Armed Troops in the Streets

Since UK PM Theresa May declared a “critical” state of emergency in the UK after the Manchester terrorist bombing, armed soldiers have been patrolling the streets of London and other UK cities.  It is said that they are only there to free up armed police for other duties.  But, nevertheless it is a measure of how unprepared the British have been to confront the reality of radical Islamic terrorism.  Basically after the 7/7 bombings in London that killed 52 people, the UK has been sitting back and hoping for the best.  That is demonstrably not good enough.

Now the security forces are combing the Muslim underworld of Manchester and other cities looking for contacts and leads from the Manchester bomber Salman Abedi, who was of Libyan-Tunisian origin but born in the UK.  They have arrested at least 10 men. But, the question is why didn’t they do this earlier, why did they wait for another atrocity that killed 22 people, mostly children.  We have heard this all too familiar refrain before, the bomber “was known to the security services.”  Well why then did they allow him to return from Libya as a known disaffected Muslim loser and IS sympathizer and let him loose in England to potentially kill.  Such individuals must be suspect before the event and all such people should be arrested, interrogated and even deported back to where they came from in order to save the lives of innocent British citizens.

There is a basic misconception, fostered by the left in England and Europe, for example by the leader of the British Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn, that it is something wrong with British foreign policy that has caused the Islamic terrorists to target Britain.,  That is the highest form of self-deception.  Terrorism is totally wrong, there is no justification for it, even the foreign policy of a country, and furthermore the Islamic terrorists will target the West, including Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and so on, even if these countries in a politically correct posture bend over backwards to be sympathetic to their causes.

For example, criticizing the US for detaining suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, criticizing Israel at every turn and especially when the IDF tries to counter the daily terrorism from Palestinian terrorists against Israeli civilians, attacking the necessary military actions of Western countries in support of their allies in the Middle East, such as US support for Kurdish anti-IS forces, and so on.   This kind of sympathy for the poor underdogs in the Arab world fails totally to deal with the reality that British citizens, including children, are the targets of radical Islamic terrorism, and only intense preemptive intelligence and military action can stop them.

The current situation corresponds to the Israelization of the UK, since in Israel there have been such measures as armed patrols, checkpoints and guards searching bags and handbags at all entrances of malls and at all public gatherings.  This will be the norm for the foreseeable future in all Western countries.



Keeping cool

We were literally going out of the door, when my sister-in-law Barbara said “that’s funny my water isn’t cold!”  She had put a bottle on water in the fridge overnight for the trip and now it wasn’t cold.  So we both went and looked in the fridge and freezer and nothing was cold.  The refrigerator was dead.  It had died since yesterday and now we were just about to leave on a trip to visit our daughter and family in Beersheva.  What a disaster, what could be done?

We quickly took all the perishables out of the freezer and fridge and filled up a fairly large cold box that we have. I said we can buy some ice on the way and then Miriam can put it in her fridge/freezer.  Then I called the metapelet (carer) Sahlee and asked her to come and rescue the rest of the stuff and cook the chicken early for Friday night when we would be back, and keep the rest in her fridge/freezer in her shared apartment until we got back.  Then we left and stopped at a garage and bought a large bag of ice and put it on the top of the food.  It lasted fine until we got to Miriam’s.  Then she took the salmon steaks and cooked them and we had a great repast.  Meanwhile Sahlee cooked the chicken and kept it and the rest of the food in her fridge.

So short-term problem solved.  But what to do about getting a new fridge, since we were not returning until Friday (Shabbat) morning.  My daughter tried to call a repair engineer, but three of them said it was not worth even looking at one that was 20 years old.  And by the way this is the fridge that the top freezer door fell off (three times) which was quite a dramatic event (it was fiber glass and it bounced on the floor).  So I called Mike Electronics, where I have bought many appliances, and although Mike was not there his assistant said don’t worry we will give you a good price and deliver it on Friday within an hour of ordering. Miriam and I went to visit two stores and saw some fridges and agreed that a bottom freezer would be better.  We took down all the prices and specifications, although it proved to be pointless.

We drove back early Fri morning and got to Mike’s store before 10 am.  The Assistant was there and expecting us, and showed us his fridges in stock.  One was the right width, and had a bottom freezer, but was too tall (5-10 cm) to fit into our space.  But, at this point I had no alternative, so I bought it, it was a Blomberg (German) manufacture.  Mike gave me a good deal and he guaranteed it would be delivered within two hours.   When we got home I looked at the space and saw that the cupboard across the top was fixed only with 7 screws.  I removed 6 of them and waited until Brian could help me hold the top cupboard so that it would not fall on me as I removed the last screw. Once the top cupboard was removed it could accommodate a fridge as high as the ceiling. Unfortunately, the fridge was too wide to fit into our tiny elevator, so they took the doors off and shlapped it up the stairs and it went into the space perfectly.   So we had cold food in our new fridge for Shabbat.

