Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hamas, PA Unity Foundering

by  Adam Rasgon  Nov 30, 2017

On Tuesday afternoon, for the first time in more than 10 years, the Ramallah-based PA ordered all of its Gaza-based employees to return to work in ministries and government bodies.

However, Hamas-appointed government employees prevented Palestinian Authority employees from entering government institutions and bodies in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the official PA news site Wafa reported. It was the latest sign that efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza Strip under one government are foundering. (It should be no surprise)

Hamas-appointed employees barred PA Local Governance Minister Hussein al-Araj and PA Finance Ministry and Religious Endowments Ministry employees from entering Gaza’s government institutions, Wafa reported.
When Hamas forcibly took over Gaza in 2007, the PA instructed its some 55,000 employees there not to report for work. While most of the Gaza-based PA employees have not worked in their government positions for the past 10 and a half years, Hamas has since appointed some 40,000 employees to fill their roles.

In reconciliation talks, the fates of the two groups of employees have become a highly contested issue between Hamas and Fatah.

Fatah officials have said the PA cannot absorb all of the Hamas-appointed employees, while Hamas officials have demanded all of its employees be integrated into the PA.

On Wednesday morning, Hamas accused the PA of “causing chaos and confusion in some of Gaza’s ministries” as a result of its “irresponsible decision... to call on the [PA] employees to return to work.”

As part of a deal signed by Hamas and Fatah in Cairo in mid-October to advance reconciliation efforts, Hamas and Fatah agreed that a PA-formed administrative committee would work “to find a solution to the employees issue” by February 1.

According to PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, the two sides agreed that the PA could call up its employees in Gaza to work while the administrative committee searches for a solution to the issue.

However, according to deputy Hamas chief in Gaza Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas and Fatah agreed that the PA-formed administrative committee could only call up workers.

The dispute between Fatah and Hamas is only one indication in the past week that reconciliation efforts are not succeeding.

Last week, Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions met in Cairo to discuss reconciliation efforts. At the conclusion of the meeting, the factions issued a joint statement that called for a number of measures, including elections, but made no mention of specific agreements to move reconciliation forward.

Hamas spokesman Salah Bardaweil called the statement “meaningless” and “lackluster.”

Moreover, earlier this week, Sheikh told Palestinian television that since the mid-October agreement, Hamas had barely enabled the PA to operate in Gaza.

The senior PA official said the PA had not surpassed the 5% marker in terms of taking responsibility for Gaza.

According to the mid-October agreement, the PA is supposed to take complete responsibility for Gaza by December 1.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


by Dov Lipman  November 23, 2017
Imagine if children throughout Israel spent the year leading up to their bar and bat mitzvas raising funds to bring electricity and water to children in Africa.

The daily news usually covers the negative: scandals, corruption, wars, etc. I once heard a nightly news anchor say that she begins every night with the words “Good evening” and that is usually the last good thing she says for the entire broadcast. But in a country like Israel, filled with so many challenges and hardship, we cannot forget the extraordinary beacons of good and light living in our midst.

Which brings me to my new hero. His name is Eytan Kramer, a 13-year-old boy from Ra’anana.
Eytan and his mother, Liza, with the solar panels prior to their installation. (photo credit:LIZA KRAMER)
As Eytan was approaching his bar mitzva a year ago, he and his mother had a discussion about what it means to “become a man.” Eytan concluded that it means not just taking responsibility for yourself, but for the needs of others as well. So Eytan decided that he wanted to take on a project for his bar mitzva that included helping the less fortunate.
He found out that there are some 600 million people in Africa who live in darkness – no electricity – and another 300 million Africans who do not have access to clean water. Most of us hear these statistics and sigh for a moment, and maybe even appreciate what we have – and then carry on with business as usual.

Eytan heard those numbers and decided to take action. He and his mother contacted Sivan Yaari, founder and CEO of Innovation Africa, and after raising $18,000, Eytan and his mother traveled to Uganda a few weeks ago to see, as a result of Eytan’s efforts, the lights switched on at the Bukalikha Primary School.

That’s right: 959 children now have electricity in their school because of the efforts of a 13-year-old Israeli boy who spent months raising the funds to bring them Israeli solar technology via this non-profit organization. Electricity for that school means they can attract the best teachers and provide the children with a place to study in the nighttime hours. These children now have an opportunity for a high-level education and a brighter future.

