UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Saturday, November 2 2013:
**Palestinian terrorist Hamas is now reporting that four of its fighters were killed by the IDF yesterday in the tunnel incident on the Gaza border. Of the five Israeli soldiers who were wounded, one is in extremely serious condition. Doctors expect the soldier to recover, but whether they will be able to save his eyes remains problematical. He remains fully anesthetized as doctors perform multiple procedures to remove shrapnel.
**The Eshkol region of southern Israel was hit by at least one Qassam rocket yesterday evening. The fact is that we no longer know “officially” how many rockets are being fired into Israel and must rely on individual reports from people in the area (the above rocket was reported by numerous residents)–and on reports from the terrorists themselves. There were no warning sirens yesterday evening, and no announcement of anything from the IDF–Hamas, however, reported that “multiple rockets” were launched into Israel.
**John Kerry is coming back to the region this week. First, he will stop “for a few hours” in Cairo in what should be an unpleasant visit at best. With Mohammed Morsi about to go on trial, the Egyptians are in no mood to listen to any more American nonsense expressing support for Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood. And whatever leverage the United States had to influence events in Egypt is long gone–as Russia and Saudi Arabia become Egypt’s primary patrons.
Of course Kerry will then turn his attention to wringing more concessions out of the increasingly craven Benjamin Netanyahu–who seems to be the only person in the world still willing to kowtow to the Americans.
One consequence of the renewed Israeli concession talks with the PLO has been the launching of a withering attack on the “Jewishness” of Israel by the Israeli “Left.” It is a battle that the “Left” has been waging almost since the rebirth of Israel in 1948–but the actions of the Netanyahu government have fueled the “Left” with renewed fervor.
Here are two examples from last week alone.
1. Yair Lapid, speaking three days ago at Tel Aviv University at the Prime Minister’s Conference on Arabs in the Economy:
“The unsolvable problem is that Israel is defined… both by law and by a decisive majority of its residents, as a Jewish democratic state . . . How can Israel say that everyone is equal before the law – that you’re equal before the law – when the law defines Judaism as the cultural, national and legislative basis for the state?”
The truth of course is that here in democratic Israel we have an incredibly active judiciary, led by a Supreme Court that ensures that all are equal before the law. And it is that body of law that is the basis of the state.
2. Also in the last week we had the kibbutz movement announcing at its annual conference the idea that “Jew” and “Jewishness” should be completely deleted as an aspect of Israeli identity.
One of its members proclaimed:
“Using the word “Jew” on the Israeli identity card is anti-Semitic and is the root of our disasters.”
Of course, this kibbutz member is a little behind the times. While older identity cards still have the word “Jew” written beside “Nationality”, new Israeli identity cards have absurdly eliminated “Jew”. On your humble servant’s teudat zeut (identity card) which was reissued last year, beside “Nationality” appears “xxxxxxxx”.
In response to attacks like these on the Jewishness of this country, Naftali Bennett and his Bayet Yehudi pushed successfully earlier this year for the establishment of a Jewish Identity Administration within the government. The Administration has as its primary mission offering “encounters with the Torah and Jewish sources” to Israeli youth.
But two days ago, as the battle over this year’s budget raged, we had Stav Shaffir of the leftist Labor party blasting the Jewish Identity Administration because it is promoting “a very specific agenda.”
That agenda is instilling pride at being a Jew, promoting a democratic government that is based on Jewish values, and underscoring the fact that Israel is a Zionist, Jewish country.
In your humble servant’s opinion, it is extremely sad that such an Administration is now needed here in this country, but extremely important that Israel’s Jewish core be strengthened.