Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Times has an article about how countries are restricting freedom in the times of the pandemic - and what it says about Israel is quite inaccurate.

 "Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens."

In reality, Israeli courts have not been shut down. The Justice Minister together with the Courts Administration authority have postponed all non-essential hearings. The courts are still open.

The surveillance is of mobile phone metadata finding where potentially infected people have traveled. It is not much different than correlating the data from ubiquitous security cameras.

And neither measure was done at Netanyahu's order. The limits on what court cases will be heard were carried out by the Justice Minister and Courts Administration. The surveillance was ordered by the Government (i.e., by vote of all the Ministers), in consultation with Attorney General, and approved by the Supreme Court (which has not been closed either.)

What this shows is that the Leftist tropes of an autocratic Bibi have become accepted by the media.

Moreover, the article is biased by what it doesn't say. The only Arab nation it mentions is Jordan:
 In Jordan, after an emergency “defense law” gave wide latitude to his office, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said his government would “deal firmly” with anyone who spreads “rumors, fabrications and false news that sows panic.”
But autocracies like Syria and the Palestinian Authority don't need new laws to limit speech. Palestinians have arrested journalists under an "electronic crimes law" that forbids saying anything the government doesn't like. Syria has detained doctors who dare say that they have seen cases of coronavirus that the regime does not admit. Police in Lebanon have dismantled protest tents. Egypt expelled a journalist that said things not to the regime's liking. Morocco passed a new law limiting what could be said on social media, similar to Jordan's law.

But the New York Times decided that Israel was the autocracy where citizens' human rights are threatened. These Arab regimes who really are using the emergency to grab more power are barely worth mentioning.

(h/t YM and A)

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Monday, March 30, 2020

From Ian:

Ronald Lauder: Coronavirus Fight Should Bring Us All Together, Not Divide Us by Promoting Hatred
In frightening and uncertain times - like those we are facing now with the coronavirus - some people all too often and dangerously look for and unjustly blame scapegoats. Holding Asian-Americans responsible for the coronavirus merely because it originated in China is deeply offensive and a genuine threat to them. Such scapegoating is terrifyingly familiar to my community, the Jewish people. And we are also being targeted now.

When the bubonic plague swept through 14th century Europe, Jews were held responsible. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were viciously slaughtered, and entire Jewish communities were wiped out. Needless to say, all that Jewish blood did nothing to stop the plague. Now, messages and images implying that Jews are exploiting positions of power in politics, finance and health care to spread the virus have emerged.

It is vital that the Jewish people and all Americans take an unyielding stand against any and all efforts to vilify any individual, community, people or nation for the crisis unfolding around us. This is a moment for coming together in a globally shared experience as we recognize what we have in common. We are all in this together. We will not allow COVID-19 to rob us of our civility, our pride in our nation's diversity, and our ability to build a more perfect union across the many communities that call America home.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn are fighting COVID-19 – and antisemitism
Last Saturday, Yidel Perlstein, chairman of Community Board 12 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, started to feel sick. By Tuesday, he tested positive for coronavirus.

“I’m like a little supermarket. Everything hurts, and every day I get out of bed in the morning, I go to the bathroom, and I think I’m doing better,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “Then I start getting dizzy and weak. I go back to bed, just wait for it to be calm at night and go to sleep. And this has been going on like that every single day.”

“They told me I’m better off staying home as long as I can instead of going to the hospital, which is overcrowded,” he said. “It is better to stay away for as long as possible. So far, I don’t feel any better than last week. It is probably worse.”

“My message is straightforward,” Perlstein said. “If you would have gotten [the coronavirus] and you would know how painful it is, you would have rather stayed home for six weeks than going out and getting it, even with the light case.

“People have no idea. People cannot relate to how painful it is and how you could just lay in bed like you’re almost dead for days and days – and there’s nothing to do.”

New York State has some 60,000 cases and nearly 1,000 people who have died from coronavirus, the largest number in the US by far. Most of the patients, some 33,000, live in the New York City metropolitan area. The new situation affects the sizable Jewish population there, forcing synagogues, schools and yeshivas to close.

Some “99.9%” of the synagogues are closed, as well as schools and most of the stores, Perlstein told the Post.

Netanyahu limits all gatherings to 2 people, except for family members; demands ‘lockdown Seder’
Netanyahu says there are “particular groups” in the country not adhering to emergency directives — “deliberately breaching and even showing contempt” for the rules– and that he therefore ordered security forces to step up enforcement in areas with a high number of violations.

He stresses that most Israelis, including those in the ultra-Orthodox community, are acting responsibly. The “extremist groups” who are flouting the rules, he says, endanger themselves and everybody else, and are trampling on the principle of “love thy neighbor.”

“There won’t be gatherings of over two people who are not from the same nuclear family,” he announces.

Additionally, he says no kind of prayer will be allowed even in open areas — “pray only on your own” — and that religious events should be restricted as much as possible.

Even weddings must be restricted only to immediately family, he says. Funerals remain limited to 20 people, and circumcisions to 10 — all while maintaining two-meter social distancing.

Netanyahu also calls on Israelis not to visit family during the Passover holiday.

This year’s Passover Seder will be “the lockdown seder” — with only the nuclear family attending. “Don’t visit relatives on the eve of the festival either,” he stresses.

“These same restrictions apply as relevant to all faiths,” he notes.

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The pandemic gives us a chance to highlight one of the most ridiculous demands by BDS (and by many Palestinians and Arabs themselves) against "normalization" with Israel.

In order to fight the coronavirus, everyone has to work together. But working together with Israel violates one of the core BDS principles, of being against "normalization" with Israel.

By BDS' definition, normalization is "the participation in any project, initiative or activity, in Palestine or internationally, that aims (implicitly or explicitly) to bring together Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis (people or institutions) without placing as its goal resistance to and exposure of the Israeli occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.”

Therefore, a meeting last week between Palestinian doctors from Jericho and Israeli experts on how to fight the coronavirus would be a violation of the BDS demands. And so is all the other cooperation between Israelis and Arabs on fighting the pandemic.

How absurd that a movement supposedly meant to help Palestinians would prefer that they not cooperate against a worldwide threat! But there you have it - BDS doesn't care about Palestinians.

And Israel does.

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  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The current pandemic has reduced the number of terror attacks and riots in Israel and the territories to nearly zero.  In fact, today is "Land Day," a major event that is usually marked with mass anti-Israel rallies, and this year the Palestinians can do virtually nothing.

Hamas, which is built on a culture of glorifying death and "martyrs," has very little to talk about without physical attacks.  So its top story on the Al Qassam Brigades website is about the "martyrdom" of someone who just died of injuries from a car accident four years ago.

Al-Qassam Brigades said in its military statement that the Mujahideen Muhammad Issa Baraka from Khan Yunis, died today, Saturday 4 Shaaban 1441 AH corresponding to 3/28/2020 AD, as a result of his injury in a traffic accident 4 years ago.

"To go to his Lord after a blessed life full of giving, jihad, sacrifice and bond in the way of Allah, we count him among the righteous martyrs who are pure and do not commend ourselves to Allah."

We ask Allah to accept him in the martyrs, and to accommodate him in his spacious gardens, and to provide his family with beautiful patience and good consolation, and we belong to God and to Him we shall return.
Pity poor Hamas who needs to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find new "martyrs" to praise.

I guess the terror group didn't want to waste their martyr photos:

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From Ian:

Man stabbed in Monsey Hanukkah attack succumbs to wounds
A man seriously wounded in a Hanukkah attack on a Jewish gathering in Monsey, New York, has died, three months after the stabbing rampage.

Josef Neumann, 72, succumbed to wounds sustained during the December 29 machete assault, a local Jewish group said Sunday.

“We are sad to inform you that Yosef Neumann, who was stabbed during the Hanukkah attack in Monsey late Dec 2019, passed away this evening,” the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, who is the community liaison for the Ramapo Police Department that serves Monsey and executive director of Oizrim Jewish Council, shared the news of Neumann’s passing on his Twitter account as well.

“We were hoping when he started to open his eyes,” Rabbi Yisroel Kahan told The Journal News on Sunday night. “We were hoping and praying he would then pull through. This is so very sad he was killed celebrating Hanukkah with friends just because he was a Jew.”

Neumann was the most seriously injured in the attack and doctors had said there was little chance he would ever make a full recovery. He had been in a coma since the attack, according to NBC News.

His death came despite hopes that his condition may improve after he reportedly opened his eyes at the end of February.
16th Israeli dies of virus, Health Ministry predicts 150 critical patients
Israel's coronavirus death toll climbed to 16 on Monday after a 58-year-old man with underlying medical conditions died at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center, south of Tel Aviv.

The news came as Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov warned that there are likely to be over 150 coronavirus patients in a serious condition in Israel by the weekend.

"I don't see a model in which we end this situation with a small number of intubated patients or deaths," Bar Siman Tov told KAN Reshet Bet.

A total of 4,347 Israelis have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus to date, including 80 people in serious condition - among them a young man in his 20s who was hospitalized at Assuta Ashdod University Hospital - and 63 patients requiring ventilation.

Despite testing close to 6,000 people on Sunday, Bar Siman Tov said the tests were only giving authorities a "very partial picture" of the real situation.
PMW: Coronavirus and PA financial priorities
The amount the PA is paying terrorists this month could buy them 387,143 Coronavirus test kits or 465 ventilators instead

For which leaders is the payment of financial rewards to terrorists more important than supporting the needy or paying teachers?

The answer is, of course, the Palestinian Authority leaders– during the Coronavirus crisis!

Anticipating a fall in income, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced that the payment of the March salaries will be staggered, and every day a different group of PA employees will be paid. The order of payment is a clear indication of the PA’s priorities.

Preceded only by the medical and supporting personnel, and the PA Security Forces members, third in line to receive their share of the limited PA budget are the terrorist prisoners and the families of the dead terrorists, the so-called “Martyrs.”

“Since the wheels of production, import, and consumption have stopped, there will be a large drop of more than 50% in the PA’s revenues… The international aid will decrease because the entire world is in crisis, and therefore we will work according to an emergency austerity budget by reducing the expenses as much as possible. However, we will pay the salaries for this month [March] in full and over the course of several days in order to prevent gatherings in front of the banks, and this [will be] in the following manner:

On Sunday the salaries of the medical and supporting personnel will be paid.
On Monday to the [PA] Security Forces members.
On Tuesday to the prisoners and [the families of] the Martyrs.
On Wednesday to welfare cases and the poor.
On Thursday to the teachers.
On Friday to the rest of the [PA] public employees.
The last payment, on Saturday, will be to senior officials, to high level state employees, and to the ministers.”

[WAFA, Official PA news agency, March 29, 2020]

As Palestinian Media Watch has shown, this is not the first time the PA has clearly demonstrated its warped priorities. In 2019, when the PA decided to plunge itself into a self-made financial crisis and was forced to cut salaries to its law abiding employees, it nevertheless committed itself to paying, in full, the salaries of the terrorist prisoners and allowances of the families of the dead terrorists.

Similarly, the fact that the PA prioritizes the payment of the terror rewards over the payment of benefits to the needy Palestinians, is not a surprise. As PMW demonstrated, the PA devotes six times more of its budget to the terrorist prisoners and the families of the dead terrorists than it does to its needy.

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Rabbi Pinni Dunner recounts a story from Rabbi YY Jacobson, a famous inspirational speaker who grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn:

“A few weeks ago, I led a workshop for single mothers, and at the end of the session, I took questions from the women and encouraged them to ask any question that was on their mind. One of the ladies put her hand up, and this is what she asked me… it’s a crazy story.”

“A few months ago,” she said, “it was Pesach. The thing is, my ex-husband and I went through a very difficult breakup. After years in court over our kids, we finally settled on a shared custody arrangement, which means that we alternate Jewish holidays. This past Pesach it was my turn – my children were coming to me for Seder and I was so excited. I changed over my home for Pesach and prepared everything beautifully; it was going to be just me and the kids.”

“I was so happy about them being with me, that I told everyone: my family, my friends, my neighbors. Then, one hour before yomtov, I got a phone call from my ex – for some reason, the kids were not going to be coming. I almost fainted from shock and heartache. I was also so ashamed. I guess I could have called my parents, or I could have called my neighbors – and gone to them for the Seder. But how could I actually do that? I had told everyone my kids were coming! Truth is, I did not have the energy to even be with anyone. I felt completely and totally numb – dry and lifeless.”

