IDF SPOKESPERSON SMS. 44.7.2014
IDF: The IDF is currently in the midst of combat, with Hamas terrorists
in the area of Beit Hanoun, who are using civilian infrastructure and
international symbols as human shields. In the course of the afternoon,
several rockets launched by Hamas from within the Gaza Strip landed in
the Beit Hanoun area. The IDF is reviewing the incident.
Al Jazeera's correspondent Nicole Johnston, reporting from Gaza, said
the school in Beit Hanoun came under fire on Thursday. She said sources
had told Al Jazeera that up to 30 people had been killed in the
The Gaza health ministry later said that 15 were confirmed dead, and 200 injured.
The AFP reported a UN official as confirming "multiple dead and injured".
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Robert Turner, the director for
UNRWA, the UN's humanitarian organisation in Gaza, said there was no
warning from the Israelis before the shells landed. He confirmed there
He said the UNRWA were in contact with Israeli forces about a window to evacuate the school before the attack happened
"This is a designated emergency shelter," he said. "The location was conveyed to the Israelis.
"This is the fourth strike on our installations in three days."
Israel has attacked UN schools before, saying that they were safe havens for the armed Palestinians.
UN has criticised the Palestinian groups various times for using UN schools to hide fighters and weapons.
Turner said he had no information that there was military activity around the school.
"This was an installation we were managing, that monitored [to ensure] that our neutrality was maintained.
The IDF has learned its lesson and is not taking responsibility. It's investigating.
Of course, the source for all the casualty numbers is the Gaza Ministry of Health, and as my friend Aussie Dave has shown, the ministry has a penchant for double counting casualties.
Following our previous Gazan casualties analysis - which was deliberately based on the Al Jazeera list
(itself based on data from the Gaza Health Ministry) to prove a point –
our reader noticed that the list itself is replete with duplicate
names. In fact, there are at least 33, as I have attempted to show
below. Note there could actually be way more.
I have no doubt this is a deliberate ploy on the part of the Gaza
Health Ministry, to inflate the number of dead for propaganda purposes.
Which also begs the question. How many of these named people died
from rockets launched by Hamas (which misfired and landed in Gaza), or
in traffic accidents, honor killings or even natural causes?
These outrageous, vulgar, and violent sentiments provide insight into
the real views of groups like CAIR, ICNA, and the others listed on the
event flier.“Peace” protestors sponsored by these groups are normally able to stay relatively polite and on message, however,
the appearance of Israel supporters sent them into a revelatory frenzy
of great importance. Not all of the demonstrations these groups promote
will contain such overtly hostile messaging, but as the video proves,
peaceful-sounding chants are synonymous with calls to war.
Anti-Israel fanatics are predictable in that they utilize a constant
theme of claiming to be victims while simultaneously inciting hatred and
violence.What isn’t predictable is what they will chant in public.When similar protests take place, one should keep in mind the true motivation behind these “peace” mobs.
It doesn't take much to cause them to be uncivil, does it?
Israel's high tech industry may have suffered its first casualty of the current operation in Gaza. A key backer in Israel of something called the Y Combinator has withdrawn his support in response to its founder's pro-Hamas tweets (Hat Tip: Sunlight). The founder - Paul Graham - is a major high tech figure in Silicon Valley.
This is from the first link.
A heated exchange on Twitter between venture capitalist giant Paul
Graham and supporters of Israel, could delay plans by Graham’s Y
Combinator’s accelerator to recruit in Israel.
Tweets posted by Graham
that described the destruction wrought by the IDF in Gaza, but without
any citations of Hamas attacks on Israel. That led heavyweight Israeli
venture capital figure Roi Carthy to announce he was withdrawing an
offer to help Y Combinator (YC) recruit potential participants in
is considered one of the most prestigious accelerator and start-up
venture capital funds in the world. With over 700 start-ups funded since
2005, valued at over $30 billion, acceptance into the program is as
close to a guarantee of commercial and funding success as a start-up can
hope for. According to Graham, one of the group’s four founders, the
average valuation of Y Combinator-backed companies is $45.2 million.
All of the group’s programs take place in
Silicon Valley, and Y Combinator generally focuses on American
start-ups. Cognizant of the start-up scenes elsewhere, however, the
group announced several months ago that it was planning to step up its
recruiting elsewhere. Israel was in Y Combinator’s sightsl, and Carthy, a
managing partner at Tel Aviv-Sao Paolo investment firm Initial Capital — as well as former Israeli correspondent for the TechCrunch
website, which carries stories about Israeli start-ups and tech firms —
promised to help get the word out about Y Combinator’s programs to
“A couple of months ago though, I was
connected to a YC partner who is planning to be in Israel early August
to spread the YC gospel,” Carthy wrote in a blog post.
“I was happy to lend a hand by organizing a meet-up at a local bar and
getting the word out. “But I am now rescinding my offer,” Carthy wrote.
“I will not lend my hand to an organization that is comfortable with its
founder criticizing a nation, while at the same time, pitching to
incubate its best and brightest.”
Graham, said Carthy, makes no secret of his
sympathy for the Palestinian position, while ignoring the context of
Israeli responsive actions, such as Israel’s decision to hit Gaza
terrorist targets after facing thousands of rockets fired by Hamas
terrorists before Operation Protective Edge. “Paul has been making his
views known via tweets over the past few years,” wrote Carthy. “Nothing
new under the sun in this respect,” he noted.
“It’s not uncommon to accept that an
individual’s views do not reflect that of his employer. However, much as
it would be unacceptable to separate misogynistic views of a founder
from reflecting upon his company, I cannot separate Paul’s continued
views about Israel from YC,” Carthy added.
Read the whole thing. I just hope Roi is able to come up with something equivalent either on his own or with someone else.
Video: Hillel Neuer speaks out at the 'human rights council's emergency session on Gaza
Dictatorships attempt to silence UN Watch's Hillel Neuer at the July 23,
2014 UNHRC emergency session on Gaza. Interruptions came from Iran,
Syria, Egypt, the "State of Palestine," Cuba and Venezuela. The U.S.
and Canada defended Neuer's right to speak.
Video and more: Hamas terrorists at Al-Wafa hospital (Gaza City)
This write up came from the IDF spokesperson's office and was posted here.
Background Information – Al-Wafa Hospital
Al-Wafa hospital, located near Shajuayia in Gaza City, is a Hamas military
The hospital housed a Hamas command and control center, and was utilized to
direct and supervise the ongoing battles in the area. Among the hospital
grounds, there was a lookout post, used to gather intelligence and monitor
IDF forces activities in order to carry out attacks.
In addition, there were several access shafts to the Hamas tunnel network from within
On July 22, 2014, at the request of the IDF, the hospital was evacuated from
patients and staff, and continued to be occupied by Hamas gunmen, that
continued to fire at the IDF forces.
On July 21, 2014, the head of the Israeli Coordination and Liaison
Administration (CLA) with Gaza confirmed with the Head of the WHO (World
Health Organization) in Gaza that he has informed the hospital manager three
times, that the premises should be vacated. The head of the WHO stated that
the hospital manager declared there were no patients or staff in the
hospital, and that the building is empty. This was confirmed by the Gaza CLA
on July 23, 2014.
Attached is footage of the IAF strike carried out earlier today [July 23] at terror
targets in the site. Secondary explosions are visible in the footage,
indicating an extensive amount of weaponry stored.
The soldiers, who come from the Medical Corps, the Human Resources
Directorate, and the Military Rabbinate, are accused of sending
information about the identities of soldiers killed in action before
the names had been made public. The messages that made their way around
Israel included photos of the coffins of soldiers being prepared.
In a number of cases, relatives who received the messages learned of
their loved ones’ deaths before they had received an official
notification from the IDF. In other cases, false information reporting
that soldiers had been killed had made it to their relatives. Those
relatives spent hours thinking that tragedy had befallen them before
the mistake could be clarified by the IDF.
“Notifying a family of a soldier or an officer who was killed in action
is one of the most sensitive and well-planned procedures that exist in
the military, as befits such a serious moment,” the military said.
The IDF said that the arrests followed an investigation that it
described has having employed “both open-source and undercover means.”
“The unauthorized WhatsApp messages were irresponsible and spread quickly across social networks,” it said.
The issue of information passing via WhatsApp has been a serious one as
of late for the army. A commercial played in recent weeks on Army
Radio has instructed soldiers not to talk about operational information
on the application for fear it could fall into the wrong hands.
While these arrests will certainly have a deterrent effect, I don't think they will change anything in the long run. We live in a global village and foreign media report things that the Israeli media tries to keep secret for far too long. While I agree in principle that families of casualties ought to hear about it from the IDF (where there are units that are trained in how to inform families) and not from the media, I also believe that the government and the IDF are not realistic about how quickly stories spread in this country. This is a small country, nearly everyone in the work place has been involved in the military at some point, and what you hear at a water cooler during your coffee break at the average high tech company is probably far more informative - and tempting to spread - than anything you might read on Israel Matzav. In fact, many people argue that with the rise of Twitter and WhatsApp and other instantaneous methods of disseminating information, blogging may soon be (or may already be) passe.
On Wednesday, Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News
tweeted: “Hamas rockets just launched over our hotel from a site about
two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next
An account called @ThisIsGaza said this was Stefanovic’s fourth time
“passing and fabricating information to Israel... from GAZA” and
threatened to sue him.
Another account, @longitude0 wrote: “You are a cretin. Are you working for the IDF” and “in WWII spies got shot.”
Financial Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief John Reed reported seeing “two
rockets fired toward Israel from near al-Shifa hospital, even as more
bombing victims were brought in.”
Shifa, in Gaza City, is the main medical facility in the Strip [and is where the Hamas leadership is hiding out. CiJ].
In response, @Saritah_91 tweeted: “We’ll hold you responsible if Israel
uses your tweet to bomb the hospital & then justify it.”
Another twitter user, @ Faysal_FreeGaza, said he’s “subtly justifying
and encouraging IDF attacks on hospitals,” and @Maysara_ ara wrote:
“Get out of Gaza u informant.”
Harry Fear, a journalist from the UK reporting from Gaza for RT
(formerly Russia Today) television, tweeted last week: “Early morning
Gaza rockets were fired into Israel. A well-known site in W. Gaza City,
near my hotel, was among the origins, confirm locals.”
Fear then took on the critics, tweeting soon after that he rejects
“loaded complaints that I ‘informed’ Israel about the specifics of Gaza
military sites... These sites are well-known among locals and
“Should a journalist only report the noise and ferocity of Israel’s
attacks & not the sounds of Gaza’s rockets? Both terrify people,”
Later that day, Fear tweeted: “Al-Wafa hospital has been hit in the
last while; injuries reported – this is the hospital with human
While a Goldstone 2 is unlikely to be any less biased than the GoldstoneCommission after Operation Cast Lead, these tweets should be filed away for future reference. If a future inquiry (there's already one in the making - more on that later) is biased against Israel, these tweets can be used to show that Israel acted justifiably.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on flights to Israel in response to 'increased security measures' undertaken by the IDF.
The decision to cancel the flight restrictions came after "working with
its US government counterparts to assess the security situation in
Israel and carefully reviewing both significant new information and
measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks
to civil aviation," the FAA said in a statement released Thursday
With the exception of British Airways, which continued flying to and
from Israel, most major European carriers, including Lufthansa and Air
France, also suspended their flights Tuesday. On Wednesday Lufthansa
said it would suspend flights – including its affiliates Germanwings,
Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines – for another 24 hours as
Prime Minister Netanyahu had raised the ban with US Secretary of State John FN Kerry on Wednesday after Kerry's arrival in Israel was derided on social media as proof that the airport is safe.
The US national aviation authority has lifted a ban on American flights to Israel, but warned of a "very fluid situation" amid intense fighting with Palestinians in nearby Gaza, AFP reports Thursday.
"The FAA has lifted its restrictions on US airline flights into and out of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport by canceling a Notice to Airmen it renewedearlier today," the Federal Administration Agency said in a statement.
Before making its decision, the FAA said it worked with US government officials to evaluate the security situation in Israel and "carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation."
It did not, however, indicate what the new information might entail.
I suspect strongly that the 'new information' is that on Wednesday, Israel destroyed the rocket launchers that were being used to target Ben Gurion Airport. I didn't hear or read that anywhere and I have no source for it. It's just my speculation.
FAA extends flight ban, most European airlines join
The Federal Aviation Administration has extended its ban on American carriers flying to Ben Gurion Airport for another 24 hours until 7:15 pm Israel time on Thursday, and most European carriers (with the notable exception of British Airways) have joined.
Delta, United and US Airways all cancelled their scheduled flights for Wednesday, as did a raft of European carriers including Germany's Lufthansa, Air France, Poland's LOT and others.
"We will continue to suspend flying to and from Tel Aviv ... and will continue to coordinate with the FAA to ensure the safety of our customers and employees," a United spokeswoman said.
"We plan these things conservatively," added US carrier Delta's chief executive Richard Anderson, speaking on the CNBC business news cable channel. "But we will need concrete information from our government that lets us draw an independent conclusion ... that it's going to be safe for our passengers and our employees."
Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Aegean and SAS cancelled services to Tel Aviv, as did Turkish Air. British Airways flights continued.
"At the moment there is no reliable new information that would justify a resumption of flight service," said Lufthansa in a statement.
Austrian, which carries up to 700 passengers between Vienna and Tel Aviv every day, and SAS said they would review the situation for Thursday.
Aeroflot and Romanian carrier TAROM, on the other hand, said they would resume flights Wednesday after cancelling Tuesday. Air Canada cancelled one flight on Wednesday and another Thursday.
I don't see Alitalia on the list. Hmmm.
This is a huge incentive for the IDF to take care of business ASAP.
Quietly, foreign journalists acknowledge Hamas is using human shields
Honest Reporting has posted a group of three tweets (one since removed) and four article excerpts in which foreign journalists acknowledge that Hamas is using human shields.
Here are two of the stories they published.
4. Another report by Washington Post correspondents from 17 July recounts:
During the lull, a group of men at a mosque in northern
Gaza said they had returned to clean up the green glass from windows
shattered in the previous day’s bombardment. But they could be seen
moving small rockets into the mosque.
Hamas criticizes that “Israel massacres civilians”. On
the other hand, it tries to use evacuating civilians and journalists by
stopping them and turning them into “human shields”, counteracting
thoroughly with its guerrilla tactics…
Hamas’s “Human Shield” strategy is also aimed at foreign journalists…During
the current battle, Hamas’s checkpoint was bombarded, and there was
temporary checkpoint at another location. To some 20 journalists who
wished to leave, Hamas staff member suddenly told, “Israel closed the
checkpoint… However, when I called IDF personnel at the checkpoint, he
said that “We haven’t got attacked and we are open as usual…”. While
were discussing what to do, the same Hamas staff member shouted, “in 5
minutes Israel seems to conduct an airstrike on here. Return immediately
to Gaza!” All the journalists returned to Gaza by car. But we
remembered that Hamas, during the conflict with Israel in November 2012,
also closed checkpoints to block outflow.
Zany Zehava calls for investigating Rabbi Lior for stating Jewish law in time of war
Zany Zehava Gal-On of the MeretzSheretz party has called on the Attorney General to 'investigate' Rabbi Dov Lior for 'incitement' for stating that Jewish law permits punishing and crushing the enemy, including the civilians among whom Hamas embeds itself.
Lior said that he had received questions about whether it is permitted
according to Jewish law to harm a civilian population not directly
involved with the combatants.
“At a time of war it is permitted for the people who are attacked to
punish the enemy population with measures such as blocking supplies or
electricity and to shell the entire area according to the considerations
of the minister of the army and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but
rather to take crushing warning steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior
Addressing the current hostilities with Hamas, the rabbi
continued “In the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the Minister
of Defense to even order the destruction of all of Gaza so that the
south will no longer suffer and to prevent injury to our people who
have been suffering for so long from the enemies surrounding us.”
added that “talk of humanism and consideration are as nothing when
weighed against saving our brothers in the south and across the country
and the restoration of quiet to our land.”
You might recall that the IDF's previous chief rabbi, Avichai Ronsky, was forced out for a similar 'offense' to Lior's.
And perhaps this is the place to include a video that many people have sent me over the past week, and which I was holding because I thought it included music and we don't listen to music now - the three week mourning period over the destruction of the Temples. But this isn't music - it's only singing.
Moments before these Israeli soldiers enter Gaza and place their lives at risk for the sake of the Land of Israel, they prepare themselves by singing and dancing songs of faith in the G-d of Israel. They are singing:
1) "The whole world is a narrow bridge and the main thing is not to be afraid" - a famous rabbinical phrase
2) Serve G-d with joy and come before Him with song
3) "We Have No one Rely Upon Except Our Father In Heaven"
Let's go to the videotape.
I'm sure that the soldiers' reliance on God rubs Zany Zehava the wrong way.....
Germany's Lufthansa on Wednesday suspended flights to and from Tel
Aviv for an additional 24 hours. The decision also applies to
Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.
the present time no adequate authoritative new information is available
that would justify a resumption of flights. In close coordination with
the responsible authorities Lufthansa is continually evaluating the
safety situation for its total flight network," the company said.
On Tuesday, it suspended flights for 36 hours following a decision by
America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to suspend travel to
and from Israel. A rocket had fallen in a house in Yehud, a residential
area near the airport, earlier in the day.
Delta Air Lines will
also extend its suspension of flights to Israel on Wednesday amid
hostilities between Israel and the militant group Hamas, its chief
executive said on CNBC.
"Today ... we are not flying to Israel," Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in an interview with CNBC.
comments come a day after air carriers in the United States and Europe
halted flights to Tel Aviv as turmoil in Israel and the Gaza Strip
The FAA on Tuesday
said it told US carriers they were prohibited from flying to or from
Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours, citing "the
potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel
At least Delta is consistent.
"We will not allow a flight to be dispatched over Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Ukraine, Afghanistan or North Korea," he told CNBC. "We make this
decision wholly independent of any geopolitical or regulatory mandate."
I'm shocked. Just shocked. (Not). The IDF discovered maps, IDF uniforms and weapons (of course) in yet another terror tunnel uncovered by the Givati brigade on Wednesday.
Operation Protective Edge's ground offensive has uncovered the full
extent of tunnel terror into Israel Wednesday, after a shaft uncovered
by the Givati Brigade was revealed to be holding IDF uniforms, maps, and
a full weapons cache.
I would not bet that they uncovered the full extent yet. Let's see what's under Shifa Hospital.
The IDF has not yet located and destroyed all of Hamas' terror tunnels, but the consensus about the intent behind them is quite clear. This is Jonathan Dahoah HeLevi of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, delivered a revealing speech on
March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the
Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of
power with Israel, when taken together with his organization’s military
build-up. In the meantime, the IDF’s war against the tunnels continues.
On Monday IDF forces thwarted another terror attack after two groups of
Hamas operatives (numbering about ten) infiltrated from Gaza to Israel
through a tunnel, apparently on their way to carry out a mass casualty
attack at Kibbutz Erez and/or Kibbutz Nir Am.
Since Operation Protective Edge began, IDF forces have foiled several
other attempted attacks by Hamas near Kibbutz Sufa and Kibbutz Nirim
that also made use of attack tunnels, while uncovering and blowing up
dozens of tunnels in Gaza along its border with Israel. These tunnels
penetrate deep into Israeli territory, sometimes reaching a length of
2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles).
attack tunnels create a new equation in the power balance between
Israel and Hamas. They give Hamas an ability to infiltrate Israel and
carry out strategic attacks involving mass killing, along with an
ability to launch missiles from locations concealed within civilian
population centers that serve, in effect, as human shields. Should Hamas
retain in the future 20 tunnels, and dispatch 50 operatives in each,
they could deploy 1,000 men behind Israeli lines. The tunnels would
allow Hamas to wreak havoc if they are left in place.
Hizbullah’s tactics, learned from Iran, have been replicated in Gaza,
particularly the use of the tunnels to provide “breathing space” in
waging the military campaign. The Hamas-Hizbullah-Iranian aim is to
cause as much harm as possible to the civilian population and weaken
Israel by damaging its economy. Like Hizbullah, Hamas in the current
round has tried to strike strategic targets in Israel and inflict mass
casualties, including the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the chemical plants
in Haifa, and Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Despite the reconciliation agreement with Fatah and the establishment
of the unity government, one of Hamas’s objectives in the war is to
ignite another intifada on the West Bank aimed ultimately at the
toppling of Palestinian Authority rule and instituting a Hamas takeover
of the Palestinian national movement. This current round of fighting
highlights the importance of continued Israeli security control of key
areas of the West Bank to prevent a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian
Authority, and the maintenance of minimal defensible borders should a
Palestinian state be established.
The prime danger, the second half of the
terror strategy that has required us to send our troops into Gaza, has
turned out to be Hamas’s cross-border tunneling, the scale of which was
not publicly known until the last few days. Labor Party leader Isaac
Herzog spoke Tuesday of the “unimaginable” mega-terror attack Hamas is
believed to have been planning — sending hundreds of terrorists swarming
through those tunnels to massacre Israelis in the Gaza-envelope
kibbutzim and moshavim. Netanyahu said Sunday that the intended Hamas
attacks on kibbutz kindergartens, homes and dining halls would have been
Five times in recent days, trying to use those
tunnels before the army finds them, well-armed terror gangs have made
their way through — entering them from beneath homes in the Gaza
neighborhoods a few hundred yards from the border, and emerging inside
Israel. An estimated 20 Hamas gunmen have been killed in the subsequent
confrontations; so have six IDF soldiers. Kibbutzim and moshavim close
to Gaza have been placed on shutdown for long hours while the army
made sure there were no more killers on the loose. Troop deployments on
the Israeli side have been significantly bolstered.
But those are defensive measures. The real
battle is taking place in those Gaza border neighborhoods — Shejaiya,
Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun and others — where thousands of Israeli solders
are searching, house to house, for the tunnel entrances. Dozens of
openings have been found — multiple entrances to the underground
passages that also have multiple exits on the Israeli side. Time after
time, Hamas gunmen have sought to surprise the Israeli soldiers by
rising out of the earth from these openings, and firing. They’ve been
largely unsuccessful. Ten Hamas gunmen were shot dead attempting the
feat from one tunnel opening inside a mosque on Sunday, military sources
said — just one of numerous such incidents.
Israel says some 210 Hamas fighters have been
killed; more than 20 have been captured and are providing intelligence
on the tunnels.
And finally there's this - long on details that I have been unable to confirm and short on verification or even a source (the person who posted it on Facebook did so without a link and has refused repeated entreaties to post one). Even if the details are all wrong (and they're probably not - lots of information that the army doesn't release gets disclosed around the water coolers at Israeli workplaces), it is a concrete example of what HaLevi and Horovitz are discussing above.
the 48 Hamas prisoners that have been captured, the intelligence have
been interrogating them and the most terrifying, and horrific picture is
They are being investigated about the many tunnels
that have been found and dug under many kibbutzim that surround Gaza.
The most terrifying detail is being uncovered that Hamas had a plan to
attack all the settlements and kibbutzim in the area this year on Rosh
Hashanah with an invasion of over 200 terrorists into almost all the
settlements in the area. The tunnels went under the kibbutzim under the
kindergartens and dining rooms and other areas within the kibbutz
perimeters. They planned to occupy the whole area and kill as many
Israeli as possible.
This could have been the worst terror attack
in the history of terrorism. Thousands of people, including women and
children would have been slaughtered in this planned attack.
think now we start to understand how dangerous these tunnels really are.
They all have to be destroyed and we cannot leave even one undetected
or unattended to. These tunnels are more dangerous than any rocket or
any other weapon .
What else happens on those 10-day trips? There is a lot of hooking up
and plenty of, as Feldman writes, “reinforcing the Zionist claim to the
land” (Feldman’s tour guide identified everything they saw out of the
bus window as “in the Bible,” and her group was given maps that
identified the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria”). And, “at some point
during their all-expenses-paid ten-day trip to a land where, as they are
constantly reminded, every mountain and valley is inscribed with 5,000
years of their people’s history,” there is “the moment”— the moment when
participants realize just how important Israel is to them, to their
fundamental identity, and how important they are to Israel.
According to Steinberg’s parents, that is exactly what happened to Max. His mother told the Washington Post
that, initially, he didn’t want to go on the Birthright trip, but once
he did, it changed him. It was on his group’s visit to Israel’s national
cemetery at Mount Herzl that Steinberg saw the grave of an American
“lone soldier” who died fighting for Israel and “decided that Israel was
where he wanted to be.” He joined the IDF, his father said, because he saw it as an obligation were he to stay in Israel.
Birthright says that aliyah—the immigration of diaspora Jews
to Israel—is not one of its goals, but like Steinberg, many
participants come away with the feeling that Israel is where they
belong. Birthright estimates that 20,000–30,000 of its participants
have acted on that feeling by moving to Israel. I have known many young
American Jews who have made the same decision—who at 18 decided that
they belonged in Israel and, though they’d never considered joining the
American military, moved across the ocean to join the IDF right after
high school. People say Birthright is “just like camp,” and it sure sounds like a very condensed version of the Jewish camp I attended as a kid,
whose purpose was, at the very least, to foster a connection to Israel
in young Jews—and at best, to get us to move to the country and fight
for it. My camp, filled with the children of liberal American Jews, did
this by presenting a very simplistic picture of the political situation
in Israel and the threat to Jews worldwide, all within the context of
helping to fix the world while having the time of your life. Birthright
does a form of the same.
On Tuesday, Birthright issued a statement from its CEO, Gidi Mark.
“We are deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic loss of one our
Taglit Birthright Israel alumni Max Steinberg,” Mark wrote. “His life—a
life filled with promise cut short far too soon—will live in our hearts
forever as a reminder of the sacrifices he and so many before him have
made to keep Israel safe.”
What makes an American kid with shaky Hebrew and no ties to the state
of Israel suddenly decide he is ready to make this sacrifice? Maybe Max
was especially lost, or especially susceptible, or maybe he was just
looking to do some good and became convinced by his Birthright
experience that putting on an IDF uniform and grabbing a gun was the way
to do it. That serving and protecting the Jewish people was the moral
thing to do, and that the best way to accomplish it was to go fight for
the Jewish state. It turns out that it’s not that hard to persuade young
people to see the world a certain way and that Birthright is very good
at doing it. You spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convince young
Jews that they are deeply connected to a country that desperately needs
their support? This is what you get.
Maybe this explains why 78% of American Jewry voted for Barack Obama - his non-support of Israel notwithstanding. Because to them, being Jewish isn't about joining their lives and fate to that of the Jewish people, including by supporting Israel. It's about liberalism and liberal values and not seeing the basic goodness and morality embodied in the Jewish state. Max Steinber saw it and that's why he came here. His death is a tragedy, but it should not be used as a club with which to destroy Birthright. He was not brainwashed. He chose to realize his identity with the Jewish people.
By the way, 30,000 people attended Max Steinberg's funeral in Jerusalem last night. Even John Kerry was moved (check out the link). And another 6,000 attended the funeral of French lone soldier Jordan Simon in Ashkelon, where the biggest concern was that too many people would show up and there would ba rocket attack during the funeral.
Are we to assume that the United States believes that Air Force 2 could shoot down shrapnel from a Hamas rocket, like the shrapnel (no, it wasn't a rocket - link in Hebrew) that hit a home five kilometers from Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday leading to an FAA ban on flying here?
"We have certainly made some steps forward. There is still work to be
done," Kerry said shortly after arriving in Jerusalem for a meeting with
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He declined to give any details.
Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv earlier on Wednesday " to meet with
officials to discuss the ongoing cease-fire efforts," State Department
spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"He will also travel to Jerusalem and
the West Bank, and will be meeting with Palestinian Authority President
[Mahmoud] Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu," she
On Tuesday, Kerry held talks with Egyptian officials in
Cairo, while Ban met with leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah. As of
Tuesday night, there was no sign that a cease-fire was imminent.
Well, here we go. The IDF has just asked the 'Palestinians' to evacuate Shifa Hospital, which is being used as a military command and control center, and where the Hamas leadership is hiding in a bunker (link in Hebrew).
I'm embedding a live broadcast from Israel's Channel 2 below, and then I will go back and update with a summary in English on the post linked above.
The article is about the fighting at the neighboring al-Wafa Hospital (see previous post which went up two minutes before this one). The report says that over the past few days, the patients were removed from the hospital, and that it had become completely a military installation.
According to the article, the takeover of Shejaiya is nearly complete. More than 120 military targets embedded among the civilian population have been destroyed.
The last part of the story is about John Kerry's arrival (covered in a post that's queued for a little while from now).
I invite you to continue watching the broadcast above. If it stops, an arrow should pop up and just click on the arrow to continue.
Hamas has used positions in the Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza to fire
automatic weapons and anti-tank missiles on soldiers, and the IDF fired
back in recent minutes, the army said Wednesday.
"The hospital was used for activating war rooms and command and control
centers by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad," the army said.
The IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has
issued repeated and direct warnings to the hospital's manager, and to
other Palestinians involved in running the hospital, the army said.
"Firing on our soldiers has grown in recent hours and endangered forces.
As a result, the IDF has decided to strike terrorists operating in the
hospital complex," it added.
But a deeper initial investigation by the IDF, reported here by the Post
for the first time indicates that there was no firing directly on the
hospital, but only on a group of military targets, including combatants
firing rockets on Israel in real-time.
Also, the military official said that an initial deeper review of the
incident indicates that the hospital was not told to evacuate, as has
Rather, said the official, the warning was that rockets were being shot
directly from the hospital area, that Israel intended to hit those
firing the rockets and that at the very least, if the hospital could not
be evacuated, patients should move away from the windows.
In this narrative, the damage to the hospital was the unintentional indirect result of attacking the nearby rocket launchers.
IDF Maj. Gen Noam Tibon will be investigating all such incidents even
more fully and may even eventually report other conclusions, but this is
by far the most in-depth and specific version of events that the IDF
has given on this incident to date.
The damage to the hospital and the idea that the IDF was warning all of
its patients to evacuate was seen as particularly controversial because
the B'Tselem human rights group has said that the hospital has 17
patients, between the ages of 14 and 95, all suffering from different
degrees of paralysis.
B'Tselem had also added that "there is no other rehabilitative institute
in the area where patients can be transferred. These patients require
special conditions that cannot be recreated," implying that a transfer
not to a special rehabilitative hospital could be life-threatening.
The military official's version that there were rocket launchers in the
hospital's vicinity receives some support from UNRWA's recent
confirmation that terror groups had secretly hidden rockets in one of
their Gaza facilities, breaking rules of neutrality.
Several attempts to receive an updated response from Hospital Director Basman al-‘Ashi before press time were unsuccessful.
Funny - I haven't heard of them using Shifa Hospital that way. Maybe because they don't want to endanger the Hamas leadership. But they couldn't give a damn about endangering sick and wounded civilians. Typical terrorists.
Hamas's decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport
may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution. Whether
the regulators and airlines that have stopped flights to and from Israel
are right or wrong, this stoppage cannot possibly be tolerated by a
democratic country that relies so heavily on tourism and international
travel. It is of course a war crime to target an international civilian
airport, as Hamas has clearly done. Israel has every right to keep that
airport open, employing all reasonable military means at its disposal.
Since Hamas fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas,
there will be more Palestinian civilian deaths.
This of course is part of Hamas' grand strategy: by targeting Israeli
civilians and international air travel from its own civilian areas,
Hamas leaves Israel no choice but to take military actions that risk the
lives of innocent Palestinians. There will be even more innocent
Palestinian deaths now, as Hamas has raised the stakes considerably for
Israel. Every country in the world would do everything in its power to
keep open the airports, which are the lifelines to its economic
viability. Hamas knows this and welcomes Israeli military action that
produces more dead Palestinian civilians and hence more international
criticism of Israel.
Even more importantly, Hamas' actions in essentially closing down
international air traffic into Israel, considerably reduces the prospect
of any two-state solution. Israel will now be more reluctant than ever
to give up military control over the West Bank, which is even closer to
Ben Gurion Airport than is Gaza.
Were Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank—as
distinguished from its civilian settlements deep in the West Bank—it
would risk the possibility of a Hamas takeover. That is precisely what
happened when Israel removed both its civilian settlements and
its military presence in Gaza. Hamas took control, fired thousands of
rockets at Israeli civilian targets and have now succeeded in stopping
international air traffic into and out of Israel.
Israel could not accept the risk of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank
and the resulting Hamas rocket attacks at the nearby Ben Gurion
Airport. It may still be possible to create a two-state solution whereby
Israel withdraws its civilian settlers from most of the West Bank and
agrees to land swaps for areas that now contain large settlement blocks.
But Israel will have to retain military control over its security
borders, which extend to the Jordan River. It will also have to maintain
a sufficient military presence to assure that what happened in Gaza
does not happen in the West Bank. These military realities do not have
to exist forever. Israel's military presence could be reduced if the
Palestinian Authority were to maintain effective control over the West
Bank and prevent terrorists from using that area to send rockets and
terrorists into Israel.
The new reality caused by Hamas' shutting down of international air
travel to and from Israel would plainly justify an Israeli demand that
it maintain military control over the West Bank in any two-state deal.
The Israeli public would never accept a deal that did not include a
continued Israeli military presence in the West Bank. They have learned
the tragic lesson of Gaza and they will not allow it to be repeated in
the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, however, is unlikely to accept
such a condition, though it should. This will simply make it far more
difficult for an agreement to be reached.
Dershowitz's belief that Fatah (and the 'Palestinian Authority') is not in agreement with Hamas is an alternative reality. Fatah just concluded a unity agreement with Hamas a few months ago, and it has given no indication that it intends to abandon that agreement over a few thousand rockets and a few dozen terror tunnels. He's right that Fatah will never accept an Israeli presence (of any kind) in Judea and Samaria, and telling them that they should will not change that fact.
Dershowitz has turned himself into just another peace processor who thinks that just because he believes we 'cannot live without peace,' the other side must also think that way.
He's not very funny, is he? You don't think he has a personal thing about Israel, do you? Maybe he's ashamed of his own heritage.... In case you didn't notice this post's title, his real last name is Liebowitz.
More Hamas use of Israeli terror victims as their own
Another disgraceful use by Hamas or its supporters of Jewish terror victims - this time from the March 2002 suicide bombing at Jerusalem's Cafe Moment - to claim that they are actually 'Palestinians' victimized by Israel.
Israel to offer international airlines use of Eilat's Uvda airport
I know that many of you think that we have only one international airport, but in fact we have two. Uvda Airport outside of Eilat has been used by charter flights from Europe in the winter for many years and is capable of handling many commercial passenger jets (that's a Boeing 737 in the picture). From Noon on Wednesday Israel time (around when this post will go live), the State of Israel is offering the use of Uvda to foreign airlines who are afraid to use Ben Gurion.
Speaking to reporters at Ben-Gurion Airport, Katz said that Uvda
would begin operating at noon local time. The minister said that efforts
are also being made to provide service to some 4,000 Israelis who were
left stranded in Istanbul after their airlines refused to fly into Lod
in light of the FAA ban announced on Tuesday.
Katz said that his
ministry had urged Turkish aviation officials to transport the Israelis
back home, but that the Turks are hesitant to land their aircraft in
Israel Radio reported on Wednesday that US Airways will renew its regular fights to Israel beginning on Thursday.
Well, maybe. If the FAA doesn't renew the ban. But we won't know that until about 7:15 tonight Israel time. In the meantime, you can find statistics on Uvda (or Ovda) here. I note that it says that the airport cannot operate at night. If that's true, it won't be much of a solution for the foreign airlines.
Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA
discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. As soon
as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the
premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets.
The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently
each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.
UNRWA strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups
responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its
premises under international law.
The Agency immediately informed the relevant parties and is pursuing
all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to
preserve the safety and security of the school. UNRWA will launch a
comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this
UNRWA has reinforced and continues to implement its robust procedures
to maintain the neutrality of all its premises, including a strict
no-weapons policy and regular inspections of its installations, to
ensure they are only used for humanitarian purposes.
Palestinian civilians in Gaza rely on UNRWA to provide humanitarian
assistance and shelter. At all times, and especially during escalations
of violence, the sanctity and integrity of UN installations must be
Why can't UNRWA confirm the number of rockets? Didn't they disarm them? Or did they turn them over to Hamas like they did the first time rockets were 'discovered'?
Why is UNRWA pussyfooting about 'the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation' of their non-standards? Do they really not know who is doing this?
In how many more schools are rockets 'hidden' despite UNRWA's 'robust procedures' and 'no-weapons policy'? Do they even have a clue?
And finally, instead of 'protesting' and 'condemning,' why doesn't UNRWA do something about the problem - like root out the terrorists in its midst.
has long since outlived its usefulness. All it does is perpetuate the
myth that 'Palestinian refugees' will 'return' to the homes that their
great grandparents abandoned in Israel. UNRWA has resisted efforts to
find 'Palestinians' permanent housing. It's time for it to be dismantled.
Ynet reports today
that Col. Ghassan Alian, the commander of the Golani Brigade and the
highest ranking Druze in the IDF, has returned to fight against Hamas in
Gaza, just three days after he suffered shrapnel wounds in battle.
“I’m leaving hospital to go to the unit,” he said. “I was
in touch with the battalion commanders regarding the IDF’s
accomplishments, and am returning to take command of the division, and
“The spirits in the division are strong and high. I visited the
wounded fighters and I would have loaded them back inside the bus if I
had had one available.We had a hard battle the morning I was wounded. A
rocket-propelled grenade flew several meters over my head. I have a few
scratches but I’m ok.”
Despite his confidence, Alian also acknowledged that the brigade has
suffered losses in the fighting, “I want to send a warm embrace to the
bereaved families. I could not see them all but plan on doing so. They
give us strength.”
Alian wanted to return to battle right away, but his doctors made him stay.
On Monday, his doctors still wanted him to stay a while longer in the
hospital but he insisted on returning. “I have a lot of soldiers there
and I have to get back to them,” he said.
The IDF posted a Hebrew video of Alian's release from the hospital. You can watch it here.
President 'Lead from Behind' leads from the front for Hamas
President 'Lead from Behind' is finally leading from the front. Unfortunately, he's leading on behalf of Hamas against Israelby ordering the FAA to ban flights to Israel. This is from Jennifer Dyer.
Pundits and other advocates have been swift to condemn this U.S.
action, a serious measure of economic isolation which will deny Israel
millions of dollars in commercial revenues even if it lasts only 24
hours. Eugene Kontorovich points out that the message is prejudicial and the timing is suspicious, with John Kerry heading for Israel to try to broker a ceasefire.
The subtext here is that Israel has a sword at its neck:
face a private-sector no-fly zone or agree to a cease-fire that lets
Hamas keep its rockets, and thus close Ben Gurion Airport again at the
time of its choosing. It is a lose-lose proposition. …
Moreover, the timing of the FAA’s absurd and unjustified warning
seems to have more to do with Kerry’s visit to the region to impose a
cease-fire on Israel. Until his administration’s flight ban, that effort
seemed entirely futile.
The message is unsubtle. “Nice commercial hub you got, there, Bibi. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”
Kontorovich observes further that the FAA would have been more
consistent with its policies elsewhere if it had issued a warning rather
than imposing a ban. He cites the example of Afghanistan.
I would cite the example of Pakistan, where there have been multiple,
very serious attacks on commercial airports in recent months, including
an attack on an airliner in Peshawar, this one on the airport in Karachi, and an earlier one involving Taliban rocket fire in Peshawar.
In terms of the type of threat posed, the Pakistan Taliban is a fairly
exact analogy to what Hamas can threaten Ben Gurion in Lod, Israel with –
except that Israel does a much better job of securing Ben Gurion
against the Hamas threat. In none of the instances in Pakistan has the
FAA banned U.S. carriers from flying in and out of the Pakistani
airports. At most, it has issued safety warnings.
Meanwhile, the implication many will propose, about an abundance of
caution after the MH17 shootdown over Ukraine, falls apart on
inspection. The potential for a Hamas rocket to fall near the airport
isn’t the same threat as the one posed by the fully militarized
pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The pro-Russian separatists
have the weaponry to shoot an airplane out of the sky at altitude – and
they had actually done it before the MH17 shootdown. That
game-changing condition is not present in Israeli air space.
Ordinarily – as with Pakistan – the U.S. would take such things into
account and avoid issuing flight bans against an ally’s airport. As an
“abundance of caution,” the flight ban on Ben Gurion is a psychotic one
in comparison with the FAA’s use of its judgment elsewhere. See the
Special Notices here
for the FAA’s ongoing warnings for U.S. carriers about air space in
Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea. And note that in spite of
the much greater potential threat to commercial aircraft in Syria and
Iraq (for example) than in Israel, the prohibitions for U.S. carriers
are not absolute in either nation.
The prohibition on Ben Gurion is uniquely stringent, and inconsistent
with FAA practices elsewhere. It also had to be approved by Obama.
Israel is an ally, one of America’s closest partners in the world.
Cutting off her commercial airport from U.S. carriers is inherently a
presidential-level decision, and Obama is responsible whether he made it
While Israel had killed 183 terrorists, it appeared that most of the
terrorists killed were in the low to middle ranks of Hamas’s leadership
Hamas’s senior commanders, as well as its political leadership have hunkered down in hidden tunnel complexes.
In other words, Israel is making good progress.
But it hasn’t completed its missions. It needs several more days of hard fighting.
Recognizing this, Israel’s newfound Muslim allies [Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates] have not been pushing for a cease-fire.
In contrast, the Obama administration is insisting on concluding a cease-fire immediately.
As Israel has uncovered the scope of Hamas’s infrastructure of murder
and terror, the US has acted with the UN, Turkey and Qatar to pressure
Israel (and Egypt) to agree to a cease-fire and so end IDF operations
against Hamas before the mission is completed.
To advance this goal, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo
on Monday night with an aggressive plan to force on Israel a cease-fire
Hamas and its state sponsors will accept.
As former ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the media, it is
clear that neither Israel nor Egypt invited Kerry to come over. Their
avoidance of Kerry signals clearly that the US’s two most important
allies in the Middle East do not trust US President Barack Obama’s
And their distrust is entirely reasonable.
The State Department has openly applauded Turkey and Qatar for their
involvement in attempts to achieve a cease-fire. Last week Israeli
officials alleged that the US was responsible for Hamas’s rejection of
the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. By attempting to coerce Egypt to
accept Qatar and Turkey as its partners in mediation, Obama signaled to
Hamas’s leaders that they should hold out for a better deal.
Due to Turkey’s membership in NATO and the glamour of the Qatari
royal family, many Westerners find it hard to believe that they are
major sponsors of terrorism. But it is true. Turkey and Qatar are
playing a double game.
While sending his ambassador to Brussels for NATO meetings, Erdogan has
been transforming Turkey from an open, pro-Western society allied with
Israel into a closed, anti-Semitic and anti-American society that
sponsors Hamas, ISIL, al Nusra and other terrorists groups.
As for Qatar, the tiny natural gas superpower presents itself to
Americans as their greatest ally in the Muslim world. The emirate gives
hundreds of millions of dollars to US universities to open campuses in
Doha and pretends it is a progressive, open society, replete with
Qatar hosts three major US military bases on its territory. And it is
becoming one of the most important clients for US military contractors.
Earlier this year Qatar signed an $11.4 billion dollar arms agreement
with the US.
At the same time, according to the Calacalist report, Qatar is the
major bankroller of ISIS and al Nusra in Syria and Iraq. It gives $50
million a month to jihadists in Libya. It gives Hamas $100m. in annual
aid. And in the past two years Doha has provided Hamas with an
additional $620m. dollars, including $250m. it transferred to Hamas
leader Khaled Mashaal’s personal bank account, and $350m. in military
aid to Hamas, transferred after the Egyptian military forced the Muslim
Brotherhood government from power last July.
Add to that the $100m. per year that Qatar pours into Al Jazeera’s
satellite network – which has dedicated itself to undermining
pro-Western Arab regimes while popularizing the likes of al-Qaida and
Hamas, and Qatar is the largest financier of international jihad in the
Rather than notice that Qatar and Turkey are playing a double game,
and treat them with suspicion, the Obama administration has embraced
Caroline also fills in a few facts about the tunnels that you might have missed.
As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that
have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current
round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to
deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis.
But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well.
Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens.
If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them.
Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in
hostage taking. In 2006 the terrorists who kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit
entered Israel and returned to Gaza through such a tunnel.
Today the presence of sedatives and multiple sets of handcuffs for
neutralizing hostages found in tunnel after tunnel indicate that Hamas
intends to abduct several Israelis at once and spirit them back to Gaza.
In an interview with Channel 2 Monday evening, Minister Naftali
Bennett spoke of a mother at Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara who told him that
her children wake her in the middle of the night and tell her that they
hear digging beneath their beds.
As Bennett said, this state of affairs simply cannot continue. People
cannot live in fear that there are terrorists burrowing beneath their
homes, digging tunnels to murder or kidnap them.
Indeed, they can't. And at least from the perspective of this Israeli, even if Obama is determined to hurt us and damage our economy now if we continue to pursue Hamas and its tunnels, that's still less of a price than we would have to pay to deal with the tunnels (and the rockets) later.
US Secretary of State John FN Kerry assured Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration decision to ban flights to Israel was strictly a safety issue and there are no ulterior motives.
Kerry, in Cairo to broker a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, told
Netanyahu by telephone that U.S. authorities would review the order
within a day, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted as
The notice "was issued to protect American citizens and American carriers," Psaki said in the Egyptian capital.
"The only consideration in issuing the notice was the safety and security of our citizens," she said.
The Federal Aviation Administration "continues to monitor and
evaluate the situation, and will issue updated guidelines no later than
24 hours from the time the (notice) went into force," she said,
according to AFP.
It bears pointing out that what landed in a backyard in Yahud, five kilometers from the airport, on Tuesday, was not a rocket but a piece of shrapnel from a rocket that was shot down by Iron Dome.
Behind the scenes, several Jerusalem
diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity questioned whether the FAA
flight-ban was in part a tactic to press Israel into a truce with
Hamas. A cease-fire would tentatively stop Hamas’ rocketing of the
Kerry is currently in Egypt in an attempt to negotiate a truce.
State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf suggested to reporters
Tuesday that Kerry may stay in the Middle East until progress is made
toward a cease-fire.
Except that the last three 'cease fires' did not stop Hamas' rockets, and it's Hamas that is unwilling to accept an unconditional cease fire (which Israelis are quite pleased about, but that's a separate story).
The Obama administration has already been caught using one government agency - the IRS - to advance its political agenda. Could it now be using another, namely the FAA?
In a statement Bloomberg said, “This evening I will be flying on El Al
to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to
demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel. Ben Gurion is
the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been
regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a
mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted
immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US
airlines to fly to Israel.”
Of course, as I noted before, El Al's planes have a means of shooting down missiles shot at them. Other airlines' planes do not. But I agree with Bloomberg. You probably have a better chance of being hit by lightning than of your plane being struck by a Hamas rocket.
But this should be yet another motivation to destroy Hamas quickly.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 30 years and six grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com