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The Day In Israel: Thurs Aug 27th, 2009

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Israeli  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly suggested a temporary freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria for nine months.

Meanwhile, Likud Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely held a conference for the heads of Judea and Samaria “settlers”, in order to create a united front against Netanyahu’s  freeze plan. And in a “Jerusalem Post” moment, Ynet used the following headline for the story:

ynet blooperWell, she is rather cute.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

7:48PM: The Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism has found several “adjustments” in the English translation of the Aftonbladet blood libel article, which point to efforts to tone down the more outrageous parts.Some sentences have been taken out completely in the English translation, to make it appear less shocking, and words like “rabbis” and “Jews” have been erased to hide the blatant anti-Semitism (hat tip: Chris).

6:08PM: Here is Israeli historian Benny Morris giving a lecture about the palestinian refugees from the 1948 war.

Notice how he does not paint events as black and white, but at the same time, rejects the palestinian narrative that the refugees were created exclusively by Israel driving the Arabs out.

Also, while he does acknowledge some atrocities from the Israeli side, he puts them in historical context.

All in all, a very important and interesting lecture and worth 45 mins of your time.

4:35PM: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, demonized by all and sundry, has received some support for his recent comments that only those who have completed military service or national service be eligible for entering the Foreign Ministry’s cadets’ course.

From an Arab-Bedouin diplomat who is also a former Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF.

“I identify with what the minister said and support what he is suggesting,” said Hassan Ka’bia, Israel’s Consul General to Alexandria, who sought to voice his support for his boss publicly.

Ka’bia, a Bedouin who served many years in the IDF and was released with the rank of lieutenant colonel, rejects claims that Lieberman is trying to block minorities’ access to the Foreign Ministry.

According to him, “For many years already, the Arab sector has ganged up against national service. There were demonstrations against national service. I say, these are people who are supposed to be partners with the State. They need to do national service at the very least: to work in the village, in hospitals, somewhere. I don’t know who there will be partnership and how they want to be accepted into the civil service if they don’t contribute to the society.”

Ka’bia also said that he does not expect those who do not want to serve in the military to enlist. However, in his opinion, every Israeli citizen has an obligation to contribute to the community.

“National service is for the most part service to the community,” said the consul general. “There are a thousand options for taking action. I am not coming to recruit them into the military. If they don’t want, they don’t have to. But they must contribute in order to be accepted into Israeli society,” Ka’bia explained.

“If you don’t identify with the State, this is a problem,” he said. “I am not coming to sign them on a loyalty document, but identification is (expressed) through contribution. In order to represent the State, you must identify with it, to be familiar with the society. The cadets’ course that trains diplomats is not enough. You must prove that you have done something for Israeli society. I hold Lieberman in great esteem for what he said.”

Ka’bia rejected claims that Lieberman’s statements are racist. According to him, “The minister’s statements aren’t against Arabs. He isn’t speaking out against us. He is saying – this is the most prestigious course that trains diplomats to serve in various countries. As a consul, I need to explain the government’s policies, the policies of what is going on in Israel. Therefore, it is not enough to come to the diplomatic corps and do a course. One needs to be well-versed – and national service helps people become well-versed in what is going on.”

“I don’t know who is interpreting Lieberman’s statements as racist. It apparently is the media. There is a bunch of diplomats from the Druze sector, as well as Arabs and Bedouins,” Ka’bia said.

2:50PM: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been given the Auschwitz plans.

(I’m not referring to US President Barack Obama’s “peace plan,” although it could also be described in this way).

1:34PM: Tycoon and noted Middle East expert Richard Branson:

“As human beings, all of us wish to see a resolution. Because if you don’t have a resolution, I think something ghastly could happen one day… I think that two states almost definitely need to be created. And I think there’s an enormous opportunity over the next 18 months for resolution. I know that’s been said for the last 40 or 50 years, but there is a great chance right now, and I think everybody’s got to try to grasp that chance.”

As if ghastly things are not happening already.

Meanwhile, I suggest Richard sticks to what he knows best. Which is making money and cavorting around with scantily clad women.

10:38AM: Today, 107 aid trucks are scheduled to cross into Gaza from the Erez crossing.

10:00AM: The Obama administration has reportedly agreed to Israel’s request to remove East Jerusalem from negotiations on the impending settlement freeze.

6:10AM: A woman driver, believed to be drunk, collided with one of the cars in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s London convoy, badly damaging the vehicle but injuring no-one.

Sorry, I can’t resist (I saw this episode just last night).

6:05AM: Another report on the Swedish blood libel. Pay special attention to Donald Bostrom at the beginning, where he claims, amongst other things:

  • It is a fact that Israel shot the man dead, did an autopsy and then returned the body, since he saw it (contrary to his article in which he does not claim to have seen the shooting)
  • The family accused Israel, despite recent statements by family members that the idea of organ harvesting didn’t cross their mind until after they read Bostrom’s article.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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