Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance)

April 19, 2016

Yom Hazikaron or Day of Remembrance is a special day on the calendar for every Israeli and it should also be for every Jewish person living in the Diaspora. It is a day in which the brave fallen soldiers and people of Israel who lost their lives in terror attacks are remembered. A nation who remembers it’s fallen is a strong nation.

Since the stabbing and ramming attacks started during September 2015, many soldiers and citizens either lost their lives or were seriously injured. As Christian and staunch supporter of Israel, I also feel duty-bound to remember the soldiers who gave their lives for their country and also to those who just went on with their daily lives as ordinary citizens, but lost it at the hands of terrorists.

On 14 September 2015, Alexander Levlovitz (64) lost control of his vehicle and crashed while on the way home from celebrating Rosh Hashanah with his family. The injuries claimed his life while 2 passengers were seriously injured.

On October 1, 2015, Eitam Henkin and his wife Naama, both in their 30’s were ambushed by Palestinian gunman as they drove with their four children in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The children, all under the age of 10, were only slightly injured. The tragedy is that they will grow up without their mother and father.

On October 3, 2015, a Palestinian man approached a group of Israeli’s in Jerusalem’s old city and began stabbing, killing Nahmia Lavi (23) and Aaron Bennet (24) and injured a women and her baby.

On October 13, 2015, Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky (60), Haim Haviv (78), Alon Govberg (59) and Richard Lakin (76) were killed in a stabbing and shooting attack on a bus in Southern Jerusalem. Fifteen were injured in the same attack.

On October 18, 2015, Omri Levy, a 19 year old IDF soldier were killed by a Palestinian assailant.

On November 4, 2015, Staff Sergeant  Benjamin Yaakovovich (19) died four days later of his wounds after a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into him.

On November 13, 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Litman (40) and his son Netanel Litman (18) were shot to death by a Palestinian gunman who opened fire on their vehicle near the Otniel Junction.

On November 19, 2015,  Reuven Aviram (51), Rabbi Aharon Yesiab (32), Yaakov Don (51) and Ezra Schwartz (18) were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

On November 23,2015, Hadar Buchris, a 21-year old women were killed in a stabbing attack at a bus stop and a 20-year old Israeli soldier, Ziv Mizrahi stabbed to death at a gas station.

Genadi Kaufman (40) died of his wounds on December 7, 2015 three weeks after a stabbing attack at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

On December 23, 2015, Rabbi Rueven Birmajer (45) was stabbed and killed outside Jaffa gate in Jerusalem.

On January 1, 2016, Alon Bakal (26) and Shimon Ruimi (30) were killed by an Arab-Israeli at a New Year’s celebration.

On January 17, 2016, Dafna Meir (38) was killed in her kitchen by a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist. This barbaric attack left six children without a mother.

On January 25, 2016, Shlomit Krigman (38) went to the market and was attacked and killed by a terrorist.

On February 3, 2016, three terrorists armed with knives, guns, and explosives, attacked a group of IDF soldiers at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, killing Hadar Cohen (19).

On February 18, 2016, an off duty IDF soldier 21-year old Sergeant Tuvia Yanai Weissman, was killed in a stabbing attack.

On Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron) 10 May 2016, we need to reflect and honour the lives of these precious people. It is the least we can do and never stop to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It is now more relevant than ever.


The annual BDS campaign

March 7, 2016

The silly season has started.  The annual worldwide BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign is in full swing during the month of March. The various programs are cleverly designed in an effort to brand Israel as an Apartheid state.

The disingenuousness of these efforts are reflected in the counter-initiatives of governments, institutions, organizations and ordinary people who have had enough of the false claims of the BDS advocates.

In February the Canadian government passed a motion to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both in Canada and abroad. France and the United Kingdom took similar actions. Seven US states have now passed laws condemning or forbidden “BDS-type actions.”

State legislation targeting BDS continues to spread to more countries. A lawmaker in Georgia recently introduced a bill that mirrors legislation pending in six other states in an effort to outlaw government contracts with businesses that boycott Israel.

Martin Ritzmaier, spokesman for the mayor of Vienna, Austria, said on 26 February 2016: “We would like a cancellation” of the BDS events in the city-subsidized Amerlinghaus building. Ritzmaier added: “The city of Vienna rejects boycott calls against the State of Israel and BDS-Austria receives no funding from the city of Vienna.”

The counter-BDS movement grew significantly in the past year. So much so that BDS advocates felt the heat and started to employ intimidation tactics. On 19 February 2016, Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist from East Jerusalem was heckled and threatened by students and anti-Israel protesters at the University of Chicago for his opposition to boycott Israel.

On 6 March 2016, the Algemeiner published an extract of the “Fall 2015 Campus Trends Report,” produced by Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC). One of the most significant points is that there are signs of growing internal fractures within the anti-Israel camp. That is in line with my own perception while studying developments regarding pro-BDS and anti-BDS.

Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel accurately described the reality, which began to emerge in the ranks of the BDS activists: “Radical political movements for years operate in obscurity, slowly building, organizing and growing through trial and error. Then they burst into the open and experience a thrilling period of rapid growth and notoriety. Their enemies are caught off guard and unprepared, and their activists feel strong, confident and on the winning side of history. Crucially, the radicals start to believe, emotionally and intellectually, that their victory is inevitable. But then the victories do not come. The enemy not only does not surrender, but also reorganizes, rearms and counter-attacks – and then it dawns on the radicals they are in for a long, bloody fight. What is likely occurring in the ranks of the BDS movement is the beginning of this phase, and the accompanying internal debate about strategy.”

Where does South Africa fit into the latest developments? The BDS movement in South Africa is active and very vocal. With their slogans and rhetoric they charm some ANC politicians, trade unions and even the South African Council of Churches in supporting their cause.

However, I see some positive signs in the South African scenario. Although some individuals in the ANC support the BDS movement, the government of South Africa refrains from publicly supporting them. In fact, the government never stopped trade relations with Israel.

I also see a more realistic attitude at University campuses in South Africa regarding the BDS phenomenon. It could be that University management are sensitive for more aggression during Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), due to the “Fees Must Fall” campaign, but I am quite confident that some academics are beginning to realize that BDS is built on half-truths and falsehoods. It is rather discomforting that those academics took so long to do the necessary research.

My sincere hope is that we are beginning to see the early signs of implosion of the BDS movement. If not, we need to relentlessly expose them for what they really are.


Israel Apartheid Week 2016

February 17, 2016

It is that time of the year again. From 7 to 13 March 2016 anti-Israel propagandists in South Africa will be in full force with an array of antics to demonize and delegitimize Israel during a week-long campaign, which they call Israel Apartheid Week. The BDS campaigners certainly have no lack of creative ideas to enforce their flawed view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

While South Africa is faced with the worst drought in decades and the government is struggling with proper water management, the country which is uniquely positioned to assist in these areas, are boycotted by BDS’S to satisfy their hate for Israel. For them it is OK for their countrymen to suffer as long as they can satisfy themselves.

A conference on equitable and sustainable water management for poverty alleviation, organised by the Mail & Guardian for 26 February was cancelled after it attracted criticism for including the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa as a panellist. BDS might see it as a victory, but only small minds ignore a hand of help in a time of crisis.

While BDS claims successes in their so-called Israel Apartheid campaign, the other side is not often published in the mainstream media. Recently, more governments, companies and institutions started to either withdraw their support for BDS or legalised against it.

The Munich-based DAB bank is slated to discontinue the account of one of the top BDS campaign websites in Germany. The BDS website lists DAB bank Munich as the financial institution for electronic money transfers.

The City Council of Paris adopted two nonbinding resolutions condemning attempts to boycott Israel, which is illegal in France. One of the resolutions said the City of Paris “opposes publicly all attempts to isolate Israel from the collective of nations,” and also reaffirmed the city’s “commitment to the promotion of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict.”

The multi-talented star Jennifer Lopez will be having her debut performance in Israel despite pressure from the the BDS movement to cancel.

To frustrate BDS even more, Beyonce wore a fabulous gown designed by the Israeli designer Inbal Dror. Her jewellery was also by an Israeli designer, Keren Wolf.

A princess from the Islamic country of Bahrain chose to receive life-saving treatment in Israel after she was given the chance to undergo the necessary operation in the US. Logic dictates that the princess would not have made such a decision if she regarded Israel as an Apartheid State.

Israel Apartheid Week 2016 will be no different than the previous years. The BDS supporters will once again be vocal in their efforts to brand Israel as an Apartheid State, but better-informed people will watch this spectacle from a distance, sometimes laughing, sometimes even emotional for the stupidity people are able to come up with. The sad reality is that most of the BDS supporters have never visited Israel or have an in-depth knowledge of the Middle East to understand the intricate situation Israel finds itself in.

Be it as it may, but branding Israel as an Apartheid State is so ridiculous, it is no wonder that a princess of Bahrain trusted Israel to perform a specialised operation, Jennifer Lopez ignored BDS to perform in Israel, DAB bank discontinued BDS’s website in Germany and the City of Paris adopted resolutions against BDS.

Unfortunately, South Africa lost the opportunity of any future involvement in the Israel-Palestinian issue.


What the main stream media chose not to publish

February 11, 2016

As mentioned before on this page, the true facts which the mainstream media often ignores will be posted without prejudice. Honest reporting is a rare commodity these days.

Israel is on the forefront of innovation and breakthroughs in the world:

Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have destroyed the HIV virus using peptides containing multiple copies of the virus’ DNA.  Combined with existing HIV medications the peptides activate the cell’s self-destruction mechanisms.  After two weeks there was no sign of the virus.  Human trials will commence in a few months.

To read further on this story: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4750903,00.html

The mainstream media often chose to publish negative news about Israel and most of the time it is propaganda of the worst kind. The following is only one of many good stories happening in Israel on a daily basis:

Doctors at Rambam Medical Center, Haifa saved the life of Jummana, a 17-year-old girl from Nablus suffering from a serious and rare endocrine problem.  With help from the US National Institutes of Health, the doctors traced the source to a tiny tumor, which they removed.

To read further on this story: http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Israeli-Palestinian-and-American-collaboration-saves-life-of-Nablus-teen-443374

The BDS movement’s disingenuous efforts to brand Israel as an Apartheid state and the call on countries and businesses to boycott Israel are rightfully ignored by many:

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj came to Israel, seeking new areas where the two countries can cooperate.  Speaking from Jerusalem, she stressed the importance of Israeli-Indian ties and said the “potential of our relations are much much more.”  Meanwhile the number of visitors to Israel from India during 2015 increased by 13.5% compared to 2014 – to around 40,000.

To read more on this story: http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/18/indian-foreign-minister-in-israel-to-strengthen-bilateral-relationship/#

Jewish children are taught to be a light unto the nations from an early age:

13-year-old Israeli Roni Oron won a “Satellite Is Born” award from the Israel Space Agency for her design of a system to produce oxygen in outer space.  Her “BioSat” uses algae, carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, mirrors and photosynthesis.  She will develop the satellite at a NASA summer camp in Florida.

To read further on this story: http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/21/13-year-old-israeli-girl-develops-satellite-system-for-producing-oxygen-in-space/

Many dictators and regimes attempted to eradicate the Jewish people, but failed. They bounced back with even more determination and vigour and are a real blessing to the nations, despite the vitriolic propaganda disseminated on a regular basis:

Yisrael Kristal Kristal was born in 1903 to a religiously observant Jewish family in what is now part of Poland. His first wife and two children were murdered in the Holocaust. He survived Auschwitz and other death camps, remarried, made Aliyah, and had more children.

To read more on this story: http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2016/1/22/israeli-auschwitz-survivor-oldest-man-in-the-world-at-112


Israel’s innovative spirit

February 5, 2016

While Israel is confronted with academic, trade and cultural boycotts, the innovative spirit of the Israeli people cannot be extinguished. The irony is that countries on the forefront of these boycott actions, are the ones who also benefit from the entrepreneurial prowess of the Israeli’s.

Although much of the international media focuses on the negative, many positive developments are indeed happening in Israel. It is, as if the media does not want Israel to have a positive image in the world.

Here are some developments the mainstream media choose not to report:

  1. The Israel emergency response organization ZAKA has received official consultative status from the United Nations. ZAKA will now be recognized as an official body in the UN, which will help it to expand its international search, rescue and recovery missions.
  1. Israel will spend 13 billion shekels ($3.3.billion) over the next five years to improve the standard of living of its Arab minority. Investment will be boosted in education, infrastructure, culture, sports and transportation in Arab areas.
  1. Jerusalem’s water company has been rewarded a key role on the 4-year European Union project to improve governance and social awareness of water environmental challenges. It involves setting up a Digital Social Platform to share details of water scarcity, security and water consumption related issues.

And the good news on a prophetic level:

  1. Over 30,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel in 2015, 10% more than in 2014 and the highest number in over a decade. Nearly 8,000 came from France, while around 7,000 came from Ukraine. Tel Aviv received the most immigrants, followed by Netanya, Jerusalem and Haifa. Aliya from the UK in 2015 increased by 25% since the previous year. Aliya from Western Europe hit record levels.

Israel is called to be a light unto the nations and that role is been fulfilled on many levels.


The media’s annus horribilis

January 19, 2016

On the media front, 2015 was an annus horribilis. The biased reporting on the history-changing developments in the Middle East reached a crescendo in the national and international press.

The strange silence on the massive persecution and murder of Christians in Syria and Iraq has still to be explained. Christian women are targeted and made sex slaves for ISIS fighters. If they refuse to be degraded in such a monstrous way, they are killed. Their husbands are killed anyway. The media either chooses not to report the atrocities or report it cursorily. Could somebody in the press circles explain this phenomenon? What happened to fearless factual reporting? It seems that social media has become more effective than the mainstream media.

Reporting of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in the mainstream media is often of such a nature that it can be regarded as a tragic comedy. When Israeli civilians were stabbed by a Palestinian teenager, the incident was reported with the headline: “Palestinian boy killed by IDF.” I can name many more examples, but suffice to say that the disingenuous manner of reporting has made the media complicit in fanning the flames of hatred in a very complicated situation.

Early December, some newspapers in South Africa reported on their front pages that an arrest warrant was issued by the Prosecuting Authorities for the arrest of senior Israeli military officers if they would visit South Africa. That proved not to be true. The Media Review Network went crazy and posted the information repeatedly on social media – and again fanning the flames.

During 2015, I became frustrated many times when the media refused to publish articles or letters of mine – with verifiable facts, but chose to publish articles and letters clearly based on propaganda. Was I surprised? No, but disappointed in the media for allowing a public platform to be used by people with personal agendas and radical ideologies. I can even live with that if the media keeps a healthy balance and practices freedom of speech in an unbiased way.

What is the agenda of the media other than reporting the facts, or other than selling papers to make it a viable business? Whatever it is, the media has a duty to report with integrity.

May we experience in 2016 a year of unbiased factual reporting driven by integrity.


Islamic Fundamentalism

November 17, 2015

Islamic fundamentalism has made the world a dangerous place and we can no longer keep our heads in the sand and wish that this ideology of submission will go away. It will not.

We should seriously take note of what is happening in the Middle East. It is not only Jews in Israel that are threatened by Islamic radicalism, but Christians as well. It is time to call a spade a spade and expose the real causes of this radicalism, and I am aware that I will be called Islamaphobic by some.

It is not my intention to incite or to offend anybody, but to open-mindedly look at the root causes of this phenomenon which is causing mayhem in the world at the moment. I realise the best way to make a proper analysis would be to look at the matter holistically and also to consult what the holy book of Islam, the Koran prescribed. The reason for choosing to consult the Koran is that the vast majority of terrorist acts perpetrated in the world today are undoubtedly Islamic orientated.

Therefore, we need to investigate why people and even children are moved to attack and kill people who do not share the same religion as them. Incitement to kill by religious leaders does not fall out of thin air. Sadly, but true, It can be found in the precepts of their faith.

Statements made by Islamic religious leaders while teaching their followers are a direct cause of incitement and such incitement puts the conflict beyond a mere dispute over a piece of land.

“The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world….” (Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris at a Friday sermon on official Palestinian Authority TV)

“When the Jews are wiped out … the sun of peace [will] begin to rise on the entire world.” – Pirzada Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai, Pakistani religious leader.

A recent example of how Palestinian government TV continues to educate the younger generation to grow up hating the Jews occurred on the popular children’s show The Best Home. A young girl appearing in the episode recited a poem that referred to the Jews (not just Israeli’s, but all Jews) as “barbaric monkeys” and “the most evil among creations.”

Another example that it is not only about the so-called Israel-Palestinian conflict can be found in the words of Iraqi Ayatollah Ahmad Husseini al-Baghdadi: “We (Muslims) will conquer the world, so that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah will be triumphant over the domes of Moscow, Washington and Paris….. We will annihilate America.”

I would like to emphasize that the intention of this article is not to criticize a specific religion and in this case Islam, but to find answers to the intended or unintended results of the basic tenets of the religion. It is important because it is impacting the world in many ways and on so many levels.

When I read comments such as the above and correlate it with some of the Islamic texts, I realize that jihad or holy war is forced upon every Muslim and it is especially directed at Jews and Christians.

Allah’s apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’….” (Hadith 4:196 Narrated Abu Huraira).

The fans of intolerance are further flamed by claiming that Islam is the only acceptable religion:

“The Jews call Uzayr a son of Allah and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!” (Sura 9:30)

Unfortunately, the Koran contradicts the notion that Islam is a religion of peace. It cannot be more clearly stated as it is written in Sura 5:51: “O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliya), then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).”

Now I also understand the thought-processes of ISIS. The men who execute people in the most barbaric way were most likely taught to hate anyone other than their own religion since childhood.

“Now when you meet those who disbelieve, smite their necks until when you have slain them greatly, then make fast the bonds; then, thereafter let them off either freely or by ransom, until the war lay down its burdens.” (Sura 47:4)

We are in the middle of a religious war and Israel is, for historic reasons, chosen as the centre point for this war which will eventually have a global reach. We will not escape and we should seriously take note of these threats. It is time for the world to realise that Israel is a bulwark against these threats. The constant demonization and de-legitimization of Israel is a well-planned strategy to demolish Israel and to implement the ultimate goal of Islam, namely world domination.

“Oh Muslims everywhere, I call on you to fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists (Jews) and the Crusaders (Christians)… It is a jihad for God’s sake and will last until (our) religion prevails.” (al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri).

It is often said that not all Muslims think like the radicalised fundamentalists. The question should be asked, why they are they silent when Jews and Christians are murdered in the most brutal way – and the answer is fear.

“And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves.” (Sura 48:29). “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” (Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari 9:57).

In our anger we condemn the people behind the grave atrocities, and yes, we cannot tolerate such behaviour. What we actually should condemn, is the radicalization of people by their particular brand of religion.

All of us are born as innocent loving human beings with a purpose to serve each other and to make this world a better place. It is therefore sad to see how the precepts of a religion can change people into dysfunctional humans stripped from love and joy.