The impact that this had on the children could be seen by their reaction when the lights went on: absolute euphoria, cheering, singing, dancing. Sheer joy. And Eytan was there to dance and celebrate with them.

Eytan Kramer reminds us what our society can look like: a world in which people look for ways to help others. Eytan also reminds us of something else – what Israel is, and how much greater it can be.

Imagine if college campuses were filed with students partnering with Israel to solve the problems that worldwide organizations such as the United Nations have not solved.

Innovation Africa has improved the lives of a million people in 160 African villages by installing electricity in their schools and medical clinics, and providing them with clean water. Imagine if we all joined together to bring electricity and water to 1,000 villages, impacting the lives of millions of people who currently live in the dark and in drought.

Aside from the inherent good of transforming lives for the better, such generosity would demonstrate once again that Israel not only stands for human rights, but is leading the world in fighting for it.

Thank you Eytan, for reminding us of who we are and who we can be.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

All Aboard the UN Titanic

Israeli laughs last at UNESCO antisemitism

Monday, November 20, 2017

Rambam Doctors Operate On Children In Georgia

Doctors from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center have become self-appointed ambassadors of good will in the Republic of Georgia. Twice a year for the past five years, they have traveled to capital city of Tbilisi to perform operations on local youngsters with serious congenital defects, making Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili the number-one supporter of the project.

The help is needed because local doctors don’t have the expertise to treat the children, or they have previously tried and failed, explained Dr. Ran Steinberg, director of the pediatric surgery department at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital, who heads the Rambam team.

“On the first day of our arrival, we examine the cases and order all the necessary tests. In the days that remain, we operate for many hours in two parallel operating rooms on as many children as possible. These are complex and sometimes very challenging cases, but the intention is to help as many children as possible while we are there.”

Over the years, the Rambam team has amassed a fairly large group of patients at the Georgian hospital. In addition to operating, they take advantage of the visits to examine former patients and monitor their condition.

“The relationship with the Georgian team has been ongoing throughout the year in consultations about patients we treated, as well as for new patients,” Steinberg said. “The fact that we are in an ongoing partnership with the medical staff in Tbilisi has many benefits in terms of patient care. It can be said that this is really an extension of Rambam in Georgia.”

One team member, Dr. Arkadi Vachian, director of the minimally invasive surgery unit at Rambam’s children’s hospital, was born and raised in Tbilisi and came to Israel many years ago as a young doctor. He finds the return to Georgia, where he has the opportunity to perform surgery and train local doctors, a very satisfying emotional experience.

The government of Georgia initiated cooperation between Rambam and Givi Zhvania, the pediatric hospital in Tbilisi, to facilitate the program.

About two years ago, the Israeli doctors were invited to the President’s palace for an official visit. Since then, they have also met with the Georgian health minister and with Israeli Ambassador to Georgia Shabtai Tsur, who once thanked the doctors inside an operating room.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Jewish-Arab Demographic Reversal

by Yoram Ettinger,  Nov 10, 2017

In 2017, Israel is the only advanced economy and Western democracy endowed with a relatively high fertility rate, which facilitates further economic growth with no reliance on migrant labor.  In contrast to conventional demographic wisdom, Israel is not facing a potential Arab demographic time bomb. In fact, the Jewish State benefits from a robust Jewish demographic tailwind.

At the outset of 2017, for the first time - and in defiance of projections made by 
Israel's demographic establishment since the early 1940s - Israel's Jewish fertility rate (3.16 births per woman) exceeds Israel's Arab rate of fertility (3.11).  Actually, in 2017, Israel's fertility rate is higher than most Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia – 2.1 births per woman, Kuwait – 2.4, Syria – 2.5, Morocco – 2.1, etc.).

The Westernization of the Arab fertility rate has also been in effect in Judea and Samaria: from 5 births per Arab woman in 2000 to about 3 in 2016. 

The substantial, systematic Westernization of Arab fertility – from 9.5 births per woman in 1960 to 3.11 in 2016 – has been a derivative of the accelerated integration of Israeli Arabs into modernity, in general, and the enhanced status of Israel's Arab women, in particular.

For example – as it is among the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, whose fertility rate is similar - almost all Israeli Arab girls complete high school, and are increasingly enrolling in colleges and universities, improving their status within their own communities. This process has 
expanded their use of contraceptives, delaying wedding-age and reproduction, which used to start at the age of 15-16, to the age of 20 year old and older.

