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Post  Admin on Sun 06 Oct 2019, 11:15 am

Newsweek Confuses Israeli PM with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander
BY SIMON PLOSKER  OCTOBER 6, 2019
https://honestreporting.com/newsweek-confuses-israeli-pm-with-iranian-revolutionary-guard-commander/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
The IDF’s Twitter feed has been having a bit of fun at the expense of the Iranian regime leadership. A clever meme caught the attention of, among others, Newsweek:

Does that look like Benjamin Netanyahu to you?!

In fact, the figure next to Khameini and Rouhani is actually Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force.
A pretty embarrassing error given that Netanyahu is one of the most recognizable leaders on the world stage and not something that you’d expect from a credible news outlet.

We contacted Newsweek, which promptly fixed the error and printed the following correction:

Correction (10/4, 2:30 p.m. EDT): This story has been updated to correct the identities of the men in the original meme.

Newsweek wasn’t the only one to get it wrong though. Spare a thought for the Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik, a fine purveyor of fake news and clickbait. Given the chummy Russian relationship with the Iranians, you’d think maybe they’d get it right?

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Pretty embarrassing when Russian propaganda outfit @SputnikInt can't tell the difference between the Israeli prime minister and the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force in an @IDF tweet. 😂😂 https://sputniknews.com/viral/201910041076959640-idfs-account-swamped-by-memes-below-tweet-mocking-mean-girls-of-the-middle-east-rouhani-khamenei/

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So unprofessional is Sputnik that it appears that it looks to actual media outlets such as Newsweek for its stories. This time it didn’t pay to plagiarize.

We aren’t going to hold our breath for a correction from Russian President Putin.
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Post  Admin on Thu 26 Sep 2019, 5:19 pm

https://honestreporting.com/just-what-is-the-jordan-valley/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
Just What Is The Jordan Valley?
BY PAUL SHINDMAN  SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
Jordan Valley
The subject of the strategic importance of the Jordan Valley comes up from time to time in geopolitical discussions and is a key issue in determining what future arrangements between Israelis and Palestinians will be.

The valley itself is a geological trough from the Sea of Galilee on its north to the Dead Sea at its southern end, nestled between mountain ranges to the west on the Israeli side and to the east on the Jordanian side. The Jordan River meanders down the center of the valley and empties into the Dead Sea, which, at its southern end, stretches the valley to make it some 200 km (120 miles) long and roughly 10 km (6 miles) wide on average. It is known as the lowest valley on the planet, some 400 meters (1300 feet) below sea level at its maximum.

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Historical Background
For four centuries the region was controlled by the Ottoman Empire until World War One when British forces took over. Modern warfare was still in its infancy and the area is rife with strategic heights that control the approaches not just to Jerusalem, but also the tactical routes leading to and from other regional centers like Damascus and Amman. The British army exploited those strategic areas to defeat the local Ottoman forces.

Following WW1, the valley, which had been a single geopolitical entity under the Ottomans, was split up the middle by the world powers. The British Mandate controlled the area to the west of the Jordan River and the eastern side fell under the rule of what would eventually become the Kingdom of Jordan. Thus, the term “West Bank” is literally the west side of the river and when Israelis talk about the “Jordan Valley” they generally are referring to the western half of the valley.

Jordan Valley map

The 1947 UN Partition Plan that called for Jewish and Arab states, assigned the northern half and the southern tip of the Jordan Valley to Israel. The 1948 ceasefire left Israel in control of those areas: the agricultural area from the kibbutzim at the south end of the Galilee to just south of the city of Beit She’an and the southern end of the Dead Sea including Kibbutz Ein Gedi. The rest, including the West Bank, fell under Jordanian control where between 1948 and 1967 Palestinian terrorists used those areas as a staging ground for attacks on Israel.


Related reading: Unspinning the UN Partition Plan That Created Israel

For Israel, the Jordan Valley historically has been a defensive source of deep concern. In the War of Independence in 1948, attacking Arab armies brought tanks not just from neighboring Jordan and Syria, but from Iraq, whose border is less than 350 km (150 miles) from the valley. This was also a fear in 1967 when the Arab states were threatening to annihilate the young country.

The status of the Jordan Valley changed dramatically when Jordan joined the fighting in the 1967 war, but was defeated. Israeli forces captured the entire West Bank of the Jordan River along with its strategic assets.

The valley, however, did have some positive breakthroughs despite the official state of war between Jordan and Israel. During the 1950s, the two countries reached an American-brokered deal to share the limited water resources of the Jordan Valley. While that agreement spurred agricultural development and fostered more off-the-radar Israeli-Jordanian cooperation, it also cut to a trickle the amount of water reaching the Dead Sea. More than half a century later, the two neighbors are now confronted by dangerously low water levels that have created an environmental headache on both sides of the border.

Qasr El Yahud
Christian pilgrims at the Jordan River baptismal site of Qasr El Yahud in the Jordan Valley
Advent of the Oslo Accords
The advent of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s for several years gave the impression that a permanent resolution to the strife appeared to be in the making. At the time, the issue of the Jordan Valley and its vexing security challenges was only one of the issues challenging negotiators. The Israeli position at the time was that it would retain security control of the Jordan Valley for 12 years, with the area eventually coming under full Palestinian control.


Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein shake hands as President Bill Clinton looks on at the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty in 1994.
A key geopolitical change was the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty. The two sides further entrenched water cooperation, resolved some minor border issues and Jordan absolved itself of any sovereignty claims over the West Bank. The peace treaty is supported by the government of Jordan, but disdained by many ordinary Jordanians.

That treaty was strained in 1997 when a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Island of Peace,” a park on the border that was originally Israeli land, but ceded to Jordan for peace. Seven young girls were murdered and Jordan’s King Hussein made an unprecedented condolence call to the families of the victims. However, many Jordanians at the time praised the killings and when the soldier was released from prison in 2017 he received a hero’s welcome.

The valley comprises both territories recognized as being under Israeli sovereignty and the areas captured in the 1967 war, most of which is considered Area C – under Israeli military control. The largest area under Palestinian control (Area A) is the town of Jericho with some twenty thousand inhabitants. The entire valley holds about 58,000 Palestinians and 50,000 Israelis.


Related reading: Do You Know Your Area A, B and C?

Jordan Valley: Strategic Value
Israeli security experts look at the Jordan Valley as providing “strategic depth.” Without the West Bank, Israel at some points is only 15 km (9 miles) wide. Although modern conventional warfare has changed, downplaying the fear of an armored attack from the east, the last two decades has shown a dramatic increase in the strategic threat of short-range rockets particularly from Gaza. The Hamas terrorist organization controls Gaza and does not hide its desire to take over the West Bank, nor its total rejection of the peace process.

Following the 1967 Six Day War, cabinet minister Yigal Allon proposed to annex most of the Jordan Valley as part of a plan to either return the populated part of the West Bank to Jordan or make it autonomous. There have been variations on that plan since, none of which have been taken seriously. In an apparent election ploy before the September 2019 vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex parts of the valley, but that failed to gain him more public support.


A view overlooking the Jordan Valley as seen from the archaeological site The Star of Jordan, near Beit She’an. Photo courtesy Israel GPO.
An assessment in 2019 by the respected Institute for National Securities Studies at Tel Aviv University noted that “the U.S. administration accepts the core demand of Prime Minister Netanyahu for freedom of action for Israeli security forces in all territory west of the River Jordan … in accordance with Israel’s security needs.”

In the United States, the Congressional Research Service prepares background reports on a regular basis for the Congress, detailing issues affecting Israel and Israel-US relations. One of those reports concluded that for the Jordan Valley “…Israel may not be willing to agree to phase out its presence—largely owing to recent historical instances in which Israeli military withdrawal from southern Lebanon (2000) and the Gaza Strip (2005) led to the entrenchment of adversarial Islamist militants armed with rockets that have hit Israeli population centers and remain capable of doing so.”

 



Operation Moses: The Rescue of Ethiopian Jews
BY DOV LIPMAN  SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
Ethiopian Jews
Ethiopian olim children in Givat Olga in 1985.
The claim that Israel is a racist country, made by various anti-Israel organizations, can be debunked by one non-military operation carried out by Israel’s security services involving the rescue of Ethiopian Jews.

Jews lived in Ethiopia from before the destruction of the First Temple when the Babylonian conquerors of the Holy Land exiled ten tribes. One of those tribes, which called itself Beta Israel and many believe stems from the tribe of Dan, found its way to Ethiopia. Many were forced to convert to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries but the community continued to secretly observe many Jewish traditions and holidays and, for 2,500 years they dreamed and prayed for a return to Jerusalem.
https://honestreporting.com/operation-moses-the-rescue-of-ethiopian-jews/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage


The Israeli-Egyptian Peace Deal
BY DOV LIPMAN  SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
Israeli-Egyptian peace
The Israeli-Egyptian peace deal changed the entire geopolitical landscape of the Middle East and has held to this day. By removing the state of war with the most powerful Arab country, the threat of a combined Arab attack on multiple borders dissipated.
But furthermore, it proved that peace between Israel and Arab states was and is possible putting paid to the description of Israel as a warmongering nation that seeks conflict. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence includes the following paragraph:
We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.
After ignoring Israel’s call for peace and launching four major attempts to destroy Israel militarily in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 (alongside constant terror attacks), Egypt became the first country to accept Israel’s standing offer for peace.
Geographic background
Some geographic background is necessary to understand the story.
The Sinai Peninsula, a huge land mass of approximately 60,000 kilometers (23,000 square miles) sits between the Mediterranean Sea to the North and the Red Sea to the South. It served as the launching pad for Egyptian attacks against Israel between 1948 and 1967. Israel took control of the Sinai during the 1967 Six Day War and held onto it despite suffering significant losses during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
https://honestreporting.com/israeli-egyptian-peace-deal-camp-david-accords/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage


The War of Attrition: The “War Between The Wars”
BY DOV LIPMAN  SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
War of Attrition
A helicopter waits to fly troops and equipment after military action on Shadwan Island, south of Sharm el Sheikh, on January 23, 1970 during the War of Attrition. Photo by Moshe Milner courtesy Israel GPO.
Israel is the only country in the world that lives in a status called “the war between the wars.”  Since it is surrounded by enemies who seek its destruction, even when not in official wartime, it is constantly dealing with small scale attacks from those enemies. The greatest example of this status is the three-year period from 1967 to 1970, a period which is now referred to as the “War of Attrition.”
One would have thought that Israel’s resounding victory over all the neighboring Arab countries in the June 1967 Six Day War would have given the Jewish state a few years of peace and quiet.
Related reading: The Six-Day War: A Concise Timeline
But this wasn’t the case.
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was determined to do whatever possible to win back the Sinai Peninsula which Israel captured during the war that ended on June 9, 1967. While the Six Day War was over, it wasn’t long until the War of Attrition began.
https://honestreporting.com/the-war-of-attrition-the-war-between-the-wars/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
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Post  Admin on Wed 25 Sep 2019, 11:43 am

https://honestreporting.com/the-independent-refuses-to-budge-on-arab-jaffa/?
The Independent Refuses to Budge on ‘Arab Jaffa’
BY SIMON PLOSKER  SEPTEMBER 25, 2019

A view of Jaffa, July 28, 2018. Photo by Menachem Lederman/Flash90
 

On September 17, The Independent published a story on the Israeli elections where members of the voting public were asked for their opinions on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It included the following:

In the Arab neighbourhood of Jaffa, Eliran Ben Iolo, 32, another Blue and White supporter, agreed: “It feels like it’ll work, because Bibi’s already lost it. Now you see he’s throwing all kinds of punches, not smartly and not with any kind of understanding.”

We contacted The Independent to point out that Jaffa’s Arab population is approximately 31% i.e. it has a Jewish majority and is not an ‘Arab neighborhood.’

An easily corrected error. Or so we thought.

In an email to HonestReporting, The Independent responded:

The article was not making a claim that Jaffa is a predominantly Arab neighbourhood. It simply sought to explain that the individual being interviewed was in a neighbourhood within Jaffa, which is predominantly Arab.

We followed up pointing out that the article text refers to the neighborhood,  not a neighborhood, implying Jaffa to be one geographical entity. If it is one geographical entity then it is demographically around 70% Jewish. The Independent’s ‘clarification’ may have been understandable if the article text matched its explanation. But it does not.

There’s a simple solution: Either remove the word “Arab” from “Arab neighbourhood” or accurately describe it as “mixed Jewish-Arab neighbourhood.”

With all these possibilities, you’d think that The Independent would do the right thing.

Wrong again.

This time, The Independent responded:

In any event, the article was a report of the reaction by several Israeli voters to the outcome of the recent election; the focus of the article was on their views, not where they lived. As the point in dispute in your complaint is not a significant one in the context of the article, I see no basis why we would be required to issue a correction to our article in this instance.

Given that the average Independent reader may well believe that all of Israel should be an Arab state, we believe that erroneously stating that Jewish-majority towns or cities within Israel are predominantly Arab warrants a correction.

That The Independent believes that the point in dispute “is not a significant one in the context of the article” and is actively refusing to make a simple correction speaks volumes about that media outlet.

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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Sep 2019, 10:22 pm

https://honestreporting.com/israelis-near-gaza-cope-rocket-threat/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
Israelis Near Gaza Cope With Rocket Threat
BY TRACY ALEXANDER  SEPTEMBER 24, 2019
rocket threat
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip are intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system on November 13, 2018. Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images
Walking through the streets of any southern Israeli neighborhood, the untrained eye could be led to believe that life there is no different to any other city or community in the country.

In fact, one might need to be alerted to the pieces of infrastructure unique to a region which, for almost two decades, has endured the threat of rockets being fired from Gaza, compelling residents to run for cover.

In Kibbutz Alumim, less than three kilometers from the coastal enclave, Israel’s well-known air defense system, the Iron Dome, can be seen sitting up on a hill pointing towards the sky, in full view, as residents mosey through their neighborhood.

Meantime, underground, Israel’s military is building a defensive wall against Hamas attack tunnels.

Life in the Sha’ar HaNegev region is anything but ordinary.

A thin barbed wire fence is all that blocks the view from Israel into Gaza, where now a thick cloud of smoke is all but permanent since those Great March of Return protests began in 2016.

One could be fooled to believe an Israeli child had neglected their kite in the garden, looking at it laying torn and deteriorating in a family’s back yard. Really, this is the remnants of an arson device flown over the border fence into Israeli territory from Gaza.

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While the first Palestinian rocket was fired from Gaza in 2001, the launches have increased after Israel withdrew from the Strip in 2005.

Since the disengagement, more than 13,000 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel.

In the most intense barrage, Palestinians fired more than 600 rockets in one weekend in May 2019.

So, who are the people living on Israel’s most active military front; where ordinary life goes hand in hand with conditions unimaginable to those in the West?

How do these residents contend with the reality of witnessing the carnage of the ongoing conflict up close?
“Normally I sleep through everything”

Noga Dulst (center) with visitors to Kibbutz Mefalsim
1:00 a.m. Monday:  Noga Gulst, 53, is asleep in her bed.

She lives with her husband, Shem, in the Kibbutz Mefalsim located about 1.5 kilometres from Israel’s border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Mefalsim was quiet that night, until Israel’s Iron Dome defense system began shooting down rockets launched by terrorists from Gaza.

The sound of explosions are all too familiar to residents of the Sha’ar HaNegev region.

The safe room inside her modest home is not far from where Gulst ordinarily sleeps. A small home is, in fact, fortuitous for a family accustomed to dashing to safety. A mere few steps from her bedroom, through the kitchenette and living room, will take her to her son’s bedroom, which doubles as a bomb shelter. The bedroom window is fitted with shatter-proof glass and a metal blind which is swiftly shut when the code red alarm sounds, to seal off the area. Every home along the Gaza border is outfitted with a room that doubles as a bomb shelter. Entire families may sleep here, sometimes for nights on end, during flare-ups between Israel and Hamas when the rocket threat is even higher.

But since, this time, the chilling booms of the missile interceptions weren’t preceded by alert sirens, Gulst doesn’t run for shelter. Instead, she tucks herself in for a good night’s sleep. While risky, it was, after all, the fourth such incident in the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, a very different scene was unfolding at a festival in nearby Sderot. Sirens blared across the city, prompting 4,000 people attending an open-air concert to run for their lives.

Gulst, for her part, is soon jolted awake by the sound of larger explosions.

“Normally I sleep through everything. But this time, the bombing was so close to us, that I actually woke up from it,” she said, referring to the Israeli military’s retaliatory air strikes.

Gulst and her husband earlier the same week had a similar experience, bolting to their safe room to seek cover from incoming rocket fire.

“Hopefully the [incoming rocket alarm] application on the phone will give us half a second before the siren and we go into the safe room inside the house. We don’t take any chances, If we are told go to the safe room, we are there,” Gulst emphasized.

Residents say the chilling sound of red alert sirens are designed to give a 15-second warning before a rocket is set to strike, although that may be a generous estimation. Gulst says the true timing is closer to 10 seconds.

“Whenever we go outside of the house, even when the siren doesn’t go off, the first thing I’ll do is check where the closest bunker is… so if the alarm goes off, I know where to go.”

This has become routine for the Israelis who live on the front lines of the conflict with Gaza’s rulers. But it’s a situation that Gulst says never gets easier.

“It’s fear for life. There’s no other way to say it.”
Gulst has for five decades lived in the Sha’ar HaNegev region, where she raised her two children, both of whom have now moved to other Israeli cities.

“They love the area, they would love to stay here, but both of them are traumatized and the only way that they can continue and try to live a normal life is to do it outside of the area.”

Nevertheless, Gulst is content with her decision to build a life in Israel’s volatile south, despite the rocket threat.

“It’s not something that you do very easily and we are here because we decided to stay. Someone needs to stay here. It’s in Israel. It’s even in the borders of ’67. There’s no argument that this is part of Israel. So, for us, this is life.”

Gulst, like many other civilians here, remembers a time when Israelis and Palestinians lived and worked together in Gaza; a situation she hopes will one day again materialize.

“It’s important to understand that we live here with the hope for peace, with the hope for change, with the hope that something will change in both [the Israeli and Palestinian] governments.” The problem, she continued, “is that when we left Gaza [in 2005] it was one sided. We have to do something that will change the equation of the fight; they’re shooting at us and we’re shooting back. They say ‘oh, you killed a person here so, let’s shoot at you.’ We need to change that [cycle].”
rocket threat
Israelis prepare to spend the night in a bomb shelter in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva, on November 15, 2012. Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
In order for things to change, Gulst said with a heavy heart, another large scale military operation will need to be carried out.

“Although [Gazans] are the underdogs, we are coming in less powerful than we should,” she contended. “If they were afraid of us, they wouldn’t shoot…. 5 to 10 missiles [at Israel weekly] and [the Israeli government would not] allow them to accept 15 million dollars [monthly in Qatari handouts]. So for them, every time they want money, they’ll shoot at us.”

In this respect, Gulst suggested that the ongoing “March of Return” Palestinian protests along the shared border were a sign of desperation.

“I think firstly, the people in Gaza are frightened of Hamas and [secondly] they see that the way to get paid and to get salaries and to get money is to work with Hamas,” Gulst laments.

Despite the violence, she believes that more needs to be done to improve the quality of life in Gaza, so as to empower its citizens.

Regarding the blockade on the Strip, Gulst assumes a more nuanced approach.

“Egypt is blockading more than [Israel], so why are they not against Egypt and just us?

Egypt can open [its borders] and let [the Palestinians] go freely back and forth. [Israel is already providing] solar [energy] and gasoline and they shoot at the truck driver that brings [it] and then we are to blame that [the citizens of Gaza] are not getting any [fuel].”

Related reading: The Gaza Blockade: An Explainer

Gulst believes the reality of the conflict is misrepresented.

“There are two sides to the picture and we are trying to do our best, but a picture of a child killed in Gaza is easier to sell than a child sitting in a safe room in Sha’ar HaNegev.”

When it comes to the danger of living under sporadic rocket fire, Gulst believes her life is at higher risk driving on Israeli roads.

“’We always say it’s [bad] maybe five per cent of the time. Most of the time, it’s good,” Gulst says, while providing a caveat.

“What I want is that 100 percent of the time it will be good in Gaza and it will also be good here. But they [Hamas] want that 100 percent of the time it will be bad here and they don’t really care for [their own citizens]. They care for the fight.”
Turning shrapnel into necklaces

Yedidya Harush (right) holding the remains of a Palestinian rocket
9:00 p.m. Sunday: Yedidya Harush, 31, is at the Sderot festival and witnesses the chaos unfold, which he described as “insane.”

The Qassam rocket threat has caused post-traumatic stress disorder in both children and adults. One-third of Sderot’s youth reportedly suffer from PTSD.

“When you are by yourself and you hear the red alert [siren], you just run and take cover inside a bomb shelter, next to a wall, underneath something. You feel some kind of a secure feeling, even though sometimes the object you’re hiding under might not be so safe. But when everybody sees such big crowds they [fear] that there is no place to really hide.”

Harush is a former Gaza resident, who was forced to abandon his home in Gush Katif along with nearly 10,000 other Israeli civilians when then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, in 2005, unilaterally withdrew from the territory.

Over 20 communities were uprooted, synagogues were left behind, schools and businesses were shuttered.

One year prior, Harush’s pregnant cousin, Tali Hatuel, 34, and her four young children were shot dead by Palestinians while traveling on a road leading to Gush Katif.

“When we [disengaged from Gaza] we thought there will be peace. It was an act of peace. And peace did not come. Only the opposite happened,” Harush says.

“It’s a shame and I feel bad to see [what’s become of the] place where I grew up. It was a jewel. I think the opportunity to grow and build the Gaza Strip is enormous… and I do, I feel bad to see how Hamas treats their people.”

Some of the once flourishing Israeli communities are now Hamas launching pads.

Harush is now raising his young daughters in the community of Shlomit, located about five kilometers away from the frontier. He chose to remain in the South out of a deep sense of purp
“It’s not like every day there are rockets. It’s once every few weeks. Yes, it’s not pleasant. It’s not normal to have rockets flying towards you,” he says. “But hey, let’s look at our lives from a historical perspective… we are living in our own homeland after 2,000 years of dreaming about it and we are able to protect ourselves. And ‘never again,’ from the Holocaust can only be a reality if we have our own homeland and army.”

Harush considers himself fortunate to be living on the front lines and believes his children will grow up to be better people because of his example.

“We are doing good and even though they throw rockets, we are not going to hate the other side. We are not going to talk about the other side badly. If we put our energy towards hate and negativity it wouldn’t take us anywhere,” Harush explains.

Instead, he and his wife Shiran collect shrapnel from Qassam rockets fired at Israel and turn them into necklaces.

The delicate pieces which have been melded into the form of love hearts, the Star of David and perhaps the most complex, the State of Israel, are a far cry from the aggressive and bulky chunks of shrapnel from which they came.

“The point is to do something that is good and beautiful, to show that there is still hope in our world. We take the worst thing and make it into this gorgeous piece of jewelry,” Harush says. After one of his friend’s homes in Sderot suffered a direct hit from a rocket, Harush collected the heavy pieces of steel and began creating from the destruction. “Our prayer is that one day we will run out of materials,” he says.

shrapnel jewelry
Yedidya Harush’s jewelry made from the remains of Palestinian rockets
Until such time, Harush remains baffled that the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected Israeli peace overtures and instead continue to pursue violence.

“If we opened the borders of Gaza, we would be murdered! And who is the controlling body in Gaza? It’s Hamas. During [Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day war with Hamas in 2014], Israel was letting aid into Gaza from the {Kerem] Shalom and Erez crossings. You know, [Palestinians] were firing rockets at the crossings and they killed Israelis. They were firing rockets at the crossing!” Harush emphasized. “They fired rockets at the Ashkelon power plant! This is the power plant that supplies them with electricity. You know, these are things that don’t make sense.”

Harush believes that Israel could do more to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that began when Hamas was elected to power in 2007, but only if Israel’s security is guaranteed. His qualm for now, is that other countries aren’t doing enough to pick up the slack.

“Look at what Egypt and other countries do for [the Gazans] and then look at what Israel does for them, while these are our enemies,” Harush noted, invoking the peculiar fact that the daughter of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh underwent treatment in a Tel Aviv hospital just weeks after the 2014 conflict.

Related reading: Focus on Hamas: A Brutal Terror Organization

Accordingly, Harush believes the anger of the Gazan population is misdirected.

“If their leadership was willing to do everything for them, was willing to give them welfare, willing to help sick people, was putting all the billions of dollars that they get… and really give it to the people because that’s where it’s really meant to be, and not go and build another tunnel or another rocket to kill other innocent people, then believe me, life would be a lot better for them. This is their government, not mine,” he asserts.

“When I pay too much tax, I don’t go and cry to the Palestinian government or the Jordanian government. I go to my own government. When I was kicked out of my home, I thought it was the stupidest idea… I pointed the finger at Ariel Sharon and said, you’re the one to blame. I blamed my prime minister.”

“Why should I move?”
Beverly Jamil
Beverly Jamil
9:45 p.m. Sunday: Beverly Jamil, 56, is at a local hospital on the night of the Sderot festival attack. She is a volunteer medic for Israel’s ambulance service.

“I saw people who came in and they were traumatized. Children, babies, parents, grandparents,” she recalls.

It has been only a few weeks since Jamil’s mother-in-law was killed by injuries sustained while running to a bomb shelter.

Jamil lives in Ashkelon, some 13 kilometers from the Gaza border. She moved there in 1982 from Manchester, UK. Because of the rocket threat, life in the city, where she raises twin daughters, has undergone a “180 degree switch” from when she first arrived at 18 years old, Jamil says.

“I feel like I’m a target. I always say when you go to these fairs and you have to shoot the ducks down to get a prize, well we are ducks. We are sitting ducks. Will the rocket come here? Will Iron Dome intercept it? Even the Iron Dome is [not perfect], because [the shrapnel has] got to fall somewhere.”

Jamil remembers her first date with who is now her husband, Reuven. They went to Gaza.

“I wish I could go back to ’83. There was an open border and you used to go through and you used to sit there and do your shopping and come home and do you know what? You used to feel safe there,” Jamil waxed nostalgically.

While she acknowledges the panic and resulting trauma during an uptick in violence between Israel and Hamas, Jamil insists she would never leave Ashkelon.

“It’s my home. Why should I move? This is where my family is. This is where my children grew up,” she asserts. “I’m very patriotic. I love my country. Do I feel safe here? Yes. When the [alert siren] goes off, you go into a different mode. Listen, we’ve been having it for 10 years.”

Jamil refers to the safe room in her home as “the mad,” an abbreviated version of the Hebrew word for shelter, mamad. Her use of the slang word in a certain way highlights the regularity with which it has been used. In fact, the safe room in her apartment is also the bedroom of one of her 21 year old daughters. This, she explains, is due to the fact that she lives in a newer neighborhood, constructed in the past two decades. In this way, Jamil feels she is lucky. The older neighborhoods, she explains, have a communal shelter on the ground floor of the apartment buildings.

“When we have ‘Tzeva Adom’ [red alert sirens] you can’t reach them in time, so basically, you go into your staircase and pray,” she sighs. “In my first apartment where we had the communal shelters, the only time we had sirens was during the Iraqi war and then we went into rooms that were blocked off with plastic and towels, because we thought it was going to be chemical warfare.”

Related reading: Terror Victims: Every Day is Remembrance Day

Some parts of Ashkelon, however, are particularly vulnerable during upticks in violence.

“The oldest neighborhoods have the shelters that are scattered around the streets,” Jamil states.

Jamil says that while she has always been concerned for her family’s safety, people can cope with the flare-ups so long as one is prepared and knows how to react.

“[My kids are] not traumatized by the rockets because me and my husband try to convey that as long as you get to the safe room, as long as you follow what you’ve been told to do, then hopefully you should be okay. If you’re in the car, get out of the car and lie on the ground with your hands over your head,” she casually instructs.

“I hope that one day we won’t be running from rockets. I’d like my children to get married and have families and know they [don’t have to be] worried about [whether] there [are] going to be rockets and go through the same drills that I’ve drilled into them.”
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Sep 2019, 4:05 pm

https://honestreporting.com/1982-lebanon-war-operation-peace-for-the-galilee/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
The 1982 Lebanon War – Operation Peace For the Galilee
BY DOV LIPMAN  SEPTEMBER 24, 2019
1982 Lebanon War
An IDF troop carrier flying the Lebanese and Israeli flags passing a group of women welcoming the soldiers to their Lebanese village. Photo by Kantor Yoel, courtesy Israel GPO.
The 1982 Lebanon War began when Israeli forces first entered Lebanon on June 6, in an operation named “Shalom Hagalil” – “Peace for the Galilee.” That name describes precisely what Israel sought to accomplish through this “invasion” – providing peace and quiet for Israeli citizens living in the Galilee, the region along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Descriptions of Israel as “invading” Lebanon present Israel as seeking to conquer enemy territory.  But once the full background is provided, a very different picture emerges.

Israel had lived in relative peace with Lebanon to its north, until 1968 when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) began to take root in southern Lebanon, using the location as a launching pad for terror attacks inside Israel.

In 1976, Israel began to assist Lebanese Christian militias who fought against the PLO. This relationship peaked in 1978 when, in response to the Coastal Road Massacre in which PLO terrorists killed 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, and wounded 71, Israeli forces entered southern Lebanon in order to establish a security buffer zone to keep the terrorists away from the Israeli border. The zone’s residents were mostly Christians and Israel began to supply arms and provide training for them.

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Bashir Gemayel
Israel’s primary partner in the effort to combat the PLO was the Maronite Phalange party led by Bashir Gemayel. Hundreds of Lebanese militia members began to receive training at the IDF Staff and Command College in Israel and Israeli leaders began to formulate a plan for the installation of a pro-Israel Christian government in Lebanon that would work to remove the PLO from the country. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 425 in March 1978 requiring all Israeli forces to leave southern Lebanon and established the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese government with taking control over the area, as opposed to the PLO.

Despite the presence of UNIFIL, the PLO terror attacks against Israel prompted Israel to respond, at times deeper into Lebanese territory. For example, on July 17, 1981, the Israeli air force launched a massive attack on PLO buildings in downtown Beirut, the Lebanese capital, in an attempt to prevent further terror attacks ordered and planned from those headquarters. Despite a US-brokered ceasefire following this robust Israeli reprisal attack, there were 270 attacks against Israel by the PLO from July 1981 to June 1982.

On June 3, 1982, Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, was shot and seriously wounded in London by terrorists belonging to the Iraqi-backed Abu Nidal terrorist organization. Despite the PLO distancing itself from any involvement in the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin blamed the PLO and its worldwide terror campaign against Israel and Jews, and used the shooting as a justification to do what Israel felt necessary for some time  – enter Lebanon to uproot the terror organization once and for all.

On June 4, the Israeli government voted in favor of a massive operation in Lebanon with Begin saying “this will prevent another Treblinka,” referencing the Nazi extermination camp which the PLO would want to set up if it ever could in order to eliminate Israelis.

The government set out four goals for the IDF going into Lebanon:

Destroying the PLO infrastructure in Lebanon, including the PLO headquarters in Beirut.
Driving Syrian forces out of Lebanon.
Installing a Christian-led government in Lebanon with Bachir Gemayel as president.
Signing a binding, long-lasting peace treaty with the new Lebanese government.
Quite remarkably, the operation accomplished nearly all of its objectives.

Israeli forces under the direction of defense minister and future prime minister Ariel Sharon, launched a three-pronged attack of southern Lebanon on June 6. Approximately 60,000 troops and more than 800 tanks, along with heavy support from fighter jets, attack helicopters, artillery, and missile boats, crossed the border into Lebanon in three areas. At the same time, Israeli armor, paratroopers and naval commandos sailed towards the Lebanese coast.

1982 Israel-Lebanon War
IDF soldiers advancing among abandoned terrorist homes in Southern Lebanon in 1982. Photo by Yaacov Saar, courtesy Israel GPO
Just to give a sense of the challenge facing the IDF in this operation, Israel had no choice but to attack three Palestinian refugee camps – Rashidieh, Burj al-Shamali, and al-Bass – that were used as PLO bases. Each of these camps was filled with networks of bunkers, trenches, and firing positions. Before attacking each camp, the IDF blasted warnings via loudspeakers, asking the civilians to leave before they started their air, artillery, and infantry assaults. Israeli soldiers had to engage in difficult urban combat in the narrow streets of these camps in order to ensure that no PLO leaders or fighters remained. The PLO terrorists fought vigorously but also used civilians as human shields, making the fight much more difficult for the IDF. It took Israel a full three days of fighting to secure Burj al-Shamali and al-Bass, and four days to secure Rashidieh.

Fighting took place in Ein al-Hilweh, another refugee camp used as a base by the PLO, where the fundamentalists shot any civilian who wanted to surrender when they heard the Israeli warnings over the loudspeakers. The PLO terrorists and other radical Muslims fought over every alley and house and it took the IDF eight days to secure the camp. The last terrorists fought from inside a mosque which the IDF had no choice but to destroy.

When, on June 14, the IDF reached the outskirts of Beirut, the Lebanese capital which housed the PLO leadership, Israel decided not to capture it by force since the heavy street fighting which would be required to do so would cause heavy casualties. The Syrians, who committed 30,000 soldiers to the war, joined together with PLO fighters to defend Beirut. So instead of trying to enter it, Israeli forces encircled and besieged the city while it bombed PLO targets, including trying to assassinate its leaders from the air. The siege continued until August when an agreement was reached in which more than 14,000 PLO fighters and 6,500 Fatah combatants left Lebanon under the supervision of peacekeeping troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. These terrorists relocated in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Greece and Tunisia, which became the new headquarters for the PLO leadership.

1982 Lebanon War
An Israeli Air Force Phantom jet overflying Beirut in 1982. Photo by Eitan Haber, courtesy Israel GPO
Despite the success in expelling the PLO from Lebanon and the arrival of peacekeeping forces, smaller Islamist militant organizations, mostly back by Iran, began to launch guerrilla attacks against Israeli soldiers, including suicide bombings. The worst were two attacks against Israeli security headquarters in Tyre which killed 103 Israelis. These attacks forced the IDF to move further south within Lebanon and hold a smaller buffer zone. The various small Islamic militant groups began to consolidate into larger groups and Hezbollah eventually emerged as the leading radical Islamic organization in southern Lebanon.

Despite the setback of the continued attacks by these radical groups, Israel had succeeded in expelling the PLO from Lebanon, removing Syrian influence from Lebanon and installing Bachir Gemayel as president over a Christian government. The next step was to be a peace treaty between Israel and Lebanon. But President Gemayel was assassinated in September 1982 making it very difficult for Israel to remain deep inside Lebanon and preventing the possibility of the signing of a peace treaty.

Lebanon War
IDF armored forces returning to Israel in 1985. Photo by Nati Harnik, courtesy Israel GPO.
Israel began to withdraw its troops in January 1985 and completed this process in June of that year, effectively ending the war. Israel did leave smaller numbers of soldiers in the buffer zone it felt it needed to prevent terror and rocket attacks against northern Israeli communities. Israel’s complete and total withdrawal from Lebanon would take place in May 2000.

It is interesting to note that despite the quiet which Operation Peace for the Galilee brought to the citizens of northern Israel, early in the war, a United Nations commission issued a report saying that by entering into Lebanon “the government of Israel has committed acts of aggression contrary to international law” and that the government of Israel had no valid reasons under international law for its invasion of Lebanon. In June of 2000, following the complete Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, the UN announced that Israel was in compliance with UN policy and resolutions regarding Lebanon.

The civil war between the Christian Lebanese and the Islamists would continue for five more years, ending with Syrian control over Lebanon. 850,000 Christians permanently fled Lebanon during the civil war. Syria eventually pulled its troops out of Lebanon in 2005.

The war took a terrible toll on both sides. Estimates range from 2,000-19,000 killed on the Lebanese side and tens of thousands injured while Israel lost 657 soldiers with 3,887 injured. Israel lost another 559 soldiers between June 1985 and its complete withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. 10 Israeli civilians were killed and 248 wounded from PLO and other terrorist shelling of northern Israeli communities from June 1982 when Israel attacked to 2000 when Israel withdrew.

In a horrific incident in September 1982, the Israeli-allied Lebanese Christian militia, known as the Phalangists, entered the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camp where an estimated 2,000-3,000 terrorists had remained, and massacred 700-800 civilians. Israel’s Kahan Commission concluded that the Gemayel Phalangists were directly responsible for the massacre and that no Israelis were deemed directly responsible. However, it did state that Ariel Sharon bore responsibility for allowing these Lebanese forces to enter the camps and not preventing the massacre, ultimately leading to his resignation as defense minister.

Operation Peace for the Galilee cleared the PLO out of Lebanon, providing Israel’s northern cities with a long-term respite from the horrific terror attacks which PLO terrorists had been carrying out and enabled them to live without fear of those attacks. But as often happens when the IDF agrees to withdraw from an area, the absence of an IDF presence in southern Lebanon allowed for the growth of a new terror organization, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which would eventually begin to terrorize Israel with its rocket arsenal.
Related reading: The Hezbollah Threat to Israel
Images Gemayel via Wikimedia Commons;
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1982 LEBANON WARBACHIR GEMAYELBEIRUTFIRST LEBANON WARHEZBOLLAHOPERATION PEACE FOR THE GALILEEPALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATIONPHALANGISTSPLOSABRA AND SHATILLA

Dov Lipman
Rabbi Dov Lipman, HonestReporting's Senior Manager – Community Outreach, was elected to the 19th Knesset in January 2013, making him the first American born MK in nearly 30 years. He rose to national and international prominence for his role in combating religious extremism in Bet Shemesh. The author of seven books about Judaism and Israel, Rabbi Lipman holds rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He moved to Israel from Silver Spring, MD in July 2004 with his wife, Dena, and four children. Since 2015, former MK Lipman has been a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel, a political commentator for ILTV and i24 News, and has focused on Israel advocacy both in Israel and abroad.
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Post  Admin on Fri 20 Sep 2019, 9:32 am

https://honestreporting.com/upi-scrubs-an-electoral-mess/
UPI Scrubs an Electoral Mess
BY SIMON PLOSKER  SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

Plenty of column inches have been dedicated to the Israeli election rerun. No doubt Israeli elections are complicated affairs but the least you should expect from the coverage is to correctly name the main political parties and players irrespective of the technical aspects.

United Press International (UPI) failed abysmally when it included this section in its story:

Unfortunately for the journalist who clearly hadn’t done his homework, this list was accurate… in the previous elections held in April 2019.

Since then:

Kulanu was absorbed into Likud as Moshe Kahlon rejoined his original party, thus not even running in this election;
Avi Gabbay was deposed as Labor leader after which the party ran jointly in this election with the Gesher party;
Tamar Zandberg lost her position as head of Meretz, which later joined with Ehud Barak to form the Democratic Union;
The Arab parties of Hadash, Ta’al, Ra’am and Balad reconstituted themselves as the Joint Arab List under the chairmanship of Ayman Odeh.
Clearly a factual error well beyond a simple typo.


Related reading: The Chaos of Israeli Democracy: An Explainer

In addition, the claim that the winning party’s leader is designated prime minister is also incorrect. The reality is that after holding consultations, President Reuven Rivlin will choose the party leader he feels has the best chance of forming a coalition.

Heading the party with the most Knesset seats doesn’t automatically mean that person will become prime minister. For example, Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party won more seats than Likud in the 2009 elections, but the make-up of the Knesset and resulting consultations led president Shimon Peres to assign Benjamin Netanyahu with the job.

Shortly after HonestReporting contacted UPI, the offending section was removed in its entirety.

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DISTORTED FACTSISRAELI ELECTIONSSUCCESSUNITED PRESS INTERNATIONALUPI

Simon Plosker
With overall responsibility for HonestReporting’s content and output, Simon joined the HonestReporting team in November 2005 following several years working in a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Jewish Agency and the Board of Deputies of British Jews prior to immigrating to Israel in 2001 from London. In Israel, Simon has worked for BICOM and as Managing Editor of NGO Monitor as well as serving for a short period in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Simon has a BSoc.Sc in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham and a MSc in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics.

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Post  Admin on Thu 19 Sep 2019, 1:18 pm

https://honestreporting.com/the-independents-clueless-view-on-israeli-elections/?
The Independent’s Clueless View on Israeli Elections
BY SIMON PLOSKER  SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

The disdain shown towards Israel by The Independent is obvious. While there is clearly a visceral and nasty attitude, the paper’s staff editorial (paywall) on the Israeli elections also demonstrates an embarrassing level of ignorance.

Referring to Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, The Independent says that he

is making some brave noises about constructing a “national unity” government, comprising his own movement and a variety of smaller left-wing groups, and possibly with the tacit support of Israeli Arab parties.

Oh dear. It doesn’t take a politics degree to understand that a national unity government by definition is one that comprises of parties from both sides of the aisle joining together. Blue and White is considered to be part of the center-left bloc of Israeli parties. That means that any coalition government comprising it along with smaller left-wing parties would be a center-left coalition, not a national unity government.

Amidst all of the complicated political machinations currently taking place right now in Israel, a national unity government, if it were to come about, would be based on Blue and White with Likud.

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National suicide – a liberal value
The Independent continues:

Although the liberal and pluralistic credentials of the Blue and White Party can be overstated – it remains opposed to the Palestinian right of return and supports Jerusalem as the undivided national capital – a Gantz premiership would at least mark a fresh start for Israel.

In fact, no mainstream Zionist political parties from left to right support the Palestinian right of return. This includes the Labor party and even the staunchly left-wing Democratic Union (formerly Meretz).

The right of return effectively means the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Is The Independent seriously suggesting that Israel is not liberal or pluralistic because it rejects a policy that would bring about its own destruction?

At least we now know that The Independent believes national suicide is a liberal value.

Aggressive territorial expansion
The Independent concludes by claiming Israel has

endangered the lives of its own citizens through an aggressive programme of territorial expansion.

The facts are that the Israeli government has done little to nothing in the way of promoting a territorial expansion program over the years. There have been three notable exceptions in the past few years – the new settlement of Amichai in 2018, the retroactive legalization of the existing Mevo’ot Yericho (2019) and Havat Gilad (2018) outposts – but Israeli governments have not had any official program of building new settlements. (Unauthorized outposts are illegal under Israeli law.)

So building new houses, schools and kindergartens to cope with natural growth within existing settlements is aggressive territorial expansion?!

The Independent’s editors evidently need a lesson in politics, history and geography when it comes to Israel if this clueless staff editorial is anything to go by.

Let The Independent know what you think. Send your considered comments to letters@independent.co.uk
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Post  Admin on Wed 18 Sep 2019, 7:49 pm

https://honestreporting.com/upi-scrubs-an-electoral-mess/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
UPI Scrubs an Electoral Mess
BY SIMON PLOSKER  SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

Plenty of column inches have been dedicated to the Israeli election rerun. No doubt Israeli elections are complicated affairs but the least you should expect from the coverage is to correctly name the main political parties and players irrespective of the technical aspects.

United Press International (UPI) failed abysmally when it included this section in its story:

Unfortunately for the journalist who clearly hadn’t done his homework, this list was accurate… in the previous elections held in April 2019.

Since then:

Kulanu was absorbed into Likud as Moshe Kahlon rejoined his original party, thus not even running in this election;
Avi Gabbay was deposed as Labor leader after which the party ran jointly in this election with the Gesher party;
Tamar Zandberg lost her position as head of Meretz, which later joined with Ehud Barak to form the Democratic Union;
The Arab parties of Hadash, Ta’al, Ra’am and Balad reconstituted themselves as the Joint Arab List under the chairmanship of Ayman Odeh.
Clearly a factual error well beyond a simple typo.


Related reading: The Chaos of Israeli Democracy: An Explainer
In addition, the claim that the winning party’s leader is designated prime minister is also incorrect. The reality is that after holding consultations, President Reuven Rivlin will choose the party leader he feels has the best chance of forming a coalition.

Heading the party with the most Knesset seats doesn’t automatically mean that person will become prime minister. For example, Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party won more seats than Likud in the 2009 elections, but the make-up of the Knesset and resulting consultations led president Shimon Peres to assign Benjamin Netanyahu with the job.

Shortly after HonestReporting contacted UPI, the offending section was removed in its entirety.
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DISTORTED FACTSISRAELI ELECTIONSSUCCESSUNITED PRESS INTERNATIONALUPI

Simon Plosker
With overall responsibility for HonestReporting’s content and output, Simon joined the HonestReporting team in November 2005 following several years working in a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Jewish Agency and the Board of Deputies of British Jews prior to immigrating to Israel in 2001 from London. In Israel, Simon has worked for BICOM and as Managing Editor of NGO Monitor as well as serving for a short period in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Simon has a BSoc.Sc in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham and a MSc in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics.
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Post  Admin on Mon 09 Sep 2019, 7:29 pm

BBC Imagery Implies Israeli Airstrikes Target Children
BY SIMON PLOSKER  SEPTEMBER 9, 2019
https://honestreporting.com/bbc-imagery-implies-israeli-airstrikes-target-children/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
Unidentified aircraft, widely believed to be Israeli, carried out overnight airstrikes on targets belonging to Iran-backed militias near Syria’s border with Iraq.

The BBC‘s report states:

It was not clear who carried out the overnight strikes in and around the town of Albu Kamal.

But Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks on Iranian-linked targets in Syria during the country’s civil war.

It has sought to thwart what it calls Iran’s “military entrenchment” in Syria and shipments of Iranian weapons to militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Having made it clear that Israel is the prime suspect (which is entirely possible, even probable), this text is followed by a video. Here is a screenshot of the video image:

An emotive and disturbing image of a Kurdish child disfigured by an airstrike.

But when included just after text suggesting that Israel has just carried out an airstrike, it is clear what the average reader will take away.

The BBC report itself refers to the airstrike’s targets as “bases, arms depots and vehicles” belonging to a militia. This was certainly an airstrike aimed at a specifically military target and not civilians.

Yet a child’s face is what we see and not those of the “wounded fighters” who were the actual targets of the airstrike.

Whether Israel is responsible for this incident, it’s air force never deliberately targets civilians. The BBC’s placement of its graphic video image is inflammatory, misleading and inappropriate.

It belongs in a story concerning airstrikes that Syrian government and Russian forces have carried out against unarmed civilians during the Syrian civil war, not one about an alleged Israeli attack on military targets.

Even if the placement of this video is due to an algorithm rather than human editing, the video should be removed and we’ve asked the BBC to do just that.

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BBCDISTORTED FACTSISRAELI AIRSTRIKESSYRIA

Simon Plosker
With overall responsibility for HonestReporting’s content and output, Simon joined the HonestReporting team in November 2005 following several years working in a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Jewish Agency and the Board of Deputies of British Jews prior to immigrating to Israel in 2001 from London. In Israel, Simon has worked for BICOM and as Managing Editor of NGO Monitor as well as serving for a short period in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Simon has a BSoc.Sc in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham and a MSc in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics.
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Post  Admin on Sun 08 Sep 2019, 12:27 pm

https://honestreporting.com/duelng-journalism-news-junkies/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
The Dueling Forms of Journalism News Junkies Need to Know
BY PESACH BENSON  SEPTEMBER 8, 2019
news junkie
You know you’re a news junkie if you’re “just” checking headlines on your phone every morning before even getting out of bed. You set your alarm earlier than you need because your morning routine must include lying in the dark with your phone, jumping back and forth between Twitter and your go-to news sites.

Yeah, you know the so-called “news cycle” is a myth because news never stops happening, and neither does the technology delivering it. Here you are, living proof, lying in bed at 5:15 AM getting “caught up” on everything since your “one last look” before bedtime. The rest of the house is blissfully asleep; the distractions of companions, kids and colleagues will come later. Right now, you’re snuggling with a warm glowing phone.

If you’re a news junkie, that’s what your “me-time” might be looking like.

This article is part of a series on news literacy educating readers how to better judge news reports.

You’re Not a News Junkie, But . . .
Most of us aren’t  such extreme news junkies, but we are drowning in headlines. We don’t know how to keep up with what we really need to know. And given a choice of waking up early for news or the rare pleasure of sleeping in, most of us would go for the shut-eye.

There’s a better way.

With an understanding of the two fundamental approaches to journalism, we can use our news time more effectively and become better informed. The two approaches are known as “journalism of verification” and “journalism of assertion.” Both have a legitimate time and place, but you have to recognize them in order to better judge a report.

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Journalism of Verification
This refers to stories where reporters proactively and independently break news, corroborate their information and demonstrate transparency about their methods.  It emphasizes accuracy, context, first-hand sources and original reporting.

In the journalism of verification, sources are eye-witnesses to the event or have first-hand knowledge of the issues they are discussing. Countervailing evidence is weighed, and conclusions are drawn by evidence, not by inference. Stories with layers of complexity provide more details to satisfy skepticism. Reporters add caveats to acknowledge gaps in what’s known that naturally curious news audiences would be wondering.

Adding color to a report not only makes it more readable, it helps build peoples’ trust in the reporter. Descriptive sentences fill out a scene in the mind’s eye of homes reduced matchsticks by a hurricane, the sound of a shock trauma doctor yelling urgent instructions to emergency room personnel, or the acidic effects of tear gas lingering in the air after a riot. Color builds credibility because it conveys to the reader that the reporter was there.
reading news
Accuracy, context and first-hand sources.
Quality.

Those are the characteristics of the journalism of verification.

Related reading: The 7 News Habits You Need to Develop

Note that getting access, vetting sources, verifying facts and making sense of context requires time — a very precious commodity for both journalists and their audiences — news junkies or not. After all:

Other papers are pursuing the same story.
Editors can feel pressured by public demand for information on major stories.
Reporters are also juggling other assignments.
Publishers, editors and reporters all want to share in the glory of a scoop.
Deadlines for print, television and radio are less flexible than online.
In the journalism of verification, being first to report a story isn’t necessarily the goal. But it doesn’t discount the need for speed. You don’t have to be a news junkie to appreciate being alerted ASAP.

Journalism of Assertion
This refers to reports where news is attributed, not vetted. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel, in their book, Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload, describe the journalists, hosts and interviewers as “operating more as conduits and enablers.” Second-hand information is treated as valid and on the record if it can be attributed to, say, government officials, non-governmental organizations, or other news reports. In a sense, the journalist is just a reactive stenographer.

Much of it has to do with the nature of 24-hour news, where interview formats and time restrictions work against fact-checking. Reporters aren’t always knowledgable enough to know when the interviewee is playing fast and loose with the facts.

And when it comes to breaking news, the earliest reports can’t offer much beyond sketchy details along with qualifying expressions like these:
“according to”
“is said to be”
“per reports”
“allegedly”
“may have”
In a  breaking news situation like an active shooter,  a dramatic court ruling, a celebrity’s death, or the rescue of hikers missing in the wilderness, the immediacy matters more. It’s understood that details will emerge in the coming hours and days. For now,  the priority is to simply get the story out. In moments like that, everyone really is a news junkie.

Related reading: 3 Tips to Avoid News Burnout

It should be noted that some reports can contain elements of both approaches. Verification and assertion aren’t mutually exclusive approaches. It’s perfectly reasonable for a reporter to cite other sources and add some original first-hand info too.

But reporters going down the road of assertion journalism must be careful. The reports they cite must be accurate, balanced and fair, and the conclusions they draw must be borne out by the original story. It’s always preferable to check out the original story and judge it yourself.

If the original report for example, distorts the facts, lacks context, is imbalanced in some way, or has its own shortcomings in the manner of transparency,

If the original story was based on anonymous sources, the secondary journalist must take into account issues such as:

The significance of the information.
How transparent the original report in explaining the credibility of the source, his motives, and reasons for anonymity.
Attempts at further independent corroboration.
If a mistake in the original story requires a correction, the secondary journalist will need to do likewise. Unfortunately, correcting the record may take time, and most people never see the correction

Anonymous sources raise a lot questions about transparency.

And one of the most-tried ways of getting propaganda into the mainstream news is publish a “story” on a web site that looks and feels authoritative, seed it around social media and hope it gets picked up by a careless reporter working for a respectable paper.

So whether or not you’re a news junkie, be smart. Find the original report and judge it for yourself.

question marksNews Junkie or Connoisseur?
It isn’t difficult to identify whether an individual story is based on verification or assertion journalism. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Who exactly is the source of information here? A key player with first-hand knowledge? A spokesperson with second-hand knowledge? A respectable newspaper?
Is the original article accurate, fair, balanced and well-sourced?
Did the second article add any new information not in the original story?
If the story includes anonymous sources, what exactly is disclosed about who they are, how they are in a position to speak authoritatively, and why they are staying anonymous?
By identifying whether a report is based on on the journalism of verification or assertion, we can more quickly gauge whether it is worth our time. Over time, we will be better able to spot reliable reporters worth our time.  We can be better informed.  Rather than settle for being disdained news junkies, we can all become proud news connoisseurs.

 

Featured image: via Bosland Corp.; lady CC BY-NC Thom Sanders; TV CC0 Pixabay; question marks CC0 Pixabay;
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HR Prompts Newsweek to Correct its Hezbollah History
BY SIMON PLOSKER  SEPTEMBER 8, 2019
Writing about the recent flareup with Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, Newsweek‘s Jonathan Broder stated

This was, however, incorrect.
We contacted Newsweek and tweeted Broder
Simon Plosker
@SimonPlosker
 · Sep 4, 2019
Replying to @BroderJonathan @Newsweek
You write that the Sept 1 exchanges were "the first such encounter since the two sides fought a month-long war in 2006." What about Jan 2015 when Hezbollah killed 2 Israeli soldiers in a cross-border attack and Israel retaliated with shelling? https://www.timesofisrael.com/two-soldiers-killed-7-hurt-in-attack-on-lebanon-border/

Two soldiers killed, 7 hurt in attack near Lebanon border
Victims named as Yochai Kalengel, Dor Nini; Hezbollah claims revenge strike on Israeli patrol; IDF bombards targets in Lebanon in response, reportedly killing a UN peacekeeper

timesofisrael.com

Jonathan Broder
✔
@BroderJonathan
Thanks for that. Will correct.

1:34 PM - Sep 5, 2019
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Indeed, as we pointed out, there was a serious and fatal incident involving a Hezbollah attack on Israel in 2015.


Related reading: The Hezbollah Threat to Israel

The historical record is important as well as making sure readers understand that Hezbollah represents a constant threat to Israel’s security.

Thank you to Broder and Newsweek for the correction that now appears at the end of the article:

Correction (9/5 11.48 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the September 1 exchange of fire was the first encounter between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah forces since 2006. It was the second such incident.

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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Sep 2019, 3:37 pm

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Jesus Was a Jew, Not a Palestinian
BY EMANUEL MILLER  SEPTEMBER 5, 2019
Jesus was a Jew, not a Palestinian
Until fairly recently, the understanding that Jesus was a Jew was generally unchallenged. In recent years, however, a new generation of anti-Israel activists and academics are now trying to claim that actually Jesus wasn’t just a Jew, but a Palestinian.

First, let’s back up a little. The last century has seen many schools of thought aimed at forcing us to question our basic beliefs. Some of these have led to great advances: the beliefs that women should have equal rights, that black people should have equal rights, that homophobia has no place in modern-society. All worthy causes. Others have challenged long-held conceptions, that “drinking is manly” or that women should be paid less than men.
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One of the conceptions challenged in recent years is the almost universal depiction of Jesus as white. Given that Jesus is described as living in the Holy Land, this would make him a native of the Middle East. In other words, there’s every reason to be concerned that depictions of Jesus as fair-skinned are inaccurate.

If only things ended there. A radical core of activists now seem bent on co-opting “brown” identity and excluding Jews, thus denying the historical truth that Jesus was in fact Jewish.

So… was Jesus a Jew or was he a Palestinian?
For the benefit of anyone exposed to this false claim, a brief recap of history is in order:

Jesus was born in Judea, a client kingdom of the Roman Empire, and identified as a Jew. Jews living there at the time would most likely have described themselves as living in the Land of Israel. Anyone referring to “Palestine” in the first century C.E. would have earned themselves strange look, especially from the indigenous Aramaic-speaking Jews. The land was subject to all the religious laws in Judaism that apply in Land of Israel.

A century later, the area was renamed. After a Jewish revolt was crushed in the 2nd Century CE, the vast majority of Jews were exiled and the Roman emperor Hadrian subsequently had the region entitled “Syria Palestina” after the Jews’ ancient enemies, the Philistines, in an antagonistic move designed to demonstrate that the Jews were no longer owners of the land.

Put simply, an Aramaic-speaking Jew living a century before this change of name would never have called himself Palestinian.

Indeed, while the New Testament mentions Israel and the Jews repeatedly, Palestine is not mentioned even once. Take for example the second chapter of Matthew, which begins thus:

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews?’” “Indeed, it is believed that the cross above Jesus’ head bore the sign ‘INRI’ – ‘Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm,’ which means Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews in Latin.

As for Jesus’ appearance, while it’s hard to determine for certain how any specific individual would have appeared, some documentation does exist on what Jesus’ contemporaries would have looked like. The Jewish Mishna (Negaim 2:1) records one rabbi describing “The children of Israel – [may] I atone for them – are like cedar wood, neither black, nor white, but in between.”

The entrance of Arabs to the Holy Land occurred only some 700 years after Jesus was crucified, when Arab conquerors took the area. The people identifying as Palestinian today are Arab, and hence it is clear that Jesus, quite simply, was not a Palestinian or an Arab, but a Jew.

Who cares whether Jesus was a Jew or a Palestinian?
Jews, on the whole, don’t tend to think about Jesus very much. But facts matter. History matters. If Jesus was not a Jew, but a Palestinian, then that serves a political end, as it calls into question the legitimacy of the Jewish connection to the Holy Land while suggesting that the Palestinians have ancient roots there.

Far from being an innocent claim, the assertion that Jesus was Palestinian serves to invalidate Jewish history. This is particularly useful to political activists and politicians who seek to undermine the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel.

This precise issue erupted in 2013 when a Christmas message released by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian” messenger of hope. The claim came to prominence again in 2019 when, a few months apart, both congresswoman Ilhan Omar and activist Linda Sarsour asserted that Jesus was Palestinian.

In April, Democrat representative Ilhan Omar shared a tweet  which said: “Don’t they [American Christians] know we’re Christian too? Do they even consider us human? Don’t they know Jesus was a Palestinian?”

