Arlene from Israel: How Vile Does It Get?

There IS good news, in spite of all that’s vile. And that’s where we are going to start:

The very articulate, California-based Denice Gary-Pandol, radio show host, lecturer and teacher, “gets it.”  She understands what the world confronts today, and stands solidly with Israel.

Via her Strategic Solutions for a New Middle East, she has just released a Hannukah/Christmas video Greeting for 2015.  Watch it.  You will be uplifted:


As for what’s vile…

I wrote in my last posting about Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis.  As you may recall, she spoke over the candles at the White House. Talve, I explained, is a member of T’ruah, a group that is now promoting “soft BDS” programs.  And I was flippant – sometimes that works well.  Is “soft BDS” like being a little pregnant? I asked.

Daniel Greenfield, however, writing in FrontPage Magazine, identified “soft BDS” with seriousness: “’Soft BDS’ targets Jewish organizations conducting humanitarian projects in parts of Israel that BDS bigots want made Judenrein. T’ruah’s Soft BDS is even worse than basic BDS because instead of targeting companies…it goes after humanitarian projects. There is a special place in hell for those BDS bigots who hate the Jewish State so much that they go after the charities that help make life better for Israel’s vulnerable populations.”  (Emphasis added)


I also wrote about the Haaretz Conference in NYC, peopled with anti-Israel speakers.  By no stretch of the imagination would Haaretz ever be described as Israeli nationalist.  But there are limits – or should be.

One of the speakers at the conference on Sunday was Saeb Erekat, who for years was chief negotiator for the PA and is now PLO Secretary-General.

Draped on the stage, behind the speakers’ podium, was an Israeli flag.  Erekat let it be known that he would not speak in the presence of the Israeli flag.

He should have been shown the door. But he wasn’t. Haaretz removed the flag for him.  Those responsible should hang their heads in shame. They won’t.


But most vile is this:

Not far from the Chords Bridge in the center of Jerusalem on Monday there was a terror attack:

Credit: Jerusalemshots

An Arab plowed his car up onto the sidewalk, where citizens were waiting for a bus.  He rammed 14 people. One of those severely injured was Yotam Sitbon, an 18 month old toddler.  My best information (the parents refuse to give information to the media) is that his leg, which had been seriously damaged, had to be partially amputated after two surgeries in which attempts were made to save it.

Credit: Israel Police

After ramming people, the terrorist jumped out of his car, brandishing an ax.

Credit: Israel Police

He was shot dead.


I cried when I learned about the baby who lost part of his leg.  And then (I trust my readers will understand), on reflection, I was glad that I had cried.  There is a lingering concern that these attacks, occurring day in and day out, might begin to seem “routine” and inure us to suffering.  But if I – and many, many others – still feel that innocent child’s pain and sense the horrid waste of it all, we have not been rendered insensitive.  And in the end, I think, we will not be because of who we are.


Within hours of the attack on Monday, Netanyahu announced that barriers would be installed at key bus stops in Jerusalem.

On Sunday, even before this latest attack, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz had announced the formation of a 300-person civilian security unit that will be stationed along public transportation routes.

The unit is comprised of security guards and former combat soldiers who are equipped with uniforms, handguns, and walkie-talkies.  They have been issued certificates from the police that authorize them to conduct searches and detain suspicious parties. (My granddaughter actually witnessed such an action yesterday.) And they have at their disposal dozens of special security vehicles, which will operate along traffic arteries during all hours that buses operate said.


Additionally, according to an army statement, IDF troops and Border Police officers arrested 15 suspects during operations in Judea and Samaria overnight Monday.  This is the sort of operation that goes on routinely.


This is all to the good, and very necessary.  But it does not bring the terrorism to a halt.

Yesterday, Hamas announced that the terrorist – who lived in Hevron but possessed an Israeli residency card because he previously lived in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem – was a member of Hamas.  They actually put out a flier promoting this fact.


What is more, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said the other day, while in Malaysia, that (emphasis added):

“The Palestinians have reached the realization that negotiations with the (Israelis) are useless.  The so-called peace process is futile. There is no peace. Only the path of Jihad, sacrifice, and blood (will bear fruit)…

“Weapons like Kalashnikovs [rifles] or missiles are not at hand, but there are knives and cars with which to run over the enemies…after the knives used by the people of the West Bank and Jerusalem, can anyone possibly have an excuse to abandon the path of jihad? Nobody can have such an excuse

“They [stabbers] are the most exalted and the noblest of people.”

And so, Hamas – which has NEVER endorsed negotiations – is cashing in on the current activity and joining the incitement parade.

And we can talk about vile.


But despicable terrorists though they are, the leaders of Hamas have been fairly straightforward in stating their intentions.  For this reason, I think an argument can be made that Mahmoud Abbas of the PA surpasses them. Unabashed in his hypocrisy, he is prepared to play both sides at the same time.

Abbas spoke at an event to mark the UN’s International Anti-Corruption Day at the Red Cross and Red Crescent headquarters in El-Bireh on Monday.

Yes, yes, I know: a UN International Anti-Corruption Day is ludicrous in and of itself.  Perhaps we might say it provided appropriate context for Abbas’s speech:

There has been violence, he explained, because of “the despair of young Palestinians over the lack of a political horizon for the two-state solution, the invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the continuation of settlement building and military checkpoint deployment.”

Young Palestinians suffer from the “lack of an alternative.”


What we see, first of all, is that he is endorsing violence.   Of course young people have an alternative.

Then he out-and-out lies, with regard to “invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”  This has been the theme of his incitement during this period, and it has no factual basis.  I just wrote about how Netanyahu is – maddeningly – bending over backwards to keep the Wakf happy.

credit: Huffington Post.

Add to this the fact that he makes Israel responsible for “lack of a political horizon,” when in truth he is the one responsible.  Remember, he has now admitted that he walked away from a deal for a Palestinian state.  A state is not his intention – and we need to regularly remind people of this fact – even as he pretends to be frustrated by the political situation.

As to despair among young Palestinian Arabs, it is fomented by the PA, with its gross corruption and lack of human rights.  Young people are not pining for a state, but for better quality of life.

Vile on so many counts.


A bit of lighthearted news to counter the above:

Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport has been ranked as the world’s fourth best international airport.  Among other pluses, it is recognized as “one of the world’s most secure airports.”

No surprise here, but pride, yes.


“The number of tourists from India to Israel in October increased by 44% over the same month last year…Israel and India have enjoyed a closer relationship since the election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee became the first Indian head of state to visit Israel, also in October, and condemned all acts of terrorism…”

This is emblematic of our growing relationship with peoples and nations of the East – about which I will continue to write – and so a source of hope.


Here a lovely story about Kila, a retired IDF dog, who ran dangerous missions with the Oketz unit and now cheers up seniors in an assisted living facility.

“Kila is a giving dog. Whenever someone calls her name, she immediately comes, and when a hand is reached towards her, she understands and puts her head in the reacher’s lap.”

Kila, in her own way, compensates a bit for the world’s ugliness.,7340,L-4739132,00.html


A nigun is a song without lyrics – sometimes soulful sometimes joyous – that is drawn primarily from Chassidic roots.  It can transmit a great deal.

I’ve decided to close today with two nigunim.  First one delivered (with hints of Carlebach) by Yehuda Green.  Relax, close your eyes, and take it in.



And then Shlomo Katz doing a Shlomo Carlebach nigun that is an expression of joyous celebration.  This is quintessential Carlebach. Enjoy and be uplifted.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.


If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

Website: http://www.arlene.

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One comment

  1. what a lovely balance between the vile and the uplifting. Thanks for this article.