Archiv der Kategorie: Allgemein

Whoever invented this?

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No, the question is not who invented the famous Ricola® Herb Candy – the answer to that question is clearly „the Swiss“.

In the wake of the latest excavations near Jaljulia, Amanda Borschel of the Times of Israel asked whether this may have been the first manufacturing site of „Swiss army pocket knives“.

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The first Swiss Army Knife

Starting in 1890, the first pocket folding knives were manufactured for the Swiss army, the first series still originating from the German knife manufacturing town of Solingen. In 1891, the Swiss manufacturer of surgical instruments Karl Elsener took over the production, giving the company his mother’s name – Victoria. Later, when stainless steel started to be used for their production, he added the abbreviation „Inox“ to the name. This was the birth of the worldwide most well-known pocket knife. From the smallest manageable knife with only one blade, up to true giants, such is the variety of choice. „The Giant“, which may not really be of much use in everyday life, was manufactured in 2006 and was soon included in the Guinness Book of records. The 87 instruments manufactured up to this day with their 141 different functions were united into a single knife. The monster’s price amounted to US$ 1,000.

Driving along the Itzhak Rabin Highway, 170 km from Yokneam in the Carmel Mountain range to Beer Sheba which borders on the Negev Desert, means crossing a variety of regions. During the first few kilometers the horizon is defined by the four chimney stacks of the Hadera Power Station. The distance to the Mediterranean is only a few kilometers away.

This is the narrowest part of Israel. The landscape to the west of the highway is characterized mainly by fruit plantations, mostly bananas.

 

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To the east lie the hills of Samaria, which – until the country was unified by King David – had been the Kingdom of Israel. Here you find many Arab villages, their skyline characterized by golden and green minarets.

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Qalqilya

This is also where part of the actual „wall“ passes through. Behind the wall lies Qalqilya, a town of about 50,000 inhabitants. Why did Israel secure the border with a true wall at this of all places? Under the Oslo Agreement, Qalqilya belongs to Zone A and is thereby exclusively under Palestinian administration. However, since during the Al Aqsa-Intifada (2000 to 2005) numerous terrorists came from this region, who were mostly trained by Hamas in Gaza, the security of Israeli territories was no longer be assured. In order to make access to Israel more difficult, the IDF decided on the one hand to temporarily take over control over the region. At the same time the construction of the wall was started. It has 3.5 kilometers length here. Qalqilya may be the town whose citizens have to pay the highest price for crimes committed by the few. Since 2003, the town can only be reached through two checkpoints. They no longer profit from the formerly money-spinning agriculture, most fields having become victims of the border installation or being situated on the far side of the highway, which was once accessible through a tunnel. Is it their own fault? I do not want to be all that cynical. But here we can feel what consequences an enduring virulent danger to Israel’s security has brought. Since the wall, the acts of terrorism have clearly been reduced. The thousands of drivers using the highway every day can feel protected against stones and Molotov cocktails that once used to be thrown regularly. What is the solution? Regretfully, there is none in sight. „Simply stop the terror“, is the universal remedy regularly suggested in Israel. But how long would the violence-free period have to be, which may be considered the basis for a „confidence building measure“? One year? Ten years? Anyway, it would be a beginning. The city of Mühlheim on the Ruhr is a twin city of Kfar Saba, the Israeli neighboring town. With Qalqilya, the Westphalians are at a preliminary stage – the town friendship.

Near the border to what was once the Kingdom of Judea, several kilometers to the south of the Kfar Saba Jaljulia line, lies an Arab town of about 10,000 inhabitants. Excavations made in 2010 showed that there has been a settlement there since the Mameluke period.

The Torah mentions five settlements bearing the name of „Gilgal“ (though with different orthography). The name may originate from the „stone heap as witness of memory“ that was piled up by Jacob and his father in law Laban (Gen 31;48 – 54). Laban called it „Yegar Sahaduat“ in Aramaic, whereas Jacob named it „Gal-Ed“. In the course of time, the Roman name of the settlement derived from it „Galgulis“.

On the present location of Jaljulia there is proof that since Byzantine times there was a settlement called Gilgulye. The name Jaljulia probably originates from this Byzantine appellation.

Earlier excavations unearthed findings from the Iron Age, as well as some mosaics. In the Levant, the Iron Age is dated between 1200 to 500 BCE.

Long before the Israelites, who left traces all over, conquered the land, the region was certainly not unpopulated. The witnesses to such settlement are hidden under layers of earth of varying thickness. Whenever a major construction project is planned in Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority first intervenes. No construction project may start before they subject the whole area to strict investigations.

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One of those new projects concerns the area between highway 531 and the freeway. New bridges, as well as access and exit systems are planned to help reduce the ever-growing traffic.

From the Arab town of Jaljulia, highway 531 leads to the west in direction of the densely populated high-tech region surrounding the seashore city of Herzliya. An improvement of the traffic flow is urgently needed.

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Jaljulia with the dry river course south of the village

The picture shows a dry river course. Whereas during and after the rainy period, the Quana River still carries big quantities of water, 500,000 years ago it was probably very much more. The source of the river is in the Judean Hills and it flows into the Yarkon river which reaches the Mediterranean to the north of Tel Aviv.

Our forefathers found all they needed for living here. Quantities of drinking water and food. Herds of animals to hunt as well as flint stone pieces brought by the water.

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Our African forefathers were probably those who wandered from the region to the south of the Sahara in eastern and northern direction. The oldest finds are from the early Ice Age, which stretched between 1.9 million to 700,000 years BCE. When the first skeleton fragments were found on Java in 1891, it was at first thought that a new species of apes had been discovered. Only the discovery of a complete thigh bone made it possible to understand that this was an intermediate form between apes and humans, characterized by walking upright. The scientific appellation „homo erectus“ was introduced in 1950.

Our biological ancestor now bore a name.

In Europe, the Neanderthal developed from „homo erectus“. Both groups may have met during their wanderings. In the course of evolution, the Neanderthal lost the battle for ongoing development.

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The Turkana boy

In Europe, Asia and East Africa, homo erectus began his triumphal march. In the course of decades, with ever more sophisticated scientific techniques, a more comprehensive picture was achieved. What was particularly enlightening was the finding of the almost complete skeleton of the „Turkana boy“ in Africa in 1984. Our ancestor reached a maximum height of 1.80 m and had a sturdy body. His brain volume was 650 – 1250 cm3, while the child’s growth phase during which the brain is growing was much shorter than it is today. By the age of 1, the toddler had 80% of the brain volume of grown-ups. In „homo sapiens“ the brain volume is 1100 – 1800cm3 and the 1 year old child reaches about 50% of that volume.

The teeth that were found showed a mixed nutrition.

The Jaljulia excavations prove that our ancestor was not the clumsy inexperienced hunter, as was assumed for years. Massive findings of hunting utensils made of flint stone go to show that not only did the hunters succeed in processing the stone in a way that, with its sharp edges and its pillared point, it was able to kill animals and cut them. More complex instruments were found. The stones were processed on one side in such a way that they could be attached to a wooden stick.

Our ancestors were nomads. They knew the best locations for ensuring survival in the course of the year. Israel was one of those places.

©esther scheiner, Israel

©translated by: Translations International, Herzliya, Israel; emjay@inter.net.il

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Why is the UN – United Nations Organization – time and again united against Israel?

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The world presently includes 193 entities which fulfill the three preconditions for being considered a „State“ by the UN. Disposition of a nation, a defined territory and a functional state authority.

The representatives of those 193 States comprise the UN General Assembly, an organization in which the biggest political ignoramuses every day pat each other on the back at the highest level, confirming to each other how essential their activity is. Both the General Assembly and its adjunct and ancillary bodies compose resolutions about the justifications of which they are deeply persuaded, but which have no legal force.

There are two exceptions – the Order of the Knights of Malta and the ICRC. From the point of view of international law, both are considered to be sovereign non-state subjects of international law, and are therefore adjunct to the UN as non-state organizations.

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Islamic states all over the world
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Member states of the Arab League

Moreover, there are two states with the status of permanent observer. They have the same rights as any full member, but have no voting rights. Those are the Holy See representing the Vatican, and for the last few years – Palestine, as well. Palestine has no nation, no state authority. The last attempt of many by Hamas and PLO/PA to establish a durable cooperation and so maybe achieve a common government someday, failed on Friday, December 22nd, 2017. And it most certainly has no defined territory.

There are additional territories that for various reasons have not yet succeeded in being recognized by the UN. Those include the Republic of Abkhazia, the Republic of China (de facto Taiwan), the Kosovo Republic, the South Ossetia Republic, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (de facto – Cypriot Territory occupied by Turkey), the Democratic Arab Republic (de facto – a region in Western Sahara occupied by Morocco) and the Cook Islands.

The number of states listed worldwide varies from 193 by the UN up to 265 in the CIA’s World Fact Book.

The number of Islamic states in the UN is illustrated in the chart below, where according to the „One state, one vote“ principle, they have a majority, even if some of them are mini states or even micro states.

The UN is financed by its member states.

In 2017, the USA paid 22%, Japan 9.7%, the People’s Republic of China 7.9% and Germany 6.4%. All the other states were each charged less than 5% of the total budget of US$2,776,529, 900.

And now the main bearer of the costs is fed up. The US American Ambassador Nikki Haley stated on behalf of her boss that, „The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,“ Haley said.

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„This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests,“ she added.

Why is the US so angry? Why did President Trump react so strongly? Does he refer to the old verse from the Bible (Matthew 11,22 ff): Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters“?

He has at least warned all the member states of the UN General Assembly, advising them that payments to them would be stopped at the earliest effective occasion if they oppose his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

And that is what the session of December 21, 2017 was all about.

By means of the still unconfirmed resolution, which at this stage exists only as a draft, the US, or its representative, President Donald Trump, is to be prevailed upon to reverse his resolution.

The result of the vote was embarrassing. 128 voted for the resolution, i.e. against President Donald Trump and against Israel, 9 states voted against it, 35 abstained and 21 did not participate in the vote.

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Among the states that voted against the US and Israel, we find nearly the EU as a whole, but also neutral Switzerland, which has proven consistently to be pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. Only the EU member states Croatia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary abstained the vote.

President Donald Trump is also consistent. He has no need for small political games. For him there is only pro or con. He does not have a family looking forward to future presidencies. No Kennedys, no Bushes. He is lucky to be able to be just himself.

Maybe he will be the first president who will really be good for Israel and for peace in the Middle East.

His success seems to prove he is right:

One day after the vote in the UN, the Czech Republic declared its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but left open its intention of moving the Embassy to Jerusalem. Rumania and Guatemala have already announced that they would move their Embassy. Negotiations with additional states are presently taking place.

©esther scheiner, israel

©translated by: Translations International, Herzliya; emjay@inter.net.il

 

 

Ahed Tamimi, a.k.a. Shirley Temper

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In 2012, a skinny little girl wearing a T-shirt with the inscription „I  love U“ caused a worldwide sensation.

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Ahed Tamimi, at that time the youngest and most media-effective member of the infamous Tamimi Clan, attempted to provoke soldiers of the IDF during a „Friday demonstration“. The so-called human rights organization B’tselem had equipped a great number of women from Nibi Salih with cameras, including Ahed’s mother, so as enable them to film any incident that could show Israel as the evildoer. B’tselem provided cameras to many other Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. They are being paid with our tax money and by their biggest sponsor – the New Israel Fund.

In 2012, Ahed was invited to have breakfast with Turkish President Erdogan, and was awarded the „Handala Courage Award“ afterwards. In Turkey she has since been considered a heroine. At the time she wanted to become a lawyer, so as to „help the Palestinian people“.

Over a week ago she again lived up to her reputation when she attempted to provoke IDF soldiers, this time together with her cousin, and was again filmed by her mother. The two soldiers, however, remained as impassive as their orders required, despite the fact that she slapped one of them, even kicking him in the belly afterwards.

But this time the game did not end well for her, her cousin and her mother. They were all arrested. The mother and the cousin were soon freed again, but Ahed still remains in custody. She did not look quite as happy and self-assured as usual during her interrogation. But still, she is well, she says, smiling hesitantly.

Does she still want to become a martyr – her latest career plan?

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But even if she has to spend some time in the military prison, for years now she has had a successor: her younger sister Janna Jihad Ayyad appeared before the cameras for the first time at the early age of five (!), shrilly reciting her hate-imbued slogans in the direction of the soldiers. At the time she was still wearing a sweet light blue children’s dress, later the more practical jeans and shirt. She calls herself a „journalist“.

Janna Tamimi is ready. Her elder sister will soon be 17, and is therefore no longer at an age when she can remain credible as the innocent activist for her homeland, driven by the purest motives.

President Abbas expressed his congratulations to the whole family by phone, declaring his pride in the important role the whole Tamimi Clan are playing in the resistance against the occupation troops.

One of their aunts played a decisive role in the Sbarro terror attack (2001), which resulted in 15 dead and over 130 injured victims. She served a portion of her sentence in an Israeli prison, but was liberated as part of the Shalit exchange, and has since been living in Jordan. Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother, justified this terrorist attack. Her husband Bassem feels that using children, women and old people as protective human shields is perfectly okay when perpetrating terrorist operations against Israeli and Jewish civilians.

