Hamas must be destroyed

When the “Start-Up Nation” became the “Shoot-Down” Nation

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Ron Jager, July 21, 2014

www.ronjager.com

The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel and is a strategic advisor to the office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Contact: medconf@netvision.net.il

Over the past few days as one goes about doing routine chores, it’s almost impossible not to notice something different in our national pace. Even though sirens shriek every once in a while there is a kind of quietness, a kind of tranquility that always seems to be present during war time. The streets and highways seem emptier, shopping malls seem half empty; coffee shops traditionally full at all times of the day giving us the feeling that in Israel no one really works stand idle. As for news reports and bulletins, the nation is glued to whatever media they feel comfortable with; cellphone, radio, TV, internet, social media, or even word of mouth. Mostly everyone has a son or family member in Gaza, or on his way to Gaza. When the half hour or hourly news bulletin are broadcasted you notice that everyone becomes stiff focusing on what’s being reported hoping and praying not to hear a name or military unit that was involved in combat and suffered losses. Surprisingly, the general atmosphere is far from grim and for most of us in Israel, we sincerely believe that the political leadership and the I.D.F. will succeed in defending the citizens of Israel. During times of war Israel is literally one large extended family and families stick together.

The other day, as I was walking down Even Gvirol Street in the heart of Tel-Aviv, the sirens went off alerting us all that the Hamas terror organization had fired a salvo of missiles on the City of Tel-Aviv. Within a matter of seconds, two “Iron Dome” anti-missile defense systems fired their rocket batteries intercepting in mid-air the missiles fired from Gaza causing them to explode way up in the sky. It’s an amazing sight, more so, it’s an amazing technological accomplishment for Israel, keeping in mind that there is no other similar system anywhere in the world. Its quite mind boggling to think that a determined, well-funded and anti-Semitic Islamic terror organization fires thousands of missiles at Israel over the past 14 days and inflict so few casualties. I wonder what must be going through the heads of the Hamas leadership who whole heartedly belief that Allah is on their side and its only a matter of time before, we Jews pack up and abandon ship. Historically, Jews generally do not abandon ship, but they have been pushed overboard. No longer.

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Israel is aggressive with its high tech

Israeli High Tech Gets Aggressive

Posted  by Adam Fisher (@adamrfisher)

Reprinted from Tech Crunch, July 5, 2014

 

Editor’s note: Adam Fisher is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, where he manages the firm’s Herzliya office focused on investments in Israel and Europe.

Israel has always taken a disproportionate share of global media attention. This has long held true in international politics, where Israel would prefer a little less attention, but also in high tech where the media attention on startup success has often been overstated and anecdotal.

For the better part of a decade, Israeli venture returns have been disappointing, frustrating many who were once convinced they had found the next big thing. But more than a decade after the last bubble burst, the Israeli venture capital industry has steadily matured, reaching a turning point over the past year.

The return profile in Israeli high-tech investments is improving remarkably as entrepreneurs build stronger, more ambitious startups with eyes on a much bigger prize and a higher probability of success. The Israeli tech industry may not be advancing at the pace that impatient investors and reporters demand, but the last decade has also proven that Israeli high tech is far from a fleeting trend.

As a fund that has been investing in Israel since 1992, with a dedicated office there since 2007, we at Bessemer see a stark difference today versus what we found in the Israeli startup environment 10 years ago.

Heightened Ambition

Israeli entrepreneurs have always been ambitious, but the maturity of the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem now gives emerging companies a better chance to deliver on big dreams and therefore a better chance of raising money to pursue them. Today’s crop of entrepreneurs has grown up in the startup ecosystem and seen peers disappointed by selling too early or shutting down only a couple years after raking it in. This means not only more serial entrepreneurs, but more maturity and experience in the first 50 hires these startups make.

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Israel has reason to fear Arabs

These murders reawaken Israel’s deepest fears

For its citizens, the foundation of the Jewish state was meant to ensure their children would never again be taken away…Israelis were deeply insulted by foreign media organisations which seemed to be downplaying the kidnapping, or, by describing the teenagers as “three settlers”, to be putting them into a political context. To Israelis, this wasn’t just another round of violence in a never-ending cycle; it was a national tragedy and the epitome of an ageless struggle.

Funeral for Eyal Yifrach

‘To Israelis, this wasn’t just another round of violence in a never-ending cycle; it was a national tragedy and the epitome of an ageless struggle.’ Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

In a small, close-knit society where family is everything, people are constantly glued to their mobile phones and trauma is an ever-present memory, the prospect of a child being kidnapped by Palestinians is an unspoken terror. And yes, a child in this context could also mean a 20-year-old soldier shouldering his rifle.

