The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for December, 2011


Friday, December 23rd, 2011

by Moshe Feiglin (Arutz Sheva News)

Ahmed Tibi was not at all afraid to say on TV that he is the “master of the Land of Israel.” What does it mean that he was elected by Israeli Arabs? What makes Israeli Jews stand for this?

Moshe Feiglin is head of the Manhigut Yehudit [Jewish Leadership] faction in the Likud party and a former prime ministerial candidate in the Likud primaries.

“I am the master here!” shouted MK Ahmad Tibi on Israeli television, completely losing his cool. When I heard that sentence I understood that I did not need to say anything more.

I did not need to remind the viewers of our debate that Tibi was the aide and close advisor of the arch-murderer who killed more Jews than anybody since World War II, Yassir Arafat, may his name and memory be blotted out! There was nothing more to be said. Tibi showed his true face in living color.

But I couldn’t remain silent after he said that sentence. I put the microphone close up to my mouth – I was afraid that the studio in Tel Aviv may be phasing out my sound – and I said to Tibi, “This is my Land and you will not be here.”

Ahmad Tibi precisely defined the line that separates the Arabs who are invited to live with us here with mutual respect and all the human rights that they deserve, and those Arabs who will have to go. “I am the master here,” said Tibi.

If an Arab living in Israel understands that the Jewish Nation returned to its Land and is “master of the house,” here, then he can live here with good neighborly relations and respect. But if he doesn’t think so, if he develops hope to establish an Arab state here instead of the Jewish one, we will show him the door out.

The fact that Tibi and his counterpart, former MK Azmi Bashara, who had to flee Israel after he was caught directing incoming Hizbullah rockets into Haifa, are the popular leaders of the Arabs in Israel is not good news. I know that the Arab public, like any public, consists of both good and bad people. I believe in the human race and am confident that as a rule, people prefer to be good.

I think that the radical trend in the Arab street and the fact that an accomplice to terror and murder like Tibi has become the leader of the Arab public is first and foremost the fault of the Jews, not the Arabs. It is the Jews who have forgotten what they are doing here. Many Israelis believe that the Land of Israel belongs to the “Palestinians”. They hope that they can buy some legitimacy for robbing the land in Sheikh Munis (Ramat Aviv) by destroying the settlements in Judea and Samaria.

It is the Israelis who turned Arafat into some kind of cult figure, so what can we expect from Tibi?

The Israeli needs the Arab to allow him to forget that he is a Jew. For if it is impossible to be an Israeli Arab, that means that only Jews can be Israeli, leaving us stuck with our old Jewish identity that we have tried so hard to escape.

This inferiority complex is the crack into which Tibi and the chorus of Jewish sycophants infiltrate the Israeli psyche, allowing him to spit in our faces for the past twenty years. When you understand this, you understand why Israel did not arrest Bashara and accuse him of treason, allowing him to simply escape Israel instead. The last thing that the sycophants wanted was a media-intensive trial of an Arab leader; a trial in which Bashara would have had the opportunity to say, “Gentlemen, you tried to turn me into an Israeli against my will. You gave me rights; you gave me democracy, a seat in the Parliament, honor fit for kings and all the perks I could ask for. I am sorry, but I am not an Israeli. I am an Arab and I am proud that I directed the missiles straight into your homes.”

Tibi’s chutzpah stems from the fact that this sly man fully understands the Jews’ identity crisis. He knows that they will always grant him immunity because he holds the key to their imaginary Israeli identity.

And then this Feiglin shows up, totally free of the complex, a Jew who is simply a Jew and says to him, “Mr. Ahmad,” (that really upset the interviewer) “I am simply a Jew and you are simply an Arab. No Israeli mask and no “Palestinian” mask. Suddenly the entire foundation upon which Tibi has built his career collapsed under his feet, and he went berserk.

Tibi is not my problem at all. When the Israelis will reconnect to their identity, there won’t be any more problems; not with the Arabs who live in Israel and not with those who live outside our country. He who is in conflict with himself is in conflict with his neighbors, and vice versa.

