Hebron, the Root of the Nation

Rebbe Nachman teaches the following:

“Repentance entails returning the thing to where it was taken from. This is the aspect of zarka, about which the holy Zohar brings: It was zarak (thrown back) to the place from which it was taken. What place is that? It is Chokhmah (Wisdom). For Chokhmah is the root of all things, as it is written (Psalms 104:24), “You created everything with wisdom.”

Returning to our roots is repentance itself. This applies at an individual level, within the person’s consciousness, as well as national, when we return to our roots in the Land of Israel.

This is why Rav Kook says the following at the end of the first chapter of Orot Eretz Yisrael:

“Anticipating of redemption is the force which maintains Jewry in exile, and the Judaism of the Land ‎of Israel is the redemption itself.”

No where is this more apparent than Hebron.

Hebron is the burial place of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, as well Ruth, Yishai, and many more ancient graves. It is our roots, our past, and the foundation for our future Kingdom. More than anything it is the testament that this Land is ours. The Cave of the Patriarchs is the oldest Jewish building stills standing dating back nearly 2000 years, built by Herod as a monument over the ancient cave where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are buried. The sages teach that Adam and Eve are also buried there.

Hebron is a city of conflict.  It is a place where we the Jewish people have struggled, fought, lost, and now have returned.

Our roots are our source of strength and faith. These roots are what gives us our ability to push forward even at times where we have no strength.

This is why the decision by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to build a new neighborhood on the ground of a formerly Jewish one, which had been taken over by Arabs after the massacre of the Hebron Jewish community is so important.

It is a return to our roots – repentance.

This is also why so many voices from the left and Arab Palestinians have come out against such a decision. They wish to stop us from returning, from repenting, from cleaving to our path that begins by reconnecting to our roots.

The following is an excerpt from a speech Rav Kook gave at the memorial service for the victims of the 1929 massacre in Hebron:

“Despite the terrible tragedy that took place in Hebron, we announce to the world, “Our strength is now like our strength was then.” We will not abandon our holy places and sacred aspirations. Hebron is the city of our fathers, the city of the Machpelah cave where our Patriarchs are buried. It is the city of David, the cradle of our sovereign monarchy.”

“Those who discourage the ones trying to rebuild the Jewish community in Hebron with arguments of political expedience; those who scorn and say, “What are those wretched Jews doing?”; those who refuse to help rebuild Hebron — they are attacking the very roots of our people. In the future, they will have to give account for their actions. If ruffians and hooligans have repaid our kindness with malice, we have only one eternal response: Jewish Hebron will once again be built, in honor and glory!”

“The inner meaning of Hebron is to draw strength and galvanize ourselves with the power of Netzach Yisrael, Eternal Israel.”

“That proud Jew, Caleb, announced years later, “I am still strong… As my strength was then, so is my strength now” (Joshua 14:11). We, too, announce to the world: our strength now is as our strength was then. We shall reestablish Hebron in even greater glory, with peace and security for every Jew. With God’s help, we will merit to see Hebron completely rebuilt, speedily in our days.”

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Minister Naftali Bennett Cancels Event With Far-Left NGO That “Defends Terrorists”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced the cancellation of a ministry-sponsored conference set to be held tomorrow with the far-Left NGO Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), following a letter signed by 45 bereaved families accusing ACRI of assisting terrorists and their families.

“ACRI is a radical delegitimization organization that, among its various anti-Israel activities, fights against us, the bereaved families, in a direct way by defending terrorists who murdered our children, parents, brothers, husbands and wives, ”  wrote the bereaved families.

“Unfortunately,” continued the letter, “this organization and others like it repeatedly defend vile murderers. It is inconceivable that the Ministry of Education would work with this organization. We need to fight those who bolster terrorism with a firm hand, not provide them with funding from the taxpayer’s pockets.”

In response to the letter, Minister Bennett announced the cancellation of the conference and instructed the CEO of the ministry to reassess any further cooperation with the organization.

“After information was brought to my attention that [ACRI] consistently works to defend terrorists who murdered Israelis, I instructed the Ministry of Education to cancel its participation in the activity that was supposed to take place with this organization,” said Bennett.

“The Ministry of Education will not cooperate,” continued Bennett, “with organizations that harm IDF soldiers or defend our enemies.”

Matan Peleg, Chairman of Zionist organization Im Tirtzu that has been assisting the bereaved families, said: “It is unthinkable that the Ministry of Education would maintain a connection with a political organization that slanders Israel and IDF soldiers. This is an organization that advocates on behalf of terrorists in Israeli courts by means of extensive funding from foreign governments and the New Israel Fund.”

Peleg continued: “This is one of the most controversial issues in Israeli society and the most painful for bereaved families. It is time for all government ministries to denounce these delegitimization organizations, the sooner the better.”


Why Did Bibi Freeze the Qalqilya Plan?

The vaunted Qalqilya plan which would have seen a doubling of the size of the Palestinian controlled city of Qalqilya just 10 miles from Tel Aviv appears to be permanently frozen by the security cabinet yesterday.  This was Liberman’s plan. It originated with him and he pushed it, but it ran into a solid brick wall when Bibi Netanyahu decided to freeze when he saw he did not have enough votes to pass it or the story goes.

Liberman vs. Bibi vs. Bennett

The jockeying on the right over the Qalqilya plan began a few weeks ago, Liberman’s move was published with the seeming approval of the Prime Minister. Then it was released that the Prime Minister had no knowledge of the plan. At first this seemed crazy. How could Prime Minister Netanyahu not know of something of this magnitude, but then it was found out that the Civil Administration itself under the guidance of Defense Minister Liberman okayed the plan before it was brought to Netanyahu tossing a hot potato into the government.

It was at that point that the right flank of the Likud led by Zeev Elkin and Yariv Levin along with Naftali Bennett of Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) demanded the plan frozen.

Whether or not Bibi Netanyahu planned this, the results are clear. Liberman has become discredited on the right and Bibi has been able by shelving the plan show the base that he is still with them.  This enables the Prime Minister to hold onto the righ tof the Likud, which if the plan went forward he would have lost to Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. He is most certainly still bleeding seats to them, but the damage is contained for now.

What’s Next for Judea and Samaria

Yesterday I wrote on the connection between Mohammed Dahlan and Liberman’s drive to build in Qalqilya.  As much as there is a need for some sort of organizing strategy in Judea and Samaria, its lack of a concrete plan does not take away from the maneuvers by the UAE and Egypt from effectively sending Gaza on its own trajectory through the imposition of Dahlan onto Hamas.  This, like I wrote yesterday is akin to declaring Palestine in Gaza only. It may not be what those of us on the right want, but it appears to be the Sunni axis strategy to resolving the conflict in the near term.

Afterall, everyone from Saudi Arabia to Egypt know and admit behind the scenes that they need Israel far more than the PA. Without Gaza connected to negotiations, the solution in Judea and Samaria is some sort of application of Israeli sovereignty.  There are many options out there such as the Bennett Plan, or the One State Solution Plan offered by Caroline Glick.

Liberman appears to be playing both sides. On one hand trying to show the Americans he is amicable to a deal, while passing that deal off to the cabinet as some sort of need by Israel to take care of the locals within the PA.

Bennett is Pulling the Prime Minister to his Position

The uproar over the Qalqilya plan shows just how strong the Center-Right really is.  This is far more than just Knesset seats.  The Prime Minister acknowledges that there is no real appetite for a handing more of Israel to the Palestinian Authority.  He needs to hold the appearence that he is not battling with Bennett and the Likud over these issues or he will risk splintering his coalition before its time.

According to reports, Bibi has agreed to open a discussion on land usage in Area C (the area Israel has under its full control within Judea and Samaria).  This discussion is the first of its type and will begin the deeper evaluation of how to ensure that it is Israel who ends up the sovereign within Area C if not all of Judea and Samaria.

UNESCO, “Palestine,” and the Erasure of Indigenous History in the Land of Israel

On Friday, UNESCO voted in a secret ballot to declare that Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarch is actually an Islamic and Palestinian Word Heritage site. This vote disregarded the Jewish connection to the city and the Cave of the Patriarchs entirely.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of Education responded with the following:

“The Jewish connection to Hebron goes back thousands of years. Hebron, the birthplace of King David’s kingdom, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the first Jewish purchase in Israel and resting place of our forefathers – are our people’s oldest heritage sites,” he said. “Unesco’s resolution must be rejected, and our efforts to strengthen the city of our fathers increased,” he added.”

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN slammed the decision as well.

“The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels. It represents an affront to history,” Haley said in a statement. 

“It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful,” she said. “And it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency. Today’s vote does no one any good and causes much harm.”

“The United States is currently evaluating the appropriate level of its continued engagement at UNESCO.”

In order to fully understand where to go from the UNESCO travesty, one must understand the partnership the agency and the Palestinian as well as the broader Islamist goals are in Israel and beyond.

The Palestnians were created in 1964 by Yasser Arafat when the Arab world realized they needed some sort of indigenous claim to the Land of Israel, as their broad claim of Zionist colonization failed to make any imprint on a post World War Two Europe and America.

So, in a strategic switch the PLO was born and somehow rewrote history in a bid to claim the mantle of the truly indigenous people belonging to the Holy Land. In 1967, when the Jewish people liberated the heart of their homeland in Judea and Samaria as well as the Golan, Gaza, and Sinai, the newly created “Palestinians” claimed their Land was being colonized even more.

Of course, history shows this is all nonesense as the influx of today’s Palestnians came in waves and usually mirroried Jewish immigration to the Holy Land.  In the 1860’s according to Turkish records the majority population Jerusalem was already Jewish. Beyond Jerusalem, the ancient cities of Sefat and Tiberious had Jewish populations as well as Hebron’s Jewish community that went back well over a thousand years before the Muslum conquest.

This is not to say there were no Arabs, there were. Many of these Arabs came from Syria and even Chechnya or Turkey. A small minority of indigenous Arabs lived in the Southern Hebron Hills, most likely dscended from Jews who vere forced to convert around the 9th and 10th centuries.

It was not until the early 1900’s that Turkey began to encourage intra-migratrion within its empire as to offset the growing Jewish population.  By the time the British took over the Holy Land and renamed it Palestine, the Arab population had artificially exploded.

The Palestinians have no indigenous culture.  They, like the broader Islamist movement sees others’ indigineity as an emotional affront to their lack of historical claims here in the Land of Israel and elsewhere.  Instead of accepting history, they have learned that they have willing partners in the international community that will simply help them appropriate it.

Hebron is the earliest site of spiritual significance to the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people.  Allowing a group of clans that moved to the area relatively recently to claim historical connection to the site that was actually built by the King of Judea is absurd and renders their ability to detect right from wrong obsolete.  Of course, truth is not UNESCO’s or the Palestinian’s goal.

UNESCO believes it’s mandate is to encourage the appropriation of history so as to not be bothered by the Jewish people’s steadfast return and reclaiming that which is mandated by heaven as well as acquired here on earth. Afterall, for UNESCO, the Holocaust is but a distant memory; one where a European group called the Jews were sytematically murdered.

For UNESCO, these Jews are just Europeans with no historical orindigenous claims within the boundaries of ancient Israel. Of course, this is also a perversion of history Israel is made up of Jews of all backgrounds, with a majority from Arab lands. Not to mention, Jews of European descent can trace their origin back to Israel. Once again, history and truth has no place in UNESCO’s perception of reality.

The faster that Israel works to ensure that Hebron is an indisputable part of the State of Israel by providing easy access to its Holy Sites as well as encouraging continued purchasing of private homes by Jews within the ancient city, the faster the world will have to come to a conclusion that the Jews of old have actually returned to their forefathers’ Land.

THE ENEMY WITHIN: Hebrew U Professor Equates Israel to Nazi Germany

Tonight (Thursday) Channel 2 published recordings provided by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu in which Hebrew University professor, Dr. Ofer Cassif, equated Israel with Nazi Germany during one of his classes, insisting that it was a “fact.”

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said that this is further proof of the need of an academic code of ethics.

 “Comparing the State of Israel to the most wicked regime in the history of mankind is not only a disgusting display of anti-Israel propaganda, but something more severe than Holocaust denial,” said Peleg.

“This is further proof of the need to fully implement the academic code of ethics, which will restore pluralism and diversity to academia.”

Peleg added: “We are calling on Education Minister Naftali Bennett not to fold under the pressure of radical leftist elements in academia who are doing all in their power to torpedo the code.”

Peleg is referring to Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s proposal about a Code of Ethics, which he announced last week to the dismay of left leaning academics. Since the annoncement, Bennett has been under a tremendous amount of pressure to back down.

Martin Sherman pointed out the two major points of the code:

“The two principle components of the “Code” appear to be constraints on lecturers, restricting them from (a) promoting their personal political views in class and (b) endorsing the boycott of Israel, in general and from calling for an academic boycott against it, in particular.”

Bennett has no choice but to continue overhauling Israel’s academia before it fully poisons the minds of Israeli youth.

Jared Kushner is in Israel, Is Peace Actually Happening?

Jared Kushner landed in Israel just under 24 hours ago and after rushing to visit the grieving Malka family over their daughter’s murder on Shabbat he wasted no time going to visit Bibi Netanyahu.

The purpose of Kushner’s visit is to push Trump’s “ultimate deal” to broker Israel-Palestinian peace.  To casual observers it appears that there is really momentum towards a peace deal.

Perhaps there is, but let’s look at five reasons this could all be just a show or even more importantly a deal that has nothing to do with the Palestinians:

  • Trump agrees with Israel’s rights as the sovereign in Jerusalem, “Palestinians” will never agree to that.
  • Trump does not really care about “settlements,” “Palestinians” believe they must go.
  • Trump has opted for regional normalization first before any agreement on final status issues.
  • If Mahmoud Abbas, the “Palestinian” strongman agrees to any deal he will be killed by his own people.
  • Trump agrees that Israel should have full security control over Judea and Samaria.

Given the above list, peace does not seem likely anytime soon.  So what’s really going on?

Interim Deal and Normalization

Trump’s team is pushing normalization first and then an interim solution leaving out final status issues for the foreseeable future. This is essentially a rendition of Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Stability Plan. The interim deal will see some sort of non contiguous Palestinian State arise in Area A and B where they already have some sort of autonomy.  C will continued to be controlled by Israel.  “Settlements” will continue in two different capacities.  In the main blocks there will unrestrained building.  In the rest of the Jewish communities in Area C building will continue to allow for natural growth.

Furthermore, Israeli communities across Area C will be given the same political status as any other Israeli community.  This has already been established by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked earlier in the month.

So they would Abbas or the Sunni Arab world go for any of this?

Abbas doesn’t want a real deal for reasons mentioned above. He does want a long-term status quo with an upgrade for the territory he manages.

The Sunni world has never liked the Palestinians.  They have created a “cause” in order to push back on Israel.  Now they need Israel and they need the “cause” they created to quiet down.  The interim plan is the way for this to happen.

Look for Kushner to push the beginnings of an interim solution, a solution that will be so long-term it may just be permanent.


Can Naftali Bennett Uproot the Left’s Monopoly on Israeli Academia

Submitted under the title: Bennett’s academic code: Right sentiment, wrong strategy

In-depth 2013 study: “Israeli academics have been free to engage in ‘nazification’ of Israel”


Had such professional misconduct occurred in the natural or physical sciences there would have doubtless been serious consequences: e.g. the collapse of a bridge following phony engineering calculations…Yet it would seem that when it comes to the social sciences or the humanities… the researcher can escape punishment for the worst kind of malpractice…In this Orwellian world where war is peace and ignorance is strength, not only are the falsifiers not censured – they are applauded Prof Efraim Karsh, on radical left-wing academics in “Fabricating Israeli History”


…no ethical code will open the doors of the left-wing monasteries to the right-wing “heretics” who dare to think differently than the pseudo-liberals who dominate them. – Dr. Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom, June 12, 2017


Earlier this week, Education Minister Naftali Bennett caused a huge public uproar when he introduced his proposed “Code of Ethics” for the country’s institutions of higher learning, stipulating rules, or at least, guidelines, for the conduct of lecturers in the classroom.


The two principle components of the “Code” appear to be constraints on lecturers, restricting them from (a) promoting their personal political views in class and (b) endorsing the boycott of Israel, in general and from calling for an academic boycott against it, in particular.


Cat among the Establishment pigeons?


Bennett’s initiative certainly set the proverbial “cat among the pigeons” across the nation’s academic Establishment—and beyond.


Indeed, it was immediately excoriated by all and sundry—including our oh-so politically correct president, Reuven Rivlin—alleging that it would somehow undermine academic freedom and inhibit the vigor of academic inquiry.


These allegations are, of course, totally unfounded and should be rebuffed with the disdain they so richly deserve.  


Indeed, as Dror Eydar notes:This characterization [of the proposed code] as an ‘attack on democracy’ and ‘attack on academic freedom’ are as much as an insult to our intelligence as they are deceitful”.


He adds acerbically and aptly: “If there is an assault on freedom of expression, it exists right now in most the departments of social sciences and humanities, which function as ‘gatekeepers’ that preclude admission of lecturers and researchers who hold conservative-right-wing views…”


Eydar’s harsh condemnation mirrors much of my own personal experience but that is something I shall return to shortly.  


At this stage, however it is clear that Bennett has put his finger on a crucial issue, impacting the tenor of the public discourse in Israel, and judging from the furor that it has ignited, it appears to have touched a raw nerve among the entrenched and entitled academic elites.


Spotlighting the stranglehold


In this, he has shown considerable courage for broaching the subject boldly and should be warmly commended for spotlighting one of most acute issues afflicting the nation today: The stranglehold of the Left on academic discourse in—and about—Israel.


However, two trenchant questions regarding his initiative must be raised: (a) What is the scope and severity of this problem?  (b) Are the measures proposed the most appropriate and effective for dealing with it?


As to the former, there can be little doubt as to both the dimensions and gravity of the problem.  As to the latter, there is regrettably considerable doubt as to whether the “Code” is the optimal instrument for addressing the problem—or if it addresses the cardinal components of it at all.


Just how grave the problem of exclusionary bias is in the Israeli academe—at least in the Social Sciences and Humanities –is reflected in a comprehensive study of academic freedom in Israel by the widely respected researcher, Professor Ofira Seliktar.


Entitled Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective”, it conducts a comparative analysis of the situation in Israel, the UK and Germany and comes up with several disturbing conclusions regarding the abuse of academic freedom in Israel.


The following are some of the more worrying excerpts from the study.


“Zionism is a colonial-imperialist movement…”


Seliktar depicts the prevailing atmosphere in much of the Social Sciences and Humanities in the country’s academic institutions: “Neo-Marxist, critical scholarship has acquired a substantial following in faculties of the liberal arts (the humanities and social sciences) in Israeli universities.”  


She elaborates: “Known as post Zionism, it asserts that Zionism is a colonial-imperialist movement and that its progeny, the State of Israel, is a colonial-apartheid country… Israel is presented as a Nazi-like state and the Israel Defense Force…is accused of Nazi-like behavior”.


Seliktar then goes on to depict the exclusionary nature of the syllabuses offered students and the narrow perspectives it provides them: “As a rule, courses offered by self-described post Zionist faculty have been heavily weighted toward this neo-Marxist…paradigm, with little or no effort expended to provide any different perspective.”


She then expounds on how Israeli academics harness their position to advance their radical—even anti-Zionist—political agenda: “Combining academic research and political work, post-Zionist academics have engaged in a robust effort to compel Israel to withdraw from the territories; some advocated the return of Palestinian refugees in order to create a bi-national Jewish-Palestinian entity”.


Moreover, she points to a reprehensible phenomenon, revealing :“Israeli scholars have adopted a leadership role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, launched international petition drives condemning the IDF for war crimes, and inspired lawsuits against individual commanders.”


“Israeli academics engage in ‘nazification’ of Israel…”


Seliktar laments: “Government and university authorities have been slow to respond to this threat, due to the prevalent notion that academic freedom protects faculty speech and action, both intramurally and extramurally.”


Just how predictable the current howls of protest at Bennett’s attempt to deal with this outrageous state of affairs are, is reflected in her observation:  “…radical scholars and their liberal defenders in the academy and media have warned that imposing any limits would injure Israel’s standing in the academic world and place it at-odds with standards of academic freedom practiced in other democratic countries…”


Seliktar harshly criticizes both the cronyism and the criteria for advancement within Israeli faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities: “…Israeli scholars have been routinely promoted based on publication in radical presses…and journals of dubious academic credibility.”   


She warns that “…none of the legal remedies developed in Great Britain and the United States are applicable to Israel…”  Thus, according to Seliktar, “Israeli academics have been free to engage in ‘nazification’ and ‘apartheidization’ of Israel”, unencumbered by constraints prevalent in other Western democracies. Furthermore, she cautions that their work has been seized on by Israel’s most indefatigable foes: “Their work has been quoted by pro-Palestinian or pro- Iranian circles seeking academic legitimacy for their positions.”


Summing up, Seliktar cautions that “The lack of understanding of how other countries balance academic freedom with responsibility to state and society has enabled radical scholars not only to abuse academic privileges, but also claim that Israel is sliding toward McCarthyism…”  


Right diagnosis, wrong remedy


This then, is the dire predicament that prompted Bennett’s well-intentioned initiative, and with which it was reportedly designed to contend.  


However, as emerges from Seliktar’s study, it is unlikely to address the major detrimental effects prevailing today in Israel’s academic milieu, or the grave damage the ongoing abuse of academic freedom is inflicting on Israel internationally.

Of course, I in no way wish to belittle the gravity of the fear of intimidation , even retribution, individual students may feel in the classroom should they have the temerity to challenge the political doctrine expounded by their lecturers. However, at the national level, concern should be focused elsewhere. Here, as Seliktar indicates, the problem is not so much which views are expressed—and which are suppressed—within the limited arena of a lecture. What is most damaging to Israel are those that are aired—or stifled—in academic conferences, journals and mainstream media opinion columns, using academic credentials to lend an air of indisputable authority to views conveyed in them.  

However, these effects are not addressed by Bennett’s proposed “Code”. Indeed not only does it not even purport to address them, Bennett himself pointed out, in response to his detractors claims that he is constraining academic activity,  that in these matters academics will still have unfettered freedoms.


It is therefore, clear that despite the accurate diagnosis of the malaise in Israel’s institutions of higher learning, the remedy prescribed in Bennett’s initiative will almost certainly be ineffective.


The real problem: Criteria for admission & promotion


Seliktars’s study underscores that the root of the problem is not so much restricting the expression of political proclivities in the lecture hall, but the criterion for admission to the ranks of academia, and for promotion to senior academic positions. These, too, are issues left largely unaddressed by the Bennett “Code”.


To underscore the severity of these two issues, I would challenge the readers to identify any senior tenured academic (and certainly any junior academic seeking tenure) in any major academic establishment, who overtly challenged the Oslo “peace process”, warned of the death and destruction it would wreak on Jew and Arab alike, and urged the Israeli government, publically and persistently, to abandon the perilous path it has embarked upon.  


I would be more than grateful to learn of the existence of any such redoubtable “renegade”.


Moreover, consider the question of promotion. Suppose some intrepid academic rebel penned a brilliantly prescient article, predicting precisely the disastrous course the peace process would follow, the gigantic wave of carnage it would precipitate, the terror it would bring to Israeli streets, cafes and buses; and the deprivation and devastation it would bring to the Palestinian-Arabs –particularly in Gaza.


Admission & promotion criteria (cont.)

Anyone, even remotely familiar with the atmosphere that pervaded the academic milieu at the time, would know—as a matter of certainty—that such an article, no matter how exhaustively researched and/or tightly argued, would have little to no chance of publication in any major journal in the field of political science, international relations or any related discipline.


By contrast, if an article, echoing received wisdom of the time, set out a glowing prognosis of how the Middle East was on the threshold of a new era of peace and prosperity, it would have little difficulty in finding its way into the pages of respected academic publications.

So, if the criterion for promotion is one’s record of publication, who is likely be promoted? The candidate who got it totally wrong, but can point to a long list of publications? Or the candidate who got it exactly right, but had no record of published research? The answer is of course painfully clear—sadly reinforcing the lamentable state of affairs in the Israeli academe, so succinctly conveyed by Prof. Karsh in the introductory excerpt: “In this Orwellian world where war is peace and ignorance is strength, not only are the falsifiers not censured – they are applauded.”


Indeed they are!

“…solution is to establish new institutions”  


None of these detrimental defects will be remedied by preventing a lecturer from expressing his/her political credo in class, or by compelling him/her to present opposing perspectives to his/her students. Indeed, how realistic is it to expect a radical left-wing professor to present the views of right-wing conservatism in anything approaching an adequate and equitable fashion?

No, the quest for a comprehensive and fundamental remedy must be conducted in an entirely different direction—not by quashing expression  of certain positions, but by providing alternative frameworks and mechanisms for the expression of opposing  positions that can effectively challenge the dominant (indeed, domineering) paradigm that currently monopolizes the academic discourse.


In this I find myself in complete agreement with Eydar, both when he warns:  “no ethical code will open the doors of the left-wing monasteries to the right-wing “heretics” who dare to think differently than the pseudo-liberals who dominate them”;  and when he prescribes: “The solution is to establish new institutions and think tanks as an alternative”.


I totally agree and —in the interests of full disclosure—this is the major thrust of my endeavor at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, established precisely for this purpose: To establish a “theater of engagement” in which the Left-wing academic elites are compelled to engage intellectual adversaries, and in which their doctrinaire positions can be publically exposed for the dangerous drivel that they really are.   

Accordingly, I call on the Education Minister to channel his efforts (and resources) into this and other like-minded enterprises. I have little doubt that this strategy—of  fostering  more robust debate, rather than trying to straight-jacket it—will be far more fruitful in remedying the ailment he so accurately diagnosed.   



Why Did Bibi Netanyahu Agree to Build 14,000 New Homes for PA Arabs on Israeli Land?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”FOR $5/MONTH YOU CAN SUPPORT ORIT’S WRITING” color=”primary” size=”lg” align=”center” button_block=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.paypal.com%2Fcgi-bin%2Fwebscr%3Fcmd%3D_s-xclick%26hosted_button_id%3DPBTQ2JVPQ3WJ2|||”][vc_column_text]Last night it was announced that Netanyahu approved 14,000 new housing units for 50,000 Arab residents of Qalqiliya for construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli responsibility.

News reports add that the construction would double the size of the city, located in Area A at the expense of land in Area C which was intended for Israeli development. Doubling the size of Qalqiliya, which sits on the green line 9 km from the Mediterranean is a dangerous development.

The announcement drew immediate criticism from Netanyahu’s right leaning ministers, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked:

“We objected to the plan called ‘carrot and stick,’ which was and remains a program of reward for terror and the promotion of the Palestinian takeover of Area C. There is no doubt that the plan’s meaning is stringent against the very limited scope of construction approved by the prime minister for Israeli settlements.”

“The Israeli government must promote Israeli interests in Judea and Samaria, not those of the Palestinians. In light of these implications, we will demand a freeze on the plan until the cabinet can discuss it or marketing of 14,000 housing units for Israelis in Area C [is carried out to balance the Arab building plan],” the two said.


Today reaction was just a serious from Bibi Netanyahu’s own party.  Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said the following:

“The PA continues to incite to terror and harm the security of Israeli civilians. The PA systematically disregards all of its obligations, therefore it is right that the decision to expand Qalqilya be reassessed, as the damage inherent in the plan is great.”


With all of the push back from vital members of the Prime Minister coalition and essentially those that have their ears to the base of the right, why did Netanyahu approve the building, which would radically change the balance between Arab and Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria?

The Trump Peace Initiative Takes Shape

All the moves we are seeing whether they are the Saudis freezing out Qatar, to the PA coordinating with Israel to shut down Hamas are intending to create the atmosphere where Israelis would feel comfortable enough to sit down with the Arab world to negotiate. Trump’s team does not want to repeat the same mistakes as the past. A regional initiative where Israelis and Arabs learn to rely on each other against Iran’s drive for regional control is there to provide a back drop for the next phase, the contours of a Palestinian state.

So what are the contours of this future Palestine under the Trump initiative?

Let’s assume both sides begin talking and agree to the following:

  • Demilitarized Palestine
  • Jewish communities stay even outside the blocks
  • Israel annexes settlement blocks

With these three elements agreed upon the complicated questions of security control, Jerusalem, and refugees will then come into play.  By this time the Sunni Arab States and Israel will have some sort of normalized relationships.  Direct flights, trade relations, and what not.  Trump’s plan rests on the fact that Israel craving this normalization will make the requisite concessions for the Arabs to sign on to making peace or the Arabs needing Israel’s help against Iran, will concede elements to Israel.  There is a logic to all of this except that neither side views this as a real estate deal and so unless one of the sides capitulates completely the process will break down.  Unfortunately, by then Israel will have lost Area C and perhaps more.

The real question is why the Trump administration has not entertained another plan altogether? Why has it insisted on the same old Arabist approach with just different semantics associated with it?

Why has the Prime Minister agreed to build so many houses rather than just telling President Trump, no?

There are a number of possibilities:

  1. He believes the process will break down and so he can freeze them.
  2. He needs a new foil and will allow his right flank to stop the plan, which is a strategy he employed numerous times with Obama.
  3. He really wants to build more Arab homes.

Any of the above could be the answer. With Bibi you never know and that is the challenge.  We are being led down a path where no one except the Prime Minister knows the end game.

The problem with the “peace process” itself is that it is being built by people with little or no understanding of the complex issues Israel and its neighbors deal with. It’s true, the Arabs are being herded towards making peace, but it is Israel that will end up sacrificing the most whether or not Trump lands the ultimate deal or it fails along the way.


PM Netanyahu Blasts Hebrew U for Cancelling ‘Hatikvah’ at Graduation Ceremony

PM Netanyahu called the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Humanities decision to not play “Hatikvah” at tonight’s graduation ceremony “embarrassing” and the “peak of subservience, the opposite of national pride.”
The Prime Minister’s statement came following a recording obtained by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu in which a department worker explained that the faculty’s dean ordered the national anthem not to be played as to not offend any of the Arab students.
“We are proud of our country, our flag, our national anthem, and this only reinforces my opinion to pass the national law that we are leading in order to anchor into law the national symbols that are so dear to us,” added Netanyahu.
Education Minister and head of the Council for Higher Education Naftali Bennett also responded to the news by phoning Hebrew University President Menahem Ben Sasson and clarifying that “Hatikvah” needs to be played at every state ceremony held at the University.
Bennett added that in regards to non-state ceremonies, “the decision of whether or not to play the anthem cannot be influenced by consideration of whose feelings it hurts, as a symbol of the State of Israel does not constitute any harm.”
The Education Minister also informed the President that as a public institution, Hebrew University must “honor the state that stands behind it.”
Prof. Ben Sasson said that he would ensure that the national anthem is played at state ceremonies, and would look into this specific event.
In a statement released by Hebrew University, they said that: “There is no statutory provision and/or guidance from the Council for Higher Education regarding the singing of anthems at academic ceremonies, hence there is no basis for complaints to the university on the subject. At official state ceremonies at Hebrew University, the national anthem is played as usual. At academic ceremonies there is no obligation to play the anthem.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg noted that “over that past few weeks, we have been witness to a number of anti-Israel events held on Israeli campuses, including events marking Israel’s establishment as a catastrophe.”
“We welcome the mobilization of government officials who are working to stop this absurdity,” Peleg added.

With the Latest Judicial Appointments The Left’s Control Over the Israeli Supreme Court is Finally Falling Apart

Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted the following after four new Supreme Court Judges were chosen yesterday:

“Kudos to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who has achieved the unbelievable and led a real revolution within the Judicial Selection Committee with the appointment of some wonderful conservative judges. Bravo, Ayelet!” 

There are few things most Israelis agree on. The Supreme Court being too favorable to leftist and international viewpoints is one of them. If the appointments yesterday of four non activist judges was a revolution, then the way Minister Shaked broke the negotiating power of the Left leaning Supreme Court was something that will forever change Israeli politics.

Shaked did this by threatening to back a bill in the Knesset which would have stripped the Supreme Court of the power to be part of the selection committee that decides who should be a Supreme Court Judge (that’s right, in Israel the Supreme Court gets to help decide its own members). Facing legislative extinction the old guard and leftist elite folded on the immediate selections and in order to keep a bit of power.  Shaked and the ruling government shelved the nuclear option in favor of changing the court from within.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that “today we have made history. This evening the Judicial Selection Committee headed by me appointed four judges to the Supreme Court, after we have already appointed 150 judges since the beginning of my term in office. The appointment of the judges this evening will enable expression of the human and judicial mosaic which is so necessary for us as a society and was so lacking until today in the highest judicial forum. The rudder of our judicial flagship has changed its course tonight.”

Minister Shaked has now shown the way forward in battling the judicial tyranny of the Left.  Take it on directly and never back down.