Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Hypocrisy of Non Governmental Organisations

Human Wrongs: The Worst of Amnesty, HRW, and others in 2011

As 2011 concludes, NGO Monitor released a list (below) of the most outrageous and
absurd NGO actions from the past year, demonstrating the political nature of NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. NGO Monitor also published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on the NGOs' lack of preparedness in 2011 during the Arab Springs. Another op-ed appeared in JTA as a letter to Tom Friedman and Hillary Clinton, facetiously discussing the state of American democracy.

The list:

1. Amnesty International's new Israel Researcher, Deborah Hyams, has a history of radical
anti-Israel activism.

2. HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson
race-baited American Jews and ignored the embarrassment of having praised Saif-Islam Qaddafi as a human rights reformer.

3. German NGO "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ)" exploited government funding designated for Holocaust reparations and education in order to join the delegitimization campaign against Israel and added to new antisemitism.

4. Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned as "war crimes" the IDF response to the terror attack in Eilat.

5. A number of NGOs attacked Judge Richard Goldstone after he honestly admitted the need to "reconsider" his UN report.

6. HRW appointed Shawan Jabarin to its Middle East Advisory Board, an alleged senior activist in the PFLP terrorist organization, and head of Al-Haq.

7. Members of Machsom Watch supported and hugged relatives of the murderers of the Fogel family killers.

8. Amnesty International defended Ittijah head Ameer Makhoul, a convicted Hezbollah spy.

9. Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) accused the New Israel Fund (NIF) of being an "ally" of NGO Monitor, after NIF was forced to finally end funding to the pro-BDS group.

10. Wikileaks revealed that NIF Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radanovitz believed that "the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic."

11. Itamar Shapira of Breaking the Silence claimed "we are creating the terror against us, basically."

12. Kathleen Peratis, co-chair of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee, held meetings with Hamas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eye camp by Israeli doctors in Nepal

A team of seven Israeli volunteers including three doctors and one nurse visited Nepal for a 13-day stay in April 2011.

A team of seven Israeli volunteers including three doctors and one nurse visited Nepal for a 13-day stay in April 2011. The formal opening of the program "Vision Nepal 2011" took place at Dhulikhel Hospital, the Kathmandu University Hospital, on April 22, inaugurated by the Vice President of Nepal, Mr. Parmananda Jha.

The next day a symposium on cataract and oculoplasty was held at Dhulikhel Hospital in coordination with Embassy of Israel, Eye with Zion and the Nepal Ophthalmic Society. Some 60 participants including ophthalmologists, residents and optometrists from all over Nepal participated in this symposium.

A three-day camp at Mane Kharka, in Langtang Valley, was set up along with a team of medical doctors from Dhulikhel Hospital on April 24, where the Israeli and Nepali doctors together conducted examinations, treatments and surgeries. A total of 485 cases were examined during the camp, among which 54 cases of cataract were identified. Of these, 25 patients were operated on during the camp, and the rest were referred for treatment to Dhulikhel Hospital.

After returning to Kathmandu, the Israeli doctors continued to conduct treatments and cataract surgeries at Dhulikhel Hospital and wrapped up their mission on May 3, 2011.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Palestinian Kids Die as a Result of PA Boycott

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported (PCHR) on December 4th that two Palestinian children, members of the same family, died recently as the result of a political decision by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. For the full article see by "Missing Piece" dated Dec 18th

On November 2nd The PA ministry issued a decision decreasing the transfer of seriously ill patients to Israel, citing the high cost of treatment in Israeli hospitals.
The measure has nothing to with finances however, but was the result of the long standing PA policy of boycotting Israel.

PCHR submitted a report on the deaths of Mohammad Azzam Sahwil (9) and his sister Hiba Azzam Shawil (8):

Yearly thousands of Palestinian patients are treated in Israeli hospitals. From the Israeli perspective high costs were never a reason to refuse them treatment.

There have even been cases in which funds for treatment were raised among the Jewish public in Israel. The best known example of this was
the story of Mohammed Abu Mustafa, a Palestinian baby from Gaza who was born without an immune system. The baby was saved by Israeli doctors after a anonymous Jewish Israeli donated the costs of the treatment.

The Peres Peace Centre has a special fund known as ‘Saving children’ that enables hundreds of Palestinian children to receive free medical treatment in Israel.

Recently the IDC website
No Camels ran a story about a pregnant Palestinian woman who received emergency treatment in the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.
The woman was pregnant with twins whose blood supply was insufficient. According to No Camels ‘A small catheter was inserted into her womb and using a laser device, her placenta was burnt and separated to two parts – one for each baby. The procedure was carried out successfully and the lives of the twins were saved.’

It is obvious that the decision to deny seriously ill Palestinians treatment in Israeli hospitals has nothing to do with finances but everything with the ongoing political war against Israel by the Palestian Authority.

Last week several planned informal meetings which aimed to promote normalization between Israelis and Palestinians, were thwarted by Fatah. Hatem Abdel Khader, a senior Fatah official, told Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh that Fatah has
declared war on all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is highly doubtful however that this new PA attempt to boycott Israel will succeed.

An earlier economic boycott failed miserably after the Palestinian public refused to participate. One has only to visit the West Bank to see that Palestinians massively buy Israeli goods and are involved in trade with Israel. Despite an ongoing ban thirty thousand Palestinians work in the Jewish communities in the West Bank and their number keeps growing.

The current normalization boycott seems to be ignored as well. While Fatah was busy sabotaging reconciliation meetings in Jerusalem and Beit Jallah last week, Israeli scientists met their Palestinian counterparts at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in order to discuss further cooperation.

So the real victims of this boycott appear to be the seriously ill Palestinians who do not have the ability to ignore this cynical attempt to destroy normalization with Israel.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday of Holidays Festival - Haifa

The 18th Holiday of Holidays Festival multicultural event marks Hannukah, Eid Al-Adha and Christmas in interfaith harmony.

It's a happening that brings tens of thousands of happy people to the streets of Haifa every December. Now in its 18th year, the Holiday of Holidays Festival is once again filling the Jewish-Arab mixed Wadi Nisnas neighborhood with good cheer, musical concerts, art exhibits, delicious bites and, most importantly, a feeling of togetherness.

It's actually a combination of holidays of the three main monotheistic religions: Hannukah, Eid Al-Adha and Christmas celebrated in interfaith harmony every Thursday through Saturday in December. "We honor everyone who lives here," says Asaf Ron, CEO of the
Beit Hagefen Arab Jewish Center, which organizes the event. "The festival is very important for dialogue, community activity, neighborliness and tolerance."

On the bill are an antiques fair, outdoor art exhibits, crafts fair, Christmas tree decorating, Christmas parades, liturgical concerts, neighborhood tours, concerts, street theater and Israeli street food.

"First of all, visitors must see the art exhibits. This year the artists look at their origins. The art is at the heart of the festival," says Ron. "Secondly, the [concert] stages are a center point and a real Israel mix. You can hear everything on the stage: Baha'i music, modern Arabic music, world music, Israeli music. This is a happening for everyone. It's great to see all the religions in the same festival."

Pilgrimage to Haifa

Travelers tend to go to Haifa to see the Baha'i Gardens, Stella Maris Monastery, the Cave of Prophet Elijah, the Achmadim Mosque and the Old German Colony area. The city does not boast a particular pilgrimage site as found in Jerusalem or Nazareth.

"Haifa offers something else. We're not a holy site specifically, but we have people that want to live harmoniously; the atmosphere here is special. The feeling is one of pluralism," Ron says.

The annual festival attracts some 200,000 people from across Israel and even from abroad. More than 40 percent of festivalgoers are out-of-towners. "The festival is very important for dialogue and a shared experience of togetherness," Ron says, noting that Beit Hagefen’s goal is to educate toward coexistence by means of cultural and artistic activities.

The festival takes place in the neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas, where Jews, Christians and Muslims live side by side. A few churches are located here, but the area is best known for its art and culinary delicacies. Here you’ll find some 100 works of art by Arab and Jewish artists from across the country. And the marketplace (shuk) is known for its mounds of indigenous herbs and oriental pastries.

During the year Wadi Nisnas is a quaint neighborhood with an open-minded atmosphere. During the festival, it's one of the most energetic and boisterous places in Haifa, if not in all of northern Israel.

Festival highlights

One of the best-loved activities is taking a photo with Haifa's own Santa Claus. "At least 80 percent of those taking pictures with Santa are Jewish," reports Ron. "It's an attraction for everyone."

Another highlight is the coexistence walks. Beit Hagefen conducts these guided tours year-round at NIS 20 per person, but it is at the festival that demand really heats up. The tours are conducted in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Spanish and Russian. Ron says they're working on getting French-speaking guides as well.

The Art Works route includes displays by dozens of Jewish and Arab artists; the Poetry Path includes excerpts by Arab and Jewish poets and explains how their words connect to the neighborhoods; the Taste of Wadi Nisnas route includes samplings of traditional foods like knafeh, baklava and olesh (chicory); and the German Colony route gives a short history of the Templar settlement amid the beautiful historic buildings.

While informative, Ron says, the purpose of the tours is to introduce visitors to the cultural mosaic of Haifa. "Educational messages of peace, pluralism, tolerance, cooperation, neighborliness and joint hope for a better future, are conveyed through the tours," reads the Beit Hagefen website.

And then there's the Christmas parade. Ron says December 22-24, 2011 is "the" weekend to be in Haifa. "Hannukah and Christmas get their start with the Santa parade that winds around the neighborhoods. The parade ends with the lighting of a hannukiah (menorah) and with two Israeli-Jewish and Israeli-Arab bands playing on stage." There really is a little something for everyone.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Big Tent for Israel – A Day to Remember « Ray Cook

Having been invited to participate in the "BIG TENT for Israel" event in Manchester UK, recently, I wanted to express some thoughts after returning home.

One of the people there I got to know was Ray Cook who wrote up his impressions, so I ask myself, why reinvent the wheel?

For a report see Big Tent for Israel – A Day to Remember « Ray Cook

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Muslim-Jewish Friends Forever Meet “Face to Faith” at Leo Baeck

An Israel first…Muslim students from the Galilee village of Ein Mahal joined their "Friends Forever" Leo Baeck partners to present their unique and life-changing story of shared existence to schools in India and the US via a historic Tony Blair Face to Faith multi-country Video Conference.

In the words of Eden from Leo Baeck: “Friends Forever” opened my eyes. I am learning so much from the Arab students… My political views have completely changed.” Anwar from Ein Mahal added: “Friends Forever has completely changed my life. I am now more open to different people…I believe that we can end the war and that we can all live in peace!”

This special day celebrating the deepening relationship between the village of Ein Mahal and the Leo Baeck community and our capacity in Israel to bridge the gaps that divide our cultures, marked the launching pad for Leo Baeck's Human Rights Month.

The Friends Forever Program is the inspiration for “Step By Step Sauwa Sauwa”, an original Arab-Jewish musical production featuring 38 talented Muslim and Jewish students to be performed in London on 22nd and 24th April 2012.

To watch the students’ presentation click on

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby Born 600 grams Survives in Israeli Hospital

A baby born weighing only 600 grams in the 23rd week of pregnancy and whose two siblings died due to their prematurity was sent home this week weighing a hearty 2.24 kg. – four months after his birth, reports the Jerusalem Post

The baby, Jazen Jamal, was born to a Druse couple, Hend and Haiel, at Western Galilee Government Hospital in Nahariya. The childless couple, who live in Kafr Yarka, had undergone fertility treatments, but the triplet fetuses were very small.

Even though Hend was hospitalized in the high-risk pregnancy unit for a month, the fetuses refused to remain in the womb much longer. A boy and a girl died at 23 weeks of pregnancy, leaving just one of the triplets.Jazen struggled to survive in the premature baby intensive care unit, where Dr. Vered Fleischer-Sheffer was a member of the team that took care of the baby.“Twenty-three weeks is the recognized border between life and death for [premature babies] because the lungs, brain and digestive system are not ripe. It is rare indeed for a baby who is one of a multiple pregnancy to survive when born at that stage,” she said. The chances for survival for a baby born at 23 weeks is only 7 percent, she added.“It was a real miracle,” said the happy father. “I am shaking from excitement.

The baby survived severe infections and diseases, and all this at a very low birthweight and age.” Incredibly, the baby apparently does not suffer from any disability.“We go home with joy and tears combined,” the couple said, “because we are bringing the baby home but without his two siblings. We want to thank the doctors and nurses for the holy work they do.”Hospital director Dr. Masad Barhoum said that keeping the baby alive and healthy was an “impressive achievement; I am proud of the professional medical staff that took care of him from the moment he was born.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Be A Forester for a Day

You can now help to save Israel's forests with a new innovative program sponsored by KKL

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund have announced the "Forester for Day" program, a new ecological initiative, offering visitors a unique opportunity to help maintain Israel's forests, prevent forest fires, and guarantee a greener tomorrow for Israel.

The program runs for 2-3 hours and is open Sunday-Thursday 8 am – 3pm and Friday 8 – noon. Program participants will have the opportunity to work side-by-side in groups with KKL-JNF foresters to clear underbrush, prune trees, prepare fire breaks and forest paths in the Carmel Region forests.

The forester for a day program is suitable for groups of 15 – 150 and is available in English, French, German and Spanish. Thereis a nominal cost and upon completion, each participant receives a KKL-JNF hat, pin and certificate of appreciation.

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund is leading the quest for a more environmental Israel: open spaces, forests, recreation areas and appreciation for Israel’s natural and cultural heritage. KKL- JNF's work in Israel is concentrated in six action areas that include water, forestry and environment, education, community development and security, tourism and recreation, research and development.

If you are interested and are liley to be in Israel, call for more information, 02-6707367 or visit :

Sunday, November 20, 2011

From Israeli Soldier on Egyptian border

I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in Efrat Israel. Though very busy, I don’t view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service. At night, I’m in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit.

15-20 days out of every year, I’m called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve whenever responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24 year old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight.

This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called “Kerem Shalom.” Above and beyond the “typical” things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., – this year we were confronted by a new challenge. Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur.

What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin “guides,” these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea, and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.
We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder, and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt’s soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It’s an almost nightly event.

For those who finally get across the border, the first people they encounter are Israeli soldiers, people like me and those in my unit, who are tasked with a primary mission of defending the lives of the Israeli people. On one side of the border soldiers shoot to kill. On the other side, they know they will be treated with more respect than in any of the countries they crossed to get to this point.

The region where it all happens is highly sensitive and risky from a security point of view, an area stricken with terror at every turn. It’s just a few miles south of the place where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. And yet the Israeli soldiers who are confronted with these refugees do it not with rifles aimed at them, but with a helping hand and an open heart. The refugees are taken to a nearby IDF base, given clean clothes, a hot drink, food and medical attention. They are finally safe.
Even though I live Israel and am aware through media reports of the events that take place on the Egyptian border, I never understood the intensity and complexity of the scenario until I experienced it myself.

In the course of the past few nights, I have witnessed much. At 9:00 PM last night, the first reports came in of gunfire heard from the Egyptian border. Minutes later, IDF scouts spotted small groups of people trying to get across the fence. In the period of about one hour, we picked up 13 men – cold, barefoot, dehydrated – some wearing nothing except underpants. Their bodies were covered with lacerations and other wounds. We gathered them in a room, gave them blankets, tea and treated their wounds. I don’t speak a word of their language, but the look on their faces said it all and reminded me once again why I am so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. Sadly, it was later determined that the gunshots we heard were deadly, killing three others fleeing for their lives.

During the 350 days a year when I am not on active duty, when I am just another man trying to get by, the people tasked with doing this amazing job, this amazing deed, the people witnessing these events, are mostly young Israeli soldiers just out of high school, serving their compulsory time in the IDF, some only 18 years old.
The refugees flooding into Israel are a heavy burden on our small country. More than 100,000 refugees have fled this way, and hundreds more cross the border every month. The social, economic, and humanitarian issues created by this influx of refugees are immense. There are serious security consequences for Israel as well. This influx of African refugees poses a crisis for Israel. Israel has yet to come up with the solutions required to deal with this crisis effectively, balancing its’ sensitive social, economic, and security issues, at the same time striving to care for the refugees.

I don’t have the answers to these complex problems which desperately need to be resolved. I’m not writing these words with the intention of taking a political position or a tactical stand on the issue.

I am writing to tell you and the entire world what’s really happening down here on the Egyptian/Israeli border. And to tell you that despite all the serious problems created by this national crisis, these refugees have no reason to fear us. Because they know, as the entire world needs to know, that Israel has not shut its eyes to their suffering and pain. Israel has not looked the other way. The State of Israel has put politics aside to take the ethical and humane path as it has so often done before, in every instance of human suffering and natural disasters around the globe. We Jews know only too well about suffering and pain. The Jewish people have been there. We have been the refugees and the persecuted so many times, over thousands of years, all over the world.

Today, when African refugees flood our borders in search of freedom and better lives, and some for fear of their lives, it is particularly noteworthy how Israel deals with them, despite the enormous strain it puts on our country on so many levels. Our young and thriving Jewish people and country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, do not turn their backs on humanity. Though I already knew that, this week I once again experienced it firsthand. I am overwhelmed with emotion and immensely proud to be a member of this nation.

With love of Israel,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Despite this gulf, five medical experts from Indonesia are currently at Rambam, learning to build a system for treating victims of catastrophe, both natural and manmade.

Rambam, 27 doctors and nurses from 17 countries are taking part in a unique simulation. This staged Mass Casualty Event (MCE) is not unusual in itself. What is special is the human mosaic of participants from Albania, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Burma, Georgia, India, Vietnam, Jordan, Nepal, Kenya, Nigeria, Chile, Peru, Kosovo, Thailand, Ghana and New Zealand. Even Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in world, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel, has sent five representatives.

The simulation is part of the eighth course of its kind, titled the “Eighth Seminar on Developing and Organizing a Trauma System and Mass Casualty Event (MCE) Organization. Held from November 6-19, the course is jointly sponsored by Rambam, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health. It is aimed to teach participants to develop systems for medical operations in emergency, trauma and MCE situations suited to their countries.

Of course, the seminar’s Rambam setting is no coincidence. RHCC ‘enjoys’ the dubious distinction of being an expert in trauma, emergency and mass casualty situations. For years, the hospital has received soldiers injured on Israel’s northern border and beyond, as well as civilians caught in home front wars and terrorist attacks in Northern Israel.
“In the course, we learn how to build a system for operating in emergency, trauma and MCE. We did not come to seek medical information, but guidance on how to get organized in case of these situations,” said Prof of Neurology Andi Asadul Islam, from Hassan Udim University, Makassar, East Indonesia. “Rambam’s system for trauma is the best there is, and we can learn a lot from it.”

“We don’t have a good system,” continued Prof Islam, who explained that Indonesia’s broad geography presents specific challenges in supplying medical care. With 250 million citizens scattered among five large islands and thousands of smaller ones, Indonesia spans an area, from west to east, equal to the length of the United States.

Further, RHCC houses the only trauma system in the region. Severe trauma patients from nine general hospitals feed into Rambam, making it the busiest center for trauma in Israel. The hospital’s Teaching Center for Trauma, Emergency and Mass Casualty Situations [MCS] leads instruction in this field nationwide, and regularly holds international seminars for physicians and nurses from throughout the world. In addition, the center sends representatives to different countries to teach courses and holds workshops for NATO personnel.

“I had heard about the Rambam course from colleagues who had taken it, and they said it was great,” said Asti Puspita Rini, who manages the 118 Emergency Ambulance Service Foundation in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. “It has been an excellent course,” she continued, “we won’t be able to implement each and every thing we learned, but will certainly adopt parts of the program.”

The course involves theoretical lectures, as well as tours in Rambam and different Israeli hospitals. This program allows participants to receive a wide view of activities of the various emergency medicine units. Additionally, they visit IDF simulation centers, and Magen David Adom (MADA) headquarters.

The seminar is hardly all-work-and-no-play. Participants get to know another side of Israel as they visit a number of tourist sites, among them Yad Vashem, and other sites in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jaffa, Acre, Zichron Yaakov and others

“As a Muslim, it was especially interesting for me to see the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem,” said Prof Islam. “Some of my friends and family were afraid and didn’t want me to come here because of what they see on television,” said Rini, “but it’s totally different than what the media shows.”

“Everything is well-organized and perfect,” added Dr Edi Prasetyo, Medical Advisor of Home Care in Jakarta. “We get to see the big picture – how the whole nationwide system works.”

Judging from these comments, it was obvious that the only connections these Indonesians do not have with Israel are diplomatic. Warm, open and enthusiastic, these visitors had nothing negative to say about the course or the country, except perhaps regarding the national food, hummus, for which they showed no great passion.

And while the visitors clearly learned their lessons on trauma, emergency and MCE, one hopes they will never have to use them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is This Really Apartheid?

Some interesting questions were posed by friends of mine recently in the debate of Israel as an apartheid state.

How, we wonder can Israel possibly be called an Apartheid Country?

a)If this is true, then why, when we needed some medication from the pharmacy in our upmarket Jerusalem shopping mall this week, was the charming and helpful pharmacist who served us and gave us some excellent advice, an Arab?

b) Why, the last time Nxxx had his eyes tested, (in the opticians in the same mall) was the optometrist a young Arab woman?

c) Why are there always a large number of Arabs shopping in said mall? Why, when Lxxx fell last year and needed emergency treatment at Sha’arei Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, was the doctor who examined her an Arab

d) and why, out of the 9 people queueing for X-rays was she only non-Arab?

e) Why is the professor that Lxxx sees every year for a breast-check an Arab who, incidentally, pioneered the liver-transplant programme in Israel.

If someone can explain this to us we would be very pleased to hear from them!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Improving the Economic Situation of the Bedouin

As part of the Israeli Government's ongoing dialogue with the Bedouin public about improving the living standards and economic viability of the Bedouin in the Negev of, the Prime Minister met last week with the Negev Bedouin community leaders.

The plan constitutes an historic opportunity to bring about a significant improvement in the situation of the Bedouin community in the Negev and advance the Negev for the benefit of all of its residents – Jewish and Bedouin alike. At the start of the meeting, it was stated that "After years in which needs were insufficiently met, this Government decided to take matters in hand and bring about a long-term solution of the issue. The plan will allow the Bedouin, for the first time, to realize their assets and turn them from dead capital into living capital – to receive ownership of the land, which will allow for home construction according to law and for the development of enterprises and employment. This will jump the population forward and provide it with economic independence."

It is now important to invest in areas such as employment and housing so that the Bedouin will take part in this development process and enjoy the fruits of the development and prosperity in the Negev.

Israel is leaping towards the future and the Bedouin are part of this future. The plan will help the Bedouin community to reach economic independence. This plan is designed to bring about development and prosperity.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The United Nations and Human Rights Abuse

This story by a Muslim lady, Wafa Sultan, a Syrian certified psychiatrist, on October 13, 2011 is asking the questions that should be shouted from every corner of the earth.

The full article can be read at

Never did I imagine that one day I would stand outside the United Nations to oppose its perverted conference, to defend against its malicious attempt to single out Israel -- a country that I was taught to hate.

But here I am today, proud to stand for light in the midst of darkness. This darkness brought about by the multiple Muslim countries and their international enablers, who have dishonored the initial objective of the United Nations, only to vilify, and eventually to destroy Israel - the one and the only free democratic country in the entire Middle East.

For the last 1,400 years, since its inception, Islamic ideology has attempted to deprive the Jews of their three most cherished possessions -- their Bible, their Lives, and their Land of Israel.

During my school years, I heard my teachers, family members, neighbors, and the media all bombarding us daily, throughout the Arab world. We, as small kids and young adults, were indoctrinated to share the anti-Semitic vitriol -- to despise and denigrate Jews.
• God condemned the Jews because they falsified the Torah. How did I know it? That is what I was taught.
• Since Jews forged the Bible, they were despised and depicted as pigs and apes. How did I know it? That is what I was taught.
• Jews killed our prophets and were the enemies of Allah. How did I know it? That is what I was taught.
• Therefore, the Jews represent an existential danger to all humanity, so their annihilation, as individuals and as a people, was and would be a legitimate service to God and mankind. How did I know it? That is what I was taught.

Yes, killing Jews was always presented to me and my classmates as a religious obligation. We absorbed this evil propaganda with our food and water, and with our school books, each and every day.
As a trained psychiatrist, I assert that seeds of hatred planted in the mind of a child, lead to immense hatred as the child grows into adulthood. Tragically, this hatred generates dangerous actions and even death.

I believe that any nation that grants equal opportunity to every citizen, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, or gender, thereby, establishes its moral legitimacy. According to this principle, Israel stands alone in the Middle East region, as a nation with moral legitimacy: it grants all citizens equal rights for men and women alike, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech and of the press.

Not a single Arab or Muslim country in the surrounding region does the same. Nor do any of those Arab and Muslim nations allow their citizens personal freedom, or the right to maintain and express opposing points of view.
The United Nations time and again focuses its power on the perpetual manufacturing of false anti-Israel accusations. Painting Palestinians as perennial underdogs provides the perfect cover for their subversive effort.

Without doubt, this trend encourages hatred and violence against the Jewish people in Israel and everywhere else. And that is exactly its point.

Hence, as a woman of an Arab and Islamic background, with that perspective, I join you all today to highlight the hypocrisy of the UN. I challenge the U.N. for neglecting its fundamental mission. They do it under pressure from totalitarian Muslim regimes who put their full faith and credit of their oil wealth behind this anti-Israel campaign.

A Palestinian women's organization reported that Muslim men perpetrate some 40 honor killings annually in the West Bank alone, not including the vast majority of honor killing and abuse of women that go unreported -- as Islamic society maintains secrecy in upholding the popular belief that those "cursed with a sin, [should] hide it."

Where is the UN Human Rights Commission's outcry over the Muslim world's honor killing epidemic? Has the UN adopted the same Islamic philosophy, hiding a societal sin to protect Muslim honor?

I receive countless letters from Arab readers throughout the Middle East, expressing their desperate desire to live as free people with the same human rights we enjoy in the West -- and especially, freedom from Sharia!
One young Arab woman, a student, wrote to me only last month:
"They deprive us of any right to think, and ... remind us each time, how we will burn in hell. They terrorize us, and they do the same with the children. I would like that to stop. I try very hard to change things. I created a little group against sexism. And I hope to be able to defend Arab women one day."

Tell me Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who will defend this young student and her small group fighting Arab sexism and the atrocities committed against Arab women?

Concerning Islamic and Arab violence, the UN remains tragically blind and silent. The UN repeats its denunciation of Israel, the only Middle East nation that grants all citizens the basic human rights this young Arab woman wishes to have for her people.

Those who love liberty and life will strengthen their ties and warm relations with Israel, and stand with her. Israel will continue to shine its light among all nations

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chemiotherapy versus Grad Missiles

This from a friend of mine at working at a local hospital

No doubt, you have heard the news reports that Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are once again firing short and long range missiles into Israeli cities. Totally unprovoked.

Yesterday, I happened to be visiting friends in the southern city of Ashdod and we were enjoying a quiet afternoon meal in their home when the air raid sirens began their ominous shrill. Immediately, twelve of us huddled into their bomb shelter that doubles as a walk-in cabinet and we waited in absolute silence (as Israelis do) to hear “the boom”. Hear it we did as a long-range grad missile landed not terribly far away. It was time to head back home to the north.

During that drive, we listened intently to the news while additional barrages of grads were launched against Israeli civilian population centers.

Today in the hospital, I was leading a group of visitors from England on a tour of our School for Hospitalized Children. I introduced the group to Arrif and his fifteen year old son, Mohammed. They come from Gaza. They have been ‘living’ in Emek for ten months as young Mohammed is being treated for severe facial cancer. Arrif speaks fluent Hebrew and I conducted a simultaneo
usly translated Q&A session between him and the British visitors …

Q. How do you feel here, among the Jews of Israel?
A. Perfectly normal and at ease. Grateful – so very grateful.

Q. What does your family back in Gaza say about Mohammed’s treatment here?
A. They are amazed and they send their sincere gratitude. They cannot believe what has and is being done for Mohammed and me.

Q. Do you know that missiles are again being fired from Gaza into Israeli cities?
A. Yes. I am ashamed. The politicians and extremists are not “the people”. We only want to live a normal life alongside you.

Many ask, considering the asymmetrical vortex we are caught in … why do you help ‘them’? The answer is simple – because that is who we are.

It’s chemo vs grads. You decide what and who is the problem.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"One of the Biggest Israeli Exports will be Medical Clowning"

The International Conference on Medicine and Medical Clowning is currently taking place in Jerusalem.

The goal of the conference, organized by Dream Doctors, is to attempt to touch upon major issues involved in the process of forming clear professional definitions of Medical Clowning from viewpoints of different groups and people all over the world. The conference comprises various workshops on clowning and the use of medical clowning as a unique means of intervention.

“I’m learning that we are definitely a part of a very big, global community,” Wellington Santos, a medical clown from Brazil, told Arutz Sheva. “It’s very important that we all cooperate to take this to the next step.”

Paul Miller, AKA Pauly the Clown who works at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said that despite his hospital being in third place as far as pediatric institutions are concerned, it only has a few medical clowns who work a few hours a week. He noted he was surprised to see how big and important Medical Clowning is in Israel.
“I think medical clowns will be one of the biggest Israeli exports,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

Hagar Hofesh, a medical clown with Dream Doctors, said that in Israel, the clowns work very closely with doctors and nurses, something which is not the case in other parts of the world. She added that she believes that other places in the world could learn from Israel when it comes to this field.

“There are parts of the world where the experiences are the same as in Israel, but we also heard some clowns say that when the doctor comes into the room, they leave, or that they would not participate in certain procedures,” she added.

“Today, I actually got to scrub in and escort kids to the operating theater,” Miller said. “And we don’t do that in the United States, so it was fascinating.”

Is Anyone Listening?

The following statements made by Hamas officialdom spells out without any misunderstading, their position vis a vis the conflict with Israel. Is anyone really listening and taking note?

The position of the Palestinian Authority is very weak and it is foreseeable that in the not too distant future Hamas could take control of the West Bank. Abbas currently relies on the Israel forces to keep Hamas in check in the West Bank.

And even if an agreement with the PA was finalised, would Hamas, if they came to power, honour the agreement?? Unlikely.

Hamas' Position (with thanks to the The Meir Amit Intelligence and TerrorismInformation Center)

Khalil al-Hayeh, a member of Hamas' political bureau, was strongly critical of Mahmoud Abbas' application the UN and of the Palestinian Authority for preventing terrorist activity on its territory. He also denied that Hamas had removed its offices from Syria and called on the Syrian regime to make haste and carry out reforms in response to the demands of the Syrian people. His main points were the following (from a program organized by the Palestinian Journalists' Forum and called "Political Bulletin," website, October 6, 2011):

• Mahmoud Abbas' application to the UN endangers the future of the PLO, which represents the Palestinian refugees, and their future. That is because recognition of a Palestinian state might lead to the cancellation of the refugees' "right" to their land. He said that "we agree with everything that harms the occupation and defines it as criminal, but this step incurs many risks..."

• A "program of stages" for confronting Israel is the basis for the internal Palestinian reconciliation: However, Mahmoud Abbas, he said, did not honor the "program of stages" which was the foundation for the internal Palestinian reconciliation. He said that there was "a national program of stages based on accepting a state with the 1967 borders, as well as the right of return, defending the Palestinian people and not recognizing the legitimacy of the occupier state [i.e., Israel]. It is the minimal program agreed on, because according to Hamas' program the land of Palestinian reaches from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river. We do not agree to legitimizing the occupation on one inch of that land."

• "The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades work to carry out suicide bombings within Israel, but the security coordination [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] prevents them." He added that "the resistance [i.e., the terrorist organizations] in the Gaza Strip is protected, as opposed to the West Bank, where it is persecuted by the [Palestinian] Authority's security forces and the [Israeli] occupation."

• The internal Palestinian reconciliation: Al-Hayeh appealed to Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah to again meet with Hamas again under Egyptian or other Arab aegis to discuss the Palestinian cause. He said Hamas did not fear elections but would not agree to them "before the internal Palestinian reconciliation has been achieved."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oldest Flea Market in the World

One of the oldest bazaars in the world, the Jaffa flea market is now rapidly becoming the hottest new location in Tel Aviv, famed for fashion and food.

The Jaffa flea market is one of the oldest bazaars in the world. Whereas it used to be a place to find knick-knacks and second-hand furniture or clothing, today it is also rapidly becoming one of the trendiest spots in Israel.

Fashion designers, artists, antique dealers and gourmet chefs have all converged upon the portside area just south of Tel Aviv, making it a destination for bargain hunters and fashionistas from Israel and abroad, and even a newly desirable place to live.

"It's not exactly Soho in NY or Camden in London," says Ava Rodan of Alma Jewelry. "It's an original place where you can find really old antiques or new shops with a lovely atmosphere."

And, of course who does one see there - Jews, Muslims, Christians and others in this "apartheid state" !!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Special playgrounds for handicapped in Israel

Just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you have to miss out on Israel's many nature parks and picnic areas. You don't even have to forfeit a turn on the playground swing, thanks to a host of projects in recent years to make all these experiences available to people of all ages with impaired vision, hearing and mobility.

The crown jewel is
Friendship Park (Park Chaverim), the first accessible, integrated park for children in Israel. Opened in 2005, this nine-acre area within Ra'anana City Park was planned out by a committee of professionals from Beit Issie Shapiro, an organization that develops and provides services for Israelis with developmental disabilities, with input from the National Insurance Institute, community social workers, parents of children with special needs and people with various disabilities.

Friendship Park offers play equipment designed for children in wheelchairs and with hearing and vision impairments. The pathways, surface materials and height of the base underneath each plaything were all taken into account.

Accommodations were even made for motor-disabled parents or grandparents accompanying able-bodied children at the park, says occupational therapist Michele Shapiro, a specialist in sensory design at Beit Issie Shapiro. "I was responsible for leading the design team, but the physical and social part of the park go together strongly, and both are essential to the success of the park," says Shapiro.

For video on the story go to

For the full story go to

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What did Freed Female Palestinian Terrorist say to Gaza Children?

The freeing of terrorists and murderers in exchange for Gilad Shalit raises concerns amongst the Israeli public, that, as has happened on previous occasions, 25% will return to terror. In the case below, less than one day has elapsed and we are seeing the continuation of incitement by one of the freed terrorists.

From Reuters 10/19/11

A would-be Palestinian suicide bomber freed by Israel in the prisoner swap for soldier Gilad Shalit told cheering schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip the day after her release on Wednesday she hoped they would follow her example.

"I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs," Wafa al-Biss told dozens of children who came to her home in the northern Gaza Strip.

Biss was travelling to Beersheba's Soroka hospital for medical treatment in 2005 when Israeli soldiers at the Erez border crossing noticed she was walking strangely. They found 10 kgs (22 lbs) of explosives had been sewn into her underwear.

A member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, Biss was sentenced to a 12-year term for planning to blow herself up.

After she spoke, the children cheered and waved Palestinian flags and chanted:
"We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine."

Biss said she had planned to blow herself up at the checkpoint but her detonator malfunctioned. "Unfortunately, the button did not work at the last minute before I was to be martyred," Biss told Reuters. She said she had not yet adjusted to her freedom and arose early on Wednesday for prison roll call. "This morning I woke up in my room, wore my scarf and stood up awaiting the line-up time before I realised I was home and not in jail," she said.

Once she settles back to her routine, Biss said she plans to complete university psychology studies but added that she remained defiant in the face of Israeli warnings to act against those who return to militancy. "We will pursue our struggle and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu) knows that. Arrests will not deter us from our strong battles and confrontation in the face of Zionist arrogance in the land of Palestine," she said.

Biss was one of 477 Palestinians freed by Israel on Tuesday in the first stage of an exchange with Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers that ended Shalit's five years of captivity. Another 550 Palestinans will be freed in the second stage later this year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

South Sudanese Slave Sees Israel as "Heaven"

Simon Deng, a former South Sudanese slave taken by a neighbor as a young boy to Islamist Northern Sudan gave this impassion speech at Durban Watch Conference in New York on 22nd Sept.

He puts the lie to the Zionism is Racism canard of Durban III painting Israel as a pariah state. Rather as he points out it is the Arab Muslim Jihadis who have engaged in racial genocide of millions of Sudanese, whether Muslim or Christian. As he further points out it is Israel that is the ultimate destination of Sudanese refugees, as Egypt has oppressed them.

Below is Simon Deng’s Speech before the Durban Watch Conference. _______________________________________________________

Thank you for those kind words:

I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers.

I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban conference which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves are guilty of the worst kinds of oppression.

It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state - Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been made happier.

The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that. But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those people.

Please hear me out.

By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.

For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan -- Christians and Muslims alike -- has been the victims of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum.

In South Sudan, my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered from 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.

The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them, and they are treated with a special privilege.
Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved, are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan’s conflicts. Who knows really what is happening in Darfur? It is not a “tribal conflict.”

It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded the North of Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam. In the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.

In the Nuba Mountains, another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans - Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains.
Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?

What you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering. My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering. What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.

Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 90s. Khartoum declared jihad against my people and this legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves. We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery.

I am a living proof of this crime against humanity.

I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today. I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no.” All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”

The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it. It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish–led American Anti-Slavery Group -- sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.

But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, and UNICEF backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions.

My friends, today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.

As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.
I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees. Let me tell you how they ended up there. These are Sudanese who fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. They were wrong. When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo. They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.

Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means!!!?? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!!!?
In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is “heaven.”

Is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know racism – the answer is absolutely not. Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.

So, yes … I came here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people who the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the biggest victims of UN Israel hatred.

Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, and Nigeria, and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression. The Sikhs. We - a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis - all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.

In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan. I met a twelve year old girl who told me about her dream. In a dream she wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then, she wanted to visit Israel. I was shocked. How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: “This is our people.” I was never able to find an answer to my question.

On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement.

In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel’s legitimacy.

As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir -- publicly stated that the South Sudan embassy in Israel will be built--- not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply telling the truth. Our truth.

My Jewish friends taught me something I now want to say with you.
AM YISROEL CHAI! The people of Israel lives!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Palestinian application for UN membership in a topsy turvy world

By Maurice Ostroff October 14, 2011

It is strange that no query was raised at the UN when Mr. Abbas who has been prevented from visiting Gaza since the Hamas takeover, claimed that he was speaking on behalf of the PLO which he described as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people including Gazans

This claim is sharply contradicted by Article 27 of the Hamas Charter which states that because the PLO has adopted the idea of a secular state it will not be fully accepted until it adopts Islam

In this topsy turvy world, notorious human rights abusers like Zimbabwe, Syria, Pakistan and Gadafi's Libya have been members of the Human rights Council. And now, the UN is seriously considering admitting as a member, an entity of which Hamas, which has been defined as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU, would be a major component.

In his eloquent address to the UN on September 23, 2011 Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), president of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called for an independent state in all the land occupied by Israel in 1967 including Gaza. But anyone with elementary knowledge of Middle East affairs must query his authority to speak in the name of Hamas-ruled Gaza or indeed on behalf of Hamas members anywhere including in the West Bank.

It is strange that no query was raised at the UN when Mr. Abbas who has been prevented from visiting Gaza since the Hamas takeover, claimed that he was speaking on behalf of the PLO which he described as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people including Gazans

This claim is sharply contradicted by Article 27 of the Hamas Charter which states that because the PLO has adopted the idea of a secular state it will not be fully accepted until it adopts Islam.

According to an Al Jazeera report, Alaa al-Rifati, minister of economy in Gaza said that Hamas has not endorsed the PLO bid for statehood because they see it as a Fatah-led initiative and Ahmed Yousef, the deputy foreign minister in Gaza told Al Jazeera, Because nobody consulted us, we, Hamas, do not take this issue seriously."

In the circumstances the UN must clarify whether it is competent to impose PLO rule over an unwilling Gaza.

Conditions for membership

The Palestinian application for UN membership cannot be properly considered until several basic constitutional issues are resolved. For example, article 5 of the UN Charter specifically requires that the admission to membership will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council, not vice-versa as being considered at present.

Since article 4 of the UN Charter states that membership is open to peace-loving states, the question arises as to whether the fractured PLO-Hamas entity can be classified as a state, peace-loving or otherwise. And since Hamas-ruled Gaza comprises a substantial component of the Palestinian entity, the peace-loving requirement is very definitely ruled out by article 13 of the Hamas charter which unambiguously declares, "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.

In fact the PLO is also disqualified as a peace-loving entity by article 9 of its charter which declares bluntly that the armed struggle is not merely tactical, it is the overall strategy.

Contrary to Mr. Abbas statement to the UN that the PLO and the Palestinian people have renounced violence and condemn terrorism, incitement and glorification of terrorism continue to infect Palestinian society. Children continue to be taught to hate from the earliest age. See for example this clip and this

On March 9, 2011, Abu Mazen's advisor Sabri Saidam, delivered a speech in which he emphasized that Palestinian weapons must be turned towards Israel and a few days later some inspired young Palestinians did exactly that.

Recently a town square in Ramallah was named after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the leader of the 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis were killed and 71 wounded It is hardly surprising that brutal terror attacks are motivated by children attending schools named after terrorists and by popular soccer tournaments that are named after terrorists,


Mr. Abbas call for a solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194 is strange in view of the fact that all six Arab countries then represented at the UN voted against it.

According to an article in the China Worker by Aysha Zaki, of the Committee for a Workers International, many refugees, who remain suspended in Lebanon without passports, democratic rights of participation in Lebanese society, entitlement to purchase or inherit property, and banned from working in more than 30 professions, fear the statehood bid, at best, carries no weight for their plight and, at worst, places resolution 194 in jeopardy

Since Resolution 194 is a General Assembly resolution it is not binding, and only serves as advisory statements whereas resolution 242 is a biding Security Council resolution that is accepted by Israel and is the basis of the majority of negotiations.

Much has been written about the implications of resolution 242 and if we are to avoid the distortions introduced by propagandists, obviously, the most reliable source from whom to seek clarification are the persons who drafted it. In drafting the resolution, both British Ambassador to the UN in 1967, Lord Caradon, and American Ambassador, Arthur Goldberg, deliberately omitted a demand for Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders. In an interview in the Beirut Daily Star on June 12, 1974, Lord Caradon stated:

"It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967 because these positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers on each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them, and I think we were right not to."Click here for more details

According to the article in the China worker, quoted above some Palestinians conclude that the UN bid for statehood is not in the interests of the Palestinian people, while others believe that it can be a step towards uniting the Palestinian people after a period of internal divisions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

27th Haifa Film Festival

The Haifa International Film Festival, the leading cinematic even in Israel, was founded in 1983 as the first international film festival in the country. Growing steadily in both the number of screenings and attendance, The Haifa Film Festival has earned a world-wide reputation for both the quality of its program and the friendly atmosphere.

The Haifa Film Festival is held on the beautiful Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The festival brings together each year an ever-growing audience of 70,000 spectators along with hundreds of Israeli and foreign professionals from the film and television industries and premiers some 170 new films (280 screenings). 300,000 people in total take part in the activities of the festival, including the outdoor events, screenings, workshops and more, and dozens of journalists from both the print and broadcast media, from Israel and abroad, cover the event

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who Says We are Isolated?

So often today, journalists are ready to pontificate on the Middle East with their own agendas in mind rather than reporting the facts on the ground. Far from being isolated, representatatives from many countries are happy to come to Israel to learn.

From 20 different countries, 30 men and women involved in sustainable development in their home countries are visiting Israel for a 25-day course to learn about water, energy and city planning.

The visit includes leaders from government branches, universities, development foundations and other types of NGOs, from Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgzystan, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine and Zambia.

The foreign delegates have been able to explore issues of water, waste and energy management, as well as municipal infrastructure. During their last week in Israel, they will be observing agricultural research and development and renewable energy sites in the country’s deserts.

For the full story go to

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

International Bloggers Have a Taste Of Israel

By Wendy Blumfield

With the growth of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activism on campuses throughout the world, it was refreshing to meet a group of young non-Jewish International bloggers who were on a solidarity visit with the organisation "Stand With Us."

Their hosts in Haifa, Hadassah and Stuart Palmer and some of their friends who are activists for the environment and social change, greeted the group of students on the second day of their trip to Israel. Stuart Palmer is chairman of CoHav, the International Coalition of Hasbarah Volunteers and author of the blog, Haifa Diary.

Stand With Us is an international organization dedicated to bringing peace to the Middle East by education about Israel.. Through brochures, conferences, missions to Israel and internet resources, the organization strives to stop the tide of misinformation about Israel on university campuses, in the media and in the community. Founded in 2001 to ensure that Israel is accurately portrayed and justly represented, Stand With Us, a non-profit organization, has its headquarters in Los Angeles with chapters and activities in the USA, the UK, Australia, South Africa and Europe and of course Israel..

Sitting on the Palmers terrace on Mount Carmel, the group gave their impressions of their first look at Israel.

"Every country has its own story with its own people, it is a great opportunity to exaplore this country which is steeped in so much history," commented Australian Chris Richardson. "meeting beautiful and interesting people, I felt I`d known them for years. Here I was in Israel and the media abroad says: don`t go there, it`s not safe. I want to go out see the rest of Israel and its people because I am in love already."

Asked about his first impressions of the trip, the answer was simple, "I was blown away."

"Even if you are not religious, the sight of so many Jewish men and women praying at the Wailing Wall moved me to tears," said Feng Yimeng from China while Eunice Khong of Singapore can`t wait to write her blog on the culture, food, people and scenery.

Kaustubh Katdare from India related how his family were very worried about his trip to Israel and pleaded with him to take a gun. And now he talks about his visit to the beautiful and peaceful Bahai Gardens where he met Bahais from India. "People in Delhi do not realize that the Lotus Temple is actually a Bahai house of worship."

Marcello Arrambide from South America was bowled over by Haifa. "People are curious and want to know about you and your life, not just about what we think about what`s happening in Israel. It was really refreshing to meet a people that are so genuine."

As they continue their whirlwind tour, it is fortunate that they are experienced bloggers for they want to remember every detail in their journey from the green and fertile Galilee to the harsher conditions of the Arava, visiting cities as diverse as Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

He Wants the Whole Thing

Naturally there has been a lot of talk and analysis of the speeches by Abbas and Netanyahu at the United Nations last week. The following letter from a friend of mine sums up the reactions of so many.

What is it about “Let's sit down and talk” that Mahmud Abbas doesn't understand?

He gives a tear-jerker speech to the UN laden with all of the politically correct jargon:

Democracy (never mind the fact that he hasn't allowed elections for the last two years because he's afraid he'll be booted out of office).

The colonial occupiers (never mind the fact that Jews have a historical claim to the Land of Israel that goes back 2,500 years).

The plight of refugees (never mind the fact that more than 850,000 Jews who had lived in Arab countries for centuries were evicted from their homes when Israel was established).

In the wake of this speech, the Quartet then proposes that the Israelis and Palestinians meet within a month with an agenda for talks.

The prime minister of Israel says Yes. What does Abbas say? What the Palestinians have always said. "No".

That No is just another is a series of Nos that began in Khartoum in September 1967 when, at an Arab League summit, a resolution was issued calling for "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it."

In 2000, Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreements that would have established a Palestinian state. When the terms were about to be implemented, what did the Palestinians say? No.

In 2008, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza with the goal of moving toward the establishment of a Palestinian state. What did the Palestinians say? No.

This is beginning to sound like a scenario in a marriage counselor's office. One spouse drags the other to therapy. When prompted to talk about the problems between them, the second spouse folds his or her hands and says, No.

Why? Because deep down, the second spouse doesn't want the marriage to work. He or she wants the spouse to just get out of the house and leave it, all of its furnishings, and the bank account to him or her.

Deep down, what Abbas wants is not independent ownership of part of the house.

He wants the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Out of the Slums

About one billion people across the planet live in slums. International development organizations have been investing resources and efforts in tackling this issue, as one of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals is to "achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020." But despite some successes, the situation has continued to worsen as rural-urban migration and natural demographic growth continue to aggravate the problem.

Enter Israel's Weitz Center for Development Studies in Rehovot, which provides month-long training courses on upgrading poor urban neighborhoods and communities. The program is sponsored by MASHAV, Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation.

In July, a group of 31 participants from 15 African, Asian and Eastern European countries came for a session, representing such countries as Kosovo, Montenegro, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Myanmar and Thailand.

Israel - working in cooperation with the United Nations agency UN-Habitat for the past two years - has made a name for itself on the international circuit for its experience in upgrading poor urban residential areas.For the full story, read

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Palestinian Refugees Will Not Be Citizens of the New State

Palestinian refugees will not become citizens of a new Palestinian state, according to Palestine’s ambassador to Lebanon. From behind a desk topped by a miniature model of Palestine’s hoped-for blue United Nations chair, Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah spoke to The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon last week about Palestine’s upcoming bid for U.N. statehood.

Let us just remind ourselves that when 700,000 Jews were kicked out of the Arab countries, many with only the clothes they wore, Israel immediately took them in and gave them citizenship.

Sorry, but whether there are left wing or right wing politics at play, this is incredible, this is an Alice in Wonderland scenario.

The ambassador unequivocally says that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.”

This would not only apply to refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan or the other 132 countries where Abdullah says Palestinians reside. Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”

Abdullah said that the new Palestinian state would “absolutely not” be issuing Palestinian passports to refugees.

For the full article see

Israel Accepted to CERN

With groups pressing for the deligitimisation of Israel and boycott campaigns against Israeli products, it is interesting to note that the majority of the world sees Israel as a positive partner in so many fields.

The latest was last week when Israel signed an agreement in Geneva with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, becoming an associate member of the organization, in preparation for its acceptance as a full member. Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Israel.

The signing of the agreement with CERN is the climax of a long and challenging process by various Israel government ministries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Science, the Planning & Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education, and the Prime Minister's Office), and must be ratified by the Knesset.

Ambassador Leshno-Yaar: The agreement is testimony to Europe's recognition of Israel's scientific and technological capabilities, of the quality of its scientists, and of its contribution throughout many years to the research activities of CERN

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

View From a Hospital in Northern Israel

I received the letter below from a friend at a hospital in the north of Israel and I think his views represent a majority of opinions in this country.

I, therefore decided to publish it as received.

When faced with difficult situations / problems, people have a tendency to sometimes look for solutions in the wrong place. This is usually a result of …
• Ignorance
• Being exposed to inaccurate information
• Having been brainwashed
• An inability to understand the facts
• Predetermination to a particular mindset or point of view
• Dogmatic stubbornness
• Being intentionally misinformed (lied to)

So, what does this have to do with Emek Medical Center? First, as a major medical center, our physicians and professional staff are faced with difficult and often life or death situations / decisions every day. Fortunately for our patients, their assessments are based upon years of hard-earned knowledge, shared experiences, consultations and an ability to listen. Emek is located is one of the most volatile regions on earth and our life-saving abilities are often called upon as a result of actions by people who have nothing in common with our values or way of life.

Politicians and theologians are often the catalytic forces behind crazed extremists and Emek’s multi-ethnic staff is often called upon to treat and save the multi-ethnic victims of such radicalism. Emek is a part of Israel and represents all that is sensible between people, however, many in this world blame Israel for the turmoil and conflict that destroys bodies and lives. Enough is enough!

Israel is not the problem.
Jews are not the problem.
This conflict has never been about land or settlers or farms or cities.

The real problem is blind theocratic hatred, fascist intolerance and a vile lust for political power that brings with it staggering amounts of unearned wealth (attained through taxation and gifts to “rulers” by well meaning countries who hope that their gifts will improve the lives of foreign populations). All too often those funds never reach their intended targets and end up lining the greedy pockets of immoral power grabbing gun-wielding despots.

Examples of sanity may be found at eye level, if that is what you seek. Emek is a central player in the Jewish/Arab Middle East saga because here everyone meets everyone and here Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze treat one another and heal together. Emek is an apolitical, often surreal Israeli phenomenon that doesn’t fit any established Middle Eastern mold. It’s simply a place where people care for one another and share a common value … life.

Emek exists in and is a thriving part of Israel. No such institution exists in any other Middle Eastern country.

Emek is a wonderful example of humanitarian sanity; however it is not the solution to the infectious hatred running rampant throughout the Middle East. And Israel is not the problem.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Smart Classrooms" Open in Acco

With the return to school completed this week, many pupils in Acco found themselves in "smart classrooms". This has been the culmination of a joint project bewtween a numnber of organisations to equip the school with interactive boards instead of the traditional chalk boards, as well as computerised teaching stations and projectors, all networked for access by pupils at mobilecomputer stations.

Pupils will be able to digitally raise their hands and ask questions, all integrated into the interactive board von the classroom wall.

The Mayor, at the opening of the new school year, said that this epitomises the digital revolution in Acco and will alow pupils to expand their learning skills.

Monday, September 5, 2011

So You Think You know the Terror Stats?

In August 2011, there were 178 terrorist attacks carried out against Israel - a significant increase from the 53 that occurred in July.

The data was published in a monthly report released by the Israel Security Agency.
134 of the terrorist events were rocket or mortar attacks.
The main source of the increase was from the Gaza Strip, from which 135 attacks originated in August, compared to 20 in July.

The most noteworthy terrorist attack that occurred last month took place on August 18 on the Israel-Egypt border north of Eilat. Eight Israelis (six civilians and two security forces members) were killed in that attack and 29 were wounded.

An increase in terrorist attacks also occurred in Judea and Samaria, where 30 attacks occurred in August, compared to 25 in July.

In Jerusalem, there was a slight decrease, with six attacks in August, compared to eight in July.

On August 29, a Palestinian seized control of a taxi cab in Tel Aviv and ran into a number of people. He also stabbed people before being arrested.
One Israeli was killed when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in Be'er Sheva on August 20.

Overall, nine Israelis were killed and 55 wounded in terrorist attacks in August.

During August, 145 rockets and 46 mortars were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, compared to 20 rockets and two mortars in July.