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WARNING : Don't you judge by reading one article. This site is not for you if you cannot see the otherness of others and sufferings of both sides of the party in the conflict. Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians are interdependent, one will not happen without the other. My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I hope and pray a sense of justice to prevail. Amen. Website www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com | Also Check Israel Palestine Confederation a pragmatic solution

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Israel - the ballot is stronger than the bullets

A healthy democracy is the safest thing and right thing to have. If men like Netanyahu fear that Jewish nature of Israeli will not continue with Christians and Muslims, and force an artificial demographics, then they don't know what democracy is and have not studied enduring American democracy or even South African Democracy.

Mike Ghouse
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Alon Ben-Meir - February 19, 2015
http://www.alonben-meir.com/article/ballot-stronger-bullet/?
The Israeli general election, scheduled for March 17, can be fateful for the Israeli Arabs as their voting en masse could change the political map and potentially prevent Netanyahu from forming the next government. They can, and indeed must, defy all parties from the right-of-center who do not wish them to have a voice, ostensibly because the Israeli Arabs cannot be trusted on matters related to peace and national security. But if the Israeli Arabs want equal distribution of resources to improve their socio-economic conditions, fully integrate into Israeli society, and contribute constructively to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, they must now fully exercise their right to vote and not squander this historic opportunity.

The number of Arab voters has dwindled in past elections, from 90% in 1955 to 18% in 2001, and up to just over 50% in the last election. This swing in voting was due to several important factors, including their frustration with the Israeli political system that does not allow much to change, growing complacency due to their general distrust of Israeli governments, and the inability to influence events.

In addition, Israeli Arabs have always been torn between their duty as Israeli citizens and their sense of affinity to their brethren in the West Bank and Gaza as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict grinds on. This is coupled with disappointment with their own leaders, which has further discouraged them from being politically active.

The convergence of several developments in this election has created an unprecedented opportunity for Israeli Arabs to vote en masse and potentially change the political landscape in Israel. To achieve that, the burden of the “get out the vote” campaign falls on the shoulders of their leaders, Israeli Arab mayors, and local Arab political activists.
As it is, the Israeli Arabs are more motivated to vote in this election, especially because of the growing acuteness of their socioeconomic problems, overt discrimination in job opportunities and education, and limits on building permits and neglect of infrastructure. Their strong desire to prevent Netanyahu from advancing the “Nationality bill,” which they consider to be racist, provides further impetus.
Although the formation of a joint list of all the Arab parties—Balad, United Arab List-Ta’al, Hadash and Raam—came about from self-preservation, it has nevertheless engendered new momentum.
Israeli political organizations from the left and left-of-center, who vehemently want to deny Netanyahu another term, are also supporting the Arab list because the larger the number of Arab members in the Knesset, the wider the political base they will muster.

It is true that the Arabs are unlikely to vote in great numbers for Labor/Hatnua, partly because of the characterization of the party as the “Zionist Union” and partly because they are not a part of the political apparatus.

Nevertheless, the prospect of improving their condition and having a say in the political affairs of the country will depend to a great extent on the advent of Labor to power, which explains their tacit cooperation.

To be sure, the Israeli Arabs could be a deciding factor if parties on the right (led by Likud) lose some and the left (led by Labor) win some. Should they vote en masse for their own list, they have the potential of winning as many as 18 seats, emerging as the fourth or even third-largest party and becoming the “blocking bloc” that will prevent Netanyahu from forming a new government.
Even if Likud wins by a small margin over Labor, it is important to note that Israel’s President is not required to assign the leader of the party who wins the most seats to form the new government if he concludes that the left and left-of-center bloc could have a majority vote. For this particular reason, how many seats Arab Knesset members win will matter greatly.

To achieve their objective, the Arab list must first and foremost put forth a political agenda and an effective action plan that appeals especially to the eligible Arab youth, who have been disenchanted and are desperate for meaningful change. Time is short and they must utilize every moment to promote their political agenda.

They must focus on how to improve the conditions of Israeli Arabs in all spheres, rather than merely criticizing other political parties. They should constructively engage their Jewish counterparts in a dialogue about the future of the country and demonstrate loyalty to the state as their fate is intertwined with the fate of the country.

They must not be intimidated by the leaders of center and right-of-center parties, who refer to the Israeli Arabs as a fifth column whose main agenda is to destroy Israel. It should be noted that even though they are systematically discriminated against, 99 percent of Israeli Arabs prefer to live in a democratic Israel, where they at least enjoy equal rights before the law.

Their role now is to translate their constitutional rights into day-to day equality between them and their Jewish counterparts by voting instead of complaining. As Abraham Lincoln is attributed as saying, “Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

In fact, Israelis from all circles of life lament the discrimination against the Arabs and feel strongly that for Israel to remain a vibrant progressive democracy with security, it must have true equality between all citizens. Equality, though, is a process, and however long it might take, it rests on the ballot and not the bullet, to quote Lincoln again.

Working closely with Labor now and after the election, the Israeli Arabs’ struggle will continue. In the final analysis, regardless of who forms the next government, they must pursue a constructive path and not be drawn into a cycle of recriminations.

It is up to the Israeli Arabs to vote in this election and grasp the political power that reflects their numbers. They now have a momentous opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the state as responsible citizens who are ready to do their share and defy those Israelis who wish to see them disappear for 24 hours during election day.

A Message To Netanyahu: Enough Is Enough

Alon Ben-Meir - February 25, 2015
The killing of a security guard at a synagogue in Copenhagen over two weeks ago has renewed Netanyahu’s call for mass immigration of European Jews to Israel. Although he has made such impetuous appeals before, he now makes a new brazen claim that as Prime Minister of Israel, he represents and can speak on behalf of world Jewry.

This delusionary claim is an insult to European governments and the nearly 1.5 million Jews who live, work, and flourish in Europe. The irony is that Netanyahu represents neither the Jews around the world nor even the majority of Israeli Jews, other than the fraction who voted for Likud in the previous election.

Nevertheless, he seized the opportunity to usurp the political debate in Israel leading up to the election, irrespective of how harmful it may be to the very people he presumably wants to shield, merely because he believes it serves his interests.

Although Israel represents a sanctuary where any Jew is welcome, not a single non-Israeli Jew living outside Israel has appointed Netanyahu to be their spokesperson or protector.

No honest observer can deny that the upsurge of violent attacks against Jews is connected to the rise of anti-Semitism, which has not occurred in a vacuum. It is a direct result of growing anti-Israeli sentiment due to Netanyahu’s misguided policies toward the Palestinians and the continuing occupation.

Netanyahu’s call for European Jews to immigrate to Israel, live in “safety,” and not be subjected to terrorism was met with indignation by many Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi of ‪‎Denmark‬, who said “If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island.” ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Western European leaders have also taken great offense. Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt remarked that “[Jews] belong in Denmark. They’re part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community,” which echoed what the French Prime Minister said following January’s terror attacks in ‪‎Paris on a Jewish supermarket.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Notwithstanding the Jewish Diaspora’s affinity for Israel, they are loyal citizens of their respective countries, and Netanyahu’s illusion that bringing Jews to Israel will guarantee their security is only surpassed by his craven arrogance.

His call for mass immigration alienates Diaspora Jews and may put them at even greater risk. Eighty times more Israelis were killed in Israel by violence with the Palestinians in the past 25 years than all the Jews killed in Europe by terrorists during the same period.

There is no doubt that Netanyahu’s call for Jews to immigrate to Israel is also driven by his strong desire to increase the Jewish population in Israel and sustain the Jewish national identity of the state. This also explains his demand that as a prerequisite to reaching a peace agreement, the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.‬‬‬‬

Here is where Netanyahu’s hypocrisy is on full display. Indeed, if he wishes to shield the Jews from acts of terrorism and encourage them to immigrate to sustain a Jewish majority in Israel, he should first focus on addressing the causes behind the rise of violent attacks by vigorously attempting to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I maintain that once a peace agreement with the Palestinians is reached, many Jews would immigrate to Israel without any prompting.

They would be willing to build a new life in Israel not because they will necessarily feel safer there, but because peace would rekindle the pioneering spirit which was behind the mass immigration to Israel in years past, regardless of the uncertainty and the prospect of violence.

Sadly, Israel is no longer arousing that spirit, especially in young European and American Jews, because of the continuing conflict which has sapped it, leaving a void that cannot be filled with empty political slogans.

Netanyahu should wake up to the gloomy reality that nearly one million Israelis emigrated from Israel in the past 25 years. Many of them have left not only because they have become weary of endless violent conflict, but also because they feel betrayed by self-indulgent political leaders.

With only a few exceptions, Israel has been plagued with leaders who are no longer true to the vision behind the creation of Israel. As a result, many Jews have little hope that the political environment will change any time soon, unless new leaders emerge who are committed to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Not surprisingly, many Israelis who emigrated see no reason why they should return, only to see their children be inducted to a military that has become the oppressor rather than the proud guardian of a free, independent, and prosperous country at peace with itself and with the people that co-inhabit the land. ‬

This, of course, doesn’t trouble Netanyahu. For him, this is a do-or-die political campaign. He will do and say anything to remain the focus of public discourse, even by exploiting the sensitive issues of anti-Semitism, violent extremism against the Jews, and Iran’s nuclear threat.

He already crossed a major red line by accepting the invitation to address a joint session of Congress to the dismay of many Congressmen and Jewish leaders in and outside Israel, as well as a majority of the American public, while showing complete disrespect to President Obama, and more importantly to the Executive Office of the President.

He is determined to project an image of a courageous leader and the champion of Jewish causes, when in fact he has no courage but raw boldness befitting a politician who would sell his soul to the highest bidder.

Consequently, he brought Israel’s indispensable relations with the US to a state of crisis, infuriated European leaders, embarrassed Jews everywhere, and further isolated Israel.

The Israeli electorate, who will soon cast their vote, will do well to remember that they must now seek a new horizon and send a loud and clear message to Netanyahu: enough is enough.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

An Open Letter to the World - Howard Klineberg

Beautifully written, but falls short of becoming the greatest letter by a persecuted community. It would have been great by adding that we want to live and share the land with Palestinians who have lived on this land, and we will not do injustice to them, as was done to us.

Mike Ghouse
www.IsraelPalestineDialouge.com
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An Open Letter to the world by Howard Klineberg
Published in Times of Israel.

When we were led into the gas chamber, YOU said nothing
When we were forcibly converted, YOU said nothing

When we were thrown out of a country just for being Jews, YOU said nothing

When we now defend ourselves all of a sudden, YOU have something to say

How did we take our revenge on the Germans for their Final Solution?

 How did we take revenge on the Spanish for their Inquisition?

How did we take revenge on Islam for being Dhimmi?

How did we take revenge on the lies of the Protocols of Zion?

We studied our Torah

We innovated in medicine

We innovated in defense systems

We innovated in technology

 We innovated in agriculture

We made music

We wrote poetry

We made the desert bloom

We won Noble prizes

We founded the movie industry

We financed democracy

 We fulfilled the word of Hashem by becoming a light unto the Nations of the Earth

So World when you criticise us for defending our heritage and our ancestral homeland we the Jew’s of the World do exactly what you did, we ignore you.

You have proven to us for the last 2,000 years that when the chips are down you don’t care.

Now leave us alone and go sort out you own back yard whilst we continue our 5775-year old mission, enhancing the World we share.

Read more: An Open Letter to the World | Howard Klineberg | The Blogs | The Times of Israel http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/an-open-letter-to-the-world/#ixzz3QWZvvfqD