Comments on “An Open Letter to Foreign Minister Liberman” (by Justin Hayet)

I agree with the writer (Justin Hayet).

Not too long ago, I had a dialogue with some of the people in the Israeli Consulate in Chicago about BDS, its supporters, what Israel is doing about it, and what we, and Jews living in the USA (or elsewhere in the diaspora) can do to help.

I was puzzled at how little information I was able to obtain, and what I did get required a number of emails.  They were not trying to be uncooperative, it simply was not, in any way, a priority for them.

I proposed figuring out who the financial supporters of BDS are and making the names of those individuals and companies well-known, but essentially was told that they really didn’t have much information.

As the writer, Justin Hayet, remarks, this SHOULD be a priority.  Just as Jews in America extend themselves to support Israel in the face of rapidly escalating and increasing anti-Semitism, outright hostility, and truly outrageous behavior, Israel needs to step up to the plate and help combat the forces arrayed against Jews, especially on college campuses where Arab money is spread around liberally and faculties are more and more biased against Israel.

I sincerely hope that the government of Israel will step up.  There are many of us who are ready and eager to help, but need some direction and support.  Some of us (anyone who knows me knows that I write a LOT about this) already do what we can, but we are unorganized and, in my opinion, not as effective as we could be.

Mr. Liberman?  The ball is in your court….

Comments on John Kerry’s speech at Davos

I saw the following article posted on the Jerusalem Post website, and felt compelled to respond to it.  My remarks follow the link to the article.

I think that Kerry has a few misconceptions and has made some bad assumptions.

1. His definitions of “engaged” and “committed” are a bit different than mine. While he is spending a huge amount of time and effort on the Israel-Palestinian “peace” process, Syria is going down in flames with hundreds of thousands dead, tortured, etc. In what way is Kerry “engaged” there, or “committed” in any meaningful way to ending the violence? It’s nice that he says that Assad is finished, done, kaput, but in real terms, what does that even mean?

2. He says that at the end of the day, it is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement on how to end conflict. Yet, his actions say otherwise. His attempts to force a very poor settlement (no pun intended) on Israel is dangerous to Israel’s security and puts Israel in an impossible negotiating position. Considering that, supposedly, he and his boss are “friends” of Israel, with friends like that, who needs enemies? Israel already has the EU to fill the role of meddlesome, irritating, has-been, pumped up egotists.

3. He said in his speech that “if the peace talks fail, the Palestinians risk losing their last chance for an independent state. He said for Israel failure would mean that demographics would not not allow Israel to remain a democratic and Jewish states.”

There are a couple of issues with this statement. 

A) Who says it’s their last chance for an independent state? That train keeps circling back to the station. As long as much of the world continues to keep their heads firmly planted up the asses of the PA, to appease their quickly growing Muslim populations, that “last chance” will continue to show up on the radar.

B) His comment about “demographics not allowing Israel to remain democratic and Jewish assumes that Israel annexes or otherwise makes all of the West Bank (and Gaza?) part of Israel. That is a very bad assumption. Israel has other options, as unpalatable and unfeasible as they might be in today’s political climate.

Israel could simply annex all major Jewish settlement blocks in the West Bank, since the assumption of most of the world is that they will remain part of Israel anyway. They could tell the PA “We are cutting off all ties, aid, financial cooperation, trade, etc. until such time as we have a peace agreement. Until then, we will treat you as hostile neighbors (which they most certainly are).” They could, conceivably, adopt Lieberman’s plan to give up highly populated Arab areas in Israel and tell the PA that those areas are now part of whatever Palestinian state the PA wants to have.

I am not saying that these are good, optimal, or even workable solutions, but they ARE other options that I have no doubt have been discussed in great detail by the Israeli powers that be. They are valid contingencies to the failure of talks that almost no one believes will succeed.

My personal opinion is that Kerry is a dangerous ass, with little understanding of the Middle East or the players there. He is trying to superimpose his very Western values on people who don’t play by the same rules, or even own the same rulebook. Not very smart….

Sometimes, I think he got elected to office because of his wife’s money, his war record, and his great hair. It can’t be because of his intellect….

“Messed up” Politics

Recently, a friend said that my “politics are messed up”.

By that, I understood him to mean that since my values, judgments, and beliefs are different than his, mine are somehow deficient, invalid, stupid, ill-conceived, evil, etc.

I took some time to ponder that statement, and realized that his attitude toward the views of others has become pervasive in today’s atmosphere of political intolerance.

We constantly hear people saying things like “The Koch brothers are evil.”, or “Dick Cheney is the devil”, or “Republicans have no soul”, “Libtards are stupid”, etc.  These, by the way, are actual quotes I copied from postings by some of my Facebook friends from the last couple of days.

We see arguments relegated to name calling, websites such as “Americans against the Tea Party”, “Americans against Republicans”, “Americans against Liberals”, and a thorough lack of civil discourse.  It has become common to dismiss the opinions of others as “messed up” or worse, dismiss others as “stupid”, “evil”, “intolerant”, “misguided”, “ignorant”, etc. simply because those opinions are different than our own.  Never mind that many of those opinions, on both sides, are honestly held, rationally arrived at, and represent a true belief based on our personal values.  We have become a society with zero tolerance for the opinions of others if those opinions are different from ours.

What does it mean for us, as a society, when so many are so intolerant of opposing perspectives that they feel the need to characterize the people holding those differing views as “evil”?

How can we ever reach consensus or compromise positions, when large swaths of our population are so intolerant of opposing views that they truly believe that anyone whose views differ from theirs must be “the devil”?

Let’s be clear.  Evil DOES exist in this world.

But, believing in a different economic strategy, believing that abortion is wrong (or right), believing that guns are good (or bad), believing in God (or not), embracing homosexuality (or not), etc. does not make a person evil.  It makes their beliefs different than our beliefs.

None of us has the ability to actually walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  We all have different backgrounds, different life experiences, different challenges in life, and different beliefs.  We have developed our views based on those inputs, and they are no more or less valid than anyone else’s views.

What it boils down to, ultimately, is that we are all different.  For the most part, those differences are valid, legitimate, and not harmful.  They ARE real, and the results are an amalgamation of our upbringing, culture, religion, schooling, life experience, career, family, and a million other inputs that are different for every single person on Earth.

I would posit that characterizing those whose beliefs are simply different from our own as “evil” is the epitome of small-mindedness, and is a much worse sin than most others.  It is the grease on which our society is sliding into the abyss of mediocrity and oblivion.

If we, as a society, cannot learn to separate opinions from people, we are in for a very long and rocky decline.

If you see yourself in the words above, you might give some thought to how you participate in future discussions with those whose views differ from your own.  The world might be a better place for it.


Thoughts on the Syrian Mess

Have you heard?  Syrians are killing one another at an alarming rate.

There have been over 100,000 people killed, approximately 65,000 of whom are considered “combatants”.

For a good summary of the conflict, click here:

I will not spend time detailing the events of the last almost 30 months since the war started, but will instead share my thoughts about the conflict and what to do, or what not to do about it.

Considering that Syrians are killing Syrians, and considering the strong antipathy of most Syrians toward Israel (and Jews), my initial inclination is that we should let them kill each other until no one is left. 

This is one more in a series of global conflicts in which hundreds of thousands or more have been killed, and will continue to be killed.  In which of these conflicts did the world intervene?  Rwanda?  Cambodia?  Name a couple, let’s see what the world did.

More recently, the world has its knickers in a twist because someone in Syria used chemical weapons against civilians, and, by some estimates, as many as 1,400 people died as a result. 

Of course, this is unacceptable to the world, since we now have “rules” for war, which no one follows, generally, but there are rules, and chemical warfare is against the rules.

Also, of course, the amount of torture, rape, killing of innocents, and general havoc deliberately wreaked on civilians, is also against the rules.

So, what should we do?  What CAN we do?

Obviously, waiting for the UN to decide to do something, given its partisan divisions of sponsorship of the rebels and President Assad’s “team”, will result in the same level of inaction as we’ve seen in most other conflicts around the globe.

That may or may not be a good thing.

Yes, innocent people are dying in Syria, just as they are in other places in the world.

Personally, I would object strenuously to my sons (I have three) being sent to Syria to fight, just as I would object to them being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, since I think our objectives in entering those arenas were and still are specious, at best. 

War must have an objective.  Before you wage war, you’d damn well better know what it is you hope to accomplish.

If the objective is to send a few cruise missiles as a “shot across the bow”, with no intention of following up to “win” the war, what’s the point?  Why do it?  To win political points and claim “well, at least we’re doing something”?

If we are not interested in unseating Assad, defeating him soundly, then we shouldn’t consider doing anything.

Personally, I’d like to see Assad disappear.  He and his “sponsor”, Iran, are two of the major exporters and supporters of global terrorism, as well as supporters of the campaign to wipe Israel off the map.  Personally, I object to that campaign.

Given the option to restore some “balance” to the world by toppling both the Iranian and Syrian regimes, I might consider supporting an attack, but, attacking to gain political advantage is pure anathema to me, and a waste of time, money, and probably lives.

When one considers that a potential consequence of attacking Syria is that Syria will start shooting missiles at Israel, it becomes even more of a no-brainer.

I would rather let them fight and kill each other than send even one American to Syria.

I would make sure that Syria understands quite clearly that ANY missiles, mortars, rifle fire, or even rocks directed at Israel will unleash a barrage of Israeli rockets against Syrian positions, immediately, and that the USA will unconditionally support Israel’s right to self-defense.

Other than that, though, we should not get all worked up about chemical warfare while 100 times that number have died already.

And, if the justification for intervening is chemical warfare, what then should we say about George W. Bush’s decision to intervene in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction, of which chemical warfare is one element?

We KNOW Saddam Hussein had these weapons, because he used them against the Kurds in his own country.  Where was the outrage of the world then?

No, this conflict has to burn itself out, just like the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan need to do.

Much of the roots for these conflicts are based on the artificial boundaries on these “new” countries, many of which were set up by the British and French after World War I, and include population groups that don’t get along, and never have.

I know this is long and a bit rambling, for which I apologize.  I hope it provides a bit of food for thought.

Bottom line – keep out of the Syrian conflict.  Let the Arab League send THEIR troops, rockets, missiles, etc. into Syria.  Until and unless the conflict directly affects our national interests, we should stay out of it.

Good News from Israel – Courtesy of Yosi Behar

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– Good News#506 7 June,2013

Private letter from Yosi Behar– No commercial intent

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  onlyGood Newsfrom Israel 

in brief


Israel hosts European soccer Championship


This is the first time Israel is hosting a tournament of this stature.

European Football Association UEFA President Michel Platini insistedthat the tournament take place in Israel despite Arab and pro-Arab countries pressure to bar Israel from hosting the 2013 championship.:” Israel earned the right to host this competition through a fair, democratic vote,” Platini wrote. ”I am sure that it will be a beautiful celebration of soccer that, once again, will bring peopletogether”, Said Platini.


52nd Annual Book fare


Israel’s Book Week started ( 5 > 15 June) in 50 cities attracts visitors not only for the discounts; Book Week fairs are offering a variety of cultural events along with the books – theater performances for children based on classic children’s books, meetings with authors, walking tours based on books and author’s lives, as well as special readings. 8000 new books were published in the last 12 months, ~1000 more than last year.


Boris Giltburg wins Queen Elisabeth piano contest


Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg, 28, has won the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Belgium. The jury stressed that Giltburg has demonstrated perfect technical abilities, inventiveness and emotion.He received a prize worth€ 25,000 (~ $32,500). Two years ago, Boris won the 2nd prize in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition.

Worth listening >


Building of Ramon airport begins


Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, laid the cornerstone of the new Ramon International Airport at Timna, 19km north of Eilat. This airport willcope with tourism demand to Eilat and replace the existing runway at the heart of the city.The first new civilian airport since the founding of the state will take 4 years to construct and cost $ 460 million.8,000 new hotel rooms planned in the next 8 years – doubling the number to 20,000 – Eilat, the city on the Red Sea is desperately in need of better connectivity to boost tourism numbers.


Tourism.  Archeology:                                                                                                      

1st Temple era pillar found near Bethlehem


The pillar matched monumental construction from the 9th or 8th centuries BCE — the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem. That signaled the presence of an important and previously unknown structure from that period. More ancient Jewish archaeological remains have been discovered in Judea, providing additional proof of the unbreakable connection between the Jewish people and the land East of Jerusalem. The existence of a large water tunnel at the new site suggests the presence nearby of a large farm or palace. The construction is first-rate, there is definitely something important there from biblical times, the 9th or 8th centuries BCE.

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; Americans love Tel Aviv

Comprehensive survey reveals US public favors Israeli metropolis over 3,150 other famous global brands.

The poll was conducted among 13,000 Americans by international company BAV Consulting, which every quarter presents the world’s most comprehensive brand index ranking companies, cities and countries according to different parameters. The company’s new brand index positions Tel Aviv as something different, fascinating, unique, daring and independent. Americansare familiar with Tel Aviv and know more about the city than they know about Brazil, India and Chile.  The State of Israel as a brand reached the sixth place out of 33 countries. It received the same score given to the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and Australia. In 2007, Israel ranked 17th in the same survey.


EasyJet promotes tourism to Tel Aviv

European low-cost airline easyJet to market Israeli metropolis abroad as top destination for young people. Company plans to double number of passengers on Tel Aviv-London route, add flights to Paris, Rome and Berlin.  The company is launching these days an aggressive marketing campaign in London, aimed at promoting tourism to Tel Aviv among young people and couples without children, under the banner “Go Big in Tel Aviv.”


Ryanair exec: We’ll bring 4-5 million tourists to Israel

“We’ll bring 4-5 million tourists a year to Israel. Ryanair has boosted the number of tourists in 28 countries in Europe and the world, and we intend to this in Israel too,” said Ryanair deputy CEO and COO Michael Cawley.


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Economy & infrastructure;                                                                                                          

Export to Turkey jumps 44%

Exports of Israeli goods to Turkey (excluding diamonds) reached a new high in the first quarter of 2013, following a sharp increase of 44% from the same quarter last year, totaling some $560 million.The main export industry is chemicals and oil distillates, which made up about 75% of all exports to Turkey. Exports in all other industries (excluding chemicals and metals) rose in the first three months of the year by 22% compared to the same period last year: Exports of machinery and equipment (including in the printing, robotics, irrigation and food industries) increased by 30% to some $26 million, exports of engines and electrical equipment (including in the alternative energy, electronics rose by 158%.

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Music Kids – Mazal Tov to Judith and David 


See this traditional wedding – in modern style >     


Not so lone anymore

Amiel Abir (N.Y) and Talia Castelman (Boston) from the U.S. made aliyah to enlist in IDF as lone soldiers and found love among the pathways and groves of the kibutz Lavie in the Galilee. Now Amiel and Talia are set to tie the knot surrounded by family and fellow soldiers.  Read more >,7340,L-4388084,00.html



  ‘Netafim’ awarded Swedish water prize

    Over 10 million hectares of farm land around the world is irrigated with Netafim technology. Netafim, founded in 1965 by Kibutz Hatzerim, a world leader in drip irrigation technology, has won the 2013 Stockholm Industry Water Award. The award was given to Netafim for its contribution to sustainable water management, improved performance in production processes, new products and innovative approaches in water and wastewater technologies.      


Intel 4th generation processor

Intel Corporation unveiled its 4th-generation micro-architecture-based processor, named Haswell. The new processors, designed for ultra-books and tablets, were partly developed in Israel by a team of 80 experts. The Haswell is manufactured by 22-nanometer process and it extends battery life by 50% compared with the 3rd generation processors. This will give ultra-books more than 9 hours working time. The Haswell processor opens an ultra-book from sleep mode in 3 seconds. It also allows tighter integration of the video camera which identifies gestures for operating the computer…

8,000 people are employed at Intel’s development centers in Haifa, Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, Yakum and Kiryat Gat.


Intel CEO Brian Krzanich; “Intel plans to hire 600 more employees in Israel”.,7340,L-4388453,00.html

Lockheed Martin sets up Israeli R&D center


Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defense company, will establish a development center in Israel. It will collaborate in building the IDF Intelligence Corp’s technology campus in the Negev, known as the 5/9 project. The company is changing its approach – Israel is not just a loyal customer of its planes and defense systems, but an arena for development activity.Lockheed Martin VP global solutions Robert Eastman; “The intention is to establish a local branch of Lockheed Martin in Israel.


Apple to open development center

Apple Inc. will inaugurate the first entrepreneurship development center of its kind at the interdisciplinary arts and sciences Amal High School in Hadera next week. The outstanding students will develop iOS-based apps for iPads and iPhones.Apple has made available experts in technology innovation to train the teachers and students.

Apple Inc also donates Macs and iPads to provide the technology environment for developing apps.


Making trains safer worldwide

  Radwin, based in Tel-Aviv, developed a unique system designed for video surveillance on board trains in real time.  “Wireless broadband in motion” transmits High Definition video in real-time from multiple cameras onboard trains to a control center while the train is on the move.


Israeli water treatment system also in the UK

 Mapal sold its advanced sewage treatment system to Anglia Water, UK. Mapal uses a unique form of “fine-bubble aeration”, which decomposes waste using only 70% of the energy of other treatment systems. Mapal system already operates in South Africa, Brazil, Peru, Angola and Congo as well as in Israel.


 Rafael’s new Spice 250 glide bomb

Spice 250 follows previous bombs developed by RAFAEL, which added precision guidance kits to 2,000 Lb

and 1,000 Lb bombs, this time Rafael is supplying a complete system with accuracy of less than 10 ft.Spice 250 can be loaded with 100 optional targets in a given area up to 100 Km, with scene-matching algorithms. Spice bombs navigate to a target area up to 100 using INS/GPS guidance, before its electro-optical/imaging infrared sensor is engaged. Our F-15will be capable of carrying a maximum of 28 bombs to handle multiple targets.


Israel Day parade in the heart of N.Y.

Thousands took part on Sunday in the annual Israel Day Parade in the heart of New York.


See >



Wishing you a very good weekend



Shabat Shalom from Israel

Yosi Behar

What is it that Netanyahu’s opponents REALLY want?

I confess to being confused by what Netanyahu’s opponents and detractors want him to actually do.

He has said, publicly, that he supports a two-state solution.

He has said, publicly (and repeatedly) that he is willing to sit down and negotiate with the PA, without pre-conditions.

With whom, specifically, and how, should he “sit down and negotiate”?  Who among the PA is willing to actually “sit down and negotiate”?

Is the consensus among his opposition that he should agree to Abbas’ and the PA’s demands (pre-conditions)?

Do they actually believe that even a large minority of Israelis would support such an action?

Bear in mind that those pre-conditions are that Israel agree to give up half of Jerusalem, return essentially to the 1948 armistice lines (euphemistically called 1967 “borders”, which they are not and never were), that Israel stop building in ALL “settlements” (which include communities that almost certainly would remain part of Israel), that Israel agree to a right of return to Israel of millions of Arabs, that Israel release hundreds or thousands of convicted murderers, and that they evacuate ALL Jews from East Jerusalem (which includes the Jewish quarter of the Old City) and the West Bank.  This is BEFORE any negotiations, mind you.

For those who fault Netanyahu for “not doing enough”, what, specifically, do you think he should do?  What would you consider “doing enough”?

I find it really confusing to try to understand what people like Tzipi Livni actually want, other than to be prime minister and control the government.

Like many, I am constantly amazed (and confused) by what the world expects Netanyahu to do, other than capitulate to conditions no Israeli government can accept without immediately being thrown out of office (and rightly so).

Netanyahu’s primary job is to protect Israel.  When and if the Palestinians want actual peace, I believe he will talk with them honestly, and will reach a compromise.

I do NOT believe that compromise will include the dismantling of the state of Israel, nor should it.

Compromise and negotiation takes two parties.  Neither one can do it on their own.  But, blaming Netanyahu for the lack of negotiations is ridiculous.  NO Israeli government, including one led by Livni, would agree to the pre-conditions that Abbas is demanding.  None.


BDS – Absolute irrationality and stupidity

I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I continue to be, anyway.

When you listen to seemingly intelligent, rational young people like those in this video, who spout the most moronic, idiotic things as “fact”, you have to wonder.

The two girls interviewed calmly talk about how Israel is committing genocide, and how Israel is an apartheid state.

I wonder if they have any historical perspective or understanding of what those words mean.

I also suspect that they are firm advocates of things like gay rights, yet cannot seem to grasp that Israel is the ONLY place in the middle east where there actually are freedoms for all – gays, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Bahais, etc.

It is beyond comprehension how a group of people have managed to convince large groups of other people that Israel is committing genocide, which is defined by Webster as

“Deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, religious, political, or ethnic group. The term was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born jurist who served as an adviser to the U.S. Department of War during World War II, to describe the premeditated effort to destroy a population (see Holocaust). In 1946 the UN General Assembly declared genocide a punishable crime. By this declaration, genocide by definition may be committed by an individual, group, or government, against one’s own people or another, in peacetime or in wartime. This last point distinguishes genocide from “crimes against humanity,” whose legal definition specifies wartime. Suspects may be tried by a court in the country where the act was committed or by an international court (see International Criminal Court). An example of genocide more recent than the Holocaust is the slaughter of Tutsi people by the Hutu in Rwanda in the 1990s.”

Clearly, if Israel wanted to practice genocide against the Palestinians, there would be a LOT more deaths than there have been, and they would not occur under the circumstances in which they do occur – in the context of war, defense against terror attacks, etc.

Apartheid is also a ridiculous accusation.  Webster defines it as:

“(Afrikaans: “apartness” or “separateness”) Policy of racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in South Africa. The term was first used as the name of the official policy of the National Party in 1948, though racial segregation, sanctioned by law, was already widely practiced. The Group Areas Act of 1950 established residential and business sectors in urban areas for each “race” and strengthened the existing “pass” laws, which required nonwhites to carry identification papers. Other laws forbade most social contacts between those of European descent and others, authorized segregated public facilities, established separate educational standards, restricted each group to certain types of jobs, curtailed nonwhite labour unions, denied nonwhite participation in the national government, and established various black African “homelands,” partly self-governing units that were nevertheless politically and economically dependent on South Africa. These so-called homelands were not recognized by international governments. Apartheid was always subject to internal criticism and led to many violent protests, strikes, and acts of sabotage; it also received international censure. In 1990–91 most apartheid legislation was repealed, but segregation continued on a de facto basis. In 1993 a new constitution enfranchised blacks and other racial groups, and all-race national elections in 1994 produced a coalition government with a black majority. These developments marked the end of legislated apartheid, though not of its entrenched social and economic effects. “

Israel guarantees, by law, equal rights for all citizens of Israel.  The West Bank and Gaza are NOT part of Israel, and the West Bank is legally a disputed territory.  Gaza is not at all under the governance of Israel.

Yes, Israel restricts movement in and out of Israeli-controlled areas.  That is not apartheid, it is a security matter.  BIG difference.  There are not separate washrooms, drinking fountains, restaurants, etc. set aside for different ethnic or religious groups.  Israel does not mandate different treatment based on religion or ethnicity.  What a ridiculous accusation.

But, people all over the world buy into it.  Are they stupid, ignorant, gullible, well-meaning (I’m sure many of them are), or just too lazy to research some basic facts?