Beyond the Cusp

July 5, 2019

Racial Disruptions in Israel

 

You may have, or even probably have, heard about the racial protests currently occurring in Israel. You will hear how this is exactly the same as the Ferguson, Missouri, United States, where the chant “Hands up, Don’t shoot,” slogan was born. The similarity is that an officer shot a teen and in Israel it was supposedly a ricochet as he fired into the pavement. The investigation will reveal the truth and any mistakes will have their consequences. But there are some parts of these protests which do not survive closer scrutiny. It appears that there exist two separate protests, one completely peaceful and the other violent with rioting and burning of vehicles, particularly police and other government vehicles. The peaceful protests are virtually totally populated by Ethiopian Jews while the more violent rioting has some Africans and numerous, if not a majority, white European protesters. There exists a far-left organization funded by the New Israel Fund which has been actively aiding the recent wave of protests, particularly the more violent protests. It is the joint Arab-Jewish ‘Standing Together’ organization which the NIF is funneling the necessary funds and still remain one step removed such that they can later deny their financing of the violent protests. All of this begs the question, does the Ethiopian community have valid reasons for their protests.

 

They certainly have every right to protest and demand answers after a second of their tiny community being shot by law enforcement personnel demands a closer look and explanations. The violent riots are not a valid protest and we believe that the vast majority of the Ethiopian protesters are taking part in the peaceful protests while the far-left instigators are the ones behind the violent protests. Where they might find people which could be said to represent the Ethiopians is an easy answer; they could hire any number of African migrants who are in Israel illegally. But the idea that there are racial problems in Israel is errant accusations. The reality is that the Ethiopian community is one of the most successful integrating into Israeli society and performing with exceptional efforts and accomplishments. We wish to quote this informative article relaying the following:

Turning to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2011/12 and in the transition to 2012/13, we can select a few examples of the real and complex reality that portrays the Ethiopian community in Israel.
The percentage of pupils of Ethiopian origin who dropped out was slightly lower than that of the general population of pupils in Hebrew education: Approximately 1.6% of approximately 35,000 pupils of Ethiopian origin who began to study in grades 1-12 in schools under Ministry of Education supervision in the school year of 2011/12 dropped out during that year or in transition to 2012/13, compared with 1.88% among the general Hebrew education.
The percentage of women among students of Ethiopian origin who are studying for a first degree was higher than the percentage of women among the general population of students for a first degree – 66.8% versus 56.5%, respectively.
The average monthly household expenditure in households of Ethiopian origin was NIS 9,539 compared with NIS 14,272 among the general population households.
As for the I.D.F.; 90% of Ethiopian-Israeli combat soldiers complete their service, as opposed to 70% of other combat soldiers. 30% of Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers serve in combat positions, and are likely to complete their full military service

These are the statistics of an ethnic group which is integrating with effort and success out-performing the median norms for the general society. This was often one of the reasons Jews were hated wherever they were free to become thinkers as they regularly outshone the non-Jewish population. The difference is that in Israel they are out-performing other Jews and this is welcomed as it shows a desire to become a vibrant member in our society. The Ethiopians have been quite a success story but also an adventure tale of many rescues and the saving of a remote tribe of Jews. The Ethiopians came to Israel in two waves of mass immigration assisted by the Israeli government: Operation Moses (1984) rescue for six-to-eight-thousand Jews, and Operation Solomon (1991) rescuing from 1990 through 1999, of over 39,000 Ethiopian Jews were transported to Israel. Never have so many African people been taken in by a developed nation and treated as equals and given all the assistance required to bring them into the society and allowed to flourish. Almost every other importation of Africans resulted in their being sold as slaves. This was not such, this was the rescue of our brothers and sisters whom we embrace and give all the kindness we have. Israel is the least racial country one could imagine. In Israel there is virtually no form of hatred outside of a strong distaste for terrorism and other forms of violence. That is also part of why we are so assured that the violent rioting is not representative of the Ethiopians who are largely taking part in the peaceful demonstrations.

 

Tale of Two Protests both Peaceful and Violent

Tale of Two Protests both Peaceful and Violent

 

The real problem is the media, specifically the world media which loves to produce news which depicts Israel and Jews in the worst light possible. This is what much of the media are specifically covering, the violence, while their story line depicts the Ethiopian complaint represented by the peaceful protests nearby. But a peaceful protest does not reflect their preconceived notions that Israel is full of racist haters. This is best represented by the violence which is probably partially peopled with non-Israelis consisting of both African illegal migrants and European instigators. The fact that the coverage is centered on the violence which is very possibly not merely flushed out with Europeans but organized and instigated by these Europeans with few if any Ethiopians involved in the rioting. Will they also show the respectful peaceful protests, the kind of popular protest which is capable of getting results and answers from the government and an honest investigation. The peaceful protests are exactly what would be expected of the Ethiopian Jews as they were often victims to brutal treatment while in Ethiopia. They were very appreciative for the efforts Israel went to, to bring them from camps in the Sudan where they were placed in camps when they were caught attempting to walk to Israel. These were the Ethiopian Jews rescued by Operation Moses where unfortunately as news of these rescues became known, the Sudan quickly shut the operation under the insistence of their neighboring and other Arab countries. Ethiopian Jews rescued in Operation Solomon were being held in camps presumably for their protection in Ethiopia. The difficulty these Jews faced was blatant anti-Semitism as they were seen as the reason for every problem and many people wanted to kill their Jews. Israel took them from this situation and brought them directly to Israel using El Al aircraft. The Ethiopians who came from these rescues often were illiterate and required training in order to gain employ. On the plus side, they were so enthused to have been rescued and brought to Eretz Yisroel and their enthusiasm was applied to finding a means for support and fitting into their new society. This was the and has continued to be the ethical code for their society such that they desire to excel and be the best they are able. Any country would have been blessed to have such new citizens as these. The reality the mainstream media desires to hide from the world is that there exists no hatred within Israel. There is no racial hatred, no cultural hatred, no religious hatred, only an extreme discomfort with violence and hatred. That is the Israel we know and love.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 27, 2019

Israeli Elections Take a Familiar Route

 

Well, the deadline for the formation of a coalition and thus make the seating of the new Knesset came and went without a coalition. This might lead one to conclude that Israel is going to go to elections once again. Well, not so fast. President Rivlin used his power to grant a one-week extension which pushed the deadline to this coming Wednesday night, May, 29th, to tell President Reuven Rivlin that he has enough support to build a coalition, and until next Monday to present coalition agreements that would have to be voted on two days later, all of which is coming at us faster than the coalition talks. The news is that the negotiations are going on around the clock. Our suspicions are around the clock means that somebody each night is told to sleep on a proposal and their dreams count as negotiating. Whatever around the clock means, it could mean that they have a countdown-clock sitting in the middle of the table as they negotiate, it does not matter, only the deadline does as there probably will not be a second extension of the deadline.

 

This raises a question, with the Israeli public almost as divided between right and left as the United States, at least in Israel there has not been any declaration of war as in America, the question to be asked is would a new round of elections make any real difference. The reality is that it most definitely could provided all the parties are included and the coalitions from the most recent elections hold. From our vantage point, the Israeli public will not be kind to those who were most responsible for forcing another round of elections. Somebody has to pay the piper for the additional and unnecessary cost of holding another election. So, this begs the question, who will pay and what will be the cost. The answers to this question are where we get to guess what the mood will be. The one positive is that it will probably be a nice sunny day with a few scattered puffy clouds. The negative is it will also probably be over thirty-three degrees C which is over ninety degrees F. Depending on the distance it is to your polling station will definitely have an effect on your mood and thus potentially your vote.

 

Bibi Netanyahu most definitively does not desire going to elections again as he got pretty much everything he desired from this last round of voting. The two people he most desired to prevent from reaching threshold did not make it into the government. The top of this list was Naftali Bennett and his New Right Party. The main thing going for Bennett’s party was Ayelet Shaked and it would be a benefit for the Zionist wing of the Conservative parties for these two people making threshold. The other was Moshe Feiglin and his Zehut Party which hoped that backing legalizing of cannabis to compliment his right wing-Zionist platform, but it was not sufficient to get him over threshold. If there would be another round of elections, where Zehut would be unlikely to gain from this, Bennett and his New Right might clear threshold as some who may have considered voting for the New Right but with developments in the final two days of campaigning, where Bibi basically declared that he was prepared to enact everything which Bennett had staked his campaign around taking all the momentum and the wind out of his sails. Bennett likely learned his lesson and realizes that he needs broaden the subjects which he has positions on and communicate them far more clearly for the electorate. There are also doubts as to whether the Union of Right-Wing Parties will be able to hold their agreement together. The other party which might be hoping for new election is the Blue White Party which was a grouping of Israel Resilience Party with Yesh Atid. This gave Yair Lapid what he hoped was the punch to steal the elections and it almost worked. Then there was the addition of the Generals of which some had been the Chief of Staff. The leading General was Benny Gantz who was joined by generals Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi. New elections would give this party a feeling that they could take over and win as they basically tied Likud but as the right had the majority of elected ministers, Likud won the right to try and form a coalition. The Union of Right-Wing Parties, providing they can remain allied, stand to gain potentially a couple of seats should the party leader, another general, Rafi Peretz get to be heard by more people, as the Jewish Home Party is out of its crisis caused by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked who bolted from the party immediately after elections were called leaving the Jewish Home Party in disarray. As one in the Jewish Home Central Committee, I can testify to the mess from which we believe we will be stronger, especially with Rafi Peretz at the helm. The one party which stands to lose some ministerial position is Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud Party as the other right-wing parties gaining have to get their votes from somewhere. The other party which might suffer some losses is the Blue White Party as some of the things said early in the campaign have gotten more play and this could prove damaging.

 

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu Miri Regev Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu Miri Regev Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett

 

With things as they stand, Bibi very likely does not desire going to elections. Also, there is another reality he has to fear. President Rivlin could ask the Blue White Party to try and put together a coalition in place of elections. That is unlikely but is still a possibility which might play well to have Bibi find some way of pleasing all the various requests, though with some he has two parties demanding the same Ministership. When everything is added together, the best bet is that somewhere between the wee hours before the deadline there will be some form of agreement. How it all will play out is anybody’s guess. There is always the possibility that there will be a coalition of parties making up sixty seats and Bibi will call in some favors and have one individual join the coalition independent of their party. That would be sufficient to put the coalition to the necessary sixty-one seats, the minimum required. There is always the possibility that a coalition of sixty votes will be approved again by Bibi calling in favors to have somebody vote for the coalition though not be a party to the coalition and sit in the opposition. This is extremely odd, but with Bibi, we have learned never to count anything out of the realm of possibility. Whatever will be, we will know by Thursday morning in Israel as we wait for the smoke to clear. Those of you in America will hear about the results on your evening news. We will simply wait for the new morning as if there will be new elections, we will have at least a half dozen articles out of the insanity which that would generate. Our bet, Bibi will put together the necessary parts for a coalition if for no other reason than to prevent Bennett from getting another chance and clearing threshold. Grudges are sometimes the best of motivators, especially if you have thirty years over which you have been collecting them.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 8, 2019

Benny Gantz’s Israel

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:56 AM
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General Benny Gantz (ret.) would be scheduled to be the Israeli Prime Minister for the initial two-year period before handing the office to Yair Lapid for the next two years. We are willing to bet that unless the Knesset is willing to have Israel commit suicide, there will be no handover to Lapid, things would fall apart long before two years had elapsed. All one need is to take a good hard, or possibly a cursory, look at General Gantz Chief of Staff to witness the disaster he might become as Prime Minister. Gantz was the commander of the region when the Second Intifada broke out, General Gantz was commander of the Regional Command Headquarters. When Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) was under siege and IDF Sergeant Madhat Yusef was shot by Palestinian Arab terrorists and ended up bleeding out over a period of three and a half hours, while drones were overhead feeding back live data of the situation, when IDF soldiers were holed up in Kever Yosef under constant threat and the Samarian brigade headquarters had assembled a tank battalion with two columns of Merkava tanks in place waiting for the order to enter Nablus to conduct a rescue; General Gantz, possibly after checking with Prime Minister and acting Defense Minister Ehud Barak, was at his headquarters never issuing the crucially necessary orders (source). Many of us have likely wondered time and again exactly how long and how much destruction Israel has to face before our powers that be react and bring the violence to an abrupt halt. We fear that under Gantz the wait would be far longer and potentially indeterminately longer and potentially might never come. While Chief of Staff we watch the hurried, unplanned, sloppy and confused retreat from southern Lebanon leading to the problem we see today on the northern border. He was still chief of staff when the next Gaza War ensued and again we find the IDF woefully unprepared for the tunnels and bunkers throughout Gaza and reaching under the border and fairly deep into Israel. We understand that as a general in an army which must follow civilian commands and may not act purely on its own, that sometimes a general has their hands tied such that they are ordered not to escalate a situation. We have a feeling that if even half a dozen Merkava tanks had rolled into the area around Kever Yosef, the Arab Palestinians would have fled rather than wait for what would at that point be the obvious alternative. Not preparing the IDF ground forces to be prepared for fighting an enemy which has built an extensive network of tunnels with some invading the Israeli home itself, that is simply serious dereliction of duty. Even if the excuse was that he was unaware of the extent to which the tunnels had been developed, then one has to question what orders were given to preform even rudimentary research, inspections and surveillance as a commander is presumed to be responsible for collecting in depth determinations of the enemy’s strength, weaponry, numbers, capabilities, weaknesses, strengths and have numerous scenarios all ready and troops trained to execute the plans. Anything less is incompetence. General Gantz gives off the hue of a political general whose career was designed to enter politics. Such an officer never takes risks, never steps out and takes charge, never does anything without first acquiring cover by having somebody else issue the order to him or a directive from above him and simply goes through the motions collecting schools and other items which look pretty on their record and will simply move up through the ranks without ever actually commanding.

 

Now we are seeing the end result of the career of Benny Gantz, his move to become the Prime Minister of Israel. He will claim to have a sterling military career, having held all the correct posts, not ever having been responsible directly for any blunder or miscalculation and for being the good general who carried out his orders and respected those above him while caring for those below him. Meanwhile, according to somebody who served with General Gantz under his leadership, he claimed in his editorial that as a general, Gantz left a considerable amount to be desired. Meanwhile, one listening to Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid would believe that they are one of the most hawkish, Zionist, right-wing and sensible parties in the mix. Israelis should already know that Yair Lapid is a faux conservative and has supported a two-state solution as the road to Nirvana where peace and security are to be found. What may surprise some, but Benny Gantz is also a two-state solution person who stated that the IDF learned much from the Gaza withdrawal and the withdrawal from southern Lebanon and believes that versions of these disasters could be designed which would bring peace. The main difference, though one would never know by listening to their polished campaign or the ads run by their advisors, is that Yair Lapid is willing to return to the Green Line including dividing Jerusalem while Benny Gantz is willing to retreat to the Separation Barrier (anti-terror barrier) and divide Jerusalem, with both men qualifying it as if it would bring peace. Both men in the past have also claimed that their plan would end the struggle between the Jews and Arabs, a struggle which has ebbed and flowed but never ceased for over a thousand years. Both men claim that the reason that Israel does not have peace is because Prime Minister Netanyahu does not have the courage to step into the unchartered areas of allowing the Palestinian Arabs to have exactly that which they claim will bring peace. What could possibly go wrong if these two men are permitted to take their clown act to the Prime Minister’s house?

 

There have been times in the past when we have stated that the only thing which can save Israel from certain disaster has been Yasser Arafat and, after him, Mahmoud Abbas. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak folded before pressures brought by President Clinton in Paris and gave in to everything which Yasser Arafat had demanded, we swallowed hard and tried to find some way the Arafat could weasel his way out of the deal. We were melancholy and dejected as we saw no way that Israel could be saved from itself. We had been mistaken. Yasser came down the next morning knowing that the media was there, President Clinton was there, the build-up to something momentous had been implied, and all the formal papers and everything Arafat had demanded was sitting right there in the middle of the lobby awaiting Arafat. The drama was intense and one could feel the anticipation as Yasser Arafat was heard heading to the lobby where he made an abrupt right turn and walked straight out the front door, into his waiting limousine and sped to the airport to fly back to Jordan. That was a close one. Yasser Arafat had agreed to terms he knew no Israeli Prime Minister could accept, but he had misread how badly Ehud Barak desired a peace agreement, any peace agreement.

 

It was a few years later and a new American President named George W. Bush who with Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State who had this brilliant idea, if only the Palestinian could be granted an opportunity to prove that they are ready to form a state and make peace, then peace would be more easily attained. But this time Israelis felt safe as the Bulldozer, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Likud were in the driver’s seat. With dreams of a Nobel Peace Prize, the guarantees offered by the United States, the insistence that if it does not work, then the IDF can simply move in and retake the strip and nothing lost and who can know what else was dancing in everybody’s heads. As it turned out, many of the Likud Party balked at this idea including eventually Bibi Netanyahu, but the Bulldozer did not get that moniker by giving up easily. Sharon dissolved his ruling coalition and, without a new election, put together a new coalition with many people from the left filling the vacated spots from those in Likud who refused to go along. Sharon also kept many of the centrist parties in his old coalition and took his patchwork coalition and by early September 2005, the Israelis had pulled even their dead from within Gaza and interred them safely in Israel. We all know how that Gaza Disengagement has worked, four wars later with another one all but guaranteed in the not too distant future. But George W. Bush and company were not finished, though Prime Minister Sharon was.

 

Next to step up to how big a mistake can you make was Ehud Olmert. This was 2008 and the opportunity for George W. Bush and company to collect their Nobel Peace Prizes was winding down. This time they met at Camp David and before it was over were meeting at Taba, Egypt which is just across the border from Eilat, Israel. The entirety of the final months of the Presidency of George W. Bush were spent chasing down Mahmoud Abbas offering a little more and a little more and each time coming up short. Mahmoud Abbas has made no secret of the deal he will accept, Israel completely turned over to the Arabs, the Jews gathered for a ritualistic slaughter and the United States paying a dear price in keeping such an agreement. Needless to point out, Abbas did not get the magic solution he demands. Of course Abbas is crafty and never quite states his demands and simply hints that he demands this, that and well, then we will see. When those steps are complete, then this has to give just a smidge, that is not quite acceptable, and what about this over here. This continued until Abbas ran out the clock but also not before he had gathered a plethora of new concessions. Again, another ability to miss an opportunity by the Palestinian leadership executed with absolutely no finesse. The problem is that the Arabs do not want any form of compromise, they want it all and the Jews with their necks bared ready for the Arab knives and nothing less.

 

Bibi Netanyahu, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz

Bibi Netanyahu, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz

 

That begs the question as to what harm could a Prime Minister Gantz do if the Palestinians continue to refuse any and every solution and are adamant that Israel must be destroyed? The devil is in the details and the details are the concessions. Gaza is the prime example of what can possibly go wrong if Israel elects the wrong party to run the country and form a coalition. Now we will take a moment to calm any of our American friends who have been watching the polls and are worried that Gantz may well be the next Prime Minister. Allow us to point out that Simon Peres never lost a single poll when he ran for Prime Minister and further he never won an election as Prime Minister. That is the nature of Israeli polling companies and how they arrange their sampling. To put it as plainly as we can, it is slanted leftward significantly. The main problem the next Prime Minister(s) is that they will very likely be faced with President Trump and his “Deal of the Century.” Since the word from day one has been that, neither side would be completely pleased with anything, and definitely not with everything, the fortunate central thing is that Mahmoud Abbas will never accept any deal which leaves Israel in tact. The big question comes next, how far would President Trump go in order to coax Mahmoud Abbas into coming to the negotiating table, something he has adamantly refused to do as he refuses to deal with President Trump. Israel has watched far too many people come and go all ready to sacrifice Israeli security in order to reach that ever-elusive deal. What is even more frightening is that Jarred Kushner is President Trump’s main advisor on the Israel/Arab confrontation. Jared has no real claim to fame other than having married a Trump, not exactly a stupid move, but also not exactly prime credentials for negotiating in the tempestuous Middle East where knives stuck in one’s back are commonplace. Further, with Jarred being Jewish and the American Ambassador to Israel being Jewish and at least one or two more on the team being Jewish, does anybody honestly believe Mahmoud Abbas will agree to anything which does not leave everything primed for the end of Israel? This is the problem we see in making any deal.

 

Now throw in Gantz, a man who reached the rank of general, so he is not a complete idiot and has enough sense to keep his nose clean, but also a man who takes no risks but is very good at doing what advisors say, his entire campaign has been him reading exactly what advisors have given him to read. His history would leave him vulnerable to complying with the demands of one he might see as somebody he should trust and do so implicitly. He did this while serving under Prime Minister Ehud Barak and has spoken admirably of his former boss. Somebody trusting the judgement of Ehud Barak who was prevented from making a disaster as Yasser Arafat feared being assassinated if he reached an actual agreement. One can only guess exactly how far Gantz or Lapid might go to allow for an agreement. One can only panic thinking what a party run by Gantz and Lapid might turn around and do on their path to glory and great recognition.

 

Perhaps this would be a good time to point out, which many of our readers can attest, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has not fared all that well on our pages. We feel he leaves much to be desired and that since President Trump had been in the White House, we find Bib Netanyahu to have been suffering from an inability of pulling the trigger and doing what needed doing. We believe that President Trump had all but instructed Netanyahu in so many terms to take the bull by the horns and solve your own messes. When President Trump made a sweep through the region speaking to each leader as part of his announcement that the United States was pulling out of Syria, his reputed commentary to Israeli leaders was that the United States is done with the wars and other messes in the Middle East and that as Israel has received billions of dollars, it was time for Israel to step it up and take care of business. That sounds like a free pass to finish the problem and finally enforce the terms of the San Remo Conference and the British Mandate, both of which are supposed to be enforced by the United Nations, do not count on that, and the world courts, there one might have a fair shot from what we have seen and read. Still, Israel has to take care of Israel and simply buying the emigration of the majority of the Palestinian Arabs after removing the main impediment to such a program, their leadership. The majority of the Arab Palestinians residing in Gaza and the Shomron (Judea and Samaria) would take a generous buyout and an enticement to seek a better life elsewhere, sufficient cash that many places around the world would see these Arabs as worthy of taking in as they would be an instant boost to the economy. There are some who claim that Israel cannot afford such a plan, but we ask how much longer Israel can continue to live in a constant state of war preparedness. President Trump has eliminated every obstacle to resolving the Arab problems which Israel faces with one exception, Israeli leadership. The time has come for a definitive new Prime Minister who will end this fiasco and do so with an urgency beyond anything any previous Israeli has attempted. We wish we could tell the Israelis who is such a person, but we can tell you that Gantz and Lapid are not even close to being in the running. Perhaps one will appear magically as the elections near, but with Netanyahu not generating any excitement and Lapid and Gantz simply generating panic, we are in a quandary.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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