The following day, a New York Times op-ed written by Eric Copage, a former editor at the New York Times Magazine and ex-reporter for the NYT, called into question whether Jesus was white, as he is popularly depicted. In Copage’s 600-plus words, he found no need to acknowledge the basic truth that Jesus was Jewish. He did, however, make space to call Jesus a Palestinian.


HonestReporting
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@HonestReporting
Let's just get this straight: the author asks what Jesus looked like, then calls him Palestinian, and totally omits the fact that Jesus was Jewish?!

Apparently this claptrap passes for legitimate, quality opinion at the @nytimes.https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/reader-center/jesus-images.html …

Vintage illustration of the Good Shepherd with Jesus holding a lamb; lithograph, 1930s.
As a Black Child in Los Angeles, I Couldn’t Understand Why Jesus Had Blue Eyes
As Christians prepare to celebrate Easter, a Times journalist wonders how others first visualized Jesus as a child — and what those images mean now. Share your experience in the comments.

nytimes.com
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A few months later, Omar and Copage were joined by Linda Sarsour. In a Twitter exchange, Sarsour asserted that “Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth”, claiming that he was “described in the Quran as being brown-copper skinned with woolly hair.”
Bishop Talbert Swan
✔
@TalbertSwan
 · Jul 6, 2019
So, if someone said Hitler and Mussolini were white, would you debate them by saying “Hitler was German and Mussolini was Italian?“

There was no such place as the Middle East, an 1850’s term, when Christ lived.

What the hell does geography have to do with their Blackness? https://t.co/kejhem11n5 
Linda Sarsour
✔
@lsarsour
Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth and is described in the Quran as being brown copper skinned with wooly hair.

560
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When numerous people pointed out to her that Jesus was Jewish, Sarsour doubled down, responding: “Palestinian is a nationality not a religion. Your point is not negated. Jews lived with Palestinians in peaceful co-existence before there was a state of Israel.”

Was Jesus Jewish *and* Palestinian?
This point is central to the ‘Jesus was Palestinian’ argument. Those claiming that Jesus was Palestinian generally do admit that Jesus was a Jew, and don’t attempt to deny it. Instead, they attempt to claim that as nationalities and religions are mutually exclusive, there’s no need to be offended by the statement that Jesus was of Palestinian nationality.

Quite apart from the fact that Jews and Arabs living in the land over the centuries before the establishment of Israel did not simply leave in “peaceful co-existence”, the suggestion that a person 2,000 years ago could have identified as both Palestinian and Jewish is patently false.

In the face of such attacks, Jews around the world have been quick to oppose those claiming that Jesus was Palestinian. Following the publication of Copage’s piece, Jeremy Burton, the executive director of Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council, tweeted his response: “Important to point out that no, Jesus did not identify as Palestinian. He was a Judean Jew and for him, the term Palestine was that of the Roman occupier.”

Writing about Sarsour’s tweets, the Jerusalem Post’s Seth Frantzman described the claim as “a modern day attempt at replacement theology: to replace historical Jewish connections to the land 2,000 years ago, recreating an imagined history of Palestinians in place of Jews.”

There is no disputing the fact that places where Jesus is recorded to have traveled and resided, such as Bethlehem and Nazareth, are now Palestinian or Arab cities. However there is also no disputing the fact that these places were Jewish when Jesus was alive.

As Seth Frantzman wrote: “There is no reason to repackage Jesus as Palestinian. He can be a historical figure from Bethlehem or Nazareth without being ‘Palestinian.’ Sarsour’s attempt to reference the Quran is interesting because she seems to not mention other aspects of how Jesus is described in Islamic theology. For instance, he is seen as a messenger to the ‘Children of Israel’ and an adherent of the laws of Moses. He is linked to the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes of Israel, as well as kings David and Solomon.”

Not a Philistine, either
A variation of this claim, that Jesus was actually a Philistine, also features as  a staple of anti-Israel propaganda, including the roundly debunked notion that Palestinians are actually Canaanites.

The idea that Palestinians are Philistines is equally false.

Unlike modern day Jews and Palestinians, the Philistines were an ancient, non-Semitic, sea-faring people, whose form of worship was unconnected to the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In other words, the Philistine ethnicity, culture and religion are all entirely different from that of modern day Palestinians.

The Philistine connection to the Israelites began when the former invaded and occupied a portion of the Kingdom of Israel in about 1000 BCE, but were later defeated by ancient Israel’s King David.

In roughly the seventh century CE, the Philistines were conquered by the Kingdom of Babylonia and subsequently wiped out as a distinct culture.

In other words, in addition to being culturally, ethnically and religiously unrelated to Jews or Palestinians, the Philistines no longer exist.

However you look at it, the truth is in no doubt: Jesus was a Jew.
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Emanuel Miller
Emanuel Miller is a Jerusalem-based writer who has previously worked for the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, and helped establish the English media department of My Truth, an organization that documents the experiences of Israeli soldiers while facing an immoral, cynical enemy. He regularly speaks about Israel, media bias, and Israel's geopolitical complexities to audiences including Birthright groups, student leaders visiting Israel, and for those seeking to get a more nuanced understanding of Israel.
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Post  Admin on Mon 02 Sep 2019, 2:33 pm

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BDS: Myths and Facts
BY DANIEL POMERANTZ  SEPTEMBER 2, 2019
BDS Myths
What is BDS, the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement against Israel? BDS myths characterize the campaign as grass roots social justice fighting for human rights against apartheid. But the facts are entirely different: BDS is as racist and destructive as it is dishonest.

We break down the BDS myths and facts you need to know.

BDS Myth: It’s a grassroots protest movement.
Fact: BDS leadership includes designated terror organizations.

The  BDS “National Committee” includes the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine. This council includes several groups designated by much of the world as terrorist organizations: including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

BDS Myth: Its goal is to end the Gaza blockade and West Bank occupation force Israel to go back to the 1967 boundaries.
Fact: According to the leaders of BDS its purpose is to put an end to Israel as the world’s only Jewish state. Here is what three leading BDS figures say in their own words:

Omar Barghouti
BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti
1) Omar Barghouti, co-founder, BDS:

Definitely most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.  No Palestinian, a rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian, would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.

(Separately he clarifies that “Palestine” means all of Israel.)

2) As’ad AbuKhalil, California State University Professor of Political Science, BDS leader and activist:

The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel…this should be stated as an unambiguous goal.

3) John Spritzler, author, BDS leader and activist:

I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist…

By disguising itself as a social justice movement, the leaders of BDS are misleading young people who genuinely care about such issues.

BDS Myth: Israel is an apartheid state
Fact: South African style “apartheid,” refers to a regime in which black South Africans were not permitted to attend the same schools, work in the same jobs, or even use the same public facilities as white people.

Israel’s reality is entirely different.

Arabs make up approximately 20 percent of the Israeli population. Many self-identify as Palestinians, and enjoy full citizenship and equal rights. Israeli Arabs serve in every field as any other citizen: including as doctors, lawyers, movie stars, news anchors, Supreme Court justices, and of course members of government (the “Knesset”). 

When confronted with this reality at an appearance at UCLA in 2016, Omar Barghouti said that such Palestinians are “collaborators” and compared them to those who collaborated with the Nazis. 

That’s an especially ironic claim: Barghouti himself studied at Israel’s University of Tel Aviv.

Related reading: Do Arab Israelis Really Suffer From Apartheid?

BDS Myth: Israeli law discriminates against Arab Israelis.
Fact: There is no law in Israel that discriminates against any citizens on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

BDS leaders have recently misrepresented a report by Human Rights Watch in order to claim that Israel has discriminatory laws against its citizens. The report, in fact, refers only to citizens of the Palestinian Authority government.

Palestinians living under PA jurisdiction do not have access to Israeli social services and are required to obtain permits in order to enter Israel: just as any other person who is not a citizen of the country. Israel implements security measures in the Palestinian territories in response to years of terror attacks, and does so in accordance with international law, as interpreted and enforced by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Related reading: So Why Can’t Palestinians Vote?

BDS Myth: Economic boycotts are successfully pressuring Israel.
Fact: BDS has little impact on Israel’s overall economy, but it does harm Palestinians as well as attempts at coexistence.

If BDS were successful, you would not be able to use much of your cellphone and computer technology, many of the medications you take, much of the clean drinking water in various places around the world (such as California) and more.

In one of the few “successes” of BDS,  it pressured SodaStream to move its factory, out of the West Bank. SodaStream was an example of co-existence, where Israelis and Palestinians worked together in the same factory, under the same conditions, for the same pay. The closure of SodaStream’s West Bank factory put about 500 Palestinians out of work and ended a notable exercise in co-existence.

The factory closure did not impact Israel economically, as SodaStream simply opened a new factory in a Negev industrial park north of Beersheva. However, as the Palestinian workers could not travel to the new factory site, they lost their jobs, thus bearing the brunt of BDS’s cynical tactics.  This is just one example of BDS’s cruel and tragic irony: even though the movement does not have a meaningful economic impact on Israel, it nonetheless economically harms Palestinians and sometimes even shuts down attempts at peaceful co-existence.

SodaStream

BDS Myth: Boycotts are free speech, not antisemitism.
Fact: BDS singles out the world’s only Jewish state, not for criticism, but for destruction.

There are 57 Muslim states 24 Christian states (that’s by law – there are over 100 by population)  six Buddhist states but only one Jewish state. There are presently 124 countries involved in territorial disputes, many of which have produced much greater human suffering than the one involving Israel and Palestinians.

Yet BDS singles out Israel, and only Israel, for a campaign to put an end to its existence as the world’s only Jewish state.

This is a gross  double standard. In addition to being morally repugnant, singling out Israel for different standards than all other countries squarely fits in a widely accepted working definition of antisemitism drawn up by the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The IHRA definition has been adopted and endorsed by a growing number of governments. Holding Israel to a double standard not applied to other countries is, by definition, a form of antisemitism.


Related reading: Boycotting Israel – Is It Free Speech?

BDS Myth: Boycotts are necessary because Israel targets innocent Palestinian civilians.
Fact: Terror organizations intentionally place Palestinians in harm’s way, thus putting Israelis and Palestinian civilians in an impossible situation.

For example, many of the “protests” at the Gaza border have actually been violent riots, led by terror organizations who open fire on Israeli communities. If Israeli forces fire back, there is a risk of harming an innocent Palestinian civilians. However, if Israeli forces do not return fire, then civilians in Israeli communities will come under fire. Terror organizations intentionally put Israel in this impossible situation, and both Israeli and Palestinian civilians end up paying a tragic price.

Want to learn more?
I recently engaged in a widely televised discussion with Omar Barghouti, BDS co-founder. Here is a two-minute highlight clip, or you see can see the full 20-minute segment.  Barghouti presents the movement’s public talking points, including many of the myths discussed in this article.  In my response, I refute those myths, explaining the reality behind BDS in detail.
* * *

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel is not what it seems. Disguised as a grass roots social protest movement, it is actually a highly orchestrated effort to put an end to the world’s only Jewish state. This sinister reality is reflected in the actions, statements and leadership of the movement. Don’t be fooled.
Featured image: via CleanPNG with additions by HonestReporting; Barghouti via YouTube/IrelandPSC;
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Understanding US Foreign Aid to Israel
BY PAUL SHINDMAN  AUGUST 29, 2019
Israel USA
The ties that bind the US-Israel relationship have been the subject of intense scrutiny over the years. The economic and military aid provided to Israel by the United States has been analyzed by experts, chronicled by historians and been the basis for op-eds by pundits, peers and politicians.

Through it all, the main messages remain the same: the United States-Israel relationship remains solid with its base in bipartisan shared values and the shared strategic interests of both nations.

US aid to Israel: The numbers
American foreign aid amounts to less than a single percentage point of the American economy. Foreign aid and foreign military support remains a cornerstone of American foreign policy and Israel but one of many nations on the receiving end.

For 2017, fiscal data published on the official American government website showed that out of a total of $49 billion in US foreign aid Israel received $3.2 billion. In the same year Arab and Muslim countries received more than $20 billion of American taxpayer money. The biggest recipients were Afghanistan with $5.7 billion followed by Kuwait with $4.5 billion and Iraq with $3.7 billion.

The US used to provide Israel with economic aid as its infrastructure and economy developed. However, that aid did its job and was phased out by 2008 when Israel joined the ranks of fully industrialized nations. The “startup nation” is considered an economic powerhouse with low unemployment and a high GDP.

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The most recent US-Israel bilateral defense aid agreement was a 10-year package signed by President Barack Obama that provides military assistance until 2028. Obama had noted that the military aid stemmed not just in the need to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge over its foes, but from ties between the two nations that are steeped in common basic tenets.

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security flows from a deeper place — and that’s the values we share,” Obama said. “As two people who struggled to win our freedom against overwhelming odds, we understand that preserving the security for which our forefathers — and foremothers — fought must be the work of every generation. As two vibrant democracies, we recognize that the liberties and freedoms we cherish must be constantly nurtured. And as the nation that recognized the State of Israel moments after its independence, we have a profound commitment to its survival as a strong, secure homeland for the Jewish people.”

Tens of thousands of American combat troops are stationed at American military bases across the Middle East, but none of those bases are in Israel and no American combat troops are stationed in the Jewish state nor fight on its soil.

US aid to Israel: Reinvested in America
While it appears overtly generous, the $3.8 billion in annual military aid has many of the same strings that have always been attached that in reality result in most of the money staying in America. Some 75% of the budget is spent in the US where it supports defense industries and helps generate economic growth in America.

Most of Israel’s major weapons systems – especially those that power Israel’s air force including the new F-35 stealth fighters – are made in America. Israel benefits from leading edge American technology, but the jobs that produce those weapons are American.

Made in America: Israel’s F-35 stealth bomber
Reflecting shared values
Differences of opinion have always ridden the roller coaster of politics. Those differences include Representatives and Senators from both parties who at times have taken a different stance including on specific issues relating to Israel. However, despite the atmosphere on Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans remain united in their belief that America-Israel ties are bedrock solid and will remain so.

“We have a deep relationship and long-standing relationship with Israel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Dem) told the Associated Press, saying the disagreements Democrats have with President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not “stand in the way of our ongoing relationship.”

Israel is still the lone democracy in what American leaders consider to be a “dangerous neighborhood” of political upheaval and military threats. American administrations under both Democratic and Republican presidents have always acknowledged that and provided long-term military aid packages for Israel. Numerous votes in the House and Senate regarding support for Israel are perennially passed with strong bipartisan majorities.

US Capitol
The US Capitol Building
Not just the government, the American military also puts a high value on its own relationship with its “close ally” Israel. During a visit to Israel America’s top general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, talked of the close cooperation.

“It reflects the important relationship the United States has with Israel. Quite frankly one of the foundational elements of that relationship is our military-to-military relationship,” Dunford said. The Pentagon looks at the two sides as “key partners committed to peace and security in the Middle East region.”

Featured image: CC BY wisegie and CC0 Pixabay; F-35 via Wikimedia Commons;  US Capitol CC BY-NC-ND Kim Kowalewski;
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Paul Shindman
Paul has a long career in both journalism and high-tech in Israel, most recently serving as head of research and content for The Israel Project. He rose to the position of Bureau Chief in charge of operations for United Press International in Jerusalem and has done production work for TV news networks as well as stringing and blogging for various newspapers, magazines and websites. With a background in engineering and computing Paul worked at Israeli tech companies ranging from startups to multi-nationals like IBM and Cisco and is currently a research consultant to an autonomous driving technology startup. His first job in Israel was working at Israel's first ice skating rinks and he is the founder of Israel's national ice sports associations.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Aug 2019, 1:10 pm

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HR Prompts a Tel Aviv Capital Correction From The Independent
BY SIMON PLOSKER  AUGUST 29, 2019


It’s the most common factual error that we get corrected and here’s another one. This time in a predictably negative story in The Independent on Israeli settlement building, a reference was made to Tel Aviv implying that it, rather than Jerusalem, is Israel’s capital.




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 If the Palestinians referred to Tel Aviv implying it is Israel's capital, then @Independent @JournoJane should put it in quotations. Otherwise, please correct and refer to Jerusalem as the capital and the place where Israeli government policies are made. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-netanyahu-west-bank-homes-settlement-dolev-human-rights-a9079361.html


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Palestinians can be expected to avoid recognizing Jerusalem’s status and they may very well have referred to Tel Aviv instead. If this was the case, then The Independent is obliged to treat it in the same way as it quoted the “colonial mentality” phrase.




Related reading: Deal With It: Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital


If this was The Independent’s own reference to Tel Aviv, then this is simply a politically-motivated factual error.


Either way, we registered a complaint, which The Independent acknowledged. The text now reads:


At the end of last month Israel announced it would build 6,000 new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, which Palestinian leaders condemned as showing Israel’s “colonial mentality”.


Still unpleasant reading but at least Tel Aviv is no longer the subject of a capital error.


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The Purpose of Journalism: What Do We Need It For?
BY PESACH BENSON  AUGUST 29, 2019
Putin press
Deep down, we know the press isn’t the enemy. But in times when the media is regarded with mistrust and disdain, we need to remind ourselves: What is the purpose of journalism? What do we need it for?

The short answer is summed up by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their book, The Elements of Journalism:

The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.

Within that, journalism has five primary responsibilities to the public elaborated below.

To inform us of changing events, issues and characters.
To bear witness.
To serve as a watchdog over those in power.
To convey a sense of wisdom or context to current events.
To set the tone for public discourse.
Also elaborated below are three responsibilities that we the public have towards journalism.

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1. To inform us
Apprising us of current events is the most obvious purpose of journalism. If you want to know what happened at the city council meeting, how a company you invested in is doing in the stock market, or if your team won last night’s game, you turn to the news.

It’s not just local. If you want to find out how a certain policy debate is playing out in the nation’s capital, or learn more about a natural disaster in a distant corner of the world, you turn to the news.

It’s called news because you’re learning what’s new in the world.

reading paper

Journalism expands our horizons beyond our immediate community. It helps us understand our neighborhood and the rest of the world a little better, helps us identify friends and foes, provides an opportunity to learn from the experience of others, and gives us an awareness to take action.

Beyond the daily developments, journalism allows us to take stock of our society by reporting on trends. Journalism draws our attention to problems like rising crime rates, declining matriculation, business bubbles waiting to burst or the unintended consequences of an initiative to fight pollution. Thanks to journalism, we can draw conclusions from positive trends as well, whether we’re talking about an encouraging change in the poverty rate, how a particular neighborhood benefited from a zoning modification, or a recycling initiative exceeding expectations.

This article is part of a series on news literacy designed to educate readers to better judge the reliability of news reports and other sources of information.

2. Bearing witness
In its simplest definition, bearing witness means “to show that something exists or is true.” It means a reporter was physically on the scene, taking in events, reporting  firsthand knowledge as an eyewitness.  This purpose of journalism is what fuels correspondents to risk their lives covering wars and disasters in the remotest places on Earth.

Following the failed 2009 Iranian presidential election protests better known as the Green Revolution, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen returned from Tehran to describe what he saw. In the process, he eloquently described what it means for journalists to bear witness:

To bear witness means being there — and that’s not free. No search engine gives you the smell of a crime, the tremor in the air, the eyes that smolder, or the cadence of a scream.

No news aggregator tells of the ravaged city exhaling in the dusk, nor summons the defiant cries that rise into the night. No miracle of technology renders the lip-drying taste of fear. No algorithm captures the hush of dignity, nor evokes the adrenalin rush of courage coalescing, nor traces the fresh raw line of a welt.

