Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sderot: Family injured when rocket hits their home - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Four Israelis injured when rocket hits home, second rocket lands near synagogue.

Four Israelis were lightly wounded on Saturday when a rocket hit their home.

A Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic who treated the family said the father, 50, suffered shrapnel wounds to his forehead and legs, and the mother, 45, suffered shrapnel wounds to her legs. The family's 15-year-old daughter suffered wounds to her face, and her 14-year-old sister suffered wounds to her legs.

All of the victims were transferred to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital.

A second rocket landed near a synagogue in the city, but did not cause injuries.

Meanwhile, the IDF confirmed that it attacked a building in Gaza City which served as a Hamas training base. Beneath the building, Hamas had dug a tunnel, which was used for underground training exercises.

All of the building's residents received prior warning of the attack.

The IDF also attacked an additional two terror tunnels, as well as the Beit Lahia battalion's command center and dozens of other Hamas military targets, an IDF statement said.

"The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything which occurs in Gaza and which emanate from it, and they are the ones responsible for this situation," the statement read. "The IDF is prepared for a wide range of scenarios and will increase [attacks] according to its assessment of the situation and operational need. The IDF is determined to continue protecting Israeli citizens."

"This attack is one example of the IDF's intelligence and operational capabilities," an IDF spokesman said.

Since 3:00p.m., over 100 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza, with Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system shot down at least 20, and 73 others fell in open areas. Other than damage to a chicken coop, no other damage was caused by those rockets which fell in open areas.

Incendiary kites and balloons fired from Gaza caused fifteen fires on Saturday, including two in a forest. All of the fires are now under control.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Video SJP and the Intifada -


The violent agenda of a campus hate group exposed.

Frontpagemag Editor's note: Anti-Semitism watchdog Canary Mission recently released a report on the campus hate group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and its support for Palestinian "intifadas" -- campaigns of violence against Israel that have resulted in the deaths of numerous innocent Israeli citizens. Read the report in full here or view the report's companion video below. 

To read and order the Freedom Center's new pamphlet, "SJP: Neo-Nazis on Campus," CLICK HERE or to learn more about the Freedom Center's Stop University Support for Terrorists campaign, CLICK HERE.


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A series of calculated risks - Amnon Lord

by Amnon Lord

The three-month Palestinian arson terrorism campaign ‎has changed the equation on the ground and many ‎believe Hamas's low-tech kites have been able to best the IDF's ‎high-tech abilities • But there is more to the bigger picture ‎than meets the eye.‎

Palestinian arson terrorism has so far sparked over 1,000 fires on the Israeli side of the border 

After three months of fires in Israeli communities near ‎the Gaza Strip border, the bottom line is deeply ‎worrying: the IDF is paralyzed vis-à-vis Palestinian arson ‎terrorism. The top military echelon may not see kite ‎terrorism as a military challenge, but this issue has ‎strategic significance. ‎

The military was well prepared for the Hamas-orchestrated ‎border riot campaign launched on March 30. As tens of ‎thousands of Palestinians try to rush the border ‎weekly, troops guarding the southern sector have so far ‎eliminated dozens of terrorists who tried to breach the security ‎fence, but the onslaught of incendiary kites and balloons ‎was something of a surprise.‎

The element of surprise was mostly technological – who ‎would have thought that such crude instruments such as kites ‎and balloons could be used as tactical weapons? Yet the IDF was unable to devise immediate ‎countermeasures against them. ‎

So far, Palestinian arson terrorism has sparked 1,000 fires that have devoured over ‎‎8,200 acres of forest and agricultural land in Israeli ‎border towns, with the damage totaling tens of millions of ‎dollars. Environmental experts say it will take at least 15 ‎years to rehabilitate the vegetation and wildlife in the ‎scorched areas. ‎

While the IDF continues to try various technologies to ‎counter kite terrorism, so far, it has been bested by ‎Hamas. ‎

Some ministers on the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet see ‎the situation as one in which Hamas has changed the ‎equation on the ground. Cabinet hawks keep calling for a ‎harsher Israeli response, but in the few instances when ‎the IDF struck Hamas positions in Gaza over kite ‎terrorism, the Islamist terrorist group retaliated by ‎launching a rocket salvo on the border-adjacent ‎communities.‎

That, it appears, was enough to deter the military, ‎whose commanders appear to believe that any forceful ‎Israeli response to arson terrorism would prompt a rapid ‎security escalation that would surely trigger war, which ‎no one wants. ‎

Israeli soldiers test a drone meant to counter kite terrorism

The result is military paralysis opposite systematic arson ‎attacks, which Hamas perceives as fear of confrontation. ‎And Gaza's rulers have not been shy about bragging ‎about it.‎

As weird as it may seem, the IDF does not regard arson ‎terrorism as a military challenge. GOC Southern ‎Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir said recently that the ‎underground barrier currently being built near the border ‎to block Hamas' grid of terror tunnels costs much more ‎than the total damage caused by the three-month ‎incendiary kite campaign. ‎

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister ‎Avigdor Lieberman may have thought at one point that ‎the IDF would be able to extinguish the Palestinians' ‎arson campaign but that has not happened, and some ‎see the conduct of the IDF's top echelon as a symptom ‎of a detached military elite. ‎

Others continue to dismiss these fires as an ‎inconsequential wave of Palestinian frustration that is of ‎no strategic significance. But it is, in fact, very ‎significant. Hamas has changed the equation on the ‎ground: Not only is it no longer deterred by IDF strikes ‎in Gaza, it has turned the tables and now the Israeli ‎military is the one that is wary of retaliating. Hamas is ‎systematically torching everything their kites touch on ‎the Israeli side of the border while the IDF is literally ‎sitting on the fence.‎

Some ministers on the right have accused Netanyahu ‎and Lieberman of tolerating the military's inaction rather ‎than pushing it to find a creative solution. And so far, ‎neither Netanyahu nor Lieberman have pounded their fist ‎on the table and demanded answers and options. ‎

Still, one must also see the other side of this equation: Many ‎Israeli prime ministers were less calculated, often opting ‎for a knee-jerk reaction. Overall, that has rarely worked ‎in Israel's favor. ‎

Letting the tensions in Gaza reach boiling point at this ‎time is an Iranian interest as well as a scenario ‎Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas favors, ‎so an Israeli policy of restraint is somewhat ‎unavoidable. ‎

Those who follow the situation on the Gaza border ‎naturally ask a few questions, for example, what is going ‎on in the diplomatic sphere that is causing Israel to opt ‎for restraint in the face of Hamas' audacity. ‎

Over the past week, much has been said about the ‎United States' "Gaza first" initiative, involving a generous ‎humanitarian aid package in exchange for a long-term ‎cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Some have said that Israel is exercising restraint so as ‎not to jeopardize this move, but the truth is that Gaza is ‎a more complicated project than trying to ‎denuclearize North Korea. Even if senior White House ‎adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Crown Prince ‎Mohammed bin Salman are pushing this initiative with all ‎they have – they have a long road ahead of them. ‎

Senior cabinet ministers believe the real threat lies in ‎Syria, where Iran is relentlessly trying to entrench itself ‎militarily. ‎

According to a recent report in The Economist, Iranian-‎backed militias in Syria are 80,000 strong and Tehran is ‎sparing no effort to set up military and intelligence ‎infrastructure in the war-torn country. ‎

Israel's captains, it seems, believe that in the greater ‎scheme of things, if you want to deal with the Iranians ‎and at the same time prevent a major war in the ‎northern sector, you must exercise restraint on the ‎Gaza border.‎

A senior Jerusalem official told Israel Hayom that Abbas ‎and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have ‎identical interests, and both would like to see the ticking ‎time bomb that is Gaza blow up in Israel's face. A war in ‎Gaza will reduce global attention to Syria while also ‎reducing Israel's intelligence effort there. ‎

Still, even ministers who are focused on the situation in ‎Syria admit the Gaza border is on the verge of ‎conflagration. It is only a matter of time.‎

Unnecessary provocation

The highly controversial article in the nation-state bill ‎that allows Jewish communities to legally exclude ‎non-‎Jews, is a High Court of Justice appeal in the making. ‎

It is not for nothing that Article 7b has sparked a ‎political firestorm, and Attorney ‎‎General Avichai ‎Mendelblit and President Reuven Rivlin are right to say ‎that it is discriminatory and unacceptable.‎

This article is a thorn that must be removed from the ‎nation-state bill's side if it is to be inducted as a basic ‎law.‎

The nation-state bill, which aims to anchor Israel's status ‎as a "Jewish ‎‎state with a ‎‎democratic regime" and ‎preserve ‎‎the country's Jewish character, ‎‎state ‎‎symbols ‎and sacred Jewish sites ‎‎according to Jewish ‎‎tradition, is a ‎highly important legislative proposal, and it is a mistake to focus on an ‎article that seeks to undo previous High Court ruling ‎stating such exclusion is illegal. ‎

It is up to reality to determine the cultural identity of ‎communities in Israel – the same reality that supports ‎the existence of mixed Jewish-Arab communities today.‎

This issue should never have been brought up. The ‎nature of a community should be left to pragmatism, as ‎dictated by the circumstances on the ground, and not be ‎subject to a law that sets in place restrictions that are ‎utterly unacceptable in this day and age. ‎

Many cities in Israel may find that they have to adjust to ‎an economic-cultural reality in which Arabs live in ‎modern Israeli society.‎ The latter has great advantages because it is a mixed ‎society that needs to find checks and balances between ‎cultures.

Any legal provision allowing exclusion based on ‎religion or ethnicity will not stand up to the High Court's ‎scrutiny and only further divide Israeli society.‎

But even worse, instead of fostering a natural, pragmatic ‎development in Jewish-Arab relations, this Article 7b invites ‎unnecessary provocations, mostly by families that will ‎put it to a legal test. Internal lawfare will only poison the ‎atmosphere in Israel, and overseas, it will be used by ‎anti-Israel elements to present the Jewish state as ‎racist.‎

Amnon Lord


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Why Trump Makes Sense Regarding NATO - E. Jeffrey Ludwig

by E. Jeffrey Ludwig

U.S. generosity such as the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after WWII has gradually morphed into the U.S. becoming a cash cow for the world community.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was conceived as a mutual defense pact against possible Soviet aggression in Europe following WWII, and the U.S., under President Harry Truman’s initiative, became one of the original twelve members in 1949. The unwillingness of the USSR to withdraw from various Eastern European countries at the end of WWII (which countries were then referred to by Winston Churchill as “behind the Iron Curtain”) gave considerable credibility to the idea that a mutual defense pact was needed in Europe. Such a pact would only make sense with U.S. membership since our infrastructure and economy had not been devastated by the War, and in fact in many ways had flourished. 

Although the underlying rationale for NATO was known to be anti-communist/anti-USSR, there are no statements to that effect in the actual NATO treaty. Fear and realism coalesced to lead to NATO’s creation. Josef Stalin was still alive, and his ruthlessness and hatred for capitalism as well as his disregard for human life and paranoia were already well known. Every reasonable person knows that you can only contain maniacs with force, not with friendliness. Thus, NATO was an important instrument of a policy known as containment (of communism) first enunciated by George F. Kennan after WWII, and subsequently adopted by President Truman.

In 1949, there were 12 members of NATO. Now there are 29 members, and among them are numbered eleven countries that formerly were controlled by the USSR or part of Yugoslavia. The Warsaw Pact was formed in 1955 to counter the perceived “threat” of NATO. Six of the members of the former Warsaw Pact are now members of NATO. Thus, there has been a complete turnaround and revamping of the polarization that made NATO necessary in the first place. To this writer, this dramatic reconfiguration as well as the collapse of the USSR means that the very need for NATO is in fact a legitimate question. 

Additionally, one of the member states, Turkey, is only partially located in Europe, with the greatest part of its land mass and population in Asia. With Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shift away from democratic values, the legitimacy of Turkey’s membership in NATO is also dubious. His power grabs would seem to conflict with the phrase in Article III whereby NATO exists for “strengthening… free institutions.” Although NATO was a bulwark against Soviet expansion, no wars with the Soviets were fought by NATO, and its active combat was limited to two interventions in Bosnia and Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and with the U.S. in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. There was also NATO implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, and there were a few other limited engagements.

However, NATO has had anything but a smooth road. Few remember that France dropped out of NATO for thirty years when it became a nuclear power. The French did not like the controls the U.S. had over nuclear weaponry in the NATO arsenal. 

Although President Donald Trump’s critics point out that his open and unedited criticisms of NATO are a threat to U.S. commitment to the all-important Article V of the treaty, which commits each member to come directly to the aid of any other member that is attacked, it seems that this concern about undermining Article V is mere carping. It is carping because treaty obligations do not supersede a country’s sovereign responsibilities to its citizens. Those responsibilities are financial as well as military. The existence of a treaty does not amount to an abrogation of the member state’s sovereignty. Even if a member of NATO were attacked, would our planes just take off and start bombing the attacker? Would our troops just be loaded automatically into planes and ships to fight and die in the victim state’s land? Similarly, does our membership imply that we just pay and pay disproportionately forever, irrespective of the other members’ abilities to pay, and the financial stresses we as a country are experiencing? Such a view is not only untenable, but pathetic. Treaty obligations cannot be treated as though they are an abrogation of sovereignty.

More important is the presence in Article II of the statement “They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them." Trump is asserting that economic collaboration has not been maintained by the member states of NATO insofar as there has been a lack of commitment by most member states to the economic needs of the organization. This subject has been broached before with NATO, but has not been brought into the public square by past presidents. Yet, as an Article II issue, it is just as essential to the well-being of NATO as Article V. Financial support is evidence of commitment. Thus, Trump is not diluting U.S. commitment, but exposing the lack of commitment to NATO by most of the member states. The U.S. is committing 3.4% of its GDP to support NATO whereas most members have not even reached the goal of 2%, which they said they would reach by 2024. Is that really the best they can do after 73 years of post-WWII recovery? 

Further, Article I of the NATO treaty states: "The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations." Thus, NATO from its inception was linked to the purposes of the United Nations, which the United States is also funding in a disproportionate way. In short, global cooperation to reduce aggressions in the world increasingly looks like a manipulation of U.S. finances to buy peace, and to evade individual nation-state responsibility.

Yet, to Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters, appearing on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN, Trump’s demands make the President an unworthy basket case. He stated, “We're faced with the real, immediate and perhaps irreparable damage to this greatest of alliances, NATO." While the President tends toward hyperbole and overdramatizing his positions -- part of his showmanship ability of drawing public attention to his words and projects -- his position regarding funding as evidence of commitment to NATO or the UN is not only reasonable, but consistent with the treaty that binds the signees to their common goals. U.S. generosity such as the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after WWII has gradually morphed into the U.S. becoming a cash cow for the world community. This is both unwise and unsustainable, and our President is showing he is determined to shift us away from the unfair burdens which we have embraced.

E. Jeffrey Ludwig


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The quiet Temple Mount rivalry - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

It turns out that in addition to Turkey's heavy investment in east Jerusalem with the goal of gaining influence on the Temple Mount, Saudi Arabia is also eyeing the Dome of the Rock, discomforting Jordan, the official guardian of the fraught holy site.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Saudi officials in Riyadh, last year
Photo: Reuters 

Developments of immense importance lurk behind the scenes of American attempts to promote their regional peace plan, which has become known as "the deal of the century." Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for Islamic holy sites in Mecca and Medina, is seeking a foothold and influence over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, too - namely, the Temple Mount.

The Trump administration, which sees Saudi Arabia as the keystone of the moderate Arab axis, without which there will be no deal, hasn't ruled out the Saudi aspirations. Jordan lies on the same axis and was granted a sort of guardianship over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem as part of the peace treaty it signed with Israel in 1994. Jordan has become Israel's silent partner in the management of the Temple Mount, and is upset.

The Jordanians started out by using the standard diplomatic conduits to appeal to Israel, which tried to calm them down. We have a contract, Israeli diplomats told envoys of Jordan's King Abdullah. But he refused to be still. He asked Israel to discuss the matter with the Americans.

Israel complied and in its talks with the U.S. stressed Jordan's importance as a strategic, regional and security partner with Israel and as a partner with whom Israel could work on the volatile Temple Mount issue. Israel even detailed past cooperation with the Hashemite kingdom that has yielded fruit for the U.S., as well, but the answers from U.S. President Donald Trump didn't satisfy Abdullah. The king wanted an unequivocal commitment that its status as the "guardian of al-Aqsa" would not be affected.

Jordan sees this guardianship as one of the strongest assurances for the continued existence of the kingdom, which is currently embroiled in economic distress and whose Bedouin and other nomadic tribes loyal to the royal family now comprise a minority. The Palestinians – including some Muslim Brotherhood officials – are also a constant source of concern and a frequent threat to the royal regime.

In addition, we have the historical baggage of rivalry between Jordan and Saudi Arabia for hegemony over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, which goes back years. After World War I, the Hashemite dynasty lost its role as guardian of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina to Saudi Arabia and had to make due with a second-tier responsibility for their faith's holy sites in Jerusalem.

Hussein Bin-Ali, who served as the emir and "sheriff" of Mecca, is a descendant of the Hashemite dynasty, which sees itself as members of the same family line of the Prophet Mohammad. Bin-Ali died in 1931 and was buried on the Temple Mount. His second son, King Abdullah I, was assassinated at Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 20, 1951 over his contact with leaders of the Jewish community in Israel. Abdullah's grandson King Hussein succeeded him shortly thereafter. Hussein had witnessed his grandfather's killing.

