8 Av 5777
31 July 2017
As you can see from the above date, today is the 8th of Av.
The 9th of Av–the day on which the First and Second Temples were destroyed, begins at sundown. By that time, your humble servant will be in Jerusalem hopefully to march around the Old City walls at midnight with the Women in Green–in their 22nd annual march to show Jewish sovereignty over the city. However, the Jerusalem Police, forever cowed by the threat of violence, have yet to give permission for the normal marching route.
In any case, tomorrow’s blog will appear later in the day than usual.
The News on the Israeli Street
Quote of the Day:
Palestinian “Prime Minister” Rami Hamdallah during a tour of Qalqilya yesterday (emphasis mine):
“Our people have shown that through steadfastness, popular unity, and peaceful struggle Jerusalem will remain our eternal capital and the title of our unifying identity . . . I congratulate [you who are] the sovereign owners of Al-Aqsa [who] forced the Israeli occupation to withdraw . . . and remove its aggression from the blessed Mosque.”
Thank you PM Netanyahu.
Palestinian terror in the last 24 hours . . .
*16 wanted Palestinian terrorists were captured in Judea and Samaria overnight through the combined efforts of the IDF, Shin Bet, the Border Police, and the Israel Police. The captures took place in Ephraim, Manasseh, Jenin, Dehaisha, Sa’ir, Beit Ula, and Abu Dis.
*Security forces also intercepted a car ferrying tens of thousands of shekels to various terror organizations.
*Just after midnight, Palestinian terrorists threw an IED at an Israeli motorist near the Jalameh Crossing. Remarkably no one was physically wounded.
*Palestinian arsonists are suspected of burning down the synagogue in Mevo Horon last night.
Mevo Horon is located in Judea between Latrun and Modi’in.
A hilarious irony . . .
Over the years, there have been numerous calls to “internationalize” Jerusalem–particularly the Old City. There was even an offer by former PM Ehud Olmert to do so. He proposed in 2007 as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians that a consortium of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United States, the European Union, “Palestine”, and Israel oversee the religious sites in the Old City.
The Saudis thought this was a great idea.
A few days ago, Qatar declared that Muslim religious sites around the world including the Al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem should be internationalized. In particular, the Qataris said that the holiest place in Islam, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which holds the Holy Ka’aba, should be under international management.
Yesterday, the Saudis said that the Qatari declaration about internationalization of the Grand Mosque in Mecca was tantamount to a declaration of war.
Also on the subject of the Saudis and Qatar . . .
Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that the Saudi-led sanctions on Qatar are having their desired effect. The foreign currency reserves of Qatar dropped by $10.4 billion in June bringing Qatari foreign reserves down to 24.4 billion dollars.
Any reduction in money that the Qataris have for promoting terror is a good thing.
“A Human Being: A Helpless, Wounded Creature”
The military aspect of the trial of Elor Azariya has thankfully come to an end. For the last year and a half after Azariya acted to neutralize a wounded terrorist whom he thought posed an immediate threat to those around him, Azariya has been dragged through the mud by a military system so biased as to defy comprehension.
From the moment that the incident took place on March 24, 2016, the entire weight of Israel’s military establishment fell on Azariya’s shoulders. Within hours of the incident, with no first-hand knowledge of what had taken place, Defense Minister Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Eisenkot, and numerous others in the IDF Chain of Command began to rain down abuse on Azariya and find him guilty.
The bias that these “leaders” displayed at the outset permeated the entire trial with those seeking to imprison Azariya (and even a judge) receiving promotions mid-trial. It was the lowest form of kangaroo court imaginable.
Never mind that the Palestinian terrorist had just gruesomely stabbed an IDF soldier, never mind that the Azariya’s Shimshon Battalion had just received a warning about wounded terrorists who might detonate themselves, never mind that a paramedic on the scene warned everyone to stand back, never mind that the terrorist apparently moved.
Never mind any of this. Yesterday, the Court affirmed the previous Court’s ruling that Azariya was guilty of manslaughter and that should serve 18 months in prison. In doing so, the Presiding Judge described the wounded terrorist on the ground as “a human being, a helpless wounded creature.”
Just like the helpless wounded creature who jumped off the ground to his feet on the Temple Mount two weeks ago and tried to kill more Israeli police.
Why wasn’t that Temple Mount terrorist killed to begin with? Because of what has come to be known as the Azariya effect.
All of our soldiers are now afraid to take necessary action for fear that they too will wind up on trial.
Where does Azariya go from here?
Yesterday, Azariya’s attorney, Yoram Sheftel, asked for a 30 day delay so that he could appeal the ruling to the Israel Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, the military prosecutor opposed the request. In the end the Court agreed to not implement the sentence until 10 am on August 9th.
In the meantime, IDF Chief Eisenkot, one of those people who found Azariya guilty before hearing the evidence, issued this flabbergastingly disingenuous statement after the Court pronounced judgment:
“Today the military court has spoken out clearly and unequivocally. The military justice system held an ethical, professional and impartial process and ruled independently and without any internal or external intervention. In the event that Elor Azaria chooses to submit a request for leniency in the sentence, he will be considered seriously . . . “
If anything, this entire episode has revealed a military justice system that is unethical, unprofessional, and completely partial.
Eisenkot himself intervened at the beginning of the process to tell prosecutors and judges what ruling he expected. And now Eisenkot wants us to believe that he will seriously consider a request for leniency?
What a sick joke.
However, President Rivlin made it known yesterday that he would not consider a pardon unless Azariya first asked Eisenkot.
So that is where we stand this morning.
A soldier who had been labeled “outstanding”, who acted in what he thought was defense of his comrades, who has suffered through a year and a half of defaming allegations: this soldier still finds himself in no-man’s land at the mercy of the judicial system.