“So I did the Seder by myself. On my own. It was the worst and most bitter Seder I have ever had. I just sat there crying the whole way through. Weeping. It wasn’t Pesach. It was Tisha B’Av. I did not have to eat Maror. I—my entire life!—was Maror. Yes, I went through the Haggadah and ate the Matzah; but the entire Seder took me 25 minutes.”

“Rabbi Jacobson, did I do the right thing? Did I fulfil my Seder obligation? Was it even called a Seder? Because it did not feel like a proper Pesach.”

Rabbi Jacobson told me – and believe me, as a public speaker, I know exactly what he means – sometimes your most inspirational moments in a speech are not prepared. They are a gift from God. You can prepare for hours. And then inspiration drops into your lap. Right then and there, Rabbi YY Jacobson had such a moment.

“Lady,” he said, “in 1988 the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s wife died, and he was left on his own, as they sadly had no children. She passed away in February, and two months later was Pesach. Every year the Rebbe and his Rebbetzen had Seder together, but this year he was on his own, totally by himself. Who would the Rebbe conduct the Passover Seder with?”

“I recall that a young boy, Ari Halberstam – who was later tragically gunned down on Brooklyn Bridge, in 1994 – approached the Rebbe after Maariv on the first night of Pesach and, on behalf of his mother, invited the Rebbe to his home for Seder. Ari’s family lived at 706 Eastern Parkway, just one block away from ‘770’. The Rebbe smiled at Ari, and shook his head. He thanked him profusely, but told Ari he would be having the Seder in his private office in ‘770’.”

“I was a yeshiva student at the time,” continued Rabbi Jacobson, “so I am a first-hand witness to this story. In fact, the Rebbe’s longstanding assistant Rabbi Leibel Groner offered to stay with the Rebbe, but the Rebbe sent him home to have Seder with his wife and children.”

“And so, the great Lubavitcher Rebbe – the man who inspired countless people around the world for their Seders, who personally undertook to provide a meaningful Pesach Seder for Israeli Army personnel who were on duty on the first night of Pesach via his shluchim in Eretz Yisrael – had the Seder on his own. Not one other person was present. As the Talmud says: if you are on your own, you ask yourself the ‘Ma Nishtana’ questions, and then you answer them to yourself.”

“A few of us yeshiva boys did not go home that night; we waited outside in the street – and after a couple of hours, the Rebbe opened the door to welcome Eliyahu Hanavi and recite Shefoch Chamatcha. He walked outside holding a candle and his Haggadah, said the prayer, gave us a wave, and then went back inside to finish the Seder — by himself.”

“My dear lady,” said Rabbi Jacobson, “if it was good enough for the Lubavitcher Rebbe to have the Seder on his own, trust me, your Seder was perfect!”

“He could have had his Seder with 100 people, 1000 people, or 10,000 people. He personally arranged for all the army Seders in Israel to be sponsored. He was responsible for hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Pesach on Seder night, from Kathmandu to Alaska, from San Francisco to New Zealand. But at the end of the day, he went and did the Seder on his own. He didn’t need anyone else to be close to God. He didn’t need adulation. He didn’t need validation. He sat alone and relived the Exodus from Egypt.”

“I was only 15 at the time,” concluded Rabbi Jacobson, “but despite my youth, I felt sad that the Rebbe had nobody to be with for the Seder. Why did he not invite even one person to be with him? But today, after hearing your story, I may have discovered the answer—and it is just a personal feeling. As a true Jewish leader, the Rebbe wished to empower all those souls who would ever need to do their Seder alone. He wanted them to know that their solitary Passover Seder was powerful, meaningful, and real. Jewish history and the Divine presence would dwell at their Seder just as it does at a Seder that has many people there.”

(h/t David S)

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  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Bernie Sanders, who has surrounded himself with anti-Israel aides, naturally doesn't know anything about Israel beyond what his aides tell him.

Which is why he parroted the talking points of rabid Israel-haters in a tweet on Sunday:

Tellingly, he links to a week-old article from the extremist anti-Israel Gisha organization.

But even the UN has admitted that Israel is not impeding any aid to the territories and praised Israel for fully cooperating with the Palestinian Authority, international NGOs and even Hamas.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has praised the coordination between the Israeli and Palestine authorities in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released on Friday, the coordination and cooperation established between Israel and Palestine, with regard to tackling COVID-19, was described as “excellent”.

The Israeli and Palestinian authorities are continuing to coordinate their responses closely and constructively, the statement said, which is a major factor in the level of disease containment achieved so far.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Israel has allowed the entry of critical supplies and equipment into Gaza: examples of critical supplies include swabs for collection of samples and other laboratory supplies required for COVID-19 testing, and Personal Protective Equipment to protect health workers.

The statement also noted Israel’s cooperation in allowing health workers and other personnel involved in the COVID-19 response to move in and out of the West Bank and Gaza.
It is not only Mladenov. The UN has noted this across the board:

When even the UN says that Israel is doing everything one can expect to help Palestinians, you know that the haters are lying through their teeth.

And Bernie Sanders prefers the lies of the haters to the facts that even the UN admits.

Thank Allah he will not be the Democratic candidate.

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  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Two news stories in Palestinian media seem s little too coincidental.

On Friday morning, Palestinian police arrested a journalist who broadcast live from Hebron. I do not know what he said, but the police officials said that he "talked about the coronavirus in a manner that spread terror and fear among citizens in Hebron."

The Palestinian electronic crime unit has been following social and traditional media to find "violations and false news that spread fear and confusion among citizens."

It sounds like this journalist warned about an outbreak of the virus in Hebron, and the police arrested him, warning the population that only official news may be published or posted.

This law sounds strikingly like the one that Syria has to block all news that the government doesn't approve of and to arrest anyone - even doctors - who speak publicly about Covid-19 cases that are not officially acknowledged.

Is that the case here? Are there people with the virus in Hebron?

Tweets indicated that Hebron went under quarantine last Thursday. Photos of deserted streets were posted o Friday. But the official media said that the quarantine started Sunday night.

Why did Hebron suddenly decide to quarantine the entire city?

The governor of Hebron, Jabreen Al-Bakri, issued a decision Sunday night to completely close the city of Hebron until further notice.

A statement issued byAl-Bakri said, "It is based on the developments of the current health situation and in order to fight this pandemic and limit the spread of the coronavirus, it was decided to take precautionary and preventive measures in the city of Hebron from Monday, March 30, until further notice.

All the entrances to the city of Hebron are completely closed and entry and exit is prohibited.

Isn't that a coincidence that the same city that had news that was considered too likely to panic citizens, which was hushed up, is two days later being completely quarantined?

Is there a major outbreak in Hebron that is being covered up?

If the PA is hiding coronavirus cases, it is endangering everyone in the region. It would be an unforgivable crime. The censorship itself is bad enough, but this could be China-level censorship - we don't know.

PA president Mahmoud Abbas actually praised China for its coronavirus response last week. It looks like he is taking its lessons very seriously.

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

We are back to the Dark Ages.

They used to accuse Jews of spreading the plague by poisoning the wells. Now they are saying that Jews are spreading the plague more directly.

From YNet:

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Sunday accused IDF soldiers of deliberately spreading the novel coronavirus among the West Bank's Palestinian population.

In the latest iteration of an ongoing and long-standing blood libel, Shtayyeh claimed, "We were exposed to testimonies that some of the (Israeli) soldiers are trying to spread the virus on car handles."

The firebrand politician cited racism as the main motive behind the soldiers' actions.

"This is racism and hatred of people who long for the death of the other. We will record this in the list of crimes [against Israel], " Shtayyeh said.
This is a despicable antisemitic statement. Which means that the usual people on the Left who hate Israel but pretend to be against antisemitism will remain silent - or will say that he is telling the truth.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I've been making posters to counter the lies from the hate-Israel crowd, but they would be far more effective if they are used as replies to the hashtags and libels that claim that Israel limits medicine and humanitarian aid to gaza.

So, use these liberally.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
A tweet from Sari Bashi  of Gisha, formerly of Human Rights Watch, retweeted by Ken Roth, shows yet again the anti-Israel bias of the organization.

What needs to be compared isn't the total population of Israelis and Palestinians, but the number of people stricken with coronavirus. After all, healthy people clearly don't need ventilators.

So let's look at the numbers again, assuming her ventilator numbers are correct:

Number of Israelis diagnosed with Covid-19 (not yet recovered)  as of this writing: 4115
Number of Palestinians diagnosed with Covid-19 (not yet recovered) as of now: 91

Number of ventilators per patient in Israel: 0.53
Number of ventilators per patient in the Palestinian territories: 3.24

Which means that Palestinians have over six times the number of respirators per patient that Israel has.

If you look at the numbers of those in serious condition, things are even more skewed towards the Palestinians. There are 74 Israeli patients in serious condition - and zero Palestinians. I don't know how many, if any, people in non-serious condition need a respirator.

This doesn't mean that more respirators won't be needed for both. They are needed for the future, not the present. The numbers are increasing at a dizzying rate.  But the implication that Israel is withholding ventilators that are desperately needed is completely false. 

The anti-Israel rhetoric from so-called human rights groups is truly sick. 

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From Ian:

Third Israeli dies Sunday - 15 coronavirus victims
Three Israelis died of cornoavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of victims to 15.

The most recent victim is an 84-year-old woman who was being treated at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The two previous victims were in their 90s.

The 14th victim is a 90-year-old woman who had been hospitalized at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. The 13th is a 92-year-old man who was admitted last week in serious condition to Shaare Zedek. Both had pre-existing conditions.

As of Sunday morning, 3,865 Israelis have coronavirus, coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry - 66 people are in serious condition, among them a young man in his 20s who is hospitalized at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital.

The numbers represent an increase of 246 more people since press time on Saturday night.
Coronavirus explained: 22 questions with epidemiologist guiding Israeli response
Professor Yehuda Carmeli is head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and a professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. He is one of the medical professionals leading the Israeli Health Ministry’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Times of Israel spoke to him at 7:30 Thursday morning, the only slot available in his busy day. We asked him a host of key questions to try to understand more about the coronavirus. Among them: How is it transmitted, is it or is not airborne, and why it is so contagious? How many people worldwide will ultimately be infected, with what consequent rate of fatalities? Why are the elderly at greater risk, and why are other age groups so much less so? Why are Israel and other countries responding in the ways that they are, and whose approaches are more and less effective? And what should the public expect in terms of the virus’ impact — not only on our health, but the disruption to our lives — and for how long?

1. Why were there “only” 3,000 coronavirus deaths in China, while in Italy, a much smaller country, we are seeing hundreds of people dying a day?
Actually not all of China was affected. In most of China there was a relatively small number of cases. There is a specific county, Hubei, that was affected and within it, the city of Wuhan. Wuhan has a population of 11 million. Also, in Italy, it was mostly the region of Lombardy, which has a population of [10 million]. So approximately the same size of population has been affected in both cases.

2. How many people will become infected worldwide if this pandemic is not checked?
There are various mathematical models that try to estimate the number of cases expected in different places. There is a saying about mathematical models that all of them are wrong but some are useful. We truly don’t know which of them is correct.

All models I have seen predict that by the end of this outbreak, which could be in several months or could be in a year or two, about 60-70 percent of the population will be infected at some point. Not all people who are infected become sick. Some don’t even notice that they have it, or have very minor symptoms.

But in the end you can take the world’s population and calculate 60 or 70 percent, and those are the numbers that will be affected by this pandemic.
Stephen L. Miller:Why was early coronavirus coverage so lazy? The media’s insatiable thirst for political correctness
The night that President Trump issued his order, Vox tweeted, ‘Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.’ That tweet was then deleted with a correction earlier this week. Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post wrote on January 31, ‘Get a grippe [sic], America. The flu is a much bigger threat than Coronavirus, for now.’ The next day, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled, ‘Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake.’ In what appeared to be a full court press against the president’s order, the paper published another piece on January 31, ‘How our brains make coronavirus seem scarier than it is.’ On February 3, they hit us with another op-ed headlined, ‘Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus’, arguing it would lead to more stigmatization of marginalized populations.

On January 29, in concert with the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News tweeted, ‘Don’t worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu.’ Just a few days before President Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said on air that ‘if you’re freaked out about the Coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu.’ And then shortly after Trump’s address, CNN’s Brian Stelter commented that ‘Sean Hannity and Fox were going to celebrate the travel ban while evading the scourge of community spread within the US.’ CNN then published online in late February that racist attacks against Asians (only of which a handful in the United States have been authenticated and documented) spread faster than the coronavirus.

This was all, of course, reflexive coverage to a president they see as an emotional and oppressive opponent. Trump has made a hobby of hitting the media over the head with whatever bat they hand to him, and it’s one of the reasons it’s hard to listen to any of their sky-is-falling coverage now. Donald Trump is going to spin his way through this crisis, just like any communications-minded president would do, and the media’s attempts to play catch-up will leave them with a public that no longer trusts them.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In both Jordan and Syria, the government decided it was somehow better to create its own distribution channel for bread rather than let bakeries remain open.

The result? Long lines and crowds of people jostling to get limited supplies - increasing the chances for more infection.

In Jordan:
Days after a total curfew went into effect, people clamored to receive bread distributions from government trucks, the emergency hotline went offline after it apparently became overloaded with phone calls, and some reported they had nothing at home to eat.

In Syria,

The bread crisis has appeared more recently in Aleppo. Once the night curfew ends at six in the morning every day, residents in Aleppo begins to gather in hundreds in front of private and public ovens, distribution centers in the neighborhoods, and in the parking spaces for trucks transporting bread.
Gathering in the queues early seems necessary to get one bundle of bread, which is what is allowed for each person, and [soon enough] the limited quantity will be already exhausted, and the people will be forced to buy bread from the black market and special "tourist" ovens in Aleppo, and at a huge markup.

Socialist methods do not seem to be working that well.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Daily Mail has a textbook case of media bias. In an article this morning by Ian Gallagher, chief reporter of the newspaper, it says:

Prince Harry faces a backlash over controversial plans to invite injured Israeli soldiers to compete at his Invictus Games.

Israel is under investigation for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories and has never previously been involved in the tournament, but The Mail on Sunday understands that its inclusion in the 2022 Games was agreed in principle earlier this month. Last night, an Arab commentator said the move would be seen as ‘provocative’.

Launched in 2014, the Invictus Games for wounded or sick military personnel and veterans, are close to the Duke’s heart. This year’s competition was postponed earlier this month due to the coronavirus outbreak. It will now be held in 2022 in Germany.

Abdel Bari Atwan, a prominent Arab journalist in the UK, said: ‘It will be seen as a way of provoking Arabs by a British Royal.’ Two Arab countries, Jordan and Iraq, took part in the 2018 Games in Sydney. Both are due to compete in the next tournament.
This supposed "backlash" is from a single terror-supporting journalist.

Abdel Bari Atwan found a silver lining in the 9/11 attacks five years after , saying "The events of 11 September will be remembered as the end of the US empire. This is because all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power."

He enthusiastically supported the murder of Jewish religious students in the Mercaz Harav massacre, saying it was "justified" and that celebrations in Gaza following the attack symbolized "the courage of the Palestinian nation." That is pure antisemitism.

He said  "Jihad must be directed, first and foremost, against the Israeli enemy...All our guns must be turned toward that enemy, regardless of our differences, because this is the only thing that unites us". Atwan also declared that "Arabs who do not think that Israel is an enemy are neither Arabs nor Muslims."

So much for the value of Abdel Bari Atwan's opinion about Israel. The only question is why the Daily Mail is promoting him as a sober representative of British Islam instead of the rabid, hateful antisemitic Israel hater he is.

But this is only the beginning of the Daily Mail's and Gallagher's bias. To buttress the non-existent point of an "Arab backlash," the subhead of the article headline and subhead says "Israel is under investigation for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories."

Atwan did not say a word about this. This is wholly the Daily Mail's addition to the story.

But if being under investigation is a reason for disqualification, then the US and Afghanistan - who are also participants in the games - should be disqualified as well, as they are also under investigation by the same ICC for war crimes.

Why is the Daily Mail so concerned over Israel's alleged war crimes and not those of the other participants - including the UK itself, which has also been accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan? Other participants do not exactly have a stellar human rights record.

But only Israel's is considered disqualifying to the Daily Mail.

Beyond this, the Daily Mail tried a third avenue to smear Israel to justify a story that isn't a story. In paragraphs 2 and 3:

Financial backing for an Israeli team has already been sought from global charity Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), which was co-founded by London-based Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman.

Mr Fridman was named in former MI6 officer Christopher Steele’s dossier alleging Kremlin links to US President Donald Trump and the billionaire last year appeared in a Spanish court accused of corruption and helping to orchestrate the bankruptcy of a technology firm. He denied the charges.
GPG is a charity that strengthens Judaism among Russian Jews, supports UK Jewish institutions and fosters ties between Israeli and diaspora Jews. I can find no meaningful criticism of the organization anywhere, it appears to do stellar work. To try to smear Israel the Daily Mail is drawing a very tenuous link between unfounded allegations against one of GPG's founders and the Israeli team which probably seeks sponsors from a wide variety of Jewish and Zionist organizations. There is nothing the east bit immoral about looking for sponsors from GPG, and insinuating that it is wrong is simply a slander.

In short, there is no controversy whatsoever about Israel participating in the Invictus Games, but for some reason the Daily Mail has decided to manufacture one. In doing so, it has only proven that it is willing to create an anti-Israel smear based on literally nothing.

This is not journalism.

(h/t Mark Humphrys)

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Boro Park. Flatbush. Crown Heights. Forest Hills. Fresh Meadows.

Every single New York neighborhood with a large religious Jewish population has the highest percentage of patients testing positive for the coronavirus, according to this map published by the NYC Department of Health.

Looking at New York State as a whole, the heavily Jewish Rockland County has a higher percentage of COVID-19 cases per capita than New York City (as far as I can tell, second only to Westchester County.)

And in New Jersey, the two towns with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are not the major cities of Newark (155) or Jersey City (130) or Camden (2) or Trenton (7).

They are the much smaller towns with large Jewish populations: Teaneck (population 37,000, Jews 15,000, 213 cases) and Lakewood (population 102,000, Jews 60,000, 198 cases.)

