Monday, October 27, 2003

Who’s Guilty

Who’s Guilty
October 27, 2003

On this morning’s news someone, I don’t remember who, one of the left wing politicians, definitively claimed that there are too many soldiers guarding too few people in Netzarim.

I agree.

Early Friday morning terrorists managed to infiltrate an army base just outside the Netzarim community in Gaza. Three soldiers were killed before one of the two terrorists was eliminated. The other escaped.

In reaction to this attack Israel destroyed three 13-floor buildings which overlooked Netzarim and the army base.

That, of course, was the ‘official’ response. But other retorts were abundant. Probably the most common reaction demanded the eviction of Netzarim’s civilian residents. Some suggested that the community be totally wiped off the map. Others recommended that it be transformed into an IDF military base. But the idea was the same – let’s rid ourselves of Netzarim.

Interestingly enough, Netzarim, located in Northern Gaza, was originated by Israelis from the Shomar HaTzair Movement, one of the most, if not THE most, left-wing Kibbutz movement in Israel. That was in 1972. In 1984 Netzarim became a civilian community, under the auspicies of the religious kibbutz movement. A few years later the Kibbutz movement pulled out and it was transformed into a regular civilian community. Today Netzarim is home to some sixty families – over 400 people.

Life in Netzarim is not easy. The community is a favorite target of many who oppose it’s existence: the Israeli left, Arab terrorists and most of the world. The residents are forced to travel by convoy with an armed escort. Attempted terrorist penetration is frequent, and, as happened last year and again a few days ago, sometimes succeeds. Kasam missiles and mortars have also been known to pay visits. Despite this, the people living in Netzarim are amongst the happiest in Israel. They are fulfilling the true Zionist dream – living genuine ideals, settling the land for the good of the people. Notwithstanding danger and opposition on so many fronts, they stand as pillars of strength and faith, examples of flourishing Jewish values in Eretz Yisrael.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The Voice of Sanity

October 20, 2003

There are a multitude of subjects to write about: Three soldiers shot down in cold blood last night; tens of thousands visiting Hebron during the Succot holidays; the “Geneva Accords.” But today I think there is one subject which tops the list.

Yesterday the Israeli cabinet, voting 11 to 5, refused to append a suggested law outlawing all advertising on so-called ‘pirate radio stations,’ including Arutz 7.  Lawbreakers could be fined up to one hundred thousand shekels and/or jailed for one year.

Early this afternoon a Jerusalem Magistrate Court convicted directors and broadcasters of the Arutz 7 radio station of illegal broadcasting. Among those convicted were Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his wife, Rebbetzion Shulamit Melamed, Ya’akov Katz, better known as Ketzele, Yoel Tzur (who lost his wife and son, both of whom were murdered by terrorists almost three years ago), and internationally renowned film-maker and Arutz 7 broadcaster, Adir Zik.  They could receive a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a three million shekel fine.

It is written in the Talmud that a sage, resuscitated after having been ‘clinically dead’ was asked what he had seen ‘there.’ His response, speaking about viewing this world from the next world: “An upside-down world.” My friends, things have not changed in two thousand years. Our world is still upside down. But not only. It is also convoluted, warped and twisted.

Perhaps my generalization is not fair. So I will limit my definition, not to the entire world, rather only to the State of Israel. Oh, upside-down it is!

For the past ten years – no, since 1948, but more recently, since the middle of the 1980s, Israel has been involved in a ‘hot war’ for survival. The last decade, the “Oslo Era” has witnessed the deaths of over 1,100 Israelis. The past three years, the beginning of the Oslo War, has seen almost nine hundred victims. During this time the only reliable media outlet, the only radio station which broadcast the total, uncensored, truth, was Arutz 7. Virtually all of Israel’s political leadership, including many left-wing politicians, voiced their opinions on this station. When Kol Yisrael – the mislabeled “Voice of Israel,” actually Kol-Smol Yisrael, “The Left Voice of Israel” was using every technique possible to batter Bibi Netanyahu during the 1996 elections, Arutz 7 stood to Netanyahu’s right, offering an alternative to the vile left-wing propaganda. So too during Ariel Sharon’s campaign. All people who access the Arutz 7 internet site or receive their daily email news updates know and understand the vital importance of Arutz 7 in getting the truth out, around the world – in multiple languages. This, despite numerous attempts by the left to prevent broadcasts and to close down the station.