For Israelis, the nightmare of your son’s phone ringing, unanswered, wipes away all the self-confidence that citizens of the Jewish state have built for themselves. That fear burrows into a national psyche that defines what Israel is about for its Jewish majority – a country that was founded and its entire military force built up so that no Jewish child should ever be captured and spirited away again. No other political arguments or realities apply. As far as they are concerned, that is Israel’s core purpose.

That it is a technological superpower with one of the strongest militaries in the world doesn’t matter. And neither do the rights and wrongs of its conflict with the Palestinians, the vast imbalance between a sovereign state and an occupied population suffering multiple injustices and humiliations. For the 18 and a half days between the abduction of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach and the discovery of their bodies north of Hebron, nearly every Israeli parent set politics aside and put him or herself in the place of those three mothers and three fathers.

Nearly every Israeli child and teenager imagined being in that car racing away through the night. Somewhere in their minds was the thought that this was just one more chapter in the long history of Jewish victimhood and the Palestinians are just the latest embodiment of the Jews’ victimisers, as absurd as that may sound to an outsider.

Love or hate Israel, that is its core. You can’t begin to grasp its society without understanding this. Israelis were deeply insulted by foreign media organisations which seemed to be downplaying the kidnapping, or, by describing the teenagers as “three settlers”, to be putting them into a political context. To Israelis, this wasn’t just another round of violence in a never-ending cycle; it was a national tragedy and the epitome of an ageless struggle.

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Tolerance should replace savagery

After One Of Kidnapped Israeli Teens Phoned Police, They Were Ordered To Lower Heads, Then Shot By Hamas Terrorists

By Richard Behar, Forbes, July 1, 2014

Unthinkable. Unspeakable. Savage. Sadistic. Martyrs?

“They just released the tape of Gilad Shaar [one of the three Israeli schoolboys abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists] as he called the police to report the kidnapping,” Shahar Azani, the Consul for Media Affairs at Israel’s Consulate General in New York, tells Forbes. “You hear him say ‘I was kidnapped’ and then a loud noise and shouts and then only the radio. You could hear the Hamas terrorists tell them to lower their heads and hands. They were probably shot there and then, and then buried hastily as they were sure the police was behind them after that call.”

As Israel mourns the three teenagers, one of whom is a dual American-Israeli citizen, the country’s air force is bombing dozens of sites in the Gaza Strip — retaliating against Hamas after locating the bodies of the victims near Hebron in the West Bank. Some Palestinian leaders are blaming the murders on a rogue branch of Hamas, but the two fugitive suspects named by Israel — Marwan Qawasmeh and Amar Abu Aisha — are reportedly Hamas members. “They are clearly Hamas with a history of affiliation,” explains Azani. “The way they work is through independent activity under guided ideology. Like Al-Qaeda — ‘seize the opportunity when you can.’ Only this time the whole thing flopped and turned on its head.”

Ten days ago, I wrote a story in Forbes, based on interviews I conducted with Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of 16-year-old Naftali Fraenkel (one of the teens killed in cold blood)— who he considered like a son. It was titled “Good vs Evil”, and was focused on how Yishai – a top executive at the Israel headquarters of Intel – was pioneering high-tech joint ventures with Palestinian entrepreneurs. “Rest in peace, my son,” the boy’s mother, Rachelle Fraenkel, said, standing before his flag-covered body. “We’ll learn to sing without you. We’ll always hear your voice inside.”

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Jews are the people of the book

Jews and the Written Word

Written expression enabled Jews to store the sacred not in mountains or lakes or the sky, which are not so easily transportable, or even in a temple (though they tried that more than once), but in scrolls that they could carry with them wherever they went or recreate in a new destination.

By Noah Manne

Reprinted from Huffington blog, July 1, 2014

It has been pointed out many times that all the civilizations that brought the Jews to the brink of annihilation have long since disappeared. The Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, to name the most famous of the Ancients. It is the Jews who survive as a people throughout these individual histories.

What has enabled Jews to sustain themselves against all odds? In his PBS series, The Story of the Jews, Simon Schama theorizes about a distinct, individual identity that was formed in a crucible of words. Unlike other cultures, such as the many different Native American cultures of North America, for whom all that was sacred was found in the land, and who were able to live for millennia in a particular place to express the sacred, the Jews, even before they made the transition from Judean and Israelite to Jew, were ejected from their place and forcibly conditioned to express all that was holy in words, not in anything related to location or rooted object. How fortunate the Jews somehow received a system of writing from (perhaps) the Phoenicians they were able to shape and make their own. Written expression enabled Jews to store the sacred not in mountains or lakes or the sky, which are not so easily transportable, or even in a temple (though they tried that more than once), but in scrolls that they could carry with them wherever they went or recreate in a new destination.