I confess that, out of Iran, I am bereft. I have been thinking about the responsibility of bearing witness. It can be singular, still. Interconnection is not presence.

Related reading: News Literacy: The 7 News Habits You Need to Develop

3. Watchdogging
Another key purpose of journalism is to bring transparency to the affairs of individuals and institutions in positions of power. and hold them accountable.


Ida Tarbell, the first ‘muckraker’
Ida Tarbell was the first writer to be called a “muckraker” for describing the excesses of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company in a series of articles for McClure’s Magazine in 1902-03. As a result of Tarbell’s journalism, the US Supreme Court eventually ruled that Standard was an illegal monopoly and ordered it broken up, Congress passed a number of acts reforming interstate commerce and anti-trust laws, and created the Federal Trade Commission. Her series, “The History of the Standard Oil Company” was later republished in book form.

Washington Post coverage of the Watergate scandal is generally regarded as the classic example of investigative journalism. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were assigned to cover a 1972 break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, located in Washington D.C.’s Watergate building. Woodward and Bernstein traced the burglars’ ties to the White House and President RIchard Nixon’s re-election campaign. Disclosures of wire tapped phones, politically-motivated FBI investigations, hush money and more eventually led to Nixon’s resignation.

A more recent example of note is the Indianapolis Star’s exposure of widespread sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics (USAG).  As a result of the Star’s investigation, Larry Nassar — the former USAG team physician and associate professor at Michigan State University abused a reported 265 girls and women — will serve a minimum of 125 years in prison. USAG’s former president Steve Perry and former Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon both face police charges stemming from their handling of the affair.  The US Olympic Committee is moving to revoke USAG’s status as the governing body for the sport at the Olympic level.

A Miami Herald reporter’s dogged work led tobillionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest. Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh was forced to resign in May 2019 over a children’s book scandal broken by the Baltimore Sun. Reporter Amelia Gentleman‘s coverage of Britain’s Windrush scandal in The Guardian brought to public attention how the government wrongfully detained, withheld legal rights from, and even deported, immigrants and their descendants — all British subjects — for which British Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned.

The examples could go on.

Unfortunately, investigative journalism often triggers a rush to judgement on social media that the earliest muckrakers would have never imagined. See journalist Dahlia Lithwick’s thoughtful take on the limits of investigative journalism in the face of online “trial by outrage.”

Without journalists to shine a light, there would be no accountability.

Related reading: 5 Tips For Sharing News Responsibly On Social Media

4. Conveying context
Moving beyond reporting what happened, we want a sense of why, a sense of meaning.  Context provides a frame of reference for understanding current events. Context is the bridge that leads us from raw facts to deeper understanding.

Context can come in many forms. It could be a timeline laying out the key moments in the Kashmir crisis,  a who’s who look at the key players shaping Brexit, a video explaining how Amazon forest fires impact the world, or a background piece explaining why the Temple Mount is significant to Jews, Christians and Muslims. 

When journalists help us connect the dots, context is that “aha moment” of seeing the story as part of a bigger picture.

5. Setting the tone of public debate
A lesser-considered purpose of journalism is to serve as forum for public debate. Such discourse may take the the form of op-eds, talk shows, panel discussions, videos, podcasts, political cartoons and more.

At its best, criticism and compromise are both grounded in facts and intellectual honesty while respectfully acknowledging various points of view in a balanced way.

Lowering the rhetoric, sensationalism and argumentativeness would have a nice spillover effect on our polarized society.



We have responsibilities too
The relationship between journalism and the public is a two way street. We, the public, have three reciprocal responsibilities to journalism that we fail to consider. As Kovach and Rosentiel explain:

“Citizens must set aside their own prejudice and judge the work of journalists on the basis of whether it contributes to their ability to take an informed part in shaping their society.”
“The citizen has an obligation to approach the news with an open mind and not just a desire that the news reinforce an existing opinion.”
“We have a responsibility as citizens not to narrow our focus. We must not simply indulge ourselves in subjects that entertain us or affirm our views. We must also seek out the critical, challenging information that citizens require. The responsibility to focus on what matters, in other words, is ours as well as the journalist’s.”
With a better understanding of the purpose of journalism and our own responsibilities, we can become savvier news consumers. Eventually, we can raise the news industry’s standards by forcing the media to respond to our demand.

 

Images: couple CC BY-NC-ND Stefano Corso; Tarbell via Wikimedia Commons; talk via Needpix;
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BBC Portrays Israel as a Military Abuser of Palestinian Children
BY SIMON PLOSKER  AUGUST 28, 2019

Palestinian children are consistently used and abused in the service of the Palestinian cause both for terror activities and more widely for propaganda purposes.

The BBC has released an 11 minute video titled “Diaries of childhood in Israeli military detention.” You’d think that Palestinian children are spending their entire childhoods under lock and key. But since when did the BBC shy away from producing anti-Israel propaganda on behalf of the Palestinians?

We are introduced to three young Palestinians, one of whom is a familiar face – Ahed Tamimi.

Ahed Tamimi: the Palestinian poster child
While the BBC shows footage of Tamimi attacking an IDF soldier, for which she spent eight months in an Israeli prison, it fails to give any real background on the Palestinian poster girl for terror. For the real tragedy is not Tamimi’s experience with the Israeli military court system (what the BBC terms a “childhood”).

Ahed Tamimi’s entire childhood has been spent in an environment permeated with Palestinian terrorism: terror  in which her family has long played an active and prominent role.  For example,  Ahed’s aunt helped plan the horrific Sbarros Pizza restaurant bombing, and her mother posted anatomically precise tutorials on how to most effectively stab Israelis.

Ironically, this very terrorism is the reason Israel has security measures in the first place.


Related reading: Ahed Tamimi’s Global Propaganda Tour

Since childhood Ahed has learned from her family that all of Israel is occupied Palestinian land, including Tel Aviv, and that she must fight to gain all of it. Hardly a path to peace. And Ahed’s family have placed her personally in danger over and over, for the benefit of cameras.

Her appearance for the BBC is just the latest in a global propaganda tour, milking her iconic status.

This, however, is the real Ahed Tamimi that you won’t see on the BBC:

Only towards the end of the film does it state:

The Israeli Military told the BBC that Ahed Tamimi accepted a plea deal for a number of charges.

It doesn’t say what those charges ultimately were: the assault on the officer caught on film, incitement and two prior instances of disrupting IDF soldiers.  For the BBC, however, it was merely the “slap that made global headlines” that cost Tamimi eight months in prison.

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A victim of a military court
But Tamimi isn’t the only Palestinian female ‘icon’ appearing on the BBC. Malak Al-Ghalith is lauded in the Palestinian community as the youngest Palestinian female to spend time in an Israeli jail at the age of 14. While the BBC acknowledges that she was arrested for an alleged attempted knife attack on Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint, that’s where the background context ends.

Al-Ghalith is treated as a victim of the Israeli military court system with no further questions posed as to the event that led to her arrest or even the incitement in Palestinian society that encourages children as young as 14 to carry out terror attacks.

What does it say about the BBC that it appears to whitewash terrorism?

The BBC deliberately muddies the legal waters
Instead, Israel stands accused as

the only country in the world where children are prosecuted through a dedicated military court system. Israeli military law is applied to Palestinian children in the West Bank because it is under military occupation.

While the BBC is happy to stress that there is a “military occupation,” what it doesn’t make clear to viewers is that under international law, Israel is obligated to operate a military court system. The alternative is the implementation of Israeli civil law to the disputed territories – effectively annexation. It’s safe to say that the BBC would not be so supportive of this hence a certain level of hypocrisy when it criticizes Israel for fulfilling its obligations under what the BBC would call an ‘occupying power.’

Secondly, Israel operates a dedicated juvenile military court and is the only one is the world to do so precisely because it distinguishes between adults and children, which is actually a positive.

At the end of the film, it states:

Israel currently denies Palestinian children detained in the West Bank legal protections granted to Israeli children. Yet agreed international law clearly states the same legal rights should apply to every person going through the judicial process. Especially those under the age of 18,

Yet again the BBC attempts to muddy the legal waters. In fact, despite the fact that Israeli children and Palestinian children are subject to different judicial processes for the reasons set out above, Israel’s juvenile military court still applies most of the special rules regarding minors as set out in Israeli civil law.

As a military appeals court ruled:

Although the provisions of Amendment No. 14 to the [Israeli] Youth Law do not apply in the Area, it is impossible to ignore their spirit or the principles underlying the protection of a minor’s rights, even if he is suspected of committing offenses, and dominant weight must be given to the supreme principal of the best interest of the minor, as stated in the proposed law. Ultimately, a minor is a minor is a minor, whether he lives in a place where Israeli law applies in its entirety, or in another place, where, although Israeli law does not apply in its entirety, it is subject to the significant influence of the Israeli legal system“.

Interview with a terror-affiliated organization
The Director of Addameer is interviewed by the BBC, which is described as an “organisation that advocates for Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank.”

As documented by NGO Monitor but unmentioned by the BBC, Addameer is a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) “affiliate.” The PFLP is a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. NGO Monitor catalogs Addameer’s numerous ties to the PFLP as well as its role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Addameer has made numerous charges against the Israeli military court system in other venues that have been dissected and rebutted here.

This is the organization that the BBC feels it appropriate to turn to for an interview?

Related reading: News Literacy: The ‘Halo Effect’

Administrative detention
The BBC states:

The most controversial form of incarceration is known as Administrative Detention. It allows the Israeli military to hold people without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence that is not shown to the detainee or their lawyer.

While this may sound extreme, Israel isn’t the only country to exercise administrative detention for immigration or security reasons. This includes the US, UK, Australia, Ireland and Japan.

An administrative detention order can be appealed at the Israeli district military court, or, if denied there, at the Supreme Court. An order is valid for at most six months, but can be renewed by the appropriate authority.

The BBC introduces us to Husam Abu Khalifa who has apparently been held in administrative detention for 14 months. At the end of his segment the BBC states that the IDF told it:

Husam was held on information “which showed his intention to carry out a terror attack and his support” for the Islamic State group.

He may have been 16 but, as far as the Israeli authorities were concerned, Abu Khalifa clearly represented a security threat.

“Solitary confinement” and “interrogation”?
Husam Abu Khalifa claims to have been put in solitary confinement in a breach of international law concerning minors.

The allegation of placing Palestinian minors in solitary confinement appears to stem from Israel’s abiding by international standards and Israeli law in not placing minor and adult offenders in the same cells. When Israel separates minors from adult detainees, it becomes an excuse to claim an increase in solitary confinement as noted by former IDF prosecutor Maurice Hirsch in the Washington Examiner (who also appears in the BBC video).

Likewise, in the case of Ahed Tamimi, the BBC reporter asks “You were interrogated for 16 days?” Given the context behind the BBC film, it would be unsurprising if viewers pictured an ‘interrogation’ as something more akin to a torture session. Just this subtle change of the lexicon adds to the anti-Israel slant. Given that the Tamimi case made international headlines, and an investigation was carried out, it is most likely that Tamimi was questioned multiple times over the course of 16 days even if this may have been unpleasant from her perspective.

Widening the circle of Palestinian victimhood
The BBC even attempts to widen the circle of Palestinian victimhood to include the families of minors in Israeli prisons. It may very well take a considerable amount of time and effort for these families to visit their loved ones in prison involving crossing Israeli checkpoints. But the BBC never considers why these checkpoints are there in the first place. The same way it cannot imagine Palestinian minors representing a security threat, it cannot imagine that checkpoints are there for any other purpose than to inconvenience innocent Palestinians going about their daily business.

What is a “last resort” for the BBC?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally binding international agreement that states that children should only be arrested as a last resort. Israel is a signatory.

What constitutes a last resort for the BBC? Is an attempted stabbing attack not grounds for arrest? Is the planning of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack not enough to warrant anyone, even a minor, being taken into custody?

* * *

The rights of children are undoubtedly extremely important. If the BBC were so concerned for the rights of Palestinian children, it would be focusing on the incitement that drives Palestinian minors to confront Israeli soldiers, carry out terror attacks or promote violent extremism.

Instead the BBC in typical fashion attempts to portray Israel as a militaristic child abuser backed up by the claims of an iconic professional propagandist, a terrorist-affiliated NGO and its own efforts to muddy the legal waters of international law.
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Background Briefing: Israel’s Gaza Wars
BY DOV LIPMAN  AUGUST 28, 2019
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There have been three significant Gaza wars since 2008 that have caused immense damage not only to the Gaza Strip but also to Israel’s image as the international media and UN agencies routinely blame the country for launching military operations and for the humanitarian crises there.

But the context, explaining why Israel has no choice but to carry out operations in Gaza and the reason why Gazan civilian casualties are so high, is generally omitted.

And that’s a travesty because that background changes the entire story particularly as the constant threat of another Gaza conflict continues to loom large.

BACKGROUND
The Gaza Strip, a territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt on its southwest for 11 kilometers and Israel to its east and north for 51 kilometers, was controlled by Egypt until 1967. During the Six Day War in June 1967, Egyptian forces shelled the Israeli cities near Gaza with heavy ammunition. Israel had no choice but to send its forces into the Gaza Strip to protect its own citizens from the Egyptian bombardment and sure enough, once Israel entered, the bombardment stopped.

Following the war, Israel made it clear that its forces would leave the Gaza Strip in exchange for peace. The Arab leadership – including Egypt – replied with the “three noes,” leaving Israel in control of the Gaza Strip and its more than one million Arab inhabitants.

In August 2005, Israel moved all its forces out of the Gaza Strip and forced 9,000 Israelis who had settled there, to move out of the Strip. The idea was to give the Palestinian Authority a chance to run its own geographic area with zero Israeli interference. Israel left its greenhouses in Gaza for the Gazan people to benefit from and the platform was created for the Palestinians to establish a free and prosperous society.

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LEAD UP TO WAR
However, from 2005 to 2007, with no IDF forces there to stop them, Palestinian terrorists fired 2,700 locally made Qassam rockets into Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip.

Aside from the actual damaged caused when missiles land in residential areas, rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli cities mean that innocent civilians – including women and children – have just 15 seconds to find cover from the moment warning sirens sound until rocket impact. This means that Israelis had to run for cover an average of 2 ½ times per day during this period of time. No child should have to grow up living with such terror and no government can allow its citizens to suffer in this manner.



Then in June 2007, Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization that promotes the destruction of Israel in its charter, took control of the Gaza Strip.  Israel had no choice but to impose a ground, air and water blockade to make sure that Hamas did not import advanced weapons to be used against Israel, while making a clear public declaration that humanitarian supplies would be allowed into the Strip.  Hamas increased the rocket fire and Israel responded with air attacks against Hamas targets.

Despite various attempts at ceasefires, the Hamas rocket attacks against Israel continued.

In the fall of 2008, Israeli intelligence discovered that Hamas was digging tunnels to be used for terrorists to sneak into Israel and abduct IDF soldiers. In fact, one such tunnel had been used to kidnap IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. (Shalit was held by Hamas for five years and was only freed in exchange for Israeli freeing over 1,000 terrorists from its prisons.)

Israel launched Operation Double Challenge on November 4, 2008 – a cross border military raid in the Dayr al-Balah neighborhood – just 300 meters from the Gaza Strip border in order to destroy the tunnel which began under a residential building. A gun battle started between Hamas and the IDF and Hamas pledged “revenge for Israeli aggression.” Hamas then fired over 200 rockets into Israel cities over the course of the next month. In response, Israel closed the crossings into Gaza.

Israeli leaders determined that the only way to stop the Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities was to launch an operation to eliminate the rockets, the Hamas infrastructure and the Hamas leadership.


Related reading: The Gaza Blockade: An Explainer

OPERATION CAST LEAD
On December 27, 2008 Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead.” Israeli airstrikes destroyed Hamas headquarters and government offices and killed hundreds of Hamas militants. The IDF also targeted homes of Hamas commanders which served as weapons warehouses and military headquarters, and killed many high-ranking Hamas commanders.

Israel called the commanders beforehand in order to make sure that their families would not be hurt but they did not always heed these warnings or prevented family members from leaving, and many were killed with the commanders. Some Hamas leaders hid in the basements of the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, using the hospital patients as human shields against Israeli attacks.


Col. Richard Kemp
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan told the United Nation Human Rights Council that during this operation

the Israel Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare

and that Palestinian civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ method of fighting – using human shields and deliberately sacrificing their own civilians.

Kemp added that Israel took extraordinary measures to notify civilians of targeted areas and that Israel even aborted important missions to prevent civilian casualties.

The IDF sent two million leaflets warning of specific targets that were going to be attacked. The air force also contacted residents of buildings where Hamas leaders were hiding, which were used for weapons storage, or from which rockets were launched against Israel – notifying them that they had 10-15 minutes to flee before the attacks. Some attacks had to be called off when the residents responded to the warnings by gathering on the roof of the building.

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement on December 28, in which it called for “an immediate halt to all violence.” Similar demands were made by the European Union and the Arab League.

Israel determined that the only way to avoid killing massive numbers of Palestinian civilians while successfully destroying the rockets which were being launched from heavily populated areas and eliminating more Hamas leaders who were hiding among the civilian population, was to put its own soldiers at great risk and enter the Gaza Strip with ground troops. The ground offensive began on January 3, 2009 with IDF troops entering Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun – going after 40 sites including rocket launch sites and weapons storehouses. The IDF also targeted Hamas militants – killing almost all of the 100-man “Iranian Unit” who were trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iran.


Related reading: Focus on Hamas: A Brutal Terror Organization

CEASEFIRE
Israel faced significant international pressure to agree to a ceasefire due to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and because of the number of civilian casualties, despite Israel’s best efforts to avoid them.

Israel opened a humanitarian corridor on January 7, 2009 to allow the shipment of aid into Gaza. Israel also agreed to three-hour humanitarian ceasefires either daily or every other day. Hamas fired 44 rockets and mortars at Israel during these humanitarian ceasefires.

On January 9, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1860 calling for “an immediate, durable, and fully respected cease-fire” with a goal for Israel to fully withdraw from the Strip and Hamas to end its arms smuggling.

Israel announced a two-phased unilateral ceasefire on January 17. Israel committed to pull its forces out of Gaza if the rocket fire stopped and made it clear that if the rocket fire would continue then Israeli forces would go back in. Rocket fire continued during that day but on January 18, Hamas agreed to stop firing rockets for a week and demanded that Israel withdraw its forces from the Strip within a week and open all crossings. The last IDF soldiers left Gaza on January 21.

THE AFTERMATH
The Gaza Strip was in dire straits following the war. Thousands of homes and hundreds of public buildings were destroyed. Over 200 roads and bridges were severely damaged alongside ten water and sewage lines. Estimates placed the damage at $2 billion. 1,166 Gazans were killed during the war, 295 of who were confirmed to be civilians.

Israel lost ten soldiers in battle and three civilians from Hamas rocket fire. 1,500 Israeli homes and vehicles were destroyed. But Israel achieved nearly all of its military objectives. 80% of the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, used to smuggle in rocket parts and weapons, were destroyed. Hamas lost many of its primary leaders and soldiers, and its capacity to fire rockets into Israel was greatly reduced.

In addition, Hamas was forced to focus on rebuilding its infrastructure and winning back the support of the Gazan public – forcing it to suspend shooting rockets into Israel which was Israel’s number one objective in the operation. In the year leading up to the war, Hamas fired 3,300 rockets into Israeli cities. In the ten months following the war, fewer than 300 were fired – not removing the danger but making life more bearable for the 700,000 innocent Israelis living within missile range of the Gaza Strip, who found themselves in an impossible situation of constant rocket fire in the months leading up to the war.

