UPDATES 6:30 pm Israel time Monday:
*At 5:42 pm, less than an hour ago, a Syrian mortar exploded in an “open area” on the Israeli Golan Heights.
200, 100, dozens, 45, 42, 15–all of these numbers are being bandied about concerning the number of Syrian soldiers killed in the Israeli strikes several nights ago. As it turns out, PM Netanyahu did not “cancel” his trip to China as initially reported yesterday; he merely postponed it for a few hours–arriving in Shanghai earlier today.
*At 2:36 this afternoon, Sha’ar Hanegev came under rocket attack from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.
*Population statistics for Jerusalem were released today in advance of Jerusalem Day. The current numbers for Israel’s capital and most populous city are: 499,400 (62%) Jews, 281,100 (35%) Muslims, 14,700 (2%) Christians, 200 Druze, and 9000 “unclassified”. The population of the city grew by 16,300 residents last year.
*Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has confirmed that beginning in July 2015, compulsory service for Israeli men will be reduced from 36 to 32 months. Yaalon offered the following ambiguous statement: “There is a risk [in shortening service], but it is the right thing to do.”
Think back to April 2002.
After a bloody month in which nearly 50 Israelis had been blown to pieces by Palestinian suicide bombers emanating mainly from Jenin (23 suicide bombers from Jenin had blown themselves up since the year 2000), the IDF called up more than 30,000 reservists and entered Jenin to clean out the nests of terrorists residing there.
Almost immediately, Palestinians and so-called “human rights” NGOs began circulating claims of a massacre taking place. One senior Fatah member claimed that Israel had killed “more than 500” Palestinians. This number was picked up and disseminated throughout the world.
Following the operation, no evidence of any massacre was discovered. Final Palestinian and “human rights estimates” were that between 53-56 Palestinians had been killed and more than half of these were “armed combatants.”
Subsequently, however, Israeli-Arab actor and director Mohammed Bakri, produced a film to “portray the truth” about the battle of Jenin. The movie, flatteringly called a “documentary” by anti-Israel entities, was entitled Jenin, Jenin. In that film, Bakri interviewed Palestinian residents of Jenin who claimed that a “massacre” had indeed taken place.
When various “left-wing” cinemas in Israel (notably the Cinematheques in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) showed the movie, a legal battle ensued that went all the way to the Israel Supreme Court. The court ruled that the film could be shown. In the words of one of the judges: “The fact that the film includes lies is not enough to justify a ban.” In 2004, the Court reaffirmed its position that though the film is “a propagandistic lie”, that in itself was not grounds for censorship.
In the meantime, five Israeli reservists who had served in Jenin filed suit against Bakri for defamation--claiming that (even though their individual names were not mentioned), they and the IDF had been slandered. In a preliminary action, the judge overseeing the trial dismissed the case because the soldiers had not been personally slandered.
All of which brings us to this afternoon.
A decade later, in direct response to Jenin, Jenin, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation in the Knesset approved an amendment to a law that allows soldiers and the public to press a class action suit if they feel that the IDF has been slandered.
This proposed law would remove the requirement that such a class action be approved by the attorney general.
Not surprisingly, so-called Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has come out in opposition to the proposed law–exposing as it does her friends in the incredibly anti-IDF Israeli movie industry to possible lawsuits.
Also not surprisingly, your humble servant fully supports this law–as it finally affords some protection to our soldiers in the IDF.