SOLDIERS OF IDF VS ARAB TERRORISTS

SOLDIERS OF IDF VS ARAB TERRORISTS

Friday, November 28, 2014

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Tehillim (Pslams) 121

A Song of Ascents.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains:
From whence shall my help come?

My help cometh from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved;
He that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, He that keepeth Israel
Doth neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is thy keeper;
The LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The LORD shall keep thee from all evil;
He shall keep thy soul.

The LORD...

The Jews are coming - Binding of Isaac

The Jews are coming - Circumcision

The Jews are coming - The Ten Commandments

Israel - Foreign Minister: Offer Israeli Arabs Money To Move To Palestinian State

Israel - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed on Friday that Arab citizens of Israel be offered financial incentives to leave the country and relocate to a future Palestinian state.
Lieberman, whose ultra-nationalist party is a core part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, has previously spoken about redrawing borders but not about using sweeteners to encourage Arabs to uproot to a Palestinian state.
His proposals were made in the form of a manifesto, presented with expectations rising that Israel may have to hold early elections in the coming months as Netanyahu’s coalition frays. Elections are not formally due until 2017.
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Lieberman, one of the most strident voices in favor of the separation of Jews and Arabs, said Palestinians living in Jaffa and Acre, two mixed cities on the Mediterranean coast far from the West Bank, should be encouraged to move if they want.
“Those (Israeli Arabs) who decide that their identity is Palestinian will be able to forfeit their Israeli citizenship and move and become citizens of the future Palestinian state,” he wrote in the manifesto, entitled Swimming Against the Stream, published on his Facebook page and his party’s website.
“Israel should even encourage them to do so with a system of economic incentives,” he said.
The last round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, who seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as their capital, collapsed in April.
Lieberman has in the past called on Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of Israel’s 8 million population, to take a loyalty oath if they want to remain in Israel, a measure that Netanyahu denounced at the time.
But Netanyahu is now backing a contentious bill that would define Israel as the Jewish nation state and enshrine certain rights for Jews. Critics say it would discriminate against Arab-Israelis and put religion and ethnicity above democracy.
The bill comes at a time of high tensions in Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, where a dispute over access to a religious site sacred to Jews and Muslims alike has ignited Palestinian streets protests and lethal attacks on Jews.
A poll carried out in 2010, after Lieberman addressed the United Nations and set out plans for the borders of a future Palestinian state to be redrawn to include Arab towns in Israel, showed that 58 percent of Israeli Arabs opposed the idea.

Jerusalem - IDF's Chief Rabbi: Temple Mount Is Of No Religious Significance To Islam

Jerusalem - The IDF’s chief rabbi, Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz, was recorded speaking strongly against members of the Muslim faith who pray at the Temple Mount. In a transcript of a religious lecture uploaded to the website Kippa, at Mechina Atzmona, Peretz is quoted as answering student questions regarding the significance of the Temple Mount in Islam. Channel 10 later aired a recording of the lecture.
“Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran even once,” Peretz said. “Not at all. Not even once. You know what? It’s not even hinted at. You know what? 90% of Arabs don’t know what’s written in the Koran. I’m telling you this—we know a lot better than them,” he added.
Addressing Al-Aksa, the chief rabbi can be heard asking, “What are they doing at the Temple Mount? [if the Muslims] bow down to Mecca in prayer, while their behinds are turned to the Temple Mount.”
Peretz’s speech lasted around an hour. The lecture was not given while the rabbi donned his IDF uniform.
The Brig.-Gen. released a statement through the IDF’s Spokesperson Office asking to clarify that his words were taken out of context and “do not reflect the views of the IDF’s chief rabbi.” The IDF message conveyed that “the Rabbi apologizes if his words offended the Arab population.”
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post

Nyet Nyet Nekavo with the Rebbe

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Syrian Jihadi: "Jews are the kings of sex"

From MEMRI:
In a recent TV interview, Syrian Islamist scholar Muaz Al-Safouk said that the world is shaped by the Jews, "the kings of gold, sex, and the media, who spread immorality, atheism, apostasy, and discord," and that only the Islamist Jihadi movements can break their backs.


If we're the kings of sex in this world, then that might explain why the jihadis are so keen on sex in the next world.

Meanwhile, this Kuwaiti cleric was careful to only refer to Jews as "sons of Zion," as in "All the wars throughout history, from the time of our Prophet Mohammed until this day, were started by the sons of Zion. All of them!"

See? he's only anti-Zionist!

Cartoon Implies Israel is a Police State

times271114

The cartoon above appears in The Times of London (subscription only). Ostensibly it makes fun of UK cabinet minister Theresa May, who is responsible for legislating anti-terror measures to protect British citizens.
However, it also, in its satirical way, implies that May is getting her inspiration from foreign intelligence agencies. The Stasi was the feared Communist East German secret police while the KGB was responsible for subterfuge on behalf of the Soviet Union.
So why is Mossad, an intelligence agency that cooperates closely with its Western counterparts such as the CIA and MI6, lumped together with the Stasi and KGB? This is particularly inappropriate given that Israel and the UK are on the same side when it comes to defeating jihadist terrorism.
Ultimately, while the focus of the cartoon is not Israel, it still succeeds in falsely portraying the country as a police state.

