Wednesday, November 14, 2018

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: The Jews of the North Africa under Muslim Rule
Exile in the Maghreb, co-authored by the great historian David G. Littman and Paul B. Fenton, is an ambitious tome contradicting the myth of how breezy it was for Jews to live in their homelands in the Middle East and North Africa when they came under Muslim rule.

"Ever since the Middle Ages," the book jarringly illustrates, "anti-Jewish persecution has been endemic to Muslim North Africa."

Littman, before his untimely death from leukemia in 2012, had intended this book on the Maghreb to be the first in a series that would cover the social condition of the Jews of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Turkey -- an ambitious project that he was unable to tackle in its entirety.

The impetus for the book, which was first published in French in 2010 and in English in 2016, was to expose the misrepresentation by certain historians of the relations between the Jews of Morocco and Algeria and their Arab rulers. One such historian cited in the book was the French Orientalist, Claude Cahen, who dreamily wrote in his chapter on "Dhimma" in the Encylopaedia of Islam:
"There is nothing in medieval Islam which could specifically be called anti-Semitism... Islam has, in spite of many upsets, shown more toleration than Europe toward Jews who remained in Muslim lands."

The original idea for the book -- a massive collection of personal testimonies, photos and documents spanning ten centuries (from 997-1912) -- came to Littman when he was on a humanitarian trip to Morocco in 1961. Littman noted:
"Following the independence of their country in 1956, the Jews of Morocco had begun to redefine their hopes regarding the future. Whereas new opportunities for them began to loom on the horizon, I was astonished to observe that the Moroccan Jews were making every possible effort to leave their native land to immigrate to the struggling young State of Israel or even to Europe, whose communities were still painfully recovering from the tragedies of World War II."
'Occupied territories' of the Middle East and Africa
Have you heard of the Land of Punt? I certainly hadn't - before I read David Silon's 'Occupied Territories'.

It's a clever title designed to make you sit up. To most people the Occupied Territories have something to do with Israel. Silon means those territories stretching from West Africa to Iraq that came under Arab rule after the 7th century. There is a bewildering variety of peoples, each with a long and complex history.

And the Druze? What do they seek? It seems that in 1921 they had their own state, but were always clashing with the Maronites. Today, however, they do not seem to want to assert their independence from either Syria, Israel or Lebanon, and are content to live as a minority.

Then there are indigenous Christians - the Arameans, Syriacs, Maronites, Copts. All have suffered discrimination and persecution under various Muslim rulers. But did you know that the Crusaders were no less a nightmare for the Arameans? The eastern Christians have a history of squabbling with the church of Rome, yet Assyrians and Maronites call themselves Catholics. Work that one out.

Israel makes an an appearance as the only Jewish state previously ruled by Islam to have reclaimed sovereignty. Silon's chapter gets a little too bogged down in historical detail; he could have written a little more about the rise of the Zionist movement.

We get a chapter on the Nubians, an ancient people now split between Egypt and the Sudan. But why stop there? Where are the Rifian people, the Beja, the Touareg, the Chaouis, the Chenouas and the Mozabites of North Africa? Silon is gracious enough to offer to remedy omissions in future editions.

'Occupied Territories' goes into a lot of detail - and there is perhaps too much reliance on Wikipedia. But Silon's work is an eye-opener - and makes an important point : the 'Arab world' is nothing of the sort. It is a collection of disparate groups and peoples, some of whom still want independence and liberation from arabisation and islamisation.
Australians do support recognising Jerusalem
My organisation, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, was keen to test the veracity of the Roy Morgan survey. We commissioned YouGov/Galaxy to conduct a poll asking: In 1949, Israel designated Jerusalem to be its capital city, and has its parliament there. Do you think Australia should recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? The survey was conducted in February among 1,205 Australians. The demographic distribution of the sample as between age, gender, marital/parental status, geographical location, income level and educational attainment reflected the results of the 2016 census as published by the ABS. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 per cent.

The results paint a very different picture to the published Roy Morgan findings. A key finding of the YouGov survey was that when the question of Jerusalem was framed as one of whether to ‘recognise’ (rather than ‘declare’) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and was asked without mentioning Trump or the US, Australians supported recognition by a margin of almost two to one (40 to 21 per cent). Based on party preference, those supporting recognition outnumbered those against in every group except the Greens.

My organisation, the peak representative body of the Jewish community, has long supported recognising the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there. Of course Jerusalem strikes an emotional chord for all Jews. It has been our people’s spiritual and political capital since the dawn of the Iron Age 3,000 years ago. But we also believe it is in Australia’s interests, and the interests of peoples of the Middle East, for western nations to back the region’s only real democracy, instead of cravenly yielding to threats of retaliation or, worse still, conjuring up the spectre of threats which don’t exist. The announcement of the Australian government that it is open to considering whether Australia’s embassy in Israel should be moved to Jerusalem was made four days before the highly-significant by-election for the Federal seat of Wentworth. The timing of the announcement led to a storm of criticism. Yet when the issue of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is considered on its merits, without being accompanied by the hoopla of Australian (or US) domestic politics, the idea enjoys far more support than opposition. Its time will come.


MK Shelly Yachimovich, of the Zionist Union, is working for the other side, and I don’t just mean the Opposition. Her Sunday tweet regarding Officer “M” revealed details of a secret operation to the public and put a hero’s family in danger, too. All for the sake of political capital—to show she is against Israel’s Nation State Law. Not only that, but she twisted the facts to suit her own narrative.
I could show you that tweet. It’s still up there, as Yachimovich feels no shame for outing a hero’s family and hurting her country. She feels no shame that she used facts to build a lie to garner votes in the next election.  
But I won’t show it to you. Even though every man and his dog (not to mention Hamas) has the ability to find and locate that tweet. I won’t do it because I won’t help her hurt Israel and the family of Officer “M.” I won’t be a contributing factor, won’t share in the evil of this deed.
Here is what she did: she posted a photo of Officer “M” with his two small children, the three faces all blurred out, but with plenty of identifiable details remaining. Then she exposed yet another confidential detail about this secret mission to the public at large: Officer “M” wasn’t Jewish.
Why did she reveal all this info? Why show the touching photo of “M”’s family? For the purpose of making the spurious claim that Israel’s new Nation State Law has turned Jewish Israelis into inhuman bigots.
Yachimovich, you see, had the temerity to state that the only reason the government of Israel didn’t air “M”’s name was because he wasn’t Jewish. Israel, she said, doesn’t honor non-Jews or their contributions to the state. She said that to Israel, non-Jews like Officer “M” are second class citizens.
MK Shelly Yachimovich

This is utter hogwash. Officer “M”’s name has been kept confidential because of the top secret nature of his mission—so secret that this hero’s name must remain under wraps for a very long time. It’s actually an awe-inspiring fact to consider if you are a thinking person: Officer “M” went into a dangerous mission knowing that no one could ever know what he did, or even that he did it, even if he died. Which sadly, tragically, he did.
THAT, my friends, is a hero. Officer “M” was a true patriot, someone who loved Israel and gave his life for the Jewish State. I don’t need to know any more about him than that.
Aside from this one nauseating tweet, all I have heard from my Jewish Israeli friends and from the highest echelon of the army and government, is honor and praise for Officer “M”’s ultimate sacrifice. Contrary to Shelly Yachimovich, who thinks not about “M,” the safety of “M”’s family, or her country, but only about herself and what she can do to gain a leg up in the next election. I think she’s disgusting and I told her so on Twitter, which is the beauty of that forum.
That is all well and good, and I hope that reading this, you are feeling unmitigated umbrage, as I am.
But that is not enough. News cycles are short. Since Shelly tweeted that falsehood-filled tweet, for instance, 400 rockets were shot into Israel from Gaza in a single 24-hour period, a record.
Many more newsworthy events will occur between that terrible tweet and the elections. And the public has a short memory. What I ask you to do is hold this particular tweet/event in your mind and not let it be forgotten.
I ask you to remember that Shelly Yachimovich endangered IDF soldiers, the Jewish State, and Officer “M”’s bereaved family in a horrible tweet filled with outright lies, for the sake of political capital.
Remember that tweet. Remember that name. And remember the party to which she belongs, a party that shares her culpability and her shame.
I don’t just want you to remember the facts of this awful tweet at election time.
I want you to remember it forever and brand it on your mind.
This is a really bad person.
She may do some good things in future. We must not let that blind us to what she did here. She has not taken the tweet down nor shown remorse.
She does not deserve a second chance.
It would not be a fitting tribute to Officer “M” to vote for Shelly Yachimovich or her party, Labor, ever again.



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  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory


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peaceKiryat Motzkin, November 14 - A resident of this Haifa suburb voiced confusion and frustration today following a period during which he replaced his typical social media avatar with the logo of a movement to end armed conflict, only to discover that armed conflict nevertheless persists.

Dudu Enema, 25, answered a call on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for users to switch their profile images to a picture of a dove holding an olive branch in its beak, in an effort to promote peace and end war. The accounts receivable clerk made the change within minutes of seeing the posts asking people to do so, confident that such action would have the desired effect. However, two days later he discovered that the incidence of armed conflict had only increased, with Hamas and Israel trading blows, the Syrian regime continuing to battle Islamist militias in a brutal, seven-year-old conflict, Iran and Saudi Arabia destroying Yemen in a proxy war, and more African countries than he cares to count still mired in civil war, jihad, genocide, and racial violence. Enema admitted he was at a loss to explain the failure of the avatar switch to bring peace.

"I'm struggling to make sense of it," he disclosed in an interview. "Just like with those breast cancer awareness campaigns and who knows what else - as soon as I changed my profile picture to a pink ribbon last year, for example, that was it - I think there's no more breast cancer. Is that right? And everyone knows Black Lives Matter now, as well. Racism has been vanquished. When I saw the posts asking people to make their avatars a peace dove, I thought, well, yeah, of course. My only other thought was that we should have done this sooner."

"Imagine how history would be different if there had been a social media campaign of this nature and power before the Second World War," he continued. "The world would be a very different place. I mean, aside from the fact that the existence of social media before the war would mean things were already very different, but I think you get the point. It's a powerful tool, this changing of profile pictures."

"That's why I'm so puzzled," he added. "Do you think maybe if enough people attended candlelight vigils it would put the movement over the top? I'm thinking maybe this is the solution to all that gun violence in the US. Has anyone thought of trying it?"



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From Ian:

NGO Monitor: NGOs Disappear When Rockets Start Flying from Gaza
Over the past two days, Palestinian terror groups in Gaza have fired over 400 rockets and missiles into Israeli population centers, resulting in 1 death and more than 70 injured.

Since each such attack is a war crime, one might expect human rights NGOs to condemn these blatant violations of human rights. In particular, groups and individuals that immediately and routinely condemn any Israeli action that they do not like.

However, that has not happened. Instead, NGOs and NGO officials have entirely ignored the Palestinian violations against Israelis. Some have simply remained silent, while others have focused exclusively on demonizing Israel. Notably, Palestinian NGOs, which claim to meticulously document violations occurring in Gaza, have not released detailed accounts of the illegal launches of indiscriminate weapons into Israel nor systematically examined how combatants embed themselves among civilian infrastructure.

NGOs/officials that have not commented at all include: Al-Haq, B’Tselem, Adalah, Human Rights Watch’s Ken Roth (Executive Director) and Sarah Leah Whitson (Director of Middle East Division), Addameer, Aldameer, Breaking the Silence, Defense for Children International-Palestine, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Broederlijk Delen, Oxfam, Yesh Din, and Hamoked.

PMW: Hamas fights Israel by using civilians as human shields)
It is clear from past wars that Hamas doesn't care about the lives of the almost 2 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Hamas unscrupulously uses Palestinian civilians as human shields when fighting Israel. This might be what is in store for Palestinians again, as Hamas escalates its missile attacks on Israeli civilian targets in towns and cities. Hamas has launched hundreds of missiles yesterday alone, forcing Israel to respond with military force.

In the 2014 war, Hamas openly and intentionally demanded that civilians ignore Israel's warnings prior to bombings of terrorists hiding among civilians. Hamas insisted they welcome death, so that Hamas could use them as human shields for their fighters and rocket launchers.

Hamas' spokesman at the time, Sami Abu Zuhri, called on Palestinians to "oppose the Israeli fighter planes with their bodies alone" which he said had "proven an effective method" against "the occupation:"

Al-Aqsa TV reporter: "Witnesses are talking about a large crowd. The residents are still gathering to reach the Kaware family home in order to prevent the Zionist occupation's fighter planes from striking it."
Al-Aqsa TV host: "People are reverting to a method that was very successful once."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri: "The people oppose the Israeli fighter planes with their bodies alone... I think this method has proven effective against the occupation. It also reflects the nature of our heroic and brave people, and we, the [Hamas] movement, call on our people to adopt this method in order to protect the Palestinian homes."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 8, 2014]


Melanie Phillips: So how would England react to genocidal rocket barrages?
Here’s a thought experiment for British readers.

Suppose Scotland and Wales were not part of the United Kingdom. Suppose Scotland was effectively controlled by… oooh, I dunno, let’s say, Russia, which had installed underneath residential buildings throughout southern Scotland 120,000 missiles pointing at England which Russia repeatedly threatened, in the most demented and blood-curdling terms, to annihilate.

What do you think the English government would do? What do you think NATO might say or do?

Now suppose that Wales, which for decades had been inhabited by people who had long pledged to annihilate England and who – now also backed by Russia – had repeatedly attacked it over the years with missiles; who had for months been trying to storm the border with England and attacked it with aerial incendiary devices, as a result of which thousands of acres of English farmland had been incinerated and destroyed; and who had also been building tunnel networks running into England through which they intended to infiltrate the country and slaughter as many English people as possible.

What do you think the English government would do?

Now suppose that some kind of botched clandestine operation in Wales by English special forces – to try to protect England from further attack – was used as a pretext for the terrorist regime running Wales to fire hundreds upon hundreds of rockets into England, causing fatalities and injuries by direct hits on buses and houses and apartment buildings in, say, Bristol or Salisbury and threatening to hit other cities including London; and that the only reason thousands of civilians had not been killed was that they had shelters in which they had been forced to live for long periods over many years.

What do you think the English government would do? Do you think there’s any doubt that, long before such rocket barrages could be unleashed against it, England would have flattened Wales?

  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
I tweeted some things in the past week that I didn't blog about or only mentioned in passing.

Here are some of the more popular ones.













And before this week's events:






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  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


One of the "civilian buildings" that Israel destroyed in Gaza this week was called the Al Amal Hotel.

Articles in Arab and leftist media like +972 identified it as a hotel targeted by Israel among other war crimes.

The IDF said that the hotel wasn't a hotel but was the location of the Hamas interior ministry, where attacks against Israel were planned.

Palestinian human rights groups admit it.

PCHR said "Israeli warplanes carried out 15 airstrikes, launching 57 missiles to target ...al-Amal Hotel which had become the Internal Security’s office that was only few meters away from the former head office of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)."

Al Mezan also admits "Al-Amal housed an office of the Internal Security Apparatus."

There is no record I can find since 2008 of anyone staying at the Al Amal Hotel. It hasn't been a hotel for years, but Arab propaganda media knowingly reported on the airstrike as if it was still a hotel.







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  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


While Hamas still pretends to be aiming its rockets at Israeli military targets, Islamic Jihad is more honest.

In a statement where it announced a new, deadlier rocket, the terrorist group said "the new missile was used recently during the shelling of the occupied city of Ashkelon, and the rocket caused serious damage to the houses of the settlers....The new missile has great destructive power and was able to turn the occupied city of Ashkelon into hell."

Besides making it clear that they believe that all of Israel is "occupied," the statement brags about targeting "houses of settlers" - which is not a military target under any circumstances.

Yet throughout the two day bombardment of Israeli towns and cities in the south, not one tweet from Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch was issued condemning this clear and obvious war crime and attack on the lives of Israelis.

HRW's Ken Roth, who tweets every daylight hour and who can always find anti-Israel articles to publicize, couldn't issue a single tweet about hundreds of rockets being shot into Israel.

Omar Shakir, HRW's Israel and Palestine Director, retweeted others' outrage at Israel attacking the Al Aqsa TV station, but didn't say a word about the hundreds of rockets shot indiscriminately at Israel.

The rule at these NGOs is that it is only acceptable to mention war crimes against Israelis after there are ten times as much discussion of alleged Israeli crimes.






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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Ian:

Anti-Semitism Is a Form of Idolatry
The Hebrew Bible tends to regard idol worship as the sin par excellence. To Scott Shay, there is an underlying connection between hatred of Jews and Judaism’s rejection of the idolatrous worldview, which, he argues, is not limited to ancient paganism:

Idolatry is the process of attributing superior and inexplicable power and authority to . . . people, animals, and natural processes. Since finite beings are limited by nature, . . . idolatry is by definition a falsehood. Yet this falsehood is the basis for much human injustice, just as the Bible explains. From Pharaoh in Egypt to Sennacherib in Assyria, idolaters built temples, ran pageants, and wrote poems and epics to extol their “supernatural” power and authority. These lies justified their selfish oppression of the masses and their greedy conquests of other peoples. Idolatry underpins all genuinely malevolent power. . . .

Anti-Semitism is the projection of idolatry onto Jews. Anti-Semites are not people who criticize or debate specific Jewish viewpoints or communal decisions in a spirit of mutual respect. They are people who themselves harbor projects of domination and exploitation, but who . . . project their own malevolent intentions onto Jews. In Charlottesville, anti-Semitic marchers who genuinely seek white supremacy shouted, “Jews won’t replace us.” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who wished to bring the entire world under Islamist control, regularly accused the Jews of seeking world domination. Hitler railed against a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Germany, when he wanted to destroy the Jews! . . .

It is not the Jews’ success, nor their actual power that is the source of anti-Semitism. . . . Rather, it is the Jews’ historic connection with monotheism that has made them the central target of this projected idolatry. This has been true even when many Jews have been neither religious nor conversant with the texts [of their faith]. By accusing Jews of malevolent and demonic control over organs of power (media, Congress, banks, etc.), true idolaters (whatever their specific ideology) project their own idolatry onto the Jews and thereby maintain their own delusions.


Melanie Phillips: The shameful abandonment of Asia Bibi
It is hard to think of a more deserving case for asylum than Asia Bibi.

A Christian in Pakistan, Asia Bibi has been freed after eight years in solitary confinement on death row for committing blasphemy, a crime of which she has now been acquitted by Pakistan’s supreme court.

The accusation against her was a travesty. As she picked berries with other Punjabi farmworkers in June 2009, a quarrel developed with two Muslim women after she was asked to fetch water and they said they wouldn’t drink from a vessel touched by a Christian. The women later alleged to a village mullah that Asia Bibi had insulted Mohammed, accusations which the supreme court said were “concoction incarnate”.

The acquittal prompted thousands of violent demonstrators to take to the streets calling for Asia Bibi to be hanged and threatening the supreme court judges with death. The leader of the Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan threatened that if she left the country there would be war.

She is now in hiding for her life in Pakistan after the new prime minister, Imran Khan, succumbed to the pressure and allowed a petition against the court decision as part of a deal to halt the protests. Several commentators have said the refusal to allow her to leave Pakistan effectively signed her death warrant.

It is, of course, astounding that the prospect of freedom for one woman, acquitted of a monstrously unjust claim of blasphemy, can have provoked this murderous hysteria. Apart from illustrating once again the sheer derangement of Islamic fanaticism, it illuminates two other things: the Islamists’ fear that Pakistan may be on the verge of becoming more open and loosening up Islamic law, and Imran Khan’s actual spinelessness in the face of an opportunity to do so.
Even the Women’s March Apology Erases Jewish Women
The Women’s March Statement on anti-Semitism is not nearly enough to begin healing the pain its leaders have caused Jewish women. It’s good to finally hear the March publicly disagree with Louis Farrakhan’s hateful comments on women, LGBTQ communities, and Jews. This is a positive first step. That said, disagreeing with hate is not the same as FIGHTING IT.

The Women’s March leadership must take some responsibility for the situation they have created. Three of the four co-directors have long-standing relationships with the leader of an anti-Semitic, anti-trans, anti-gay hate group. Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez have all proudly declared their friendship and partnership with Farrakhan on various occasions. Beyond Farrakhan, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory have continued to offend and hurt the community by speaking as experts on anti-Semitism despite community opposition, hurling unfounded accusations at the Anti-Defamation League, opining on Jewish history, blaming Israel for President Trump’s Muslim ban and claiming that anti-Semitism isn’t a systemic hatred. They have shown no remorse and no interest in community dialogue.

These leaders of the movement continue to treat calls for accountability and reconciliation from Jewish allies as unfair, personal attacks. In actuality, the criticism they face is the result of their own actions over the course of more than a year, in which they erased, degraded, and marginalized Jewish women and their concerns in the face of the Trump administration and rising anti-Semitism. Jewish women are never even mentioned in their statement. Instead, they remain focused on unfair attacks from the right.

  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad, in partnership with the Council of Jewish Communities in Morocco, is organizing an international conference on "Moroccan Jews: for a Shared Maghreb", starting today and through the 18th, in Marrakech, under the patronage of Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

According to the organizers, the conference aims to "promote the coexistence that has long characterized Moroccan history between different religions, especially between Muslims and Jews, and to ensure that this idea is passed on to new generations and to enable them to take action to combat all forms of exclusion and stigmatization. "

Around 200 Moroccans and expats will participate in the event. They will also include documentaries, art exhibitions and historical exhibitions from Jewish life in Morocco .

It is clear that the king of Morocco is legitimately interested in maintaining the Jewish community there.

One of the comments in the newspaper that reported this was positive, but another wasn't:

Our first priority is solidarity with Gaza, which the Zionists attacked yesterday and left several martyrs. Unfortunately, we talk about co-existence with the Jews at the expense of the blood of the martyrs and an unjust siege in front of the silence of the Islamic world. Allah will all be hold us all accountable for this failure.






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Ryan Ashley is like a long cold drink on a hot summer day. Cool, confident and extraordinarily talented. She made history as the first woman to win Ink Master after eight seasons of the tattooing reality tv show competition which led to her participation in the spin-off show Ink Master: Angels – and despite her prominence in a male dominated industry, she seems to have no arrogance in her.

Ryan is not the kind of woman you would expect to find in Israel. Her visit becomes even more extraordinary when you know its purpose – to use her art to help IDF wounded warriors heal. 

I am very glad I had the opportunity to watch Ryan at work. A natural born artist, she began her career as a fashion designer and when she fell in love with tattooing, flesh became her canvas.

I, who am incapable of drawing a straight line with a ruler, was flabbergasted when she showed me the tattoos on her leg and said nonchalantly: “The cat I did myself, upside-down.”  For her, many of her tattoos are drawings she just felt like doing, as others might doodle on paper in their free time, Ryan creates permanent art for herself and others. 
Israel is becoming more open to tattooing although once it was an absolute taboo. Tattooing is explicitly forbidden in the Torah (Leviticus 19:28): “do not tattoo yourself”. The verse comes in a section of laws that explain how Jews are supposed to live. This verse refers to two practices common to other nations of the time that are both forbidden to Jews as pagan customs are not to be emulated. Modern day Jewish aversion to tattoos was strengthened by Nazis forcibly tattooing Jews with numbers during the Holocaust.

Today it is becoming more and more socially acceptable to get a tattoo. Sometimes parents and their teenage/twentysomething children get tattoos together. Sometimes grandparents get tattoos of the names of their grandchildren.

Healing Ink brings tattoo artists of an international caliber to Israel, to give tattoos to selected survivors of terrorism and war. The session that took place in Haifa’s Museum of Modern Art was dedicated to IDF wounded warriors. At first tattooing and healing might seem like a strange combination but when it’s understood that extreme trauma changes the body and the mind, it makes sense to take back a feeling of control by choosing to tattoo yourself with an empowering symbol or image.

Some of the tattoo recipients choose to cover physical scars with beautiful imagery, turning the ugliness inflicted on them into something they can love. Others choose symbols of strength, freedom and being able to leave the past behind. It is about choice and control over what happens to your own body. 

Ryan, like the other tattoo artists in the group, came to Israel to use art to heal, to lessen trauma with kindness. There was no political agenda involved. Most of the artists who came were not Jewish and had no knowledge of Israel. Their interest was not in politics or an agenda but simply in humanity.

We Israelis are rarely given this kind of human consideration.

Haifa’s Museum of Modern Art had arranged a day for this special tattoo event. The artists, recipients and museum visitors became living art. Tomer, the man Ryan tattooed was not talkative. He obviously felt a little uncomfortable at being an “exhibit” but Ryan’s calm confidence created a peaceful bubble in which he too could relax.



Unlike some of the other recipients, he was reluctant to speak of the trauma he experienced. He was willing to say that it was in one of the Gaza wars and that he hoped the dream catcher Ryan was creating would help. Looking at him no physical injury was visible. Possibly all that is left is trauma to the soul.

It is not often that one can feel the caliber of a person just by being in their presence but, despite his few words, the quality of character was obvious. When the event was over, I asked him how it felt to have such a special woman come across the ocean, just for him. His eyes sparkled and a huge smile lit up his face. In a typical Israeli understatement, it was his expression that gave meaning to the words: “It’s something! Really something!”

As a people, we more often than not, feel very alone in the world. For those carrying the weight of trauma, this feeling is even more extreme. Now, every time Tomer looks at his leg he will see Ryan’s art and know that someone cared about him enough to fly halfway across the world, to give him a piece of herself, just to make him feel better.

That is very powerful.


Hate is very strong. It steals our lives, ruins families, breaks bodies and bends the psyche, damaging the soul but sometimes, art can overcome.    






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From Ian:

Israel indicates acceptance of Gaza ceasefire reached with Hamas
Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip announced that Egypt brokered a ceasefire agreement between them and Israel on Tuesday evening, after over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel over the course of 25 hours.

A senior Israeli diplomatic official appeared to confirm the reported armistice.

“Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators. Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [if a ceasefire will go into effect],” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

The decision to reach a ceasefire agreement with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups in Gaza was reportedly accepted by Israel’s security cabinet.

According to the military, over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel over the course of 25 hours on Monday and Tuesday.

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted over 100 of them. Most of the rest landed in open fields, but dozens landed inside Israeli cities and towns, killing one person, injuring dozens more, and causing significant property damage.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas prefers to preserve 'achievements' over all-out war
Hamas indicated again on Tuesday that it was not interested in another major war with Israel. Hamas officials are reported to have told Egyptian and UN mediators that if Israel halts its attacks on the Gaza Strip, they too would respond in kind.

After firing hundreds of rockets and projectiles toward Israel since Sunday night’s clash between an elite IDF unit and Hamas terrorists near Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Hamas now feels that it has extracted a “heavy price” from Israel in return for the death of its top commander, Sheikh Nur Baraka, and six other Palestinians.

On the one hand, Hamas wants to show the Palestinian public that it is capable of making Israel pay for its “aggression.’ On the other hand, Hamas also seems keen on avoiding a situation where the incident near Khan Yunis would obstruct efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to reach a truce with Israel.

Judging from the statements made by its senior officials, Hamas does not believe that the incident near Khan Yunis, and the subsequent Israeli response, is sufficient reason for another major war.

Hamas can now boast in front of its people that its military wing has fulfilled its promise of avenging the death of the seven Palestinians killed by the IDF elite unit.
IDF says it hit 70 targets in response to Gaza attacks, including 3 tunnels
The Israeli military threatened Hamas on Monday evening, in response to a barrage of more than 300 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in the preceding hours, saying the terror group would “feel the power of the IDF’s response in the coming hours.”

The army said it bombed some 70 targets linked to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups throughout the Gaza Strip, including three attack tunnels, in retaliation for the massive fusillade.

“The Hamas terror group is responsible for everything that occurs in and emanates from the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences of the terrorist activities conducted against Israeli citizens,” the military said in a statement.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m., terrorists fired a Kornet anti-tank guided missile at a bus parked a few hundred meters from the Gaza border, seriously injuring a 19-year-old Israeli soldier, the army said.

More troops had reportedly been on the bus, but exited before the missile struck.

The soldier was taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, with injuries throughout his body, medics said.

  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here is a graph showing the number of hate crimes against religions in 2017, just released by the FBI:


Anti-Jewish hate crimes soared from 684 to 938 in 2017, an increase of 37%.

Fully 60% of all anti-religion hate crimes in America were against Jews in 2017.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes, meanwhile, declined from 307 to 273, a decline of 11%.

Hate crimes increased significantly across the board (race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender) but the increase of antisemitic hate crimes outpaced the other increases. In 2016, 11% of all hate crimes of any type were against Jews, in 2017 that increased to 13%.







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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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