The Arabs of Egypt are screaming for the rights that the Arabs in Israel already have.
by David Suissa
One of my favorite movies this year is the Academy-Award nominated documentary, The Square. Throughout the film, which follows the uprisings in Tahrir Square since the onset of the Arab Spring in 2011, it’s as if you’re right there, on the streets, living and sweating with the demonstrators, feeling their pain, their joy, their frustrations, their exhilaration and, ultimately, their uncertainty about the future.
With documentaries, there’s always a risk that real people who can’t act will be dull – that filming a real drama in real time with real people can never be as dramatic as having a genius like Steven Spielberg orchestrate the whole production with star actors. And yet, the film pulls it off. The real people in The Square are as believable as Jack Nicholson or Meryl Streep on a good day.
What these people crave, above all, is human dignity. Tahrir Square is the source of their power, the place where they can gather in huge numbers, sing songs, drink coffee at midnight, fight the police and scream for what we in America often take for granted: freedom and opportunity.
But the real drama of the Egyptian story is that these revolutionaries’ only causes are to take things down. There’s nothing good to cheer for. There are only bad people to rebelagainst.
The people scream to take down the dictator Hosni Mubarak, and after he goes down, millions erupt in a frenzy of joy. A year and a half later, they scream to take down his successor, Mohamed Morsi – who turns out to be even worse than Mubarak – and afterhe goes down, millions erupt again in a frenzy of joy.
And so it goes.
The tragedy in the film is when people realize the limits of their power. There is absolute clarity in what the people don’t want – oppression and poverty – but very little clarity about how the country can get to a better place.
That’s why The Square might be the very best hasbara film ever made for Israel.
As I watched the Arabs of Egypt scream for their rights, I couldn’t help thinking that they were screaming for precisely what the Arabs in Israel already have.
As I watched the demonstrators scream against corrupt Egyptian judges and politicians, I couldn’t help but recall that it was an Arab-Israeli judge, George Karra, who convicted a Jewish president accused of rape.
As I watched Egyptian demonstrators protest the jailing of innocents and bemoan the lack of opportunity in their crumbling society, I couldn’t help but think about an Arab-Israeli woman, Mais Ali Saleh, who recently graduated No. 1 in her class at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
There was no doubt in my mind that every Arab demonstrator in Tahrir Square would be better off living in Israel – that women, minorities and people of all colors and religions would have more freedom to follow their dreams, get an education and benefit from a thriving economy and civil society.
Happy birthday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu!
120 מזל טוב עד
Sewing the Seeds of Love for the Children of Israel“How proud we are to be sending 127 blankets, made in just a few days, to the neonatal unit of Shaare Tzedek Hospital with our love and hope for peace and security for the little ones being born and all the peoples of Israel.”A couple of organizations and a bunch of wonderful people from the United States have shown their love for the children of Israel!
These people are truly a blessing in the way they support Israel! We’re certain you’ll find this article to be inspiring and heartwarming!
Vanity Fair has along articleabout Hamas terror tunnels base don extensive interviews with Israeli soldiers who interrogated Hamas members, as well as interviews with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.
Excerpts:While seemingly low-tech, tunneling requires copious quantities of cash, cement, fuel, and rebar. Fortunately for Hamas, world events conspired to assist in this effort. During the Arab Spring, while Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was busy fighting for his political and personal survival, Hamas built a virtual underground super-highway to the Sinai through which it managed to import an ever-more-sophisticated arsenal, including longer-range rockets, anti-tank guided missiles, and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. By 2012, when Egypt elected Mohammed Morsi (the head of the Muslim Brotherhood—and a Hamas ally), Hamas was riding high. It had significantly expanded the scope and use of what has come to be known as “subterranean Gaza,” even creating a special engineering unit within its Al-Qassam Brigades to handle tunnel excavation.
In addition, Hamas created a secret commando unit, called Nukhba (the “selected ones”), and trained its men to fight and maneuver through the tunnels on foot and on small motorcycles. According to an official in the Shin Bet, which has been interrogating Hamas members who were captured during the fighting, “The offensive tunnels were top secret not only because [Hamas] had spent a fortune building them, but because they understood that once we found out about the project, there would be no turning back.” Hamas detainees have told their Israeli interrogators that they received $300 a month for excavation work and that there were two tiers of laborers. The master tunnelers were supposedly told where in Israel proper their excavation work would end up; such knowledge was not shared with the work-for-hire diggers. As for the Nukhba fighters, the Shin Bet official tells Vanity Fair, “They were an elite force … [trained] to execute strategic terrorist attacks… . [For the eventual operation, they would be] heavily armed: R.P.G.s, Kalashnikovs, M-16s, hand grenades, and night-vision equipment.” To maximize the element of surprise, they would wear—as can be seen from their own videos—I.D.F. uniforms, including mitznefet, the distinctive helmet covers worn by Israeli soldiers.
…By April, the Shin Bet tells Vanity Fair, Israeli officials firmly believed something big was in the works—and Hamas did nothing to assuage their fears. “The occupation is hysterical and confused in the face of the resistance army’s tunnels,” said Abu Obeida, spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades. “[B]ut we’re ready for any scenario and we’ll teach the enemy a harsh lesson.”
…Last spring, Hamas was already sensing isolation. Egypt had begun curbing Hamas’s access to everything from cigarettes to guns. And a widely touted merger with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, according to analysts in the region and Israeli security sources, had brought Gazans limited economic benefit. Some observers—in Israel, the Arab world, and the West—perceived Hamas to be on the ropes. Around the same time, intelligence about a pending attack—electronic chatter and word from informants—began setting off alarm bells inside Israel’s stereotypically anxious security establishment.