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: The entire bogus history of Palestinian Arab nationalism exposed by a stamp

This is a stamp from  British Mandate Palestine. It says "Palestine" in Hebrew, Arabic and English, but in Hebrew it adds the initials א.י.(E.Y.), for Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, which is what Jews have always called the area.

In 1925, Arab leaders in Palestine were very upset over those two letters, so they went to court.

From the Palestine Bulletin, October 13, 1925:

As already reported, the Chief Justice, Sir Thomas Haycraft, and Mr. Justice Corrie, heard on Saturday last the complaint preferred by Mr. Jamal Husseini against the Palestine Government. The plaintiff demanded that the Court should oblige the Government to remove on "stamps" and other official documents the Hebrew letters "E-I" (being the initials for the Hebrew word, "Eretz-Israel," leaving only the word "Palestine" in Hebrew.

Counsel for the plaintiff based his prosecution on Article 22 of the British Mandate for Palestine that states that anything inscribed in one of the official languages must be transcribed into the other two languages. The initials "E-I" (Eretz Israel) were inscribed in Hebrew only, in contravention to the provisions of the Mandate. The Chief Justice asked Counsel whether he would agree that the initials "E-I" be also inscribed in Arabic and English. Counsel replied in the negative. Their Honours then pointed out that the initials "E-I" was the translation of Palestine. Counsel contended that "E-I" was not the right translation of "Palestine" their meaning being "The Land of the Jews." He said that "Palestina" was already inscribed, and that the affixing of the initials "E-I" was tautological. He was of opinion that their addition constituted a political point to prove that the land was that of the Jews. The Philistines and the Jews were two separate nations, existing at separate times, and the meaning of one did not apply to the other. He requested the Court therefore that: it should order the deletion of the initials "E-I" from stamps and other official documents in Palestine - or alternatively, to order the inscription of the words "Suria El Jenobia" (Southern Syria), Palestine's Arabic cognomen.
That last sentence says volumes.

Jamal Husseini, who was one of the architects of the 1929 massacres of Jews and remained a major Arab leader in Palestine through the 1940s, felt that in order to keep things equal, Arabs should be able to officially use their own name for Palestine just as the Jews were using Eretz Yisrael. 

And what name is that? Southern Syria!

This is already several years after Arab leadership officially abandoned their desire to integrate Palestine into Syria, but it shows that Arab masses clearly still considered Palestine to be a mere district of a larger Arab nation, not a nation of its own.

Notice also that Husseini regarded the Arabs of Palestine at the time to have been descended from the Philistines, not the Canaanites, as today's Arab leaders pretend.

Also, Jamal Husseini admitted that the Jewish people are a nation - something strenuously denied by Palestinian Arab leaders today.

Today, Palestinian Arabs point to the stamp their leaders denounced as evidence that they were once an Arab political entity - and they erase the Hebrew altogether in school textbooks. They use the stamp as a tool to try to eliminate Jewish nationalism.

This little episode shows that Palestinian nationalism is a fiction. It only exists as a means to destroy Jewish nationalism, and if it wasn't for Zionism there would never have been any desire on the part of Arabs to have an independent Palestinian state.

It shows that Palestinian Arabs have changed their supposed history as a people in reaction to whatever the contemporary political climate allows.

There is one more lesson from this episode as well.

The Palestine Bulletin article was reproduced in the Macquarie University law school archives. But their version engaged in a little political correctness replacing the word "Philistines" with "Palestinians" and "Palestina" with "Palestine." Because it is not fashionable for modern Westerners to acknowledge that there were no "Palestinian" nation, ever. The idea that a law school would silently change the text of a 1925 newspaper article in order to align it with today's zeitgeist is but a tiny indication of how history itself has been distorted by today's universities for political purposes.

You can learn a lot from a stamp, if you are willing to keep your mind open.

"Jews Control Everything"

"Jews Control Everything"

Israel Matzav: The first thing we do: We blame the Joooz

More here (Hat Tip: The Beguiling Avigayil - Child #1 Daughter #1).

FORMER ISRAEL CHIEF RABBI KOOK WARNED AGAINST ASCENDING THE TEMPLE MOUNT

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From Kuwaiti Arab to Israeli Jew

mark-halawaBy Mark Halawa
It seems like it was only yesterday that I was a young teenager wearing a dish-dasha (white robe) in Kuwait, and now I wear a kipah and live in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is where my grandparents on my mother’s side met. My Jewish grandmother met my Palestinian Muslim grandfather when they were both in their late teens. She later converted to Islam, got married to my grandfather, and lived in Shechem for many years. Following the 1970 Black September uprising, my grandfather-who was a high-ranking officer in Jordan’s Arab Legion-was cashiered when King Hussein purged his army of Palestinians. The family relocated to Kuwait, where oil profits were fueling huge business and construction projects. In Kuwait, my mother met my father and got married.
My father was born in Beisan (Beit She’an in Hebrew), Israel, and owned a successful construction company in Kuwait that built some of Kuwait’s popular landmarks (which I proudly show off to my friends over Google Earth today). My father attended university in Egypt and was a staunch follower of the Nasser school of thought, Pan Arabism-the unification of the Arab World. I was brought up to believe that Israel was the only obstacle to Arab unity, a satellite presence planted by Western colonial powers to keep the Arab world divided. Therefore, Israel had to be destroyed.
Our family was as secular as a family can be in Arabia. My father was more of a deist than an atheist-he believed in a creator, but strongly rejected all religions, especially Islam. My mother wasn’t into religion either at the time, as her priorities were our home and social events. At home we were loosely traditional; we partially observed Ramadan (not the fasting part) and celebrated the two Eid holidays by hosting feasts and visiting friends, family and business partners.
The only religious influence around was my grandfather. Out of love for him, I accompanied him to mosque several times. I never really learned how to pray; I’d stand, kneel and bow in sync with everyone else, then sit on the ground and listen to the sermon. The “sermon” often consisted of the imam’s nonstop screaming and shouting about the evils of the Jews. The imam would tell many stories of the horrible things Jews did to Prophet Mohammad, and explain how Allah doomed them to the level of animals, and that fighting the Jews was the duty of every Muslim who loved his religion.
I’ll never forget how the Imam described Joseph’s brothers as “evil Jewish brothers of the prophet of Islam, who threw him down the well and then sold him into slavery.” The imam then said, “You see how Jews treat their own brothers!” That story angered me. Then, according to custom, the imam finished his sermon with a stream of supplications calling for the destruction of the Jewish people, while the crowd responded to each supplication with a thunderous “Amen!” Even then, as a ten-year-old, this was quite chilling.
After an eventful prayer session, we’d walk back together to my grandparents’ home to have lunch with everyone. The smells of my grandmother’s delicious food took my mind off of the horrible stories I heard at mosque. But as we ate, I’d think to myself, How could my sweet grandmother have belonged to an evil Jewish cult built on killing of innocent people? Is that why she left? And was she a descendant of pigs and monkeys? Or perhaps the imam was exaggerating? After all, my father told me that religious people were crazy: “Never trust people with beards! ”
When my parents went on vacation, they usually left us with our grandparents. As kids will do, I snooped around in my grandparents’ room, and once found my grandmother’s birth certificate, along with old pictures. The last name on the birth certificate was Mizrahi. It struck me as an odd name that I had never heard of. The header on the document was in Arabic, Hebrew and English. I didn’t know what Hebrew looked like, but I recognized the letters I had seen in the small book my grandmother would sometimes read from when she sat alone in the guest room, tears trickling down her face. I suspected my grandmother was reciting Jewish prayers, because on the news, I had seen Jews praying by “Ha’it al Mabka”-the Wailing Wall in Arabic.
Anti-Semitism was commonplace in Kuwait. I remember a show that the Palestinian boy scouts would put on, which ended with the burning of the Israeli flag. One year, I took part in one of the shows. In a twisted way, the organizers wanted to show their success in creating a generation of defenders of the “cause,” which helped them raise millions in donations from sympathizers.
My father was a strong supporter of the PLO himself. Since the 1960s, a portion of his monthly salary was deducted and sent to the organization founded by Yasser Arafat (also an engineer working in Kuwait at the time), which promised to finance armed groups to liberate Palestine one day. Arafat raised money from wealthy Palestinians working in Kuwait, as well as from Kuwaitis and the Kuwaiti government. Later, he’d turn against the same government that helped him become a political force, by aligning with Saddam Hussein against Kuwait. My father said that with the hundreds of millions of dollars Arafat raised, he could’ve created five-star services and infrastructure in the West Bank, but he decided to appropriate the money instead.
In the summer of 1990, when I was 12 years old, our lives changed completely. We were on vacation when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded and annexed Kuwait. My father’s business-along with much of the country-was ravaged. Our savings became worthless pieces of paper. We could not return to Kuwait, so we immigrated to Canada. My father managed to sneak back into Kuwait for a few days to retrieve important business documents that would later be useful in recovering compensation from a United Nations fund.
But life in the new world didn’t suit my family well, and they returned to the Middle East, while I stayed in Canada to attend university.
During my final year at the University of Western Ontario, while I was studying at the Weldon Library, I went down to use the pay phone and found a man sitting at a small table cutting up a green apple. From his dress, he looked Jewish, so I went up to him and asked him straightforwardly, “Hi, are you a Jew?”
He looked up with a smile and answered “No, but I like to dress this way.”
I wondered to myself, Are Jewish people supposed to be funny? I introduced myself and told him that I wanted to do something to advance peace in the Middle East. I added that I didn’t believe in religion and didn’t completely hate Jews because my grandmother was Jewish.
He introduced himself to me as Dr. Yitzchok Block, a professor of philosophy from Harvard who taught at UWO. He invited me to sit down, and cut me a piece of his apple. He asked me, “Which side of the family is that grandmother from?”
I replied, “My mother’s side. My father’s parents died before I was born.”
Dr. Block said gently, “If that’s the case, then by Muslim law you’re Muslim, and by Jewish law you’re a Jew. A Jew can convert 10 times and he’ll still be a Jew, and by Jewish law religion is transferred by the mother, which makes your mother Jewish, and makes you a Jew. ”
I was completely dumbfounded. Memories flooded into my mind-my grandmother, the “evil Jews,” mosque sermons, Israeli TV . . .
I ran home and told my roommate, who said, “So that makes you a ‘Mus-Jew.’” I was not amused.
I went up to my room, called my mom, and told her what happened. She told me to stay away from Dr. Block. But I called my grandmother, and we spoke for quite some time, and she told me about her family and younger brother who died in the early days of the establishment of Israel. I finally mustered the courage to ask her, “Tata, are you Jewish?” I never heard my grandmother as distressed in all my life. She cried and told me more stories about her family and how Jews and Arabs used to be friends.
I decided not to pursue the idea that I was a Jew, as I was finishing university and this wasn’t a topic worth upsetting my family over. I did speak on the phone once with Dr. Block and met with his son-in-law, Rabbi Lazer Gurkow, who was a rabbi of a congregation close by. He recommended books to read and mentioned his synagogue.
One evening, while rollerblading on the street, I suddenly fell to the ground, although the street was smooth and there was no visible cause for the fall. I immediately felt that it was a “push” from up above. My right wrist was sprained and bandaged, and I couldn’t go to work for some time.
That Saturday morning, I remembered that Jews went to synagogue on Saturdays. I contemplated going to Dr. Block’s synagogue to check it out, but I was hesitant, thinking, “I look so Middle Eastern; I’ll probably scare people off.” I decided to go anyway. I looked up the address and called a cab, not knowing it would be the last time I would ride in a cab on Shabbat.
When I arrived at the shul, I thought, I’ll just go in, how bad could it be? If worst comes to worst, I won’t come back again. I opened the door, and there stood an Indian gentleman, who handed me a kipah and greeted me with “Shabbat Shalom.” Cool, I thought. I looked around for Dr. Block, and found him standing all the way in the back, with a book in his hands. He greeted me with the same reassuring, warm smile and said, “Good Shabbos.”
I asked him, “What are you reading?”
He replied, “I like to learn on Shabbos.”
“Aren’t you done studying by now?” I asked, thinking to myself that he must be retired at this age.
He answered, “Even if I would live another lifetime, I wouldn’t be done learning.” That sentence didn’t register until much later in life.
The congregation was a mix of all ages, and everyone was responding to the rabbi enthusiastically. I was handed a prayerbook, and someone was calling out the page numbers. Soon I found myself reading a song that I’d be reading every Shabbat from then on:
“Ve-shamru v’nei Yisrael et ha-Shabbat, la’asot et ha-Shabbat le-dorotam berit olam. Bei-ni u-vein b’nei Yisrael ot hi le-olam, ki shei-shet ya-mim ah-sah A-do-nai, et ha-sha-mayim ve-et ha-aretz uva-yom ha-shevi’i shavat va-yi-nafash.”
“And the Children of Israel observed the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath for their generations an eternal covenant. Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever, that in six days did G‑d make the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”
I didn’t understand Hebrew, but between my Arabic and the English translation, I could understand the words. “Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever.” It was true. By then, my tears were streaming down.
I met a few people over Kiddush, including an African Falasha gentleman and an Egyptian couple who, when they learned of my birthplace, asked me in Arabic, “Do you speak Arabic?” I felt like saying, “Shush, the Jews are here!”
After the Kiddush, Dr. Block invited me to his home for lunch. I wasn’t used to accepting too much from people, so I politely declined, but he said, “We’re having several guests, and one more won’t be a bother. My wife makes delicious chicken.”
I gave him a big smile and told him it would be my pleasure.
At Dr. Block’s home, there were around 10 people at that table, a mix of students and professionals. The conversation was lively, and people were encouraged to ask challenging questions. Later, we read parts of a story about a queen named Esther and how she strived to save her people from an evil man who wanted to destroy the Jews. It reminded me of the systematic anti-Jewish indoctrination I grew up with. We didn’t finish the story of Esther, and I wondered whether the Jews were saved in the end.
Dr. Block was a great host. He walked me to the door and thanked me for coming over. I told him it felt like I’d done this before-it was weird. He said, “It’s not hard to believe. Every Jew is born with a little Torah and a little menorah inside.” He nudged me with his shoulder and said, “All it takes is for another Jew to bump into him to light it up.”
When I got home, I waited until after sunset to turn my computer on, like I was advised, and I started searching until I found “The Book of Esther.” I devoured the story until the end, sighing with relief that G‑d had saved the Jews from the plot of those who wanted their destruction. I felt a sense of ownership of my newfound Jewish identity, and decided I wanted to experience Shabbat some more. I spoke with my employer, and I started observing Shabbat regularly.
A few months later, I moved to Toronto for further university studies. I started going to shul there too, and I studied at the Lubavitch yeshivah every Tuesday to learn more about my newfound background. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I also taught myself Hebrew, and became more observant of Shabbat laws. Life started to have more meaning for me, and I felt comfortable telling my friends and family I was a Jew.
Initially, my family was tolerant of my Jewish involvement, viewing it as a passing phase. Then my mother started to become more religious as a Muslim. I learned that she had started to cover her hair after my aunt died in a car accident. As she became more observant, she started attacking me with the same words and phrases Muslims use against Jews. My mother’s extreme religious level clashed with my father’s anti-religious beliefs, and they eventually divorced.
I didn’t fare well with my father, either. Once, while we were discussing how terrorism and crime was becoming out of control in the Middle East, I asked, “Why is the life of an Israeli soldier fighting for his people worth less than that of a terrorist civilian aiming to kill and maim others because he was told to do so by a fanatic?” My dad himself had taught me that fanatics brainwash children into becoming suicide bombers, but when the topic involved Jews, the narrative suddenly changed. He called me a Zionist and threatened to remove me from his will.
One day, a rabbi told me that since I didn’t have physical proof of my Jewish claims, and my family had been outside of Jewish life for a few generations, I’d have to convert. I had a difficult time wrapping my head around the idea of conversion. My family didn’t want to speak with me, I had shed the skin I’d worn for the past 26 years of my life to become a completely different person-and now I had to convert? I reminded myself that deep inside, the main reason I wanted to be Jewish was to marry a Jewish girl and continue the family line.
I decided to take the plunge and went to the Beit Din in Toronto. We started the process, and later I was advised to spend some time at a yeshivah in Israel. I went to Israel and fell in love with the land and the people I had been told were “animals” and “killers.” I found a genuine family of Jews from all around the world. Jews of all colors and nationalities, Jews who were creative, innovative, accepting and loving . . . just like the first Jew I encountered at UWO.
After three years of learning Jewish law and philosophy, I was invited for an interview with the Beit Din of Rav Nissim Karelitz. I was tested thoroughly on various topics of law, and I passed flawlessly. I was officially accepted as a member of the Jewish people. My dream finally came true-I could marry and have Jewish children, as Jewish as everyone else.
On August 6, 2014-the day right after Tisha b’Av-I made my way to a Second Temple-period mikvah by the Western Wall in preparation for my wedding ceremony.
It was a beautiful summer day in Nes Harim, at the outskirts of Jerusalem, overlooking the Judean hills. Our guests included close friends from Israel, Canada, the United States, Finland, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. My yeshivah rabbis, classmates and business associates also attended. Rabbi Israel Weisel officiated.
My bride Linda and I came from different sides of the planet, both geographically and culturally. Linda grew up the daughter of a Lutheran priest in Finland, and I a secular Muslim in Kuwait, but after our individual journeys to Judaism, this was more than we could both have dreamed of.
Today, I live in Jerusalem with my wife, where we plan to raise a family and build a Jewish home for generations to come, continuing where my grandmother left off.

Yazd, Iran - Iran's Jewish Community Finds Greater Acceptance Under President Rouhani

In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, Iranian Jews men enter the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles south of capital Tehran. Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, Iranian Jews men enter the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles south of capital Tehran. Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Yazd, Iran - More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimage like many others in the Islamic Republic - until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes.
Iran, a home for Jews for more than 3,000 years, has the Middle East’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel, a perennial foe of the country. But while Iran’s Jews in recent years had their faith continually criticized by the country’s previous governments, they’ve found new acceptance under moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
“The government has listened to our grievances and requests. That we are being consulted is an important step forward,” said Homayoun Samiah, leader of the Tehran Jewish Association. “Under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nobody was listening to us. Our requests fell on deaf ears.”
Most of Iran’s 77 million people are Shiite Muslims and its ruling establishment is led by hard-line clerics who preach a strict version of Islam. Many Jews fled the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Jews linked to Israel afterward were targeted. Today, estimates suggest some 20,000 Jews remain in the country.
Tensions grew under Ahmadinejad, who repeatedly called the Holocaust “a myth” and even sponsored an international conference in 2006 to debate whether the World War II genocide of Jews took place. Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi once accused Jews as whole of being drug dealers.
But since Rouhani took office last year, Jews say they have been heartened by the support they’ve received. His government agreed to allow Jewish schools to be closed on Saturdays to mark Shabbat, the day of rest. Rouhani also allocated the equivalent of $400,000 to a Jewish charity hospital in Tehran and invited the country’s only Jewish lawmaker to accompany him to the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year.
In this Nov, 2014 combo image made up of 8 photos, Iranian Jews pose for photographs holding a painting of Moses with "The Ten Commandments," after prayers at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)In this Nov, 2014 combo image made up of 8 photos, Iranian Jews pose for photographs holding a painting of Moses with "The Ten Commandments," after prayers at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
“We were fearful in the `80s. We were feeling the pressure. Now, we are not concerned anymore. We feel secure and enjoy freedoms,” said Mahvash Kohan, a female Jewish pilgrim who came to Yazd from Shiraz. “In the past, Israel and others were providing incentives such as housing that lured some Jews. Now, it’s not like that. And Iranian Jews have better living and working conditions in Iran. So, no one is willing to leave now.”
Still, human rights groups say Jews and other minorities in Iran face discrimination. Last year, officials in Iran’s presidency denied that Rouhani had a Twitter account after a tweet that appeared to be from the leader offered a greeting for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Iranian state television also has aired anti-Semitic programming.
Those taking part in the recent Yazd pilgrimage to the tomb of a famed Jewish scholar, however, praised the Iranian government’s new outreach.
“We’ve gathered here to pray and celebrate our Jewishness,” Kohan said. “We are proud that we freely practice our religion.”
In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man lights candles at the at the tomb of Harav Oursharga, one of the holiest Jewish sites in Iran, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man lights candles at the at the tomb of Harav Oursharga, one of the holiest Jewish sites in Iran, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man holds a Torah scroll at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man holds a Torah scroll at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, Iranian Jews pray at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, Iranian Jews pray at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man prays at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man prays at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man carries a Torah scroll at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. Iran, a home for Jews for more than 3,000 years, has the Middle East�s largest Jewish population outside of Israel, a perennial foe of the country. But while Iran�s Jews in recent years had their faith continually criticized by the country�s previous government, they�ve found new acceptance from moderate President Hassan Rouhani. (Credit: AP)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man carries a Torah scroll at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. Iran, a home for Jews for more than 3,000 years, has the Middle East�s largest Jewish population outside of Israel, a perennial foe of the country. But while Iran�s Jews in recent years had their faith continually criticized by the country�s previous government, they�ve found new acceptance from moderate President Hassan Rouhani. (Credit: AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, Iranian Jews pray at the tomb of Harav Oursharga, one of the holiest Jewish sites in Iran, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, Iranian Jews pray at the tomb of Harav Oursharga, one of the holiest Jewish sites in Iran, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)
In this Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man prays at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)In this Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man prays at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)

In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man carries a Torah scroll as women touch it at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)In this Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 photo, an Iranian Jewish man carries a Torah scroll as women touch it at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, in the city of Yazd 420 miles (676 kilometers) south of capital Tehran, Iran. More than a thousand people trekked across Iran this past week to visit a shrine in this ancient Persian city, a pilgrimages like many others in the Islamic Republic until you notice men there wearing yarmulkes. (Credit: AP)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Brigitte Gabriel story and Thanksgiving message

Congressional Tribute to US-Israel Security Alliance

The Nazi Romance With Islam Has Some Lessons for the United States Two new important histories look at Hitler’s fascination with Islam and Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey

Both Hitler and Himmler had a soft spot for Islam. Hitler several times fantasized that, if the Saracens had not been stopped at the Battle of Tours, Islam would have spread through the European continent—and that would have been a good thing, since “Jewish Christianity” wouldn’t have gone on to poison Europe. Christianity doted on weakness and suffering, while Islam extolled strength, Hitler believed. Himmler in a January 1944 speech called Islam “a practical and attractive religion for soldiers,” with its promise of paradise and beautiful women for brave martyrs after their death. “This is the kind of language a soldier understands,” Himmler gushed.
Surely, the Nazi leaders thought, Muslims would see that the Germans were their blood brothers: loyal, iron-willed, and most important, convinced that Jews were the evil that most plagued the world. “Do you recognize him, the fat, curly-haired Jew who deceives and rules the whole world and who steals the land of the Arabs?” demanded one of the Nazi pamphlets dropped over North Africa (a million copies of it were printed). “The Jew,” the pamphlet explained, was the evil King Dajjal from Islamic tradition, who in the world’s final days was supposed to lead 70,000 Jews from Isfahan in apocalyptic battle against Isa—often identified with Jesus, but according to the Reich Propaganda Ministry none other than Hitler himself. Germany produced reams of leaflets like this one, often quoting the Quran on the subject of Jewish treachery.
It is not surprising, then, that there are those today who draw a direct line between modern Jew-hatred in the Islamic world and the Nazis. A poster currently at Columbus Circle’s subway entrance proclaims loudly that “Jew-hatred is in the Quran.” The poster features a photograph of Hitler with the notoriously anti-Jewish Mufti al-Husaini of Palestine, who is erroneously labeled “the leader of the Muslim world.” The truth is considerably more complex. The mufti made himself useful to the Nazis as a propagandist, but he had little influence in most Muslim regions. Few Muslims believed Nazi claims that Hitler was the protector of Islam, much less the Twelfth Imam, as one Reich pamphlet suggested.
The Nazis’ anti-Jewish propaganda no doubt attracted many Muslims, as historian Jeffrey Herf has documented, but they balked at believing that Hitler would be their savior or liberator. Instead, they sensed correctly that the Nazis wanted Muslims to fight and die for Germany. As Rommel approached Cairo, Egyptians started to get nervous. They knew that the Germans were not coming to liberate them, but instead wanted to make the Muslim world part of their own burgeoning empire. In the end, more Muslims wound up fighting for the Allies than for the Axis.
Hitler’s failed effort to put Muslim boots on the ground still stands as the most far-reaching Western attempt to use Islam to win a war. Such is the judgment of David Motadel, the author of a new, authoritative book, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War. Motadel’s detailed and fascinating explanation of how and why the Nazis failed to get Muslims on their side is a must-read for serious students of World War II, and it has an important message as well for our own policy in the Middle East.
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To grasp why the Nazis had such high hopes for Muslim collaboration—and why their hopes failed—we need to go back to the great war that made Hitler the fanatical monster he was. One hundred years ago, a few months into World War I, Germany looked like it might be in trouble. The German offensive had failed to break through at Ypres after a month of bloody fighting. The waves of German soldiers stumbling through no-man’s land slowed to a stop. The kaiser’s army was exhausted, and its commanders suddenly realized that the quick Western Front victory they had dreamed of was impossible. Meanwhile, Russia was massing troops around Warsaw, and the tsar had just declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
There was one bright spot, though. On Nov. 11, 1914, the highest religious authority of the Ottoman caliphate, Sheikh al-Islam Ürgüplü Hayri, issued a call for worldwide jihad against Russia, Britain, and France. Suddenly, the Great War was a holy war. Surely, the Germans dreamed, Muslims would join their side en masse and turn the tide of battle.
In the early years of World War I the German Reich caught Islam fever: Muslims became the great Eastern hope against the Entente. Helmuth von Moltke, chief of the German general staff, planned to “awaken the fanaticism of Islam” in the French and British colonies, making the Muslim masses rise up against their European masters. Max von Oppenheim, the German diplomat and orientalist, described Islam as “one of our most important weapons” in his famous position paper of October 1914. Oppenheim wanted to spark a Muslim revolt stretching from India to Morocco that Germany could use for its own purposes. Germany just needed to get the message across, Oppenheim insisted: Russia, Britain, and France were the oppressors of Muslims, whereas the Germans would liberate them.
