Elul 28, 5776
October 1, 2016
Palestinian terror attacks in the last 24 hours:
At about 6:30 pm yesterday, a terrorist on foot ran through the vehicle passageway at the Qalandiya checkpoint in Jerusalem, pulled out a knife, and stabbed an IDF soldier in the head and neck. The 19-year-old soldier was critically wounded and evacuated to Hadassah Hospital. The terrorist was shot and killed. The soldier is in “conscious and stable” condition this morning.
Earlier in the afternoon, another stabbing was thwarted in the Negohot area when a terrorist rushed the car of a senior IDF officer. The terrorist was subdued and captured. No Israelis were wounded.
In the morning, a 24-year-old resident of the Tekoa community near Herodium was found dead in a nearby cave. Security forces have been combing the area.
Throughout the day, there were numerous “rock” and Molotov attacks directed against Israelis.
Peres Funeral Updates:
Did PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas finally decide to show up? Yes, apparently after considerable arm twisting from the Americans and Europeans.
Was Bougie Herzog finally allowed to speak at the funeral? No, apparently he was specifically excluded by the family and those in charge of the Peres Peace Center.
Did Netanyahu have a separate meeting with President Obama? Yes, a very brief one, along with separate meetings with about 10 other world leaders.
Was Mahmoud Abbas really crying at the funeral? A picture of him apparently doing so has gone viral in the Arab world resulting in resounding denunciations of the terrorist leader:
Your humble servant has to say after seeing numerous photos of Abbas dozing off in exactly the same position at other public events that the chances that Abbas was crying over Peres were somewhere between slim and none.
What has happened to free speech in Israel? Apparently there is no longer any such thing. Shortly before the funeral, Ofer Golan, the head of the “Fighting Against the Palestinian Lie” organization, was detained by police for writing these words on Facebook:
“Today I am crying for the Jews who were murdered on the Altalena, I am crying for the Yemenite children who disappeared and were kidnapped. I am now crying for all the thousands of victims since the Oslo Accords until today. Today I am crying for all the widows, widowers, and orphans and left with a black hole heart . . .
I am crying because of the agreement that brought us the Oslo Accords. Do you know that every day there are between 30-60 attacks against Jews just around the West Bank? I do not apologize for saying the truth.”
Can you believe this? The police detain a person for describing what has happened here?
Now on to the funeral itself in which we learned that Shimon Peres was in reality the Messiah in human form. He was extolled as the father of Israel–not “a” father but “the” father; the founder and developer of the Israel Defense Forces; the financial savior of the Israel; the architect of the Entebbe raid (true); the father of the Israeli nuclear program (partly true); the father of all technological innovation in Israel; the father, the father, the father….the father of just about everything.
One was left to believe that without Shimon Peres there never would have been an Israel.
Nine speakers took the platform to eulogize Peres. Aside from the moving tributes of his children, two of the best speeches came from two people that I often find myself in disagreement with: former U.S. President Bill Clinton and famed Israeli author Amos Oz. Clinton seemed to go out of his way not to be political, and Oz, though he was political, focused on the every-Friday conversations that he had with Peres.
The final speaker, however, was President Obama who used the occasion once again to preach to Israelis, demean PM Netanyahu through thinly veiled references, and perhaps give a foreboding of what to expect during his last 4 months as president.
The opening paragraph (all emphasis mine):
Zvia, Yoni, Chemi and generations of the Peres family; President Rivlin; Prime Minister Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government and the Knesset; heads of state and the government and guests from around the world, including President Abbas, whose presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace; to the people of Israel: I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.
[It is quite nauseating that Obama–alone among the other eight speakers– singled out and praised Abbas, who only showed up at the insistence of others, as making a “gesture” for peace. And what about the White House announcement yesterday, changed to indicate that Jerusalem is not in Israel? ]
Indeed, Shimon’s contribution to this nation is so fundamental, so pervasive, that perhaps sometimes they can be overlooked. For a younger generation, Shimon was probably remembered more for a peace process that never reached its endpoint. They would listen to critics on the left who might argue that Shimon did not fully acknowledge the failings of his nation, or perhaps more numerous critics on the right who argued that he refused to see the true wickedness of the world, and called him naïve.
[What Peres refused to see was the failure of his own vision of peace and the sheer terror that his and Rabin’s Oslo Accords wreaked.]
And just as he understood the practical necessity of peace, Shimon believed that Israel’s exceptionalism was rooted not only in fidelity to the Jewish people, but to the moral and ethical vision, the precepts of his Jewish faith. “The Jewish people weren’t born to rule another people,” he would say. “From the very first day we are against slaves and masters.”
[So we are to believe that Israelis are masters and Palestinians are slaves? If Palestinians are “slaves”, it is only in the sense that they are slaves to their own depraved morality.]
Out of the hardships of the diaspora, he found room in his heart for others who suffered. He came to hate prejudice with the passion of one who knows how it feels to be its target. Even in the face of terrorist attacks, even after repeated disappointments at the negotiation table, he insisted that as human beings, Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews, and must therefore be equal in self-determination. Because of his sense of justice, his analysis of Israel’s security, his understanding of Israel’s meaning, he believed that the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians, too, had a state of their own.
[To hear Obama, the Palestinians are the “slaves” who are suffering, and the only way for them to have dignity and equality is to have a state of their own–a state being denied to them by the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu–as is made clear in the next paragraph.]
In many ways, he reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I’ve had the honor to meet . . . people who speak with depth and knowledge, not in sound bites. They find no interest in polls or fads.
[Brave talk from a man who is the master of the sound bite, a man totally obsessed with polls and fads. However, it is Netanyahu being criticized here for what happened in the last election here–an election that Obama and company crudely tried to manipulate through the V15 organization.]
And like these leaders, Shimon could be true to his convictions even if they cut against the grain of current opinion. He knew, better than the cynic, that if you look out over the arc of history, human beings should be filled not with fear but with hope.
[How many times have we heard the Obama White House and State Department deride Netanyahu for his cynicism, and for his “appealing to the fear” of Israelis?]
Shimon Peres reminds us that the State of Israel, like the United States of America, was not built by cynics. We exist because people before us refused to be constrained by the past or the difficulties of the present. And Shimon Peres was never cynical. It is that faith, that optimism, that belief — even when all the evidence is to the contrary — that tomorrow can be better, that makes us not just honor Shimon Peres, but love him . . .he understood that it is better to live to the very end of his time on Earth with a longing not for the past but for the dreams that have not yet come true — an Israel that is secure in a just and lasting peace with its neighbors. And so now this work is in the hand of Israel’s next generation, in the hands of Israel’s next generation and its friends.
[A foreboding of things to come?]
In sum, why did Obama’s speech infuriate so many of my friends here in Israel?
1. Obama misses the point that the torch has long since been passed from the Peres generation to a new generation of Israeli leaders. Netanyahu defeated Peres in an election on May 29, 1996–more than 20 years ago–the fourth and final time that Peres lost an Israeli election.
2. Obama will never be able to appreciate the horror that the Oslo Accords have produced in Israel. To him the more than 1,500 Israelis murdered in Palestinian terror attacks since 1994 seem almost like an abstraction–something that Israelis should be easily able to put aside just as Peres seemed to be able to do: “even in the face of terrorist attacks.” As beloved as Peres was in the world because of his vision of peace, that vision of peace has evaporated here because of unremitting Palestinian terrorism, the refusal of Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state of Israel, and the insistence that 5,000,000+ so called “Palestinian refugees” be settled in Israel.
3. Obama never recognizes that Israel is a democratic country, and that we Israeli citizens are responsible for making decisions about our relationship with the Palestinians ourselves. As my father-in-law said at the Shabbat table last night, why does Obama always think he has the right to tell Israelis what we must do? And what gives him the right to preach to us about morality and justice?
4. Obama completely misses the point about cynicism. Of course Israelis are cynical about the Palestinians and have every right to be. Based on our innumerable experiences, we believe that the Palestinians are completely insincere, utterly corrupt, and solely motivated by the desire to eradicate Israel from the planet.
We would be out of our minds not to be cynical.