“Hamas had a plan,” says Lt. Col. Lerner, summarizing on the record what six senior intelligence officials would describe on background. “A simultaneous, coordinated, surprise attack within Israel. They planned to send 200 terrorists armed to the teeth toward civilian populations. This was going to be a coordinated attack. The concept of operations involved 14 offensive tunnels into Israel. With at least 10 men in each tunnel, they would infiltrate and inflict mass casualties.”
As a senior military intelligence official later explained, the anticipated attack was designed with two purposes in mind. “First, get in and massacre people in a village. Pull off something they could show on television. Second, the ability to kidnap soldiers and civilians using the tunnels would give them a great bargaining chip.”
Mishal insists that “the tunnels may have been outwardly called ‘offensive tunnels,’ but in actual fact they are ‘defensive’ ones.’” When pressed to explain why most of the tunnels actually ended up under or near civilian communities or kibbutzim—not military bases—he concedes, “Yes, true. There are Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza. Have any of the tunnels been used to kill any civilian or any of the residents of such towns? No. Never! … [Hamas] used them either to strike beyond the back lines of the Israeli army or to raid some military sites … This proves that Hamas is only defending itself.”
Reports would later surface that Hamas’s main attack was planned to coincide with the Jewish New Year—Rosh Hashanah—in September 2014. “It may have been,” says a top intelligence official, in his office in the Kirya, Israel’s Pentagon. “But ultimately everything was moved up. Hamas’s grand plan for the tunnels failed because the kidnapping set things in motion before Hamas had everything ready.”
…On July 7, Israeli jets bombed a tunnel that began in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, and exited near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, killing seven members of Hamas, who were trapped inside. To outward observers, it looked as if the casualties may have been incidental. But highly placed government sources tell Vanity Fair they feared these operatives were the first wave. “When the operation started, we expected the mass attack in July,” a senior military intelligence official explains. “We suspected they would hurry up and do it during the air war, before the ground operation.”
Hamas considered the men who died in the tunnel bombing to be among its most elite, warning publicly, “The enemy will pay a tremendous price.” The next day, all hell broke loose, with Hamas firing some 150 rockets. Over the next 10 days, Hamas would send some 1,500 more, while the Israeli air force and navy would pound sites in Gaza with little letup.
…Once the I.D.F. entered Gaza, dodging R.P.G.s and fire from heavy machine guns, says Alian, they came to a harsh realization: “Entire houses were rigged to explode and collapse on our soldiers. There were all sorts of explosive devices. Some [were set to be] triggered by cell phones and other remote controls. Others were pressure activated and hidden under ordinary looking house tiles.” His cohort, Sergeant Rafi (whose last name has also been withheld for security reasons), concurs, “We went to many houses and found tunnels inside houses, outside houses, defensive tunnels, offensive tunnels. They spent years planning for this.”
Golani’s mission was to destroy what intelligence officials believed were four particularly lethal tunnels that began in the Gaza Strip town of Shejaiya and ended a stone’s throw from Israeli kibbutzim. Shejaiya had long been Hamas’s first line of defense and Israel’s efforts to warn its 100,000 residents to flee only reinforced its symbolic and strategic importance in Hamas’s eyes. “In this war,” claims Alian, “the biggest fight, the hardest battle, was for control of that neighborhood.”
I.D.F. soldiers in Shejaiya and elsewhere quickly came to understand that tactical tunnels presented as imminent a threat as the strategic cross-border variety they were sent to find. On August 1—two weeks into Israel’s ground campaign—Lieutenant Matan (who offers only his first name) was in the Gaza town of Rafah, when he and his fellow soldiers heard shots, he says in his first interview about the incident. Tracing those sounds to a nearby guard post, a tunnel opening was discovered. He and another soldier clambered down three meters, descending into the darkness. After firing some warning rounds, he stopped in the dank passageway, only to find portions of a bloodied uniform belonging to a 23-year-old lieutenant named Hadar Goldin, later determined to have been killed and his body kidnapped, according to the I.D.F. spokesperson’s office. (Goldin, unbeknownst to his abductors, turned out to have been a relative of Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon.) “The Hamas operatives were like ghosts—honestly, like ghosts,” recalls Golani’s Sgt. Rafi. “If they wanted to shoot, they came out of a tunnel, shot, and ducked back into the tunnel.”
Gilad Sha’er, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrah may have indirectly saved hundreds of Israeli lives.
Exposing the hypocrisy of the Hamas leadership: while the people of Gaza suffer because of the violent and corrupt actions of the Hamas leadership (such as Ismail Haniyeh), Haniyeh hides out in Gaza and sends his family members to Israel, yes Israel, for medical treatment.
Free Gaza From Hamas!
"The conflict in the Middle East has resulted in some of our customers and certain retail members including Shoprite, Massmart, SPAR, Woolworths and Pick n Pay being approached, sometimes in an aggressive and confrontational way, to remove products sourced from Israeli manufacturers from their shelves. This infringes on their rights to free and fair trade as enshrined in the country’s constitution. South Africa is a fully constituted democracy that respects law and order. There are channels provided by our respective members for complaints and grievances to be lodged if a consumer is dissatisfied with a particular product. This is also contained in the Consumer Protection Act.”
“Our position, as an industry, is that we recognise the right of consumers to exercise freedom of choice with regard to the products that they purchase. In line with this we believe that the industry’s role is to ensure that the products sold in our member’s stores, are marked with legislated descriptive information that includes the country of origin. This enables consumers to make informed buying decisions that are aligned to the personal perspectives that they might hold.”