In addition, Arab women are increasingly integrated into Israel's employment market, becoming more career and social-oriented, which terminates their reproductive process at the age of 45, rather than 50-55 as it used to be.  

At the same time, since 1995, there has been an unprecedented rise in the rate of Jewish fertility - especially in the secular sector - resulting from a relatively-high level of optimism, patriotism, attachment to national roots and collective/communal responsibility.

From 80,400 Jewish births in 1995, the number surged to 139,400 in 2016, while the annual number of Arab births remained stable at around 41,000. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the 73% rise in the number of Jewish births took place despite the mild decline of ultra-orthodox fertility (due to expanded integration into the employment market, higher learning and the military) and the stabilized modern-orthodox fertility, but due to the rising fertility of the secular Jewish sector.

The unprecedented tailwind behind Israel's burgeoning Jewish demography is documented by the proportion of Jewish births in the country: 77% of total births in 2016, compared with 69% in 1995. Also, in 2016, there were 3.2 Jewish births per Arab birth, compared to 2.2 births in 1995.  

In 2017, the total number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is 1.8MN, not 3MN as claimed by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, which includes in its count over 400,000 Palestinians who have been away for over a year; over 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who are doubly-counted (by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority); and 100,000 Palestinians who married Israeli Arabs and received Israeli ID cards, who are also doubly-counted. 

Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority claims zero net-migration, ignoring the annual net-emigration of 20,000 in recent years and the systematic net-emigration since 1950. A September 7, 2006 World Bank studydocumented a 32% inflated number of births claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Israel on the Moon?

Space: the final frontier for Israeli scientists. 21see meets the minds behind SpaceIL - Israel's answer to Google's Lunar X challenge. Join 21see as we hear from the remarkable group of scientists hoping to make Israel the fourth nation to land on the moon.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Palestinian Historian: ‘There Was Nothing Called a Palestinian People’

(with thanks to )

Rather than accepting history and living with it, Palestinian leader Abbas chooses to invent facts, thus perpetuating the Palestinian war against Israel’s existence.   
Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas published an op-ed in the UK’s Guardian on Thursday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which he disregarded the historical facts and presented a revisionist version of the events.
The Ottoman Empire’s rule of the Land of Israel, as well as most of the Middle East, began in 1512 and lasted for over 400 years. There was never any “Palestinian” entity in the area.
However, Abbas, after castigating Lord Arthur Balfour for promising “a land that was not his to promise” went on to describe the Palestinian people as “a proud nation with a rich heritage of ancient civilisations, and the cradle of the Abrahamic faiths.”
Contradicting Abbas’ historical revision, just a day before, PA official TV broadcast an interview with the historian Abd Al-Ghani Salameh, who explained that in 1917, the time of the Balfour Declaration, there was no Palestinian people.
“There always was a historical struggle over the Mandated Palestine territory, and many wanted to rule it. How did the aspirations to rule affect the Palestinian existence, the Palestinians’ options, and the Palestinians’ possibilities of development?” the host of the program asked Salameh during a special broadcast for the centenary anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
“Before the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration) when the Ottoman rule ended (in 1917), Mandated Palestine’s political borders as we know them today did not exist, and there was nothing called a Palestinian people with a political identity as we know today,” Salameh said on Palestinian TV, according to the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a watchdog which monitors Palestinian incitement.
Salameh explained that “Palestine’s lines of administrative division stretched from east to west and included Jordan and southern Lebanon, and like all peoples of the region [the Palestinians] were liberated from the Turkish rule and immediately moved to colonial rule, without forming a Palestinian people’s political identity.”
Please Get Your Historical Facts Straight
In his article in The Guardian, Abbas continued to revise history by claiming that he was 13 years old “at the time of our expulsion from Safed.”
This contradicts Abbas’ own words in 2013, when he admitted on PA TV that the residents of Safed were not expelled but rather left Israel in 1948 on their own.
“The [Arab] Liberation Army retreated from the city [Safed in 1948], causing the [Arab] people to begin emigrating. In Safed, just like Hebron, people were afraid that the Jews would take revenge for the [Arab] massacre [of Jews] in 1929. The 1929 massacre was most severe in Safed and Hebron. The people (of Safed in 1948) were overcome with fear, and it caused the people to leave the city in a disorderly way.”
The IDF did not take revenge for the heinous 1929 massacre, in which 67 Jews were killed in Hebron and 18 in Safed.
100 Years of Arab Rejection
Throughout the 20th century, Arab leaders have rejected Jewish rights, promoted an exclusivist worldview that the land belongs only to them and encouraged violent attacks on the Jewish population.
This rejection of the legitimate and internationally-mandated and recognized claim of the Jewish people to a national homeland in the Holy Land is the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Even now, the Palestinians, instead of educating and building towards a future of peace, are still looking backwards, trying to turn back the hands of time, re-litigate and deny, and reject the world’s acceptance of the justice of the Jewish people’s claim, the foreign ministry exclaimed.
Abbas announced at the July 2016 Arab League Summit his intention to sue Britain for issuing the Balfour Declaration.
His and other Palestinian leaders’ rejection of the Balfour Declaration reflects their consistent denial of any rights of the Jewish people in their homeland, and thus, drives peace further away.
The vehement opposition to the Balfour Declaration was and has remained rooted in the anti-historical view that Jews are aliens in the land, and in the false assumption that they have no connection to the land and no right of any kind to live there as a people. This attitude of Arab exclusivism continues to drive the Arab-Israeli conflict to this day.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What Goes for UNESCO Goes also for the UN

By Alan Baker  November 2, 2017

The entire UN human-rights assistance machinery has now been formally and officially recruited and financed to streamline the harassment and persecution of Israel.

Citing “the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” the US State Department notified UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova on October 12 of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the organization, effective December 31, 2018.

This decision stemmed from repeated Israel-bashing by UNESCO, notably since 2011, when the Palestinian Authority sought and won admission to UNESCO as a full member-state, despite the fact that there exists no sovereign Palestinian state. The State Department saw this as “regrettable, premature” and harmful to “our shared goal to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”

Indeed, Washington cut off US funding for UNESCO under a law that prohibits the US government from funding any UN agency that admits a non-state as a member. American funding, once accounting for more than one-fifth of UNESCO’s budget, hasn’t been restored since 2011.

As reported in The Washington Post on October 12, Haley said the United States will evaluate all UN agencies “through the same lens.” Logically then, the conclusion could only be that the UN organization itself – decayed, flawed, manipulated and abused even more so than UNESCO – should be the next in line for a mass withdrawal by responsible states.

More than 20 annual Israel- bashing resolutions specifically singling out and condemning Israel are adopted by an automatic majority of Muslim and Arab states, often with the support of other states, including Europeans.

While the UN may be the “only club in town,” no one can doubt that it has veered far from the noble intentions of its founding fathers. The manner in which Israel is treated in the UN and in its various specialized agencies and other UN bodies is the very antithesis of such purposes and principles. Isolating Israel and preventing its full involvement in the UN organs (including the Security Council and International Court of Justice, where Israel has never been elected to serve) is in clear violation of the first principle of the UN Charter declaring the “sovereign equality of all its Members.”

Perhaps the straw that is breaking the camel’s back is an amazing, recent joint UN-Palestinian project for the years 2018-2022, the title of which conceals its true intentions: “UN Development Assistant Framework – State of Palestine.”

The UN has committed to channel no less than $1.3 billion into various UN agency signatories to the framework, in order to assist the Palestinian leadership in advancing its diplomatic warfare against Israel.

The project aims to finance “training, capacity-building and technical advice” with a view to assisting “Palestinian victims” to exploit international accountability mechanisms and to prosecute “Israeli violations of international law.”

In other words, the entire UN human-rights assistance machinery has now been formally and officially recruited and financed to streamline the harassment and persecution of Israel.

Logic would assume that the US, Israel and the major European powers should now take decisive action to halt this deterioration.

First and foremost, they should each dock $1.3b. from their membership fees as a demonstration of their disgust at the UN’s official policy of Israel-bashing. What is good for UNESCO should be all the more relevant to the UN itself.

