“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Deadly Terror Attack in West Bank
- Dispute about Facebook
- Ten Years after the Lebanon War
- Selection of Articles
(…) Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was stabbed to death in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba. The killer, Muhammad Tarayrah, was motivated by a nihilistic strain of Islam. (…) It is no secret that the Hebron area is a hotbed of terrorism. Hebron has become the “terrorist capital” of the West Bank. (…) Our leadership has allowed Hebron’s terrorist cancer to fester for too long. Efforts must be focused on fighting this plague while avoiding getting dragged into a prolonged military conflagration in either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Israel, like Turkey, the EU, America and other countries around the world is fighting a long war with a distorted and toxic form of Islam. The Hebron hotbed is part of a much broader phenomenon that shows no sign of disappearing any time soon. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 03.07.16
Cry out, world!
Cry out, world! A girl is now wrapped in a blanket for eternity. The kids’ room is awash in blood. (…) Wake up, world! Hallel was sleeping, and she died. The people who slit the throats of girls in pajamas don’t stop in Kiryat Arba; they don’t stop at the Green Line; and not in Israel. Kiryat Arba stretches from Sarona to Orlando. Cry out, world, over this beautiful, innocent child. You must cry out. (…) Since the riots of 1921, in one continual intifada that will soon turn 100, we have seen the blood of our sons, our wives, our elders and our babies. (…) What has the Arab enemy been doing? Increasing the hatred and death, sending yet another 17-year-old to slash a girl’s arteries with a knife. People are born good, all of them. Culture is what leads a person to be worse than an animal. (…)
Emily Amrousi, IHY, 01.07.16
Moral equivalence has become a moral atrocity
We have reached the point where moral equivalence has become a moral atrocity. The smart set in the West has insisted for over a generation that Israel and the Palestinians are morally equal. (…) the Palestinians (…) do not want to build a state. They have spent the money to transform Palestinian society into the most anti-Semitic society in the world where the vast majority of its people want to kill Jews and destroy Israel. (…) “Cycle of violence,” means that there is no moral distinction between a murderer and a policeman, between a society geared toward annihilating its victim and its victim’s actions to prevent that from happening. (…) Thursday morning, a hate-drenched, demonic Palestinian murderer took a knife and (…) broke into the Ariel family’s home. He walked into their children’s bedroom. He found 13 year old Hallel Yaffa asleep in her bed. He stabbed her repeatedly. When there was no place left to stab her in her face and chest, he turned her over and continued stabbing her in the back. (…) The Palestinian media celebrated their crimes. (…) The Ariels live off of their vineyard and the wine they produce. (…) A quiet family of profound faith, the Ariels were just going about their quiet lives, raising their daughters, tending to their vines when the evil beyond their gate entered their home and struck. That is the difference between the two sides. One wishes to tend his vineyard. The other wishes to destroy it. It is black and white. It is a clear distinction. The international community’s pernicious refusal to recognize this basic fact, after so many years, is a major reason that there is no peace, and there is so much bloodshed
Caroline B. Glick, JPO, 04.07.16
With every terror attack must come new construction
When speaking of “war on terrorism” or “eradicating terrorism,” the question arises: Is “terrorism” the enemy, rather than those who commit it? Is the war against “terrorism,” as if it was a separate entity, independent of the conflicts it serves? (…) Terror is a weapon used to instill fear and panic, to undermine morale and to disrupt public order. (…) Those who talk solely about “terrorism” while blurring the reasons behind it and the target in front of it, do not do so by accident. (…) Even if terrorism is comparable to a disease, so long as there is no desire to reach its origins, police and military methods such as the closure and encirclement of a village, demolitions and deportations, are little more than a band aid on a gunshot wound. (…) why is it that what works for the Arabs does not also apply to the Jews? If demolishing settlements encourages terrorists, could the very opposite—strengthening the settlement enterprise—not decrease their motivation to carry out more attacks? Provided that it is done systematically, so they know that for every terrorist—a home, a street, or a neighborhood will be built in a settlement. “Hill 18” stands in Kiryat Arba, near to where Hallel Yaffa Ariel was murdered. (…) immediate construction (…) will strike the murderous motivation of the terrorists. (…) Only the building of Jewish homes will provide the strategic answer and the political answer to terrorism.
