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The Day In Israel: Tues Nov 2nd, 2010

REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA)

Yesterday, I posted how Hamas admitted losing 200-300 terrorists during Operation Cast Lead, based on this report.

And other reports declared the same thing.

There’s only one problem. If you actually read the reports carefully (or even not that carefully), you will see they admitted to losing way more terrorists than this.

Fathi Hamad told the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat that “They say it was the people who paid the toll of that war, but aren’t we [Hamas] part of this people?”

He added: “Furthermore, on the second day of the war, Israel targeted police headquarters and 250 martyrs fell and they were affiliated to Hamas and other factions. In addition, about 200-300 members of Al-Qassam Brigades died martyrs as well as 150 security officers; the rest of the victims were civilians.”

250 +(200 or 300) + 150 = 600 or 700.

This accords with the 709 figure provided by the IDF, a figure poo-pooed by Goldstone.

Thanks to Carl for the math lesson.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

8:05PM: There is currently a live Q&A with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Go here to ask your questions (and tell them Aussie Dave sent you j/k)

israelmfa on Broadcast Live Free

4:52PM: Today is the 93rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

During the First World War, British policy became gradually committed to the idea of establishing a Jewish home in Palestine (Eretz Yisrael). After discussions in the British Cabinet, and consultation with Zionist leaders, the decision was made known in the form of a letter by Arthur James Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild. The letter represents the first political recognition of Zionist aims by a Great Power.

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

Meanwhile, Hamas has banned a Balfour declaration-related demonstration in Gaza.

Bonus: Terrorists are complaining about “a violation of freedom of speech.”

Mahmoud Zak, an official with the tiny Palestinian Popular Struggle Front said the group had planned to hold a protest outside the United Nations compound in Gaza City.

Zak said he informed government officials in advance. But, he said, a Hamas security official called him at midnight Monday to inform him that the demonstration would not be allowed to proceed. “We were surprised by the decision of the internal security to ban the protest where we wanted to deliver a speech on this occasion and hand over a petition to the United Nations in Gaza, something that does not affect them [Hamas].”

Zak said he considered the ban “a violation of freedom of speech.”

4:10PM: ADL National Director Abe Foxman has arrived at the conclusion that Jimmy Carter is still a prick.

Former President Jimmy Carter continues to make biased remarks about Israel, despite a public apology via JTA late last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In an Op-Ed distributed Monday, ADL National Director Abe Foxman charged that “Rather than focusing on Israel as the only democracy in the region, the one that protects individual rights, including for women and gays, through the rule of law and that has been under siege from the Arab world since its birth, Mr. Carter views the Jewish state through the prism of Western guilt for centuries of racism, colonialism and supremacist ideas.”

Carter in a public apology published last December by JTA rued his comments “stigmatizing Israel” and implied that he would refrain from such remarks in the future.

“In sum, by any objective measurement, Mr. Carter has gone back on his public word to the Jewish community not to stigmatize the Jewish state,” Foxman wrote.

Foxman pointed to Carter’s recent visit to the Middle East with a delegation of The Elders in which “The majority and intensity of his criticisms … were directed at Israel.”

“I want to take Mr. Carter at his word when he made his statement. He may well have intended to apologize for the hurt he may have caused, and he may really have believed that he would in the future act differently,” Foxman wrote in conclusion.

“The fact that he hasn’t doesn’t have to signal disingenuousness as much as how really difficult true atonement is. It takes not only a statement of commitment but, critically, a change in one’s thinking. Unfortunately, Mr. Carter’s worldview works against Israel and leads to the bias we have seen time and again.”

1:02PM: The Hamashole who admitted that hundreds of his fellow terrorists were killed in Operation Cast Lead has a history of opening his big mouth (hat tip: juvanya)

Keep gabbing.

12:58PM: Hizbullah is reportedly planning to seize power if when the UN Hariri tribunal implicate the group in the assassination of the former prime minister.

The report said that Hizbullah, Amal and other pro-Syrian groups were in close contact and coordination relating to a plan to take control of Beirut, the road to the south of the city, and neutralizing Christian and Sunni areas. The sources said that the groups were already plotting zones of who would control which areas, in a day-after scenario.

According to the sources, Beirut was divided into three zones of military control, allocated to Amal, Hizbullah and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and that alternative plans were prepared by Hizbullah for a scenario where the other groups could not hold control of their zones.

Additionally, the report indicated that the “zero hour” refers to a scenario in which indictments are issued by the Hariri tribunal, followed by civil unrest in the streets of the Lebanese capital devolving into violence and a security vacuum.

The report, quoting retired Lebanese Brig.-Gen. Amin Hattit who is known to be close to Hizbullah, said that the plans contained many realistic elements. He said that Hizbullah’s current strategy is to prevent strife, but if they are unable to prevent an explosion of unrest, they will take advantage. He said, “Everyone knows that the temptation will be limited geographically to areas where there is a Shi’ite majority,” referring to areas of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley region, and the south of the country.

Hattit concluded that “if this scenario does take place, Hizbullah would be able to seize power in three days, or a week at most,” and that the “era of Hariri in Lebanon” would end forever.

10:05AM: Still on the subject of palestinian prisoners, this next story is quite simply remarkable (hat tip: Shy Guy, juvanya).

As more details on the story of an Palestinian Authority Arab ex-con on his way to converting to Judaism are revealed, the more astonishing it becomes.

Yaniv Ben-David, an Arab from the PA territories and Haifa whose official name until recently was Busmon Abu-Ras, found Judaism and G-d while serving a 12-year term in prison. The full miraculous story has come out in three interviews, including one with Arutz-7’s Hizky Ezra [which can be seen here, in Hebrew] and another on Radio Kol Chai with the head of the Civil Administration, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, known as Poli.

Yaniv’s speech is liberally sprinkled with “May G-d’s Name be blessed” and the like, as if he had grown up all his life in a traditional Sephardic neighborhood. But in actuality, his story is very different. Without getting into details, he explains that he became involved in criminal activity of which today he is very ashamed, but that once in jail, no one in his family ever visited him. “My crime was not related to terrorism, Heaven forbid, chas veshalom,” he says, “but I don’t want to discuss it.”

“Some of the Jews in prison with me,” he relates, “began talking to me, and said things like, ‘There’s something special about you, something that doesn’t seem to belong to that world that you came from… You seem to have a spark of Jewishness… Specifically, one very special guy began teaching me about Judaism, and little by little, I began to enter the world of holiness and Torah and the Chosen Nation, etc., may G-d’s Name be blessed…”

At the same time, however, that he was undergoing changes in his religious outlook and identity, the prison authorities were preparing him for another change: Early release from jail, back into the areas of the Palestinian Authority – where he knew there were many who would seek to kill him for his connections with Jews and Israelis.

Here’s where Providence stepped in. Gen. Mordechai relates:

“I was driving shortly before midnight on Route 443 to Modiin where I live, when I saw a strange sight at the checkpoint, and I stopped; apparently, everything is truly from Heaven. I saw this young man, Yaniv, crying and sobbing at the checkpoint, and he told me an amazing story – of how he had come close to Judaism while in prison, and how all his requests and pleas to be recognized as a former prisoner whose life would be endangered in the PA were turned down, including from the Supreme Court. I had trouble believing this, but I saw him quoting Biblical verses and all… Meanwhile, he was stuck at the checkpoint; the soldiers wouldn’t let him cross, and he refused to enter the PA. I did some quick checking with the social worker in the prison and with the prison rabbi, and they said very complimentary things about him, such as that he had been released for good behavior, and how sincere he was… I had no immediate solution for him, but I was able to have him brought to a nearby IDF base for a couple of days, and then, after some not-simple struggles with the Shabak and other bodies, we were able to find a place for him…”

Yaniv is now studying and living at a yeshiva in Jerusalem, whose name and location he will not disclose.

Both Gen. Mordechai and Yaniv do not cease to express their amazement at the Divine providence of the story. Yaniv said, “Poli is truly an agent of G-d, blessed be His Name, sent specifically to save me. He is a true tzaddik [righteous person]…” Asked what he would have done had Poli not happened by at that time, he said, “I would have waited there all night, and put on my tefillin in the morning…”

“I was standing there at the checkpoint, I saw two Palestinians coming close to me – I was afraid not only for my life, but even more that maybe they would take my tefillin! For them to take my holiness, the holiness of G-d, I couldn’t take it!..  But I said, If G-d wants me to put on tefillin next to these Palestinians, I’ll do it!  I stood and screamed out, Shma Yisrael, Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One!”

“…And then G-d sent Poli to save me. I had already been rejected by all the courts, and I went to the synagogue and said, ‘G-d, thank You for all you have given me – the good and the bad. If this is Your will, that I return and have to die for the Sanctification of Your Name, then I’ll do it… But G-d sent Poli; G-d never abandons anyone who doesn’t abandon Him, Blessed be His Name forever.”

Yaniv, who is towards the end of his formal conversion process, says he does not know exactly when he will become an official Jew. “Meanwhile, I’m enjoying learning Talmud, praying, etc… When I pray the Amidah, it is not from this world; I see lights…” He acted as the gabbai (sexton) of the prison synagogue. “Gathering people for the prayers, setting up the prayer books – this is where I feel my holiness, this is my blood, this is my life, nothing else, may G-d’s Name be blessed.”

He related, as well, that he was forced to withstand many difficult situations in prison: “G-d sent me many tests, but I believe that, with His help, may He be blessed, I was able to stand up to them.” On the day of his release, the deputy commander of the prison, a Bedouin, wanted to cut off his sidelocks – customarily grown long by Hassidic and other religious Jews. “I told him, without fear: You can kill me, you can do anything you want – but no one will ever touch my sidelocks, my holiness. I didn’t care about anything; it was unthinkable that I would lose my holiness, my sidelocks… How could it be that someone wanted to take my holiness!”

Yaniv related that when he first began to observe Jewish customs in jail, “there were some goyim there [Arabs] who mocked me, and even threatened me. I couldn’t understand those people, that nation: I find something for my soul, why should they care? … But I was not afraid. I felt that I would rather die to sanctify G-d’s name, than not be observant.”

He said that he hopes to continue studying in Yeshiva, and in the future, to possibly give lectures about Judaism and Torah: “The Jewish people – for some reason, I just don’t know why – many of these holy people don’t observe G-d’s will. I hope I can help them to truly return to G-d, and bring the Messiah – who is here, by the way; as soon as everyone observes two Sabbaths, he will be revealed… This is a very difficult generation, a very, very hard generation, G-d knows, there are very strong temptations. But the place in which stands someone who returns to G-d, even a righteous person cannot stand…”

“I want to tell all of Israel: Just like a convert loves G-d with all his heart – I do His will with all my heart, He performed great kindnesses for me, and I serve Him with all my essence, with perfect faith and with serenity, even though I went through many tests – so too G-d loves Israel… G-d took care of me. G-d never abandons anyone; we just have to try to perform His will; give Him an opening the size of a needle [as the Sages say – ed.] and He will open entire worlds for us…”

9:16AM: A palestinian prisoner released from an Israeli jail is interviewed by PA television.

When he says they “lack nothing”, what he apparently means is they lack nothing when it comes to torture and pain.

Libelous drawings depicting fictitious “Israeli torture” are part of the new introduction to a PA TV program for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and their families.

Purporting to show how Palestinian prisoners are tortured by Israel, the drawings portray Israeli prison guards:

1- Burning into a prisoner’s chest with a hot iron;
2- Drilling a hole through a prisoner’s hand;
3- Burning into a prisoner’s shoulder with a soldering iron;
4- Whipping a prisoner while hanging him by his feet ;
5- Squeezing a prisoner’s head in a medieval looking head press;
6- Chopping off a prisoner’s arm below the elbow;
7- Hanging a prisoner by his arms while chains pull from his chest and neck.

Broadcast twice a week, the program For You is aimed at Palestinians imprisoned for terror offenses in Israeli prisons, where they watch the program. It includes footage from the prisoners’ home villages and interviews with their family members, who send them televised messages.

PA TV is controlled by the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

It should be noted that no accusations about this kind of treatment have ever been made against Israel by the International Red Cross, by human rights groups or by Palestinian prisoners themselves.

In a striking irony, in the same week that the PA started to disseminate these libelous drawings on TV, an article in the official PA daily indicated that the prisons are very different than these libels portray. It stated that Palestinian prisoners are given educational opportunities. The PA daily celebrated how “prisoners in occupation [Israeli] prisons complete university studies and obtain MA and Ph.D. degrees,” and proudly cited that “since 2000 more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners have attained matriculation certificates while still in the occupation prisons.” [Transcript below]

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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