UN Wants To Arm and Defend Terrorists Attacking Israel

By: Marina Medvin; townhall.com

UN Wants To Arm and Defend Terrorists Attacking Israel

In yet another showing of blatant antisemitism, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, declared last Friday that the Gaza Palestinians, who have been violently attempting to infiltrate the Israeli border to “kill the Jews” and “burn the Jews,” are the victims and in need of armed security.

This mind-boggling defense of terrorists is of no surprise to those of us who follow UN politics. Earlier this summer when the US walked out on the UN Human Rights Council, Nikki Haily issued a statementon the decision, calling the Council a protector of “the world’s worst human rights abusers” with a “chronic bias against Israel.”

The UN has maintained a consistent position of hatredof Israel since 1967. Why? Because the existence of a Jewish State is an affront to the 47 Muslim-majoritycountries at the UN who do not believe that Jews should have a country, let alone live side-by-side with them. It is an anti-Jewish, hateful position that is inconsistent with the word unity that crowns the title of this deceptive organization.

In 2017, Asaf Romirowsky, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a guest lecturer for a group of students in Geneva, took the group to the United Nations on a field trip. He experienced the “chronic bias against Israel” first-hand. It was the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and every country made a statement about the war to the students. What did they say? Every single country discussed the “atrocities that the Israelis committed.” Every. Single. One. “Israeli atrocities.”

Recall that the Six Day War was necessary for Israel to stop the constant bombardment by Syria of Israeli towns, the Egyptian attacks on Israeli forces, the Egyptian militarization at the Israeli border, and the Jordanian joinder with Egypt. Israel was being threatened by every neighboring country. Not to mention the other Arab states which came to join the neighbors: Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria, all of whom sent troops to join the Arab coalition against Israel. Within 6 days, Israel, a tiny country filled with Holocaust survivors, miraculously overcame the Arab Goliath coalition. Israelis did not commit “atrocities.” No. Instead, they defended the tiny bit of land that they had with all of their might, the land that they hoped will keep them safe from antisemitic assaults that they had experienced throughout the 2,000 years of diaspora. The Israelis were able to capture the small adjoining territories that were being used by the bordering countries to attack Israel. For this, the UN and liberals everywhere, have never forgiven Israel.

Every UN country blames Israel for defending itself, and every UN country believes that the core of Middle East problems resides with Israel. “The UN is just a mouthpiece for dictatorship regimes,” Romirowsky explains.

For this reason, instead of calling out the Gaza Palestinians for their violence, terrorism, and hate, leftists and the UN placate them.

The Palestinians also have growing support from leftist politicians and leftist newsorganizations. But why? Is the Palestinian movement overall sympathetic?

No. The Palestinian movement is a type of Islamist Jihad that is opposed to freedom— “a movement to liquidate a free society through conventional war, subversion, shootings, bombings, suicide attacks, rockets,” explains Elan Journo in his book What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The underlying goal is to overthrow Israel, he writes. The Palestinian movement has shown us time and time again that Palestinians do not want to live in peace with the Israelis. Instead, they want to destroy Israel and its free society and replace it with a totalitarian Islamic state.

But the Palestinians remain impoverished. And that is all that leftists need to know. They do not care that the Palestinians have spent BILLIONS of dollars in aid that they have received over the past two decades on terrorism instead of on infrastructure, education, and health (over $5 billion alone in US aid – that’s money taken from you and me). Leftists do not care that it is not Israel’s fault that the independent choices made by the Palestinians, like their continuous dedication to terrorism, are the sole causes of their continued struggle. Leftists simply blame Israel because Israel looks wealthy next to the Palestinians, who look impoverished. And that easy visual juxtaposition is more than sufficient for them.

“Everyone at the UN believes that the Palestinians are the victims. The UN doesn’t question that,” Asaf Romirowsky affirmed.

Moreover, the Israeli use of moderate force, which barely fights back against terrorism, appears treacherous to the left, who believe that Israel is wealthier and stronger and should just take it.

Israel is simply the recipient of anti-Jewish and anti-commerce hatred that is a collective result of Islamic and liberal ideology.

In his statement to the UN, Antonio Guterres appeared to try and separate the Gaza “civilians” from the Gaza terrorists, although he failed to mention terrorism or Hamas. But Gaza is 100% controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization, explains Romirowsky. “Hamas is a religious Islamist group. The Hamas Charter clearly states that the destruction of the Jews is their goal. They have always been consistent: they want to kill Jews. Hamas rhetoric is in the Palestinian school system and their mosques. Hamas rhetoric fuels everything in their region. Their society is a culture of incitement and indoctrination. The word Hamas itself means acting in a violent, religious, zealous way. Their name in itself has a militant, violent connotation in Arabic, it impassions violence.”

