I watched a CNN interview with Benjamin Netanyahu this week and was impressed. It made me realize that perhaps it is the Israelis more than anyone else in the world that can help us better understand the growing unrest in the Middle East. We have lived and survived in this tough neighborhood as a robust democracy for six decades. During the interview Netanyahu makes a few cleverly cloaked remarks hinting that Europe and the States are already communicating with the Israelis trying to understand how best respond to the growing protest movements around the Middle East.

In light of this, I want to recommend that you read Netanyahu's excellent book A Place Amongst The Nations. This book more than any other will give you the essential inside understanding that will help you more fully understand what is really happening in the Middle East today. In this meticulously researched book, which took him five years to complete, Netanyahu traces the origins, history, and politics of Israel's relationship with the Arab world. In his easy to read and sometimes humurous style,  Netanyahu highlights those key factors that will surely determine the future of this region.

Anyone interested in Israel and what is happening in the Middle East must read this book. Paul Johnson of Commentary Magazine says about Netanyahu's book, "A formidable accomplishment... the most succinct, readable, powerfully argued, and convincing summary of Israel's case. There are many good books about Israel and the Arabs.  But A Place Amongst the Nations is the one that those most interested in the subject must now read."


There are very few world leaders left with the capacity to fully grasp the historical relevance of what is happening in the Middle East today. Netanyahu, the first and only Israeli prime minister born and raised in Israel after the State of Israeli's foundation, is uniquely qualified to help us understand. A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times says, "Without reading it [Place Amongst the Nations], people seriously interested in the Middle East will remain intellectual bystanders, ducking the historic discourse it forces open."

Pick up a copy of his book here and let me know what you think.
Published in Abba Lazarus' Blog
Saturday, 09 July 2011 08:49

Cruising with the devil

For years the neighborhood around Beit Immanuel was known for drug dealers and criminals. I can’t even remember the number of times we were robbed and our property damaged by these trouble-makers. When our kids were small one of these neighbors even set fire to a wooden house next to us endangering our children. That was it. I went ballistic and let him know that that was not going to happen again.
We banned the guy from our property. Unless he makes some kind of a miraculous turn around, we are obviously not going to let him into our home.
Nor should Israel allow these asinine flotilla instigators in. We don’t need to make room for the devil.
A good friend of mine shared this video "The Audacity of Dopes" on YouTube this week. 

I think it’s great that Israelis can look at the funny side of these crazy cruises to the Gaza Strip. But really, this is no laughing matter. Over the weekend Israel deployed close to a thousand policemen as hundreds of international activists flew into Tel-Aviv in protest of Israel’s policies in Gaza.
I have a hard time understanding why so many people support these misguided pranks. Why do so many people identify with Hamas and its radical Islamic agenda?
To me the ideology of Hamas and its Islamic war on Israel is shocking. Maybe it is so shocking that people refuse to believe it is true? Hamas has been training and sending suicide bombers to kill innocent people since 1987. They call them martyrs. How do we comprehend a movement that sends its young people to blow themselves up in order to kill innocent people?
Al-Fateh ("the conqueror") is the Hamas children's magazine, published biweekly in London, and also posted in its website. It began publication in September 2002, and its 108th issue was released in mid-September 2007. The magazine features stories, poems, riddles, and puzzles, and states it is for "the young builders of the future."
The magazine includes incitement to jihad and martyrdom and glorification of terrorist operations and of their planners and perpetrators as well as characterizations of Jews as "murderers of the prophets" and laudatory descriptions of parents who encourage their sons to kill Jews. In each issue, a regular feature titled "The Story of a Martyr" presents the "heroic deeds" of a mujahidin from one of the organizations who died in a suicide operation, including operations against civilians, or who was killed by the IDF. The magazine includes illustrations of figures, including child warriors, who embody the ethos of jihad and martyrdom, presenting them as role models. These include the magazine's titular character, Al-Fateh ("The Conqueror") - a small boy on a horse brandishing a drawn scimitar - as well as children carrying guns, and photos of Hamas fighters launching Qassam rockets aimed at Israeli civilians including children.
As far as I can tell, the kind of fundamental Islam followed by Hamas is the only religion known to mankind that finds honor in killing innocent people. Most of the world’s religions teach kindness, love and respect for humanity.  Faith in God helps people find ways of making the world a better place to live. Most religious people try to teach their off-spring how to overcome suffering or loss. Noreligion I am aware of teaches their children to sacrifice themselves in order to take vengeance on innocent people. Only radical Islam. 
I hear some people say, “We don’t understand the grievances of Hamas. If we would listen to them and make life better for them there would be less terror in the world.”
Are these terrorists the only ones with grievances? In the last century alone, we have endured two world wars, civil wars, Hiroshima, massacres, pogroms and a holocaust. Is there any other religion in the world that teaches its people to continue taking revenge by killing innocent people?  Did you ever see a survivor of the holocaust or of Hiroshima blow up a hospital, a school or a hotel? Are they shooting missiles into populated towns? Do they not also have grievances?
There is no grievance, suffering or pain that can justify killing innocent people. None. Never.
Western civilization cannot afford not to confront this devious justification of murder propagated by Hamas. The values of an entire generation have become so white-washed that we are  blinded to this clear manifestation of evil. Those who are trying to go to Gaza to identify with this ideology are themselves responsible for promoting terror.
They are encouraging a philosophy that is at war with the basic principles of human civilization and in absolute contradiction to all that is dear to the sanctity of life held by all peoples of the world. There is no logic or purpose that makes sense of it. It is a kill, kill philosophy. Nobody wins. With such an ideology there can be no other response than shock and resistance. Those who support them are also responsible for their deeds.
This ideology did not die with Bin Laden. There are thousands of nameless Islamic religious leaders in Gaza and around the world that continue to teach the same ideas that sent his 9/11 shaheeds (martyr in Arabic) to destruction. Week after week we hear about the hundreds and thousands murdered, mutilated and maimed in the name this perverse ideology.
Islamic jihad is an ideology, and ideas cannot be fought with guns alone. As the war in Iraq, as well Israel’s fifty-year long battle with Palestinian terror have shown, this ideology cannot be beaten by force alone.
That is why we must resist these perverse flotillas. Unconditionally, and without a shadow of doubt, we must stand with Israel’s sovereign right to prevent these ramble-rousers from entering her sovereign territory. Islamic jihad against Israel has many faces – none of them are acceptable.
Published in Abba Lazarus' Blog

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