Sunday, September 25, 2022

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Welcoming the year of 5783
Rosh Hashanah 5783 begins at sundown this evening, September 25, and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, September 27. The holiday celebrates not only the Jewish New Year, but also the birth of the universe and the beginning of the Days of Awe – 10 days of repentance and renewal that culminate in Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

The past year, 5782, has been a difficult one for Israel and the world. Although we appear to be emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some disturbing global developments – from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seven months ago to the Vienna negotiations on a new Iran nuclear deal.

Historically, this period will be remembered for the death of Queen Elizabeth II after an almost-record sovereign reign of 70 years (Louis XIV of France reigned almost two years longer) and the beginning of a new era under her son, King Charles III.

In Israel, we are witnessing a turbulent period as the country braces for its fifth election in less than four years (the first was on April 9, 2019). Security has been tightened ahead of Rosh Hashanah as the country also faces a resurgence of Palestinian terrorism. Are there any good news for a change?

On the positive side, the Israeli economy is showing signs of bouncing back. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported, for example, that the employment rate rose in August to the highest level in four years.

Israel’s ties with Arab and Muslim states are advancing well – especially in the Gulf – as evidenced most recently in talks on a free-trade agreement with Bahrain and Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York on Tuesday, the first such meeting since December 2008.

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss told Lapid on Wednesday at the United Nations that she is reviewing a relocation of her country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would also be a welcome development.

Poll: 65% of Israelis Think Country is ‘Good Place to Live’
Nearly 65 percent of the country’s population say Israel is a good place to live, while 33 percent of the respondents think the opposite, according to a poll published ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The survey conducted by Maariv, showed that the degree of satisfaction is higher among the older respondents: 77 percent of those aged 61 and over said they are satisfied, compared to 51 percent of people under 29.

The positive perception of life in Israel is also more widespread among religious (79 percent) and ultra-Orthodox (69 percent) respondents, compared to 59 percent of people who identify themselves as secular.

The majority of respondents (62 percent) also believe that the State of Israel is immutable, while 23 percent, on the contrary, believe that it faces existential dangers.

Asked about what worries them the most in Israel, 68 percent of respondents said it was the cost of living. It was followed by Palestinian terrorism (32 percent), housing prices (18 percent), crime (13 percent) and political instability (12 percent).

The majority of those worried about terrorism are supporters of Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu (47 percent), while Arab respondents are much more concerned about crime (39 percent) and Jewish-Arab relations (21 percent).
Caroline Glick: and the Anti-Semitic Zeitgeist
As for the zeitgeist, repeated surveys of public opinion show Europeans are largely hostile to Israel. For instance, a 2019 survey of European opinion by Bertelsman Stiftung Foundation found that whereas 61% of Israelis were positively disposed toward Europeans, a mere 20% of Europeans held positive opinions of Israel.

Regarding the Netherlands specifically, a 2018 study carried out by Israel’s left-leaning Institute for National Security Studies showed that the Dutch media collectively cover Israel in a manner that delegitimizes Israel’s existence and dehumanizes Israeli Jews. A popular Dutch media tactic for demonizing Israel is to claim that Israel cannot be a democracy, since during the period under review, the Knesset was debating a bill aimed at curbing the hostile activities of Dutch-funded anti-Israel NGOs.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) spoke to the now-rising anti-Israel, and increasingly outright anti-Jewish zeitgeist in progressive America on September 20. In remarks to an online forum hosted by a pro-Palestinian group, Tlaib said, “Among progressives, it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government.” She added, “We will not accept this idea that you are progressive, except for Palestine, any longer.”

Tlaib’s call for pro-Israel Americans to be shunned by progressives was roundly condemned by a handful of predominantly but not exclusively Jewish Democratic lawmakers, who rightly characterized her statement, and Tlaib herself, as anti-Semitic. On the other hand, there were several other lawmakers who participated in the online conference with Tlaib—and none expressed any qualms about her remarks. Moreover, President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and the rest of the Biden administration and Democratic congressional leadership felt no need to condemn Tlaib. To the contrary, they have embraced Tlaib. When Tlaib condemned U.S. support for Israel during last year’s Hamas missile offensive against the Jewish state, Biden gushed over Tlaib; he expressed his “admiration” for the anti-Semitic lawmaker, applauded her “passion” and “intellect,” and called her a “fighter.”