Abdullah II, the current king, is Hussein's eldest son and the great-grandson of Abdullah I. Even after Israel united east and west Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War, Jordan continued to maintain its ties to the Temple Mount. It hired and paid the employees of the Muslim Waqf, which handles the daily administration of the site. Over the years, Jordan has invested heavily in refurbishing the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa.

The Americans are familiar with this history, but when Washington dawdled in giving Abdullah the assurances he sought, the king decided to adopt the approach of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Or more accurately, an enemy with whom I share a more bitter enmity against someone else can also be a friend.

A meeting of billionaires

Abdullah has traveled to Turkey twice in the past few months. He took part in conferences organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put on in Istanbul to protest the U.S. relocating its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Erdogan isn't exactly Abdullah's cup of tea. Far from it. The Turkish president sees himself as the patron of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, including the Jordanian branch, which poses a frequent threat to the stability of Abdullah's government.

But the king assumed that Erdogan, who openly aspires to strengthen his own influence in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, was as disturbed as he was at the possibility that the Saudis, with U.S. support, could leave both Jordan and Turkey in the dust. The Saudi indifference to the embassy move, compared to Turkey's outrage, along with a Saudi statement that it was canceling a $2 billion weapons deal it had signed with Turkey, increased the common ground between Abdullah and Erdogan, as did the prospect of the Saudis taking over the Temple Mount.

Abdullah was sending a double hint to the Americans: Jordan was not in Trump's pocket or an automatic partner on the moderate Arab axis. The message was received. The meetings in Turkey resulted in Saudi Arabia moderating its tone on becoming guardian of the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem. For now, at least, it has dropped the issue. Saudi Arabia and Jordan share a long border. Jordan keeps radical Islamic elements from crossing the border into Saudi territory. It is in Saudi Arabia's best interest that the Hashemite kingdom continues to exist, just like it is in Israel's.

Moreover, the protests in Jordan and the deep economic crisis there have prompted Saudi Arabia to host a summit in Mecca on solving the Hashemite kingdom's severe economic difficulties. The summit led to a $2.5 billion aid package for Jordan from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The protests, along with Abdullah's recent meetings in Turkey, led Israel and the U.S. to reconfirm Jordan's status on the Temple Mount.

However, Jordan was asked to pay by agreeing (not officially) that Israel drastically increase the number of Jewish visitors allowed on the Mount, with one clear caveat. Jews can visit, but they cannot pray there. Jordan is still being asked to support the idea of establishing the capital of a future Palestinian state in the city of Abu Dis on the municipal border of east Jerusalem. For now, it still opposes the idea. Jordan has also been asked to stop flirting with the evil Islamist axis, including Erdogan.

Now that Saudi Arabia has dropped, if temporarily, its demand for status on the Temple Mount as part of the deal of the century and Jordan's status there is apparently guaranteed, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are once again teaming up against Turkish activity in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. They have both expressed concern to Israel about the sway Erdogan is purchasing in east Jerusalem by funneling money into projects through Turkish organizations like Our Heritage Foundation and the quasi-governmental TIKA.

Terrorism comes to light 

About a year and a half ago, the National Security Council began collecting evidence about the money Turkey is pouring into east Jerusalem. The goal of the project was to attempt to curtail Turkish activity in the capital as much as possible and close down the financial conduits that bring Turkish money into the city.

The immediate suspects as go-betweens for these transactions were Hamas and the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement. No proof of their ideological ties to Turkey is needed, but for Israel to take action against the Turkish groups active in Jerusalem, it needed proof of illegal contact, financial or otherwise. Considerable information was collected, and it is now under review. It will soon be presented to local and diplomatic authorities.

Some of the evidence was taken from public sources. A new report from Pinhas Inbari, a researcher with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is based mainly on that material. The Inbari report shows a possible association between some of the Turkish groups and branches of terrorist organizations.

Inbari says that Turkey has already penetrated the Muslim religious institution in the city via the leader of the Supreme Muslim Council, Sheikh Ikrama Sabri, who has even started wearing the white priestly robes that symbolize the Turkish religious authorities. The report says that Sabri even has a direct line to Erdogan and that many people in east Jerusalem use his services to contact the Turkish government.

Inbari sheds new light on both Sabri's activity and the Turkish "tourism" to the Temple Mount, which have both been covered extensively by Israel Hayom. According to his findings (he quotes Israel sources), groups of unemployed Turks are paid to take part in the Turkish tourism campaign, which has one goal: to retake the Temple Mount.

The more important revelation in the report has to do with the terror-supporting charitable organization IHH (most familiar to Israelis from the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident) and its secret cooperation with the Turkish organization TIKA. TIKA, we know, is a big spender in east Jerusalem.

"It could be that terrorist cells are hiding behind a curtain of the cultural, social and economic activity that is being seen in east Jerusalem," Inbari writes. The researcher bases the information about the possible connection on remarks from Ahmet Sait Yayla, an opponent of Erdogan and former head of the Turkish police's counter-terrorism division, made in the U.S.

Secret activity in the capital

Inbari ends his report with a Turkish report that describes the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah as the "governor of Jerusalem."

Inbari concludes with a few questions raised by the material that has come to light for the first time in his report.

"Has Turkey already established its own secret administration in Jerusalem? What is the significance of the role of 'governor of the city' given to an Israeli citizen [Salah]? And also, is it possible that signs that decorated the 'Al-Aqsa Stage' at a meeting of imams held in Istanbul last summer - signs that showed Turkish pilgrims seizing control of the Temple Mount compound - indicate that the Turkish plan is the 'conquer' the Temple Mount from Israel by flooding it with pilgrims who will announce that they have restored it to Muslim hands?"

Inbari's information about the money paid to out-of-work Turks to come "visit" Jerusalem could support that theory.

The new information is keeping Israeli security officials awake at night, but it is also worrying the Jordanian royalty, who are trying to work with Israel and Saudi Arabia against Turkey's attempts to buy a hold on the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Nadav Shragai


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Syrian government raises its flag over cradle of 2011 revolt - News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff 

Under terms of deal, rebels to hand over weapons, fighters opposed to living under state rule to evacuate.

The Syrian flag flies over Daraa, Thursday
Screenshot: Reuters

For the first time in more than seven years, the Syrian government raised its flag Thursday over Daraa, the first city to revolt against President Bashar Assad in 2011 and plunge the country into a calamitous civil war.

The display is laden with symbolism as the government moves to stamp out the last of the uprising against the 52-year-old. His father Hafez Assad was president for three decades before him.

Officials accompanied by state media crews hoisted the two-star flag over the rubble of the city's main square, allowing it to wave in sight of the shell of the Omari Mosque where protesters first gathered in demonstrations demanding reforms then Assad's ouster in the spring of 2011.

The mosque has since been destroyed in the government's brutal crackdown against the city, which ranged from alleged torturing of dissidents to shelling the city with tanks and planes.

Government forces backed by Russian airstrikes have recovered swathes of Deraa province in the last three weeks, advancing unopposed by Assad's Western and regional foes into the strategically vital southwest region near Jordan and Israel that serves as an important corridor for trade between Syria and Jordan, and onward to the oil-rich Persian Gulf states.

Ahmad Masalmeh, a media activist formerly based in Daraa, said fighters in the city had accepted an offer of amnesty from the government, and allowed back in the state institutions and symbols of Assad's rule.

Opposition fighters refusing to accept the deal will be exiled with their families to other rebel-held parts of the country.

According to several reports, senior Russian military delegation entered the rebel-held area of the city on Thursday and began negotiations with Free Syrian Army commanders over its handover to state rule, rebel officials and a witness said.

A rebel official said negotiations were proceeding smoothly, with the Russians so far abiding by the terms of the deal, under which rebels would hand over weapons, and fighters who do not wish to live under state rule would be evacuated.

"Everyone is committed to the agreements," said rebel official Abu Jihad, adding rebels had already begun since late Wednesday to hand over their heavy weapons.

One rebel official said fighters hoped the Russians would keep a pledge to maintain a permanent Russian military police presence to protect civilians and former rebels who remain.

The agreement follows a template imposed by the government and its Russian and Iranian backers that has forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians, including media activists, army defectors, and draft dodgers and their family members to give up their homes to lift the sieges against their cities.

Human rights monitors say the arrangements amount to a program of political and demographic engineering in Syria to secure Assad's rule.

The southern rebels were once armed as part of an aid program run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and backed by Assad's regional foes including Saudi Arabia. The United States, which shut down the program last year, told the rebels not to expect its military aid as the southern offensive began.

Government forces launched an offensive to recapture southwest Syria and the areas neighboring Jordan and Israel on June 19. They surrounded Daraa's rebel-held quarters on Monday. Dozens have been killed in the campaign, including 162 civilians, according to Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — among them women and children.

The offensive has prompted the single biggest displacement of the war, uprooting over 300,000 people. Many are sheltering at the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights. Both Israel, which is in a state of war with Syria, and Jordan have refused to let refugees in.

Ahmad al-Hariri, one of thousands sheltering near the Golan frontier, said he did not know where to go after the army took his village of Hrak in Daraa.

"I'm lost. ... Even if they want to expel or slaughter us, I don't want to hand myself over to the Syrian regime. You can't trust it," he said. "Under the warplanes ... I carried my kids and did not expect to arrive here."

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters at a news conference that the world body had tried "to prevent a bloodbath" in the region.

Late last month, Guterres had called for an immediate end to military operations and a return to cease-fire arrangements agreed to by Russia, the United States and Jordan.

"I think that our action was useful in that regard," he said. "But again the objective must be and remains entirely for us a political solution."

Russian mediators are warning fighters and civilians against leaving Daraa for Idlib, the northwest Syrian province where over a million displaced Syrians are living in dire conditions and exposed to government airstrikes and the possibility of a future offensive.

"Idlib is a crematory," the activist said Russian mediators warned him.

Anti-Assad rebels still control a chunk of the northwest, and the northeast and a large chunk of the east are controlled by Kurdish-led militia.

The rebel-held northwest has previously been a refuge for rebels and civilians who fear a return of Assad's rule. But some fear areas there could be the next target.

News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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Time for the Democratic Party to Recognize its Antisemitism Problem - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Israel bashing may have a cost at the ballot box.

In early May 2017, Britain’s Labour Party suffered humiliating reversals in local elections and failed in their bid to wrest control of the council of Barnet from conservatives. Labour candidates campaigning in areas with substantial Jewish constituencies were handed stinging defeats. In West Hendon, which is an area of Barnet, all three candidates fielded by the Labour Party lost. West Hendon was thought to be a safe Labour bastion. The Party had retained these seats for nearly 40 years.

The reason for Labour’s defeat was obvious. Jewish constituents who had previously been loyal to Labour to a fault, defected en masse to conservatives, and Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn gave them virtually no choice. Corbyn has referred to Hezbollah as his “friends,” and has spoken of Hamas in glowing terms. He defended a rabidly anti-Semitic mural depicting Jewish bankers counting money and playing monopoly on the backs of people with dark complexions. He joined Facebook groups dedicated to propagating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and was dismissive of claims that members of his own party engaged in Holocaust revisionism.

Britain’s Labour Party membership, taking cue from Corbyn, is rife with antisemitism and this deleterious trend shows no sign of abating. If anything, it is intensifying. Labour MP Naz Shah, who previously espoused anti-Semitic memes and complained on social media about “Jews” skewing online polls, was recently appointed Labour’s shadow equalities minister. Even more disquieting is the fact that the Labour Party recently adopted a very watered down definition of antisemitism which omits critical defining elements of Jew-hatred.

There are worrying signs that America’s Democratic Party is following in the footsteps of its Labour Party cousin across the Atlantic. Radical elements within the Party are increasingly pulling Democrats farther to the Left. They are calling for open borders, the dismantling of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, an end to free enterprise and single payer healthcare. Radical Intersectionalists have also latched themselves on to the Palestinians, viewing them as victims of Israeli and Jewish aggression, colonialism and imperialism.

Israel still enjoys widespread bipartisan support from both parties but there are worrying trends occurring within the Democratic Party demonstrating an erosion of support, and often, that erosion is accompanied by anti-Semitic rhetoric grounded in hate and conspiracy. In Minnesota, Democratic congressional nominee Ilhan Omar accused Israel of “evil doings” and referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime,” a calumny frequently regurgitated with banal regularity in anti-Semitic circles.

In New York, the Democratic congressional nominee, who beat 10-term Queens Rep. Joe Crowley, belongs to an organization – the Democratic Socialists of America – that supports the anti-Semitic BDS. The same group also calls for the abolishment of borders, prisons and profit. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also labeled Israel’s legitimate attempts to defend its border with Gaza as a “massacre” even though 80% of those killed in clashes at the Gaza border were confirmed Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives.  

Rather than calling them out on their antisemitism and other marginal positions, Democratic Party leaders have heaped praise on them. Though disquieting, this is unsurprising. Last year, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) showered Farrakhan supporter and quintessential anti-Semite Linda Sarsour with praise, and refused to backtrack even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence of Sarsour’s vile Judeophobia.  Gillibrand also withdrew her sponsorship of an anti-BDS bill despite wide bipartisan support for the bill.

Then there’s the troubling case of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash). President Donald Trump had nominated Kenneth Marcus, president and founder of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, to serve as assistant secretary of education for civil rights at the Department of Education. Marcus had a distinguished career and a stellar reputation. Yet Democrats, egged on by BDS activists and radical leftists delayed his confirmation process. During an exchange between a Marcus supporter and a senior aide to Murray, the staffer reportedly said “We do not care about anti-Semitism in this office.” Murry’s communication director later said that the quote was inaccurate but the denial is highly suspect.

There is no doubt that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has a lot to do with the Democratic Party’s tectonic shift to the Left, its increasing anti-Israel shrill and concomitant Judeophobia. The uninformed Sanders had once absurdly claimed that Israel killed 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza during the IDF’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge (the actual figure is about 1/5 that amount and at least half were terrorists). Recently, he hinted his support for the so-called Palestinian “right of return,” a euphemism for the flooding of Israel with millions of hostile Arabs and the destruction of Israel.

Prominent Democrats, including Haim Saban and Alan Dershowitz have been sounding the alarm bells about the Democratic Party’s leftward drift. During elections for DNC chairmanship, Saban did not mince words and warned that if the DNC chose Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), it would be “a disaster for relations with the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.” Saban correctly termed the Farrakhan-tied Ellison an anti-Semite. 

While the Democratic Party is not quite as toxic as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, there are worrying signs that it’s headed down the same anti-Semitic path. If that occurs, Democrats should expect to lose a significant part of their base.    

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Affirmative Action on the Ropes? - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

A lawsuit against Harvard threatens to expose what “diversity” really means.

A case is currently under litigation that however it is decided, will likely reach the Supreme Court. There the diversity industry may face a challenge that brings the institutional racism of affirmative action and its baleful effects to an end.

In 2014, an organization called Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard University for excluding Asian students who were far better qualified than other applicants who had been admitted. Last November the Justice Department opened an investigation into Harvard’s admission practices, and is threatening to sue the university, throwing its support behind the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs have viewed admission records through discovery, and want them publicized because the evidence for arbitrary and discriminatory evaluations is so obvious no trial is necessary. More recently, the Trump administration has rescinded Obama’s 2011 rule advising universities to use race as a criterion in admissions.  Finally, the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy creates an opening for a Constitutionalist judge who will not, as Kennedy has serially done, subordinate the law to politics or social engineering.

Such portents are heartening, for race-based policies of the last forty years have rested on a preposterous justification on the basis of “diversity,” the “compelling state interest” used to violate principle and law. Indeed, the word recurs like a mantra in Supreme Court decisions. In the 2016 Fisher vs. University of Texas case, for example, Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion wrote, “It remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”

The word “diversity” in that sentence has no more real meaning then than it did in 1978 when Chief Justice in Bakke vs. University of California Lewis Powell conjured it out of thin air to keep the practice of discrimination on the basis of race viable by cleansing it of the stain of numerical quotas. Since then, neither a coherent definition of diversity, nor any empirical evidence of its efficacy in improving educational outcomes has appeared. It is a term of politics rather than law that evokes our e pluribus unum myths of immigration and civic identity.

Indeed, “diversity” is like phlogiston, the 18th century substance invented to explain combustion, not based on empirical research, but on an idea that superficially made sense. The theory can be boiled down to circular reasoning:

What is phlogiston?

It’s the substance that makes things combust.

What makes things combust?


“Diversity” is similarly used:

What is diversity?

It’s what improves educational outcomes and benefits society.

What improves educational outcomes and benefits society?


The difference, however, between phlogiston and diversity is that empirical research and proven facts sent phlogiston to join other nonsense like astrology, phrenology, and alchemy.

Diversity, then, survives through institutional inertia and political utility, not because it benefits students or improves intellectual activity or serves a state interest. Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in the 2003 Grutter vs. Bollinger case identified the repeated fatal flaw of these decisions: the “refusal to define rigorously the broad state interest” served by “diversity.” The boons of diversity were merely assumed a priori, as Justice Sandra Day O’Conner did in the same decision when she pronounced that the Constitution “does not prohibit the [University of Michigan] law school’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

Even worse, in the case of diversity, the evidence that does exist fails to show how exactly diversity improves educational outcomes for students or serves society. Quite the opposite: forced diversity has encouraged the balkanization of college campuses, where students segregate themselves into tribes with separate dorms, graduations, fraternities and sororities, clubs, and even spaces for socializing. Worse yet, rather than benefitting minority students, diversity more often harms them. Indeed, in their 2012 book Mismatch, Richard H. Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. document how affirmative action programs harm minority students’ chances to succeed by mismatching them with schools with much higher standards for performance and achievement. The result for black and other minority students is much greater rates of dropping out, earning poor grades, or finding refuge in easy majors like ethnic studies that have very few prospects for employment. They also have a harder time passing licensing tests such as the bar exam, and earn fewer degrees in science and engineering than whites and Asians.

Another flaw of the argument for diversity’s “educational benefits” is that they usually flow in one direction: from minority students to whites. If that were not so, then we would be agitating for the 106 traditional black colleges to create more diverse student bodies so their students can share in these same benefits those in multiethnic schools do. But in practice the presumption is that the presence of minority students on a campus benefits white students by having them interact with different cultural practices and points of view. That this is the underlying assumption about the benefits of diversity is obvious from the oral arguments in the first Fischer v. University of Texas trial, when the University’s lawyer explicitly said that a minority applicant from a privileged background would add diversity to the university that a lower class white student wouldn’t.

Aside from the peculiarity of making black American college students some sort of good-will ambassadors responsible for enlightening benighted whites, that notion is preposterous––and not just because of the general self-segregation already mentioned, which prevents these mythic Socratic dialogues between minorities and whites. American minorities are still Americans: shaped by the same popular culture, patterns of consumption, and tastes in food, movies, television show, and video games. It’s only the illiberal identity politics in which minorities have been marinated for most of their lives that makes many of them think they are somehow radically different from their white colleagues.

Diversity’s persistence, then, is clearly due not to its value for students and society, but to a confluence of university and race-industry interests in maintaining multiculturalism. The bastard child of the Frankfurt School cultural Marxism, multiculturalism is not, as it often markets itself, about acknowledging and respecting the different traditions and ethnicities that have contributed to American identity. That conversation began in education nearly a hundred years ago as part of the debate between what was then called “pluralism” and “assimilation.” Pluralists back then made the same argument the diversicrats make today, as can be seen in this statement from 1937: “No one culture contains all favorable elements, but each group that makes up the total American population has unique values, and . . . the nation will be richer and finer in its cultural make-up if it, the country, conserves the best that each group has brought.” The writer goes on to argue that “the fundamentals of their heritages be preserved for generations.”

That argument is the bait-and-switch multiculturalists use to hide their real purpose: promoting the leftist melodrama of evil white racist and xenophobic capitalists, imperialists, and colonialists oppressing and exploiting their victims “of color,” who deserve various forms of reparations for that sorry record of oppression. The latest iteration of this reductive and selective history is the notion of “white privilege.” This idea shares the same flaw as diversity: it grossly simplifies into a crude caricature a complex human being living in a multifaceted historical moment and culture, with a personal diversity of social, economic, and educational capital. The remarkable, genuine diversity of Americans and their history is ignored in order to serve one political ideology’s goal: the progressives’ aim to “fundamentally transform America” by creating a permanent majority of leftist coastal elites and their minority clients.

This political bloc, moreover, is not diverse at all, but ideologically monolithic and united by two shared political goals. One is to centralize, increase, and concentrate federal power so that government technocrats increasingly take over the business of life and politics on the basis of a “science” superior to tradition and common sense. Another is to weaken the traditional notions of American exceptionalism and goodness, in order to further the ceding of our sovereignty to transnational elites. A third is to finance this project by redistributing wealth from some citizens to others, and thereby secure a class of dependent electoral clients and fund their federal agency minders. Affirmative action has been one instrument for achieving this goal by dividing Americans into victimizers and victims, and then using government to punish the former and reward the latter.

And if that’s not reason enough to discard affirmative action, then the simple fact that these policies as implemented violate the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution is sufficient for ending this patently dishonest and politicized practice. Finally, the lawsuit against Harvard promises to tear away the veil of “privacy” that has camouflaged the gross injustices perpetrated for forty years by university admissions policies. And if it does succeed at exposing “diversity” to the disinfectant of transparency, then maybe we can get the university back to the only diversity that really matters: the diversity of minds and points-of-view from which genuine intellectual progress comes.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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The End of the Democratic Dream - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

In the Arab world when the call to separate religion and state was sounded, religion became a means to create even more despotism, not a way to advance democratic fairness.

Most Western countries yearn for the day that democracy is established in the Arab and Islamic world. Democracy means freedom to vote, a legitimate regime, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, the rule of law, equality among citizens, free press and all the other wonderful characteristics that make it fullfilling and desirable to live in the West.  To Western eyes, democracy is the only way to run an organized, sustainable and respectable state.

When the "Arab Spring" broke out towards the end of 2010, many Western observers thought they saw the buds of democracy beginning to flower at Cairo's Tahrir Square, soon to make the Middle Eastern deserts bloom, while butterflies born during the Tunisian youth march fluttered above the cruel political systems of the region's countries. And when the Muslim Brotherhood began to rule Egypt in the middle of 2012, democratically, of course, the  democracy seers called Turkey an Islamic democracy, not at all a bad thing.

Eight years have passed since then and what has become clear is that ruling dictators were definitely deposed – either entirely or partially – in five Arab states (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria) but that what took their place can hardly be called democracy. Instead, there are a variety of dictatorships: ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Al Sisi in Egypt, terror in Libya, war in Lebanon and total destruction  in Syria. Turkey, the mother of Islamic democracy, has become an Ottoman Erdogan-style Sultanate, a goal achieved, of course, by democratic means.

While governability deteriorates in the Arab world, Iranian interference becomes more and more pervasive,  entering the Arab states by way of ever-widening holes in their shaky social structure. Iran sends its militias to these countries to set up strongholds for future use, and in every place reached by Iran, the wars become crueler and harder to bring to an end. The enormous sums of US  cash money – over 100 billion dollars -  that Obama gave the Iranians funded boiling oil feeding the fires of the Middle East. Now Iran demands 300 million Euro from Germany. To what purpose?

The Arab public is not blind, nor is it deaf or stupid. It understands full well what is happening, and the ensuing despair all over the Middle East about the possibility of finding a solution to the region's woes through nice, desirable European solutions such as democracy, is the reason for  the waves of migrants to Europe. 

In previous articles written over the past few years, I described the difficulty in adapting a solution that reflects European culture to the Middle East's problems. The culture gap is simply too large and too deep.

Elaph, the first and largest independent daily online newspaper in the Arab world, recently ran a survey whose results were very worrying. They bear out my claim that democracy is not applicable in this region.  The survey is brought below almost in its entirety, as published in Elaph by Khian Alajeri, with my additions in parentheses.

"When elections result in a handicapped child! The Arab majority says No, No! And does not believe in democratic fairness in our land."

Elaph asked its readers: "Do you believe democratic equitability can exist in Arab states? " An overwhelming majority answered in the negative. This is, to all intents, in opposition to the Arab Spring which destroyed countries, exiled their residents and spawned handicapped children who do not believe in democracy. 

Once the spark of new Arab revolutions was lit by the "Jasmine Revolution"  in Tunisia, and signs of an Arab Spring were seen on the horizon after a long winter of dictatorship, a large proportion of Arabs were informed about the proposed democratic changes – without the use of jaded expressions such as "the needs of the period" and the usual war-against-Israel excuse for shutting mouths and postponing democracy.  

The winds, however, blew in a direction unacceptable to the Arab junior fleet which yearned for a pluralistic political society, for freedom of opinion, for enhanced social and economic development based on ending the regime's monopolies, war economy and state of  emergency that went from temporary to permanent while the volatile regimes stabilized.

At the edge of the abyss

Elaph asked its readers in its weekly poll: "Do you believe in the fairness of democratic activities in Arab nations?" The answers were sweepingly negative, because the percent of responders who have given up on that fairness was over 96%. Only 4% showed evidence that the fires of democracy remain alight in their souls. 

It hurts to see the Arab world's despair, see it reaching the edge of an abyss, but before relating to the reasons for the large gap between the two answers to the question asked, there is no way to avoid admitting that Arab democracy is in a state of crisis today.

 Those who are pro-democracy suffer from the sharp drop in the ideological and popular attraction of the mantras they have been repeating for decades: "Rule of law," "equal citizenship", "human rights" and "changing governments," especially in the face of a worrisome rise in nationalist consciousness and ethnic conflicts.

What is worrying  is that these conflicts and states of consciousness are the rule in the supposedly advanced societies  based on political pluralism, those which pride themselves on their democratic heritage and on exporting the basic tenets of democracy to Third World dictatorships.

(The survey then contains a brief description of democracy in crisis and the rise of the undemocratic right in Europe over the past few years.)

If that is the situation in the West, what can we expect from the Arabs? The "wars to depose rulers" of the Arab Spring have come out in the open, because Arab society is accustomed to obeying orders about what to do and what not to do and is not capable of accepting debate and partnership. The Arabs overwhelmingly refuse to accept the idea of popular rule, the right to criticize those responsible and hold them accountable, even in the case of parliamentary institutions established by so-called elections. This refusal forms the widespread basis for corrupt political life in the Arab world.

Reading this report, there is no way to avoid admitting that Arab political life in the second decade of the 21st century is still held hostage by despotic rulers, those sycophants who surround them and those who carry out their orders with a heavy hand. All the talk about fair and honest democratic contests for the ruling offices in Arab countries is simply a dream balloon that burst – and this is what the great majority of those asked their opinion in the Elaph survey said.

The question of the level of faith Arabs have in their elite class is legitimate, especially in those states that cannot separate religion and state and refuse to countenance any conversation about liberalism, no matter how restrained. 

Hiza Almajali says: The excuse for separating religion and state in the Islamic world after the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate was not a result of revolutions, uprisings and the refusal of Islamic society to be ruled by a regime based on religion (that is, no secular leanings here) but because the regime was in the hands of those who used religion to legitimize their rule, oppress the people and treat them with no mercy (that is, separation is in order to free religion from the chains of power). That is how in the Arab world when the call to separate religion and state was sounded (in Egyptian Arab socialism, the Syrian and Iraqi Baath party), religion became a means to create even more despotism, not a way to advance democratic fairness in societies that always wanted to believe in "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."  

The eight years since the Arab Spring began with the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia led to frightening developments regarding fair democracy and gave rise to Islamist rule that has no vestige whatsoever of democracy, while democracy's sons have betrayed her. The people of Tunis, Libya, Yemenis, Egyptians and Syrians aspired to create a society that would free itself from dictators, but these democratic aspirations led them to an Islamist society and struggles over the different interpretations of Sharia Law and its turning into the law of the land (article ends here.)

The article in Elaph continues on in the same vein, but its author forgot to tell readers about the intrinsic difficulty democracy faces in Islamic society, one that comes from the powerful internal contradiction between Islam and the building blocks of democracy:  Islam is founded on Allah's laws and commands, while democracy is based on choosing people to serve in a legislative body where they enact laws proposed by human beings.   

Islam teaches that Muslims are on a higher plane than people who follow other religions, while democracy is based on considering all religions equal.  Islam does not allow criticism of its tenets and beliefs, while democracy believes in freedom of thought, speech, opinion and criticism. The Koran states that "men are appointed to rule over women," while democracy believes in gender equality.

In order to attain real democracy, Islamic society would have to limit religion to the private and family spheres, removing its jurisdiction over political and social affairs. As long as Islamic society feels committed to having Islam define its society, creating a democratic society is difficult, if not totally impossible.

This is one of the reasons I urge the world to accept the Emirate Plan, the only solution that can survive the political tempests of the Middle East.

Translated from Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


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