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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Which Came First - Terrorism or "Occupation"?

[Starting this evening at sundown, Israel will pause to remember her fallen soldiers and tomorrow will be a somber day of ceremonies. Tomorrow night we will begin celebrating the 60 years of national sovereignty that those heroes gave their lives to secure.  But today I want to share something I found while poking around the official Israel Government Website (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) doing research for a professional project Zahava and I are involved with.  What follows is a direct copy and paste... no editorializing on my part.  Ok, I added one set of bold italics for emphasis.  Sue me!  Warning.  Graphic image alert. The link to the source is here. ]

Major Arab Terrorist Attacks against Israelis Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War

Palestinian and Arab spokesmen commonly claim that the recent Palestinian terrorism is the result of the Israeli 'occupation' of the West Bank and Gaza, adding that the violence will cease only when the 'occupation' is ended.

Despite this claim, it should be recalled that the many Palestinian and Arab rejectionist factions (such as the Hamas and the Hizbullah) repeatedly declare that even if Israel would fully withdraw from the territories they will continue their attacks, since they refute Israel's basic right to exist.

More importantly, however, the basic premise of the Palestinian claim - that the 'occupation' causes terrorism - is historically flawed. Arab and Palestinian terrorism against Israel existed prior to the beginning of Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza as a result of the Six Day War of June 1967, and even prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.

For example, Arab terrorism was rampant during wave of anti-Jewish riots in 1920-21 (which was characterized by the brutal murder in Jaffa of the prominent Jewish author Y. Brenner), during the 'Disturbances' of 1929 (which included the massacre of the Jewish community in Hebron), during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, and in many other recorded incidents of wholesale anti-Jewish Arab violence throughout the pre-state period.

The Palestinian terrorism campaign was stepped-up on the eve of the UN Partition Resolution of November 1947, and led to the joint Arab invasion of 1948-49 which delineated the boundaries of the newly established State of Israel.

Indeed, this deplorable violence can be traced back to the beginning of the renewed Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel over a century ago.

After the War of Independence, Arab terrorism expanded in scope. In 1952, when 'fedayeen' terrorist border incursions reached their height, there were about 3,000 incidents of cross-border violence, extending from the malicious destruction of property to the brutal murder of civilians. This anti-Israeli violence encompassed both frontier settlements and population centers, and was perpetrated, for the most part, against innocent civilians, most of them new immigrants.

In conclusion, the oft-repeated Arab claim that the Israeli 'occupation' is somehow to blame for the Palestinian terrorism is nothing more than an empty retort, repudiated by the facts, and disproved by a century of historical reality.

The following is a partial list [emphasis added] of documented acts of Arab terrorism, all occurring prior to the beginning of the Israeli administration of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967:

Major Arab Terrorist Attacks against Israelis Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War

Jan 1, 1952 - Seven armed terrorists attacked and killed a nineteen year-old girl in her home, in the neighborhood of Beit Yisrael, in Jerusalem.

Apr 14, 1953 - Terrorists tried for the first time to infiltrate Israel by sea, but were unsuccessful. One of the boats was intercepted and the other boat escaped.

June 7, 1953 - A youngster was killed and three others were wounded, in shooting attacks on residential areas in southern Jerusalem.

June 9, 1953 - Terrorists attacked a farming community near Lod, and killed one of the residents. The terrorists threw hand grenades and sprayed gunfire in all directions. On the same night, another group of terrorists attacked a house in the town of Hadera. This occurred a day after Israel and Jordan signed an agreement, with UN mediation, in which Jordan undertook to prevent terrorists from crossing into Israel from Jordanian territory.

JUNE 9, 1953   
Policemen inspecting a house blown up by a grenade at Moshav Tirat Yehuda.

June 10, 1953 - Terrorists infiltrating from Jordan destroyed a house in the farming village of Mishmar Ayalon.

June 11, 1953 - Terrorists attacked a young couple in their home in Kfar Hess, and shot them to death.

Sept 2, 1953 - Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and reached the neighborhood of Katamon, in the heart of Jerusalem. They threw hand grenades in all directions. Miraculously, no one was hurt.

Mar 17, 1954 - Terrorists ambushed a bus traveling from Eilat to Tel Aviv, and opened fire at short range when the bus reached the area of Maale Akrabim in the northern Negev. In the initial ambush, the terrorists killed the driver and wounded most of the passengers. The terrorists then boarded the bus, and shot each passenger, one by one. Eleven passengers were murdered. Survivors recounted how the murderers spat on the bodies and abused them. The terrorists could clearly be traced back to the Jordanian border, some 20 km from the site of the terrorist attack.

Ambushed Egged bus from Eilat to Beer Sheva. 

Five of the bodies inside Egged bus ambushed by terrorists at Ma'ale Akrabim

The body of an Egged bus driver, mudered at Ma'ale Akrabim

Jan 2, 1955 - Terrorists killed two hikers in the Judean Desert.

Mar 24, 1955 - Terrorists threw hand grenades and opened fire on a crowd at a wedding in the farming community of Patish, in the Negev. A young woman was killed, and eighteen people were wounded in the attack.

Apr 7, 1956 - A resident of Ashkelon was killed in her home, when terrorists threw three hand grenades into her house.

Two members of Kibbutz Givat Chaim were killed, when terrorists opened fire on their car, on the road from Plugot Junction to Mishmar Hanegev.

There were further hand grenade and shooting attacks on homes and cars, in areas such as Nitzanim and Ketziot. One person was killed and three others wounded.

Apr 11, 1956 - Terrorists opened fire on a synagogue full of children and teenagers, in the farming community of Shafrir. Three children and a youth worker were killed on the spot, and five were wounded, including three seriously.

Prayer book and skull caps lay in pool of dried blood of school synagogue at Shafrir after attack by fedayeen

Apr 29, 1956 - Egyptians killed Roi Rotenberg, 21 years of age, from Nahal Oz.

Sept 12, 1956 - Terrorists killed three Druze guards at Ein Ofarim, in the Arava region.

Sept 23, 1956 - Terrorists opened fire from a Jordanian position, and killed four archaeologists, and wounded sixteen others, near Kibbutz Ramat Rachel.

Sept 24, 1956 - Terrorists killed a girl in the fields of the farming community of Aminadav, near Jerusalem.

Oct 4, 1956 - Five Israeli workers were killed in Sdom.

Oct 9, 1956 - Two workers were killed in an orchard of the youth village, Neve Hadassah, in the Sharon region.

Nov 8, 1956 - Terrorists opened fire on a train, attacked cars and blew up wells, in the North and Center of Israel. Six Israelis were wounded.

Feb 18, 1957 - Two civilians were killed by terrorist landmines, next to Nir Yitzhak, on the southern border of the Gaza Strip.

Mar 8, 1957 - A shepherd from Kibbutz Beit Govrin was killed by terrorists in a field near the Kibbutz.

Apr 16, 1957 - Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and killed two guards at Kibbutz Mesilot.

May 20, 1957 - A terrorist opened fire on a truck in the Arava region, killing a worker.

May 29, 1957 - A tractor driver was killed and two others wounded, when the vehicle struck a landmine, next to Kibbutz Kisufim.

Tractor and wagon were blown up by an Egyptian mine near Kissufim

MAY 29, 1957 

The ruins of the house blown up by fedayeen on the Seiff Estate at Tel Mond.

June 23, 1957 - Israelis were wounded by landmines, close to the Gaza Strip.

Aug 23, 1957 - Two guards of the Israeli Mekorot water company were killed near Kibbutz Beit Govrin.

Dec 21, 1957 - A member of Kibbutz Gadot was killed in the Kibbutz fields.

Feb 11, 1958 - Terrorists killed a resident of Moshav Yanov who was on his way to Kfar Yona, in the Sharon area.

Apr 5, 1958 - Terrorists lying in ambush shot and killed two people near Tel Lachish.

Apr 22, 1958 - Jordanian soldiers shot and killed two fishermen near Aqaba.

May 26, 1958 - Four Israeli police officers were killed in a Jordanian attack on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem.

Nov 17, 1958 - Syrian terrorists killed the wife of the British air attache in Israel, who was staying at the guesthouse of the Italian Convent on the Mt. of the Beatitudes.

Dec 3, 1958- A shepherd was killed at Kibbutz Gonen. In the artillery attack that followed, 31 civilians were wounded.

