Tag Archives: Gabi Ashkenazi

DON’T RUN WITH THE HERD

WEIMAR PRECEEDED HITLER

When we lived in Africa, I used to advise people that, if they wanted to live a long life, they should stay out of politics.   I’ve now started to do the same in the United States.

Demonstrations and riots all too often end in violence.  Rise to prominence and there’s always the prospect of assassination.   Play it low key and you might live to old age.

I’ve never been one to run with the herd.   The fate of the herd is too likely to be that of the gadarene swine.   In the biblical account, two demon-possessed men have the demons cast out of them by Jesus Christ.  The demons then ask to enter a group of pigs.  The pigs then head straight for a cliff and instant death.

Politics is a bit like that.  Certainly, it is right now.

Most people, companies, even churches, are tripping over themselves trying to distance themselves from the wrongs of the past; asserting how they are not racist and proclaiming their love for Black Lives Matter.   Past American leaders are out of favor.  Even the British Empire has come under attack (would they rather be goose-stepping?   The British Empire was the only force standing up to Hitler while the US and Russia continued to sleep.  Historians have shown that, if Britain had fallen, the US would have followed and we would now all be speaking German.)

When we consider the tenor of the times, people need to remember that Weimar preceded Hitler, with a Depression in between; that a very liberal and decadent brief period of history was quickly followed by an administration of the extreme right.  Economists are already talking about another Depression, with our economies in a collapsed state through the corona virus.  Could history repeat itself?  Of course it could.  In America?  Of course.  As fascism consumed many countries in Europe, the US saw a big expansion of government power during the same period.

When people are hungry and have no jobs, they look for alternatives.

The Bible talks about an end-time combination of ten nations.  These have the hallmarks of a fascist conglomeration, embarking on world conquest.  You can read about it in Revelation 17:12-14.  (Incidentally, when European nations in the past went down a similar path, it was the British Empire that defeated them.   It will be different next time as the British Empire is no more.)

So, avoid the herd.  You never know where the herd will be a few months from now.  Robespierre or Napoleon (another “nut job”  who was defeated by the British Empire!)?   Liberal or Very Conservative?  It doesn’t depend on an election.   The herd is emotional.   Like those pigs, there’s very little thought, just an instinct that drives them toward the cliff.  Today, it’s liberal socialism.  Tomorrow?  Who knows?

Remember the pigs in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”?   They started out liberal.  But after over 100 pages, they were very different!

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ANOTHER TERROR ATTACK IN UK

Three men were killed (and three injured) in Reading, outside of London, when a Libyan asylum seeker stabbed them.

The British government said they will learn from this.   The most important lesson is the risk in allowing asylum seekers into the country.  Once again, this asylum seeker is a follower of the “Religion of Peace”.

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AMERICA IS SOCIALIST, DUMMY

“Every American state decrees that all its children shall be educated at state expense, no matter how rich or poor.  The idea began with Horace Mann in Massachusetts back in the 1830’s and eventually caught on nationwide.”

“Second, the entire American highway system is built, paid for, and maintained by the state and federal governments.

“Third, estate taxes were introduced in 1916, in the name of equality and to prevent the children of successful parents from becoming a parasitic leisure class.

“Fourth, in the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal established the principle that the federal government should intervene on behalf of distressed citizens everywhere.  It introduced Social Security (old-age pensions) and a growing array of farm subsidies to prevent rural depopulation.   In the 1960’s Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs went further, introducing healthcare for the poor (Medicaid) and for the elderly (Medicare).  Poor citizens in every city gained access to public housing complexes and were offered food subsidies and welfare benefits.

“During wartime emergencies in 1917 and 1942, the major industries were organized and run by central government departments in the name of efficiency and to prevent wasteful duplication.”  (“America is socialist, dummy,” Patrick Allitt, Spectator US edition, April 2020)

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WHITE LIVES MATTER

Burnley Football Club bosses have vowed to slap lifetime bans on supporters who flew a “White Lives Matter” banner over the Etihad Stadium on Monday.

A light aircraft towing the banner appeared in the skies shortly after players from Burnley and Manchester City had kneeled in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) ahead of kick-off.

Speaking to reporters after the game, which ended in a 5-0 defeat for his side, Burnley captain Ben Mee said that he and his teammates “were embarrassed, disappointed, upset” about the stunt.  (The Week, 6/23/2020)

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NEXT PHASE FOR COVID-19

Covid-19 has thus far taken its most serious toll on rich, peaceful countries.  America, Britain, Italy, France and Spain, five of the six worst-affected, have collectively borne over half of recorded deaths from the virus worldwide.  But the disease is now rippling through less stable places.  What will happen as it does?  There are reasons to fear not only that conflict will help the virus to spread, but also that its’ spread may worsen wars.  The two could feed upon each other, creating a cycle of misery it is difficult to arrest.

At the outset of the Peloponnesian war with Sparta, which raged from 431bc to 404bc, Athens was ravaged by a plague that swept through the city for three years, killing thousands of soldiers and a third of its inhabitants.  “Such was the nature of the calamity, and heavily did it weigh on the Athenians; death raging within the city and devastation without,” recalled Thucydides, a Greek historian and general.  The Spanish flu of 1918, another world-shaping pandemic, festered in the trenches and barracks of the first world war and killed more people than the conflict itself.  Over 36,000 American soldiers died before ever reaching France, with 12,000 dying on troop transports.  In total, more American soldiers, sailors and Marines died of flu and pneumonia than bullets and bombs.  (“Covid 19 raises the risk of global violence,” The Economist, 6/23/2020)

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ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY OVER WEST BANK                                             TV:   Trump, top aides to decide this week whether to back Netanyahu’s annexation ‘Decisive’ White House meeting, to be attended by Pompeo, Kushner, Friedman, said set to determine whether US okays PM’s July 1 plan for sovereignty over settlements, Jordan Valley.  (Times of Israel, 20 June 2020)

The White House will this week hold a “decisive” meeting on whether to approve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declared plan to start from July 1 annexing the 132 West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley — the 30 percent of the territory allocated to Israel under the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Israel’s Channel 13 reported Saturday night.

Citing unnamed American and Israeli sources, the report said US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is to fly home on Sunday for the pivotal meeting, which is scheduled for Monday or Tuesday, and which is also to be attended by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and National Security Adviser Richard O’Brien.  Friedman may meet with Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz before he leaves.

Trump himself is “likely” to join the session, the report said, since “he’s the one who will ultimately decide” on whether to approve Israeli annexation, and if so on what scale.

A central issue in the White House meeting is likely to be the internal disagreement in the Israeli coalition over annexation now, which Netanyahu is vigorously championing, while Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi have said the Trump plan should be implemented in coordination with Jordan and the Palestinians.

A joint US-Israel committee has been mapping out the West Bank areas set to come under Israeli rule, and has not yet completed its work, having been delayed in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Times of Israel was told earlier this month that the committee was weeks away from finishing the job, and that the US was “highly unlikely” to green-light annexation by Netanyahu’s July 1 target date.

Netanyahu’s vows to push ahead with unilateral annexation have been condemned internationally, with European and Arab states, as well as senior members of the US Democratic Party, warning the Israeli government against doing so.

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-trump-top-aides-this-week-to-decide-whether-to-back-netanyahus-annexation/)

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Worst of crisis now behind us, says Germany’s chief banker
Germany has turned the corner on the worst of an economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and is now on the path to recovery, the central bank chief of Europe’s biggest economy said Sunday.  (AFPnews, thelocal.de, Germany, 21 June 2020)

“We experienced in the last months the deepest economic slump in Germany’s (post-war) history,” Jens Weidmann told Sunday’s edition of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  “The good news is:  the trough should be behind us by now, and things are looking up again. But the deep slump is being followed only by a comparatively gradual recovery.  “Weidmann, who has never minced his words against expansionary policies ramped through in the past by the European Central Bank, on Sunday also voiced support for the unprecedented economic rescue and stimulus packages unleashed by Berlin to shield German companies and jobs.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had stunned observers in March when it unveiled a rescue package worth 1.1 trillion euros, smashing through a long-held no new debt dogma to fund the measures.  Earlier this month, it said it would plough another 130 billion euros into various schemes, including a cut in VAT, to stimulate the economy.  Reacting to comments that Germany, once known as a “frugal” nation, was now dramatically loosening its purse strings, Weidmann said:   “The image of the Swabish housewife is often wrongly portrayed.  “She is not saving for the sake of saving, but so that there is money that can be spent sensibly and in case there are difficult times.  And that is precisely the case here.

“Like nations across Europe, Germany shut schools, shops and sent workers home from mid-March to halt transmission of the coronavirus.  The impact of the health crisis has pushed the economy into a deep recession believed to be the worst since World War II.  After the rate of new infections dropped sharply, Europe’s biggest economy began easing restrictions in early May although social distancing rules are still in place and huge events banned.  Nevertheless, the improved health situation and the huge government support have helped lift sentiment, with a closely-watched survey showing confidence among investors surging to its highest level since before the financial crisis.”

(https://www.thelocal.de/20200621/worst-of-crisis-now-behind-us-says-germanys-chief-banker)

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NATO EXPANDS INTO ASIA

NATO should systematically expand its military exercises and operations into the Asia-Pacific region, an expert of Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank proposes in the intensifying debate on the posture the western war alliance should assume in relationship to the People’s Republic of China.  China’s “presence in the Arctic, in Africa and in the Mediterranean” calls for a response, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.  Think tanks suggest that NATO should more closely monitor Chinese investments in the European infrastructure, because “civilian roads, ports and rails” under construction with Chinese participation “are an integral part of NATO’s plans for military mobilization.”  NATO is also strengthening its relations with “global partners” such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.  For the first time, Australia’s defense minister participated at the meeting of the NATO Ministers of Defense that ended yesterday.  The Atlantic Council is also suggesting the establishment of a NATO military headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region.   (German Foreign Policy, 6/21/2020)

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WHEN EVERYONE KNEELS, WHO WILL STAND UP FOR THE WEST?

“We are afraid that anything we do is colonial. There’s plenty of countries willing to step into that global governance gap: China, Iran, Russia, Turkey.” — Bruce Gilley, The Times, May 10, 2018.

British post-colonial guilt is, however, having repercussions far larger than statues.  There is, for instance, still total silence about persecuted Christians, according to a UK bishop leading a government review into their suffering.

Western history is seemingly being remade to portray all of Western civilization as just one big apartheid.  It is as if we should not only pull down statues but also pull down ourselves.  A successful democracy, however, cannot be built on just erasing the past.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”  (George Orwell, 1984)

(“When Everyone kneels, who will stand up for Western history and culture?” Guilio Meotti, Gatestone, 6/21/2020)

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US military in Germany:   What you need to know

A decision to move US troops out of Germany would mark a major change in the defense relationship between the two countries and reshape the basis of American military presence in Europe since World War II.  (Deutsche Welle, 16 June  2020, by Ben Knight)

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UK DEBT EXCEEDS SIZE OF ECONOMY

The UK’s debt is now worth more than its economy after the government borrowed a record amount in May.

The £55.2bn figure was nine times higher than in May last year and the highest since records began in 1993.  The borrowing splurge sent total government debt surging to £1.95trn, exceeding the size of the economy for the first time in more than 50 years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures confirmed the severe impact the virus was having on public finances.

“The best way to restore our public finances to a more sustainable footing is to safely reopen our economy so people can return to work.

“We’ve set out our plan to do this in a gradual and safe fashion, including reopening high streets across the country this week, as we kickstart our economic recovery,” he added.

Income from tax, National Insurance and VAT all dived in May amid the coronavirus lockdown as spending on support measures soared.

This is the first time debt has been larger than the size of the economy since 1963, but it is not as high as the post-war peak of 258% in 1946-47.  (BBC 6/19/2020)

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STATUES AND RHODES

“I come from a country with no statues.

“It is not that Morocco never had statues.  Not that long ago it had statues of French officials – of which only one remains, hidden in a consulate garden.  It had, a bit earlier, statues of Christian saints and Roman dignitaries, of which there is no trace. Before that, it must have had statues of Phoenician deities.  All have been destroyed, and with them visible proof of the complex history of North Africa.

“There is nothing new about submitting statues to the trial that their subjects escaped.  In the Roman Empire, when a Caesar fell out of public grace and was murdered, his successor’s first thought was about statues.  Faces were erased, then redrawn in the new emperor’s image.  Tearing down statues is not new, either.  People re-evaluate the past, but when it comes to re-evaluating individuals, things get trickier.  How much did a person’s representation owe to its own time?  Frankly, almost everything.

Cecil Rhodes was not particularly loved in his own day; his wealth was admired, but not his half-avowed homosexuality.   He might have been too forward-thinking, for what business of his was it to create a scholarship that could be awarded regardless of race or creed?  The language of his will is clear and obvious:   “no student shall be qualified or disqualified for election to a Scholarship on account of his race or religious opinions.”

If Rhodes was the racist we assume he was, then surely he knew what “race” meant?  Five years after Rhodes’s death, in 1907, in the wake of the election of the first black Rhodes Scholar, Alain LeRoy Locke, the Rhodes Trustees argued that when Rhodes used the term “race” he might have meant “Dutch, English, Jew, and the rest.”  Perhaps Rhodes was simply more progressive than his trustees, and than most people of his time.

Rhodes endowed my college at Oxford, Oriel, with the means to further its work and fulfill its vocation as “The Provost and Scholars of the House of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford, commonly called Oriel College, of the Foundation of Edward the Second of famous memory, sometime King of England.”  Rhodes is included in the daily college prayer said after dinner in hall, and in the yearly benefactors’ service.  Does that mean that we, as a community, condone the horrors he engaged in?

It is alright for hands to be dirty.  No hands are clean in history.

The first colonizers of North Africa wiped out all its Christian and Jewish heritage, and thrived on the slave-trade.  They had black slaves as well as white slaves.  Any neutral view of history tells us that oppression is a matter of military power, and not of race.  (6/19/2020)

(Marie Daouda is a stipendiary lecturer in French at Oriel College, Oxford)

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TO THE POINT

  • Sajid Javid warns against a return to austerity
    Former chancellor Sajid Javid has warned against a return to austerity.  With the government grappling with the effects of the coronavirus crisis, Javid has called for low taxes on business to aid the UK’s recovery.  He said “early hopes of a V-shaped recovery” had “proved optimistic.”  Javid also predicted that “some long-term damage to the economy” had become “unavoidable.”  (The Week, 6/23/2020)
  • Pulling U.S. troops from Europe won’t save any money but it will make America less safe.  (Bloomberg 6/22/2020)
  • At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a fight with Chinese troops on a disputed border, though no shots were fired.  The incident took place during what India had described as a “de-escalation process,” more than a month into a series of punch-ups in Ladakh, a Himalayan region over which the two countries fought a war in 1962.  Today both armies are nuclear-tipped; senior Indian and Chinese officials met to discuss the situation.  (The Economist, 6/17/2020)
  • “The British relied on Indians to carry out the heavy lifting of imperial occupation and governance.  As late as 1921, there were only 156,000 British citizens living in India, one for every 1,500 Indians (Copland 3).”    (How can one oppress 1500? MR)
  • “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”   (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Vera Lynn, the singer who entertained British soldiers during the second world war, has died at the age of 103.   Known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart,” she made the white cliffs of Dover a symbol of home in a popular song.   The Queen referenced another, “We’ll Meet Again,” in an address to the country during the covid-19 lockdown.  (The Economist, 6/18/2020)
  • For his first foreign trip since France went into lockdown, President Emmanuel Macron will head to London today, where he will be welcomed by Prince Charles.   The official purpose is to mark the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s “appeal from London,” a BBC broadcast in which the general urged the French to resist Nazi occupation, as well as to award the British capital the Légion d’honneur.   But Mr. Macron will also squeeze in a meeting with Boris Johnson, the prime minister, at a time of tension over unresolved Brexit negotiations.  The French president was keen to keep this trip in the diary, even though Britain is still largely under lockdown and had to exempt him from its 14-day quarantine rule.   Macron hopes the visit will remind the French of the resistance spirit embodied by de Gaulle, even if historical figures—le général included—have recently become objects of conflict rather than conciliation.

KURDS ‘STABBED IN BACK’ BY US

The SDF was Washington’s main ally in Syria in the fight against ISIL [File: Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo]
The US President Donald Trump has announced that an ally of the United States, Turkey, may attack and invade another ally, the Kurds, who fought with the US against ISIS.

Kurds warn Turkish offensive will bring ‘chaos once again’

Several of Donald Trump’s most loyal Republican allies have turned on him over his decision to pull US troops out of north-eastern Syria. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the withdrawal would benefit Russia and Iran, while Senator Lindsey Graham – usually an outspoken defender of the president – warned that abandoning the Kurds in the region to allow a Turkish military offensive would be “a stain on America’s honor.”

War zone — Turkish forces are already massing near the border with north-eastern Syria as US troops withdraw.  A spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said the area would soon “turn into a war zone.”

Civilian suffering — Trump’s rash decision opens the way for a vicious struggle between the Kurds and Turkey’s military, says Simon Tisdall, who warns of war crimes and fresh civilian suffering ahead.   (The Guardian, 10/8)

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PARIS POLICE KILLED BY ISLAMIST

The knife attacker who killed four of his colleagues at Paris police headquarters this week showed signs of radicalization and appears to have planned his assault, French authorities said on Saturday. France’s anti-terror prosecutor said several witnesses had said the attacker — a 45-year-old IT professional who had been working at the Intelligence Directorate of the Paris Police Headquarters since 2003 — had adhered to “a radical vision of Islam.”   He had converted to the religion about 10 years ago.   On Thursday he killed four of his colleagues in an attack that lasted less than 10 minutes in the centre of Paris near Notre-Dame cathedral before being shot dead by an armed officer.

The anti-terror prosecutor took over the investigation on Friday after police examined the attacker’s mobile phone and questioned his associates, including his wife.   On the morning of the attack, said the prosecutor at a press conference, the perpetrator had exchanged 33 text messages with his wife and all of a religious nature, ending with the phrase “Allahu akbar [God is great]”.   He sent the messages 30 minutes before he bought the knives used in the attack.

The prosecutor said that the attacker had probably had contacts with members of the Salafist movement, a radical form of Islam, adding that the investigations had revealed his “approval for certain atrocities committed in the name of that religion,” including the deadly assault in 2015 against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and that he had changed his manner of dress over the past few months.

According to French media the attacker’s wife has described how he had begun hearing voices the night before the attack.   Over the past four years Paris has been hit by numerous large-scale and deadly attacks, including at the Bataclan theatre in November 2015 when extremists killed 130 people in the deadliest Islamist terror attack to strike France.  (Paris police attacker showed signs of radicalization, David Keohane, Financial Times, 10/5).

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Israel and Gulf states working on ‘historic pact’ to end conflict between them (Times of Israel * 5 Oct 2019)

Israel is reportedly negotiating with several Gulf states on a “non-aggression pact” between them as they face off against an increasingly emboldened Iran.   The deal, which Channel 12 news described as potentially “historic,” aims to put an end to the state of conflict between the Gulf states and Israel, and reportedly provides for friendly relations, cooperation in a variety of fields, and no war or incitement against each other.