Even though Orthodox rabbis across the board closed down all schools and synagogues before the government authorities said to, the sheer amount of interaction that religious Jews have with their communities - often going to prayer services 2 or 3 times a day, and this year especially celebrating Purim (March 10) together with friends and family, made Orthodox Jewish communities Ground Zero for the coronavirus. This was not helped by the refusal of a small minority to shut down their synagogues and cancel wedding parties - stupid, selfish decisions that are ensuring that the numbers continue to grow as we approach the two week mark since rabbis first called for the shutdowns. There were reports that some Jews still insisted on praying with others as recently as Friday.

Only this week will we begin  find out the effectiveness of the shutdowns that started on March 12 in Teaneck/Bergen County and then spread across the region in the following week.

Every day we learn about more and more people we know, or in our circles, who have gotten ill or passed away. Often they are community leaders - rabbis and others - whose jobs involve close interaction with their followers.

It is a very scary time, and the worst is still to come.

We are facing a Passover without extended family. But it is necessary to keep all of our extended families as safe as possible.

And those who continue to pretend to be "frummer" by still praying with a minyan/quorum are playing Russian roulette with their families, and everyone else's lives.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

From Ian:

Coronavirus cases in Israel rise to 3,619 with 54 people in serious condition
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel rose to 3,619 people, the Health Ministry announced Saturday evening.

The tally included 54 patients in serious condition, of whom 43 are attached to ventilators.

Another 81 are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

The ministry said a majority of patients, 1,828, were isolating in their homes under monitoring and 484 were currently hospitalized. The remainder were in various care facilities, including the specially converted hotels.

Twelve people have died in Israel from the virus, and on Saturday the Foreign Ministry announced an 82-year-old Israeli tourist died in an Italian hospital after he contracted the virus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday that the country could enter into a complete shutdown if there isn’t an improvement in the number of confirmed virus cases in the next two days.

Netanyahu held a series of discussions with top ministers regarding additional steps the country can take to manage the ongoing crisis, “including preparations for a closure,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

He said that authorities would bring the additional movement restrictions before the cabinet in 48 hours.
Trump Says He May Quarantine New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
President Donald Trump said Saturday he was considering imposing a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Trump said he was mulling the quarantine, while at the same walking back urging to quickly reopen the economy. Trump said he was unsure about whether the United States will reopen for business by April 12th following shutdowns in major cities across the country. Asked whether he thought the United States would open by Easter Sunday, Trump said at the White House on Saturday, “We’ll see what happens.”
NY rabbi who survived COVID-19 donates blood plasma to treatment research
A New York rabbi who recovered from a mild case of COVID-19 donated blood plasma to researchers on Friday in the hope that his antibodies could be used to treat patients with more severe coronavirus symptoms.

Rabbi Daniel Nevins, dean of the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, was laid up for a few days earlier this month with a fever and some aches, and then recovered.

Nevins was tested for the coronavirus on March 12 and a week later got back a positive result. A week after that, he was tested again. Friday morning, he got the result: All clear.

Within hours, Nevins was hooked up to a machine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to donate blood plasma. In the race to develop effective treatments for the disease, researchers are investigating whether antibodies from the blood of people who have successfully fought off the disease may provide treatment for people who with more serious symptoms.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration allowed doctors to treat critically ill coronavirus patients with plasma on an experimental basis. Plasma has been shown effective in treating other infectious diseases, like polio, measles and influenza.

“I felt fortunate that my mild case of this illness might turn into a blessing for people who are seriously ill,” Nevins told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The Torah teaches us not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbor. My Midrash [interpretation] is that no, instead lie down in a donor bed and give plasma.”

Douglas Murray: In this strange new world, where do we find purpose?
During recent years, much of our society found a purpose, and a kind of meaning, in politics. Even at the time that period seemed curious. It was a period in which people who had no connection to the media felt that they needed to absorb minute-by-minute updates on everything. It was an age in which watches would beep, phones would buzz and tablets would ping with updates on things that few of us could affect and mostly wouldn’t affect us. But it gave a purpose of a kind. Worlds away though they seem now, the Stop Brexit and Stop Trump crowds (and their opposites) had a distractingly busy few years. And if they didn’t find meaning in the deepest sense (as in ‘what I would look at with pride on my deathbed’) they certainly found some of the best simulacrums around.

There is a risk that this virus also becomes ‘something to do’. A thing which — how-ever well or badly we ride it out — absorbs almost all of our time, thoughts and energies. The temptation is there in the regular news conferences and announcements. Each day brings new figures to absorb, new comparisons to make between countries. Hell, we’ve even had that hangover discussion about what to call the virus and whether referring to its origins is racist or not. Absorption in some or all of these things has already come to constitute a full-time job for many people. And I will say nothing about the number of undercover virologists who turn out to have been living among us all these years.

Still the question lingers: ‘What ought we to be doing?’ Both during and after this crisis, I would expect the political left to once again prove their ability to provide narratives and explanations. Doubtless at some point they will declare a great mission. And perhaps it will have its attractions: a call to have more doctors or care workers, for instance. Or an insistence that since we were all equal in the eyes of the virus, so we should be made more equal in other ways too. Parts of the political right will bang their own ideological drums. They will talk about the markets and much more, as if everything did not just change radically. In the era to come, who knows which of these people we will want to listen to? If any.

As a writer, I might claim to have been in training for this moment all my life. Solitude and silence have been agreeable, indeed vital, companions to me. And to that extent recent days have not been that different from any others. Apart from performing the new chores we all must carry out, I spend my days as I always do at home. Inside, I migrate between my writing desk and piano. I enjoy the garden more. And yet in the gaps that have opened up the bigger question hovers. I suppose my own answer is a doctrine of a kind. Which is that we are most likely to find meaning in the places where meaning has been found before. That what has seen our forebears through, and nourished them, will see us through and nourish us in turn. I don’t listen to the news much. If the church is open I will sit in it. I remake my acquaintance with great music. In the evenings I read Anna Karenina.

Friday, March 27, 2020

From Ian:

Gerald Steinberg: Hope Is Nice, but After Coronavirus, Demonization of Israel Is Unlikely to Change
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently tried to provide some optimism amid the gloom and doom of the corona epidemic. Noting the cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), he tweeted: “I just spoke to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Our ability to work together in times of crisis is also a testament to our ability to work together in the future for the good of us all.”

This peaceful scenario is worthy of the Jewish prophets, particularly Isaiah and Micah.

Unfortunately, the reality now, as it was then, is quite different. In contrast to Rivlin’s optimism, the Palestinians and their allies are currently moving at full speed to continue their campaign of demonization against Israel.

Most notably, Palestinians, in coordination with an army of NGOs, are pressing the effort in the International Criminal Court(ICC) to take the false “war crime” accusations to the next stage — a pseudo-investigation of Israel.

Over the past week, a number of these groups have submitted briefs (many of which go beyond the absurd in stretching historical truth) to prop up ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s weak attempt to justify this travesty. The NGO list includes Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which work very closely with the PA in this campaign and are funded by European governments.

Among their Israeli allies, the Israeli left-wing group B’Tselem wrote a report accompanied by a media campaign (also enabled by European funders). As usual, B’Tselem blamed Israel exclusively for the conflict, erasing the long history of Palestinian rejectionism and terror, and even accused Israel of exploiting the Holocaust in rejecting the ICC prosecutor’s arguments.

Breaking the Silence, Gisha, and other NGOs continued to blame Israel for not doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus among Palestinians, repeating their one-line agenda — “occupation, occupation, occupation” — even in Gaza, where the “occupation” ended almost 15 years ago.
Melanie Phillips: How the virus exposes magical thinking and short-term greed
This culture of denial is the product of a century of demoralization in which the west lost belief in itself and decided that it stood for nothing worth fighting for. Instead, the world had to be changed.

Unable to accept the impossibility of their utopian ideals, progressives are particularly prone to magical thinking. They believe they can banish prejudice and bigotry from the human heart, end war and usher in the brotherhood of man.

They pretend the world is not how it actually is but how they want it to be. They pretend to themselves that, because they are idealists, they are immune from bad thoughts or deeds; and they pretend that anyone who contradicts them is not just wrong but evil.

Often, though, there aren’t clear choices between unalloyed good and bad. The available options may present a choice between terrible and worse.

Israel, caught between assorted rocks and hard places, has to make these tough choices between evils all the time. And yet even super-realist Israel got sucked into the China illusion.

Last month, Israel’s cyber directorate issued a directive requiring Israeli companies to bar all Chinese-made systems and components in communications and security systems used in sensitive infrastructure.

An earlier directive, issued after the Trump administration blew a collective fuse over Israel’s acceptance of Chinese technology, was voluntary.

Israel’s reluctance to comply with the United States over this isn’t surprising. Chinese investment in Israel has reached an estimated $11.7 billion over the years. But now, like other countries, Israel is in lockdown and its economy hugely damaged as a result of Chinese negligence and malevolence.

The virus crisis is a wake-up call to all who chose to substitute short-term self-interest for realism about the Chinese Communist party, and now find themselves reaping the whirlwind.
Col Kemp: We should establish a Coronavirus citizens’ volunteer force
An accelerating sense of crisis now engulfs our society. As the impact of Coronavirus deepens and the death toll mounts, the scale of the emergency is unprecedented in peacetime. Yet there is a silver lining to this black cloud. It can be found in the growing ethos of selfless compassion across the country, with millions of citizens feeling a new concern for their neighbours and the vulnerable.

During the Second World War, our nation became renowned for its unity and self-sacrifice, an outlook known as the ‘Blitz spirit’. Today we can see a reawakening of that same community spirit, reflected particularly in local neighbourhood schemes, where people volunteer to check on the elderly, organise essential home deliveries and support imperilled businesses.

That mood of compassion should now be harnessed more systematically for the good of the nation. Yesterday Lord Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, called for the urgent mobilisation of retired coppers in order to relieve the huge current burdens on the police, the NHS and other emergency services. Pointing out that there are at least 100,000 former officers, Lord Stevens rightly said that their experience and enthusiasm is a ‘golden resource’ that ‘we cannot afford to waste’.

While I welcome his admirable suggestion, I would go even further. I believe that, in response to the crisis, we now need a national citizens volunteer force to help maintain the civic infrastructure which is under unique strain. This new organisation would capitalise on the yearning of so-many people to do their bit, as well as giving the public a defiant sense of purpose in these dark times. There is a vast range of tasks that could be carried out by these volunteers, like performing basic duties in the NHS, cleaning and sanitising public buildings, transporting goods, and providing cooked meals and groceries to the housebound. Former teachers could organise childcare for key public workers.

Another of my series of re-purposing single-panel cartoons for more immediate topics:

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From Ian:

Four more Israelis die of virus, bringing COVID-19 death toll to 12
Four more Israelis have died of the coronavirus, bringing the country’s death toll to 12, as the number of infections nationwide climbed to 3,035.

The Soroka Medical Center on Friday morning said 93-year-old Avraham Aroshas was brought to the hospital from the nursing home where he lived. He had a fever and shortness of breath and had “complicated and difficult underlying illnesses,” the Beersheba-based hospital said. He tested positive for the virus and hours later succumbed to the illness, according to the statement.

A 76-year-old woman with preexisting health conditions also died of the virus, the Sharon Hospital in Petah Tikva announced Friday morning.

Hours later, a 73-year-old man was pronounced dead as a result of the virus at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. He was identified as Shaul Farhi. He reportedly caught the virus on a trip to Tenerife in Spain.

On Friday afternoon, the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said that an 80-year-old man had died. He had been in a serious condition for several days.

The number of Israelis diagnosed with the coronavirus has risen to 3,035, the Health Ministry said Friday morning. Of them, 49 are in serious condition and 60 are in moderate condition.

Some 45 Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, while 4,156 are in quarantine, the IDF said on Thursday.

Of the 12 fatalities in the country, three died on Thursday.

One of the three was an 89-year-old woman being treated at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.

“This is a patient with preexisting conditions who a week ago already was categorized as being in critical condition and was treated with devotion during her entire hospitalization by the department staff, who did everything possible to ease her suffering,” the hospital said in a statement.

Another was an 83-year-old man from Bnei Brak who had preexisting conditions. Wolfson Medical Center in Holon said earlier that the third victim was a 91-year-old woman.
IDF Prepares for World War C
It’s come to this: The whole country on lockdown, the civilian population locked away in their homes, hiding from a deadly and invisible enemy. The only people on the street are police officers and IDF troops. It’s World War C.

The coronavirus crisis, a global pandemic on a level not seen since the Spanish flu in 1918, reminds many of the 2013 zombie movie World War Z. For Israelis, the “Jerusalem scene,” in which healthy Jews and Arabs are quarantined in the Old City singing songs of peace until zombies breach the walls, is extremely poignant.

It is as though the movie has come to life, but instead of the enemy being zombies, Israel is afraid that the invisible enemy - Coronavirus - could breach its walls and infect the population, as it did in Asia.

Israel had quickly closed its borders and quarantined all travellers returning to the country for two weeks. But the virus seeped in, and slowly the numbers of those infected with coronavirus started to rise. At the time of this article’s writing, 2,000 are reported sick and five are dead.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel is facing “severe morbidity levels” in the coming days.
“We are in accelerated growth in patients in serious condition; the number of positive tests is increasing. Severe morbidity levels are approaching,” he said. “Within 10 days there will be a significant rate of serious patients, but this is not a matter of fate. We can work to change the situation."
Mossad Brings another 400,000 Coronavirus Test Kits to Israel
The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday helped bring another 400,000 coronavirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

That was in addition to the roughly 100,000 test kits the spy agency brought to Israel last week.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries.

The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.

The Mossad’s first operation to bring the chemical reagents needed for 100,000 coronavirus tests sparked a minor controversy last week, after Health Ministry officials lamented that what they’d actually needed were more swabs. After a small flurry of accusations and reversals, the ministry released a statement affirming that the test kits were “important” and “necessary” in the fight against the disease.

Israel has significantly stepped up its testing over the past week, performing several thousand each day, with the goal of increasing that level further.

The other arms of Israel’s defense establishment have also enlisted in recent days to tackle the virus threat.

  • Friday, March 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

B'Tselem published yesterday:
During the Coronavirus crisis, Israel confiscates tents designated for clinic in the Northern West Bank

This morning, Thursday, 26 March 2020, at around 7:30 am, officials from Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank arrived with a military jeep escort, a bulldozer and two flatbed trucks with cranes at the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley. They confiscated poles and sheeting that were meant to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, and four for emergency housing for residents evacuated from their homes, and two as makeshift mosques. The force also confiscated a tin shack in place for more than two years, as well as a power generator and sacks of sand and cement. Four pallets of cinder blocks intended for the tent floors were taken away and four others demolished.

As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades. Shutting down a first-aid community initiative during a health crisis is an especially cruel example of the regular abuse inflicted on these communities, and it goes against basic human and humanitarian principles during an emergency. Unlike Israel’s policies, this pandemic does not discriminate based on nationality, ethnicity or religion. It is high time the government and military acknowledged that now, of all times, Israel is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the five million Palestinians who live under its control in the Occupied Territories.
What really happened?

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) slammed the Human Rights NGO B'Tselem for alleging that the IDF demolished a coronavirus treatment center built by Palestinians in the Jordan Valley.

“We are sorry to see a Human Rights NGO choosing to exploit a global crisis to spread fake news,” the COGAT press statement said.

COGAT claims that the demolished structure was a guarding post built illegally and without permits by a resident of Bardala, which is northeast of Nablus.

Neither the Palestinian Authority (PA) nor International Health groups requested to build a treatment center for COVID-19 patients, according to COGAT's claims. 

COGAT is coordinating the delivery of thousands of masks and COVID-19 test kits donated by the World Health Organization to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, despite the blockade still enforced there. The aid is also provided to the West Bank, which is under the control of the PA.  
Khirbet Ibziq is in Area C where Israeli permits are required to build - under international law. (If Israel is considered the belligerent occupier, then Israel is required to administer building permits. If Israel claims the territory then it still is required to administer building permits.) Residents in the area of Khirbet Ibziq have a history of illegal building, which B'Tselem documents. This time they pretended that a couple of the tents were for a coronavirus clinic, even though no one even told the Palestinian Authority about this, let alone Israel.

It was a basic land grab - one made even more immoral because it was specifically done during this crisis. It was a lie from the start to make Israel look like monsters for confiscating the materials - way before they were even erected.

B'Tselem knows this and they play along with the fiction, because to them the moral imperative of demonizing Israel is far higher than little things like telling the truth.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, March 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The PLO Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy today issued a statement saying that they "hold the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the lives of our valiant workers, families, and people in the Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem."

This mirrors the statements of idiots like Ariel Gold that "Israel is culpable for every COVID-19 death in Gaza."

Let's pretend that Israel completely controls Gaza. In fact, let's pretend that Israel annexed Gaza. Would it make sense to say that Israel is responsible for the lives of every single person who gets infected with the coronavirus?

Would anyone ever say that Switzerland is responsible for the lives of every Swiss citizen and culpable if they die from a worldwide pandemic?

A government can and should be held responsible for protecting its citizens, of course. That is in fact its primary responsibility, way above protecting others. The decisions a government makes in times like these are made with incomplete information and competing priorities. It is fair to say that one disagrees with their decisions or their prioritization or their pre-existing planning.

But these statements aren't saying that Israel is responsible for doing all it can to stop the spread of Covid-19 in areas under its control, which it is. They are saying that Israel is responsible for every single person who dies, citizen or not, under their sovereignty or not, despite their efforts.

Which means that these people are ascribing God-like capabilities to the Jews. (They aren't talking about the high percentage of health care workers in Israel who are Arabs.)

In short, they say that the all-powerful Jews have full responsibility.

Which sounds a lot like the idea that the Jews control the world.

We've seen this before, of course. Palestinian leaders regularly say that Israel is culpable for prisoners who die from heart disease or any other cause. It is partially propaganda, but a great part of it is teaching their people the idea that Israeli Jews have Elders of Zion-style superpowers in controlling every aspect of everyone's lives in the world.

The corollary to that is that  Palestinian Arabs have no agency to protect themselves, because everything is up to the Jews anyway. And that gives the Palestinians the message that they don't even have to try to take responsibility for their own lives.

This idea has hurt the actual Palestinian people far more than anyone is willing to admit.

Luckily, not all Palestinians have internalized that message. A number of clothing and shoe manufacturers in the territories have pivoted and now manufacture masks and protective clothing. There are certainly Palestinian health care workers who take their jobs seriously.

But on the whole, blaming Israel for everything means taking responsibility for nothing. This is antisemitism that hurts the Palestinians more than it hurts Israel.

It is a shame that not one Palestinian can say this publicly.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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