Today, temporarily, they have succeeded. Arutz 7’s management has decided to stop all radio broadcasts, from five o’clock this afternoon. However, internet broadcasts will continue.

It is virtually impossible to comprehend what is happening in Israel. For the past ten years Israeli leadership has negotiated with terrorist killers, meeting and shaking hands with them in Jerusalem. Israel has abandoned major portions of the heart of our land to terrorists, leading to killing after killing. Israel, negotiating with Hizballah, is on the verge of releasing over a thousand terrorists for the release of an alleged Israeli criminal and the bodies of three murdered soldiers. In response to American pressure Israel is still ‘easing up’ on the ‘innocent palestinian population.’ The list goes on and on.

Of course, the heart of the problem I have yet to mention. That is, freedom of speech – the right to freedom of expression. Yesterday I visited one of my wife’s uncles in Jerusalem. Way back in pre-state Israel, Uncle Meir was a member of the Etzel – the right-wing Jewish underground working to expel the British from Eretz Yisrael. He told me that later, after the founding of the state, when a Teudat Zehut – an identity card was issued to all Israeli citizens, all members of the right-wing underground movements received numbers beginning with 19. This was used to identify all ‘opponents’ of the state, i.e., the left, in order to badger them and prevent them from reaching any position of power within Israel. Fifty four years later, things haven’t changed. Voicing opinions that directly oppose those of the ruling junta just cannot be allowed. Even at the cost of freedom of speech.

Unprecedented legal maneuvering has prevented the legalization of Arutz 7. Israeli law forbids private radio stations from broadcasting. A law attempting to resolve problems dealing with Arutz 7 and other religious radio stations was struck down by the Supreme Court. Despite the huge costs involved, Arutz 7 broadcast from a ship located outside the legal territorial borders of Israel. However, after a five year trial, a court today ruled that the station is illegal.

For fifteen years Arutz 7 has been the voice of sanity in Israel. Their broadcasts have included Torah, current events and love of Eretz Yisrael. This is, undoubtedly, the reason why the government and the left have worked so hard to bring it down. It won’t surprise me if soon, the Knesset passes a bill outlawing love of Eretz Yisrael. For anyone who cherishes this land is at odds with the government, which still believes that dividing the land is the solution to all our problems.

It is clear that the tremendous opposition to Arutz 7’s continued existence is due to the immense support the station has around the world, and also, to its magnificent success. Had Arutz 7 been a small, inconsequential radio station, no one would have lifted a hand against it. The fact that Arutz 7 is so influential attests to the attempts made to shut it down. I hope and pray that public uproar, in Israel and around the world will reach such proportions that will force the reopening of the station.

Arutz 7 is the Israeli voice of sanity. The repression of Arutz 7 can only be described as total insanity. Sanity will win out.

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Free Federman

Erev Yom Kippur
October 5, 2003

Yesterday, at about 2:15 in the afternoon, a twenty-nine year old female lawyer walked into the Maxim restaurant in Haifa with about ten kilo of explosives strapped onto her body. When she detonated herself, nineteen people were killed and over 60 injured. Among those murdered were five members of the Zar-aviv family from Kibbutz Yagur – Grandmother Bruria, aged 59, her son and his wife, Bezalel and Keren, and their two children, four year old son Liron and his fourteen month old sister Maya.

Also wiped out were four members of the Almog family, from Tel Aviv: Father Ze’ev, a senior ranking officer in the IDF, his wife Ruti, their son Moshe, and grandson Tomer.

Together with six others, they were annihilated because they were Jews, eating lunch on a Saturday afternoon in a jointly owned Jewish-Arab restaurant, two days before Yom Kippur. Amongst the dead were also four Arabs.

This morning, trying to eat breakfast while listening to the news, difficult to do, feeling hungry and nauseas at the same time, former labor defense minister, Binyamin Fuad ben Eliezer was interviewed. Hearing him, I felt even worse. His initial statement was correct, that being that Israel must change its approach to the problem. He continued by saying that we would never reach a situation whereby all Arab [terrorist] organizations (Tanzim, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PA) would agree to a full ceasefire. I can also agree with that. But, then our paths differ. Fuad’s conclusion is that we have no choice but to enter into immediate negotiations, despite the continued pogroms against our citizens. And of course, we must finish the ‘magic fence’, as fast as possible.

Fuad is right, we must change our approach, fast. However, his conclusions are far off the mark. Following Fuad, Kol Yisrael spoke with Minister Benny Elon. He hit the nail on the head. Israel must destroy the palestinian authority. Fences and are useless, terrorists will always find ways around them. Expulsion of Arafat will almost undoubtedly not help and most probably cause Israel harm. The only way to deal with terror is to uproot it at its source, and that source is, today, the PA. This band of thugs and murderers has received world-wide recognition as the legitimate leadership of a future ‘palestinian state’ (G-d forbid). They have achieved this by spilling gallons of Jewish blood – over 1,100 Jews have been murdered since Oslo was signed, and some 880 in the past 3 years. The PA, along with its top leadership, must be erased from the map.

This is one side of the coin. Yet, there is another side too.

Several weeks ago long-time Hebron resident and activist Noam Federman was again apprehended. He was not walking down the street, he was not in the middle of trying to kill Arabs, he was not even at home. Rather, he was arrested while presenting an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Federman was arrested over a year ago, based on the testimony of one person, tying him to the “Bat-Ayin” group, accused and convicted of attempting to blow up Arabs in East Jerusalem. There is no evidence that Federman had anything to do with those three men, excepting the account of one of them, (who also named tens of others, none of whom were arrested.) For over a year Federman has been detained, held in house arrest. (See below-“The Israeli Twilight Zone”-July 22, 2002). Since then Noam Federman has been fighting an uphill battle to be released.  (Recently the date of his trial was set for sometime NEXT JUNE!!!)

Federman, a brilliant legal expert with a law degree, came very close to convincing the court that the house arrest detention order, initiated by the Shabak, the Israeli intelligence organization, was illegal, circumventing the judicial system. So, rather than take any chances, the Shabak issued a six month administrative detention order, signed by Defense Minister Shaul Mufaz, arrested him in the middle of his court case, and threw him behind bars in the worst possible conditions. A Supreme Court justice reviewed the detention order and upheld it. However, the details of the ‘evidence’ given to him by the Shabak was “secret” thereby preventing Federman or his lawyer from being able to present any kind of defense.

Federman is being held in total isolation is a high-security prison, in a very small cell, and is not receiving certified kosher food. In other words, he is being treated as if he were a mass murderer. This, without having been indicted, stood trial, convicted and sentenced. (It should also be noted that the Shabak is answerable only to the Prime Minister.)

Not only right-wing Jews are appalled by the Federman case. Writing in an Israeli daily on September 30, left wing Meretz MK Zahava Galon stated: “Noam Federman should be put on trial or released. Circumventing the law rather than upholding it points to hysteria and bewilderment and does not achieve its purpose.”

It is totally incomprehensible how Israel can, on the one hand, sit and talk to murderers like Muhammad Dahlan, Abu-This and Abu-That, actually allowing them into Jerusalem, while on the other hand abusing innocent civilians (based on the theory that people are innocent until PROVEN guilty), denying them basic human rights and acceptable judicial recourse. 

It makes no difference whether one agrees or disagrees with Noam Federman’s politics. He deserves the identical civil rights of any other Israeli. And those civil rights are being grossly denied him, causing him and his family indescribable suffering. Noam Federman is not a murderous Arab terrorist  - he is an Israeli Jew!

Tonight begins the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. The essence of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is, in Hebrew, Tshuva, which literally means repentance. But the root of Tshuva is l’shuv – meaning, to return. On Yom Kippur we attempt to return to our real selves, ourselves without transgression, have asked for and having been granted forgiveness by the L-rd. This allows us to begin the New Year afresh, instilled with purity and a new outlook on life.

What better a way could the Israeli government express its sorrow at its own sins committed over the past year by: 1) waging comprehensive war on the Arabs who are killing innocent men, women and children, trying to wipe us out and expel us from our land – a war leading to the full and total destruction of the PA; and 2) by letting Noam Federman go home.