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January 6, 2010

A7News: PR Man Diagnoses OCID: Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 1:39 pm

logo.jpgTevet 20, 5770 / Wednesday, Jan. 06 ’10

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Headlines

  1. PR Man Diagnoses OCID: Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder
  2. Construction Co. Sues Gov’t for Freeze Damages
  3. Rabbi Druckman: Refusal Only if No Choice
  4. Mubarak: Israel Can Build – in Exchange for Fatah Prisoners
  5. Newspaper Wars: Media Kerfluffle Over ‘Adelson Law’
  6. Norway, Arab Royalty Fund Clinton Foundation in 2009
  7. Legal Group: High Court Should Stay Out of Defense Matters
  8. Iraq: Sue Israel for Billions for 1981 Bombing of Nuclear Site

1. PR Man Diagnoses OCID: Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder

by Tzvi ben Gedalyahu and Rachel Sylvetsky

The United Nations and media suffer from “Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder (OCID),” says the British-born designer of the FreeMiddleEast.com, website which illustrates the anti-Israel agenda.

"Stop defending Israel and start showing the truth proactively", he tells Israel supporters. Knesset Member Yuli Edelstein published statistics Wednesday that show that 91 percent of Israelis feel that Israel has an extremely negative world image and is seen as an aggressive and unfriendly country.

Jonathan Bash now lives in Israel and was also co-founder of a media watchdog website. He says his aim is “to make the Middle East a free place” for everyone, including Christians whose rights have been eroded under the Palestinian Authority

The “FreeMiddleEast.com" website shows two chilling videos, brought below, one on the worldwide problem of refugees and the other on the international agenda to destroy Israel.

He feels that the fixation of the eyes of the world can be broken by repeated showing of what is happening to recent refugees in Darfur and other places. The Arab world and the United Nations have instead focused on the poor living conditions of Arabs left to languish in “refugee camps” for decades instead of being absorbed into their host country’s population, as is done with other refugees.

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Email readers: Click here to view video "The Obsession with Israel"

“Terrible things are going on in the world,” Bash told Israel National News, discussing his video on refugees. “It is a disaster and the world is not doing anything about it. The issue is not what’s going on in Israel. Over the last few years 300,000 people have been killed in Sudan,” he said and added that Google searches for Darfur are a mere four percent of those for Israel.

The second video presentation is called “The Phased Plan: The 3 step plan to destroy Israel”. It quotes a U.N.-hosted website of the Palestinian Authority observer at the United Nations as advocating an “armed struggle” and a “combatant national authority.” Bash’s notes these terms are “diametrically opposed to the U.N. charter. The charter’s opening paragraph mentions the word ‘peace’ five times”.

The video quotes former PA chairman Yasser Arafat’s 1996 statement,” Within five years, we plan to destroy Israel.” The film then shows the PA’s plan: “Acquire territory, use territory to launch terror, and destroy Israel.”

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Email readers: Click here to view video "The PLO Phased Plan"

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2. Construction Co. Sues Gov’t for Freeze Damages

by Hillel Fendel

A construction company in the hareidi-religious city of Modiin Illit (Kiryat Sefer) demands 18 million shekels $4.8 million)from the government to pay for construction freeze-caused damages – and that’s just for starters.

Based on the government’s response, owner Pinchas Zaltsman says he will decide whether to immediately demand a further 257 million shekels in damages, or to wait until the full extent of the damages becomes known. A complex set of regulations stands behind this decision, Zaltsman told Israel National News.

The company, Neot HaPisgah Modi’in Ilit, was in the midst of building several hundred housing units in Modiin Illit when the 10-month freeze was abruptly announced this past November. In a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and IDF Central District Commander Gen. Mizrachi, the company states that the freeze has prevented it from fulfilling its obligations to apartment purchasers, causing “inestimable damage” to its public image and financial losses.

This is the first demand by a construction company for freeze-related damages, although additional companies are expected to follow suit. Neot HaPisgah has hired a high-profile lawyer, Ehud Arad, and its legal proceedings to recoup its freeze-caused damages from the government are expected to make waves in the coming weeks and months.

Government Held Responsible for Political Decisions
The company states that "there is a price for political decisions and this must be recognized… The responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister and the government, who, with an unplanned decision and shortsightedness, brought the company to its current state.”

Where’s the Logic?
In addition to the 18-million demand and the 257-million suit, Zaltsman explained that his company has also sued the government on a third front: “We demand to know what logic there is in arbitrarily determining the ‘building of foundations’ as the cut-off point for allowing construction to continue. There might be someone who did nothing but put down foundations, and he is permitted to continue building – while we, who have spent millions on moving earth, building support walls, and constructing various infrastructures for approximately 1,000 housing units, cannot proceed? Where is the logic? It should be that once the construction has passed a point of no return, it should be permitted to continue.”

Neot HaPisgah has already completed some 600 apartments in Modiin Illit, east of Ben Gurion International Airport and just north of Modiin, and has the rights to build another 2,100. It also has plans to build in Beitar in Gush Etzion, Shilat, and elsewhere.

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3. Rabbi Druckman: Refusal Only if No Choice

by Hillel Fendel

“Soldiers must first ask to be exempted from demolishing Jewish homes, without fanfare; one must refuse only if there is no choice."

Rabbi Chaim Druckman, chairman and elder statesman of the Yeshivot Hesder Association who has been viewed as a “moderate,” has clarified his position on the burning issue in the religious-Zionist world of obeying IDF orders that conflict with Torah law. His position can be summed up as: "Refuse orders to destroy Jewish towns only if you have no choice."

Referring to orders that soldiers occasionally receive to evict Jews and/or destroy their homes in Judea and Samaria, Rabbi Druckman told the Olam Katan (Small World) weekly synagogue pamphlet as follows:

“I tell the students that they must first ask, in an orderly manner, to be exempted from this mission, without arousing commotion. But if in the end, [if] they give you no choice and do not release you – then there is no choice. I’m saying, and this is only my opinion, that he should not do it.

“I, of course, hope that we won’t reach that situation,” Rabbi Druckman continued, “especially after the trauma of Gush Katif, which even those who favored it see that not only did it not help, it also gave us more troubles. I hope that we will have the intelligence not to make the same mistakes again, Heaven forbid, even on a smaller scale.”

"Just Like a Broken Arm"
In a meeting on Wednesday with the director of the Prime Minister’s office, Eyal Gabbai, Rabbi Druckman said that though he objects in principle to refusal of orders in the army, "there are times when a person simply cannot fulfill a given order for reasons of conscience – just like someone with a broken arm cannot fulfill certain orders." Gabbai said he did not accept the comparison.

Rabbi Druckman, a former Knesset Member of the National Religious and Morashah parties, said that the issue is clearly a Halakhic [Jewish-legal] one. Rabbi David Stav, spokesperson for the Hesder Yeshivot Association, had been quoted on Voice of Israel radio – wrongly, as it turned out – as saying that the question of removing Jewish towns from Judea and Samaria is a political/diplomatic issue, and not Jewish-legal.

The Association released an announcement saying that Rabbi Stav never made such a statement: “Moreover, he emphasized at the time that the destruction of Jewish towns is a Halakhic matter, though there are other opinions by Torah giants. After the mistake was cleared up, a clarification/correction was broadcast on the radio.”

Before the clarification was issued, Rabbis Dov Lior, Eliezer Waldman and Elyakim Levanon – veteran heads of Hesder yeshivot – distanced themselves from the alleged statement, saying, “Our understanding is that the Torah of Israel absolutely forbids giving away any part of the Land of Israel to foreigners in any fashion.”

Rabbi Druckman is considered a moderating force in the ongoing dispute between the Defense Ministry and Yeshivat Har Bracha – the yeshiva that Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently ousted from the Hesder arrangement. Barak said that the yeshiva students have 60 days in which to switch to a recognized Hesder yeshiva, or else they will be drafted for full three-years of service. Hesder students usually serve for five years, of which 3.5 are spent in Torah study.

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, who heads Yeshivat Har Bracha, is outspokenly in favor of refusing orders to destroy Jewish property and evict Jews, and Barak’s decision was considered his “punishment.” Behind-the-scenes contacts are said to be underway to find a compromise that will allow Har Bracha to be reinstated.

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4. Mubarak: Israel Can Build – in Exchange for Fatah Prisoners

by Hillel Fendel

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ghumuriya reports a new initiative proposed by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, based on the premise that allowing Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria would be an Arab “concession.”

The new Mubarak plan states as follows: Israel would be allowed to build 8,000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria, despite the freeze, and in exchange, would do the following: Release 500 Fatah terrorist prisoners from prison, recognize the pre-1967 borders as binding, remove unauthorized outposts and additional security checkpoints, and more.

Israel has issued a denial of the program.

The plan is to be presented to the U.S. government, and if it is approved by Washington, it will be the basis of a summit meeting in Egypt in March or April. The Egyptian newspaper says the plan is a product of recent visits by Egyptian General Omar Suleiman in Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Egypt.

Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, says he has no plans to renew talks with Israel without concrete steps by Israel – of which the construction freeze is apparently not one. Netanyahu’s position as reported to him by Mubarak “is still vague,” Abu Mazen said.

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5. Newspaper Wars: Media Kerfluffle Over ‘Adelson Law’

by Gil Ronen

The battle between Israel’s established newspapers and freebie newcomer Yisrael Hayom continues to occupy the media’s opinion pages, and hence the public’s thoughts. The weekly Hebrew B’Sheva magazine asked Caroline Click of the Jerusalem Post and Amnon Dankner, the former editor of Maariv, to give their opinions on the proposed law that would prohibit a foreign national from publishing a newspaper in Israel. The law is designed to prevent billionaire Sheldon Adelson from continuing to print Yisrael Hayom.

Caroline Glick, editor/columnist in the Jerusalem Post
It is obvious to any clear thinking individual that the campaign for the Adelson Law is an attempt by Israel’s media to seal off the market from competition. Were this not the case, Maariv would not have devoted a double spread in its Friday edition to the struggle against ‘Yisrael Hayom.’

Among other things, the law’s supporters try to justify their position by saying that a situation in which a foreign citizen puts out a newspaper is indistinguishable from one in which foreign governments act to influence Israel’s moves by funding political groups like Peace Now. However, this claim is baseless. When foreign governments fund organizations like Four Mothers, the Geneva Initiative, Peace Now etc., they use subversive methods to influence public opinion and dictate Israel’s diplomatic moves. Until recently, the general public was not aware of the fact that most of our supposedly grassroots leftist groups are no more than salaried agents of European governments and the US.

On the other hand, when a private citizen – Israeli or foreign – publishes a newspaper, everything is done ‘over the table.’ There is no hidden agenda here. There is no attempt to mislead. There is a person trying to spread a certain point of view and if the public agrees with him they will buy it. Otherwise they won’t.

The fear that the media people harbor toward free competition is a reasonable one. After all, they know that the general public does not support their opinion and that once there are enough alternative media products, they will lose their influence on the state’s decisions.

Amnon Dankner, former editor of Maariv
Let me say something that politicians usually say: this is not the real question. The real question is, can Israeli society contain a phenomenon that has three components, each of which might be bearable on its own, but the three of which together pose a problem.

The first element is the freebie paper. The very existence of the freebie causes very problematic competition from the point of view of newspapers that are sold for money.

The second element is the huge and disproportionate power of the tycoon who is behind the freebie. This kind of power is disproportionate to the scale of the assets that players on the Israeli market possess.

The third element is that the freebie serves as an ideological, personal and party tool. After all, this freebie is all about Binyamin Netanyahu. And I must say, I have no problem with a newspaper that supports Binyamin Netanyahu. Nor do I have a problem with a freebie, and there have been some very good freebies. Nor do I have a problem with tycoons who come to Israel and want to do all kinds of things. I do have a problem with the combination of all three things, and that is what is so worrying.

I am not against the free market and capitalism, but I favor regulation where it is needed. A phenomenon like this, which could cause collapses in – and a possible failure of – the media market, cannot go by without a public discussion, and steps may have to be taken.

A varied and strong press is the life blood of democracy. And while I am not naïve enough to think that today’s press is problem-free, it is still better than the alternative.

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6. Norway, Arab Royalty Fund Clinton Foundation in 2009

by Hana Levi Julian

During U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first year in office, some of the heftiest contributions to her husband’s charitable foundation came from royal families of Arab nations. The list of those who donated to the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2009 was released to the media last week.

Allowing the names on former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s charity donor list to be made public was a condition set by President Barack Obama prior to offering the position of Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton.

A significant number of the high-end contributors were Saudi Arabian business owners and royal families in other Arab countries.

Many Middle Eastern Donors at the Top

Listed among the top donors who gave between $10 million and $25 million in 2009 and in previous years were the government of Norway and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Norway was site of the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1990s, and its government has consistently pressured Israel to make security concessions to the Palestinian Authority. It is not considered a strong friend of the Jewish State.

Saudi Arabia, which does not recognize Israel, has promoted its so-called 2002 "Peace Initiative" that calls for Israel to allow some five million foreign Arabs, descendants of those who lived in the area but fled during the 1948 War of Independence, to immigrate to the Jewish State under what it calls the "right of return." The plan also demands that Israel hand over all lands restored to the state in the 1967 Six-Day War, including Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and a large portion of Jerusalem, including areas that contain Judaism’s holiest sites.

Norway’s contribution was listed for the year 2009 alone; the Saudi funds were listed as having been donated prior to 2009.

Those who contributed between $1 million and $5 million during 2009 included Nasser Al-Rashid, a Saudi Arabian billionaire and engineering advisor to the royal family in Riyadh. Saudi jet-setting oil mogul Walid A. Juffali, the Sultanate of Oman and the Swedish Postcode Lottery also donated to the cause in the same fiscal category.

In the years prior to 2009, those who donated between $1 million and $5 million included Ethiopian-born billionaire Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, named the 86th richest person in the world in 2007. Al-Amoudi is the owner of a Swedish oil refinery and has business investments in Africa and the Middle East. He is currently a citizen of Saudi Arabia, with a home in Jedda.

Also on the list of those who contributed between $1 million and $5 million to the former president’s charity the year before his wife became Secretary of State were Lebanese Christian businessman Gilbert Chagoury, who has strong interests in Nigeria, the Dubai Foundation, run by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who also is the country’s ruler, former Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Issam M. Fares & The Wedge Foundation, the U.S.-based nonprofit organization “Friends of Saudi Arabia”, the Open Society Institute sponsored by Hungarian-born leftist George Soros, the State of Kuwait, the State of Qatar, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, the government of Brunei Darussalam and the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, based in Abu Dhabi, the Zayed Family.

Recently re-elected New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s family foundation also donated between $500,000 and $1 million in 2009 to the former American president’s charitable foundation, as did the Bank of America Foundation. Prominent Saudi businessman Hamza B. Al Kholi, whose companies operate in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, contributed between $100,000 and $250,000 in 2009 alone.

A separation donation was made by the Soros Foundation – also under the auspices of George Soros – in the $500,000 to $1 million category. This was a contribution also apparently made prior to 2009, but without details to indicate whether it was in 2008 or earlier. Another donor of note was Abbas Al-Yousef, who contributed between $250,000 and $500,000 prior to 2009, and whose origins are unclear. Ibrahim El Hefni, an Egyptian-American businessman who is now deceased but whose family maintains his foundation, also contributed between $250,000 and $500,000 prior to 2009.

Although Middle Eastern moguls were not the only donors by a long shot, they were prominent in the upper brackets. Also noticeable were a number of foundations run by entertainers, including Barbra Streisand; one of the biggest contributions came from the Bill Gates Foundation.

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7. Legal Group: High Court Should Stay Out of Defense Matters

by Gil Ronen

The High Court should refrain from intervening in matters of national defense, according to Adv. Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, Chairwoman of legal NGO Shurat HaDin. Leitner came out in support of a law proposed by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) that would prevent the High Court from interfering in security questions, in cases like the recent decision on opening Highway 443 for Palestinian Authority Arab traffic.

"Judges lack knowledge in certain fields and they usually consult experts on matters of medicine or construction,” she noted in an interview with Arutz Sheva‘s Hebrew service. “But for some reason, when it comes to security matters, the judges do not ask for expert opinions and they make up their minds on their own, despite having no professional knowledge.”

The judges have “no right” to make decisions with security implications, Adv. Leitner emphasized. “In the verdict regarding [Highway] 443 they explicitly said that they do not know the best way to protect passengers’ lives. So how, then, could they announce that the road would be opened? I am concerned that their desire to publish a verdict that conforms with a certain mindset causes them to take decisions without an [expert’s] opinion.”

Adv. Leitner noted that the High Court is a “fast and simple” framework for discussing appeals and does not use interrogations and counter-interrogations of witnesses. Therefore, she explained, “the High Court cannot put itself in the shoes of the IDF and its commanders. They are the ones who will determine what the security needs of the citizens of the State of Israel are. They have studied this field and unfortunately, the judges are not well versed in it.”

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8. Iraq: Sue Israel for Billions for 1981 Bombing of Nuclear Site

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Iraq plans to use United Nations channels to seek billions of dollars in damages from Israel for the 1981 surprise strike on its nuclear facility at Osarik, according to Iraqi legislator Mohammed Naji Mohammed.

He told an Arabic-language newspaper that the cabinet has approved the plan and added, "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs petitioned the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council to demand that Israel pay compensation … for the 1981 bombing."

The claim is based on a U.N. resolution passed after the aerial strike on the reactor that “strongly” condemned the Israeli operation, which has been credited for preventing it from achieving the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

A U.N. Security Council resolution passed after the attack on the Osirak reactor in June 1981 "strongly condemns" Israel’s air raid and states that “Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel."

The international body’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had told the Security Council that safeguards had been "satisfactorily applied" in Iraq, but the Council later censured the Iraqi regime for not cooperating with IAEA inspectors.

Iraq also plans more lawsuits in other matters relating to the U.N. oil-for-food program during the reign of Saddam Hussein, who was accused of fraud.

"We have asked an American lawyer to prosecute the [American] companies that violated the law regarding the oil-for-food program," said the Iraqi minister for commerce.

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