Tibi is the problem of the public that he represents. Because when he and his ilk continue to represent the entire Arab public, then the righteous among them – those who truly want to live here in peace, just like the Jews live in peace in all the foreign countries around the world – are also included in those who claim to be the “masters” here.

And if you are not a Jew and you say to the Jews in their State that you are the master here – like it or not, you have declared war!


Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry lashed out at European powers for their harsh criticism of the Jewish state at the UN Security Council a day earlier. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that the European Union was in danger of making itself irrelevant as far as the peace process is concerned.

If European powers continue to focus exaggerated attention on Israel, a law-abiding and democratic nation, instead of real flash points like Syria and Egypt, “they are bound to lose their credibility and make themselves irrelevant,” read the Foreign Ministry statement.

Israel’s anger was sparked by a statement released by the four European members of the Security Council – France, Britain, Germany and Portugal – that condemned Jewish building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and took a very unbalanced view of what is needed to get the peace process back on track.

The Europeans said that recent Israeli plans to build additional apartments in existing Jewish “settlements” in Jewish neighborhoods on the eastern side of Jerusalem “send a devastating message” and must be reversed.

“All settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem, must cease immediately,” insisted France, Britain, Germany and Portugal.

Contradicting the traditional position that all peace negotiations should take place between Israel and the Palestinians, the Europeans demanded that both sides instead present proposals to the Middle East Quartet comprised of the European Union, United States, UN and Russia. The Quartet would then mediate those proposals and provide a plan for peace.

Knowing that the international powers have generally sided with Arab demands and adopted the Arab narrative, the Palestinians are pleased with the new direction taken by the Europeans, and have already submitted a “peace” proposal to the Quartet. Israel refuses to do so since the peace process has always been based on the idea of direct bilateral negotiations, and so is being made out as the primary obstacle to peace.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry noted that instead of advancing the cause of peace, the Europeans were only “adding obstacles on the path toward renewed negotiations.”

The Americans took Israel’s side in that debate.

Israel and the Palestinians must “get back to the table and settle these issues together, and that’s the way we are going to have a lasting, stable peace,” said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “Shouting from the rooftops of the Security Council is not going to change the situation on the ground.”

The European statement issued from the Security Council also took Israel to task for recent acts of vandalism against Arabs and Muslims by a small group of right-wing religious youth. The so-called “price tag” attacks are meant to demonstrate to the Israeli government that it cannot surrender to international demands without creating a problem with its own people.

The Europeans appeared to place a lot of importance on those attacks, despite the fact they have resulted in no casualties. They demanded that Israel “bring the perpetrators to justice and put an end to impunity,” calling the attacks “deliberately provocative actions.”

The statement was enormously hypocritical.

For decades Palestinians groups, many of them actually associated with and backed by the Palestinian leadership, have attacked and killed Israeli Jews. Very rarely, if ever, has the UN Security Council or the European Union issued such a strong and direct condemnation of such attacks. Instead, the international community usually responds to Palestinian terror attacks by condemning violence in general, and calling on both sides to “show restraint.”

The Europeans generally give the Palestinian Authority itself a pass when it comes to Palestinian violence, accepting the official Palestinian position that it cannot stop all acts of aggression, which at any rate are legitimate responses to ongoing “Israeli occupation.”


Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

by Chana Ya’ar (Arutz Sheva News)

The head of the Egypt’s Salafi movement says the party will honor the country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

The top two Islamist parties in Egypt won an overwhelming majority in the first two phases of the country’s parliamentary elections. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is in the lead, but the Salafi al-Nour party is not far behind.

Al-Nour party chairman Emad Abdel Ghaffour said at a news conference in Cairo prior to a parliamentary election runoff, “Treaties that Egypt has signed must be upheld, and we intend to respect them,” he vowed. Party spokespersons told journalists the matter was “still being reviewed.”

Balancing his statement, Ghaffour also claimed that Israel had not implemented certain clauses in its treaty with Egypt regarding the Arab population which at the time inhabited Judea, Samaria and Gaza, parts of which eventually comprised the Palestinian Authority.

