Browsing Posts tagged Israel

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Who would have thought the President of Iran would reference Paul the Octopus in a speech demonizing the west. Very few actually believe that Paul the Octopus is a supernatural force, but that didn’t stop Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from claiming in a speech in Tehran that Paul the Octopus spreads “western propaganda and superstition.”

This coming from the leader of a country whose clerics infamously blamed earthquakes on women being dressed “immodestly.” Both examples clearly mix correlation with causation, but to claim a cephalopod in Germany is a source of evil is insane, even for Ahmadinejad. Then again, in 2007, Iran arrested 14 squirrels on “charges of espionage.”

“Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values,” quipped Ahmadinejad in an ironic remark.

The above quote is disturbing because when Iran “aspires” to human perfection, that means limiting human rights in general, especially women’s rights. According to him, “sacred values” are the subjugation of women, torture, killing infidels, and building a nuclear arsenal.

If Paul the Octopus is on Ahmadinejad’s “hitlist,” no one is safe.

As part of a new feature here at Israel Politik, we are proud to launch “Faces of the IDF,” where every week we will showcase a different Israeli soldier and their unique story.

As a “citizen army,” Israel’s defense forces are a reflection of the country’s multiethnic population -  and more than that, comprises a complete cross-section of Israeli society. Male and female, rich and poor, gay and straight, black and white and everything in between. In short, everyone who makes Israeli society what it is today serves together as they live together in everyday life.

While this is nothing out of the ordinary for Israelis, the following story really is making waves. And that is the story of Corporal Eleanor Joseph, the first female Arab paratrooper. continue reading…

Last week at the Brookings Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Andrew Shapiro, the United States’ Assistant Secretary for Political Military Affairs spoke on the Israeli-American security cooperation. According to Shapiro, “[America's] security relationship with Israel is broader, deeper and more intense than ever before.”

Mr. Shapiro outlined the four pillars in which the United States ensures Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME). “Israel’s QME is its ability to counter and defeat credible military threats from any individual state, coalition of states, or non-state actor, while sustaining minimal damages or casualties. The Obama Administration has demonstrated its commitment to Israel’s QME by not only sustaining and building upon practices established by prior administrations, but also undertaking new initiatives to make our security relationship more intimate than ever before,” said Shapiro. continue reading…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In the history of the State of Israel, never have there been preconditions for face-to-face peace talks. While it was not obligated to do so, the Israeli government last November ordered a 10-month freeze in new building projects in the West Bank.

This sign of good faith, the outward stretch of our hands in friendship with the Palestinians, has been rejected for seven months. Now the Palestinians are calling for the freeze to be extended.

The goal of the freeze was to encourage Palestinians to come to peace talks, but rather than embracing this moment, many are foolishly waiting for it to end so another freeze can be used as a “precondition for peace talks.” continue reading…

The following statement has been signed by Jose Maria Aznar, David Trimble, John R. Bolton, Alejandro Toledo, Marcello Pera, Andrew Roberts, Fiamma Nirenstein, George Weigel, Robert F. Agostinelli and Carlos Bustelo:

Israel is a Western democracy and a normal country. Nonetheless, Israel has faced abnormal circumstances since its inception. In fact, Israel is the only Western democracy whose existence has been questioned by force, and whose legitimacy is still being questioned independently of its actions. continue reading…

Eight tentacles. Eight predictions. The now infamous “Paul the Octopus” has emerged from the FIFA World Cup with 100% accuracy, predicting all of Germany’s games as well as the final. Like consecutive flips of a coin, with what starts off as a 50-50 chance gets smaller and smaller with each next prediction. The odds of going eight for eight? 0.39 percent. For his next look into the proverbial crystal ball, Paul the Octopus would be smart to predict a two-state solution: lasting peace between Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors.
There is a lot the Jewish people can learn from this psychic, nonkosher specimen. No one would have put money on this psychic octopus, even if the payoff is about 256:1. Then again, two thousand years ago, who would have bet on the Jewish people? Whether it is oil lasting 8 days or an unbelievable statistical anomaly of an octopus having a perfect world cup bracket, the world is full of surprises. Our prediction is that peace is coming and we hope that we have the same clairvoyance  as Paul the Octopus. continue reading…

Expectations surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fourth White House meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, are running high. The previous conversations between the prime minister and President Barack Obama, though privately friendly and constructive, generated press speculations of tensions in the United States — Israel relationship. The chief source of friction, it was reported, centered on the peace process and the best way to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. continue reading…

In a small Jerusalem café, I sat with Noam Shalit and tried to discuss his son, Gilad. I say tried because each time Noam, a soft-spoken, bespectacled man, began a sentence, the owner of the café rushed over with complimentary plates of humus, salads and desserts. Passersby, glimpsing Noam through the window, burst inside to embrace him. “We are with you,” they cried. “We will get our Gilad home.”

That our is the key to understanding the devotion that Israelis feel for Gilad Shalit. The Israel Defense Forces is a citizens’ army in which most young men serve for a minimum of three years, followed by several decades of reserve duty. Young women serve for at least two. Our soldiers are literally our parents, our siblings, our children. Israel is also a small country with few if any degrees of separation between families. Even those who have never met the Shalits know someone who has. And all of us have loved ones—a brother, a son—who could suffer the same ordeal that Gilad began four years ago today. continue reading…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Following the release of Israel’s updated policy on civilian goods entering Gaza,  “things that people are trying to bring in by flotilla you can bring in through the legitimate existing crossings, [so] do it that way” said Quartet Envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Israel is currently letting in all civilian goods enter Gaza, with the only outright banned items being weapons and explosive materials. The goal has always been to weaken Hamas but not to the detriment of the Palestinian people living in Gaza. The updated policy will come with a public, universal list of what is not allowed to fall into the hands of Hamas, which continues to mount rocket attacks at Israeli and Palestinian civilians. continue reading…

Israel’s security cabinet has voted to “liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza… expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision” and “continue existing security procedures to prevent the inflow of weapons and war material.”

Even before these measures are to be put in place, on Tuesday, Israel allowed in 5,355 tons of goods into Gaza. No border crossings were closed. In addition to the list below of goods which entered Gaza on June 15th, dozens of international organization staff members crossed into and out of Israel through the Erez crossing. continue reading…