Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: An Existential Threat

 

“We ran. As the siren droned on that July 7 night, I gripped Sally’s hand and sprinted across the abandoned lawn of Kibbutz Na’an. I headed for the nearest house, which was made of concrete and might provide partial shelter. But its front door was locked. So we huddled on the porch, together with Lee, Dar and several other Bar Mitzvah guests, beneath a corrugated awning. A couple shielded their infant son with their bodies. Sufficiently experienced in shellfire, I kept my composure, though others shook and even whimpered. Any second, the rockets would hit.” — Michael Oren, from Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide

Michael Oren was born in America, but eventually felt called to move to Israel and eventually became its ambassador to the US. He describes in this quotation his visit to a kibbutz for a bar mitzvah. His visit preceded a 50-day war with Hamas in 2014, when they shot 4,500 rockets toward Israel. More recently, Gazans (and Hamas) threatened to tear down the border fence between Gaza and Israel. Then they sent flaming kites across the border, burning Israeli farmland.

In the US, we worry about the survival of our democratic republic and our overall wellbeing. In Israel, its people are faced daily with an existential threat. Even when they aren’t in the news, there are ongoing threats of bus and restaurant bombings and calls for violence. The Palestinian Authority calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. With these kinds of threats, both men and women are required to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

G-d bless America for protecting us, and for its support for Israel.

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  1. Vectorman Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: n the US, we worry about the survival of our democratic-republic and our overall wellbeing. In Israel, its people are faced daily with an existential threat. Even when they aren’t in the news, there are ongoing threats of bus and restaurant bombings and calls for violence. The Palestinian Authority calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

    I’m no expert on the existential threats to Israel. But there is some news out of Saudi Arabia: Can the Saudis Break Up With Wahhabism? And there is talk about a Saudi pipeline through Israel. Now if Iran can see the folly of their position, Syria gets settled, and Turkey doesn’t become another Iran, the PA might soften their hardline stance.


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    • #1
    • July 18, 2018, at 7:21 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Vectorman (View Comment):
    I’m no expert on the existential threats to Israel. But there is some news out of Saudi Arabia: Can the Saudis Break Up With Wahhabism? And there is talk about a Saudi pipeline through Israel. Now if Iran can see the folly of their position, Syria gets settled, and Turkey doesn’t become another Iran, the PA might soften their hardline stance.

    I agree with all you say, except about the PA. There are clear indications that other Arab countries are working with Israel behind the scenes, because they see practical reasons to do so. Egypt is also partnering with them on protecting borders, for example. But the PA’s doctrine has nothing to do with the practical. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I don’t see a change. In fact, a fatwa just came out that prohibits Palestinians for doing real estate deals with the Israelis/Jews. That’s always been the case, but now the penalties are official.

    I also wanted to point out, that in spite of all the turmoil here, our existence is not threatened daily. Thanks, @vectorman.

    • #2
    • July 18, 2018, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. KentForrester Moderator

    Susan, our promise to protect Israel, despite the abandonment of that small and beleaguered nation by the lefties of the world, is something that America can be proud of. And something the lefties of the world should be ashamed of. It’s unbelievable to me that the Left can’t seem to recognize who is the aggressor and who is the victim. It seems to be a case of willful blindness brought on by ideology. 

    • #3
    • July 18, 2018, at 7:38 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The left loves them their victims. And when they can’t find one handy enough, they just make one up.

    • #4
    • July 18, 2018, at 8:16 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    It’s unbelievable to me that the Left can’t seem to recognize who is the aggressor and who is the victim. It seems to be a case of willful blindness brought on by ideology. 

    @kentforrester, it wasn’t always that way. Liberals supported Israel early in their statehood. When they showed how powerful they could be and how well they could defend themselves, they were no longer the underdog. As @cdor says in the next comment, they needed a new underdog and the Palestinians fit the bill.

    • #5
    • July 18, 2018, at 9:08 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I’m also a big fan of some kind of service to the country after high school graduation, although I don’t think it has to be the military. In Israel, there are no options, as far as I know.

    • #6
    • July 18, 2018, at 9:15 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Vectorman Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    @kentforrester, it wasn’t always that way. Liberals supported Israel early in their statehood. When they showed how powerful they could be and how well they could defend themselves, they were no longer the underdog.

    You can add the anti-Judeo/Christian bias that developed in the 1960’s to leftist thought.

    • #7
    • July 18, 2018, at 9:26 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan,

    It may be of interest to know that the Chazon Ish, one of Judaism’s greatest Torah scholars of the 20th century, was dead set against the girls in the army and put up a spirited attack on any suggestion of this. However, in the War of Independence, the Jews were so heavily outnumbered that there just was no other way. Ben Gurian is said to have told the Chazon Ish to his face that they had to let the girls fight or lose the war and the State of Israel.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • July 18, 2018, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. KentForrester Moderator

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan,

    It may be of interest to know that the Chazon Ish, one of Judaism’s greatest Torah scholars of the 20th century, was dead set against the girls in the army and put up a spirited attack on any suggestion of this. However, in the War of Independence, the Jews were so heavily outnumbered that there just was no other way. Ben Gurian is said to have told the Chazon Ish to his face that they had to let the girls fight or lose the war and the State of Israel.

    Regards,

    Jim

    And the women, when it came to defending their country, turned to be tough and brave soldiers. 

    • #9
    • July 18, 2018, at 10:51 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan,

    It may be of interest to know that the Chazon Ish, one of Judaism’s greatest Torah scholars of the 20th century, was dead set against the girls in the army and put up a spirited attack on any suggestion of this. However, in the War of Independence, the Jews were so heavily outnumbered that there just was no other way. Ben Gurian is said to have told the Chazon Ish to his face that they had to let the girls fight or lose the war and the State of Israel.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I didn’t know about the Chazon Ish. I do know the women were needed in numbers, and I think they would have lost without them. That’s for telling us.

    • #10
    • July 18, 2018, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Little My Member

    Israel does have alternative national service. When my two daughters graduated high school, they considered the army, and did some informational meetups, but ultimately decided to do “sherut leumi” (national service) instead. One daughter worked at the Alyn Hospital for handicapped children; the other worked in rehabilitation at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The program for many girls (almost all of whom are from religious families) is their first chance to live away from home, have to organize their budgets, make friends with diverse roommates, etc. “Religious” in Israel means families that are Sabbath-observant, keep kosher, etc. — as opposed to secular families which sometimes are not merely non-observant, but openly hostile to religious Jews. A religious young women we know discovered how hostile and uninformed her fellow soldiers were, and did a lot to change their misconceptions, mainly by pointing out that except for keeping the Sabbath army-style, she was doing exactly the same things they did.

    Other young women in my community chose army service: one became an officer in the paratroops; another joined the Border Police in a women’s combat unit; other girls were “jobnikim” (doing all kinds of non-combat service); another woman worked with the dog unit. I remember one friend telling me in a kind of amazement one day (after being assigned to issue gas masks to the general public), that for the first time, she realized she was doing something important — before that, her army experience had not been very interesting.

    Both my daughters, now with kids of their own, now regret not doing the army, however, and want their kids to serve.

    When I came here in 1980, I was too old for army service, but I was a volunteer with the Border Police and was on the roster of those who did nightly patrols of our community (armed with an M-1, by the way).

    Of course, daily life here is mostly quite routine, but never taken for granted.

    • #11
    • July 19, 2018, at 2:24 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  12. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    I spent 3 months on Naan in the late 80’s, Felt very safe…. a manned entrance at the front. Distressing to hear that rockets made it inland that far…

    • #12
    • July 19, 2018, at 2:02 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I live in Ireland where hostility to Israel is increasing exponentially. It’s so bad that our Senate ( Seanad) last week passed a Bill outlawing trade with “occupied territories”. The neutral phrase could refer to Northen Cyprus, Tibet and many other places but even its proponents admit that the target is Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The political party I supported all my life and once worked for voted in favour of the Bill- out of political expediency, not principle. They were against it a few months ago. 

    Today the Knesset passed a law declaring Israel a Jewish Nation- State. Cue hysterical reaction and biased reporting with talk of apartheid and Nazis and so on ad nauseum. 

    What really bugs me at the moment is that no-one ever discusses what the Palestinian State in a two-state solution would be like. Would it accommodate its Jewish and other minorities? Would it disclaim any Muslim (or Islamist) heritage and declare itself a secular State? The answers are obvious but no-one could care less. It all about denigrating and delegitimising Israel. When they chant- 

    “ From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”

    – they don’t mean free in some happy-clapping way. They mean free of Jews. 

    It’s awful. 

    • #13
    • July 19, 2018, at 2:34 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  14. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    When they showed how powerful they could be and how well they could defend themselves, they were no longer the underdog.

    Soviet propaganda and, by some strange coincidence the American Left, was strongly against Israel in the runup to the 6 Day War. In Progressive circles, Egypt’s closing of the Straits of Tiran* was seen as defensive and Israel’s line in the sand was seen as unjustifiably provocative.

    Then Israel embarrassed the Soviet Union with its stunning defeat of the weapons and training the USSR was providing to its Third World clients.

    * Wikipedia:

    In 1967, ninety percent of Israeli oil passed through the Straits of Tiran, making it a target of Egyptian blockade during the Arab League boycott of Israel.[4]

    In May 1967, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol repeated declarations that Israel had made in 1957, saying that closure of the Straits of Tiran would be an act of war. Egypt then blockaded the straits on May 22, 1967, and oil tankers that were due to pass through the straits were required to submit documents ensuring their cargo was not destined for an Israeli port. At that time, Israel viewed the Straits of Tiran as a vital interest as it is where Israel received vital imports, mainly oil from Iran, and a blockade threatened Israel’s ability to develop the Negev.

    • #14
    • July 19, 2018, at 2:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    Today the Knesset passed a law declaring Israel a Jewish Nation- State. Cue hysterical reaction and biased reporting with talk of apartheid and Nazis and so on ad nauseum. 

    Thank you for this information, @charlesmark. It’s frustrating that the Arabs are claiming that this means Israel doesn’t want them there. It’s simply not true. I’ll have to explore this more. Regarding the two-state solution, the PA isn’t interested in discussing it because they really don’t want it; they want one state without Jews. Period. Thanks for weighing in.

    • #15
    • July 19, 2018, at 4:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    Today the Knesset passed a law declaring Israel a Jewish Nation- State. Cue hysterical reaction and biased reporting with talk of apartheid and Nazis and so on ad nauseum.

    Thank you for this information, @charlesmark. It’s frustrating that the Arabs are claiming that this means Israel doesn’t want them there. It’s simply not true. I’ll have to explore this more. Regarding the two-state solution, the PA isn’t interested in discussing it because they really don’t want it; they want one state without Jews. Period. Thanks for weighing in.

    Imagine if the U.S. passed a law that it was a christian nation…..

    • #16
    • July 19, 2018, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    Today the Knesset passed a law declaring Israel a Jewish Nation- State. Cue hysterical reaction and biased reporting with talk of apartheid and Nazis and so on ad nauseum.

    Thank you for this information, @charlesmark. It’s frustrating that the Arabs are claiming that this means Israel doesn’t want them there. It’s simply not true. I’ll have to explore this more. Regarding the two-state solution, the PA isn’t interested in discussing it because they really don’t want it; they want one state without Jews. Period. Thanks for weighing in.

    Imagine if the U.S. passed a law that it was a christian nation…..

    It’s a Judeo-Christian nation. Big difference from Israel, too.

    • #17
    • July 19, 2018, at 6:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    Today the Knesset passed a law declaring Israel a Jewish Nation- State. Cue hysterical reaction and biased reporting with talk of apartheid and Nazis and so on ad nauseum.

    Thank you for this information, @charlesmark. It’s frustrating that the Arabs are claiming that this means Israel doesn’t want them there. It’s simply not true. I’ll have to explore this more. Regarding the two-state solution, the PA isn’t interested in discussing it because they really don’t want it; they want one state without Jews. Period. Thanks for weighing in.

    Imagine if the U.S. passed a law that it was a christian nation…..

    It’s a Judeo-Christian nation. Big difference from Israel, too.

    Ok, assume they passed a law declaring it a judeo Christian nation if you wish ……. as for big difference, both nations claim to allow religious freedom…. to not impose religious tests on political offiice or citizenship…

    • #18
    • July 19, 2018, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):
    Ok, assume they passed a law declaring it a judeo Christian nation if you wish ……. as for big difference, both nations claim to allow religious freedom…. to not impose religious tests on political offiice or citizenship…

    I don’t know what your point is, Herbert. There would be no reason for us to do it to begin with. Israel does it for cultural and political reasons: most other countries of the world have kicked out the Jews. Now they have a homeland they can call their own. We have no reason to make that declaration.

    • #19
    • July 19, 2018, at 6:19 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Herbert defender of the Realm,… (View Comment):
    Ok, assume they passed a law declaring it a judeo Christian nation if you wish ……. as for big difference, both nations claim to allow religious freedom…. to not impose religious tests on political offiice or citizenship…

    I don’t know what your point is, Herbert. There would be no reason for us to do it to begin with. Israel does it for cultural and political reasons: most other countries of the world have kicked out the Jews. Now they have a homeland they can call their own. We have no reason to make that declaration.

    My point would be that it goes against the notion that a nation that claims to believe in religious freedom to pass such a law. As for the U.S.. I bet if it put forth in a referendum it would pass, I would also wager that if someone asked trump the question tomorrow, he would agree with the concept.

     

    • #20
    • July 19, 2018, at 6:31 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    We could pass a law that water is wet. Why would we?

    • #21
    • July 19, 2018, at 6:41 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    Percival (View Comment):

    We could pass a law that water is wet. Why would we?

    Right, no sense. (Unless you are intending to send a message that other liquids aren’t wet….)

    • #22
    • July 19, 2018, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    Today the Knesset passed a law declaring Israel a Jewish Nation- State. Cue hysterical reaction and biased reporting with talk of apartheid and Nazis and so on ad nauseum.

    Thank you for this information, @charlesmark. It’s frustrating that the Arabs are claiming that this means Israel doesn’t want them there. It’s simply not true. I’ll have to explore this more. Regarding the two-state solution, the PA isn’t interested in discussing it because they really don’t want it; they want one state without Jews. Period. Thanks for weighing in.

    All the nation states surrounding Israel are Muslim. Those states have eliminated by force nearly every Jew that for thousands of years coexisted with them. I do not know what was in the minds of those voting for that law in the Knesset, but it seems fair to me…seems like a Red Line that will not be transgressed. 

    • #23
    • July 20, 2018, at 6:41 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Danny Alexander Member

    I went to Tel Aviv right at the beginning of July 2014, immediately prior to the start of the Hamas rocket barrages and the ensuing IDF-launched air and ground incursions into Gaza. (Actually, Prof. Rahe went to Jerusalem at almost the same point in time — we *almost* got to meet there…)

    The experience of being in Tel Aviv under such circumstances — I was there until the end of July, just shortly before the IDF wrapped up its operations — was somewhat frightening but the combination of rocket range-limits and the wondrous protective ingenuity of the Kippat Barzel/Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries made the metropolis comparatively insulated. Communities heading southward from Tel Aviv were subjected to significantly greater misery, unfortunately, although again much credit has to go to Iron Dome for rendering the Hamas airborne instruments of death notably less lethal and destructive than they otherwise might have been.

    My original itinerary was supposed to land me back in the US really only about halfway through July, but the extension of my sojourn in Tel Aviv (which I did very much welcome, notwithstanding the circumstances) was a direct result of Barack Obama’s leftism-driven perfidy. Roughly 10 days into the conflict, the FAA issued a directive to US commercial airlines that could be phrased as “We’re not telling you that you can’t continue with flights to and from Ben-Gurion Airport, but you really shouldn’t continue with flights to and from Ben-Gurion Airport, until further notice.”

    This directive was absolutely unprecedented in FAA history, and even though the assertion was made that the FAA had decided to issue it entirely on the agency’s own, independent initiative, everyone knew that the order had come from Obama. After all, if he really had Israel’s back, he would have leapt into action and quite publicly ordered the FAA to rescind the directive.

    No dice, of course.

    What with BGA being the only truly international airport serving Israel, this directive was tantamount to instigating a boycott against Israel. Indeed, more than a few non-US airlines followed suit. Needless to say, it seemed rather odd when some 72 hours after the FAA decree was issued (under 72?), then-SoS John Kerry’s plane touched down at BGA…

    • #24
    • July 20, 2018, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  25. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    An email I received from the Jewish Federation of KC:

    Shalom Chaverim,

    There has been much talk prior to and since the passage of the Israeli Nation State bill yesterday as a “basic law” in Israel. The general significance of the law is that it enshrines in legislation Israel’s status as the nation state of the Jewish People. Since Israel does not have a constitution, basic laws are meant to express the values of the State of Israel and democratic state. They set the structure of government and ensure human and civil rights. To date, Israel has 14 basic laws.

    The challenge cited with this law is that it may be seen as unsettling the balance by establishing provisions that favor the Jewish nature of the state at the expense of the rights of Arab minorities. Although some of these provisions are already the law of the land – like language use, symbols, holidays and such – it can be interpreted through the lens of downgrading the status of the minority population.

    The most controversial clauses are the ones related to language, Jewish communities and relationships with the Diaspora.

    Language
    Regarding the language component, Arabic was downgraded from being an official language of Israel. While Arabic still has “special status,” Hebrew is established as the country’s sole official language. Some see this as a slight, especially since language is a core aspect of culture.

    Jewish Communities
    The Nation State law explicitly supports Jewish settlement and instructs the government to “encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation” as it is seen as a “national value.” The challenge here is that the clause refers exclusively to Jews without mentioning the same right for non-Jewish citizens.

    This wording is an improvement from the original version of the bill which had recognized an explicit right to build “segregated” communities. Although the wording was changed, there continues to be concern that this segment of the law encourages the building of new Jewish communities, with support for expanding Jewish settlements in disputed areas of Israel.

    Diaspora Relations
    Israel’s relationship with the Diaspora, as asserted in the new law, is seen as patronizing to Jews outside of Israel. Concerns as to how this will limit the impact of Diaspora Jewry on religious pluralism in Israel have emerged. Again, the language used in the law is unclear. The original document states Israel’s responsibility to act “in the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people wherever [Jews] may be.”

    There are some who feel that leaving out “wherever [Jews] may be” will continue the ongoing arguments related to conversion, personal status and egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. It remains to be seen whether these will continue as political issues for the time being. Also open to interpretation is whether or not the State of Israel’s responsibility to the Diaspora stops at Israel’s borders.

    …continued

    • #25
    • July 21, 2018, at 5:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    continued from above…

    As stated above, this bill mostly reflects things that are already true on the ground. Jewish Federations of North America and its partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel, represented the views of many in the Diaspora, taking center stage in the debates about the language used in the bill. There were redactions made thanks to the work of these agencies. However, challenges still remain.

    What this Means for Us 
    Governments and politics change: our work to support Israel must be based on the ideals on which it was founded. These include a commitment to the three principles expressed in its own Declaration of Independence:

    • The security of the Jewish people;
    • The flourishing of Jewish culture; and
    • The promotion of principles of universal justice and human rights for all its citizens.

    Israel has achieved remarkable and unprecedented success in its barely 70 years of existence. We will continue to work hard to promote all of these principles so that Israel may remain a strong and secure democratic Jewish state, a light unto the nations. Whatever its challenges, internal or external, we must be there.*

    Please join us in our efforts to keep the dialogue open and diverse and continue in your support of our mission to sustain and enhance Jewish life at home and around the world.

    The copied email above is not my thinking but expresses the cautionary thinking of the mainstream American Jewish Federation. As I stated earlier, none of Israel’s Arab/Muslim neighbors have any qualms about their identity or what religion is allowed to be practiced in their country. For Israel to state categorically what they are as a nation and who they represent as a people only improves the clarity and purpose of their existence.

    • #26
    • July 21, 2018, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    cdor (View Comment):
    Israel has achieved remarkable and unprecedented success in its barely 70 years of existence. We will continue to work hard to promote all of these principles so that Israel may remain a strong and secure democratic Jewish state, a light unto the nations. Whatever its challenges, internal or external, we must be there.*

    Thank you so much, @cdor; count on the Israelis to complicate things while trying to clarify them! ;-) I think these kinds of actions must happen, as the Palestinians and other Arab countries try to challenge Israel’s right to exist. Thanks again.

    • #27
    • July 21, 2018, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like

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