Sunday, July 31, 2016

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Benjamin Netanyahu on how to beat Islamism

THE NEZER HAKODESH INSTITUTE FOR KOHANIC STUDIES: The World's First School for Training Levitical Priests to Serve in the Holy Temple

The Temple Institute, established nearly thirty years ago, has now established the world's first school for training Levitical Priests to serve in the Holy Temple. Your support will help to strengthen and develop this school.
With tremendous excitement and gratitude to HaShem, we introduce to you the Temple Institute's new campaign to raise funds for the Nezer HaKodesh Institute for Kohanic Studies. The Temple Institute's newsletter subscribers make up our most loyal and ardent supporters, year after year. We encourage you to learn about this historic project and thank you for your generous support in advance.
After millennia of yearning, only one organization is paving the way for the rebuilding of the Temple: the internationally-acclaimed Temple Institute, a research organization founded nearly thirty years ago and located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple Institute is dedicated to every aspect of preparing for the renewal and ultimate construction of the Third Temple, and has succeeded in bringing about a spiritual awakening - bringing the concept of the Holy Temple back to forefront of our consciousness. The Institute has created nearly all of the sacred vessels needed to resume the Divine service in the Holy Temple, including the High Priest's breastplate featuring the twelve precious stones of the tribes of Israel, the half-ton golden menorah, and the musical instruments of the Levitical choir. It has also made huge advances in preparing the architectural plans for the building of the Temple, and many other areas of research.
But who will serve in the rebuilt Holy Temple? The Temple Institute has established the world's first school for the training and preparation of Kohanim - the Levitical Priests: Nezer Hakodesh, Hebrew for 'Crown of Holiness,' the Institute for Kohanic Studies. The Kohanim (plural for Kohen, the Temple priests) are the representatives of both the Creator and all of Israel, as well as all of humanity. The Institute's goal is to prepare these men to assume their duties and responsibilities in the Holy Temple.
We launch this campaign intentionally during the traditional three week period of mourning for the Holy Temple in order to redirect our sense of loss with renewed determination to help realize the vision of the prophets of Israel who foretold that "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations," (Isaiah 56:7) and that "in this place I will grant peace." (Haggai 2:9)

PMW: Fatah cartoon: Long-nosed Jew explodes Muslim world

[Fatah Information and Culture Commission website, July 28, 2016]

by Itamar Marcus

Fatah posted a cartoon showing a long-nosed Jew with an Israeli flag on his arm lighting a fuse to blow up a bomb. Inside the bomb, a Shi'ite Muslim and a Sunni Muslim are lighting fuses to blow up each other.

The cartoon, which was posted on Fatah's Information and Culture Commission website, expresses the libel that Jews/Israel seek to destroy the Muslim world, and are possibly taking advantage of the internal Muslim fighting to do so. The cartoon is also critical of the Muslim world, which is depicted as so focused on killing each other that they do not see the Jews taking advantage of it to kill them.

Palestinian Media Watch has documented the PA libels that Israel/Jews are behind all conflicts in the world and that Israel/Jews are to blame for all bad in the world.

Ungrateful Muslim Want To Murder Those People Helping Her

ISRAEL MATZAV: 'Palestinians' to sue God over covenant with Abraham

Last week, I reported on the 'Palestinian Authority's plans to sue the United Kingdom for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

And as many of you know, the Bible says that God promised the land of Israel to the Jewish people.

So what's a 'Palestinian' to do? It's easy. They're going to sue God over His Making that covenant with Abraham.
“The God of Abraham had no right to promise this land to the Jews. Being all-knowing, He had to have foreseen that some 4,000 years later, we would suddenly decide that we have a national identity tied to this land”,  said a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority.  The Palestinians claim that God should have known that they would seek to retroactively deny the rich and well-documented history of Jews in the land of Israel and therefore should not have promised it to Abraham and his descendants.  “Although we were living in Arabia for thousands of years after the covenant, God really should have taken us into consideration when making such promises” said the P.A. spokesperson.  We reached out to God for comment via a note in the Wailing Wall.  The Almighty issued a statement through his spokesperson, the angel Gabriel,  “Are you serious with this sh*t??? I have much more important things to worry about. There’s a war in Syria killing hundreds of thousands of people in my name, the ice caps are melting, and I’m trying to figure out how to stop the bees from dying off so you guys don’t starve to death.  I don’t have time for this nonsense.”
The Palestinians assert that time is a construct invented by God, and he is simply avoiding having to address the issue.  An archangel, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that God is indeed worried about the lawsuit since there are no good lawyers in heaven.  “All of the most cutthroat and lawyers are either in the U.S. Government or in Hell, so God is really at a loss here.  He won’t say it publicly, but he’s scared.”

Friday, July 29, 2016

ELDER OF ZIYON: Fun for the family at Islamic Jihad's "Bond of Blood" Gaza festival

Yesterday, Islamic Jihad held a festival in Gaza called "Bond of Blood."

The terror group unveiled a long-range rocket whose capabilities it has kept secret, putting three question marks on the rockets instead of a name:

The missiles are of course meant to perform war crimes, since they cannot be aimed at anything but large population centers.

Other photos from the festival show that it was meant to be a family-friendly event:

Yated: The Final Moments of the Life of Rav Elchonon Wasserman Hy”d: Eyewitness Accounts By Tzvi Yaakovson

“Rav Elchonon.” These two words contain a world of meaning. Rav Elchonon Wasserman was a gadol baTorah, leader of his generation, the rabbon shel kol bnei hagolah. Today, when we read the words he wrote over seventy years ago, it seems that he possessed he gift of prophecy.
Rav Elchonon was a talmid of the greatest luminaries of that generation, the pride and joy of Telz and Brisk, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ohel Torah in Baranovitch, and one of the foremost Torah leaders in the Jewish world. He was a man who waged the battles of Hashem and of the Torah, and whose teachings were collected in such classic works as Kovetz Shiurim and Kovetz Maamarim. The story of his martyrdom has long been recorded in works of history and is read with reverence and awe.
It was the month of Tammuz, after the Shabbos of Parshas Chukas, in the year 5701 (1941). That is what we know, but some details are unclear: Was he taken to his death on Sunday, the 11th of Tammuz, or on Monday, the 12th? And was he murdered on the day he was captured or on the next day? Furthermore, did his death take place before or after shkiah? All of this affects the question of when his yahrtzeit is. In several places, I saw that historians determined that the date of his death was the 11th of Tammuz, 5701, but that is clearly a mistake. Other sources place it on the 13th of Tammuz based on the assumption that he was taken away on Monday and was murdered at night. That may be correct, but some dispute that version of the story.
Rav Elchonon viewed the Chofetz Chaim as his rebbi. In many of his writings, he refers to him as “hakadosh baal haChofetz Chaim zt”l.” He once remarked, “It is impossible for us to perceive the full scope of the Chofetz Chaim’s greatness, since he used his brilliant mind to determine how to conceal his special qualities. How can we, with our puny intellects, hope to outsmart him?”
Rav Mordechai Zuckerman zt”l, another talmid of Radin, knew Rav Elchonon well. To this, he added, “Rav Elchonon’s face was always aflame with his burning yiras Shomayim, but the Chofetz Chaim showed no external signs of his greatness.” In a similar vein, he once remarked, “Rav Elchonon was visibly a talmid of the Chofetz Chaim, but the Chofetz Chaim, whose greatness was hidden, gave no sign of being the rebbi.”
The talmidim of the yeshiva in Radin grew accustomed to seeing Rav Elchonon attend the Chofetz Chaim’s drashos. Rav Elchonon would drink in his rebbi’s words, reviewing them over and over. Once, on the Yomim Noraim, a talmid commented that the Chofetz Chaim had repeated verbatim a drashah he had delivered the year before. Rav Elchonon disagreed. “This year,” he said, “there were eight new words.”
Rav Mordechai once met Rav Elchonon on a street in Vilna and introduced himself as a talmid from the yeshiva in Radin. Upon hearing this, Rav Elchonon asked Rav Mordechai to accompany him to the home of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky. Rav Chaim Ozer immediately recognized Rav Mordechai, and said to Rav Elchonon in a somewhat reproachful tone, “Why are you bringing me a bochur who is immersed in learning?” It soon became clear that Rav Chaim Ozer had asked Rav Elchonon to find a yeshiva bochur who could assist him; nevertheless, despite the passage of years, he had not forgotten Rav Mordechai’s stellar hasmadah during his years in Radin.
• • • • •
Everyone agrees on where and how it happened: Rav Elchonon was taken by bloodthirsty Lithuanian soldiers from the home of Rav Avrohom Grodzensky Hy”d. In her book, Ve’emunascha Baleilos, Rebbetzin Wolbe, Rav Avrohom’s daughter, relates, “On one of the days after the pogrom, when we were still holed up in our house behind locked doors, and while rabbonim, yungeleit and bochurim slept and learned in pairs in every room of the house, three Lithuanian partisans with their guns drawn suddenly burst into the house. They opened the front door abruptly, and they were inside the house before we could react. In the entranceway, Rav Elchonon Wasserman Hy”d was standing (not sitting) and learning with a chavrusah. The Lithuanians were enraged by this sight of Jewish men, especially rabbonim, who were still learning. Aiming their weapons at him, they began screaming, ‘Don’t move!’
“They ran wildly from room to room, even to the second story, and they gathered all the men they found. Some of the men managed to hide and were not discovered. Roaring like wild beasts, the soldiers gathered thirteen men, including my beloved brother Zev, who was only 21 years old; my uncle, Reb Shabsi Vernikovsky, who was a rebbi at the yeshiva of Lomza, along with his son Mordechai; and, of course, Rav Elchonon Wasserman. We, the women and girls, begged the cruel Lithuanians not to take them away. I was the oldest among the girls and I tried to explain to them that rabbonim were not Communists.”
Rebbetzin Wolbe describes how she pleaded with the murderous soldiers to spare Rav Elchonon’s life. The soldiers replied that they would accept her claims if she showed them documents to prove them. The young Rivka Grodzensky raced up the stairs to find some sort of evidence that they were not Communist agents. As she looked through the window into the inner courtyard of the house, though, she saw all the men being taken at gunpoint to their deaths.
At the end of that chapter, Rebbetzin Wolbe relates, “We found out only later that on that very day, those 13 rabbonim and bnei Torah met their deaths al kiddush Hashem. It was the 12th of Tammuz, 5701, and we were told that the place where they were murdered was the Seventh Fort.” According to her memories and the accounts they received at the time, the men were taken into captivity on Monday and were murdered that very day, before nightfall. To this day, the rebbetzin observes her brother’s yahrtzeit on the 12th of Tammuz.
Rav Zuckerman was also in Kovna at the time, and his own memoirs describe the tragic spring season of the year 5701, when Lithuania was conquered by the Germans. Rav Zuckerman describes the thunderous explosions that were heard as the German fighter jets bombed the area. He recalled how the Jews of Slabodka and Kovna fled to the nearby towns, fearing both the German bombs and the pogroms. He himself, though, did not escape. “I had nowhere to go,” he explained.
Rav Zuckerman’s memoirs also contain a chilling description of the sudden cruelty displayed by the Lithuanians: “For hundreds of years, the Jews of Lithuania maintained good relations with their non-Jewish neighbors. But when the Germans conquered Lithuania, the non-Jews suddenly changed their attitudes. All of a sudden, the endless depths of hatred that had been hidden in their hearts were exposed. Their brutality toward their former neighbors was even greater than the cruelty of the Germans!”
• • • • •
The month of Tammuz was one of the times when the anti-Semitism in Kovna reached its peak. Rav Mordechai relates, “Just a few days later, the Lithuanian rioters had reached the pinnacle of their cruelty. On the night between Wednesday and Thursday, the evening of the first of Tammuz, 5701, the partisans crossed the bridge leading from Kovna to Slabodka and began attacking the Jews.
“The rabble that arrived in Slabodka included members of the cream of Lithuanian society: students of universities and gymnasiums who were suddenly transformed from educated, advanced human beings into wild predatory beasts. Armed with rifles, knives and axes, they made their way from house to house, mercilessly slaughtering the young and the elderly, mothers and small children alike. Over one thousand Jews were murdered in cold blood on that awful night. One of the dead was the rov of Slabodka, Rav Zalman Osovsky, who was murdered by a Lithuanian marauder who broke into his home while he was sitting and learning Torah. The glorious sight of the rov sitting before an open Gemara, immersed in his learning, infuriated the beastly murderer…
“Another victim of those riots was Rav Yonah Karpilov, the illuy who was known in the yeshiva world by his nickname, ‘Yonah Minsker.’ He was a talmid of Yeshivas Mir, who had remained in Kovna after the yeshiva departed for faraway Shanghai. He was murdered at the entrance to the yeshiva building. When our master and rebbi, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, was informed of his death, he wept bitterly and exclaimed, ‘Woe to the land, for a great man is gone. We have lost a piece of the Torah!’”
Over the following nights, there were more acts of violence committed by Lithuanian rioters in other parts of the city. The murders were accompanied by unspeakable acts of barbarity. Homes were torched with their residents still inside. People were drowned in the Viliya River. Over 2,000 people lost their lives in these riots in all sorts of barbaric ways. The men of the chevrah kadishah worked with great mesirus nefesh, literally taking their lives into their own hands as they went from home to home to collect the dead and bury them in the old cemetery in Slabodka.
In her book, Rebbetzin Wolbe describes how the family fled from Slabodka and wandered from town to town. The fleeing Jews hid in barns, until her father decided that it was time to return home. “The sounds of explosions had stopped, and Abba and the other rabbonim decided that there was no reason to continue wandering. It was time to go home. They hired wagons and made their way to Ponyero Street via a convoluted route.
“The wagons traveling on the road attracted the gentiles’ attention. We received some very strange looks. Some stared at us hatefully, while others looked at us with pity. We didn’t understand the meaning of their expressions. But then a goy came to us and said quietly, ‘Don’t go to the city; you will all be slaughtered.’ We didn’t believe him and we kept going. But we were frightened by the cruel glares that we received, and we decided to travel through the back roads rather than taking the ordinary route to the city. Finally, we reached the backyard of our home. It was good to be back in our own house again. Night fell and we lay down in our beds and fell asleep immediately.”
Rav Mordechai, too, recalled the return of Rav Avrohom Grodzensky and his companions. “Rav Avrohom and his family returned to their home about two days after they set out to look for a place of refuge in the surrounding towns, after they did not find a place of lodging that offered them even the most minimal accommodations. The Lithuanian farmers were afraid to bring them into their homes, and only reluctantly agreed to give them a place to sleep in a grain silo. The German bombing of Kovna also ceased, and it seemed that the immediate danger had passed. But the dreadful pogrom began just a few hours after Rav Avrohom returned home, and bloodshed swept through the streets of Slabodka. Miraculously, the rioters did not break into Rav Avrohom’s home. A yeshiva bochur who was hiding in the attic at that time heard the Lithuanians passing by the house and saying to each other, ‘The rov lives here. We won’t go inside.’
“That pogrom was only a sign of what was yet to come. It was a dreadful time, and the Jews suffered terribly at the hands of the Lithuanians. Under the pretense of looking for Jewish Communists, the Lithuanian rioters set out on a vicious hunt for all the Jews of Kovna. Over a period of about two weeks, the first half of Tammuz 5701, close to 6,000 Jewish men, women and children were captured and imprisoned in the Seventh Fort.
“The men were locked up throughout those days in the courtyard of the fort, under the open sky and the blazing summer sun. As a show of ‘mercy,’ the women and children were permitted to enter the building itself. The Lithuanian rioters were not content with rounding up masses of Jews. They also looted and plundered their homes, desecrating the shuls and destroying Sifrei Torah.
“At the end of those two dreadful weeks, on the 12th of Tammuz, 5701, the women and children were released from the Seventh Fort, and the 3,000 or so remaining men were mercilessly gunned down in the courtyard by the German Gestapo and their Lithuanian cohorts.”
• • • • •
With that, Rav Mordechai comes to his account of how Rav Elchonon was taken away to meet his death. “Rav Elchonon’s yeshiva had left Vilna for Smilishoki,” he relates. “When he found out that the Bolsheviks were looking for him and planning to torment him, he fled to Kovna and stayed at the home of Rav Aryeh Malkiel Friedman [father-in-law of Rav Shneur Kotler, Rav Chaim Sarna, and Rav Yaakov Volpe], who lived in the apartment above Rav Avrohom Grodzensky.
“Rav Elchonon made tremendous efforts to leave the blood-soaked continent of Europe, but when he finally managed to obtain a visa, his son, Rav Naftoli, broke his leg, which delayed his departure. Meanwhile, the Germans conquered Lithuania and it became impossible to leave the country.
“During the daytime, Rav Elchonon learned at the home of Rav Avrohom Grodzensky which served as a makeshift bais medrash, while the bnei yeshivos who lived in the area would gather there from time to time and take solace in the company of the gedolei Torah who had gathered there.” Those bnei yeshivos included Rav Mordechai himself.
