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Today's News

April 17, 2015





Hamas Threatens: 'We'll Choose When to Start the Next War'


 Hamas is still committed to the ceasefire it signed with Israel in August, ending its punishing 50-day conflict with the IDF, but retains the right to "respond with force" to any "Israeli violations," a spokesperson has said.

 Mushir al-Masri - an MP in Hamas's Gazan "parliament" and a senior member of the Islamist terrorist group's political leadership - told the Palestine newspaper Thursday that the various Palestinian terrorist factions were "closely monitoring" the IDF's major exercise this week close to the border with Gaza, and were watching for any "Israeli violations" of the truce.

 "The ceasefire was based on an agreement (by the Palestinian factions), and any renewal of hostilities will be with the agreement (of the Palestinian factions," al-Masri told the Hamas-aligned paper, adding that Hamas would up its own hostilities in response to "continued Israeli violations."

 "We are interested in maintaining the calm and in the ceasefire but, if the occupation [Hamas' common term for Israel] believes that the calm will be to its advantage and at the expense of our Palestinian people, it is living in a delusion and is mistaken," he declared. "The resistance (sic) is following developments along the (Gaza) border very closely, and it will be they who decide the zero hour for any future conflict."

 While Hamas has indeed maintained the truce with Israel in Gaza so far, it has also been openly preparing for the next round of hostilities, particularly by rebuilding its so-called "terror tunnels" to facilitate deadly infiltrations into Israeli territory, most or all of which were destroyed by the IDF during operation protective edge. Hamas has also been conducting a series of test-launches of its rockets.

 Military analysts say Hamas, as well as Islamic Jihad and other smaller factions involved in the conflict, suffered a heavy blow during the war - losing hundreds of men and most of their rocket stockpiles - but warn Israel's decision not to decisively defeat them means it is only a matter of time before the next conflict erupts.

 Meanwhile, Hamas cells in Judea and Samaria still remain active and intent on carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. 29 Hamas terrorists were arrested in Shechem in Samaria Wednesday, as part of Israeli security forces' efforts to crack down on the terrorist group. That operation followed the arrest of a Hamas cell which planned to carry out several major attacks during the Jewish festival of Purim earlier this year.

 And a senior Hamas official in Gaza called on Thursday for the abduction of Israelis, who would be used to release terrorists held by the Jewish state. "We tell the Zionist enemy: you are all a target for us and the resistance, we will fight you until we finally get rid of you and take as many captives as possible to free our heroes," said Khalil al-Haya, whose Islamist terror group de facto rules the enclave. "Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are," he said on the eve of "Prisoners Day" which Palestinian  Arabs set for April 17. This year it comes a day after Holocaust Remembrance Day. "And it is our right because we have no other way to free our heroes, and it is the Zionist enemy responsible for this state of affairs," Haya told hundreds of Palestinian Arabs listening.

 Haya said jailed terrorists should "rest assured" because terror groups led by Hamas' military wing Al-Qassam Brigades "will release you as they did your brothers" in 2011. The year refers to when Israel released 1,027 Arab terrorists, many with blood on their hands, is in return for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of those terrorists immediately returned to murdering Israelis.

 Ahmed al-Mudalal of the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza promised the rally that "the resistance will not falter until Israeli prisons are emptied of their Palestinian prisoners."

The Holocaust Averted: a Bittersweet Scenario


 Last year, the film "X-Men: Days of Future Past" was released to critical acclaim, in which the protagonist team of superheroes sends one of their own 50 years into the past to change history. It is just the latest iteration of the alternate history genre in fiction. But while the desire in that scenario is to stop a fictional genocide, there is an equally emergent counterfactual genre in historians’ literature. It is at one time fiction, and at another an analysis of an alternate reality that may have been history had it not been for some fateful moments.

 “I started wondering what sort of world would it have been had there been no Holocaust? Would American Jews still have connection of their heritage?” Prof. Jeffrey Gurock of Yeshiva University told Arutz Sheva.

 His new book, "The Holocaust Averted," imagines a world where Neville Chamberlain does not agree to divide Czechoslovakia. From there, history is very different. “There’s a growing literature of counter-factualism that’s been going on for about the last 50 years. It’s an important intellectual exercise because there are certain turning points in history to recognize and this can help identify them through alternate histories to see where things may have changed.” In Gurock’s view, “It raises serious questions about the world experience.”

 There are two major highlights to the book, where on the one hand Germany never goes beyond Czechoslovakia in its campaign of aggression (and eventually fails anyway). The other is that American Jewry is profoundly and fundamentally affected by the alternate timeline. "This is the end of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), a horrific moment in Jewish history and I give reverence to those kedoshim (martyrs) who were killed. Having said that, the World War II experience between 1941 and 1945 happens to be a turning point moment for American Jews. They come out of WWII not only angry about what happened to brethren in Europe, but more confident and determined.”

