their own political gain) and feels, that Azaria committed a brave act by shooting a dying or prone terrorist that posed no danger to anybody around him. Shooting a dying terrorist, when he poses no danger to anybody, is not an act of bravery, it is manslaughter as the Court had ruled. Had he shot the terrorist in self-defense or defending others from death or severe injury is bravery and deserving of citation.  This is not the case here. Ruling politicians are doing a great disservice not only to Azaria, who did not express remorse for what he did but also to the IDF and to Elor Azaria's family. Even the defence lawyers are concerned about scoring points by appealing the sentence which is very lenient by all standards for their reputation and personal egos.Baruch Marzel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The right wing extremists under Bayit Hayehudi and other extremists (many of whom have neo-fascist ideology) are becoming very powerful. This is also evident in the recent selection of conservative judges in the High Court. This was a heydey for the right wing, who are concerned with getting more votes in the next elections by unanimously requesting a pardon for Elor.After Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in the case, several right-wing lawmakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had called for him to be pardoned.1.UN Human Rights Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani compares Elor Azaria's 18-month sentence for killing 'a wounded Palestinian' with three-year sentences given to Palestinian children for throwing stones; she declares that the case reinforces a 'culture of impunity.' This statement may be viewed as outrageous when we see that that the UN exhibits apathy to the genocide and slaughter going on in Syria and other Arab countries and condemns Israel for human rights abuses. However, this does not alter the fact that the sentence for manslaughter that Elor Azaria received was lenient. We must also bear in mind that the relationship between the settlers in Hebron and the IDF is not in the best interests of the soldiers serving in that very explosive area. The right wing extremist settlers are over familiar with the soldiers and invite them over to their homes when they are off duty. Kahanist and Lehava extremists seem to rule the roost there and brainwash many off-duty soldiers in their ideology of hate for Palestinians. There seem to be two laws dominating the IDF soldiers serving in Hebron. There are IDF Protocol and the “very unofficial Hebron Settler Protocol” dominated by Kahanist and Lehava racists. It is significant to note that after Elior Azaria shot the prone terrorist, Baruch Marzel, the leader of the Kach Fascists came out of nowhere to shake Elor’s hand to congratulate him for his “heroic” act. Apparently, Elior and Marzel are good friends. What was Marzel doing in the area where the incident occurred? “It's time to understand who's really in control in the occupied territories. Decades of occupation have transformed IDF units in the West Bank into an army that not only defends settlers but is also subject to their orders and instructions. Soldiers' testimonies in this report describe the close relations between settlers and the IDF in the West Bank along with settlers' involvement in, an[...]

Trump and Netanyahu Meeting - Friendly Futility!


US President Donald Trump (R) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2017. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)After watching the Trump-Netanyahu Joint Press Conference before the meeting between the two leaders, it became obvious that the conference was an exercise of “friendly futility”. The words of both PM Netanyahu and President Trump were a back-slapping exercise of a “budding friendship” and chemistry between the two leaders. There was no hint of any substance whatsoever apart from vague statements open to interpretation by a hungry bunch of press reporters seeking a scoop. A scoop -  it certainly was not apart from photo opportunities and lavish praise uttered between the two leaders for each other and Trump’s praise of Sarah Netanyahu for her “graciousness”. width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>President Donald Trump hinted to Netanyahu that he should “hold back” on settlements. Netanyahu promised to “examine” that issue. There was no commitment on either side, just vague, meaningless statements. Netanyahu was obviously minding his p’s and queues. He did not wish to say anything that would antagonize his extremist right wing flank led by Naftali Bennett, Leader of the extremist right wing party, Habayit Hayehudi, back home. No mention was made of the Two-State Solution. Trump somehow saved the day by saying that he will go with any solution, one-state or two-state depending on what the parties to the conflict want. Trump has no knowledge of the conflict at all or at best, a very superficial knowledge. Maybe it is better that way. President Trump is very unpredictable in any case and even if he would “close a deal” he may change his mind later because of a personal whim or fancy.Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump rejected the long-established US framework for Middle East peacemaking at a White House visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday as he announced his desire to reach "the ultimate deal." 1Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday that he asked U.S. President Donald Trump in their meeting to have the U.S. recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel. 2What was significant in this Joint Press Conference was what was not even mentioned. There was no mention of the resignation ofNational Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had misled the White House over his phone calls with the Russian ambassador to Washington. According to press reports, it was Flynn that helped organize the Trump-Netanyahu meeting. The cozy and admiring relationship between Trump and Putin also raises questions. Is it possible that Putin knows something about Trump that if revealed could result in Trump’s downfall? Time will tell. Putin of Russia is a wily and ruthless leader. He has well honed skills from his experience in the KGB.  President Donald Trump said he would support the peace agreement Israel and Palestinians "like the best" in a joint press conference during which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu railed against Palestinian efforts to reach a deal. 3In the biggest blow to Mr. Trump's nascent presidency, h[...]