One of Rav Mordechai’s recollections of those days is an incident when Rav Avrohom asked Rav Elchonon to deliver a shiur in halachah. “A shiur?” Rav Elchonon exclaimed. “In these turbulent times?”
But Rav Avrohom was insistent. “I am not asking for just any shiur. I am asking for you to deliver a shiur on the topic of the hour – the sugya of kiddush Hashem!”
Rav Elchonon acquiesced to the request and asked for time to prepare the shiur. He closeted himself in his room for a long time, and when he finally emerged, his face was aflame with passion. He delivered his shiur, a profound lecture on the subject of kiddush Hashem, with great reverence. “A few days later,” Rav Mordechai adds, “on Sunday, the 11th of Tammuz, three Lithuanian murderers burst into Rav Avrohom’s home. Rav Elchonon was standing in the vestibule and learning with Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Zaks. Rav Elchonon and another 12 talmidei chachomim and tzaddikim who were in the house at the time, and who did not have an opportunity to escape and hide, were taken away to the Seventh Fort.
“Throughout this time, Rav Avrohom was lying on the sofa in the room, consumed by sorrow and immersed in his thoughts. The intruders thought that he was ill, and since they didn’t have a car with them, they did not take him away. So it was that he was saved, bechasdei shomayim, for just a few more years, to light up those dark days for the bnei aliyah who gathered around him.”
The group of 13 kedoshim who were seized that day included the bochur Zev (Velvel) Grodzensky, who was 21 years old; Rav Moshe Chaim Zaks and his son; Rav Moshe Reiss, Rav Dovid Goder, Rav Shabsai Vernikovsky and his son, Mordechai; Rav Yitzchok Gefen, and others. They were part of a group of about 3,000 Jews from Kovna and the surrounding areas who were rounded up and herded into the Seventh Fort. The prisoners were held in the courtyard of the fort for about a day and a half, kept in the heat of the blazing sun and lacking any food or drink. They were packed so densely into the courtyard that they were unable to even sit. Only the women and children were allowed inside the building.
Rav Mordechai’s account concludes: “The next day, on the night leading into Tuesday, the 13th of Tammuz, 5701, those holy tzaddikim were murdered in the Seventh Fort, along with 3,000 other Jews who were seized by the Lithuanians. May Hashem avenge their blood.”
Rebbetzin Wolbe is certain that the date of the murders was the 12th of Tammuz, the day when she observes her brother’s yahrtzeit, while Rav Mordechai was confident that the deaths occurred that night. According to his account, the yahrtzeit is the 13th of Tammuz.
• • • • •
I received a firsthand account from Rebbetzin Wolbe of those awful days. Over seventy years have passed, yet the events are still seared into her memory. “Rav Elchonon had come to Kovna in order arrange his papers,” she relates. “Everyone had fled from Mir to Vilna when it was annexed to Lithuania. Rav Elchonon came to the immigration offices in Kovna and had to stay for an extra day. I don’t remember if this was because they told him to come back again the next day or because his son broke his leg. In any event, he had to stay in Kovna for another day, so he came to us.
“He stayed in Rav Aryeh Malkiel Friedman’s apartment, which was above my parents’ home. I am certain that you have heard of him. He had three daughters. One was the wife of Rav Shneur Kotler, another – Rochel – was married to Rav Chaim Sarna, and the third is Rebbetzin Shulamis Volpe, may she live and be well. There was also another sister, who was very small at the time.”
The Friedman family initially lived in Memel, a town that was home to many businessmen, and Rav Elchonon stayed in their home whenever he visited the town to raise funds for his yeshiva. Now, when he found himself stuck in Kovna, he asked to spend a single night in their home. His stay ultimately became far longer than he had anticipated. “The next day,” the rebbetzin relates, “the war suddenly erupted, and he stayed in our building for several weeks.”
The Friedman family lived in a small rented apartment on the top floor of the building where the Grodzensky family resided. The family patriarch had opted to live in Kovna during their exile, near the yeshiva and its mashgiach. “We stayed in our apartment and he stayed in the Friedmans’ apartment, but since their apartment was very small, he spent most of the day learning in the vestibule.”
That vestibule opened into all the apartments, with the result that all the children in the building encountered Rav Elchonon on a daily basis throughout those weeks. Rav Elchonon generally learned with Avrohom Yitzchok Zaks, son of Rav Moshe Chaim Zaks, who was the rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva ketanah and lived in the building as well.
When the Lithuanians took Rav Elchonon away to his death, they took his chavrusah as well?
“Yes. They took him, and they took his father. They took all the men they found on every one of the four floors of the building.”
They searched the building?
“Yes. My brother and some other bochurim hid in an attic. We had a slanted roof, and there was a triangular space that was closed off. There were suitcases there, and there was a sofa behind the door. They hid there, but the Lithuanians found them.”
Rav Elchonon wasn’t hiding?
“No. They came suddenly, and he was learning in the entranceway, so there was no way that he could hide. They saw him right away. Only the bochurim who were upstairs were able to see the Lithuanians from the window, and they hid.”
The rebbetzin will never forget that horrible day and the burning hatred in the Lithuanians’ eyes. “The Germans gave the Lithuanians free reign to slaughter the Jews as they pleased,” she related. “They were like wild beasts.”
Your book says that they were killed on the 12th of Tammuz, but others say that it happened on the 13th of Tammuz.
“If that is what I wrote at the time, then I must have known it to be true. Today, I can no longer remember.”
When do you observe the yahrtzeit of your brother Velvel?
“On the twelfth of Tammuz.”
Were you the last person to see Rav Elchonon alive?
“I saw him then, along with Rebbetzin Rochel Sarna [daughter of Rav Aryeh Malkiel Friedman]. Then there were some people who saw him in the fort. One of them is a relative of yours, the brother of your Aunt Chiena [Yaakovson], who saw him just before he was murdered (see sidebar). I remember that Rochel went to bring him his shoes, since he wore slippers while he learned.”
Did he say anything when they took him away?
“No. He was silent.”
I see that you will remember those moments forever.
“Yes. I shudder whenever I remember them. I remember their wickedness, and how they stormed into the house with such vicious hostility. I can never forget that.”

