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February 1, 2016: Virtual Torrent

February 1, 2016

I am referring to the mean-spirited, disappointing and hypocritical statements and actions that we see emanating from prominent world leaders.  This is in addition to the plethora of threats against Israel and the Jews.

But let’s hold that for a moment, as we must look at the good first.

This is a Namer armored personnel carrier equipped with the Trophy HV active protection system:

 
Tanks 

Credit: Ministry of Defense
 
In today’s world, this is good news. 

The Trophy system will be installed on every APC from this point on, enabling them “to enter battlegrounds rife with antitank and RPG threats and safely transport infantry, even in the face of multiple, simultaneous threats.”  Using radar panels to detect and follow threats before destroying them in mid-air with interceptors, it represents the highest level of protection for our soldiers and provides them with a significant advantage on the battlefield.
 
Most importantly, it will save Israeli lives, which is a very very good thing indeed.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Defense-Ministry-unveils-first-Namer-APC-with-Trophy-anti-missile-system-443164

Namer is Hebrew for leopard.  Nice imagery.

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“Three 1,700-year-old funerary inscriptions referring to “rabbis” were discovered in Moshav Zippori in Israel’s Galilee region, a finding that affirms a Jewish presence in Israel during the Roman period, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Wednesday.”

Two of the inscriptions were in Aramaic and one – shown below – in Greek, both languages used by Jews at that time.

 http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/28/1700-year-old-galilee-inscriptions-refer-to-rabbis-affirm-jewish-presence/

Proof of Jewish presence in the land over the centuries is of major import.

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“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades (center in the picture below) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, on Thursday to discuss cooperation in the fields of energy, tourism, research and technology, environment, water management, combating terrorism, and migration.”

A joint statement by the three read, in part:

“The discovery of important hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean can serve as a catalyst for peace, stability and cooperation in the region. To this end, the three countries view the energy sector, and in particular, natural gas and renewable energy, as a solid foundation for cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean basin.”

Commented Anastasiades:

“Our states share the same values as well as the conviction that in order to effectively counter multiple challenges confronting us on a local, regional and international level, we must work collectively.”

The leaders hope to meet again in the second half of this year.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4759222,00.html 

 

Credit: Times of Israel

This represents a political turn that is positive.  As Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

“I believe this meeting has historic implications…the last time that Greeks, Cypriots and Jews sat around the table and talked on a common framework was about 2,000 years ago. So, it’s historic in that sense, but I think it’s historic for another reason.

”We’re living through a great turbulent passage in history, in modern times, and we face unprecedented challenges, but also unprecedented opportunities to advance our common goals.”
 
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2016/Pages/Trilateral-meeting-between-Israel-Greece-and-Cyprus-28-Jan-2016.aspx

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The Israeli emergency response organization ZAKA has received official consultative status from the United Nations.  ZAKA will now be recognized as an official body in the UN, which will help it to expand its international search, rescue and recovery missions.” The organization now has the right to take part in official discussions in all UN institutions.

ZAKA applied for this status for three years running before being accepted.  Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon helped to make this a reality. 

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/207133

I will say here that I am in awe of the devotion of these guys – many of them ultra-Orthodox.  They not only assist in rescue, they recover bodies (and body parts), exhibiting profound respect as they do so.  And they lend services around the world.

 

Credit: voanews
 
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As for that torrent:

Last Wednesday, January 27th, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On that day – and the days immediately prior and following – we might (just might) have expected a smidgen of sensitivity to matters touching upon threats to Jews and Israel. 

There might, for example, have been an open expression of disapproval of Iran’s ongoing threats against Israel.  Just months ago, Ayatollah Khamenei said that Israel would not last another 25 years, and until it was gone, would not have a moment’s peace – as it would be hounded by jihadists.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/khamenei-israel-wont-survive-next-25-years/

Not an unreasonable expectation. But it was not to be.

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On January 27th, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani arrived in France for a two-day visit.  This was the first such visit by an Iranian leader in many years. Here you see him being welcomed by French president Francois Hollande.

Credit: trend

The Jews of France declared themselves appalled; there were demonstrations by non-Jews as well because of Iranian-sponsored terrorism and Iranian deprivation of human rights. 

 

Credit: CHRISTOPHE ENA/AP

 

Credit: ibtimes (UK)

But never mind.  Matters sailed on smoothly.   Rouhani was accompanied by Iranian ministers and business leaders, all there to negotiate business deals.  And with this we get to the heart of the matter.  A joint venture was announced between car manufacturers PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA) and Iran Khodro, and Iran arranged for the purchase of 118 Airbus (AIR.PA) passenger planes. There were other deals, as well.  Construction group Bouygues (BOUY.PA) and airport operator ADP (ADP.PA) are set to build an extension for Tehran airport, while French oil company Total said it would buy some 200,000 barrels of Iranian crude.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-europe-rouhani-idUSKCN0V60TE

All of this courtesy of the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

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It would surely be foolish to expect more, and yet France’s failure to embrace issues regarding human values is disheartening.  Business trumps everything, or almost everything.  The one glitch in Rouhani’s visit occurred when Rouhani demanded a wine-free lunch (as Muslim’s shun alcohol) and the French refused.  Apparently French officials said this went against their values.

Boy, those French know how to stand tough when it matters, don’t they?  This rubs salt in the wound and makes it all worse.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/irans-european-tour-french-officials-cancel-diplomatic-lunch-with-visiting-president-hassan-rouhani-a6838181.html

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In Italy, which Rouhani visited before going to France, they withheld the wine.  And they did more: they covered their nude statue as to not offend the Iranian president.  This was  not well received either inside of Italy, where people thought it was going too far, and outside, where people mocked Italian leaders who made this decision.

See a brief video here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italy-covers-up-naked-statues-iran-president-hassan-rouhani-visit-nude-a6834836.html

It would be very funny, except that it’s not funny at all. Of course, all sorts of deals were struck in Italy as well.

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While in Italy, Rouhani want to the Vatican for a visit with the pope.  As Ruthie Blum wrote today in “The Vatican’s disgraceful display” (emphasis added):

“…Pope Francis fawned all over the puppet head of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei-led regime, directly and indirectly responsible for the slaughter of Christians across the world.

“The father of the Catholic Church nevertheless greeted ‘His Excellency Hassan Rouhani, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” as though he were a fellow pacifist ready, willing and able, not only to spread a global message of brotherly love, but to carry it out.”
 
“According to a statement from the Vatican after the meeting, the two held ‘cordial discussions’ in which ‘common spiritual values emerged.’

”The talks concluded with the ‘important role that Iran is called upon to fulfill, along with other countries in the region, to promote suitable political solutions to the problems afflicting the Middle East, to counter the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking. In this respect, the parties highlighted the importance of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting reconciliation, tolerance and peace.’
 
”…To view Rouhani as someone with shared values who will act to combat terrorism and arms trafficking is to make a mockery of goodness.
 
“…Indeed, while Francis and Hassan were chumming it up on Tuesday, Iranian generals and admirals continued to boast about the progress they have been making in nuclear activities as a result of their deal with the West, while conducting drills to test long-range missiles and sophisticated radar systems.

On Wednesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rouhani’s master, Khamenei, aired a video he produced denying the Holocaust and attacking America and Europe.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Right-from-wrong-The-Vaticans-disgraceful-display-443417

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There is a great deal more I could write about today, but I am going to cut it short, because there is much to contemplate in what I have written here.  There are Holocaust Memorials built, some at considerable expense, in various places in the world. And there are speeches given at appropriate moments (about which more in a moment). But the bottom line is that the world has learned nothing since the Holocaust and is in fact totally amoral.  

It’s not just Jews that the world does not care about – though I’ll write about more Jews at risk soon, as anti-Semitism is mounting alarmingly – but other populations at risk as well. The Christians being massacred by Muslims.  The civilians dying in Syria.  

In the end, for the most Western leaders, it does not matter. The only Western leader I can think of who truly did operate on a moral plane was Steven Harper, and so the Canadians replaced him with an Obama wannabe.

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I recall every now and again the words of a magnificent non-Jewish gentleman I heard speak years ago.  He recounted his absolute frustration with Roosevelt, when, coming from Europe and having witnessed what was being done to the Jews of Europe, he tried to get the president to act. and could not.

Then he turned to the audience of Jews and said, “I know you think the world deserted you during WWII, but it isn’t so. The world’s leaders deserted you, but many people were with you.”

That thought sustains me. There are many good people out there, who stand with us.  I know this and express gratitude for it.

Now we need to find a way for people of moral value to be the ones to assume leadership of the nations of the West. Never has an American election been more important than the one this year.  It is absolutely essential that Hillary not be allowed to make it.  I defy anyone to claim that she functions from a position of morality or human decency or concern for human rights.

On the Republican side, we do see such persons.  I dearly love Mike Huckabee, and know his innate decency. But I also know he is not headed for the White House.  Of those in the lead, I most champion Ted Cruz, who has spoken out forthrightly on a variety of issues.  Whoever is your favorite – keep in mind that the key is decency in office and the strength to act for what is right.

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Before leaving this subject, I must share this: On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Obama went to the Israeli Embassy and pronounced: “We are all Jews.”

For me, this statement – so patently false coming from the president who is responsible for the empowerment of Iran – had a particularly high gag-quotient. But this, I can laugh at.

 

Credit: shilomusings
 
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What we here in Israel know is that we can rely only on ourselves. Which is why it is so terribly important for us to stand strong.  A subject for another day.

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Yesterday morning, three IDF soldiers were shot at a checkpoint not far from the community of Beit El in Samaria; two were seriously injured, and one moderately. 

Their assailant was shot dead. This terrorist was a Palestinian Authority police office, who had served as a bodyguard for the PA attorney-general.

Abbas has made no comment about the fact that an officer had shot at IDF soldiers, but the PA’s official news agency, Wafa, referred to the terrorist as a “martyr.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Initial-report-Three-wounded-in-West-Bank-shooting-attack-443351

Today, referring to “situation assessments,” the IDF partially closed off nearby Ramallah, which is the seat of the PA.  This is the first time such action has been taken during the present time of violence.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4760510,00.html

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This last news piece I would call good/bad news. 

A 17 year old boy, a recent immigrant from the US, was stabbed in the back on Shabbat afternoon when returning from the Kotel with a friend.  They were surrounded by a group of Arabs some of whom had knives. After he was attacked – thank Heaven, not seriously injured – his friend ran away and sought help. 

Says this young man, who left his ultra-Orthodox family in the US to come here alone, this has not deterred him from his intention to enlist in the IDF.  He wants to serve in the top commando unit, Sayeret Matkal.  I’ll give my all…I’m not afraid of anything.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-victim-of-jerusalem-attack-stabbing-wont-stop-me-joining-idf/

Being strong for ourselves.  Blessings upon him.

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Recently, I showed a video of a song in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. sung by the Maccabeats and a group called Naturally 7.  I was so impressed with the latter group that I searched them on the Internet and found one piece they did that blew me away.  I think it resonates especially well with today’s posting, and I hope you love it as I did.  Please watch it through to the very end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mxjmti325o

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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2016/2/1/february-1-2016-virtual-torrent.html

 

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