Israel in the News May/Jun 2010
Bibi’s In-Law Speaks Out
ARUTZ-7—Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi, Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s brother-in-law, has called U.S. President Barack Obama an anti-Semite. Netanyahu immediately rejected the remarks.
“The time has come to tell the truth,” Ben-Artzi told Arutz-7 radio. “I understand the prime minister’s reaction to me, but the truth must be told. Obama is an anti-Semite.” He said Israel is dealing with “a president who was educated by anti-Semitic preacher Jeremiah Wright.”
He also told Israel Defense Forces Army Radio that Wright is “anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic.” Obama was a devotee of Wright for two decades but distanced himself from the preacher during the presidential campaign two years ago.
Ben-Artzi told Arutz-7 the United States is important to Israel, but if Obama is looking for a crisis over Jerusalem, “then a crisis is what he will get.”
Father, Daughter Attacked in Car
ARUTZ-7—Yitzchak Levi, a designer of the parochet (Holy Ark curtain) for the recently rebuilt Hurva synagogue, and his 18-month-old daughter were attacked recently while driving through a Jerusalem neighborhood.
Levi had visited the Hurva and, to avoid traffic, drove through Emek Yehoshafat (Wadi Joz), a primarily Arab neighborhood. It “is considered a calm area,” he said. “Suddenly, about 100 Arab rioters attacked us with a barrage of hundreds of rocks. The car was warped by the blows, and then a boulder hit the front windshield and smashed it.”
Levi’s baby, in the back in a car seat, was only scratched. “We were afraid they were going to lynch us. They approached until they were right next to us, which meant the rocks were not thrown so hard, but even so, they smashed all the windows. I felt like they were going to slaughter us,” Levi said. He screamed for help, which distracted the attackers long enough for him to slam on the gas and speed away. But when he reached the police station, he said, the police were apathetic and told him to go to an Arab neighborhood to file a complaint. He did not do so.
Emek Yehoshafat is the Valley of Jehoshaphat where the nations will be brought for judgment, according to the prophet Joel. Located between Mount Scopus and the Herod Gate in the Old City walls, it is the site of the Rockefeller Museum of Antiquities and a center for car repairs. It is normally considered a safe neighborhood, but this could be a sign of things to come, Levi warned.
U.S. Backs Arab Rallies
ARUTZ-7—A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official claims the Obama administration backs pro-PA rallies in Jerusalem, reported investigative journalist Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily. The official said U.S. diplomats have encouraged Arabs to protest in Israel’s capital to pressure Israel to evacuate neighborhoods. The U.S. administration does not recognize Israel’s claim to key parts of the capital, including much of eastern and northern Jerusalem, as well as the Old City and City of David.
It was not clear whether the PA official saw the Obama administration as supporting peaceful rallies or, rather, the violent riots that are much more common in the city. Riots have been particularly common recently following the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem.
IDF May Need to Reenter Gaza
ARUTZ-7—The Gaza front is heating up again. Rockets fired at Israel in March killed a Thai worker. Col. Rabbi Moshe Hager, a former deputy commander in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said Israel will soon have no choice but to return to Gaza for another round of fighting.
“We must remember what it was like in Judea and Samaria eight years ago,” Hager told Arutz-7. “It was a time when even in Gilo [in southern Jerusalem] one could not walk upright for fear of Arab rockets from nearby Beit Jalla, and there were terror attacks almost every day. Operation Defensive Shield brought about a total change.”
Asked why Defensive Shield had such an effect while last year’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza did not, Hager said, “It’s very simple: The IDF remained in Judea and Samaria afterwards and continued doing the dirty work, day and night, of making arrests and not allowing the terrorists to reorganize. But after Cast Lead, the IDF did not remain in Gaza, and that’s the whole difference. Wherever we are not present, the security gets worse, and their rockets and terror capabilities get better. We can-not solve the problem without being on the spot.”
Hager is convinced Israel will be forced to return to Gaza. “It is unthinkable to continue as is, with rockets randomly fired at Israel whenever the terrorists feel like it. The State of Israel is responsible for the security of its citizens.”
ARUTZ-7—A terrorist attack was averted recently near the main highway between Hadera, Afula, and Beit Shean south of the Galilee. Two pipe bombs were discovered at a bus stop on Highway 65 near the entrance to the community of Mei Ami.
People noticed the suspicious-looking, abandoned packages and quickly alerted police. A large police detail that included several sappers raced to the scene to defuse the bombs. Highway 65 was immediately closed, and news broadcasts told drivers to avoid the area until the bombs were removed.
Netanyahu: ‘Jerusalem Is Not a Settlement’
Israeli-American relations have gone from bad to worse as the United States demands that Israel not build new housing in Ramat Shlomo, a totally Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem that would be part of Israel in any peace settlement. And Israelis are telling their prime minister to hang tough.
Ramat Shlomo residents would like to see the prime minister “show some spine,” reported Arutz-7. Shmuel, a student in one of the neighborhood’s many yeshivas, told Israel National TV, “Today there is a serious housing shortage in Jerusalem, and the new housing units are very necessary. I think that there must be a clear statement: Jerusalem is ours and no one else’s!”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed those words to a cheering crowd of 7,000 at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering in Washington in March. “Jerusalem is not a settlement; it’s our capital,” he said. Arutz-7 reported that he received a standing ovation when he said the Jewish neighborhoods where the Obama administration opposes further building “are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement.”
According to Arutz-7, Netanyahu “pointed out that Israel has made constant concessions to the United States and Palestinian Authority but drew the red line at Jerusalem, reasoning that building houses for Jews in all of united Jerusalem ‘in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.’”
Knesset Member Ze’ev Elkin is gathering signatures to show that support for Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel crosses political lines. American leaders mistakenly think there is no Israeli consensus when it comes to Jerusalem, Elkin said. “We have to act within the Knesset to show them that the reality is different,” reported Arutz-7.
Ironically, Israel’s construction force is largely made up of Palestinians. The building freeze enacted last year in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) under U.S. pressure put many of them out of work. According to a January article in the Christian Science Monitor, a Palestinian worker commented, “The settlement freeze has only brought more poverty.”
Netanyahu at Auschwitz: Never Again!
The Jerusalem Post—In a much-anticipated speech at Auschwitz-Birkenau in January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reasserted the Jewish people’s right to self-defense amid increasing concern over the Iranian threat and growing controversy over the legitimacy of Israel and its military.
“From the cursed ground at Auschwitz, Birkenau and other camps rise the voices of our brothers and sisters, our people who choked to death and were burned and murdered,” said the prime minister in English, wishing “decency, truth and hope…for all mankind” before switching to Hebrew, “the language the Nazis sought to exterminate.”
“Remember what Amalek did to you,” cautioned Netanyahu, quoting a particularly ominous passage from Deuteronomy. “I have come here today from Jerusalem to tell you: We will never forget. We will not allow the Holocaust deniers or those who desecrate [Jewish] graves and signs to erase or distort [our] memory.”
He also warned that though the “Nazi Amalek” is a ghost of the past, “a new Amalek is appearing and once again threatening to annihilate the Jews. We will not allow it….We will never forget and always stand guard,” he said.
“Murderous hatred must be stopped in its tracks, stopped right from the beginning. All countries in the world must learn this lesson, just as we did after losing a third of our people in blood-soaked Europe. We learned that the only guarantee for the protection of our people is the State of Israel and its army, the IDF,” Netanyahu declared, warning that never again would the existence of Israel and the Jewish people be threatened.
Israel, he said, must stand at the forefront of all civilized nations and warn them about impending danger, while also preparing to defend itself against all threats. “I promise, as head of the Jewish state, that never again will we allow the hand of evil to sever the life of our people and our state,” he solemnly added.
“Am Yisrael Chai [Hebrew, “The nation of Israel lives”]. We have returned to our home-land, to the land of our forefathers, to Jerusalem, our capital. We have converged from all corners of the world, Holocaust survivors, Arab Jews, Jews from former Soviet Union states, Ethiopian Jews,” Netanyahu said, rebuking those who claim the Jewish population of Israel is comprised mostly of emigrants from Europe.
“We bow our heads in memory [of Holocaust victims] and raise our heads as our flag waves with its two blue stripes and the Star of David at its center. We still haven’t lost our hope.”