“There are several clauses that must be enacted in order for the Palestinians to feel they have gained from the peace process,” Ghaffour told reporters.

Among the clauses referred to were “a solution to the Palestinian issue, their right to self-determination, self-governance and the creation of a Palestinian state on Palestinian land.”

A medical doctor based in Alexandria, Ghaffour also said his party, which adheres to one of the most conservative movements in Islam, would be open to making “changes” to the treaty. However, he did not offer details on what those might be.

Salafi Muslims are committed to the establishment of an Islamic state — a Caliphate — based on a legal system under Shari’a (Islamic) law. Al-Nour has thus far garnered some 30 percent of the vote in the first and second phases of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, with only one more phase polling nine more districts to go.

The electoral process itself has been anything but peaceful, with protesters demanding the ruling military council expedite its transfer of power to civilian authorities, and thousands of women stepping up this week to protest against military brutality against female demonstrators.


Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

(article in FLAME)

Gingrich’s Assertion That the Palestinians Are “Invented” Is True. But Why Did They Do It?

In a rare display of honest reporting on the part of American media, the Associated Press affirmed Newt Gingrich’s statement that the Palestinians are an “invented” people—and the story ran in hundreds of newspapers. Of course, it’s sad and ironic that we cheer simply when the media tell the truth about the Middle East.

In any case, the fact that the Palestinians are a made-up people has been established by all manner of historical research and acclamation, even by Arabs themselves. We know that never in history was there a Palestinian State. We also know that the original Palestinians in the 20th century were Jewish—they called their newspaper the Palestine Post and their orchestra the Palestine Symphony. In those days, the Arabs called themselves Arabs, or in some cases Syrians. Even after Israel’s birth in 1948, no Arabs called themselves Palestinians. The “Palestinians” began calling themselves that only after the 1967 war, when Israel chased Jordan and Egypt out of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Sinai and Gaza.
The name Palestine is Greek transmuted from Latin, and was applied by the region’s ancient conquerors. Nearly all the cities in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza have Hebrew names—like Bethlehem, Nazareth, Hebron—and their current Arabic names are translations of these names. The capital of the West Bank, Nablus isn’t an Arabic name, but a mispronunciation of Neapolis, or Latin for “New City.”

Need more proof? Way back in 1937, the Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission, “There is no such country [as Palestine]! Palestine is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria.”

Next consider the statement of Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, who in 1977 told the Dutch newspaper Trouw that “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian State is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel . . . Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak about the existence of the Palestinian people.”

Mahmoud Abbas, however, in a dazzling display of chutzpah and mendacity at the U.N. recently, recounted a history of ancient Palestine full of Palestinians and a guy named Jesus (no mention of his religion), but no Jews at all. In fact, today’s Palestinians are a group of Arabs left over after Syria and Jordan were formed from the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan (which the Arabs rejected and the Jews accepted).

This is not to say that that the Palestinians have no right to a nation. But the Palestinians use this phony history to justify calling the Jews colonialists and interlopers and inciting their people to an eternal struggle to destroy Israel.

Following Mr. Gingrich’s statement about the instant Palestinians, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad accused the former Speaker of “denying historical truths.”
For months now, FLAME has been calling for an end to U.S. taxpayer support of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) because of its recent merger with the terrorist group Hamas. Now, more recently, the P.A. snubbed U.S. diplomatic efforts and calls to return to peace negotiations with Israel demanding that the U.N. unilaterally declare a Palestinian state. It’s time for Congress to stop funding the Palestinian Authority, and FLAME has issued a new expose of this alarming, unlawful waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Here are a few quotations from a recent interview with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich:
I believe that if somebody is firing rockets at you, they are probably not engaged in the peace process. I believe if somebody goes around and says you don’t have a right to exist, they’re probably not prepared to negotiate for peace. I think if someone says they wanna wipe you out, you should believe them.

I think we’re much more likely to see an Arab winter, than we are to see an Arab Spring. The fact is that when people point out that of the 1,200,000 Christians who were in Iraq when we arrived, 700,000 have fled the country. That doesn’t strike me as a success. When you know that Coptic Christians who have been in Egypt for 2,100 years are now being persecuted and having their churches burned, that doesn’t strike me as a success. I think the Israeli Defense Minister said the other day that he’s very concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood’s success in this recent election.
Remember, I think 15% of the seats went to people who are more extreme than the Muslim Brotherhood…

So, I think there’s a lot to be concerned about, and whether or not the Arab world is going to evolve now in a very negative, probably very destructive, way.

…you have Abbas who says in the United Nations, “We do not necessarily concede Israel’s right to exist.” You’ve had four PLA ambassadors around the world say flatly, “Israel does not have a right to exist.”

I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state, and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time…remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940’s, and I think it’s tragic.

Well, I think it’s delusional to call [the Oslo process] a peace process. I mean, we have an armed truce with a Palestinian Authority that’s relatively weak. And on its flank is a Hamas authority which may become relatively weak, because it can’t deliver anything. But both of which represent an enormous desire to destroy Israel. And I think unless you start with…and frankly, given their school system and the hatred they teach in their schools, often with money that comes from us through the United Nations, I mean I think there’s a lot to think about in terms of how fundamentally you want to change the terms of debate in the region.
Say what you will about Gingrich as a viable candidate, but you cannot say that he doesn’t understand the Middle East and particularly the Israeli-Arab conflict.
The quote about the “invented Palestinian people” has stirred up the expected hornet’s nest. For example, Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad called his remark “cheap and disgraceful”:
Responding to the statements of Gingrich, Dr. Fayyad stated that “the Palestinian people inhabited the land since the dawn of history, and intend to remain in it until the end times”, and added that “people like Gingrich must consult history as it seems that all what he knows about the region is the history of the Ottoman era”.
Perhaps Gingrich’s tone was insulting, but historically he was not incorrect. Ridiculous Palestinian claims that they are descended from ancient Canaanites notwithstanding, most of the ancestors of the present-day ‘Palestinians’ arrived in the region along with or after the expedition of the Ottoman governor of Egypt Muhammad Ali into Syria in the early 1830?s. Rebellions and famines in Syria brought waves of Arabs into Palestine in the 19th and 20th centuries. And of course British and Zionist development brought even more Arab immigrants.
While Palestinian Arabs were mostly united in their opposition to Jewish immigration (although there were exceptions), specifically Palestinian nationalism probably did not exist before the first decades of the 20th century; interestingly, at first most nationalists were Christians rather than Muslims. Arab inhabitants of Palestine often insisted that the area was actually ‘southern Syria’, and identified as ‘Arabs’ and not Palestinians.
This changed with the founding of the PLO in 1964. Arab residents of the former Palestine Mandate became the ‘Palestinian people’. And in truth, the regional wars and terrorism, their indoctrination by every means possible into a culture based on one main principle, hatred of Jews and Israel, their incarceration by the Arab nations and the UN in ‘refugee camps’ where they are bred like farm animals in order to incarnate a weapon of mass destruction for use against the Jewish people — all this has finally made them a people. What kind of people is another question.
Nevertheless, it is Fayyad who is ignorant of history, not Gingrich.
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Monday, December 19th, 2011

by Gil Ronen (Arutz Sheva News)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beitenu faction, said Monday that the attacks against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron, or Yesha) are wrong and hypocritical.

“There is no justification, and no excuse can be accepted with regard to hurting IDF soldiers,” he said, in reference to the incident a week ago in which Yesha youths allegedly vandalized an IDF base. “Between that and shooting protesters – and it doesn’t matter if they are Jewish or not – there is a great difference.”

“In the media frenzy regarding the outposts, too, the media is not loyal to the truth,” he added. “I want to see the same enthusiasm when the subject is 100,000 illegal structures in the Negev and Galilee. And these are not a few dozen structures. And I expect to see the same demands to conform to the law there, too.”

In some of the outposts, Lieberman said, defense ministers and IDF Central Command commanders had participated in placing cornerstones. The press is attacking “people who came naively, and did not know they were on private land, and were sent by all of the governments.”


Monday, December 19th, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

One billion Christians around the world are about to celebrate Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus, the promised Messiah. There is one thing the Palestinian Arabs hope you all remember during those celebrations – that Jesus was, in fact, a Palestinian (Arab).

It is nothing new for the Palestinians to claim that Jesus was a Palestinian. The Palestinian leadership gets in on the action all the time. Yasser Arafat used to openly declare as much as he kicked off Christmas from Bethlehem every year.

Arafat is gone, and current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is a bit more subtle, but the media organs under his control are still being used to perpetuate this lie. Oh, and so is Abbas’ Western-backed, so-called “moderate” Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad.

“Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ,” declared Fayyad as he flipped the switch lighting a 50-foot Christmas tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square last week.
The lie has fully permeated Arab society in the region.

In a December 3, 2010 interview with Palestinian Authority TV, Samih Ghanadreh from Nazareth was asked about his new book “Christianity and its Connection to Islam.”

Ghanadreh told the host that he remembers fondly how Arafat would label Jesus as “the first Palestinian Shahid (martyr),” to which the host matter-of-factly responded, “Jesus was a Palestinian; no one denies that.”

Palestinian Media Watch, which provided translation of the above interview, reported that earlier in 2010, the Communications and Education Authority of the ruling Palestinian faction Fatah issued this statement on its official website:

“If we are proud of the holiness of our land, then we are proud and pride ourselves that the first and most important holy woman among the nations and peoples is from the holy land: The Virgin Mary – the woman of love and peace – is of the nation of Palestine…”

A year earlier, Abbas’ appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, preached on PA TV that “Jesus was born in this land; he took his first steps in this land and spread his teachings [of Islam] in this land. He and his mother [Mary], we may say, were Palestinians par excellence.”

Among average Palestinians it is an ingrained belief that Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, was a Palestinian and even a pre-Islam Muslim. All historic or religious ties between Jesus and the Jews have been severed, just as they have severed all historic and religious ties between the Jews and this land.


Sunday, December 18th, 2011

by Yoni Kempinski (Arutz Sheva News)

A delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and called for a reassessment of the entire U.S. policy vis-à-vis the Israelis and Palestinians.

“The two-state solution will never work and will only lead to increased terror and bloodshed. By promoting the establishment of a Palestinian State the U.S. is only shooting itself in the foot,” the rabbis told the Ambassador.

Members of the delegation told Arutz Sheva that the Ambassador said that the two-state solution was not a U.S. initiative but one that was initiated and promoted by the last four Israeli governments.

“We did not pressure Prime Minister Netanyahu to accept the establishment of a Palestinian State alongside Israel.” Shapiro said. “Our goal – and Israel’s goal as well – is to get both sides to the negotiating table. They should negotiate by themselves without the help of a third party.” The rabbis heard Shapiro state, “The United States, in no uncertain terms, considers Hamas a terror organization, and there can be no negotiations with the organization.”

Rabbi Jospeh Gerlitzky, Chairman of the RCP said that the organization “was founded in 1993 in order to alert public attention to Israel’s failed formula of ‘territories for peace.'”

He added, “For the last 18 years, we’ve been making gestures, giving them land and other vital resources and what did we get in return? Terror and more terror, precisely from those territories that we surrendered. It’s time to stop this foolishness.

“The only solution to the problem is as delineated in the Halachic Ruling based on the Jewish Code of Law Chapter 329 signed by over 350 of the most prominent rabbis in Israel, that the value of Jewish life supersedes every other value”, explained Rabbi Gerlitzky, “Therefore, when foreigners want to enter Jewish border towns, and state that their purpose is only to pick up straw and pebbles, one must violate the Sabbath and stop them militarily becuase if you will allow them one inch it will ultimately lead to the conquest of the entire land.”

Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, Director of the RCP, told the Ambassador that for the last 45 years the word ‘peace’ in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict has become synonymous with “Israeli withdrawal.”