This again clearly goes to show what a „good and trustworthy“ partner is Dr. Mahmud Abbas, the President of the PA. Whoever praises a family of terrorists in the fight against Israel that much, will never be interested in making peace.

 

©esther scheiner, Israel

@translation: Translations International, Herzliya; emjay@inter.net.il

 

Trump’s announcement a rare strategic opportunity

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Amos Yadlin |Published:  14.12.17 , 23:28 ynetnews

The Near East was shaken in the aftermath of Pres. Trump’s announcement to accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As of today, the UN Security Council is meeting over this announcement, media are talking about a decision. A resolution is expected for tomorrow, December 18th.

The reactions are various, the usual condemnations in the media, a call for boycott and a third intifada with violence and murder. The PA, well known for never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity alienated his most important partner, the USA. But also the Europeans couldn’t leave it to give Israel a political side-blow.

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Major General Amos Yadlin served till his retirement as fighter pilot in the IAF. From 2002 till 2006 he was Military Attaché in the USA. From 2006 till 2010 he was the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate.

Yadlin advocates the idea, if peace negotiations with the Palestinians fail to produce an agreement, to unilaterally withdraw from 85% of Judaea and Samaria, maintaining the Jordan Valley and the main settlement blocks. And to keep a strip of land to protect Ben Gurion Airport.

In January 2015, he joined the “Zionist Union” list for the election to the Knesset

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Trump was unimpressed by the threats from Ramallah, Amman and Ankara. The refusal to give in to threats, blackmail and uncompromising stances—along with the message that the Palestinians have no veto right—is a very important precedent for the continuation of the diplomatic process. It’s time to stop the irrational policy of trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Twenty-five years of sticking to the same paradigm have led to a deadlock. Trump’s move has the potential of turning the tables and encouraging creative thinking outside the familiar parameters.

It’s important to stress that the announcement did not change the acceptable framework for negotiations (two states subject to the parties’ agreement, the core issues would be determined in negotiations, no change in the status quo), but the US policy opened a window for new ideas and for challenging the principle of “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

Israel should leverage this positive move and examine its own working hypotheses vis-à-vis the Palestinians. The Israeli government has a rare strategic opportunity to shape the agreement with the Palestinians according to more convenient parameters than the ones the Obama administration tried to impose.

On the conscious level, the “Jewish Jerusalem” narrative presented by Trump touched the exposed nerves of the Palestinians, who are having trouble accepting the Jewish historical affiliation with Jerusalem. They have enjoyed UNESCO’s resolutions on Jerusalem and failed to understand that in the diplomatic arena (which they have favored in recent years), both sides have maneuvering options.

On the practical level, the speech demonstrates to the Palestinians, contrary to what they may believe, that time is not on their side. An ongoing serial postponement of any compromise would only help Israel achieve its goals at their expense.

Only about a year ago, the situation was completely different. In the final months of its term, the Obama administration used UN Security Council Resolution 2334, http://www.un.org/webcast/pdfs/SRES2334-2016.pdf which gave the Palestinians a feeling that the parameters most important to them would be determined before the negotiations. As a result, they were in no rush to enter the talks. The discourse raised by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments, that Israel would be lost without an agreement, was even more damaging. It served as a significant incentive for the Palestinians to insist on parameters that Israel could not accept. Resolution 2334 actually had the opposite effect of what was expected by its initiators.

The new US policy under Trump’s leadership could reverse a lot of the damage caused by UN Resolution 2334. On the practical level, the president’s speech demonstrates that unlike the Obama administration’s perception, an ongoing Palestinian refusal to reach an agreement or a compromise at this time would be interpreted as another missed opportunity by the Palestinians, while Israel keeps growing stronger militarily, economically and diplomatically.

The Palestinian leadership’s apparent response is an adoption of the strategy favoring one state over two states and a refusal to accept the US as a neutral mediator. This is a Palestinian illusion which has no basis in reality in light of an Israeli-American cooperation like the recent move.

Israel shouldn’t miss out on the change in the peace process paradigm offered by Trump. In light of its rehabilitated relationship with the administration and president in Washington, Israel should seize the opportunity and advance one of the core issues most vital to its national security. The Sunni world, led by Saudi Arabia, sees the Iranian hegemony and nuclear aspirations, the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood as the main threats to its existence, which it why it would be a natural partner in a comprehensive regional peace process under an updated paradigm.

Above all, solving the Palestinian issue is a top Israeli priority, which would allow the State of Israel to shape its borders and character. Settling for the status quo and drawing satisfaction from blaming the Palestinians for the statemate in the peace process would be an eternal source of trouble for Israel. We have a rare strategic opportunity which should be seized.

 

© Ynetnews

Jerusalem – the undivided capital of Israel

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All those who went to school in Germany in the 1970s had to confront Benno at some time. Benno, a rather work-shy, but very pensive type, succeeds – by his clever replies during his interview – to obtain the job he wants. To the readers of Böll’s short story „Action will be taken/Something will be done“, his form of employment remains obscure.  On the other hand, people have been remembering the activism for decades.

„Act immediately! Do something! Something must be done! Something will happen! Something has happened! Something should be done! Something should have happened! This should not have occurred!“

It is not by chance that I have remembered this story today of all days.

When the news came from Washington, a few days ago, that President Donald Trump would recognize Jerusalem as being the capital of Israel, pure activism started sloshing out of the offices of heads of states and foreign ministers.

What is it all actually about?

In 1000 BCE, Jerusalem was first named as the common capital of the two united kingdoms under the reign of King David. Both temples stood in Jerusalem, to which Jews came as pilgrims for the holy days. Although with the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE Jewish life came to an end in Jerusalem, we never gave up our entitlement to our capital.

In the Quran, you find no mention of the name „al-Quds“ whatsoever. Mohamed’s night trip described in Surah 17;1, states: „In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the compassionate. Praise to the One who let his servant travel by night from the protected place of worship to the remotest place of worship, whose surroundings we blessed, so that we show him something of our sign. For he is the one who hears and sees all“. According to the Islamic legend, this night trip took place in 622 CE, i.e. shortly before Yathrib (Medina) was settled. The Dome of the Rock was built between 686 and 691, the al-Aqsa Mosque even later. The first known mosque was built by the Caliph Umar around 638. Wherever Mohamed may have dreamed that he was, it cannot have been in Jerusalem, since there was no place of worship there. Nevertheless, Islam has declared Jerusalem, or al-Quds as they call it, their third most important holy site and the whole of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly, by Resolution 181 (II), adopted the partition plan for Palestine, which was adopted by 33 against 13 votes and 10 abstentions. The UN proposed that Jerusalem be put under international administration. While apportioning land, they tried to take into account the then existing Jewish and Arab settlements. The respective territory would be 56% for the Jewish State (including the then not yet settled Negev Desert) and 44% for the Arab State. Arabs who wanted to remain in the part that would belong to the Jewish State, would be integrated as citizens with equal rights. A fair proposal which was immediately rejected by the Arabs. On May 15, 1948, President David Ben Gurion declared the birth of the independent State of Israel. There was no founding of an Arab State. Instead, the Arabs and their allies answered by waging war, the only kind of reaction they know.

Even though the word „Jerusalem“ is not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, the promise „to protect all Holy Places“ makes the city’s outstanding importance implicitly apparent. On July 30, 1980, the Knesset adopted the „Jerusalem Law“, according to which „the whole of united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel“. On August 20, 1980, the UN resolution 478 declared the law to be invalid, and all UN member states were required to move any embassies situated in Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

In October 1995, during President Bill Clintons‘ term, the US Congress and Senate adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act:

The document states that Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel and should remain so. The document also states that any sovereign state has the right to choose its own capital. The US Embassy must move there before May 31, 1999. Should the situation in Israel demand it, the President in office may suspend the move for six months whenever required by security.

So far as to status quo. Israel has been defending its legal right based on more than 3000 years of history, and is being condemned for it on the international level. The Palestinians demand a right to which they were never entitled, and the whole world is applauding and donating money.

Do something! Something must be done!

And now President Trump had an idea for a very special Chanukah gift for Israel: he would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital. Wow, he is going to say out loud what anyone who knows how to read should have known since 1995. Whether and what he will say regarding the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem was not yet announced. One has to make do with assumptions. In order to recognize a recognition that de facto occurred long ago, there should be no need for so much fuss.

Something must be done!

And all of us here have been eagerly waiting for the very special thing – one of Trump’s favorite words – that he will say. The world has already started reacting in the usual way.

Moving the U.S. embassy is a dangerous step that provokes the feelings of Muslims around the world,” King Salman of Saudi Arabia told Mr. Trump in their call, according to Saudi state television.

President Recep Tyyip Erdogan considered it „a red line crossed“ and threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. He has convened a meeting of the Organizing Committee for Islamic Cooperation for next week.

Act immediately!

President Abbas also warned about dangerous consequences. A Palestinian state without East-Jerusalem as its capital is inconceivable, he said. The international community of states determined this. In a desperate attempt to stop Trump, he called President Vladimir Putin and King Mohammed VI of Morocco yesterday, urging them to act quickly to protect Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian holy places from the danger they will face as a result of such a move.

He also called his special friends, the UN and the pope. Well, the UN will react as usual, with one of its obligatory resolutions against Israel.

And what about Pope Francis? Francis said he felt “deep concern” about recent developments, and declared Jerusalem a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a “special vocation for peace.”

“I cannot keep quiet about my deep concern about the situation that has been created in the last few days,” he said. He appealed “to everyone to respect the status quo of the city” according to U.N. resolutions. He says: “I pray to the Lord that its identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world.

Something will happen!

President Trump is probably sitting down for lunch while preparing the speech he will hold in a few hours. The paper that would have suspended the move of the embassy for another six months remains in the document file, the date passed since Monday. We can be curious about what he will announce: Will it be just some stale news (Jerusalem = capital) or actually a groundbreaking announcement (move of embassy). And we must be anxious as to the reactions there, too.

At the Cabinet Meeting this morning President Trump announced: „And I will tell you that we have a big announcement coming up at one o’clock.  Perhaps a couple of you will be there; maybe not.  But it’s a big announcement.  It’s an announcement concerning Israel and the Palestinians and the Middle East.  And I think it’s long overdue.  Many Presidents have said they want to do something, and they didn’t do it.  Whether it’s through courage or they changed their mind, I can’t tell you

The essentials were thereby expressed.

At 1:07 pm the actual announcement was made. The complete text in English can be read here.

(…) for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

(…)

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

(…)

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

(…)

However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

(…)

President Donald Trump ended his speech with a wish for moderation and patience on both sides.

Something has happened!

The property on which the new embassy will be erected exists. It was set aside years ago. For an interim solution, the Consulate might be enough. I, certainly no friend of President Trump, almost would like to wish him that he may be able to attend the opening as president in office.

@esther scheiner, israel

@translated by: Translation International, Herzliya, Israel

 

Chaim Meisels, the grandson of the Satmar Rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum – Where there is a will, there is a way!

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Chaim’s story reminds me of that of Danny Saunders, in Chaim Potok’s book „The Chosen“, in which the author describes the story of a friendship.

Danny Saunders‘ father is a respected Chassidic Rabbi, a Tsaddik. Moreover, he is the head of a group of strictly orthodox Jews who eschew any life outside of their closed world and do not recognize the modern State of Israel. It is also the story of Reuven Malter. His father is a journalist and a Zionist, a liberal religious Jew and a Talmud scholar, who teaches Jewish Law at the University. Both live in Williamsburg, at a distance of only a few streets away, but they are still light years from each other.

Their initial mutual incomprehension turns into friendship. Reuven meets the world of the Chassidim. At his first meeting with Danny’s father he is distraught and irritated. The purely masculine world of the Chassidim, in which women play no role whatsoever, is unknown to him. The first questions by the Rabbi turn into a catastrophe. But he learns the art of Talmudic discussion from his friend Danny and begins feeling more at ease in the Rabbi’s home. On the other hand, through his new friend, Danny learns that there are also important things outside the Jewish communities and Judaism. Both friends succeed in broadening their outlook.

Danny does not want to accept his father’s prescribed inheritance and one day become his successor. He prefers leaving this responsible task to his younger brother. He would like to leave the narrow world of his father’s home and study at a Jewish College outside Brooklyn. He dreams of becoming a psychologist. He wishes to broaden his horizon while at the same time being afraid of fleeing the responsibility weighing on him. He cannot speak about it to his father who educates him through silence. They only speak to each other when studying Talmud together, or when Danny has to submit to the weekly interrogation about what he has learned.

They start their studies for the Rabbinate in common. Danny starts studying psychology at the same time. On the day Danny completes his studies, he tells his father that he wishes to pursue his studies at the secular Columbia University. His father’s biggest apprehension is the suspicion that the son on whom he has been counting will leave Judaism one day.

The book ends when Danny – who for the first time wears civil clothes, beardless and without sidelocks – takes leave of his friend Reuven. They separate with the promise to continue their common private studies of Talmud in the future.

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Rabbiner Moshe Teitelbaum

Chaim Meisels is the grandson of the famous Satmar Rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum. Moshe Teitelbaum had been the Chief Rabbi and Tsaddik head of the strict orthodox Jewish sect since the demise of his uncle Joel Teitelbaum in 1979. Upon his death in 2006, he left the open the question of which of his sons would succeed him. The Satmar absolutely refuse any modernization and do not recognize the State of Israel. Nevertheless, some 2,000 of them live in Israel. With assets of about 1 billion US$, they are among the richest sects in the USA.

„Where there is a will, there is a way“ writes Chaim on his Facebook page, where he describes the long way he took before becoming an officer of the IDF last week.

He tells about the difficulties, the pain he suffered on the way, that were finally crowned with the realization of his wishes: Living in Israel. Becoming an officer in the IDF.

He visited Israel for the first time at the age of 11. At the time he was not able to give a name to his feelings, but something touched him. He felt that he would be able to feel at home here.

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Same man but after and before making Aliya to Israel.

„When a few days later we returned to Brooklyn, I had changed. Suddenly I felt links to the State of Israel. However, being the Satmar Rebbe’s grandson, I was not able to speak about it to anyone. The community in which I grew up does not support the State of Israel“. 

When he was 15 years old, he returned to Bnei Brak. The only language he knew was Yiddish. In this way, the self-contained world of Satmar skillfully prevents its young members from having the means of making contacts with the world outside their microcosm.

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Bnei Brak in the background Petach Tikwa

Bnei Brak is nothing but a bigger and carefully modernized microcosm. Only in the outskirts, where the town borders on the cities of Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva and Herzliya, where high-tech mixes with tradition, where the borders between the 19th and the 21st century are blurring, has Yiddish started to slowly disappear from everyday life.

 

Chaim wanted to study. He wanted to know the world. He bought a smartphone with internet access, learned English and started studying. For the young man this must have been like entering a wholly alien world. Most Haredim who tried to free themselves from their world, failed because of the language obstacle.

At the age of 17, he confided in his rabbi. For many years he had stopped keeping Shabbat and he did not feel connected to his old religious life anymore. The rabbi, who was totally immersed in the world of Satmar decided that his problem was that he was not married. At the age of 17!!!

 

The matchmaker must have been fast indeed. After only two weeks he was thoroughly examined by his future father in law about his religious knowledge. His studies in Bnei Brak had prepared him in the best possible manner: he passed the test! Then he was allowed to be alone with his promised bride (the parents were sitting in the next room and I am certain that the door was not completely closed). By evening’s end they were engaged.

After the wedding it became evident that this marriage would not be a happy one. Chaim was dreaming of Israel and his wife continuously interpreted the rabbi’s words.

„After six weeks I came home and my wife told me that she was pregnant. I was happy, I was very excited, until I started to reflect upon what I had done. How could I raise a Haredi child in a world I rejected? I knew it was too late. The child could be born any time and from that moment on I would be a father. I could stay no longer“.

Chaim took leave of his wife and the community. Most relatives turned away from him. From that moment on, he had to completely reorganize his life. He had to look for work so as to be able to make a living. But he also had to learn how to speak with people who were not Orthodox Jews, or even Gentiles. He had to learn how to feel secure with no beard and no sidelocks. He also had to learn how it felt not to be wearing the standard apparel of black suit and white dress shirt, representing both protection and conformity.

His escape from the world of Satmar succeeded. However the bigger challenge still awaited him.

Shortly before the breakout, in the summer of 2014, of the (hopefully) last Gaza crisis „Protective Edge“, Chaim decided to emigrate to Israel and to try to join the IDF. Garin Tzabar, a program that mainly takes care of young soldiers without family who serve in the IDF, refused his candidacy: a divorced man and father of only 19 years – those are not favorable circumstances for military service.

That was no reason for Chaim to give up his dream. He traveled to Israel on his own. A friend put him in contact with the Chayal el Chayal Lone Soldier Home, where he found his first foothold in Israel.

This was followed by the Ulpan (a language school for most new immigrants) and shortly thereafter he was integrated into the Golani Brigade. When he was accepted by the elite unit „Egoz“, he did not tell his story to anyone. The fear of another refusal was too deep-seated.

His story has left traces in him. He had to abandon his dream of greatness within the unit. But he would not be who he is if he were not able to overcome the brief setback.

