The Day In Israel: Wednesday June 23rd, 2010

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has come out swinging against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (who is supposedly to the Right of her), after his decision to ease restrictions of the blockade on Gaza.

tzipi livniLivni, who spoke after Netanyahu during a Jewish Agency conference in Jerusalem, said: “In this neighborhood… Israel must make decisions willingly and based on its interests, not due to pressure. Voluntary decisions show strength, while decisions made due to pressure show weakness – and we cannot afford weakness.”

“This is true regarding a political agreement, it’s true regarding the blockade, and it’s true regarding every decision,” she added.

While the prime minister blames the Palestinians for the political dead end, Livni said “It’s not enough to say nice things at a university,” referring to Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan speech.

“Policies require tough decisions, and those will not be made without understanding that an agreement is not a gift for the Arabs, or even for the US president, but rather is in our own interest,” she said. “Only when we have a leader who understands that the price of no agreement is greater than the price of an agreement – only then will there be an agreement.”


Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:26PM: Received via mail:

The Saudi newspaper “Al-Shaq Al-Awsat” is reporting today that, according to the Lebanese Minister of Transport, the women’s’ ship “Miriam” is fictitious, and the Lebanese flotilla consists of just one vessel – the French-registered “Julia”, which has taken the name “Naji El’adi”.

A source close to the flotilla, who refused to be identified, told the newspaper that the flotilla’s organizers are encountering
difficulties. He added that the vessel “Naji El’adi”, which will fly the Bolivian flag, will carry just 1000 tonnes of equipment, and 16 people on board, 7 of them crew members. This comes in spite of reports that there will be 50 journalists, as well as dozens more
human rights activists and European members of parliament, on board.

He also noted that another option exists: that the flotilla’s organizers will rent another boat. In any case, however, there is no
expectation that the flotilla will depart from Lebanon to Cyprus in the next 2-3 days.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, maintenance work continued on the “Naji El’adi”, while soldiers from the Lebanese Army guarded the vessel and prevented people from approaching it. Workers at the port told the newspaper that cargo has not yet been loaded onto the ship.

Regarding the international perspective on the ship, the newspaper reported that a large number of foreign embassies in Beirut expressed suspicion that their citizens will participate in the flotilla, and even approached the Lebanese government about this, though this is probably not intended to achieve anything to prevent them from sailing to Gaza.

In conclusion: According to this report, it can be seen that the key operations currently being undertaken by the organizers of the
Lebanese flotilla media-oriented only.

On the other hand, Samar Al-Hajj – the organizer of the women’s flotilla – was interviewed today by Al Jazeera and said that all the
preparations for the departure of the ship “Miriam” have been completed, and that soon the ship will set out on its journey. It is
interesting to note, however, that the very reporter from Al Jazeera that interviewed Al-Hajj expressed doubt about this.

8:20PM: This is almost two weeks old, but there’s no statute of limitations on integrity.

8:08PM: According to the Islam Times, IAF aircraft landed at a military base in Saudi Arabia and unloaded large quantities of military gear last weekend.

The report, which has questionable credibility, claimed the equipment was unloaded at a base in the city of Tabuk, in the north western part of the country, ahead of a possible strike on Iran.

The controversial report was also published by the Iranian news agency Fars, under the title “Suspicious military activity of the Zionist regime in Saudi Arabia.”

According to the report, the IDF built a military base approximately 9 km (5.5 miles) from Tabuk, and while Israeli planes landed there on June 18 and 19, all civilian flights were cancelled at the local airport.

One of the passengers in Tabuk noted that civilians at the airport were not given an explanation for the flight cancellations, but were compensated by the Saudi authorities and accommodated in nearby hotels.

The report further claimed that “the secret relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia became the main topic of conversation among the city’s residents.”

Another report published two weeks ago claimed Saudi Arabia tested its defense missile systems In order to allow IAF airplanes to pass through its airspace en route to bombarding nuclear facilities in Iran.

Security elements in the Persian Gulf told the London-based Times magazine that Riyadh gave Israel the green light to fly through a narrow airspace in the north of the country, in order to shorten the flight time to the Islamic Republic.

According to the Times, in order to ensure that IAF aircraft are not intercepted by Saudi defense missiles, Riyadh conducted tests to make sure the system does not activate if Israeli planes are detected. After the aircraft clear the area, the system will resume to normal activity.

Yeah, I’ll have a grain of salt with this report, please.

5:30PM: “Just” hatred of Israel, huh?

5:05PM: I really detest these meatballs.

3:05PM: Oh pride, where art thou?

