“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:
- Riots on the Temple Mount
- Israel Commemorates the Victims of the Shoah
- War in Ukraine
- Selection of Articles
Israel cannot allow rioters to desecrate Temple Mount
(…) we are increasingly seeing (…) cynical attempts to exploit the holy site for (…) narrative rather than peaceful religion. The Palestinian rioters who desecrated the site by throwing rocks and firecrackers at police and on the Jewish worshipers gathered at the Western Wall below the Mount, did not go to the area Muslims call al-Haram al-Sharif (…) or al-Aqsa compound for a spiritual Ramadan experience. (…) The Muslims who stockpiled stones, rocks, logs and firecrackers in al-Aqsa (…) prepared for a riot – to attack police and Jewish worshipers (…). Police did not storm al-Aqsa Mosque to “conquer” it. They broke in to arrest the rock throwers who had barricaded themselves inside after Friday prayers. Some of the masked Palestinians waved Hamas flags and praised arch-terrorist Muhammed Deif as they tried to bombard the Jewish worshipers who had come to pray at the Western Wall at the start of the Passover holiday. (…) It is Jewish worship that is limited at Judaism’s holiest site. The Muslim extremists object to any Jewish presence on Temple Mount and now refer to the entire area as “al-Aqsa” (…). The sensitivity of the area was seen last year when Hamas in Gaza launched rockets (…), sparking what was to turn into an 11-day mini-war during which thousands of rockets rained down on Israel and there was widespread rioting by Arab-Israelis. Stockpiling rocks and weapons in a mosque is a desecration, not a way of elevating its religious status; similarly, launching rockets in the direction of Temple Mount does absolutely nothing to “protect” it. On the contrary. (…) Israel cannot allow a minority of violent rioters to desecrate the holy site. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 17.04.22
Israeli-Jordanian relations can survive another round of al-Aqsa unrest
(…) were heard loud and clear in Jerusalem. “I suggest to every Palestinian and every member of the Islamic endowment, the Waqf, to pick up stones and hurl them at the Zionists,” Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh told the parliament in Amman (…). His statements (…) raised some eyebrows in Jerusalem. But officials, even those who were most critical of Jordan, conceded that Amman was in a precarious position. The riots on Temple Mount came as King Abdullah II was recovering from a complicated back surgery (…). His son, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, was filling his place for the first time. (…) Letting out steam was also allowed in parliament when 76 out of the 180-member legislative body voted to cancel the peace treaty with Israel and to recall Jordan’s ambassador to Israel. A second parliamentary vote saw 87 legislators vote in favor of ousting the Israeli ambassador. (…) But, the fate of the peace agreement and that of the Israeli ambassador, is not to be decided by parliament. Only the king can decide and he (…) is not inclined to act on it, certainly not while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is in power. Jordan’s leader knows the relations with Israel – on intelligence matters – are great, and the security cooperation between the two states remains stable. Jordan receives water from Israel, in a greater quantity than the peace deal dictates and Israel has made it clear that it would allow the free flow of goods from the kingdom into the Palestinian Authority. (…)
Smadar Perry, YED, 19.04.22
Jordan’s response to al-Aqsa clashes is unacceptable
The Aqsa Mosque is not in danger. At least not in any danger from Israel. (…) Contrary to rumors (…) Israel does not have a secret plan to undermine the mosque. (…) Just because something is absurd, however, does not mean it is not deadly. The blood libel in the medieval ages was a ridiculous slander, but it nonetheless led to the killing of countless Jews. So, too, has the “Aksa is in danger” libel led to hundreds of deaths over the last century. (…) What is needed now is for responsible leaders and countries to dispel the lie, not add to it. And that is what makes recent comments by Jordan’s King Abdullah (…) so infuriating. (…) Abdullah said Israel’s “unilateral” moves against Muslim worshipers undermined the prospect of peace, and he blamed Israel’s “provocative acts” at the Temple Mount compound for the current tension. (…) Israel, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said without mentioning the Hashemite Kingdom by name, expects more from Jordan. As it should. It should expect that its peace partner to the immediate east work to douse flames, not pour fuel on them. (…) Bennett did not specifically call Jordan out because he did not want to create any more tension with such an important partner. We can afford to be less diplomatic. If Jordan wants to be treated like a friend, it should act and – yes – speak like a friend. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 19.04.22
A war over the Temple Mount is just a matter of time
(…) the right (…) attempt (…) to establish Israeli sovereignty (…). In their eyes, the main thing is not prayers but sovereignty. Control, ownership, authority. (…) The Temple Mount is located in an area that Israel has annexed, and to date only the Trump administration has acknowledged this sovereignty. (…) Trump’s “deal of the century” plan presented an (…) important contradiction: On the one hand it retained the arrangements that were valid until its publication, but immediately afterwards it went on to say that “people of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion.” (…) The attempts by the Temple Mount “faithful” to breach the Mount, and their dream of not only praying on the Mount but also rebuilding the Temple there – a project that of necessity would require the demolition of the Muslim mosques – present the sovereignty issue as the main pretext for the insanity. They see themselves as a spearhead that could force the government to take over control of the Mount, just as they succeeded in “annexing” the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and in establishing settlement satellites that have created the parallel state: the state of the settlers that has shaped the face of the original State of Israel. For them, without the Temple Mount, Israel cannot be a Jewish state, the reason for its survival will evaporate. For them, even if a religious war erupts, and even if Israel’s relations with its old and new Arab friends are severed, and certainly if sanctions are imposed on Israel – absolute control of the Temple Mount is worth the price. (…) when “leaders” like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich can be Knesset members and perhaps even ministers, a war over the Mount is only a question of time.
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 19.04.22
What Jewish Israelis don’t get about Al-Aqsa
(…) There is no other place in Israel that is as clearly Palestinian as East Jerusalem. The Arabs in Israel have undergone a process of Israelization and institutionalization, the Palestinians in the West Bank are under military rule and in Gaza they live in a prison. In effect, the only Palestinians who are free of “Israeliness” in all its forms are the East Jerusalemites. (…) Within the walls of the Old City the East Jerusalemites feel like the landlords or at least like their own masters. There (…) the Palestinians manage somehow to be free of the shackles of Israeli rule. That’s why they’re not willing to be robbed of the basic customs of their communal, religious and national identity, in their home, in their city and in their mosque. (…) Al-Aqsa has in recent years become a Palestinian national symbol. It’s no longer just an ordinary mosque and the connection to it is no longer only religious. It serves as a symbol of Palestinian national victory over Jewish ultranationalism. This victory is achieved thanks to the fact that the area of Al-Aqsa is the only place that Israel refrains from controlling fully, and that situation is enshrined in law. Even for an occupying and oppressive regime like the Israeli one the complexity there is too great. The Muslim world looks on and threatens to intervene. The determination of the East Jerusalemites, and their battle against the clubs and gas grenades of the police forces, have become a symbol of effective resistance (…) both Ramadan and Al-Aqsa are already not only religious symbols, but national symbols as well. Next year in rebuilt Palestine.
Hanin Majadli, HAA, 26.04.22
Al-Aqsa won’t become a synagogue. There are real reasons to fight the occupation
(…) the occupation in Jerusalem is bad enough and there’s no need to make up lies about it. Contrary to what is being said on Palestinian social media, in the mainstream Arab media and by preachers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli government has no secret plans to push Muslims off the Temple Mount and turn it into a site of Jewish worship. The security cabinet hasn’t decided to divide the Al-Aqsa compound and prayer times on the Mount between Jews and Muslims, as it did at the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron. (…) It’s true that Israeli society has changed regarding the Mount. Until 20 years ago, very few Jews had any interest in the site or wanted to visit it for religious reasons. This change stems from theological and political processes very deep beneath the surface of Israel’s religious community. (…) Temple Mount activists have scored two significant successes. First, the number of Jews visiting Al-Aqsa has increased. (…) The activists’ second success is that in recent years they have gotten the police to ignore Jews who pray silently on the eastern part of the Mount. Still, it’s important to remember that the Palestinians have also racked up several successes at Al-Aqsa. Thanks to the Palestinians’ struggle, the restrictions on young men entering the Mount that were in force in 2014 and 2015 were canceled. In 2017, the police removed the metal detectors they had placed at the Mount after a terror attack killed two police officers at the entrance to the site. Today, even the police are more careful about using guns on the Mount (…). They allow West Bank Palestinians to come pray at the site, strive to prevent disruptions of Muslim prayer services and close the Mount to Jews during the last 10 days of Ramadan. (…) the people who want to offer sacrifices or build a synagogue there belong to small, radical groups that are unpopular with most Israelis. Most of Israel’s religious parties oppose visiting the Mount for reasons based on Jewish religious law, and even in the religious Zionist community, opinions are split on this issue. All Israeli governments, even the most extreme, have understood that Israel’s freedom of action at Al-Aqsa is very limited – partly due to fears of violence in Jerusalem and elsewhere, but also due to international pressure. At least at Al-Aqsa, Israel isn’t as powerful as the Palestinians think and the Palestinians aren’t as weak. (…)
Nir Hasson, HAA, 29.04.22
Israel must make it clear that multiple fronts come at a price
The month of Ramadan continues to supply a dizzying mass of security incidents in every sector. The Temple Mount, which has been the center of interest for the last two weeks, was replaced (…) by the north, where riots prompted by Hamas broke out. The rocket fired overnight at the western Galilee (…) was a reminder that Hamas is working assiduously to incite all the conflict zones. (…) Hamas is trying to light up the north. (…) The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is doing the same thing (…). Since the Second Intifada, the Shin Bet has torpedoes dozens of (…) plots, preventing mass-casualty suicide bombings. Nevertheless, it’s clear that terrorist organization are still trying to carry out attacks of this type, hoping to shock Israel. They are operating under the incorrect idea that they will cause escalation in one zone – Judea and Samaria – while avoiding it in another – the Gaza Strip. This attempt failed when Hamas kidnapped three teens in June 2014, leading to Operation Protective Edge, and instigated riots on the Temple Mount in 2021, which led to Operation Guardian of the Walls. Israel has to make it clear to the groups in Gaza that now, too, their multi-front game comes at a price – that if, heaven forbid, a major terrorist attack is carried out that is funded, planned, and handled from Gaza, then Gaza is where Israel will respond. (…)
Yoav Limor, IHY, 26.04.22
2. Israel Commemorates the Victims of the Shoah
Holocaust Remembrance Day is not only about the dead, but also the living
(…) we must also remember those who actually survived the genocide. These people survived the horrors of World War ll, yet they can’t make it through the month in the State of Israel, spending their twilight years in dire conditions, which include starvation, neglect, poverty, and unbearable loneliness. But most of all, they feel forgotten and betrayed by the country they love so much. A country that they built with their own hands and sacrificed everything in order to get here. (…) Think about the fact that every fourth Holocaust survivor in Israel lives below the poverty line. They find themselves forced to choose again and again between medicine and food. They spend the cold winter days with no heat because they can’t afford the high electricity bills. (…) Those who don’t have a strong family to accompany them have a slim chance of winning that battle of bureaucratic attrition, which in many cases would make them entitled to nothing more than minuscule stipends.
Now ask yourself, are we doing enough for these people? (…) Israel’s motto is “never forget,” but it requires us to remember the legacy not only of the dead, but also the living. We’re in the final stretch. About 40 Holocaust survivors die every day, and this is our last chance to allow them to live out their last days with dignity, the right to die with dignity. They deserve the State of Israel to do everything for them to have a better life.
Hadar Gil-Ad, YED, 26.04.22
Zachor: Why we must remember
(…) The transports during the Holocaust – a nightmare journey that was just one step in the process of extermination – tore the Jewish deportees from their loved ones and the world they once knew. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were crammed into cattle cars in the most inhuman conditions and sent to death camps (…). Eighty years after the beginning of the mass transports of the Jews of Europe, the world pauses to remember these “Transports to Extinction,” the central theme for this year’s Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day. Although some of their identities have yet to be discovered, each and every one of these victims had hopes and dreams. They had names and hobbies. They belonged to families and communities. (…) When listening to the gut-wrenching stories of those who survived these atrocities against all the odds, we must remember the little girl, the ailing grandfather, the artist, the athlete, the loving mother clutching her baby, the revered Rebbe and the vigorous youth leader – people from every walk of life imaginable – on the terrible transports to an unknown destination; we owe it to them and we owe it to the future generations never to forget. We must bring this unique Jewish and human story to humanity, and to every significant and relevant setting worldwide. It is part of our ongoing battle to stamp out antisemitism, Holocaust distortion and trivialization that rear their ugly heads once more on the global stage. Each and every one of us has a duty to remember the victims and their stories. (…)
Dani Dayan, JPO, 27.04.22
How will the Holocaust be remembered when all the survivors are gone?
(…) Until the Holocaust, no sovereign state (…) had decided to destroy another people, not only to murder the people, but also to destroy their culture and faith. Thus, any comparison is inappropriate. To equate the Russian invasion of Ukraine to what happened to the Jews in the Second World War is to distort history. (…) We the survivors of the Holocaust remember. Will the coming generations remember when we are no longer here? (…) Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time for speeches that express concern for the well-being of survivors and that they should be able to spend their years comfortably and honorable. The reality, however, is quite different. Institutionalized assisted living is expensive and out of the reach of most survivors. Many of them can’t get the home help they need. (…) Another field that has been neglected is the return of property of Jews who died in the Holocaust. (…) Harsh criticism by the state comptroller was shunted aside and to this day, nobody knows what happened to the funds (…). Yad Vashem has become inflated with countless researchers and employees, luxurious buildings whose upkeep costs a fortune, and publication of books and studies that nobody reads. The result is that a chairman has been elected whose knowledge of the Holocaust is minimal and his main field of expertise is fundraising. (…) The head of the Yad Vashem board, Moshe Kantor, is a Russian oligarch who features on the list of sanctioned individuals. (…). It is no wonder then that Yad Vashem has refrained from condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with all its harsh consequences on civilian life. But that is not all. Since the chairman took up his position, we have not heard of any meetings with Holocaust survivors. The state has contributed a further 30 million shekels to Yad Vashem’s budget, but that, it seems, is just a drop in the ocean. Things have become so absurd that on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem now organizes paid tours of its museum. Foreign citizens who wish to take part in a virtual tour are also required to pay. (…) Today already there is a lack of knowledge in the field and unfortunately little has been done to instill the memory of the Holocaust as part of the revival of the people of Israel. Many Holocaust survivors live with a feeling of helplessness and inability to influence the memory of the Holocaust.
Avraham Roet, HAA, 27.04.22
Why are Arab Israelis excluded from Holocaust remembrance?
(…) Holocaust Remembrance Day is a significant event not only for the Jewish people bu t also for Arabs and Palestinians, and especially for the two million Arabs who live in Israel., mainly because of the perception that the Holocaust has led the Zionist Movement and the State of Israel to take steps based on fear against them, out of the need to guard against them. Arabs in Israel are first exposed to the subject of the Holocaust in high school, as part of the curriculum. From the way the Holocaust is perceived among Israeli Arabs, it is clear that one element is missing from the curriculum – the Holocaust is not taught or studied as a significant historical event, one of the cruelest events in human history. To illustrate – the memorial siren can’t even be heard in some Arab localities. (…) The Holocaust is a human issue – not just a Jewish one and certainly not only an Israeli one. But Israel appropriates it almost exclusively thereby creating antagonism among Arab Israelis. So much so, in fact, that there are those who see Israel’s activities with regard to the Holocaust as the exploitation of the issue to promote a political agenda. Proper public diplomacy on the issue as well as activities in the Arabic language could potentially make the memory of the Holocaust something easier for the Arab public to deal with. (…) Over 70 years of coexistence were supposed to create a sense of actual historical partnership, even on the level of Holocaust remembrance. After all, on a personal level, many Holocaust survivors who chose to live in areas where with a considerable Arab population, especially in the Galilee, maintained and developed good and even excellent personal ties with their neighbors. But these ties remained at the superficial level and did not develop to one where a Holocaust survivor told his personal story to his Arab friend – perhaps to prevent the Arab from voicing his narrative and confronting the pain that separates him from his land, or between him and his refugee brother who lives in Lebanon, Jordan or Syria. Another reason for this is the fact that the Arab public also brings with it a very heavy emotional charge, and a narrative that conflicts to some extent with the Jewish one, according to which Holocaust survivors sought a national home, and thus the Arabs lost the chance to form a state here after the British Mandate ended. (…).
Jalal Bana, IHY, 27.04.22
Genocide is a word not to be used lightly
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a crime under international law and atrocities have been committed, but the Russians are not trying to annihilate the Ukrainian people. Words matter. (…) One word that is being improperly used with great frequency nowadays is the word “genocide”. Genocide has a very specific meaning, defined not only in dictionaries but in international agreements and in international law in general. Genocide is not a synonym for massacre, atrocity, mass-murder, or any other similar expressions. It (…) refers to the attempted annihilation of a people, genetically defined in racial and/or ethnic terms. Thus, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is not a genocide. Certainly, it is a crime under international law and certainly atrocities have been committed, but the Russians are not trying to annihilate the Ukrainian people – in fact, they claim that Russians and Ukrainians are the same people. (…) The Holocaust involved not six million but about ten million people, only six million of which were subject to “genocide”–obviously the Jewish six million. And the Armenian atrocities were not genocide at all – the Turks were engaging in the forced removal of the Armenian population of eastern Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire) to the Syrian province of the empire, since the Turkish government was afraid that the Armenians – fellow Christians – would support the Russians if Russia invaded from the Caucasus. Certainly, horrific atrocities accompanied the removal, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, but many reached Syria and were settled there. In fact, although the twentieth century was full of massacres and atrocities of all kinds, there were only two genocides, the Jews of Europe in the 1940s and the Tutsis in Rwanda in the 1990s. (…) The world should oppose all atrocities of whatever nature perpetrated wherever, but a genocide is a very special crime, which must be dealt with in a very special way.
Dr. Norman Bailey, GLO, 28.04.22
3. War in Ukraine
Israel must treat all Ukrainian refugees fairly – even if they’re not Jewish
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has flooded the world with a wave of refugees fleeing for their lives. As in previous refugee crises, this time, too, many countries have opened their doors, in line with the UN Convention on Refugees. Israel is also a signatory to this convention, thus obligating it to take part in the global effort to take in the refugees. But on the pretext that the refugees from Ukraine have passed through a safe country before arriving in Israel, and not directly from their country, the government is trying to evade Israel’s responsibility to view them as refugees. Instead, Israel prefers to focus on what it defines as an “opportunity” to encourage a wave of Jewish immigration to Israel. (…) Ukrainian (…) non-Jews (…) are treated entirely differently from the Jewish refugees. (…) They are not allowed to work, and the health insurance the government has promised them is stuck in the bureaucratic maze of government purchasing. They did not come to Israel, one of the most expensive countries in the world, because they want to upgrade their lives in Tel Aviv. They came because they have a psychological support system here – family or friends who can help them flee the nightmare in which they have found themselves – and they won’t stay here forever. Israel must see to it that all the Ukrainians who seek refuge in Israel receive health insurance and work permits. At this point there is no moral justification for differentiating between Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainians. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 16.04.22
In Ukraine, Russia is using rape as a weapon of war
(…) grim evidence has emerged of the use of rape as a deliberate weapon of war by Russian forces (…) Rape is the most common form of torture in armed conflicts but one that is rarely prosecuted by international courts (…). Justice for the crime of rape in times of conflict has remained out of reach for most of its victims. How can we assure Ukrainian women that this same fate won’t befall them? (….) Most immediately, the ICC must move quickly to gather forensic evidence and interview those victims willing to share their testimony. The evidence required for prosecuting sexual crimes during conflict does not improve with time. (…) the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sexual Violence During Conflict should deploy a team of investigators to third states where Ukrainian refugees are located to interview women survivors of rape and assist in providing a continuum of care for them. (…) many victims of rape will now have unwanted pregnancies, and many Ukrainian women will fear this consequence. Lithuania is one of the first countries to step forward to donate contraceptives to Ukrainian women. European development agencies can effectively assist the many refugee women who have sought safety in Poland, which bans abortion, by providing abortion medication (including the day-after pill) to those refugees who have experienced rape. The U.S. is barred by law from providing assistance for abortions overseas. (…) The moment has come for the international community to leverage all the institutions set up to address Russia’s irredentism and its war crimes (…).
Tanya Domi, HAA, 18.04.22
Ukraine, Israel and the meaning of ‘never again’
(…) I do not want to make an analogy between the Holocaust and the recent massacres carried out by the Russian army in Ukraine. Nevertheless, children and their mothers killed in droves, civilians shot with their hands tied and evacuation corridors that turned out to be traps for people on the run are all things to which the phrase “never again” can and must be applied. (…) The European Union was created after World War II in order to prevent the reoccurrence of such a disaster. It represented, in other words, an expression of the ideal of “never again.” If the EU fails to express that ideal, the EU itself has no purpose. (…) The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine cannot be stopped by mere words for two reasons (…). First, the Russian aggressor, for ideological reasons, doesn’t want peace – it wants to subjugate Ukraine and force it to submit to the Russian empire. Ideology is also why it is currently impossible for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians – the Palestinians don’t want it, because their ideology demands Israel’s obliteration. Second, even if Ukraine surrendered part of its territory to Russia, it would make no difference, because the Russian use of force against Ukraine would become even more aggressive and brutal. Any territorial concession by Ukraine will simply serve as a platform for more Russian attacks. (…) Those who advocate for peace must be guided by a historical and political reality: Peace can be made only with those who do not want war and do not have an ideological preference for violence. There is nothing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky can do but try to stop Russian aggression by force, and we must help by not losing our common sense. Common sense demands that we make moral choices, protect civilian lives and put aside pacifism that is, just as it was in the past, a hypocritical attitude. We must defend the children of Ukraine by remembering what “never again” really means (…) stand up and fight.
Fiamma Nirenstein, IHY, 28.04.22
A genocide is happening in Ukraine, and Israel’s sending a few helmets
(…) The Russian army is now committing crimes against humanity and genocide. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, it is important for me to stress that there’s nothing like the human memory, and the genocide of six million Jews will forever be extraordinary in the history of genocide. (…) yes, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy protested the terrible crimes and compared them to the Holocaust of the Jews, we all cried out. And when we cried out at the comparison, we set aside the crimes themselves. Now even the president of the United States considers the event in Ukraine to be genocide, and the Ukrainians remember – even if we do not – that Russia already committed genocide in Ukraine – the Holodomor, which claimed three million victims and possibly more. Every day we receive news of the horrors, but the soul cannot contain them, and so we repress the information. (…) other things are happening here. The coalition is stumbling, violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has flared up, and slowly but surely, news from Ukraine is pushed aside. (…) And we already have no strength left to read, and we say to ourselves that Ukraine is far away; it has nothing to do with us. (…) Genocide is happening before our very eyes, and we send the victims a few helmets, to ease our conscience. And we have interests, of course. But Switzerland and Sweden and the Vichy government also had interests, and we don’t allow them any excuses. How could the world be silent, we ask. Like this, exactly like this. In the terrible overload of information, every day, slowly getting used to the horrors. (…)
Zehava Galon, HAA, 21.04.22
2050: What will you tell your grandchildren about Ukraine?