He completed the eight months officer training course where he learned everything a good officer needs to know for Golani and the IDF in order to serve the country in the best possible manner. Chaim is now living in Beit Giora, a house in Jerusalem where only soldiers without family in Israel are living.

Chaim’s dream has come true. But one thing is very hurtful. His Haredi family in America won’t allow any contact to his daughter Rivka, who by now is 4 years old. A teddy-bear he sent her for her third birthday was not accepted by the family.

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Screen shot Facebook

He hopes that one day,when she is grown-up and maybe can make her own decisions about who she wants to know and who not, they will be able to meet. He would like to explain to her then why he took the step he took. Why for him it is as important to defend the State of Israel as to study the Tora.

‚We have the best army in the world, and it makes no difference where you came from and what you did before. If you give a 100%, you will find your way“.

 

©esther scheiner, israel

©translated by: Translations International, Herzeliya

 

Lies that are time and again passed off as truth, still remain lies

 

ב“ה

This is how Lieutenant Dean Issacharoff must have felt when General Prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit closed the file The State of Israel against Issacharoff without any actual proceedings taking place.

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Lt. Dean Issacharoff, spokesman of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, had served in the military between 2011 and 2015 as a member of the Nahal Elite Unit in the Hebron region. It is no secret that the soldiers serving there are time and again involved in altercations with Palestinians. In most cases, those are relatively moderate, so long as „only“ stones are thrown.

At a propaganda meeting in April, Dean Issacharoff had been claiming that in the course of such an attack his commander ordered that a Palestinian was to be handcuffed and arrested. „In such a situation I never know how to act. He did not resist. He did not speak Hebrew and I do not speak Arabic. So, I caught him by the nape of his neck and then kneed him in the breast and the face until he was bleeding and stunned“

This is the material from which the lies are woven, with the sole objective of defaming our IDF. And they are told and retold so often that the well-meaning, naïve and non-critical listener believes the lie and turns it into the truth.

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But this time there were critical listeners who wanted to stop the lies. His former colleagues mistrusted the truth of his testimony, after all they had been eyewitnesses to the incident described. On the platform „Reservists On Duty“ founded by reservists in 2015, we find a reply in which he is repeatedly accused of lying. Reservists on Duty take up the opposite position to that of Breaking the Silence and are fighting against BDS and Antisemitism, in particular abroad. And, wherever possible, they try to uncover the lies disseminated by Breaking the Silence. Reserve Captain Omri Sayner, Lt. Issacharoff’s former commander, wrote on his Facebook Page: „I won’t let you lie and bring discredit to my name and that of my soldiers“.

7858638099084640360noAs a result, Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked asked the General Prosecutor to open an investigation of the incident. „If it really happened in this manner, then he must be interrogated and punished. If it was not the case, the State must officially announce that it was a lie“.

Thanks to the precise description of the incident it was easy to find Hassan Giulani who had been arrested in Hebron in February 2014 and question him about the alleged assaults by the IDF. What the General Prosecutor heard was a very different description. Giulani confirmed that he was arrested after throwing stones on the soldiers. But this is the only conformity!

He confirmed that there was no use of any kind of violence. Only when he resisted being handcuffed was the necessary violence used. He was neither beaten nor hurt. And at no time from the arrest to his release was he stunned or unconscious.

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked was happy with the result: „It is good that the truth about this organization has come to light, an organization that secures its revenue at the expense of the IDF and Israeli citizens“.

Friends and supporters and, above all, the well-meaning donors, should be confronted with this case. When looking at the two lists of donations from the years 2013 and 2016, I would like to advise you to do as Mordechai did: wear sackcloth and scatter ashes on their head. They should at least do so virtually, and publish on their websites that they had fallen prey to malicious deceit. That by their – tax-privileged – donations they had been supporting an infamous organization, whose intention had never been to do a good deed, but had, and still has, only one aim: vilifying the State of Israel and the IDF. And I would like to hold a mirror up to their faces and point my finger at them, saying: This is what perfect Anti-Semites look like! And wherever possible I shall boycott and fight them.

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Year 2013 (1 Screenshot)

 

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Year 2016 (2 Screenshots)

And I urgently recommend to Mr. Sigmar Gabriel that, should he one day again take up a politically relevant position, to seriously consider whose collaboration he prefers. In April 2017 he regrettably betted on the wrong horse.

©esther scheiner, israel

©translated by Translations International Herzliya, Israel