Friday 24 December 2010

A Parable - with you in the story.

A Parable - with you in the story.

Let me tell you a parable with you in the story.

You have built a wonderful modern house but it is located in a tough neighborhood. A very tough neighborhood.

You begin to be pestered by a crazy guy who accosts you every day. He claims that you owe him a million dollars.

He threatens you and your family. He resorts to violence. So you give him a thousand dollars, just to keep him happy.

"Aha!", he shouts. "I told you you owed me a million dollars. Why would you give me anything if I was wrong? Now give me the rest", he demands.

You don't know what to do. Even the authorities can't, or won't, help you.

He comes banging on your door every day. He hits your kids. He threatens your wife. He punches you in the face.

During one attack he claims that he is homeless so, in order to appease him, you let him sleep in the shed hoping that this will quieten him down.

But it doesn't. It only makes him madder.

He now claims that you are living in his house.

You had the deeds to your property but you never claimed those rights and anyway more recent bye-laws have made your claims less relevent today than they were when you began building your home.

So, from your shed, he is bringing in his friends and supporters to back up his demands that you vacate his home.

They bring his case to the authorities who give you an order to vacate part of your property for the sake of peace and quiet, and good neighborliness, you understand.

You refuse, at least until you get some guarantee that you will be left with part of your property, but nobody is going to guarantee that for you.

You insist that you are keeping what you own, but they tell you you are being unreasonable.

The neighborhood bully is going round all the other householders and signing them up on a petition to have him declared as the owner of part of the house.

With a few more signatures this is going to the superior court for rubber stamping some day soon.

The moral of the story is that you are Israel.

What would you do when you wake up from this nightmare and find that this is reality?

Tuesday 7 December 2010


Much has been written about Israeli leaders, such as Benjamin Netanyahu, catering to their electorate in their stance with the Palestinians.

This is incorrect.

In a speech at Bar Ilan University, shortly after taking office as prime minister, he reached out with a declaration of acceptance to a two state solution. Such a clear declaration has not been made by Palestinian leaders.

He agreed to a freeze in settlement building, something that had never been requested before. He has repeatedly called for talk with no preconditions, something that has not been met favourably by the Palestinians.

Previous prime ministers including Yizhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, have all tried to reach a pragmatic Palestinian leader to make peace. Ariel Sharon unilaterally removed nine thousands Israelis from their homes in the Gaza Strip.

All we got in return from the Palestinian side has been intransigence, rejectionism, and even greater demands.

There is an assumption that their leaders are hampered by the Israelis. In fact, they are hampered by their own people, and by their own lack of courage.

Who can blame them when the reaction of the rank and file Palestinian Arab is for total victory. Nothing has been done to condition their people for peace as can be seen by reading their media, watching their official television, and seeing public squares, facilities, sporting and cultural events named after terrorists.

Both Arafat and Abbas have more than hinted that they were fearful of their own public opinion. There is a lot to justify their claims.

Arafat rejected peace terms at Camp David because he could not sell them to his people.

It was better for him to polish his image by kick-starting the second intifada and the resultant deaths on both sides than have the courage to lead his people into a peaceful state of Palestine. He was more comfortable with violence than statesmanship.

When the Palestinian Arabs heard the rumour that Mahmoud Abbas was discussing a compromise on the refugees issue with Olmert his people accused him of treason.

In a 2010 poll conducted by the Israel Project the findings frightening confirm that the Palestinian people demand their leaders to bring them the head of Israel on a plate. Some of their findings included:

1) 60% of Palestinians support the proposition that “the real goal should be to

start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state”.

2) Only 30% supported the contrasting proposition that “the best goal is for a two state

solution that keeps two states living side by side”. A mere 12% of Palestinians supported that proposition “strongly”.

3) 66% support the proposition that “over time Palestinians must

work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state” with 42% strongly supporting that proposition.

4) Only 23% supported the contrasting proposition that “Israel has a permanent right to

exist as a homeland for the Jewish people”.

5) 71% believe Yasser Arafat was right to reject the two state solution brokered by Bill Clinton in 2000 which offered the Palestinians East Jerusalem as well as a peace settlement along 1967 lines. Only 24 percent said that in retrospect they did believe Arafat should have accepted the deal.

6) 55% support the proposition that “a Palestinian state should be run by Sharia law” with only 35% supporting the contrasting proposition that “a Palestinian state should be run by civil law”.

7) 56% agreed with the proposition that “we will have to resort to armed struggle again” while 38 percent supported the contrasting proposition that “violence only hurts Palestinians and the days of armed struggle are over”.

