UPDATES 6 pm Israel time, Tuesday, October 14 2014:
**In the neighborhood:
–the Egyptian Army reported this afternoon that it has killed the head of the Al-Qaeda backed Ansar Al-Maqdis terrorist group in the Sinai. Al Maqdis has been responsible for many attacks on Egyptian soldiers and cross-border attacks on Israel.
–Hezbollah announced yesterday that the son of dead arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, Jihad Mughniyeh, has been named the new commander of Hezbollah forces in western Syria along the Israeli Golan Heights. In the same announcement, Hezbollah declared that it will begin operations against Israeli forces in the area in the near future.
**In an ominous sign, Tzahi Hanegbi, Deputy Foreign Minister and close confidant of PM Netanyahu declared in a press conference today that Israel needs to resume “negotiations” and “peace talks” with the Palestinians “tomorrow”.
Idiotically, Hanegbi cited the pressure being brought on Israel by the British vote yesterday, the decision of the new government in Sweden, the attempt of the Palestinians at the United Nations, and on and on. In essence, Hanegbi said that we must cave in to international pressure.
**Even more unbelievable is that 600 tons of cement and ten truckloads of steel were transported into Gaza today from Israel. Once in Gaza, the cement is being “managed” by representatives by the United Nations and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
What does this mean? The 600 tons of cement and the truckloads of steel will be used by Hamas to repair tunnels damaged by the IDF in the recent war and to build new tunnels.
What in the world is our government thinking of?
**Also unbelievably this afternoon, a 23 year old Jew was arrested on the Har HaBeit (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem for attempting to pray.
What is unbelievable is who arrested him.
In an area that is under complete Israeli sovereignty, the Jewish worshiper was arrested by Muslim “police” employed by the Islamic Wakf.
**Also in Jerusalem, the Light Rail Train announced that it is suspending all operation in the Arab neighborhoods between the Ammunition Hill stop and Pisgat Ze’ev at the end of the line. There will be no more stops in Shuafat and Beit Hanina. This comes after more “rock” attacks on the train today.
** Even more from Jerusalem: the Women at the Wall, having agreed to a compromise as to where to pray at the Wall several months ago, has now declared that the compromise needs to be reexamined because they want to celebrate bat mitzvahs in the main plaza in front of the Kotel (Western Wall).
A spate of anti-Israel news items have appeared in Israel’s leftist media today, news items that are then picked up by the international media and circulated as fact. However, let’s attempt to separate fiction from fact by examining just three of them:
1. Late last night, a small mosque in the Palestinian settlement of Aqraba near Shechem (Nablus) was vandalized. Someone threw a Molotov cocktail in through a window which set a small area inside the mosque on fire. In addition, the words “Price Tag Tapuach” were sprayed on a wall.
Today we have seen a parade of Israeli politicians and reporters denouncing the attack and blaming it on “Jewish settlers” in the region. Leading the charge has been Israel’s new president, Reuven Rivlin who breathlessly declared: “Burning holy places of worship is terror and it needs to be taken care of like terror, regardless of whether it was perpetrated for nationalistic, racial or religious motives.”
Facts: Of course it is terror and it should be condemned, but there is not one shred of evidence that the attack was carried out by Jews. As has been reported recently in this israelstreet blog, every recent attack on Muslim holy places has been carried out by Muslims attempting to provoke the local population. And who writes the graffiti in Hebrew? Arabs who can write, read, and speak Hebrew fluently.
2. Israel’s main television channels (1, 2, and 10) have been running “news” pieces at a feverish rate lately (more today) that are actually encouraging young Israelis to emigrate out of the country to various locations in the world in which the cost of living is cheaper and the ability to find a job is easier. Believe it or not, the primary location which is being touted as “the place to be” is Berlin.
Israeli reporters have been combing the German capital for story after story of happy Israelis who have left the country. The impression being given is that Israeli emigration has reached an all-time high.
Facts: According to recently released statistics by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Israeli emigration is at an almost all time low–back to a level at which it was in 1973 before the Yom Kippur War. In fact it is lower emigration rate than that in most European countries.
In 2012, the most recent year for such statistics, 15,900 Israelis left the country. 5,700 of those who left were born in Israel–most of the other ten thousand were former residents of the Soviet Union who had come to Israel. One last point: according to immigration authorities nearly 4000 of the 15,900 who left in 2012 have returned to Israel this year (and it is only October).
3. The Yediot Aharonot newspaper ran a story this morning headlined “How has Israel lost its place as an economic leader?” In the article, the reporter laments the fact that Israel’s GDP will only increase by 2% this year–a number that is lower than the average 2.2% of OECD countries in aggregate.
Fact: It turns out that the reason for the economic slowdown has much to do with the huge economic slowdown in Europe–Israel’s chief trading partner. The countries of the European Union had a disastrous negative growth rate in 2013 and so far this year are averaging a feeble 1.2%.
To make a long story short, the bad news from Israel is not as bad as the Israeli media would have you believe. Everything that you read from the Israeli media must be taken with a heavy dose of salt.