“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.
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Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Hunger Strike and Force-Feeding
- Ehud Barak’s Interview
- Gal Hirsch should become Chief of Police
- Selection of Articles
- The ethics of force-feeding are not straightforward
Whether or not to force-feed prisoner Mohammed Allaan (…) creates a serious dilemma for every humane thinking person who takes into account our duty to save life and to prevent suicide, balanced by our obligation to respect an individual’s will. (…) it is important to ask whether those who protest against force-feeding are saying, “let the prisoner die,” which would be unconscionable in the eyes of many, or whether they are calling for his release. If the latter alternative is adopted, it should apply not only to political detainees, but to all prisoners. Of course, this would alter the entire judicial system, enabling any prisoner to obtain early release merely by going on a hunger strike, without suffering the discomfort of force-feeding. Prisons everywhere would soon be emptied, and law abiding people would be threatened by rapists, murderers, terrorists and even common robbers who have been released. (…) Assume for a moment that you see a person put a gun to his head with the intention of committing suicide. Would it be wrong to grapple with him and remove the gun against his will? (…) Jails, prisons and penitentiaries are responsible for protecting the health and safety of their inmate populations, and the failure to do so can be open to legal challenge. (…) The courts and governments are not unanimous on the issue. The US Department of Defense permits forced-feeding under defined conditions. (…)
Maurice Ostroff, TOI, 18.08.15
Ethics, medicine and politics
There is no doubt that after more than 60 days of fasting, the life of the hunger striker is in danger. (…) The question is, why should the High Court be dealing with this? Why was the danger to his life not prevented in the first place by the doctors at Soroka Medical Center, where he was hospitalized before his condition took a turn for the worse? (…) hunger strikes undertaken by prisoners, especially political prisoners, with the goal to receive rights taken from them due to criminal acts they carried out or planned to carry out according to intelligence information, create a complicated challenge for modern democratic society. Democracy, which goes out of its way to preserve its values, has a tendency to confuse its duty to safeguard the lives of all citizens with its aspiration to implement its idyllic culture that sanctifies the rights of the individual — even of those individuals who are nothing more than a “ticking time bomb” (…) These “ethics” stink of politics. And even if in good faith, these doctors who guard the rights of hunger strikers are playing into the hands of terrorists and arming them against democracy, which is once again forced to defend itself against shaming. (…) “You will fully serve human life from its emergence from the mother’s womb and the welfare of humans will unceasingly be your ultimate consideration,” reads the Hebrew version of the physician’s oath. What is not clear about that?
Smadar Bat Adam, IHY, 18.08.15
The fight against terrorism isn’t a utopia
The struggle against terrorism and against murder-ous, racist ideologies places civilized countries in a difficult spot. (…) How does a civilized state act when the evidence cannot be revealed to the de-fendant or his legal representatives? (…) Some-times injustices happen. But against these injustices stands the need to combat terrorism. A democratic state does not give up due process, but it does make compromises with it in order to fight terror. The United States put terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay for years without a trial. (…) Normal legal situations don’t permit this kind of irregularity, but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s a necessity. The struggle against terrorism leads civilized countries to targeted assassinations. Is that a preferable situation? Mohammed Allaan is a member of the Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization bent on putting the entire world under a repressive regime. (…) The fight against terrorism isn’t a utopia. It’s long, frustrating, work. It’s possible to oppose the government’s proposal from both sides of the political spectrum, but in the current circumstances, a compromise isn’t the best solution. It’s just the less bad one.
Ben-Dror Yemini, JED, 18.08.15
On hunger strikes, death and honor
Many Israelis have struggled to understand the mother of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammad Allan, a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, who has vehemently objected to her son being force-fed despite his life being in imminent danger. Those unfamiliar with Arab culture cannot fathom the motives and objections of the Allan family and other Palestinian families who do not hesitate to sacrifice their loved ones on behalf of their homeland, “Palestine.” In essence, Allan’s departure from this world, in this manner and under these circumstances, would bestow considerable honor upon his family in Palestinian society in particular and in the Arab world in general. Not to mention the large sums of money they would receive. (…) Palestinian society, which is an inseparable part of the Arab world, is driven and motivated by this idea of honor. (…) the military and political leadership need to take the honor aspect into account when dealing with the Arab side.
Dr. Edy Cohen, IHY, 23.08.15
Terrorists, hunger strikes and NGOs
(…) As in many other situations, the NGO influence is reflected in the media coverage, particularly out-side of Israel (…) A survey of NGO websites (…) shows the intense focus of these resources on the Allaan case, which they present as primarily involv-ing the medical ethics of force-feeding and the legality of administrative detention. (…) The NGOs led the campaign against this legislation, and many Israeli doctors, including at Barzilai and Soroka hospitals where Allaan has been hospitalized, refused to implement the force-feeding option. (…) The successes that Allan and his NGO support group can now claim following the media campaign, the threats of violence and his subsequent release guarantees the frequent use of the hunger strike strategy. In connecting the NGO dots in the Allan case, the picture that emerges is very cynical, with the details and arguments manipulated, particularly by politicized NGOs and their funder/enablers, to achieve objectives far removed from the specifics – particularly by hiding the core terrorism dimension.
Gerald M. Steinberg, JPO, 23.08.15
- Ehud Barak’s Interview
The sensible scenario
The more people read the recently published 160-page Iranian nuclear deal the more people oppose it. (…) There is a distinct possibility that the US Congress will disapprove of the Iranian nuclear deal or demand it be improved. What seemed inconceivable just a short while ago has become almost inevitable. The question is: then what? (…) will the sides return to the table to broker a better deal? (…) The other members of the P5+1 group, who never really viewed a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, will probably agree to additional meeting again in Geneva or Vienna. (…) The Brits, French and Germans will follow the American lead on this. As for Iran, it is still holding out. (…) Notwithstanding, Iran will prefer renewed negotiations to war. The lifting of sanctions and the return to the family of nations remains a prime Iranian interest. Iran knows it has a lot to lose if it walks away or turns to war. Aside from the fact that returning to the nuclear negotiations table will show a pragmatic side and score points in public opinion – it is very unlikely that Iran will waive the $150 billion expected to come their way once the final deal is struck and sanctions lifted. (…) There are many fissures in the deal, but if the revised agreement will improve the inspections framework whereby upon suspicion Iranians will receive a 24-hour notice rather than a 24-day notice, and/or if the Iranians will truly be limited in their enrichment of uranium – forever, and/or if enforceable penalties for Iranian violations will be clearly set – then the democratic process being played out now in America will have been well worth the effort.
Ophir Falk, Michael Segall, JPO, 17.08.15
The Iran strike that never was
(…) Plans of attack were discussed three times: In 2010, 2011, and 2013. Allegedly, the top three members of government urged the approval of these plans with all the vigor they could muster. (…) The main point raised against an attack on Iran was that it would do more harm than good: The moment Israel attacked, Iran would have been free to push its nuclear program forward at full force while claim-ing self defense. (…) Had we attacked in 2010, Iran would have been nuclear in 2013; had we attacked in 2013, it would have been nuclear today, without binding agreements or international oversight. The Israeli strike could have borne fruit only if it had dragged the United States into war. (…) The Israeli tail wanted to wag the American dog and start a regional war, one whose end was unknown. If Churchill could recruit Roosevelt into the fight against Hitler, Netanyahu will force Obama into fighting Khamenei. But Obama isn’t Roosevelt, Netanyahu isn’t Churchill, and Khamenei isn’t Hitler. It’s all talk. (…) Barak is a dangerous kind of person to drive behind. The kind who might signal left, turn the steering wheel in that direction, and still turn right in the end, or the other way around. It’s doubtful whether we’ll ever know if he really wanted military action, or if he hoped that Netanyahu would back out in the last moment and save him from being responsible for a catastrophe. (…) When all the defense chiefs oppose a military operation, the prime minister knows that if it fails, he won’t have anyone to share the blame. (…)
Nahum Barnea, JED, 24.08.15
Best to keep your mouth shut
(…) Barak, a former IDF chief of staff, defense minister and prime minister (…) allowed himself to get a little too comfortable in an interview and expanded a little too much on topics that perhaps should not have been discussed. (…) a man with Barak’s breadth of experience should have known better. (…) Could the leak have been a calculated move on Barak’s part? (…) We will probably never know. Either way, his conduct was wrong and dangerous. (…) It is unfathomable that the censor permitted the broadcast of such sensitive and complex information on an issue that is not only still very much relevant but is actually the single most burning issue on the global agenda. The Iran issue currently dominates the headlines, and the information on the Barak tapes has the power to alter the current reality. (…) Another factor at fault for this debacle is the Channel 2 news desk. Despite getting the green light from the censors, the channel should have shown more responsibility toward the public, rather than opting to grab as many ratings as possible. (…) Being a powerful body comes with a moral responsibility and the Channel 2 bigwigs should have exercised judgment in this instance. (…) Despite our natural curiosity, most Israelis understand why certain details are kept from the public, and they support this.
Omer Dostri, IHY, 24.08.15
Why did two Israeli ministers turn against attack on Iran?
Two “traitors,” Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon and Yuval Steinitz, sat in a room in 2011 during a discussion of a possible strike against Iran. In venomous poetic terms, former prime minister Ehud Barak described them as “melting,” not real men, on whose faces could be seen their dread of the possible conse-quences of an assault on Iran. (…) What infuriated Barak so much? Is it possible that this was the first time that Steinitz, Ya’alon and other participants at that meeting heard an assessment of the possible lethal consequences of such an attack? Perhaps his anger was directed at Netanyahu for not managing to lie to them as Barak had expected he would? (…) One can only wonder what caused the change of mood in 2012, when Israel postponed joint maneuvers with the Americans to enable the attack. (…)What did the IDF chief of staff say that caused two cabinet ministers, the president and other senior officials to dread an attack on Iran? Barak estimated at the time that such an attack would cause “only” 500 fatalities in Israel. “A reasonable price.” (…) The plans of attack may be classified, but the price paid by the public is not a secret, and the government has an obligation to inform its potential victims. (…) The public is allowed to understand what drives the price of cottage cheese, but must not interfere in something that may lead to hundreds of deaths, or more.
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 25.08.15
Is Israeli intelligence in favor of the Iran deal?
J.J. Goldberg, the Forward editor-at-large, has been running a campaign to persuade Americans that Israel’s intelligence community is at odds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iran deal. Not only retired professionals, but now also currently serving ones dissent from Netanyahu’s read of the deal. (…) Military intelligence sees “an imperfect but real opening in Iran. It believes that opportunities are being lost.” Netanyahu’s own “diagnosis doesn’t match his own intelligence.” It’s all polemical and politicized nonsense. Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv’s Emily Landau, a real expert, has already taken Goldberg to the woodshed about the retired professionals who have come out in favor of the deal (…). Landau, without naming these “experts,” points out that Iranian politics and nuclear issues are well beyond the expertise of most of them. (…) Most of the people who argue that Israel should not fight the agreement still think it’s a bad one, they simply believe there is no point in provoking (…) the intelligence assessment is that Iran won’t be able to build a bomb under the terms of the agreement. (…) But the estimate also holds that when the agreement expires, Iran will be only weeks away from a nuclear breakout. In the meantime, Iran will have gained undeserved legitimacy from the deal, which will prompt Arab states to stock up on conventional weapons and accelerate their own nuclear programs. (…) The bottom line of the assessment, as reported in the press, is that the risks of the deal outweigh the opportunities. (…) Debates within Israel’s intelligence community not only occur, they’re encouraged (…). Likewise, it is vital for Israeli planners to think about the day after a done deal on Iran, and how Israel can make the most of it. (…)
Dr. Martin Kramer, IHY, 26.08.15
- Gal Hirsch is not up to the task
(…) during his military service, Hirsch went from success to success. I saw him when he was an operations officer in the Central Command during the difficult days of the Second Intifada, functioning during mass rioting and when the IDF entered refugee camps. He was level-headed and knew what he was doing and why. (…) However, during the Second Lebanon War, the tides have turned. As a young commander of the Galilee Division, he was held responsible for the event that sparked the fighting – the abduction of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. After the war, the commission of inquiry (…) established that Hirsch was responsible for several failures that allowed Hezbollah to carry out their ambush plan on the Lebanese border. (…) Hirsch is a special operations officer and he excels in this. But he has not proven himself to be a commander and leader of large organizations. The Israel Police force is a complex civilian organization in terms of manpower, and the tasks he has to carry out are for the most part very different from those he carried out in the military. Hirsch will not only have to learn the roles of the police force and its functioning from scratch, but also how to manage a non-military organization deployed throughout the country, active in areas ranging from drug smuggling through the borders to community policing in slums. He lacks experience, and regarding his personality, it is doubtful whether he is ready to lead an organization that is constantly facing a barrage of criticism from all sides. (…) There is no doubt that a police chief from the ranks of the Israel Police force would have been more appropriate than Hirsch in this case, but once he has been elected, we should wish him the best of luck and pray for him and for us that he will pleasantly surprise us.
Ron Ben-Yishai, JED, 26.08.15
Some humility is in order
(…) Erdan could not have hoped for a better justification for his decision to tap an external candidate as the next police chief than the one supplied by the dozens of officers who came together to thwart the move. Regardless of whether or not Hirsch is the right man for the job, the bleak evidence presented during Wednesday’s meeting speaks for itself. (…) The meeting by dozens of senior, albeit former, police officers was proof of the existence of the “blue guild,” which rushes to close its ranks regardless of the checkered past tainting some of its members’ records. (…) Had this meeting been held by former IDF chiefs of staff and generals seeking to protest the government’s choice of a commander in chief, it would be denounced as a putsch. Fortunately — or unfortunately — for the officers in blue, no one has accused them of inciting a revolt. After all, that would require taking them seriously, and there are not many people out there willing to do so.
Mati Tuchfeld, IHY, 27.08.15
Israel enters its silly season as summer winds down
(…) This week’s comic relief was provided by the “retired senior police officers’ club,” which convened with great pomp and circumstance to announce its “grave concern” over the nomination of Gal Hirsch as the country’s next police commissioner. (…) The club is a bunch of has-beens, with numerous personal interests, a sort of guild or junta that seeks to preserve its power within the police force. Perhaps they’ll recommend one of the seven police commanders who resigned in the past two years amid allegations of corruption and sexual misconduct? Perhaps they’ll support the commanders who behaved with so much “professionalism” that they did nothing to prevent the murder during the Jerusalem Pride Parade? The police force is gravely ill, in part because of these former senior officers. It needs a commander from outside its ranks to heal it. This commander must have courage and a sense of mission in order to be willing to enter this hornets’ nest — and that’s exactly what Gal Hirsch has. (…)
Nehemia Shtrasler, HAA, 28.08.15
Israel Police need new face, but not Gal Hirsch’s
I met Gal Hirsch 11 years ago. I came out of the meeting in shock. (…) Hirsch told me that he had anticipated the intifada so that when violence erupted he decided to block all exits from Palestinian villages. Why? Because he decided to. “I also blocked all the areas around Jerusalem right at the outset of fighting,” boasted the commander of the Benjamin brigade, “a total blockade. I didn’t allow anyone to move an inch.” No, he neglected to inform the division commander, he admitted, or the chief of the IDF’s Central Command. Yes, he knew that this was counter to what the political echelons wanted at the time, but with all due respect to politicians (there is none, apparently), he knew better and he took the decision.(…) Hirsch kept throwing out terms like “dissipatibility” and “S.O.P.” (systems outline planning) and “information occurence.” Topping this was a concept that he, according to Hirsch, bequeathed to the army: a tactic he calls by the Hebrew acronym “Ra’anana,” which stands for “tightening, net-casting, stinging, head-butting, nipping and easing.” Is it any wonder that 1,000 Israelis got killed before the intifada cooled off? (…) It’s not clear that Hirsch’s performance in the Second Lebanon War is relevant to his chances of being a good commissioner. What is clear is that there is now a pathetic attempt to rewrite history on this issue. (…)
Raviv Drucker, HAA, 30.08.15
- Selection of Articles
Israel and Hamas – The problems of a truce
(…) Hamas has lost its appetite for rounds of escalation with Israel and it seems to have realized, perhaps belatedly, that its main problem is not necessarily Israel, but rather the Islamic State group, which has been trying to undermine Hamas’ rule in Gaza. (…) Unlike Hezbollah, which has succeeded in establishing in Lebanon not only impressive military capabilities but also a functioning economy and society, Hamas rule in Gaza has been a complete failure. (…) Given the current state of affairs, it seems that reaching a truce with Israel is imperative for Hamas. (…) reaching this type of deal would bring up a series of problems. (…) how do we make sure that the quiet in Gaza is not affected by incidents in Judea and Samaria? Second, what will the implications of the deal be for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas? How do we keep him from being weakened? (…) Third, how do we leverage the deal to advance Israel’s interests vis-a-vis Hamas’ sponsors Turkey and Qatar? And finally, how do we ensure that an extended cease-fire in Gaza will not lead to the establishment of a hostile frontline Iranian base right under Israel’s nose? Without answers to these questions, a truce deal will not be worth the paper it is written on.
Prof. Eyal Zisser, IHY, 18.08.15
Is Hamas our new partner for peace?
(…) not only is there no reason to deny negotiations with Hamas, but we should be excited at the very possibility and act to promote them. Negotiations that would lead to a long-term cease-fire serve the interests and the policy of the present government. Building a seaport in Gaza does not require with-drawal from the territories, recognition of a Palestin-ian state or granting civil rights to the 1,800,000 residents of the Gaza Strip. (…) Hamas even passed the terror test successfully: It proved its ability to halt attacks against Israel (…). There is no limit to irony. While PA President Mahmoud Abbas has reached the conclusion that there is no more point in conducting a diplomatic process with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas suddenly looks like a serious partner. (…) It’s true that one little problem remains: Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. (…) An agreement with Hamas, be it direct or indirect or diagonal, will not solve the Palestinian problem. It is not a substitute for withdrawal from the territories or the solution to the status of Jerusalem. (…)
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 19.08.15
New Ambassador in New York – Israel’s new UN envoy is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time
(…) Danon is a talented politician who rose through the Likud ranks and into the cabinet after fewer than six years in the Knesset. Netanyahu was himself a successful UN envoy, and he knows something about diplomacy. But no explaining can hide the fact that Danon is the wrong ambassador in the wrong place at the wrong time. For six years he was a fierce rival to Netanyahu, who just one year ago fired him for harshly criticizing him at the height of the Gaza war. Although the government is clearly right-wing, Danon (…) will have difficulty persuading his UN colleagues that he speaks for Netanyahu. (…) A quick Google search will show that he opposes a two-state solution and supports annexing most of the West Bank to Israel and cutting off electricity and water supplies to the Gaza Strip. (…) The opinions Danon brings with him are like a red flag to Israel’s best friends, from the United States to Germany and from Canada to the Czech Republic. The timing of the appointment is particularly bad. (…) In the UN of 2015, Israel needs massive help from its friends, first and foremost the United States. It’s hard to see how chemistry could develop between Danon and the intellectual, leftist, liberal human-rights activist and Obama appointee Ambassador Samantha Power. And that is even before the new Israeli ambassador tries to explain his past statements against Obama. (…)
Barak Ravid, HAA, 16.08.15
Fight about Jerusalem Cinema Palace – Yes Planet
(…)Though nearly seven decades have passed since the religious demonstrations against Edison, not much has changed regarding the ability of reli-gious and non-religious to live together in harmony in Israel’s capital. (…) The Edison Theater eventually closed down as a result of a lack of demand, not due to violent demonstrations. (…) Similarly, the Yes Planet movie theater’s fate will not be determined by zealous demonstrators but by the viability of its business plan. (…) Yes Planet caters to an exclusively non-Orthodox clientele. No haredi boycott can be used against it. If there is a strong enough demand for movie theaters in Jerusalem coming from the less religiously observant and from the populous Arab neighborhoods of southern Jerusalem, there is nothing the haredim will be able to do about it. Market forces more than any other factor are shaping relations between religion and state in Israel in recent decades. As a result of the immigration of a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, many of whom are not religious, demand grew for non-kosher products. (…) Since the establishment of the state, there has been tension between religious and secular forces that has not abated over time. Time will tell if Yes Planet is a business success, and if there are enough film-goers to sustain it. This should be the sole criterion for whether or not the multiplex movie complex remains open – not by the bullying tactics of a violent minority.
Editorial, JPO, 16.08.15
Should Katz have steered clear of the light rail?
Expectations could not be lower. Work on the Greater Tel Aviv light rail is about to create a genuine disaster in Tel Aviv. (…) If he does become the man identified with digging up the lives of the resi-dents of Greater Tel Aviv, Katz is liable to become the man they love to hate. His name will be associ-ated by drivers, peddlers, merchants, and pedestri-ans with unflattering adjectives and an array of curses. (…) It seems to me that Katz regards the light rail as a way to make his mark. As a man of accomplishment, he is in need of a flagship project. As a politician who is no longer young, he is thinking about posterity. (…) The Tel Aviv light rail is his chance to prove that he is the biggest achiever of them all. (…) Katz’s chances of being remembered as a man of action depend to a large extent on the performance capabilities of the field managers, and in this sphere, there is now more reason for optimism than in the past. The terrible image of government company Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA), which was well deserved during its years of bankruptcy and corruption, is no longer valid. (…) the low expectations, general lack of acclaim, and prophecies of doom are actually doing (…) Katz a favor. (…) The interminable delays in Jerusalem were the main reason why the residents of the capital lost faith in the project. With expectations like these, Katz probably believes that he can only exceed them.
Amiram Barkat, GLO, 20.08.15
There is another way
(…) Immediately after the burning of the Dawabsha family in Duma, leading rabbis from the Tzohar rabbinical organization approached me in my capacity as the head of Mosaica to ask that I arrange a meeting with senior sheikhs and Islamist leaders from Israel in order to express condolences, pray for a full recovery and voice a joint and strong message against all desecrators of God’s name. The rabbis came with the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Stern, and met with leaders from the Islamic Movement in Israel, headed by the movement’s founder, Sheikh Abdullah Nimer Darwish. (…) there was a commitment from all sides to meet again (…) to take joint action in order to prevent more bloodshed in the future. (…) Sheikh Raed Badir, the foremost religious authority of the Islamic movement and a senior member of the Palestinian Ulama Council, (…) wrote (….), that although historical and moral justice mandate the establishment of a Palestinian state, it is better to wait a thousand years than to achieve a state this way. But just as he cannot accept, under any circumstances, the way of murder as a means of establishing a Palestinian state, so too the State of Israel cannot exist by way of burning children. (…) These are positive messages that need to be cultivated. (…) I see more and more people who recognize the reality that in this land, which is holy to us all, there are two peoples, so that the land does not “vomit us out,” as the Bible warns. We also need to revive the belief that we can live together — and not die — in this Land.
Michael Melchior, TOI, 17.08.15
Western collaborators are financing IS
There has been in recent years a growing synergy between the worshippers of MOLOCH (death and destruction) in the Middle East, as exemplified by Iran, al-Qaida, the Taliban, Islamic State and all their clones and proxies, and the worshippers of MAMMON (wealth and greed) in the West. (…) Take Islamic State (IS) as an example. That savage and barbaric organization has plenty of money with which to finance its horrible conquests as well as its propaganda and outreach to Muslim communities throughout the region as well as in Europe, Asia and Africa. Where does this financing come from? Apparently primarily from two sources: funds seized from banks in the cities it has overrun, especially Mosul in Iraq, and from the sale of crude oil and products from the oil fields and refineries it has seized. (…) the funds of the banks can be obtained (…) only through the cooperation of other corre-spondent banks. (…) this requires ready, willing and able collaborators among the business and financial circles of the West as well as surrounding countries. (…) if the opponents of Islamic State were really serious about doing something about it, along with the occasional bombing raid, the IS could be starved of funds to continue its rampage of murder, destruction, rape and slavery. (…)
Norman Bailey, GLO, 18.08.15
(…) Matisyahu’s songs have touched on themes related to Judaism, such as “Jerusalem,” based on Psalm 137 that expresses the Jews’ longing for a perfected world. (…) But Matisyahu’s art does not deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has rarely commented on the subject. (…) The Cornell interview and the Tweet were all that the BDS activ-ists could come up after much digging. That this is happening in Europe compounds the obscenity. The legacy of the Holocaust gives Europeans a special moral obligation to combat attacks motivated by anti-Semitism such as the one on Matisyahu. (…) Jewish people are regularly attacked on the streets of European cities, sometimes with lethal results, simply because they are visibly Jewish. Criticism of purported Israeli “war crimes” or “the occupation” serve as a pretext for lashing out against Jews who may or may not support specific Israeli policies. (…) The festival receives part of its financial support from public authorities funded by Spanish taxpayers. These authorities have a moral obligation to demand that Matisyahu be reinvited or, alternatively, demand that the public funds be returned. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 18.08.15
When Israeli soldiers meet Palestinian children
(…) a soldier attempting to arrest a Palestinian kid in Nabi Saleh (…) has broken the rules. He’s alone for several minutes allowing himself to be surrounded, he’s met the enemy up close and he’s committed the sin of being filmed doing it all. Very bad combination. (…) According to the latest legislation from the Knesset the kid he’s failed to grab is a hardened criminal with a 20 year sentence for throwing stones about to be handed down to him. (…) I was in Qussra and the driver of my Humvee had stepped on the gas without warning just as I opened the door to the vehicle. We went bounding 100 feet straight forward to where a group of kids had been standing throwing rocks at us. They all fled except one. The driver opened the door and grabbed the kid’s arm with a gleeful “Gotcha”. The kid burst into tears. I rolled my eyes. My enemy was six. “Let him go,” I instructed the driver. (…) Reluctantly he unhanded the kid who gleefully ran off to join his friends, smiling all the way. The driver glared at me. I didn’t care. I hadn’t joined the paratroopers to arrest babies. (…) Israeli generals and politicians love talking about the tough job, the complicated job Israeli soldiers do. (…) it’s a job handed down by them, and if they lament that it’s so complicated there is a very obvi-ous answer. Make it simpler. Instead they have made it more complicated. (…) It’s no accident that there are women and girls jumping all over the soldier in the above video, and I don’t doubt they were sent to do it. But so what? All they do is expose the truth about the stupidity of what we’re wasting our manpower on. They expose the truth about how, year in year out, we force the cream of our young people into unwinnable situations in the glare of the social media spotlight (…).
Marc Goldberg, TOI, 29.08.15
HAA = Haaretz
JED = JediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: September 2015
Dr. Werner Puschra,
Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel