89 Days Until The Election
UPDATES 8 pm Israel time, Wednesday, December 17 2014:
—>The rapid devaluation of the Russian ruble is on the verge of causing an agricultural export disaster in Israel–and by extension an Israeli economic recession.
About 35% of all Israeli agricultural exports go to Russia. Even more, about 70% of the export pepper crop is shipped to Russia as is about 90% of the potato, carrot, and radish crop. Unfortunately, all of these crops are at the harvest season in Israel, but no Russian merchants now have the money to purchase the foodstuffs.
According to Meir Tzur, chairman of the Israel Farmers’ Association: “Israeli agriculture is based on Russia. When the ruble crashes like this, it’s a total loss of exports. The situation is very difficult.
—>President Obama’s embrace of Cuba this morning cannot help but make Israelis think of Jonathan Pollard.
Obama went to great lengths in the last hour to talk about how the Cuban release of an unnamed American spy who had been imprisoned in Cuba for almost two decades was an important part of the deal to normalize relations with Havana.
And yet, Obama will not release Jonathan Pollard who has languished in American prisons for more than 30 years–10618 days as of today. If Obama really wanted to make a gesture to show solidarity with Chanukah’s message of freedom, he should do more than just talk about it as he did in the White House yesterday. He should release Pollard immediately.
*The Jerusalem Police were very busy today. First they detained and attempted to have arrested a Jewish woman for having a bottle of grape juice in her purse as she climbed to the Temple Mount. A Jerusalem Municipal Court threw out the case later in the day. But not to be thwarted, the Police then detained a Jewish man for having a “lamp” in his backpack as he attempted to go up the Temple Mount.
It is wonderful to know that as violence swirls all around us, the Jerusalem police are focusing their efforts on capturing Jews with grape juice and a lamp.
*So-called “Defense” Minister Ya’alon offered this bluster last night as he spoke in the Maccabee home of Modi’in: “We are now establishing peace in the Gaza Strip on deterrence . . . but we must be prepared at any moment to the possibility that we will have to use full force again.”
Here’s a news flash for Ya’alon: the recent war with Hamas established that Israel has no deterrence. Hamas was firing more missiles and mortars at Israel on the last day of the war than on the first. Oh, and one more thing. Israel did not use full force against Hamas in the summer largely because of the Ya’alon-Netanyahu-Lapid-Livni block in the security cabinet.
*Europe sinks ever deeper into the abyss.
The European Union General Court approved today an appeal by Hamas to have the organization taken off of the EU list of terrorist organizations. The actions of Europe’s second highest court are of immense symbolic and public relations importance to Hamas.
Incredibly, the Court based its ruling on the notion that “Hamas had not been put on the terrorist list because of its actions” but because of information gleaned from the media and the internet.
Whom do the Europeans think they are kidding?
Hamas is a ruthless terrorist organization that has carried out numerous suicide bombing attacks against Israelis in the last 15 years and has fired more than 20,000 missiles and mortars at Israel.
Countries in the EU have three months to appeal the decision but the damage has been done.
*Tzipi Livni, who has no connection whatsoever with the Israeli government any more, was on the phone yesterday with her globe-hopping buddy John Kerry to urge the U.S. to use its veto in the Security Council to counter the Palestinian proposal at the United Nations–which is now scheduled to be presented tonight (New York time).
Livni, of course, is the crassest sort of politician who doesn’t give a hang about anything except her own skin. Her call to Kerry was merely meant to boost her own political standing, and Kerry’s response to her will only be meant to undermine Netanyahu.
*The “right” in Israel continues to implode.
Eli Yishai, recently resigned from Shas, and Uri Ariel, on the verge of taking his National Union Party out of the Jewish Home party, appear poised to form a new party. The party will focus on religious Zionism and will not include a woman on its list.
This development has extremely negative repercussions for Jewish Home and Shas–both of which are likely to lose seats–and negative repercussions for Israel in general as the electorate will become ever more fragmented. Whether the new Yishai-Ariel party will be able to garner enough votes to meet the 3.25% threshold is anyone’s guess.
Your humble servant continues to think about the utter absurdity reported in yesterday’s israelstreet blog–the fact that 10 members of LAHAVA–the Jewish organization dedicated to stopping Jewish assimilation in Israel–have been arrested and had their homes raided at the outset of Chanukah.
What your humble finds especially appalling is the attempt by the Israeli media to paint LAHAVA as “far right” and “racist.” Interestingly, this morning has seen a small, but significant expression of support for LAHAVA. One of the more interesting publications has been an op-ed by Noah Kliger, a veteran journalist for the leftist newspaper Yediot Aharonot and Holocaust survivor.
Kliger writes: “Why is it wrong to protest against Jewish assimilation, like marriage with Muslims, for example? What is wrong with the desire of Jewish zealots keep the future of the nation and the state Jewish?
The answer is that nothing is wrong, and thank G-d that Jews have stepped forward in history to do so.
Were the Maccabees racist because they fought against assimilation into Hellenistic society? Was Rabbi Akiva racist when he refused to assimilate and declared that “The Lord is God, the Lord is One” as he was being flayed alive by Roman soldiers with iron combs who proceeded to tear his heart out with hot pincers? Were all the Jews through all the centuries who maintained their faith in the face of attempts to force them to assimilate racists?
Without these people, Judaism would never have survived.
Everyone likes to say that the message of Chanukah is freedom–the freedom to worship as one wishes. But there is more to the message than that.
The message of Chanukah is that Jews must always be on guard against assimilation. It is the message of LAHAVA.
Without people like the Maccabees, Rabbi Akiva, orthodox Jews throughout the centuries, and LAHAVA there would be no Jews tonight to celebrate Chanukah.
In your humble servant’s home, we have the tradition of dedicating each candle on our hanukkiah to a person or people. On the first night of every Chanukah, we always dedicate the first candle to Rabbi Akiva.