Jerusalem – Reunited Fifty Years

Today, May 24, is Jerusalem Day.  Jerusalem has been reunified under Israeli sovereignty for 50 years now, since the Six-Day war of 1967.  Not only did the IDF defeat the Jordanian forces, the so-called Arab League with British officers and training, but this was a reunification not a conquest. Jerusalem had been unified under the Turks and the British, but the Eastern half was illegally occupied by the Jordanians after the Israel War of Independence in 1948 for 19 years (1948-67).  This occupation was relatively short and the occupation by Jordan was not recognized by the UN, the US and even the other Arab countries.  

Because Eastern Jerusalem was annexed by Israel the Arab occupants were given a special status, they were given Israeli id cards, but not forced to accept Israeli citizenship.  That was optional, and many thousands of them have opted to become Israeli citizens in the intervening years.  The East Jerusalemites who are basically Palestinians have a different status from the other residents of the West Bank, who are citizens of the Palestine Authority.  

Jerusalem is the keystone of the Jewish State, Israel without it is inconceivable.  Those who covet it had best accept that we will never give it up under any circumstances and we will never agree to divide it again.  It would be best if the world accepted this as fact. The recent highly significant visit of US Pres. Trump to Israel and Jerusalem emphasizes the strong and indissoluble bonds between Israel and the USA, that survived 8 years of a truly hostile American Administration.

Above all else Jerusalem is a great city.  I have visited many major cities around the world and known some very well, London, New York, Washington, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Stockholm and so on.  But, I can say without hesitation that Jerusalem is the most fascinating and incredible city in the world, one that no serious traveler can afford to miss in a life time.


Terrorism again

There was a terrorist incident in Netanya this morning.  While we were driving around we saw that the main Rehov Herzl was closed off with police and ambulances.   Later we found out that a policeman had been stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist, who had been shot.  Also later I heard about the much more serious terrible suicide bombing in Manchester.  Although these attacks are far apart, they are no doubt attempts by IS to show Trump who is visiting Israel and the PA today that they can still strike.  Too bad.

I saw PM Theresa May’s statement outside No. 10 about the Manchester bombing.  It shows the damage that one man can do, one twisted Islamic radical terrorist who killed 22 people, mostly children.  What will it achieve?  It will certainly frighten people from attending crowded events such as rock concerts.  But, in the long run it will not affect anything.  IS is being defeated in Raqqa in Syria and in Mosul in Iraq.  And Trump has agreed to upgrade the support the US is giving to the anti-IS forces.

But, at the same time Trump has aligned himself against the regime of Pres Assad in Syria. How he will manage these commitments and at the same time bring peace to the Middle East is difficult to foresee.  Nevertheless, he has brought of a coup with his visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and is now on his way to Rome and then to a Summit meeting.

Trump did say after meeting with Abbas that violence cannot be tolerated for peace to prevail and that terrorism cannot be rewarded, a strong dig at the PA President’s policy of rewarding Palestinian terrorists and their families for killing Jews and Israelis. Trump also said that the US will always stand with Israel.  Very nice sentiments.  Let’s see where they lead.  During his seven public speeches in his visit he did not mention settlements, two-state solution, or a Palestinian State.  What a difference from Obama, who always said that the Israel-Palestine conflict was basic to all peace in the Middle East.  Trump’s emphasis was on developing an anti-terrorism coalition.  We will have to wait and see when the dust settles what is actually accomplished.

Trump in Israel

When a President of the United States says “I love Israel,” he gets our undivided attention.  What a difference from Obama, who could never utter the words “love” and “Israel” in the same sentence, or pronounce “Islamic terrorism.”  There was no doubt a love-fest between Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump and Bibi was positively beaming with pride to have Donald here and showering him and Israel with such heartfelt platitudes.

But, when it comes to real hard facts and issues, there was precious little substance so far.  Sure they agreed that Iran is a local menace, sure they agreed that terrorism is terrible, but not much else came out so far.  Some commentators poured cold water on the idea that Saudi Arabia and Israel could ever be mentioned in the same breath.  Yet Trump just flew here from there, and as Nixon and Begin showed, it takes the most right-wing leaders to actually make peace (leftists conveniently forget this reality).

Another first for Trump, he was the first US President to visit the Western Wall, the holiest shrine in Judaism.  His wife First Lady Melania and his Jewish daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared also visited.  It was a powerful personal moment when Trump prayed there alone.  Did he pray for peace, or was he thinking how hard it will be to get a deal?  There is no doubt that Trump’s first foreign visit as President is the most significant such visit of any previous President.  We could stop there and it would be a powerful event.

But, more than that, we hope some helpful progress will come out of it.  It will only do so if the Palestinians, with US and Arabian pressure, are prepared to drop their ridiculous positions of not recognizing the existence of Israel as the Jewish State and also stopping their continuous incitement of hatred against Jews and Israelis and directly supporting terrorism with funding for everyone who kills Jews.  My attitude is that we as the stronger and winning side do not have to make the fundamental compromises, the Palestinians have to do so.  They must face their reality and give up trying to destroy Israel rather than seeking their own best interests.  The question is do they really want a deal?

Pres. Trump’s Saudi Speech

I should apologize for the flippant analysis I gave in my last blog about Pres. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.  Yes, it could be taken as window dressing, but then he made that speech, and it was unique, historic and extraordinary.   And it was given directly to 55 leaders of Muslim countries form Riyadh in Saudi Arabia!  It was the very anti-dote to the disastrous, stupid and cowardly speech that former Pres. Obama gave in Cairo in 2009. Trumps’s speech said several important things:

  1. The US is back in business in the Middle East and elsewhere
  2. We will reward our friends and punish our enemies
  3. Islamic terrorism is a scourge and the Arab/Muslim nations must cooperate together to help the US to destroy it
  4. All the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism must cooperate in this process
  5. We will annihilate the Islamic State and all similar terrorist groups (Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban)
  6. Iran is the major terrorist state in the Middle East and it will be a target (no more bullshit diplomatic engagement)

The fact that Trump chose to jump into the deep end in Saudi Arabia, rather than the usual easy visits to Canada or Mexico of previous Presidents, shows that he has the balls to grab the bull by the horns.  Many of us, even his supporters, have underestimated him. He is playing a tough and deep game.  No wonder he won’t move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, that is one of the pieces he is deploying on the Middle Eastern chessboard. What will both sides give to either get this move or try to prevent it?

Two other main points, he is flying directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel, a previously unheard of connection.  He is also exploiting the vulnerability of the Sunni Arabs to get them both to cooperate with the US in arms and other deals and to form joint ventures to combat terrorism, including the Joint Counter-Terrorism Institute in Riyadh.

What the Israeli Government will make of all this remains to be seen, some say there are certain misgivings about Trump’s renewed closeness to the Sunni Arabs.  But, on the other hand, I for one have always maintained that the way to peace is between Israel and the other Arab States rather than directly between Israel and the Palestinians.  The Pals are too split and too radical to actually come to terms, and the Arab States really don’t care about them. If it comes to the survival of their regimes and the clash with the Shia they will double-cross the Palestinians without blinking an eye.

Donald in Fairy Land

It might be argued that instead of Donald Trump racing around the world trying to re-establish US credibility we might as well have Donald Duck.  But, that would be unfair, since he is trying to reverse the Mickey Mouse foreign policy of Pres. Obama, that favored enemies (Iran) at the expense of allies (Saudi Arabia, Israel).   It may be that Donald Trump- is not experienced enough in diplomacy to carry out any effective policy, but anything must be better than Obama, especially if it openly supports US allies against its enemies.  That will all be to the good.

But, I am afraid in the process of trying to placate the numerous Sunni Arab world, Trump will be hypnotized by the numerology, as all Presidents are, i.e. there are many more Arabs and Muslims than Jews, and so to placate them is easier and more important, since they control the oil.  Forget about shared values, forget about Arab/ Muslim trashing of human and women’s rights, forget about the fact that Israel has won all the wars against the Arabs.  In the end it comes down to numbers and how far can we (the US) push Israel to accept the Arab’s dictates.

Already we are told in reports that Trump has had second thoughts about transferring the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.  There are rumors that Trump will ask Netanyahu to institute a construction freeze on the West Bank.  These are the same policies as Obama, and entirely against Trump’s statements during the campaign.  Those of us who supported Trump as the antidote to the Obama candidate (otherwise known as Hillary) will be extremely disappointed.  But, he hasn’t visited Israel yet, we’ll see if he does the usual thing, agree with our enemies (the Arabs) but put pressure on us (his best ally) to make concessions.  It’s so much easier than thinking and it hasn’t worked yet.