The Day In Israel: Sunday Mar 28th, 2010

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday reacted to Friday’s Hamas-initiated clash that resulted in the killing of two IDF soldiers by indicating his concern.

“I am very concerned at the escalation of violence and loss of life yesterday in the vicinity of the Gaza border,” Ban told a news conference on the sidelines of an Arab League summit in the Libyan town of Sirte.

“I reiterate my appeals made during my recent visit for maximum restraint and an end to all violence, in particular at this critical time when we are engaged in efforts to revive peace talks.”

His condemnation was not available for comment.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:25PM: Jimmy Carter, still a jerk.

8:06PM: They might look like buffoons, but there’s nothing funny about Syrian Dorktator Bashar Assad and Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi’s pressuring the PA to abandon any pretense of peace talks and go for the terrorism option.


Syria and Libya teamed up Sunday to pressure the Palestinian leader to quit peace talks with Israel and return to violence, delegates to an Arab leadership summit said.


Syrian President Bashar Assad urged Abbas to withdraw from a US-supported peace plan and resume armed resistance to Israel, according to two delegates who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

They said Assad also urged Arab countries to halt any contacts with Israel, though only Egypt and Jordan have peace deals with the Jewish state.

“The price of resistance is not higher than the price of peace,” one delegate quoted Assad as telling Abbas.

Libyan leader and summit host Moammar Ghaddafi warned that his nation may withdraw support for an initiative launched at a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut calling for an exchange of land for peace with Israel, the delegates said.

4:38PM: White House senior adviser David Axelrod has rejected claims that Obama snubbed Bibi.

US President Barack Obama did not give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  the cold shoulder when they met in the White House last week, a top Obama aid said on Sunday.

Obama met the Israeli leader in the White House on Tuesday but did not dine with his visitor and, by keeping the talks closed to the media, also denied Netanyahu the courtesy of a photo-opportunity with the president.

This raised questions in blogs and at White House news briefings that it was a deliberately calibrated gesture by the administration to communicate its displeasure with Netanyahu over Jewish housing construction in east Jerusalem, which have stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians in the form of US-mediated indirect talks.

“This was a working meeting among friends. And so there was no snub intended,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod told CNN’s State of the Union news program.

Axelrod noted that the two leaders had met in private for two hours and had better things to do with their time than worry about protocol.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said prior to the leaders’ meeting that Israeli construction in east Jerusalem and the disputed West Bank undermines mutual trust.

Axelrod told CNN: “This was not about formalities. This was not about a ceremonial meeting. This was a working meeting. We have a deep, abiding interest in Israel’s security. And we believe the peace process is essential to that. And we are doing everything we can to move that process forward.”

Notice how the White House’s language mirrors Netanyahu’s (see 1:55PM update): it is all about working meetings/disagreements between friends. Question is: do both parties really believe this, or did they merely agree to portray it this way?

2:00PM: PA terrorist Suhil Koka has regrets over the killing of two IDF soldiers in 2005.

“If I regret anything, it is that I only killed two soldiers and not more.”

A military court found Suhil Koka guilty of murder last week and handed down two life sentences in prison plus another 30 years.


1:55PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has distanced himself from severe criticism leveled at US President Barack Obama.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu stressed that the remarks quoted in Yediot Aharonot saying that Obama was a “tragedy” for Israel, were “unacceptable” to him and to everyone working on his behalf.

“There are disagreements between us and the Americans, but these are disagreements between friends,” he said.

9:02AM: Either this J Street poll is dodgy, or the majority of American Jews are even schmeckier than I thought.

6:15AM: Take that, pirates!

Crew on board a ship belonging to Israeli shipping company ZIM foiled an attempted hijacking off Somalia on Saturday, Israel Radio reported.

The ship Africa Star was on route from Mombasa in Kenya to Djibouti when pirates attacked as it sailed close to the Somali coast.

Two boats approached the ship and opened fire but were driven off following a gun battle with Israel security guards.

This is the second time the Africa Star has been attacked in a week.

On Wednesday the ship was attacked close to the site of Saturday’s incident, but then too pirates were prevented from boarding the vessel.

Earlier this week pirates stormed a ship carrying Israeli cargo from the Ashdod to Thailand in the Indian Ocean.

No Israelis on board the MV Frigia, which was sailing under a Maltese flag.

The Turkish-owned vessel was carrying between 20,000 to 40,000 tons of potash for Israeli chemicals producer ICL – valued at some $11 million – when it was seized.

Piracy has become increasingly common in recent years off the coast of eastern Africa. Insurance costs for ships have multiplied 20 times because of this threat.

In recent weeks, NATO and EU naval forces have prevented 17 pirate attacks in the area off the coast of Somalia

Meanwhile, Egyptian security personnel have also repelled some Africans.


Want to learn how to shoot with top Israeli anti-terror experts? Click here for more details.


About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

Facebook Comments

  • Norman B.

    Instead of the Torah, the J Street people venerate "How to Lie with Statistics."

  • Chaya224

    The J Street poll is nonsense! Obama has a far lower rating than that, against anyone. His approval ratings have gone down over 30% in a year. I was and am totally proud of Bibi. J Street's secret (being run by arabs and arab money) is out, and no one other than Obama even wants to talk to them. Three more years and all of this will be irrelevant. We just have to all be strong in the mean time.

    • juvanya ג׳ווניע

      Dont be so sure. I've said this many times here. Obama's re-election is still in the odds. There's just not enough working against him.

      I wonder how many people are like me and support Bibi and Obama (to some degree). Tough crowds…

  • juvanya ג׳ווניע

    "9:02AM: Either this J Street poll is dodgy, or the majority of American Jews are even schmeckier than I thought."

    I was just going to post that.

    It's sketchy to say the least. The poll was commissioned by a group that would prefer a certain outcome. This doesnt always mean the poll is biased. For example, the liberal-oriented firm PPP has been showing a Republican tilt the past year or so for some reason. I would be a bit skeptical of the results, but concerned that it might be close to true. If anything, it shows the propaganda is working.

    • Michael Zvi Krumbein

      It would be good to see the questions.

      • juvanya ג׳ווניע

        Yes, that's always key.
        I was looking at their last poll, which I thought was this poll. There are a few sketchy things in it..
        It's missing the first 5 question that may have colored perceptions (I forget the actual term)

        They had a sample size of 400, which is a bit small, but probably the best they could get. It gives a margin of error of +/-5. Now my question is how did they get this survey done if they did a normal poll by calling random numbers. If only 2% or so of the US is Jewish, they would have called 20,000 people which is very expensive to do (most polls stop in the mid-1000s because at that point the MOE doesnt drop as much).

        A few questions are telling:
        "As you may know, Israel had an election earlier this month. The party receiving the third largest number of seats is led by Avigdor Lieberman who has previously called for the execution of Arab members of Israel's parliament who met with Hamas and whose main campaign message called for Arab citizens of Israel to sign a loyalty oath to the Jewish state in order to prevent their citizenship from being revoked. Do you support or oppose these positions?"
        This contains a libelous statement and a gross misrepresentation. If Lieberman called for executions, I would think he'd be expelled from the Knesset (unless he already has—you will know better than me, but I've never heard this claim until today). What I've seen him say is that some Arab MKs are regularly visiting and working with Hamas and terrorist activities and should be considered traitors, which in many countries results in execution. That's a hell of a stretch though, but since when are pro-arabs not stretching reality.
        The second part misrepresents him because he calls for ALL citizens to take the oath. He is also against the Meretz, Hadash, and B'Tselem types that appear disloyal. I am fully certain that disapproval of him would decline significantly if the poll said "called for all citizens of Israel to sign a loyalty oath to the Jewish state in order to prevent their citizenship from being revoked."

        Next we have this question:
        Finally, a few questions for statistical purposes. Do you belong to a synagogue or temple?
        Yes-42/No-58 I cant say whether this is accurate, but it seems it could be off by a good 20-30 points. Although a 2003 poll done by someone else (I think) had 46% belonging.

        Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Democrat, a Republican or what?
        Strong D-50, Weak D-11, Independent-lean D-9 (61/70)
        Independent-7 (7/23)
        Independent-lean R-7, Weak R-6, Strong R-11 (17/24)
        A different 2003 poll (I think) shows 64-26, which is not far from this, but it's 2003. I cant find anything more recent on a quick search unfortunately.

        Finally, the bottom of the document says this:
        July 2008 survey…"…For each statement or position, please mark whether you agree or disagree.” which might mean that this wasnt a telephone survey and was somehow mailed out to Jews or something.
        Concerning trends

        • Michael Zvi Krumbein

          Maybe they got the list of Jews from somewhere. The source would be telling. There is regional skew, of course.

          What would you say that the synagogue figure should be? American Jews are just about the least religious group in the country, according to a poll I saw – and America is very religious for a Western country.

          • juvanya ג׳ווניע

            Yeah I just saw that. It doesnt surprise me. Christianity uses a lot more mind control (It's actually a cult if you think about it) and Judaism is much more free-form. Or perhaps Jews are just more free-thinking?

            • Michael Zvi Krumbein

              No, Israel is a pretty religious country, if you are not referring to full observance. Certainly belief is quite high here, at least if you leave out the Russians who were brainwashed for 70 years. And even there….

              You can start with the fact that Jews are a tiny minority in the U.S, and take it from there. The cute part of the poll has that 12% of American Atheists believe in God, which shows that they are somewhat confused. :-)

              One also needs to take into account that basic observance is much more demanding in Judaism than in most other religions. My father's observation while in the Army, which I think is true in most – but not all – cases, is that the philisophical justifications do not usually cause non-observance, rather they are used to justify it. (I am referring of course to people brought up observant.)

  • abunafha

    obama is the long needed catalyst that will help us weed-out JINO's from Jews who actually live and think as Jews.

    • Lloyd S.

      "Weed out?" Sounds rather facist to me, but I'll assume that your intent is entirely peaceful. That said, what are you weeding them out of? What won't they be able to do once you've done the weeding? Do you have a decree of Herem waiting in your back pocket and could you actually enforce it? Even if you did, do you think a JINO would actually give a ****?

      • Michael Zvi Krumbein

        I think that's his point. (Not that I agree, except maybe politically.)

  • juvanya ג׳ווניע

    Well I tried to make a Wikipedia article for the Thai farmworker that was killed by terrorists, but the editors decided to mark it for speedy deletion. I didnt even have a chance to contest the ruling.

    • Michael Zvi Krumbein

      Perhaps you could get away with an article on the incident?

  • Gary
    • juvanya ג׳ווניע

      Good find

  • Jim from Iowa

    I share a certain healthy skepticism of polls that are sponsored by one interest group or another (e.g. Fox News runs with Rasmussen which always inflates Republican support), but the results generally rang true to me. Americans in general are more concerned about domestic issues than long-standing problems overseas. I am not surprised that American Jews feel the same way. Nor is it surprising that there is a great deal of frustration expressed with the lack of progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I wonder what those of the Arab street who think American Zionists run American foreign policy would think of these results.

    • Y.K.

      Rasmussen was AFAIK very accurate in the past 4 or so elections. I recall they were nominated by some experts as the most accurate pollster last presidential election** and in 2004***…



      • Jim from Iowa

        I found the links provided in your post quite interesting and informative, Y.K. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to consider this when viewing Rasmussen in the future. My experience (highly subjective and perhaps a bit biased) is that Rasmussen polling as reported by Fox News always reported the most optimistic forecasts for Republican gains in the House and Senate. They seemed like an outlier when compared with other polls (NY Times, CBS News, Washington Post). I also noticed that Zogby, who was the "accuracy darling" in the 2004 election cycle, was third from the bottom this time around. I think its fair to say all polls and pollsters need to be read very carefully and a bit skeptically. I agree with Michael K. that how the questions are asked is critical to getting valid results.

        • Y.K.

          Zogby was an "accuracy darling" in 2004? Didn't he predict a Kerry victory?

          Mind you, I'm not sure Rasmussen gets it right currently, but it's not yet fair to dismiss them.

        • juvanya ג׳ווניע

          Ras has either a known Republican bias (house effect) or it's just how they poll. They use a likely voter model all the time, which cuts out a lot of people out. The people most likely to vote are much more conservative than those that may/may not vote. Hence why school budget votes frequently fail while a town could consistently vote Democrat.

          More/better info here:

          • Michael Zvi Krumbein

            To prove the point, Rush Limbaugh once commissioned a poll with (IIRC) a major firm using the questions the way HE wanted them asked. The results were quite telling.

            I remember a poll here in Israel on Obama a while back, and the answers actually contradicted each other. And the analysis was false.

            • juvanya ג׳ווניע

              Yeah there was a poll about a year ago that asked the most idiotic questions designed to make Obama supporters look like absolute morons. I think it was done by Zogby, a reputable organization prior to that, and commissioned by some Republican.

              • Michael Zvi Krumbein

                No, this was a reasonable poll. They just put a conservative slant on the questions intead of a left-wing one. It was pre-Obama.

  • Jim from Iowa

    Oh, I almost forgot. A recent Harris Poll says that 24% of Republicans think that Obama is or could be the AntiChrist. Now that is a poll result that is a real eye-opener!

    • usydgirl

      Hahaha… I have Pentecostal Christian friends who 'prophesy' the same thing. They've been thinking it (or as they say, hearing it from god) since the election campaigns were shown in Australia. As they're from a majority anglo country town and have no interest in politics (Kevin Rudd? Who is he again?) I assume they're racist. But I have to laugh. Heheh.

    • Michael Zvi Krumbein

      That's because there aren't enough Jewish Rebublicans. :-)

  • Norman B.

    If the Republicans really wanted to score political points, they would beat up Obama over Israel and keep it up until the gaffes started spouting out of the president's mouth and the mouths of his aides. But since the Republicans are the Stupid Party, they will continue to belabor the health care reform law, whose tally of costs versus benefits are at worst ambiguous.

  • Lloyd S.

    "9:02AM: Either this J Street poll is dodgy, or the majority of American Jews are even schmeckier than I thought."

    In fact, the spectrum of American Jewish political opinion probably mirrors that of Israel, with the problem that on average we are somewhat less informed than Israelis. That said, I note the poll was taken before the latest dust up. I suspect this latest clash between the Administration and Netanyahu isn't going to help Obama's popularity in the American Jewish community. Unless he comes up with an actual acceptable peace treaty before then, he's lost my vote in 2012. The sister who voted for him said the same, while the sister who didn't hasn't said I told you so yet, though I'm hearing it already. Even for those of us who don't support the "Jews should be able to settle anywhere in the Land of Israel" position, seeing the Administration lump Ramat Shlomo with Sheikh Jarrah and West Bank outposts is pretty much infuriating.

Israellycool is testing Sovevos. Click for more info.