Jews have always been landless cosmopolites it seems, even from the time of their antecedents. They were certainly already a cosmopolitan people when they began the process of giving liturgical shape to their evolving religious beliefs. They had no reliable physical location to which they could return and stay for thousands of years and venerate and consecrate, in the same way Native Americans could return to this mountain or that butte, to this river or that lake. For Native Americans, the Holy lived in the mountain or the river and, so, the Holy was the mountain and the river. Before the European landed in North America, the indigenous people had been able to abide in their holy temple, which was the whole region in which they lived. There had been conflicts between tribes that had caused location shifts within a particular region, but the majority of the great, deracinating migrations did not occur until the colonizer came. Native Americans had been accustomed, for thousands of years, to expressing all things sacred by staying rooted to one spot, which was both the Great Spirit and the temple in which to worship it.

Jews never had the opportunity to develop a similar relationship with a sacred space and never got used to that symbiosis. From the beginning, Jews were compelled to go from place to place and to live in conditions that made it hard to sustain a form of worship. In exile, one does not have the luxury of carrying along worldly possessions, especially big, ungainly sacramental objects. All that Jews could take with them as they were driven from one place to another was words – the words on portable media in which resided all the stories and teachings and traditions and laws that form the way Jews engage with the world, as well as with the world greater than the temporal one. Ironically, that disadvantage has given the Jewish religion a better than even chance at surviving the ages. When the physical expressions of other religions were obliterated – either by the destruction of nations and great temples, or the theft of land, as in the case of Native Americans – it became impossible to worship. The loci of worship disappeared, and so, therefore, did the Holy that was once worshipped. Yet the Jews carried with them the Holy, which lived on in the written word, a more accurate and reliable form of transmission than an oral tradition. Wherever the Jews went, they could be inspired, taught, connected to their God. That unique historic circumstance has certainly played a part in the Jews maintaining a distinct identity and, figuratively (with Jews still residing throughout the world and not only in Israel), a Jewish nation. Pre-literate cultures, like Native Americans, might have had a different destiny had they received the gift of written expression before the brutality against them began (pace Sequoyah).

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Israel must respond to terror

The Silence of the Lambs – No more

Ron Jager

www.ronjager.com

The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel and is a strategic advisor to the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria/

Contact: medconf@netvision.net.il

Realizing that Israel cannot be defeated in the battlefield, the Palestinian Arabs have employed terror as a preferred method of destroying Israel from within. Terror has emerged as a strategic threat on Israel and should be responded to with the same perseverance and gravity that existential threats warrant. The release of 1,027 convicted terrorists in exchange for the kidnapped soldier Gilead Schalit last year arose from a misguided moral dilemma that puts a premium on one life yet endangers the lives of many others; the tragic ending to the kidnapping and murder of our three boys Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gil-Ad Shayer, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, who were cold-bloodedly murdered by terrorists released in exchange for Gilead Schalit, places the implications of this enormous moral dilemma into focus. The only rational conclusion from this latest barbaric act of meaningless terror should be that the Israeli public demand of our leaders that in cases of terrorists committing premeditated murder, capital punishment should be invoked, or in street language, the death penalty.

The internal Jewish debate raging in Israel since last night just after all of Israel heard that the bodies of the kidnapped boys were discovered just outside of Halhoul, a small Palestinian Arab village north of the town of Hebron boils down to this; should Israel respond forcibly by eliminating whoever has any connection to the kidnapping or respond with restraint. This debate has tended to overshadow the more important story of how the Arabs living among us continue to use “Palestinian culture” as a calling card in which the shedding of Jewish blood is a prerequisite for both heroism and political credibility. The Arab celebration of the kidnapping and murder of our three boys by the Palestinian Arabs throughout Judea and Samaria has made it all too apparent that those who murder innocent children in the name of Allah, are not partners to any kind rational dialogue, let along restraint. Moreover, the strengthening of Hamas by their “achievement” in successfully reaping the benefits of the kidnapping has further strengthened the appeal of violence for all Arabs against Israel. By invoking the death penalty, we can lessen the perceived benefits and sense of “victory” from the shedding of Jewish blood.

Reports emanating from the White House, the State Department, and from European capitals have all called for Israel to respond with “maximum restraint”. The world, it seems, as Gil Troy has written wants Israel to be a defenseless Jewish state. A defenseless Jewish state would not incarcerate those responsible for mass murderers at a Sbarro pizzeria or a Passover Seder at the Park Hotel. A defenseless Jewish state would not risk the lives of Egyptian soldiers, even if it meant not firing at Palestinian terrorist attackers. A defenseless Jewish state would not retaliate against the Hamas terrorists ruling Gaza. A defenseless Jewish state would not object to Mahmoud Abbas paying the salaries and benefits of terrorists incarcerated in Israeli jails for the murder of innocent Israeli’s or for glorifying terrorists killed by the I.D.F.. A defenseless Jewish state would not inconvenience the Arab world’s liberal leftist appeasers and useful idiots. Instituting the death penalty would provide the most effective deterrence and reject the demand of Israel being singled out by the world to refrain from executing convicted terrorists and murderers. By invoking the death penalty, Israel would ensure that Arab terrorists be held accountable for their murderous behavior making any future trade-offs and early release impossible.

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No moral justification for Palestinian violence

Moral Equivalence No Answer to Terror

Jonathan S. Tobin | @tobincommentary

Reprinted from Commentary Magazine, June 30, 2014

Now that the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers have been found, we can expect the usual chorus of pro forma condemnations of terrorism and sympathy for the victims to be voiced by many world leaders. But the willingness of so many of the same people to treat deliberate attempts to target civilians by the Palestinians as morally equivalent to the fate of those Arabs killed while conducting violence against Israelis gives the lie to their pose of objectivity.

The discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel brings an unhappy ending to the effort that transfixed Israelis and Jews around the world but aroused relatively little interest outside of the Jewish community. The Hamas terror group that is believed to be behind the crime will feel the consequences of what appears to be the cold-blooded murders of these three boys shortly after their abduction. Hamas’s partners in the Palestinian Authority will also be put to the test as the Israelis will now see whether PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s helpful rhetoric condemning the kidnapping will be matched by actions that disassociate his government from terrorists.

But once condolences have been given and the boys buried, the atrocity will probably be shoved down the global memory hole as Palestinians and their cheerleaders contend that the terror attack on the teens must be seen as either an understandable reaction to the “occupation” or morally equivalent to the fate of those Palestinians who die while attacking Israeli forces. The New York Times provided a prime example of such thinking this morning in an article published only hours before the bodies were found.

In this piece by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, the paper contrasted the grief felt by Naftali Fraenkel’s mother Rachel and that of another mother, Aida Dudeen, whose son Muhammad was killed while confronting Israeli soldiers searching for the boys.

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Israel is blamed for defending itself from terrorism

What Israel is allowed to do

June 23, 2014,

Times of Israel

Gerald M. Steinberg

Gerald M. Steinberg Gerald Steinberg is professor of political science at Bar Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor

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It seems as if no matter what Israel does, no matter how justified and consistent with international legal norms, human rights groups will accuse Israel of acting illegally.

Israel is in the midst of an extensive military operation in the West Bank to locate three kidnapped Israeli teenagers and to root out the terror infrastructure that facilitated this and other attacks against civilians. Both of these goals are entirely legal and consistent with Israel’s obligations to preserve the welfare of its citizens, its obligations under international human rights conventions and UN Security Council Resolution 1373 that requires States to “prevent and suppress terrorist acts.”

This should be obvious. But, apparently, it is not.

This week, eleven Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which receive massive amounts of funding from European government bodies (10 also receive significant funding from the New Israel Fund) enabling immoral propaganda campaigns, published a public letter accusing Israel of “unnecessary violation of basic rights and collective punishment.”

Unsurprisingly, many of these NGOs, including Adalah, HaMoked, and Yesh Din, did not release statements condemning Hamas for kidnapping the Israeli teens, nor the blatant assault on decency and human rights inherent in such a depraved act. (In fact, in a statement condemning Israel’s response, Gisha referred to the “alleged kidnapping.”) Those NGOs that did issue statements created an artificial balance by criticizing and/or blaming Israel, and predicting that any response would violate Palestinian human rights.

In accusing Israel of human rights violations, these NGOs invoke international legal terms, such as “collective punishment,” that have specific meanings beyond colloquial usage. Yet, most people are not familiar with the legal definitions, and instead accept at face value the claims of self-declared human rights defenders.

As a number of legal experts have shown, Israel’s operation to find the teens and to root out terror infrastructure is not collective punishment. In the context of international law, collective punishment means the imposition of specific criminal penalties on innocents, not measures that impact collaterally on the population at large. It is understood that civilians will be affected by searches for kidnap victims and perpetrators, both of whom may be located within civilian centers.

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