Palestinians are encouraged to commit terroristic acts from all of their leaders, not just Hamas. Even the Palestinian Authority, which is supposed to be less violent, funds and rewards Palestinians who commit acts of terrorism against Israelis. In 2017 alone, the Palestinian Authority paid over $350 million to terrorist families, declaring them Islamic martyrs for their feats of killing Jews. Which is why the response by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, that the Palestinian people actually need protection from their own leadership, is right on point. Otherwise, as it stands, the Palestinians and their terrorist government are indistinguishable, jointly engaged in terrorism for purposes of takeover, Jihad, and profit.

That terrorism reward cash, by the way, comes from American taxes.

Similarly, UN sponsors terrorism, also through our American money. The UN has flown Hezbollah terrorist flags. UN vehicles have been used to transport Hamas weapons. And UN-funded schools for Palestinians teach Palestinian children to hate Jews. More alarmingly, UN staff is not tested for terrorist ties.

Should the UN arm and protect the terrorists attacking Israel? No. But will they? If history is of any indication, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

 

Russia and Israel Reach Understanding on Golan Border Line

By: Herb Keinon; Jerusalem Post – jpost.com

Israel’s ambassador to Russia said Israel insisted on the full withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria.

Yom Kippur War
An old IDF tank barrel from the Yom Kippur War looks out over the Syrian side of the Golan from a hilltop a few hundred meters from the border. (photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)

Israel and Russia have reached an understanding to ensure the preservation of the 1974 cease-fire line on the Golan Heights, according to Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren.

According to a TASS Russian News Agency report, Koren – who met with Russian journalists in Stavropol in southern Russia Monday – said, “we coordinated the arrangement under which Russia pledged to make sure, as it were, that the Syrian Army will not cross the cease-fire line established under the 1974 agreement. It looks like everything is functioning for the time being. I hope it will be so in the future, as well.”

Koren said Israel insisted on the full withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria.

The 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria, which followed the Yom Kippur War, separated Israel and Syrian troops and created a 235-km. buffer zone in the Golan Heights. Israel demands the buffer zone be respected, even as it is deeply concerned that Iranian or Shia forces moving south with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops may try to violate it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed during his visit to Moscow in July that respecting the Separation of Forces Agreement was a red line for Israel in Syria.

UN peacekeepers, augmented by Russian military police, returned to the border last week to carry out patrols. The day before, Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s special envoy on Syria, said Iran and Shia militias have withdrawn 85 km. from the border on the Golan.

“There are no units of heavy equipment and weapons that could pose a threat to Israel at a distance of 85 km. from the line of demarcation,” Lavrentiev was quoted as saying in TASS.

Israel’s stated position remains as the removal of all Iranian forces and their proxies from Syria, although Netanyahu made clear during his Moscow talks the immediate priorities were to move these forces away from the border, to remove Iran’s long-range missiles from throughout Syria, and to ensure the separation agreement will be honored in full.

 

Credit Scoring Agency Gives Israel its Highest-Ever Rating

By: TOI Staff; Times of Israel – timesofisrael.com

Standard & Poor’s cites steady growth, improved fiscal outlook in decision to upgrade Jewish state’s credit score to AA-

Illustrative: A board showing stock fluctuations at the Tel Aviv stock exchange (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Illustrative: A board showing stock fluctuations at the Tel Aviv stock exchange (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

The Standard & Poor’s credit scoring agency on Friday upgraded its credit rating for Israel, citing the Jewish state’s steady economic growth and improved debt outlook.

With the raising of its credit score from A+ to AA- with a stable outlook, Israel notched its highest ever rating from S&P and other international credit rating firms.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the upgraded rating as “a reflection of the strength of the Israeli economy.”

In announcing its decision, S&P cited Israel’s stable growth and improved fiscal position in light of the sharp reduction in net government debt.

Despite Israel’s fractious politics, S&P pointed to the passage of the 2019 budget as a sign of fiscal discipline.

“Although public debt remains relatively high, we now think that fiscal slippages leading to a significant reversal of the debt path are unlikely,” S&P said. “This is based on our belief that, absent global trade shocks, Israel’s economic growth outlook will remain solid and allow the government to accommodate pressures coming from social and infrastructure spending, as well as a potential moderate escalation of security risks.”

“Israel has demonstrated sound economic performance since the global financial crisis, with a current GDP of about $140 billion (or 50%) larger than in 2010, the current account in a sustainable surplus, and unemployment at historical lows,” it added.

The ratings agency also predicted growth of 3.3 percent a year from 2018 to 2021, which it said would be fueled by private consumption, corporate investment and exporting of services.

While noting Israel has a “prosperous, modern, and diversified economy” with high growth rates, S&P said “high exposure to external and domestic security risks weigh on the country’s creditworthiness.”

The improved credit score from S&P came after Moody’s raised its rating outlook for Israel last month.

“In the last three years the Israeli economy has soared to the best macro data in its history. The confidence expressed in us by the strongest economic bodies in the world enables us to continue to grow the economy,” said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in a statement after S&P announced the move.

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug presents a report to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, March 28, 2018. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug praised S&P for upgrading Israel to AA-, crediting the country’s steady economic growth in recent years to sound fiscal policy.

“The decision reflects the confidence of the international institutions in the policies of the government and the monetary policies the Bank of Israel has led that have contributed to the growth of the economy and the ability of the government to meet its future commitments,” she said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised the upgraded Israeli ranking, saying in a Saturday Facebook post that it “reflected of the strength of the Israeli economy as well as the correct and responsible economic policy that we are leading on behalf of all Israeli citizens.”

 

Amid Lull in Fighting, Hamas Says Gazans Will Resume Border Protests

By: TOI Staff; The Times of Israel – timesofisrael.com

Spokesperson for the terror group says Palestinians will ‘challenge the Israeli war machine’ in ‘March of Return’ demonstrations on Friday

Palestinian protesters at the Israel-Gaza border, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 3, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)
Palestinian protesters at the Israel-Gaza border, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 3, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

The Hamas terrorist group on Friday said the so-called “March of Return” border demonstrations would continue unimpeded later in the day, despite a cessation of hostilities with Israel clinched the night before.

The announcement came after a 12-hour lull in fighting, following two days that saw the heaviest exchange of Palestinian rocket fire and reprisal Israeli airstrikes since the 2014 Gaza war.

For the past four months there have been near-weekly, violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim tweeted on Friday that demonstrators would continue to “break the siege” on the Gaza Strip.

“Every time the Israeli killing machine attempts to break our people’s will to continue its struggle and marches, it fails to do so,” he wrote. “Today our people will head to the ‘Marches of Return’ to challenge the Israeli war machine.”

“Our Palestinian people has a long-lasting, struggling soul,” the Hamas spokesperson wrote. “It will continue its resistance in all of its forms until it gains its freedom, independence and right to a dignified life.”

A plume of smoke rises from the remains of a building west of Gaza City that was targeted by the Israeli Air Force in response to a rocket attack that hit southern Israel earlier in the day on August 9, 2018. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Over the past four months the “March of Return” protests have led to deadly clashes which saw Israeli security forces facing gunfire, grenades, Molotov cocktails, and efforts — sometimes successful — to damage or cross the border fence.

At least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the weekly protests began, the Hamas ministry says. Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

In addition to the border clashes, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border from Gaza. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

 

The Great British Foreign Office Fantasy

By: Douglas Murray; Gatestone Institute – gatestoneinstitute.org

Translations of this item:

Danish:

The painful irony of this situation should be clear to all observers. If the Israelis did not lay claim to the Golan, there would have been no means to have got the White Helmets and their families out of Syria. Had Israel not made the Golan the peaceful and thriving area it is, it would simply be another part of Syria in which different sectarian groups were slaughtering other sectarian groups.The armies of ISIS came right up to the villages on the Syrian side along the borders of the Golan. There, they were able to bring that form of peace-through-barbarism which the world has come to know well. If ISIS had triumphed in the Syrian conflict rather than suffering repeated set-backs, would the UK Foreign Office have handed them the territory by way of reparational justice, or victor’s prize?

Institutionalizing AntiSemitism in UK’s Labour Party

By: Melanie Phillips; Jerusalem Post – jpost.com

The real task, therefore, is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie.

BRITISH LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to vote in local government elections in London on
BRITISH LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to vote in local government elections in London on May 3. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Britain’s Labour Party has a major problem with rampant antisemitism. It knows it has to deal with it.

So what has it done? Dug itself so much further into this particular hole that some in the party fear it has now dug its political grave.

On Tuesday, the party’s governing National Executive Committee (NEC) redefined antisemitism in such a way that it has legitimized it within its own ranks.

In its new code of conduct on antisemitism, it adopted a definition which significantly differed from the one created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The IHRA definition has been recognized around the world and adopted by the British government and numerous British official bodies. Yet in its new code, Labour twisted it by excising its application to attacks on Israel.

Labour’s code says: “In general terms, the expression of even contentious views in this area will not be treated as antisemitism unless accompanied by specific antisemitic content (such as the use of antisemitic tropes) or by other evidence of antisemitic intent.”
So Labour members can continue with impunity to call Israel a “Nazi” or “apartheid” state, smear its defense forces as “child-killers” or accuse British Jews supporting Israel of dual loyalty unless there is evidence of “antisemitic intent” – very difficult to prove – or “specific antisemitic content.”

This is a circular argument of Orwellian proportions. For the code defines antisemitism solely as bigotry against Jewish people or institutions. It does not define it as bigotry against the State of Israel.

But most antisemitism on the Left takes the form of obsessive and paranoid falsehoods, distortion and double standards directed at Israel’s behavior, with much of this onslaught echoing the tropes of medieval and Nazi Jew-hatred. This targeting of Israel as the collective Jew is the new antisemitism.

As such, the extraordinary fact is that in order to tackle antisemitism in its ranks Labour has now become a party of institutionalized antisemitism.

So bad is this situation it has even managed to bring together in unprecedented unity 68 rabbis, some of whom habitually refuse to share a platform with certain other rabbis, as signatories on the same letter of protest.

The issue now threatens to tear Labour apart. On Monday evening, the parliamentary Labour Party voted overwhelmingly to endorse the full IHRA definition – only for the NEC to overturn this the following day.

This provoked the veteran Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, whose relatives were murdered in the Holocaust, to call Labour’s far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn “an antisemite” to his face when she confronted him in the House of Commons.

The Israel-Palestine conflict, she said, had been “allowed to infect the party’s approach to growing antisemitism.” In adopting its new code, the NEC had chosen “to make the party a hostile environment for Jews.”

Astoundingly, the leadership has reacted by threatening to discipline Hodge for “bringing the party into disrepute.” So get this – a party that has institutionalized antisemitism is now accusing a Jewish protester that she has brought it into disrepute! You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

YET THERE’S something odd about this crisis. It’s all just about a form of words. Does anyone really believe that if the Labour leadership were to cave in and adopt the full IHRA definition, antisemitism in the party would then be properly addressed and go away?

After all, the fact that the full definition has been widely accepted has not prevented the usual calumnies and distortions in the way the British media have been misreporting the violence from Gaza.

It has not prevented the media failing to report the hundreds of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and weeks of incendiary airborne devices setting fire to acres of Israeli farmland, while misrepresenting Israeli air strikes in response as aggression. It did not prevent an interviewer on BBC Radio’s Today program the other day berating an Israeli spokesman for killing children in Gaza.
The key point is the refusal to acknowledge that the campaign of irrational, mendacious and obsessive incitement against Israel is the new form of antisemitism.

Yet although Israel has been attacked in this way for years, virtually no one has called this out. The Anglo-Jewish community leadership ran a mile from it.

On TV in 2002, I was accused to my face of dual loyalty. At another time during that decade, I attended a debate at which one panelist said, with virtually no push-back, that British Jews now needed to choose between supporting Israel and remaining loyal British citizens. This antisemitic trope has now been commonplace for years.

The Jewish leadership has always been nervous about linking Israel with antisemitism, believing that Israel merely “complicated” the issue. But today, it is the issue.

Now British Jews find themselves caught up in an internal Labour Party war over it. The real agony for them is that the climate in Britain has deteriorated to such a point that Labour feels licensed to treat British Jews – as Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said – with unprecedented contempt.

They plan a continuing campaign to get Labour to adopt the full IHRA definition. But that is to continue avoid confronting the elephant in the room.

This is the fact that so many on the progressive side of politics have swallowed the Big Lies about Israel. And that includes a dismaying number of British Jews themselves, who do things like recite kaddish for Hamas terrorists killed by Israel to prevent them murdering Israelis.

These Jews for Injustice against Jews who demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel provide cover for Labour’s new antisemitism. This stretches far beyond the Corbynite hard Left; it is in fact the default position for most of liberal and left-wing society.

The real task, therefore, is not to adopt the IHRA wording. It is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie; that anyone who supports Palestinianism is endorsing the most profound and demonic kind of antisemitism; and that Israel stands unambiguously for law, justice, truth and human rights, and that those who vilify it are themselves repudiating all these things.

Will British Jews finally step up to the plate and start saying all this? Unlikely. Why? It’s not just their timidity. They first need to start believing it themselves.

 

Israel’s Navy Visits French Counterpart for First Time in Decades, Conducts Joint Drills

By: Yaakov Lappin; Jewish News Syndicate – jns.org

The ships conducted joint combat, search and rescue, and medical-treatment exercises, marking the first time that this happened in French waters since 1959. In recent years, the French Navy has visited Israeli naval bases for joint exercises on multiple occasions.

Two Israel Navy missile ships paid a visit to France earlier this month, where they held extensive drills with the French Navy, the first such event to occur in 59 years. July 2018. Credit: Courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson Unit.
Two Israel Navy missile ships paid a visit to France earlier this month, where they held extensive drills with the French Navy, the first such event to occur in 59 years. July 2018. Credit: Courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

In a sign of growing Mediterranean cooperation, two Israel Navy missile ships paid a visit to France earlier this month, where they held extensive drills with the French Navy, the first such event to occur in 59 years.

Staff Sgt. Adrien Assayah, an Israel Navy Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) who immigrated to Israel from Lyon, France, at the age of 15, told JNS that taking part in the exercise as a French-Israeli officer was a moving experience.

“We reached France in the INS Eilat and INS Kidon [missile] ships,” said Assayah. “I then boarded a French ship and acted as an ambassador since I speak French.”

The French military is a volunteer professional force, while the Israel Defense Forces is primarily made up of mandatory conscripts, accounting for a significant difference in age.

Despite the age gap, said Assayah, the French ship commander remarked “how highly professional and well-trained we are, and noted our ability to deal with any situation. The drill was a very positive event.”

Joint exercises between the Israeli Navy and French Navy, July 2018. Credit: Courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

The ships conducted joint combat, search and rescue, and medical-treatment exercises, marking the first time that this happened in French waters since 1959. In recent years, the French Navy has visited Israeli naval bases for joint exercises on multiple occasions.

“There was some excitement on our side, as we are not so used to sailing such distances. And the French were excited because they had not received Israeli crews” for nearly six decades, reported Assayah.

He described the French Navy as being “very professional.”

“This was visible in how they worked, and their ship routine,” he said. “They were also great hosts. Our talks with them were very open. We discussed everything, and we felt very comfortable. The cooperation was incredible.

Joint exercises between the Israeli Navy and French Navy, July 2018. Credit: Courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

“I’m a young NCO, but I believe that diplomatic relations between the two countries improve as a result of this kind of naval cooperation. On a personal level, to come to France in an IDF uniform is something I could never have imagined. I was very moved and felt proud,” said Assayah.

‘Each side brings its own knowledge’

Lt. Cmdr. Yael (full name withheld), head of the International Policy and Planning Section in the Israeli Navy, said a “thriving cooperation” has developed with the French Navy over recent years, comparing it to a “good friendship.”

With French Navy ships docking at Israeli bases routinely, due to their activities in the Mediterranean Sea and the growth of joint exercises, the idea arose for a reciprocal visit to France, she said.

During the time of the joint drills, Israeli Navy Commander Maj.-Gen. Eli Sharvit visited France, where he met with senior French naval commanders.

In addition, local Jewish community representatives boarded the Israeli missile ships for a Friday-night meal.

“France is a leading country in the world that has interests in our region. It is important to safeguard this friendship and cooperation with them,” said Yael.

Joint exercises between the Israeli Navy and French Navy, July 2018. Credit: Courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

“Each side brings its own knowledge, whether based on operations, systems or the activities that each side conducts. The French Navy is large and operates in our sector, as well as in further sectors, like the the Black Sea or Baltic Sea. An exercise is also a joint language. We know this drill very well. When you do this with another navy, you sharpen your ability to work in a larger coalition,” she stated.

Ultimately, this kind of cooperation between Mediterranean naval forces helps Israel and the IDF face its security challenges, she argued. “These exercises can only assist us operationally, through our drills, and because this is a statement about cooperation, about who stands with us, and behind us.”

 

Get Over It—Israel Is the Jewish State

By: Eugene Kontorovich; Wall Street Journal – wsj.com

Demonstrators attend a rally to protest against the “Jewish Nation-State Bill” in Tel Aviv, July 14. PHOTO: JACK GUEZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Let the hand-wringing and denunciations begin. On Thursday Israel finally expressed in constitutional law the basic achievement of Zionism: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. In the seven years since the new provision was first proposed, it has attracted a barrage of criticism from the U.S. and Europe. Foreign politicians have demanded Israel not pass the law, and they have not been mollified by the removal of most of its disputed provisions. A Monday headline at Foreign Policy warned that Israel was “debating democracy itself.” Arab Knesset members ripped up copies of the bill after its passage. One called it “the official beginning of fascism and apartheid.”

In reality, Israel’s Basic Law would not be out of place among the liberal democratic constitutions of Europe—which include similar provisions that have not aroused controversy. The law does not infringe on the individual rights of any Israeli citizen, including Arabs; nor does it create individual privileges. The illiberalism here lies with the law’s critics, who would deny the Jewish state the freedom to legislate like a normal country.

The nation-state law declares that Israel is a country established to instantiate the Jewish people’s “right to national self-determination.” It constitutionalizes symbols of that objective—the national anthem, holidays and so forth. There is nothing undemocratic or even unusual about this. Among European states, seven have similar “nationhood” constitutional provisions.

Consider the Slovak Constitution, which opens with the words, “We the Slovak nation,” and lays claim to “the natural right of nations to self-determination.” Some provisions are found in places like the Baltics, which have large, alienated minority populations. The Latvian Constitution opens by invoking the “unwavering will of the Latvian nation to have its own State and its inalienable right of self-determination in order to guarantee the existence and development of the Latvian nation, its language and culture throughout the centuries.” Latvia’s population is about 25% Russian.

The new Basic Law also establishes Hebrew, the primary language of 80% of Israel’s population, as the official language. Previously, Israel relied on a holdover British Mandate provision that gave official status to Hebrew, Arabic and English. Far from undermining democracy, the Basic Law puts Israel in line with other Western nations. Most multiethnic, multilingual European Union states give official status only to the majority language. Spain’s Constitution, for example, makes Castilian Spanish the official national language, and requires all citizens to know it, even if their mother tongue is Basque or Catalan.

Another controversial provision of the law declares “the development of Jewish settlement” to be a national value that the government should promote. It is understood to refer to encouraging population dispersion into the periphery of the country. This essentially restates policy adopted by the international community in 1922 in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which sought to “encourage . . . close settlement by Jews.” Again, the provision is only declaratory of values, and does not prescribe or authorize any particular policies. By contrast, the state constitution of Hawaii authorizes land policies to promote homesteading by ethnic Hawaiians, and provides preferential land policies for them.

Moreover, the measure comes against a backdrop of land policies that discriminate against Jews. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled controversially that Arabs have a right to create residential communities in Israel that exclude Jews. A separate case denied the corresponding right to Jews. In Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority prescribes the death penalty for Arabs who sell land to Jews. The new Basic Law does not even negate either of those injustices; it merely creates a normative counterweight.

Nor does Israel have official religions, and nothing in the new Basic Law changes that. In this respect, Israel is more liberal than the seven European countries with constitutionally enshrined state religions.

Perhaps the best evidence that Israel needs a constitutional affirmation of its status as the sovereign Jewish nation-state is the eagerness of so many to denounce as undemocratic measures that are considered mundane anywhere else.

Mr. Kontorovich is a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem think tank that has supported the Nation State bill.

 

How Israel, in Dark of Night, Torched Its Way to Iran’s Nuclear Secrets

By: David E. Sanger and Ronen Bergman; nytimes.com

Photographs that Israeli officials said were stolen from Iran’s nuclear archive appear to show a giant metal chamber, in a building at the Parchin military site, built to conduct high-explosive experiments. Credit – Mossad

TEL AVIV — The Mossad agents moving in on a warehouse in a drab commercial district of Tehran knew exactly how much time they had to disable the alarms, break through two doors, cut through dozens of giant safes and get out of the city with a half-ton of secret materials: six hours and 29 minutes.

The morning shift of Iranian guards would arrive around 7 a.m., a year of surveillance of the warehouse by the Israeli spy agency had revealed, and the agents were under orders to leave before 5 a.m. to have enough time to escape. Once the Iranian custodians arrived, it would be instantly clear that someone had stolen much of the country’s clandestine nuclear archive, documenting years of work on atomic weapons, warhead designs and production plans.

The agents arrived that night, Jan. 31, with torches that burned at least 3,600 degrees, hot enough, as they knew from intelligence collected during the planning of the operation, to cut through the 32 Iranian-made safes. But they left many untouched, going first for the ones containing the black binders, which contained the most critical designs. When time was up, they fled for the border, hauling some 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs of memos, videos and plans.

In late April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the results of the heist, after giving President Trump a private briefing at the White House. He said it was another reason Mr. Trump should abandon the 2015 nuclear deal, arguing that the documents proved Iranian deception and an intent to resume bomb production. A few days later, Mr. Trump followed through on his longstanding threat to pull out of the accord — a move that continues to strain relations between the United States and European allies.

Last week, at the invitation of the Israeli government, three reporters, including one from The New York Times, were shown key documents from the trove. Many confirmed what inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, in report after report, had suspected: Despite Iranian insistence that its program was for peaceful purposes, the country had worked in the past to systematically assemble everything it needed to produce atomic weapons.

“It’s quite good,” Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former inspector for the agency, said in Vienna, after being shown some of the fruits of the document theft. “The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs.”

There is no way to independently confirm the authenticity of the documents, most of which were at least 15 years old, dating from the time when an effort called Project Amad was ordered halted and some of the nuclear work moved deeper under cover. The Israelis handpicked the documents shown to the reporters, meaning that exculpatory material could have been left out. They said some material had been withheld to avoid providing intelligence to others seeking to make weapons.

The Iranians have maintained that the entire trove is fraudulent — another elaborate scheme by the Israelis to get sanctions reimposed on the country. But American and British intelligence officials, after their own review, which included comparing the documents to some they had previously obtained from spies and defectors, said they believed it was genuine.

From what the Israelis showed to the reporters in a secure intelligence facility, a few things are clear.

The Iranian program to build a nuclear weapon was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized than most suspected in 2003, when Project Amad was declared ended, according to outside nuclear experts consulted by The Times. Iran had foreign help, though Israeli officials held back any documents indicating where it came from. Much was clearly from Pakistan, but officials said other foreign experts were also involved — though they may not have been working for their governments.

The documents detailed the challenges of integrating a nuclear weapon into a warhead for the Shahab-3, an Iranian missile. One document proposed sites for possible underground nuclear tests, and described plans to build an initial batch of five weapons. None were built, possibly because the Iranians feared being caught, or because a campaign by American and Israeli intelligence agencies to sabotage the effort, with cyberattacks and disclosures of key facilities, took its toll.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, presenting the Iranian documents in Tel Aviv in April.CreditJim Hollander/EPA, via Shutterstock

David Albright, a former inspector who runs the Institute for Science and International Security, said in an interview that the documents contained “great information.”

“Iran conducted many more high-explosive tests related to nuclear weapons development than previously known,” he told Congress last month.

But the archive also shows that after a burst of activity, a political mandate delivered at the end of 2003 slowed the program dramatically, just as American officials had concluded in a 2007 intelligence report.

Israel, which has its own undeclared nuclear program, has long claimed that the Iranian program continued after 2003, and some documents show senior officials in Tehran’s program — including two who were later assassinated, presumably by Israeli agents — debating how to split it into overt and covert elements.

One of the scientists warned that work on neutrons that create the chain reaction for a nuclear explosion must be hidden. “‘Neutrons’ research could not be considered ‘overt’ and needs to be concealed,” his notes read. “We cannot excuse such activities as defensive. Neutron activities are sensitive, and we have no explanation for them.” That caution, the documents show, came from Masoud Ali Mohammadi, an Iranian nuclear physicist at the University of Tehran, who was assassinated in January 2010.

Mr. Netanyahu argues that the trove proves that the 2015 agreement, with its sunset clauses allowing the Iranians to produce nuclear fuel again after 2030, was naïve. The fact that the Iranians went to such lengths to preserve what they had learned, and hid the archive’s contents from international inspectors in an undeclared site despite an agreement to reveal past research, is evidence of their future intent, he has said.

But the same material could also be interpreted as a strong argument for maintaining and extending the nuclear accord as long as possible. The deal deprived the Iranians of the nuclear fuel they would need to turn the designs into reality.

Former members of the Obama administration, who negotiated the deal, say the archive proves what they had suspected all along: that Iran had advanced fuel capability, warhead designs and a plan to build them rapidly. That was why they negotiated the accord, which forced Iran to ship 97 percent of its nuclear fuel out of the country. Tehran would never have agreed to a permanent ban, they said.

The archive captures the program at a moment in time — a moment 15 years ago, before tensions accelerated, before the United States and Israel attacked Iran’s nuclear centrifuges with a cyberweapon, before an additional underground enrichment center was built and discovered.

Today, despite Mr. Trump’s decision to exit the deal with Iran, it remains in place. The Iranians have not yet resumed enrichment or violated its terms, according to international inspectors. But if sanctions resume, and more Western companies leave Iran, it is possible that Iranian leaders will decide to resume nuclear fuel production.

The warehouse the Israelis penetrated was put into use only after the 2015 accord was reached with the United States, European powers, Russia and China. That pact granted broad rights to the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit suspected nuclear sites, including on military bases.

So the Iranians, Israeli officials said in interviews, systematically went about collecting thousands of pages spread around the country documenting how to build a weapon, how to fit it on a missile and how to detonate it. They consolidated them at the warehouse, in a commercial district with no past relationship to the nuclear program, and far from the declared archives of the Ministry of Defense. There were no round-the-clock guards or anything else that would tip off neighbors, or spies, that something unusual was happening there.

Israelis during a television broadcast of President Trump speaking at the White House in May.CreditAmir Cohen/Reuters

What the Iranians did not know was that the Mossad was documenting the collection effort, filming the moves for two years, since the relocation began in February 2016. Last year, the spies began planning a heist that one senior Israeli intelligence official said bore a strong resemblance to George Clooney’s adventures in “Ocean’s 11.”