When seen in the broader context of Europe’s political war against Israel and the dominant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish zeitgeist in Europe and progressive America,’s action cannot be dismissed as the mere bloviation of overpaid, woke corporate executives. Instead, it must be seen as a sign of what is already happening, and a warning of an even worse situation that perhaps awaits us, as anti-Semitism again becomes the condition for entry into high society in Europe and America.

Defense Ministry Director Claims Gantz Talked Kushner into Blocking Netanyahu’s Sovereignty Plan
The former commander of the Israeli Air Force who is currently the Director-General of the Defense Ministry Amir Eshel on Friday told Maariv’s Ben Caspit that he and then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz collaborated to sabotage Netanyahu’s plan to impose Israeli sovereignty over the settlement bloc (Gantz ‘Happy’ He Sabotaged Israeli Sovereignty in Judea & Samaria).

You may recall the heady two days during which it appeared that the President of the United States had approved imposing Israeli sovereignty on much of Area C––the part with Jews in it––which The Jewish Press celebrated with this headline: Ambassador Friedman: Go Annex Those Settlements, What Are You Waiting For? This was on January 29, 2020. And then the whole thing was busted, as many of us had expected (Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria: Where Did it All Go Wrong?).

Two years and four months ago, Eshel was appointed by Gantz to head the Defense Ministry, which Eshel says was done clandestinely in preparation for Trump’s “deal of the century,” during Gantz’s rotation government with Netanyahu. It turns out that while Netanyahu was playing with Gantz, refusing to deliver on his rotation promises, Gantz was playing with Netanyahu over in Washington DC.

“It came to light during that Gantz visit to the White House (January 27, 2020), before the elections, when I was suddenly seen with him,” Eshel told Caspit. “I worked with Ambassador Friedman and the White House. It was a professional mission, not a political one. [Gantz] introduced me to President Trump and told him, Listen, this is General Eshel, he has been to all the countries in the Middle East, without a passport. Trump smiled and told Gantz something like He is a killer. Upon leaving the room, I caught a few sentences with Trump, I told him: Sir, we must make sure that the plan is carried out. Later I also caught Jared Kushner and Ambassador Friedman with the same message. I told them, your plan will die before it is even born.”

“Jared looked at me like I fell down from the moon. I told him: Listen, Bibi has a plan to immediately get the annexation approved by the government. We knew that even before we got to the White House. I told him that if this happened, the [deal of the century] would die. He didn’t quite understand. So I told him that no Arab ruler would agree to this, no one would support it. He said to me: ‘What are you saying, I talked to them one by one, they are all in favor.’ I told him, ‘In favor of what? That Israel will immediately cash its chits without giving anything in return? Do you see A Sisi supporting this? Or Abdullah? You’ll catch an aftershock you won’t know what hit you. None of them will be able to support this, that Israel receives cash and the Palestinians get credit that will never be repaid.”
Only 36% of Israelis believe next gov’t should push two-state solution
Just 36% of Israelis either “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that the government formed after the election should try to advance a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s Voice of Israel Index for the month of September.

Among Jewish Israelis that number is just 31%, while among Arab Israelis it is 60%, the survey found.

The numbers among both Jews and Arabs were down from a similar survey in February 2021, when 50% of Israelis believed that the government should try to advance the two-state solution – 44% Jewish and 79% Arab.

The data was published a day after Prime Minister Yair Lapid claimed in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday that most Israelis supported the two-state solution. The current survey shows that a strong majority believes that this is not relevant for the next government.

Do Israelis think Israel can thwart a nuclear Iran without US help?
The survey also asked Israelis whether the country should carry out a military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities even without American agreement, with almost half (49%) answering that they “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that Israel should do so. This includes 55% of Jewish Israelis and 17% of Arab Israelis, the survey found.

Are Israelis optimistic about the New Year?
Ahead of Rosh Hashanah, respondents were also asked what they thought the new Hebrew year will be like for the nation.

Among Jewish Israelis, 31% said that the year will be “much better” or “a little better” than the previous one. The exact same percentage said that the coming year would be similar to last year, 18% said it would be “a little” or “a lot” worse than last year, and 20% said they didn’t know.

Among Arab Israelis, however, just 20% believed the coming year would be much or a little better than last year, 23% said it would be the same – and 36% said it would be worse, nearly double the percentage in response to a similar question asked last year.

Finally, asked about their attitudes regarding the future of democratic rule in Israel, 46% of the respondents said that they were optimistic, versus just 20% who said they were pessimistic.

Terrorists place bomb at gas station in Kedumim, no injuries reported
Terrorists placed a bomb at a gas station at the entrance to the settlement of Kedumim, west of Nablus in the northern West Bank, on Sunday morning, according to Israeli reports.

Security camera footage showed the terrorists arriving in a car, setting down a bag carrying the charge and four kilograms of explosives and driving off. The explosives did not detonate and no injuries were reported.

Residents of Kedumim held a protest outside the settlement later in the day and refused to allow any Arabs to enter the gas station. The protest was organized by the "Torat Lechima" organization.

"It is inconceivable that the area is swarming with terrorists who carry out attacks from anywhere nearly every hour, and Arabs roam freely among us," said Aviad Gadot, a resident of Kedumim and the chairman of Torat Lechima, in a statement to the press.

Gadot called on the IDF Samaria Brigade commander Shimon Siso to prohibit the entry of Arabs into the gas station at the settlement and to prevent their free movement in the area.
‘Talmudic Rituals’ & ‘Vegetarian Sacrifices’: How Palestinian Media Cover the Jewish Holidays
Yet the Palestinian media, in their reporting on the impending Jewish holiday season, chose to ignore these positive themes and instead used the occasion to incite more hatred and violence against the Jewish people.

“What are the settlers’ plans during their incursion to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque in their claimed holidays from Sep 26 to Oct 17, 2022?” one Twitter post by Al-Qastal, a popular Palestinian news site, focusing on events in Israel’s capital, read.

The attached graphic mocked Jewish tradition, suggesting that peaceful worshippers are actually “settlers” preparing to “storm” the Al-Aqsa Mosque while carrying out nefarious “Talmudic rituals” and blowing the “trumpet” (an apparent reference to the shofar, a ram’s horn customarily blown to inspire introspection).

Al Qastal furthermore incited its followers by claiming that Israelis were plotting “large-scale incursions” into the Western Wall plaza, Judaism’s second-holiest site, where they allegedly planned to introduce “vegetarian sacrifices.” For the record, Jews (as well as other non-Muslims) are strictly forbidden from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And although a very small minority of religious Jews have the custom of eating the etrog, the four species used during Sukkot prayers are certainly not meant as a modern-day sacrifice.

Quds+, another Jerusalem-based media platform, nevertheless issued a “call for mobilization…to thwart the plans of the occupation and its settlers during the so-called ‘Jewish holiday’ season,” amplifying Hamas terror propaganda that threatened a “religious war” in response to Israelis marking their holiest days.

Meanwhile, in a bizarre rant published by multiple Arab media outlets, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in Ramallah accused Israel of “violating international law” by not taking tougher police action against people blowing the shofar in the city sacred to Jews and Christians, and Muslims alike.

Related Reading: As Palestinians Destroy Jewish Holy Sites, Media Focus On Fake ‘Attacks’ on Al-Aqsa Mosque

It is crucial to note that baseless accusations of Israeli threats to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site built on the ruins of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem’s Old City, have long been a rallying call for Palestinian terrorism. For example, the 1929 Hebron massacre, in which Arabs murdered 67 Jewish inhabitants of the city, was sparked by rumors that Jews were planning to seize control of the mosque.

The Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police have been on high alert in recent weeks due to a rise in shooting attacks by Palestinian terrorists against security forces and civilians.

Study: Nearly half of Israelis agree Iran nuke sites should be attacked even without US support
Forty-nine percent of all Israelis, and 55% of those who are Jewish, strongly or somewhat agree that Israel should attack Iranian nuclear sites even without U.S. support, according to a survey by the Israel Democracy Institute.

The study also found that less than a third of Jewish Israelis (31%) want the next government in Jerusalem to advance the two-state solution as a means of resolving the conflict with the Palestinians. A full 36% of Israelis, including 58% of Jews, do not want this paradigm to be promoted following the Jewish state’s Nov. 1 elections (11% of Jewish Israelis said they were unsure how the next government should proceed).

Regarding the upcoming Jewish New Year, which begins on Sunday at sundown, 29% of Israelis believe that next year will be better than the previous one; 30% think it will be about the same; 21% believe it will be worse; and 20% said that they don’t know.

The survey of 605 men and women interviewed in Hebrew and 149 in Arabic was conducted on the internet and by telephone between Sept. 18 and Sept. 20, 2022, and has a margin of error of 3.59 at a confidence level of 95%.
Iranians have given Biden an opportunity he must seize
When world leaders convene at the UN General Assembly each September, Iranian exiles hold demonstrations against the ayatollah regime just outside the building. This year, I have noticed a significant increase in the number of protests. It also appears that they are also much more organized: yellow vests; high-quality effigies; and truck-mounted signs that crisscross manhattan with anti-regime messages.

Having the Butcher from Tehran Ebrahim Raisi as the president of the republic has become a rallying cry for the Iranians in the country and beyond. In fact, it appears that the protesters at the General Assembly did not carry Mahsa Amini's picture. This means that their widespread campaign against the president's visit to New York was meticulously planned even before her brutal death of the 22-year-old woman and the widespread protests it had ignited.

At this critical juncture in history, every democracy-seeking person who cares for human rights and espouses free elections and peace is duty-bound to show steadfast and unequivocal support for the Iranian masses standing up to the regime. It must not be limited to cheering from the bleachers; it should be matched with action.

Now that Iran has tried to cut off internet access, it is up to Israel, the US, and other democracies to find a way to set up clandestine connectivity for the Iranian people to continue their protests. Massive budgets should also be allocated to help them, as well as any other form of support. On top of that, the West must show here and now that it is fully behind them by making a public statement validating that Iran's protesters are doing the right thing, just like its show of support for Ukrainians and their justifiable action against the Russian occupation,

Supporting the protests is not just the right thing morally, it is also correct on a political level. Precisely because no nuclear deal is going to be completed anytime soon, toppling the regime by popular uprising is the least dangerous path to counter Iran's aggression – both in the form of its export of terrorism or its path to a bomb.

Polish venue cancels Roger Waters gigs after Ukraine comments
Concerts by Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters were canceled by a venue in the Polish city of Krakow, organizers said on Sunday after the artist's comments on the war in Ukraine caused a storm of criticism.

Waters had been due to appear in Krakow next April, but Polish media reports about an open letter he wrote to Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska urging her to ask her husband to choose "a different route" and criticizing the West for supplying Ukraine with arms provoked a fierce backlash.

"Live Nation Polska and Tauron Arena Krakow have canceled Roger Waters' concert," organizers said in a statement on the venue's website. They did not elaborate on the reason for the cancellation.

On Saturday, state-run news agency PAP reported that a spokesperson for the Tauron Arena had said that Walters' management had canceled the concert without giving a reason.

Support for Ukraine in Poland
Poland counts itself among Kyiv's staunchest allies, and public support for the Ukrainian cause is very high. Former rock band ''Pink Floyd'' musician Roger Waters performs on stage during his tour, at Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, US, September 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY/FILE PHOTO)Former rock band ''Pink Floyd'' musician Roger Waters performs on stage during his tour, at Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, US, September 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY/FILE PHOTO)

Local councilors in Krakow had been due to vote on a resolution declaring Waters 'Persona non grata' on Wednesday.

In a social media post, Waters said that it was not true that he or his management had canceled the concerts and criticized local councilor Lukasz Wantuch over the vote to declare him unwelcome in the city.

Rosh Hashanah: A New Year’s Resolution for the Media
First of all, news agencies bear a responsibility to hire only qualified journalists who do not have a history of antisemitism, anti-Israel bias, or connections to controversial pro-Palestinian groups. It is important to check the credentials, past stories, and resources used by reporters to validate their ability to report impartially.

To stop the spread of misinformation and biased reporting, journalists could moreover use the American Press Institute guidelines:
Periodically examine yourself for bias building up — understanding what your views are and why you have them is the best way to keep them under control.
Who do you personally like or dislike? Why?
How might that be coloring your judgment?
Read through some of your stories and be self-critical.
Do any of them help you tell the story?
Are there any you believe you should not deal with?
Is there anything you should do in presenting any of these biases that will help the reader understand them?
What bias do I have going in that I should be wary of?
What are my points of ignorance going in that I need to note?

The spread of misinformation begins with reporters but is exacerbated by the public, in particular by social media users. The public can contribute to the media’s improvement by following the steps listed by Simon Fraser University

The most important steps are to thoroughly check the source, read beyond the headlines (do not share an article without reading the contents), investigate the authors, and check the resources they used.

Rosh Hashanah and the days leading up to Yom Kippur are a time to reflect on the past year. What mistakes have we made? Where can we improve? How do we move toward a better version of ourselves? Journalists and readers each play an important role in the spread of misinformation and biased reporting.

Awareness is the first step towards reinstating the values of ethical journalism that could eventually enable the public to trust the media more. News media outlets, journalists, and consumers each have to do their part.

Together, we can move toward a successful year.
Disgraced antisemitic Barrister used as credible source by Al Jazeera
Damian McCarthy has recently featured on Al Jazeera’s Documentary Labour Files, to ostensibly to deny that the antisemitism experienced by Jews in the UK Labour party was exaggerated.

As you can see, Damian does not have a stellar reputation for telling the truth. Damian is a former barrister who was disbarred for fabricating client letters.

We collected compelling evidence that McCarthy was running an “anonymous” Twitter account during the #LabourAntismitism crisis, @1swordoftruth. Quite possibly because it regularly posted antisemitic material, it was suspended by Twitter.

Before this account was suspended, it had been forensically linked to Damian McCarthy and screenshots of his antisemitism were taken.

Here is McCarthy stating that Jews are “gassing people in Gaza” There is no need to say why this is so offensive and untrue.

McCarthy regularly trolled Jewish religious leaders, this post is a complete fabrication and highly insulting to many British Jews who regard the Chief Rabbi as our spiritual leader.

The comments that he made on the death of the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Z”L Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, were absolutely abhorrent and disgusting.

The numbers are in: What’s in store for Israel’s population?
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics has published its final demographic figures ahead of the upcoming Jewish new year.

According to the report, Israel currently has 9,593,000 residents, with that number expected to cross 10 million at the end of 2024 and 15 million at the end of 2048. Israel’s population will have essentially doubled by the end of 2065, the report says.

A breakdown of the population according to ethnicities shows that 7,069,000, or roughly 74%, are Jews, some 2 million (roughly 21%) are Arabs and about half a million residents (some 5%) have a different ethnic background.

Some 177,000 new Israelis were born in the Jewish year 5782 (which ends on Sunday night), while 53,000 people passed away, including 4,400 from complications of the coronavirus.

The war in Ukraine has impacted Israel’s overall immigration figures significantly. Net immigration for the past 12 months stands at 63,000, including 59,000 who qualify as olim, with about 40,000 of those making aliya from Ukraine.

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