UPDATES 6:30 pm Israel time Thursday:
*Stating ominously what everyone already knew, Syrian President Bashir Assad declared yesterday: “Syria will give everything to Hezbollah in return for support of the government in Damascus.” He proceeded to say that Syria will now begin to use “Hezbollah tactics” against Israel.
*A large quarry of the Second Temple period that is likely to have supplied stones to build the Temple itself has been unearthed in Ramat Shlomo during the building of new Highway 21. Not only was the quarry itself found, but also a large number of cutting implements have been discovered at the site.
*Tomorrow should be a very interesting day at the Kotel (Western Wall). Two of the leading rabbis in Israel have called on female orthodox students to engage in a mass “prayer-in” in order to push aside the “Women at the Wall”–who were told by a court this week that they could pray at the wall wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries.
Speaking of the Kotel, here is a “personal” picture (taken by one of your humble servant’s sons) from yesterday’s Jerusalem Day celebrations:
*The pathetic story of British physicist Stephen Hawking’s cancellation of an appearance in Jerusalem continues to wobble back and forth. First, it was announced that Hawking was supporting a boycott against Israel; then Cambridge University issued a statement which said that Hawking wasn’t traveling because of his health. As of last night, Hawking sent a letter to Jerusalem saying that he was not participating because he “had been pressured by Palestinian academics.”
The utter hypocrisy of Hawking is best illustrated by the fact that the computer-based communication system that he uses to produce his synthetic voice runs on an Intel Core i7 chip developed in Israel. Perhaps if Hawking really supports a boycott against Israel, he should begin by pulling the plug on his Intel tablet.
Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper that has leaned increasingly to the left in recent years, is reporting in its online edition today that Israel is now “reaching out” to J Street.
For those of you who might not know what J Street stands for, the left-wing American organization believes that it is the responsibility of American Jews to pressure the Israeli government into making concessions to the Palestinians in order to “create peace.” In the eyes of J Street, no peace treaty with the Palestinians is unacceptable including one based on the Arab initiative that calls for the return of millions of so-called Palestinian “refugees” to Israel proper and the handing over of the Old City of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
Part of the Yedioth article is disingenuous in that it reports that a J Street delegation currently visiting Israel will meet with Israeli officials “for the first time.” The truth is that J Street officials have met with numerous Israeli officials in the past and have even spoken before committees in the Knesset.
Nevertheless, today’s meeting with Shimon Peres, who has the same ideology as J Street, is apparently a first. Yedioth observes that the burgeoning ties with J Street “should be seen in the context of tightening relations with the Obama Administration and seeking peace with the Palestinians.”
In light of the fact that this meeting must have been sanctioned by PM Netanyahu, it is just one more step down the slippery slope of the delegitimization of Israel. If Israel truly thinks that “it can no longer ignore” J Street, it might as well throw in the towel and begin to accept the attempted boycott of Israel by BDS.
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