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UPDATE 10 am Israel time Wednesday, October 3, 2012:
*An IDF patrol south of Bethlehem was attacked with three Molotov cocktails during the night. In unrelated actions, the IDF captured seven wanted Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria.
*You may recall that your humble servant focused yesterday on Ehud Barak and his tendency to think that he is the PM of Israel. I concluded that it is long past time for Barak to be fired as Israeli Defense Minister.
Today, the Israel media is awash with stories of an open rift between Netanyahu and Barak–with Netanyahu having told Barak that he would not be Defense Minister should Netanyahu be elected Prime Minister in new elections. Your humble servant would again suggest to Netanyahu not to wait–throw Barak out of the government now.
*There was another case of spray paint vandalism in Jerusalem yesterday–this time on the door of the Franciscan convent on Mount Zion. In poor Hebrew–similar to that suspiciously used at the Latrun monastery last month–someone painted “price tag” (meaning “revenge”) and then added an aspersion to Jesus’ parentage. Of course this graffiti was reprehensible, but so was the reaction of those in the convent.
When the vandalism was discovered early yesterday morning by the Arab groundskeeper of the convent, he immediately informed the monks inside and set out to paint over the graffiti. He was then told to stop–and the monks called in the Israeli and international media to document the “vile desecration” of their holy place. When interviewed on Israeli TV last night, the monks seemed almost happy (they were smiling and quite jovial) about the media attention they had received.
Tomorrow, October 4th, your humble servant will be in Jerusalem with thousands of others from Israel and around the world to participate in the annual “March for Jerusalem”–a peaceful march meant to demonstrate Israel’s bond with her eternal capital.
The next day, on Friday, there was to have been a “Bethlehem Walk”. That walk, mainly organized by Palestinians, was to have been a quiet walk around Bethlehem “to promote change and acknowledge basic common grounds and sow the seeds of understanding and acceptance.”
Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis, and international visitors of different religious backgrounds had made plans to participate in this walk for “peace”.
As you can gather from my use of the “past tense” in describing the Walk, the event was canceled yesterday after remonstrations of outrage and threats of violence from Palestinian youth groups in Bethlehem and surrounding areas.
And why were the Palestinian youths so “outraged”? Simply because there would have been “Israelis” in the walk; according to a statement issued by the youth groups, the mere presence of those Israelis (read “Jews”) would have “desecrated our holy city and [religious] sites”.
And so out of fear of an Arab reaction, the Walk was canceled–and the organizers apologized for the “outrage” they had caused.
The pathetic fear of an Arab or Muslim reaction has become one of the determiners of our lives here in Israel. Two months ago, a march in Jerusalem by the Women in Green was initially denied a permit because of a possible Arab/Muslim reaction. A month ago, a wine and cheese festival in a long unused Mosque in Beersheva was altered because of concerns over a possible Arab/Muslim reaction.
Yesterday, Moshe Feiglin, a Likud representative in the Knesset, was taken into detention by Jerusalem Police on the Temple Mount–Judaism’s holiest place. Upon ascending the Mount with a few family members and friends, he put on his kipa (yarmulke) and was surrounded by 5 Arab Muslims, one carrying a concealed knife, who yelled “Allahu Akbar”. According to police, Feiglin then proceeded to prostrate himself on the ground and began to pray.
Last month during Ramadan, Israel permitted one million Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount–and yet here we had one Jewish man trying to utter one Jewish prayer taken into custody.
Why? Because the police were afraid of the Arab/Muslim reaction.
The absolute pusillanimity of the world in the face of Arab/Muslim intimidation has become a defining characteristic of our times. When the French government closes 20 embassies in the Arab world (2 weeks ago) because of the possible Arab/Muslim reaction to cartoons in a French magazine, when an American president endlessly apologizes to the Arab/Muslim world for a crude youtube movie trailer, when one Jewish man cannot pray on the Jewish Temple Mount–something has gone terribly terribly wrong.
Arab/Muslim intimidation must be confronted and defeated if we are to have any self-respect and dignity as human beings.
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