UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Thursday, May 1 2014:
**On the eve of modern Israel’s 66th Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics has published the following population figures:
–There are 8,180,000 Israelis.
–There are 6,135,000 Jews; 1,694,000 Arabs; 351,000 non-Arab Christians and other minorities.
–Compared to last year at Independence Day, there are 93,000 more Jews and 36,000 more Arabs.
–Compared to last year at Independence Day, the percentage of Arabs in Israel has remained exactly the same: 20.7%.
What can we conclude from these numbers?
1. Any talk of a demographic threat to Jews within Israel is sheer nonsense.
2. The percentage of Arabs in Israel may have topped out. After years of an increasing percentage of Arabs, the trend seems to have stopped. We will need several more years before we can make a definitive judgement. However, increasing numbers of Jews means increasing numbers of Jewish women means increasing numbers of Jewish babies.
**PM Netanyahu announced at a Cabinet meeting this morning that he will be personally submitting a new Basic Law in the Knesset which will state that “Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
In making this announcement, Netanyahu had much to say, including:
“The Declaration of Independence sets, as the cornerstone in the life of the state, the national Jewish identity of the State of Israel. To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right. They seek to undermine the historic, moral and legal justification for the existence of the State of Israel as the national state of our people.”
“I find it astonishing that among those who call on Israel to make concessions in Judea and Samaria due to the self-evident desire to avoid a binational state, there are those who oppose defining the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People. One cannot favor the establishment of a Palestinian national state in order to maintain the Jewish character of the State of Israel and – at the same time – oppose recognizing that the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People. Supporting the establishment of a Palestinian national state and opposing the recognition of the Jewish national state undermines – over the long-term – the State of Israel’s very right to exist.”
For once, your humble servant finds himself in complete agreement with the Prime Minister.
**The Facebook campaign by IDF soldiers in support of “Nahal David” has gone viral.
Photos of IDF soldiers from all over Israel representing different units holding up placards to support the soldier are popping up everywhere. The “Nahal David” Facebook site now has more than 100,000 “likes”.
But somehow in the midst of the hue and cry about the IDF treatment of this soldier, your humble servant believes that the main point has been completely overlooked. While the leftist Israeli media wants to portray the protests as protests against serving in Judea and Samaria, nothing could be further from the truth.
The protests are directly aimed at the IDF General Command which forces IDF soldiers to put themselves into life-threatening situations out of considerations of political correctness.
Just today, a military court convicted a 2nd lieutenant in the IDF of “unlawful use of weapons”, and sentenced him to 45 days in prison and reduced his rank to sergeant.
His “crime”? In July of 2012, near the Palestinian settlement of Nabi Saleh in Judea, the officer threw stones at Palestinians who were throwing “rocks” at him and his soldiers–and then fired his weapon in the air to disperse the Palestinian rioters.
That is why the protests have erupted in support of “Nahal David”–and should continue. Three cheers for IDF troops standing up for one of their own, and in effect, for themselves against a military bureaucracy run amok.
**In an outrageous report released yesterday, John Kerry’s U.S. State Department blasted Israel for not responding to what it termed “attacks by extremist Israeli settlers on Palestinians.”
It turns out that the data for the report actually came from the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs–an egregiously biased anti-Israel institution. The U.N. office supposedly “documented” 399 attacks on Palestinian “persons or property” in the last year. Of course, the “data” that the UN office uses is unchecked–it is merely what the Palestinians claim.
“Extremist Israeli settlers”? These State Department-proclaimed “extremists” are Israeli citizens who are increasingly finding themselves at the mercy of Palestinian terrorists. As was reported in this blog last week, there are now more than 100 “rock” and Molotov cocktail throwing attacks on Israeli citizens in the Jerusalem area alone every week.
There is no word about any of this in the U.S. report.
Thank you again, John Kerry.
A very important vote took place in the United States last night in which J Street, the aggressively anti-Israel lobbying group, was rejected for membership in the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. The vote was 22 against J Street admission, 17 in favor of admission, and 3 abstentions. In fact, J Street only gained half of the votes that it needed to join the group.
The vote was interesting for many reasons, not the least of which was the arrogance of J Street in the hours preceding the vote when a J Street lobbyist proclaimed that they had the 34 votes “wrapped up.”
Even though the vote was taken by “secret ballot”, it was also interesting to note that 10 of the 17 organizations which voted for J Street came out afterwards to confirm they had voted for J Street admission. These included: the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Union of Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, Jewish Labor Committee, the Jewish Council for Political Affairs, Workmen’s Circle, the National Council of Jewish Women, Ameinu and Americans for Peace Now.
Their vote for J St. was a disgrace.
The statement of ADL head Abraham Foxman as to why the ADL supported J Street for membership was particularly ridiculous noting that the ADL supported “the admission of J Street not because we agree with them, not because we support their views, but in order to ensure the integrity and credibility of American Jewish advocacy and of the Conference of Presidents.”
Say what? In order to have integrity and credibility, Jewish advocacy and the Conference of Presidents must now support an egregiously anti-Israel group?
Not according to the 22 organization heads that voted against J St. including Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America and Farley Weiss of the National Council of Young Israel.
For its part, J Street posted a pathetic response to the vote last night on its website. It begins with this drivel:
J Street is disappointed that our bid for membership to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has been rejected. This is a sad day for us, but also for the American Jewish community . . .
A sad day for the American Jewish community? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Last night’s vote was an astonishingly proud day for the American Jewish community which has finally begun to awaken to the danger of J Street.
Just how pathetic J Street has become illustrated again last week.
In aftermath of John Kerry’s apartheid comment, Jen Psaki issued an absurd defense from the State Department podium in which she said:
“The secretary does not believe and did not state publicly or privately that Israel is an apartheid state, and there’s an important difference there. Israel is obviously a vibrant democracy with equal rights for all of its citizens . . . Secretary Kerry, like justice minister Livni and previous Israeli prime ministers Olmert and Barak, was reiterating why there’s no such thing as a one-state solution if you believe, as he does, in the principle of a Jewish state.
Compare this to the J Street statement concerning the comment:
“Israel today is not an apartheid state, and that’s not what Secretary of State Kerry said. For over a year now, Kerry has argued that, without a two-state solution, Israel is risking its future and its values as it moves toward permanent rule over millions of Palestinians without equal rights. Former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have used the “apartheid” term as well to describe this possible future.”
J Street, as we all have known since its inception, is nothing more than the slimy mouthpiece of the Obama White House and its State Department.