Friday, November 3, 2017

IDF Warns World of Iran’s Growing Cyber Threat

As Iran’s technological capabilities improve, the Israeli military is warning of the looming dangers posed by the Islamic Republic’s agents in cyberspace.
The head of Israel’s military command, control, computer, communications and intelligence (C4I) plus cyber division runs one of the most crucial forces in the IDF, one that works 24/7 to defend the country from all attacks through cyberspace.
At the Reuters Cyber Security Summit held in Tel Aviv recently,  the head of the C41 division stated outright that the IDF faces thousands of cyber attacks a day, many of which are orchestrated by Iran, with the help of proxies like the terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
Just five or six years ago, many of the attacks against IDF servers, and Israeli networks in general, were DDOS (denial of service) attacks, where hackers try by sheer quantity of Internet connections to slow or halt operations on systems. Another common tactic was phishing — deceitful attempts to obtain personal information. The threats today are much more sophisticated.
“They are not the state-of-the-art, they are not the strongest superpower in the cyber dimension, but they are getting better and better,” said.the division head
On the other hand, he also said that “Nobody has been able to penetrate our operational systems,” although he did qualify the statement with the words, “as far as we know.”
The C4I division was established in 2015, with the goal of bringing all units dealing with cyber threats under one roof, with a single command structure. It protects systems that control everything, from communications to Iron Dome rockets, all of which communicate with servers that remain hackers’ targets.

This would seem to point to C4I being essentially defensive in nature, it was made clear that responsibilities did not include offensive cyber tactics. However, it is commonly accepted that Israel, working secretly with the United States, developed the Stuxnet virus in 2010 that targeted machines controlling centrifuges in Iran that were being used to enrich uranium for Iran’s nuclear program.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Historical Significance of the Balfour Declaration

The following points regarding the significance of ther Balfour declation were compiled by Dore Gold, the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs since 2000. In June 2015, he was appointed Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he served until October 2016.

  • On July 24, 1922, the British pledge to help build the Jewish National Home was explicitly incorporated into the text of the League of Nations Mandate, which called for "putting into effect” its terms. The Balfour Declaration thus was transformed into a binding obligation under international law. Moreover, it was approved unanimously by the Council of the League of Nations, made up of 51 member states.
  • The Balfour Declaration is important because it recognizes the historical bond of the Jewish People to the Holy Land, a bond which existed long before the declaration. What was significant was its public and formal recognition and its incorporation into international law.
  • In his testimony before the Peel Commission on Jan. 7, 1937, David Ben-Gurion noted: "I say on behalf of the Jews that the Bible is our Mandate, the Bible which was written by us, in our own language, in Hebrew in this very country. That is our Mandate. It is only recognition of this right which was expressed in the Balfour Declaration.” Thus, the British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, upon which it was based, did not create Jewish historical rights, but rather recognized a pre-existing right.
  • The historic Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel is the real claim to statehood. The tendency to justify Zionism on the basis of the Holocaust is totally misconceived. Not only was Zionism a thriving and successful movement prior to this tragedy, but the Holocaust destroyed its largest human reservoir and severely set it back.
  • The Jewish population of Mandatory Palestine contributed large numbers of volunteers and committed its manpower, agriculture, manufacturing and expertise to the Allied cause. Unfortunately, this contribution was soon forgotten.
  • When the State of Israel was born in 1948, it was invaded by a coalition of Arab armies which received their training and weapons from the main colonial powers: Britain and France. Ironically, the rise of Israel was an anti-colonial development accelerating the demise of European colonial empires.
  • Israel's enemies seek to misrepresent and falsify the historical facts. They try to portray modern Israel as a product of European colonialism, with no roots in the land and no historical rights. Modern Israel is the heir and successor to ancient Israel. The Balfour Declaration recognized this bond.

Hamas Promises Blood for Blood

The following is from a letter from a friend commenting on the media coverage of Israel's blowing up a tunnel which was reaching inside Israel
As I'm sure is well known, the military effort of Hamas since our last clash with them, which has continued full steam since then, has concentrated on building tunnels into Israeli territory, through which to launch attacks on farms, villages, etc.
Prior to the last clash they had planned a huge coordinated attack through the tunnels, as a major military strike intended to disrupt life here totally. This must have been trimmed to smaller isolated attacks now since a lot of that infrastructure was damaged.
However, the object of the exercise remains clearly military strikes at civilian centres as part of their war to the death.
Such a tunnel was discovered in the last day or two, having reached 2 km. from an Israeli centre. It was blown up.
So here is one of today's headlines:

Hamas promises ‘blood for blood’ after tunnel bombing…….

Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday said the terror group intends to respond with violence to the deaths of seven Gaza terrorists Monday after Israel blew up an attack tunnel that stretched into Israeli territory………

Do you see what madness/sickness we are  up against day in and day out? And what as incredible achievement it is by the intelligence and defence authorities, that we can live full daily lives completely normally, relaxed, feeling just as safe if not safer than in many countries in the world.