Friday, June 2, 2023
Friday, June 2, 2023
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If the High Court of Justice strikes down the bill to change the makeup of the Judicial Selection Committee, Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) does not intend to respect the ruling. Such a ruling would be “crossing a redline, and we certainly will not accept it … We legislated and implemented without fear the mandate that the public gave us… This democratic resolution will be respected, and we will have a method for appointing judges that is fair, just and includes everyone.” – Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin to Channel 14.  (Jerusalem PostMar. 21, 2023)
“We warn that the continuation of the [reform] will seriously damage the social resilience, the spirit of the IDF and its functioning; will reduce Israel’s ability to face its enemies and continue to win the support of its friends, led by the United States, and will damage its economic strength and especially hi-tech.” —  the Institute for National Security Studies in an “urgent strategic warning. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 21, 2023)

“Only a Palestinian can imagine the force of the happiness that these courageous acts [of terrorism against Israel] evoke in our heart. They cause adrenalin to spike to the highest levels, and increase the people’s belief in itself and in its ability to change the equation. [They show it] that it is capable of dealing with the enemy and that we, the weak, are capable of resisting our strong enemy. [The Palestinian] cannot hide his joy and delight at any brave operation. Once an operation takes place, people instantly pass on the news, at lightning speed… The people go out into the public squares and the streets, cheer for Palestine, express their joy and delight at the operation, pass out sweets, embrace one another, and, at top volume, the mosques’ public address systems broadcast the cries Allahu Akbar, and la ilaha illa Allah, with joy, with praise, with gratitude to Allah for this achievement.” — Abdallah Al-Lidaw in the Felesteen Daily. (MEMRIMar. 15, 2023)
“There is no such thing as Palestinians because there is no such thing as a Palestinian people.  Who are the [real] Palestinians? I am Palestinian.” — Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich in a speech he delivered in Paris. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2023)
“We applaud the determination of the newly elected chairman of the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir who has asserted Indonesia’s readiness to host the Under-20 World Cup from May 22 to June 11 and provide security to all participants, the Israeli team included. During its congress in Rwanda this week, world soccer’s governing body FIFA will surely seek Indonesia’s assurance of a warm reception for all the finalists, including Israel, and their safety during their stay in Indonesia. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has no diplomatic ties with Israel and has been an avid champion of Palestine’s independence from Israeli occupation under a two-state solution mechanism.” – editorial board  (Jakarta Post, Mar. 15, 2023)

“I think that’s in the best traditions of our country. And that is, to work with our allies, not only to help them protect their own democracy, but to make sure that we’re protecting ours…. I share the concerns that have been raised about these potential reforms of the Supreme Court or the diminution of the court’s ability to strike down laws that are unconstitutional or that are protective of minorities within Israel. … [I am also] deeply concerned about some of the personnel that are part of” the coalition and voiced concern “that we are moving farther and farther away from a two-state solution instead of closer to it, [which] would be disastrous for the region.”  Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff in a candidate event hosted by the advocacy group Democrats for Israel California.  He referred to a phone conversation in which Biden and Netanyahu reportedly discussed the Israeli government’s controversial judicial reform plans for the first time.  Schiff, renowned for repeatedly lying to the public and undermining democracy in the US, is running for Senate.  (Jewish Insider, Mar. 21, 2023)
“When they talk about ‘progressivism,’ the white progressives who are leading the movement for Brandon [Brandon Johnson, the black progressive candidate for Mayor of Chicago], they never came into the neighborhoods in the South and West sides in the first damn place. … you and your candidate, or your unions, have never supported black youth in this city. …  None of these white people on the North Side that’s supporting Brandon, not the damn teacher’s union, who is using 80% of their money to be in politics give a damn about the fact that these kids are out here carjacking at 12 years old, at 13 years old. Eighty percent of all teacher union dues don’t go to s— but politics. … 

“I’ll be honest with you. These young people aren’t in his classroom. They don’t even got damn notebooks, but millions and millions of dollars go through that damn union, and they don’t give them a dollar to help that damn classroom. Because it’s all about power. That’s what it’s about. That’s all it’s about. …” —  Ja’Mal Green, Chicago community activist, and unsuccessful mayoral candidate, in a March 16 video endorsing Paul Vallas, a relatively conservative white Democrat, for the post vacated by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, defeated in a recent primary. (WSJ, Mar. 19, 2023)
“Capitalism without failure is like religion without hell,” Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice-Chairman Charlie Munger has said, paraphrasing the late economist Allan Meltzer. This week, however, Mr. Munger struck a much more serious tone when he told me: ‘Id prefer to live in a world where nobody did anything undisciplined or stupid and so forth, but we don’t live in that kind of a world. And therefore the decisions have to be made for the way the world is, not the way we’d like it to be’. He added: ‘The way the world is, the government had no alternative but to back all deposits. Or we would have had the biggest goddamn bunch of bank runs you ever saw’.

The misplaced faith in the omniscience of regulators has created another problem: It’s become harder for them to change course. … The ultimate legacy of excess belief in the boundless brainpower of regulators is overconfidence: too many people thinking their money is safer than it really is and taking bigger risks than they should. ‘If everybody thinks there’s a rich uncle who will bail them out whenever they make mistakes, it will lead to more risky decisions’, said May Ellen Stanek, co-chief investment officer at Baird Advisers in Milwaukee, which manages more than $115 billion. ‘How do you roll that back, she asks. ‘It becomes ingrained and hen expected.’” — Jason Zweig.  (WSJ, Mar. 17, 2023)


                                     SHORT TAKES

WEST BANK VIOLENCE FLARES AS ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS MEET TO CALM TENSIONS (Jerusalem) — Terrorists shot an Israel-U.S. man as he drove through Huwara in the Territories, as Israeli and Palestinian officials met in Egypt in an attempt to curb a deadly wave of violence between the two sides on the eve of coterminous Passover, Ramadan, and Easter holidays. American-Israeli David Stern was traveling with his family on a road near the Palestinian town of Huwara in Samaria when a terrorist shot him in the head. Stern was fortunate. Although seriously wounded, his condition is improving and is not life-threatening. The bullet scathed the top of his head. His wife was only lightly injured, and his three children, who were sitting in the back seat, were not hit. Eighty-seven Palestinians and 14 Israelis have been killed, as Israel raided suspected militants. (WSJ, Mar. 19, 2023; WIN, Mar. 21, 2023)

MOST PALESTINIANS SUPPORT HUWARA TERROR ATTACK, POLL FINDS (Ramallah) — A vast majority of the Palestinians support the terror attack in which brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were killed in the town of Huwara near Nablus last month, according to a public opinion poll published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR). Conducted between March 8 and 11, the poll also found that support for the two-state solution among the Palestinians has dropped, while the demand for the resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has increased. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 18, 2023)

MURDERER OF 7 PRAISED AS “HERO” IN US-FUNDED PALESTINIAN GIRLS’ SCHOOL(Qalqilya) — A USAID-funded Palestinian high school for girls in Qalqilya in the West Bank teaches its students that terrorist murderers are “heroes” of Palestinian society. The Al-Omariya High School for Girls posted on Facebook about a school event, which eulogized and glorified as a “hero” terrorist murderer Khairy Alqam. Alqam shot and murdered 6 Israelis and 1 Ukrainian national outside a synagogue in northern Jerusalem in January this year. (PMW, Mar. 10, 2023)

KNESSET OKAYS REPEAL OF DISENGAGEMENT LAW FOR NORTHERN WEST BANK IN 31-18 FINAL VOTE(Jerusalem) — The Knesset voted in the early hours of Tuesday morning to roll back legislation that ordered the evacuation of four northern West Bank settlements concurrent with Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, passing the repeal in second and third (final) Knesset readings 31-18. The law, which won some support from opposition members including National Unity’s Gideon Sa’ar and Ze’ev Elkin, repeals the clauses of the Disengagement Law that banned Israelis from the area where the settlements of Homesh, Ganim, Kadim and Sa-Nur once stood, paving the way for settlers to return. (Times of Israel,Mar. 21, 2023)

BILL AIMED AT RETURNING DERI TO CABINET PASSES FIRST KNESSET PLENUM READING(Jerusalem) — The Knesset advanced a bill to enable Shas leader Aryeh Deri to return to his ministerial posts after the High Court of Justice ruled his position in the cabinet was unreasonable in the extreme due to a recent criminal conviction. The proposal cleared its first plenum reading with 63 votes in favor to 55 against. The bill will now returns to the committee for debate ahead of its second and third readings. (Times of Israel, Mar. 21, 2023)

IDF TOP BRASS SAID TO WARN RESERVIST NO-SHOWS COULD IMPACT READINESS WITHIN A MONTH(Jerusalem) — Top-ranking commanders in the Israel Defense Forces have voiced concern that a growing trend of reservist personnel refusing to serve in protest of the government’s planned judicial revamp could impair the armed forces’ operational capabilities within a month. The unsourced report said members of the General Staff recently held discussions on the matter, in which they expressed their concern that if the government pushes ahead with legislation to significantly weaken the Supreme Court, the military will see an increase in the number of individuals who don’t show up for service, impacting the IDF’s ability to perform its duties. (Times of Israel, Mar. 21, 2023)

ISRAELI LAWMAKERS ESTABLISH KNESSET CAUCUS TO HEAR DIASPORA JEWS’ VOICES (Jerusalem) — A new Knesset caucus aimed at improving ties between Israel and Diaspora Jewry will soon begin operating, allowing Jews from communities worldwide a platform to air their views in the Jewish state’s corridors of power and, say those behind it, help allay concerns over some of the current Israeli government’s political moves.  (Jewish Insider, Mar. 21, 2023)

PALESTINIANS PAVE NEW ROAD OVER ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE IN NORTHERN WEST BANK(Sebastia) — The Palestinian Authority has paved a new road through an archaeological site in Sebastia in the northern West Bank, right-wing activists warned on Tuesday. The Sebastia Municipality posted a video on Monday night showing the works on the road stating that it leads from the northern area of Sebastia to the entrance of an ancient Roman horse racing stadium.  (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2023)

UK AND ISRAEL TO DEEPEN TECH AND SECURITY TIES AS COHEN VISITS(London) — Britain and Israel will sign an agreement aimed at deepening technology, trade and security ties over the next seven years when foreign minister James Cleverly meets his Israeli counterpart in London on Tuesday. Israel’s Eli Cohen is visiting London to sign the new roadmap for relations with Britain. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 21, 2023)

ISRAEL SOARS TO 4TH PLACE IN GLOBAL HAPPINESS LIST, HIGHEST SINCE RANKING STARTED(Jerusalem) — Israelis are the happiest they’ve been in over a decade, the World Happiness rankings revealed on Monday, though the findings predated the widespread social upheaval over the government’s judicial overhaul program and therefore could not take it into account. Israel’s 2023 fourth-place ranking, up from ninth last year, is its highest position since the UN-sponsored index began publication in 2012. The list crowned Finland as the world’s happiest country for the sixth year running, with Afghanistan again the unhappiest, closely succeeded by Lebanon. (Times of Israel, Mar. 20, 2023)

FOR FIRST TIME, MORE DEMOCRATS SIDE WITH PALESTINIANS THAN ISRAELIS: POLL(Washington) — In a new poll released Thursday, sympathy among US Democrats was higher for the Palestinians than Israelis for the first time since the Gallup polling service began asking the question in 2001. Gallup’s poll of 1,008 US adults found that Democrats now hold an 11-point net negative view of Israel, favoring Palestinians by a 49 to 38 margin. In total, 54% of Americans sympathize more with the Israelis, the lowest figure Gallup has recorded since January 2005, and 31% with the Palestinians, the highest it has ever recorded. That shift, the report said, is driven by younger Americans, who have a more mixed opinion of Israel than their elders.  (NY Post, Mar. 16, 2023)

AMERICANS FEEL MORE POSITIVE THAN NEGATIVE ABOUT JEWS, MAINLINE PROTESTANTS, CATHOLICS(Washington) — Far more Americans express favorable than unfavorable views of Jews, mainline Protestants and Catholics, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey that measures U.S. adults’ broad sentiments toward several religious groups. At the other end of the spectrum, more Americans express negative than positive attitudes toward atheists, Muslims and Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). (Pew Research Center, Mar. 15, 2023)

UNI STUDENT MARKED DOWN FOR NOT BLAMING ISRAEL IN ESSAY AWARDED PAYOUT (Glasgow) — The University of Leeds has settled a legal claim brought by sociology graduate after her coursework was wrongly failed because it did not blame Israel for the crimes of Hamas against Palestinians. Danielle Greyman will receive an undisclosed sum, without any admissions, under a “commercial settlement” of her claim for damages. (TheJC, Mar. 16, 2023)

EUROPEAN JEWISH COMMUNITY UNENTHUSIASTIC ON EU ANTISEMITISM INITIATIVES: REPORT(Madrid) — The European Jewish diaspora is unenthusiastic about European Union (EU) member states’ efforts to fight antisemitism, according to a report by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) during a trip to Madrid, Spain. The report included summary findings of a survey in which European Jews’ were asked to share their feelings about the progress their governments have made in implementing the EU Strategy to Combat Antisemitism for 2023-2030, a nine year initiative aimed at countering antisemitism across the continent. (Algemeiner, Mar. 21, 2023)

HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND DOCUMENTS FROM MANHATTAN DA TARGETING TRUMP(Washington)–Republican legislators in the new House majority will ramp up probes into the Biden family kickbacks and Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who is supposedly on the verge of inditing former President Donald J. Trump on what they consider trumped-up felony charges. They suspect that Bragg is using federal funds to politically target Mr. Trump, the Republicans’ leading 2024 Presidential contender. (Washington Times, Mar. 20, 2023)

IRAN AGREES TO STOP ARMING HOUTHIS IN YEMEN AS PART OF PACT WITH SAUDI ARABIA(Tehran) — Iran has agreed to halt covert weapons shipments to its Houthi allies in Yemen as part of a China-brokered deal to re-establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, U.S.. a move that could inject new momentum into efforts to end one of the region’s longest-running civil wars.  (WSJ, Mar. 16, 2023)



A Mossad Agent’s Treasure Trove of Photos:  Ronen Bergman, NY Times, Mar. 13, 2023 —  On Oct. 8, 1965, the chief of Israel’s foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, presented the country’s prime minister with a plan to assassinate several leading Palestinian militants based in Beirut, Lebanon, with letter bombs.
How a Young Jewish Man with a Talent For Forgery Hid in Plain Sight In WWII Berlin: Renee Ghert Zand, Times of Israel, Mar. 15, 2023  — Cioma Schönhaus survived the Holocaust by hiding in plain sight in Berlin.


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