Former Israeli diplomats charge that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence. The State Department last week released its annual assessment of global terrorism for the year 2016, claiming the PA works “to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” Alan Baker, former deputy director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, told JNS.org the State Department is seemingly “taking previous reports and copying them, making slight changes where they consider it relevant.”
The State Department’s “evenhanded” statement. The U.S.-backed Middle East Quartet’s call for “restraint.” The announcement that President Donald Trump’s international negotiations envoy is going to the region to “mediate.” It all adds up to one thing: American pressure on Israel to make concessions. The July 14 terror attack that killed two Israeli policemen is a clear-cut case of Palestinian aggression if ever there was one, and the Trump administration should have been clearly on Israel’s side from the beginning, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.
Director Joshua Weinstein’s “Menashe,” which debuts nationally July 28, emanates a rarely seen authenticity, tenderness and depth sadly lacking in other mainstream on-screen depictions of Hasidic Jews and their communities, writes film reviewer Jane Hanser.
A Palestinian terrorist fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family last Friday night in the Samaria community of Halamish. The terror attack came on the heels of Palestinian-incited riots in response to Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the entrance gates to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Several hours before initiating Friday night’s attack, terrorist Omar al-Abed wrote on Facebook, “All I have is a sharpened knife, and it responds to the call of [the Temple Mount compound’s] Al-Aqsa [mosque]…God will take revenge on you.” The Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf, which administers the Temple Mount, is not “addressing Israel’s security needs, or that the metal detectors were installed as a result of terrorism coming out of the Temple Mount plaza,” Dan Diker, director of the Political Warfare project at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS.org.
Arab demonstrations and threats of violence in response to Israel’s newly installed metal detectors at the Temple Mount are just one more power play intended to remind the world that the only solution Palestinians will ultimately accept is one in which the Jews are excluded. So long as this is their goal, it isn’t the Al-Aqsa mosque that is in danger, but any hope for peace, writes JNS.org columnist Jonathan S. Tobin.
George Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire, has all the makings of a character in a Hasidic fable. He sees no moral contradiction in funding the forces for an “open society” in Eastern Europe, while giving at the same time to left-wing lobby groups advocating for a diminished relationship between the U.S. and Israel, the single sovereign open society in the Middle East. He values the “universal” in Judaism and cares little for the “particular.” Yet Soros is the target of anti-Semitism in his native Hungary. Is Soros being targeted as a man or as a symbol? Even if there is a trace of the former, it’s the overwhelming presence of the latter that should keep us healthily skeptical, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
There is a broad consensus among American Jewish leaders in support of Israel’s use of metal detectors to intercept terrorists on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations “supports taking the necessary and appropriate steps to assure security for all and to protect the sanctity of these holy sites,” the umbrella group’s CEO, Malcolm Hoenlein, told JNS.org. Among dovish groups, Dr. Michael Koplow, policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, called the metal detectors “a commonsense and relatively unobtrusive way to protect the safety of both Jews and Muslims on the Temple Mount and its environs.”
Egypt’s indigenous Coptic Christians are being systematically persecuted and slaughtered by Islamic terrorists. Jews know all too well this pattern in history and have vowed never to let it happen again. In a time when the Christian community has been the staunchest supporter of Jews and Israel, Jewish organizations should take tangible steps to give Egyptian Christians aid, support and protection, writes Yael Eckstein, senior vice president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
Bex Zank, who was recently part of an LGBTQ Birthright Israel trip, recounted what many participants called the first time they could be exactly who they are. The group sat around a campfire, sharing their coming-out stories. As Zank began to cry, describing coming out on Instagram while riding a camel, a group of new friends linked arms in support. Since 2000, Birthright has provided free 10-day trips to Israel for nearly 600,000 Jews ages 18-26. Niche Birthright trips like the LGBTQ trip ensure that all eligible participants feel they have a place in the often transformative experience of discovering Israel.
For slightly more than a decade, the two main areas slated for a future Palestinian state—the disputed territories and Gaza—have been ruled by competing factions, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Hamas terror group. While many in the international community continue to endorse a two-state solution, with Israelis living alongside a contiguous Palestinian state, the reality on the ground seemingly tells a different story. Amid the Hamas regime’s prioritization of fighting Israel, a recent U.N. report suggests Gaza may become “unlivable” by 2020. But in the disputed territories, Palestinians’ standard of living could improve as a result of economic cooperation deals between Israel and the PA.
Last Friday’s deadly terror attack near the Temple Mount highlights a sharp dichotomy between two of Israel’s minority groups. In the attack, Arab terrorists killed two Druze police officers. While a significant number of Israeli Arabs support the Palestinian struggle against the Jewish state, some other minorities in Israel, like the Druze, largely support the government. “One known aspect of [Druze] philosophy is the concept of ‘taqiyya,’ which is Arabic for ‘prudence, fear, caution,’ and in practice means that the tenets of the religion are not shared widely. Because of this defensive mechanism, the Druze are loyal to the regime of the country where they reside, whether in Syria or elsewhere,” said Dr. Mordechai Zaken, head of minority affairs in the Israeli Public Security Ministry.
Israel reopened the Temple Mount complex to Muslims and members of other faiths Sunday with strict new security measures, following last Friday’s attack near the holy site, in which Arab terrorists killed two Israeli Druze police officers. Israeli defense experts who specialize in understanding radical Islamic culture stress that such attacks are likely to occur again. “For many years, there has been the motivation to create an apocalypse between Islam and Judaism on the basis of the [Temple Mount’s] Al-Aqsa mosque,” Reuven Berko, a former colonel in the Israel Police, told JNS.org.
Some 7,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries participated in the 20th Maccabiah Games, a two-week event that is being praised for helping create “positive connections” to Israel. “These young athletes, who travel here for the games with their families, and may have encountered anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments in their home countries, experience Israel in a very positive way, through sport, and take these experiences back home with them,” said basketball coach Ilan Kowalsky, head of the Sports Department at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center research college.
To get a sense of what really lies beneath the campaign to boycott Israel, it can be helpful to see how this issue plays out in the Arab world. The prestigious international culture festival in Carthage, Tunisia, opened July 13 under the shadow of a call to boycott French-Jewish actor Michel Boujenah—a vocal supporter of Israel, but not an Israeli citizen or resident. If the campaign against Boujenah is a reminder of how crude Arab anti-Semitism can be, the events that followed the call to boycott him are an even more important reminder that there are some very courageous individuals in the Arab world, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
The president of The Forward newspaper thinks there is a “mobilized faction” in the American Jewish community attempting to “censor” dovish views, but other editors and leaders of some left-of-center Jewish organizations see things differently. The dispute arises from comments by Samuel Norich, The Forward’s president, during a panel discussion that aired July 12 on the Jewish Broadcasting Service. At the center of the discussion was The Forward’s recent decision to publish a full-page ad supporting imprisoned Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti.