From Hitler to Bin Laden. Reactions and Observations

Yom Ha-Shoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, ended last night in Israel, climaxed by a moving ceremony at Yad Vashem. At 10 am, sirens sounded all over Israel, and for two minutes people stood in silence (including getting out of their cars on freeways) to remember the six million dead. Interestingly it was on May 1, 1945 that news of Adolf Hitler’s suicide was released to a jubilant world.

Fast forward to May 1, 2011 and the news that one of Israel’s most strident enemies, Osama Bin Laden, has been killed (apparently preferring suicide by being shot by Navy Seals after refusing an offer to surrender). While much of the world rejoices, the reactions of Israel’s frontline enemies are distinctly different. Ismail Haniyeh, the President of the Hamas government in Gaza said: “Bin Laden’s killing  is a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood. . . We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.” (By the way, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has thus far said nothing–preferring to let his PR spokesman do the talking).

Iranian Foreign Minister Ramin Mehmanparast found a way to work “the Zionists” into his amazingly disingenuous reaction which termed Iranians as victims of terrorism: “We hope that this development will end war, conflict, unrest and the death of innocent people, and help to establish peace and tranquility in the region. Iran, as one of the main victims of terrorism, strongly condemns any act of terror in the world including organized terrorism in the Zionist regime.”

The reaction of the average Arab on the street is difficult to gauge, though one news organization suggested that the following comment of Osama Abolmagd, a 22 year old security guard in Cairo,  is typical of what its journalists were hearing: “I am sad because he was a Muslim who was fighting against the United States. Every time a man like Osama dies, there will be another Muslim like him who will rise and take his place.”

I suspect that by the end of the week Abolmagd and millions of others like him will be sporting Osama Bin Laden T-shirts (dealing a death blow to the Che Guevara revolutionary icon industry). But, in a far more serious vein, what I expect is a rash of attacks by Al-Qaeda cells around the world ordered by its new leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri against Western (especially U.S.) targets.  Get ready for even longer lines at your local airport.

I end the blog today with words from Israel’s Prime Minister and President. From Benjamin Netanyahu: “This is a resounding triumph for justice, freedom and the values shared by all democratic nations fighting shoulder to shoulder in determination against terrorism.” From Shimon Peres: “Bin Laden was one of the great murderers and was destined to be hanged. This is a great achievement for the American security establishment, a great achievement for the U.S. president, this is a great achievement to the free world.”

israelstreet fact of the day:

Following up yesterday, in which I gave you a statistic to use showing there is no ethnic cleansing in Israel, here is one you can use to show how Jews have been ethnically cleansed from Arabic countries:

Number of Jews living in Arabic countries in 1949:  840,000

Number of Jews living in Arabic countries in 2011:      6,400

(and half of the 6,400 are in Morocco)

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