In September 1946, Ernst Janning, one of the German defendants in the post-World War II Nuremburg trials, requested permission to address the court. The hearings were almost at an end and chief judge Dan Haywood gave Janning permission to speak. (…) Janning said: “(…) Where were we? Where were we when Hitler began shrieking his hate in Reichstag? Where were we when our neighbors were being dragged out in the middle of the night to Dachau? (…) Where were we when they cried out in the night to us? Were we deaf, dumb, blind?” These are questions that we in the free world need to consider today, lest they be asked of us as well by our grandchildren 30 years from now. They will read how a powerful despot intent on restoring his warped sense of the glory that was Russia, decided to invade a neighbor that had not provoked him. (…) they will ask us, “What did you do to stop this from happening? Did you simply feel bad about it all or did you act?” (…) Do we really believe that what is happening over there does not affect us and that there is nothing we can do about it? Have we completely forgotten the promise of Never Again? How do we, who made that promise, force ourselves to act, to do something meaningful, to take the promise seriously? (…) we have an obligation to urge our respective governments to take an active position condemning the unwarranted invasion of Ukraine by Russia regardless of the political consequences that may come to our countries as a result. (…) History has taught us, of all people, that keeping a low profile does not protect us. (…) we, individually, should do whatever we can financially, morally and personally as volunteers to assist both those Ukrainians living under threat, as well as those who have fled for their own safety. (…) let us not be embarrassed by the questions our descendants will ask us 30 years from now. (…)
Sherwin Pomerantz, JPO, 30.04.22
4. Selection of Articles
Concern About Nuclear Threat From Iran
This is Israel’s only way to stop Iran’s nuclear missiles
(…) Tehran’s demand that it removes its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. “terrorist list” (…) is reportedly the primary obstacle remaining to the deal being signed. (…) The IRGC is undoubtedly an abhorrent organization, with the blood of numerous Americans, Israelis and others on its hands. (…) Most of the of the IRGC’s 250,000 soldiers, however, are engaged in military activities, not terrorism, including many conscripts fulfilling their compulsory military service. (…) The substantial issue, about which people can legitimately disagree, is whether the additional nuclear sanctions should be lifted (…) as the price for concluding the deal with Iran. Behind this is the pre-eminent and crucial question: which policy option, a return to the nuclear deal, or some other means, will prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold? Nothing else matters. Iran has now advanced to the point that it can produce sufficient fissile material for four nuclear bombs within a matter of weeks, and more shortly thereafter. Fortunately, it is still thought to be one to two years away from having the missiles needed to deliver them. Crucially, Iran has been the same one to two years away from a warhead capability ever since the early 2010s, if not sooner. (…) The one truly critical criticism of the new deal is, reportedly, that it fails to extend the original agreement’s timetable. This is the issue that Bennett and Lapid should have focused their efforts on. (…) the argument that we are better off with no deal at all is patently absurd. International pressure, in the form of a return to the deal, is the only obstacle to an Iranian decision to move from its current status, as a de facto nuclear threshold state, to an operational capability. (…) Sanctions have rarely, if ever, yielded a change in important state policies. (…) Covert action and sabotage, a second option, have proven an important means of postponing Iran’s nuclear, missile and drone programs. To date, however, they have achieved no more than highly limited postponements. Time gained is important and can be put to good use, but does not solve the problem. A third option is regime change. (…) no one has the foggiest idea how to do it and (…) even if they did, there is no reason to believe that it would happen in a time frame relevant to a resolution of the nuclear issue. (…) Israeli military action could achieve no more than a brief postponement of the nuclear program. (…) A return to the JCPOA is critical to Israel’s national security. (…) it is also the only option which holds out a realistic possibility of a long-term postponement of the nuclear issue and possibly even a resolution of it. All of the other options are means of gaining time, no more. (…)
Yair Golan, Chuck Freilich, HAA, 18.04.22
HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: May 2022.
Dr. Paul Pasch,
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel