Monday, January 29, 2018

Group formed to support UK victims of terrorist attacks

Survivors Against Terror launched.

Who does a terror victim turn to to give voice to their dead child, parent, sibling? Unfortunately, sympathy abounds but it doesn't get you action.

In Great Britain, a new organization has been formed, Survivors Against Terror, that aims to be the voice of British victims of terror.

As reported by the London-based The Independent:
Survivors of terrorist atrocities committed on British soil and elsewhere will launch a new group to lobby the Government on counter-terror policies and improved support for victims.
The Survivors Against Terror group, which is being founded by survivors and bereaved relatives of victims of Islamist bombings, IRA attacks and far-right extremist murders, has urged others to join as it begins on Monday.
The group aims to campaign for more effective policies to combat terror and identify gaps in support for victims and the bereaved, as well as help the public tackle hate speech and the terror threat.

Good for them!

Read the full article here. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Shiva Call

The Shiva Call

I got into Ben Yishai’s car outside my Jerusalem hotel with butterflies in my stomach. We were headed north to make a shiva call in the Shomron. A few days earlier, a terrorist attack took the life of 35-year-old Rabbi Raziel Shevach. Twenty-two bullets punctured his car as he drove on Route 60 to his home in the community of Havat Gilad.  Before he lost consciousness Rabbi Shevach called his wife and told her to call an ambulance. He died in that ambulance on the drive to the hospital.
On the way, Ben Yishai pulled off the road so we could look down on Nablus, the site of biblical Shechem. I had never seen it before. It’s a large city, with prominent buildings, soccer pitches, a sprawling UN facility, and Joseph’s Tomb.
Joseph’s Tomb is frequently in the news. Local Palestinian Arabs have tried to burn it down several times. They painted it green to turn it into a mosque, but it’s white once again. It’s been the site of bloodshed over the years. Rabbi Hillel Lieberman was murdered there as he tried to rescue Torah scrolls from a fire after control of the city had been turned over to the PA. And IDF soldiers lost their lives when their commanders didn’t act fast enough to come to their aid when they came under fire from terrorists.
After recent declarations by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, it’s hard to believe he once condemned an attack on Joseph’s Tomb, saying it “violate[d] law and order, and…distort[ed] our culture, our morals and our religion.” Apparently that statement was not taken to heart by his constituents; over the past two years there have been many attacks on the site and on worshipers – and just last week security personnel discovered an explosive device that had been wired for remote detonation right outside the tomb as masses of people would be arriving to pray there.
As you look down on the southern part of the city, you notice a change in the architecture and layout. Suddenly, white multi-storied buildings give way to an area of low structures seemingly packed together like sardines in a can. What you are looking at is the Balata refugee camp. I cannot answer the question why, 20 years after control of the city was given to the Palestinians, Balata’s residents, some 30,000 of them, continue to live in the camp.
Back in the car we continued on to Rabbi Shevach’s community of Havat Gilad, which is called an “outpost” because it’s not recognized as a settlement by the government that sits one hour away in Jerusalem. Outside the shiva house, a family friend explained to me that because it is built on private land bought many years ago by a businessman in memory of another terror victim, its status is in limbo.
Rabbi Raziel Shevach HY"D and his family.
Photo courtesy Shevach family
Since it’s an outpost, the community of 40 families with 130 children is not directly connected to Israel’s electric grid. Don’t misunderstand; they have electricity in Havat Gilad. But imagine a long extension cord running from Yitzhar, a settlement about two miles away, to Havat Gilad. That’s how the residents get their electricity.
However, that will now change according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who ordered the Defense Ministry to connect the community to Israel’s national electricity grid. Said the rabbi’s widow in response, “It’s a joke that you’re trying to give us electricity when there is an entire village that needs to be legalized. I want to know that in 10 years’ time they will not move my husband’s grave because we waited too long [to legalize it].” I couldn’t laugh.
The community had no cemetery until the residents, at the request of Rabbi Shevach’s family, leveled a hill to create one. It’s not a pretty site, but neither is Havat Gilad after a rain.
The ground outside the shiva house was muddy, and the rugs that had been put down under a quickly erected blue plastic tarp to protect visitors from the sun sank into the mud.
The concrete patio in front of the house had muddy puddles and some young girls did an admirable job using a squeegee broom to move water into a drainage pit. It seems they were experienced at it.
An hour after the end of shiva, all the chairs were neatly stacked, the water and food pots and pans, were cleaned and removed. If you didn’t know that many hundreds of people had gone through the front door of the house over the preceding week, you could not tell from the way things looked now.
Survived by his widow, Yael, and six orphans – Renana, 10, Naomi, 8, Miriam, 6, Malka, 5, Ovadia, 3, and Benayahu, 10 months – Raziel Shevach was an incongruous man. He always dressed in a black suit, I was told, but wore a large white knitted kippah. He was a quiet man with a perpetual smile on his face who possessed many talents. He was a student, a teacher, the community rabbi, a mohel whose fees were turned over to the community children, a shochet, an emergency first-responder, and, to hear his neighbors talk of him, one of Hashem’s gifts to His people.
Rav Shevach’s senseless murder will not change anything for Palestinian Arabs, who praised it, other than lead to more death; the terrorist who murdered him has already been found and, in the IDF’s lexicon, “neutralized.” The residents of the Balata refugee camp will continue to be “refugees” under the thumb of the PA with the help of the United Nations.
We can hope the government recognizes Havat Gilad as a legal community, but as Kfar Darom and all the communities of Gaza were uprooted, including their graves, that does not guarantee anything. So you return to Jerusalem, you thank Ben Yishai for the ride, and you put a big smile on your face as you hug and hold tight your Israeli grandchildren, just as Raziel Shevach had held his children a week earlier.

May the memory of Rabbi Raziel Shevach be a blessing and may God avenge his blood.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Two vice presidential visits to Israel: what a difference!

Two vice presidential visits to Israel: what a difference!
By Stephen M. Flatow 

Anybody who watched Vice President Mike Pence's address to the Knesset had to be deeply impressed by his heartfelt solidarity with Israel. His repeated pledges of support for the Jewish state were authentic and unwavering.

On Nov. 10, 2016 Vice President Joe Biden , left,meets with then Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the White House. Credit Office of the Vice President of the United States.
Unlike the previous president, who seemed to think the Jews took an interest in Eretz Yisrael only because of the Holocaust, Pence did not shy away from affirming the Jewish people's ancient ties to the land of Israel.

 "It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again, that took the language of the Bible and the landscape of the Psalms and made them live again," Pence said. "And it was faith that rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and made them strong again. The miracle of Israel is an inspiration to the world. And the United States of America is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends."

Watching Pence's address, I could not help but recall the very different actions of the last vice president who visited Israel.

Joe Biden visited Israel in March 2010. Almost exactly at the moment Biden was speaking at a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "somebody" leaked to the press that the Israeli government supposedly had just announced plans to build 1,600 Jewish homes in "occupied East Jerusalem."

In fact, it was not some new plan, but an unexceptional housing construction project that had been slowly winding its way through the Israeli bureaucracy for years. The government did not make some grand "announcement" at the moment of Biden's visit; the old plan just happened to advance slightly through the normal bureaucratic procedures.

The plan was not for 1,600 "homes," which sounds as if Israel was going to build 1,600 separate houses. It was for 1,600 apartments in apartment buildings, meaning that it would take up less than one-tenth of the land that houses would require. In any event, nobody would be displaced by the new apartments; they were in Ramat Shlomo, an existing Jewish neighborhood in Israel's capital of Jerusalem.

But of course, the Obama-Biden administration, unlike the current U.S. government, did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. So, even apartments in the uncontroversial Ramat Shlomo neighborhood were suddenly branded "illegal Israeli settlements."

Time magazine declared that Israel had "publicly humiliated" Biden. An article in The Atlantic was headlined "Israel Humiliates Joe Biden." And so it went, a carefully choreographed "crisis" that sure sounded a lot like the infamous "echo chamber" which presidential aide Ben Rhodes later boasted about creating to promote the Iran deal. We may never know who leaked the Jerusalem "news" to the press, but I have my suspicions.

The only actual humiliation that took place was when Biden forced Israel to publicly apologize, even though it had done nothing wrong. The ugly episode would, of course, be followed by many other instances in which the president, vice president, secretary of state or other Obama administration officials chastised Israel or leaked anti-Israel accusations to the press.

Friends of Israel have not yet forgotten Biden's deeply disturbing decision to honor J Street by addressing its national conference in 2016. Legitimizing a group whose only purpose is to undermine Israel's positions was bad enough. But in his address, Biden outrageously accused Israel of being the obstacle to peace, because of what he called "the steady and systematic expansion of settlements."

Yes, that was the accusation made by the vice president whose administration had successfully pressured Israel into freezing Jewish housing construction for 10 months, in exchange for an unfulfilled U.S. promise that the Palestinians would resume negotiations.

Now contrast that vice president with his loquacious successor. "We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight," Mike Pence said in the Knesset. "We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny. We stand with Israel because that's what Americans have always done, and so has it been since my country's earliest days."

He might have added "except between 2008 and 2016" to that last sentence, however. The sad truth is that "standing with Israel" was not the policy of the Obama-Biden administration. But it is now, and that's what matters most.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Richard Kemp - We must end this appeasement and ban Hezbollah

Col. Richard Kemp makes a logical argument as to why "We must end this appeasement and ban Hezbollah"

Per Kemp- 

"Hezbollah is the most powerful terrorist organisation in the world. Yet Britain has proscribed only part of it: its military wing. This Thursday the MP Joan Ryan will lead a parliamentary debate aimed at designating the whole organisation, as the US, Canada and the Netherlands already do. Her chances are slim. The film Darkest Hour has reminded us of British ministers’ penchant for appeasement and, like Churchill, that is what she’s up against."

What's the problem with Hezbollah?

"Hezbollah, the creation of Iran, emerged onto the world stage in Beirut in 1983, killing 241 US Marines and 58 French paratroopers in the most devastating terrorist attack before 9/11. Since then it has attacked in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East and planned strikes from Cyprus to Singapore. Last summer US authorities charged two Hezbollah terrorists with planning attacks in New York and Panama. Hezbollah is fighting to keep Assad in power in Syria and maintains an arsenal of 100,000 rockets in Lebanon, pointed at Israel."

You can read the full article by clicking on the above link.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Yoram Hazony - Trump in the Middle East: Note Who Curses America, and Who Blesses It - National Review

Hazony says -
The administration’s foreign policy is a welcome break from the preexisting Washington consensus.
He's right!  Some excerpts-

President Donald Trump has promised that in the Middle East under his presidency, “there are many things that can happen now that would never have happened before.” Two speeches of the last ten days offer dramatic confirmation of the emerging reconfiguration of America’s relationship with Israel and the Middle East under his leadership. 

In a two-hour speech before the Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) last week, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, denounced the British, Dutch, French, and Americans for having conspired, ever since the 1650s, to create a Jewish colonial outpost that would “erase the Palestinians from Palestine.” As Abbas tells it, all this reached a climax on the eve of World War I, when the West realized that it was on the verge of collapse and that the Islamic world was “poised to inherit European civilization.” To put an end to this threat, the Western nations went about carving up the Muslim world so that it would be forever “divided, backward, and engulfed in infighting.” As for the United States, it has been “playing games” of this sort ever since then, importing, for example, the disastrous Arab Spring into Middle East.
More - 
But in the ensuing 30 years of talk, the only major agreements signed have been those the PLO leadership could find a way to fit into its narrative: Agreements such as the 1993 Oslo Accords, which could be portrayed as inflicting a bitter defeat on Israel and the West — and as a step on the road to ultimate triumph.
President Trump, Vice President Pence, and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley are pioneering an alternative policy, which can be summed up in Haley’s words: “We’re not going to pay to be abused.” If players like the PLO, North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran (hopefully, Turkey gets added to this list soon) want to cultivate a civilizational hatred of America, double-talking while they give aid to global terrorism and conjure diplomatic scandals at the U.N. — well, then they don’t get to be allies. They don’t get funded. They don’t get grants of land, authority, and prestige. Those things will be reserved for actual allies.
For long decades, Washington has crafted policies based on the tacit assumption that America needs the PLO if it is to bring peace to the Middle East. In its effort to “balance” the demands of this extremist organization against Israel’s concerns, American policy inflated the PLO’s importance, and it learned to tolerate and even embrace an organization whose views have always been profoundly anti-Western, not to mention anti-Semitic.

Read the full article - National Review

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How one raid tells all you need to know about Israel’s predicament

How one raid tells all you need to know about Israel’s predicament
You wouldn’t think that one isolated Israeli counter-terror raid could explode every major myth about Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. But last week’s raid in Jenin came pretty close to doing just that.

You wouldn’t think that one isolated Israeli counter-terror raid could explode every major myth about Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. But last week’s raid in Jenin came pretty close to doing just that.
An IDF soldier who took part in last week’s counter-terror raid in Jenin. Credit: IDF.
Overnight Jan. 17, Israeli commandos entered the city of Jenin in search of two particular Arab terrorists. When the operation was over a few hours later, the Israeli forces withdrew. 
Wait! The Israelis withdrew? But isn’t Israel “occupying” the Palestinians? That’s what J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace are always telling us. Just this week, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote that Israel is “ruling over millions of Palestinians.”
I guess Rabbi Jacobs hasn’t been to Jenin lately. In fact, I would imagine he hasn’t been there since at least 1995. That was the year Israel withdrew all its forces from the city (and the other areas where 98 percent of Palestinians reside) and a new ruler took over: the Palestinian Authority (PA). Counter-terror raids like the one in Jenin are the only occasions on which Israeli forces enter PA-ruled cities.
Back to the story. The Israeli commandos were searching for the terrorists who carried out last week’s brutal drive-by murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, father of six young children. As the Israelis were searching, The Times of Israel reports, “a violent riot broke out…Palestinians hurled improvised explosive devices, rocks and fired at the forces.”
Wait, what? The Jewish left has been telling us for decades that ordinary Palestinian Arabs are moderate, peace-seeking, and opposed to terrorism. The residents of Jenin should have been delighted that Israeli forces were coming to rid their city of terrorists. In fact, if they’re so moderate, they should have been actively assisting the anti-terror efforts.
Instead, the local residents impeded the hunt for the terrorists, by trying to shoot, stone, and burn the Israeli soldiers to death. Would some J Streeter please explain this? I’m so confused! Can these be Israel’s future peaceful neighbors?
I wonder if Jenin residents’ passionate support for terrorism and hatred of Jews and Israel has anything to do with the anti-Jewish textbooks that are used in PA schools, or the non-stop anti-Jewish incitement in the PA-controlled media and mosques.
Or maybe that’s all just a coincidence. Maybe how Palestinians behave has no connection whatsoever to what they watch, hear and read from their teachers, imams and political leaders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fortunately, the Israeli forces eventually caught up to two of the terrorists. They killed one and captured the other. They were both identified as members of a local Hamas cell.
Wait, that can’t be! The Palestinian leadership promised, in the Oslo Accords, to disband all terrorist groups, seize their weapons and outlaw them. In other words, to put them out of business. How can it be that, 23 years after the PA took over, Hamas still has active terrorist cells in the city?
Surely the PA has the means to do the job. After all, the PA has one of the largest per-capita security forces in the world. Yet the PA never outlawed Hamas. It never arrested its members or seized its weapons. The PA treats Hamas like brothers and allows them to operate freely in Jenin, and everywhere else.
But don’t take my word for it. Look at The New York Times. Every once in a while, the truth about the PA and the terrorists manages to slip into one of its articles. On March 23, 2014, The Times reported that Israeli troops were forced to enter the Jenin refugee camp in pursuit of terrorists because although Jenin is under the “full control” of the PA, “the Palestinian [security forces] did not generally operate in refugee camps.”
Let me repeat what The Times said: The PA’s security forces do not operate in refugee camps. It doesn’t matter what the Oslo Accords say about the PA’s obligation to fight terrorists. It doesn’t matter how many Israelis the terrorists murder. The PA is not going to shut them down. Never has, never will.
One final fact from this week’s Jenin raid. The shots fired—by “moderate” Jenin residents and by terrorists whom the PA lets run free—wounded two of the Israeli soldiers. An Israeli military spokesman said one soldier was injured “seriously” and one was injured “lightly.”
According to IDF terminology, an injury is classified as “serious” if the victim’s life is in danger. A “moderate” injury means the victim could lose a limb. Anything short of losing a limb is categorized as a “light” injury. The victim might have to go through dozens of surgeries. He might have to walk with a severe limp, or he might suffer seizures for years to come. Technically, it’s still a “light” injury.
These two courageous young Israeli men risked their lives to protect their fellow Jews, and their lives may well have been shattered as a result. But you will never hear anything further about it. You will never hear on CNN or read in The New York Times about what these two Israelis suffered, or how their future lives will be affected. That kind of news is not considered fit to print.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

Making terrorists pay —unless they’re Palestinian Arabs

Making terrorists pay —unless they’re Palestinian Arabs 
By Stephen M. Flatow 

The headline was enough to alarm anyone who has a heart: “Israel’s Army Wants a Dead Palestinian Man’s Family to Pay for the Jeep That Crushed Him,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency announced last week.

Those cruel Israelis!  Here an Israeli army jeep goes and “crushes” an apparently innocent “Palestinian man,” and the Israelis have the nerve to demand a pound of flesh from his family, too. The cruelty! The chutzpah!  It’s enough to make you want to sell your Israel Bonds.

Until that, is, you get to the third paragraph of the JTA article. Then you discover that there’s more to the story than the headline indicated. A lot more.

The headline told us only that he was a “Palestinian Man.” Not a terrorist. Not an attacker. “Palestinian Man” clearly suggests that he was an innocent Palestinian civilian.

But way down in the third paragraph, we discover that a Palestinian Arab terrorist named Abdullah Ghneimat, age 22, threw a firebomb at an Israeli jeep. To put it another way, Ghneimat attempted to burn some Jews to death.

So, the JTA’s headline should have read “Palestinian Terrorist.” Or “Palestinian Firebomber.” Or “Palestinian Attacker.” In other words, language that would have accurately described what he was doing. That one little word changes the entire story. Ghneimat was not the victim. He was the aggressor. He was an attempted murderer.

After throwing the firebomb, Ghneimat ran. The Israeli Army jeep pursued him. During the chase, the jeep “flipped over a wall,” according the article. Meaning that the Israeli soldiers were almost killed. Fortunately, the hand of justice intervened. The would-be murderer was killed instead of his intended victims.

Now comes the chutzpah—and it’s not Israeli chutzpah. The firebomber’s family sued the army! Well, why not? No doubt they’ve read about plenty of frivolous lawsuits in which the families of rock-throwers and bomb-throwers end up with large settlements, because the Israeli authorities are afraid of International criticism, or just don’t want to be tied up in court for years.

In this case, however, the Army seems to have responded by counter-suing the terrorist’s family, demanding that it pay for the $28,000 damages that their son caused to the jeep.
That makes perfect sense. In every civilized legal system, if someone damages another person’s property, then the attacker—or the attacker’s estate, if he’s deceased—is liable to pay compensation.

In fact, I would take it a step further. The dead terrorist’s estate, or his legally liable relatives, should also be compelled to pay for any medical treatment that the Israeli soldiers in the jeep retired. Whatever injuries they suffered were due directly to the terrorist’s actions.
I wish this could all be attributed to a careless headline-writer at the JTA. But it’s not. The opening sentence of correspondent Ron Kampeas’s article reads: “Israel’s army is reportedly suing the family and village of a Palestinian man to pay for the jeep that crushed him during clashes.” So, the headline accurately reflected the article’s pro-Palestinian slant.

And a word about that term “clashes.” That’s standard language among journalists who cannot bring themselves to write of Palestinians as aggressors. A “clash” sounds as if both sides were equally guilty. The term disguises the nature of what happened. We all know what happens in these so-called “clashes,” because it has happened in thousands and thousands of instances over the years. Israeli soldiers don’t go around looking for people with whom to “clash.” Palestinian mobs hurling deadly rocks and firebombs attack Israeli soldiers. The soldiers then defend themselves and try to arrest the would-be murderers. That’s not a “clash.” That’s Palestinian aggression and Israeli self-defense.

Call me naive, but I expect better from a veteran correspondent for a Jewish news agency. I’m not saying that I expect him to take Israel’s side. Heaven forbid! I only expect him to be a responsible journalist.

Knowingly transforming a Palestinian terrorist into an innocent Palestinian civilian who was crushed to death by brutal Israelis, is not responsible journalism. It’s advocacy. And that has no place in news reporting.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.