Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Strivers, sulkers and the State of Israel

Video Of The Week - Nikki Haley interviewed by UN Watch - https://tinyurl.com/y47ocdj2

For the full 45 minute video go to- https://tinyurl.com/y47ocdj2  

From Asia Times, by David Goldman. For the full article go to https://tinyurl.com/yx8qr6mo

Nothing succeeds like success, and the State of Israel’s success in a range of fields has created more goodwill for the Jewish people than at any time in history, and also more enmity. The world’s strivers see Israel as an example, and the world’s sulkers view Israel as a humiliating reminder of their misery.

Joseph Dana argued in a March 25 opinion article on this site that “political Zionism raises the risk of anti-Semitism.” That is true only to the extent that success breeds envy. Success also elicits admiration, though, and Israel is admired by ambitious and upwardly mobile people around the world. On balance, political Zionism has brought about far more philo-Semitism than anti-Semitism.

Half a million tourists visited Israel in December 2018, twice the number of the previous December. South Korean high-school students are adopting traditional Jewish learning techniques. Books about Jewish success are best-sellers in China. Chinese students are applying to Israeli universities; 200 now attend the University of Haifa compared with just 20 in 2013, and nearly 200 are enrolled at the Technion, Israel’s elite science university.

Retired Israeli ambassador Yoram Ettinger wrote in January that 2018 was “a banner year for Israel diplomacy,” marked by the move of America’s embassy to Jerusalem, soon to be followed by Brazil.

“Netanyahu’s breakthrough diplomatic travels in 2018 included an official visit to the Arabian Gulf Sultanate of Oman, where he held talks with Sultan Qaboos Bin Said…. Also significant was Chadian President Idriss D├ęby’s historic visit to Israel, with Netanyahu planning to visit the Central African country next year, at which time the two nations expected to declare a renewal of diplomatic ties.

“Other landmark meetings strengthening economic ties with leaders from China, Japan and India. Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan visited Israel, as did Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Netanyahu met with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Delhi, leading to a joint declaration of the ‘dawn of a new era’ in bilateral relations.”

In related developments, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt last week announced that the United Kingdom would vote against many anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations rather than abstaining, as in the past. And Hungary opened a trade mission in Jerusalem, the first de facto recognition of the Israeli capital by a European Community member state.
By any objective gauge of success, the State of Israel is uniquely successful.

Most remarkably, Israel is the only industrial country with a fertility rate above break-even. Israeli Jewish women have three children on average (2.5 children excluding the very religious). In practical terms, that means that Israel’s population of young people will be equal to that of Germany and Japan by the end of this present century if current fertility trends persist.

Asia’s fascination with Israel has more to do with material success than religion, to be sure, but Asians’ philo-Semitism has something in common with that of the evangelicals: Nothing succeeds like success. Asian strivers will continue to admire Israel and emulate its path to success, while sulkers in various failed states will continue to nurse their grudge against Israeli success.

As an American Jew, I see the matter differently than Joseph Dana. I am grateful that Israel enjoys the admiration of striving Asians, and am resigned to the fact that Israel will be hated by sulkers like Representative Omer and Mr Dana himself.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Acceptance of Israeli action in Syria

 Video Of The Week - Alleged Israeli Strikes on Syria's Aleppo - https://tinyurl.com/yy8wwu55

“Israel Hayom” by Yoav Limor 14-4-2019

The Russians and the Syrian regime, albeit more discreetly, have reservations about Iran's presence in the country. The sense in Israel, therefore, is that a window of opportunity now exists for pushing Iran out of Syria or at least significantly minimizing its activities there.

The attack attributed to Israel’s air force early Saturday indicates that Israeli policy in Syria hasn’t changed now that the elections are over: No to Iranian entrenchment, and no to precision missiles in the hands of Hezbollah.

The target, according to Syrian media outlets, was located in the city of Masyaf, in Hama province. The Israeli air force, the reports said, has attacked various facilities, used by Iranian forces, in the same area at least five times over the past two years.

This time, it appears, the main target was the site where the Iranians have manufactured precision missiles for Hezbollah. We can assume the missiles were earmarked for transfer to Lebanon although Iran also intends to arm its other Shiite militias operating in Syria with similar missiles.

Hezbollah’s precision missile project, which Iran is carrying out, lies at the heart of Israeli activity in recent years. Iran wants Hezbollah to have precision capabilities – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last year, mentioned a precision radius of approximately 10 yards – and simultaneously extend the range of some of the terrorist group’s missiles. Israel has already been blamed for several attacks on facilities where this activity is occurring, including the attack last September in western Syria that triggered the chain of events which led to the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian army air defenses.

The attack early Saturday morning went smoothly from an Israeli perspective – neither Syria nor Russia responded in a significant manner. We can glean from this that Russia has come to terms, for now, with this activity, as long as it doesn’t endanger Russian forces stationed in Syria. The Israeli air force is likely taking pains to avoid, as much as possible, any friction with Syrian surface-to-air batteries, in order to circumvent further scenarios that could spark another diplomatic clash with Russia.

Israel’s policy of being proactive against Iran and its proxies is also unlikely to change for the time being. Regardless, the new government – and the next defense minister – will have to re-examine this activity within the context of new developments in Syria as it concludes its eight-year civil war; along with possible Iranian military intervention in Iraq and efforts to relocate its precision missile factories to Lebanon. In the past year, Israel has exposed four such factories – three of these, which were built secretly in Beirut, were revealed by Netanyahu in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly. The fourth factory, according to various news outlets, was reported in March to the Americans, who addressed the matter with the Lebanese government.

The sense in Israel is that a window of opportunity now exists for pushing Iran out of Syria or at least significantly minimizing its activities there. This window, beyond Russian reservations over Iranian activity (not to mention the Syrian regime’s own reservations, although these aren’t voiced publicly), is open because of American support and last week’s designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization by the Trump administration. The hope in Israel is that a combination of military, diplomatic, economic and media-related activity can now thwart Iran’s machinations.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ISRAEL- Arrivals stream in from everywhere

Video Of The Week - Israel - Small but Outstanding - http://tinyurl.com/y47q5mpo

JPost. BY EDWIN BLACK   APRIL 6, 2019 - http://tinyurl.com/yyfc88fm

The virulently anti-Israel movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – BDS – is roiling through campuses, overflowing into city councils, encroaching into corporate boardrooms, and now chomping at the essence of Israel’s special niche in the world: its travel and tourism industry.

Whereas similar boycotts against other countries have inflicted withering effects on national economies, in Israel – it simply hasn’t worked. The opposite is true. Yes, boy-cotters are busy demonizing Israel. Yet despite this, Israel’s tourism industry has rocketed to a singular triumph and now employs tens of thousands. Flights are packed and new non-stops are being added across the globe. Even though new luxury hotels are going up as fast as the Mideast sun will dry concrete, rooms remain in high demand and, thus, are scarce and expensive. Israel has become world famous for creative cuisine and trendy eateries; so if you want to get a table at the most popular restaurants, you’ll need to book weeks in advance.

Travel and tourism to Israel has dramatically changed.  Israel is now a destination for the entire world. Traditional Jewish-American travelers from Miami to Seattle must now compete with Silicon Valley techies, Chinese students, Indian tourists, East European Christian pilgrims and diverse businessmen from across the planet. The numbers are multiplying.

IN 2016, 2.9 million total worldwide visitors visited Israel. By the close of 2018, that number had boomed to 4.1 million—and the totals keep climbing. Within the coming decade, Israel expects to employ 98,000 people in its tourism sector.

When Israeli tourism prospers, so does the Palestinian community. Christian pilgrims make a beeline for Bethlehem. Thus, tourism breeds economic interdependence and strengthens co-existence.

Arrivals stream in from everywhere.

Today, most North American travelers to Israel are not Jewish; they are Christian, often seeking Biblical discovery. From North America, Jews comprise about 40% to 45% of the travelers, while Christians generally hover at about 60% year to year, according to official estimates. While the Jewish-Christian percentages remain the same, the growth spurt for North America has seen the overall numbers increase by 42% since 2016.

In 2009, only 20,000 Indians visited Israel, reports Israel’s tourism office in New Delhi. Some years ago, Israel hosted Indian travel agents, knowing that in India, such agents book most of the travel. Reciprocal travel programs tapped such markets as India’s Kerala Christians.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Protests Hamas don’t Want you to See

Video Of The Week - Hamas' March of Return in numbers!! - http://tinyurl.com/y4wxely9

From the Times Of Israel by Joshua Bloch
Gazans have spent 12 years under a tyrannical regime that spends its vast sums on arms rather than food for its people

Those who follow events in the Middle East are no stranger to the weekly riots on the Gaza-Israeli border, but there are other protests going on you probably haven’t heard much about. Why? Because Hamas doesn’t want you to know.
While the so-called “March of Return” riots have taken place with much public fanfare every Friday for nearly a year since March 30, 2018, Hamas has used violence and intimidation to stifle any internal dissent within the coastal enclave.
The ongoing civil rights protests – held under the banner “We Want to Live!” – are the biggest demonstrations yet against Hamas’s 12-year rule. The brutal crackdown saw activists beaten and crowds dispersed with live ammunition. Dozens of journalists have been arrested and prevented from photographing the events. In an act of ultimate despair, a 32-year-old demonstrator set himself on fire.

“Our sons and daughters have lost 12 years of their lives. For what? Each son of a Hamas official owns an apartment, a car, a jeep, a building…While our sons have nothing at all,” an enraged Palestinian woman said in a video posted to social media last week.
In 2007, twelve years ago, Hamas launched a brutal coup against Fatah, the main Palestinian faction in the West Bank. Since consolidating power in Gaza, the terror group has imposed its draconian rule on the population, built a formidable weapons arsenal, dug and equipped several dozens of attack tunnels, and launched three wars against Israel.
Unfortunately for ordinary Gazans seeking basic rights, their protests have yet to draw the same media attention as the weekly Hamas-orchestrated riots.
When Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, it was viewed as an opportunity for the Palestinians to create a thriving enclave free of occupation. International donors paid millions to preserve the greenhouses that Israeli residents of Gaza had built to sustain an agricultural industry. But as Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in the Atlantic, “The greenhouses were soon looted and destroyed, serving, until today, as a perfect metaphor for Gaza’s wasted opportunity.”
Unemployment in Gaza is now over 50 percent, which rises to 60 percent for its youth. And Gaza’s $1,800 per capita annual income ranks among the lowest in the world.
The reason for that is not the lawful Israeli blockade to impede the terror organization’s ability to acquire all the arms it needs to threaten the Jewish state. Rather, it is a direct consequence of Hamas sacrificing desperately needed civilian resources on the altar of its military aims.
The costs of building a military infrastructure to threaten Israel are significant. Each Hamas tunnel reportedly cost $1 million and takes years to build, eating up tons of concrete desperately needed for civilian housing. To make matters worse, as the irate woman in the video said, the leaders of Hamas may not provide for their constituents, but they have been taking very good care of their own families.

While the majority of people in Gaza live close to or below the poverty line, Forbes ranked Hamas in 2018 as the world’s third wealthiest terror organization with an estimated annual income of $700 million. The group is so absurdly rich that only two organizations outrank them, Hezbollah and the Taliban. In the meantime, the average Gazan is left with little of his or her own.

Twelve years have been lost to Hamas tyranny in Gaza. They have been lost to the terror group’s voracious desire to destroy Israel and equally strong desire to enrich themselves at the cost of the life and health of the local population. Regrettably, much of the world has nevertheless found it easier to blame Israel for the chaos. For Gaza to thrive, Hamas must be defeated and removed from power.