The prime minister complains, and rightly so, that the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas took part in a ceremony naming a square after a female terrorist. Really the time has come to change the name of all the squares named after suicide bombers and members of the pre-state undergrounds, murderers and freedom fighters. Benjamin Netanyahu protests, and rightly so, the incitement-filled publications against Israel distributed by the Palestinians.
Indeed, as he said two days ago to American senators, "this is not how you make peace." This is not the time to encourage religious fanatics and fund extremist organizations that incite against their Jewish neighbors.
Among us, those who incite against the Arab neighbors are always "rogue elements." So why do Israeli governments irrigate them with public water? Take for example, "Shabbat Beshabato," a weekly pamphlet on the Torah portion distributed in thousands of copies to synagogues all over Israel. Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, the founder of the Conversion Authority and head of the Tsomet Institute of Halacha and Technology, wrote in the most recent edition that "the time has come 'to declare war' on the Israeli Arabs, and of course on the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria, who are not loyal to the state, using clear tests to determine this, and to designate them as 'enemies.'"
In an article featured prominently on Tsomet's Web site, Rosen suggests the ammunition to be used against the Arab citizens: "Taking away rights, also collectively (such as traveling on major arteries), as long as they do not meet the test of loyalty to the state. Also the right to vote for the Knesset, and certainly the right to be elected, are not 'God-given rights' and may be encroached on due to disloyalty, and certainly for security reasons, and to protect ourselves from those who would harm us."
The spiritual leader states that "whoever 'everyone is against' runs amok and goes wild."
An enlightened democracy must not take such remarks to heart. But what kind of enlightened democracy finances a body that is behind the publication of unacceptable remarks against its citizens? The Tsomet Institute, like quite a few "rogue elements" (such as the Od Yosef Hai Shechem yeshiva, whose rabbi, Yitzhak Shapira, permits the killing of gentile babies) receives thousands of shekels annually from the state. In 2007-2008, Tsomet received from the Science and Technology Ministry over NIS 580,000, and another NIS 100,000 or so from the Ministry of Education, as well as NIS 200,000 from the Gush Etzion Regional Council.
"The reason for our inability to implement this 'war'," wrote Rabbi Rosen, "lies with our 'internal enemy.'" And who is this terrible enemy? "Our brethren, the Jews of the left, head by some of the High Court justices who prefer human rights and humanism for our enemies to the security of the state and its citizens (see Route 443)." The halacha teacher warns of a battle against those he refers to as "brothers-enemies," a cleaner definition than "traitors" or "betrayers."
Machsom Watch member Edna Kanti, one of the residents of the house on Channel Two's "Big Brother" show, certainly fits this description. She dared to suggest to the Palestinians that they should refuse to show their documents and cross through the checkpoints en masse. The rabbi suggests dealing with Kanti and others like her "through persuasion alone, and primarily with sharp explanations and even mobilized (sic), perhaps we will be able to dissipate 'their hostility' or at least marginalize them."
Kanti can relate to what this handling is like; alongside the Facebook pages calling for her to be kicked out of the "house" and thousands of talkbacks denouncing her, her family is receiving death threats, suggestions to trade her for Gilad Shalit and so on. Her friends, who want to maintain the Palestinians' dignity at the checkpoints, report that the persuasion methods the settlers use with them include pouring water, curses and violent actions. Rogue elements, as we already noted.
According to one version, Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Israel Hayom daily newspaper, is the person behind Netanyahu's vehement opposition to the appointment of Alon Pinkas as ambassador to the UN. According to this version of events, for Adelson's tastes, Pinkas has too many leftist stains on his past. Bibi, who received a much-covered word of support from Pinkas shortly after the latter failed in the Labor party primaries, is a puppet of the casino king from the United States. Below is another, more creative version.
Six years ago, Pinkas, then the consul general in New York, raged over the way in which Silvan Shalom, then the foreign minister, put an end to his (successful) diplomatic career. In a goodbye letter he sent to Foreign Ministry employees and somehow made its way to the press, Pinkas wrote: "You and I had the privilege of serving under Foreign Minister Shalom, a real Churchill-like statesman and a perfect gentleman." Later on Pinkas mockingly listed the minister's "accomplishments," including "adding Israel to the European Union and "improving relations with all the Arab countries and succeeding in the UN."
Shalom vowed then that he would get back at Pinkas and block any appointment of his. Reinforcement for this version of events can be found in the fact that he did not forget his vow, even with an unsettled account, and in the slew of letters and petitions that Netanyahu and the Likud ministers are receiving from party figures, branch leaders and central committee members since the plan to appoint Pinkas as UN ambassador was reported.
For now, Lieberman is refusing to give up on Pinkas. It would be interesting to found out why he is so insistent; it is hard to believe that the foreign minister does not know that Pinkas founded One Home (Bayit Ehad) together with Avshalom Vilan of Meretz and Colette Avital of Labor. This is an organization that works to promote the Evacuation-Compensation law for settlers who live beyond the separation fence and want to return to the other side; for example Lieberman, who is a resident of Nokdim.
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