“Unfortunately the past 45 years have proven without a shadow of a doubt that the ‘land for peace’ formula is nothing but an exercise in futility and it’s about time to change course,” he added. Rabbi Lewin quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week at a conference in Vienna, who said, “We disengaged from Gaza and got 10,000 missiles in return.”

Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat, spoke of “the living hell the disengagement from Gaza brought to Kiryat Gat,” adding, “We never felt this way before the disengagement. There are over 50 American students in the Yeshiva in Kiryat Gat but a month ago we were forced to close it down temporarily because of the missiles attack. I have an 18-month-old grand daughter who is gripped with fright hysteria every time she hears a siren alerting that a missile is on its way.”

Rabbi Sholom Gold told Ambassador Shapiro that it seems senior officials in the Administration “just don’t get it.” He was referring to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s statement last week at the Saban forum that called on Israel to make bold steps.

In the spirit of Chanukah which celebrates the victory of a few over many, the rabbis presented the Ambassador with a Chanukah Menorah.


Saturday, December 17th, 2011

by Rebecca Anna Stoil (Jerusalem Post)

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama was on friendly turf Friday afternoon, talking up his commitment to Israel and tough stance on Iran before thousands of participants in the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) biennial event near Washington, D.C. “America’s commitment and my commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable,” declared Obama in an address that seemed at times more like an election rally. “We have been there, and we will continue to be there. Those are the facts.”

“As President I have never waivered in my pursuit of a just and lasting peace – two states for two peoples, an independent Palestine along a secure Jewish state of Israel. I have not wavered and will not waver, that is our vision,” he continued, greeted by ringing applause.

US House-Senate panel approves Iran sanctions
Obama marks Hanukka early at White House party

Addressing the historically left-leaning movement, Obama delivered a report card of his Administration’s performance on issues viewed to be crucial to American Jewry. He emphasized his Administration’s support for “the most comprehensive, the hardest-hitting sanctions the Iranian regime has ever faced,” telling the sold-out audience, “We haven’t just talked about it, we’ve done it.”

Obama reiterated what is likely to be a major talking point in his campaign for the American Jewish vote – that under his Administration, Israel has secured the most foreign aid funding in the history of Israeli-US relations. Current aid for Israel is approximately $3 billion. He cited the Iron Dome missile defense program, as well as strong US support defending Israel in the United Nations.

Republican presidential candidates have recently made support for Israel a major issue both in trying to differentiate themselves from their fellow primary contestants, and in trying to pull in some of the over 70 percent of US Jews who voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential elections.

During his speech, Obama made a veiled reference to the GOP’s attempts, arguing that US support for Israel “transcends partisan politics – or at least it should.”

“No US Administration has done more in support of Israel’s security than ours. None. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It is a fact,” he argued.

Earlier this week, a group called the Emergency Committee for Israel, including major Republican Jewish figures, took out an advertisement in five major American newspapers accusing Obama of “treating Israel like a punching bag.”

Support for Israel was also a major issue at last week’s Republican presidential debate, with all candidates other than Ron Paul vying to assert that their support for Israel and coordination with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ran deepest.

Prior to his address, Obama met with fellow URJ biennial speaker Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the first meeting between the two in two years. According to the Defense Ministry, the two discussed shared challenges faced by the US and Israel in the Middle East.

The Defense Ministry said Barak thanked Obama for “deepening and strengthening security ties between the US and Israel during his term in office.”

On Thursday, Barak addressed the URJ plenary, telling attendees that under the Obama Administration, ties between Israel and the United States have become stronger.

The Reform Movement in Israel has taken a lead role in combating a number of laws supported by the coalition in which Barak’s Independence party is a member, and Barak told American Reform Jews that “as the Defense Minister of the State of Israel, I can assure you that I will stand rock solid against any attempt to curb freedoms or undermine our democracy. I will not allow politicized, targeted legislation to undermine the value of the supremacy of the law.”

In a possible nod to the movement’s efforts to secure greater religious pluralism in Israel, Barak emphasized that “the only Jewish democratic state in the world must remain exactly that: a Jewish and democratic state.”

Barak also addressed Israel’s foreign policy concerns, saying that, “we are preparing for an ‘Islamic Winter’, although in the long run we hope to be part of a democratic neighborhood.”


Saturday, December 17th, 2011

by Gavriel Queenann (Arutz Sheva News)

Russia submitted a UN security council draft criticizing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but stopped short of calling for sanctions.

Russia surprised Western diplomats on Thursday when it put forth a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council taking a harder line on violence in Syria.

Moscow, which has billions of dollars of contracts and investments tied to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has thus far been an obstacle to Western attempts to toughen sanctions on Damascus.

But with the rising death toll in Assad’s nine-month crackdown on protesters jumping by some 1,000 deaths in just two-weeks according to UN Human Rights officials, Russia seems to want to appear proactive.

Russia’s draft condemns the violence from both sides, but includes a reference to “disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities.”

It does not, however, call for the sanctions Western officials have been pushing for. In October, Russia and fellow veto-wielding China voted against a European draft resolution that threatened sanctions.

According to Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin the text “singles out Syrian authorities” numerous times – which has raised hopes some sort of consensus on Syria can be found.

Western nations rejected two previous Russian drafts they said unacceptably attempted to assign blame equally to the government and the opposition.

While diplomats from the west hailed Moscow’s shift as “extraordinary” they nonetheless said it hadn’t gone far enough and “clearly needs lots of amendments.”

The Assad family has held power in Syria for four decades, but is now embattled as it faces both an enduring protest movement and growing insurgency by organized army defectors.

There have been widespread fears the country is at the tipping point of civil war as members of the anti-government Syrian Forces killed 27 security personnel in and around Daraa on Thursday. Observers say it is the deadliest such attack yet.

Analysts note, however, that Moscow could simply be going through the motions as Assad’s regime approaches the point of collapse to protect its investments. Officials in both Jerusalem and Washington have described the fall of Assad’s regime as “inevitable.”

Some 5,000 Syrian civilians have been killed by forces loyal to Assad in the past nine-months, UN officials say.

Syrian authorities claim an additional 1,100 security personnel have been killed by opposition fighters, who they describe as “terrorists” seeking to topple Assad’s regime.


Thursday, December 15th, 2011

by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said that Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich’s remarks about Palestinian Authority Arabs were “unhelpful.”

Gingrich told The Jewish Channel last week that the claim of Palestinian Authority Arabs to be “a people” is not legitimate.

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives said in the interview, “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire” until the early 20th century.

“I think that we’ve invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community,” he said. “And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s and it’s tragic.” he said.

The remarks angered the Palestinian Authority, with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad having told reporters in response the remarks were “extremely trivial, demeaning and ridiculous.”

“Even the most extremist settlers of Israel wouldn’t talk in such a ridiculous way,” Fayyad said. “Our people have been here from the beginning, and they are determined to remain on their land until the end.”

The Arab League also condemned the comments, saying they were “irresponsible and dangerous” and accusing Gingrich of sacrificing U.S. interests for votes.

PBS’s Jim Lehrer asked Clinton in an interview if Gingrich’s statements were helpful, to which she replied, “No, no and I think he recognized that from what I read.”

Clinton added that Gingrich’s statements were “one of those innovated moments that happens in politics.”

In a debate Saturday night in Iowa, Gingrich refused to back down from his remarks and said, “Is what I said factually true? Yes. Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists. It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, ‘Enough lying about the Middle East.”

He added, “When the President keeps talking about a peace process while Hamas keeps firing missiles into Israel, if we had a country next to us firing missiles, how eager would we be to sit down and negotiate?”

Clinton angered Israelis when she recently compared Israel to Iran after the incident in which religious soldiers asked to be exempt from a performance including halakhically forbidden women’s singing. She also criticized, in the same comparison, some hareidi buses in which women and men sit separately, omitting the fact that buses with separate seating are a regular feature of New York State travel between hareidi areas.

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