There is a hi-tech, interactive exhibit on Israel making the rounds internationally. It is called “Open a Door to Israel,” and consists of a series of brightly colored doors, each of which opens to show, via video and interactive programming, another aspect of Israel – hi-tech innovations, the Israeli people, etc.
See what it’s about here:
“The main problem in the world is that they don’t know Israel,” says Tal Brody, a good will ambassador for Israel, in the video.
And indeed, we must continue to put out the good about Israel, because the world does not know us.
Consider this example:
“Dozens of Israelis answered a Facebook call to help a 90-year-old woman living alone in poor conditions in the north of the country.”
The Hebrew news site 0404 put up pictures from the FB posting of the woman’s squalid apartment, and reproduced the call for help.
“Within minutes, said 0404 on Monday, ‘We received many replies from concerned citizens offering to volunteer their services to ameliorate the condition of the elderly woman. These included: renovations, household equipment and supplies, furniture, grocery shopping, assistance with day-to-day chores and cash donations. The latter, according to 0404, was from people who said they live too far away to provide hands-on help.’
“…This, said 0404, is the beautiful side of Israeli society, which so often gets overlooked in the fray of politics and conflict.” (Emphasis added)
Those of us here in Israel who keep our eyes peeled and our hearts open know that this beautiful side of Israel society exists and is frequently astounding.
In the Israeli Arab town of Abu Gosh, right outside of Jerusalem, there is a 60-man volunteer search-and-rescue team, headed by Arab Israeli Imad Jaber, who is Muslim.
Said Jaber in an interview with CBN news:
“’We rescue people. It doesn’t matter gender, race or religion. Our goal is to save human lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Jew or an Arab, American [or someone] from Russia..
It’s not simple and it’s not easy, especially in these very difficult times. On one hand, we are Arabs, Muslims, and we’re residents of the state, citizens of the State of Israel…
“To raise up a unit like this takes courage, it needs people that are humane. We’re not fighting against anyone. We don’t kill anyone, but the opposite. We are saving human lives.
“We’re wearing the uniforms of the IDF. That’s an honor for us.”
Lt. Col. Yigal Dahan, the Jewish Home Front commander who oversees the group, had this to say about them (emphasis added):
“This company is Israeli civilians from the Arab sector that decided actually to be partners, to be good citizens of the state, to be partners in all that happens here — actually to take responsibility for themselves in time of emergency…
“I think they’ve taken a courageous step…I think it’s a very important message in general for everything that’s happening in this country.”
Of course, making certain that people world-wide know about the beautiful side of Israel will not solve all of our problems. For there is a huge, and growing, amount of antisemitism out there, which closes the door in some people’s minds to who we really are. They want to revel in their hatred for us – don’t bother them with facts.
See the report by Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett (chair, Habayit Hayehudi) on growing European antisemitism:
“…antisemitic incidents in London rose more than 60 percent during the 12-month period ending November 15 and…incidents in France shot up 84% in the first quarter of 2015,” he said.
One of the most egregious and perverse examples of antisemitism (which is what this anti-Israel action truly is) that I’ve encountered involves a group of doctors in the UK.
Seventy-one British doctors want to expel the Israeli Medical Association from the World Medical Association.
Why? Because Israeli doctors carried out “medical torture” on Palestinian patients. Can they believe this?
They are speaking, you understand, about the medical establishment in Israel that treats Syrians wounded in their civil war and children from Gaza with heart problems. See photo from Wolfson Medical Center of one such child.
Not incidentally, Israeli doctors treat terrorists who have attacked Jews. There was actually quite a furor about this recently, when some medical personnel declared that the medical ethic requires them to treat patients in order of how badly injured they are, so that if a terrorist is more badly injured than his victim he receives attention first, while others maintained vociferously that this is where they draw the line – victims receive first attention and it is outrageous to suggest otherwise.
Were Israel to be banned from the World Medical Association, it would have a seriously deleterious effect on our research efforts: Israelis would be prevented from participating in medical conferences or publishing papers in journals, there would a halt to international funding of research and joint research endeavors, and Israeli doctors would be prevented from acquiring membership in other medical associations.
However, this action would also be seriously detrimental to the ability of doctors worldwide to provide cutting edge treatment to their patients, because that treatment frequently emanates from Israel. Blocking the ability of Israeli doctors to share their research and prohibiting funding for additional research is really not a smart idea if you are interested in the health of your patients.
“Cutting off your nose to spite your face” may be a cliché – but it sure applies here. This is what hatred does.
It is not expected that the effort of these doctors will succeed – at least not now. But this is a sign of the times and what we are coping with.
And so, when I write about the need to “open doors,” I am also referring to the need to shine a light of truth where falsehoods – the most egregious lies – are told about Israel.
Much has been said recently – by the EU, the US ambassador to Israel, the UN (see below) and others – that is based on the premise that Israel has no right to be in Judea and Samaria and that the Jewish communities there (“settlements”) are destructive to peace.
As part of that effort to shed light, I will pause here for some basic information. Because of the astonishing degree to which the world has bought the Palestinian Arab fiction that all of the land beyond what is referred to as the “1967 border” belongs to them, it is important to return now and again for a basic look at the facts.
Those of my readers who know this information already will, I trust, understand the need to review it. Those who require further elucidation are welcome to contact me.
The Mandate for Palestine of 1922, passed unanimously by the League of Nations, and founded upon the San Remo Resolution of 1920, set as an article of international law the right of the Jewish people to dense settlement and establishment of a homeland in Palestine (which means, at a minimum, from the river to the sea, including Judaea and Samaria). This still stands.
Judaea and Samaria represent the heartland of the Jewish nation from ancient times – it is this region that Shilo (where the tabernacle rested) and Hevron (where the Machpela stands) and other ancient sites are located.
“Palestine” – a term coined by the Romans after the forced dispersal of Jews from Judea – for millennia was a geographical area that was in no way related to a state for Arabs. In point of fact, before the founding of the modern State of Israel, JEWS were referred to as Palestinians.
The “partition plan” of 1947, which spoke about dividing Palestine into a state for Jews and a state of Arabs, was a resolution of the General Assembly – Resolution 181. GA resolutions are only recommendations and have no weight in international law. It changed nothing with regard to the legal status of Palestine as a Jewish homeland, from the river to the sea. All the more so was this the case as the Arabs refused this plan.
Thus Israel’s presence in Judaea and Samaria cannot be a “belligerent occupation,” as a state cannot “occupy” land that belongs to her. Jordan’s control of Judea and Samaria from 1948 – 67 constituted an illegal occupation, as it was seized in an offensive war. Israel did not take Judea and Samaria from a sovereign state that had rightful control of the area.
What is more, Israel took control of Judaea and Samaria in a defensive war, which confers upon her rights in retaining it.
The so-called “1967 border” was not a border at all, but a 1949 armistice line. The armistice agreement stated explicitly that this line was temporary and did not prejudice future negotiations for a permanent border.
Note please: this agreement was with Jordan, not with the “Palestinian people” or a “Palestinian state.” There has NEVER been a Palestinian state, and there is no legitimacy whatsoever to the persistent claim that everything beyond the 1949 armistice line “belongs” to the Palestinian Arab people, such as they may be defined. This notion, which has been marketed so broadly, is nothing but the greatest humbuggery.
Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the Six Day War, declared that final borders would be resolved via negotiations. With regard to Judea and Samaria, this meant a final border between Israel and Jordan – again with no mention whatsoever of a Palestinian state. There was no requirement in this resolution that Israel return behind the 1949 armistice line. In fact, the resolution called for the right of all states “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force,” and it was broadly recognized that Israel’s prior situation – with its lack of strategic depth – made her too vulnerable.
Resolution 242 called for “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” As it did not say “all” territories or “the” territories,” it was understood that a full withdrawal was not required, that “some” withdrawal is all that was called for. There are lawyers who make the case that, as Israel has withdrawn from the Sinai, which was occupied in the war, and negotiated a peace with Egypt that defines the border, she has already fulfilled the stipulations of this resolution.
The Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 and subsequently, called for final status negotiations. No where in the Accords does it say the PLO will have a full and sovereign state. PM Rabin, in a speech in the Knesset, made it clear that he had in mind something in the nature of an autonomy that was less than a full sovereign state.
Yet – as the result of a vast and persistent disinformation campaign – the perception of what the Palestinian Arabs are entitled to has morphed into a full state. Much of the world accepts this as a given, believing that the Palestinian Arabs are being deprived of their rights. Either that – or like the 71 British doctors – they prefer to promote notions they do not fully believe because of hatred of Israel.
A particularly ugly example of the way in which the world has embraced the myths of Israeli “occupation,” and Palestinian “rights” to Judea and Samaria can be seen in a statement made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to the Security Council Monday. Addressing the issue of Palestinian Arab violence, he attributed it to “frustration” – “it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism…progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise.” He also objected to the demolition in Area C of illegally built Arab homes, often funded by the EU. (Although of course he didn’t acknowledge that they were illegally built.)
We should not, I suppose, have expected better of Ban Ki Moon. Blame Israel. Blame “the settlements.”
Ignore the frustration Palestinian Arabs feel because of the lack of human rights and the corruption they endure under the Palestinian Authority.
Ignore the blatant incitement by the PA, starting with Mahmoud Abbas. His praise of terrorists. His repeated fallacious charges that Jews are threatening al-Aksa mosque. Ignore the PLO salaries paid to terrorists in prison. Ignore the fact that just last week, on Ma’an TV, Fatah Central Committee Member Tawfiq Tirawi said:
“Let us talk logically. Hitler was not morally corrupt . He was daring.”
And by all means, ignore this:
“The 15-year-old Palestinian terrorist who stabbed mother-of-six Dafna Meir to death on January 19 in the West Bank community of Otniel was under the influence of broadcasts by Palestinian Authority TV, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigation has found.
”A statement released on Sunday on the progress of the investigation said the minor, who was arrested in his home in Beit Amra, near Hebron, disclosed during questioning that ‘in the period of time preceding the terrorist attack,’ he watched ‘PA television, which presented Israel as a state that “kills Palestinian youths.”’ On the day of the attack, “under the influence of the content he saw on television, the minor decided to carry out a stabbing attack in order to murder a Jewish person.” (emphasis added):
Observed a furious Netanyahu:
“The UN Secretary General’s remarks give a tailwind to terrorism. There is no justification for terrorism. The Palestinian murderers do not want to build a state – they want to destroy a state and they say this openly. They want to murder Jews simply because they are Jews and they say this openly. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights.
“The UN lost its neutrality and moral force a long time ago and the Secretary General’s remarks do not improve the situation.“
On the same theme, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, speaking at the Security Council yesterday said (emphasis added):
“During the past four months, Israelis have been stabbed in their homes, shot at in the streets and run over by terrorists using cars as weapons.
“During this period of time, the [Security] council has adopted resolutions against terrorism, and condemned terror attacks in France, Sinai, Lebanon, Mali, Tunisia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Somalia and Sudan. Not once were the lives of Israelis murdered by terrorists recognized by this council. No condemnation, no expression of solidarity – not even a statement of concern.”
And here, the terrorism continues…
On Monday, two women were stabbed by two Arabs in front of a grocery store in the community of Beit Horon, which is adjacent to Route 443, between Modi’in and Jerusalem. The Arabs, who also threw pipe bombs at the store, were shot and killed by a security guard.
One of the women, 58, was moderately wounded, and remains in the hospital. The other stabbing victim, Shlomit Krigman, just shy of 24, was critically wounded. During the night on Monday, she lingered close to death. By morning, despite doctors’ devoted efforts to save her, she was gone.
Her friend, Maayan, described the hope that she would live:
“You fought as you slept. We tried to send you messages of encouragement – you can do it, you can recover…”
Shlomit, who grew up in the Jordan Valley community of Shadmot Mehola, had been staying with her grandparents in Beit Horon because she was doing National Service there. “She filled every corner of the house,” they said.
At the funeral, which was held in Jerusalem yesterday, her grandmother spoke to her deceased granddaughter:
“Part of my heart will be buried today; we so loved you.”
While her mother, Na’ama, standing at her daughter’s body at the graveside, told her:
“We are burying you in Jerusalem, as you requested, in one of our conversations about the situation. Your smile, your soul, your zest for life, will stay with us always. Rest in peace.”
It is a painful irony that Shlomit was buried right next to Dafna Meir, who had been stabbed to death just a little over a week ago.
This merely intensifies the cry from our hearts: Isn’t it enough already?
I will note here that Israeli security sees the last few terrorist attacks as an escalation: the terrorists entered Jewish towns to attack. Previously we were seeing attacks at crossroads, or checkpoints, or municipal bus stops. What is happening now increases the vulnerability of Jewish citizens.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Not specifically here in Israel, but internationally, in recognition of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by the Red Army 70 years.
May the Almighty grant supreme strength and great wisdom to our armed forces from this day and evermore.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.
“We Have Legal Grounds” –