Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Response to TIME Magazine Article

We strongly suggest viewing the video “Israel’s Critical Security Needs” that presents the dilemma facing Israel in any negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWmPqY8TE0 . The physical size of Israel is always overestimated and this video puts its size into the context of any future agreement.

A Response to TIME Magazine Article
By Ron Dermer, Senior Advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister Jan. 18, 2011


Dear Mr. Stengel,

I wanted to bring to your attention a recent article in Time entitled "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives." I hope that you will agree that the article's obvious bias and numerous distortions are not worthy of the standards of your prestigious magazine.

Israel is depicted in the article as essentially sliding towards fascism. Your correspondent refers to Israel's Shin Bet (the equivalent of the FBI) as a "secret police," claims that the Israeli government "increasingly equates dissent with disloyalty," and accuses the Prime Minister of "taking a page from neighboring authoritarian states."

The evidence offered for these outrageous allegations includes a preliminary vote in our parliament that would require naturalized citizens to make a pledge of allegiance, a proposal to strip citizenship from Israelis convicted of espionage and terrorism, a motion to investigate foreign government funding of local NGOs, calls on Jews to not rent property to Arabs, and demonstrations demanding prohibitions of Arab boys from dating Jewish girls.

But your correspondent did not find it necessary to inform your readers of a few facts.

Oaths of allegiance are commonplace in most democratic countries, including the United States. Naturalized citizens in America swear an oath to its Constitution and to defend the country against "all enemies, foreign and domestic." Israel's proposed pledge would require naturalized citizens to swear an oath to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, words taken directly from our Declaration of Independence.

Moreover, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy are just some of the many countries where citizenship can be stripped for various infractions that are defined as undermining "national interests." Are these European countries not democratic?

In the United States, Senator Joe Leiberman proposed a bill last year to "add joining a foreign terrorist organization or engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States or its allies to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality." Is American democracy threatened by such a bill?

As for questioning the legitimacy of foreign government funding of Israeli NGOs, mentioning America's Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) may have presented a more balanced picture.

FARA requires that any organization engaged in lobbying in the U.S. that receives money from foreign individuals, let alone foreign governments, must among other things register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice and permit the Attorney General to inspect all of its activities.

It is hard to imagine any democratic country accepting foreign governments intervening in its domestic affairs by funding domestic groups engaged not merely in criticism of a particular government's policy but also attacking the very foundations of the State.

What would Britain do if the French government was actively funding a British NGO that sought to eliminate the monarchy? What would the United States do if the Iranian government was funding American NGOs pressing for a withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East?

There is a vigorous public debate in Israel, including within the Likud party, over the best means to address the problem of foreign government funding of local NGOs. Proposals range from launching a parliamentary investigation to laws banning or restricting such funding to measures to ensure full transparency. Far from being a sign of Israel's slide toward fascism, the current debate in Israel is a testament to how vibrant our democracy truly is.

Finally, contrary to the implication of your correspondent, Prime Minister Netanyahu has publicly and forcefully condemned the racist sentiments that were mentioned in the article. For example, this is what the Prime Minister said at the opening of Israel's annual Bible Quiz to an audience of mostly observant Jews a few hours after he learned of the letter calling on Jews not to rent apartments to Arabs:

"There are non-Jews among the citizens of this country. How would we feel if someone said not to sell apartments to Jews? We would have been outraged, and indeed we are outraged when we hear such things in neighboring countries or anywhere else. Such statements should not be made, neither about Jews nor about Arabs. They must not be made in any democratic country, let alone a Jewish-democratic country that respects the moral values of the Jewish heritage and the Bible. Therefore, the State of Israel categorically rejects these things."

Contrast this unequivocal condemnation by the leader of Israel to the Palestinian Authority law that mandates the death penalty for any one who sells land to Jews. Such laws are all too common in a Middle East in which Christians are persecuted, gays are hanged in public squares and women are stoned for adultery.

In Israel, things are different. Here, we protect the rights of women, gays and minorities, including the 20% of Israelis who are Arabs, who enjoy freedom of speech and religion and the protections afforded by independent courts and the rule of law.