The German strategy didn’t work. Instead, Britain and France won the game when they capitalized on the Arab uprising against a crumbling Ottoman Empire. T.E. Lawrence, rather than the kaiser, inspired the Arabs. After the war, Britain and France sliced up the Middle East pie between them in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.
Germany tried once again to mobilize Islam in WWII. Astonishingly, in 1940 Oppenheim, at that point 80 years old, championed the same plan that had failed so badly in the previous war. Even more surprising, Hitler and Himmler warmly embraced the part-Jewish Oppenheim’s idea: They too thought that Islam would help bring about a Nazi triumph.
“German officials would always refer to global Islam, to pan Islam,” Motadel told me over the phone from his home in Cambridge, England, where he is Research Fellow in History at the University of Cambridge’s Gonville and Caius College. The Nazis spoke of the Muslims as a “bloc” that could be “activated” against the British, the French, and the Soviets. Their belief that Islam was monolithic led them to ignore differences of region, sect, and nationality, which helped to ensure the failure of their efforts.
As Motadel documents, those efforts were indeed considerable. Germans sought out imams who would issue fatwas for their side, and they told their soldiers to be especially careful of religious sensibilities when traveling through Muslim territory. They gave special privileges to Muslims who joined the Wehrmacht: The Nazi leadership even allowed them to follow Muslim dietary laws. Astonishingly, German forces in the East permitted Muslims to practice both circumcision and ritual slaughter, proving more liberal on these two issues than many Europeans are today. At the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the Germans murdered many Muslims because they were mistaken for Jews: They didn’t realize that Muslims were also circumcised. But Berlin soon corrected the error and cautioned troops in the East to make sure to treat Muslims with respect, since they were Germany’s potential allies. In December 1942 Hitler decided he wanted to recruit all-Muslim units in the Caucasus. He distrusted Georgians and Armenians, but the Muslims, he said, were true soldiers.
The Germans assumed that the Muslim world would naturally flock to the Nazi banner, since Muslims like Germans knew that Jews were the enemy, and since Germany was offering them freedom from France, Britain, and Russia. But for the most part, they were wrong. Muslims only embraced the Nazi cause in places where they were desperate to arm themselves against local persecutors, the Crimea, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. In most of the Muslim world, Hitler failed to attract a large following.
North Africa was a miserable failure for German recruitment. “230,000 Muslims fought for the Free French against the Axis from North Africa,” Motadel pointed out to me in our interview, far more than those who enlisted with Germany. The Germans had their millions of leaflets, but they were not the only propagandists in the field. “The Free French mobilized them with anti-colonial rhetoric. The British and French were the ruling powers; they had much more control over propaganda.”
The East was much more favorable than North Africa to the German recruitment drive. The Muslims of the Caucasus and the Crimea had many reasons to choose Germany over Stalin’s Soviet Union. “In the East the Muslim population had really suffered under Stalin, economically and religiously,” Motadel remarked to me. They had nothing to lose, they thought, by siding with “Adolf Effendi.” The Crimean Tatars took a notorious place among Germany’s most loyal and ruthless battalions, fighting both in the East and, near the end of the war, in Romania. The Tatars made the wrong choice: Stalin mercilessly deported many of them to his gulags after the war.
In the Balkans many Muslims turned to Germany in the middle of a brutal civil war, fleeing the rampages of the Croatian Ustase. The infamous all-Muslim Handžar battalion of the SS, organized in the Balkans late in the war, committed many atrocities. In Serbian areas, noted one British officer, the Handžar “massacres all civil population without mercy or regard for age or sex.”
The Nazis made sure, with few exceptions, that the Nuremberg laws could be applied only to Jews, not to those other Semites, the Arabs, nor to Turks and Persians—which paradoxically allowed certain communities of Jews in Muslim regions to also survive the Shoah. In Crimea, two puzzled officers of the Wehrmacht, Fritz Donner and Ernst Seifert, reported on “Near Eastern racial groups of a non-Semitic character who, strangely, have adopted the Jewish faith,” while also noting that “a large part of these Jews on the Crimea is of Mohammedan faith.” What to do? In the end the Reich ruled that the Karaites, traditionally seen as a Turkic people, could be spared, while the Krymchaks should be murdered as Jews, though both these Crimean tribes followed Jewish law. In the northern Caucasus, the Nazis decided that the Judeo-Tats, a tiny Torah-observant island in a sea of Muslims, had only their religion in common with Jews. In effect, they became honorary Muslims and were saved from death. The Karaites were close to the Muslim Crimean Tatars, and the Judeo-Tats also had deep ties to their Muslim neighbors. It was their supposed affinity to Islam that saved the lives of these observant Jews. In these cases the Nazi wish to cultivate the Muslim world even affected to a small degree their anti-Semitic policy—to the Jews’ advantage.
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Hitler cultivated many parts of the Muslim world, but he was fanatically enthusiastic about only one country: Turkey (the Nazis officially decided in 1936 that the Turks were Aryans). Stefan Ihrig’s brilliant new book Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination demonstrates convincingly that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s conquest of Turkey was the most important model for the Nazis’ remaking of Germany, far more so than Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome, which is usually cited as Hitler’s main inspiration. Turkey had taken control of its destiny in manly fashion, in proud defiance of the international community—if only Germany would do the same! So argued many on the German right, including Hitler, during the 10 years between Atatürk’s victory and the Nazi seizure of power.
