The Day In Israel: Sun Nov 15th, 2009

Former US President Bill Clinton – currently in Israel – thinks it was the murder of former Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that has impeded peace.

“Nor has a single week gone by in which I have not reaffirmed my conviction that had he not lost his life on that terrible November night, within three years we would have had a comprehensive agreement for peace in the Middle East.”

Interesting theory, given that Rabin himself would have opposed many of the concessions Israel has subsequently stated it is willing to make.

Meanwhile, Clinton also said:

“We are either going to hurt each other or we are going to help each other,” he said of the two foes. “Divorce is not an option.”

Just as likely part of a conversation he had with his wife.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:10PM:Ynetnews reports:

An Iranian website reported Sunday that Iranian General Ali Reza Asgari who defected to the West is being held in prison in Israel.

According to the report, an investigation by Iranian security officials showed that “Asgari was kidnapped by the Mossad in cooperation with the British and German intelligence services, and was ultimately transferred to Israel.”

The report was published on the “Alef” news website, which is affiliated with conservative parliament member Ahmad Tavakkoli, one of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main critics.

Alef is not a state website, but is considered a relatively credible source.

Hey, I think that guy works in the falafel store down the road..

9:42PM: Tel Aviv has banned horse-drawn carriages.

Yeah, I didn’t realize this was a pressing issue either.

6:35PM: Rutgers is sponsoring a terror-supporting organization.

4:45PM: Ha’aretz continues it’s anti-religious campaign with a report containing this inflammatory headline:

IDF Chief Rabbi: Troops who show mercy to enemy will be ‘damned’

Only if you read the report do you get an idea of the context of this purported statement.

The Israel Defense Forces’ chief rabbi told students in a pre-army yeshiva program last week that soldiers who “show mercy” toward the enemy in wartime will be “damned.”

Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki also told the yeshiva students that religious individuals made better combat troops.

Speaking Thursday at the Hesder yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron , Rontzki referred to Maimonides’ discourse on the laws of war. That text quotes a passage from the Book of Jeremiah stating: “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord with a slack hand, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.”

In Rontzki’s words, “In times of war, whoever doesn’t fight with all his heart and soul is damned – if he keeps his sword from bloodshed, if he shows mercy toward his enemy when no mercy should be shown.”

In other words, the Rabbi is stating that troops should fight hard and show no mercy when no mercy should be shown. And while there is no elaboration on when this should apply, it seems the Rabbi is not making a blanket statement about troops never showing mercy.

Without having heard the Rabbi’s words, I am not qualified to definitively say what he meant. But it looks to me like Ha’aretz are trying to “spin” his words.

12:40PM: You may recall last week I posted about aspiring Rabbi/boxer Yuri Foreman who was out to become the first Jewish world boxing champion in 30 years.

Well, I’m happy to report he did it.

Coming soon: Fellow Orthodox-Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita takes on British-Muslim Amir Khan for the WBA light-welterweight crown in Newcastle, England on December 5!

6:20AM: More footage from the 9-11 memorial dedication in Jerusalem last week, including a description of the design.

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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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