The nature of radical Islamic warfare and the Western response

Israel Matzav: How will Obama's final days in office play out for Israel?

From an al-Monitor piece discussing why Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely to conclude a new defense package with the United States before President Obama leaves office come these disturbing thoughts.
“We are talking about a comprehensive deal,” one senior political source in Jerusalem told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. “Netanyahu is trying to clear the table and move toward the demands made by Obama’s people in the hope that the aid agreement will be finalized. For the same price, Netanyahu is trying to assuage any desire for retribution that Obama might still nurture. He is also trying to increase his own chances of getting through the Obama era in peace, without any new diplomatic initiative, a formative presidential address or some problematic Security Council resolution.
Right now, the chances of Netanyahu succeeding are reasonable. Within President Obama’s circles, there is, as of yet, no decision as to what the final chord of his administration’s Middle East policy will be. Some are pressuring Obama to reveal the draft of the framework agreement (as reported in previous articles in Al-Monitor) that he reached with Netanyahu and his staff, or to allow the French to bring their own initiative to the Security Council and then not veto it. Obama will only decide what to do at the very last minute.
The question now being asked in Israel is which of the two temperaments will ultimately triumph. Will it be Obama’s desire to get back at Netanyahu, who taunted him for the last eight years and dragged him into ugly and unnecessary mud-slinging matches? Or will it be Obama’s cool, collected temperament, which will keep him from reshuffling the deck and shaking everything up just moments before he exits the arena?
People close to Netanyahu say that Obama has no plans to disappear. Even after he leaves office, he will remain an active and influential figure in America. It could, therefore, be worth it for him to maintain a reasonable relationship with the Israeli government.
 What could go wrong?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Glick: TIme to Walk Away From US Aid The point is that the US aid deal is really a deal for Lockheed Martin, not for Israel. And we need to say no.

