Saturday, May 30, 2015

From Ian:

The Jewish Revolt
Review: Bruce Hoffman, ‘Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947’
Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers is a deftly written account of the Jewish revolt against the British in 1940s Palestine. Despite its scholarship—it draws heavily on recently declassified British documents—and its significant bulk, it is a page-turner that leaves the reader feeling sorry once the book is finished.
Unlike most accounts of the Jewish underground, this one tells the story from the British point of view, though without taking Britain’s side. It leaves the reader with no doubt that it was the Irgun, and to a lesser extent the much smaller Lehi, that drove the British from Palestine, and not, as the longtime mythology of Israel’s Laborites would have it, David Ben-Gurion’s skillful politicking.
It was Lehi that began the terror war against the British in 1940. Its members were completely isolated at first, perceived by the Yishuv—a term for Palestine’s Jewish community—as a criminal gang. Lehi was led by Avraham (Yair) Stern, whom Hoffman describes as a man “of grandiose dreams and half-baked plans,” an outstanding classics student at Hebrew University, and a poet. The title of Hoffman’s book comes from a poem written by Stern, which would become Lehi’s anthem. Stern was killed by the British in 1941, and the group’s remaining members killed or captured. The group was revived in 1943 under the leadership of Yitzhak Shamir, decades later to become Israel’s prime minister.
In 1944, when it was clear that the Nazis would be defeated, the Irgun, too, declared a revolt. Its new leader was Menachem Begin, who had led the Jewish nationalist youth group Betar in Poland. Hoffman considers Begin a first-class strategic thinker who recognized that he could not defeat Britain militarily and so decided “systemically [to] undermine its authority,” believing that if the Irgun could destroy the government’s prestige “the removal of its rule would follow automatically.” Through the Irgun’s violent actions, he made Palestine a center of world attention, a “glass house” as he described it, where every British misstep was broadcast to the world.
Post-WWII, Jews were ‘used as pawns’ by world superpowers
The end of World War II brought with it the end of the Holocaust, and beginning in July 1944 with Majdanek, concentration camps in Poland and Germany including Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau, were liberated by Allied forces. On May 8, 1945, the day Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally, Soviet troops also liberated Theresienstadt.
But the end of the Holocaust shouldn’t be confused with the end of liberation itself. In his new book “The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath,” Dan Stone, a professor of Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London, argues liberation “was a process, something that happened over time.” It did not “immediately bring about an end to the camp inmates’ suffering,” particularly for the thousands of Jewish displaced persons (DPs) who remained stuck in camps in Europe for years after the war.
In “The Liberation of the Camps,” published mid-May, Stone also makes clear that “the murder of the Jews and the collapse of the Third Reich helped to shape the pattern of the postwar world,” including in the Middle East.
The Times of Israel sat with Stone at his University of London office at Royal Holloway to discuss the fate of Jewish DPs and how, as both a refugee problem and an international question, they became caught up in the politics of the Cold War and the domestic affairs of the superpowers.
NYT Prints Anti-Israel Op-ed by Player from Terrorist-Linked Palestinian Soccer Club
The New York Times has published an op-ed by Palestinian soccer player Iyad Abu Gharqoud, demanding that FIFA kick Israel out of international soccer. The Times allows Gharquod to play the role of the aggrieved victim but ignores the fact that his soccer team, the Hilal Al-Quds club, held a tournament for 12-year-olds named for terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led an attack on a bus in 1978 that killed 37 Israeli civilians, including 12 children, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
Gharqoud’s main complaint is that Palestinian “coaches and referees are blocked from moving between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and frequently are barred from tournaments.” That is for the very simple reason that Palestinian terrorists are still at war with Israel.
The terrorist group Hamas, for example, controls the Gaza Strip and uses it to launch deadly attacks on Israeli civilians, resulting in restrictions on travel that necessarily apply to all Palestinians, not just elite soccer players.
When peace-oriented groups have organized friendly soccer matches between Palestinians and Israelis, the Palestinian Authority has denounced them. Last year, Palestinian officials called a game between Israeli and Palestinian boys, which was sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace, a “crime against humanity.”
The man who made that statement, Jibril Rajoub, is leading the effort to have Israel suspended from FIFA. Gharqoud mentions none of that in his Times op-ed.



PM hails diplomatic victory as FIFA thwarts Palestinian suspension bid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday commended FIFA members for helping thwart a Palestinian bid to have Israel suspended from international soccer, and hailed the efforts of Israel’s football chief in orchestrating the diplomatic effort.
The prime minister spoke shortly after the Palestinian delegation to FIFA on Friday dropped a motion to have the Israeli soccer federation suspended from international football amid pressure from dozens of national delegates.
“Our international effort has proven itself and led to the failure of the Palestinian Authority attempt to oust us from FIFA. I thank all those took part in the international effort that led to the failure of this attempt, including the Israeli delegation in Switzerland led by Israel Football Association Chairman Ofer Eini,” Netanyahu said.
“The State of Israel is interested in a peace that will ensure security for its citizens but this will not be achieved through coercion and distorting the truth. The only way to achieve peace is to begin negotiations between the sides,” he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking with international media about the framework agreement and Iran's nuclear program on April 12, 2015. (screen capture: Facebook/The Prime Minister of Israel)
So long as the Palestinians take unilateral steps against Israel, said Netanyahu, “they will only push peace further away instead of bringing it closer.”
Joel Pollak: FIFA Stands for 'F--- Israel, F--- America'
For decades, our global betters have been urging Americans to take more of an interest in soccer. And we have–though not the interest the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) had in mind.
This week, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that 14 FIFA officials had been indicted for corruption.
In somewhat related news, FIFA is to vote Friday on suspending Israel from international soccer because of security-related travel restrictions on some Palestinian players. (Update: The Palestinians have since withdrawn their motion.)
Of course, only Israel is being singled out–part of a Palestinian strategy to delegitimize Israel through global institutions in which Third World despotisms have disproportionate clout.
For years, the Palestinians have used soccer to promote terror–naming teams, fields and tournaments after suicide bombers, for example–but FIFA has never cared about that, nor does it care much about the human rights practices of Russia and Qatar, hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.
Now that America (and Switzerland) have stood up to the bribery and graft behind the scenes that soccer fans have long suspected, the usual suspects are coming to FIFA’s defense.
FIFA = ‘Federation International for Football Antisemitism’ or ‘Football International Felony Association’
Facing a pro-Palestinian demonstration of some 150 people outside the FIFA Congress Hall in Zurich, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was the only Jewish organization to present a counter-protest.
Supported by a few Christian friends of Israel, we sang Hatikva and “Am Israel Chaï.” The pro-Palestinians lunged forward, smashing my IPAD screen. Glass may crack but our position was unassailable.
The police ran between us, snatching our handkerchief-size Israeli pennants and fining an evangelical lady for wearing a tiny Star of David necklace.
We few Zionists were, apparently, the “provocateurs,” while, to background screams of “Zionism is Racism,” “Apartheid Israel,” the world’s television cameras focused on “Blattergate,” oblivious to the genocidal display behind them of terrorist wannabes.
The several associations combating racism in football – with which we have cooperated for years – sat out this new threshold of antisemitism in football. I felt as safe at FIFA as if I were sitting on the terraces of a recent Netherlands match to the cries of “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!”
Luckily, the Wiesenthal Centre, as a human rights agency, was spontaneously invited by Solidar – the Swiss international workers’ rights lobby – to join their demonstration against Qatar’s abuse of foreign labor.
FIFA chief commends ‘exceptional Palestinian gesture’
FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Saturday thanked the Palestinian Authority for withdrawing a motion Friday to have Israel suspended from international soccer, saying the PA had shown “a big heart” and expressing hope that the sport could help foster better relations between the two sides.
“Yesterday we witnessed how Palestine acted with a big heart,” Blatter said in a statement. “They were convinced that they could win a vote to suspend the other federation, but that didn’t happen: they amended their own proposal and removed it. This is an exceptional gesture that deserves to be commended, and I hope that this gesture will serve as a happy omen in the region between the two federations, but also between the two countries.
“Maybe (soccer) can be the precursor towards a solution that everybody wants,” he said. “The two federations are independent, but they have proved that they can work together.”
The head of the Palestinian Football Association maintained on Saturday that the Palestinian decision to drop the motion was not the result of diplomatic failure, and said the Palestinians had made achievements at the summit.
Palestinians pan withdrawal of motion to suspend Israel from FIFA
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, residents voiced criticism and disappointment after PFA President Jabril Rajoub announced the withdrawal of the bid that would have meant that Israeli teams could not take part in international competitions.
"The Palestinian BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) national committee is disappointed that that the entire FIFA congress, including the Palestinian Football Association, have not lived up to their obligations and stated principles.
"FIFA and its membership have delayed the suspension of Israel, but they cannot delay the growth of the international boycott of Israel or prevent the continued isolation of Israel," said Zeid Shueidi, an official from the Palestinian BDS national committee.
"What happened today was a betrayal by the Palestinian leadership for the demands of the Palestinian people and tens of thousands of people around the world who were asking for suspension of Israel until it ended discrimination," he added.
Many Palestinian Facebook posts were also bitter, accusing Rajoub's climbdown as "humiliating" and "cowardly."
Despite corruption scandal, Blatter elected FIFA boss for fifth term
Sepp Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term on Friday, chosen to lead world soccer despite separate US and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption.
The 209 FIFA member federations gave the 79-year-old Blatter another four-year term after Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan conceded defeat after losing 133-73 in the first round.
Prince Ali’s promise of a clean break from FIFA’s tarnished recent history was rejected despite the worst scandal in the organization’s 111-year history.
The election went ahead Friday after US and Swiss federal investigations struck at the heart of Blatter’s “football family” this week. Two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected FIFA executive committee member were still in custody Friday as the votes were counted.
What the Palestinian Soccer Attack Meant
In the end, the Palestinians backed down on their attempt to get Israel expelled from FIFA, international soccer’s ruling body. Former terrorist Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian soccer federation, told the FIFA Congress today that, under pressure from other countries, he withdrew the request for a vote on Israel’s expulsion. For the moment, that ends the threat the Jewish state will be thrown out of the governing body of the world’s most popular sport. That’s a great relief to Israelis who were rightly concerned about the possibility of a step that would be an emotional blow to the country as well as a highly symbolic move that would accelerate the movement to isolate it. But no one should think this marks the end of the campaign against Israeli soccer. More to the point, it’s important to unravel the origins of this dispute and what it means. The effort to kick the Israelis out of world soccer is just one more indication that the Middle East conflict isn’t about borders or settlements but a desire to wipe Israel off the map.
In the end, as Ben Cohen predicted here earlier this week, the corruption scandal that has devastated FIFA may have played a role in the pressure exerted on the Palestinians to stand down. With the entire structure of world soccer tottering, the last thing FIFA needed was a boycott of Israel that might have triggered counter-measures by friends of the Jewish state and embroiled it in a dispute that would have done it little good.
Moreover, the core dispute between Israel and those in charge of Palestinian soccer had already been resolved before the FIFA Congress convened. The Israeli government offered to set up a process by which Palestinian soccer players could move more easily between the West Bank and Gaza as well as between the territories and Israel. The difficulties players encounter is an annoyance but was caused by the constant threat of Palestinian terrorism directed against Israel. Moreover, on top of that the Israelis also offered to make it easier to import soccer equipment into the West Bank and to help facilitate the construction of sports facilities for Palestinians. Those moves, which went above and beyond what reasonable observers, would expect Israel to make under the circumstances. But the resolution of the transit issue wasn’t the Palestinian goal since they persisted in their expulsion effort even after these concessions were offered.
Netanyahu backs ‘general idea’ behind Arab Peace Initiative
While stopping short of fully endorsing the Arab Peace Initiative, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he welcomed the general idea behind it — a regional agreement between Israel and the moderate Arab states.
The Arab Peace Initiative, originally proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, has many problematic aspects to it, the prime minister said, such as its call for an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the return of Palestinians refuges to Israel. “There are positive aspects and negative aspects to it,” he told Israeli diplomatic correspondents at a rare on-record briefing. “This initiative is 13 years old, and the situation in the Middle East has changed since it was first proposed. But the general idea — to try and reach understandings with leading Arab countries — is a good idea.”
In the framework proposed by the initiative, all Arab and Islamic states would establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel after the successful conclusion of the peace process with the Palestinians.
The Israeli government has never fully endorsed the plan. But Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that given Iran’s nuclear and regional aspirations, the moderate Arab states and Israel have a common enemy and grounds for increased cooperation.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Take Netanyahu at his word on negotiations
In a meeting a few days ago with EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed holding a series of talks about the "settlement borders." Gilad Erdan, whose new titles make him one of Israel's six foreign ministers, added in response that "the negotiations will involve territorial concessions."
Like with any proposal linked to Netanyahu, the regular choir broke out into its well-known chorus: He's fooling everyone; he doesn't mean it; it's simply another move to buy time; he's deceiving us again.
Interestingly, when Netanyahu says something in the opposite vein, the likes of the statement: "There won't be a Palestinian state during my term in office," he becomes the most trustworthy individual who truly means every word he says – even if the statement came in the heat of the election campaign and was designed to attract voters right of the Likud.
Why the hell is Netanyahu viewed as a con artist only when he says something that rings of moderation? And how come those very same leftists know that every rejectionist statement from Mahmoud Abbas is made "for internal purposes," only, whereas every moderate statement is "proof that the Palestinian leader wants peace" and should be taken seriously?
IAEA not sure all nuclear material in Iran is for ‘peaceful activities’
Amid accelerated international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, the UN atomic agency on Friday reported that work on a key element — an assessment of allegations that Tehran worked on atomic arms — remains essentially stalled.
The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency also reiterated that more cooperation is needed by Iran for full clarity on its present activities. Without it, the IAEA said it cannot “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
After years of deadlock, Iran and the IAEA agreed in November 2013 on a new attempt to probe the accusations. The U.S. and its allies also included the investigation into a to-do list for talks with Iran meant to curb its nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief.
Washington continues to insist that full lifting of sanctions depends on the IAEA’s ability to thoroughly probe the accusations and deliver an assessment on its findings.
Iran denies any work on — or interest — in nuclear arms. It accuses Israel, the United States and other adversaries of providing phony evidence to the agency for the probe.
Iran rejects site inspections in nuclear deal
Iran said Saturday it would be “out of the question” for the UN atomic watchdog to question Iranian scientists and inspect military sites as part of a final nuclear agreement with world powers.
“Interviews with scientists is completely out of the question and so is inspection of military sites,” senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state television.
The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog Yukiya Amano told AFP in an interview this week that if Iran signs a nuclear deal with world powers it will have to accept inspections of its military sites.
Araqchi’s comments come as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his US counterpart John Kerry were holding crucial talks in Geneva to try and hammer out a historic nuclear deal ahead of a June 30 deadline.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ruled out allowing nuclear inspectors to visit military sites or the questioning of scientists.
Guy Bechor: An ethnic war in Iran is only a matter of time
Imagine Iran falling apart like Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen in a civil war with armed militias and nuclear facilities all over the area – what a danger of mass destruction that will be. It doesn’t have to be ready bombs. With radioactive materials one can prepare "dirty nuclear bombs" or other means of horror, and we already know that there is no mercy between the Sunnis and the Shiites – they just don’t have a nuclear weapon yet.
The American administration is naively assuming that the Iranian regime will continue to rule the area, but the Bashar Assad or Muammar Gaddafi regimes were as strong, and so were the regimes in Egypt and Yemen. In addition, Iran is a sort of transit country with representatives from all the nations in the region – from Afghanistan to Pakistan, from the Persian Gulf to Turkey – and if it falls apart, dark terroristic forces will penetrate and infiltrate it.
The Persians are actually a relatively weak force among the regional forces, and it will spark a competition over who will take over the nuclear facilities faster and who will also use them – because forces like ISIS have no responsibility or limits.
So how exactly will US President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement help? It's like flogging a dead horse. Only one question will remain: Who is the dead horse? Now no one can say they didn’t know.
Hamas Threatens to Take ‘Crazy’ Action Over Israeli Blockade
The terror group Hamas is threatening to carry out an act that “could be described as crazy” against Israel as a result of the Jewish state’s continued blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is meant to prevent the terror organization from smuggling arms and other illicit materials.
Hamas will enlist its armed affiliate, the Al-Qassam Brigades, to carry out attacks on Israel if the blockade is not lifted, according to Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
“The continuation of the blockade will push Hamas to carry out actions which could be described as crazy. We will not give in to the blockade,” Abu Zuhri was quoted as telling an audience in Rafah on Thursday, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.
The Hamas leader went on to claim “that the Al-Qassam Brigades have the right to respond,” according to Ma’an.
Hamas paves road near Gaza border ‘to attack Zionists’
In recent days heavy construction equipment has been operating on the Palestinian side of the border, several hundred meters from the security fence. Construction work is taking place across from the Israeli community of Nahal Oz.
Former Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad said Saturday the road was intended “to create for ourselves convenient opportunities to attack the Zionist enemy.”
Israel security officials told the Ynet News website they were monitoring the road’s construction but said it did not seem to pose a security threat at this point.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Wednesday warned Hamas to rein in any attempts by Gaza terror groups to attack Israel, or “pay a heavy price,” after a rocket launched from Gaza hit near the town of Gan Yavne, outside Ashdod, causing neither casualties nor damage.
Report: France Scaling Back Security of Jewish Communities Though Attacks on the Rise
Although at least three antisemitic acts are committed daily against Jews in France, it appears French security has been scaling back efforts to protect the country’s anxious Jewish communities, the British Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday.
Just five months after a deadly terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris, “the truth is that this [French] military protection is, unofficially, waning,” reported the JC.
The report stemmed from concerns among synagogues and community centers, especially outside urban centers, that soldiers have begun providing only preliminary security at events, leaving the premises shortly after ceremonies or other engagements begin.
“Some small shuls have been told that they will not be guarded for an event that has fewer than ten participants,” said the JC, which is potentially devastating for Orthodox or other smaller communities in which barely a quorum is summoned for daily prayers.
The report came amid an announcement by the French antisemitism watchdog the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisemitisme that on average three antisemitic acts are committed against Jews in France every day.
Of German Bishops and Jewish Pawns
I ended a recent article by turning the spotlight on the multitude of foreign-sponsored Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating in Israel; at the time, I promised to address the issue in more detail. So here it is.
Despite the pretence, the ‘Israeli NGOs’ are neither ‘Israeli’ nor ‘Non-Governmental’: although operating in Israel, they depend on foreign funding, including directly and indirectly by foreign governments – especially those from the European Union. In short, they are not ‘Israeli NGOs’, but Foreign Political Subversion Groups (FPSG) – and this is how I’ll refer to them henceforth.
There are tens if not hundreds of ‘Israeli’ FPSGs – more than in any other part of the world and certainly more than anywhere else in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia practises a particularly abhorrent form of gender apartheid; it currently occupies Bahrein and is systematically bombing neighbouring Yemen (which committed no act of aggression against Saudi Arabia), causing many hundreds of civilian victims. Yet it is not the Saudi absolute monarchy, but the Israeli democracy that European money is trying to undermine.
In a previous piece, I described ICAHD, Jeff Halper’s neo-Marxist groupuscule, which proposes to dissolve the State of Israel into a ‘regional entity’ to include also the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. But let’s take this time a different (or, on second thought, not that different!) example: an FPSG called ‘Zochrot’.
Jewish Conspiracy Theorists Claim Non-Jews Control Global Politics, Media, Banks (satire)
“I mean, just look around. Open your eyes people!” Steven Goldstein told The Israeli Daily (TID). Goldstein, a self-proclaimed, tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist from south Florida, requested a meeting with TID to discuss one of his newest theories. “They’re controlling everything. You think you’re a unique individual? Wrong. You’re just a cog in their world domination machine. Your whole life, all your efforts are just fuel for their continued rule.” Goldstein is referring to non-Jews, who he believes control the world’s banks, media, and political systems. He knows that his theory will be met with skepticism, and has armed himself with what he considers to be conclusive evidence.
Goldstein continued, unprompted. “It seems every country has taken its shots against the Jews! Britain, Germany, Spain, Russia, and the Vatican; hell even the United States with General Order No.11! How could all these bad things happen to Jews all the time?! What, are we just the most unlucky group of people in history? I think not! Greater powers are at work against us. Non-Jews fill every position of power!”
He contined “just look at the United Nations’ non-Jews in charge. The European Union? Non-Jews. The President of the United States? A Communist Muslim. Bert and Ernie? F*cking non-Jews and they’re raising our children.”
“Have you seen The Matrix? Did you see any Jews? Exactly….”
Mainstreaming anti-Israel rhetoric on the BBC World Service
Amazingly, after that blatantly political and repeatedly inaccurate portrayal, Hearing states:
“In this programme we’re going to try and park the politics and look at how an economy under these circumstances functions at all.”
And to add insult to injury, he goes on to make use of one of the most jaded clichés in the rich lexicon of politically motivated anti-Israel rhetoric.
“One of the reasons Gaza’s often described as the largest open-air prison in the world is the difficulty of getting across the border with Israel.”
That same rhetoric is also used in the programme’s synopsis on the BBC website.
“How does the economy work in what some have described as the world’s biggest prison? Presenter Roger Hearing is live from the seafront in the Gaza Strip at the start of a week of coverage from Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
As we see, the BBC World Service has now extinguished any daylight that remained between itself and numerous assorted Hamas-supporting campaigning groups which employ the “world’s largest open-air prison” canard. And as Hearing’s jaundiced portrayal of the Gaza Strip shows, the problem with the broadcaster supposedly committed to accuracy and impartiality obviously does not by any means stop there.
Russia’s neo-Nazis unmasked — by Israeli Jewish filmmaker
A former elite Israeli soldier infiltrated a group of Russian neo-Nazis, posing as one of their own in order to document their activities and try to solve a gruesome murder.
Documentarist Vladi Antonevicz, an alumnus of Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, told Channel 2 on Friday that his journey into the dark heart of Russia began after he saw a 2007 internet video of an execution-style double murder committed by neo-Nazis.
The disturbing clip, and the brashness of those who distributed it, led Antonevicz to concoct a plan which most people would find unthinkable: to travel to Russia, disguised as an extremist himself, and film his attempts to get to the bottom of the killings.
“Many tried before me (to solve the murder) and they all failed,” he told Channel 2. “So I decided to try something new: I would ask the killer.”
The result is the film “Credit for Murder,” which was screened during this month’s Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival in Tel Aviv, and will soon air on Israeli cable’s Channel 8.