Every decision in Israel is put under the microscope by one of world's largest foreign press contingents, the hundreds of human rights organizations and NGOs that operate freely here, a famously adversarial local press and most critically, by a vociferous parliamentary opposition.

Israel has upheld its democratic values despite being threatened like no country on earth. In defending itself against wars of aggression, unparalleled terror campaigns and continuous promises to annihilate it, Israel has a track record on the protection of rights that would compare favorably to the record of any democracy, much less democracies under threat.

Even in peacetime, other democracies enact laws that would be inconceivable in Israel. The Swiss ban on minarets and the French restrictions on headscarves passed in Europe, not Israel.

One final point regarding media coverage in the Middle East. In 2000, after an Italian television station (RAI) was threatened by the Palestinian Authority for broadcasting the film of a Palestinian mob lynching two Israeli soldiers, RAI issued a shameful apology. Similarly, in 2003, CNN admitted to burying negative coverage about Sadaam's regime so that its personnel could continue working safely in Baghdad.

I can assure you that no matter how biased and unbalanced your correspondents' coverage of Israel, they will always be free here to write whatever they want. Of course, Time is also free not to print it.

Monday, January 24, 2011


REPORT FROM GILO - Norman and Lola Cohen

In the constant battle against attempts to defame and delegitimise Israel we seldom find much to laugh at but recently two accusations have been so utterly absurd that we had to see the funny side of them.


In December there were reports of a shark attacking tourists enjoying water sports around Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt and subsequently, 30 miles of coastline were closed to swimmers by the authorities but not before five tourists had been very seriously injured and another one killed, by the creature. It was identified as an oceanic white tip shark, a species which does not normally come so near to the shore and is not known for attacking humans.
To begin with, the possible explanations seemed reasonable. Firstly, the Egyptians authorities blamed over-fishing which they claimed had caused the sharks to be hungry and so come near to he coastline in search of food, then the owners of tourist boats who drop meat into the waters to attract the sharks to the boat and so giving their passengers a close-up view of them were named as the culprits and next, a boat carrying livestock whose crew had thrown some dead animals overboard was accused. These all seemed to be rational theories but the Egyptians did not stop there. The Governor of South Sinai announced that he could not rule out the Mossad being behind the attacks, he suspected that Israeli intelligence agents may have caused them in order to wreck the Egyptian tourist industry.
An interesting theory but we have been trying to work out if Mossad agents themselves are suspected of disguising themselves as sharks and biting chunks out of swimmers or if the damage was caused by a specially indoctrinated Zionist shark trained by the Mossad. Another thought is that perhaps it was a remote controlled cyber-shark, after all Israel is renowned for its innovative high tech.


On the heels of this tribute to Israeli ingenuity came another, this time involving a vulture which was caught in Saudi Arabia and promptly accused of spying for the Mossad. Suspicions were obviously arouse
d because the bird had been tagged with a GPS tracker by Tel Aviv University. Having seen, during our years of volunteering in the Clinic of the Jerusalem Zoo, the horrible things that have been done to birds of prey unfortunate enough to be caught and kept in Arab villages, we feared for the safety of this beautiful creature which is one of an endangered species. Happily, Saudi Prince, Bandar bin Saud Al Saud, understood about tracking devices and decried reports of the bird being part of a Zionist plot. As a result and to the joy of all conservationists, it has been set free.


These accusations are ludicrous but many others, which are spouted daily by the world’s media, often have a grain of truth in them and are almost impossible to check out accurately. Even if one can obtain the true facts from the Government Press, Prime Minister’s or Army Spokesman’s Offices, by the time they are published, if they ever are, it is too late, the mud has already stuck.

The saying, “A lie can be half way round the world before truth has got its boots on,” variously attributed to Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and even Julius Caesar, is, sadly, all too true.

Toppled Palestinian ‘Landmark’ Symbolized Hate

Before our current offering of Article of the Week, we think it important to make you aware of the following 9 minute video of the Melanie Phillips’, as always superb, interview on Israel's TV this weekend, addressing the question of the constant bashing of Israel today.

Please spend 9 minutes to better understand if you do not already, what is really going on in the public diplomacy fight we have chosen to engage in 24/7.

You can choose either of these links


Below is this article of the week

Toppled Palestinian ‘Landmark’ Symbolized Hate
Jonathan S. Tobin - 01.10.2011 –


It says something about the way much of the world views the rights of Jews to live in Jerusalem that the erection of new homes in parts of that city is considered such a terrible provocation. Thus, the new housing project in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the city is generally reported as an outrageous provocation, even though the only reason this area is usually described as “predominantly Arab” or, more outrageously, “traditionally Arab” is because from 1949 to 1967, when this location was illegally occupied by Jordan, Jews were prohibited from living there.

As to whether it is wise for Israel to allow Jews to live in all parts of their capital, that is something that Israelis can debate, though redividing Jerusalem and returning those parts handed over to the Palestinian Arabs to a Jew-free condition seems like a curious way to advance the cause of peace and mutual coexistence. But let’s leave aside the question of Jewish rights or even the strategic wisdom of putting more Jews in these neighborhoods. Let us instead examine the Palestinian claim and what it represents.

When the New York Times reported the fact that ground was being broken for the new housing in Sheikh Jarrah in a story published on Sunday, what it did was to focus on the destruction of what it claimed was a Palestinian “landmark.” What landmark, you ask? Was it a medieval structure that in some way represents the longstanding Arab presence in the city or its culture? No. The building that was toppled to make way for some new apartment houses was just a large home that was built in the 1930s as a villa for one of the most notorious figures in 20th-century history: Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem. Husseini may never have spent much time in what eventually was renamed the Shepherd Hotel, but he did make his mark on the region by inspiring bloody pogroms against the Jews then living in the country. After the outbreak of World War II, he joined forces with the Nazis, meeting with Hitler and then spending the war making Arabic propaganda broadcasts for the Axis and successfully recruiting Muslims (mostly Bosnians) to serve in a special SS brigade. He was promised that, in the event of a German victory, he would be made the puppet ruler of what is now Israel, where he would assist the Nazis in the massacre of the several hundred thousand Jews who lived there.

That a home that was in any way connected to Husseini or any other Nazi would be considered a landmark whose demolition inspired statements of sadness from contemporary Palestinian leaders like Saeb Erekat speaks volumes about the nature of Palestinian politics. That the intended home of the man who dreamed of wiping out every last Jew in Jerusalem is coming down to make room for Jewish homes is certainly ironic. One needn’t necessarily agree with the politics of Daniel Luria, a representative of Ateret Cohanim, the group that promotes Jewish building throughout Jerusalem, to appreciate what he termed the “beautiful poetic justice” of this event.

The challenge of public diplomacy vis-a-vis the delegitimisation of Israel

Address to Ariel Conference on Law and Mass Media, 30 December 2010

(Below is a part of the address given at the conference referred to above. If you want to read the complete address, please click on the link above)

We are living through a global campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel in which the western media are playing a key role.

The British media are the global leaders of this campaign in their frenzied and obsessional attacks on Israel. In the BBC in particular, such virulence attains unparalleled power and influence since it is stamped with the BBC’s global kitemark of objectivity and trustworthiness.

Israel is dwelt upon obsessively, held to standards of behaviour expected of no other country and, with its own victimisation glossed over or ignored altogether, falsely accused of imposing wanton suffering.

Time after time, otherwise cynical, reality-hardened journalists have published or broadcast claims of Israeli ‘atrocities’ which are clearly theatrically staged fabrications or allegations. The false narrative of Arab propaganda is now so deeply embedded in the consciousness of journalists that they cannot see that what they are saying is untrue even when it is utterly egregious and indeed absurd.

This is because Israel’s crime is to defend itself militarily. To much of the media, Israel’s self-defence is regarded as intrinsically illegitimate. It is routinely described as ‘vengeance’ or ‘punishment’. Thus Sir Max Hastings wrote in the Guardian in 2004: ‘Israel does itself relentless harm by venting its spleen for suicide bombings upon the Palestinian people.’

In short, Israel is presented as some kind of cosmic demonic force, standing outside of humanity.

In Britain, the established church, the universities, the Foreign Office, the theatrical and publishing worlds, the voluntary sector, members of Parliament across the political spectrum, as well as the media — have signed up to the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel.

It’s the home of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. It’s where human rights lawyers threaten to arrest Israelis for war crimes as soon as they step off the plane at Heathrow.

Britain has effectively become a kind of global laundry for the lies about Israel and bigotry towards the Jews churning out of the Arab and Muslim world, sanitising them for further consumption throughout English-speaking, American and European society and turning what was hitherto confined to the extreme fringes of both left and right into the mainstream. Where Britain has led, the rest of the west has followed.

What is striking is the extent to which a patently false and in many cases demonstrably absurd account has been absorbed uncritically and assumed to be true.

History is turned on its head; facts and falsehoods, victims and victimisers have their roles inverted; logic is suspended, and an entirely false narrative of the conflict is now widely accepted as unchallengeable fact, from which fundamental error has been spun a global web of potentially catastrophic false conclusions.
The western intelligentsia has itself turned evidence and logic upside down. Moral and cultural relativism – the belief that subjective experience trumps moral authority and any notion of objectivity or truth – has turned right and wrong on their heads.

Because of the dominant belief in victim culture and minority rights, self-designated victim groups — those without power — can never do wrong while majority groups can never do right. And Jews are not considered a minority because – in the hateful discourse of today – Jews are held to be all-powerful as they ‘control’ the media, Wall Street and America.

So the Muslim world cannot be held responsible for blowing people up as they are the third world victims of the west; so any atrocities they commit must be the fault of their victims; and so the US had it coming to it on 9/11. And in similar fashion, Israel can never be the victim of the Arab world; the murder of Israelis by the Arab world must be Israel’s own fault.

This inversion of reality and morality echoes the Islamic narrative. This holds that, because Islam is considered perfect, its adherents can never do wrong. All their aggression is therefore represented as self-defence, while western/Israeli self-defence is said to be aggression. So justice and injustice, oppression and freedom, truth and lies are reversed.

Instead of attacking Arabs and Muslims for such irrationality and falsehoods, it’s the defenders of Israel whom the western intelligentsia accuse of lies and even insanity. Instead of backing Israel against genocidal violence, the British took to the streets, while Hezbollah rockets were raining down on Israel’s northern towns in 2006, with placards declaring ‘We are all Hezbollah now’.

Israel’s perceived ‘oppression’ of the Palestinians, its ‘disproportionate’ attacks on them and its supposed violations of international law are actually the very opposite of the truth. This is behaviour of which it is the victim, not the perpetrator.

Strikingly, it is the intelligentsia, the people of reason, who are the main problem. Bigotry is now correlated with education and class.

The lower down the social and educational scale, the more people are sane and realistic and decent about the Middle East and the threat to the free world from radical Islam. But as soon as you get people who’ve been through higher education, you find that so often they’re the ones who are bigoted and irrational about such matters.

They make truly ridiculous claims about Israel, such as its perpetration of apartheid or ethnic cleansing – claims which, to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the situation, are demonstrably ridiculous.

So how can it be that the most educated are now the most irrational?

The short answer is that among the progressive intelligentsia, evidence and truth have been supplanted by ideology – or the dogma of a particular idea. Ideologies such as moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism, feminism, environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism.
Across a wide range of such issues, it’s no longer possible to have a rational discussion with the progressive intelligentsia, as on each issue there’s only one story for them which brooks no dissent.

This is because, rather than arriving at a conclusion from the evidence, ideology inescapably wrenches the evidence to fit a prior idea. So ideology of any kind is fundamentally anti-reason and truth. And if there’s no truth, there can be no lies either; truth and lies are merely ‘alternative narratives’.

So the way has been opened for mass credulity towards propaganda and fabrication. The custodians of reason have thus turned into destroyers of reason – centred in the crucible of reason, the university.

So is this all hopeless? After all, irrationality cannot be fought with reason.
But no, it is not hopeless. First, many who spout this irrational discourse are not themselves irrational, merely profoundly ignorant. They are ignorant because no-one is telling them what it is they don’t know and are getting so very wrong about Israel, the Middle East or Jewish history.

But for those who are indeed irrational, we have to change our approach. We have to stop trying to argue with bigots. We must instead set out to defeat them.

To do that, we must first realise many of us are fighting on the wrong battleground. We are on the battleground selected by our enemies as the most conducive to victory.

The Arabs successfully redefined the Middle East conflict from a story about Arab aggression towards the Jews to a story about Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Jews.

They reversed victim and victimiser by recasting an existential conflict as a battle between two peoples with rival claims to the land. Inevitably this casts Israel, which is reluctant to go along with the implications of this false analysis, as the villain of the piece.

After all, forcing a country which has endured six decades of existential siege with no end to give any ground to its attackers amounts to forcing a victim to surrender. This is expected by the civilised world of no other country.
Both Israel and diaspora Jews have to stop playing defence and go onto the offence.

We should be demanding of the world why it expects Israel alone to make compromises with people who have tried for nine decades to wipe out the Jewish presence in the land and are still firing rockets at it.

We should be demanding why America, Britain and the EU single Israel out for pressure which they apply to no other victims of genocidal aggression. For in any other such conflict, their cause of the aggressors would be deemed totally forfeit by their behaviour.

We should be asking so-called ‘progressives’ – including Jewish ‘progressives’ — why they support the racist ethnic cleansing of every Jew from a future state of Palestine.

We should be asking ‘progressives’ why they are not marching against Hamas on account of its tyrannical oppression of Palestinians in Gaza.

Why they are not mounting a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority on account of his Holocaust denial and the PA’s continued incitement of Arab children to Jew-hatred, murder and genocide.

Why they are ignoring Arab and Muslim persecution of women and homosexuals.
And we should be telling the Jews’ own story of refugees and ethnic cleansing – the 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab lands after 1948, and who now make up more than half of Israel’s population. It’s good to see that at last Israel is beginning to bring this to the world’s attention. In Britain virtually no-one knows about it. At a stroke it takes the ground from under the feet of those demanding the ‘right of return’ for Arabs.

We will never convince bigots that facts are as they are, or that the evidence of history tells a different story from the one they believe. We cannot fight prejudice with reason.

But we have a duty to bear witness to the truth. And we have a duty to fight in our defence.

We can best do this by getting off our back foot and putting western fifth columnists on theirs. We should accuse them, not of Jew-hating motives we cannot prove but of absurdities and contradictions and untruths they cannot deny.

We should ridicule them, humiliate them, destroy their reputations; boycott them, not invite them to our houses, show them our disapproval and contempt. Treat them as pariahs. Turn their own weapons against them.
In short, we must get up off our collective knees and fight. Justice, human rights and truth are on our side, not theirs. We must reclaim them as our own.

Christmas in Bethlehem: Tourism Police not Soldiers

By Avi Issacharof / Bethlehem December 24, 2010

Christmas in Bethlehem. The holiday atmosphere was palpable in every corner this week. The city is decorated to the gills, with Santa mannequins on the streets and lots and lots of tourists. The hotels reported full occupancy and the restaurants vigorously prepared for guests. Some of the finest Middle Eastern singers will be performing tonight and tomorrow in Bethlehem and Sahour, in an attempt to entertain the visitors from all over the world, Israel, and even Gaza.

A group from Russia crowded into the Church of the Nativity to hear an explanation of the differences between the three churches in the compound: Roman Catholic, which is observing the holiday tonight; Greek Orthodox (of which the Russians are also members), which will only be celebrating Christmas on January 7th; and the Armenian Church. Abbot (Father) Spyridon sits in a corner of the Orthodox church. He was born in Bethlehem 60 years ago and has served in the church since 1970. “There’s a good feeling this year,” he says. “More stability and fewer problems. After all, Bethlehem is based on tourism.” Some Palestinian police officers are circling around among the tourists, but according to Abbot Spyridon, their job is not just to protect the visitors. “There are still quite a few problems here,” he explains. He speaks Russian, Greek, English, Arabic and a little Spanish, and has seen a thing or two throughout his life inside and outside the church. During Operation Defensive Shield he was home with his wife and seven children.

-What kind of problems?

“Between the Armenian and Orthodox churches. They each claim ownership. They argue about the status quo. The police protect us and keep the peace. The ones outside the church are the tourism police. The ones inside are supposed to solve the problems that come up here every so often, such as fights. Neither side is allowed to place anything new inside the church, certainly not in the area controlled by the other church. They have a meeting and reach an agreement. If anyone does anything against the agreement, it definitely leads to a fight,” says Spyridon. A few meters away from him one of the Armenian church staff is preparing for the prayer service. “There’s a skirmish here every five days,” he says. “Why? Because of cleaning. We argue about who is going to clean where, and we can’t manage to resolve it.”

-And what about the police?

“They don’t manage to separate them either.”

Nevertheless, besides one-on-one battles inside the church, Bethlehem is largely a Palestinian success story. Law and order are strictly maintained and traffic police are in evidence on every corner. Undercover officers in civilian dress will also be deployed this holiday for the first time, mingling among the crowd and making sure to maintain order. This year a total of 1,450,000 tourists visited the city, comprising a 60% increase over last year (according to Palestinian Ministry of Tourism data). Over the holiday alone some 90,000 guests from abroad will visit the city (and another 38,000 Palestinians from Israel and the territories). Russians are the most highly represented tourists (24%) and are followed by, in descending order: Poles, Italians, Americans, Spaniards and Germans. Six hundred thousand tourists stayed in Bethlehem accommodations this year; again, a 45% increase over 2009.

The Palestinian Tourism minister, Khouloud Daibes, says that the authority was active worldwide this past year to market the tourist sites in Jericho, Bethlehem and other places. “We are currently participating in every major tourism fair everywhere in the world,” she said in a talk with Haaretz. “The number of rooms in the city is expected to rise 50% for next year (from 2,000 rooms to 3,000). The number of tourists to Israel is growing as well, but that doesn’t mean tourists don’t encounter obstacles when entering Bethlehem. Although it has been made somewhat easier, we hope for further measures that will, for example, reduce the waiting time for tourist buses at the border crossings. There’s also room for improvement on the subject of Palestinian tour guides entering Israeli areas – we want free competition.”

On the other side of town, on the outskirts of Beit Jala, preparations are being completed for the March opening of the new industrial area, which is being established under the sponsorship of the French government. Top French companies, such as Renault, France Telecom, Schneider Electric and others, intend to open branches there. Already in the first phase it should provide some 300 jobs in the area, which despite the tourism boom is still suffering from unemployment.

The French Are Coming
Every few weeks a French diplomat visits the site, and it’s highly doubtful that many people in Israel are aware of what she does. President Nicolas Sarkozy dispatched a special envoy to the area, Valerie Hoffenberg, whose job is to handle the economic, cultural, commercial, educational and environmental aspects of the Middle East peace process. But Hoffenberg is far from sounding like yet another European diplomat who immediately charges and attacks Israel’s settlement policy. Her familiarity with the territory is admirable. “Today there are almost no checkpoints inside the West Bank, and we don’t hear the world talking about that,” says Hoffenberg. “A resident of Bethlehem who wanted to get to Ramallah used to have to go through many checkpoints, but they’re no longer there. This is an important message for the international community. True, Israel makes mistakes and has to be criticized for them. But it also has to be praised for positive actions. There aren’t checkpoints and there still aren’t terror attacks. That’s also a message for the Israeli public. I’m not one of those people who think that only economic peace will bring results. However, a change for the better must be effected on the ground, and we already see that change taking place. For instance, the private Palestinian sector is getting stronger – more and more Palestinian companies are being established in the West Bank.”

Hoffenberg says that the industrial area will open in two phases and is expected to stretch over a total of 500 dunams. According to her, 35 companies plan to open branches or representative offices on the site. “It’s going to be a green area that respects the environment,” she told Haaretz. “For us, opening this place is a pilot program. After all, all the other industrial areas planned throughout the West Bank never panned out. We hope that our investment, totaling 10 million Euros, will attract more investors and more companies here.”

“What you Israelis do is much better than what you say. Things have really improved here over the past two years,” remarks Hoffenberg. “There are fewer checkpoints, fewer settlements, and the Palestinian economy is improving. The problem is that not many people in the world know about that. I have to admit that I received the greatest assistance possible. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself approved the use of the road in Area C. The donor countries and of course the Palestinian Authority also mobilized to help out.” According to Hoffenberg, she chose Bethlehem because of its proximity to the border with Israel as well as the trademark. “If a product says ‘Made in Bethlehem,’ then anyone in the world will know where it’s from. It will have an impact.”