On Monday, acting head of the National Security Council Yaakov Nagel will sit down with his US counterpart, Susan Rice, and try to conclude negotiations about a new, multi-year defense assistance package.

We must all hope that he fails.
No clear Israeli interest will be advanced by concluding the aid deal presently on the table.

Indeed, the deal now being discussed will cause Israel massive, long-term economic and strategic damage. This is true for a number of reasons.

First, there is the issue of the deal’s impact on Israel’s military industries, which are the backbone of Israel’s strategic independence.

Under the current defense package, which is set to expire next year, a quarter of the US aid Israel receives is converted to shekels and spent domestically.
Reportedly, the deal now under negotiation will bar Israel from using any of the funds domestically.
The implications for our military industries are dire. Not only will thousands of Israelis lose their jobs. Israel’s capacity to develop its own weapons systems will be dangerously diminished.
Then there is the problem of joint projects.
Today, Israel receives additional US funds to develop joint projects, including the Iron Dome and David’s Sling short range missile and rocket defense programs. These programs were undertaken in response to threats that weren’t foreseen when the current deal was negotiated a decade ago.

According to reports, the deal now being negotiated denies Israel and the US the ability to fund jointly new projects or to provide supplemental funding for existing projects. All funding for all projects will be covered by the lump sum that is currently being negotiated.

Not only does this preclude new projects, it prevents Congress from exercising oversight over administration funding of existing joint projects with Israel. President Barack Obama has consistently tried to slash funding of missile defense programs, only to be overridden by Congress. Under the deal now on the table, Congress will be denied the power to override a hostile administration.

Given the obvious problems with the aid program currently being proposed by the Obama administration, there’s little wonder that until now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated that if necessary, Israel is ready to wait for the next administration. Some argue that Netanyahu’s apparent newfound interest in concluding negotiations on Obama’s terms owes to his fear that this is the best offer Israel is likely to get. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for various reasons, it is argued, will be less likely to offer significant increases in US military assistance.

Assuming this is accurate, the question becomes whether Israel has an interest in the assistance at all.

And so we come to the F-35.

For Israel, to a significant degree, the aid package on offer is about the F-35, the US’s fifth generation fighter, otherwise known as the Joint Strike Fighter.

Last month Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IAF Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen Tal Kelman flew to Texas to ceremonially “take possession” of Israel’s first two F-35s. Both aircraft are set to be delivered to Israel in December.

To date, the IAF has purchased 33 F-35s – all with US aid money. The IAF wants to purchase a total of 75 F-35s, which are supposed to replace the F-16s and the F-15s that the IAF currently fields.

As Liberman made clear during his visit, whether Israel purchases them or not is entirely dependent on the aid deal.

We should not take them. We should walk away.

And we should walk away even if we receive nothing in exchange for the planes we reject.

The F-35 is a disaster of epic proportions, for the US first and foremost. If Israel agrees to base its next generation fighters on the F-35, it will be a disaster for us as well. Although it is late in the game, we need to cut our losses.

To date, the F-35 has cost the US $400 billion.

That is twice what it was supposed to cost. The project is already four years behind schedule and still in development. It won’t be operational until May 2018 – at the earliest.

The F-35 is a jet that was developed by a committee and tasked with doing everything. So it isn’t surprising that it doesn’t work. In February, J. Michael Gilmore, the director of the Pentagon’s Operational Test and Evaluation office, submitted a scathing report to Congress on the F-35 program.

It is worth going through just a few of his findings.

The F-35’s calling card is its stealth capacity.

According to the engineers at Lockheed Martin, the JSF is supposed to be all-but-invisible to radar systems. Its stealth system is supposed to be far superior to the stealth capabilities of its third generation predecessors.

But at present, its stealth systems do not work, and it is unclear whether they will ever work as planned.

First there is the problem with the JSF’s cooling systems. The JSF is too hot. To prevent its single engine from melting down in flight, pilots are forced to open its weapons bays at high speeds and altitudes every 10 minutes. When the weapons bays are open, the stealth systems do not work.

Then there is the software. The F-35 is considered one big flying computer. It uses over 20 million lines of computer code. These codes are supposed to make it the most maneuverable and stealthy aircraft in history. The problem is that the codes are defective. The software programs that enable the plane to fly, maneuver, and engage in combat are all defective. So are the software programs that control the plane’s stealth capabilities.

And fixing them is not a simple process.

The fixed software systems can’t simply be attached to existing hardware – or to existing planes. The planes themselves have to be rebuilt to adjust to the new software. So the models that have already been produced, including the two F-35s that are set for delivery in December, will all have to be rebuilt before they will be combat ready.

And as a panel of US defense and aviation experts that convened in late February following the publication of Gilmore’s report noted, that too will take time and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Another major problem is that the F-35’s nerve center is dysfunctional and there is no clear path to fixing it. The F-35 is controlled by the Autonomic Logistics Information System. The ALIS is a central computer system, located in the US.

All F-35s all over the world will be required to log into the ALIS system to upload computer files after each flight and to check flight readiness. The ALIS is supposed to identify broken parts and help speed up repairs and handle mission data uploads.

ALIS has the capacity to prevent F-35s from taking off. ALIS can lock out pilots and ground crews if it sees danger. If this happens, maintenance technicians have to convince the computer that they either dealt with the issues the computer identified or that it was a false alarm.

Dan Grazier, a member of that panel, whose deliberations were reported by This Week, warned that this power renders the entire F-35 fleet vulnerable to hackers. If someone were able to convince the computer that something was wrong across the fleet, they might be able to keep all the F-35s grounded. Although the damage wouldn’t be permanent, it could continue long enough to cause the US or an ally to lose a battle or fail a mission.

For Israel, this vulnerability is prohibitive even if ALIS is ever made to work. The significance of ALIS control over all F-35s worldwide is that the US – and anyone able to hack the US system – will control the IAF. It will operate at the pleasure of the US government, and those able to hack US computers. They will be able to ground IAF planes whenever they wish.

This critical problem was acknowledged obliquely by Lt.-Col. Yotam, the commander of Israel’s first F-35 or Adir squadron, in an interview with Israel Defense in April.

Lt.-Col. Yotam said, “The maintenance concept of the Adir is based on international management and logistics in terms of spare parts and maintenance echelons.”

Israeli experts note that although in theory Israel will be able to crack the ALIS code and override it, it will take years to develop such a capacity. In the meantime, the IAF will become a contract employee of the US government whose operation is subject to US approval on a flight by flight basis.

The US Air Force, Marines and Navy are all trying to figure out how to deal with the deficiencies of the F-35. There is a vague hope that the US will develop a different fifth generation fighter.

More F-18s and A-10s will likely be ordered. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told Fighting Global that he foresees using the current batch of F-15s into the 2040s. In other words, the US Air Force will deploy 70-year-old planes alongside the defective F-35s.

This, of course, is a disaster for the US. And if Israel goes ahead with the F-35 project it will be an even bigger disaster for us.

Back when the Pentagon convinced the Shamir government to scrap the Lavi project and purchase the F-16, the argument that won the day was economic. The Lavi was simply too expensive.

Today, both economics and strategic arguments indicate that the opposite is the case, even if walking away involves ending US military aid.

If Israel cuts its losses and begins to develop a fifth generation jet fighter that meets its own specific needs, rather than one designed by a committee to meet other countries’ needs poorly, it will end up both far safer and far more prosperous than if it goes ahead with the F-35 project. It will produce a better plane, better suited for Israeli defense needs, and simultaneously stimulate the growth of Israeli military industries, providing jobs for thousands of Israelis.

If Israel walks away from the military assistance package currently under discussion, it will be in a position to sign joint development deals with the US and other governments on a project by project basis and so ensure that we develop the weapons systems we need, not the ones the US thinks we should have, as we need them. Just as India is investing billions of dollars in joint projects with Israel, so will the US in the future.

It is far from clear that the US can afford its $400b. white elephant. It is abundantly clear that Israel cannot afford it.

Whether or not a Trump or Clinton administration will be more forthcoming is really beside the point. The point is that the US aid deal is really a deal for Lockheed Martin, not for Israel. And we need to say no.

Islam, Sexual Violence, and the West

The mass rape of hundreds of German women mostly by Muslim migrants last New Year's was recently revealed to be far worse than originally acknowledged. Authorities now believe that more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted – more than twice the original estimate of 500. While more than 2,000 men were allegedly involved, only 120 suspects — about half of them recently arrived migrants — have been identified.
One explanation for why it took half a year for the full extent of the crime to be revealed is the German police's effort to avoid a public backlash against refugees. But ultimately, Holger Munch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, acknowledged to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitungthat there is "a connection between the [sexual assaults] and the rapid migration in 2015."
Denial is not a strategy. Western countries that cherish women's rights must wake up to the fact that many migrants could challenge those values. Most of the mass migration comes from violence-plagued, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where women are second-class citizens subject to honor killings and various legal restrictions, and where the local culture often condones rapeencourages wife-beating, and treats women as sexual objects (with 72 virgins promised to Muslim men who reach heaven).
Thus, just as the mass migration from the Middle East and North Africa raises the specter of regular Islamist terror on European soil, it also augurs the kind of sexual abuse that those regions have traditionally tolerated. German officials implicitly seemed to acknowledge as much with their laughably impotent campaign to re-educate migrants using signs that explain acceptable behavior towards women.
Non-Muslim ("infidel") women are especially vulnerable to sexual assault: Christian women are often abused and denigrated in Islamic societies, as extensively exposed by Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again.The Islamic State (ISIS) regards the Yazidi, another religious minority, as devil worshippers and reportedly enslaved up to 5,000 Yazidi women, subjecting them to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and other acts of extreme brutality, like burning alive a 20-year-old girl "because she refused to perform an extreme sex act."
Saudi Arabia, arguably the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, has a legal system based on strict sharia law, which prohibits women from dressing as they wish or even driving a car. Saudi rulings are notoriously abysmal when it comes to rape. Last year, a Saudi woman was sentenced to 200 lashes after being gang raped by seven men. In 2013, a Saudi preacher who raped, tortured, and murdered his 5-year old daughter was punished with just eight years of prison, 800 lashes, and a $270,000 fine. With such legal norms, it's not surprising that when members of the country's ruling elite travel to the West, their behavior may not change accordingly (last October three women accused a Saudi prince of sexual assault in Beverly Hills). By ironic and tragic contrast, U.S. soldiers stationed in Muslim majority countries are trained to respect local norms to the point that marines stationed in Afghanistan were actually taught to look away if they find Afghanis raping children, a common local practice.
While sharia advocates often claim that the Islamic dress code protects women, the brutally unfair treatment of women by Islamists seems driven more by power-hungry male chauvinism and/or sexual insecurity than by any genuine concern for women's welfare, judging from the staggering hypocrisy of its proudest proponents. The 9/11 jihadists visited strip clubs, and paid for prostitutes in their motel rooms. Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born imam whose sermons continue to attract recruits to jihad, frequented prostitutes. Osama bin Laden had an extensive pornography collection, and is among the many examples of jihadis obsessed with porn and prostitution collected by Phyllis Chesler, a CUNY emerita professor of psychology and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Between 1997 and 2013, well before the recent mass migration to Europe began, an estimated 1,400 children had been sexually abused in Rotherham, England, predominantly by gangs of British-Pakistani men.
While that scandal involved mostly "white" victims, an Oxford-educated Pakistani-British woman revealed her own exploitation, noting that "sexual abuse has been systemically under-reported among Asian girls due to deeply entrenched cultural taboos – obscuring the reality that there is a similarly rampant problem of minority girls being abused by members of their own community."
A few weeks ago, Swedish police received 35 complaints from girls aged 12 to 17 who claimed that "foreign young men" sexually assaulted them at a popular music festival.
Soeren Kern, a distinguished senior fellow of the Gatestone Institute, compiled details of dozens of sexual assaults by migrants in Germany during the first two months of 2016, and noted the enabling reaction from "the upside-down worldview of German multiculturalism: Migrants who assault German women and children are simply rebelling against German power structures. Germans who dare to criticize such assaults are racists."
In contrast to the initial cover-up by German police of the mass rape by mostly Muslim migrants, France's top security official recently spoke with candid alarm about the threat that his country faces. Just two days before the truck-ramming, ISIS-inspired massacre in Nice, Patrick Calvar, chief of the Directorate General of Internal Security, warned members of the French parliamentary commission that France is on the verge of a "civil war" that could be sparked by the mass sexual assault of women by migrants.
There are remarkable exceptions within Islam itself, such as the Tuareg, an Islamic tribe in Africa, where women embrace sexual freedoms, dictate who gets what in divorce, and don't wear the veil because men "want to see their beautiful faces." But how long can the Tuareg's enlightened version of Islam survive in southwest Libya when ISIS is expanding there, or in Mali, Niger and northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is on the march?
There are also brave Muslim reformers trying to improve the way Islam treats women. However, they mostly operate in the West, where they still face death threats; one example is Irshad Manji. Another, Fadela Amara, founded Ni Putes Ni Soumises, a group that defends Muslim French girls against the pressures they face to wear the hijab, drop out of school, and marry early without the right to choose their husband. Amara went on to serve in the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, but she, too, received death threats for her efforts to liberate Muslim women.
Muslim feminists outside of the West assume far greater risks. Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel ‎Baloch, who openly expressed her feminist views online, was recently strangled to death by her brother in their family's home, in an "honor killing." Her "intolerable behavior" is what drove him to murder her, he said, because her risqué persona was bringing "dishonor" to the family. There are an estimated 1,000 honor killings per year in Pakistan.
Even in the West, few feminists dare to criticize Islam because doing so can invite threats and violence. Absurdly, those brave enough to do so also risk being prosecuted for "hate speech."
Western countries must support courageous Muslim reformers while protecting all women living in their territories from the sexual abuse often encouraged by Islamist culture – whether that abuse is perpetrated by recent immigrants or long-time residents. The survival of the West depends on it.
Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.