In most Mossad operations, spies aim to penetrate a facility and photograph or copy material without traces. But in this case, the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, ordered that the material be stolen outright. That would drastically shorten the time that the agents — many, if not all, of them Iranians — spent inside the building. But the Israelis wanted to be able to counter Iranian claims that the material was forged and offer it up for examination by international groups.

Clearly, the Israeli spies had inside help. They had learned which of the 32 safes held the most important information. They watched the habits of the workers. They studied the workings of the alarm system, so that it would appear to be working even though it would not alert anyone when the agents arrived around 10:30 p.m.

For all the cinematics of the raid, the immediate aftermath was absent much drama. There was no chase, said Israeli officials, who would not disclose whether the documents left by land, air or sea — though an escape from the coast, just a few hours’ drive from Tehran, appears the least risky.

Fewer than two dozen agents took part in the break-in. Fearing that some of them would be caught, the Israelis removed the materials on several different routes. At exactly 7 a.m., as the Mossad expected, a guard arrived and discovered that the doors and safes were broken. He sounded the alarm, and the Iranian authorities soon began a nationwide campaign to locate the burglars — an effort that, according to an Israeli official, included “tens of thousands of Iranian security and police personnel.”

The effort yielded nothing. And until Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, the Iranians never said a word in public about what had happened.

Among the most fascinating elements of the archive are pictures taken inside what were once key facilities in Iran, before the equipment was dismantled in anticipation of international inspections. One set of photos taken by the Iranians appears to show a giant metal chamber built to conduct high-explosive experiments, in a building at Parchin, a military base near Tehran.

Intelligence agencies had long suspected nuclear activity at the Parchin site, and Iran had refused to allow international inspectors in, saying that as a military base, it was off limits to inspectors and not part of any nuclear experiments.

By the time the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, was finally permitted to visit the site in 2015, it was empty, though the agency’s report indicated that it looked as if equipment had been removed. The photos indicate that is exactly what happened: They show a large chamber that nuclear experts say is tailor-made for the kind of experimental activity that the international inspectors were looking for.

It was part of a larger, previously known effort: Satellite photographs show that Parchin was so sanitized before the inspectors’ arrival that tons of soil in the area had been removed, to eliminate any traces of nuclear contamination.

The chamber appears to be part of neutron experiments that strongly point to an effort to build nuclear weapons. Nuclear explosions start when fast-moving particles known as neutrons split atoms of nuclear fuel in two, producing chain reactions that release more neutrons and enormous bursts of energy. At the core of an atom bomb, a device known as a neutron initiator — or sometimes a spark plug — creates the initial wave of speeding neutrons.

The Iranian papers repeatedly mention a specific substance used for making neutron initiators: uranium deuteride. Experts say it has no civil or military use other than making nuclear arms, and is known to have been used for that purpose by China and Pakistan. The initiator appears to be one of the key technologies that A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear expert who ran a black market in atomic goods, sold to Iran, North Korea and other nations.

William J. Broad contributed reporting from New York.

Israeli Tourism Sets New Record in First Half of 2018

By: Tzippe Barrow; cbnnews.com

The Dead Sea, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
The Dead Sea, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

JERUSALEM, Israel – The challenges facing Israel on its borders and the negative publicity from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other anti-Israel efforts are failing to isolate the Jewish state. In fact, the tourism industry is flourishing.

In the first half of 2018, the tourism sector broke the 2 million mark, with 2.1 million tourist entries recorded, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported. That’s a 19 percent increase from the same period last year and a 26 percent increase from 2016.

In June, 310,000 tourists entered Israel, with revenue tipping the scales at 1.66 billion shekels ($456,599,600).

In the first six months of 2018, tourists brought a whopping 12 billion shekels (more than $3,300 billion) into the Israeli economy.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin says it’s the result of intensive marketing efforts.

“The marketing efforts and activities that we are spearheading in the ministry are leading us to new records, as, for the first time, we have crossed the 2 million threshold for tourist entries over the course of half a year,” Levin reported.

He attributed the increase to “the fruit” of those marketing efforts worldwide.

“In advance of the winter season, we are already seeing an increase in the number of flights from Europe to Eilat, with new airlines joining this momentum,” he added.

While many are first-time visitors, there are lots who come to Israel on a regular basis year after year.

Levin said all tourism-related sectors will benefit from the tens of billions of dollars injected into the Israeli economy annually from the tourism sector.

Interestingly, during the Second Intifada (armed Palestinian uprising), which began in September 2000 and continued through 2004, terror attacks convinced many to plan their vacations elsewhere, severely affecting the tourism sector. During this difficult period, Christians continued to come, pray for and support the Jewish state.