British Airways, Air France End Flights to Iran

By: Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org

The decision by two of Europe’s largest carriers comes as the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran following its withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal in May.

A British Airways aircraft. Credit: Pixabay.
A British Airways aircraft. Credit: Pixabay.

Two major European air carriers, British Airways and Air France, announced on Thursday that they are terminating flights to Iran.

British Airways, which reinstated its London to Tehran route in 2015 following the implementation of the nuclear deal, said it will cease flying to Iran on Sept. 23.

“We are suspending our London to Tehran service as the operation is currently not commercially viable,” the airline said in a statement.

Similarly, Air France will stop its flights from Paris to Tehran on Sept. 18 due to “the line’s weak performance.”

KLM, the Dutch arm of the Franco-Dutch airlines group Air France KLM, had previously announced that it was halting flights to Tehran.

The decision by two of Europe’s largest carriers comes as the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran following its withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May. While the carriers did not cite the sanctions as the reason for their decision, America has been pressuring European companies to avoid doing business in Iran or risk getting caught up in U.S. sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision by the European airlines to halt their service to Iran.

“That is good, more should follow, more will follow because Iran should not be rewarded for its aggression in the region, for its attempts to spread terrorism far and wide … ,” he told a news conference during a visit to Lithuania.

Excavators Uncover 1,700 Year-Old Mosaic in Lod

By: Tamara Zieve; Jerusalem Post – jpost.com

The decorative work is one of many that paved a luxurious Roman villa.

A depiction of a bird in the newly discovered Lod mosaic
A depiction of a bird in the newly discovered Lod mosaic. (photo credit: ASSAF PEREZ/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

Excavators discovered a 1,700-year-old mosaic that once decorated a luxurious Roman villa in Lod, known in Roman times as Diospolis (City of Zeus).

The discovery was made during archaeological excavations carried out in the past month by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in preparation for the construction of a visitors center in Lod that will exhibit mosaics exposed several years ago at the site.

In 1996, road workers discovered by chance a mosaic floor at the entrance to Lod, adjacent to Ginnaton Junction. In subsequent excavations directed by the late archaeologist Dr. Miriam Avissar, the remains of a luxurious villa with exceptionally well-preserved, unique mosaic floors dating to the 4th century CE were found.

According to Dr. Amir Gorzalczany, the director of the current excavation, the excavations at the site exposed a villa that included a large luxurious mosaic-paved reception room, known as a triclinium. An internal columned courtyard, also with mosaics, and a water system were also uncovered.

“We found evidence for Mediterranean luxury that characterized the Roman Empire, including attributes such as fresco wall paintings,” said Gorzalczany.

The mosaics depict realistic and fantastic animals, complex geometric designs and marine scenes that incorporate a multitude of fish and two ships.

“The archaeological excavation that we carried out this month was relatively small, but contributed significantly to our understanding of the villa building” said Gorzalczany.

“Thankfully, the main central panel of the mosaic was preserved. The figures, many similar to the figures in the earlier mosaics, comprise fish and winged creatures. A fairly similar mosaic was found in the past in Jerusalem, on the Mount Zion slopes. The Lod mosaics, however, do not depict any human figures that are present in the Mount Zion mosaic. It is quite probable that the same artist produced both mosaics, or that two artists worked from a similar design.

This type of mosaic is better known in the western part of the Roman Empire.

“ALSO NOTEWORTHY,” continued Gorzalczany,”are the rectangular marks that may denote the placing of the couches on which the participants of the banquet or feast reclined. These marks are common in similar villas and are an indication of the use of the space in the reception halls.”

The central panel of the mosaic has been displayed at museums around the world including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Frost Museum in Miami, Florida, the Altes Museum in Berlin, the Cini Foundation in Venice, the Field Museum in Chicago and the Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Center project is a joint initiative of Shelby White and the Leon Levy Foundation, the Lod Municipality, the Lod Economic Development Corporation and the IAA. When completed, the center will display the mosaics enclosed within a modern building that relates to the plan of the ancient villa in which they were originally laid.

Gorzalczany believes that the newly discovered mosaic may have paved an additional reception room next to the reception hall which was uncovered in 1996. “If this is the case, then the villa may be much larger than we supposed. The discovery, in close proximity to the earlier hall, raises new questions: How large was the building? Did the villa comprise several reception halls? Where were the private living rooms? Was there a second story? These issues may be resolved in future excavations.”

The visitors center is scheduled to open in 2020.

Shelby White, the center’s donor, said, “The Lod Museum will be a dream come true that began when my husband Leon Levy and I first saw the magnificent mosaic more than 20 years ago. This initiative could not have materialized without the strong support of the Lod community and the Israel Antiquities Authority.”

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo remarked, “It is fascinating to learn how many centuries ago the centrality and the potential of the Lod environs was appreciated by the ancient residents.

The establishment of the center exhibiting aspects of the rich history of Lod will provide an impressive gateway to the town.”

 

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.

 

Iran Plans to Take Back Uranium Given to Russia Under Nuclear Deal

By: Erez Linn, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff; Israel Hayom – israelhayom.com

Iran transferred its 20%-enriched uranium to Russia as part of deal but has already received a batch back, says Iranian official • He says fuel necessary for “domestic needs” and if nuclear deal ends, Iran “would feel unimpeded” to produce 20% uranium.

The Natanz nuclear facility in Iran | Illustration: AFP

Iran will reclaim a ‎portion of the 20%-enriched uranium stockpile it ‎surrendered to Russia as part of the 2015 nuclear ‎deal with world powers, Iran’s Fars news agency ‎reported Sunday.‎

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran committed to shipping out ‎all except 300 kilograms (650 pounds) of its low-‎enriched uranium, and either to export its 20%-enriched uranium ‎– a ‎level ‎after which further refinement to weapons-grade ‎purity is relatively easy – or process it down into low-‎enriched uranium, or turn it into fuel plates to power a ‎research reactor.‎

Behrouz Kamalvandi, deputy director of Iran’s Atomic ‎Energy Organization, said the reimposition of U.S. ‎sanctions following U.S. President Donald Trump’s pullout from the nuclear accord in May makes reclaiming the uranium ‎necessary for “domestic needs.”‎

‎”If the fuel is sold to us, we do not need to ‎produce it by ourselves,” Kamalvandi told Fars. “If the ‎nuclear deal remains alive, the other sides should ‎sell us the fuel and if the nuclear deal dies, then ‎we would feel unimpeded to produce the 20% fuel ‎ourselves.”‎

Kamalvandi said Iran stopped producing 20%-enriched ‎uranium and transferred its stockpile to Russia in ‎‎10 batches under the 2015 deal. ‎Russia had already returned one batch of the fuel ‎earlier this year at Iran’s request, and a second ‎would be returned soon, he said.‎

Iran has repeatedly threatened to resume its nuclear ‎program if the 2015 accord is voided, with ‎President Hassan Rouhani saying it could do ‎so within days. ‎

In recent weeks, as tensions with the U.S. have grown, ‎Iran has prominently displayed its centrifuges and ‎threatened to resume enriching uranium, including to ‎weapons-grade, at higher rates. ‎

Trump has offered talks on a “more comprehensive ‎deal” but Iran said it would not negotiate under the ‎pressure of sanctions. ‎

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told ‎the Tasnim news agency Saturday that he had no plans ‎to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or ‎other U.S. officials on the sidelines of the ‎U.N. General Assembly in New York next month, which ‎both Rouhani and Trump plan to attend.‎

The 73rd session of the General Assembly is ‎scheduled to run Sept. 18-25. ‎

‎”Americans are not honest and their addiction to ‎sanctions does not allow any negotiation to take ‎place,” Zarif said. ‎

This is considered Iran’s most explicit rejection of ‎renewed nuclear talks to date.‎

 

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.

 

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.