Elyakim Haetzni, JED, 10.07.16
Facebook: A tool for murdering Jews
(…) A nice Jewish boy had an idea for a social network, and when his dream became a reality, chaos resulted. The very creation of a mechanism for mass social communication resulted in an out-of-control vehicle for murder (…) While you and I are posting pictures of our new grandchild for friends and family to see, the Arab world is posting (…) videos of how to best murder a Jew. (…) Facebook, Twitter and Instagram executives are well aware of how their sites are being abused. (…) The proof that they have the capability to control the removal of most of the horrendous material has already been displayed through their cooperation with authorities in removing pedophilia from their sites. Key words and phrases programmed into their systems can remove the vile postings calling for and instructing how to murder Jews. (…) The fact that there is no removal of the home pages for Hamas, Islamic State, Islamic Jihad and their tentacle organizations is an overt abuse of the public trust. (…) There are legal routes to force the social networking sites to clean up their acts. (…) Lawsuits must be filed to create the precedent that – with each posting not prevented – there will be financial liability. (…)
Barbara Diamond, JPO, 02.07.16
Facebook doesn’t incite Palestinians, reality does
(…) DNA testing performed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan proved that it’s the blood of Jews, murdered by terrorists who got their ideas and their appetite for murder from Facebook. (…) Erdan did not invent the charges against incitement. Incitement is known worldwide as a factor that can encourage terror, and no less important as a phenomenon the purpose of which is to legitimize terror. The question that Erdan does not answer is this: If the effect of Facebook and the rest of social media is so sweeping that they spur the younger generation of Palestinians to adopt terror as a means of action, how is it that all social media has managed to do is spark the “lone-wolf intifada” and the stabbing assaults? Why hasn’t broader protest started (…)? One of the answers is that social media, despite its wholesale use, have not really been able to spark mass action. Social media are not what engendered the Arab Spring, the revolt in Iran in 2009 or the revolution that never was against Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. (…) Reality is what incites them. (…) In the case of the Palestinians that cause is the occupation. (…) Erdan is angry that Facebook allows Palestinians to strengthen their common denominator as an occupied community and empower its representatives on the ground. (…)
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 05.07.16
People are being killed, and an Israeli minister blames Facebook
(…) The declaration of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan that Facebook bears responsibility for acts of terror is a successful spin. (…) it’s the only thing everyone is talking about on Facebook right now. (…) how many Jews in Israel have been arrested for calling for the death of Arabs? (…) Facebook is brimming with incitement, racism, and hate speech. Anyone who has ever tried to report such a post has discovered a system that’s apathetic in every sense of the word; there may be community rules but they are implemented in a totally arbitrary manner, and there is no way to know what Facebook removes and why. (…) By the way, the Facebook pages of MKs and ministers are full of responses that incite to murder, but no one bothers to erase them. (…).
Oded Yaron, HAA, 03.07.16
Facebook ‘only’ helps incitement spread
(…) According to data provided by the National Union of Israeli Students’ plan to combat anti-Semitism online, only 26% of complaints to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter over inciting and anti-Semitic content are met with a positive response and the removal of the content. (…) A shocking video threatening to harm and even murder Likud MK Yehuda Glick and any Jew who visits the Temple Mount was recently shared on Facebook. Imagine all the young people who see this video and similar ones, as though it they were some kind of computer game, and share them again and again. Their activities for summer vacation will no longer just be summer camp, but things that are much more dangerous. Should this video remain on Facebook in the name of freedom of expression? No. For the same reason that a newspaper cannot publish calls of incitement to murder. (…) Zuckerberg always talks about his various projects that seek to make the world a better place; the struggle against incitement to terrorism could be a good place to start.
Lital Shemesh, IHY, 05.07.16
Facebook is not the enemy
Leave Facebook alone. (…) The Syrian regime massacred hundreds of thousands of citizens without needing Facebook. The First and Second Intifadas broke out here without Facebook. The hateful wars and atrocities in the Balkans in the 1990s were not ignited via Facebook (…) or even via cell phone networks (…). Technology has not set ideology, and it won’t. Therefore, we need to fight against the content of the discourse, not its arena. To fight against cults and not their meeting place. There’s no recipe for how to fight this battle, but it’s clearly not by destroying the stages on which it’s taking place. (…) Mark Zuckerberg, the Jewish boy genius who invented Facebook and turned it into a worldwide communications medium, is an asset to the people of Israel. Instead of looking for ways to get closer to him, the Israeli government is seeking to distance him. How to turn a friend into an adversary. Tell me, you there in Jerusalem: Have you gone crazy?
Sever Plocker, JED, 09.07.16
When all else fails, blame Facebook
(…) No one could offer specifics about the nature of the upcoming conflict or how violent it would be. But (…) there was a consensus (…) that this was where things were headed. (…) The writing was on the wall, whether the wall was inside a refugee camp, a village, city, or on Facebook. And then it began: (…) the “wave of terrorism,” the “lone-wolf intifada” (…) The response of Israeli decision-makers was not very surprising (…) As far as they were concerned, the blame rested exclusively with Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority. For them, the Palestinians were the inciters and the ones urging violence, and there it began and ended. (…) Just as the Palestinians had sought to massacre us in 1929, so too were they seeking to do the same now. (…) The loss of hope for a state, the despair over Israel, over the Palestinian Authority itself, over the settlements, and yes, the success of Islamic State and others of its ilk, together with religious extremism, caused the madness that we are now dealing with. But they will do anything to avoid a serious discussion of these issues. Suddenly we found the culprit: Facebook! Eureka! Shut Facebook down in the Hebron sector and there will be no more terror attacks. Every Israeli citizen ought to be offended by this assertion, which was voiced by at least two government ministers. Were there no intifadas before social networks or Facebook? (…) We will probably witness ups and downs in the level of violence, days and perhaps weeks of quiet until the next outbreak — or, as people like to call it in the media, another “wave,” at least until a more dramatic change takes place. (…)
Avi Issacharoff, TOI, 10.07.16
If a war comes in the north, we’ll win
A decade has passed since the Second Lebanon War. (…) Throughout the war, the Israel Defense Forces racked up achievements: a serious blow to Hezbollah, the foundations for Israeli deterrence, and the establishment of continued, stable quiet along the Lebanon border that serves the citizens on both sides of it. During the fighting, problems came to light, and after it was over, a learning process took place that led to a notable improvement in the IDF’s capabilities. (…) The IDF of 2016 is an army that is prepared, trained, and equipped. Preparation for emergency and war is the army’s top priority. Our forces’ organizational and operation approach has been updated and the amount of training combat troops undergo has increased and improved. (…) Improvements have also been made to the homefront defenses to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians during a war and give the fighting front breathing space to protect and win. In the decade that has passed, the IDF has developed knowledge and strategic systematic insights and tailored its perception of the enemy to fighting Hezbollah. All these will allow the IDF to win any future conflict. (…) Our enemies in the north are always testing us, and I’m certain that at the moment of truth, we will stand strong and prove and that IDF is prepared, powerful, and victorious. (…)
Gadi Eizenkot, IHY, 11.07.16
Lessons from the Second Lebanon War
(…) In retrospect, it is clear that an attack on Hezbollah’s long-range missiles was strategically important, dramatic, and deeply shocked Hezbollah’s commanders. However, successes from the air cannot decide the outcome of the battle alone, and therefore one of the lessons for the future is that the transition to ground operations has to come faster. IDF ground forces and reserves must be prepared and trained, with faster replenishment, with each unit knowing its goals and operational area where it may engage in battle. (…) The Second Lebanon War reinforced the perception that the threat on Israeli civilians and infrastructure must be treated as a strategic threat. (…) The Second Lebanon War ended with a feeling of disappointment in Israel, but as time passed and the dust settled the achievements become more obvious and significant. In historical perspective the Second Lebanon War created a deterrence against Hezbollah, but also gave an unequivocal message to other terrorist organizations, especially Hamas. (…) At the end of the day, there are no good wars. The Israeli leadership’s task is to create new political opportunities, as Israel tries with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East. When it comes to extremist enemies like Hezbollah, Israel should maintain its redlines, but also work together with the international community in order to prevent the next war and provide this troubled region with the possibility of a brighter future.
Amir Peretz, JPO, 14.07.16
A child of the Lebanon War is now a parent in its shadow
(…) As a child, I grew up in the shadow of terror attacks: rocket fire, terrorist intrusion alerts and one war that changed my life and the lives of my family. Ten years ago (…) Hezbollah terrorists crossed the border near Zarit and killed three soldiers. (…) My father, a farmer, heard the fighting and rushed quickly to rescue his brother from the adjoining orchard, which had started getting hit by the gunfire. Hezbollah noticed my father and opened fire on his car with a mortar. I can only ask you to imagine how I felt when they told me that my father was badly wounded. (…) I felt a crippling pain, when I realized that my home was not the safest place for me. (…) After my release from the army, I studied education. I married, and together with my husband chose to build our house in Zarit. Nine months ago, we became parents. Since I became a mother, new fears have become part of my life. Now I am responsible for my daughter’s life. I am committed to ensuring her safety, just as any parent provides safety for their child. I wonder. Would you raise your child in a place where there is a risk of attack from Hezbollah tunnels? Do you know if you’d be able to sleep at night while Hezbollah soldiers are building towers along the border fence near your home? Is it possible to have a normal life alongside Hezbollah’s desire to attack, kidnap, take control and kill? My answer is yes, because I know we can live a good life in Zarit. Despite the reality of the Middle East in which we find ourselves, we cannot let hatred overwhelm us. We must live, to love, to exist. We cannot give up on the place where we grew up and accumulated a lifetime of memories. We can only continue to hope that evil fades and teach our children the values of love. (…)
Galit Levi, TOI, 12.07.16
(…) A decade after the fighting ended, there is no doubt that Israel’s achievements in that war, however important, could have been accomplished at a much lower price. Hezbollah’s removal from the border area (…) could have been achieved (…) without paying such a heavy toll in human lives. (…) it was a missed opportunity, particularly regarding public opinion and the exorbitant price paid for achievements that should not be taken lightly. (…) Hezbollah’s success in surviving the war and its ability to inflict damage on Israel did not minimize the crippling blows it suffered at the hands of the IDF, with hundreds of dead Hezbollah fighters and the devastation of the Shiite community in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah’s most loyal base of support. It seems the only lesson Hezbollah learned from the Second Lebanon War was how to better prepare for the next confrontation with Israel, if one comes. On the eve of the war, Hezbollah had an estimated 12,000 to 18,000 rockets in its arsenal. A decade later, the Shiite terrorist organization has around 100,000 rockets, some of which are long range and could strike anywhere in Israel. (…) The Second Lebanon War is gradually becoming a distant memory, which is another reason for Nasrallah to repeat his apology for 2006. Had he known how things would unfold, Nasrallah would have never ordered the IDF soldier abduction operation that sparked the Second Lebanon War.
Prof. Eyal Zisser, IHY, 11.07.16
Israel’s next war in Lebanon is a matter of time – Opinion
The Second Lebanon War had many failures. (…) But the war (…) has delayed the outbreak of a third Lebanon war by more than a decade. The 2006 conflict is not the only reason for this delay, though. For five years Hezbollah (…) held its fire because it had become mired in a blood-soaked Syrian war. (…) the third Lebanon war is on its way. (…) Hezbollah is today the sole conventional factor that poses a significant threat to Israel. (…) this threat has intensified sharply in the past decade. Every year of quiet on the northern border has been a year of increased strength north of the border. (…) Its tens of thousands of combatants (…) and its tens of thousands of rockets could astound the satiated, sleepy and complacent Israeli public. Hezbollah cannot beat the IDF (…). But in the next confrontation Hassan Nasrallah’s army will totally disrupt Israel’s routine life, nationwide. It will damage national infrastructure, deal a blow to the economy and cause profound trauma. (…) The IDF is doing what it should. (…) Israel will surprise Hezbollah. (…) The largest achievement of all was made by the defense industries, which changed the equation against the rocket launchers by giving us Iron Dome and David’s Sling. (…) The third Lebanon war (…) will put us to a much more serious test. So the preparation for the only external threat we have (…) must first of all be domestic. The calm years we have been granted must be used to unite a ruptured society, mend an inferior state system and rewrite the story of Israel’s place and purpose.
Ari Shavit , HAA, 14.07.17
Eli Wiesel – Reflections on the life and legacy of Elie Wiesel
(…) to experience Auschwitz through Elie’s eyes changed everything for me. It changed the way I think, and it lit a flame in me that burns to this day. (…) Elie refused to give up. When I joined him at Auschwitz, I found a man not filled with hate, but with sadness and determination. Sadness over all those who were lost, and determination to honor their memory with action and impact. (…) Indifference made the Holocaust possible. (…) He used his mighty pen to inspire generations. (…) Elie may have left us, but his memory lives on. (…) We still hear his gentle voice, telling us what he would say to anyone who would listen: that people of good conscience have a moral obligation to speak out, be heard and fight bigotry.
Ronald S. Lauder, JPO, 04.07.16
The voice of humanity
(…) Perhaps the secret appeal of this pale, gaunt Holocaust survivor, who came to represent the world’s conscience, is embodied in the saying “The Torah spoke in the language of man.” Wiesel had a rare ability to captivate his audience when recounting horrifying stories from the Holocaust, in a way that invariably left them deeply moved. A pallid man with broken English immigrated to the U.S. and told his tragic story to people who had never heard of him before. Remarkably, anyone who heard him speak instantly became an avid admirer. (…) But his eloquence only represented the technical side of his talent, which served to grab attention. It was the message of his words that carried most of the weight, despite the repetitive motif — the voice of conscience and its centrality. (…) He possessed the kind of profound humanism that made him worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize 30 years ago, but he also recognized the realistic threats facing his people. (…) Wiesel opened diplomatic opportunities to Israeli leaders (…). But he was never neutral when it came to matters essential to Israel’s existence.
Dan Margalit, IHY, 04.07.16
He’s paid his dues and now Israel should release Katsav
I’m in favor of releasing Moshe Katsav from prison. (…) why do I want his release? Compassion. Katsav’s was punished justly (…). His public life is largely over. (… Had it not been Katsav, it’s clear he would be out already. Katsav is only an example of something more widespread. We aren’t satisfied if someone is prosecuted, demoted in status, impoverished, loses his friends, even imprisoned. We want blood. (…) The same thing is happening to Ehud Olmert. (…) Olmert was humiliated, trampled and will never return to politics. The preoccupation with questions of who exactly visited him and in which capacity looks to me like bloodlust. (…) a treadmill was brought into the prison wing where Olmert is staying, and all the prisoners there are allowed to run on it for 20 minutes. Once Olmert ran for the permitted amount of time and wanted to continue because there was nobody else there – and they made him get off. Why? Because. Because those are the rules. Afterwards someone even made the effort to leak the story.(…) Let’s be tough with them when they have a lot of power in their hands, and find a little more compassion in ourselves when they no longer have any power at all.
Raviv Drucker, HAA, 11.07.16
Pokemon-Hysteria – Gotta catch ’em all, even in the Knesset
(…) Pokemon, as you may remember, was a Nintendo video game released 21 years ago. It’s considered the second-most lucrative video game franchise of all time, after Mario the princess-saving plumber. (…) Pokemon Go, released last week on smartphones, is an augmented reality video game. Using a player’s cellphone, built-in camera and GPS, Pokemon characters are scattered throughout the real world (…). The game caught on like wildfire among dorky millennials, like my sister and myself. (…) The key thing that makes Pokemon Go cooler (…) is its blend of reality and fiction (…). It would never occur to me to play a video game in Yad Vashem or Mount Herzl. In fact, I am enough of a grown-up to shut off the game when the NGO bill discussions began and I had to start working. (…) Other people, however, seem to not have minimum impulse control. So I want to wish my fellow Pokemon Go fans that they can “catch ’em all” in augmented reality, but don’t lose sight of actual reality. The game will get boring soon enough, and you’ll still have to live with yourself and your choices.
Lahav, Harkov, JPO, 14.07.16
What is to be done with the West Bank and Gaza?
(…) Recently there has been a flurry of new activity concerning this dispute, including a farcical French initiative (…) This has to be the most ridiculous diplomatic initiative of recent history (…). However, the involvement of Egypt is another story entirely. In the first place the Egyptians have a direct stake in the issue, which involves its neighborhood. (…) the Egyptian initiative follows on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sphinx-like statement about the now almost-forgotten Saudi initiative offering formal recognition of Israel by the Arab countries when and if Israel and the PA make peace. Finally, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states agree that the current leadership of the PA must go and be replaced by figures noted for their efficiency (…). This shows great realism since the current leadership has neither the desire to nor the capability of negotiating anything at all. This said, is there any realistic chance that in fact an arrangement can be made? The answer is a firm yes and no. Yes in the case of the West Bank and no in the case of Gaza. A decent PA leadership can (…) make a constitutional arrangement that would provide it with a state and Israel with security (…). Gaza is another story entirely. Hamas is a terrorist organization (…). In the case of Gaza, the only possibility is of a resolution is the violent overthrow of Hamas and its allies. In other words, the two situations must be separated and dealt with differently or a settlement is simply out of the question for the time being. But at least with the Egyptian initiative there is something to negotiate and some hope of success. (…)
Norman Bailey, GLO, 14.07.16
HAA = Haaretz
JED = JediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: July 2016
Dr. Werner Puschra, Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel
Susanne Knaul, Judith Stelmach