Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted the careless approach of some of his predecessors, reassuring Israelis that “everything is gonna be alright.”
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.
Associates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on the morning of April 30 that he was about to reveal amazing facts related to the Iranian nuclear agreement. That evening, Netanyahu addressed the public on live TV, exposing files and CDs retrieved by Mossad agents. This well-orchestrated “performance” of Netanyahu was also accompanied by a slide show.
What was going through the mind of Netanyahu when he decided to summon the international and Israeli media for his standup performance? Did he assume that his tiresome, childish presentation would blind viewers to the fact that he was selling them used goods? Could he have hoped that the fake drama he engineered based on secret Iranian nuclear files would convince the leaders of Europe, China and Russia to jettison the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran? Might Netanyahu have believed that he was presenting US President Donald Trump with the “smoking gun” enabling him to withdraw from the pact come the May 12 deadline for his decision?
One frightening answer to these questions is that Netanyahu is riding high on the Iranian files to divert attention from the police investigations dogging him and his wife. An equally frightening answer lies in a speech delivered in 1992 by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to top military brass, blasting the ubiquitous Israeli panacea “yihiye beseder,” Hebrew for “everything will be fine” — in short, “It’s OK.”
“This phrase, which many of us hear in Israel’s day-to-day life, is intolerable. These two words usually conceal all the things that aren’t OK: arrogance and an exaggerated feeling of self-confidence, power and authority, which are uncalled for,” Rabin said.
So what if the public finds out that the covert “revelations” in Netanyahu’s presentation are already incorporated into the overt reporting of the International Atomic Energy Agency? It’s OK. And what will we do if these “revelations” result in an abrogation of the nuclear agreement and renewal of the Iranian nuclear program? Not to worry, it’s OK. What if the “revelations” convince Trump that the Iranians must not be trusted and the United States and Israel are dragged into a made-in-Israel war? No worries, it’s OK. “Unfortunately, the ‘hafif’ atmosphere,” Rabin said — using the Arabic vernacular for “carelessness” — “is eating us up.” And even though we have learned the hard and painful way that “everything will be fine” means that a lot of things aren’t OK, the carelessness modus still dominates us.
Following is an additional example of the irresponsible, careless attitude displayed by the prime minister over the past week. On April 28, the Israel National News website reported that fans of the Premier League soccer club in the Arab-Israeli town of Sakhnin were heard whistling and booing during a moment of silence in memory of 10 Israeli youths from a pre-military academy killed in flash floods while hiking. According to the bulletin of the conservative right, “the derogatory whistling was heard loud and clear.” It even quoted fans who said they felt they were “deep inside the area of the Palestinian Authority and not in Israel.” The following day, radical right-wing lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir reportedly lodged a complaint with the Israel Football Association against the Bnei Sakhnin club.
At noon, Netanyahu’s Facebook page posted the report, headlining it “disgraceful.” Without asking his army of aides and spokespeople to check the veracity of the report, Netanyahu demanded that “all public leaders — Jews and non-Jews alike — strongly condemn this shameful conduct.” However, three sports writers present at the stadium said they had not heard a single whistle. The owner of the rival Hapoel Ra’anana team, Asher Alon, who was also present at the site, said the fans’ behavior was exemplary. “I would have expected the prime minister to check rather than to spread unjustified hatred,” Alon said, demanding that Netanyahu apologize to Bnei Sakhnin. To date, no apology has emerged from the prime minister’s office; Netanyahu was surely busy rehearsing for his standup dedicated to the salvation of the Israeli people. Only four days later was the post removed from Netanyahu’s Facebook page.
In fact, the “disgraceful’’ post of Netanyahu showed not only the report about Bnei Sakhnin, but also contained the headline about the flooding. And so, the April 26 flood drowning tragedy, nonchalantly linked to the ongoing delegitimization of Israel’s Arab citizens, also became a victim of the “it’s OK” disease. The media broadcast warnings about flooding in the dry, southern riverbeds? The academy counselor said everything would be fine. The weather service suggested postponing hikes in the treacherous Negev Desert wadis prone to flash floods at the time of year? The officials at the Ministry of Education’s situation room knew all would be well. But how can we complain about a youth counselor and government clerks when the country’s leadership has turned the quick draw into an accepted norm?
For years, successive Israeli governments abetted the crowding of African asylum-seekers into the disadvantaged neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv. Then they encouraged the veteran residents to eschew the newcomers. In early April, we heard Netanyahu announce a superb agreement with the United Nations on the asylum-seekers issues. Several hours later, that same Netanyahu announced the premature death of the fledgling deal.
Netanyahu and the political right did not invent the “it’s OK” syndrome. Rabin himself and the Labor Party he headed showed them the way. The settlement enterprise launched on their watch is an intrinsic example of catastrophic carelessness. Back in the 1960s, when Israel took control of Palestinian territories in the 1967 Six-Day War, there were those who warned against sinking in the mud of the occupation. It’s OK, Rabin and his Labor Party colleagues Shimon Peres, then-minister of defense, and Yisrael Galili said, and approved the establishment of the settlement of Ofra. They were warned that ruling another people would eventually result in apartheid. They said everything would be fine and signed the plans for the establishment of the settlement town of Ariel. On the eve of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Israel was informed by an Egyptian agent, Ashraf Marwan, that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was about to send troops to cross the Suez Canal into the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula. It’s OK, not to worry, most of the generals told Prime Minister Golda Meir.
The irony is that the “it’s OK” ailment cost Rabin his life. In the year that preceded his 1995 assassination, the corridors of the Shin Bet agency buzzed with reports of intentions to attack the prime minister who was making peace with the Palestinians, and pronouncements to that effect were heard. Although they were aware of the risk, those responsible for guarding Rabin did not change their security protocols.
The accepted method of curbing the “it’s OK” threat is to bolster the decision-making circles around officials and institutions empowered to determine people’s fate. And what does Netanyahu do? He pushes forward a bill that strips the government of authority to declare war and transfers the power to the prime minister and defense minister. Israelis can only raise their eyes heavenward and pray — that everything will indeed be OK.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.