 But in The Holocaust Averted, a certain chain of events unfolds that results in a more pacifist Jewish community who are not jolted by the events of World War II because the US never enters the war and Germany never is able to implement the Final Solution. “In 1938, they are a very skittish, uncomfortable group. What would American Jewish life had been like if WWII had not taken place?” asks Gurock.

 “The other piece is that the State of Israel comes into existence in a very different way," said Gurock. “Whatever you think of their relationship with the White House today, American Jews have never faced a situation where the man in the White House is explicitly  anti-Zionist or anti-Israel. The bombing of the King David Hotel – in my book, not only is a British officer is killed but American peacekeepers are killed by ‘Palestinian Jewish terrorists’ and a little-known Senator by the name of Harry Truman says he can understand Zionism were Jews under an existential threat, but not in these circumstances. American Jews run and hide.

 "This is a very interesting dynamic. One of the things that gives us a degree of confidence is that in reality we have never had a President that says the Arab cause is the one that Americans should support.”

 In this scenario, Gurock imagines David Ben-Gurion having to turn to Stalin’s Soviet Union for arms. “It raises important questions,” says Gurock, who sees a very different dynamic developing not only among the more recalcitrant American Jewish community, but also between the American and Israeli Jewish communities in ways that are far more fundamental than what some observers worry about today. “‘The Zionists are playing footsies with Joseph Stalin,’” Gurock describes the reaction of one figure in the alternative narrative. “US Jewish leadership becomes reticent about supporting Zionism.”

 The fallout is also intensive on American Jews. “In 1949, Ben-Gurion made a statement that the future of the Jewish people is Eretz Yisrael and not in America. There was a real pushback from American Jewish leadership and he walks it back. In the book, he doesn’t walk it back and it creates a rift between US and Israeli Jews.”

 Gurock says the timing is not lost on him that the book was released just prior to Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israeli Independence Day. However, what might speak more to readers now is the alternative outcome of Neville Chamberlain’s negotiations with Hitler over the Sudetenland (of Czechoslovakia). When asked if he saw lessons to be learned in an alternative Anglo-French rejection of German aggression in that scenario and how the US should deal with the Iranians now, Gurock said he was not sure.

 “It’s fortuitous. Someone else interviewed me last month and asked about US Jewish relations with the White House and I told him, not two hours ago I watched something remarkable, that Bibi (Binyamin Netanyahu) was getting standing ovation from Congress. "This stands in stark contrast to how American-Israeli relations might develop otherwise.

 Gurock compares that with a very different history of presidents, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt does not break with tradition to run for a 3rd term in 1940 because there is no anticipation the United States might have to invest in World War II. George Marshall becomes president in the early years of Israeli independence and sees it as more pragmatic to support the Arabs who have oil “needed to fight the Soviets.” For reasons described in more depth by the book, the Americans deploy peacekeepers to British-controlled Palestine and are caught up in the Jewish insurgency against the British occupation.

 Other important changes to American history include no President Eisenhower (who without World War II, would not have earned the reputation that got him the Republican nomination in 1952), nor John F. Kennedy – his brother Joseph Kennedy Jr. becomes president because he is never killed in World War II.

 The major takeaway from the book – which requires careful reading to fully appreciate – is more in the impact on American Jews than on European Jews. Of course it is clear European Jews face entirely different fortunes without the Holocaust and in the diminished success of the German war effort. Many make their way to the Land of Israel from Germany and Austria under very interesting circumstances. But there is an odd effect on American Jewry, says Gurock. It is not that assimilation is not still an issue – it is that there is no choice in the matter in this dystopian America.

 “It’s not a nightmare scenario in that European Jewry is not destroyed. But for American Jewry, the community is being forcibly assimilated. It doesn’t have the building blocks of Jewish identity like the State of Israel.”

 Asked if Gurock thought that American Jews would have faced similar conditions to Enlightenment Europe, where assimilation was more expected of Jews trying to integrate into everyday society, Gurock says yes. “Emancipation in Europe? Yes. ‘Everything for the Jews but nothing for their Jewishness. “Based on what I said about American Jews and Zionism. The ability and the willingness of American Jews to be advocates on behalf of overseas Jews is contingent to the degree they feel they are comfortable in America.”

 It is not World War II itself or the probable cultural-political crises with the nascent State of Israel that Gurock expected would have been the community’s major challenge, but the Jewish lack of fortitude and determination that the modern community has benefited from since the end of World War II. “My dystopian image is of a very frightened Jewry. This is a Jewry that feels itself under pressure.”

 To purchase The Holocaust Averted, visit the Rutgers University Press store.

Police Detain 82 Year Old for 12 Hours - Over a Parking Ticket


 Lest one think that failing to pay a parking ticket is not a serious issue, they should take a lesson from 82 year old Moshe Guterman of Jerusalem. Police came to his home last week, and hauled the grandfather of 40 – and great-grandfather of 13 – to the police station, where he found himself arrested and detained for 12 hours – all because of an NIS 1,500 parking ticket he had failed to pay, Guterman told Yediot Achronot.

 When police came to his door, they gave him an opportunity to pay, but Guterman explained that he had no cash available, as he was ill and had spent all his available funds on medicine. "They took me to the police station, where a doctor examined me and found that I had high blood pressure,” he said. “Then they sent me to a hospital where I was examined to see if I was healthy enough to go to prison. They found that I was, so they put me in the lockup. Altogether I was in police custody for 12 hours, without my medications, without food. I was completely ignored,” Guterman said. “Is this the proper procedure for an old man who has not paid a parking ticket?”

 Police said that they had no choice but to arrest him. “The individual was arrested because a warrant had been issued by a local court,” Jerusalem police said in a statement. “We sought alternatives to arresting this individual.”

 In its response, the Jerusalem Municipality said that instead of paying the ticket, Guterman “requested a hearing on the ticket, and failed to show up for hearings on seven different occasions. As a result the court issued a warrant for his arrest. The individual never sought to work out a payment plan with the municipality. If he does, we will certainly take his age and situation into account.”

Israel Museum Gifted World's Tiniest Bible

 By Israel Hayom

 As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Israel Museum will display the "Nano Bible," the world's smallest Bible, an Israeli innovation created at the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology. The tiny Bible will be displayed alongside the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are the world's oldest copy of the Bible, and the Aleppo Codex, a manuscript of the Jewish Bible from 10th century C.E.

 The Nano Bible is a gold-coated silicon chip smaller than a pinhead. It is 0.04 square millimeters, and 0.00002 millimeters (20 nanometers) deep. The 1.2 million letters of the Bible were written using a focused ion beam generator that shot gallium ions onto a gold surface covering a base layer of silicon.

 Dr. Ohad Zohar and Professor Uri Sivan of the Technion Physics Department developed the idea and the engineers of the Technion's Sara and Moshe Zisapel Nanoelectronics Center were responsible for the manufacturing of the chip and the development of the software that allows the engraving of the letters.

 The Nano Bible can be read only with a microscope that allows 10,000 times magnification. The Israel Museum will also exhibit a documentary on the creation of the tiny Bible and will enable reading the biblical text under a microscope.








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 Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost

By Don Canaan (Commentary)

This year marked the 29th anniversary of the return of the Sinai by Israel to Egypt--a day of mourning by many of the 2,000 settlers who settled and later were forcibly evacuated by Israeli authorities under the command of Ariel Sharon, from the seaside city of Yamit on the Mediterranean.

Yamit was former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's dream--a projected seaport and city of 250,000 founded on the Sinai sand dunes overlooking date palm trees and the blue Mediterranean--a populated buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the other side of the Suez Canal.

Some alternate historians say Moses and the children of Israel passed near the site of Yamit 3,500 years ago as they wandered for 40 years through the Sinai Desert on their way to the proverbial land of milk and honey.

Since April 25, 1982 only the whine of the desert wind weaves its currents through the crevices of destroyed homes, businesses and monument--a memorial to the young men who died during the 1967 Six Day war.

Christians, Jews and Muslims died during three Arab-Israeli wars and battles that took place in the Sinai in 1956, 1967 and 1973--Egyptian and Israeli--young people who fought and died in that desolate, forsaken desert wasteland.

The modern-day chariot carrying Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat hugged the intermittently green coastline of Sinai on its historic mission to Jerusalem. Israelis glancing upward into the clear night sky saw merely a jet banking gently to the northwest.

Official Israeli government policy was that the settlers had to be removed and the army came and forcibly removed the remaining diehard residents. The Jerusalem Post described the scene: Apocalypse had arrived in Yamit and in the dust and noise and destruction one could wander freely. Dozens of bulldozers and giant mobile air hammers were loose in the city like a pack of predatory beasts."

April 25, 20011 marked the 29th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Yamit and Sinai and a cold peace between long-term enemies.

That gift of peace silently glided overhead as the Sabbath disappeared and the stars appeared. At 8:01 p.m. Sadat's jetliner landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and the first minutes of a then potential peace came to the Middle East.

Old enemies became new friends. The crowds roared its approval when Sadat shook hands with Moshe Dayan. A person standing nearby, according to the Jerusalem Post, said Sadat told Dayan, "Don't worry Moshe, it will be all right."

The peace treaty between the two nations was signed on March 26, 1979 and on April 25, 1982; the events that had started on a November day at Camp David came to fruition. Sinai was returned to Egypt. Yamit was bulldozed to the ground. But Anwar Sadat did not live to see that day. He had been assassinated seven months before.



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