As I sat down to write this posting, I felt overwhelmed by an awareness of how many significant problems we are facing at one time. And yet, I was also in touch with a very promising perspective – the inspiration I refer to in the title of today’s posting. We will come to this. Keep going to the end!
Right now, what’s in the air is the sense that we may be at war with Hamas in only days over the issue of the Flag Parade for Yom Yerushalayim going through the Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter. They are certainly leveling their threats: that is what they want us to believe. Palestinian calls on social media involve the Temple Mount (more on this below) as well as the parade.
Pictured here is the despicable Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.
We Israelis are aware of what may be coming down the road, but we are taking it in stride. I have heard no panic among Israelis in my circles, no expressed opinion that the government should re-route. It’s more a sense of, “Damn, here we go again. Don’t like it, but we’ll cope.”
And I am pleased that our government is holding tight (so far) and continuing with plans. That said, there is a vague unease in many quarters because until the last moment there is the possibility for the route to be changed. It should be noted that the US is applying pressure, so far without success, for re-routing the parade.
It should be obvious, but needs to be noted: the position of the US is that this parade will cause problems. Never, ever, would there be a statement about eastern Jerusalem being part of Israel’s capital, which means Jews have a right to a presence in that area. Never, ever would there be a call for Palestinian Arab leadership to refrain from incitement. Of course not.
One of the reasons that our government is holding strong is because a similar flag parade led by MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionists), which was initiated in early May to demonstrate Jewish rights in all of Jerusalem, was halted by Bennett with the promise that come Jerusalem Day a flag parade through Damascus Gate would be permitted. The US had pushed Bennett then, as well.
Speaking of Ben Gvir, this week the Shin Bet uncovered an active Hamas cell in eastern Jerusalem that had plans to assassinate him, as well as initiate other terror acts.
In anticipation of a possible rocket attack on Sunday, Israel is setting up a serious counter, complete with Iron Dome installations re-deployed for maximum protection and plans for aircraft to fly overhead. Information is going out on this broadly. This serves as both reassurance for our own people, and a message to Hamas on where we stand.
Police will deploy 3,000 officers to secure the rally in eastern Jerusalem, and additional forces will be sent to mixed cities. Three companies from the Border Police will be called up from reserves with the rest of the reserves ordered to be at the ready for possible deployment.
We have also sent messages to Hamas via Egypt indicating that we will attack Gaza if rockets are launched against Jerusalem. There is a serious note here that is encouraging.
What is most worrisome about the possibility of a war with Hamas is the knowledge that we would have to contend with a violent fifth column of Israeli Arabs fighting against us in the mixed cities of Israel. We were traumatized by the extent of this violence last May; it was something that had not been anticipated. Below, a synagogue torched in Lod.
Predictions are that it would be worse this time around. Israeli Arabs are not only incited by Hamas, they feel a heightened sense of empowerment. This has especially been the case with the Ra’am party in the government providing protection and securing perks for them.
“The United Arab List (Ra’am) presented its achievements in the decision of the Finance Committee today [May 24] to approve the transfer of NIS 740 million for the Arab sector.”
It’s the old story. Benefits provided to the Arab community do not bring them to a more placid place, but rather inspire them to more unrest, to making more demands.
Efraim Karsh, editor of the Middle East Quarterly and former director of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, expressed concern last June about the growing radicalization of Israel’s Arabs (emphasis added):
Says Karsh, the “main danger to Israel’s continued success, or even existence over the long run, is posed…by Arab citizens of Israel…”
…over the past quarter century Israeli Arabs have increasingly come to adopt a Palestinian identity, “reject Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state,” and employ “both violent and … sophisticated means to achieve this goal.”
…Israeli Arabs are growing “more nationalized, more radicalized, [and] more Islamized.”
I believe this is a very difficult issue for people to confront because the reality flies in the face of the broadly embraced perception of an Israel in which Jews and Arabs are learning to live together in peace and work for the common goal of the betterment of the state.
There are Arabs who are loyal Israelis – without a doubt. And they must be fully embraced as such. But there must be new, stringent ways of coping with those who are not.
The make-up of the current government has exacerbated the problem. The need for a strong right-wing government that is prepared to grapple seriously with this situation is overwhelming. Hard decisions must be made regarding such matters as the removal of citizenship from those who fight against Israel, from inside of Israel, in time of war. Not to mention the same for Israeli Arabs complicit in terrorism. And, as appropriate, their families.
We must hold fast to the identity of Israel as a Jewish State. Modern Israel was re-established in the land as a Jewish State, for the Jewish people. Our traditions go back 3,000 years here. Efforts afoot to weaken that Jewish State identity and push Israel as a democracy for all peoples equally are dangerous and destructive.
Recent situations such as an official endorsement by Ben Gurion University of a Nakba demonstration are exceedingly troublesome. The position of those embracing Nakba is that Israel has no right to exist. That an Israeli university should condone expression of this opinion in the name of “diversity” is self-destructive.
What is more, it has come to light that the Humanities and Social Sciences Subcommittee of Open University has decided to give more weight to the “Palestinian narrative” in courses. This is, indeed, as Im Tirtzu has charged, a disgrace.
Every Israeli citizen, whether Jew or Arab, has equal civil rights under the law – equal right to petition the court, to vote, to secure pension, to receive education and medical care, etc. etc. Arab Israelis have legal protections that are unheard of in surrounding Arab states. But only Jews have national rights in the land.
In April, during Ramadan, Ayman Oded, head of the Joint List (Arab) in the Opposition, which means he sits in our Knesset, took himself to Damascus Gate and made a video in which he addressed Arab Israelis who serve in the Israeli security forces:
“Young people must not join the occupation forces. I call on the young people who have already joined, who are no more than one percent, a total of a few thousand, whose joining is insulting and humiliating, I call on them — throw the weapons in their face and tell them that our place is not with you. We will not be part of the injustice and the crime.”
There are other issues of a serious nature we are contending with at present. When we consider them, we are forced to recognize how much Israel stands alone.
One issue that requires attention in this regard is the shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Not only are there charges from many quarters, made without proof, that a member of the IDF killed her, it is being said that we killed her to “silence” her. CNN, hardly an unbiased source, but a highly influential one, has joined those making these charges.
See the response of Honest Reporting:
And see, as well, information on the investigation of this situation by a scientist who concludes Abu Akleh was killed by Arab terrorist rioters.
The matter of our rights on Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) is critical, and is tied to what I refer to above regarding Arab sense of empowerment. Denying Jewish history on the Mount – and thus our indisputable right to be there, where our two Temples stood – is part of an effort to delegitimize Israel.
The Arab demands for maintenance of the “status quo” are nonsense because they have altered that status quo in multiple ways, which I have explored in previous postings: the addition of more mosques on the Mount; limiting hours of visitation for Jews and the gates through which they may enter; etc.
And yet Israeli officials do not counter this sufficiently, do not provide wide-spread solid information on our history on the Mount and the way in which the Arabs have already altered the “status quo.”
The recent move by Israeli Police to petition a higher court to over-turn a ruling that says the Shema and bowing are permissible on the Mount is an embarrassment.
I do not believe there is a nation in the world that is on Israel’s side with regard to this issue. Just recently we saw that Biden declared support for the position of the king of Jordan, that Jordan has ultimate authority on the Mount.
But there is a flip-side to this that I believe is at the heart of the matter. Israelis must first believe in and stand strong for our rights on the Mount. Who will believe in those rights if we do not???
And this leads me to the matter of inspiration at this critical juncture. It is my habit to salute those Israelis who truly believe in our rights here and are prepared to stand for them.
I was in the midst of preparing this posting when I received a video message from Jeremy Gimpel about Arugot Farm, which he and Avi Abramowitz, and their families, have established in the Judaaean Hills to keep the land Jewish.
They have devoted their entire lives to this venture, which is of considerable importance.
Learn what is happening with Jeremy (left) and Avi. Allow yourselves to be inspired by their courage and determination.
We cannot all devote our lives to establishing farms in the Judean Hills.
But we can incorporate the lessons that they teach:
Truly caring about Israel means standing up for her, speaking out for her, providing support for her. Passivity is a losing position in the face of all of Israel’s enemies.
Perhaps the example of the dedicated lives of Avi and Jeremy can move you beyond all of my words.
Should you decide to donate to help Arugot Farm, you can do so here:
Dear friends, I had hoped to do a review of the political situation here, but the above took precedence. The government that so badly needs to fall is still hanging by a thread.