Despite growing strains in Turkey’s relationship with Israel, which reached a nadir following the deadly commando raid  on a Gaza-bound flotilla, a delegation of more than 20 Turkish officers and soldiers landed in the Jewish state on Tuesday for a two-week visit, during which they will be trained to operate the Heron drone, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Turkey has purchased 10 Heron drones for an estimated $190 million. Six of them have already been delivered. The Turkish delegation, which also includes senior government officials, is expected to return to Ankara with the remaining four drones.

I wonder when Turkey will be using these drones against us.

12:24PM: Hamas has rejected the latest request from the International Red Cross to visit abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Hamas denied the request for fear that the visit might lead Israel to try to free Shalit in a military operation, according to Hamas lawmaker Yehia Moussa, who told a Hamas newspaper that the Red Cross did not take the military reality in the Middle East into account when it made the request.

The reality being that Hamas are not reasonable people who care about the human rights of a Jew.

8:25AM: What happened when Jordan’s King Abdullah fell asleep in the barber’s chair:

King Abdullah Mahmoud Abbas

AP Photo/Nader Daoud

8:18AM: Israel has launched a new spy satellite called the Ofek 9, which should provide the IDF with “unprecedented operational capabilities.”

It is called the Ofek, because upon hearing the news, our enemies say “Ofek, another spy satellite.”

6:12AM: Hollywood actor and all-round mensch Jon Voight has penned an open letter to US President Barack Obama.

An open letter from actor Jon Voight to President Obama:

June 22, 2010

President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientists and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals who want Israel eradicated.

You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.

With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,

Jon Voight

6:10AM: Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar and a group of other notables including former Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble and former Permanent US Representative to the UN John Bolton, are behind a new initiative:

The Friends of Israel have joined together in a new international initiative on the basis of the following convictions:

1. Israel is a Western country. With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.

2. Israel´s right to exist should not be questioned. In the face of a uniquely campaign of deligitimation, we remind all people of goodwill of the true historical context in which the State of Israel was re-established following United Nations Resolution 181 in 1947. We state emphatically that that decision to recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination was not merely a gesture of compassion following the horrors that had befallen the Jewish people during the Holocaust. It was, above all, a recognition of the right of the Jewish people to establish a sovereign state on land in which they have had an enduring presence and to which they have had a historical claim for thousands of years.

3. Israel, as a sovereign country, has the right to self-defense. Israel is indeed a normal Western country, but it is one which faces unique threats and challenges. Israel is the only state in the world forced to fight one war after another to secure its very existence. Confronting some of the most violent and well equipped terrorist groups in the world it is also the only country whose right to self-defense is consistently and widely questioned. Today, Israel has been forced to fight on two fronts: one to defend its borders and another to defend its legitimacy. We stand with Israel, and demand that it be accorded the same legitimacy and the same right to defend itself as any other Western country. Human rights statutes designed to defend the dignity of people everywhere, laws on universal jurisdiction intended to be used against criminals and tyrants and international bodies established to secure justice, have been subverted, their guiding principles stood on their head, to wage war against Israeli democracy. The campaign against Israel is corroding the international system from within.

4. Israel is on our side. With this in mind, we must be clear in recognizing that Israel’s fight is our fight. Western democracy will not prevail unless we recognize and assume the Judeo-Christian cultural and moral heritage which first gave rise to those institutions and the values which initially inspired them, and strengthen them. The assault on Israel is itself an assault on Judeo-Christian values. Israel stands on the front line, but we are next in line. If Israel’s right to self defense is questioned in the Middle East, our right to self-defense will be questioned when fighting similar terrorist enemies in Afghanistan, and at home. If principles of human rights and universal jurisdiction are to be turned into weapons against Israeli democracy, what makes us so sure they will not one day be used against European and North American democracy? Israel’s future is our fate.

5. We believe in peace, but peace in the Middle East is not just about Israel and the Palestinians. The aspiration for an enduring peace in the Middle East is a noble one, and it is one we share. But outsiders, helpful as they can sometimes be, can only achieve so much. The parties involved should know how to reach a satisfactory solution themselves. Attempts to impose solutions from the outside will fail. The key to ending this conflict is for the Palestinian side to unequivocally recognize Israel as the legitimate national homeland of the Jewish people. Once that step has been taken, good faith negotiations have a chance of achieving success.

6. We share the same threats and challenges. There are two related threats which also imperil the region, and the wider world: the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism; and the prospect of a nuclear Iran. These threats are as existential for the state of Israel as for the rest of us: the jihad knows no boundaries and a nuclear Iran represents a strategic revolution of global dimensions. Israel cannot and should not face those threats alone. For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last.