Israel faced significant condemnation from the United Nations – especially its Goldstone Report – and from various humanitarian agencies. Most focused on the civilian casualties and the humanitarian disaster on the Gazan side.


Related reading: Gaza and the UN’s Goldstone Report

OPERATION PILLAR OF DEFENSE
The rocket fire never ceased completely.  680 rockets were fired on Israel in 2011 and 797 were fired from the beginning of 2012 until November 13 – including 171 rockets or mortars in October alone, and 80 in one day on October 24. On November 13, over 100 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israeli cities in just 24 hours. Israel responded on November 14 by killing Ahmed Jabari, the chief of the Hamas military wing, in an air strike on his car in Gaza. That began Operation Pillar of Defense, during which Israel destroyed more than 1,500 sites in the Gaza Strip including missile launching sites, weapon storage houses, and Hamas government facilities.



During the operation, Hamas and other Gazan terror groups fired 1,456 rockets at Israeli cities. But they didn’t use only the Qassams and mortars that were used in the past but upgraded to firing Iranian made Fajr-5 and Russian made Grad rockets which reached well beyond the cities near the Gaza Strip and hit Rishon LeZion and Tel Aviv in the center of Israel.

Israel’s new Iron Dome missile defense shield intercepted 421 of the rockets. The Iron Dome, along with Israel’s improved ability to strike terrorists while in the act of launching rockets, the addition of bomb proof rooms in all Israeli homes, and the new Red Alert warning system, kept Israeli casualties to a minimum. Six Israelis were killed and close to 250 injured from the Gazan rocket fire.

Iron Dome
Iron Dome
On the Palestinian side, 177 were killed, 120 of them were members of terror organizations. Hamas and other terror groups launched missiles next to mosques, schools, playgrounds and hospitals, making it very challenging for Israel to destroy the launchers while avoiding civilian casualties. In fact, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report in March 2013, criticizing the Palestinian groups for failing “to take all feasible precautions in attacks, in particular launching rockets from populated areas which put the population at grave risk.”

A ceasefire was mediated by Egypt on November 21, 2012 after Israel felt that it achieved its goal of crippling Hamas’s rocket launching apparatus, without having to enter Gaza with ground troops.

The result was “just” 55 rocket attacks during 2013. But by 2014, the rocket attacks resumed and increased to 85 rocket attacks on Israeli cities in the first five months of 2014.


Related reading: Debunking the ‘Disproportionate Force’ Charge

OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE
In June 2014, Hamas members kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers. (It should be noted that Israel foiled around 60 kidnapping attacks in the year leading up to this successful kidnapping.) Israel killed the kidnappers and arrested Hamas operatives who were involved in the terror attack, leading Hamas to bombard Israel with missiles. From June 12 to July 5, 117 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israeli cities, and Israel responded with approximately 80 airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.

Israel offered a ceasefire to Hamas, who insisted that it would only hold its fire if Israel released all Hamas prisoners arrested for the kidnapping. Israel refused and warned Hamas that it would  have no choice but to engage in an extensive operation.

On July 7, Israel killed seven Hamas operatives who were working on digging a tunnel into Israel to enable terrorists to carry out cross-border attacks, and in response Hamas fired 40 rockets at Israeli cities. The next day, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to, once again, eliminate the threat of missile fire from Gaza. During the operation, Israel discovered the existence of tens of already dug terror tunnels – some which Hamas terrorists used to sneak into Israel – and had no choice but to begin a ground offensive in Gaza on July 17.

Throughout the operation, there were numerous “humanitarian” ceasefires to allow for the Gazan population to receive their most basic needs. Due to the inability of Gaza hospitals to treat their wounded, Israel established an IDF field hospital at the Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel in order to provide medical care for Gazans. Hamas, however, prevented its own population from receiving treatment there.

A US-UN brokered ceasefire was announced on August 1, and on August 3 Israel withdrew most of its ground forces from Gaza. The IDF had attacked 5,263 terror targets in Gaza (1,814 rocket/mortar launch sites, 191 weapon factories and warehouses, 1,914 Hamas command and control centers, 237 government institutions which supported terror activity, and hundreds of military outposts in buildings), destroyed 2/3 of the 10,000 strong rocket-arsenal of Hamas, and destroyed 34 terror tunnels.

During the fighting, 4,564 rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli cities with 735 intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense shield. 67 Israeli soldiers and five Israeli civilians were killed during the operation. The economic damage to Israel was estimated at $2.5 billion.

Over 2,000 Gazans were killed and the cost to rebuild the damage in the Strip was estimated at 4-6 billion dollars. 273,000 Gazans were displaced due to Hamas firing rockets from residential areas – including weapons storage and terror tunnels originating in UN facilities! – and the ensuing Israeli attacks to destroy the launchers and eliminate the terrorists.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, accused Hamas of violating international law by “locating rockets within schools and hospitals, or even launching these rockets from densely populated areas.” The European Union also criticized Hamas for its “calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields.” Amnesty International reported that “Hamas spokespeople reportedly urged residents in some areas of the Gaza Strip not to leave their homes after the Israeli military dropped leaflets and made phone calls warning people in the area to evacuate.”


IDF leaflet dropped on Gaza.
Israel was criticized strongly by the UN and humanitarian organizations for its military operation.

The international community pledged $5.4 billion in order to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been accused of taking most of these funds to rebuild its terror infrastructure. Arne Gericke, a member of the European Parliament said, “It would sicken most (European) taxpayers to know that the EU itself could be directly contributing to the tragic cycle of violence.”

THE BOTTOM LINE
Israel, like any other country, cannot tolerate rocket fire into its cities. It allows hundreds of trucks per day to bring humanitarian needs into Gaza. However, it maintains the blockade of Gaza in order to prevent weapons from entering into the hands of its enemies who continue with their declaration and determination to destroy Israel and has no choice but to destroy missile launching sites and neutralize those responsible for them. If Hamas would change its charter and not call for Israel’s annihilation, and cease to fire rockets and organize terror attacks in Israel, the blockade could be fully lifted, and Israel could live in peace with its neighbors in the Gaza Strip.


Dov Lipman
Rabbi Dov Lipman, HonestReporting's Senior Manager – Community Outreach, was elected to the 19th Knesset in January 2013, making him the first American born MK in nearly 30 years. He rose to national and international prominence for his role in combating religious extremism in Bet Shemesh. The author of seven books about Judaism and Israel, Rabbi Lipman holds rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He moved to Israel from Silver Spring, MD in July 2004 with his wife, Dena, and four children. Since 2015, former MK Lipman has been a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel, a political commentator for ILTV and i24 News, and has focused on Israel advocacy both in Israel and abroad.
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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Aug 2019, 3:55 pm


https://honestreporting.com/6-challenges-covering-mideast-conflict/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
6 Challenges Of Covering the Mideast Conflict
BY TRACY ALEXANDER AUGUST 25, 2019
covering conflict
Photo by Ruben Salvadori/Flash 90
For years watching news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Australian television, I would be left frustrated. As a journalist, I was familiar with the popular trope: “If it bleeds it leads,” which often results in skewed headlines and the dissemination of misleading information.

As such, in this context, graphic imagery and disproportionate death tolls inform public opinion about an extraordinarily complex and layered reality.

Consuming the news some 12,000 kilometers away, the general takeaway showed Israel as the aggressor against a disenfranchised Palestinian population.

Having previously spent time in Israel, I knew there was a much broader reality.

As I saw it, the way that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was presented in the mainstream media, seemed to show a lack of a deeper understanding of the situation. I was compelled to delve into why such incomplete narratives are broadcast to international audiences.

Was it media bias? Or was something else going on?
This, in part, prompted me to begin reporting from Israel. But, even after spending an extended time in what amounts to a conflict zone, I realized that even for a keen and dedicated mind, there are already inherent challenges and limitations by virtue of the nature of the industry and the conflict itself. The layers run deep, the zeitgeist is complex and it’s difficult to paint a complete picture to foreign audiences, given the constraints and time-sensitive nature of modern journalism, coupled with a public that often receives its “news” in 280-characters.
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1. The Western mentality applied to the conflict
My first revelation was that one can’t expect a democracy in the Middle East to function in accordance with Western ideals. The complicated realities facing a country like Israel, surrounded by unrelenting enemies and ‘frenemies’, changes the game and therefore we cannot employ a Western mindset when analyzing news events here – the context is simply incomparable.

For example, I remember covering a story a few weeks into my tenure at an Israeli-based international news network, in which Palestinian youths had thrown rocks at vehicles along Route 60 – a major highway in Israel stretching from Jerusalem to Beersheba that crosses into the West Bank.

The Israeli army was immediately called into action and, in the process of tracking down the perpetrators, a 15-year-old Palestinian was shot dead. Based on my experience, this seemed unwarranted, constituting an abuse of power and disregard for human life.

What immediately came to mind was a story I covered about young Australian teens throwing rocks from a highway overpass – it was inconceivable to me that local police could have gone any further than arresting the bunch of “hooligans.” Ordering in the Australian military was unthinkable.

I therefore took it upon myself to speak directly with an Israeli defense correspondent, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He failed to see the gravity of the West Bank incident, which, when further explained, made clear to me the pitfalls of trying to understand what one does not experience daily.


Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers north of Ramallah on April 28, 2017. Photo by Flash90
What the correspondent told me was that the accused Palestinians were not merely disruptive teenagers doing disruptive teenager things, but, rather, that they had intended to kill Israeli commuters. Rocks, in this case, were deadly weapons – just one device in a string of others (like Molotov cocktails and gunfire) commonly used by Palestinians in previous attacks in the same area. In this respect, after more digging, I became aware that in the preceding eight months at least five Israeli civilians had been killed along that same 16-kilometer stretch of Route 60. I now understood that this was not an isolated incident but part and parcel of the conflict – it was not a crime but an act of war.

Accordingly, framing the story as “Israel Kills Palestinian Rock-thrower” entirely excludes the crux of the matter and it takes a committed journalist to eliminate the confusion.

Related reading: Defining Bias: Lack of Context

2. Context alleviates confusion
The “who was here first” and “who took what from whom” debate dates to the 1920s and cannot be adequately conveyed in a one-minute sound bite. Providing the necessary historical context to a modern-day incident is often impossible, given the constraints of broadcast news reporting; governed by word-economy and time limitations. Herein lies the challenge, because the appropriate context allows an individual to more fully conceptualize current events. It provides depth, independent of which leads to misinterpretations.

While both Israelis and Palestinian have made their fair share of mistakes, context is important when trying to understand the actions of each side. One cannot underestimate the impact, for example, on the Israeli psyche of years of Palestinian terrorism. Nor can one proclaim to walk in the footsteps of an Israeli southerner targeted by thousands upon thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas, which, for that matter, began after Israel unilaterally vacated Gaza in 2005. This isn’t to say that all of these residents share the same view of the conflict either. Some who live on the front lines of the conflict are staunchly left wing – others are far more hawkish – also something that context would provide.

Moreover, often lost in the equation is that Israel has over the past two decades offered multiple comprehensive peace proposals to the Palestinian Authority, which rejected each one.

For their part, Palestinians remain subjected to Israeli military rule in parts of the West Bank inhabited by some 500,000 Jews. This reduces economic growth opportunities, restricts freedom of movement, has caused the separation of families and, in the case of Gaza, the Hamas ideology has prompted Israel and Egypt to impose a blockade on the coastal enclave.

Therefore, while both sides have grievances, it is impossible to convey the full context in a few sentences, which has become the standard format for broadcast journalism. This, in turn, accounts for why audiences are often left without the whole story.

Related reading: How Reporting From Israel Changed My Worldview Forever

3. Imagery doesn’t always convey truth
In broadcast media, pictures rule and can often muddy the narrative. The more compelling the pictures, the more airtime they receive, and the images can also overshadow the mitigating factor for violence.

On a recent visit to Bali, I directly experienced how photography and video can determine how people interpret a story. Speaking with a highly educated and accomplished Australian woman about the conflict, she expressed sympathy for Gazans, citing Israel’s military superiority as the reason. “The Palestinians only have rocks to fight against Israeli tanks and aircraft,” she claimed. This perspective is shared by many Westerners due to the power of imagery alone to shape opinions.

I asked what she knew about the 700 rockets fired at Israel the prior week, resulting in Israeli fatalities. She was shocked to know nothing about rockets and Israeli casualties. Even though, at times, Hamas rockets are launched relentlessly, most of them are intercepted by advanced Israeli defense systems, most notably the Iron Dome – which, by happenstance, has saved hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian lives by significantly reducing Israeli casualties that otherwise would have prompted a much stronger military response.

Mishmeret
Israeli security forces inspect the scene of a house that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Moshav Mishmeret, central Israel, on March 25, 2019. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90
Yet, Israel must strike back, and the resulting images broadcast around the world of destroyed Palestinian infrastructure are what people remember.

Chatting further, she revealed that she knew about the violent year-long “March of Return” protests along the shared border, but nothing of the thousands of incendiary devices that were concurrently flown into Israel that caused massive ecological devastation.

She also knew nothing of the terror tunnels discovered in the back yards of northern Israeli residents, dug from Lebanon by Hezbollah. These pictures don’t make headlines, nor does a story about an intent to kill or kidnap Israelis rouse international attention.

This makes a reporter’s job even harder insofar as representing the conflict in a fair manner and portray the WHOLE PICTURE.

Related reading: Gaza Border Violence Resource Page

4. Status quo occurrences are unremarkable
The conflict’s enduring status quo – defined by failed peace initiatives and cyclical violence – results in “fatigue” that often manifests in apathy. Incidents that are commonplace are viewed by international media as unremarkable, even though, had they occurred in the West, they would generate tremendous interest and coverage.

Accordingly, the day-to-day happenings in Israel are underreported. In southern Israeli border towns, for example, sirens blare all too frequently to alert of incoming rockets, which send residents rushing to bomb shelters. Most buildings and even apartments in Israel contain a “safe” room, particularly in the South, where kindergarten playgrounds double as shelters.

Due to my responsibilities as a journalist, I have an application installed on my phone that sends me a message every time a siren is sounded anywhere in the country. Needless to say, most of the time the app goes off, I do not expect the media, particularly foreign media, to pick up the story.

As such, only major flare-ups make the headlines, which does not present the reality, nor, in turn, provide information on standard Israeli military operating procedures or the morals the army attempts to uphold when fighting back.

It is these small details, however, that explain why Israel’s choices are limited, why many have lost hope for a lasting peace, and the high level of distrust in the media in Jerusalem’s corridors of power.

5. Drama, drama, drama
I came to Israel from a country that has little to worry about when compared to those in the Middle East. As such, the Australian media is somewhat trained to hype stories, in order to create compelling television. The opposite is true here in Israel. Events that would shock me as an Australian, barely rattled my Israeli colleagues, so standard have stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and car-rammings in the West Bank become. Despite constituting acts of terror, Israelis responds to these incidents with less fervor than Australian journalists would gather details of a fatal traffic accident.

I worked for an Israeli-based international channel – so perhaps we would cover these kinds of stories – whether it just be briefly mentioned in a news update. But in the international press, these stories fail to get a mention, therefore preventing international audiences from receiving the full picture of daily life within a country where conflict is status quo.

Related reading: The (Not So) Hidden Media Agenda

6. Internal divisions lead to divisive reporting
Depending on a given interviewee, I am liable to get entirely different responses to the same question. “8 million citizens, 8 billion opinions,” is a common phrase in Israel. Therefore, in order to provide a realistic picture, a journalist must wade through this mishmash of views and perspectives in order to provide balance, thereby ensuring that all elements of the equation are given equal weight. The ideal is to track down knowledgeable English-speaking sources who can fairly sum up the story.

The inherent nature of a deadline driven environment further inflates the challenge. With the current appetite for up-to-the-minute coverage of world events, the requirement to acquire talent which can represent the story in a balanced fashion proves difficult. Add to that resourcing issues, with increasingly shrinking newsrooms, the manpower required for chasing appropriate talent simply isn’t there. One also needs to consider and be conscious of the agenda of interview subjects, plus the level of indoctrination, repression or fear to speak honestly.

In the Palestinian territories, this can especially be a tough task as, given the current climate, those willing to provide insights to an Israeli-based news organization are sometimes few and far between. Even those who do agree to comment often do so reservedly.

Related reading: Defining Bias: Imbalanced Reporting

The bottom line
Overall, a reporter’s job is to convey the facts, include context and speak to individuals from all sides of the aisle so that people are sufficiently armed with the necessary information to enable them to draw their own conclusions.

To convey the intricacies of the decades-long-conflict, one needs to assume an even-handed approach, not to mention the motivation to educate themselves, to ask further questions and to critically analyze. If not, this leads to clear-cut public misunderstandings of the nature of events.

This, unfortunately, is one of today’s greatest battles – and one worth fighting.
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Post  Admin on Fri 23 Aug 2019, 11:21 am

90 Years Ago: The Hebron Massacre of 1929
BY EMANUEL MILLER  AUGUST 23, 2019
https://honestreporting.com/90-years-ago-the-hebron-massacre-of-1929/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
In the eyes of many, the Hebron massacre of 1929 is the defining event of the 1929 Arab riots in Palestine.

For centuries, the small Jewish community of Hebron coexisted alongside a much larger Muslim community. Although Jews were never accorded full equality and often faced rampant discrimination and even extreme violence, at times relations were cordial.

All that changed exactly ninety years ago, as violent Arab riots against Jewish immigration swept through Palestine, which was then administered by the British.

Triggered by a baseless rumor that Jews were planning to march to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and claim ownership of their holiest place, thousands of Arab villagers streamed into Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, many armed with sticks and knives. The crowds worked themselves into a frenzy, with some 20-30 gunshots reported fired in the vicinity of the Temple Mount by rabble-rousers. A British report on the events describes the excited Arab crowds as intent on mischief and possibly murder. Fed by rumors that two Arabs had been killed by Jews elsewhere in Jerusalem, Arabs in the Old City went on the rampage, attacking and murdering Jews.

The rumors, and the violence  they prompted, spread swiftly across the land – most notably to Hebron, where a massacre unfolded.

The Massacre Begins
As Jews prepared to marked Shabbat, the holy day of rest, reports of the violence in Jerusalem made their way to their Arab neighbors.

The first to be targeted were the Ashkenazi Jews, who lived separately from both the Sephardi Jewish community and from the Arab population. Although their community had been established in the town for at least a century, their isolation fed the Arab views that these “Zionist immigrants” were suspicious and thus hated.

Despite the suspicion borne towards the Ashkenazi Jews, some recall being on good terms with the Arab neighbors. So peaceful was the city that only one British policeman guarded the entire city.

He oversaw a small force of 18 mounted police, together with 15 constables on patrol. All but one of whom were Arabs. Many were infirm and elderly.

Arab youths took to hurling rocks at the Ashkenazi yeshiva students passing by. That afternoon, a Jewish student named Shmuel Rosenholtz went to learn at the yeshiva. Around 4pm, Arab rioters forced their way in to the building. The caretaker managed to hide in a well, but Rosenholtz wasn’t so lucky. Absorbed in study, he didn’t see his attackers till too late.

The killing frenzy had started.

Rabbi Slonim, who was sheltering many Jews in his home, was approached by the rioters. They offered him a deal. If he agreed to hand over all the Ashkenazi yeshiva students to the Arabs, the rioters would spare the lives of the Sephardi community.

Such an act would have meant certain death for dozens of Jews. The Rabbi refused, saying “we are all one people”. In retaliation, he, his wife and 4-year-old son were promptly shot dead.

The following hours were hell for Hebron’s Jewish community, as the attacks turned into a massacre of the helpless Jewish community.

The following day, 24 August, saw Arab mobs gather and attack the Jewish quarter. The resulting carnage became known as the Hebron Massacre of 1929.

By 8am on Saturday morning, Arabs began to gather around the Jewish community. Armed with clubs, knives and axes, the mobs prepared to attack. Women and children threw stones while men ransacked Jewish houses and destroyed Jewish property.

With only a single police officer in all of Hebron, the Arabs were able to enter Jewish courtyards with literally no opposition.

Jews of all ages were attacked at random – men, women and children alike were the targets of the fury of the Arab mob. Women were raped, children were bludgeoned to death, and men stabbed and mutilated.

The Beit Romano police station turned into a shelter for the Jews on the morning of Saturday, August 24. It also became a synagogue when the Orthodox Jews gathered there said their morning prayers. As they finished praying, they began to hear noises outside the building. Thousands of Arabs descended from Har Hebron, shouting “Kill the Jews!” in Arabic. They even tried to break down the doors of the station.

The small police force was overrun and utterly incapable of stemming the mob. Some Arab policemen even joined in the killings.

The Beit Hadassah Jewish hospital, operated by the Hadassah Medical Organization, which provided equal treatment for Arabs and Jews alike, wasn’t spared. The rioters destroyed the pharmacy, and torched a synagogue on the top floor, destroying the Torah scrolls inside. The pharmacist there, a crippled man who had served both Jews and Arabs for four decades, was forced to watch as his daughter was raped and then murdered. He was then killed himself.

Photographs from the time show a girl struck on the head by a sword with her brain spilling out, a woman with bandaged hands, people with their eyes gouged out, a man whose hand had been savagely amputated, and other grisly sights.

It’s important to note that some Arabs did try to help Jews as the Hebron massacre unfolded. Nineteen Arab families saved dozens, if not hundreds, of Hebron’s Jews. Zmira Mani wrote about an Arab named Abu Id Zaitoun who brought his brother and son to rescue her family. The Arab family protected the Manis with their swords, hid them in a cellar along with other Jews they had saved, and eventually found a policeman to escort them safely to the police station at Beit Romano.

The Aftermath of the Hebron Massacre
In all, 67 Jews were murdered, and dozens injured.

Following the attacks, the British High Commissioner Sir John Chancellor visited Hebron. He later wrote to his son, “The horror of it is beyond words. In one house I visited not less than twenty-five Jews men and women were murdered in cold blood.” Sir Walter Shaw concluded in The Palestine Disturbances report that “unspeakable atrocities have occurred in Hebron.”

With their homes laid to waste and their synagogues destroyed, the few hundred Jewish survivors were relocated to Jerusalem.  The aftermath left Hebron barren of Jews for the first time in hundreds of years.

In 1948, Israel gained its independence from Britian, but Hebron was captured by King Abdullah’s Arab Legion during the War of Independence and ultimately annexed to Jordan. Jews only returned to the city in 1968, a year after Israel liberated Hebron from Jordanian control in the Six-Day War.
Emanuel Miller
Emanuel Miller is a Jerusalem-based writer who has previously worked for the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, and helped establish the English media department of My Truth, an organization that documents the experiences of Israeli soldiers while facing an immoral, cynical enemy. He regularly speaks about Israel, media bias, and Israel's geopolitical complexities to audiences including Birthright groups, student leaders visiting Israel, and for those seeking to get a more nuanced understanding of Israel.
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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Aug 2019, 8:50 am

https://honestreporting.com/did-arab-violence-really-start-with-the-occupation/
Did Arab Violence Really Start With the ‘Occupation’?
BY DOV LIPMAN  AUGUST 20, 2019
Arab violence 747x400
A group of armed Arabs near Haifa, 1937
 

Arab violence is frequently justified because of the “Naqba” of 1948 and the “occupation” of 1967.

After all, they insist, Jews forced Arabs from their homes and villages, so the Arabs have a right to fight to return to their ancestral property.

But if those are what the Palestinians are truly fighting against, how are we to understand Arab violence against Jews before the wars of 1948 and 1967 took place?

What is their explanation for Arab violence against Jews in the 1920s?

Yes, the 1920s!

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The Mufti Incites Arab Violence
In 1919, Haj Amin el-Husseini, leader of one of the most prominent Arab clans in Jerusalem, began to organize “fedayeen,” (literally – “one who sacrifices himself”) – small groups of terrorists who were willing to die while killing Jews. The stated goal was to force the Jews to flee from Palestine. They first attacked Tel Hai, a Jewish neighborhood in the north near the Syrian border in January and then attacked Tel Hai again on March 1. These terrorists killed eight Jews and injured 200.

During March and April, more than a dozen Jewish agricultural settlements in the Galilee including Kfar Tavor, Degania, Rosh Pina, Ayelet Hashahar, Mishmar Hayarden, Kfar Giladi and Metulla. were attacked by Arab terrorists. During Passover of that year, the Mufti incited the masses to attack the Jewish population in the Old City of Jerusalem, killing five Jews and injuring more than 100.

Husseini began to organize larger attacks in 1921 and the British High Commissioner in charge of Palestine, Herbert Samuel named Husseini Mufti of Jerusalem with the hope that he could influence him to bring the Arab violence to a halt. The two even met on April 11, 1921 and Husseini promised that he would be “devoted to tranquility.”

Husseini and Hitler
Adolf Hitler hosts Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1941.
But just three weeks later, on May 1, 1921, the Mufti incited Arabs to arm themselves and attack Jews in Jaffa. Terrorists came to the streets of Jaffa armed with knives, pistols and rifles and began to beat and murder Jews while looting Jewish stores and homes, killing 27 Jews and injuring 150.

The attacks spread to Jewish communities in Petach Tikvah, Rehovot, Hadera, and Haifa.

The year 1924 led to a new wave of Arab violence. The Mufti spread rumors that the Jews were planning to take control of the Islamic holy sites. That led to Arab looting of Jewish property, causing extensive damage, and attacks against Jews throughout Palestine. The sporadic attacks became much more organized and the terror targeted Jewish communities near Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Kfar Darom.  In all, 135 Jews were killed and more than 300 were injured.

Related reading: How the UN Partition Plan Led to Israel’s Birth

Arab Violence Escalates
The Arabs learned that these terror attacks were an effective tool. That’s because British authorities responded to the attacks by appeasing the Arabs – via curbing the number of Jews allowed to immigrate to Israel and by moving Jews out of the areas which were attacked, most notably Hebron were Jews had been living for centuries.

The Mufti found a basis to further incite the Arab masses in September 1928. A small group of Jews chose to pray at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur and built a small divider to separate between the men and women as is traditional during Jewish prayer. The British were against this step and dismantled the barrier. The Mufti pointed to the Jewish “construction” at the Western Wall as a sign that they were attempting to take control of the al Asqa Mosque on the Temple Mount right next to the Western Wall. He called for “Jihad,” – “holy war” – leading to stonings and beatings of Jews trying to worship at the Western Wall.

The Arab violence spread beyond the Western Wall and on August 23, 1929, more than 1,000 Arab terrorists attacked Jews throughout Jerusalem, killing 47 under the battle cry, “defend the holy places!”

The Hebron Massacre
The attacks spread to other cities. The worst took place in Hebron where Arabs broke into the rabbinic seminary with axes, knives, and metal bars, murdering all the students and destroying the building. The murderous mob then massacred the Jews of the city, where Jews and Arabs had lived side by side in peace for years. Rabbi Yaakov Slonim, the city rabbi, called on Jews to find safety in his home. Because the rabbi had a good relationship with the local Arab clergy he assumed that nothing would happen to them.

Rabbi Slonim was tragically mistaken.

The Arabs stormed his home, and killed him, his family, and all who had sought refuge there. In all, 67 Jews were slaughtered in Hebron. The Jewish community, which existed there for centuries, was destroyed.

A few days after the Hebron massacre, the Jews of Safed, where Jews had also lived for centuries, suffered a similar pogrom. Local Arabs were joined by those from neighboring villages, murdering 18 Jews, injuring 40, and burning down 200 homes.

In total, with the attacks in other cities during those few days, 133 Jews were killed and 339 were injured.

Hebron massacre
The funeral of one of the Jews killed in the 1929 Hebron Massacre
The terror attacks continued and rose in 1936, with Arab terrorists killing over 40 Jews between April and July, aside from burning thousands of acres of Jewish fields and crops. The violence continued, leading to a massacre in Tiberias on October 2, 1938 in which the Arabs shot and burned 21 Jews, including 10 children below the age of 12.

The New York Times described the premeditated Tiberias massacre:

“Not since the riots of 1929, when Arabs fell on Jewish men, most of whom were rabbinical students, as well as women and children, in the ancient towns of Hebron and Safed, has there been in Palestine such a slaughter as the attack of last night…The attack apparently was well organized, since the Arab gang, before descending on Tiberias, cut all telephone communications. Coming in two parties from opposite directions at a given signal, which was a whistle blown from the hills surrounding the town, the firing began simultaneously in all quarters…the bandits went on to the house of Joshua Ben Arieh, where they stabbed and burned to death Joshua, his wife and one son, and then shot dead his infant son. In the same house three children of Shlomo Leimer, aged 8, 10, and 12, were stabbed and burned to death. Proceeding farther, the Arabs broke into the house of Shimon Mizrahi, where they killed his wife and five children, ranging in ages from 1 to 12 years, and then set fire to the house.”

Related reading: Three Noes That Set the Mideast On Course of Conflict

Why the Arab Violence?
In the 1920s and 1930s no Arabs felt a need to leave or flee from their homes. There was no Jewish state at the time and the Jews didn’t have an army to “occupy” Palestinian land.

So why did the Arabs attack and massacre the Jews during those years?

Is it possible that the “Naqba” and “occupation” are excuses to simply justify Arab violence?

Is it possible the Arabs simply refused to accept any Jews living in the Holy Land?
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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Aug 2019, 8:50 am

https://honestreporting.com/pbs-cripples-the-truth-about-gaza-violence/
PBS Cripples the Truth About Gaza Violence
BY PESACH BENSON  AUGUST 21, 2019
PBS Newshour
For more than a year, Palestinians have violently clashed with Israeli soldiers guarding the Gaza border.

The clashes first erupted in March, 2018, originally spun by the Palestinians as a peaceful “March of Return.” The Myths and Facts of Gaza’s Deadly ‘Protests’  laid bare that the spontaneous, peaceful protests were anything but.  Facing popular dissent, Hamas co-opted the March of Return movement to make sure it would generate Palestinian casualties — and sympathetic media coverage.

Hamas’s primary goal: News reports humanizing Palestinian victims, and/or painting Israeli soldiers as indiscriminate war criminals. For that, Hamas needed civilian cannon fodder and reporters willing to follow their narrative.

That brings us to PBS NewsHour, whose correspondent, Jane Ferguson, filed a dispatch about Palestinians left handicapped by IDF fire. Humanizing disabled Palestinians without explaining Hamas’s responsibility plays into the terror group’s hands. And the Islamists couldn’t have asked for a better dispatch than Ferguson’s.

The ‘split screen’ clash
Ferguson’s first introduces us to Ahmed Abu Nair. He lost a leg to a gunshot wound at the border, and now he plays soccer on crutches along with other handicapped Gazans. Ferguson explains he was injured on May 14, the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.


Jane Ferguson
Prior to May 14, the border violence was related to the “March of Return.”  But former Associated Press correspondent Matti Friedman explains how a “split screen” effect changed perceptions that day. The split screen he refers to is coverage of the embassy opening appearing side by side with the clashes on peoples’ televisions.

The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.

Foreign audiences like the millions of people who watch NewsHour.
Related reading: The Gaza Blockade: An Explainer
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PBS Cripples the Truth About Gaza Violence
BY PESACH BENSON  AUGUST 21, 2019
PBS Newshour
For more than a year, Palestinians have violently clashed with Israeli soldiers guarding the Gaza border.

The clashes first erupted in March, 2018, originally spun by the Palestinians as a peaceful “March of Return.” The Myths and Facts of Gaza’s Deadly ‘Protests’  laid bare that the spontaneous, peaceful protests were anything but.  Facing popular dissent, Hamas co-opted the March of Return movement to make sure it would generate Palestinian casualties — and sympathetic media coverage.

Hamas’s primary goal: News reports humanizing Palestinian victims, and/or painting Israeli soldiers as indiscriminate war criminals. For that, Hamas needed civilian cannon fodder and reporters willing to follow their narrative.

That brings us to PBS NewsHour, whose correspondent, Jane Ferguson, filed a dispatch about Palestinians left handicapped by IDF fire. Humanizing disabled Palestinians without explaining Hamas’s responsibility plays into the terror group’s hands. And the Islamists couldn’t have asked for a better dispatch than Ferguson’s.



The ‘split screen’ clash
Ferguson’s first introduces us to Ahmed Abu Nair. He lost a leg to a gunshot wound at the border, and now he plays soccer on crutches along with other handicapped Gazans. Ferguson explains he was injured on May 14, the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.


Jane Ferguson
Prior to May 14, the border violence was related to the “March of Return.”  But former Associated Press correspondent Matti Friedman explains how a “split screen” effect changed perceptions that day. The split screen he refers to is coverage of the embassy opening appearing side by side with the clashes on peoples’ televisions.

The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.

Foreign audiences like the millions of people who watch NewsHour.

Related reading: The Gaza Blockade: An Explainer

The doctor
NewsHour also introduces us to Dr. Adnan al Borsh, who treated many Palestinians injured that day.  He’s disturbed that so many Palestinians were all shot in the leg, and that the bullets did a lot of damage to bones, blood vessels and nerves.

But Ferguson misses the obvious point.

IDF sharpshooters aimed at peoples’ legs because they were not shooting to kill.

Dr. Borsh’s talk of bullets, damage, and entry points are a red herring. Israel faced thousands of Palestinians violently seeking to breach the border. Yet PBS NewHour gives a platform to doctor whose implies that Israeli soldiers are war criminals because they’re not equipped with magic bullets capable of dispersing rioters without causing unpleasant damage.

Related reading: Debunking the Disproportionate Force’ Charge

”The most cynical here’
A big problem with the NewsHour dispatch is that there are no Israeli voices. To be fair, Ferguson says she sought to talk to the IDF but all they provided was a short statement which the video notes. She also refers to an old quote by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejecting the findings of a UN inquiry.

But that doesn’t mean NewsHour is off the hook for the lack of balance. This was not a 90-second update, this was a 10-minute dispatch. The time invested to line up interviews with disabled Palestinians, a doctor, and officials from Amnesty International as well as Doctors Without Borders isn’t insignificant. NewsHour is better than that.

Were there no Israeli experts available to provide fresh quotes to a PBS reporter?
Was her query to the IDF merely going through the motions
Would an Israeli point of view ruined the arc of her story?
Related reading: Defining Bias: Lack of Context

Towards the end, Ferguson makes a small, but telling observation, perhaps oblivious to its importance, or maybe taking a half-hearted stab at even-handedness:

The most cynical here encourage the smallest to approach the fence, goading Israel guards.

Who exactly are these “most cynical” Palestinians sending children to the border?
Could they be the same Palestinians who sent Ahmed Abu Nair and his soccer friends to be cannon fodder?
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The Miracle of the Resurrection of Hebrew
BY DOV LIPMAN  AUGUST 15, 2019
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The story of the resurrection of Hebrew goes back thousands of years. Millennia ago, the Jewish people spoke ancient Hebrew to one another, engaged in commerce speaking Hebrew, and worshiped in Hebrew – all in the land of Israel.

The Bible, too, was written in Hebrew.

For over 3,000 years, the Jewish people have read from hand-written Torah scrolls in synagogues and learned from printed editions in study halls and in their homes – all in Hebrew. The Mishna, which records the Jewish Oral Tradition, the prayers, and most rabbinic literature are in Hebrew. There are also examples of Hebrew used in literature throughout Jewish history, with a specific renaissance in the 19th century.

But upon being exiled from the land of Israel 2,000 years ago, Hebrew ceased to be the spoken language of the Jewish people. Even the small numbers of Jews who remained in Israel began speaking the language of their conquerors and lost Hebrew.

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And now Hebrew has been resurrected – spoken throughout the land of Israel and even among Jews in other places in the world.

There is no other story in world history of an ancient language revived to become a spoken language by any faith, country or nation.

The Resurrection of Hebrew: How Did it Happen?
The process began during the first half of the 19th century as Jews began returning to the land of Israel, reconnecting with the small Jewish community that had remained there throughout the exile and Jews who had returned in previous generations. To enable a common language among the various Jewish groups in Israel who spoke Yiddish, Ladino, or Arabaic, they began to speak Hebrew.

Around the same time, the dream of a return to Israel among European Jews led to a drive to resurrect Hebrew – especially in Zionistic educational programs and in meetings related to the Zionist movement.

Related reading: The Jewish Connection to the Land of Israel

Key in the establishment of any community is schooling. In their attempts to resurrect a sovereign Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the early Zionists realized the importance of setting up schools in which a common language was taught. The first Hebrew boarding school where Jewish studies were taught in Hebrew and in which teachers and students communicated in Hebrew was established in 1884 by Aryeh Leib Frumkin.

The Haviv school became the first Hebrew elementary school of modern times when it was established in 1886 in Rishon LeZion. Gradually, all schools in the agricultural settlements began teaching their general studies in Hebrew. Attempts to transform Hebrew into the only language spoken in the settlements and cities failed because parents saw Hebrew as an impractical language lacking the words to describe day-to-day activities. Yes, people knew ancient Hebrew because of their familiarity with the Bible but that didn’t help them with their need to communicate in a modern world.

The Man Behind Hebrew’s Revival: Eliezer Ben-Yehuda
Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the man who helped resurrect the Hebrew language
Eliezer Ben Yehuda
Enter Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the historical figure credited with the resurrection of Hebrew as a spoken language.

As Jewish nationalism rose in 19th century Europe, Ben-Yehuda and others believed that for the nation to be worthy of national rights, it had to speak in a common, national language. He is credited with being the first to begin conversing in Hebrew, deciding in 1881 that he would speak to family and friends in Hebrew alone, first in Paris and then in Jerusalem where he moved late that year.

Ben-Yehuda’s first child, Itamar Ben-Avi, was born on July 31, 1882 and was raised to be a Hebrew speaker – the first native speaker of Modern Hebrew. In an attempt to convince other families to play their part in Hebrew’s resurrection, he published a Hebrew newspaper called “HaZvi” and founded associations for Hebrew speaking. This effort was met with great frustration as very few families agreed to the exclusive use of Hebrew.

Unfazed, Ben-Yehuda founded the Clear Language Society in 1889 with the goal of teaching Hebrew throughout Israel. And in 1890, he established the Hebrew Language Committee which addressed the need for new Hebrew words for modern-day conversation. The committee published books, dictionaries, bulletins, and periodicals, inventing thousands of new words, project to ancient sources and roots to create modern Hebrew words.

For example, chashmal meaning electricity, is derived from Ezekiel (1:4) 1 where chashmal is the word used to describe a color in the middle of a fire. The same was done for modern foods which didn’t exist in the Torah such as tapuz for orange and glida for ice cream. Since an orange resembles a “golden orange,” tapuz is a combination of  tapuach which is the ancient Hebrew word for “apple,” and zahav which is the ancient Hebrew word for “gold.” The Mishna uses the word galid to refer to a frozen substance that can be used for a spiritual bath. Onkelos, who wrote a translation/commentary to the Torah used the word “glida” for the Torah’s word kerach,”meaning “ice.” (Genesis 31:9)

In 1903, the Union of Hebrew Teachers was established. The founding group included just 60 teachers, but the Union led to hundreds of Hebrew speakers who demonstrated that Hebrew could be used in a day-to-day conversational context.

Completing the Resurrection: Hebrew’s New Reality
Ulpan students playing their part in the resurrection of the Hebrew language
Immigrants at a Jerusalem ulpan. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90
As the Second Aliyah began in the beginning of the 20th century, the use of Hebrew in Israel became widespread as the language of communication. Most of these new immigrants were familiar with the Hebrew literature of 19th century Europe and believed that Hebrew was necessary for the development of an official national home for the Jewish people in Israel.

The Hebrew Language Committee was reestablished with a mission “to prepare the Hebrew language for use as spoken language in all affairs of life,” and focused on forming uniform rules of grammar. Hebrew-only schools gradually became the norm and once graduates of the early Hebrew schools began creating families of their own, Hebrew quickly became the popular language of conversation both in homes and the streets.

The final step in the resurrection of Hebrew and its establishment as an official language of the developing state came in 1913 when a  proposal to use German as the official language of the Technion engineering school — filled with its extensive technological vocabulary — was overturned amid anger by the students, faculty and the broader community.

All of the above created a reality on the ground in Israel which served as the basis for the British decision to establish three official languages in Palestine when they took control of the region following World War I – Arabic, English, and…Hebrew!

Related reading: The Hebrew Language and the State of Israel

When Israel declared its independence in 1948, despite the high percentage of the population made of immigrants, over 80 percent of Jews in Israel reported that Hebrew was the only language which they used in their daily conversations.

Despite the deep connection which Israel’s founding generation had with Hebrew, they made sure to establish Arabic as an official language of the new state alongside Hebrew to make sure that the minority population in the Jewish state felt welcome  as equal citizens.

And now this ancient, biblical language has been resurrected and in the streets of Israel today you can hear a people speaking the same language as King David in the very same land over 2,500 years ago.

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND antefixus21 with additions by SeekClipArt;
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Iran: The Regional Threat Explained
BY GRIFFIN JUDD  AUGUST 14, 2019
Iran regional threat
Entangled with nearly every Mideast country, Iran is a regional threat. The only Shiite-ruled country in the Sunni-dominant region, the theocratic regime has made clear its ambition to spread its Islamic revolution throughout the Arab world. This has continuously posed a serious threat to the Sunni rulers of majority-Shiite countries, and has prompted unprecedented cooperation between the Gulf States and Israel, who share the view that Iran is the biggest regional threat.

Iran’s regional threat is laid out here country-by-country. Iran’s strategic threat to Israel is especially complex, and will be addressed on another occasion.

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Palestinian Territories
Iran has long been criticized for its support of Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist. Iran has also been a prominent supporter of Islamic Jihad, the even more radical organization which operates in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Iran’s support for Hamas began after the initiation of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ Islamist ideology has made it an ideal vassal for Iran, and the group has declared that it shares with Tehran an “identical view in the strategic outlook toward the Palestinian cause in its Islamic dimension.”

Iranian support for Hamas mainly comes in the forms of arms and money; following the seizure of the Karine A, an Iranian cargo ship intercepted by Israel in 2002 and found to be carrying 50 tons of weapons to Gaza (including rockets). Numerous further weapons shipments have been stopped by Israel and other countries, and Iran has been sanctioned by the UN over this issue. Hamas also receives up to $70 million yearly from the Iranian regime, although US sanctions have likely cut into this number.
Karine A
Weapons from the Karine A bound for Gaza.
Islamic Jihad also depends on Iranian money for its terror activities. A radical group which split from the “moderate” Hamas, many of the weapons shipments seized by international navies are to be split between the two terror organizations, and an estimated $30 million of Iranian funding goes to Islamic Jihad. Leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have met with the Iranian regime, which has in turn voiced its total commitment  to the destruction of Israel.
Egypt
Egyptian relations with Iran have been rocky ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when Egypt gave refuge to the deposed shah of Iran. The newly-established supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and called for Egyptians to overthrow their leader, president Anwar Sadat. Egypt supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War and remains the only Arab country without an embassy in Tehran.

Iran’s support for Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is also a wedge issue. An Islamist missionary movement turned political party, the Muslim Brotherhood was elected to power following the 2011 Egyptian revolution before being ousted in a military coup and declared a terrorist group. Recently, Egypt’s president has condemned Iranian interference in the region, joining the international chorus on this issue.

Related reading: Iran: The Global Threat

Lebanon
The Islamic Republic’s influence over Lebanon especially highlights Iran’s regional threat. Tehran asserts its  domination of Lebanon primarily through its terrorist proxy Hezbollah. Founded in the 1980s, Hezbollah developed political clout by running in elections, while a vast supply of weapons give it the ability to fight Israel and intimidate political opponents within Lebanon.
Following a 2006 raid into Israel, the IDF launched a counterattack to destroy Hezbollah, but was unsuccessful. Since the war, Iran has not only replenished Hezbollah’s rocket stockpiles but increased them exponentially, with generous supplies of advanced anti-tank weapons and surface-to-air missiles.
Today, Hezbollah is the de facto army of Lebanon, significantly more powerful than the Lebanese Armed Forces.
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 “A militia trained like an army and equipped like a state.” This recent report examines Hezbollah's missile and rocket forces: https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/hezbollahs-rocket-arsenal/ … @CSIS
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Hezbollah is not only a heavily armed militia, it is also a key part of the government of Lebanon. The terrorist group provides a variety of social welfare services and runs its own media and education, and also pays its fighters very well ($600-$1,200 a month for married fighters). This is possible due to funding from Iran: the Islamic Republic has historically given Hezbollah up to $700 million a year, in addition to an estimated $300 million after the war with Israel in 2006. However, recent US sanctions imposed on both groups are taking a severe toll, and Hezbollah has invoked severe austerity measures to cut costs.

Hezbollah has also recently grown in semi-legitimate influence, winning more seats in parliament in the 2018 elections and gaining several ministry posts (including the Ministry of Health, one of the largest budgeted departments) during coalition negotiations. Hezbollah will likely use these positions of power to benefit its followers (such as prioritizing medical care for its supporters), but it is difficult for US sanctions to impact only them and not Lebanon as a whole.

Lebanon will surely be the battleground for any new conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, with all the catastrophic destruction that accompanies war.  With Hezbollah’s implicitly violent control of the Lebanese economy also stifling investment, Iran continues to drag Lebanon down.

Related reading: All You Need to Know About The Hezbollah Threat to Israel

Syria
Iran and Syria have historically had close relations, but since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War this relationship has been unbalanced. The Islamic Republic has spent over $100 billion to prop up Bashar Assad’s regime, including huge volumes of military supplies, intelligence support, and direct intervention by Iranian-sponsored militias and regular forces. Iran has also provided a line of credit for Assad, a luxury most countries deny him.

Hezbollah has also played a key role in the civil war, acting as Iran’s elite forces and training other pro-regime militias. Hezbollah has been involved in some of the hardest fighting of the war, resulting in thousands of casualties (including 1,250 killed) but gaining vital combat experience for its fighters. In line with Iran’s regional threat, Tehran also uses Syria to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah and its other proxies, part of its efforts to threaten and destroy Israel.




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Iran: The Global Threat
BY GRIFFIN JUDD  AUGUST 14, 2019
Iran global threat
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a global threat, synonymous with terror.  Not without reason did president George Bush Jr. famously label Iran as part of the “Axis of Evil” in 2003 and call it out as the “primary state sponsor of terror” in 2005.

Fourteen years later, Iran has only grown bolder and more troublesome. Once merely a regional threat, Iran’s influence and ambitions and dangers are now international. Tehran’s support for global terror and its nuclear program are Iran’s primary global threats, as explained below.

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Support for Global Terror
Even before president Bush called out Iran as a global threat, the Islamic Republic was notorious for its terror activities.

Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the theocracy has used proxy groups and covert government groups to carry out bombings of Israeli targets, as well as Iranian dissidents and defectors. Iranian proxies which engage in terrorism include Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels of Yemen, as well as smaller sleeper cells across Europe, South Asia, and Northern and Latin America. These groups, which are estimated to have up to 200,000 total members, have struck in the past with deadly results.

Hezbollah
The Explosion from Hezbollah's 1983 U.S. Marine Barracks Bombing, Iran: The Global Threat
The explosion from Hezbollah’s 1983 U.S. Marine barracks bombing
The Lebanese group Hezbollah originated as a terrorist association, and even as it has transformed into the de facto army of Lebanon, it has maintained its terrorist roots. The group was responsible for the infamous 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, and has expanded its reach to the international level.

In Argentina, it has bombed the Israeli embassy and a prominent Jewish community center.
In Bulgaria, it bombed a tour bus filled with Israelis.
Similar attacks were foiled in Cyprus and Venezuela.
Other Hezbollah plots have been uncovered in Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Thailand, as well as throughout South America, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Hezbollah also engages in other crimes; drug smuggling and money laundering in Colombia, drug and immigrant trafficking in Mexico, counterfeiting and arms trafficking in the US, and robberies and forging European documents around the world. The profits from all of these operations flow back to Hezbollah in Lebanon, where the money is used to fund its terror and militancy.

Related reading: All You Need to Know About The Hezbollah Threat to Israel

The Houthis
The Houthi rebels are a Shiite militia currently fighting a civil war against the internationally recognized Yemeni government, assisted by Iran. Their activity has mostly been directed against the Yemeni government, but others have been caught in the crossfire: the terrorist militia has targeted Jews specifically, forcing them out of cities and destroying their homes; even before the direct intervention of Saudi Arabia in the conflict, dozens of Saudi soldiers had been killed by the rebels; and in Houthi-controlled areas there have been accusations of kidnapping, torture, and extortion.
Strait of Bab el Mandeb
The Houthis have also targeted international parties on multiple occasions, launching several missiles (supplied by Iran) at US and UAE naval vessels off the coast of Yemen. The rebels have also attacked civilian ships such as oil tankers in the Bab el Mandeb Strait, causing huge damage to international commerce. These attacks, as well as a series of missile strikes against Saudi Arabia, which have killed hundreds, has all been facilitated by Iranian-supplied ballistic missiles and other heavy armaments.

The stakes are high: 4.7 million barrels of oil pass through this strait daily. Indirectly through the Houthis, Iran is now a threat to global trade.

Iranian Government
Apart from its proxies, Iran is itself a global terrorist actor through its Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC has been known to plant agents in diplomatic missions, who then target rival countries’ diplomats and tourists, as well as prominent Iranian dissidents. The examples are limitless:

In June 2018, an investigation by Dutch intelligence led to the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats based at the Iranian embassy in Amsterdam from the Netherlands. This followed the assassination several months earlier of an Iranian Arab activist who was gunned down in the Dutch capital. In March 2018, Albanian authorities arrested two Iranian operatives on terrorism charges after being caught allegedly surveilling a location where Iranian New Year (Nowruz) celebrations were about to begin. In January 2018, after weeks of surveillance, German authorities raided several homes tied to Iranian operatives who reportedly were collecting information on possible Israeli and Jewish targets in Germany, including the Israeli embassy and a Jewish kindergarten.

All of that activity was in the span of only six months, and only in Europe; Iran’s global threat and history of terrorism goes back further, starting immediately after the Revolution with the assassination of defectors and dissidents, spreading internationally. But terrorism is not the only global threat Iran presents.

Related reading: Iran: The Regional Threat Explained

Iran’s Nuclear Program
Iran has become notorious on the world stage for its nuclear program, despite its frequent claims of “peaceful purposes.” Following a decade of intense international sanctions, in 2015 Iran agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, USA). Also known as the Iranian nuclear deal, it was theoretically designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons by increasing the oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, the deal sharply divided the American public and was a subject of major contention during the 2016 presidential campaign. In May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement. The other European signatories have attempted to support the deal by evading US sanctions.

Origins
Ironically, Iran’s nuclear program began under American auspices in the 1950s through the Atoms for Peace program. It sought to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons by making technology for civilian nuclear power available to US allies (including, at the time, Iran).

Iran’s civilian nuclear program expanded until 1979. Following the Revolution, the new Islamic Republic cut ties with the US and many Iranian-born nuclear scientists fled the country. However, in 1984, supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini reached out to international actors for help and secretly restarted Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran's Heavy water production plant in Arak, Iran: The Global Threat
Iran’s Heavy water production plant in Arak. Photo by Nanking2012
With assistance from Russia, China, Pakistan, and Argentina, Iran was able to develop its program until, in 2002, it was revealed by Iranian dissidents that the regime was capable of making a nuclear weapon. Over a decade of negotiations and sanctions followed, characterized by Iranian deception and concealment as it announced compliance in public while continuing to develop in secret.

Then, in 2013, president Barack Obama’s administration began secret negotiations with the Iranian regime which concluded in 2015 with the JCPOA.

The JCPOA
Despite its complexities, the basic terms of the JCPOA centered on four key points:

Before the deal, the amount of time Iran would need — working at maximum capacity — to create enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb (often referred to as “breakout time”) may have been down to weeks. Under the deal, presuming full compliance, Iran’s breakout time was lengthened to 6-8 months, which was thought to defang Iran’s global nuclear threat.
In exchange for relief from crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy, the regime agreed to destroy most of its uranium and not create more weapons-grade material. Iran also agreed to restrict itself to no more than 5,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, and stop creating weapons-grade plutonium.
Iran agreed to give IAEA inspectors access to nuclear sites to ensure compliance.
If Iran is confirmed to be violating the deal, any other party can file a complaint which if not resolved results in the snapback of all international sanctions which the deal lifted.
The parties to the deal are Iran on one side and the P5+1 on the other, and the deal was enshrined in international law by the unanimous vote of the UN Security Council on Resolution 2231. However, the JCPOA was never ratified by the US Senate or confirmed by an executive order. As a result, the JCPOA has no binding status in US law.

The deal was heavily criticized for several reasons, primarily:

The many restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would expire after 10-15 years (the sunset provisions). Tehran would then be free develop a nuclear weapon unimpeded by sanctions or limits, raising Iran’s global threat after the deal’s expiration.
The IAEA’s ability to inspect Iranian nuclear sites was restricted to the point where, according to critics, Iran could still secretly develop a weapon while appearing to be compliant.
The deal does nothing to address Iran’s support for global terror, interference in Middle East countries, human rights abuses, or its ballistic missile program. President Trump invoked this last point when he withdrew the US from the deal in May of 2018.
President Trump announcing the U.S.'s withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran: The Global Threat
In hopes of getting a better deal addressing those issues, as well as following a report by Israel showing that Iran had continued to develop nuclear weapons after 2003 (contrary to its statements at the time), President Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions. America’s allies in the Mideast concerned about Iran’s global threat applauded this move, but in the US it remains a partisan issue.

This withdrawal, combined with Iran’s reaction, is what has created the tense situation in the Persian Gulf today.
Iran’s Global Threat: Ballistic Missiles
Map of Iranian Ballistic Missile Ranges, Iran: The Global Threat
Created by CSIS Missile Defense Program
Iran’s development of ballistic missiles goes back to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, when Tehran launched more than 600 into Iraq. Since the end of that conflict, the regime’s arsenal has grown immensely both in size and diversity; Iran now has missiles capable of hitting the entire Middle East and parts of Europe.

Although Iran has denied it, the general consensus is that “Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction], and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. Iran’s… desire to deter the United States and its allies… provides Tehran with the means and motivation to develop longer-range missiles, including ICBMs.”

Under the terms of UN Security Council Resolutions 1929 and 2231, Iran is explicitly forbidden from testing or developing ballistic missiles. However, this has not stopped it from steadily expanding the size and range of its missiles, with assistance from countries like North Korea and China. During the recent escalation between the Iran and the US and its allies, Tehran has tested missiles which are considered prime candidates for carrying nuclear weapons.

Iran claims that its missile program is defensive but the evidence belies that. In 2016, Iran fired two missiles with a range of over 2,000 km. Although the Iranians painted the words “Israel must be destroyed” on the side of the rockets, those missiles were also capable of reaching Europe and US military bases in the Mideast, increasing Iran’s global threat of escalation in any crisis.

Why You Should Care
This litany of Iranian threats to global peace and stability is enormous, and has not even mentioned, except in passing, two huge issues: the threat Iran poses to Israel and the regime’s many human rights abuses against its own people (these will be addressed on another occasion).

But even without these, it is clear that Iran is a global problem. Iran exports terror and destruction around the world, with proxies that undermine, intimidate and attack opponents. It oppresses its own people, crushing dissent while taking millions of dollars meant to help their future and instead throwing it away on foreign terror groups. The regime seeks to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them not only to their enemies in the region, but around the world. Is it any wonder Iran is considered a global threat?
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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Aug 2019, 2:19 pm

https://honestreporting.com/independent-changes-headline-to-cover-up-for-terrorists/?utm_source=pushengage&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=pushengage
Independent Changes Headline To Cover Up For Terrorists
BY EMANUEL MILLER  AUGUST 11, 2019
When is a terrorist not a terrorist?
Judging by a recent Independent headline, the answer would seem to be when they are thwarted in the act of staging an attack on Israel.

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On Saturday morning a “large-scale terror attack” was prevented when Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinians trying to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
The men were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, hunting knives, AK-47 rifles, hand grenades and bolt cutters. After one of them hurled a grenade at the Israeli soldiers, the soldiers returned fire, killing the four terrorists. A tweet from the IDF depicted the dizzying array of weapons carried by the would-be assailants.
Israel Defense Forces
✔
@IDF
 · Aug 10, 2019
 We just identified a number of terrorists from Gaza approaching Israel, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, RPG grenade launchers & grenades—one of which was thrown. Once one of the terrorists crossed into Israel, our troops opened fire.  
The terrorists were neutralized.
Israel Defense Forces
✔
@IDF
These are the weapons possessed by the terrorists who attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza last night.

Their (unfulfilled) objective: murdering Israelis.

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Both the IDF’s tweet and a subsequent statement from Hamas which functionally distanced itself from what it termed “angry youth”, but also condemning “the occupation” for this “latest crime” (i.e. preventing the attack) served as evidence of the fact that an attack had indeed taken place.
Nevertheless, instead of referring to the men as terrorists or militants, The Independent’s headline left out a significant part of the story. “Israeli army kills four Palestinians attempting to cross Gaza fence” reads like a description of a totally different event.

Upon further investigation, HonestReporting noted that the piece was taken from the Associated Press. The original piece, however, had a different headline: “Israeli army kills 4 militants trying to cross Gaza fence”.  Though this headline is also problematic, failing to note that the terrorists actively attacked Israeli soldiers, at least it correctly identifies them as combatants.
HonestReporting
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@HonestReporting
 · 20h
 Shameless from the @Independent. The Israeli army just "kills" Palestinians, apparently.

Why no indication that they were armed to the teeth with RPGs, rifles and knives?

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HonestReporting
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@HonestReporting
We've compared this article to the original @AP report. Spot the difference:
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Clearly, someone at The Independent saw this story and decided to run it — but not before changing the headline to obscure the fact that these men were terrorists carrying a substantial supply of bullets, grenades together with RPGs and rifles.

Describing these individuals as merely “Palestinians” would seem to be a deliberate attempt to cover up for terrorists and is utterly unacceptable.

HonestReporting has filed a complain with The Independent and will be updating this page if and when any response is received.

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Emanuel Miller is a Jerusalem-based writer who has previously worked for the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, and helped establish the English media department of My Truth, an organization that documents the experiences of Israeli soldiers while facing an immoral, cynical enemy. He regularly speaks about Israel, media bias, and Israel's geopolitical complexities to audiences including Birthright groups, student leaders visiting Israel, and for those seeking to get a more nuanced understanding of Israel.

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