Sunday, December 23, 2007

Iron Dome Over The Ghetto

Two Kassam missiles struck Ashkelon’s industrial area on Sunday causing little damage and no injury. These missiles are evidence of the improved Kassam rockets which previously had a shorter range and usually fell on Sderot or in open fields just across the Gaza security fence.

As if on cue, the Israeli cabinet today approved the “Iron Dome” missile defense system, to be manufactured by Israel’s Rafael military industries. The missile shield is to be operational within two and a half years and cost upwards of NIS 800 Million (@$200 Million.)

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has announced it will send out pamphlets to every Israeli household with advice on how to best prepare for missile attacks.

Some political analysts see this as a ploy by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Olmert to sow uncertainty and fear in the public and thus deflect their attention from more pressing matters, like corruption in high office, and failure on the battlefield during the War in Lebanon II.

Other pundits see it as a justifiable and reasonable precaution in the event that Syria, Hezbollah or Iran begin a missile attack on Israel in the future.

Last July, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss 582-page document reported on failures his office had found in the conduct of the top political and military echelons regarding the safeguarding of the civilian population in the home front during last summer's Second Lebanon War. Pundits see this latest barrage of information as a response to Lindenstrauss’ attack on the government’s lack of preparedness.

Meanwhile Israel continues to strike at Hamas targets in Gaza. According to sources in the Prime Minister’s office, Olmert believes that the Hamas-led government in Gaza is now calling for a cease-fire because of the effectiveness of Israel’s military action. Analysts say that Olmert is unwilling to give up this advantage and take the pressure off of Hamas just because they are starting to suffer.

"Whoever accepts the Quartet principles will, in principle, be a partner for negotiations," Olmert said. "Whoever isn't willing to do so, to our regret, cannot be a partner for dialogue with us. This policy will not change."

The Jerusalem Post published a graphic on Sunday that had appeared as part of the Palestinian Authority’s publicity for the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of the Fatah movement. The graphic shows the state of Israel covered by a Kafyeh, calling the entire area Palestine.
Some observers are saying that Palestinian Authority President Mohammed Abbas is copying his mentor Yassir Arafat b saying one thing to the Arab population and something completely different in English to the US and Israel.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “The underlying message of the poster is that Fatah, like Hamas, does not recognize Israel's existence. The emblem is in violation of Fatah's declared policy, which envisions an independent Palestinian state alongside, and not instead of, Israel. By including a rifle in the poster, Fatah is sending a message to the Palestinian public that it has not abandoned the option of "armed resistance," despite current peace talks with Israel. “
Some political analysts think that Abbas is merely staking out a radical platform in order to further undermine the popularity of Hamas.
But based on Olmert’s statements, pundits question if Abbas has not now become one of those people with whom Olmert will no longer consider a partner in negotiations?
A month ago that Palestinians wouldn't recognize Israel as a Jewish state since "no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity." A few days ago Latin Patriarch and Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, who since 1987 the highest Catholic prelate for Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and the West Bank and Gaza, said . |There is discrimination linked to the nature of the state. Israel says simply 'I am a Jewish state’ and that creates discrimination with regard to non-Jews."
According to the Jerusalem Post, “The first Palestinian to serve as Latin Patriarch, Sabbah was following the line of the Palestinian elite regarding the innate illegitimacy of Jewish self-determination.”
As early as the 1970’s one of the previous Latin Patriarchs was caught at the border crossing from Lebanon into Israel with a trunk filled with weapons meant for Yassir Arafat’s then PLO organization.
In the Union of Orthodox Rabbi’s weekly English language “Torah Tidbits”, passed out at Synagogues in Israel had an interesting tidbit indeed. According to that journal the first Ghetto in Jewish history was in the land of Goshen, in Egypt, during the time of Joseph. According to the journal, historians agree that Jews have voluntarily lived in Ghettos, forming them for self-identification, and separation from the non-Jewish surroundings. Sometimes the host countries put up walls and gates to keep the Jews in the Ghettos, like the famous one in Venice, immortalized by Shakespeare.
In that regard, Israel too is one big ghetto, separating the Jews within her borders from the outside world, keeping a Jewish culture alive and vibrant. In Israel Jewish holidays are national holidays, the major as well as the minor. Supermarkets are primarily filled with Kosher products, not a few shelves stuck in a dark corner.
The other major difference between other Jewish ghettos, from those silk-stocking ones in Long Island, to the enclaves in upper New York, is that Israel is an armed ghetto, soon to have its own Iron Dome. Assimilation, the bane of Jewish existence outside of Israel, is nearly non-existent within Israel’s borders. While Israel may face existential threats to its very existence, there are ways to try to protect the population.
During this period in history, the erosion of the Jewish population outside of Israel is not caused by anti-Semitism or pogroms but by the good life and the nice people met and married when hormones rage and the body screams out to procreate.
Given these variable, it is not unusual that Hamas wants peace, and Abbas and Sabbah want a country without a Jewish majority. It is also more the reason why Israel will, according to most analysts, not do anything to change the unique Jewish character of the country that, according to sociologists, will have the majority of the world’s Jewish population by the year 2020.