The victorious Entente had vastly curtailed Ottoman territory under the Treaty of Sèvres after WWI, just as the Treaty of Versailles shrank German territory. But the new nation of Turkey threw off the victors’ shackles and, after Mustafa Kemal (later renamed Atatürk) marched from Ankara westward, the Turks won the right to a homeland in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. The Weimar Republic’s newspapers obsessively celebrated the Turks’ victory and endorsed their claims to the disputed region of Hatay (the Turks’ Alsace-Lorraine), portraying the Turks as more advanced than the Germans, trailblazers on the path to strong nationhood. “If we want to be free, then we will have no choice but to follow the Turkish example in one way or another,” the right-wing military man and journalist Hans Tröbst announced in the newspaper Heimatland in 1923. Nearly every item in Hitler’s playbook can be found in such Weimar-era endorsements of Atatürk: All Turkey had mobilized for the war; strong faith in their leader had saved them.
Ihrig argues that the Turkish treatment of minorities, both under Atatürk and earlier, was the true precursor for Hitler’s murderous policy in the East. Those “bloodsuckers and parasites,” the Greeks and Armenians, had been “eradicated” by the Turks, Tröbst explained inHeimatland. “Gentle measures—that history has always shown—will not do in such cases.” The Turks had achieved “the purification of a nation of its foreign elements on a grand scale.” He added that “Almost all of those of foreign background in the area of combat had to die; their number is not put too low with 500,000.” Here was a chilling endorsement of genocide, and one that surely did not escape Hitler’s eye. Shortly after his articles appeared, Hitler invited Tröbst to give a speech on Turkey to the SA.
From 1923 on, Hitler consistently praised Atatürk in his own speeches as well. Berlin, like Istanbul, was cosmopolitan and decadent. Munich, site of Hitler’s beer-hall putsch, was the place for a German “Ankara government.” When Hitler seized power in 1933 his Völkischer Beobachter cited Atatürk’s victory as the “star in the darkness” that had shone for the beleaguered Nazis in 1923, after the putsch’s failure. Turkey was “proof of what a real man could do”—a man like Atatürk, or Hitler.
The Third Reich produced many idolizing biographies of Atatürk. Six years after the Turkish leader’s death, in late 1944, a delusional Hitler was still dreaming of a postwar alliance between Turkey and Germany. He never got his wish. During the war, Turkey, as a neutral power, kept its distance from the Nazis until it finally declared war against Germany in February 1945.
In Turkey, criticizing Atatürk can still get you three years in jail, though the country’s increasingly unhinged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke the law himself last year when he called Atatürk a drunkard. While Erdogan wants to reverse his predecessor’s program for secularizing Turkey, he appears to be imitating Atatürk’s extravagant cult of personality along with his habit of demonizing his enemies. But while Atatürk disdained Hitler’s anti-Semitism, Erdogan is obsessed with Jews. The 2014 Gaza operation, he has remarked, was worse than anything Hitler ever did, and the Israelis have been committing “systematic genocide every day” since 1948. Perhaps if Erdogan had been in power in the 1940s, the Nazis would have found the Muslim ally they so desperately sought.
Weaponizing Islam has often been a temptation for the United States, just as it was for Germany. In its battle against Moscow, Washington recruited Islamic leaders after WWII, most famously Said Ramadan, a major figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States even smiled on Saudi Arabia’s funding of radical Islamist organizations, hoping that religion would serve as a bulwark against Soviet Communism. Then the Muslim Brotherhood killed U.S. ally Anwar Sadat, and its follower Ayman al-Zawahiri became, along with Osama Bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaida. We supported the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, until the Mujahedeen turned into the Taliban.
We are still trying to turn the Muslim world to our own purposes, but this time by supporting Shiite against Sunni. In addition to courting Erdogan, President Barack Obama hopes to make use of Iran as a stabilizing regional force. In his most recent personal letter to Ayatollah Khamanei, Obama seems to have made a promise: We will repeal sanctions, fight against ISIS, and preserve the rule of Iran’s client Bashar al Assad as long as Iran agrees to a deal on nuclear weapons. But what will the United States get in return? In the best-case scenario—which is far from assured—Iran’s bomb-making abilities will be hindered by the deal they sign. But even an Iran without the bomb cannot be relied on to make the Middle East less conflict-riven, unless we are aiming at the kind of stability famously mocked by Tacitus: They make a desert and call it peace. Iranian actions speak for themselves: support for Hezbollah, with its hundred thousand weapons aimed at Israel, and support for Assad, who has massacred his people endlessly and thrown massive numbers of them into concentration camps. Anyone who looks at the Syrian defector “Caesar” ’s photographs of the thousands of starved, mutilated bodies produced by Syria’s bloodthirsty optometrist-in-chief, which are now on permanent exhibition at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, a few blocks from the White House that has refused to grasp their meaning, will ask the same question: Don’t these Arab bodies, resembling so exactly the bodies of Jews at Auschwitz, have the same call on our conscience?
One thing is certain: If Khamanei and Rouhani are given a larger role in the Middle East, they will not serve U.S. interests, nor those of the majority of Muslims. They will serve their own interests, which are inimical to ours. We still have not learned the major lesson of 20th-century history so adeptly conveyed by Motadel and Ihrig: Western leaders who try to get Islam on their side through propaganda and favors will be unpleasantly surprised.