Advancing the Israeli initiative, Foreign Minister Israel Katz met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month with several foreign ministers from Arab Gulf states, Channel 12 news reported Saturday night.   There was no immediate comment from the Foreign Ministry..   (https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-and-gulf-states-said-working-on-non-aggression-pact-as-they-face-iran/)

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Former MidEast envoy:   ‘anti-Iran alliance crumbling’
Times of Israel * 5 Oct 2019

Sensing US reluctance to respond forcefully to Iranian aggression in the region, and following the devastating September attack on its oil facilities blamed on Tehran, Saudi Arabia is quietly moving toward possible rapprochement with the Islamic Republic, according to multiple media reports.    The New York Times reported Friday that the Trump administration’s failure to react militarily to the September 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, which jolted global oil prices and temporarily knocked out nearly 6 percent of the world’s daily crude production, had led Riyadh to recalculate.

“The worst outcome for the Saudis is to move to a confrontation with Iran expecting the US to support them and find out they won’t,” Philip Gordon, a former White House Middle East coordinator, told the Times.   “This administration has shown it’s not really ready to take on Iran.”   . . . Saudi Arabia gave a “positive” response Friday to a truce offer from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and called for its implementation.   Saeed Shariati, a political analyst in Tehran, told the New York Times:   “We have reached the peak of Saudi-Iran tensions and both sides have concluded this balance of fear is detrimental to their interests.” (https://www.timesofisrael.com/saudis-said-moving-toward-detente-with-iran-amid-us-reluctance-to-act-militarily/)

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CHINESE LOANS TO FINANCE NEW ZIMBABWE CAPITAL IN POVERTY STRICKEN NATION

China has sunk her dragon claws deeper into Zimbabwe’s social, political and economic bone marrow by reportedly acquiring vast tracks of land in Mount Hampden, the new capital city of the country, thus effectively buying and owning it for a song, well before construction is even completed, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.

Diplomatic and high level government sources at the ministry of lands, agriculture, and rural resettlement this week said Beijing had also struck a deal to provide the more than US$20 billion needed by government to develop the city, which is expected to house a new reserve bank, parliament building, international airport, government departments, presidential palace, shopping malls, five new opulent residential suburbs, and industrial sites.

Other features of the new city include a university, technology centre, schools, churches, hospitals, and official residences for the speaker of parliament and senate president. (Cynthia Goba, Zimbabwe News, 10/4)

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ISRAELI MAJORITY WANT MORE SECULAR STATE

A new survey by Hiddush, an Israeli organization that supports religious pluralism, shows that 57 percent of the Jewish Israeli electorate does not want the incoming governing coalition to include or depend on parties that are Charedi Orthodox, commonly referred to as ultra-Orthodox in the United States.  That 57 percent majority also wants the coalition to support religious freedom in Israel.

Thirty-four percent of Israeli Jews disagree:   They want the Orthodox parties in the coalition and are happy with current government policy, which gives Orthodox Judaism significant influence over Israeli law.   Charedi parties have been part of the Israeli government since 2015 and have sat in a series of coalitions throughout Israel’s history.

The survey’s finding is significant because some of the harshest rhetoric ahead of the election centered on religious issues.   Secular parties accused Orthodox parties of wanting to establish a theocracy in Israel.   Orthodox parties claimed that secular parties wanted to deprive Israel of its religious character.   The only reason for the election last week — Israel’s second in a year — was an intractable conflict between Orthodox and secular parties after the previous election in April.

Nearly all of those who voted for Blue and White, the centrist party led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, want a secular governing coalition.   Most voters for Netanyahu’s Likud Party (56 percent) support a coalition with Orthodox parties, while 44 percent favor a secular coalition. (https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/israelis-want-a-more-secular-ruling-coalition/)

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IRAN MOVES NEARER TO ISRAEL

Israel is fighting off Iranian expansion across the Middle East, but danger for the Jewish state lurks near its own borders.   Painstaking work by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their loyal proxies has succeeded in laying the groundwork for a second Iranian front with Israel in the Golan Heights.

The first front is to Israel’s north in South Lebanon.   The Golan, which Israel won from Syria in 1967, lies further east.   Though Israel rules the skies, the Syrian land adjoining Israel’s border appears increasingly to belong to Iran.  (Jonathan Spyer, Wall Street Journal, 10/2)

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THREE MUSLIM LEADERS TO START TV NEWS CHANNEL

A leader of a country that has the death penalty for “blasphemy,” a leader who says he is a proud antisemite and a leader who threatens to invade foreign countries have united to push for a TV channel that will “fight Islamophobia.”   Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan met to propose a “BBC type English language TV Channel” that will “highlight Muslim issues,” Imran Khan said.

Khan tweeted that he met with his two counterparts on September 25 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.   The three decided to “jointly start an English language channel dedicated to confronting the challenges posed by Islamophobia and setting the record strait on our great religion.”   It’s unclear when he says “our” great religion if he means including other Muslim groups, such as Shi’ites or Ahmadis, both of which are routinely the victims of attacks in Pakistan.   Khan again tweeted about his meeting on September 30, claiming that this channel would be a “BBC type.” (Seth Frantzmann, MEF, 10/1)

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Israeli Security Cabinet to meet for first time in months, amid warnings of Iran threat.                                                                                    Security cabinet to convene Sunday as Liberman urges PM, Gantz to agree on unity, citing ‘national emergency’ and evoking Yom Kippur War; Islamic Jihad holds Gaza rally   (Times of Israel * 5 Oct 2019)

Members of the top forum will meet at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem in the afternoon.   In recent days Hebrew media has on several occasions quoted unnamed security officials as warning of the rising threat of an attack orchestrated by Iran.   The Blue and White party’s Gabi Ashkenazi, newly appointed head of the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, also spoke Thursday of “many challenges in the security realm, some known to all and some that are only discussed behind closed doors.” Liberman noted in a Facebook post that the country on Sunday will mark 46 years since the Yom Kippur War, the most traumatic conflict in the nation’s history and one in which the country was caught off guard by its enemies, and said it was imperative to remember its legacy “of leadership and love of country.”

Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad terror group on Saturday marked 32 years since its establishment, holding a rally in the Gaza Strip in which it showed off what it said was a new type of rocket. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/security-cabinet-to-meet-for-first-time-in-months-amid-warnings-of-iran-threat/)

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CATHOLIC CHURCH TO ORDAIN MARIED PRIESTS?

VATICAN CITY— Pope Francis formally opened a meeting of bishops that will debate whether the Catholic Church should loosen its 1,000-year-old requirement of celibacy for priests.

The potentially momentous debate pits those who say ordaining married men could relieve the church’s clergy shortage against those who warn that doing so would undermine the distinctive character of the priesthood.

In his homily on Sunday, at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope didn’t refer specifically to the celibacy debate, but called generally for innovation in the church’s ministry:   “If everything continues as it was, if we spend our days content that ‘this is the way things have always been done,’ then the gift vanishes, smothered by the ashes of fear and concern for defending the status quo.”   (“Pope opens debate on celibacy requirement for Catholic priests,” Francis X. Rocca, Wall Street Journal, 10/6)

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SCANDINAVIAN CRIME BOOSTED BY IMMIGRANTS

  • “Most immigrants are not criminals, but when the immigrant population is overrepresented in almost every crime category, then there is a problem that we must dare to talk about.” — Jon Helgheim, immigration policy spokesman for the Norwegian party Fremskrittspartiet (FrP).
  • “In the more than thirty years that the surveys cover, one tendency is clearer than all others, namely that the proportion of the total amount of crimes committed by persons with a foreign background is steadily increasing….” — Det Goda Samhället (“The Good Society”), Invandring och brottslighet – ett trettioårsperspektiv (“Immigration and crime – a thirty-year perspective”).   All statistics for the report were supplied by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
  • Unless Scandinavian political leaders begin actively to engage with the facts that these statistics describe, the problems are only going to become more intractable — to the point where they may be entirely unsolvable.   (Judith Bergman, Gatestone, 10/4)

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Why some Albertans want to separate from Canada                              by Robin Levinson-King,  BBC News, Calgary, Alberta, 4 Oct 2019

Today, Albertans’ common concerns can be summarized with three words: representation, equalization and oil.    Peter Downing, “a right-wing political muckraker” is hoping to spin this feeling of economic betrayal into a viable political movement, with the creation of Wexit Alberta.

The group is campaigning for the western province to separate from Canada and form its own nation (possibly alongside another western province).   It’s an old idea that has gained momentum as relations between Alberta and the rest of the country have deteriorated.

Many Albertans blame Mr. Trudeau’s policies for this turn of events, and Mr. Cooper, the Albertan political scientist who is also a separatist, says he is certain that if Mr. Trudeau is re-elected, Albertan separation will soon follow.       (Extracts from:  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49899113)

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TO THE POINT

  • “The China of Xi Jinping boasts land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers that provide a strategic deterrent against the United States.   Beijing’s conventional forces on land, sea, and in air and space rival any on earth.”   (Pat Buchanan, 10/4)
  • Nasr Al-Din Mufreh, Sudan’s Minister of Religious Affairs, said in a September 7, 2019 interview on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) that Sudan is pluralistic in its views, values, cultures, ideologies, Islamic schools of thought, and religions, and he called upon Jewish minorities that may have left Sudan to reclaim their Sudanese citizenship and return to the country, which he pointed out is now ruled by secular law.   On a same-day interview on Sudania 24 TV, Sudanese writer Haidar Al-Mukashafi said that the Jewish presence in Sudan dates back over a century, and he said that this may be evidenced by a rumor in the Sudanese city of Merow that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was born and raised in Sudan.   Al-Mukashafi said that Jews and other minorities may return to Sudan if reforms take place and if there are incentives to do so.   (MEMRI, 9/19)
  • Fatemeh Azad, a 58-year-old Muslim woman who had converted to Christianity against her Muslim husband’s will and fled to Germany, was denied asylum there and deported back to Iran. There she was immediately arrested by authorities waiting for her plane to land . . .   “When Fatemeh made her asylum appeal, her lawyers argued that apostasy (conversion away from Islam) is punishable by the death penalty in Iran.”   This, however, was insufficient for Germany . . . — Persecution.org; July 25, 2019. (Gatestone 9/22)
  • Prince Harry’s decision to take British newspapers to court may backfire on him.   The British Royal family has always maintained a policy of “no comment” on newspaper articles about them. After all, if you deny some, you are, effectively, admitting that others are true.   At the same time, royals have a symbiotic relationship with the press – they can’t live without all the publicity and the press can’t live without the royals, who provide lots of news that people are interested in.   Suing the papers may end that relationship.   If the papers back away from the royals, that could mean no publicity, life-blood of the monarchy.
  • SWEDISH KING KICKS GRANDCHILDREN OUT OF ROYAL HOUSE . . . AND CHARLES WANTS THE SAME (headline in Daily Express, 10/7).   “The five children lose the status of royal highness and are not expected to perform official duties.”  (BBC)
  • The death of a 19-year-old British man, killed on his motorbike by a lady driving on the wrong side of the road, is clear cut.   It was an accident, but some appropriate punishment must be found. However, the motorist, a 42-year-old mother, fled to the US to avoid a court case.   This was made possible by the fact that she has diplomatic immunity.   We understand that there must be laws on diplomatic immunity, but for traffic accidents like this? She will hardly face the death penalty if she goes back for a trial.   And the family needs some sort of closure after losing a son to an American lady who got confused and drove on the right (wrong) side of the road!   (Diplomatic immunity even helps diplomats avoid traffic fines and cost the UK taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.)
  • The deaths of six elephants in Thailand was a tragic accident.   A baby in the herd fell down a waterfall.   The other five died trying to rescue her.   This kind of behavior is typical of elephants who are very caring of each other.
  • I will not be posting a blog next week.