I do have a message for Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen: We appreciate your offer but no thanks. Israel will pass.
Police work near the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, France. (photo credit:REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER)
In November 2015, the European Union issued guidelines for labeling products made on land Europe considers occupied by Israel. This included products made in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel, naturally, claimed that the move was discriminatory and denounced it as a political move aimed at pressuring the country into making concessions to the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “hypocritical and a double standard.”
A few months later, I happened to meet the European Union’s Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen and asked him a simple question. Let’s assume, I said, that labeling products in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is understandable. Those are territories in dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and their status will need to wait to be resolved in a comprehensive peace agreement between the sides.
“But what about the Golan,” I asked. “Who exactly does the EU want Israel to give it back to?” My question referred to the ongoing civil war in Syria, which erupted in 2011 and has seen the rise of ISIS, and al-Qaida as well as the entrance of Iran and Hezbollah into the country, now the focus of Netanyahu’s most recent diplomatic efforts. I did not receive an answer but the question lingers still today as just one example of how Europe lacks a clear understanding of the Middle East.
I mention this story since on Tuesday, in a final briefing to the press before leaving the country after four years as the EU envoy, Faaborg-Andersen said that Israel can learn from Europe how to effectively combat terrorism.
“Fighting terrorism,” he said, “is an endeavor that requires the whole tool box of instruments.” One of those tools, he went on to explain, is a “strong security dimension,” which Israel uses effectively. But, he added, there are other aspects involved as well, including “de-radicalization,” working with social services, and education.
Now that is an interesting idea considering how many of the terrorist attacks perpetrated in Europe are carried out by citizens, some born and bred in their respective countries. In Israel, a small percentage of the attacks – like the recent one at the Temple Mount – are carried out by Israeli Arabs. Most are perpetrated by Palestinians.
Looking at the numbers this is an even stranger idea. According to EUROPOL, the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation, 142 people were killed in terrorist attacks in EU member states in 2016. In Israel, on the other hand, 17 people were killed. While 2017 is not yet over, the discrepancy is stark. In Israel 12 people have been killed, nine of them soldiers and policemen, while in EU member states there are already nearly 60 people who have been killed in Islamic terrorist attacks.
While the numbers don’t tell the full story, they are definitely part of it. So what exactly was Faaborg-Andersen referring to? Richard Kemp, the former British military officer and staunch defender of Israel, called Faaborg-Andersen’s statements “chutzpah,” citing the numerical discrepancy. “Not only does Israel have nothing to learn from the EU,” Kemp said, “but the EU is guilty of encouraging terrorism in Israel.”
Sadly, Kemp is right. For years, the EU has failed to articulate a clear account of who is right and wrong in this conflict. The failure to make a distinction between the Golan and Judea and Samaria is just one example of a confused moral compass.
This failure impacts not only the skewed way Israel is perceived throughout Europe but also the way countries are combating terrorism on the continent. The first step Europe can take is identifying its enemy and understanding who it is that it is up against. The enemy has a name and in this case, it is called radical Islamic terror. I am not saying that Israel is perfect. This country makes mistakes and many of them you can read in our newspaper. But I do have a message for Amb. Faaborg-Andersen: We appreciate your offer but no thanks. Israel will pass.
For years I was of the opinion that Israel’s might – its economic power and diplomatic clout – rested on three key pillars.
The first is the country’s conventional military, the IDF, one of the most powerful and technologically advanced armies in the world.
The second is the country’s purported nuclear program. Israel doesn’t admit to having nuclear weapons but also doesn’t deny that it does. This ambiguity leaves its enemies uncertain and that uncertainty bolsters deterrence.
The third pillar is Israel’s strategic alliance with the United States. This transcends administrations and presidents and has, until now, been deep and meaningful whether it is a Republican or a Democrat sitting in the White House.
There is, however, a fourth – it is education.
While Israelis tend to get caught up in the political debate surrounding issues like the settlements or our continued presence in Judea and Samaria, we need to ensure that we are instilling within our children a strong and vibrant Jewish identity. They need that basic foundation, since without it, the political debate will be shallow and lack purpose.
The fact that at their draft date a few years ago, 50% of IDF soldiers had not been to Jerusalem, is a national disaster. If their schools don’t take them there then something is wrong. If their families don’t see value in visiting the location that is the bedrock of the Jewish nation, then something is missing. How can we expect these soldiers to fight in defense of the Jewish state if they don’t under – stand why we are here to begin with? Last week, I had the opportunity to join my family at Camp Moshava in the rolling green Poconos Mountains of northern Pennsylvania. There, I saw up close the work that is being done – under the leadership of Alan Silverman and Channah Spiegelman – to entrench within American and Israeli youth a sense of Zionism, a love for Israel and strong Jewish values. (A disclaimer – my wife, Chaya, worked there this summer).
On Monday, two families, both longtime campers and staffers, left early to catch the Nefesh B’Nefesh group aliya flight to Israel. When I told a member of staff how strange I thought it was that someone would make aliya directly from camp, she looked at me and said: “That’s exactly what I did with my family a few years ago.” Apparently, this has become an annual camp tradition, marked by an emotional and moving ceremony attended by the more than 1,000 people there.
Israel has a lot to learn from the Diaspora. Research has shown how impactful summer camps can be on the formation of a Zionist Jewish identity. One of my daughters felt that she learned more about Jerusalem and its 50th anniversary during a month at Moshava than all of last year as an eighth-grader. Other camps, like the Ramah chain, and informal programs like Birthright see similar success.
As quality of life in Israel continues to rise, the need for nationalistic motivations will continue to decline. Israel is no longer a country fighting for survival. Yes, it has threats along its borders, but it also enjoys a level of security unprecedented in its almost 70 years of existence.
While the conflicts we face – whether inside our borders or the antisemitic attacks against Jews around the world – are often a reminder of Israel’s purpose, we cannot rely solely on wars to bring us together. More needs to be done to foster a strong sense of identity and peoplehood even when Jews are not being cursed by neo-Nazis marching in Virginia.
Next week approximately 2 million students will enter their school classrooms, some for the very first time. It is an opportunity to ask ourselves what type of children we want to see exiting those same classrooms next June. Are we just looking for students with good grades or should we expect something more?
Publish in the Jerusalem Post
An antisemitic flyer found on the University of Houston campus on Tuesday. Photo: Michael Leone / Facebook
Dozens of flyers and stickers promoting neo-Nazi propaganda were found at the University of Houston (UH) this week, the latest incident associated with an increase in white supremacist activity on campuses nationwide.
The flyers, found on bulletin boards, walls, trash bins, and lamp posts at the university’s main campus on Tuesday, included phrases such as, “Beware the International Jew” and “Imagine a Muslim-Free America,” according to a statement shared online by UH’s chapter of the Young Communist League (YCL).
IDF soldiers make a blessing on the traditional Jewish custom of apple and honey to welcome Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. (ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) said they will provide $1.5 million in annual Rosh Hashanah “Fellowship Gift Cards” to 12,000 IDF soldiers marking the upcoming Jewish New Year.
The initiative, coordinated in collaboration with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers and the LIBI Fund, will provide more than 10,000 lone soldiers and soldiers $140 gift cards. Another 2,200 soldiers will receive gift cards worth $100.
The cards “will allow the soldiers to celebrate the New Year without the burden of financial stress,” the organizations said in a statement Wednesday.
Gaza-based terror group says it will agree to Palestinian Authority conditions on forming joint government and holding elections
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, center, and spokesman Fawzi Barhoum attend a protest in Gaza City on July 22, 2017, against new Israeli security measures implemented at the holy site, which include metal detectors and cameras, following an attack that killed two Israeli policemen the previous week. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
For the past week or so, Iranian official media and social networks have been abuzz with anecdotes woven around a football match in Tehran between Iran and Syria and the light it might shed on a complicated relationship.
According to most accounts, a group of Syrians flown in by special charter to cheer their national squad in its bid for a place in the World Cup in Moscow staged an anti-Iran demonstration in the stadium. The Syrian contingent included young ladies who refused to wear the Iranian-style hijab.
Their presence in the stadium highlighted the fact that no Iranian woman is allowed to attend a football match after a fatwa by the “Supreme Guide” that women watching young men running around with bare legs might cause “undue excitement”
An Orthodox man passes a British guard in London, UK. (drserg / Shutterstock.com)
A new in-depth survey conducted by the U.K.-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) found that around 30 percent of the British public hold at least one anti-Semitic viewpoint.
The report noted, however, that most of the 30 percent polled also held some positive views about Jews.
Further, around 15 percent of the British public indicated they agreed with two or more anti-Semitic views presented to them, while two percent of British adults polled were found to be “hard-core” anti-Semites.
The survey was conducted by JPR senior research fellow Dr. Daniel Staetsky using face-to-face interviews and online polls.
That’s followed by the sounds of the terrorists assaulting a passenger.
“Please don’t hurt me,” he pleads. “Oh God.”
As the passengers rush the cabin, a Muslim terrorist proclaims, “In the name of Allah.”
As New York firefighters struggle up the South Tower with 100 pounds of equipment on their backs trying to save lives until the very last moment, the Flight 93 passengers push toward the cockpit. The Islamic hijackers call out, “Allahu Akbar.”.
The autumn of 2015 was unusual in almost every way on the north Aegean Greek island of Lesbos from which I am writing. There were tens of thousands of illegal migrants on the island, the native population of which was scarcely 100,000. New refugees arrived every day by the thousands.
One evening, the blue-gray sky grumbled shortly after sunset. The thick clouds blackened and rain poured down over the city with a roar. As I ran across the slippery pavement into a friend’s bar, I heard a group of five poor souls speaking Persian with a Turkic accent and running amok, seeking shelter under the eaves of a building.
Back in May, a New Orleans statue of Joan of Arc was tagged with “Tear it Down” graffiti.
Why Joan of Arc? Any famous historical figure is by definition controversial. Joan is a French national
symbol, but Shakespeare depicted her as a malicious witch. The French Quarter where the statue stands is a mostly white neighborhood. France was dealing with a controversial election.
This is what happens when you open a can of historical, religious and nationalistic worms.
Regarding the question that forms the title of this article, I truly believe that the answer is “yes.” It is my belief that Christian Zionism is as obvious a sign of the beginning of the redemption of Israel as are the ingathering of millions of Jews to the land of Israel and the existence of the State of Israel itself. But there are many people who don’t share this perspective.
In the Jewish community, there are still many who are wary of Christian friendship and support. Many Jews are suspicious of an ulterior motive to convert Jews to Christianity that they fear underlies this political partnership.
Last weekend, the world experienced a petrifying “wake up call” when Pyongyang test launched a hydrogen bomb. According to Yukiya Amano, director of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), Sunday’s test represents “a new dimension to the threat.” Added Amano, “I think the North Korean threat is a global one now.
In the past, people thought it was a regional one, but that is no longer the case.”
Since 1994, when North Korea decided to pull out of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), there has been a huge history of attempts to chain the North Korean nuclear beast, including efforts for military cooperation, sanctions and, of course, negotiations.