Israeli recognition, at last, for Jews who fought the Nazis
As a proud patriot, Brooklyn-born Dan Nadel enlisted in the US army right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But there was another force driving him to battle — his Jewish faith.
“What Hitler was doing to the Jews, I knew he had to be killed and stopped,” the 95-year-old decorated veteran said from his home in Jerusalem. “That was my motivation.”
Nadel is among a dwindling population of Jewish war veterans who battled the Nazis — a group that until recently received little recognition in the Jewish state. Seventy years after the war ended, Israel is finally paying homage to the 1.5 million Jewish soldiers with a planned museum and research center.
Nadel became an officer and landed on Normandy shortly after D-Day. He went on to earn five battle stars while leading combat engineer troops in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of France. Eventually, he helped free his fellow Jews from Nazi concentration camps.
“You can’t imagine what it was like. The stench, people walking around just like skeletons, just bones and skin, that’s all,” he recalled. “It was terrible. Our general, Patton, when he went into the camps, he puked.”
Meet the Makuya, Israel’s most unwavering supporters
For some time now, I’ve been singing the Israeli National Anthem with less fervor than in the past. Indeed, despite the Zionist zeal that brought me to Israel nearly five decades ago and which will undoubtedly keep me rooted to this country forever, I may have become a bit jaded. And so have many of my friends.
Small wonder, then, that when a group of us spent an evening with members of the Japanese Makuya in Jerusalem, we could barely hold back our tears. For when they sang “Zion, Zion, Zion” under the Israeli flag, their enthusiasm and shouts of joy could have raised the roof. With a collective lump in our throats, my friends and I were carried back to a simpler time, when it had all seemed only a matter of survival – and Israel had somehow survived.
The Makuya movement was born In May of 1948, the same month and year in which Israel declared its independence. But the Makuya don’t believe in coincidence. In fact, they consider the establishment of the modern State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem 19 years later to be the fulfillment of biblical prophecies, miraculous works of God.
Often called New Zionism, the Makuya movement was founded by a successful Japanese businessman, the late Professor Abraham Ikuro Teshima. Professor Teshima was a deeply religious Christian who had early on become disenchanted with the established Church and its western trappings. But he hadn’t yet heard the Divine voice. That would come later, a few years after World War II.
Miamians forge bonds with Israel’s tech innovators
Outsized success can be achieved in places you never expected. That’s why a group of leaders in Miami’s budding start-up community recently packed up and flew to Israel.
Despite few natural resources and ongoing regional instability, Israel has become a hotbed of high-impact entrepreneurship. Cities such as Tel Aviv and Haifa — home to Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology — are leading centers of innovation.
Israeli entrepreneurs have produced everything from the pioneering online messaging program ICQ to the popular traffic app, Waze. No foreign country save China has more tech companies listed on the NASDAQ than Israel, a nation of 8 million people.
Over the past two years, meanwhile, Miami has seen a sharp rise in its own innovative entrepreneurial activity. The recent eMerge Americas conference illustrated the new energy. The trip provided a unique opportunity for leaders in Miami’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community to understand what’s behind the success of the country dubbed “Startup Nation.”
Israeli companies bring jobs to American cities
Israel-based Avgol, a global producer of fabrics, announced it will expand its North American operations by building a new production line at its Mocksville, North Carolina plant, creating dozens of new jobs.
The expansion is part of a recent trend in Israeli business, in which the “home office” in Israel, seeking to expand sales in the United States, opens production facilities there, creating jobs and bringing production closer to markets.
Earlier this week, Bram Plastics Industries, a major producer of food storage and kitchen products, said it would open a new plant in Savannah, Georgia. The Sderot-based firm will invest $3 million in the facility, where it will produce food packaging products, tableware, plastic housewares, plastic storage tools and more for its American customers, which include large chain stores like Walmart. The factory will generate at least 60 new jobs, the Savannah Economic Development Authority said.
And venerable kitchen counter maker Caesarstone, based in Kibbutz Sdot Yam in Israel, this week officially opened its first American manufacturing facility in Richmond Hill, Georgia. In a gala event, Caesarstone CEO Yos Shiran said, according to the Savannah Morning News, that the company “examined many places in the states. We have found Georgia, Bryan County and specifically Richmond Hill as the best place for us, combining proximity to interstates and the port, warm people and the support of everybody around us.”
New Israeli App Lets Drivers Shame Bad Drivers on the Road
A new Israeli app allows users to record and report bad drivers in an effort to promote road safety, tech website Geektime reported on Thursday.
Nexar, a new tech startup from Tel Aviv, launched its network of connected drivers in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The app provides users the ability to flag reckless drivers and help other drivers improve their driving skills by providing them with instant feedback. Nexar users will also know which nearby drivers are dangerous, or satisfactory, behind the wheel through real-time alerts from the Nexar network.
The app continuously films the road the moment a user starts driving, according to Geektime. It then records location and speed information from a user’s smartphone. If a user came in contact with a reckless driver he can press a button and report the offender, which prompts the app to automatically attach a video clip of the incident to the report. The same driver will be flagged if he gets multiple reports.
Reckless driving is also detected at the end of a trip when the entire video is uploaded to the cloud. Nexar uses computer vision algorithms to analyze the video, identify dangerous driving habits, and pull license plate numbers of the cars involved, Geektime explained. The report noted that any video clip flagged as problematic will be reviewed by computer vision algorithms and humans who make the final call.
IsraAID sending team to join Texas flood relief effort
The Israeli organization IsraAID will be sending a team to help relief efforts in Texas which has been hit with massive flooding that has killed at least 21 people and that has prompted evacuations.
“IsraAID will be mobilizing its relief team from Israel to support the thousands of people impacted by these latest storms,” said Shachar Zahavi, IsraAID's Executive Director.
A team of ten IsraAID volunteers will depart for Texas on Sunday where they will help with removing debris from damaged houses, Zahavi told The Jerusalem Post.
The organization will be partnering with US disaster relief organization Team Rubicom and will be helping people in the Austin area.
Water revolution in Israel overcomes any threat of drought
“We were in a situation where we were very, very close to someone opening a tap somewhere in the country and no water would come out,” said Uri Schor, the spokesman and public education director of the government’s Water Authority.
But that was about six years ago. Today, there is plenty of water in Israel. A lighter version of an old “Israel is drying up” campaign has been dusted off to advertise baby diapers. “The fear has gone,” said Mr. Zvieli, whose customers have gone back to planting flowers.
As California and other western areas of the United States grapple with an extreme drought, a revolution has taken place here. A major national effort to desalinate Mediterranean seawater and to recycle wastewater has provided the country with enough water for all its needs, even during severe droughts. More than 50 percent of the water for Israeli households, agriculture and industry is now artificially produced.
During the drought years, farmers at Ramat Rachel, a kibbutz on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, took water-economizing measures like uprooting old apple orchards a few years before their time. With the new plenty, water allocations for Israeli farmers that had been slashed have been raised again, though the price has also gone up.
“Now there is no problem of water,” said Shaul Ben-Dov, an agronomist at Ramat Rachel. “The price is higher, but we can live a normal life in a country that is half desert.”
Legal Insurrection: Yet another reason to move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
It’s the humane thing to do.
Ah, the beach in Tel Aviv.
The Featured Image shows the view north from in front of my hotel.
There is a huge amount of construction going on up and down the beach — luxury hotels and residence buildings.
The building on the far right in the Featured Image is the U.S. Embassy.
That’s right, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is beachfront on the most prized section in Tel Aviv.
Not that the diplomats likely get to enjoy it.
In fact, don’t you think it is unfair to force our diplomats to look out at the people frolicking on the beach knowing they cannot partake? It’s practically torture!
Save the diplomats?!
Yet another reason to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
Where our embassy belongs.


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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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