7. Believing that the continuous deligitimation of Israel has a great deal of responsibility in raising an aggressive and dangerous anti-semitism, in a spirit of solidarity with the State of Israel, and in recognition that we, the Western nations, must stand together lest we fall together, we therefore launch the Friends of Israel Initiative to do the following:

a) To combat the deligitimization of the State of Israel at home, abroad and inside the institutions of the international community.

b) To publicly show our solidarity with Israel’s democratic institutions – the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s millennial aspiration to live in peace and freedom in its national homeland.

c) To support Israel’s inalienable right to secure borders unmolested by terrorists or tyrannical regimes so that its citizens can continue living with the same guarantees that our own societies enjoy.

d) To consistently and firmly oppose the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran.

e) To work to ensure that Israel is fully accepted as a normal Western country, an essential and indivisible part of the Western world to which we belong.

f) To reaffirm the value of the religious, moral, and cultural Judeo-Christian heritage as the main source of the liberal and democratic Western societies.

These convictions inspire this Friends of Israel Initiative. We invite all men and women of goodwill to join us.

6:00AM: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor, speaks about the liberal case for Israel.

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

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Facebook Comments

  • Albet

    Excellent! It's about time the Israeli side took the initiative in redefining the issue.

  • Michael Zvi Krumbein

    “In this neighborhood… Israel must make decisions willingly and based on its interests, not due to pressure. Voluntary decisions show strength, while decisions made due to pressure show weakness – and we cannot afford weakness.”

    I actually agree with her about something? Not that she would be any better.

    • perat

      In his position she would make more concessions to palestinians, not less. And its easy to say what she said when Obama isn't barking up your tree demanding more concessions.

  • juvanya

    Well seems the Dutch want to help fight antisemitism:

    I think the mayor of Amsterdam is Muslim.

  • Michael Zvi Krumbein

    "The footage showed young men, often of immigrant origin, shouting and making Nazi salutes at a rabbi when he visited different areas of the Dutch capital"

    "Immigrant origin", huh? Political correctness is not dead.

    BTW, I note from your source that the Rabbanut cut ties with the Vatican. At least someone in this country has guts! (This is not the first time, BTW, that the Rabbanut stood up to the Vatican while the political leaders kowtowed.)

  • Jim from Iowa

    Tzipi Livni is half right. She is right that Netanyahu does act out of weakness (and political expediency). She is wrong if she would stubbornly adhere to a failed, wrong-headed blockade in order to look strong. But she is right on target in defending the Israel high court against the Haredi assault on secular authority. Israel is a western liberal democracy, not a theocracy mired in the thinking of the middle ages. Netanyahu is a spineless worm for not confronting this existential threat to a democratic Israel.

    And where has Mr. Stephens been? He should read Alan Dershowitz' "The Case for Israel" if he wants a liberal defense of Israel.

    • Michael Zvi Krumbein

      So you believe in an unelected Supreme Court (not like the one in the U.S., which is chosen by elected officials and is supposed to be bound by the law) which makes up whatever it wants and does whatever it feels like. OK. This is what gave us the Dred Scott decision, but never mind. Today they came for the Chareidim…

      BTW, we are not mired in the Middle Ages. We go back much futher than that….

      Meanwhile, in a similar case, the U.S. gave assylum to a German couple who wanted to home-school their children. I'm glad the U.S. is a free coutry, and isn't run by fascists like you.

      • Michael Zvi Krumbein

        Oh, my. I thought this comment was lost. I was very upset at the time; having to deal with people who were given all sorts of nonsense which I myself had swallowed. I felt like I was arguing with people who think our soldiers were murderers.

      • Jim from Iowa

        Oy, calling me a fascist. As Jackie Mason would say, "If you were here I'd give you such a smack." But maybe you've got your teffilin wrapped around your neck and its making you light headed. Don't ever call me a fascist again you neolithic galoot.

        • Michael Zvi Krumbein

          Well, I didn't think it was necessary. But it is true.

    • Shy Guy

      Israel is not the democratic state of Iowa you care to live in.

      This is a Jewish nation's country.

      The Freedom to Educate, by Moshe Feiglin, Manhigut Yehudit

      • Michael Zvi Krumbein

        Yes, but I don't think it is necessary. The fact is that the U.S. does not do this sort of thing. It may surprise Jim to know that there are boy's High Schools in both New York and Maryland with no secular studies. Those states intentionally do not enforce those laws (assuming they are, in fact, constitutional).

      • Jim from Iowa

        You may believe what you like but you can't expect to make it public policy to be followed by all citizens in a democracy. There are social sanctions against those parents who, out of religious conviction, refuse medical treatment for their seriously ill child. Even religious schools must have core curriculum in math and science to benefit society as a whole. The Haredim take the State's money–they've got to comply with the laws of the State.

        • Michael Zvi Krumbein

          They are complying – it's the Supreme Cout that is overriding it. Also, they offered not to take money. They offered to send their kids to schools in another city.

          And those schools get siginificantly less funding, precisely because they are LEGALLY allowed to be independent. A lot of Chareidim do in fact send their kids to private schools, and a large number refuse funding on principle. So the State actually spends a lot less per pupil.

          Also, this is NOT enforced in the U.S., at least in New York and Maryland.

          • Jim from Iowa

            The parents defied a court order. That's why they're in jail. You make it sound like the Haredim are being collectively punished by the secular state just for being religious. This is untrue. Sounds like the bogus "War on Christmas" bs we hear from the religious right in this country. Maybe you just need better pr– say a Haredi character on South Park or something. You should work on it.

            • Shy Guy

              Are you off your rocker?

              Courts get to dictate how you educate your children?

              Tyrannical democracy is still tyranny and should be resisted as such.

              You should never have to know.

              • Jim from Iowa

                No matter how religious you are, you don't get to pick and choose which laws to obey. You don't get to benefit from secular society and then reject some of its basic requirements of what you teach your children so they can function in this society. Torah readings may give you peace of mind but they don't allow you ignore secular authority. And be careful of who you accuse of being off one's rocker. I haven't seen any burning bushes lately. Have you?

                • Michael Zvi Krumbein

                  Yes, we do. It's a deal we made in return for not getting full funding.

            • Michael Zvi Krumbein

              No, I didn't say that. I think a fanatical judge is making up his own laws. I also think that standards are being applied to Chareidim that are not being applied, for example, to the state-funded art public schools in Tel Aviv. This is the result of the journalists deciding they are a good target.

              But since you read and swallow anti-semitic literature, I do not think there is anything I could say that would make a difference. I really don't care what you think. I am just concerned about the other readers.

  • Michael Zvi Krumbein

    Anyone who thinks a two-state solution is possible (or a good idea), should see this:

    about what Abbas says in English and what he says in Arabic. And it doesn't matter which he means – what good is an agreement if the people hate us so much that their leaders have to lie to them?

  • Albet

    Has Obama's rhetoric actually led to the opposite result?

  • juvanya

    Maybe the flotilla organizers are just bluffing. Ships arent cheap, so maybe they are low on money.

  • Kimo Al Quds

    aNOTHER THOUGHT ON THE GAZA BLOCKADE. wHAT WILL OCCUR WHEN IRAN SENDS ITS VESSELS LOADED WITH WHATEVER INTO GAZA. ISRAELI RESPONSE WILL BE TO STOP THE SHIP. fIGHTING WILL BREAK OUT AND iSRAEL WILL KILL THE PERSIANS WHO ARE ATTEMPTING THEIR ROUTE OF CONQUEST AGAIN ALONG WITH THE TURKS. WHAT HAPPENS THEN iRAN IS DELIBERTLY PROVOKING THE SITUATION. iSRAEL WILL STOP IT. iS THERE ANYONE ELSE WITH THE CAjones to work in concert with israel. obama is a craven coward who is not fit to be our president what will this pos do what will the eu do. these cs pos should stop the ship bedore it comes into the suez or into the med from gibralter and sink the damn thing. this incursion by iran will be coupled with rocket attacks from hezbollah. what will the us and eu do again blame israel for defending itself? or find the testicles to step up and take out the real trouble makers in the world, the iranians. This is intended to provoke a serious response as iran is prepared to launch on israel and this would give it a pretext. get ready

    • juvanya

      Im pretty sure Israel will sink any Iranian ship on sight. At least thats what they said.

  • Norman B.

    The ship is flying the Bolivian flag? I suppose it will be escorted by the Swiss navy.

  • perat

    Livni is full of garbage. She’s just saying that to garner more votes for the next election.

    • Michael Zvi Krumbein

      Well, of course.

  • Michael Zvi Krumbein

    BTW, to be fair, I am not sure if the school gets full funding. It is in Chinuch Azmai, which gets 70%, last I checked. But it is a Bais Yaackov, and some of them get 100%, because they have more secular studies than boy's schools.

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