Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It Caught My Eye

This was sent by Chana Givon after being sent to her by Benny Gluch.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent—Eleanor Roosevelt.

If the Israeli elected leaders and the head of the opposition both oppose the Iran deal, can JStreet support it and still call itself pro-Israel--- Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg View

The Iran deal is in essence giving a fat kid a box of twinkies and then just hoping he doesn’t eat the whole box…but you know they will in the end. Jewnews

In Israel, one of the world’s rowdiest democracies, politicians rarely agree on anything. Which is why their reaction to the nuclear arms deal with Iran is so unique. For the first time in living memory, virtually all Israelis – left, right, religious, secular, Arabs, Jews – are together calling the deal disastrous. Michael Oren, Time

History Always Repeats Itself.
The Nazis planned to exterminate the Jews; Iran has the same plan…and the world is reacting in the same pathetic way.

When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,” you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong. Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional-arms and ballistic-missile embargoes on Iran? What happened to our insistence on “anytime, anywhere” inspections?  Obama has laid down his legacy and we will have to live with the consequences for decades.
Charles Krauthammer

According to the Carnegie Endowment and the Federation of Scientists, Iran’s nuclear program has been marked by enormous financial costs. Its Bushehr reactor, one of the most expensive in the world, is a hybrid German-Russian reactor that resembles a virtual petri dish of amalgamated equipment and antiquated technology. A great deal of the equipment was sourced covertly at high cost, and a good deal of outright theft may have been hidden in supposed payoffs to intermediaries. The biggest single public expenditure in one of the world’s most corrupt countries may be a secret that the Iranian state felt compelled to keep.
David P Goldman, Asia Times

Omar Sharif, the Hollywood actor, born in Egypt, who died last week, lived between several worlds, from the Middle East to Hollywood, via bridge matches and gambling casinos, to horse racing tracks.  He hated Middle East politics, which got in the way of his close friendships with Jews, and he wasn’t afraid to challenge the antisemites.

In 1968, he was the captain of the bridge team of the United Arab Emirates at the world championships in France.  I was working at the tournament, and late one morning he cornered me.  “We’re scheduled to play Israel in two days,” he said, “and I’ve just received a cable from Cairo telling me we musn’t play.”  He frowned.  “So how about you and I play a two-handed match?  I can’t ask the other Egyptians to disobey, but the government won’t do anything to me.” The Israelis agreed, and we did it.  That was Omar.
Michael Ledeen, PJ Media

An employee of the Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures in Beersheba said an anonymous Israeli robber left two 2,000-year-old Roman sling stones in a bag in the museum courtyard with a typed note saying the stolen artifacts "brought me lots of troubles."  The robber wrote that he stole the artifacts 20 years ago from ancient Gamla in the Golan Heights that was the site of a Roman siege in the first century. The robber ended the note with the message, "Do not steal antiquities!" There was also a map of the site in the bag with an "X'' marked on it, likely marking where the stones were taken.
Israel Hayom

Anat Kadari and Roi Ashkenazi went down the aisles twice on their wedding day. Living close to the corner of Namir Boulevard and Jabotinsky Street in Tel Aviv, only 2.9 km. from their wedding hall, the couple decided to save the money for a limo, and take the bus. When surprised passengers realized this was not a marketing gimmick but a genuine bride and groom walking down the aisle, everyone cheered. Egged had been informed before hand of the couple’s intentions and decorated the bus with balloons. After a 10-minute ride down the main drag, with three stops in between, the delighted couple and their wedding party alighted for a second walk down the aisle.
Chelm-on-the Med.

Israeli bumblebees are being sent to Japan to help make up for a lack of bees caused by the increased use of pesticides in that country’s rice fields. When they arrive in Japan, the bees are sent to greenhouses in farms throughout the country. The Bio Bee firm based at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu mass-produces the bees to fulfill their mission even when the temperature drops, in rain and cloudy weather when bees prefer to huddle up in their warm hives. The pollinating bees have been helping Israeli farmers, who have also been affected by the global decline in the honeybee population. The advantage of these particular bees is that they tend to stay inside the closed greenhouse, rather than flying out to cultivate other people’s fields.

Cardinal O’Connor, for 16 years New York’s Catholic Church’s top cleric, was born to a Jewish mother. The discovery was only made by his sister Mary after his death in 2000 while exploring the family’s roots ahead of a trip to Ireland. While the O’Connors long knew that their mother Dorothy had converted to Catholicism in 1908, they assumed by her Germanic-sounding maiden name, Dorothy Gomple, that she had been a Lutheran. In fact, her given name was Deborah Gumpel and her father was a rabbi and butcher. Cardinal O’Connor was recognized as a friend of Jews. He was involved in the Vatican’s recognition of the State of Israel and the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the two in 1993.
Ginger Adam Otis, NY Daily News and Sheila Lagan, Irish Central

Economic development plans for Israeli Arabs initiated under Ehud Olmert accelerated under Netanyahu. The projects include industrial parks in Arab and Jewish towns; subsidies to help firms hire Arab labor and expanded transportation infrastructure, which allowed Arabs to reach employment sites; a five-year plan to improve Arab education and a special unit in the prime minister’s office to promote economic development in the Arab community.

Female Arab labor participation rates increased substantially: for women 30 to 39 years old, it increased from 24 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2010. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has transformed government services in East Jerusalem---- transport, the planning of neighborhoods, schools, and medical facilities. The health quality indices for East Jerusalem are the same as for West Jerusalem. These efforts have led many East Jerusalem Arabs to link themselves to the Israeli state, including a dramatic increase in residents seeking Israeli ID cards. More and more students enrolled in school programs that prepared them for the Israeli matriculation exam.

The number of Arabs employed in government civil service rose from 2,800 workers in 2003 to 5,000 in 2011—an increase of 78% compared to the 12% increase in the number of Jewish workers during the same period. The expansion of high-tech in Nazareth in the last few years and the success at the Technion has reduced the dropout rate of Arab students from 28% to 12%.  

These achievements have been achieved despite Palestinian nationalists trying to discourage cooperation with Israeli ministries. An example is that set by the mayor of the Bedouin village of Hura, Mohammed Alnabari.Under his administration, Hura gained call center jobs, initiated the Women’s Catering Enterprise that produces meals for Bedouin schools, a joint project with a nearby kibbutz to produce high value-added produce and a project with the JNF to raise mixed heads of sheep and goats for organic meat and dairy products. The government has also provided subsidies to firms that hire Bedouin workers in the new industrial park in Rahat and for other employment initiatives.

There has been a dramatic improvement in Arab (including Bedouin) schooling, with a corresponding improvement in test scores. As a result of additional funding, by 2010/11 only 15% of Arab classrooms compared to 11% of Jewish classrooms suffered overcrowding. Occupational and educational advances have led the Israeli Arab public to have more hopeful attitudes.  The share of Israeli Arabs, who were “very satisfied” with their economic conditions, rose from 40% in 2004-5 to 60% in 2010-11.  A plurality of Arab citizens of Israel today rejects being called Palestinians.  

All of these changes suggest that an increasingly upward mobile Israeli Arab populace seeks constructive engagement rather than a confrontational, separatist stance.
Robert Cherry, Mosaic Magazine

A prominent Arab writer started his column with:  Hi there! Any news from Palestine? He went on to describe a “growing fatigue with the whole Palestine issue and noted that the so-called peace process has run into sand. The US is focused on forging an alliance with the mullahs of Tehran; no other major power seems interested in touching the issue. France made some noises about “a new initiative” but quickly thought better of becoming involved in “something no one is interested in.”

The Arab columnist’s concern reflects the current mood in the Middle East. For the first time in decades, Palestine has been shut out of the news in favor of Syria, ISIS, sectarian wars and the aggressiveness of Iran. The foreign press in Israel has moved to cover the sectarian wars in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq; the Palestinian government resigned; Hamas split into at least three factions; and ISIS killers loom over the Sinai Peninsula.

Another reason the Palestine issue has lost much of its luster for many Arabs, as a Jordan-ian businessman said in London: “Today, no Arab feels safe in his country. Ironically, the sole exceptions are Palestinians in the West Bank because they know Israel will defend them if ISIS attacks. Even in Gaza, most people secretly believe that Israel is their ultimate protection against ISIS fighters trying to strike roots in the Sinai.”

Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria have been massacred; the massacre of Christians, Yazidis and Druze by Islamists in Syria and Iraq contrasts with the safety those groups enjoy in Israel. For weeks, Jordan has been bracing itself for an attack by ISIS on Zarqa, a Palestinian-majority city near Syria. Such a move would bring ISIS close to the West Bank, in which case, some Jordanians believe, the Jewish state would stop its spread. “Today, Arabs see that their own house is on fire,” says a Dubai businessman.

A prominent Lebanese commentator and TV personality cites another reason for dwindling interest in the Palestinian issue. “One might call it Palestinitis,” he says. “Arabs realize that there are many other issues that affect their lives, indeed their existence.”

The idea, that it is now Iran and not Israel that poses an existential threat to Arabs, receives almost daily confirmation with outlandish statements by leaders in Tehran. “Iran is trying to create a Persian Crescent as the core of its empire,” claims Lebanon’s Interior Minister. “That now represents the principal threat faced by Arabs.”

Not surprisingly, Iran’s leaders try to keep the Palestine issue on the front burner by casting themselves as the “liberators of Jerusalem.” That was the theme of the “Jerusalem Day” events last week presided over by President Hassan Rouhani. But their show attracted less attention than at any time in the past 30 years. The Khomeinists missed the irony of Israel being the only government in the Middle East, outside Iran itself, to allow such a demonstration.
Amir Taheri, New York Post

Hawks who believe airstrikes are the only option for stopping Iranian nukes should welcome the deal. This is because it sets Washington on a collision course with Tehran. The plan leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear-weapons state. To imagine such a deal working is to imagine the Islamic Republic without its revolutionary faith. So the deal is in effect establishing the necessary conditions for military action when a new president takes office.

No US president would destroy Iranian nuclear sites without first exhausting diplomacy. The efforts by the US to compromise with Tehran are comprehensive. If the next president chooses to strike after the Iranians violates the agreement, however, the newcomer would be on much firmer political ground than if he tried without this accord.

Without a deal the past would probably repeat itself: Sanctions would increase while the Iranians would advance their nuclear capabilities. Without a deal, diplomacy wouldn’t die. Via this meandering diplomatic route, Tehran has gotten the West to accept its nuclear progress. Critics who suggest that a much better agreement is possible with more sanctions assume that economic pain alone can force the mullahs to set aside their faith.

The problem is that the Islamic Republic remains a revolutionary Islamic movement that,  by definition, would never bend to the US’s economic coercion and never gut the nuclear centerpiece of its military planning. This is the revolutionary Islamic state that is ever fearful at home of seditious Western culture and prepared to use terrorism abroad.
Above all, the clerical regime cannot be understood without appreciating the centrality of anti-Americanism to its religious identity.

The Revolutionary Guards are fighting in Syria and Iraq, and Iranian aid flows to the Houthis in Yemen. Wherever the Islamic Republic’s influence grows among Arab Shiites, Sunni-Shiite conflict grows worse. With greater internecine Muslim hostility, the clerical regime inevitably intensifies its anti-US propaganda and actions in an effort to compete with radical Sunnis and their competing claims to lead an anti-Western Muslim world.

Iranian adventurism will eventually provoke a more muscular U.S. response. The odds of Tehran respecting any nuclear deal while it pushes to increase its regional influence—unchecked by Washington—aren’t good. Mr. Obama may think he can snap back sanctions and a united Western front to counter nefarious Iranian nuclear behavior, but the odds aren’t good once European businesses start returning to the Islamic Republic.

 When and if America strikes, it will be because Mr. Obama showed that peaceful means don’t work against the clerics’ nuclear and regional ambitions.
Reuel Marc Gerecht & Mark Dubowitz, Wall Street Journal

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