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August 29, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 29, 2014 Gra n d s tra tegy for the Middle Eas t? We don't kn o w what malicious anti-Zionist propagandists will tell you--Christians can practice their faith freely. In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, about one day's drive from here, only a minuscule handful of terrified Christians remain, the vast majority having been driven out by the savage terrorists of the Islamic State jihadist group. The ethnic cleansing of Mosul's Christians was accompanied by the destruction of numer- ous holy sites, including an 1,800-year-old church and the tomb of the prophet Jonah. As Mosul's Patriarch Louis Sako mournfully observed at the end of July, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians." On any Sunday morning in that beleaguered city, you will no longer hear the sound of church bells. By Ben Cohen Strolling through Jerusalem's historic Yemin Moshe quarter on a pleasant August morning, my ears caught a ringing, melodic sound emanating from within the walls of the Old City, perhaps halfa mile from where I stood. This being a Sunday, the sound I heard was the chiming of church bells, welcoming Christian worshippers to morning services. Normally, there is something joyous about the sound of those bells, particularly in a city that contains the key holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam But on this day, I felt a profound sadness upon hearing them. For Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is one of the few places in the Middle East where--despite I Shipley speaks ] The fire next time The Islamic State's onslaught has raged for several months now. Having spread from Syria into Iraq, the terrorist organization's aim is to set up an Islamic caliphate in all the territories it conquers. It's a mistake to believe that the national borders thatwe in the west recognize as sacrosanct are in any way respected by these modern day barbarians. As far as the Islamic State is concerned, there is certainly no place called Israel, and no place called Kurdistan, but there is also no Syria, no Iraq, no Lebanon, no Jordan. All these states are regarded as a contiguous territory where Islamic sharia law--as interpreted by a group of criminals, rapists, and torturers--will remain eternally supreme. Unless, of course, we in the West wake up to the threat and understand that the only way to roll back the Islamic State is to pulverize it without mercy, killing as many of its fighters as we can, and seizing back some of the criti- cal locations now under their control, such as the Mosul dam, which supplies water and electricity to northern Iraq. There are, thankfully, signs that this process is now underway. After months of ignoring a worsening situation, despite the persistent pleas of our Kurdish allies--along with Israel, the best, most loyal, and most reliable friends the United States has in the Middle East--the Obama administration is now gingerly offering sorely needed military and logistical SUpport. Important European allies, like France and Britain, are following suit, sending weapons and advisors to assist the Kurdish soldiers, the peshmerga, who are the first line of defense against the Islamic State. Backed by U.S. air strikes, the peshmerga now appear poised to take back the Mosul dam. There was a horrendous irony in the fact Cohen on page 14A Letter from Israel A complex junction Hamas won this one. The universal con- demnation of Israel in almost every newspaper in the world; the thousands of people taking to the streets of major cities to protest the "senseless" killing of innocent civilians has made great fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. Truth? Who cares about truth? Who cares to take the time to dissect the causes and the actual events on the ground? Blood and crying and mass destruction makes for great video. When people ask where is the video from Israel? Who wants to watch as the Iron Dome saved hundreds, maybe thousands of Jewish lives? Look, the strain of anti-Semitism that runs so deep in Europe it can hardly contain itself in cluiet times, finds the ideal outlet when the all-day news shows crying children with no context other than destruction and death. Understand, Hamas and its offshoots have never stopped sending missiles into Israel. For years. Ask the citizens of Sderot which has received the brunt of these "skirmishes" to the point where J NF had to build an.indoor playground for the children of the town. Maybe it's time again to look into the history of this sad strip of sand on the Mediterranean. At the end of World War I, the British had a "mandate" over all of what is now Israel and Jordan as well as parts of Egypt. When the British left in 1948, Gazawas supposedly under the PalestinianAuthority. However, Egypt was in actual control with Egyptian troops and police on the ground. A typical Egyptian tactic for keeping the peace was to leave Up to five men hanging in the public square of Gaza City as a reminder as to who is really in charge. Israel took it in the 1967 war. When Begin and Sadat signed the peace accord in 1979, one of the main argu- ments was over Gaza. Sadat did not want it. Neither did Begin. As a part of the deal, Begin finally agreed to take Gaza--not as a part of Israel, but to leave a small military presence and allow the Palestinian Authority under Arafat to rule. This resulted in a period of corruption and graft that makes old time Chicago and present day Russia look like paradise. Literally billions of dollars were stolen. Finally, in 2005, Sharon decided enough was enough and decided that all Jews should leave the Strip. This included a booming greenhouse fruit and vegetable business in Northern Gaza. Israel left the greenhouses, the electrical systems, the planted fruits and vegetables ready for the Palestinians to take over and begin their new self-government with at least one thriving industry. Instead, Hamas, which took over the Strip after fighting the Pales- tinian Authority for control, destroYed every single greenhouse, stealing the machineiy and electrical equipment. All of the Jews left. Many not peaceably for understandable reasons. They relocated grudg- ingly, but they left. Israel does not want to go back. Egypt does not want to go back. That leaves thisbleeding sore that is an incubator for terrorism and a tempting morsel for ISIS on their quest for a new caliphate. What does Hamas demand? An end to the "blockade" of Gaza. "Blockade"? You mean the strict border security to prevent the Arab suicide bombers fromwalking across into Israel so they wouldn't have to use the inconvenience of tunnels? It is a basic tactic of urban warfare to hide and shoot from innocent civilian homes and alleyways. If your opponent has any of the milk of human kindness, he hesitates to shootwhich is what the bad guys are hoping for. Our son was in the IDF during the first Lebanon war. His patrol was on an urban street and was fired upon. His buddy looked up at a window from which the gunfire was coming. Fie aimed, saw a child's head pop up and lowered his gun. A sniper behind the child killed my son's friend. Gaza is only a warm up. Iran has packed a huge store of weapons including thousands of rockets in Lebanon. ISIS is the only extreme Muslim group to take and hold ground. Their immediate goal is to kill Christians and other Muslims in a reign of terror. ISIS does not have the problem of financing, manpower or weaponry. They are a sophis- ticated movement with well-trained officers (most from Saddam's army), money aplenty from the Iraqi banks they looted (mostly our taxpayer money). They are armed with Ameri- can armor, left for them by the retreating Sunni members of the Iraqi army who decided that they do not have a dog in this fight. So, it is a confusing confluence when you see ISIS with its 12th century philosophy using twitter and Facebook and websites to promote its values. Hamas? The basic philosophy, platform and operating procedure for Hamas is the destruction of the Jewish State. How do you negotiate yourself around that? THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT.   CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE   ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Stam Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Bookkeeping dresses ( $46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite I01, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Loft Apple Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman , Gil Dombrosky email: Joyce Gore By Ira Sharkansky We're at a junction, as complex as anywhere two or three major highways come together, with too many signs to be anything other than confusing. On Tuesdaywewere still in a limping forward cease fire, with confusing signals from Pales- tinians and Israelis about their willingness to accept the imperfect, along with threats about what could happen. Mahmoud Abbas has been maneuvering for a role in Gaza. He is the most prominent of Palestinians saying that the unity Palestine National Authority must accept what the the Egyptians have offered, and continue to negotiate within its framework. Among what is muddled is the status of the united Palestine Authority. It came together a month before the onset of violence that brought us to this point, and the role of Hamas in the unity never was certain. Abbas sees an opening for him, his Fatah party, and security forces loyal to him in monitoring the borders between Gaza, Israel, and Egypt. Various spokesmen of llamas have indicated their acceptance of such a role, but Palestinian history cautions against any expectations, Involved here is a report about a wave of Israeli arrests in the West Bank meant to frustrate a Hamas plot to seize control from Abbas and his colleagues. Khalid Mashal, who sits in Qatar and claims to be the supreme leader of Hamas, along with some Hamas figures located in Gaza, have indicated their rejection of anything that does not give them open borders and the early development of air- and seaports. Otherprominent Hamas figures, and some claiming leadership of various Jihadist orga- nizations, have signaled their recognition of being weakened by the IDF, their need of an extended cease fire. However, some have spoken of replenish- ing their missiles and tunnels, saying that "all options are on the table." This threatens renewed bombardment of Israeli cities. Some have claimed that new missiles will know how to evade Israel's Iron Dome. Israelis are no more united than Palestin- ians. The most recent demonstration at Tel Aviv's central square, named from Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated there at the close of a rally in 1995, was said to have attracted "thousands" in opposition to any continued violence. Meretz and Peace Now organized it, with Labor Party leaders conspicuous by their absence. Specific estimates at 5,000 indicate the weakness of the left, in comparison with the estimated 30,000 who appeared at an earlier rally in the same place in behalf of doing what would be necessary to assure continued quiet for the people living near Gaza. The Israeli government as well as its inner Security Cabinet are divided. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon are the centrists, who have resisted demands for an all-out conquest of Gaza and destruction of Hamas. Tsipi Livni, who failed to reach an accord with the Palestinians in the negotia- tions sponsored by John Kerry, continues to promote Mahmoud Abbas as a partner for peace. She has spoken forcefully against negotiations with, or concessions to Hamas. Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Gilad Erdan (Likud) are the hawks in the Security Cabinet, speaking in support of further actions against Hamas. Yair Lapid demands quiet for the people living near Gaza, and has been critical of the Prime Minister for endangering relations with the United States. He has proposed a conference that would give roles to influence the future of Gaza and Israel to Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as Egypt and Palestine (West Bank) along with the US, UN, and the EU. No other member of the Security Cabinet has responded positively to this proposal. The Prime Minister's moderate posture (against demands for more extensive military action, andstanding against party colleagues within the government, and even extreme demands from Likud back benchers in the Knesset) is far removed from demands to drag him to an international judiciary dealing with charges of war crimes, as heard from the man chosen by the UN Council on Human Rights to assess Israel's (but not Hamas') actions. The cartoonist of Ha'aretz is not in Ne- tanyahu's corner. He is showing the Prime Minister riding an elephant, and performing a Hannibal action, which destroyed much of Rafah in southern Gaza in order to foil Hamas efforts to seize an Israeli soldier. In this car- toon, the Prime Minister is making a mess of Israel and its relations with the United States. Not at the center of things while most at- tention is on Gaza, but not too far away are worries about increased Arab violence in the West Bank, neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and northern Israel, The IDF, police, and other security services have arrested hundreds, Arab demonstrators have been injured and killed. None with standing has yet declared the onset of a Third Intifada, but the possibility is in the air. Along with this, one of the most outspoken of Israel's soldiers is a senior commander, a Druze from the north, whowas injured, hospitalized, and went against physicians' orders to leave the hospital and go back to Gaza. We have also heard express ions of loyalty from young people who describe themselves as Arabic speaking, Israeli Christians, who are proud to serve in the IDF in defense of their country. Prominent in the media for several days were demands of extremist Jews--religious and nationalists--to halt the marriage of a Jewish woman with an Arab. The wedding occurred to the noise of competing demonstrations, police protection, and threats of a boycott against the hall where the celebration occurred. The couple has been together for five years. The woman converted to Islam (far easier than .the man converting to Judaism), which permit- ted a marriage in this country of convoluted regulations. In a spirit that the public should stay away from private decisions, we should wish the young couple success and happiness, and hope for the same from those charged with making decisions on the public agenda. Ira Sharkansky is a professor (Emeritus) of the Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.