The leadership in Ramallah takes their instruction from the Fatah Revolutionary Council who speaks on behalf of the majority of the people, at least in the West Bank. In November 2010 the Council ordered their leadership not to agree to any land swops with the Israelis in any peace deal. They demanded that they cannot agree to any temporary borders. They rejected recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Let’s remind ourselves that this is the ‘moderate’ section of Palestinian society. Hamas, in the Gaza Strip is even more extreme in its ambitions for Israel.

So let’s be clear on this point, it is the radicalism of the Palestinian people themselves that is the biggest obstacle to peace. By their own record, Palestinians have spoken loudly and agree that their overriding ambition remains the elimination of Israel.

While this is happening the world, in its naivety, is forcing a ‘solution’ that will surely lead to the next major conflict and not to peace.

Countries are lining up to pronounce their recognition of Palestine as an independent country. In their stampede to do so, they flout contractual agreements between the Palestinians and Israel that this would not happen until after a full and final agreement between the two parties.

By railroading the declaration of a Palestinian state at this early stage they weaken and endanger Israel both diplomatically and in its security.

The rush to judgment comes at a particularly worrying time when Palestinian rejection, not of the peace process but of Israel itself, is at its peak.

By identifying with a Palestinian Authority that has been pronouncing the most heinous anti-Semitic statements shows that many countries are out of touch, or are ignoring, realities on the ground.

They prefer to stick with their preordained ideals that only by forcing their solution will there be peace in the Middle East.

If only it were so.

Enforcing a Palestinian state without first getting them to accept issues of security, borders, and refugees is tantamount to giving them the keys to Israel itself.

By ignoring Israel’s pleas that this move is illegitimate in face of prior commitments the international community are, again, saying they care less for Israel’s security than they do about establishing an aggressive, rejectionist, Palestinian entity.

By accepting a Palestinian state at this time the international community accepts all their rhetoric, their internal resolutions, and their charter that they will never recognize Israel, that their state will be yet another racist Islamic state free of Jews, without borders, and with the festering issue of the right of return for Palestinian Arabs into Israel left unsolved.

This dangerous diplomacy jeopardizes the future of Israel.

This display of international lunacy will gather speed throughout 2011, further complicating the peace process and driving the region to conflict.

Israel’s opinions, it seems, are of no consequence in this international flight of madness.

Monday 6 December 2010



BACKGROUND: Arabs have been killing Jews. United Nations Resolution partitioning one state for Jews, another for Arabs. Jews approved. Arabs rejected. The Jews continue building the land. Arabs continue killing Jews.

Jew; “I don’t know about you but to me no means no. You didn’t want your state. We do. We’re building it.”

Arab; “Stop! Stop building! That land is mine!”

Jew; “What are you talking about. You said you didn’t want your state. You rejected it!”

Arab; “That doesn’t matter. It’s mine. Don’t you tell me what I don’t want. I’m taking what you’ve got. It’s mine!”

Arabs continue killing Jews.

Jew; “OK. Let’s sit down at Camp David and sort out this mess.”


Jew; “OK. I’ll give you more than anyone has ever given you before. Take it and leave us in peace.”

Arab; Not on your life!”

Arabs continue killing Jews.

Jew; “I tell you what. I’ll drag my people out of the Gaza Strip. Take it until you can decide to come back and talk to us”.

TheArabs grab the land and continue killing Jews.

Jew; “Nu! Come talk to us already!”

The Arab comes to talk.


Jew; “OK. I will now give you even more than we gave you last time we met at Camp David. How about that? Are you happy now?”

Arab; “Not enough!”

Arabs continue killing Jews.

The Jew throws his hands in the air in despair.

Jew; “For heavens sake! What do you want from me? Enough, already!”

The Arab walks away.

Arabs continue killing Jews.

Curtain falls.

As you leave the theatre please fill in the voting slip.

Did you watch a comedy or a tragedy?

Thursday 2 December 2010

Envy, greed, and murder.

We sat in the Netanya sunshine sipping coffee and watching the world go by.

Ilan, Rami, and me.

Ilan is a successful lawyer in town, son of a wealthy Moroccan merchant who fled his country with his wife out of fear for their safety. They found sanctuary in a flapping tent in a barren field, provided by the Jewish Agency, in a nameless part of a yet to be named small town later to be called Netanya. They had come because this place had been promised as the national home of the Jews.

Rami was born and raised in Marseille, before making his Aliyah to Israel. He is the son of immigrants who fled Algiers due to the anti-Semitic riots that left many dead and his family dispossessed in southern France.

I had come from Manchester, England, the country of my birth, that I still look back on with fondness and sadness.

Put three Jews together and you have a parliament. Sit them together at a coffee shop and they easily solve the world’s problems or discuss them in serious detail each from their personal persective.. No small talk takes place in these gatherings. Deep issues of state take centre stage.

I don’t recall how but the conversation turned to a heated debate on Jews and Arabs.

“We know what they are like, you don’t. We lived among them. It’s always envy, greed, and murder with them. “

“That’s racist talk”.

“And they always do it out of religion”.

“When the mob came to kill us in Fez it was ‘Allah Akbah!’ I am sure that these were the last words those poor souls heard on the planes on 9/11.”

“When those Arabs killed the Jews in Hebron they were ordered to do it in the name of Allah by the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem’.

They always turn their murder and theft into a religious command”.

“They always cover their crimes by telling themselves it’s a Mitzvah. They always justify their theft by saying it’s a blessing to God.”

“What do you think the Ground Zero mosque is all about? It’s a way of saying thanks to Allah for their victory over the Americans”.

“You have to understand the Arab mind. You have to have lived among them and experience what they do to you, what drives them, to really know what they are all about. It’s envy, greed, and murder, ordained by God”.

“What do you think is happening here? We built up this land when there was nothing here. Nothing. They came to find work. We gave them work. They saw what wonders we were achieving here. And they wanted it for themselves. It’s always been that way with them. It doesn’t belong to them but they want to take it from us, even if they have to kill us to do it”.

“Look what happened in Europe”, said Rami. “Look at France. You think that when the Muslims were given refuge in France they expressed their gratitude? Ever heard of gratitude or praise from any of them, anywhere in Europe? Do you think that France will be more liberal, more tolerant, when they take control of the country? Will they make it a more advanced country? What will be their contribution? Shariah law, that’s all!”

“What about things here? When they steal the land from us will they make it any different from the twenty other Arab countries? No! They’ll probably start squabbling and killing each other. Look at what is going on where ever you look. Muslims are killing each other right across the Muslim world in Asia and in Africa. Why should it be any different here?”

“My parents ran away from them in Algiers. They chased me to France and are making life uncomfortable there. I left them there and came to Israel. Even here they continue to torment us”

“What will be the end with them?” It was more a sigh of resignation than a question.

“I don’t know how it ends”, said Rami, “but it always begins with envy, greed, and murder”.

I sipped my coffee in silence. I had no answer to give them. Living under attack results, in any society, in the hardening of attitudes. How can I give answers to people who have generations of suffering in different countries from which they develop an instinct of what is approaching?


The Jewish festival of Chanukah is a retelling of an event in Jewish history. It is the festival of lights when families for eight days light candles on a Menorah (Chanukiah).

This commemorates an event in Jerusalem at the time of the Revolt of the Maccabim who defeated the Syrians and recaptured the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

In dedication of reclaiming the holy shrine, and recapturing the ancient Jewish capital they lit the altar flame. Though it only contained enough oil for one day it continued to burn for eight days until the Jews were able to produce enough olive oil to supply the torch.

This miracle has been celebrated in Jewish homes for centuries during the weeklong festival of Chanukah. It resounds with the message of Jewish hope and redemption in their eternal home.

As the ancient Jewish historian Josephus recorded of Antiochus, the Syrian king:

"The king being thereto disposed beforehand, complied with them, and came upon the Jews with a great army, and took their city by force, and slew a great multitude of those, and sent out his soldiers to plunder them without mercy”.

When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and the services stopped, Judaism was effectively outlawed. In 167 BCE Antiochus ordered an altar to the god Zeus erected in the Temple. He banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple.

His actions were designed to remove any traces of Jewish history to the Temple in Jerusalem by rededicating it to a false god. His actions provoked a large-scale revolt led by Mattathias, a high priest and his sons, Jochanan, Simeon, Eliezer, Jonathan, and Judah. Judah became known as Yehuda Maccabi (Judah the Hammer). By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt had been successful, the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was restored, and the nation of Judea was reclaimed as a Jewish sovereign nation.

Jews never forget their history. It has a habit of resounding through the years adding great significance to Jewish lives.

The festival of Chanukah, in all its detail, has remarkable likeness to what is happening with Israel today.

There are those who are coming to dispossess Israel of its sovereign rights. They would also deny and wipe out any vestige of Jewish heritage over its holy places. Palestinian pronouncements are frequent that Jews have no ownership of Jerusalem or the land. Just like Antiochus they claim that the Jewish Temple never existed.

Only by standing up to these assaults, and safeguarding our spiritual home, will the miracle of the Jewish flame keep burning.