Jan 23, 1959 - A shepherd from Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan was killed.

Feb 1, 1959 - Three civilians were killed by a terrorist landmine near Moshav Zavdiel.

Apr 15, 1959 - A guard was killed at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel.

Apr 27, 1959 - Two hikers were shot at close range and killed near Massada.

Sept 6, 1959 - Bedouin terrorists killed a paratroop reconnaissance officer near Nitzana.

Sept 8, 1959 - Bedouins opened fire on an army bivouac in the Negev, killing an IDF officer, Captain Yair Peled.

Oct 3, 1959 - A shepherd from Kibbutz Heftziba was killed near Kibbutz Yad Hana.

Apr 26, 1960 - Terrorists killed a resident of Ashkelon south of the city.

Apr 12, 1962 - Terrorists fired on an Egged bus on the way to Eilat; one passenger was wounded.

Sept 30, 1962 - Two terrorists attacked an Egged bus on the way to Eilat. No one was wounded.

Jan 1, 1965 - Palestinian terrorists attempted to bomb the National Water Carrier. This was the first attack carried out by the PLO's Fatah faction.

May 31, 1965 - Jordanian Legionnaires fired on the neighborhood of Musrara in Jerusalem, killing two civilians and wounding four.

June 1, 1965 - Terrorists attack a house in Kibbutz Yiftach.

July 5, 1965 - A Fatah cell planted explosives at Mitzpe Massua, near Beit Guvrin; and on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir.

Aug 26, 1965 - A waterline was sabotaged at Kibbutz Manara, in the Upper Galilee.

Sept 29, 1965 - A terrorist was killed as he attempted to attack Moshav Amatzia.

Nov 7, 1965 - A Fatah cell that infiltrated from Jordan blew up a house in Moshav Givat Yeshayahu, south of Beit Shemesh. The house was destroyed, but the inhabitants were miraculously unhurt.

David Zalmanovitz and his wife Miriam standing in front of their house at Moshav Givat Yeshayahu damaged by Fatah terrorists from Jordan

Apr 25, 1966 - Explosions placed by terrorists wounded two civilians and damaged three houses in Moshav Beit Yosef, in the Beit Shean Valley.

May 16, 1966 - Two Israelis were killed when their jeep hit a terrorist landmine, north of the Sea of Galilee and south of Almagor. Tracks led into Syria.

July 13, 1966 - Two soldiers and a civilian were killed near Almagor, when their truck struck a terrorist landmine.

July 14, 1966 - Terrorists attacked a house in Kfar Yuval, in the North.

July 19, 1966 - Terrorists infiltrated into Moshav Margaliot on the northern border and planted nine explosive charges.

Oct 27, 1966 - A civilian was wounded by an explosive charge on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem.

[All photos are from the Government Press Office]

Posted by David Bogner on May 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yet another reason to make aliyah

I'm sure I'll catch hell from my lovely wife for airing our (her) dirty laundry in public, but this is too perfect a glimpse inside Israeli culture not to share.

One day late last year I was going through the day's mail when I noticed that Zahava had received her renewal notice for her driver's license.  I tossed it across the dining-room table to her and was somewhat annoyed to see her push it aside as she paged contentedly through the copy of 'Self Magazine' that had just arrived.

I didn't want to make too big a deal of it because experience has taught me that my lovely bride does not respond well to pressure.  So before I went back to my dinner I gently reminded her to take care of renewing her license right away.

The process here for renewing one's license is actually quite civilized and painless: 

You receive a renewal notice in the mail a couple of months before your old license expires.   You take this renewal notice to any post office, and pay the renewal fee.  The post office clerk records the payment... stamps both halves of the renewal notice... sends one half to the Government Licensing Bureau telling them to send you your new license... and returns the other half to you to be used as a temporary license in case your new license doesn't arrive before your old one expires.

Like I said... it's all very civilized.

So you can imagine I was a little concerned when I walked into my wife's studio a week or two later and saw the renewal notice sitting untouched on her desk.

The phrase I think I used was, "You know you need to take care of this, right?"

What my wife probably thinks she heard was, "What the hell is wrong with you?  I told you to take care of this and now here it is weeks later and you are totally going to forget about it and they'll take away your driver's license and throw you in jail!"

Like I said... Zahava doesn't respond well to pressure.  :-)

The end result was that Zahava chased me out of her office with one of her exasperated ' just what kind of an incompetent idiot do you take me for?' looks.

Fast forward six months to last week.  I got a phone call at work from my wife which started out like this:

"Honey, you're going to be so angry with me..."

Anyone who has ever heard those words from a spouse automatically starts checking off items on a mental list:

  • House burned down?  Nope, caller ID says she's calling from the home number.
  • Car wrecked?  Who cares... if she's talking to me she's OK.
  • Missed the deadline for filing tax return?  Nope, I signed the returns weeks ago.

All this and more flashed through my mind in the millisecond before I answered, "What?  What happened???"

There was a long pause before she said, "You know how you were after me to renew my license last October?  Well my license expired at the beginning of January, and I just realized I never renewed it."

I don't know what kind of an explosion she expected, but I couldn't muster even a shred of anger.  Heck, the only reason I'm such a pest about reminding Zahava to deal with this kind of thing right away is that I am at least as absent-minded as she is... probably more-so!

But regardless of how understanding I might be, the State of Israel was quite another matter.  Her license had expired almost four months ago!  I began imagining stiff fines and Zahava having to go into the Licensing Bureau to deal with endless, well, bureaucracy!

Not wanting to make her feel any worse than she probably already felt, I made an excuse to get off the phone and left her alone with the problem.

A short time later the phone rang again and it was Zahava sounding decidedly more up-beat.  Instead of taking a bus into Jerusalem to throw herself on the tender mercies of the Misrad HaRishui, she had done what every good immigrant should do before allowing themselves to become a total frayer (sucker); she called up an Israeli neighbor and asked for advice.

It turns out that the Israeli Government assumes that many (most) people will procrastinate and forget to renew their licenses on time.  So they give a generous grace period (either 6 months or a year... I'm still not sure) during which all you have to do is bring your renewal notice to the post office... pay the regular fee... and POOF!, you walk out with your stamped form/temporary license, no questions asked! 

And like magic, within a few weeks your permanent license arrives in the mail as if you hadn't suffered some kind of mental breakdown that caused a four month delay.

Look, I know I'm often tough on the Israeli bureaucracy here on treppenwitz.  But honestly, how can you stay mad at a government office that assumes you are going to procrastinate and miss every deadline... and makes official allowances for such sloth?!

Think about that the next time you're waiting on line like cattle at the DMV!

With all its faults, I love this country.

Posted by David Bogner on May 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 04, 2008

If this evil decree is allowed to stand...

This past week I read a news story (another link here) that tripped all of my fuses.  It was about a decision handed down by Israel's High Rabbinic Court that, if allowed to stand, will destroy the lives of thousands of people.

Here's the Cliff Notes version:

Last year a married couple consisting of a man who was Jewish from birth and a woman who had converted to Judaism came before a lower Rabbinic court in Ashdod seeking a divorce.  The court initially granted the 'Get' (religious bill of divorcement), but for some reason took it upon itself to question the woman about her level of observance after the 'Get' had been given.

It turns out that after going through her conversion the woman did not continue to live an Orthodox lifestyle.  So the court issued another decision stating that the 'Get' that had just been granted was not required.  The reason being that since she had not maintained an observant lifestyle, they declared her conversion invalid.  Since a non-Jew does not need a 'Get'; ipso facto this woman did not need one. 

The case was appealed to the Rabbinic High Court in Jerusalem and an unprecedented decision was handed down.  In addition to upholding the Ashdod Rabbinic court's ruling about the woman's conversion being invalidated retroactively (making her children non-Jewish and unable to marry in Israel except to other non-Jews), the high court also INVALIDATED EVERY SINGLE CONVERSION signed by the head of Israel's conversion authority, Rabbi Chaim Druckman since 1999!

This politically-motivated, disgusting decision will mean that literally thousands of Israelis who were converted to Judaism by Rabbi Druckman (after an extensive course of study and verification of sincerity/lifestyle change), along with their children, are no longer Jewish and have been relegated to a legal and religious purgatory in the periphery of Israeli society.

I am a religiously observant Jew from birth who has accepted the yoke of Torah and all of it's commandments upon myself and my family.  But that does not mean I will bow to the Israeli Rabbinate's Vatican-like stranglehold on Jewish life in Israel. 

Therefore I am making the following declaration here and now before as many witnesses who care to read it:

If this evil decree is allowed to stand I will do everything in my power to champion a system of Dati Leumi (Nationalist Religious) courts and institutions to oversee all areas currently under the auspices of the Rabbinic High Court, thus making that court redundant and moot.

Furthermore, if these monsters are still in power when my children are old enough to get married, I will encourage them (my children, not the Rabbis) to go abroad to have a Halachicly kosher wedding rather than be subjected to the disgraceful and condescending humiliation imposed upon all Israelis by the Haredi-controlled Israeli Rabbinate at what should be the happiest moment of their lives.

I swear these things here and now in front of all of you.

Not surprisingly, My Obiter Dicta has a much more scholarly take on the topic, explaining how this is the Anti-Zionist Haredi Rabbinic leaders jumping on an opportunity to censure all 'Zionist Rabbis' and thwart their influence on religious life here in Israel.

On a related topic... as usual, Imshin nails it.

Posted by David Bogner on May 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 01, 2008

How can there be any common ground?

I have a favor to ask.  Just for a moment let's set aside the ongoing terrorism, rocket attacks and overt incitement being sanctioned, financed and carried out by all official branches of Palestinian leadership... including both Fatah and Hamas. 

I know that's a lot to ask... but those who insist we must find a way to find common ground with the Palestinians point out that it is necessary to talk peace especially in its absence.

So we'll put the daily attempts to dehumanize, maim and kill innocent Israelis aside for a moment.  Not forgotten, mind you... just off to the side where it can't interfere with the topic at hand.

Today's topic - quite appropriately - is the Holocaust. 

Once upon a time the word 'Holocaust' was self-explanatory and carried tremendous weight and meaning.  It was mentioned in hushed tones and was always understood to mean the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during WWII.

Sadly, the lexicon of the holocaust (e.g. Nazi, genocide, massacre, ghetto, storm troopers, etc.), has been co-opted by the people with whom we are told we must make peace at any cost. 

These peace partners gleefully use these holocaust terms as cheap insults to suggest that Israel is perpetrating a campaign of Nazi-like genocide on the Palestinian people... and then without a trace of irony go on to claim that the Nazi genocide never really occurred.

P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas himself wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial.  It was entitled "The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement" and is chock full of scholarship such as the following excerpt:

"It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions—fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand."

His thesis has since been published in book form and widely distributed throughout the Arab world, and not surprisingly has found quite a receptive audience.  He has since claimed that he didn't mean to argue specific numbers for the holocaust, but when the entire thesis is about alleged collusion between the Nazis and their victims and he has never backed way from this, there is more to fault than simple numbers.  And remember... this is the 'moderate' with who Israel is supposed to find some common ground upon which we can both create a home.

Then there is Hamas.

In preparation for Holocaust Remembrance Day which is being observed today in Israel, Hamas commissioned a television program that also claims collusion between the Nazis and the pre-state Jewish leadership.... albeit on an even gastlier scale.

The program claims that David Ben Gurion arranged for the Nazis to murder the weak and handicapped Jews of Europe while allowing only the strong and healthy ones to come to Palestine.  The goal was to remove the burden of these weak co-religionists from the embryonic Jewish State, and at the same time garner helpful sympathy from the world.

This from the Jerusalem Post:

The documentary's narrator [says] Israel's first prime minister David Ben Gurion decided that Jewish "disabled and handicapped are a burden to the state," after which "the Satanic Jews" - the film cuts to a picture of a hassidic Jew - "thought up an evil plot to be rid of the burden of disabled and handicapped" - the film then cuts to piles of emaciated corpses - "in twisted criminal ways."

This program is nothing less than state-sponsored anti-Semitism and incitement, and was broadcast throughout the region. Yet we are supposed to sit at the table with these people and discuss truces?

I ask you, how is it that we are supposed to find common ground with people that not only deny us the right to live... but who ridicule and deny our suffering and death? 

Citations and sources can be found here

Posted by David Bogner on May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack